#MEETTHEARTIST – Dubzy
We caught up with Snazz founder & up and coming UK Grime MC, Jesse James aka Dubzy for a little chat.
Dubzy featured on Radio 1 Xtra earlier this year as well as the Tim Westwood show this week and also performed for Footasylum earlier in the month. Keep tuned for big things for the young and talented MC from Manchester for 2016.
So first of all give us some background information about yourself, why did you set up Snazz?
The phrase ‘snazzy’ was something me and my friends have said for years and believe in because it’s just a part of us and who we are. I started to say ‘Snazz’ on tracks because I felt it sounds good and people started to see me and say it back in the exact tone I say it in! I’ve been wearing prototype SnazzBacks for years in music videos so it just made sense to make it available to other people once I started to get questions like “where can I get one of those Snazz hats from?!” I just didn’t wanna do it the simple way- I wanted it to LOOK and feel ‘Snazzy’ in every way.
You have just done a video for Footasylum as Dubzy, what else have you achieved in the Grime world away from the clothing industry?
Umm, I suppose the collaborations have been good. I grew up listening to the likes of the Roll Deep collective and have had the pleasure of working with quite a few of them now which would have been a dream when I was at school. Also, getting to perform with JME and Skepta was mad and I guess finally getting on national radio in itself was a big achievement for me because I had been sending tracks to DJ’s for years and as you know, you don’t always get replied. If I’m putting out the right songs now, it’s weekly AirPlay. I also enjoyed getting picked by Charlie Sloth to rap on his BBC radio 1 show at the start of the year- he was bigging up the Snazz brand and saying how sick it was too on national prime time radio which was good. I was on the Tim Westwood show yesterday- that’s definitely up there too!
Snazz is one the first clothing brand to come out of the Grime scene which is really surprising going on the success of artists like Dizzee Rascal & Wiley. Yes they all wore Nike and adidas etc but none of them have actually promoted their own clothing lines. This is surely something you can use to your advantage?
Yeah I suppose nobody really has in a sense of a genuine fashion brand. I think it is easy for me because my interest in fashion is as intense as my interest in music. The reality is not everyone has the time in music- I make time. Also, due to hanging out with MC’s, singers, producers, I have a rough idea of what they like, don’t like, what they’ll wear, what they’ll think is rubbish etc. I also know that musicians, as well as non-musicians in entertainment are picky with what they wear so the brand has to reflect the quality of who they believe they are. I’ve paid detailed attention to this and can pick a hat for anyone now. Also, the Grime clothing scene usually tends to focus on a particular artist or ‘crew’- I didn’t want Snazz to have the same “tour merch’ feel so that’s played a major role on its evolution into a genuine headwear brand. I didn’t waste any time because I knew I had something you don’t need to like grime music to be a part of… Everyone should like Grime thoug haha!
Where can we expect to see the brand heading in the next 12 months?
Wow! Considering the people actively choosing to involve themselves in the brand and everything that’s happened in the first 12 months I’d have to say it should be in the major retail stores in the UK by then. It should be making some progress towards international store placement in 12 months, if it hasn’t already by the end of this year!
Personal favourite Grime artists and why?
Wiley is the original King and I learnt a lot from his lyrics but Skepta is quality and I can spit you almost any Kano lyric too! Of the newcomers though, I rate Eyez and Stormzy… Dubzy ain’t too bad either!
When looking into the mind of an entrepreneur what are the key traits of a person for success and how would you measure success as it’s not always about how much money you make which is where many entrepreneurs fail.
An entrepreneur never gives up, always sacrifices the bad fuel for the journey’s sake, doesn’t make a decision based solely on money if it won’t compliment their actual vision/goal, and can remain patient and keep super-calm in times of diversity. It’s all in the mind.
I judge success purely by asking myself “Was that something I wanted to achieve?” And “Have I previously mentioned this as a goal?” If the answer is yes and I’ve achieved it then I allow myself to feel successful for a few short minutes about it and then it’s straight back to knocking down the next door!
Give us some more info regarding the next range from Snazz, will we ever see a clothing range running alongside the brand?
Snazz Clothing range running alongside Snazz headwear? It’d be mad not to make that happen! Love the idea of a headwear brand at the moment but definitely, definitely watch this space…
You have a strong social media following with hundreds if not thousands tweeting or sharing their purchases from Snazz, whats your thoughts on social media as a whole?
I love social media. I do think it’s full of a lot of rubbish but if you have an incentive to use it, it’s the best thing since slice pineapples! Me and the team had MSN/myspace/Facebook throughout our teens so we’re graduates of the “social media era”. I think that gives Snazz an advantage over some other (often already established) brands when it comes to tackling social media promotion because we’re not looking at and using it from a “corporate” view. Our natural approach to social media marketing has encouraged the high level of engagement from customers, fans and even celebrities.
When you are not working on Snazz or music what do you do to relax and unwind?
That’s a hard one because I feel like Snazz is all I do atm! I like going to gigs and watching other artists. Also love football, basketball, eating, chilling with friends and fam- just the normal stuff really! I’m a piano man too- love playing it! I like the gym too… even though I’m not hench haha.
As you are from Manchester, red of blue?
Haha I live there yes. RED of course.. Manchester United Football Club!