Singer, Songwriter, Multi-Instrumentalist and MC FKA Promise has recently released a three-song EP entitled 'New Revival'. Louder Than The Music spoke to the man behind the songs to find out how he was changed from a life of crime and drugs when Jesus came into his life, and how the music he creates now can bring strength and hope to all who hear it.
For those who haven't heard of you before, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in making music?
I’ve been involved in music since I was a kid. I was always crossover. I was MCing UK hip-hop and drum and bass, and playing guitar and singing in indie bands. I did a lot of gigs with a lot of different people throughout my life, and I enjoyed it too. Always loved being on stage! I guess something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. But music was always there. Always a part of me.
You've been through some rough experiences to reach this point in your life - tell us about your journey to God.
Well I usually tell people that I was at a point where everywhere there was just darkness. Nothing made sense and I totally lost all sight of who I was. I had been using drink and drugs from a young age. I was involved in crime and just living a bad lifestyle. I tried so many times to get out of it, to work and be a “normal person” but I'd always fall back into it. At one point, I felt like the only way out would be to throw myself in front of a train. A good friend of mine put me in touch with a homeless charity that had a rehab on the outskirts of East London/Essex. I called them and within a week, Jesus had pulled me out of that darkness and surrounded me in light. It was amazing. I was surrounded by Christians and studied the bible every day. Before I knew it I was so far away from drugs and alcohol it was incredible. I was a new creation, just like Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It was amazing and I’ve never looked back.
You've just released your EP 'New Revival' what was the inspiration behind that?
I never stop writing songs really. A lot of the time I can be walking somewhere and get a tune in my head and I’ll kinda hum it into my phone! Then it could be days or weeks later, I’ll listen back to the recordings and build songs out of them. The “Hallelujah” bridge part of Ayu was one of those. I was out and about and just started singing it to myself, and I quietly sung it into my phone! I guess I’ve always written about what’s gong on inside me. Now when I do that it always comes back to God. To the salvation I’ve received in Jesus.
What message would you like people to take from your music?
Hope. Strength. I guess more than anything I would like people to relate to it and for God to be glorified.
How would you describe your style of music and what are your influences?
I categorise myself as CCM but I guess there are quite a few influences. Hip-Hop, Indie, EDM. I’m influenced by worship artists like Jesus Culture and Hillsong United, but also by secular artists like Elliot Smith and Jr Gong, I guess I’m eclectic, and quite chilled.
If you could work with any songwriter, who would it be and why?
That is so hard. There are so many amazing songwriters out there. I’d probably say Joel Houston. He’s written so many great and inspiring songs. Great songwriter.
How would you define success in your career as an artist?
I guess to have a group of people that have found value in my music. When you get those messages from people who say “your music really helped me during a difficult time” I think that’s one of the most important things I would like to achieve. But the fundamental purpose really has to be for the glory of God. I think just keeping Jesus at the centre we can redefine what success means.
What is your favourite album of all time?
This is so hard! Empires by United is a great album. That helped me when I was a new Christian and it showed me how rich and diverse Christian music is. I love how eclectic the album is and there are some beautiful songs on it.
You're stuck on an island, it's hot, you only have enough battery life left to listen to one song on your phone. What track is it?
Haha! Wow that is tough. I’m thinking right now, The Blessing by Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes. That’s a song you could build a shack to!
What does the next year hold for you?
Well I’ve got a lot of half-made songs I need to finish. So there’ll be another release by autumn. Probably a 5 song EP. Then I’ll be looking to get an album out in 2021. Right now I’m really looking forward to getting back into church and playing in worship again!