What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.

I started making music when I was around 15 after my dad got tickets for me, him and my brother to see Gorillaz at the 02 arena. It was actually the performance of the support act De-La-Soul who were just so mind blowingly good that I knew that was what I wanted to do. I’ve now been playing music for 10 years in various acts achieving some incredible goals and I actually got the privilege playing the 02 arena myself. Unfortunately 2 Years ago my music endeavours took a halt as I had a very rare illness that seriously damaged my heart. A year later and finally back in good health i decided to start my solo project ‘Monticolombi’ to bring light and positivity to people and to prove that i can work hard and turn my passion into my career

Provide us with some info about your latest release…

In The Morning features an incredibly talented friend of mine, Lucy Debono. The track is all about that feeling of desire and youthfulness. Wanting the person you care about the most to just say “fuck it, I want to spend my day with you. I don’t care about my other plans, you are the thing that matters the most”. The track was also produced by another good good friend of mine Steven Bamidele who is an unbelievably talented musician and a beautiful soul.

Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?

My biggest influence in life will always be my Grandad Carlo Monticolombi. Unfortunately he passed away when I was around 10, but he inspires me in everything I do and I am an absolute credit to him. All I want to do with my music is make him proud. Musically my biggest influence for years would be Andree 3000. The first album I ever bought was Speakerbox/love below and I believe that fully helped craft my musical tastes, style and energy.

In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?

I want to bring some light back into hip-hop. I think my music differs from other hip-hop artists as it has no ego. I was humbled in the heaviest way when i fell ill and it taught me to appreciate and be grateful for everything i have. I want to express that gratitude by bringing some happiness and joy to people through my music and hopefully just make those people feel good.

Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…

Albums – Outkast, Speakerbox/Love Below – Mac Miller, Swimming – Gallows, Grey Britain

Movies – The Warriors (1979), Swingers, Lobster

Books – Greyson Perry, The Descent Of Man – Sol Yurick, The Warriors – Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle Of Mindfulness

Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?

100% performing live. It’s where I first gained that love for music. Performing live has such a special energy to it and it’s amazing to get direct feedback from people listening to your songs, seeing their emotions when you play a song and how it makes them feel. I do love working in the studio too, but I just find performing live is where I truly feel happiest.

Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?

Oh god I have so many from playing and touring with Stretch Soul Gang. The one that always stands was when we played beach break live yeeaarrss ago. It was super early in my music career and we won a competition, which was pitched to us as “You get to play a festival WITH Chase & Status & Dizzy Rascal”. We won, but there were loads of complications about whether we would play for example…. I would miss all my G.C.S.E exams as we would have to travel to Wales, plus me and Alfie (the guitarist in the band) were only 16 at this point and you had to be 21 to enter. But being young and optemistic that this would be the start of starduum for us we said “Fuck It” and off we went to wales. There’s so much i could ramble on about this story and hilarious details i could go into, but to keep it simple, we turned up, it poured with rain the whole weekend and what we didnt get told was that we were playing at the same time as Chase & Status on a tiny stage, so we literally drove all the way to wales to play in the pouring rain to the bar staff and i still have no G.C.S.E’s because of it.

Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?

I would actually say “In The Morning” is the most unique as it has a really interesting movement within the track. The structure isn’t very typical and i think it has a real feeling of progression from start to finish, which helps you build a connection to the storytelling embedded in the song not only lyrically, but musically.

Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?

I’m currently working with italian producer ‘Madd3e on a handful of tracks featuring some incredible artists, which will be released throughout the year. I also have a tune i’ve worked on with the super talented ‘Mosiah Levi’ for his album. Aswell as this i’m also currently looking to build a team around me to help with future releases, who truly feel passionate about getting involved in the project.

Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…

Q: What was the best bit of advice you were ever given ?

A: It was by my grandad – If you’re going to do something, make sure you do it.

Photo Credits: Sam Rockman

Curated by: Christos Doukakis

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