Hailing from Peckham, South East London, Carter The Bandit has been carving out his own lane in the UK rap scene with his artistry over the last two years. Carter hasn’t had the easiest journey entering the music industry as a Black gay man.
Carter recently sat down with us to discuss his journey so far, future aspirations, and the need for LGBTQ+ creatives to have a physical space to create art.
What is the story behind your stage name?
I came up with Carter The Bandit in 2014 or 2015. I was sitting with my friends and we were meant to create a name for a dance group. Then “Carter The Bandit” came to me out of nowhere. It’s not in my name at all, it just sounded fun.
How would you describe your music?
My sound is savage and hype! When I say things, I don’t hold back. I feel like my music sometimes can come across as shady but not shady. People sometimes ask me “who are you talking about?” but there’s no story behind it. It’s just how I feel, I’m just expressing myself.
What was the role of music in your childhood?
I was brought up on R&B, Hip Hop and Funky House. I’ve listened to different genres since I was young. But the main genre that I listen to now is R&B, Summer Walker, Jhene Aiko, stuff like that.
But when it comes to rap, I listen to Megan Thee Stallion, Nicki Minaj and Saucy Santana. I listen to a lot of UK artists as well, like Ms Banks and Miss La Familia.
I feel like I relate more to female rappers because of the way they come across in their music. They say what they mean!
What were your motivations for becoming a rapper?
I got into music by accident. Back in 2019 I was in my friend’s bedroom and just started writing down some lyrics. Thought to myself that they were pretty good and that was it.
How has your creative process changed since then?
I think it is a whole different thing because I go to the studio now. In 2019, when I was writing, I was grabbing studio time, but I was only getting one hour. Thinking that one hour was enough time to do something and it really wasn’t. Now I go to the studio to write but I still do some writing at home. I prefer writing in the studio because it’s a different space and I feel more comfortable in that environment with my engineer.
How do you deal with creative blocks and performance anxiety?
I’m currently having writer’s block and can beat myself up about it, but it sometimes happens. To make myself feel better, I look back on everything I’ve achieved so far and think about what I’ve overcome.
I actually suffer from really bad anxiety and people don’t believe me because of how many times I’ve performed and how I come across on social media. To get over it, I spend more time with my friends or alone.
What is the best thing about being a musician?
The best thing so far has been meeting everyone that actually supports me. The impact that my music has had on people and actually being noticed and has been the best highlight so far. Then obviously performing and meeting other artists.
What has been the biggest hurdle in your musical career so far?
It’s been hard trying to be seen as a person before my sexuality. Especially with guys in the music industry. Once they hear gay, it’s a whole different situation. I feel like people in America are interested in my music and think I’m dope. But in the UK they’ll ask “Oh, who’s your team?” It’s all me, for three years straight. My biggest hurdle is being taken seriously but I think that will change when I have a team.
You posted your Spotify wrapped at the end of 2022 and I noticed that your music has been streamed in over 40 countries, which one surprised you most?
My top location was the UK and then America, I can’t remember the other countries but Spain was fifth. I was completely shocked by that.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In the next couple of years, I see myself as a household name and owning a space for LGBTQ+ creatives. There would be a dance studio, space to make music and general workspace. There are so many people who don’t feel comfortable going into certain spaces even if it’s meant to be LGBT+ friendly.
I also want to tour the world and travel back and forth from the UK. My biggest dream is to perform all over America, I want to get over the water.
How can people support you?
Just keep streaming the music and keep messaging me. The support is fantastic.
Is anything coming up that we should look out for later this year?
I’ll be releasing a new project called Welcome to the wild and it’s definitely going to be a different journey from what I had for New kid on the block, which dropped in March. Welcome to the wild, is basically two different sides of me, I’m opening up more now. There will be slower tunes on there that people will be able to relate to. It’s all about how far I’ve come.
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