Marc Veira, also known as Flowdan, received a multitude of messages and calls praising him for being the first British MC to win a Grammy. He did not anticipate the win and was not actively waiting for the news. He has yet to celebrate and believes that winning represents his status as a newcomer in the US, despite having a 20-year career in the industry.
At the age of 43, Veira has spent the last 20 years using his deep singing voice on tracks that are sure to create excitement on dance floors across Britain. He was one of the founding members of the UK rap group Roll Deep and played a significant role in the development of grime, along with fellow members Wiley and Dizzee Rascal. His long-standing collaboration with producer the Bug has produced popular songs like the bass-heavy dubstep hit “Skeng.” Standing tall at over 6 feet, Veira’s beard is sprinkled with grey hairs and his gold tooth sparkles when he delivers his patois-influenced lyrics. He is an experienced leader of energetic crowds and is finally receiving mainstream recognition.
Skrillex, a pioneer in the EDM genre, was awarded a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Recording for his track “Rumble,” marking a significant achievement in his already successful year. The song combines Skrillex’s signature gut-churning bass frequencies with the sampling skills of UK co-producer Fred Again, and is topped off with a skittering drum beat that perfectly complements Veira’s high-energy yet seemingly effortless flow. After being teased in various DJ sets in 2022, the menacing track quickly became a fan favorite at arena shows, reaching its peak when played to a crowd of over 100,000 people at Skrillex and Fred Again’s headlining performance at Coachella in 2023.
Veira has observed a change in the atmosphere during his performances. He explains, “In the UK and Europe, people were already familiar with me, but now they seem to be reacting with even more fervor. It’s almost like I’m gaining more admiration, as if I’m the champion of the people.”
Without a doubt, Flowdan’s involvement in the dancefloor hit “Chase & Status’s Baddadan” has contributed to his recent success. This track, which deviates from the slow dubstep influences of his previous hit “Rumble” and delves into a more booming drum’n’bass sound, has become a symbol of the genre’s resurgence and even reached No 5 on the UK charts. In a recording from Boiler Room, Veira’s performance of the track in October caused the crowd to erupt with four consecutive rewinds. The video has since been viewed over 6 million times. Veira explains, “It was a natural choice to record that one. Saul [one half of Chase & Status] sent it over and I just went with my instincts, since this type of music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.”
Veira’s career as an MC started during the emergence of drum’n’bass in the 1990s. At the age of 13, he discovered his talent for rhyming and storytelling while completing a school assignment to write a poem. He was inspired by influential drum’n’bass MCs like Skibadee and MC Det and noticed how they were revolutionizing the sound system culture of his Caribbean heritage with their bass-heavy style. Hearing them on the radio sparked something in him and he began to imitate their lyrics. Although he was too young to attend raves, he was constantly told how amazing these MCs were and he knew he wanted to be a part of that world.
Veira’s journey to finding his own voice began when he met Wiley at college when he was 16 years old. Together, they formed Roll Deep and introduced the world to grime. As Veira grew older and was able to attend raves, he became the one on stage, captivating audiences and causing chaos. He recalls with a smile how promoters would sometimes ask them to keep the crowd under control, but it wasn’t their fault. In fact, some clubs even banned their song “Pow! (Forward)” due to the wild response it would elicit from fans.
As Roll Deep members pursued individual success, Veira continued to seek unique collaborations centered around maintaining a high-energy dancefloor atmosphere. One such collaboration was with producer Kevin Martin, also known as the Bug, who was drawn to Veira’s vocal style. Together, their work has resulted in some of the most intense and powerful music played in clubs. Veira reflects on not having experienced sound system culture due to his age, but working with Kevin has given him a taste of the impact of creating such a massive sound that can move people. As the frontman, he takes pride in being able to control the bass, vibrations, and the crowd.
Their most praised song is Skeng from 2008, which was created during their third recording session together. Veira shares, “I was ready to leave the studio, but Kevin convinced me to stay and work on the track.” Initially, Veira was not keen on being there and only used a minimal style, with one word per line, as a way to rebel. However, this laid-back approach ended up giving Skeng its intense and intimidating strength. Veira explains, “Kevin gave me the chance to be my true self. Although his audience may come from a different background than what I’m used to, we were all striving for the same energy.”
Veira has a unique talent for creating chaos amongst crowds, which has contributed to his success in a field dominated by young individuals. He no longer identifies as a grime artist, rapper, or drum’n’bass MC, but rather as the ultimate UK vocalist. Despite his mischievous nature, he is now receiving attention from the US and has plans to tour internationally, bringing his distinct British vocal style with him. He remains enthusiastic about the UK music scene, regardless of award recognition, and plans to continue his performances with celebration and joy.