Forget the lyrics to his song Written in the Stars, Tinie Tempah’s success wasn’t destiny. Patrick Okogwu reveals how he dragged himself out of his tough council estate and built a business that’s turning the music industry on its head.
Tinie Tempah stretches to pick up a mug of tea while perched on the end of his swivel chair in a recording studio in South London. It’s his second this hour – the first cup, still half full and on the side, has turned lukewarm – but he was desperate for a fresh one before our interview begins. You’d think he’d have other things on his mind: it’s August 8th and he’s on deadline to deliver his third album, Youth, to Parlophone by the 17th. No matter, he leisurely leans forward, takes a big slurp, before slouching back into his seat.
‘On a scale of one to ten of how much I love a brew I’m easily a nine,’ he says, placing the mug next to the decks and within reach. ‘I couldn’t live without it and on a typical working day I’ll get through six or seven. What I’ve learned is that the trick to a perfect cuppa is matching the brand to the type of water. I stumbled across Yorkshire Tea and I really liked that, but I found out that it’s because we’ve got hardwater in London and that brand goes great with that.’