Asked to explain his sound, south London-based producer-turned-solo-artist Uzoechi Osisioma Emenike, better known as MNEK, naturally leans towards the P-word.
“I guess it’s pop music that’s pretty much influenced by R&B, electro, house and hip-hop. It’s generally pop music, but my way.”
Set to release his debut single proper ‘Wrote A Song About You’ in September, as well as having written and produced songs for the likes of The Saturdays, Rudimental and Kylie Minogue, this is just the beginning for the prolific musician, still only 19 years old.
Breaking off from festival-season rehearsals to speak to Clash, he says of the single: “It’s just about someone that’s trying to deal with heartbreak.” To our ears, it’s an astounding 21st century pop composition that highlights MNEK’s dynamic range of influences, embracing elements of soul, house, R&B and hip-hop production techniques, while possessing one of the biggest choruses to have appeared this summer.
MNEK will release his debut album, recorded alone in his own studio in Hoxton, “soon” – that’s all he’ll give us to go on. “It’s very much a coming-of-age affair,” he says. “I think it’s very much a display of everything I’ve done so far. It’s got some really different layers.”
Set to carry on producing beside his new solo responsibilities, MNEK is set for a busy finale to 2014 as he journeys further into the unknown. And at the rate that his profile is rising, dream collaborations with pop royalty – the likes of Janet Jackson perhaps, one of MNEK’s idols – don’t seem as far off as they did this time a year ago.
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WHERE: South London.
WHAT: A refreshing combination of pop, soul and R&B.
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Wrote A Song About You’ (video above), ‘Every Little Word’, ‘If Truth Be Told’
FACT: MNEK didn’t start to speak until the age of four, and when he did, it was with Irish accent. Mysterious.
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Words: Jonathan Hatchman
Photo: Christopher Fenner
Fashion: Candice Bailey