London rapper 5eb was selected out of thousands of contestants in the Prospect100 Global Music Competition, which took place over April and had applicants from 82 countries. Prospect100 is a project connecting aspiring young creatives with established professionals, running regular competitions open to the world, for free, with the winners and finalists being given life-changing opportunities as prizes.
5eb’s track, “3 Phones” was picked as the winner, taking home a space on Strawberries and Creem festival’s main stage alongside Burna Boy and Partynextdoor, as well as mentorship by a group of industry professionals. At 18, 5eb is full of personality, brimming with enthusiasm for his success. We chatted to him and spoke about his journey to where he is today, his biggest inspirations, and then looked forward to what is set to be a massive summer for the up-and-coming artist.
Seb – for our readers that don’t already know of you and your music, could you introduce yourself? Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? Where do you get inspiration?
I’m 5eb or Fendi 5, I’m from North London. I’ve been making music for a couple years now, I’m just starting to tune in a little bit more and get that to a place where I want it to be. My influences: Pharrell, Chad Hugo, bare man there. My influences range and are a bag of people like, I love soul music, jazz music, I even sample old Japanese music – loads of different stuff goes into my own music because I feel like a wide range of influences is where you’ll find a new sound rather than trying to replicate someone else’s thing that’s already been done.
It’s not even necessarily in terms of musical influence either, it’s the whole vision. I look at life and I’m just like “I want to Pharrell it”. He’s not in any box, he can rap, sing, produce, he can do it all. He’s just a creative, a brand all to himself. Everything he did, he was already the shit at it and just needed a chance to show the world. When he makes a shoe, a hoodie, anything, I’m just like “Damn” because it’s such a big inspiration and such a strong creative vision. He proves to me that it’s all possible, because no human is different to me, like, it’s just what you choose to be capable of. He challenges himself to do a lot and that’s why he gets a lot out of life. He’ll go out as a legend that influenced the culture in a mad fucking way.
Thousands of people entered the competition from over 80 countries around the world, but you & your tune “3 Phones” were ultimately chosen as the winner of Prospect100’s global music competition. A lot of people seeing you for the first time now will be seeing you as a “prospect” for the future, but in reality you’ve been in this game for a long time and really live this life. Tell me a bit about your journey musically, how did you get into this game and develop to this level of success?
The last part, the bit about developing success – I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, I’m just getting started. I feel like right now I’m on a pinnacle of finding something great in terms of my own music. In terms of development it’s great where we’ve come and I’m mad thankful, but I feel like we’re only just getting started in a way. In terms of how I got into this game, I had a friend that was encouraging me to get into music because he just knew I had bars, but I wasn’t really taking anything that seriously. So he brought me to a community studio which was like £2 an afternoon, we would just go there all the time. I met a lot of my friends – shoutout K Wavy, Smithblack – there, and we’d just record our ideas down. It was sick though because it was such a creative space where you could try shit out, and having a studio at like 14/15 or whatever was a sick opportunity that really opened up doors for me and developed my capabilities.
But then, I found a mic on eBay for like £40, so I asked the person running the community studio if I should just grab it and try to make something happen. He said “fuck it, may as well try, the worst thing that can happen is it doesn’t work” so I grabbed it and I never looked back. I started recording in my bedroom on youtube type beats, whatever people were sending me, and it built from there. I met Eddz, my first manager that found me on soundcloud when I was like 14/15, then Mark who Developed me a bit further, put me on Spotify and stuff, and now we’re like here!
With this competition it feels fucking sick to win it, there were so many entries from so many countries, so I’m mad thankful that somehow they managed to hear my track and take it in because I really wasnt expecting them to.
Looking forward, the win comes hand in hand with a mainstage set at Strawberries & Cream festival. Are you excited to get out there and show over 10,000 people what you’re about live and in the flesh? Have you got anything up your sleeve for the festival that we can look out for?
Born ready! I didn’t even know it was 10,000 people, that’s gonna be dope, it’s gonna be sick! That’s going to be crazy, obviously that’s my first proper festival, so that’s gonna be a sick step in my career. I just want to go and leave an imprint, leave a mark and make sure that whoever was there to witness that performance remembers me. Obviously I’m gonna have a lot of new people to impress, a lot of new faces and shit, but I just feel like energy can’t lie so I need the energy to be true on the day of the performance. I need to bring the energy, the people in the crowd need to bring the energy, if we both do that then it’ll be good man. It’s gonna be insane.
If you’ve never been to a 5eb show, you wouldn’t know but like, my shows, my mate went into the crowd before I even went out and came backstage with two gashes in his chest from the moshpit, before I’d even shown my face. I promise you, my shows get jumpy. So, hopefully the festival will be the same energy.
And moving past June, should we expect more music from you this summer? Have you got any projects cooking up that we should be ready for in the near future?
I’m not gonna drop a date, specifically, because I know this is gonna come out before then and people will try to hold me to it, I know they will. But, the tape is gonna be coming this summer, 100%. I’ve been hinting at it to my supporters for a while, but yeah. I’ve got a bag of other projects that I’m working on, along with my own beats and that stuff, which I feel like people are gonna get introduced to very soon. You’re gonna start getting brought into my soundscape and my idea of what music should sound like. So, yeah definitely, this summer, the main thing to look out for is my tape. I’m literally heading to mixing sessions to make sure it’s sounding nice right now. And yeah, the 48 Hours EP, which I’ve loaded up, that’s ready to go. Hold tight because it’s all ready to go, I just need to make sure that it’s something memorable. When I look back in 5 years, when you guys look back in 5 years, you’ll be like “Shit, he took his time with this one”.
How are you going to define what success is for you? What’s the ideal position for you in the future, where do you want to be?
Success for me is complete freedom. The ability to be able to wake up in the morning and do what I want to do. That’s when I can say I’m successful. It’s one thing to work a job and get paid, be someone’s employee, but for me I’ll be successful when I can wake up and choose what I want to do. This creative project one day, something else the next. Yeah that comes with money, it comes with family, all that shit. Everyone wants that stuff. The thing that’s unique to my success is to do what I want, be creative when I wake up in the morning.
Do you want to say anything else to our readers?
I’ll probably just say, thank you to everyone that’s been patient because I know that I tease songs all the time and I don’t drop them. If you’ve read this far, thank you for being patient with me and I promise you it’s gonna be worth the wait.