The UK may have found its first R&B male jewel, with singer and songwriter Angel. The rising R&B artist has already made his mark by working with Swizz Beats, who mentors Angel, Ed Sheeran, Jeremih, Jason Derulo, Dizzee Rascal, Stormzy, and many more. His accolades go even further, Angel has been in the studio with Kehlani and even wrote the UK’s #1 single, “Green Light.”
HYPEFRESH chatted with Angel about his previous work, being a father and more.
We’ve learned that your real name isn’t Angel, it’s Sirach Charles! How did you come across the stage name Angel and what does it mean to you when you use it?
Name is kind of controversial for me, I am a very spiritual person and when I sing I am told I sing like an “Angel”. I did not come up with the name, I got it when I was away at camp as a nickname from my friend because of how I used to write my letters.
Your EP, HER, dropped in November under Island Records, can you describe for our readers/listeners who haven’t listened yet what they can expect from this project? What’s your most prized creation (song) from it?
It has a lot of melodies in the vocals on the EP, I am a freak for harmonies and melodies, so they should watch out for that. Also, watch out for the elements of different genres. I mix a lot of different genres in the EP: a bit of Reggae, Rock, old school R&B. The whole nostalgia era. “Fvxk With You” was one of the songs that I played with a different sound and had fun with, it reminds me of the sound I grew up around.
How did the collab with Rich Homie Quan in “Fvxk With You” come about?
I was out in LA, hooked up with a friend back home from London because she was out there for a while, I met up with Rich Homie Quan and he played the rhythm for me and I was like “yo, that right there is crazy.” After that I wanted to create a record and give the rhythm an international sound. I contacted Rich Homie and he genuinely liked what I had to offer. It was fun, organic and comfortable working with him.
In the “Fvxk With You” video, you’re sporting a retro windbreaker, and holding an old-school cellphone, is that purposefully symbolic of something greater? Do you think the 90s has had an impact on your personal style?
It is very symbolic to where I come from and the time I grew up in, which was the 90’s. It also showcases my British style. I remember growing up watching that type of style in videos, and I wanted to emulate that into the video this time around. In all of my music I like to just be and showcase that I am me, this is Angel.
They say looks can be deceiving and in your case, that saying would be pretty accurate. You seem to carry yourself with this bad-boy persona, but then you turn around with this voice of an angel. Has anyone ever pointed that out to you before?
I often do get that how I sound or how I even speak is shocking to some people. They often tell me that “I never thought you’d sound like that;” however, that is just who I am — I never wanted to be the “bad-boy” type.
Many artists dream of being picked up by big names to help jumpstart their careers but few ever make it. You were blessed enough to work with the likes of Swizz Beats early in your game. Can you tell me a little more about what that was like? What is your relationship like with him today? How has he influenced you?
Swizz Beats has been a mentor, a brother, and friend to me. He is always there to keep me grounded and show me what and what not to do. Swizz Beats reminds me to continue the hard work and dedication I have for music, all the conversations that I have with him are encouraging. Swizz is a genuine true soul, it’s a blessing to have him around.
Do you remember the exact moment you decided you were going to start music and take it seriously? What was that day like for you?
I remember a day I came home from school and I just wanted to record. My dad was a musician and had all the equipment but never let me record. So, one day when my dad went out, I used the equipment to record and from that day on I wanted to do nothing else but record music. After that I just locked myself in the room at night for years making and writing music, until I decided to make it my life.
If you could work with anyone in the industry, dead or alive, to produce the next chart topper, club banger, feel-good song, who would you have to be featured?
It would have to be Michael Jackson; I’ve been inspired by Michael when it comes down to music. I love his sound. In the videos, I start off with dialogue, I take advantage of skit usage like Michael Jackson did back in the day when creating the music videos.
In your recent feature with UK’s edition of Complex, you talk about your children and I understand that you’re a new dad to a beautiful baby girl. How do you balance being a father and being an artist at the same time?
It gets tough sometimes because I always want to be with my daughter, every second I’m away from her. But I always remember that I also have a responsibility and that I’m doing it for her. What I’m doing is for my daughter. I want my children to know to always be open minded, have faith and be strong. Do whatever you want to do, and if things happen to not go as plan, continue to have faith and positivity.
There are many brilliant British female R&B singers, including Marsha Ambrosius, Sade Adu, Emeli Sande, and Corinne Bailey Rae, just to name a few. But here in America, we don’t hear about black male R&B singers too often from the UK. What is that scene like where you are? In a way, you sort of show what that demographic is capable of. Some would say that would make you an icon. How does it feel to be a break out artist?
It’s a great feeling. Every day I open my eyes and it overwhelms me that I’ve come this far in accomplishing what I want to do and I’ve met so many great artist along the way. I pray about it every day because I still can’t believe it. Making that transition into the United States and have people from my hometown support me, it means something to our community and the British culture because it is something that we need and always wanted. I represent me and where I come from in my music, I am proud to be from London.
Credit: Mia Hill and Judayah Murray