A brilliant bundle of contradictions, 24-year-old singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / producer Sirach Charles, aka Angel, is about to become your new favourite popstar. Heavily tattooed – including a musical stave on his cheekbone – but with the soft smile of a charmer, his music fuses the aggressive, rat-a-tat drum claps of the UK urban scene with the smooth finesse of mid-90s R&B (he calls it “pop fusion”). His is a sound that’s simultaneously modern but with a nod to those that have influenced him; Prince, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Dru Hill. Already well-known on the underground scene thanks to a handful of mixtapes and his own YouTube channel (a million views and counting), Angel is about to not only go overground, but stratospheric. For Angel, music is as much about creativity as it is about delivery and the process of this creativity is bolstered by his adept playing skills of piano, drums and guitar. Not only does he write and produce his own songs, but he also creates them for other people. Future collaborations include working on songs for Tulisa’s forthcoming solo album, alongside songs for a number of up and coming acts. “I think it’s so important [to be a songwriter], especially on the artist side of things. Writing songs means a lot more to me because I’m not getting people’s music and just singing whatever they tell me to sing. I’m doing it all, from every kick to snare to strings and after that’s done I’m writing it and thinking about melodies. So when I deliver the vocals people can relate to it more.” This thirst for collaboration lead to a recent studio session with none other than Frank Ocean, a man whose balance of writing for others and carving out a niche as a solo act is one that Angel treads perfectly. Released in September 2011 his EP 7 Minutes Before Time offers a tantalising glimpse into what to expect from Angel. Mixing smooth R&B jams (Ride Out) with aggressive statements of intent (Gleamin’), it’s an EP peppered with imaginative production flourishes throughout, from the sci-fi sounding beat on Go In, Go Hard to the treated guitars that pierce the joyful bounce of the self-explanatory, Popstar. It also features the crop of UK rap talent, from Giggs to Wretch 32 to Wiley, all wanting to lace Angel’s productions with their unique flow. With work continuing on his debut album and the EP still generating huge amounts of buzz (Angel tells a story of how he was recently recognised from the video of that EP’s excellent single Ride Out by a bunch of kids in a newsagent who made him watch the video on their phone), 2012 looks set to be Angel’s year. This is a theory solidified by MTV who recently announced him as one of the nominees for their Brand New 2012 award. “It’s a blessing” he says through a broad smile. “Even though I’ve been putting in all this work over the years, everything’s been happening so fast in such a short space of time.” It’s time for everyone to catch up. Be quick.