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Eyes set firmly on the stars, the journey has only just begun for Toxteth’s wunderkind.
As I wait for my guest, I’m smug with pride at picking the perfect location. A multi-use building on Windsor Street with its arms wide open, Toxteth TV is a space that magnetises the urban dweller with the charm of its garden space and informal cafe. Soon after losing myself in its throwback decadence – boasting an old school games arcade and a VHS rental store – I find myself face-to-face with P3Lz. Armed with a soft smile, she swings her braided hair out of her face – the pieces of gold aluminium that coil her locks clinking together ever so quietly.
Do not be fooled. Despite being only 17, the force in front of me has caught the attention of several high-profile brands and platforms, from Nike to LFC, off the back of various freestyle videos that have gone viral online. I admit to her that I can’t fathom what an experience that must be. “At first, working with big brands was daunting because they’re high up and they’re known,” she explains. “So, getting associated with them is not a normal thing. It was exciting and as I did it more often, I got used to it. Then I was able to understand how they work, learn from them and build connections.”
Since the release of her first official track, Broken Homes, she has grown and I can’t help but wonder if she was pleased with the reaction to it. It could have been better, she tells me. “It was my first track, but I think things will pick up after I’ve done some more stuff. It was exciting and I’ve done something new. I think I expected what I got, but obviously I’m hoping for better in the future.”
From my experience in the Liverpool urban music scene, there’s an assumption that it’s standard for a teenager to be heavily influenced by their surroundings and create music that revolves around a hedonistic existence of drinking, partying and experimenting with various substances. However, P3Lz’s music is mindful, defined by the ability to focus the lyrics on the current moment and calmly present her thoughts through calculated lyricism. In regard to her process of writing, the technique itself is a natural reflection of her recent venture into the rap scene. “I kind of go on YouTube to get beats. At the start that’s all I did because I didn’t know where else to get them.”
But it’s also the opportunities to grow that have aided her to develop a relationship with music that sees it as just one potential career. “I enjoy music, it’s my passion and I am serious about it, but I’m still figuring out if it’s what I want to put 100 per cent into. At the moment I have other things I want to do. I’m really into my academics and going to university. I don’t want to be half-hearted if I was to do music; I want to be able to put everything in – my whole time and effort. If you’ve got other options, then you shouldn’t just cut them out because that would be silly.”
Stunned by her maturity, I feel that P3Lz is wise beyond her years, and there’s a wholesome energy to her attitude. After all, she does have her whole life ahead of her, and it’s one that will no doubt be shaped by an adolescence spent growing up in Toxteth. Her recent appearance in Almost Liverpool 8 – a documentary vignette of L8 and a celebration of its diverse community – is an embryonic biography of those experiences, bottled up and unleashed with sharp-edged spoken word.
“I think growing up in Toxteth has had an impact on my music because it’s given me the drive and the motivation to be able to aim and strive for things that are better than here. Although I love living here it’s like a really deprived area so, obviously, I’m not trying to stay here forever. I want to give back as well if I can, because I feel like this place has got really low morale and it needs something big to boost it so that people don’t run away from here and want to live here and buy houses here.”
Her motivations are pure and it’s a case of when, not if, she goes on to take the rest of the country by storm. I’m in such anticipation of her future and I wonder what’s on the cards. “There’s something mad coming at the start of 2022. It’s called Remedy and it’s going to be a sick drill track.” I give her a smile so big that I have to call it a beam. There’s nothing I can do but take her word for it.
Remedy is available soon.