Catching Up With Manchester’s Waviest Rapper: SVMI

MM spoke to the rapper and director, about his unique sound, what it’s like to grow up in the music industry and his new single “Old Friends”!

June 10, 2020 Rehana Harmony

Since bursting onto the scene around five years ago, North-Mancunian videographer and now rapper – SVMI, has been making a lot of noise both figuratively and literally within the scene.

So, for those of you who knew him by the moniker of SVMI Visuals, you can drop the ‘Visuals’ part – because his videography days are now being split between shoots and studio sessions.

Last year, saw the artist blossom into the unique and wavy rapper he is today. Over that period we received a string of wildly distinct singles including, “Bait Lies” featuring A1 and P1 Caps, “Through The Grapevine” with Con M1, Kamali and A1 to “Way Back Then”; and most recently“He Say She Say” . Each offering reflects a heavy influence drawn from his hometown and his love for US rap; while showing true individuality and an impressive ability to deliver versatility without having to reach beyond his own sonic realm.

SVMI exemplifies a new-gen of multifaceted artists who are taking their creativity into their own hands. Moreover, not only is he one of the UK’s most in demand visual curators, as well as one of the countries most promising newcomers in rap; but he also knows a thing or two about laying down a slick instrumental – and he’s only 19! 

Hey SVMI, please introduce yourself!

I’m a 19 year old artist and director coming from North Manchester. Over the past 4 – 6 years I’ve worked alongside a lot of upcoming Manchester talent and have seen them grow into who they are now. 

When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?

I knew I wanted to be an artist when WhyJay was telling me I genuinely sound good on mic. Funnily enough I recorded my first official song with WhyJay, it has a big feature on it. But that’s yet to be released.

Does it ever get overwhelming juggling directing and being a musician?

Yeah it can get hard juggling both hustles, but I guess life’s hard. *Laughs* I think getting through the hard phases and continuing to push will show for itself. I don’t think I’d ever put the camera down though or lose my love for directing.

Do you feel as though starting out the way you did has helped you as an artist?

I do feel like being a director prior to becoming an artist gave me a little head start, but not a huge one. For all I know, I could’ve released a terrible song for my first release. I wouldn’t have got love, even with the following I had from being a director. It genuinely depends on the quality of music you release as an artist.

The fact that I started so young and have worked with so many artists at a young age has opened my eyes. I had people try and fall out with me over the pettiest things when I was like 16 or even younger… I’m talking grown men. *laughs* So, going into the music game has given me a lot of background information on everyone as a whole.

What did you learn about the industry before transitioning?

One I learned beforehand, is that you have to see people for what they really are. Then know not to mix them with your music. Prior to being an artist I picked up a lot of knowledge about the label side of things, hence why my views on labels aren’t like others. I tend to be wary when being approached by them and artists. It’s best to try and keep people at arms length for my own sake. 

So far you’ve built up a solid catalogue of bangers, what song is the best portrayal of your sound?

As of now, I’d say “Bait Lies” and “Through The Grapevine” are my favourite releases because to me, they are the tracks where I had finally found my sound and wave, in addition, they made impact with a wider audience. 

I personally describe your music as “wavy” – How would you describe it?

I get asked this all the time and honestly, I don’t know. *laughs* People have gone as far as saying it’s a mix between R&B and Trap, some have said it’s a mix between LA music and grime. I’m honestly not sure myself. I just like to create good vibes, and music everyone can listen to. 

Have you settled on a sound now or are you still exploring different options?

Yeah, I think I’ve found my sound but I wouldn’t say I’ve settled on it. Sometimes, the worst thing an artist can do is get too settled into their sound… Then everything they do from there just sounds the same.

You’ve got to switch it up and keep feeding your listeners different ear food. I know from being a listener myself, there’s only so long I can hear the same type of sound/melody before getting bored of it.

Who has influenced you musically?

If we’re talking influences, I think everything around me has influenced me in some sort of way. But to narrow it down, I do take a heavy Manchester influence as well as a heavy American influence, LA music to be specific. 

“Bait Lies” has done numbers! Did you expect that much love when you dropped it?

Honestly, I didn’t think it’d go as crazy as it did. But it did, and now we’re continuing to build from it!

So, you have a new song dropping today called, “Old Friends”. Could you tell us what to expect from it and what inspired it?

Yeah, my next release is out today via Grm Daily, and that includes the video and audio via all digital streaming platforms. This song talks about how I had to lose some people along the way for my own sake, which helped me to better myself. Really and truly, it is always for the best. Also, I’m still bringing that happy and bouncy vibe to show I really don’t give a f*ck no more. *laughs*

You’ve been working with Litek recently, how did that relationship come about? 

It’s funny how we linked up. We actually met each other at some RamRiddlz concert then f*cked the show off within half an hour to go back to my boys studio. *laughs* From then we’ve been as close as ever, making more bangers than ever. Turns out my big sister and him knew each other from University days too which was mad, small world.

There has been a lot of singles so far. Is an EP/project on the cards for this year? 

To be honest I’m holding onto this project for the right time. For now, releasing singles is doing me more good than a project would. I don’t feel to release a project for people not to take it seriously, when the time is right and my audience really wants it, then I’ll give it them. But for now I’d say releasing singles is my wave.

Last question, who do you think is up next from Manchester?

There is a lot of hidden talent you wouldn’t even know about in Manny. We’ve got the likes of Kamali, Con M1, P1 Caps, A1, Robin Knightz, K Don, Culps and so many more that I could go on to name. Those are just a few of hidden gems in Manchester that are soon to blow or are already on their way!