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MNEK promises 'black gay pop experience' on debut album

MNEK Image copyright Getty Images

MNEK is promising a "black, gay, pop experience" when his debut album is released.

"I'm so proud of it, it's been such a long time coming," he told Newsbeat at Parklife festival in Manchester.

The 23-year-old has been in the music industry for 10 years but this is his first solo album.

Since he was 14, he's written and produced for huge artists including Beyonce, Little Mix, Madonna and Christina Aguilera.

He says he's choosing to release his own material rather than feeling pressure to do so.

"I've made enough money from other people's records so I have to want to do this," he explains.

"It would be great if it did well but I don't have to put out records of my own."

The singer, whose real name is Uzoechi Emenike, says he wants to "showcase a different kind of popstar" with his album.

"I don't think there's been many chances for people to see a black, gay, pop experience and that's what I want to have with my shows moving forward."

MNEK was discovered on MySpace and says he's been "developing" ever since, working out what kind of artist he wants to be.

During that time he's worked with Beyonce on her Lemonade album, on the track Hold Up, which he said on the Bottle Pop podcast was "surreal".

But he's loved having success with his friends: A.M.E with Need U (100%) and Becky Hill on Gecko (Overdrive).

"To share success with them is my favourite thing," he says.

One of his most recent collaborations was on Stormzy's Blinded By Your Grace.

Despite working with global stars, "not everyone knows who I am," he says.

"I want more people to know who I am and I want to have the chance to tease my music a bit more.

"All of it takes some time unless you're like Rihanna where you just plonk it on streaming services."

MNEK's album will be out later this year.

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