Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

2 Feb 2022

Isong rose to prominence off the back of the success of his track, ‘Have You Ever Heard A Love Song On Drill?’, which has helped pave the way for the new sub-genre, R’n’Drill. We sat down with him to discuss musical influences, playing at Wireless, and his latest release, ‘Cruise Control’:

You’re connected with this new wave of music that people are calling R’n’Drill. Would you say you’re one of the originators of this sound?

Yeah 100%, Because I feel like I’ve been doing this for a very long time. Obviously my breakthrough single was ‘Have You Ever Heard A Love Song on Drill?’ but I was doing that for years before. I feel like I kind of paved the way with this sub-genre.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I say very, very versatile. And I’m not a closed book. If you chat to anyone that I’ve been working with they’ll know that I don’t really try to box myself into one genre or into one type of artistry. I always like to to experiment and be creative, you get me?

Who would you say your musical influences are?

Obviously coming up internationally, it would be like the Chris Browns and the Ushers, the Trey Songz from the R&B side. The UK side I’ve looked up to a lot of people, like J Hus, DBE and that’s not only because of their musical influences, it’s because of what they’ve done in the industry for other artists. Also Roddy Rich, Lil Durk. I’m into that.

You played at Wireless this year, how big a moment was that for you?

It was crazy. I’ll be real. That’s my biggest crowd today. Yeah, man, back I wasn’t told a long time before, I only got told that a couple of days before the actual show. It was all just adding up, but when it got to the moment, it was good. The reception was good as well.

What do you prefer, making music in the studio or playing music to a crowd?

I enjoy both. And I feel like I feel like performing is a bonus kind of thing, you know what I’m saying? Because you get to see the reception off the back of your song and you get to see how it can actually connect with people, live in the flesh.

Do you think you’re still underrated as an artist in the scene?

I don’t really like to use the term underrated. My manager always told me every dog has their day kind of thing. I feel like what I’m doing now is good, and  I’m making steady progress. In terms of like the reception from music that has been good. Can be better, but as I said it’s a work in progress.

You’ve just recently dropped a new track, ‘Cruise Control’. Are you happy with the reception the song has got?

Yeah, man. I feel like people like it. I haven’t dropped in like a year, except from a remix that dropped. I feel it’s good way to say that I’m back, and 2022 We got a lot of stuff loading a lot of stuff that people ain’t expecting.

What have you got planned going into the new year?

Got countless singles. I’ve got features, I’ve been in sessions with a lot of crazy producers. But yeah, man, I feel like the catalog that we got, and the ones that we’re ready to push out are going to define the start of this year.

Finally, what do you think about the scene at the moment? is it in a healthy position?

Yeah, man, I’m all for it. Yeah, London is back. It hasn’t always been a place of success. There hasn’t always been a lot of people that you see from your local neighbourhood in the charts, or doing mad streams every month, so it’s a good look to see that everyone’s kind of on the same wavelength and there’s people coming up.

Isong clearly believes that he can have a lasting impact on 2022, as the sound of drill continues to shift away from the norm. The artist clearly has found his own lane and will be eager to build momentum from last year’s Wireless performance. It is now his task to define the sound of R’n’Drill and drive it forward.