Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article
Monday 14 January 2013

Plan B: Mercury Nominated Rapper Reaps The Benefits Of His Ever-Shifting Musical Landscape

Sometimes it must seem that if your name is Ben Drew and you release anything under the nom de plume of Plan B, then everyone and their granny will claim to have you pigeonholed not only as an artist, but as an individual too.


It sure don"t help when said artist is openly honest in interviews about his hopes, fears and goals.

It also puts backs up when an artist gains cult-status but is so talented and driven that being head of a clique is only a stepping stone to mass recognition.

Ben Drew won"t have it said that his ever-shifting musical landscape is in anyway bandwagon jumping:

"I was making (soul) music before Mark Ronson made his name, before Amy Winehouse made hers."

But then again the mass success of his second album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, wasn"t the true face of Ben Drew .. he was playing a character, that of a fictional British soul singer imprisoned for a crime he didn"t commit.



The album followed hot on the heels of his debut, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words; a bleep-heavy, anger-driven, realism-encrusted postcard from an inner-city kid to the big wide world.

Plan B was out of the blocks and the grime community were soon left stunned and in his wake.

But the ways of the music industry were a sudden wake-up call for the artist:

"It was quite a hard experience for me. I put a lot into it and I never felt the record company pushed it as hard as they could.

"I felt there was a lot of people on radio getting in the way of me and my audience."



Drew briefly attended an anger management course:

"I just didn't have time to keep going, but I think I've got my anger under control and have a nice long fuse on my temper."

Then came the mind blowing success of The Defamation of Strickland Banks.

Trouble was, few knew or even cared that Drew was acting out a character.

They were just bloody good songs and he was the face that appeared at the microphone.

He soon came to terms with the fact that:

"I need to start handling things like I'm a star and stop thinking I'm just a normal person.

"But I want to keep the right balance. I don't want to have my head up my arse."



For his latest release, Ill Manors, Drew"s gone back to his roots and back to the early hip-hop influence of his debut.

One thing he hasn"t done is retracted from the public eye, as along with the album came his directorial big budget film debut of the same name.

"I"ve found the best way I can get across what I think is by showing examples, stories. I"m a storyteller, everything else is secondary."

Plan B plays The Brighton Centre on 11th February. For more details visit brightoncentre.co.uk


by: Mike Cobley


   

An amazing collaboration between The Band Project, Rizzle Kicks drummer - Lewis Whittington and the Brighton Guitar Academy will offer a unique free music workshop for local youngsters at Brighton Electric, later this month.
Following a well received  headline show at this summer's Songlines Festival, Grammy-winner Dobet Gnahoré returns with fourth album Na Drê and a specially-commissioned show featuring her band and African dancers.
Young people all over Brighton are being given the chance to take part in a memorable and educational cinematic experience as part of the Into Film Festival - the world's biggest youth film festival - when it comes to cinemas across the region.
Local resident  and comedian Jim Moir (better known as Vic Reeves), wife Nancy and daughters Lizzy and Nellie, had a wild experience in South Africa recently, when they flew out to the Shamwari Game Reserve with international wildlife charity, The Born Free Foundation.
After twenty years in Everything But The Girl, and ten years as a respected DJ and record label boss of Buzzin' Fly, Ben Watt announced last year he was parking everything to complete two long-planned creative solo projects. 

Bradley Wiggins will defend his title and compete in this year's Tour of Britain cycle race, which arrives in Brighton on 13th September.
The International Ocean Film Festival at Brighton Dome originates from the team behind the Banff Mountain Film Festival and  promises a sublime cinematic journey above and below the waves.
The city's teachers may have been officially off duty from their classrooms for the past six weeks, but many of them have been keeping themselves busy by volunteering their time over the summer for Young City Reads, Brighton's citywide reading initiative for primary school children.
Former England Rugby Sevens captain and Brighton College pupil, Ollie Phillips is encouraging people to tackle dementia by signing up to Alzheimer's Society's Brighton and Hove Memory Walk on 4th October.
Brighton singer Jo Harman has won the Female Vocalist of the Year at the British Blues Awards. She was nominated as one of the finalists by a wide ranging committee of industry experts, with the final decision going to public vote.
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