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Success down to unlikely duo ; The Hotel Cabana is open for business and taking reservations from Midlands music lovers. MARION McMULLEN checks in to... [Birmingham Mail (UK)]

August 30, 2013


Success down to unlikely duo ; The Hotel Cabana is open for business and taking reservations from Midlands music lovers. MARION McMULLEN checks in to find out more about the debut album from hit-maker Naughty Boy

BRITISH super producer Naughty Boy can thank Prince Charles and Noel Edmonds for helping to kick-start his music career.

The La La La hit maker has enjoyed chart success with Emeli Sande while his newly-released debut album, Hotel Cabana, features some of the biggest names on the music scene including Professor Green, Ed Sheeran, Gabrille, Bastille, Tinie Tempah, Sam Smith, Wretch 32, Ella Eyre and Wiz Khalifa.

It all started for him in a music studio in his dad's garden shed after a Pounds 5,000 start-up business grant from the Prince's Trust and a Pounds 44,000 win on Channel 4 game show Deal Or No Deal.

Shahid Khan, aka Naughty Boy, chuckles: "It's been a crazy time, but it's what I asked for." He has gone from the tiny shed in Watford to his own state-ofthe-art studio in Ealing in just six years and American stars like Britney Spears are said to be prepared to fly to the UK to work with him.

The taxi driver's son says music has always been his passion and he taught himself to play on the school piano during lunch breaks "I didn't have any tuition. I just seemed to know how to play, which is weird," he says. "I thought that was totally normal to be able to play piano or to hear in my head how the piano should sound. I didn't realise most people don't spend all day composing in their head."

The British-born Pakistani singer-producer's musical diet at home included Pakistani films, but Bollywood is only one of his many influences. Hearing Timberland and Aaliyah's Try Again when he was 17 became his impetus to consider a music career.

A string of temporary jobs followed working in a hotel and a shop and at Watford General Hospital.

"They never lasted long. I either left or got fired," he laughs. "I got into music a bit late, when I was 20. I grew up in a part of town where there wasn't really a lot going on and there was definitely no music scene. I almost had to teach myself and I didn't know anyone in the music business, but I had a passion for music."

He tried a theoretical music tech course at university but ditched it after only a few weeks and started making his own music.

A chance meeting with upcoming Scottish singer Emeli Sande then changed both their lives. She was a complete unknown at the time and their first session together resulted in the chart hits Heaven and Never Be Your Woman.

Shahid went on to produce and co-write her record-breaking album Our Version Of Events - and their work together has resulted in millions of sales.

"I look back on it now and it's like a dream," admits Shadid. Emile features on four tracks on Hotel Cabana and Shahid describes it as his concept album.

"I never thought about making an album, I'm not a singer, and it was never part of my five-year plan," he laughs. "I wanted to take it further and I used to work in a hotel and I had an idea in the back of my mind and thought it would work for a concept album. I've always been obsessed with luxury hotels. I could not afford them, but I find them really interesting places. People coming to stay, they have affairs, they meet, and I came up with this weird hotel for the album."

Now Hotel Cabana is out Shahid says he wants to take it as far as he can in case he never makes another solo album again.

He's now working with the likes of Rihanna, Cheryl Cole, Leona Lewis, Devlin, Lily Allen and X Factor winner James Arthur and the 28-year-old's talent for creating catchy tracks means he is in big demand.

Number one smash La La La is the biggest selling British single of the year, clocking up more than 700,000 sales in a matter of weeks and the music video has had more than 465 million views worldwide.

Naughty Boy plays the two-day Fusion Festival in Cofton Park, Birmingham, tomorrow. For tickets call 0844 581 1386.

'' I didn't realise most people don't spend all day composing in their head NAUGHTY BOY

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