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Tinie's 'going crazy' as he can't wait for Dublin gig

TINIE Tempah may well have been a force to be reckoned with on the Gaelic football field – if perhaps he hadn't excelled as a rap superstar.

The Londoner is in top form as he prepares to kick-start an arena tour that was originally scheduled for December.

And the 25-year-old rapper has several links to Ireland – not least his birth name Patrick.

But I wonder how I should address Tinie Tempah in this interview?

Should I call him Tinie (a pseudonym he adopted when he was a teenager), Patrick or Mr T, perhaps?

"Tinie's perfect, man," says the remarkably stylish rapper, as we exchange pleasantries. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

INTEREST

Raised by his Nigerian parents, Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu grew up in a family of six in Plumstead, south east London. At school, he developed an interest in music.

When he was 13, young Patrick declared to his friends on the playground (after flipping through the pages of a thesaurus) that, from thereon out, he would answer only to the name of Tinie Tempah.

I wonder if that's what they called him on the football pitch. We're talking GAA here, not soccer.

"Yeah, Gaelic football," remembers Tinie. "I had an Irish PE teacher called Mr McCann and so it was part of the curriculum for a little while. I don't really remember all the rules, but I was alright at it. "

Perhaps his famous Irish friends, The Script, can re-introduce him to the game. There's even talk of a studio collaboration between them.

"Whenever we meet each other, that's always the conversation," says Tinie. "I'm a huge fan of The Script, I love what they do. I love their musicality. I love the fact that they even have a little bit of an urban spirit as well, but it's just when the timing's right.

Back in December things were running smoothly for Tinie (25) after releasing his long-awaited second album, Demonstration. But everyone on Team Tinie soon came to realise that, to put on the best show imaginable, they might need more time.

His debut long-player, Disc-Overy – one of the highest-selling British albums of 2010 – had made him a worldwide success (the record also charted just outside the US Billboard top 20).

"I was in Germany, France, Holland and Scandinavia, just doing loads of promo," he recalls, "and there was no time to rehearse. We hadn't got any set designs back. It was literally, like, [the tour] wasn't going to happen, and if it did, it wouldn't have been as good as I wanted it to be.

"So, yeah, we've spent all of that time in between crossing the Ts and dotting the Is, and everything is looking and sounding amazing. We're ready to go."

Tinie has also been working out. It's not enough for the man to leave his mark with a tasty blend of hip-hop undercuts (Pass Out) and guitar-coated knockouts (the sensational Written in the Stars). He needs to look good, too.

In 2012, GQ magazine named Tinie the Best Dressed Man. No surprises there – Tinie has his own clothing line, and is as well-known for his dapper collection of suits, dickie bows and designer spectacles as he is for his chart success.

Now, Tinie's got a six-pack, and is filling out his clothes in a way he never could have expected. That's what happens when you join the same gym as former heavyweight champion boxer, David Haye.

"Last month, the chap made headlines after opening the BAFTAs alongside soul singer Laura Mvula. What did Tinie do? Well, he only high-fived Prince William in the front row during his performance. Afterwards, he joined Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie at their table. Busy night, so.

"One thing that I always feel like I have to say is that people are people," he explains. "Yeah, there are definitely times when I pinch myself and I'm like 'wow, is this real?' But it's been, like, four or five years now, and I'm kind of in the rhythm of it. All I'm ever really trying to do is constantly develop, and sometimes, meeting people, or being in environments like that, fuels that fire, if you will, because it's keeping me motivated and inspired."

For the record, Brad and Angelina are "down-to-earth". A bit like Tinie himself, actually. He's worked his way up from teenage rap hopeful, setting up his own label while still living at home, and taking a job at a call centre to help fund his career, to blinged out international fame.

He may brag about his achievements on record, but in person, Tinie is refreshingly polite, and surprisingly humble.

"I'm a happy person," he agrees. "Life is good, I have no reason to be angry or moody or anything like that. Why should you not be nice?"

BLUNT

As Tinie discovered only recently, however, sometimes, people can be too nice.

"When I was recording in LA, everything was just too 'amazing'," he says. "So I just went back to London, because you know what it's like with people in the UK – they're just a little bit more blunt, aren't they?

"Even the Irish as well – if it's s**t, it's s**t, so I needed to be around people who felt like they could say that."

As for his Dublin date next month, Tinie is looking forward to making the most of his stay in the capital.

"I'm going crazy, man," he promises. "I love Dublin. It's always good to me. The bars and clubs are good, the women are beautiful, and the clothing and the shops are great. I can't wait. It's gonna be fun ... "

DEMONSTRATION IS OUT NOW. TINIE TEMPAH PLAYS THE O2 ON APRIL 9


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