They say our home defines us. Singer-songwriter Hak Baker’s was in Isle of Dogs in East London, a place that still permeates his music. It was here he rememberes sitting in the kitchen as a young child, listening to his mother and sister sing Redemption Song, Oxtail soup cooking on the stove. After winning a singing competition in primary school, Hak claims he was tricked into joining a choir, a move which may well have helped to unearth his rare vocal talent. But it was also here he first encountered true diversity, engaging through music with kids from all backgrounds and falling in love with the chaotic yet beautiful multiplicity of the city he called home.
Hak soon tired of the regimented musical world of the choir, and broke out to start MC-ing at youth clubs, local studios and pirate radio stations. It was in the streets that his true musical journey began: His love of rock and indie merged with grime and garage, all explored through the lens of teenage mischief. At only 14, his grime collective Bomb Squad peaked in the Channel U video charts with their eponymous debut, cementing Hak’s cult status in the London grime scene.
But caught in the whirlwind, things spiralled out of control. Leaving home at age 15, Hak fascination with street culture led him down a path of alcolohism and regular run-ins with the law. His late adolescence was a turbulent time of hotels, bedsits and frequent arrests - until delinquencies eventually turned into a longer period of incarceration. Behind bars, Hak rediscovered his passion for music, teaching himself to play the guitar and vowing to one day use his freedom to make art through music.
Since his release, Hak has moved from strength to strength, recording music, playing international shows and being named ‘Best singer-songwriter’ as part of Capital Xtra’s Music Potential Programme. Now preparing for his debut single and EP as well as his first headline show in London, Hak’s future is bright. From a turbulent background has emerged a graceful and deeply adept artist, whose combination of a pared-back folk sound with raw vocal performance and quick-witted East London lyricism is truly unique.