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    Tinchy Stryder on how is life of grime is proving to be such a big hit

    by mirror.co.uk
    posted Friday, 14 August 2009 16:51| 0 Comments

    In the basement of his PR's office, Kwasi Danquah - aka Tinchy Stryder - is considering the secret of his success. "I believe in positive thinking, definitely.

    Something may not work out for you just because you think positive, but if you have a negative thought that 'this ain't going to work out', why bother thinking at all?" he laughs.

    In fleece-lined Ralph Lauren tracksuit and his own best-selling Star In The Hood promotional T-shirt, the Tinch is a small but confident, self-contained figure.

    In the run-up to the release of his second album, the 22-year-old has enjoyed his first No 1 single with a song called... Number 1.

    An example of positive thinking as selffulfilling prophecy?

    "Nah, it was as simple as thinking of the phrase 'number one'," he claims. "At first we had 'you're the one', but in the studio I thought 'number one' was better."

    And so it proved.

    "But going to No 1 in the UK was a scary feeling at first, man. It felt good though, when it finally sunk in."

    Serving his apprenticeship with almost a decade as a star in the East London grime scene, Tinchy has had much time to hone his craft. "My older brother was a DJ," he says.

    "That's what made me feel I could pick up a mic. We shared a room, so when he would mix I'd pick up."

    Born in Ghana, Afro-Cockney Kwasi Danquah's family settled within the sound of Bow Bells when he was aged nine. Performing under the Tinchy alias, does he feel like he's playing a role? "Not really," he says. "I've been called Tinchy since I was 13, so that would mean I've been playing a role for a lot of years. I've always been small for my age, but because of that I've always stood out."

    He has good memories of his birthplace, which he is planning to visit later this year.

    "I was just young but the houses were bigger," he recalls. "You could go outside and there was somewhere to play. In London the house we moved to was smaller. But it wasn't like my parents moved here for the space. They've still got a house in Ghana, innit."

    In London he excelled as a footballer (Tinchy Striker - he still plays every Sunday when he's at home). Meanwhile, the local underground sounds caught his ear "I used to listen to the radio," he says. "The pirate radio scene, Wiley and the Pay As You Go Crew were big. I was really into the Heartless Crew too. I was listening to them when I thought I could do this and started writing lyrics. I used to love Busta Rhymes videos. He's calmed down a bit now but he was wilder back then, with the Dreads and all that."

    His Bow homeboy, Dizzee Rascal, led the way for Tinchy's future crossover success.

    "We grew up together really," Tinchy says.

    "He was inspiring, of course. But everyone always knew with Dizzee that he had a different talent, so when the world took to him it wasn't a shock."

    Tinchy is a smooth operator. While prepping his album and touring he was also finishing a degree course in music technology at a London college.

    "It was hard to get to do all the modules, but I'm not the sort of person who starts something and doesn't finish it."

    Archie Lamb, son of Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb, saw Tinchy's potential, borrowed money from his dad to help launch the grime star's Stryderman single and is now one half of his management team. But could Tinchy's street cred be useful to other politicians?

    "That doesn't interest me," he says. "You need to be hands on. The trouble comes from boredom and people needing to make money. They need to bring jobs and things to do in the area."

    With fame has come fans, of course, female fans in particular. "Temptation can be difficult," he says, "You have to be focused or that could be a sidetrack."

    Something that Tinchy Stryder isn't about to let happen. Album: Catch 22 is out on Monday.

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