N-Dubz: "We want to take our new album to Wembley Stadium"
Boasting 13 Top 40 singles and four Top 40 albums across a career spanning 17 years, N-Dubz are undoubtedly one of the UK music scene's most transcendent acts.
Proving their endurance with a sold out arena tour and comeback smash Charmer last year, Dappy, Tulisa Contostavlos and Fazer are ready to recruit a new generation of N-Dubz fans as they enter a whole new era.
As they release brand-new track February, we catch up with the North London trio to talk their 'strongest' music yet, being a 'voice of the people' and dreams of playing Wembley Stadium.
N-Dubz, welcome back! February's a banger, when did you start working on this new music?
Tulisa: Six years ago, we first started recording. The earliest record on this album's from about four years ago, though. Charmer was relatively fresh at the time.
Dappy: We've always been making music together, even when we were doing our individual projects. Charmer was just us testing the mic out; it was the first time we went into the studio after a long time. We said 'right, let's make a single and see how we sound.' We were like, 'wow, we sound good together still!' Now, here we are with February and some of the best music of our lives.
It must've been validating to know you could still create that inimitable N-Dubz sound?
Fazer: All the earlier N-Dubz stuff, we were young when we made that. We worked out how to create melodies, harmonies and construct the songs. Individually, as artists, and collectively as a group, we've gone up to a whole other level. The production's on another level, the writing's better, the concepts are better. We were just starting out back then, we didn't know ourselves as well. We've got ten years' worth of experience on top of that now. This is the strongest music I feel we've ever done.
Dappy: You've got the classics there, and then this reality we're bringing with this new music. Toxic, day-to-day situations.
Tulisa: We always did that, but it's more refined now. It's intensified.
Dappy: It's even deeper now. When we're writing these lyrics.
We'd usually ask which other artists you look to for inspiration, but N-Dubz feels like such a unique project in its make-up and lyricism...
Tulisa: Exactly. If you were to ask us who our individual idols are they're all completely different, too.
Dappy: That's why we're shocked, whenever we put on a show, how many people are waiting to see us.
Tulisa: We always think 'how did we do this?' But I like to think we're the voice of the people, in a sense.
Fazer: This new album is just that. With this new album, we're touching on so many different situations that are relevant to today. We're giving our take on it, but so many people are going through the same situations right now in this country and across the world. There aren't many artists right now that are speaking for people, giving them hope or helping them to think 'oh my God, they're going through the same sh*t I'm going through.' We can't wait for everyone to hear this album.
Dappy: It's not just toxicity, either. We're touching on depression, on mental health and everything that happened through COVID. There's a lot of deep stuff.
Tulisa: We just take real life situations, from male and female perspective, and tell those stories.
WATCH N-Dubz's February music video below:
Did you ever think - back when you released your first single in 2006 - that you'd be selling out arenas and releasing new music in 2023?
Tulisa: I would've thought so if we'd carried on our initial run. I did think I'd get to a certain age and want certain things from life, and it just hasn't happened. I thought I'd get broody, want three kids, a picket fence and a husband. Now, I'm 34 and I'm like 'I'm gonna go and freeze my eggs.' I'm not done yet!
UK hip-hop's on such a roll at the moment, too. This feels like the perfect time for N-Dubz to re-enter the scene...
Tulisa: It's back in full effect. American rappers are now adopting drill beats; they're copying the UK like we're the cool kids. It's crazy. The time's right.
You must've seen a whole new wave of N-Dubz fans at the shows last year, too?
Fazer: Sometimes I'd look out at the crowd and think 'were you even born first time we were around?'
Tulisa: We always had an over 14s cap on our concerts, so there's that younger generation that couldn't come to see us originally. There's that wave of people who weren't old enough to go or didn't have the funds to see us live. It's great.
What's on your 2023 bucket list as a band, then?
Dappy: Let's get this album out and get it in the charts. We want to take it to Wembley Stadium!
N-Dubz's new single February is out now.