Rhapsody Radar: Labrinth
What does it mean when Simon Cowell signs you as his first non--talent contest act in six years? Most likely that you're damn good at your job. Even more interestingly, Labrinth's job before signing to Cowell's Syco was producer/songwriter, not singer. Growing up in London, the artist born Timothy McKenzie started working in music at an early age: His brother taught him production skills and he and his siblings even had their own band. He got his first break making beats for British emcee Master Shortie's debut before going on to write and produce for artists like Dizzee Rascal and Ms. Dynamite. But his star really rose when Tinie Tempah's BRIT Award-winning "Pass Out" -- a song McKenzie produced, cowrote and guested on -- flew up the charts.
Enter Cowell, who had visions of the stylish artist stepping out into the spotlight. Syco released Labrinth's debut single, "Let the Sun Shine," in 2010. A couple years later, Labrinth hit No. 1 on the British charts with the international smash "Beneath Your Beautiful," featuring Emeli Sandé. His debut full-length, which includes songwriting by Mike Posner, Claude Kelly (who works with Bruno Mars) and Joni Mitchell (!), drops in October in the U.S.
In the meantime, check out the appended playlist, which Labrinth made just for us. In his words: "Festival season is one of the sickest times of year for me. So many different types of people flock to each site to enjoy their favourite music and soak up the vibe, whatever the weather! This playlist is a snapshot of some of my favourite festival moments and acts. My influences as an artist are mad diverse, and I think this playlist reflects that. There are some old favourites, some future classics and plenty in-between. From discovering new bands to raving up in the dance tent; from performing live myself, to a headliner sing-along. Like any good festival, there's something here for everyone."