Leytonstone hip hop artist Lemzi’s career path took a dramatic turn after he graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in law and criminology.

Despite never having even been to a concert before attending university, he chose to pursue a career in music after being inspired by a number of underground artists he met as a student.

Now he has just released his latest EP called Autumnal Aura, which utilises jazz samples and instruments with age old hip-hop styles.

Lemzi, whose real name is Alex Lemom, explains why he chose his stage name and reveals why he describes himself a potent lyricist who enjoys experimenting with the sounds and styles of different eras…

Can you tell readers about your style of music?

I'm a hip-hop artist, and my latest project, Autumnal Aura EP, accentuates this more than any of my previous projects. It is me in my most comfortable zone, utilising jazz samples and instruments with age old hip-hop styles.

However, growing up in London, specifically in East London, during the 2000s meant I was surrounded by grime, garage, dubstep and funky house. So throughout my teenage years I learned to write to these styles, which are typically a quicker tempo and require a whole different approach at times.

How did you create your stage name?

LEMZI is simply a derivation of my surname Lemom, however I had a myriad of tag names growing up, including Bozo, Jesty & Alickso. Lemzi was initially spelt with a "y" at the end but the "I" brought something else for me.

You discovered a love of performing while studying your law and criminology degree?

I was at the University of Manchester and had a great time there. Aside from the university, the city offers a lot of opportunities for underground musicians, so I met a number of locals and students who were very innovative and focused. This lead to a few different shows happening and I also watched a lot of concerts (I'd never been to a concert before University). Witnessing people like J.Cole and Drake at the early stages of their careers was an eye opener.

Did you enjoy any sort of performing as a child?

I was much more of a sportsman growing up and used to play squash at a national and international level, as well as play basketball, football, badminton and athletics. That was more my focus. I was relatively shy when it came to public speaking then too, it's developed and my confidence has grown through performing a lot.

Is performing your full time job or do you still pursue a career relating to law and criminology?

No, I'm performing, recording, writing and trying to progress with music full time at the moment. Partially due to circumstances that saw me made redundant from my last legal role (after university I had a number of jobs in professional occupations and settings but found it difficult to find one that really suited me) I used the opportunity to pursue what I'm passionate about.

Are there any hip hop influences in Leytonstone?

I know the Red Lion pub, in High Road, always showcases a lot of good hip-hop acts and good hip-hop nights, and some of them are bound to be local. Other artists in music are from here though, such as Jammer of Boy Better Know for instance.

Do you still live in Leytonstone now?

Yes I do, but may be moving soon.

Which artists inspired your music style?

I take influence from all my personal experiences, whether it's music, sports, relationships or social issues. There's a few artists whose music or personality resonates with me for different reasons, for example, how they rhyme, or the production an artist uses or even how they conduct themselves away from music and performing. Some of my favourite artists include Nas, Jill Scott and Kano.

Lemzi’s music can be purchased from Itunes, Spotify and Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/lemziartist/sets/autumnal-aura-ep