INTERVIEW: HQ Familia’s Rapper and Poet Asher X
HQ Familia in Leicester are fast becoming one of the biggest driving forces behind new and upcoming talent in the city.
Asher X is HQ Familia’s first signed artist and features on the debut release compilation EP, HQ Familia Presents..HQF001. We caught up with Asher X to find out what life is like since the release and what 2018 has in store.
Tell me a little bit more about yourself, how did you get into music and what was your inspiration to take it seriously?
I’ve always written poetry and I put a couple of my poems up online, someone called Apocraphe a former Hip Hop rapper from my home town, (actually my fella has all his music) saw them and asked me to send him some more of my stuff. He put me in touch with Yasin and I went to the studio and recorded some of my poems over tracks and got used to spitting on a beat. I just started enjoying it. I liked how my words sounded with music, I felt like it gave it something a little bit more. I’m a big music fan anyway, I’ve always been into all different music styles. I liked grime when I was a teenager, I’ve got loads of crap lyrics that I wrote when I was 15 but I just used to keep it to myself. I noticed how my poetry had a natural rhythm to it. Once I started putting music to it I really like it.
You started talking there about influences? Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
It’s a bit of a difficult one because in terms of Rap and Grime, I used to like all the SideWinder tapes and there was a crew called ‘Midlands Mafia’, I used to really like them. Hip Hop, I liked Jhest, there’s also an American rapper called Necro that I really like. When I was a kid I used to really like Eminem but musically I do like different kinds of music like Bjork. I love everything about her. And in terms of poets John Cooper Clarke is literally my idol, I would love to work with him, he’s amazing. I love The Streets too, they were the soundtrack to my teenage years, and I saw them play in Glastonbury when I was a nipper. They’re a really big influence on me. It’s not like they are really fitting into one clear genre and to me Mike is a poet as well as an MC.
You’re one of the artists featured on the HQ familia album, how do you feel about being apart of Leicester’s hottest new label?
It’s brilliant. It’s just so nice to see your name on a CD and the other artists that are on that EP are brilliant so to be side by side with them is great. To be backed by HQ Familia, which is one of the most exciting things to be happening in music in Leicester at the moment is great! It’s like a musical hub and there is so much great stuff coming out of it. Hopefully one day I can look back on this and say this is where it all started.
What have you learnt from the guys here at HQ, how have they had that impact and really helped you?
I think confidence wise I have improved loads because when I first came in I was really lacking confidence. A year ago, I would’ve never have imagined I would be a music artist or anything like that. When they see something in you, you start to see it in yourself. I’m learning so much about music too, I didn’t even know what a bar or a verse was when I first started recording at HQ. I’ve also learned so much about myself and I really respect all the people involved, everyone’s been well cool and patient with me, I have so much love and respect for Yasin and all the team/fam.
Who would be your dream collaboration?
In terms of what I do, obviously Mike Skinner and poetry wise John Cooper Clarke.
WHAT HAS 2018 GOT IN STORE FOR YOU?
My first EP, ‘Mardeh’ is going to be released at the end of 2017 so I’ll be busy performing and promoting that. I’ll also be writing material for my second EP and hopefully we’ll be releasing a few singles too.
What do you love about Leicester? Have you got a favourite hang-out?
I was born in Highfields, but I’ve lived all over the city. Growing up I hung around Saffron lane/ Knighton but I went school in Evington. All my friends and family are from all over Leicester too. Leicester is a lot better now than it used to be, it’s really improving, and there seems to be such a buzz in the city at the moment, especially in the music scene, I love being a part of that.
As a young artist yourself what is the best advice you would give to other young up and coming artist?
Be yourself, never try to be too like other artists, it never works, you just end up being a watered-down version of someone else so it’s really important to just be yourself. Believe in yourself too, because if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect other people to but into you and what you do either.
To listen or download #HQF001, visit hypeurl.co/HQF001