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Ben Ofodeu, singer for the rap act Phats&Small, is one of the most promising stars in the music industry, and we’re thrilled to have him as our new music columnist. Here, in his debut column, Ben takes us back through his rockin’ rap journey

Ben Ofoedu, our rising music columnist, is a talented musician and songwriter whose soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics have captivated audiences. Born and raised in London, Ben was introduced to music at a young age by his music-loving parents.

With a natural gift for singing, Ben began performing at local talent shows and events, quickly gaining recognition for his powerful vocals and stage presence. He taught himself to play guitar and piano and started writing his own songs, refining his musical skills.

After completing his studies in music production, Ben launched a solo career and released his debut EP in 2018, showcasing his versatility as a songwriter with a range of tracks from soulful ballads to upbeat pop songs. His music has earned him praise for his emotive lyrics and catchy melodies, earning him a loyal following of fans.

Ben has performed at venues throughout the UK, including the O2 Academy in Islington and the Jazz Cafe in Camden. He is the singer for the rap act Phats&Small, together with Russell Small and Jason Phats, and has collaborated with other artists, including producers, songwriters, and fellow musicians.

Since becoming newly single after my very public break-up with the UK broadcaster Vanessa Feltz earlier this year, my diary has been quite hectic. I’ve been having lunches, launches and late nights. I’ve been hanging out with my old pop star mate from the 90s Kule T , one quarter of the boyband MN8.

We were reflecting and reconnecting. It’s been a real boy’s life since the end of my 16-year relationship. Apart from a few lonely nights, nothing beats time with boys. I went to Connor McGregor launch party of a new Guinness where DJ Fat Tony destroyed! He played the most incredible house music party set. I had lunch, albeit a late one, at the Scream 5 premiere. Nearly threw up watching lots of gory murders, and I attended a late night Q&A for a book called Blacks Can’t Swim. This was interesting as it delves into how many adult black people in the UK cannot swim. Check out the book, it’s fascinating.

The thing that stuck out to me musically in the last two months was when I went to an 80s vs 90s night and it was incredible. It was small and intimate but the energy in there was so amazing. I contributed to music in both decades, but my work from the 1990s is more well known.

However, I’m an 80s kid at heart and every genre of music in that decade delivered. I don’t know one person from that time that could have been labelled as merely genre-specific – the music transcended all – which is an amazing credit to a decade.

I think at the time we are in now, people know what they want and they want what they know. With the cost of living going up people need guaranteed enjoyment, and one of the ways that they can achieve this is to know the music that’s going to be played through the night.

Old-school music sparks nostalgia and becomes the ultimate time machine,taking you to a past destination that was pleasant and made you feel good. It also brings you back to the now three minutes later, when the record has ended.

Nostalgia is my tip for 2023.

Ben Ofoedu’s Throwback 5 Mantronix

Gotta Have Your Love

Loose Ends

Hangin’ on a String

Soul II Soul

Keep on Moving

Spandau Ballet


Duran Duran

Say a Prayer

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