Q&A: Jimi Hendrix influenced genre-defying singer-songwriter Ady Suleiman

Ady Suleiman

Ady Suleiman - Credit: Archant

Ady Suleiman is a 24-year-old half Tanzanian half English singer songwriter from Nottingham. Earmarked as one to watch after being spotted by BBC Music Introducing he featured on Chance the Rapper’s recent Surf Album and collaborated with Joey Bada$$ on his own What’s the Score EP. He brings his reggae, r’n’b, soul and hip hop blend to XOYO tonight.

Q Hi Ady. Your music seems to use a lot of elements from R&B and soul, but growing up, I read you were more of a Hendrix-loving hippy. How did that style change come about?

A I think over time you change as a person and when I was younger Hendrix culture spoke to me. And it still does, but as I got older I became interested in other genres. I think genres are reminiscent of a time and as I got older I moved onto soul and r’n’b, and loads of different kinds of music. I don’t know why but I don’t like to be defined by one genre.

Q What impact does growing up in Nottingham have on your work?

A Notts is a very multi-cultural place and when I was growing up there were lots of genres of music around and you were free to like a bit of everything as there was no strict scene. There were all kind of nights, and audiences for all of it. I think that’s why my music is cross genre, also because all my friends like different genres. We don’t live in a time where one genre leads, everyone listens to everything. Especially in Notts I found there wasn’t one scene of people, there’s an alternative, soul, reggae, rock, goth scene, everything. But you see the same people at same nights and everyone’s on the same vibe. ‎It’s great.

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Q What has it been like picking up acclaim from the likes of Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper and Laura Mvula?

A Yeah sick, it’s been wicked. It’s always pretty surreal actually when someone of that calibre appreciates my music. Especially as I’m inspired by a lot of their work.

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Q I see you’ve been working towards an album? How has that been in comparison to working on EPs?

A It isn’t too dissimilar actually as I’m working with the same people. All projects I’ve worked on have been similar in a way. I guess the only thing that’s changed is that the process has improved as I feel more comfortable with the people I’m working with in the studio. So it’s more fluid.

Q If you could play a show with three artists, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

A If you mean to make a band I would have to say Ginger Baker on drums, Pino Palladino from the D’Angelo record on bass, and of course Jimi Hendrix on guitar. if I’m allowed brass, then I’ll have Chet Baker on trumpet. But if you mean be on the same line up as, it would have to be Jimi, Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder.

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