Exclusive interview: Kritikal

In Interviews by Nick Russell

Liam Kritikal Powers is an emerging rapper from Yorkshire with a big heart and a strong message.
Having received praise already from local and national platforms (BBC 1Xtra’s DJ Target champions Liam’s sound), and took part in a number of fierce battles and working to expand both live and in the
studio, this 22-year-old is poised to break thru in 2013.

Dom Smith spoke to Liam exclusively for Blatantly Blunt…

What’s the reception been like to your debut video, ‘Rebellion’?

Yeah, it’s been great, man. I am just trying to get it out there now, as much as possible. We’ve
luckily had the support of Blatantly Blunt and a few other really cool places online, I am feeling
really good about everything at the moment.

What’s the plan for the rest of 2013 then?

I want to actually go down to the 1Xtra studio at some point this year, and just go mad in there!
That would be an amazing opportunity. I also really want to get out on to SB.TV as well; I really
respect what these people are doing, and I would love to be a part of it. So yeah, those are some of
my main targets for the year.

What types of things have inspired you, over the course of your career?

Just everything around me, really; things that I have seen. Also, it’s the people that I’ve met and
various things that have happened in my life, and in the lives of the people around me – if you listen
that comes through in my songs. Also, the state of the country that we are living in right now gives
me a lot of inspiration too. I just try to be as real as possible, and speak the truth.

Kritikal’s version of Plan B track ‘ILL MANORS’

How have you changed and developed as a person since you started out in your career?

I think that I have naturally grown as a person and an artist. I’ve naturally just changed with the
times, really. A lot of things have changed for me over the years; my situations personally and
professionally. It’s very important for me to change with the times though; I just want to be relevant
with what’s going on now. Now, I have a son, and that’s changed everything for me. My life keeps
changing, and I am constantly inspired by new stuff.

So, what experiences inspired ‘Rebellion’ then?

A lot of that track is inspired by things that I’ve been seeing on the TV, and hearing on the radio as
well; the way that the government is stopping certain benefits, and slapping taxes on everything.
Meanwhile, the price of everything is increasing while the population is still growing. I honestly
think that we are going to get to the point where there’s not enough room for all the people!

What would you say that your biggest challenge is at the moment?

I would say that my biggest challenge is just trying to get people to listen to me. I really think that
my music has what it takes, and that the content is good enough that people will find it interesting.
I believe that people will listen to my music and go, ‘Oh, yeah Kritikal’s right about that…’, but
without the contacts to help and support me, it’s still a massive struggle. So yeah, I want people to
listen!

How do you stay motivated to keep making music?

That’s easy, originally, I just looked back at my older material and thought, ‘Yeah, this is good
enough. I can really make something out of this’. Now, I know that I am constantly growing
and getting better. To any other artists, I would just say, “Keep on doing what you’re doing, and
working hard, because if you just give up, then you’ll be another person who didn’t make it. I really
do think it’s possible to succeed for anyone if you want something bad enough. For me, as well,
it’s experiences I’ve had like getting the opportunity to go to Abbey Road Studios in London for a
Masterclass; that made me see that it really is possible. I was meeting these proper successful radio
DJs, producers and musicians and finding out that they were just normal people, like anyone else;
they’ve worked hard, and done well for themselves. So yeah, to anyone else looking for inspiration,
work hard and keep on going.

Is there a new track that you’re working on that you feel like defines where you’re at as an artist?

Yeah, man. I am always working on new things! I’ve got a new project in the works at the moment
that I am really excited about. I think I am going to be putting out another single, maybe even two
this year. I am focusing on getting my music bang on. I don’t want to put out half-done music. I just
want to focus on making the songs as good as possible. An EP will come at some point.

You do battles and regular live sets, how important is performing out live, for you?

I think it’s very important. It’s just as important as being in the studio. I’ve got to get out to the
people who have listened to me, and show my appreciation! Performing live and doing a battle;
they’re two completely different things – there’s a different atmosphere and a different kind of
adrenaline. Really, it’s just a promotional thing for a lot of artists. I use the battle thing as a way to
push my music forward.

Is there a technique that you use when you write or does it all just come naturally to you?

When I am writing songs, I think about the subject first. So, I’ll think about what I am trying to say
and then it all just happens for me from there. It’s a natural process that I go through, and I don’t
find it too stressful or anything. I think that, if you find writing annoying or you get frustrated then
you need to stop doing it! I research as much as I possibly can, whether that’s for a track or a battle,
and then with the basics there I just keep building on it, and I’ll say exactly what I want to say. With
some songs it’s harder than others. I mean, I can write songs in a few hours, or it can take days, it
depends on what’s going on!

Who are your main musical influences?

My influences range through from Johnny Cash to Eminem. I mean, I listen to a lot of hip-hop
artists obviously, but I am always listening to artists from other genres as well.

Find out more about the York rapper online –

http://www.kritikalpowers.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/kritikalyork