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Interview: Is OWS about to become an X Factor judge? We chat to him about ‘Waterline’ and much more.


We headed down to the first ever headline gig of OWS a few weeks back and instantly became OB-SESS-ED with the artist formerly known as Oritsé from JLS (not that we weren’t always red supporters). When the opportunity to interview Reesh came up, we couldn’t help but jump at the chance, jotted down some questions and awaited his phonecall. We asked him all about his post-JLS music, his baby boy Omré and whether or not he’d like to fill one of those empty seats on the X Factor judging panel.

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Hi Oritsé, we’re speaking to you today about your new single ‘Waterline’ released on June 8. What’s the main difference between the music you’re making now and the music you used to write for JLS?

Obviously the music for JLS was very much about making the right records to be direct to a certain demographic and it was more of a manufactured process whereas now I’m just writing from the heart. I’ve been writing about a lot of things that I’m passionate about, getting a lot of emotions that I feel off my chest. My writing is kind of like a ‘Dear Diary’ almost, it’s an extension of the reality of my life and it’s very personal to me so a lot of the lyrics that you hear from me are true life stories.

If you could give ‘Waterline’ away to another musician, who would you pick and what do you think they’d bring to the track?

If I could give ‘Waterline’ away, I’d give it to Chris Martin from Coldplay. I just could imagine his unique tone and the indie style vocal on it. I think he would bring something very interesting to that record.

Pusha T features on the new single. What drew you to work with him?

He was kind of drawn to us in a way. We put the song up on Soundcloud under OWS and nobody knew it was me and Kanye West’s company Good Music, which is a record label, got in touch and they’d discovered the record and showed their interest in what we were doing. So they got in touch and that lead to his artist Pusha T hearing it and wanting to be a part of the song, which was kind of a big surprise for us, especially me, because I’d seen Pusha T on Justin Timberlake’s first single, and obviously he’s got so much credibility in the Hip Hop world and I was pleasantly surprised that he really loved what we were doing and we sent him the record and a week later it popped up in my emails ‘Pusha T Rap Verse for Waterline’ and I pressed play and I couldn’t believe that it was actually him and that led to him saying that he wanted to be a part of the video and he was actually in the studio with Pharrell at the time but took time out of his day to come down and shoot the video with me.

We were down at your first solo gig and heard a few of the new tracks that you’ve been working on. Apart from ‘Waterline’, which was your favourite track to perform?

What was your favourite song that you heard from the show?

We’re not too sure of the titles (awks) but we loved the last song that you performed.

Oh, ‘Ticklish’? That’s quite fun that one, quite different. I love ‘Ticklish’, that’s really great to perform. My other favourite to perform was giving my take on the Ed Sheeran record ‘Bloodstream’. I really enjoyed doing that and there’s something special coming soon around that. I really enjoyed that. But I do love ‘Ticklish’, that really gets me going.

Last year you became a father to a baby boy. Has parenthood affected the type of music that you’re making at all?

100%. Because of parenthood, because of thinking about my son, I dig a lot deeper into who I am creatively. It’s really important for me to have the best representation of who I am and reflection of me as a person through my music and through my art. I feel he will understand me a lot more through my music and he’ll understand himself a lot more through my music and actually my fan will get a lot closer to me through my music because my music is really talking about some very profound moments in my life and whether it’s me going through tough time or me going through good times. My fans will get a lot closer to me through my music.

Beyoncé has featured Blue Ivy on her track ‘Blue’ and Kanye West featured North on ‘Only One’, even Victoria Beckham featured eldest son Brooklyn on the track ‘Unconditional Love’ (tune). Do you think you’ll go down that route and feature your son on a track?

I will definitely feature Omré on a record. I will 100% feature him on a record. He’s already playing the guitar so if you go over to my Facebook page you’ll see a video of him plucking his guitar strings at six and a half months old so 100% at one point myself and Omré will perform and do a song together at some point in his life.

If he was around during the JLS days do you think your son would have been a red boy?

Yes! Hell yes! Damn right he would have been a red boy, he wouldn’t have been any other colour. He’d have no choice in it. It was inherited.

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Speaking of JLS… In snog, marry, avoid style, which of the JLS boys would you collaborate with, tour with, and ignore?

I can’t answer that question! We’ve all collaborated together, we’ve all toured together and we’d never ignore each other. However, I did speak to Marvin two days ago and said it’d be good if maybe LuvBug could do a remix of one of my records.

In 2013 you won the dance competition Stepping Out with your partner AJ. Could you see yourself doing anymore work with the dance world?

I see myself supporting AJ doing work in the dance world. AJ’s an incredible talent as you could see from the ITV show. She actually smashed that show and she got a lot of credibility from people in the industry all over the country on that show, to the point where she got herself a booking agent and people came chasing after her. So for her, she’s going to do a lot more in the dance world and entertainment industry in general. She’s a massive part of the creative direction of what I do as well so she’s been my little secret weapon for a long time now.

If you toured after your album is released, would you be incorporating any of the skills you learnt from the series into the routines for the tour?

I don’t think I would but maybe I would see where I could incorporate AJ into it, where she’d be able to express my music in dance form.

Obviously, you found fame with JLS on The X Factor. As it’s a bit up in the air with the judges at the moment, we’re giving you a chance to sell yourself to get a seat on this year’s panel. Imagine we’re Simon Cowell and tell us what you’d bring to panel that nobody else has before.

I think it’s quite simple. There’s not many people who have put together a group themselves that has sold over 10 million records like I did. Also, I’ve got my own company Overflow which I’ve got my own artist signed to it called A*M*E who is a number one Grammy nominated artist, so I’m already giving talent a new platform. I mean The X Factor, that’s cool, but I’d probably be more interested in setting up my own talent television platform. I’m a creator, I like to innovate and my fans know that, I call them the originiators. I like to originate new ideas and concepts so I’d probably create my show and be a judge on that.

Who would you bring along to judge that show with you?

Paloma Faith, who’s a good friend of mine. Labrinth, he’s another good friend of mine. Maybe I’d throw a wildcard in there and go with Idris Elba.

As you’ve been through the X Factor process, what advice would you give for this year’s hopefuls?

You have to be yourself. The public will see right through you if you’re trying to pretend you’re something that you not. You have to be 100% yourself and make sure that you’re polite to everyone and are a good person.

To finish up, we’re going to play This or That with former band members.
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini or Kimberley Walsh?
I’d have to say Cheryl because she was a judge on The X Factor when I was on it.
Nathan Sykes or Max George?
I don’t really have a preference. I think they’re both good at what they do individually.
Mel B or Mel C?
I’m going to have to say Mel B because she gave myself and AJ ten points on Stepping Out.
Nick Jonas or Joe Jonas?
I love Nick Jonas’ music so I’m going to go with Nick just because he’s got a very interest record.
And finally, as you released ten top ten singles with JLS, we want you to tell us what we can expect from OWS in ten words.
Originating, new concepts, creating outside of a box, doing things the other way. (That’s 13 but we love him so we’ll let him off).
OWS and Pusha T release ‘Waterline’ on June 8. Pre-order here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq5wnKVdXeQ

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Written by Oliver Meakings

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No dull pop stars allowed.