All hail one of our favourite new artists! Kat Friar met with Saiming, one of UD’s current Incubator cohort, to talk sound, UD Open Mic, Da Community, Live Supply events, influences, 2023 and a whole lot more…
UD: How would you describe your sound?
SM: This is a question I struggle with a lot. I would say I make alternative UK rap, but I can’t go into too much more detail because it changes a lot. It’s all UK rap cause it’s all me and it’s all rapping and it’s all gonna sound like I’m English, cause I am – well British, whatever – but it’s just [the] instrumentals are gonna change a lot. I can’t tell you if it’s gonna be drill influenced or grime influenced, or that it’s all gonna be Afrobeats – [it’s] just whatever I feel like doing.
UD: How was your experience performing at UD’s Open Mic with Timberland back in October?
SM: It was an amazing experience. The venue – from when we went in, it was really grand. It was really nice to perform alongside a live band that I’ve rehearsed with as well, and the whole energy there was just really good.
What’s your process when you get in the studio?
SM: I think a lot of the time when I write, it’s not in the studio, so my process in the studio sometimes isn’t that productive. A lot of my writing is at home, but then it really just varies depending on who’s there and what I’m hearing. Sometimes, I’ll be in the studio and I’ll get really inspired and I’ll just write something there and then… But most of the time I’ll go and write stuff on my own.
What are your goals for 2023?
SM: In 2023, I want to release two projects. I want to do some more Life Supply events, and I want to start some new events. I wanna create a lot more video content, whether that’s for my music or just in general. I think I’m in the process of figuring out my goals.
UD: How did it feel to hit a million streams on WOOF MEOW? How did you celebrate?
SM: I was very gassed, and I wanted to do a party, but I never ended up doing a party. I celebrated with my girlfriend. She got me a bottle of wine and a present. [I] didn’t do a proper celebration, but it felt really good though.
UD: What intentions did you have with your follow-up track ‘Set Pace’?
SM: I think with ‘Set Pace’, I wanted to put something up there to show that I wasn’t gone and I also wanted to – especially with the video – I wanted to show what I’m working on with DA COMMUNITY. So with J2 being part of DA COMMUNITY and with the video – there’s a lot of people from DA COMMUNITY featuring as extras and it’s filmed and edited by Niz and Hyabel [who are] part of the community, so it’s all just about capturing that in the song.
SM: It kinda just happened. We started going to Orii Jam and people were meeting each other and there were different circles. Some people knew each other before, some people didn’t. If I remember correctly, one day Nayana made a group chat, and then from there it just kind of formed.
UD: how do you feel like having DA COMMUNITY around you like pushes you to succeed?
SM: I think part of it is just the support system, the support network. Even with ‘WOOF MEOW’ – I remember when Vert Music made a TikTok post, a lot of people from DA COMMUNITY were the people reposting it and sending it to me. Having people to support you, having people that you can call on if you want a video or if you need some help writing something, or just people to talk to about creative things or go to events [with] or work on projects with. They’re gonna have your interests at heart and just having that whole network, not feeling alone, I think is a really big part of it.
UD: We’ve seen you on ‘Set Pace’ with J2 and ‘Nightube’ with Zuko Rosemeid. What do you enjoy about collaborating with other artists?
SM: I think it’s just it’s really interesting how other people’s minds work creatively and how different someone else’s approach to the same song can be and how they can gel together, and also I really enjoy performing with other people. I remember speaking to Zuko about that – we were discussing how someone was talking about sharing the stage with other people and how that might take away from your solo performance, but I think in a lot of ways performing with other people kind of brings out a different side to each of you. I think that I really enjoy performing the songs I have with other people, ’cause I feel like you can kind of be really different in that song and in that performance with someone who’s got a completely different energy to you and it just makes it more exciting.
UD: You’re a student at the University of Westminster. What has studying Music Production, Performance and Business taught you and would you recommend it?
SM: I think I’m very grateful for the networks that I’ve made at uni and for some of the people that I work with have been really helpful and just important in the process of making music [are people who] I’ve met at uni. In first year I did learn quite a lot of things that were new to me, but as it’s gone on, I’ve found it less useful. I don’t think I work hard enough for uni, but I also don’t think that they’re giving me much that I actually need for what I want to do, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it. If I could change my life, I’d do a different course that wasn’t creative. I’d just do a course that’s interesting and I’d do the creative stuff separately, ’cause you don’t need uni necessarily.
UD: What is it that you want to do and what do you wish they were like helping you with?
SM: That’s the thing. I’m not sure what I wish they would help me [with], but I did Small Green Shoots and I feel like in the eight weeks of that course, I learned more than I’d learnt in two years of uni. I think it’s teaching us about the music industry and getting perspective from people who’ve actually been through it and understand it and teaching you skills that you can directly apply to getting to where you want to be… There’s just a lot of stuff that you need that isn’t that hands-on until third year and they’re like, “Okay, now release music and do this.”
UD: Through your journey, what’s been your favourite moment?
SM: I think one of my favourite moments was probably The Live Supply 3 as a whole. I think that event, there was so much that was going on around it and during it, and there was just so much coming together with so many people coming together. It was just an amazing experience, an amazing show. There’s probably loads more, but that’s the first one that came to my head.
UD: What’s it been like organising The Live Supply events?
SM: Organising The Live Supply events has been quite challenging, but it’s been eye-opening and it’s definitely not a solo thing – I had a lot of help from DJXHNWAV on the first two and then since the third one onwards, I’ve been working very closely with Soriah on events, and without either of them, I think there’s no way that things would happen. But it’s also down to all the artists, and in the case of the second and the third one, the band members for some of the acts, and just everyone coming together and the venues being there – I’ve learned a lot about event management and promoters and what venues I’m never gonna go back to and do the show at again.
UD: What artists did you listen to that helped you find your sound?
SM: I think there’s so many of them and I couldn’t tell you all of them, even if I tried, ’cause there’s so many that are influencing me subconsciously. Some of the big ones have been – for the way that I rap – Dave, JME, AJ Tracey, Smino, J. Cole – but there’s so many of them. Some of them aren’t even rap and there’s just a lot of influence that even [influence] what instrumentals that I’d want to choose, or if I was thinking of having a singer on my song, what kind of singer I’d want on the song.
UD: What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt since becoming an artist?
SM: That things happen when they’re meant to happen and sometimes you don’t have control over that. Things happen [and] you can’t really decide when things are gonna happen.
UD: Are you putting anything out this year that you’d like to share with us?
SM: There’s so much that’s up in the air right now, but I am gonna put out a project called ‘23 to Infinity‘ at some point in this year.
Words & photos: Kat Friar Kat is a freelance journalist, DJ and photographer with a passion for music. She likes to cover all bases regarding music so whether it’s a new album, a rising artist or a gig, she’ll be writing about it.