Feature

Ady Suleiman

Running Away is the long-awaited debut single from a young man of mercurial musical talent who hails from the outskirts of Nottingham in the UK and goes by the name of Ady Suleiman.

A deft songwriter and a singer with soulful brilliance whose sound that fuses RnB, reggae and soul, Ady Suleiman is set to emerge as one of the most unique artists in the UK in recent years. With a rich era-spanning appreciation of music and an innate need to turn life experiences into narrative, Ady has developed a timelessly classic yet fresh sound and a lyrical distinctiveness that has garnered fans ranging from Chance the Rapper and Joey Bada$$ through to Labrinth, and Frank Ocean.

After supporting Leon Bridges on his European tour Ady is finally gearing up to release his first single, “Running Away”, with an accompanying video shot in South Africa. We catch up with the boy wonder before superstardom catches up with him.

You already have plenty of industry acclaim and famous fans, but are only releasing your debut single this month - why the wait?

Haha! I haven't finished my album, so couldn't release it and that got delayed for many reasons, practical and personal.

Do you feel that you have found your signature sound, and what has inspired it?

I think I am constantly working on my sound. But when people hear a track, I think they would recognize it's me. So I have a distinctive voice and style, but I wouldn't call it signature yet because I'm constantly evolving.

Since starting in the industry, how do you feel you have evolved as an artist?

Erm, I am the same, just older. So I guess more mature, more confident and really everything I do has evolved - from performance to song writing.

People like Chance the Rapper and Frank Ocean have said they’re fans of yours, who do you look up to in the industry, and is there anyone whose career you’d like yours to follow a similar path?

I mean, ideally I would like to have my own career path. I’d be stoked if I could achieved what Adele, Sam Smith or Ed Sherman have achieved in recent years, in terms of sales and worldwide acclaim. But really I want to do things my own way. I look up to lots of artists and people, anyone that pursuing their dream and passion.

Your music fuses RnB, hip hop and reggae. Is this what you grew up listening to? What was played around your house?

Yes, I grew up listening to whatever was on Top of the Pops and the radio. So lots of TLC, Eminem, Outkast and Alicia Keys. At the same time my dad played a lot of African music around the house and tiny bit of reggae.

What are the challenges facing young artists today, in your opinion?

Making money from your art and being heard and constantly delivering new material is a challenge.

How important is fashion to an emerging musician, and is it something that you’ve always had an interest in?

It's as important as you want it to be, though I always want to look good. I just wear stuff that's comfortable and that I think looks good, never purposely followed a trend.

You filmed your latest video in South Africa, how involved are you in your own creative direction, and do you think it is important these days for artists to take control over all aspects of their careers?

I am heavily involved. It's important to have a vision and get what you want across. At the same time, I would say it's important finding people you can trust that can help you creatively. You can do everything by yourself, sure, but it's pretty time consuming and naive to think that you are going to be the best at everything. There are some amazingly talented people in world that can improve your skills and push you forwards to achieve greater results. I would find a team of people that you know can deliver what you want, but you should have the final say on everything. It's your career.

Tell us three things on your bucket list?

To do a television performance on Jools Holland, a world tour and to play the pyramid stage Glastonbury.

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