Grime artist Stormzy talks to the Oxford Guild Business Society about how he is shaping the new face of the BRIT Awards and his past academic ambitions.
Billed as “the biggest guest since Kanye West”, the Oxford Guild has once again managed to go one up on their snobby counterparts down the road at the Oxford Union. Stormzy (AKA Michael Omari) spoke eloquently about how he had recently met with Ged Doherty (chairman of BRIT Awards Ltd) and discussed how the BRITs could be more inclusive of UK urban music such as Grime. Stormzy pointed out the fact that “the majority of the voting panel was middle aged white men” who “might not know about little man Stormzy”. Change was therefore required in this panel to ensure that Grime music could succeed at the nation’s biggest music awards. Hopefully next year, due to the efforts of Stiff Chocolate, the BRIT awards will be more representative of underground music.
It seemed like the whole of Oxford University had scrambled to Oxfam to dig out the most faded Adidas sweatshirts they could find, hoping to give off the impression that they had “loved grime music since Tinie Tempah made real grime” (as one girl put it in her question to Big Mikey). Yet Stormzy met this desire to appear edgy with the message that they should all be proud of who they are as Oxford students. The musician repeatedly praised all in attendance for having managed to get into Oxford, a dream that he had once shared, and one that his mother had often reminded him was possible. Having achieved six A*s at GCSE, and a handful of Bs and Cs, he came across as highly intelligent and unbelievably motivated to achieve success. Whilst studying at what is now the Harris Academy in South Norwood, London, Stormzy had achieved academic success despite being “excluded at least once a month”. Following his A-Levels, he had planned to become a project engineer before dropping out after two years to pursue a career in music. It is a career that has been met with critical acclaim, after he won Mobo awards in 2014 and 2015 and was dubbed as one to look out for in the BBC’s influential “Sound of 2015” list.
The Oxford Guild has once again delivered on their promise to bring the best speakers to Oxford, and one can only look forward with excitement to see what they have in store for next term.
See the full interview here: periscope.tv/theoxfordguild