Maya Jama and Headie One feature on this week’s episode of Spotify Original podcast, Who We Be TALKS_


This weeks Who We Be TALKS_ episode features British TV presenter Maya Jama and North London rapper and singer-songwriter Headie One chatting to hosts Harry Pinero and Henrie to discuss their journeys to stardom, experiencing hardship and much more.

Maya Jama gives a typically open interview that covers difficulties she faced in her youth with tragedies, struggling financially, and how she became religious in her teens. Headie One, one of the year’s biggest music success stories whose debut album Edna reached number one in October speaks about changing his mind set on his life goals and moving on from the past in this candid interview.

Key excerpts from the interview below:

Maya on experiencing tragedy early on:

I think most of my struggles of life happened in my early days. I don’t really have that many big struggles now. There’s a joke between my friendship group of just like, I never have little bad things happen to me. I only get big extreme things happen to me. So like, my life’s bliss, everything’s lovely lala, and then it’ll be like a tragedy. Everyone’s like ‘God gives the hardest ones to those that can handle it’, and I’m like, cool, and you always learn lessons for it. I think there was a lot of like, bam bam bam in my teens and like early years and I’m just like, ‘this is mad’.

Maya on her hardship growing up – missing meals, no heating  or hot water:

Bare times I’d be there, with no money for food. I lived with one of my family members that was on drugs and so I wouldn’t eat so that I could get the bus to work and then would be taking clothes from a shop and then returning it, and doing all those little things I know a lot of people probably still have to deal with now. I was going into work and acting like ‘HEY!’ every single day because that’s who you’ve got to be, but knowing that there’s no hot water at home or electric. So you try and stay at work for extra hours to get your work done, so you haven’t got to sit in darkness. Mad stuff that I don’t know, one day I’ll probably go into more detail about it when I’m older and probably write a book.

Maya on how The Simpsons awoke her Muslim faith to get her through her teens:

My dad’s Muslim, but I didn’t really speak to him after three [years old], and then my mum just wasn’t religious, but I think I got into it [religion] from a Simpson’s episode. Homer was praying, or maybe it was Bart, and I watched that episode, and I was just a late bloomer at school, everyone had boobs, and I just looked like a tomboy. I remember praying for boobs and being like ‘whoever is listening, Lord, God, Allah, Buddha, anyone whoever is listening, please can you just help me have my period’. And then no lie, not long after, it came, and I thought ok!! Then every day I just started praying, it literally came from nowhere, and as life went on, it became a habit. I would always pray before bed and first thing in the morning.

Headie One on changing his mindset and moving on from the past:

Harry: But I was going to ask that because for me obviously, your tape before the one you just dropped now was Music X Road so it was very evident that you were doing basically both. You’ve now elevated to a level of basically stardom, going No.1 but then still the road kinda then still creeps up somehow. How do you deal with that?

Headie One: So it’s more like a mindset. I had to change my mindset and realise that I don’t find this stuff appealing anymore. Even though I speak about it, I speak about coming out of it, and moving into a space where I don’t have to think about the stuff I used to think about or do the stuff I used to do. I don’t really find it cool, like how I did when I was 16 and 17. Yeah man, it’s just about moving forward and trying to rise above literally each time. 

You can listen to the full episode here.