Mancunian Aitch embodies the sound of his city.
When the young rapper decided to drop a freestyle of himself on his estate in New Moston he never expected such a reception in his home town. Word quickly spread elsewhere, and to date, “Straight Rhymez” has garnered over seventeen million views – and thrust Aitch into the mainstream.
Want proof? Today, he’s a Brits attendee and the face of O2’s iPhone 11 campaign. Here’s what Aitch had to say on the topic of making it in the music business.
Find what works for you
For any upcoming artist, two things are fundamental: trial and error. As a rapper at the beginning of his career, hard work has helped Aitch find his own style. “This game that we’re in – there are so many methods and ways to make it big. You can take in as much advice as you want, but no matter what someone says, it might not work for you.”
Even with chart-topping tracks, Aitch is not satisfied. “I don’t think I’ve honed my style yet,” Aitch says. “I’m getting there – to hone it I just need to keep doing me.”
You need to enjoy performing
It’s a different thing when you transition from performing in front of five of your friends to performing to a sold-out arena in Manchester “Live gigs for me are my favorite part, that’s where you stand there, and you see thousands of fans singing back your songs to you.
“Playing the O2 in Manchester was special to me, that meant a lot, but I look ahead and I know there’s more to come. So I think, ‘I’m yet to have it.’”
Don’t take criticism to heart
There comes a point in every artist’s development when it’s time to take a confident leap of faith towards the big time. In this process, its rare than anyone gets through this without facing some sort of negativity. “It’s super important to not take anything to heart – so stay in your own bubble and stay looking forward.”
Utilize what you have to your advantage
Aitch is part of the new generation of songwriters who can write on-the-go, and his iPhone is a fundamental tool behind the scenes.
“I always have my phone in my hand and I only write in my Notes – without my phone I am absolutely done. Sometimes it might take me thirty minutes to write the whole song. Sometimes it might take me 30 minutes to write two bars. If the iPhone wasn’t around, I wouldn’t be – my first ever video was filmed on an iPhone.”
You’re made by your fans
Never before has there been such an effective method of sharing and interacting with a fanbase. Social media allows an artist to host a meet and greet remotely and from anywhere in the world. For Aitch, its essential to constantly strengthen the bond you have with your fans. “Fans are the most important people in any artist’s life cycle. It makes it all real to me. You can’t ever take your fans for granted – if there’s two hundred people standing there waiting to take a picture, you’ve got to stand there and take two hundred pictures because the next day there might only be four people waiting.”
His one final bit of advice? “It might sound mad: but my advice would be… don’t take too much advice.”