Labrinth is set to make a big noise in the capital
Music mogul Simon Cowell saw talent when he signed Labrinth to his Syco label and now music fans can see it for themselves when the ‘Earthquake’ man hits Abu Dhabi's Etoiles on July 13.
Labrinth, or Timothy McKenzie as his mum knows him, is a real musical curio. He was Cowell’s first non talent-show signing in six years and he’s equally at home behind an acoustic guitar as he is blasting out retro hip-hop or modern electronica-inspired dance floor numbers - such as his smash-hit ‘Earthquake’ with pal Tinie Tempah.
Not bad for someone whose big break only came two years ago. Given his undoubted talents, you might think the Hackney-born star would have a long and varied list of musical influences. Well, you would be right.
“Coming from a strong Christian background there was a lot of gospel, blues and jazz influences,” he says.
“I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything other than gospel music until I got a bit older, I think that made me have a thirst to then listen to anything and everything. I love Prince, Weather Report and I really love David Bowie.”
When it comes to 2011 smash ‘Earthquake’, the urban star reveals surprising inspiration.
“Godzilla! I wanted to sound like a huge robot or Godzilla walking through a city,” he says. “The track is about making an earthquake and having people look my way because of how much noise I’m making.”
The song, as the musician puts it, is about shouting the loudest and when it was released late last year it was also about stamping his mark on the global music scene. He started as a producer before Cowell steered him towards performance and it will, therefore, come as no surprise that he’s delving into the business side of the music industry.
He has created his Odd Child Recordings label with the aim of helping other talent find a footing, an admirable aim considering the 23-year-old’s career is still young.
“I’ve always wanted my own label,” he says. “I’ve been doing it for ages, giving artists musical sounds that work with their personalities, and whole vibe.
“I feel like Odd Child has done that. I have signed two amazing artists; Etta Bond and a producer named Raf Riley. You will be hearing from these talented two very soon.”
Those with tickets for his Abu Dhabi gig a week on Friday need not worry that all this might leave Labrinth spread thin. He promises a memorable show, as well as his almost trademark juxtaposition of styles.
“Expect pure energy and good vibes, lots of mosh-pitting and conductor hands,” he says laughingly.