Plenty of ambition from Tinie

Tinie Tempah with Emeli Sande. Picture: Ian West/PA Photos
Tinie Tempah with Emeli Sande. Picture: Ian West/PA Photos

He may be short in stature - there’s a reason he’s called Tinie Tempah - but there’s nothing small about his success.

Since releasing his debut single Pass Out in early 2010, Tinie has become one of Britain’s biggest stars and just about the only UK rapper capable of selling in the United States, the home of the genre.

His US debut single Written In The Stars set a Billboard chart record for a British rapper, entering the chart at No 12 when it was released in 2011.

Needless to say, his record label was keen for him to follow up his triple-platinum debut album Disc-Overy as soon as possible.

Tinie had other ideas, taking about a year longer than expected, but the results, which can be heard on Demonstration are worth it.

“Well,” he says with a pause, “a few things happened to contribute to the delay. Things took off in the States, so I was there for a bit, and then my label, Parlophone, got sold to Warner Brothers, so there was this big legal thing going on.

“I saw that as a positive, and used the time to make sure the music I was making was absolutely as I wanted it to be.” More tellingly, he adds: “And I was enjoying myself.”

He’s very happy with Demonstration. The guest stars, who include Emeli Sande, Laura Mvula and John Martin, fell into place, with “about 90%” of the artists he approached saying yes.

“The first song I started for the album was Mosh Pit, which I recorded out in Los Angeles, but it wasn’t until I got back to England that I realised it could do with an appearance from Mr Dizzee Rascal. He’s been such an inspiration to me, I’ve been listening to him since I was 12, so to get him on a track is incredible.”

The success of Disc-Overy meant he could approach virtually any producer he wanted to work with, too.