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About me

The anomaly that is tendai

For many artists, record deals are a quixotic pursuit. This path to lucrative advances and plush studios is beset by hordes of foolhardy and brave burgeoning artists who never quite reached the mountaintop. The savvy, informed green horns often opt for independence; an increasingly viable option in the democratised new dawn. Then there’s tendai. A statistical anomaly that reached the zenith without even releasing any music. Signing to 0207 Def Jam, is just one of a string of phenomenal feats that has defined tendai’s trajectory thus far. His early inspirations came from a family that recorded gospel albums, and an upbringing in close proximity to the nucleus of Grime. With such a rich musical lineage, its almost as if the journey to come was predetermined. 

Before tendai would realise his destiny, he was simply someone who had a deep love and appreciation for the English language: “I always had a hunger for knowledge from a very young age. So I always wanted to do something that involved the English language whether it be, being an orator or doing law. It was always going to be something that included English”. So when it came to brandishing those obligatory 16 bar verses in the school playground, tendai’s healthy obsession held him in good stead. Rap was a natural progression for tendai, a way to sate his appetite for knowledge and English simultaneously. But after pushing the genre to it’s expressive limitations, he began moving beyond the perimeters of Rap and Grime. 

Since then he’s never really stopped moving, and has cherry picked various elements from every branch of music and distilled them into something entirely new and unique. Its the clever wordplay that’s commonplace in Rap, the evocative 90s BritPop guitars and the vocals of a distinguished RnB crooner; that are all part of the genetic makeup of tendai’s music. 

As with any anomaly, the desire to understand and define has been great, not too dissimilar from the time before we knew what to call Grime. Fed up of the incessant line of questioning, and keen to establish himself further, tendai gave his music a name, Raido. Tendai explains: “Raido is a sonic and an approach. Its a sonic that is quite hard hitting, its a sonic that is really based around British music. Sometimes its garage, but then sometimes its like my favourite version of Black British RnB.” This patchwork of British musical cornerstones is pieced together beautifully by the five expansive tracks tendai has given us so far, and its presence can also be felt across Mel Made Me Do It; the number one album from Stormzy which tendai exec produced.

Tendai sees each release as an art piece, a collectors item almost; and treats his work as such. 2023 will see his artistic vision unfold further with the release of a musical triptych, which will cement his status as a true artist amongst an industry full of entertainers. 

Featured only in the Print edition of Clash Magazine Issue 124