At just twenty years of age, MNEK has already experienced great success. He’s been nominated for a Grammy and has worked with world renowned superstar – Madonna. We caught up with him to discuss growing up in the 90s, his unique style and the meanings behind those iconic tattoos.
Hi! Let’s just clarify once and for all; it’s MNEK (Em En E K) not M Neck?
Brilliant, what are you up to at the moment then?
Working on my album and I can’t wait for you to hear it. It’ll probably come out next year. I’m also working on other people’s albums as well.
First of all, you were nominated for a Grammy for the Single ‘Need U (100%)’ with Duke Dumont and A*M*E, how did that feel?
It was awesome! It’s nice to have “Grammy-nominated” in front of my name all the time, it looks really cool.
Would you say this was your greatest musical achievement? If not, what has been your proudest moment?
My greatest musical achievement was probably working with Madonna. The fact I can say that’s something I’ve done in my life is kinda mind blowing.
Yeah it must’ve been incredible to have worked with a huge musical icon like Madonna, who’s been at the top of her game for so long. The 90s is such a stand out decade – what’s your favourite thing about growing up in this era and why?
I loved the music and fashion. I love how people were so expressive and lacked inhibition. It was beautiful.
Has this influenced your unique, yet memorising, style?
It did! I love colours and patterns. However, if you saw my mum’s wardrobe, the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
We love the tattoos on your arm and the often appearing key pendant necklace. Is there any meaning behind these?
The key was a gift from a very good friend of mine and I couldn’t stop wearing it – then it became a something that stuck. A lot of my tattoos are very music related. I have a pair of headphones of my right arm, The “Delicious Vinyl” logo on my left, and the “rewind, play, pause, record, stop, forward” tattoo on my left wrist.
Obviously British artists are on a massive climb at the moment with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith going global. Do you see yourself wanting to take on America in the near future?
I really want to. I think America would really like my music but it’s about timing and people knowing who I am here in the UK first.
Which has been your favourite UK gig venue?
I really enjoyed Ally Pally recently when I was supporting Clean Bandit with Jess Glynne. It was really great!
Who have been your favourite musicians to team up with?
My favourite people to work with are the ones that I get in the studio with and then get to hang out with outside of the studio. I’m thankful to work with people in high places. However, I’m also thankful for having colleagues that are also my friends, like A*M*E, Rudimental, Becky Hill, Leo Kalyan, Shift K3y, K Stewart, Ryan Ashley… and Karen too!
Who would you say is your closest friend in the world of fame?
Becky Hill. That girl is my ride or die. She gets me, and I get her – yet we’re always learning about each other which I love. She’s got a good heart.
Where would you like to see yourself in ten years time?
30 years old. I would love to have had some platinum albums on my own. Still releasing music I love and tour the world with it. And married to the one I love. I also would love to buy my parents a house or something. I just want to be happy.
Awesome! Moving aside from the music world, what would be your job if there was never an MNEK?
I’d be a vegetable, possibly a squash.
Have you got any advice for the aspiring musical talents of today?
Everyday is a school day, and read your contracts.
See MNEK at No Tomorrow Festival 6th – 7th June. For more information please visit: www.notomorrowfestival.co.uk
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