Introducing The Series from Ben Sherman, a curated collection of inspiring individuals, including James Chuter, Bushy, Tom Ravenscroft, and Nicholas Sinclair.
A model and rapper with a unique sense of style, Nicholas is London-born and bred and making his own path in the music world. Ben Sherman sat down with Nicholas in his recording studio to discuss everything from his inspiration to his mum’s insistence on him wearing Ben Sherman to school.
Tell us a little about your path to becoming a musician?
It all started with my mum to be honest. She was into her music. She was always playing me the old-school hits and gospel hits and such. She had a studio in her house. She started to notice that I was really developing an interest in music so she set up the studio in my room. I started getting my own tracks down, then I started rapping over my own beats. And it really just snowballed from there. I took a little break from the music when I started modeling, but it’s always been my main passion if I’m honest. It’s always been the one thing I’ve aspired to be good at, and it feels good to be in a position to dedicate my time to it now—coming back to it and getting something behind it.
Where do you write your music?
It’s funny, man. No lie: I can never write when I actually take the time out to do so. There’s no one place or time that I dedicate to writing. Sometimes I’ll just be walking down the street, and I’ll just spit a random bar, and I’ll know I’m onto something. So I’ll have to stop there and work it through, see where it takes me. It’s not a planned thing, but when it takes me I can write two or three songs in a single day. And I mean whole, entire three minute songs, not some vague outline. I could literally write three songs and lay them all down in 24 hours.
The lyrics almost always come first nowadays. I’ll just freestyle those a capella. The music comes later. There’s always a story to tell. That’s really what I’m interested in, lyrically speaking: I want to tell a story. I do enjoy my time in the studio though; it’s a very creative environment too.
Do you have any new material coming out this year?
I’ve got a few releases lined up—the first coming out over the next month or so—so keep an eye out. There’s a real dancey, club track vibe to it, so it’ll be fun to see how everyone reacts to it once it drops. 2018 saw me switch on to my music again in a big way and with a new focus. I promised myself I wasn’t releasing anything in 2018—I was dedicating the whole year to writing—and that’s what I’ve done. I mean I’ve got like two albums that I’ve already made just waiting to be let loose. I’ve done the work, put down the tracks. So it’s just a case of seeing how people react to the single and taking it from there. Exciting times ahead for sure!
Who would you consider to be your biggest influences?
This is a toughie! I do have influences; everyone does whether they know it or not. But being completely honest here, I’m not trying to emulate anyone. I want to walk my own path; I don’t want to be treading anyone else’s ground. I don’t mean that to be vain or conceited, but I want to make my own sound, I want to pioneer my own style. The pioneers didn’t have anyone to look up to, they just did it, and they became the originals. I wanna be original. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of artists I respect, but I’m not interested in copying them. When it comes to rap all the big names are there: I listened to a lot of Biggie and Tupac and all that. But I’m not trying to go where they went.
How did you get into modeling?
As with most things nowadays it was down to social media. I got noticed there, got called in for a few shoots, and the whole thing took off from there. I just signed the contract. Done deal. I’m not saying it was easy or anything, but it was just the natural way of things. Opportunity knocked and I answered.
What are your fondest music memories?
Making music will always remind me of just being a kid, playing around and trying to get to grips with things at home. One time when my friends were around we just started hitting buttons and trying to record. We’d upload music and start rapping over it. It was a bit of fun more than anything—we were just messing around. But little by little I started getting the hang of it. Looking back, I used to think I knew what I was doing but in truth it was a long learning experience. I’ve come a long way, but I’ll never forget how it all started.
What does Ben Sherman mean to you?
I’ve worked with Ben Sherman a few times, and it’s always a blast. Ben Sherman as a brand is so ingrained in British culture and subculture that it’s always a learning experience working with them. They’re always pushing things a little bit further. As a kid, my mum would always put me in Ben Sherman when I needed to look smart. My school didn’t force you to wear a uniform, so I was always decked out in Ben Sherman. It was kind of my uniform, in a way.
What’s your favorite Ben Sherman piece of clothing and why?
It’s the short-sleeved gingham Oxford. It has to be! It’s such a classic, iconic piece. It’s a little piece of history, isn’t it? You wear it, and you’re a part of something. It also looks sharp, man. Such a clean look that works anywhere for anyone. You can bring your own style to it.
How do you decide what to wear in the morning?
Not gonna lie, man, I’m probably the least fashion-conscious model in the world. I don’t really follow any kind of trends or fashions. Don’t get me wrong, I like to look the part, and I like what I’m wearing to be clean and new, but I’m not trying to follow a particular style. Comfortable and functional are always going to win out over anything. I’m just has happy in a fresh tracksuit as I am in a shirt. I just keep it nice and simple.