He's also picked up two Brits, an Ivor Novello award and seven number ones along the way, but who's counting? Tinie has serious cross-market appeal and his upcoming April show featuring both Big Narstie and Jess Glynn is testament to that. He's a man who doesn't believe in boundaries and certainly won't compromise on his music, having returned to his rawer sound for mixtape
Junk Food which featured Grime greats Giggs and JME. With new track Girls Like about to drop and album Parlophone imminent, we caught up with the man single-handedly responsible for the turtleneck revival.
Whose style are you a fan of?
I love Drake — I'm a huge fan of his and how he manages to appeal to a mass market with a record like
Hotline Bling. Pharrell consistently represents and Kanye is someone I always consider to be really stylish. Travis Scott, he's on some sort of wave, and Olly from Years & Years is a pretty fashionable kid.
What do you think of UK men's style and what makes it interesting?
It's continuously on the rise — your average UK man is paying attention to style more and more. You only have to look at massive retailers adjusting the way their collections look — everything's a lot more trend led now. People are also wearing more high-end stuff too — you'll be watching
X Factor and be like, "oh, is that Lanvin?" I think LC:M is big part of that, it definitely brings your attention to up and coming designers — I think it's doing a lot of good.
Have you always been into fashion?
I haven't been buying
Vanity Fair or GQ since I was two, but when I started doing music videos and stuff, I began to consciously pay attention to my image. When you're the same age as everyone listening to your music, you're like "How do I stick out?"
Why is it important for you to stand out?
Everything's always been about taking it to the next level, aspiring for more through my music, clothes and whatever else. You know when you first get that
Louis Vuitton jacket, it’s plain but you can tell by the two dots, and everyone’s like, "Ah, this is a bit more luxe."
What's the coolest thing you've worn recently?
I actually wore a Vuitton bomber jacket in the
Not Letting Go video. It had all these circled, mirrored, embellished things all over it. But I didn't get to keep it.
You're always working on more than one project at a time …
It's become second nature. There are 24 hours in a day — as long as you've got people around you, you can always do more things. Over the past few months I've been building a studio in Greenwich, filming the
Bring The Noise TV show, recording my mixtape, doing videos and doing up my house.
Why did you decide to do a mixtape?
Because it's uncompromising. I feel like UK music is very exciting at the moment and when it's exciting I get excited. I feel more challenged as an artist and I wanted to make a project that marked this time. I feel like I'm giving a lot of people I worked with — Bonkaz, J Hus — access to my world and my platform, so it's good. It was so much fun to record.
Has it affected your new album?
I'd already done like a hundred songs for the album, but when I paused to do a project like
Junk Food, it made me look at the album differently because it's less structured. It's like when you’re revising for exams and then someone's like "let's go to the park" and your mind is reset a bit.
Check out more from Tinie Tempah in the new issue of ASOS Magazine, out now.
Pictures: Christophe Meimoon, Quadriga