UK rapper Tempah wants to mirror Adele's success
NEW YORK (AP) — This year Adele has dominated the music charts: back home in the U.K., in the U.S. and around the world.
In America, her sophomore album, "21" is platinum and spending its ninth week on top of the Billboard charts. Her single, "Rolling In the Deep," is currently No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts. And she's had even more success in Europe.
British rapper Tinie Tempah — whose debut "Disc-Overy" is multiplatinum in the U.K. — is hoping to mirror Adele's success with the U.S. release of his album.
"You know it's very, very inspiring ... and I know Adele personally so it kind of resonates a lot more," he said in an interview this week. "Her album is not moving off of the top spot, and neither is her single."
Tempah says he wants to do for British rappers what Adele has done for British singers.
"When you sing you can't really tell where you're from based on how you sing ... which is why I think that rapping and somebody being able to break out here being a rapper from a different country ... is a very, very big deal," he said.
The 22-year-old says back home most of the musicians are close. Tempah knows singers like Taio Cruz, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding, and his friendships with Jay Sean and Mr. Hudson — acts signed to Lil Wayne and Kanye West's label imprints, respectively — helped him land a recording contract.
It also helped his blog, "Milk & 2 Sugars," gain a following.
"I had the opportunity to get behind-the-scenes footage or exclusive interviews and talk about stuff they wouldn't necessarily tell anybody else in a formal interview, so that made my blog, you know, one of the go-to blogs," Tempah explained of the site he started in early 2009.
"By summer of 2009 when I kind of started making the album, I had like millions of hits on it already."
"Disc-Overy" was released in October in the U.K. There it has spawned multiple hits, including the No. 1 jams "Pass Out" and "Written In the Stars." The latter has reached platinum status in America and has peaked at No. 12 on the pop charts. But Tempah says he's still figuring out how the music industry works in America.
"Your radio formats are confusing me even now," he said. "I still don't understand what rhythmic and Top 40 is. Can someone tell me please?"
"There's a lot to fathom and there's a lot to kind of work out in America."
"Disc-Overy" debuted this week at No. 21 on the Billboard 200 charts.
Mesfin Fekadu can be reached at http://twitter.com/music_mesfin