10 Minutes with Wiley

Ahlan! chats to the Godfather of Grime on rocking at the dxb Music Festival, his complicated friendship with Dizzee Rascal and why being from Bow keeps him grounded
Thursday , 20 September 2012
Wiley's way!
Wiley's way!
Ahlan!'s Lyn with Wiley
Ahlan!'s Lyn with Wiley

Listen up people, it's time for the 'Godfather Of Grime'. A pioneer in the UK underground music scene, Wiley is best known for his top 10 hits Wearing My Rolex and Never Be Your Woman and his UK number one Heatwave. The versatile star, who also works his magic in garage, hip hop, rap, electronic and pop, is  heading to Dubai for the dxb Music Festival on 5 October and we caught up with him before his gig. Here, he opens up on everything from his strained relationship with Dizzee Rascal (he admits they "don't really talk" anymore) and why he can't enter America to how being from Bow keeps him grounded and the reason he keeps up with the Kardashians.

Welcome to Dubai!  What have you been up too while you have been here?
I have been eating, a lot of eating in the Lebanese restaurants. I have also been in the studio recording, I made a song for Tulisa [Contostavlos] while I have been here!

Is that going to be Tulisa’s third single release then?
The one she's done for me is going to be my third single! I don’t know if the one I did for her will be her next single, but it will definitely be on her album.

I thought Hands in the Air was going to be your third single featuring Chip and Emeli Sande. Is that still the case?
No, not now, it’s going to be Chip and Tulisa. I asked Emeli to be on the third single, she’s the best, but obviously what happened was that she sent me something and it just wasn’t a hit. So that’s it. What’s a hit is a hit. She sent me a song which could have been a hit after 20,000 plays, but it wasn’t a hit on the day and I had a beat already and I could have put her on it but it just wasn’t going to fit her voice. She is definitely going to be on my album but not the single sadly. But I am not gonna lie to you, she is very talented

So are you excited about the dxb Music festival?
Yes, I can’t wait. My mate Tinchy Stryder played out here and he was really excited about it because the crowd were really hard to win over. So I am looking forward to the challenge.

Who is your fave act performing at the dxb Music Festival?
Far East Movement, I’m a big fan. I like Kaskade and Afrojack, he's my main man. He’s awesome. I love him.

We're massive Tinchy Stryder fans and you were in the Roll Deep Collective with him and Dizzee Rascal, a dream team if ever we heard one. Will you collaborate with them again? It would be a sure fire hit single surely!
I hope so, but I can’t see it happening soon because of Dizzee Rascal's status. It’s hard because he is higher than us and this is what happens. People get excited when they are higher than you.

We wouldn’t say that now though because you have had your debut number one in the UK and are on your third single. Plus, Tinchy has had many and is supporting Cheryl Cole on her first solo tour.
I know but I mean status wise he is [higher]. Dizzee Rascal is better known than me and Tinchy but he isn’t more current. He hasn’t struck it hard recently but he had seven years where no one could touch him. Tinchy is much more down to earth. All we need is one day for Dizzee to wake up and think 'I wanna do this'.

Do you think you and Dizzee will ever be friends again?

I want to see him and have that conversation that we haven’t had in seven years, but I have two daughters and I can’t sit here worrying about if I am ever gonna talk to Dizzee Rascal again. I think to myself , I tried and I’ve been wrong. He hasn’t tried and he’s been wrong so there is no reason why we shouldn’t speak and that’s why I think what have I done to this person, why we don’t speak and then I realised it’s nothing proper important.

Do you think it’s the fame and the lifestyle that has gone to his head?
Yes, but it’s not the fame with Dizzee, he doesn’t give a f*** about fame. So it’s not even that but money does change you. It’s impossible not to. If I had 100 grand one day and then I got 50 million another day, I am going to be different that how I was with the 100 grand.

Coming from somewhere like Bow must ground you.
Yes, totally it does ground you. But it still can’t change the amount of money I have and the decisions I make. I have lived in Bow with lots of money and I have lived in Bow with no money. When I had lots of money I understood how to work it, like I was on aeroplanes every other day. I knew how to live it. If you have millions at once in the bank and you look in there, you feel like you have worked hard and you feel above everyone. It’s not even your fault. Take Simon Cowell, he just thinks like I’ve got this money and I can do what I want and he does. I thinks that’s where Dizzee is at, not in a bad way. I just think he has so much money that he doesn’t really need to remember his old mates. Although we were talking on Twitter the other day and everyone was like... make up. It just occurred to me that he went left and I went right and it makes it really hard now.


So why do we call you Wiley?
It stems from being called Wild child. My real name is Kylea, Thudercats and Wiley cat, Wiley Kyoto. So it just ended up that way!

What does Wiley do on a day off?
I go to Roman Kebabs (a kebab shop in Bow) and Saucy Kipper (a chip shop in Bow), I keep it real. I go to the studio in Hackney a lot, I am always hanging round Bow, and I walk down the canal. I love what they are doing to Bow now. I am looking for paradise though and that’s what I get when I come to Dubai. It’s like you come to Dubai and it’s like a work holiday and you stay a year and go home.

Who is your music hero?
My first music hero is my father and my new music heroes are Lil Wayne, Drake and Nicki Minaj.

Nicki Minaj just started on American Idol, have you seen it?
Yes, with Mariah Carey. She doesn’t like Mariah Carey, does she? They used to be mates, I don’t understand why they aren’t getting on now. Nicki is much more current than Mariah although Mariah has the better voice. Vocally, she would smash Nicki out of the park.

What’s you all-time fave song?
There are too many! But I will go with one today...  Drake's Closer to my Dreams. I love it because I am getting closer to my dreams when I listen to that. I just think Drake is really honest.

Are you single or seeing someone?
No, unfortunately I’m single. But I am a father.

You are in the right place, Dubai is full of single women.
Good good, I will look forward to that.

Who's your biggest celeb crush?
I like the Kardashians, not just Kim because she is the one everyone fancies. I like it because they are sisters, Kourtney and Khloe are nice and I watch their show. I’m a big fan.

If you had three wishes, what would they be?
My first wish would be that everyone had equal self-esteem, no one should think they are better than anyone. My second would be to own loads of property. My third would be that America would let me in the country. They will though, I played there before and didn’t pay tax and when they catch you they freak. So I was denied entry four years ago.

INFO: Tickets for dxb Music Festival priced at Dhs350 (general admission) and Dhs500 (VIP admission, including access to VIP areas and platform), 5pm to 2am, 5 October 2012, Festival Park, Dubai Festival City, www.dxbfestival.ae

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