Interview | Wolfie [Nov 2015]

As usual, Brixton Road is awash with people, and its vibrant, atmospheric nature acts as an ideal backdrop for whom we are here to meet. Despite being stricken by flu symptoms, Wolfie – the singer, songwriter and recently introduced radio host – is in her distinctively vivacious mood. Upon her arrival, we wade through the deep crowd of frantic people in search of the serenity of one of her favourite Italian cafés. It’s a scene that could be perceived as a metaphor for how her life has become since a larger audience started to take notice of her musical abilities, and with a greater audience, comes a greater chance of being noticed outside of your creative realm. “…And as they were walking past they just showed me their phone and they were on my SoundCloud”, the singer explains, referring to an incident she was clearly taken aback by.

Wolfie has made great strides since her 2014 debut EP, 7DS, by building on that success with an onslaught of new singles this year, but she admitted that she had reservations about how her first new single would be received, especially after a prolonged absence. “Yeah, definitely. For the first single, ‘I Be Ghost’, most definitely, only because I was so quiet for a year and because 7DS was a lot more of a darker sound to what I’m putting out now. The whole subject matter was darker as well because, of course, it was based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Although ‘I Be Ghost’ is not the lightest song, I was nervous”. Irrespective of any nerves Wolfie may have had, she believed that returning with ‘I Be Ghost’ was a good transition into her new material, “I think If I’d released ‘Come Over’ or ‘Drifting’, people would be like, ‘She’s gone really soppy with it’, so ‘I Be Ghost’ was definitely the best song to comeback with”.

And comeback she did, with Wolfie’s latest batch of singles drawing attention from various radio stations and publications that are eager to support her burgeoning career, however, amidst this growing recognition, the 23-year-old vocalist understands the importance of keeping her feet on the ground, “I don’t want to get too gassed. I think people get too gassed, too early, to be honest. I don’t want to do that, I just want to make sure I’m bettering myself, and not listening too much to other people’s gassment [sic]. Is that even a word?” She queries, before spurting out a laugh that appears to answer her own question, “It’s a new word now!”

It’s commendable that Wolfie would speak so modestly about her achievements thus far, but you could understand if she began to listen to the “gassment” currently surrounding her talents, especially if it emanates from none other than Pharrell Williams. “Honestly it was mad organic, the power of the universe & positive people is actually crazy”, remarks Wolfie, referring to how a combination of Tinie Tempah, Nana Rogues and Skepta lead to Pharrell hearing an unreleased track of hers. Upon hearing the song, Pharrell made comparisons to the musical connection that Timbaland and Aaliyah once shared, which is obviously a huge compliment. “Imagine getting a phone call on the Southeastern train to Bromley telling you Skepta & Pharrell are f*cking with your sh*t? Then to top that, Pharrell wants to play it on his show. Madness”. The song at the centre of all this madness is ‘Faces’ – a Nana Rogues produced track that was played on the Apple Music/Beats1 show, ‘OTHERtone’.

Wolfie’s increasing list of accomplishments will no doubt raise the expectations of her future output, making the issue of pressure unavoidable, “Yeah”, she says, combined with a nervous giggle, “[But] It’s my own pressure, if that makes sense? I’m my worst critic, so I always put myself under pressure to make sure I’m doing better than what I have done”. Wherever it may originate from, this sense of pressure does not necessarily result in fear for Wolfie, who declares, “I think fear is an illusion, so I don’t have any fears in terms of what’s going to happen in my career or whether I make mistakes or not, because if mistakes are made it’s all part of the journey”.

Despite spending an extensive period discussing her successes, when the subject of Wolfie being considered among the best new UK artists was brought up, her humility was apparent once again, “I would never put myself in that category”, she confessed, “But maybe it’s because I’m seeing it from the inside, looking out. I think the UK has got a lot of good music, so I think this year has definitely been a strong year for the UK’s emerging artists”. Regardless of the public’s opinion of her music, Wolfie is focused on gaining something that is considered priceless, “It’s respect. Whether or not you like the music or you’re into the genre, I think just respect of the craft. There are certain genres that I don’t listen to, but I still respect the musicianship behind it and I think that’s all you can ask for as a musician”. With all the things that can come with carving out a commercially successful music career, that one of the most crucial features for Wolfie is the respect of her peers signifies her dedication to the art form, which is hopefully something that can become the norm again.

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