Not3s

Not3s
Release date
01 January 1970
Not3s
01 January 1970 |

2019 marks a coming of age moment for singer-rapper Lukman Odunaike, more commonly known as Not3s. Turning 21 for most marks a definitive step into adulthood, a watershed moment where we begin to realise our many aims and ambitions in life – or so we all think. However, having sat down with Not3s just a few weeks before his 21st birthday, and listening to his story and aspirations, it was difficult not to believe his ambitions were going to be realised and even more likely surpassed.

The Hackney born artist closed 2018 with an array of accomplishments including selling over 1.5 million single sales and matching Ed Sheeran to be the only two artists to have 3 singles in the UK Top 40 at the same time. With a work ethic and hook mastery cherished by so many – Not3s proved himself to be an undeniable force, joining and supporting Jess Glynne on tour; releasing his second EP Take Not3s II; participating in the highly publicised launch of the Nike Nigeria World Cup kit; collaborating with COLORS in an Adidas Football campaign and featuring on a mammoth nine tracks including the Top 20 Gold selling singles Butterflies with AJ Tracey and Fine Line with Mabel (the latter peaking at #11) all within 12 months.

This is not to forget his explosive entry onto the scene in 2017 with his debut Silver selling single Addison Lee and his Silver and Gold selling follows up Aladdin and My Lover. The strength of the singles and his debut EP Take Not3s garnered him a place on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2018 poll, 2 MOBO Award nominations and Best Breakthrough Artist at the GRM Rated Awards, which he exceeded in 2018 with the Artist of The Year and Track of The Year Awards.

Parting ways with his previous record label in September, it was not long before the whole industry were fighting fiercely to work with Not3s. However in January Not3s chose Columbia Records as his home, joining an illustrious list of other British icons such as Calvin Harris, George Ezra, Rag N Bone Man and Kasabian. His management team Too Loud Entertainment (Unknown T, DJ Keaun, Kali Claire), committed to developing and championing a community of stars with Not3s leading charge, have since signed a joint venture deal with Columbia too.

Stepping into 2019 Not3s acknowledges he is still “evolving and learning”. Entering into the music industry as a bright-eyed Manor House native of Nigerian heritage, it was not long before Not3s and his musical style was boxed into the indefinable sound commonly referred to as AfroBashment, AfroSwing or Urban pop. While the sounds of his Nigerian heritage were audible in his music, a melodic pop sensibility was also evident, as well as an ability to depict the gritty London landscape on tracks such as ‘YRF’ with Fredo. “With us, they want to call us ‘grime star Not3s’ or whatever. But when you say Ed Sheeran or Anne-Marie, you don’t use a label before them” he told The Guardian for his cover feature at the end of last year, discussing instead how he and others were spearheading new “British pop”.

He argued there was no need for genre classification in a time when music’s fluidity can be heard across the world, and artists now had the ability to forge their own lanes and sounds.

With many feeling Not3s’ absence at the start of 2019, including friend AJ Tracey who admitted earlier in the year – “ite im bored of waiting now kmt wheres new not3s music” Not3s is now gearing up to his debut album, slated for release early 2020. Outside of the music, he has aided the building and development of sustainable waters wells in a small village in Nigeria, improving the flow of water and surrounding environments – an endeavour he says he’ll continue to pour efforts into for the foreseeable future. A unique proposition may be cliché but Not3s is not your average man.

The hiatus will soon be over as he prepares to release his forthcoming single Wanting produced by Scribz Riley – the man behind label mate Khalid, Cardi B and H.E.R. – reinforcing the sonic direction, ambition and heights he’s taking his music. Further trips to New York and LA in the schedule, the sound for the upcoming singles and album is ultimately global.

While this is a big next chapter for Not3s, he continues to maintain an air of calmness, made possible through the “blessings of having a strong team around”. With a string of releases on the horizon, it’s clear that Not3s will be the voice of summer and many more to come.