FROM the Brit School to the Brit Awards via the top of the pop charts, Rizzle Kicks have been the undisputed breakout act of the last 12 months.
The dynamic duo of Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule hit the number spot with their Olly Murs collaboration, Heart Skips A Beat, and they’ve scored Top 10 hits in their own right with Down With The Trumpets, When I Was A Youngster and Mama Do The Hump, all taken from their debut album, Stereo Typical, which has sold more than 250,000 copies to date.
But while the Brighton pop-rap act look like they’ve come from nowhere to storm the charts, their success has been years in the making.
“What’s weird is that some artists take off on the back of a certain song, but with us, we were working on our music for two years until the day our track came to the attention of Fearne Cotton,” says Stephens, speaking ahead of Rizzle Kicks’ gig at the HMV Picture House tomorrow.
The pair first met in north London when they were five, and were reunited on the football field at the age of 11 after their families had moved to Brighton.
“We’ve crossed paths through most of our lives,” says Stephens. “It culminated in us going to the same college [the Brit School].
“Call it destiny if you want, but I think that’s a bit cheesy,” he adds.
It hasn’t harmed the lads any that David Beckham, James Corden and Stephen Fry, who has tweeted enthusiastically about them on Twitter, are huge fans either. They’ve also toured with Dizzee Rascal, The Streets and Professor Green, remixed songs for Jessie J and Foster The People, and are about to perform with boyband of the moment JLS at the O2 Arena in London for the charity Sport Relief.
After their rapid ascent, Rizzle Kicks have been praised for making the whole pop star lark look rather easy. But the laid-back pair insist they’re not afraid of hard graft.
“Because of the speed at which everything accelerated, we had to adjust ourselves to a busier lifestyle quite quickly,” says Stephens. “We’re doing more work as we’re gaining more appreciation and we’re knackered, but the people who are successful are the ones who get their heads down.
“People like Jessie J work ten times harder than us,” he adds. “This is our big chance, so we’re not going to turn around and moan about early starts or late nights.”
For all their chart success, the duo reckon the live stage is where they’re best - which bodes well for tomorrow’s Capital gig.
“I think one of the things is we give 100 per cent to our shows,” says Stephens. “We gig as though no one knows who we are. We want to give people a great night.”
Rizzle Kicks, HMV Picture House, Lothian Road, tomorrow, 7pm, £10, 0844-847 1740