There are some sentences you never imagine yourself saying. That’s something I have in common with Tinie Tempah, the chart-topping British rapper with seven #1 singles to his name.
“Did you ever think in your lifetime you’d come to watch a Tinie Tempah gig in McDonald’s?” Not something I thought I’d ever do but there I was amongst 100 or so local adoring fans, friends and press watching him play a secret gig at McDonald’s in Walsall!
Fans found out about the intimate concert on Tinie’s Twitter feed or by signing up to SRO, the TV audience company, but many couldn’t believe it was actually true until Tinie appeared on stage at the Park Street restaurant, which had been transformed into a club for the night and a suitable backdrop for Tinie to run through his array of hits, from classics like Pass Out to recent smash Girls Like.
He kicked off the gig to rapturous applause with one of his biggest hits Written in the Stars, before marveling at the idea of being the first to play a gig in the popular fast food restaurant. He told us: “That’s what I’m saying, anything can happen ladies and gentleman, always remember that anything can happen. That’s one of my mantras.”
It took place as part of the fast food chain’s #HelloGoodTimes campaign, which is featuring lots of surprise events in restaurants up and down the country throughout June and July.
The superstar rapper started the day in Small Heath where he surprised super-fan and aspiring musician Daniel Miller Clarke who believed he was attending a casting. Tinie snuck up on Daniel while he was performing one of his tracks and started singing along, making it a moment Daniel will never forget.
Before catching him onstage below the famous McD sign, we had the opportunity to chat with him earlier in the day to find out more about the gig and his upcoming album YOUTH:
How excited are you to perform in such an unexpected venue?
It’s going to be the first time McDonald’s has ever stripped out one of their restaurants and turned it into a club for a performance. I’m really excited to be the first musician who has ever done that. I still consider myself very much a young person and who doesn’t have a fond memory of McDonald’s growing up? I think everyone does and the fact that they are doing something like this to enhance people’s lives here in the UK is amazing. I’m happy to be a part of that.
Bar a McDonald’s, where’s the most unusual and memorable place you’ve ever played a gig?
This one is going to top it but before this it was a gig I play in the Maldives at a club called Subsix which is underwater and can fit about 45-50 people. That was definitely an experience.
If you could choose anywhere (that you haven’t played), where would that gig be?
I really want to do the Burning Man festival. Everyone says you just get to walk around naked and share and trade stuff in. I’m absolutely up for that.
You accomplished so much for someone so young – singer, songwriter, producer, designer, ambassador, philanthropist, charity owner, (AbFab) movie star and record label owner. What drives you every day to do the things you do?
Coming from a typical working class background and knowing all the challenges my parents faced when I was growing up (as the eldest) I want to be a shining example to my siblings especially my younger brother who’s 21. Knowing what we come from, I want to make sure when I have kids they have a little bit more than we did and if they have the same amount of drive as me, imagine what they might be able to do. And what else would I be doing is I wasn’t doing this? I have the best job ever.
You’re a role model to young people in the UK and around the world, who are facing different challenges in today’s modern society. What do you think are the main challenges for young people in the UK?
I don’t think a lot of young people are aware of the opportunities out there for them, especially the different types of jobs available to them. They come out of education in debt and it’s: “what do I do now?” We are also missing the heroes that were there when I was growing up. We have a new generation of millennials who know that all that glitters is not gold – they know when photos have been photo-shopped and bodies have been changed. Young people are more – let’s live for now and do what we want to do, because all things are not right with the world. It’s a different time for young people. They are not fascinated by the same things we were and as a result, are more real.
I want empower them to have a little bit of fun and a good time, which is what this McDonald’s gig is all about; and to empower themselves – have your own business, become your own person and set up things for yourself. I want to be someone who represents that for young people. I think it’s what they need.