- 30 Sep 19
Hot Press’ Joey Molloy had a chance to catch up with Aitch just before his sold-out show at The Academy. The two had a chance to chat about his rise to fame, the Manchester scene, Stormzy, and what the future has in store.
Coming straight from his soundcheck to an interview with Hot Press, it’s fairly evident that Aitch is a busy guy. Since going viral off of a freestyle about a year ago, everything he touches has turned to gold. He’s garnered millions of views and his fanbase just keeps growing. Firstly, I ask him how he’s been getting on in Dublin so far. He smiles and tells me that, ‘We got ambushed and had to sneak around the back entrance because of all the kids waiting outside. We tried to explore but can’t, everyone's just chasing after us and this and that. But, its been nothing but good vibes.’ At just 19 years old, he’s living the life of a rockstar.
I inform him that just hours earlier his new EP Aitch20 has cracked the Irish top 20. He ecstatically replies, ‘I’m gassed about that. It makes sense, I think Dublin and Glasgow is where I have some of my biggest following and demographics.’ Describing the new EP, Aitch explains, ‘I just wanted to give the people some vibes on this one. Let's get a bop of the head and enjoy it. It's not like I was trying to make the most clever project of 2019 or anything like that. If you take yourself too seriously it never actually works out.’
Reflecting on his meteoric rise to fame, Aitch reminisced, ‘I dropped a freestyle just over a year ago and it went crazy. I woke up and followers were pouring in. My phone hasn't been the same since. Mad.’ You’d think that kind of instantaneous worldwide recognition would be a bit challenging to deal with. Aitch, however, is well-adjusted. He says the secret is, ‘Just goin’ with the flow and taking every day as it comes.’
The topic of conversation shifts from Aitch’s earliest days to some of his more recent collaborations. We’re specifically interested in one collaborator of note, grime trailblazer Stormzy. Aitch tells me that ‘I’ve met him a couple times and he’s a sick guy. He’s a proper guy. We speak on the phone. But, I’ve never actually been in the studio with him. For that song, I did my verse where I was and he did his where he was. I’ve even got stuff in the pipeline with him. We’re always sending each other stuff.’ That’s just how the music industry operates these days. Two stars don’t need to get in the studio together to make a hit happen. It’s simple, ‘He’s a busy man, and I’d like to say I’m a busy man as well.’
We inevitably begin to talk about Aitch’s home city and scene: North Manchester. Speaking highly and enthusiastically of the city, he describes Manchester as something of a lawless wild west with ‘absolutely no rules.’ A place where ‘You do what you gotta do with loads of yet to be discovered talent.’ He goes on to rifle off about 15 artists worthy of a shoutout.
Despite the chaos, it’s no doubt a community. He goes on, ‘Music-wise everyone’s supporting each other and trying to bring each other up. In Manchester, most people's playlists are comprised of local artists. Everyone else comes second.’
With the bar already set so high, and working at such a high-caliber, I’m finally left to ask what the future holds for Aitch. He pensively thinks for a moment, looks up and decidedly states, ‘My goals. I want to do the Manchester evening news and I want to play the Ethihad arena. Straight up, I want to be a millionaire. But, above all, I just want to be happy. As long as I’m happy, that's all that matters. If you’re not happy, there’s no point in doing it.’
At 19 years old, Aitch is on his way to conquering the world. He’s got big dreams and the talent to back up all of his talk. He went on that night to deliver an exhilarating set to his rabid fans, who are already awaiting his return to Dublin this December.