If you can be sure about anything about MNEK, it’s that he’s gonna write and produce the hell out of a girl group song. While the rest of us were over-tweezing our eyebrows and working Saturday jobs to top up our phones, MNEK was already collaborating with Sugababes and The Saturdays when he was a teenager.
It’s significant then, that his new single, 16 Again – a collaboration with dance titans Paul Woolford and Lewis Thompson – sees the British singer, songwriter and record producer reflect on his own teenage years, which were so very different from those of his peers.
Used to seeing MNEK dressed mostly fabulously on Instagram (a flammable-looking blonde wig sometimes making a guest appearance), today he’s dressed down in a grey long-sleeved top and is sporting his natural short (although soon-to-be-swishable, braided) hair – no fluorescent dye in sight. If there are any flashes of him being extra today, it’s all in his words.
The 28 year old is in full promo mode – “Allegedly,” he teases – his phone pinging away intermittently throughout. “Honestly…the WhatsApp is going off, the fucking Zoom interview marathon, talking about 16 Again…”
Ever the pro, he brings back into focus what he’s here to promote today, despite the inevitability of being asked about his work with certain global icons as well (more on that later).
He’s immediately game though – naturally shifting into an easy, conversational style with someone he’s just met. Despite the constant pings, for 20 minutes he’s all yours, and Headliner senses he wouldn’t shy away from answering more controversial or weighty topics than today’s allotted time slot allows.