Brighton Magazine

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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


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A really chilled warm friendly and safe atmosphere, beautiful hot sunshine and a cooling breeze could only mean one thing - it was time for the annual  Love Supreme Jazz Festival  .
Local author and travel writer Jennifer Pulling had been to Sicily many times and thought she knew the island well. That was, until she stumbled over the cruel fate that faced many of Sicily's cats. 
Fondly referred to by the Metropolitan Police as 'general rabble-rouser' and 'alleged comedian', the very same Mark Thomas has created Trespass, which carries on from where his previous show 100 Acts of Minor Dissent left off. 
Just prior to the release of their first new album in a decade, The Libertines will take to the stage at the south's top music festival, Readingas the final of this year's Main Stage headliners!  
Diabetes UK is urging schools and students in Sussex to take part in a short film competition to help raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes and improve care in schools for children and young people living with the condition. 
Noel Fielding, best known for playing Vince Noir in The Mighty Boosh, is proud to have retained his child-like view of the world.
This month six gardens across the city will be open for members of the public to look around and admire, with some also holding cake or plant sales, to raise money for the Martlets Hospice.
The Vaccines are on their third album (English Graffiti) and the band have toured extensively, playing with and opening up for acts such as The Rolling Stones, Arcade Fire, The Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse.
Brighton and Hove community groups joined Cathedral Group in a final showcase of dance and performance, arts and recycling at the Circus Street market building to mark the closure of the building ahead of redevelopment.

Commemorating Terry Higgin's 70th birthday, the UK's leading sexual health and HIV charity has rolled out a national programme – Health Wealth and Happiness Project (HWHP) - aimed at the one in four of those living with HIV in the UK who are over 50, with Brighton one of five locations chosen.
Last year, artist and broadcaster, Scottee attempted to turn his illiterate Irish Grandad, Liam Gallagher into an artist.
True life stories of domestic violence, drug abuse and refugees fleeing persecution have been highlighted in a report that tackles the issue of inequality across Brighton & Hove.
The Space, in association with its sponsor, Brighton Film School, welcomes comedy legend Barry Cryer and television drama writer Jed Mercurio, to its event in Brighton.

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