Tinie Tem­pah is tak­ing grime to big­ger places, he tells Jim Car­roll,

Tinie Tem­pah has moved on­wards and up­wards from the grime roots of old. Ahead of his forth­com­ing arena tour, he tells Jim Car­roll what he sees when he glances back over his shoul­der at where he’s come from

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FRONT PAGE -

The time is nigh for Tinie Tem­pah to go large. The days of grab­bing the mi­cro­phone in a small club and be­ing able to see the eyes of ev­ery­one in the room star­ing back at him are well and truly over. Two hugely suc­cess­ful al­bums and sev­eral mas­sive hit tunes tend to have that ef­fect on an artist. You move on, you move up, you pre­pare for the big-time.

For the man born Patrick Okogwu to Nige­rian par­ents in south Lon­don, go­ing large means call­ing in the pros – and not just to give him a dig-out in the stu­dio. The move from clubs to are­nas means a step-up in terms of what people want from a show, and Tem­pah knows ex­actly what he’s af­ter in this re­gard.

For his up­com­ing tour, which ar­rives in Dublin this month, he’s work­ing with the set de­sign­ers who’ve put on the glitz for Bey­oncé’s live shows in the past. Tem­pah has be­come a stu­dent of the arena show game and he counts off the artists whose set de­signs have caught his eye.

“Kanye West def­i­nitely, he did a show in Lon­don af­ter My Dark Twisted Fan­tasy came out which was pretty amaz­ing. Sim­plis­tic, but beau­ti­ful. Drake’s show is pretty de­cent, Ri­hanna al­ways does a good show and I saw Bey­oncé re­cently in Poland and that was mind-blow­ing, of course.

“For me, Jay-Z and Kanye on Watch the Throne was one of the best hip-hop per­for­mances ever. It was a world-class next-level thing, hip-hop at its height. You’d never seen hip-hop per­formed like that be­fore.”

Hip-hop has cer­tainly left the old days be­hind, he reck­ons. “The old game, where you’d just a rap­per and a DJ on­stage, is def­i­nitely over now at that level. You won’t get away with it at this scale. That was some­thing I did when I was com­ing up as a kid, do­ing shows in clubs, and it works there.

“But when you go into proper venues or are­nas, it be­comes all about a band and the­atrics. When you look back at my evo­lu­tion as an artist and Bri­tish rap­per, you can see I’ve been do­ing the big show sets for some time.”

There’s a pause be­fore he adds a wicked line. “But it’s nice to see the Yanks have started to do that more now, too, and have fol­lowed us.”

Tem­pah will talk a fair bit to­day about mov­ing on and mov­ing up. The lad who came out of the grime scene

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