He’s usually in front of the camera, but UK grime artist Dizzee Rascal has gone behind the lens for the launch of the Your Britain National Photography Competition.
Organised by search engine Bing, the competition asks participants to take photos of something about Britain that inspires them. Dizzee’s offerings include shots of the Olympic stadium and the London barber’s where he still goes for his ‘number one skin’.
Fresh from winning an Ivor Novello award for Inspiration, Mr Rascal talks about his new album, inspiration and his move into comedy.
Where have you been, Dizzee?
This year I have been taking a sabbatical, kicking back but also getting inspiration for my next album … I am also nurturing new British artists like D Double E and Pepper, who has her first track out this month, which is going to seriously blow people away. Her voice is so smooth and works perfectly even for a drum and bass track.
I am also developing a comedy sketch series and an amazing film, which is set in London and tells a true story that is amusing, tragic and shocking in equal measures. Next year, I’ll start my new album, so stay tuned. It’s going to be big and different to what I have done before – a creative mishmash of all the stuff that’s inspired me throughout the years.
What do you consider beautiful in London?
I love urban Britain. London city culture has inspired me most in my music, especially in the early days. As much as I love Miami and places like that, they don’t come close to East London! For sure, it’s not quite as glamorous but I’ve had some of the best times of my life around places like this.
Dizzee on his shot of D&L Barbers
Britain’s a beautiful place, man. I take inspiration from it every day. I can be in my D&L Barbers in Islington, London, and I can be chatting to my mate and he might tell me a funny story about what happened to him the night before. Right away I can take inspiration from that and work it into a lyric. It’s all about opening your eyes and looking around you. Some of the most interesting things are right in front of you, like street graffiti art on the way to work or even an ‘80s council estate architecture. It speaks mountains about all the different cultures in Britain and I love that.
Dizzee on his shot of Olympics
All of the images I took are of places that are special to me. One of the images that particularly stands out to me is of the Olympic Stadium in East London. From the site itself I could see my old estate where I grew up so I have a big connection to the place and the stadium is actually built where I used to perform on a pirate radio station so there’s a lot of history there for me. The Olympics is also a big inspiration for younger British kids to strive for more. I hope that I can inspire others with my pictures to enter the competition. If they win it really could change their lives. Who knows, maybe we’ll discover the next Ben Drury or David Bailey!
Inspired by Dizzee’s photos? Enter your own favourite images of Britain for the chance to win £10,000. Head to the Your Britain site for more details. The competition closes on June 24.