If you spend a little time with Smiler, it soon becomes clear doing things his way is extremely important. After his 2010 underground hit ‘Enza’, most artists would’ve capitalised by taking the first substantial deal on the table. “We’d turned down a few offers because the A&R wasn’t right. Things had been said in a few meetings that indicated that they didn’t understand us,” he says nonchalantly.
His 2010 mixtape, ‘Clarity’ featuring the likes of Tinie Tempah, Ghetts and Nate James pushed Smiler back to the forefront of the underground. Soon, names like Kelly Rowland (“Is she talking about another Smiler?” he jokes) and Nas (“That was massive because he’s one of my idols”) were praising the Londoner’s charismatic flow.
Eighteen months later, Smiler signed to Warner Bros. Records and his first release for the label, the Wretch 32 featuring ‘Delorean’, was named as Zane Lowe’s Next Hype when it was unveiled in January 2012.