No stranger to the charts, we caught up with London artist Tion Wayne to reflect on the success of ‘Body’ and the process behind the All-Star Remix. With a new album on the horizon and a steady ascension globally, Tion Wayne is steadily becoming a dynamic force who is waving the flag for UK rap.
From Lower Edmonton Green in London’s North, hails Tion Wayne. In the last few years, Tion has gone from strength to strength, boasting a unique cadence and baritone hooks that have solidified the Londoner as a leading voice in UK rap music and a frontrunner for one of this year’s biggest British rap songs.
Alongside UK Drill favourite Russ Millions, his latest track ‘Body’, was destined for virality, capturing the world’s attention and creating one the biggest Tik Tok crazes globally to date, with its massive star-studded remix ’Body 2’ featuring Ardee, 3x3E1 & ZT, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, Darkoo and Buni breathing new life into the already anthemic track.
While ‘Body’ steadily climbs the charts, and Tion’s prominence growing we discuss the surreal attention coming his way, growing up in Lower Edmonton, the process behind the Kaylum Dennis produced video and the prospect of a new album this year.
Congratulations on the success of the song it seems you keep going strength to strength, I’ve been listening for a long time.
Thank you, it hasn’t settled in just yet but I’m very grateful, man. I just want to keep elevating. I see it as a stepping stone for me.
I can tell you worked hard all through lockdown, was that the plan to come out this strong?
I was working really hard because the studio was open during lockdown. I was always in the studio making hits, trying to make this album. I got a lot in the pipeline.
I’m a big E1 fan and I know they are from your area, too. Will we see more from Tion Wayne with E1 &ZT?
We are working on our big song hopefully soon. He’s doing it big for our area.
You’re from Edmonton Green. For people who don’t know the specifics of London, can you give us some insight into the area?
Edmonton Green is a small area in North London. There are two sides to it—there’s Upper Edmonton and Lower Edmonton. We are from Lower Edmonton. It’s not that big but it’s very cultural. Edmonton is very cultural, there’s a lot of people from other countries that have moved to that area and had their children in that area like there’s a lot of the Yardies, the Caribbean, Congolese and Nigerian. It’s like its own small town within London so a lot of people come from that area.
What was the process behind the remix for ‘Body’, because there are very different artists on this song from Darkoo to Fivio Foreign—was it the aim to get a smash?
My thing with the remix is, I was so happy with the original that I wasn’t even focused on getting this massive song again. My focus was bringing through my people. E1 and ZT, they are from my block. Buni is Russ Millions’ half-brother. Then I was thinking ArrDee has been killing it in the UK so it would be good to have him on the song. Bugzy Malone, he’s established and so is Fivio, but I wasn’t really going for the madness. It has been a blessing in disguise that it’s gone crazy as well.
You got to have E1 and ZT your boys from the block on a smash hit and I saw that you’ve bought your mother a car this past Mothers Day. Has the success sunk in yet or does it feel surreal?
It’s a blessing. I feel like for me trying to help my people, I am being rewarded. It’s good to see my people on a global hit, it’s given them great exposure. It wasn’t this easy before, trust me!
Can we expect more songs produced by Gotcha beats?
Gotcha will always work. Gotcha comes out when there’s a hit. Next time you see one of my tunes going crazy it’s probably produced by him.
The video was shot across a few countries? how did you make it happen and was Darkoo in the UK?
Darko was in the UK but Fivio Foreign was in the United States. Kaylum Dennis linked him with one of their people in America and they were liaising and Kaylum was on facetime making it look as similar as we could to what we were doing. The scenes in Edmonton with E1 and ZT, I basically directed it and the rest was just collaboration between me and Kaylum.
Just for the Australian readers, are you looking to tour anytime soon if it’s allowed?
I’m trying to tour as soon as I can. As soon as they tell me I’m allowed to come to Australia I’m there. I heard it’s mad out there, I haven’t been yet.
I saw on Instagram a few years back you spent some time in Nigeria how was that trip?
That was crazy man, it was a proper good experience. Real humbling. I’m looking to go again this year, but Australia is at the top of my list.
I’m Somali so I have to ask about the “Bariis and Hilib” line. You still eating Somali food?
Of course, I’m banging it out! There’s a lot of Somalis in my area so growing up a lot of my friends were Somali.
You worked with Mist and ArrDee this year. They’re both from outside of London do you keep your eye on artists outside of London?
Yeah, I do you know! There are a few artists I take in here and there, you feel me? It happens naturally like, I’ll listen to it and ask who’s this or I’ll see a clip.
Without giving away too much what can we expect this year?
The album man. More bangers, more success hopefully. But yeah, the album man that’s how this year is gonna finish. I think I’m ready and everything is shaping up really nice for me. More things are happening in my life the conversations are changing. We talking about number 1s now you get me.
Things are going well, and you work really hard — would you ever look to potentially growing your own label?
I love it at Atlantic man everyone here is like family. I feel like I’m a very hard worker and I feel like I can do a lot on my own. But in the near future, I’m looking at working with Atlantic still and maybe a collaboration of some sorts where I can involve my label. The independent route could work for some artists but I’m happy where I am.
Are you looking into acting? You have a very imposing screen presence.
Yes, we are looking into it. So hopefully you’ll see something very soon.
Follow Tion Wayne here for more and stream ‘Body 2’ below.