A few years ago while working on a building site with his grandfather, a young Harrison Armstrong decided to release a freestyle entitled ‘Straight Rhymez’. That song would then take him out of the construction business and headfirst into the spotlight under the name Aitch.
Coming from Manchester, outside the industry hub of London, Aitch at first saw this as a disadvantage to trying to break into the scene, but now pays homage to other outsiders who managed to do it before him. “I felt like I had to work a lot harder but once you get recognised it becomes an advantage,” he says. “It’s something exciting and different to listen to. I feel like I’ve played a big part in changing the dynamic, but so has Bugzy Malone, Mist and Jaykae.”
After a successful summer full of festivals performing in front of packed out crowds and gaining an insanely large social media following, this young man is fast becoming something of a sensation.
With his Instagram stories going viral as well as fans getting tattoos of his lyrics on different body parts, Aitch describes how his life has changed drastically: “I love the fact that my job title is an artist and I’m able to be everywhere, but obviously I can’t go certain places by myself anymore.”
Selling out two legs of his headline tour - the first in seven minutes and the second in 45 - the future is shining extremely bright for Aitch. The recently-released ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’ launched him further into the public eye and even became a Top 10 hit. Then came a Number One after being featured on the remix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Take Me Back To London’, which has seen the Manchester native propped under the microscope with his every move being watched in anticipation of what he’ll do next.
His new EP ‘Aitch20’ is now available and features the likes of MoStack, ZieZie and Tyreezy. Timed to end his incredible year on a high, he describes the project as an “absolutely sensational body of work”.
“I just want everyone to give me their honest opinion of this,” he notes, “and prepare them for what next year has in store.”
Where: Manchester, England
What: UK rap
Get 3 songs: ‘Straight Rhymez’, ‘Taste (Make It Shake)’, ‘Aeroplane Mode’
Fact: He used to participate in gymnastics competitions and won medals.
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BTS Next Wave Issue 113 with Tommy Jeans
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Words: Debbie Ijaduola
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Zarina Shukri
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