NEWS: tendai returns with new project ‘three.two’ and vibrant ‘Why Can’t I’

Musical polymath tendai returns with his second project of the year, ‘three.two’ including a visual accompaniment. It follows his first offering of the year, ‘three.one’, which landed alongside ‘ugh parents evening. Now he has shared the video for the lead track ‘Why Can’t I‘, that ripples with a need to break free of expectations and the system, the strident beats grooving and his breathless vocals as vibrant as ever.

At just 22, tendai creates music free of any restraints and has most recently been nominated for the Ivor Novello Rising Star Award.  Constantly challenging the boundaries of genre, tendai refuses to be boxed in. His latest musical release further propels a forthcoming triptych of three-track releases, which promise to fluctuate and bend genres – adapting as they are heard and moulding themselves into new sonics and melodies that tendai defines as “raido”.

On the forthcoming triptych of music, tendai states: 

“…this part of the story shows the beginning of self indulgence , the playfulness of romance and the confusion around growing and changing . the music is thick , in places quite warm , in others it bites . but ultimately i feel it tells the truth.”

“…when i think about the triptych, the word that rings out to me is freedom . I believe that it has the ability to free not only myself as an artist ; but those who choose to be inspired by it . the freedom to be an artist who makes art . not a music maker on a conveyor belt , in a factory – a cog in ‘the music industry’ . i feel it gives me freedom to be more and say more…”

three.two’ tracklist:

  • “Why Can’t I.”
  • “Champion Lover.” 
  • “Come So Far.”

Long-term fans will remember tendai was in the studio with Stormzy as part of his production team for the number one album, This Is What I Mean. Indeed, tendai’s influence across the record is so prominent that he also co-wrote and features on stand-out moment and most recent single ‘Need You.’ Already a truly valued talent, tendai’s co-signs extend far and wide.

Hailing from Canning Town, East London, tendai weaves a distinctive sonic thread through his individually singles “Time In Our Lives”“Not Around”“Infinite Straight”“Lately”, and “Pressure” . Previously looking to his synesthesia to help him describe his music, tendai’s musical language is far-reaching and vivid.

The subtle power of tendai’s music is to tap into his personal experiences while translating them in a relatable way. Outside of musical heroes Damon Albarn and Sade, tendai looks to the world of film for inspiration into how best to tell a story. Directors rarely work in just one genre and music should work the same way, he argues. Why limit yourself to just one way of expressing how you feel? Time spent in front of the big screen has also taught him the importance of framing and the power of context. His approach to his music videos, many using multiple wide shots, matches his compositions. “Let’s use this space.”

While studying at music college ELAM in East London, tendai signed a record deal with 0207 Def Jam and was given lots of time to establish his voice. It might not have looked it from the outside but tendai’s journey to this point was a process of understanding what he needed to do and rebelling against the urge to lean into making anything less than the most heartfelt and honest music possible. ‘Build it and they will come,’ they say.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.