- Words Notion Staff
A1 & J1 spill on their musical firsts - from milestones to writers' block - as they drop new tune "Night Away (Dance)" with Tion Wayne.
Teenage rapper A1 & J1 came together on the Houseparty app in 2020 (remember those days?!) to share their joint love of music, and quickly formed a creative partnership that has proved to be incredibly fruitful.
With their playful style that remixes classic tunes by the likes of JLo and Avicii and reimagines them for a Gen Z audience on TikTok in a whole new light, they’ve made their way to the front row of the hip-hop scene in the UK, racking up a truly impressive list of collaborations including Aitch, KSI, Deno and more.
Their efforts have earned them an impressive early-career 2022 BRIT Award nomination, and a sold-out first show at o2 Academy Islington. Aged just 16 and 18, it’s staggering to see how far they’ve come so quickly, and how much potential they have in the years to come.
They’ve kept the good times going with a new single, “Night Away (Dance)” which features the talents of UK rap star Tion Wayne, a fellow BRIT award nominee and holder of a #1 single. It’s as bold and brash and as riotously entertaining as you’ve come to expect from these prodigies of the genre.
With the success only growing, Notion caught up with A1 & J1 to hear about their musical firsts. Dive in!
First song you ever made?
A1: The first song I ever made funnily enough was “Latest Trends”.
First song you released officially?
A1: The fist song I officially released was “Latest Trends”, so yeah man, it’s crazy to think how big my first song was. I feel proud of it.
First CD or record you owned?
First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?
A1: Not until I was freestyling in front of my friends and they said, ‘Yo you’re actually really good you should try it out’. And ever since then I have had the courage to start writing, that’s basically how I began working on my own music.
First festival you went to?
A1: It’s crazy because I was so nervous for it, what was even crazier was that it was in Wales, a place I have never been to before.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
A1: When I was in a session with a big artist and I got writer’s block. So writer’s block is where you can’t think of anything to write. Luckily I got through it because of the pressure. I feel I work very well under pressure.
First instrument you owned?
A1: I have actually never owned any instruments but I’m very good at playing the drums.
J1: Mine was a piano and I was in year 9. I had a piano in my room and played it all the time.
First time you felt like giving up?
A1: In a session once because I couldn’t think of anything to write. My mind was blocked but I pulled through and never gave up even though I felt like it at the time.
J1: I never actually felt like giving up, that’s what I think got me in the position I am in today. All I can say to people is never give up even if it’s hard; just keep doing what you love because it’s worth it.
First time you felt starstruck?
A1: At the BRITs. I was shaking because I was like woah! I’m at the BRITs at 16 which is crazy!
J1: When me and A1 were in the studio we were just writing about our own music and then we got surprised by Aitch. Imagine writing in the studio and you don’t know what’s about to happen and then Aitch walks in. We didn’t know what to say.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
A1: Literally today! We got a Top 20 in the charts man, which has been on my bucket list for this song. I really wanted a Top 20 and we got it.
J1: As soon as we got into the charts. That was literally my goal and another goal was get to the BRITs and be nominated. So we also did that! I’ve ticketed off huge moments from my bucket list already. I still have other goals but will reveal those later.