Classically styled and freshly sounding, rapper Nick Brewer is connecting with audiences of a widespread demographic as his music looks to transcend the barriers of age, race and gender to echo those songs which have stood the test of time. Brought up on his mother’s recipe of soul music, the newly-signed Island Records artist, born in Leytonstone, London but now very much Essex in his essence, first fell in love with hip-hop when he purchased Puff Daddy and Faith Evans’ ode to The Notorious B.I.G, ‘Missing You’, at 9 years of age.
A track he described as “the best thing he’d ever heard at the time”, it opened Brewer up to a world of Big L, Nas, and Wu Tang — when, previously, his biggest influence had been his dad who excelled at the guitar. While Nick himself would go on to learn guitar and drums at secondary school, his connections locally to More Fire Crew allowed him entry into a whole new world that we now know as grime; DJing and rapping at 140 BPM until the age of 16.
Part of a crew that saw the well publicized murder of one of his close friends, proved to be a turning point for Nick. While never on the wrong side of the law himself, it awakened in him the realization that music had to have meaning, substance, potentially stand for something greater and certainly not result in the loss of life. He stopped rapping when he first moved to Illford and went on to Essex University to study History. A career as a lawyer beckoned, until he reached for the pen and pad once again aged 20.
Lyrics developed into ones of positive influence, ultimately and importantly, real to the life he was living. Teaming up with production outfit The Confect in 2010 saw the release of Brewer’s first mixtape, Alone With My Thoughts, before its follow-up, Part 2 in 2011. 2013 release, Flat 10 was the set that really elevated his status, with features including Joel Baker, Jacob Banks and fellow Island-signee, George The Poet. The EP showcased his talents as a storyteller of huge crossover potential, showcasing him as an artist with the soulful sensibilities of John Mayer and George Benson.
A fusion of rap, soul and easy listening, the tinges of lush jazz chords emanate from his musical canvas. The product of a rapper who listens to more than rap and a hugely likeable character who steers clear of the bravado prevalent in hip-hop today, Nick Brewer instead focuses on the worth of the people and that it is who we are, not what we do, that defines us. An ideology that will strike a chord with many, it’s through his music this is conveyed.
The recently released EP, 4 Miles Further, both literally alludes to the moving from The Confects home studio to their new set up in Brick Lane, just 4 miles away and figuratively, Nick appreciating the bigger picture. He’s 4 miles closer to where he wants to be, but the hard work is just beginning. Teaming up again with long-time friend George The Poet, 4 Miles Further also brings in Little Simz, JP Cooper and Max Marshall, confirming he’s a talent many are keen to collaborate with.
With his performances at the Isle of White festival and Camden Crawl resounding successes and with Wireless and V Fest to come, a growing army of supporters are turning on to this assured, mature hip-hop/soul man whose been supported by The Guardian, MTV, Soul Culture, Clash, SBTV, MOBO and a host of other online tastemakers.
And that is his ultimate goal: to have people listen, understand and enjoy the music he’s making; to realise he has something to say as an artist, not just a rapper and to challenge people, particularly the young; to be real and honest with themselves about where they’re at in their lives. The now-24-year-old’s lived it, come through the tunnel, and now hopes his own music can act as encouragement to those who need it most.
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