A personality forged from the fires of adversity and equipped with the fearlessness, desire and strength to go further. To break borders, rules, beliefs, premonitions and conventions. To go further than what has gone before. To leave a legacy bigger than the life they lead.

To find yourself, you have to think for yourself. To reach the unknown, to step into the depths of your dreams and into a world outside the range of human perception.

This is what happens when you dare to believe.

Photography: FILMAWI
Styling: CARLOTTA CONSTANT
Set Design: LYNDON OGBOURNE
Interview and Words: TOM EVEREST
"I create a proper picture with my music. You don't even have to imagine it, you can see it. You live it."

“I was born and raised in north west Birmingham. Then I moved around a lot… north Brum, south Brum, London, then back to north west,” he explains. But, throughout it all, throughout the upheavals and change of scenery, one constant remained. His mum.

“She’s a hero. She’s always been there. It was only ever me and my Mum. Of course, I’ve got my Nan and my Aunts and Uncles and all that, but it was only ever really me and her for years. She taught me everything. There’s no Dad thing. She played both. She looked after me, took me to football. Everything.”

M1llionz talks with a candour and warmth that matches his moniker. It’s the same energy that not so much carries you through tracks like Lagga and Y PREE but allows you to levitate above them. His rawness and off-beat delivery makes tracks feel more like stories than the usual repetition of trap and drill beats that fill the UK soundscape. Enriched with elements of patois, his tone is something, again, he thanks the influence of his mother for as it seems to stem from his early exposure to his Jamaican roots.

“I don’t know where my flow comes from exactly,” he contemplates. “The way I’ve crossed my sound with the Jamaican influence is different. But, it comes from within me. I’ve always had it. It’s the way I write, innit. I don’t write to beats, for one. And two, I do a thing where I miss the drop. I don’t do things in set form. I like the feel of doing it a little off. I do it because it allows me to tell a proper story.”

The same energy is there when M1llionz talks, but it feels different. His delivery does not stutter or obstruct but it glides like a pebble scaled over water. He’s concise, considered and careful in his construction of speech. Not because he has to think. It’s more that he is careful in regards to the information he wants to divulge. Nevertheless, his insights are immediate, insightful and profound.

“To find yourself you have to think for yourself. To push the boundaries of what they all thought was possible.

“If you were doing stuff before that wasn’t too good and you start doing music, you see stuff that you never thought you would have seen,” he empowers. “It opens up the world.

“I’ve always had the drive to see more and do more. I never wanted to grow up and be broke. Not even money wise, in terms of life experience. I’ve always wanted to do something with my life. To dream bigger.”

Despite the big splash, M1llionz has only dipped a toe in the waters of what the world can expect from him. And, consequently, what he can expect of the world. He’s not a new breed of UK artist but an entirely new species. He exists as a bubbling influence in the culture, someone who’s fluent in the language of life – he knows and sees more than he ever lets on – but he talks very little about himself. He’s on a wavelength that rises above and resists a lot of the regular impulses of UK artists. He even spends most of his time in Jamaica to avoid such distractions.

V“Jamaica gives me a different type of energy, he explains. “The way they attack music is different out there too, the whole place just gives you energy. But, the whole place is calm, you know. You can just relax. You can take your time with things, still. England is 24/7, a million miles an hour. Over there, you can relax, take your time and really think about things.”

M1llionz is too sly, and perhaps shy, to say it outright, but his videos are also one of the reasons he’s been able to sell and share his vision to the wider world. Whether it’s Y PREE or Lagga, each video is a tour through the real life fantasyland that he’s curated in his mind as one of leading culture movers of his generation. The mere mention of one of his videos is enough to rouse a wry smile. Does he know what impact that they’ve actually made?

“I’m only realising now,” he admits. “I’ve done Y PREE, that was in Jamaica, Billionz and that was in England and obviously the last one in Kenya. So, yeah, they’re all good videos but, again, I don’t think about anything bigger than what they are. At the time, I just wanted to do something different. When it comes out, ‘I’m always like, yeah that’s nice, still,’ but in the moment I’m just in full focus.”

So, what’s the formula? “I dunno, you know. It’s more about living in that moment. Lagga, for example, It was all natural.

“My team had the link to someone in Kibera [an area in Nairobi and Kenya’s largest slum] and, after that, it was just about getting down there and living. Experiencing the culture, interacting and learning from the people and that was the end result. It’s probably why it came out so good because it’s just the way it happened. It’s all natural. There was no big picture or big idea. It’s all real life,” he adds.

“Sometimes, you can have too much structure. You just need to see where that moment in that world will take you.”

M1llionz’ influence looks set to extend beyond music and videos into art, fashion, business and beyond. No matter the eventual avenue, it all comes down to the same motive for M1llionz. Legacy. To leave an imprint that dwarfs his current standing, to create a sound that inspires new energy and to build an empire that ensures family, friends, associates live a life beyond they could ever imagine.

“You can never give up. There’s always light. Things can change. Never feel like it’s the end. Your life can change in a single moment.”

Vol. 2

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