Labrinth’s story began in Hackney, as a hotshot producer crafting era-defining singles like Tinie Tempah’s breakout single Pass Out which won him both a BRIT and Ivor Novello. He went on to release his first solo album, Electronic Earth, that put four singles onto the UK Top Ten. The fourth – Beneath Your Beautiful, with Emeli Sandé — topped the charts.
Soon enough, he was one of the most in-demand collaborators in town. He worked with, amongst others, Nicki Minaj, Noah Cyrus and Kygo. He soundtracked an Apple ad campaign, and he performed at a Madonna tribute concert at her request, the only guy on the bill. He co-wrote tracks for artists back home, stellar new talents including Giggs, Stefflon Don and Ed Sheeran. He placed a track on the closing credits of Wonder Woman. And he went in deep with The Weeknd, working on the track Starboy and the album Beauty Behind the Madness.
“At the time, I was stuck between commerce and art, between Earthquake and Something’s Got To Give. And people around me were pushing me in one direction when I wanted to go into another. It took me a while to realise I could follow my own path and write Imagination & The Misfit Kid.”
It kicks off an album conceived as telling a semi-autobiographical story of what happens when dreams meet business.
“Miracle is the first record because it’s one of the messages of transition of the story. This kid dreams of what he could become in the future. His dream is to fly, to become a bird. And him becoming a bird symbolises him knowing his music is more than just to make him a pop star. Being a celebrity is not as important as what you’re sharing.”
The second release Mount Everest and third release the incredible All For Us featuring Zendaya, which also featured on the hit HBO show Euphoria where Labrinth is credited as the series composer. Released at the height of summer, he describes All For Us as a “weird collision of madness. Someone said to me it sounds like Queen with electronic hip hop and funk.”
Something’s Got To Give, meanwhile, is a sinuous, throbbing dance tune, charged with brass. “Our character’s signed a deal and thinks he’s gonna be famous immediately,” he explains. “He’s signed away his imagination, but also his freedom to create the way he wants to create, his fluidity. Benefactors are always gonna want payback. So, he doesn’t know he’s signing into that. But in this moment, it’s triumph – so this is a triumph record.” The track also has already secured a huge sync partnership with Sky Sports.
Labrinth, then, is back, in multiple ways. When the world hears the kaleidoscopically rich, sonically adventurous, vauntingly ambitious – not to mention tune-bursting – Imagination & the Misfit Kid, the world will realise it’s been worth the wait.
“I’m here to make music, and a lot of it,” is his empathic declaration. “This album is the beginning of the madness. You might be sick of me after this, but I’m going in. It’s time.”