The path to success in the entertainment industry has an ever-diversifying number of routes to entry. Some may have shortcuts; others must take the long way through the arduous process of developing their craft. When Mancunian Aitch decided to drop a freestyle of himself on his estate in New Moston, he never expected the reception he would receive. The freestyle garnered over seventeen million views and thrust him into the mainstream, capped off with Aitch appearing as the face of O2’s iPhone 11 campaign.
“I don’t think I’ve honed my style yet,” Aitch says, looking perplexed, “I’m getting there – to hone it I just need to keep doing me”.
Aitch proved you can carve your own path to success through unwavering dedication, hard work and a decent 4G connection. “Social media for me is the most essential thing. Not separating me and Aitch is a mega. People can see real me all the time – it shows people you’re a real person; I just be myself. Some people don’t think I’m real, but I don’t let that get to me.”
Grow your network
There comes a point in every artist’s life when it’s time to build their network “My first big opportunity was when Wiley brought me on tour. Even after that tour no one knew about me. Then I did Cadet’s tour and all other artists showed me love.
“But Wiley was my first real performance. I used to perform in Manchester to 50 people, now I’m doing Brixton. It’s mad.”
Though it’s not down to chance that success came Aitch’s way, he had to have a plan and act upon it.
There’s nothing wrong with using your phone
Aitch is part of the revolution of songwriters who no longer sit down and put pen to paper to come up with their lyrics. The iPhone has given everyone the ability to write anywhere they want. For Aitch, the iPhone is an essential instrument in the song-writing process. “I’m not trying to sound like anyone. It’s more that anyone who’s winning inspiring me. It could be Stormy, it could be James Arthur – whoever is going against the odds inspires me. I always have my phone in my hand and I only write in my notes – without my phone I am absolutely done. Sometimes it might take me thirty minutes to write the whole song. Sometimes it might take me 30 minutes to write two bars. If the iPhone wasn’t around, I wouldn’t be – my first ever video was filmed on an iPhone
For artists, social media has become the looking glass which allows fans to peek behind the stage curtain. For Aitch, fans are what make you. “Fans are the most important people in any artist’s life cycle. It makes it all real to me. You can’t ever take your fans for granted, if there’s two hundred people standing there waiting to take a picture, you’ve got to stand there and take two hundred pictures because the next day there might only be four people waiting.”
Don’t take advice – as strange as it might sound
For an up and coming artist there is nothing more important that forging your own style. “This game that we’re in – there are so many methods and ways to make it big. You can take in as much advice as you want, but no matter what someone says, it might not work for you. So it might sound mad: but my advice would be… don’t take too much advice.”