In just few years Manchester rapper Aitch has gone from studying at college to becoming a household name. In the past year alone, Aitch was nominated for a BRIT award and attended the event with Lyor Cohen. In addition to that, he received co-signs from Ed Sheeran, Tay Keith, Stormzy, Stefflon Don, Lewis Capaldi, Skepta, Sam Smith, and more. Aitch also won the MOBO award for “Best New Artist,” is now a platinum certified artist in the U.K. and his breakout single “Rain” was the most viewed video by a UK artist in 2020. Since 2019, Aitch has had 10 songs chart on the UK top 100, hitting the top 10 twice.
By his second year of college, Aitch’s online presence began growing swiftly eventually prompting him to leave, but at this point he wasn’t able to live off of the music alone quite yet. After leaving college he began working as a laborer for his grandfather, but this only lasted a few months. While working for his grandfather, Aitch released his hit single “Straight Rhymez” and most of you know the rest. This release brought Aitch real label attention allowing him to fully take the leap of faith and focus solely on his music. Today Aitch joins us to discuss his journey, success, and latest releases.
Photo Credit: Taylor Oliphant
The Knockturnal: How long have you been making music?
Aitch: I’ve been making music since I was 16.
The Knockturnal: At what age did you start experimenting with music?
Aitch: I started rapping because of scary movies. Because in the movie Scream, Scream’s rapping and we just used to remix that, but I never used to rap out loud, just write and read it. And then one day, I don’t know the day I wish I did, but I put a beat on and I started spitting. I think I was 15 in high school. The first thing I put out was the iPhone video, it got almost half a million views on YouTube, not straight away but over time.
The Knockturnal: Did you have a musical family? Did they support your career?
Aitch: Not necessarily. No one did music. I think my uncle played music for the British army. They are big on listening to music, big music fans. I think I’m the first one to start music. They were supportive from day 1. They were shocked at first like, ‘oh crap you can rap.’ They were happy.
The Knockturnal: You started to gain traction while at university, what was that experience like?
Aitch: I was a little bit used to it. In the UK you do high school then you have an option to go to college. You leave high school at 16. As my video got popular there were people who knew me. It felt good but obviously sometimes it was a bit awkward because I was at a certain level in college, and I was like I shouldn’t be here right now.
The Knockturnal: Who are some of your inspirations?
Aitch: 50 Cent one hundred percent. I went through a phase of being Wiz Khalifa’s number one fan. I went to see him every time he was in Manchester and of course some influences from the UK.
The Knockturnal: What have been the 3 biggest highlights of your career so far?
Aitch: Biggest highlights of my career would be being in the top 2 and being on the remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Take Me Back to London”. I like cheating myself into getting to number one and pushing myself for number two, but also having platinum records and playing shows.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel to get love from people like Ed Sheeran, Tay Keith, Skepta?
Aitch: It’s good. It reassures you that you’re doing something right and seeing people’s opinion whether or not you like it, but you get certain opinions of people who actually matter to you it’s amazing.
The Knockturnal: How did it feel to have the most viewed video by a UK artist in 2020 for “Rain?”
Aitch: That was just good because AJ is my friend, music aside, and it was great to share that experience with him. We knew Rain was going to be a big tune while making it.
The Knockturnal: What was it like collaborating with Subway?
Aitch: If anything, that was one of the highlights of my career. I was looking at my archive a couple days ago on my story to see a picture of me and Subway saying, ‘where’s my deal?’ It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’ve always liked Subway. I made some sandwiches, fed the people.
The Knockturnal: Can you talk about directing the “Learning Curve” video?
Aitch: That was just a thing when KC pulled up and asked what I wanted to do for this video and I kinda just paced my kitchen and I wrote it all day and got it cracking. That’s the best video I’ve done.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us about your new single, “Party Round My Place?”
Aitch: We had the single just sitting and FIFA wanted the single for the new game so we put it on the new FIFA but because we didn’t want people messaging us 24/7 saying, ‘we hear the song on FIFA but it’s not out like where is it at?’ so we just thought we’d shoot a video and put it out. It kind of worked because in the UK, covid was like over. You didn’t have to wear a mask anymore and you could mingle with people, so it made sense.
The Knockturnal: What are you currently working on? What do you have on the way?
Aitch: I’m currently working on my album right now. My albums are coming early in the new year. I have a new single dropping at the very start of the new year.
The Knockturnal: What piece of advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Aitch: Be yourself and don’t take people’s opinions too much. Stick with your gut and don’t take no sh*t.
The Knockturnal: Can you also talk about taking a break from IG and mental health in the music industry?
Aitch: Even for young kids and whatnot you see certain things and it’s sad that you realize that in 10 years that what you tried to be is no more. I did come off Instagram to stop myself from doing that.
Photo Credit: Calvin Schneider