We Are S.M.E

[SME MEETS] Ghostpoet *Exclusive Interview* by wearesme

Born Obaro Ejimiwe, and bred in South London; Ghostpoet is a name you will be hearing a great deal more of in 2011.

Living up to his stage name, Obaro is poetic with his words and hypnotic with his flow. It’s difficult to put his music in a genre as it’s filled with diversity; as can be heard on the upcoming album which you can preview here. People would naturally file it under ‘Hip-Hop’, but there is a lot more to Ghostpoet; “I didn’t want to be seen as a rapper” he told us, regarding his choice of stage name.

After completing his degree in Media Production at Coventry University, Obaro moved back to London to further persue his passion for music. His hard work and talent aligned, when he was approached and signed by Giles Peterson’s label; Brownswood.

A brilliant debut single ‘Cash And Carry Me Home’ soon followed. It was released this week and has been championed by the likes of Zane Lowe at Radio 1.

As big fans of his unique and captivating music, SME were chuffed to be offered the opportunity to sit down with Ghostpoet and talk about the success of his single as well as the release of his album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam’ (7th February 2011). Read on to see what Ghostpoet had to say on everything from his love for grime, to touring with Jamie Woon.

I guess a natural place to start would be your name; Ghostpoet. Where did the name come from?

There are 2 parts really. When I was younger, I was really interested in ghosts and the paranormal. And as a person, friends would say I was ghostlike; in one place one minute and gone the next.
And as for the poet part; I didn’t want to be seen as a rapper. I wanted people to check out my music first before making a judgement on my music based on my name. I’m not really a fan of poetry and it’s not an influence in any way, so in hindsight, it wasn’t the best name to pick! But I guess it was meant to be; they say your name picks you.

Tell me about your musical origins. We understand that you were once in a Grime collective; did this play a big part in your music ?

Yeah I was in a Grime collective of sorts at Coventry University back in about 2001 when I was doing my Media Production degree. I was a fan of Gime before that, but the stars aligned and I was able to pursue it further.

My influences are a mixture really; Hip-Hop, conscious Hip-Hop, Indie, Folk, Electronic, Jungle, Dance, House, everything!
I’m just a fan of music first and foremost, and I try to take in as much music as possible on a daily basis and incorporate it into my music. There’s too many genres to starve yourself on one genre, that’s like going on a diet.

Have you always had the same flow, even when you were making Grime? And what made you progress to the music you’re making now which is more spoken word/hip-hop

What I’ve always tried to do, and something that I’m more conscious of now than when I was doing Grime, is to try and mould my style around the music I was making. The music I was making after grime was different and very experimental, because I wanted to be experimental musically as well as lyrically. I was trying to play around with words and slowing the flow down and from that its come to the point where I’m at today.

Do you produce your own beats as well?

Yeah, I like the idea of being able to get what’s in my head into a beat, and I think its difficult to work with producers and get that perfect result you had created in your mind.

Do you still listen to Grime?

Yeah I love Grime but I haven’t been able to catch up on the underground scene as much as I used to. I was listening to that riddim the other day….

*SME jog his memory* Mike Lowery! I heard Jammer and Fumin on that beat; it was big.

Having listened to your impressive Ghost Tapes mixes, the likes of Joy Orbison, James Blake, Pantha Du Prince and Jamie XX feature heavily. Would you say that genres like Dubstep and Electro are having a big influence in your music?

I wouldn’t really say anything is an influence as a reference, so to speak; but The Ghost Tapes are definitely something that I enjoy making. It’s just the music that I’m feeling the most at the moment and people seem to be really enjoying the new mix that you’re talking about .

We loved the ‘The Sound Of Strangers EP ‘. Our favourite tracks are ‘Love Confusion’ and ‘Gone’ in which troubled relationships and nights out are the focal point; aren’t you in a stable relationship!? And is Ghostpoet therefore a persona?

Yeah, I’ve got my girl! And Ghostpoet is me, it’s not a separate entity. Lyrically, I’m trying to talk about not just myself, but the world I’m living in and the inhabitants of that. Be it my friends and family, people I’ve seen on the bus and tube or driven past on my bike. Some of my lyrics are about things that have actually happened, whereas some are my perception of things and conversations that I see happening. I’m influenced by life.

Both your EP and now debut single have been released on Brownswood Recordings; how did your signing to Giles Peterson’s label come about?

It came from MySpace. Friends of friends who knew people at Brownswood contacted me by MySpace, saying they really liked my songs and asked if i could send some demos down. And from that, they asked me to come to a meeting with Giles Peterson.
We spoke about the music I was making and agreed on the direction I wanted to take it. From there we decided to give an album a go. It seemed the right move for me at the time, because I was just doing my thing on MySpace and putting demos out, but it wasn’t really progressing.

It’s interesting that MySpace played such a pivotal part in you securing a record deal, as nowadays it’s considered to be obsolete…

Yeah I was lucky because Myspace was the beginning for me, but like you said, unfortunately MySpace is dying. It’s still something that some people use but it’s not as useful as it was. With Twitter, Facebook and SoundCloud; MySpace is now old news.

As we mentioned; your debut single ‘Cash and Carry Me Home’ was released this week. You must be extremely proud? What has the response been so far?

I’m just happy to get it out there you know, I’m not bothered by sales. I know Radio 1 and 6 Music have played it quite a lot and there’s a lot of views on YouTube which is great. This is something that I thought would never really happen so I can’t deny its pleasing.

And the Video is equally brilliant; who directed it?

It was directed by a very talented guy called Tim Brown who did Tinie Tempah’s Pass Out and Frisky. He did mine a few months before he did Tinie’s. He definitely got across what we wanted in the visuals and I loved the outcome.

You also feature on the new The Streets mixtape ‘Cyberspace and Reds’ which is another amazing achievement. How did the opportunity arise?

Chantelle Fiddy from RWD mag emailed me saying she was helping The Streets put this mixtape together and they had a tune that may interest me. I was like ‘hell yeah!’, so she sent it over. I worked on it, recorded it, sent it back and the next thing I know it’s on the mixtape! I’m a massive fan of The Streets so I was blown away.

The whole mixtape itself is really good; people are saying that it might not be a great marketing move to release material so close to the album, but I think The Streets will always be The Streets and Mike will do whatever feels right. With it being the last album, I think he wants to get this music out and good on him, because if he didn’t, I wouldn’t be on a mixtape!

As a fan, will you be taking in any of the shows on The Streets tour?

I hope so, but I’m going to be around the country so I will have to see if I have time to catch a show.

This is your first tour, are you looking forward to it? (Ghostpoet is supporting Jamie Woon on his UK tour)

Touring is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and it was something we were looking to do for the new album. This opportunity came up and it was perfect because it coincided with the release of the album. Jamie is doing big things so its exciting, and I’ll hopefully be playing to big audiences. Its my first ever tour so I don’t really know what to expect!

We wish you luck with the album release and of course the tour. Before we leave you to get back to work, here’s a few quick-fire questions for you:

Night out with the lads or night in with the missus?

Night in with the missus.

Fosters or Red Stripe?

Red Stripe

Skepta or JME?

Oooooh…..Skepta. I love JME, but it’s got to be Skepta.

Peanut Butter or Jam?

Peanut butter. If I’ve got a bit of money it’s all about the organic one!

Jollof or Fried Rice?

Jollof every time!

Jay-Z or Biggie Smalls?

Biggie Smalls

Twitter or Facebook?

Twitter because I use it more.

KFC or Nandos?


Fifa or Pro?

Pro. I used to love Fifa then everyone started playing Pro so I had no choice to start playing it!

Beyonce or Rihanna?

Neither, my type is my missus hahaha.

Ghostpoet’s debut album ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam’ is out now and you can download it from iTunes HERE.

Ghostpoet will be supporting Jaime Woon on his UK tour throughout February and March. To book tickets head over to SeeTickets.com

Alternatively, join us at the ‘Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam’ album launch party at Electrowerkz in London on Thursday 17th February. Tickets are available HERE


SME RELOAD: [SME MEETS] Freddie Cowan from The Vaccines
SME RELOAD: [FREE DOWNLOAD] Ghostpoet – The Sound Of Strangers EP
SME RELOAD: [NEW MUSIC] Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam (Album Preview)

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Pingback by [VIDEO & FREE DOWNLOAD] The Streets « We Are S.M.E

[…] We interviewed him last week, and this week Mike Skinner announced that Ghostpoet is his favourite MC alongside Drake; coincidence? SME think not! Get off the band wagon Mike! […]

Pingback by [LISTEN] Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Meloncholy Jam (Full Album) « We Are S.M.E

[…] Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Ghostpoet HERE. […]

Pingback by [NEW MUSIC] Ghostpoet feat. Kano – Cash and Carry Me Home (Remix) « We Are S.M.E

[…] Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Mike Skinner’s favourite MC; Ghostpoet. See what he had to say on everything from working with Monsieur Skinner, to his love for Peanut Butter and Jam HERE. […]

Pingback by [VIDEO] Ghostpoet ft.Kano – Cash And Carry Me Home Remix (Studio Footage) « We Are S.M.E

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