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2012's Going to Be a Big Year for Hackney

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Hi all... it's your boy Labrinth here and this is my first time on the Huffington Post so please be gentle with me!

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoyed Christmas... I managed to escape for a bit to the Maldives which was amazing but as soon as that aeroplane hit the runway it was back to business. 2012 is going to be a huge year, not only for me but for music in general.

I was so happy to see my good friend Michael Kiwanuka get the topspot for the BBC Sound of 2012 list. I've known this gentleman for years now, we actually used to play in the same band a few years ago. We'd play at a bar round the corner from my studio at a night called the Wednesday Jam Session, at somewhere called the Karamel Club - Collage Arts.

He's such a talented guy who makes honest music that has a really honest sound to it. One thing I remember about Mike was that he was always trying to figure out who he was an artist - he kind of went missing and off the radar for two years - and then came back all of a sudden and he was a singer!

He had never really sung before and I remember the first time I heard his record I was like, 'who is this guy singing?!' It didn't sound like Mike at all! Needless to say I am thrilled for him and I think we have a lot of talent coming through this year - Etta Bond who signed a production deal to my label Odd Child is one to watch out for, as is Delilah and Lana Del Ray... I feel her vibe - it's weird - but slightly enticing.

When I think back to everything that happened to me in 2011 it was a bit of a whirlwind, and it all started in my family home back in Hackney all those years ago. Then it makes me think of all the crazy things that happened in Hackney towards the end of last year with all of the riots. I remember my mum was on Mare Street, going about her business and doing the shopping and it all got a bit wild. I don't like to see people jumping on the bandwagon and acting like that but I guess for some people they believe if they can't get their voice heard, then they have to go about it in different ways. It was pretty upsetting to see and it gave my community a bit of a bad name.

However, on the flip side... we do have the Olympics this year which is putting Hackney on the map for an altogether different reason. I have mixed feelings about this - obviously I think it's great that my community can play part in hosting something that is such a huge deal for our country, but the general feel I get from talking to my people in the area is that the community don't actually feel that involved.

It's almost like all these big amazing buildings have been picked up and dropped around the area. Some of the local residents don't have a lot of money and may find it all a little bit overwhelming. Hackney could have done with a helping hand years ago - its a bit like the 'Uptown has come to the ghetto'! I am really looking forward to doing stuff in the community around the whole event though - you know we're actually a good bunch round there! There's a lot of talent that has come out of Hackney over the last couple of years what with myself, Pro Green, Plan B, Maverick Sabre...so we have a lot to shout about!

Although saying all of the above, it is going to be a huge opportunity and platform for all artists to get involved with, and I am excited. At the moment all I can think about is finishing my album and by the next time we speak it should (fingers crossed) be all done... if not then I'm going to be in trouble with the big man! You can keep up with me on Twitter @labrinthda1st or Facebook www.facebook.com/labrinthTV

So until then.....stay safe, Lab x

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