Moving on to your debut album can you take me through the writing and producing process of it?
Yeah, it took about two years for me to record my first album. So obviously the first year was just mainly trying to find the sound, find what kind of artist was I gonna be. We tried all kinds of different things and then as I kind of grew natuarally as an artist and as a person I just started to get more comfortable with who I wanted to be as an artist. I think the first song I ever recorded that made it on the album was ‘Vegas Girl’ . So we were like ‘yeh this sounds kinda cool, let’s keep going with this’. I started recording, the Invisible Men were the main producers. When you’re first signed you start to learn whether you’re an artist that wants to work with all the biggest producers in the world and then you make an album from that or you try and build up a relationship with certain people and you find it through that way. I was more that way. I met the invisible men and worked with them and I started to build up a relationship with them, they understood what I wanted as an artist and then we started working together loads and the majority of the songs on my album were produced by them. But as my sound got better and I got better other big producers started getting involved and obviously I spent a week out in Miami with Pharrell Williams. I spent a week in New York and LA with NeYo and Stargate. Frank Ocean wrote a song on my album as well, there’s a track featuring Rita Ora. So yeah, I had a whole bunch of amazing experiences recording the album and I think a lot of it was just learning the writing process, being in the studio and just getting comfortable with it.
I was just going to ask about Pharrell in particular, how was it working with him?
Yeah, he’s really cool! I think he’s one of those people that when you meet him, it’s just like, ‘Yeah, this guy is the coolest guy in the world’ How do you be that cool?! I think I’m cool then I walk into a room with him and I feel like the biggest geek in the world. [laughs]He’s really cool, he’s really creative, and he likes to play Mario Kart on the Wii, that’s all he ever did in his spare time. And he designs clothes, he sits there with tippex on his black boots and just draws on them.
‘Pictures’ is one of my favourite songs on the album, how was the working with Frank Ocean?
I never got to meet him but yes, he wrote the song, the guys that produced it met me in the UK, they’re called MidiMafia, they loved my sound and said ‘We’ve got this song that Frank Ocean wrote, we’d love you to have it! We’d love you to record it!’ I heard it and I loved it, so that was cool.
Another on of my favourites from the album is ‘Animal’, do you have a favourite?
Yeah, ‘Animal’ is definitely one of my favourites! ‘Animal’ is the first song on the album and then another one of my favourites is ‘Just in Case’ which is at the end of the album, I like that one as well. ‘Turn Around’ is one of my favourites as well. But it’s cool because Animal and Just in Case I actually wrote them as well.
It frustrates me when people compare you to Justin Bieber, do you get equally annoyed?
Erm, you know it does get a bit old, and sometimes it’s a bit like ‘right, okay, I get it guys’. But I think it’s just one of those things where people see that we’re both young, we both came through YouTube and therefore I have to be him. Where it’s a bit like ‘No!’ because you look back at it when Chris Brown and Usher and NeYo were big, they could easily be compared to each other but they still had their own sound and they were still original in their own way. I think for me sometimes it’s like ‘Yeh okay’ there can be a lot of similarities between artists but you’re not trying to BE them! I think for me, obviously I’m British, I’m slightly older than him, I think it’s got more of an edgey sound to it, I think it’s just a different thing, I think the more people that have heard the album, the more they start to realise that it’s not what they think it is. So for me one of the main reasons I named the album contrast is because it felt like the album itself is a contrast to what everyone seemed to be expecting, they were obviously expecting this young poppy album and it really wasn’t that.
Speaking about the press, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve read about yourself?
Erm, I remember one newspaper said, apparently I said that my family are really deprived and really poor and we used to go on caravan holidays all the time and that’s all we could afford. No! That’s isn’t what I said! I told them that it was amazing that I got to record around the world because when I was younger my mum used to love to go on caravan holidays, she likes to stay in the UK, so she loved different caravan park holidays, we weren’t poor and deprived that’s just what she loved doing because that’s what she used to do when she was younger and they took that and turned it into the fact that I was really poor and all this kind of shit and I was like ‘No… That’s not true’
Moving on to your fans, do you have any particular weird fan experiences? Some of them are absolutely mental.
Yeah! I’ve had a lot of them, like being followed into the toilet. A fan came up to me screaming and then ran away bursting into tears for nothing.