Cozz is settling into tour life nicely. Until last year the South Central, L.A. native had only ventured as far as Las Vegas and Arizona. Today we find him laid back on leather couch, enjoying his rider in a cavernous room backstage of Manchester’s M.E.N Arena. Since signing to J. Cole’s DreamVilleimprint and releasing his debut project (he doesn’t want to use the ‘a’ word prematurely) Cozz & Effect last year, this has become his life. Cole found his own success performing night after night in front of fans anxious to see his own mentor Jay Z, and rather than relying on blogs and social media to get music in front of prospective fans, the DreamVille crew are following the same blueprint; getting onto stages night after night, and making real life connections.
“I’m getting a lot of fans doing this,” admits Cozz. “If I just have ten people f*ck with me in a show that’s dope. Because that’s ten people who look me up and maybe spread it to their homies. So this is very important, it’s exposure.” Tonight will be the biggest audience Cozz has played to so far, but he isn’t fazed. Despite being only an hour away from stage time, there is never a crack in his coolness. “I’m real chilled, but when I get on stage I perform like it’s my show, I don’t give a f*ck how short my set is, I’m going to try and win as many people over as I can.” It wasn’t always quite this way though, Cozz has been thrown in at the deep end and has proven himself to be a fast learner: “My first time ever performing was last year [supporting Cole]. I didn’t know what I was doing, I just went on stage and started yelling,” he recalls. “But now I’m getting the hang. I want to interact with everybody in some type of way. So I always make sure I’m like ‘Left side, let me hear you say…’ I’m picking up my skills but that’s from me watching Cole, watching Bas, whoever else I’m opening for.”