- Words Isabelle Cassidy
Fast-rising rapper Finn Foxell chats about his new single, lyrical inspirations and big plans for the rest of the year.
Having recently hit the scene as rap’s newest lovable rogue, Finn Foxell is an artist whose playful lyrics eloquently voice the hopes and fears of inner-city young people. This year looks set to be a big one for the West-Londoner. Following the release of a COLORS performance, he’s already toured with the likes of Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn and having recently released new single “Leaders”, he’s got a tour on the horizon that’s set to bring lively shows to audiences across the UK.
He might only be 23, but Finn’s musical output is constant, already including two albums and a stream of singles. Talking to Notion in 2020, Finn described the first song he ever made, alongside long-time collaborator p-rallel (one of Notion’s Ones to Watch 2022). The pair have known each other since primary school, and years after writing songs together in their 15-year-old bedrooms and dropping tracks on Soundcloud, the pair’s 2019 “What For” collaboration on Finn’s EP picked up over a million streams.
Finn’s sound echoes in the rich lineage of UK artists creating poetic depictions of the everyday, from The Streets to Giggs, both of whom the artist cites as musical influences. Drawing on elements of rap, soul, rock and beyond, Foxell also cites his songwriting father, and the diversity of his mother’s music tastes, as the catalysts to his current musical endeavours. Latest track “Leaders” marks a new era for the rapper whose fearlessness is leading him to new territories. Produced and co-written by Jacob Manson (Aitch, Digga D, Ed Sheeran) the track confronts the contradictions in the UK’s current political figures: ‘Rich, the pompous pricks who judge when all of their kids wanna be like us’.
We caught up with Finn before he embarks on his ‘WHAT’S YOUR POISON’ tour, finding about about the new track, favourite recent gig and more. Dive in!
Hey Finn! How you doing?
I’m sweet thank you! No complaints, it’s been a lovely summer and I’m gassed to be getting stuck into my new stuff.
Congrats on the new track “Leaders”, it’s a great tune and I’ve got to say I love the artwork. What was the inspiration for the lyrics?
Appreciate it! Big-up to Matt Dejong on the artwork, he brought my thoughts to imagery spot on! As well as something to mosh pit too, in the lyrics I tried to articulate the frustrations felt by most of us towards our current government and others: the cycles of pompous leaders getting away with neglect of duty towards the majority. Their kids want to be like the rest of us, who are just all trying to get along and get by.
You’ve said there wasn’t a political motive, but I know community is important to you. Do you feel like that’s becoming all the more important considering the tougher times many people are facing? Music is always such a good way of channelling those emotions…
Indeed, I think it’s more important than ever that we focus on community and connect with each other, especially after such a isolated period for many. Carnival coming back really felt a display of that unity as it always has. Music is such a crucial tool to create unity and pull people together so above anything I hope mine can do that.
The sound also feels like somewhat of an evolution, was this conscious? Is there a direction you’re pushing towards?
I guess on the outside it’s been bold leaps, but for me the shift and exploration has been spread over the past couple years. There is one record I made which I guess you could say did kick-down the whole door sonically, and that’s my next single which I’ve been holding onto dearly. I made with Jacob Manson, and it helped me find my voice and style, it showed me everything is possible.
Where does the inspiration from your songs usually come from? Does it often stem from wanting to get across a message or feeling?
I used to write every day about anything and everything, which was great – especially from a rap stance. But now I prefer to build up my energy for studio and only go when I have the urge or feeling to create. I’ve found this way my songwriting has become more meaningful and defined. Running around, experiencing life for a few weeks usually gives me a message or feeling to convey.
You’ve got a UK tour coming up that’s hitting most major cities, how you feeling – excited? Anywhere you’re buzzing to play?
I CANNOT WAIT! It’s my first headline UK & IRE tour I’m chuffed and I feel blessed. I’m excited to play at every single city and try meet every face who paid the dime to join me.
Your gigs are usually pretty lively – have there been any live shows you’ve been to recently that you’ve enjoyed?
This year my favourite gig as a fan was seeing the live rendition of Skinnyman’s ‘Council Estate Of Mind‘ album. Proper stuff.
Who are some of your musical inspirations? And if you could collaborate with anyone, who would you pick?
A lot to name, but to list some of my faves: The Kooks, Maverick Sabre, 50 Cent, The Specials, Sting, Anderson Paak, Giggs. If I could work with anyone, I think I’d want to make a tune with Quincy Jones.
How was festival season for you? Any highlights?
Yeah, couple goodens! Boardmasters went off, the fans showed up proper. I also got to see Earth, Wind & Fire at El Dorado which filled my heart.
Aside from the tour, what’s next for Finn Foxell?
We’ve got so much music in the pipeline. I just hope to get more of these singles out and show fans, the rest of the world, where I’m at and what I’m about! Hopefully I’ll venture out and tour Europe next year.