Photography by Mr Andrew Woffinden. Styling by Mr Dan May
Words by Mr Tom M Ford
At the green age of 22, Mr Timothy McKenzie, (otherwise known as
Labrinth), has good reason to be the excitable figure that greets us for the interview. His 'futuristic' brand of R&B, dance and hip-hop has lured the attentions of the music world over the last year and, after being signed to impresario Mr Simon Cowell's label, he went on to collaborate with the two-time BRIT award-winning Mr Tinie Tempah. Top it all off with a number three charting debut single, this East London-born singer, writer and producer is proving to be well on his way to international stardom.
How did you start in music?
I've got eight brothers and sisters and we grew up attending church where there was a lot of music, so I think it kind of rubbed off on me. My mum and dad sing and play guitar so I think it was one of those things where I got infected by the virus.
What does it mean to be a British artist right now?
We're creative and we believe in our own sound which I think we didn't believe in a couple of years ago. I'm very excited about what's happening here at the moment. I've purposely chosen not to go to the States. I think it's really important as a British artist to establish myself here and then go there. I've been asked countless times to go but I feel like I'd be a small fish in a very big pond.
How would you describe British style?
I love it. We've got real swagger and I think we've inspired a lot of other countries with the way we dress, by adapting traditions and channelling them into modern contemporary styles.
OR TRY THESE...
by Burberry Prorsum
by Aubin & Wills
by Turnbull & Asser
by Richard James
Do you have any personal style icons?
Charlie Chaplin! (joking) and André 3000, I love the way he uses colour. Then there's Jimi Hendrix - he was always a little bit left.
How would you describe your own music?
It's the sound of what's in my head and hopefully people will hear it and understand it. I've played some of the new tracks off my album to some people who can offer me advice and they say it sounds like my vibe - really different and futuristic.
Have you had a highlight in your career so far?
It's got to have been seeing my single, 'Let The Sun Shine' getting rinsed as soon as the sun came up. Since then, I've kind of gone quiet and been busy getting my album done. But the track is still playing on the radio, still getting a lot of love. It's doing its job.
Can you talk a bit about your debut album?
I don't think people should expect a commercial pop album, it's just going to be a mixed album of music I love. It's really close to being done but one of the reasons it's been a bit longer is because I want it to be amazing. I can't give someone something that's average; there's just no point.
Have you been working on any interesting projects or collaborations?
I just worked with Plan B for his album and he's throwing some stuff at me for my album. There's quite a few collaborations and some big acts that people aren't going to expect me to work with. We've got a single coming out with Ms Dynamite. I'm going to do more records with Tinie. I feel like there's a lot of people at the door that want to work with me. It's great.