Villino signed with GGB Records in January 2016, and has been since making a lot of noise.
‘Tweak’ sees the 21-year-old rapper showcase his commanding vocals and effortless charm on the official single.
“I always knew that I would make it, the only surprise was the timing”. We’re sitting at the bar of Radio Rooftop London on an early Saturday morning and Villino is being set up for the 4th set of his photoshoot with photographer Nchimunya Ngandu. We are discussing his love for constructive criticism and how it pushes him to do better whilst showing no concern over internet trolls who in his words are “just idiots because they could never say any of that stuff to my face”.
Undoubtedly talented with a raw voice and skilled in clothing design, Villino’s passion for music goes deeper than what some may argue to be a social media fad. Now signed with GGB records, he has already worked with numerous big names. With his drive, talent, passion and charm, it’s evident that the 21-year-old Antiguan and Barbadian native has a lot more in the pipeline to share with the world.
Villino is much taller than I had expected. We first met back in January during London Fashion Week Men’s in between shows at The Truman Brewery. Having seen his face so many times across my social channels, it was very easy to instantly spot him among the fashionable crowd and our short conversation with me fan -girling a little bit (I remember telling him that he’s amazing) led us to arranging this interview just over a month later. Obviously withholding an interest in fashion, I had to ask him to describe his sound and dress sense. Ermm how would I describe it? It’s the next line init, I’m always just dripping in sauce. Saucy in terms of how I dress, how I conduct myself, my personality. I don’t try to be fair, I just think I walk in to a room and my aim is to own it.” He also shares that he would love to one-day feature on a Louis Vuitton campaign “I love a bit of Louis Vuitton. Virgil- he’s inspiring! He’s very inspiring. DJ plus designer…”
I instinctively chose Radio Bar as the ideal location for the photo-shoot to highlight Villino’s accomplishments. The 360-degree view of London is none other than jaw dropping whilst putting into perspective the endless possibilities of what’s ahead of him. The eclectic, crisp interior also smoothly mimics his ye ;). Dressed in slides and socks with a stiff, casted left hand and right hand holding a freshly ironed outfit, he greets us and tells a glorified story of him protecting an elderly woman from being attacked by a dog to mask his recent football injury. Whilst surprised that he still has time to enjoy the sport he loves, more of his team arrive carrying more bags of clothing whilst discussing their busy schedule for their long night ahead of more gigs appearances.
Villino’s chilled demeanour is further reflected in his laid back approach to making music. “My process is quite different. I’m not at the stage yet where I can just sit down and write. I need to just be chilling as most of my lyrics I come up with when I’m getting ready, in the shower, sometimes I’ll be driving and ill have the instrumental on loop and be singing over and over until I remember it. I have to be in my comfort zone.” I would argue that you can tell a lot about an artist according to their aspirations so it was only normal (yet slightly basic) to list the names of those that he would love to collaborate with “I would love to do a collab with Chief keef, Gucci Mane and Polo G one day.
He is modest yet confident at the same time and from our conversation, certainly has a clear vision of his goals and where he aims to be. He shares that ‘Tweak’ “kicked down the door and the next single will let everyone know that [I’m] here to stay…there is a lot on the way”. Having only committed to music seriously in 2016, it’s no surprise that Villino’s entitled industry critics have a lot to say. I went snooping for more of his work and was enthralled by the way he skilfully experiments with various genres.
Though I could not pin it down at the time, Villino’s energy reminds me of the panel discussion Matt Davis hosted for his book launch in October 2018 whom also made a huge statement in saying “I always knew that I would make it”. There must be something in the air in London to be producing so much drive and talent which makes me excited to see what new work Villino will be releasing over the coming months.
Listen to “Tweak” by Villino on Spotify, and follow his socials below