Selected by: James Keith
Photography: Reuben Bastienne-Lewis

Name: S1lva

Where He’s From: Oxford

Genre: UK Drill/UK Rap

File Next To: S1mba, Krept & Konan, SD Muni, SL

When He Started: 2013

Sounds Like: “It’s cliche but I’d say it’s different. Me, personally, I’m trying to work on all types of different sounds. A lot of artists now are trying to bracket themselves into a certain sound, and that’s not really what I’m tryna do. I got the drill thing then, obviously, you’ve got ‘Ole’, which is kind of drill but it’s more bouncy, more for the people. Of course, growing up with my mum at home, she listened to a lot of Brazilian music, so I get a lot of influence from that and try and bring it in to my music and the whole UK scene.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “50 Cent’s ‘Many Men’ was the time I started to get into rap. I’ve always been listening to music but I think when I actually started loving music, it was around that rap era as well. It was just the way he got his words across, you could relate to it. I don’t know what it is, I just rate him. I’ve rated him since I was young! 50 is sick.”

Born in Brazil, but raised in Oxford by his mum, rap newcomer S1lva has enjoyed an explosive rise to where he is today. His Euros anthem “Ole” with Morrisson, M1llionz and Krept & Konan was a runaway hit and a welcome alternative anthem to the usual Lightning Seeds and Fat Les. But just a year before that and the young rhymer was almost a complete unknown. He’d been making music for some time, but it was his friend, S1mba, who helped him realise his dreams. Before that, it was mostly for his own entertainment, with little expectation of making a career out of it. “It was secondary school time, when I was in Year 7 or Year 8, when I started to do my own videos and freestyling,” he tells TRENCH. “I started going to the booth in secondary school; we’d book it out with one of my friends, who was actually doing the producing thing himself. He would literally be there recording me, and I would just be writing.”

S1lva’s very earliest forays into music were uploaded to SoundCloud, but have since been lost or deleted. That, he says, was his practicing ground, his space to feel his way around, find his voice and get to grips with the whole recording process. “My first track wasn’t officially released,” he says. It came out on SoundCloud in 2016. Looking back at it, it’s definitely not one of my best tracks. I was still kind of getting comfortable with the whole recording thing. I remember I didn’t even like how my voice sounded at the time, when I used to record. I always used to say, ‘Nah, I don’t wanna do it.’ This was the main reason I didn’t release it. There was another one, ‘I Had A Bredrin From London’, which we released on SoundCloud. That one wasn’t too bad. I wouldn’t mind finding that one now on SoundCloud, if I’m honest. They weren’t my best tracks, but they’ve brought me here to where I am now so I’m happy with them.”

S1lva, S1mba and their mutual friend, Raf, founded RAX, an outfit they dreamt up to set their plans in stone and take them from bedroom rhymers to professional artists. It didn’t take too long for things to get going and before they knew it, S1mba had scored his first hit with “Rover” (which quickly spawned a remix with Poundz, ZieZie and Ivorian Doll). Almost as soon as the track dropped, the industry started knocking and S1lva and the team were well on their way. S1lva’s opening salvo, “Milli”, soon followed, introducing us to his mix of rap and drill with touches of his Brazilian heritage, and setting the scene for his impending footie anthem.

Now two-for-two with “Milli” and “Ole”, S1lva’s gathering pace with some big plans on the horizon. There’s an EP on the way in the near future—although details on that are scarce for now. Beyond that, and this is purely conjecture, the World Cup is just around the corner and it’s not beyond the realms of possibility to suggest S1lva could potentially remix “Ole” for the tournament. “One big goal that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently is I actually want to perform ‘Ole’ on some big stage,” he adds. “I don’t mind where, to be honest, but just a big stage.” If anyone can save us from another year of “Sweet Caroline”, it’s S1lva.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on July 14, 2021