Poundz: An Artist Merging Music With Strategy
Poundz is an artist within the UK music climate that consistently continues to release records that impact the culture. Since beginning his career in 2016 officially, after honing his craft years prior at any opportunity to showcase his lyrical ability, Poundz has become one of the most efficient artists right now with various songs earning millions of views/listens on various platforms. Poundz is more than a Drill artist, he understands the value that genre of music has currently and how he can implement that popular sound to drive his talents to the forefront. This is evident in the widespread popularity of his latest Single 'Opp Thot', garnering over 1 million views on Youtube in the first 3 days.
Poundz is a recent signee of Tinie Temper's popular label Disturbing London, which also houses artists such as Yxng Bane and Kida Kudz. As the latest addition to the UK hip-hop powerhouse, we are interested in how Poudz's career will continue to flourish. Although Poundz takes great pride in his lyrical ability, delivery, and wordplay, his dream collaborations may come as a shock to you.
During our time with Poundz we found him as a humble young artist looking to take over the music industry. With that in mind, we dressed him up and brought his knack for strategy and 'business as usual' identity to the forefront. Photographed by Charles Owusu and Styled by Creative Director of Alantic Glo Vwanganji Mulwanda, we took some time out to ask Poundz a few questions.
Creative Director Derrick Odafi
Photography Charles Owusu
Stylist Vwanganji Mulwanda
Jewellry Feather Pendants
"I'm a versatile artist, music changes all the time. If you think back 5 years ago, there was no drill...
It's all about adapting"
Q: Musically, who did you grow up listening to?
You wouldn't think it because you can't hear the influences in my music, but, I grew up listening to Sean Paul, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Aaliyah and a lot more R&B artists. A lot of the music I listened to was influenced by my parents until I got to my teens and started developing my personal taste; I started listening to the likes of Vybz Kartel, UK Rap, Drake & PARTYNEXTDOOR. I like to be open-minded when it comes to the music I listen to.
Q: Do you have a DJ that you work with and how do you plan to develop together?
Yes, I do, DJ Kaspa. The more recognition I get, the more that he will. Anywhere I go he will be there, we will always share our links and connections - it's a family thing.
Q: What direction do you want to take your music, in terms of beat selection for example?
I'm a versatile artist, music changes all the time. If you think back 5 years ago, there was no drill. It's all about adapting, I've got a lot of songs that are not Drill and that's what to come in the near future. I'm due to drop an EP just before and I plan to release my next single late December/early January.
Q: You’ve mentioned starting your musical journey in 2016, Who were some of the people you would listen to during that time?
In 2016 I was listening to Smoke Boyz, who were called Section Boyz back then. Stormzy as you know, Drake. Weirdly the Bryson Tiller sounds would come through, the one Trey Songz record… Dej Loaf & Jhene Aiko to name a few.
"For me, I have to really feel the instrumental. I can't make a banging song with a dead beat, it's a 50/50 game."
Q: How do you listen to albums; do you skim through them or do you listen as the artist intended?
When I listen to an artist's album, I skim through it. Right now, Headie One's project is one that I'm really interested in. I try to support it if I can.
Q: What's your creative process like?
For me, I have to really feel the instrumental. I can't make a banging song with a dead beat, it's a 50/50 game.
That's why I feel like producers need to be credited more and shown more love.
Do you have a go-to producer for your songs?
No, it’s just a certain sound that attracts me. I've got handpicked favourites like Ghosty, Hargo, BKay & M1 On The Beat; there are a couple of producers coming up.
You made a song about popular video game Fortnight, how did that come about?
Oh yeah, that was funny. It was more of a moment; Fortnight was blowing up and everyone was playing it from a child to a grown man. I saw a challenge on Instagram and joined in.
Did you actually play Fortnight?
No, It’s not for me. I tried it out but went straight back to GTA.
"if you aren't creative then you aren't different and if you have no strategy it's difficult to get anywhere...
create a risk assessment"
Q: Random question, do you watch football?
Nah bro, I have no clue about football. I was always that one guy who didn't understand when people were talking about it, I would think "who's that footballer?" I'm into athletics but since Bolt left it's been a bit dry. I'm also into boxing, only heavyweights though.
Q: So, what was the inspiration behind your track Mourinho?
Again. I adapted and followed what was going around. I thought "what's popping right now?" I was seeing Jose Mourinho was doing Manchester United no justice, so I jumped in the booth and made the track. It’s about creativity, you don’t want to keep coming in with the same formula.
Q: You seem to mix creativity and strategy; do you feel like that's what has brought you to where you are right now?
Definitely, if you aren't creative then you aren't different and if you have no strategy it's difficult to get anywhere. With strategising you need to create a risk assessment; who is the song going to appeal to and what kind of backlash may I get from this? However, for me, creativity is the most important because that's what makes me different.
Q: Which one of the two do you feel needs to compromise more often?
Creativity because if you say you’re going to do something and go ahead to do it, that’s just a strategy. You could do that 100 times. But to be creative, it’s harder so you need to put more time and effort into it.
Q: We want to know more about your background, where you’re from and how many siblings do you have?
I grew up in South London, Brixton. I come from a big family, I've got 9 siblings. My parents come from Kingston, Jamaica so you can see where some of my musical influences come from.
Every day I wake up it's like "what can I do today that I didn't do yesterday?"
Do you think where you're from will influence your future sound?
Yes and No. Ideally, you would want to appeal to your community, your surroundings and everyday life influence the topics I speak about but I won't let it limit me. I'm still going to branch out, try different things and create new sounds and work with different artists.
Q: Before music, what was the average day like for Poundz?
(Laughs) College, girls, kicking ball with my friends, just the basics.
Q: Where do you see yourself 5-10 years from now?
At the top of the charts, getting top 10s consistently and doing all the big festivals. I'd like to branch out to artists from America and even France. Just aiming for all of the niche markets.
Q: What artist would you like to collaborate with the most?
Jhene Aiko, she's wavey. I like her sound.
Q: What would you say is your motivation to get out of bed?
I don't want to live the same life, you're only here for how many years? There's only so much you can do in this lifetime. Every day I wake up it's like "what can I do today that I didn't do yesterday?"
Q: How would you describe your sound?
Energetic, jumpy, live and wavey. When I rap I want to make people move.
Q: How does that relate to the way you dress?
I don't really do too much. I don't do flashy, I keep it humble unless I'm going to an event. That's when I'd pull out the Louboutins.
What would you wear to the Grammys?
I’m wearing Louboutins, Louis Vuitton Belt. People have to know you’re in the building.
Q: If you were up for a Grammy, which one would you want to win the most?
Right now, I'm not new to the music game but in terms of the industry, I've just got my foot through the door. If there's one for best newcomer, I would put myself in that.
Q: Who were the first few artists who really got Poundz?
I've been focused on myself, in this music game people will know you exist but downplay it until you do something amazing and for me, that was 'Opp Thot' and now everyone wants to be like "Yo Bro!" I keep pushing and I'm sure I'm going to have some features in real soon.
Listen to Poundz's big single Opp Thot Here.