By Chris Hammond
Not many artists waiting to hear whether they were about to make number one in the singles charts after a flurry of early sales would be as nonplussed as Elliott John Gleave appears to be. But then Elliott, better known as Example isn’t your average performer whichever way you look at it.
“I don’t think Unorthodox is going to get to number one,” states Example of his collaboration with Wretch 32. “We’re a little off one but we’re well ahead of number three. To be honest, if Beyonce overtakes that LMAFO tune, I’ll be fucking happy because that’s one of the biggest pieces of shit I’ve ever heard. There’s absolutely no dignity involved in that song whatsoever. I’m not saying that because I’m bitter because I don’t really give a fuck about the position. Number one would’ve been good for Wretch because he’s a good mate and he deserves it, but I don’t care if I’m in this industry another twenty years and don’t get a number one. “
Such a frank view shouldn’t come as a surprise from an artist who prides himself on his honesty and determination to stay true to himself. Frequently cited as one of the UK’s most exciting young talents, Example’s ability to convey how he feels and what he thinks remain cornerstones of his swift rise to success. Not that his newfound fame has done much to quash his ‘say it like it is’ attitude.
“I think I’ve always been outspoken but you get more confident with it. The more interviews you do the more sure of yourself you become. But I think if you’ve actually got decent songs and you’re a good performer and you actually believe what you say – you can pretty much do what you want. When Liam Gallagher sits there and has a go at other people it’s probably not as effective as it was when he was part of one of the best acts in the country. It’s still funny to hear what he has to say but it carries a lot more weight when you’re doing well in the charts and playing to thousands of people at festivals. I’m not at that level but I’ve had some successful singles and I’m putting on great shows so if I’ve got an opinion on someone I’ll share it”, he explains.
Another thing Example is quick to point out is the fact that his music is almost impossible to pigeonhole. Described at various points by various people as belonging to genres as diverse as pop, hip-hop, dance and electronica you’d struggle to place him into just the one genre. Indeed, much of his success has come from his ability to experiment and evolve as an artist. This is most apparent from the lyrics to his latest album ‘Playing in the Shadows’ which Example admits was at least partially inspired by grunge music.
Whatever ‘Playing in the Shadows’ was inspired by, there’s no denying the fact it has pushed the star further into the public consciousness. And although you sense Example isn’t entirely comfortable with it yet – it doesn’t appear likely the artist will flee his beloved hometown for a little respite any time soon. “No, no, no, honestly if I moved abroad I wouldn’t be able to make the music I do. My music is inspired by London and England. You’ve just have to deal with it I suppose. It’s a good thing. You can’t really want success and not get the attention. They go hand in hand. But frankly when I’m not on tour I try and avoid it. I try and avoid public transport. I got the train yesterday for the first time in ages, got straight on the tube and someone wanted a picture. I don’t mind, it’s just part of the job innit?”
A self confessed workaholic, Example reckons that he’s doing about as many festivals as any other major artists. Amongst the biggest he’s playing are Rockness and Beach Break Live in what does seem like a never ending tour of the UK’s biggest music events. Example elaborates, “The key thing for me at festivals is to try and convert as many people as possible. If you come and see me on a headline show, there’s pressure to deliver but if you go and play at a festival in-front of 30,000 people where maybe only a third of them know who I am, my job is to convert everyone there into Example fans. Which we do.”
Post-festivals Example wants to continue the good work from earlier in the year and that’ll mean a return to the recording studios before too long. The question is what next for the artist’s music when he does go back, will there be any more collaborations for fans to excited about before some solo work emerges later along the line? “I dunno man,If Dr Dre comes to you and says do you want to sing chorus for me you say yes. But if some new singer or band comes to you and asks you to work with them for money then you say no. Basically you can’t do it for the money because I think people can see through it these days. There were quite a few collaborations I turned down last year which if I had done, people would have thought it didn’t make sense. I’m just a workaholic really I’m just obsessed with food and running and writing songs and performing. Those are the main things in my life.”
Check out www.trythisforexample.com for more information on tours and upcoming singles.