When rapper/singer Ben Drew, who performs as Plan B, took home this year’s BRIT Award for Best Male Solo Artist, beating Mark Ronson, Robert Plant, Paul Weller and Tinie Tempah, it was acknowledgement that the London native’s patience and perseverance paid off.
Plan B’s bio says Drew’s love of rap, hip-hop and classic Motown soul developed while growing up in London’s tough East End and describes the performer’s struggle to find his voice musically through different genres, to no avail. But the emergence of Eminem is credited with giving Drew the inspiration to tell a story his own way.
When Paradigm’s Steve Ferguson first heard of Plan B, the performer was already on the U.K.’s music radar with his debut album, Who Needs Actions When You Got Words.
“I became aware of Ben in the summer of 2006 via his attorney, on the heels of his first album,” Ferguson told Pollstar. “The record wasn’t out in America and [there were] no firm plans for release. I loved the material so much I wanted to be involved from the get-go.
“The material was unique and very British. The lyrical content was riveting and controversial, very cinematic. His acoustic sets revealed that underneath the aggressive rapping were melodic songs and a great singing voice.”
Since then Drew’s acting and film directing expertise have been incorporated into videos and live shows for his 2010 concept album, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, which tells the story of Plan B’s alter ego.
Plan B’s next album, The Ballad of Belmarsh, is a continuation of the Strickland Banks story expected to be released in the near future with a companion film he directs.
After completing a run of U.K. arena dates in mid-March, Plan B is scheduled for a U.S. tour with Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae May 4 through mid-June.