GIO Talks Becoming A Jeweller, His Latest Single “Hot” & More!

Elle Evans

By Elle Evans

Elle Evans

28 Sep 2021

Hailing from Homerton, East London, is the rising emcee GIO who is swiftly proving himself as a force to be reckoned with. After his father was sent to prison when he was just 13 years of age, GIO began funneling his thoughts onto paper and soon became infatuated with music and writing his own bars. After finding himself in a sticky predicament, the London native swiftly became a jeweller at 15 as he stepped foot into the family ‘ICEJEWLZ’ business.

Journeying forward to now, the promising talent has created a stable life for himself and made a turn for the better. As he gears up to put his full focus and attention back into music, GIO entered the new year with the release of “Dr Ice”, which was shortly followed through with both “Focused” and the newly-released drop named, “Hot”. Boasting his reputable grit, the Capri-produced backdrop enables the emcee to flaunt his lavish lifestyle.

Continuing to prove why he’s a force to be reckoned with, Mixtape Madness caught up with GIO for a quick chat about his latest single “Hot”, his venture in jewellery, his thoughts on the scene, and more. Tap in below to see what he had to say!

Tell me a bit more about your upbringing in Homerton and what kind of music you were listening to growing up?

My upbringing in Homerton is similar to many other areas in London, different cultures and races squeezed into one small area. My dad and most of my older cousins listened to a lot of hip-hop and bashment music so I was listening to the likes of Vybz Kartel, 50 Cent and many other artists that make music from those genres.

How did you begin rapping? Did you start by freestyling with your friends or…

As always when it comes to music it always starts with you playing around with your friends, then to find out that you’re actually good at something whether that’s making music or playing a sport which was the case with me. But, if I had to be honest I actually can’t remember when I began rapping it feels like something I always did.

At which point did you decide to take it seriously?

When all my friends said I was good at rapping I took them seriously but I needed a more mature ear to listen to see if I was really good, or if it was just my friends saying that I was because we were friends. So, before I took it seriously I rapped something I wrote in front of my parents and a couple of my family members and they agreed I should take it seriously and I have since.  

Are there any artists that you would say have shaped your sound over the years?

I wouldn’t say there’s any artist that shaped the way I sound because I like many different genres of music. I take a bit from everything I listen to and that’s not necessarily the artist it could be the instrumental.

I read that you are also a jeweller! Tell me a bit more about this and how you got into that at such a young age. 

I’ve always had an interest in jewellery since I was a little kid, I’ve even got pictures of me wearing my dads chains at the age of five. As I got older I realised I had a passion for it so I thought to myself how will I be able to get into the industry. Normally, it’s family orientated and luckily at the time one of my older cousins had started his jewellery company. When I spoke to him they’re wasn’t a shop or an office, I decided to ask him if I could follow him around and watch what he does. He was travelling to different jewellery stores in the UK and letting them stock our brand ICEJEWLZ, I spent two of my six week holidays with him understanding the trade. 

Who have you made jewellery for that our readers might know of?

Here’s some of my clients that are likely to be known by your readers, J Hus, Big Narstie, Charlie Sloth, NSG, Rashford (Man Utd), Wan-Bisaka (Man Utd), Zaha (Crystal Palace), Willock (New Castle), Partey (Arsenal), Iwobi (Everton), Kean (Juventus), Batshuayi (Chelsea), Anthony Yarde (Boxer), and many more other people. 

You recently dropped the visuals for “Hot”. Tell me how this single came about? 

“Hot” was the first drill song I wrote and sometimes I just write music and forget about it and that’s exactly what happened. One day I went to the studio to record a song and I had enough time to record another one, I rapped the lyrics to the people I was with and they said I should record “Hot” – if they weren’t there I probably wouldn’t have recorded it!

Halfway through the track you take a more melodic approach. How would you go about describing your sound now? 

When it comes to music I just go with the way I feel, so half way through a song I might feel like singing or rapping in a different accent. If I had to describe my sound in one word I’d say “abnormal”. 

What’s your creative process like?

Sometimes I’ll write without an instrumental and just go off how I feel and put my thoughts down kinda like a diary, and other times I’ll find a beat I like and sit down and write to it. I’ll even have an idea for a video and I’ll write around that. For example, whilst I was working I came up with the idea of me showing what I do and adding a bit more character to it which was “Dr Ice”, me wearing a lab coat and treating the jewellery like I was going to do surgery on it. I gave it the doctor feel and obviously the ice is the jewellery. When you think about it creating certain pieces of jewellery you need a steady hand like a surgeon…

What are your thoughts on the UK scene as it stands?

There are a few artists within this genre of music that some might say I am similar to like Fredo and Slim, but my style is a little different because I incorporate melodies. You don’t have to be a certain way or make a certain type of music to chart anymore which is dope because ten years ago you would have to make pop music to do well in the scene, where as right now hip-hop culture is considered pop! I’m proper happy with UK scene at the moment and where it’s going.

What else can we expect to see from you this coming year?

You can expect more singles and maybe an EP by the end of the year!

Keep up to date with all things GIO via his Instagram here.