As we bid farewell to 2023, one artist who has started to make waves within the UK rap scene is Reading’s homegrown rapper and lyricist – Songer.

James Songer- known by his fans as Songer – is now sitting comfortably in the top 40’s with his freestyle rap over Britney Spears' iconic track, "Toxic,”

The top 40 hit comes as Britney’s original hit celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The 22 year old Berkshire-based artist first performed “Toxic” in 2022 on BL@CKBOX. Two years later, it stands just shy of 2 million streams on Spotify and still retains its status as one of the most viewed artists on the platform.

After his set at Reading Festival in 2023, Songer expressed his excitement as he sees the results of his hard graft within the industry come to fruition. 

From penning lyrics in his parent's house in Wokingham to performing on stages all over the world, Songer said that he attributes his success to the honesty he portrays through his music.

He said: “I think people resonate with my music because it’s honest. Toxic was so popular because it’s quite comical and there is a history to the song but most of my music is honest and personal.

“It gives people a voice without having to use one. I feel like they can resonate with it because I’m something that they already are rather than speaking from a perspective of something that they want to be.”

Despite his success, Songer told the Chronicle that his favourite thing to do is to hang out with friends, enjoying the normality rather than the chaos of the music biz.

Growing up in Wokingham, just south of Reading, Songer didn’t have much in the way of local role models. He got a love for performing from his grandad’s band Alfie & the Alcoholics, who toured around pubs in the area playing Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan covers.

Throughout his many challenges over the years, which included the death of his best friend and periods of mental health, Songer has used songwriting as an outlet, and through his brutally honest lyrics he has grown his devoted fanbase across the world.

On his next EP Skala, Songer prepares to crash the mainstream. It finds him equally pensive, insightful and energetic, rapping about love and society over classical piano, boom-bap and garage.

“I’ll never be restricted by any type of genre or any tempo,” he says. “I’ll just pick up a pen and I’ll write. I didn’t try to be an artist… I felt like I already was one. What I want to do is change the world without having to change who I am.”

As he continues to move up the charts, his aim to perform a set at Glastonbury and sell out the Royal Albert Hall may well be in his sights in the near future.