At just 21, UK electro-soul artist Uzo Emenike – aka MNEK – has already established quite a name for himself, with a back pocket filled with production and writing credits for everyone from Madonna and Kylie Minogue, to Duke Dumont and Rudimental. Having released his EP Small Talk in March and currently gearing up for a debut LP in 2016, MNEK took some time out of his hectic schedule for a brief chat.

What are some of your biggest sonic influences?
Gonna say Mariah, Janet, Jam + Lewis.

How how London shaped you as an artist?
London has shaped me as an artist because of how vibrant it is. The nightlife essentially shaped + broadened my love of dance music which transcended into my own music.

What current artists are you listening to right now?
I love the new Troye Sivan album, I think he’s super talented and crafted an amazing body of work. Love Nao. And also really like the WSTRN guys.

As someone who’s written songs for many other musicians, do you go about your writing differently when creating music for others as opposed to just yourself?
Yes I do. And basically the short and simple reason for that is, I’m not the same artist as the artists I write for. Most times not even the same gender!

What can we expect from you in 2016?
Let’s hope an album!

In addition to catching up, MNEK also provided us with a playlist featuring some of his favorite jams. Session below and find out why he chose each song.

1. Kele Le Roc – “My Love”
Queeeeeen Kele Le Roc. Her voice is a legacy.

2. Sweet Female Attitude – “Flowers”
All my ’90s babies will love this one too. Such a brilliant pop record.

3. Monsta Boy – “Sorry” 
This tune is just such a perfect singalong moment. It has such a fun bounce to it.

4. MNEK + Zara Larsson – “Never Forget You”
Self plug, but yes, I loved doing this remix, so it made sense.

5. Robin S – “Show Me Love”
If Montell Jordan is the party rocker, then Robin S is the party MOTHER.

6. 2 Bears – “Be Strong” 
The Be Strong album by Two Bears is another seminal album for me and this is my favorite tune from it!

7. Montell Jordan – “This is How We Do It”
Really don’t believe there’s another party rocker that could rock a party as well as this tune.

8. Jade – “Don’t Walk Away” 
The vocals in this tune!!! deary me, what kinda slay!

9. MNEK – “In Your Clouds”
Another cheeky self plug.

10. Zhane – “Hey Mr DJ” 
Instant party vibes when this song comes on – it’s brilliant.

Words by Nico Amarca
Fashion Editor, North America
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