Finesse Foreva hero

Five years of Finesse Foreva: ‘The biggest key you can give yourself is belief’

TK of the Croydon-based label and management company talks us through their breakout success, overcoming adversity and their boundless ambitions for the future.

Ray Sang
  • By Ray Sang
  • 11 Jul 2023
  • min read

So much can change over the course of five years. In the music industry alone we’ve witnessed the continued growth of streaming and social media platforms (with TikTok now a major player), as well as the constant development of marketing tactics in a bid to stand out from the crowd. As the musical landscape continues to change, success and indeed survival in the industry are increasingly dependent on embracing adaptation and evolution: two principles that Finesse Foreva hold very dear.

Founded by childhood friends SK, TK and JB (AKA producer JB Made It) after a night of hip hop karaoke in 2017, Finesse Foreva’s initial dream was simple. ‘[The] main reason for starting was because I’ve had a passion for music since I was 16,’ TK tells M Magazine. ‘I was inspired by Wiz Khalifa with his Taylor Gang label, as well as Drake with OVO. [We] wanted to have a similar set-up with FF: have fun and achieve goals at the same time.’

With the blueprint of those major success stories in mind, the trio went about setting up Finesse Foreva in Croydon as an independent record label, production house and management company. 2018 presented the fledging company’s first big opportunity: having been bubbling around the UK underground since 2012, drill music enjoyed its first major mainstream moment when Unknown T’s single Homerton B charted in the UK top 50 in October 2018. Drill’s rise to becoming one of the country's hottest cultural commodities skyrocketed, but the genre had yet to find a central hub for its talent: various executives and mangers were circling, but none spoke the language of the artists.

‘We realised a lot of producers were getting overlooked and being mistreated by people when it came to sorting out splits or payments...'

Enter Finesse Foreva, a company primarily concerned with representing the best interests of those at the forefront of the genre. The trio quickly went about signing the likes of IQ, Skengdo x AM and S1, while also providing representation for drill producers. ‘We realised a lot of producers were getting overlooked and being mistreated by people when it came to sorting out splits or payments,’ TK explains. ‘Plus, we saw a lot of potential in developing producers like artists!’

Success was quick to come by. Skengdo x AM sold out two tours within the space of 12 months, while Finesse Foreva also had their hand in such culturally significant singles as Russ Millions and Tion Wayne’s Keisha & Becky and Ivorian Doll’s Rumours. Just when the company’s ascent seemed unstoppable, though, they were brought crashing back down to earth in early 2020 by the pandemic. Gigs and tours were shelved, as was a planned US trip to complete the Drillantic project, which had aimed to ‘create a global culture for drill music’. Alarmingly, conversation then turned to how the company’s overheads would be covered.

The team chose not to lose hope, though. Asked what motivated Finesse Foreva to keep going during those uncertain times, TK says: ‘Definitely my faith and past results. If I can achieve something once, then I know I can achieve it again  and even more. The biggest key you can give yourself is belief.’

Finesse Foreva’s only option, then, was to keep valiantly pushing on, and they were soon rewarded for their bravery thanks to one of their biggest inspirations. Demons, Drake’s 2020 collaboration with Fivio Foreign and Sosa Geek that was produced by JB Made It, entered the top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100 in May 2020, providing Finesse Foreva with the exposure and revitalisation they desperately needed. Momentum restored, the company then enjoyed their biggest breakout success in May 2021 as Tion Wayne and Russ Millions reunited for Body, which became drill’s first-ever UK number one single.

'If I can achieve something once, then I know I can achieve it again  and even more. The biggest key you can give yourself is belief.’

The next phase has been all about expansion. As well as moving into representing other genres outside of drill (such as R&B artist Indie Amoi) and implementing in-house A&R, management and production teams (not forgetting their two music studios), Finesse Foreva have been keen to give back to their local community, as evidenced by their 2022 partnership with Croydon College. The company are particularly passionate about investing in the next generation – be it future musicians, producers, A&Rs, managers or designers  and have made it a priority to help develop and empower young people who possess a clear interest in breaking into the industry. Once such avenue for this is their free music business course, aimed at 18 to 26-year-olds who want to learn more about the business side of the music industry and generate income from their talent.

Finesse Foreva’s impact is already clear to see, and a very bright future lies ahead. ‘The plan would be to own our own building with a multipurpose hub, with studio recording and a visual recording set-up that’s just a big home for creatives,’ TK says. ‘We definitely have FF Africa in our plans too!’ Armed with sure pure intentions and an unshakeable determination, such goals are well within reach for the trio – here’s to the next five years of Finesse Foreva.