Hardy Caprio is in Magaluf. Given that he’s a 22-year-old graduate with a first class degree to celebrate, this is no great surprise; only Hardy is in the Mallorcan resort to play a gig, rather than to party. That our interview takes place in the land of jelly shots and awful tattoos only serves to highlight the quiet seriousness and dedication that define the Croydon MC’s approach. You don’t sell half a million singles by accident.
“I went to uni with the mentality that I was not going to have a lot of free time, that gave me a lot of discipline,” he says. “I made sure I didn’t get too distracted.” Caprio’s more recent work – from breakout track Unsigned (30 million Spotify streams and counting) to Super Soaker and the sunkissed haziness of current single Best Life – is sweet validation of his diligence. So too are the more experimental contents of his Hollywood and Hardy Season EPs. His bars bang, for sure.
“Go back and you can see so many different things, it’s multi-faceted,” he says. “I feel like that’s what really showcases me as a person, rather than being a gimmick of myself or a one dimensional character.” Managed by his best friend from university and under the wing of Virgin EMI, Hardy has more music planned for this year, while an autumn UK tour will call at the O2 Forum Kentish Town.
Inspired by the rise and rise of his idols including Jay-Z and Skepta, this young rap talent is intent on showing the world the Hardy Caprio Sound. “I would like to say I’m a normal person and by that I mean there are so many different emotions that I haven’t honed in on yet,” he says. “It’s been a lot of feel-good music so far, there are sad emotions and situations that I haven’t touched on yet. When the time’s appropriate I’ll start showcasing my other side.”
Articulate, ambitious and comfortable, Hardy’s chat is redolent of hometown hero Stormzy’s, and he wants to follow in the #Merky star’s footsteps. “Seeing Stormzy gave me the drive to keep going, us being from the same area, it laid out a template,” he explains. “If you work hard enough and keep putting out great content, something may connect.” Hardy is connecting in a big way, thanks in no small part to warm endorsement from DSPs: early support from Spotify’s Austin Daboh was crucial. “Spotify in particular changed my life, Austin was one of the first people to take a punt on me and put me in a playlist that I wasn’t particularly meant to be in,” Hardy says. “That allowed me to get to the next stage…”
For Hardy Caprio, the climb looks set to continue. “The music business is something you shouldn’t overcomplicate,” he muses, as a parting shot. “Make good music and it markets itself, do that simultaneously then you’re in the money.”