SALUTE caught up with the West London rapper Fonize, to talk cinematic inspiration, playing for Fenerbahçe, and the new EP ‘Late Night Drive’.

  • SALUTE: Where did you grow up Fonzie? You’re from London right? 

I grew up in Deptford, now I’m in West. Basically, I went back and forth between Deptford and Acton growing up.

Back in the day, South London was very rough and West was different. I got a lot of influence from the time I spent in West. The majority of the music that I grew up with was Reggae and RnB, but I would hear everything on the radio. My dad was a soundman back in the day.

The first album I ever bought was Kid Rock ‘American Badass’. My genres were all over the place.

  • SALUTE: Did you use the internet a lot for discovering music growing up?

The internet was massive for me, the TV would only play a bit of what I wanted to see. My favourite rapper back in the day was Lil Wayne, who wasn’t considered commercial back then. I was on Morpheus and Limewire for Wayne’s mixtapes. Then Myspace started to blow up and I started to pick up on a wide range of music.

  • SALUTE: How did you get started making music?

I used to play professional football, I played for Norwich. I had some friends who rapped so I used to jump in on their freestyles sometimes but I didn’t think much of it because I was a footballer. They always used to ask me to write something, to write a song.

I always just would keep my lyrics in my head, I didn’t write down. Back in the day that’s what worked for me, just keeping the songs in my head.

  • SALUTE: Playing for Norwich is a big commitment, when did you decide to focus on music?

I got bought by Fenerbahçe but it was crazy racist over there. When it happened the FA didn’t back me and I decided that I wasn’t going to be in something like that so I left. When I got home I was waiting for something to happen after that. I love the feeling of making music and listening back to it and so I decided to focus on music after that.

  • SALUTE: What gear do you use for production?

I visit a studio in Kilburn a lot for music but I also direct videos. I had a 12-hour recording session yesterday. I’m working on an EP now so that’s keeping me busy. Usually when I’m in the studio, it’s just me and the engineer. I get people sending me beats and I’ll just vibe with it. I don’t like a big crowd around me, I like to work on my own and be in my own zone.

Big up CLOUD and PURP on production.

  • SALUTE: Did you enjoy films as well growing up?

Yeah man I loved movies growing up. I would watch any films I could get my hands on. As a yout I was one of those kids who was intrigued by everything. I wanted to know how things worked and I loved the feeling that I would get from watching music videos. Now that I’ve started rapping I’ve got the opportunity to figure out how it’s done and do it myself.

  • SALUTE: How’s it been since your latest music came out?

I have released a couple of tracks this year.

Visually, I’ve done 7 videos, one of the is Round Here with Showkey, Abra Cadabra, Trizzy Trapz.

  • SALUTE: Do you write music with visuals in mind?

Sometimes when I write I’ll see the picture. I love to do the unexpected. I normally sit down and watch films which gives me an idea of what I want to do visually so I often get inspired by that. I’m there for the edit and everything so I’ll be on some long hours. Sleeping on it, waking up and seeing those little mistakes, getting them fixed, sleeping on it again and constantly reviewing it. It’s a long process but it’s worth it.

  • SALUTE: How do you balance working and your music?

I don’t sleep as much as I should. Sometimes I start work at like 6am and keep going through the night in the studio after I finish. I believe in hard work and I love the feeling that you can get from music. It takes you to a different place. No excuses, that’s something my mum used to tell me.

  • SALUTE: What do you think of the SALUTE initiative and competition?

I found out from my cousin who is heavy into music. He loves the game. He told me about it. It seemed like a serious opportunity. The money from the finals is good, but it’s also the exposure that comes with it. It’s a great opportunity.

  • SALUTE: How’s it going with the EP?

It’s good bro. I want to do a 5 track EP. It’s called ‘Late Night Drive’ so it’s a nice mellow vibe. I’ve been putting my all into it. I like to drive around at night time, it gets your mind off things. After 11 at night, that’s me.

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