EntertainmentMusic

How cracking the mainstream just happened for Sigma

MusicBy Eddie Rowley
Sigma - Joe Lenzie and Cam Edwards
Sigma - Joe Lenzie and Cam Edwards

SCORING smash hits with stars like X Factor judge Rita Ora, Sigma’s Joe Lenzie and Cam Edwards have just notched up an incredible, life-changing 18 months.

The talented duo, who met at university in Leeds, became the toast of dance music when they established themselves as top drum ‘n’ bass DJs.

They’ve gone on to notch up a string of hits including Nobody To Love, Changing (feat Paloma Faith), Higher (feat Labrinth), Glitterball (feat Ella Henderson) and Coming Home with Rita Ora.

Joe and Cam have also remixed tracks for the likes of Ellie Goulding, Eric Prydz and Groove Armada, as well as touring the world as DJs.

“It’s been pretty hectic for the last two years,” Joe laughs when Shuffle catches up with him. “Luckily we’re in a position now where all these big vocalists want to work with us, which is pretty nice.”

What a difference a couple of years makes. “Yeah, three years ago nobody was interested in working with us,” Lenzie admits. 

“Luckily, we had success with a couple of tracks that drew a lot of attention to what we were doing. All the people we originally tried to work with have come back and worked with us. But we understand that’s the way the business works.

“It might look like we had overnight success, but we’ve been doing this for 10 years, writing more underground music. We had a lot of fun along the way and it was never a case of wanting to or trying to crack the mainstream. It wasn’t forced, it just naturally happened.”

Going back to when they met at university, Lenzie says that has been the key to establishing successful careers.

“When we first met at university we were spending a lot of time going out and getting smashed,” Joe reveals.

“We decided we probably didn’t want to do a normal job. Then I started messing around with music on a computer and got Cam into it, and it developed from there.”

Lenzie had immersed himself in music during his teenage years.

“A lot of it was dance stuff,” he remembers, “but I was really into hip-hop, West Coast stuff, Snoop Dogg, the old jungle stuff with Goldie, and Roni Size.

“Growing up a little bit I then got into jazz, Miles Davis, and I love a bit of Van Morrison as my parents used to listen to him when I was young. He definitely has a place in my heart.

“If your life is music you do move around from one thing to the next. People see you for what you’ve become successful for, but they don’t necessarily know your background. We have experimented with a lot of different styles of music.”

Some showbiz marriages haven’t lasted as long as Joe and Cam’s professional relationship.

“From our perspective, one of the things that keeps us strong as a unit is that we are just really good friends,” Joe explains.

“We’ve got similar opinions about stuff and we get on really well. We never fall out over stuff, luckily.”

So has success changed their lives? “It has been life-changing to a certain extent,” Joe reflects. 

“We are given a lot of free stuff now, which is great. I come from quite a modest upbringing, so when people start throwing free stuff at me I’m not going to say no.”

He laughs off suggestions that number one hits have now made the duo incredibly wealthy. “It’s not what you would expect,” Joe says of the money that comes from hit singles.

“Unfortunately now with streaming and the fact you don’t have physical sales, the profits are getting smaller and smaller. But luckily for us we are in a situation where we can go and DJ and make a decent amount of money out of that.”

Sigma have now released their debut album, Life, featuring all their hit collaborations.