Getting a fake ID always comes with its struggles. Maybe you have to create an elaborate backstory to explain why your hair is suddenly twice the length, or learn what star sign your new fake-birth date has. If you’re Alfie Templeman, however, then you also have to hope that the suspicious bouncer giving you the once over isn’t an avid music press reader. “When we do gigs and want to get fake IDs, I can’t do it because everyone knows I’m a ‘16-year-old prodigy’!” He jokes. “It’s so annoying!”
Yes, Alfie *is* only 16. Aside from making us legal drinkers have a slight existential crisis, though, he doesn’t seem to think it’s that big of a deal at all. “I’m just a kid who plays a few instruments and it’s not surprising to me as a person because I’ve been able to do this since I was, like, 10?” he shrugs. “There’s kids who deserve the limelight more than me that can do it a lot younger and way better. I just happen to be here! I guess it’s more my songs that connect with people, and then they find out my age and they’re like ‘Wow!’. I’m really happy there’s hype, but it’s probably mostly because of my age. It’s a bit worrying because it’s like, what happens when I’m not 16?! What if I just flop and no one listens to me because I’m an old man?!”
His impending adulthood shouldn’t worry Alfie too much though, as the Bedfordshire singer has already got half a lifetime of craft under his belt. Although his dad wasn’t musical, he’d packed their house with guitars and a young Alfie was instantly fixated by them. Originally learning how to play backwards due to all of said guitars being left-handed, he slowly expanded what he wanted to achieve musically, learning drums, bass and production before he’d even hit double figures.
"I spent so much time focusing on music and ignoring all of my teachers; thank god I haven't flopped…"
“I’m so lucky that I’ve always wanted to do music because I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t,” he laughs. “I’d probably be working in McDonalds or something. Because I was so young, I knew instantly that this was what I wanted to do. It was kind of my destiny. I literally spent so much time focusing on music and ignoring all of my teachers; it’s kind of like, shit, thank god I haven’t flopped at music otherwise I’d be kind of done.”
Signing to Chess Club Records at 15, he released his debut EP ‘Like An Animal’ in October of last year. A vibey indie record that could fit seamlessly into a Rex Orange County or Mac DeMarco set, it showed Alfie’s songwriting promise to the masses and established him as one of the newest names to watch on the scene. Around the same time, Alfie started listening to loads of Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator - “anything Odd Future basically” - and realised he could blend elements of their music into the sounds that he was already making.
The result of that epiphany was June's ‘Sunday Morning Cereal’, which saw the musician mixing R&B elements into his sunshine-soaked indie. “I was kind of worried at first, because obviously it’s a little bit different to the first one and the first one went down really well,” he confides. “Everyone was like ‘Wow, he’s taken a big step!’ And it’s definitely a step forward, but not a giant one - that one’s coming soon...”
That giant leap is what’s currently filling Alfie’s time. Set for release around September, he’s been working on new material with Easy Life producer Rob Milton to create what he promises to be his best music yet. “It’s like, AHHH!!’” he yells excitedly. “It’s so amazing! It’s really funky, like, REALLY funky. I can’t even tell you how funky it is! Some of it’s indie, but some of it’s really disco/R&B/pop vibes. The best way to describe it is like summer pop music for someone who’s depressed in winter. I’m really excited, I’m mega excited.”
Hoping to debut some new tracks when he takes to the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s Reading and Leeds festival, he’s excited to perform again and celebrate the end of his GCSEs in style. “I’m failing all of them,” he giggles. “Nah, they were okay. Well, apart from History!” Anyone wanna sneak him a pity pint?
As featured in the August 2019 issue of DIY, out now.