Hello and welcome to Paris. Let’s start at the very beginning… You were born on 7 April 1991 in Somerset, England. What was the event in your life that triggered your interest in music and inspired you to pursue it as a career?
When I was a teenager, especially in high school, I wanted to sing on stage and express myself to people. I’ve always wanted to do that.
You starred in the film Les Misérables at just six years old. If you could have, would you have pursued a career in film?
I don’t think so; music is a much bigger passion. But for a small part, why not?
You released your first EP, Karate just after your single “Do It Right” in 2015. What inspired you to create this EP?
I was very inspired by what was happening in my life. My music really is like a personal diary.
You reached new heights in 2016 with your cover of the song “Rockabye” with Sean Paul, and your songs “Alarm” and “Ciao Adios” which skyrocketed to the top of the charts. How did you feel when it all happened?
It was crazy, I really wasn’t expecting it to happen. I was working so hard back then, so I saw it as a reward for my efforts.
Your first album Speak Your Mind came out on 27 April 2018 and of course features the track “Friends” featuring Marshmello, but also the single “2002” co-written with Ed Sheeran. What is the significance of the latter track’s title?
The title, and the song, were inspired by my first love.
Who are the artists that have influenced you the most and who continue to influence you today?
Lauryn Hill and Kendrick Lamar, because their lyrics are great. They really tell their story through their music.
What event do you think was the most important in your career?
It’s always a big thing for me when I release a song. I’m eager to see how to people will react to it.
As well as being a great singer you also have great style. Do you find that your musical style and clothing style complement each other?
I think so, yeah. Most of my songs are about strong women, bad experiences, etc. I like matching my style with that. For example, today I’m dressed in military clothes (laughs).
You’re continuing to sell out huge arenas on tour with Ed Sheeran, and tonight you’re performing in front of 80,000 people. What do you feel before you walk out on stage? I’d also like to wish you good luck tonight, and all the best for the rest of your career!
I’m very nervous, my heart goes crazy. I never know what to expect before going on stage, but once I’m up there nothing can stop me.
By Noor Ould Hocine