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




Share    


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are currently putting the finishing touches to their forthcoming eighth studio album, the follow-up to 2013's Specter At The Feast, entitled Wrong Creatures, which will be released early next year.

Brighton Festival's Your Place - two weekends of free entertainment in Hangleton and East Brighton, is set to return for 2018 following last year's inaugural programme.
Jon Ronson by Emli Bendixen

Writer, broadcaster and one-time keyboard player for Frank Sidebottom, Jon Ronson has spent a substantial chunk of the last decade thinking about psychopaths and, following an earlier tour, he's taking the results of that work back on the road this Autumn. 

It's not been an easy ride to 'stardom' for comedian Simon Day. Only the stability of marriage and the birth of a child saved him from the worst addiction-fuelled ends.

“I wanted it to be the biggest sounding Foo Fighters record ever. To make a gigantic rock record but with Greg Kurstin's sense of melody and arrangement… Motorhead's version of Sgt. Pepper… or something like that.” 

REM frontman Michael Stipe has reflected that the band's seminal album, Automatic For The People, concerns topics of “mortality and dying,” but he further notes, “mortality is a theme that writers have chosen to work with throughout time." 

To mark 150 years as a performance venue, Brighton Dome is seeking memories from across its rich history. Submissions will help inform new heritage displays which will go on show when the refurbished buildings re-open in late 2018.

One of Mali's leading musicians, and descended from a line of Khassonké griots (traditional troubadors), Habib Koité is back in the UK this October for the first time in a decade, and he will be joined by longtime band Bamada for a concert in Brighton.

Denai Moore was in Brighton earlier this year for full-band shows at The Great Escape festival. Now she's coming back in the city with new album We Used To Bloom, which she calls 'a declaration of growth, a break-up letter to her demons and a love letter to the liberated self'.  

Hallelujah!  Your saviour is at hand. If you're concerned about a life with global advertising, multinational control, climate change, the threat of nuclear war, supermarket domination, and all the constant controversy caused by the US President's outpourings, this is for you. 

Filmed over a one year period at East Mountbatten Hospice, Isle of Wight, this new multi-screen video work - on show at  Fabrica, Brighton, next month - addresses the taboo subject of dying and current attitudes to palliative care.

Brix & The Extricated has – in the words of an old Fall lyric – something of a “track record”. 

Award-winning documentarian and broadcaster, Reggie Yates, presents his new book, Unseen, at St George's Church in Brighton, taking us behind the scenes of his documentary journey.

Brighton & Hove Impetus, the multi-award winning local charity, has had a significant boost from its annual Yellow Rose campaign to promote the power of friendship, inclusion and community and raise awareness of the issue of isolation in the city. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd