ARRDEE ON ADJUSTING TO FAME, TOURING AND BECOMING PART OF UK’S NEW LEGION OF RAP STARS
When AUD’$ last spoke to ArrDee during his first trip to Australia last year, he was fresh off a wild birthday celebration in the rocky Mediterranean Sea that ended as a near death experience. Down Under once more for Listen Out and string of sideshows, ArrDee returns after celebrating another exuberant birthday.
“I went to Prague for a weekend and that’s about as much as I can tell you. Anybody who’s been to Prague will know what goes on in Prague.”
Already adjusted to the timezone, Riley Davies (professionally known as ArrDee) spent his entire 23 hour commute to Australia sleeping through his post-birthday hangover. Sitting across from him at the iconic 170 Russell, a few hours before his Melbourne show, ArrDee is composed. It marks a year of growth to look back on for the Brighton local, who at 21 years old is already back for his second Australian tour in two years.
Since rising to stardom, ArrDee has comfortably adjusted to the limelight now, receiving radio-play across the world and solidifying himself as a leader in UK’s new legion of rising rap stars. Touring internationally has become a regular part of routine, and compared to last year when he was less travelled, he’s now in cruise control. “This year has been a wake up call for a lot of things.”
“This years been my year to adjust to everything. Now it’s all about balancing my home life with fame and Arrdee because it can get a bit warped and a bit too much sometimes.”
It’s a fair assumption that one can only assume is true. Despite his young age, ArrDee’s been doing music for years, and was catapulted into the spotlight at just 18 years old with the ‘Body (Remix)’ by Tion Wayne and Russ Millions. Since then, he’s made his career his own, releasing a homage to his hometown in debut EP Pier Pressure early last year and answering calls for TV shows, chicken shops and his own liquor ventures.
ArrDee’s had a busy schedule while in Australia, in between hanging out with koalas and driving foreign cars, he’s played eight shows across six cities in two weeks. A large portion of these coming from his festival slot at Listen Out alongside Ice Spice, Lil Uzi Vert, OneFour, and Coi Leray. Like clockwork, his latest single, ‘Liquor & Cigarettes’ alongside Chase & Status and Hedex is a drum and bass/rap infusion. A niche for sure, but a big niche in the UK that’s definitely seeped its way into Australia/New Zealand. ArrDee knows that and as a doof-enthusiast himself, he knows what the people want.
Despite the clear differences in sound and approach, it’s a lane that comes naturally to ArrDee. “When I was writing [‘Liquor & Cigarettes’], I just had to ask myself what were the things I would want to hear if I was in a rave, arm round my friend, 2AM in the morning”. He’s become associated with being the life of the party, something that’s always come naturally to him evidently, but when you listen to Pier Pressure, there’s clearly a lot more to his artistry that hasn’t been noticed yet.
He’s had the vision for a long time now, and while there’s no certainty within the music industry, since he was young and up-and-coming, ArrDee has always known how to pounce on an opportunity and create something for himself. While he’s largely been associated with the party lifestyle (rightfully so because make no mistake, ArrDee parties hard), he’s now ready to show people his true artistry and prove any lingering doubters wrong.
On songs like ‘Home For My Heart’, ArrDee demonstrates exactly what most thought he didn’t have in his locker. Reflecting back to Pier Pressure, ArrDee wanted it to be a WWE entrance. At the time, while he was extremely popular, there were plenty that didn’t take to his voice or persona, especially considering that he’s from Brighton, a scarcity for UK rap juggernauts. “It needed to be a statement. With Pier Pressure, arguably all of them songs could have been singles. It was a mixtape, so everything needed to hit and it had the different sides to my personality rather than my artistry.”
Looking ahead, we should hopefully get the ArrDee debut album sooner rather than later.
“I’ve got music falling out of my arse bro, I’ve got enough music to drop three albums.”ArrDee (2023).
His next project will be a debut album scheduled for 2024, and he’s hoping to tick off a bucket list achievement with the prospect of a world tour announced alongside its release. Taking inspiration from Lil Wayne and Tha Carter series, ArrDee wants his first album to set the pace as he matures as an artist and live performer. “The first album has to be the perfect setup for what I want to do album wise in my career, and I’ve gotta take you through a journey.” As he details his keenness for the finer album details like skits, background noises, and interludes, it’s very clear why ArrDee’s in the position he finds himself in today.
ArrDee has lived it all, but he’s still a local boy. Brighton, a beach area just short of 50km out of London, is where ArrDee became ArrDee, and he’s never left. It’s no secret that he’s never leaving, but given his status, life’s changed. Looking to the extremely large “ARRDEE” loudly displayed on the screen on stage, he laughs at the not-so-sudden realisation that he’s a star. Taking a moment to reflect, being seen as a home-town hero does come with its pressures.
“Throughout my journey of coming from a small town, making it out of a small town, and then staying in a small town, you get these weird different stages.” He reflects on his early come-up, with people laughing at him for making music and the switch to when he blew up, a big change for him as he became loved for being vocal about his love for Brighton. Now, at the established summit and with an upcoming debut album, life’s different around town for ArrDee but not in the way you may think.
Despite the change in lifestyle though, Brighton is most definitely ArrDee’s home. Not needing security and finding it accepting, it’s refreshing to see someone as high-profile stick to their roots in the midst of their success. While he still needs to work, travel, and get things done, ArrDee’s learning to reach a healthy balance of Brighton days and tiresome Boeing flights and sound checks.
“As things got bigger and bigger for me, you get the rumours of ‘Oh he thinks he’s sick’, ‘he’s moving different now’. But there’ll be other artists who leave their hometown entirely, so I have to move a little bit differently because my life is in a different situation to what it was when I could just be Riley.”ArrDee (2023).