Kwasi Danquah (born September 14, 1986), better known by his stage name Tinchy Stryder, is a British Pop Grime vocalist. Stryder is from Bow, East London and attended St Bonaventure's Catholic Comprehensive School in Forest Gate, Newham; he later enrolled as a student at the local university, the University of East London, where he completed his BA degree in moving image and animation in 2009. He rose to popularity with the song Take Me Back, (a collaboration with Taio Cruz) which peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart in January 2009. He then released the aptly named song Number 1, (a collaboration with N-Dubz) which entered the UK chart at #1 on 26 April 2009.
Stryder started at the age of 14 on pirate radio sets in East London with other well known grime MCs such as Wiley and Dizzee Rascal. His stage name derives from the video game Strider which he played when he was young and from the nickname "Tinchy" given to him due to his short stature: his height at 5'1" (1.55m) making him the shortest male artist ever to top the UK Top 40. Tinchy made a number of appearances on Sky's Channel U and especially their 1Xtanra radio show taking part in freestyles, sometimes joined by his crew Ruff Sqwad. Tinchy Stryder was part of a spectacular line up at The O2 arena 3D ELEKTRO RAVE alongside Caspa and Rusko, Frankmusik, High Contrast and Dancing Robot Music. Tinchy Stryder was part of well-known grime crew Roll Deep for a while, featuring on some songs including 'U Were Always', which was released years later on Roll Deep's compilations album, Street Anthems.
Many before him have tried and failed; in April 2009 Tinchy Stryder became the first artist ever to reach number 1 in the official national singles charts with a song title featuring the phrase ‘number one’. A self-fulfilling prophecy personified? Well, he’s certainly living up to his music moniker ‘Star in the Hood’.
Over the past six months, 23 year-old Tinchy has signed a recording deal with Island Records and has racked up three consecutive top 3 hits, ‘Take Me Back’ feat. Taio Cruz, released in January debuted at no 39 on downloads alone, the following week on it’s official release the single climbed 36 places to number 3, and maintained a Top 5 position for four weeks. In April, ‘Number 1’ feat. N-Dubz debuted at Number 1 and topped the UK charts for a whopping three weeks, this was followed in August by Tinchy’s second 1 single ‘Never Leave You’ featuring Amelle from the Sugababes.
Tinchy Stryder, is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most exciting artists, The Independent recently said, “If Grime was the football world, Tinchy Stryder would be like your Michael Owens and Wayne Rooney’s of today.” He just completed a sold out arena tour in September 2009, which caused such a demand with fans that he has had to put a larger arena tour straight on for February 2010.
Tinchy, real name Kwasi Danquah, was born in Ghana in 1986 and moved to East London at a young age. He was brought up and still lives in one of the capital’s most dangerous boroughs – Tower Hamlets; yet despite his tough upbringing he has a distinctly positive outlook on life and is determined to provide a positive role model for kids across the country. Having started making music, along with his group ‘Ruff Sqwad’, aged just 13 Tinchy has seen through the years the negative press that the music he loves has received and is on a mission to change this. He recently completed a degree in Digital Arts and Moving Imagery at University of East London.
“It’s important to me to show that black males aren’t all about looking threatening and robbing your granny” Tinchy quips. “It’s not always easy growing up in an inner city area, wherever it is, but in my music I want to show people that you can take that experience and turn it into something positive.”
“I guess my writing is pretty much from my life experience right now” says Tinchy. “That’s why I’ve focused a lot on the whole star in the hood thing – cos I’m still here – where I always have been, but now people know me, so I can’t always go the same places I used to be able to. I’m not in a rush to get out cos I know my area and I love it, but hopefully one day through my music I can.”
By the age of 21, Tinchy was a seasoned MC on the grime and London pirate radio scene. One of the industry’s main players, Wiley of ‘Wearin’ my Rolex’ fame, crowned Tinchy the ‘Prince of Grime’. In 2006 he was booked by two forward thinking teenagers, Archie Lamb and Jack Foster to play one of their club nights they ran while at school; this meeting changed the course of his career. The three of them struck an immediate bond and Tinchy signed to their company Takeover – for management, live, recording, merchandise and publishing. Together they designed the ‘Star in The Hood’ T-shirts which they sold on myspace and ebay and the profits financed the promotion/marketing of Tinchy’s debut album Star In The Hood. It’s now a flourishing clothing line, which has just expanded into retail, with the kind of profit margins that would impress Phillip Green. The buzz surrounding ‘Stryderman’, one of the singles released from the album caught the attention of execs at Island records. Tinchy Stryder, Jack and Archie signed a joint venture with the major at the end of 2008.
Having just released his major label debut, Catch 22, which went Gold within 2 weeks of release and just signing a joint venture deal with EMI Publishing alongside Takeover for a joint music publishing company allowing Tinchy Jack and Archie the opportunity to develop and invest in new talent, the future is looking extremely bright for Stryder.
As 2010 draws near he embarks on pushing the boundaries of Star In The Hood clothing and entering into partnerships with some of the UK’s largest retailers, planning his all new fully live show and summer full of festivals whilst also beginning the recording process for his second major label album with a host of exciting collaborators including re-uniting with Fraser T Smith and working with some of the top US record producers and writers, Tinchy is feeling great about the new year, “I’m out to takeover the world this time round, for 2010 and beyond” he smiles.
|BRIGHT LIGHTS (GOOD LIFE), PT. II Tinchy Stryder|