Rapper making waves with Andy Murray song
A grime rapper - signed to the same agency as Green Day and One Direction - is hoping to blow up the music industry with his Andy Murray track.
The BBC linked up with Reece Robertson, formerly of Burnley, to share his song Andy Murray, Love Britain - grime beats punctuated with comedic swagger.
And now he’s hoping not only to storm the charts but to help widen both the grime scene and the concept of Britishness.
“Every country has a cultural record,” Reece said, “So I wanted to make something very British.
“The UK is well represented in sport but not in music - we’ve only begun to find our place in the industry in the last four years.”
There’s a real humility to this 23-year-old. Even when he began making music around 14, there’s a sense he’s always wanted to be a piece of something bigger than himself.
“Everyone was [making music] in the area and I wanted to be a part of it.”
Growing up, he listened to Oasis, Dizzee Rascal and So Solid Crew; but it was his life that fed his writing, creating the first of two sides to his sound.
Here we see an artist looking inwards, spinning out soft melodies tied with searching beats - anthemic to relationship breakdowns, as in Since You Went Away. Or he winds dark verses into fierce choruses - take DFTM’s blow-up of dirty beats, a song spilling with personal conflict.
“Music is my way to get things off my chest,” he said, “But it can’t always be about myself.”
Here he breaks into the artist regarding himself as just one piece in a puzzle, examining how we all fit together.
Through song-writing, he said: “I’m talking to a community. People can relate to my surroundings.”
This is the Reece we see in Andy Murray, Love Britain.
“We live in a multicultural society now. People think the British are posh people with cups of tea. But we’re not just English. We’re representing three countries.”
Music, he recognises, is a glue that can hold us all together.
“The thing I love about it,” he said, “is that it’s free - everyone can be included in it.”
When he started out, “grime gave access to music to those who couldn’t afford concert tickets. You could have a raw recording and people would love it.”
His material, he said, is “more like comedy. I’m not the type of person to be talking ‘street’. I try to have fun with it - if you take it too seriously, you start making music just for other people.”
While his aim is to land the song in “the Tennis Association...and make it Andy Murray’s theme tune,” Reece isn’t looking to make a quick hit that meets today’s conventions for a number one.
Yes, he has commercial ambitions - he played Wireless with Jay-Z - but he’s also willing to play the long-game to help to redefine genre boundaries.
“Every record I make I break the ice,” he said. “The problem, then, is that it will take me longer to make it.
“I’m doing something a rapper wouldn’t dare do. Rap has come a long way - no-one thought urban music could unite with tennis.
“I want to move my genre into another scene. It’s an art form and I want people to be a part of it.”
And in this politically malleable year, where Brexit brought the concept of “togetherness” stumbling back to the forefront, the track encapsulate’s the year’s youthful backlash against the down-sizing of community.
And while Reece is making waves in the mainstream - both Gary Lineker and Andy Murray’s mum took to Twitter to support his record - he’s still that young musician drawn to song-writing for the pure love of it.
No matter, he said, the outcome: “I’ll always love it and I’ll always do it.”
Visit his page, REECE, on Youtube to check out his material.