When did your relationship with music truly begin?
[It] began during secondary school when I found it to be a good way to put down my feelings, into music, into a song, and write how I was feeling. A lot of the stresses I was going through, how I was made to feel, quite segregated or whatever and I started making music because I wanted to do bigger things.
Obviously people took to that in a really, really bad way and took the piss out of, and what I did is I just thought, 'You know what? I'll continue making music. If you're gonna laugh at me for making music I'll give you something else to laugh at'. So I'd make another song and post another song online. It was just like an upward spiral from there of people keeping on taking the piss, and I just continued making music. I realised practice makes perfect. I'm far from perfect, but I feel like I am getting better with every song I make and, every time I write more music I do feel like I'm progressing. I really wanted to make something special of myself and I've always loved music. People kept putting me down, and that drove me more.
What are some of your earliest music-related memories?
Probably going to Justin Timberlake live. That was probably one of my first music-related memories. The second thing was actually doing a verse on The Game's song 'Pot of Gold'. I actually came third on that, so I did a verse on 'Pot of Gold', and that was the first time anyone ever heard me rap ever. I posted it up to YouTube and poeple at school were like, 'What, this kid's now rapping? This orange kid? This Tango kid?' So, I was rapping on that, that was the first thing I probably ever made public to people. I did really well, there were hundreds of thousands of winners. The winner got to meet The Game and whatever, I came third on that! I got loads of votes, so I did well on that! That was fun.
How difficult an industry would you say this one is to break into?
Really difficult! Really hard, it requires so much persistence, so much commitment, so much time. You're literally gonna have the most knockbacks in the world. This industry you've gotta invest time into and your own money. You will face knockback after knockback and it's consistently getting obstacles and trying to jump over them and not stopping, learning from your mistakes and tryna make the right, calculated decisions. I think it is a really difficult industry to break into because so many people want to do it. There's no root you can go down, there's no book I can give you to read, everybody makes it their own way.
Your new track 'True Colours' is officially released in August - can you tell us about the creative process behind that song?
I wrote that song when I was 16 in high school. It was one of my first songs I wrote when I was trying to take myself more seriously. Darren Martyn the producer, we were kind of working on an idea, a structure, a plan to put some music out, to get a campaign together, that was one of the songs we came up with when I was 16. That's why I sound quite young. You can tell it's a kid in a school playground in high school and that's what it was. I wrote that in the field at Reading school, I still remember that! I also sound really young on it because I vocalled it back then when I was 16. For me that song is a throwback. I didn't want to change it, because I knew if I was gonna change it, I realised that I would have had to re-written the whole song. For me as I say it's a throwback and I enjoy being able to remember that that was something I did was 16. It will really show a progression with the next single, because I know what's next to come. It will show a progression as to how I'm improving, and that for me is a lot of what I'm about. I wanna show people that you can improve with practice and there is definitely a big jump from this song, 'True Colours' and the next one. Also, as I say it was made and mastered when I was 16, but actually we didn't wanna put it out because we thought it was a strong record. We thought we wanna come up with a good strategy, release it at the right time, and I dropped off for a minute because I was focusing on my studies and everything else.
After Big Brother, while I was actually in the house Darren Martyn decided to reproduce it, and Lydia Lucy, we got her back when I was in Big Brother to vocal the track. I didn't actually release it as soon as I came out of Big Brother. Maybe it was a good thing because Lydia Lucy ended up on The Voice and she ended up coming third, so she's doing a lot which is really, really good. Maybe it has worked in my favour.
What's the experience like working with Darren Martyn?
Working with Darren was good, he's a talented man. He's definitely come on as well since I was 16. The original was sick, definitely in the way that it's evolved, 'True Colours' and other songs I'm going to release soon. A lot of the music I've done with Darren you can tell, it all has a similar pop music with an urban edge. I think it defines my sound at the minute. I will change, the more people I get in the studio with.
As you say you've been on Big Brother - how does it feel to have found love on the show with Jasmine Lennard?
It feels good. I never would have thought I would have found love in there. I guess it's the Big Brother house, you never know what to expect. She's a special girl, I never would have imagined ever in a million years, me and her would have ended up together, but it's sweet definitely, to have something special, it's a lot. A year on, we definitely really love each other. I don't know what to say! I feel like I'm blushing! You can't really tell I'm tanned! It feels good. It's something I've never been in before, it's my first love and I'm madly in love I guess, you could say we're both really in love with each other. She's got an amazing child so, it feels good to have found love in the show and especially with Jasmine. She's the one!
What do you think of the new series of Big Brother this year?
The show this year's pretty cool. I didn't know what to think at the start of the show, I wasn't really a big fan of the idea of two houses because it took away from the Big Brother experience to me, with it all being in one house and everybody being one. I know they've merged it together so that's cool. At the same time it does seem like Love Island's met Ex on the Beach has met Big Brother. It does seem that everybody knows each other. I think Big Brother's really interesting because you see the dynamic of how people have never met each other before develop relationships, that's why I like Big Brother normally.
To be honest with you I never used to watch it but I have started since my series and I do kind of get an idea what it's about. But it does feel to me like it's not really as much Big Brother anymore, but it is entertaining. It's crazy this year, there's a lot of funny characters, a lot of crazy people.
Who do you hope is evicted next and why?
I'm glad Natalie's gone, not gonna lie. She was just trying to pick arguments. Especially early on she tried to create problems with people.
I don't think Marco should have gone, he was entertaining, he was crazy that guy.
Who's not entertaining to me? Do you know what I wasn't entertaining! If I was watching my series I would have said Cristian.
Who would I evict if I could evict someone now? I've forgotten her name. She keeps whinging. She's got a really annoying voice. Let me find out the name for you... Jayne!
Who do you think will be taking home the prize this year?
Potentially Jackson, I think potentially Andy, maybe if he plays the game right, he could be seen as the good guy, but if not I think Jackson. He really has low self esteem so I think that would be good for him.
Have you ever had any strange fan messages or gifts sent to you since your time on the show?
Yeah I get a lot of strange messages! (laughs) The usual I guess, like strange requests, often involving my feet, or my socks, so it's weird! I don't know if that's something to be proud of, I don't know whether this is weird for me even voicing that, I don't know if that makes me a weirdo mentioning this, but I find that pretty weird, that somebody messages me and says, 'I will buy your socks for £5,000'. I'm not sure how to respond to that, I don't know if I should respond to that, I don't know if I should think 'It's £5,000, might as well'. But that is a weird message.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
Shows, I'm performing at a few festivals, so definitely get yourselves onto my events page on Facebook [and] my website. I'm on a school tour for the next four weeks. I'm going to Yorkshire next week, after that I'm doing Cambridge, Oxfordshire, all that stuff down south. Potentially a headline show! Potentially that's coming at some point.
'True Colours' by Cristian MJC featuring Lydia Lucy is officially released on August 12.
Tagged in Big Brother