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Acclaim Digital Cover 028: SL

For our latest Digital Cover, we spoke to London artist SL about travelling around the the world and letting his experiences guide his songwriting on new EP Turbulence.

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SL’s rise to certified status began at the age of 15, fueled by his breakout hit “Gentleman” which instantly captivated the UK rap scene. SL’s unique style and delivery solidified his place as a mainstay in the UK music landscape with just three releases. Despite his true identity being hidden with a mask, the London school student would begin receiving global recognition for his unique cadence and flow; chit-chatting casually about life in the streets in a way we’d never heard on record.


Our chat with SL revealed that he was a serious student who sharpened his storytelling chops through dedicated writing from a young age. He hails from humble beginnings in Peckham – the birthplace of UK artists like Giggs and Kwengface – and later settled in Croydon as a child of African immigrants, SL’s gift for storytelling shines through in his music, especially on his two-part series “Mad About Africa” which sees a 17-year-old SL paint a vivid picture of his upbringing and surroundings in an impressively captivating way.


From there, SL began to look outside of the UK, collaborating with American producer and internet sensation Kenny Beats, known for his collaborations with the likes of Rico Nasty and Denzel Curry to name a few. With the release coming as a surprise to some, SL proved that he was not one to be boxed in, bringing a global mindset to his UK-rooted sound as SL continued to stamp his name in the tapestry of the music scene as one to watch.

Now 21 years old, seasoned musician SL’s puts that same global mindset on display as he looks to become a seasoned traveller, touring the world in the lead-up to his new EP Turbulence, which sees the rapper touching down in major cities like Berlin, Stockholm, Toronto, Sydney and London in pursuit of knowledge, connections and new experiences.


Amidst the Australian leg of his international expedition, we caught up with SL for an exclusive interview speaking on his unique style, roots, and travels so far.

Thanks for taking the time to chat to us, SL. Can you tell us about where you’re at in your career right now?
I’ve been in the game for about 6 years. At such a young age, I’ve experienced a lot already. You take the good with the bad, but it’s been an eventful ride so far. I feel like this year you’ll see much more of me, and I’m happy my music has touched fans worldwide.

Each project you’ve released captures a different time in your life and development. Your new project, Turbulence just dropped — can you break that down for us?
My new EP, Turbulence, is the next chapter of my life whereby I continue to touch on my life experiences, but this time I’m travelling to different cities to get the inspiration to talk about my life experiences through music. So with the new project, there’s alot of storytelling going on, I like what I’ve put together, and I can’t wait for my fans to hear it all. What’s different is you get to hear me work with artists internationally (Killy & 1.Cuz). I worked with different producers and brought different beat selections to the table.

Your releases and how you chose to work with different artists always compliments your style; from Kwengface to Knucks—do you try to work with people you resonate with?
For sure, I feel when you have a good personal relationship with an artist then that’s you make the best work. I haven’t done too many features, but the artists I do have songs with are good people outside of music, which always helps.

What’s your process with beat selection? I think your flow and beat selection has always been something that has set you apart.
Normally when I’m at the studio I get the producer to run a few beats then whichever one I feel I choose and run with it. It’s all about the feeling when selecting beats.

Back when you were dropping tracks like Gentleman, the content of your music was a lot different. Can you pinpoint what prompted that change?
I dropped Gentleman when I was 15; I’m 21 now, so a lot has changed, and I’ve gotten way better as an artist and even a human. I’ve grown alot since then and experienced life a lot more, so naturally, the content of my music will change. I tell stories of what I’m experiencing in the moment.

Where did you get your knack for storytelling and punchy delivery? Because you have a natural ability to paint pictures with your lyrics.
I was smart in school. Book smart, so it must’ve come from school I’m guessing. [Laughs] But also in my spare time I watch alot of movies etc so maybe that helps too.

Your verse on ‘Simple’ with Lancey Foux was one of my favourite verses. That is one collab people might not have expected. How did that song come about?
Love, I enjoyed that record too. My team linked me up with Lancey, and we clicked straight away. We’re two different artists in terms of the type of music we make, but once we locked in we created some good music. We have about 20+ tracks together, so Simple is just one of many records we made together. Joint tape maybe someday, who knows but nah, Simple was cold for sure.

You strike me as someone who tries to keep a low profile; how have you found touring so far?
Loved it; it’s my first tour as an artist, and to come to the other side of the world and visit New Zealand & Australia has been nuts, I loved my stay here and I’ve always known about my supporters in NZ&AUS as myself and my team read into the data, and NZ&AUS have been listening for years so it’s good to get the opportunity to tour here, I definitely want to come back from the fans, to the artists and people I’ve met, I’ve enjoyed my time here.

Follow SL here for more and Stream the new EP ‘Turbulence’ here

PHOTOGRAPHY: @yourangle @just_marioveloso @theother.adele @lleggo_entertainmentsydney

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