A former Northampton College music student is breaking into the big time, having been named one of the BBC’s top five acts to watch in 2019.
Grime artist slowthai, (aka Tyron Frampton), is quickly earning a worldwide reputation for his progressive lyrics and unique style blending grime, rap, dubstep and garage.
The 24-year-old was a Level 3 Music Technology student at the college in 2011 and since leaving has established himself as one of the hottest new acts in the UK.
He was listed at number four in the BBC’s Sounds of 2019 poll – an annual search for the artists most likely to break into the mainstream over the next 12 months. His music has been featured on Radio 1 and he has recently returned from a sell-out gig in South Africa before heading off for a European tour.
It’s all a long way from his upbringing on a Northampton council estate but staying true to his roots is a key part of slowthai’s message.
In an interview with the BBC he said: “Being included on the Sound of 2019 list gives people back home confirmation that something is really happening. It shows them that they can do whatever they want, if I can do it. The majority of people who know me, know the situation I'm from. They can be like, 'he's strived, he's stuck to what he's doing and he's got somewhere.
“Northampton's always been a band town, there's always been good music but never a strong scene to keep it going. People want the quick and easy route, they give up too easy, but it's coming to a point where everyone is picking back up the instruments and starting to get involved.
“I'm trying to go everywhere I can and connect with people who feel the same way who haven't got much and give them a voice and let them know they're not alone, not just in Northampton.”
With his popularity on the rise, slowthai has enlisted the help of his cousin and another former Northampton College student, Lewis Levi, to act as his manager and the pair are now looking to break into America – where the British grime scene is gaining critical acclaim.
Northampton College Music team’s Sarah Thursby, said: “It’s brilliant to see Tyron doing so well. He is remembered as being a pleasure to be around and was a very engaging and chilled out young man who clearly had a lot of passion and determination to succeed.
“His lyrics set him apart. He’s very progressive and has a positive attitude towards women, identity, discrimination and gender which is refreshing to hear. He’s authentic and really invests in the idea of grime being music by the people, for the people.”