2014 has been a great year for Fuse ODG: after his track ‘Antenna’ hit number 7 on the UK charts in 2013, the London-born Ghana-raised star hit a new peak of number 3 with ‘Dangerous Love’ with Sean Paul, with a debut album coming out in a few weeks. Naturally, we jumped at the chance to interview the guy who’s been bringing African beats to the messy, Jaeger-covered dancefloors of our student hangouts.
Hi there Fuse! How’re you today?
I’m good, I’ve just landed back from South Africa. I was doing some promo stuff down there and shot a video. I like working in different countries, my music is worldwide so I try to connect to different territories. So yeah, I just got back and now I’m talking to you!
Where does the name come from?
It was a name that was inspired by my cousin when I was like, fourteen. You know like every household has a fuse, I want my music to be in every household. The ODG stands for Off Da Ground, you know, like, elevated.
How did you get into music?
I’ve always been into music. When I was younger everyone used to come to my house after my school ’cause I had like a mini-studio set up. I had my first performance when I was 16, at Croydon actually. It was amazing actually, seeing people’s reactions, I knew it was what I wanted to do. So I kept recording and putting out music, seeing people’s reactions.
Could you describe your sound to our readers?
I call it world music, but its pretty much music infused with African vibes, like Afrobeat. I like to dive into genres, but with an Afro vibe behind it.
You have a project called ‘Escape’ as well, could you tell us a little about that?
Yeah, the Escape youth project gets young people into music, art, poetry and they do a showcase at the end. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, since 2009 or so. I also work with ex-offenders, helping them gain life skills. I’ve been using my music to help others, I’m hoping with the platform with the platform I’ve got now I can do bigger and better things.
How important do you think it is for musicians and famous people to give something back?
I think its important not just for musicians but everyone. Take a bit of time, its important to we do stuff to better ourselves and others around us. It makes me happy to be able to help others. I think its really important to invest some of your time or money.
You’ve had Sean Paul and Wyclef Jean feature on your tracks, how did that happen?
When I met Wyclef Jean, we got talking about what I do. He saw that I was passionate about people, and Africa and helping other people. Straight away he said he can relate to me because of what he was doing with Haiti, we connected on a social level. We were having dinner and the DJ was playing my music, and it sounded so fresh to him, he said “we have to work together” and yeah, then we did ‘Antenna’.
On the flipside, if someone like David Guetta wanted you to feature on their track, would you do that, even though they have a habit of taking away the artist’s individuality?
It would have to be afro-dance, the percussion would be different. We’d need to meet each other halfway if I was to work with David Guetta.
Your debut album is out in a few weeks, are you nervous about how well it will do?
I’m not really nervous, I’m really excited. It’s my debut album, I’ve been waiting all my life. I know no matter what happens, it’s gonna be a historical album, it’s gonna change the game. A lot of people are going to be inspired, I know that much. I’m already content regardless of the results. People are going to appreciate it in years to come, and I’m really excited the world gets to hear it.
How come you are releasing it in November, what we’ve heard so far is so perfect for summer, why not then?
It’s worldwide music, it’s actually summertime in Africa! December is the hottest in Africa. It’s a worldwide release and from a worldwide perspective. I think you’ll put on the music at anytime and it will put you in the mood, and reminisce about the summertime and feel good. I’m sharing a message with people at the same time. There’s different sides, not just one message, people are gonna get to see that.
What was the funniest thing that happened to you recently?
(starts laughing, a lot) I was in Dubai last week and… my manager got caught in lift! You know when the doors are closing, well he was looking good, doing this catwalk thing and the door closes on his head. When you’re in a lift everyone tries to keep a straight face but it didn’t work. He’s not gonna appreciate me sharing that.
What’s better: Domino’s or Pizza Hut?
Oooooh, I like the chicken wings from Domino’s. (what about the pizza though Fuse?!?)
Your name is Fuse so what electrical appliance would you be?
Hmmmmm, I’m surprised no-one’s asked me that before. First thing that’s come into my head, I don’t know why, is an iron.
Cause you like to look good?
I guess, maybe. Or maybe I can smooth out any situation, or maybe I’m too hot for the ladies.
When is it acceptable for shops to put Christmas decorations up?
I’ve seen some doing it already! I reckon the start of November is fine.
You’re playing the KISS Haunted House party, what scares you?
A couple of rides at theme parks. I try to keep my cool, but deep down… (laughs)
Thanks very much Fuse. One last thing before you, pick a classic song to go on our Playlist.
‘Maria Maria’ by Santana.
Fuse ODG’s debut album ‘T.I.N.A. (stands for This Is New Africa) comes out on November 3rd. To tide you over, and remind you of summer, here’s hit top 3 hit, ‘Dangerous Love’: