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  • Writer's pictureMatt Sharp

REUBEN AZIZ: "I’M EXCITED FOR WHERE R&B IS GOING, ESPECIALLY IN THE UK, AND I WANT TO BE THE ONE TO FLY THE FLAG"


London-based singer, songwriter and producer Reuben Aziz is making waves as a rising star in the music scene.

His sound exists in the realm of UK R&B, where his serene vocals and relatable lyrical content has been connecting with fans from around the world. He rose to prominence after his single ‘find u’, began receiving huge support on TikTok. Since then, he’s followed up with ‘Running’, ‘come thruuu’ and ‘Healing’, proving he can continue delivering fantastic music.

‘Healing’, the latest offering from Reuben, is the third of a relationship-focused trilogy. In this track he dissects the post-relationship emotions of someone learning, loving and eventually, letting-go.


Particularly impressive is the 20-year-old being able to take full credit for the vocals and production of ‘Healing’. In speaking with Reuben, it was clear he is dedicated to his craft. He gives the impression of being wise beyond his years, with a finely-tuned focus on all the things he wishes to achieve.


We sat down with Reuben in his London home studio, and discussed how he develops his sound, the state of the music industry, his debut project & much more.


We’re here with Reuben Aziz, first things first, how’s life for you at the moment? How’s your start to 2024 been?

Yeah it’s good man. Life’s blessed. Working hard, lot of music to come. I’m just excited for what this year has to bring.


We’re currently in your home studio, how important is it for you to have this space to make your music? Do you ever find it difficult to create outside of this, your creative home?

I wouldn’t say difficult, I would just say different. I’m very comfortable here in my own space. There’s a lack of time pressure, and creative pressure from working with someone else cause it’s just me in here. I can just sit with my emotions and my feelings and reflect that into the music.


The first time a lot of people saw Reuben Aziz, it was a different style of music to the R&B sound we know you for now. It was a lot more rapping, more old school beats, I was wondering how the transition of your sound came about?

I think there was always a balance. When I was a lot younger there was a lot of experimentation, when I was like 14/15. I enjoy R&B as much as I do rap, both of them still go hand-in-hand with what I’m making. Right now, it just feels right to be releasing the more R&B stuff and the rap stuff has taken a backseat.


Are we going to see a return of rap Reuben?

It’ll come back, I’m sure it’ll come back!


Your breakout single, ‘find u’, was released last year and then went crazy, everyone loved it. What was it like receiving that swell of support so quickly? Was it daunting in a way that so many people were suddenly listening? Was it everything you wanted it to be?

Yeah, that’s a good question. I feel like it definitely wasn’t what it expected. It opened my eyes to the industry in a different way. I think I just met a lot of people through it which was quite nice. A lot of people hit me up, and it wasn’t even that it was nice to receive praise from certain people, it was just nice to find new artists. I had a lot of artists hitting me up that I didn’t even know, but they were sick so I was like rah, it’s nice to tap in!


Is the industry and everything that comes with it as you expected it to be?

I don’t know man. I think the industry isn’t exactly what I expected, but then again, I don’t really know what I expected. I’m just trynna take every day as it comes and create what I want to create at the end of the day. I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in what’s trending and what I should make, should it be a certain way? Cause we’re in a day and age where people receive things very quickly and like to move onto the next thing. For me, it’s just important to create art that, God willing, will stand the test of time, you know what I mean?


I feel your music will stand the test of time, as it’s personal and vulnerable to you. You deal with a lot of personal themes, love being a main one. I was wondering how it is for you being vulnerable in your music? Was there always vulnerability in your songs, or was that something you initially found difficult?

I think cause growing up I wasn’t much of a talker, and I’m still not really, I’m quite an isolated person. It links back to the first question, about making music on my own in my room, even when that was just with my guitar when I was like 11 or something. It was just natural for me to feel comfortable in my own space. This is a place I can reflect on my emotions and talk to myself almost. I think it came naturally, but I don’t really talk about things outside of this circle.


When you’re drawing inspiration for your songs from personal situations and people around you, is there ever any difficulty in doing that for your personal life?

Sometimes yeah. I’ve had to have difficult conversations with people, like girls and stuff. I feel like that’s part of it, but I think it’s important man. As long as I don’t name no names it’s alright! It’s the emotion that’s the most important part, people relate to it, I’m not trynna do no fake stories.


So you’ve been playing guitar from an early age, and am I right in saying you produce a lot of your own songs also?

Yeah, pretty much everything! I’ve tried to get in with other producers, but I feel most comfortable with my own sounds, I can create my vision better.


Was the production your first love in this? Or was it something you learned to facilitate your journey as a vocalist?

It wasn’t my first love. I think that was singing, and I fell in love with rap at an early age as well. When I was like 13 or 14, I didn’t wanna rap on YouTube beats or pay for studio time, I didn’t have money! So, I was like cool how can I create my own sound, and build this from now. I had been making music for 5 or 6 years before I even released, I always knew it was going to be a process.


You were always aiming to create your own sonic world?

Yeah, and I still feel like I ain’t there! Like it’s not done, but I feel like it’s never done.


So, what about the visual side of things? We’ve seen some great visuals from you, like in your recent track ‘come thruu’. Do visuals go hand-in-hand with the music for you?

I think it’s been newer than the music. The music has always been there, but it’s something that’s equally important. To some people in today’s culture, it’s more important than the actual music. I think it’s very important. In my music videos I like to have fun. You see me with all my friends, it’s to have fun and express the joy of the music.


In the current climate of music, there’s a very quick turnover, how do you feel about that as a creative? Do you enjoy the current state of music?

I personally hate it! I completely dislike it, I’ll be real. I’m not trynna be a hater, but I’m an album type of guy, I never wanted to make singles. Ask my manager, ask my friends, I hate singles! I love albums, I love bodies of work that people can connect to and that tell a story. Don’t get me wrong, I love good vibes, it doesn’t mean it all has to be deep. For example, ‘In My Mind’, 2006, by Pharrell. It’s a body of work that is excellent, deep, but still has good vibes. You can still have the balance of both in an album, instead of a two-minute single with no third verse that everyone doesn’t connect with in like three days because it was only good for a time. It’s a shame. But at the same time, that’s where we are and I think it’s important to embrace that.


You’ve mentioned Pharrell, is he someone you’d call an influence?

Yeah completely, I love Pharrell. An amazing producer, amazing singer. I love how he took from funk and pop and brought that into hip-hop. I really appreciate that because it’s not being the same as everyone else, how he had a different point of view, I relate to that. A lot of my friends live different lives from me, and I feel like that’s similar to Pharrell, how he took from these different perspectives and put it in his art. He brought people together through that. That’s what I wanna do.


Someone who you have got comparisons to after ‘find u’ was released is Brent Faiyaz, how was it being compared to him?

It was alright! I kinda hear it, I kinda don’t hear it at the same time. I feel like people hear R&B vocal stacks and because they haven’t heard it for a while from a man there’s that initial comparison. It’s a blessing to be compared to someone so good. But, at the same time I think it kinda shows where the R&B scene, especially for males, is at. It’s very limited, people hear some harmonies and they compare it to Brent. And that’s no disrespect, but it’s bigger than that. Brent is obviously an inspiration of mine, but he’s not the only one. I’m excited for where R&B is going, especially in the UK, and I want to be the one to fly the flag. There’s great talent in the UK R&B scene, God willing, it’ll only grow.


I can definitely see that for you, taking that space, because there’s a gap there with UK male R&B acts.

And I think that’s another reason why I moved from the rap, of course I love rap but it does feel like everyone’s trynna be a rapper. And I don’t just do that so why just put myself in a box.


As we’ve said you’re only a few songs into your musical journey so far. You’ve mentioned you’re someone who likes albums, is that where you’re heading at the moment, is there a project in the pipeline?

Yeah, 100%! I’ve got multiple projects in the works, to be honest. We’re really trynna narrow down the songs sonically for my first project. I just want it to be impactful and diverse, but still cohesive at the same time. Which is a tough balance, but you hear in my music there’s a difference in sounds. Sometimes it can be a struggle to make everything fit cohesively, but I think it’s completely possible. I’m really excited, hopefully I’m going to release a project this year.


Finally, still being at the start of this, when you look into the future, what does success in music look like to you? Where would you want to get to?

It’s a good question man. Success is a sticky one. For me it’s never been about the money, it’s always been about the love for it. So, what would love and music look like in ten years, probably a couple albums deep, producing for other people. Working on whatever I want to, whether that’s a movie soundtrack or something different. The dream since I was watching Michael Jackson as a kid was to get Grammy’s, so that’s obviously the goal, I want multiple of them! I believe that with time and hard work I can get it all.

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