Lockdown was a period for us to tap into sides of ourselves we hadn’t previously explored, due to the unprecedented amount of free time on our hands. For FelixThe1st, that was music. The London-born-and-bred artist found his vocation during a time none of us saw coming, but he’s stuck to his guns and clearly, it has paid off.
FelixThe1st recently released his latest single “would u wait,” a catchy in-your-feels tune that explores a more vulnerable side to the artist we’re used to. With a MOBO Award under his belt and a full-length project on the way, FelixThe1st is the London breakout artist that needs to be on your radar. We caught up with the artist to talk about his musical evolution, watching Celebrity Big Brother, and making his mum proud.
Hey man, how’s it going? Tell me about your artist name FelixThe1st. How did you come up with that?
Yooo! We’re out here. Basically, all of my friends said I had reflexes like a real-life cat… I wouldn’t miss a sound and I’m always alert so that’s what led the mandem to call me Felix. My mum would always call me a little Lord so that’s where the 1st came from so I had to make it legit and go with FelixThe1st.
We’ve seen two releases from you in quick succession which both show a more vulnerable side of you. Is this something that came quite naturally to you?
It’s been an easy process with the new music. It has felt natural to let this side out and be open through creativity. Everything around me has been influential, even sitting at home right now staring at this painting makes me feel like there’s a purpose to it.
In “would u wait,” you say “Every day I heal scars, you ain’t even had a glow.” What did you mean by that?
Ok so, realistically in a relationship, both people will have had a past that’s held them back in certain places and affected where they are now. Every single day you’re supporting each other to get out of the place they’ve been in whilst helping them to forget what they’ve been through. So the line itself describes the moment or feeling of looking at someone and knowing that however many times you try to fix things in your relationship you know it won’t be the same again.
You recently released your new single “Friday 13th,” an unmissable Halloween single. Has the spooky season always been one of your favourites? How did you celebrate Friday the 13th of October / Halloween this year?
Yes! I got lit after the release with my people and similarly for Halloween. I watch scary movies all year round so instead I watched Celebrity Big Brother 17, haha. That was scary. It was a bit disappointing this year round though.
Your entire aesthetic has quite an edge to it. How did you come to form it?
I can’t really describe it. I’ve always liked black clothes. Always been inspired by British punk culture. Going to Camden was a treat when I was younger and then I started going there all the time as I grew up. Subconsciously being around certain spaces and energies, I thought “f*ck it, I’m getting some leather trousers.” We’re all products of our own environments and I’m a London boy. The moment came when I took that role on, safe to say I’m not a gimmick.
Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations, both visually and musically?
I have so many. UK, definitely Skepta will always be that guy who made me realise you can authentically be yourself and be taken in by other countries. Otherwise, people who made me want to start music were Lancey and House of Pharaohs. They were always my peers that I knew through friends and it was inspiring to see them doing their thing. Also, King Krule, James Blake, and Sampha and alternative sounds. I didn’t believe in myself as a singer until I got deeper into my creative realms which has allowed me to be genuinely careless.
When did you realise music was the one for you?
I have a specific moment. It was the first lockdown. I had arrived in America and there were lots of restrictions at the beginning of lockdown and then I had to turn around and return to London. It was that moment when I had an epiphany about doing something entirely for myself – I wanted more than the career I had before music. When I landed in the UK, I used my last bit of money to initiate studio sessions which is how it all started.
Now, you’ve been on your music grind for (officially) 2 years. What has been a career highlight for you?
The ultimate highlight is being able to retire from my previous career as a dancer, which is in the past. Being able to tell my mum all of the auditioning and travelling is over was a nice feeling. It felt good to show her that I could invest my time into music and make a difference in the process. Also, the MOBO Award.
Lastly, what have you been working on? Is there a project in the works?
Yes, there f*cking is. There’s a project on the way called “i hope you never fit in” which is some of my best work ever. There are visuals for each of the twelve tracks and it’s taken a year and a bit to complete, we started it out in LA and will be finishing it in London. I’m excited for people to hear this next chapter. There is lots of music on the way so pay attention and claim me before it’s too late!
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