Katy B was calling herself Baby Katy when she had her first track released and played on pirate radio at age 16. ‘It was a cheesy garage type-thing called Heartache, but I did it ‘cos it had an old-school vibe to it. Then it got played and I was like, “No! This can’t come out! I don’t even like the tune!”’ But it turned out to be the beginning of it all.’
Geeneus interjects. ‘Because that’s where I first heard her and thought, “Who’s this?”’
‘It blew up on the north London, Tottenham scene,’ continues Katy. ‘So suddenly I was doing all these P.A.’s in these weird clubs with sticky carpets. I was 17 and going to Scala and singing to all these ravers. My friends were like, “Wicked! Now we can get into all these clubs.” Good fun.’
An MC called Versatile (not the Toddla T collaborator) was also on Heartache, so he and DJ NG hooked up with Katy on Tell Me, one of the first and most enduringly popular UK funky house anthems. The girl wasn’t a fluke. Geeneus got in touch.
‘As soon as I heard her I knew there was something about her voice. I was writing a lot of grimy music, and the scene was all getting a bit overcrowded with men. We can make ravey bassline music all day long. We needed the girl element back in it. When I’ve played this album to girls they don’t care about the background music – they couldn’t care less. They’re like, “Oh… the lyrics.” It wasn’t planned like that. But that’s what Katy supplies. I think we’ve merged our two worlds into one.’