Acclaimed producer Fraser T Smith has declared that Stormzy’s upcoming debut Gang Signs & Prayer will put the grime star “up there with Ed Sheeran, Adele and The Weeknd” ahead of the hotly anticipated release.
Speaking to Music Week, Smith, who produced the record, hailed Stormzy as the “voice of his generation”, describing the album (out on February 24) as a record that would come to define 2017.
“This record will put Stormzy up there with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Adele and The Weeknd,” Smith said..”A lot has been said about whether or not a UK grime artist can break outside the UK, but if there is one artist that can, it’s Stormzy. He’s a spokesperson for his generation, and he’s not taken that title lightly.”
Smith also hailed Gang Signs & Prayer as a triumphant return to the traditional album format, with both artist and producer working together to build a conceptual body of work.
“We locked ourselves away for 10 months to make the record,” Smith continued. “Everything had to fit the concept in terms of the sonics, the title, the lyrics, the tracklisting and the mix. As much as Stormzy is the hottest new artist releasing a record, it was made in a very old school way.
“And we started with the concept, which is how he’s walked the tightrope between growing up on the streets of south London through to his religion and how the yin and yang of that works.
“We were using the ‘gang signs’ as the hard beats, and the ‘prayer’ side being church bells, harp, live strings for a more ethereal, divine sound.”
Smith has penned and produced work with the likes of Adele, Sam Smith, Britney Spears, Ellie Goulding, Plan B, Tinchy Stryder, Taio Cruz and many more.
You can read our interview with him in full, in which he discusses new talent, the MPG Awards and the renaissance of the album, here and in the latest edition of Music Week, out now.