As part of the Alwayz Recording team alongside artists such as Chip and Wretch 32, Paigey Cakey has been creating a lot of buzz around her music lately, including a new mixtape titled The Right Paige. Having also appeared in TV show Waterloo Road and feature film Attack The Block, amongst others, Matt Tarr caught up with Paigey to talk about her latest release, balancing music and acting and which other female artists she feels are representing the UK urban scene well…
MT: For anyone who isn’t so familiar with your previous work, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
Paigey: I describe myself as an all round, talented young female from the East side of London, Hackney. I’m a rapper, singer, artist, dancer; I do everything but I like to class myself as a triple threat.
MT: The most recent track that we saw from you was ‘Trust Me’ which featured Abel Miller. How did that collaboration and the track as a whole come about?
Paigey: The maddest thing is, before I was doing music I heard Abel Miller on SB.TV doing an acoustic session and I thought he was amazing. I tried to message him when I was starting in music to see if we could collaborate but he just ignored me. So I thought “when I become an artist I’m gonna holla him” so I did on Twitter and said I wanted to get him on something and he said he was down, so I sent him the track. He went into the studio and laid a rough version of it and he sent it to me and I liked it, so we did a proper session and I went in with him. When I first had my own verse on it I was thinking of any guys I could put on it and I was watching loads of people’s videos and I don’t know what it is about him; he sings but he’s got that gritty kind of swag as well and he’s proper urban so I thought yeah I want him on it.
MT: In terms of the previous stuff we’ve seen from you, ‘Trust Me’ showcases your vocals much more than your rapping. Is that something we can expect to see more of from you in the future or will you be rap focused with a hint of vocals?
Paigey: I’m gonna do it all. My new mixtape The Right Paige has got a lot of rapping on it and it also has a lot of singing on it. There are at least four songs that are full singing with no rapping and I’ve got another duo on there with Jordan Morris which is another singing duo. I’ve just always been a singer and I kinda wanna let people know I’m a singer! Not all of my music appeals to everybody; some people don’t like my rapping and so maybe if I put out some singing they might like that. I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t like my rapping but they like my singing or vice verca, so I’m just trying to appeal to everybody.
MT: For me, in terms of your older tracks, ‘Elevate’, which was on your mixtape The Next Paige is probably my favourite track from you so far. Is there anything similar to that coming up on The Right Paige?
Paigey: There’s not you know. The Right Paige is full blown trap, R&B and hip hop. That track was really weird actually because I thought the beat was sick but I thought it wasn’t really me. I proper like that track but I just haven’t worked with that producer for a long time. I reckon I will do more music like that cos I do like that whole crazy sound and I’m still in the process of trying to find my sound because as you know everyone does trap, everyone does R&B, but then at the same time when your’e looking for your own sound it’s hard to find something that no one else has done. But I am gonna still try and search for my own sound.
MT: I first saw you perform when you supported So Solid Crew at indigo at the O2 at the end of 2013. How did you get involved in that show and how has you being involved with that changed your career?
Paigey: I talk to a lot of them; I’m good friends with Mega and Harvey. I think it was Mega who wanted to get me on the tour, plus just before that tour they did a music video and I was one of the main characters in the video. It was from that that he said “yeah I want you to come on the tour with me cos you’re hard”. When I did a track with Harvey, he was always bigging up my name to the rest of them. From that I got a lot of shows but I wouldn’t say it was purely from that. Since then I supported Lil Kim and Eve and I did a tour with Lady Leshurr where we went from Austria to Berlin to Hungary to Slovakia. We just drove with the promoters from city to city. I’ve done loads of shows this year, not all of them big ones as I’ve done a lot of teen fests and shows and they’re actually my favourite shows. Performing in front of a younger crowd is what I prefer cos they’re easy to please as you just come on stage and they scream. Performing in front of older people is a lot harder, the crowd is a lot tougher because they understand the lyrics more and they judge you more, whereas younger kids are more accepting!
MT: I’ve seen that you did a school tour as well. You must have felt pretty inspirational being able to help nurture the next generation and give them advice based on your experiences?
Paigey: I proper enjoyed that and at a lot of the schools I went to they’d never heard of me! There might be like ten kids that had heard of me but the rest had no idea so to go out there and perform and by the end have them all saying they love you, follow you on Twitter and all want pictures and autographs is like ‘wow’! That whole tour really inspired me and it made me feel amazing. I never thought I’d do a school tour and I proper did enjoy it!
MT: Having had to balance music and acting over the last few years, has it ever been difficult to keep up both simultaneously?
Paigey: The only time when it was hard to balance was when I did Waterloo Road because that was a full time job. I was filming six days a week and when I would get home I’d be quite tired and I wouldn’t have time to write lyrics. It was in Glasgow as well so I lived up there for six months. Doing music and recording at that time, I could only do it on weekends when I came down and sometimes I couldn’t even do it then because the studio might not have been free. My music rate slowed down when I was doing Waterloo Road and I only released a few videos, but it was simply because it was too hard to balance it because I was never in London. I didn’t know any studios in Glasgow at the time but I probably should’ve looked into it and researched it.
MT: In terms of acting, singing and rapping, have you got one that you prefer to do above the others?
Paigey: I would say rapping and singing put together. I probably prefer music more than acting, I love acting don’t get me wrong but it is a lot of hard work and when I mean hard work, it’s long. You’ve gotta think, when you film one scene you do that scene ten times and then you do it ten times from another angle, so it’s really long days. Also, when you’re acting you’re pretending to be someone else whereas with music you’re expressing yourself and I prefer to express myself rather than pretend to be someone else. At the same time I like acting when I wanna get away from my life and get away from everything I’m doing. I think overall I prefer the music though.
MT: You were part of the BET UK Cypher for the 2014 BET Awards, which is quite a prestigious thing to be part of. How did you get involved with that?
Paigey: You know what, I don’t even know how I got involved with that! I got a call late at night saying BET Cypher tomorrow and I was thinking “oh my God I don’t have any lyrics, what am I gonna do?”. I was so stressed, didn’t know what to do or what to write but I was up til 4am, wrote a full sixteen bar, kept going over it and over it to remember it, woke up and did not remember anything! So I just had to put together some of my old bars and mix them together with some new bars and we did that take about thirty six times. It was because a lot of us kept getting it wrong, it wasn’t just me, but Stormzy, Yungen, Shezar and me. The only person that kept getting it right was Dotz, but he had them bars for ages. All of us had written fresh things and we just couldn’t get it.
MT: Throughout your career so far you’ve been associated with Alwayz Recording. How has working with the guys at AR helped you get to the where you are today?
Paigey: Obviously Alwayz Recording and CMAR (Cash Motto/Always Recording) has a very big name. I remember when I was growing up listening to Chipmunk and he was always mentioning AR so it’s mad to think I’m in the same crew as these guys I’ve been listening to since I was young. It has helped me a lot because obviously they promote my music and when I bring out something new, Wretch will always tweet and Chip will always tweet it. They had cameos in my ‘Same Way’ video when I first released that and because they had cameos they started to promote it a lot as well. I’m always on their Instagram and stuff so people just know I’m part of their clique now and from that a lot more artists respect me. It’s hard to get males to respect you because it’s a male dominated scene, but now all the guys in the scene respect me and I love that. I wouldn’t be in a clique with serious artists if I wasn’t one myself.
MT: As you mention, it can be tough for females in the UK urban scene but alongside yourself and Lady Leshurr, who do you think is representing females well?
Paigey: There are loads that you’ve probably never heard of. Ms Banks is on my new mixtape, C Cane is someone I’ve worked with and there’s another girl called Nadia Rose, those three are my favourite on the come up right now after Little Simz. Little Simz is my favourite and I’ve been a fan of her since secondary school so it’s good to see her doing her thing now.
You can download your free copy of Paigey Cakey’s latest mixtape The Right Paige here and make sure you follow this rising star on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date with all the information about live shows, new releases and more…