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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

UK rapper Example is back for another beach party

Rap/dance crossover star Example on Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams and why he's turning back to rap.
Example, aka Elliot John Gleave, performs on stage during the Future Music Festival at Flemington Racecourse in March. Graham Denholm / Getty Images
Example, aka Elliot John Gleave, performs on stage during the Future Music Festival at Flemington Racecourse in March. Graham Denholm / Getty Images

Taking his stage name from his initials, Elliot Gleave – aka Example – enjoyed huge success in 2011 with the hits Stay Awake and Changed the Way You Kiss Me, from his platinum-selling third LP Playing in the Shadows.

Known for mixing rap with pop and dance, Gleave made an about-turn with last year’s fifth LP, Live Life Living, but still scored big with hits All the Wrong Places, Kids Again and One More Day (Stay With Me).

Returning to Dubai for the first time since 2013’s ill-fated My Music X, his Nasimi Sessions show at Atlantis, The Palm ranks among the biggest outdoor gigs before summer descends.

We’re thrilled to have you back in Dubai. Do you remember your previous gigs here? Good crowds?

Of course – I’ve played there three times and every time was a winner. Especially on the beach [we think he means Sandance in October 2011].

Tell us what we can expect from album number six? Any idea when it might drop?

I’ve been working on it loads since the start of the year. I think I’ve got about 20 new songs already. For the last album I wrote 16 tracks, and ended up with 16 tracks. For this album I want to try to write about 40 songs and then pick the best 12 or 13 tracks for the album – more quality that way. I’ve already got quite a few singles to choose from. I’ll have a single out this summer, maybe one later in the year, and then the album should be in the first half of next year.

Why the move away from rapping on the last one, Live Life Living? How much are you thinking of the charts?

At that point I’d done four albums. One was like lad hip-hop, one was electro-pop, one was dubstep/club and the fourth was all guitars. There was rapping and singing across all of them. I decided with the fifth album to try to make a whole album without rapping on it, to challenge myself a bit more. I think the last album had some great songs, great melodies and production, but not enough of my character and story – the rapping adds that. So on this sixth album I’ve decided to rap on every track again. It’s all kinds of genres but loads of energy on this one.

What did you learn from working as a voice-over actor? Did that influence your rapping style or approach in any conceivable way?

You learn to manipulate your voice and make things clearer to the listener. But really, rapping and singing are totally different. I have an unusual voice, so it’s more about learning what’s best for me when I make a song. But every now and then I try new stuff, new vocal styles or spoken word, for instance.

Your old mate Ed Sheeran has done rather well for himself of late. What did you see in him back in the day?

When he first supported me, back in 2009, I knew he had an incredible voice but I discovered while he was on stage that he had true star quality and a unique, world-class live show. I said to him the first time I watched him “can I support you when you play stadiums one day?” He laughed and nodded. True to his word he has me supporting him at Wembley Stadium this July.

The story goes that Robbie Williams took your slot on Dizzee Rascal’s hit Goin’ Crazy. Is that true? What do you make of that? We just had Robbie over in Abu Dhabi, which is why I ask.

It wasn’t like that, really. Diz sent me the track. It already had a chorus on it sung and written by someone else. I tried to re-sing it as the featured vocal but it didn’t sound right in my range. I couldn’t nail it so I was just honest to them about it and I passed. Then they called Robbie, I suppose.

Anything else at all you’d like to tell our readers?

Er ... be well. Come see me at Nasimi Beach!

Example is live at Nasimi Sessions, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, on May 1 from 5pm. Tickets cost Dh100 in advance from platinumlist.ae, Dh150 on the door. Ladies free before 7pm

rgarratt@national.ae

Updated: April 29, 2015 04:00 AM

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