Timothy Lee McKenzie (born 4 January 1989), better known by his stage name Labrinth, is an English singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer and multi-instrumentalist. Initially, he was tipped to work as a producer, but Simon Cowell signed him to his record label Syco Music as a solo act. In the process, Labrinth became Cowell’s first non-talent show signing in six years.
Labrinth made his debut appearance on the UK Singles Chart in March 2010, when his collaboration with English rapper Tinie Tempah, “Pass Out”, reached number one. McKenzie has collaborated with Tinie Tempah on numerous occasions since. Labrinth’s first solo single, “Let the Sun Shine” was released in September 2010, reaching number three in the same chart. His debut album Electronic Earth, was released on 31 March 2012, having been preceded by the singles “Earthquake”, featuring Tinie Tempah and “Last Time”, which peaked at number two and number four respectively. He achieved his first number-one single in November 2012 with “Beneath Your Beautiful”, featuring Emeli Sandé.
McKenzie was born and raised in Hackney, London. He is of Kittitian/Nevisian descent. He comes from a musical family consisting of nine siblings, and grew up at home surrounded almost exclusively by the sound of American gospel music. When they were younger, he and his eight siblings formed a band called Mac 9. He attended Stoke Newington School and began to pursue a musical career during his school years. His brother, Mac (who also goes by the name mac1), is a producer, and introduced McKenzie to the art of creating music in his studio at the age of 15.
Labrinth started his career by producing the track “Dead End” for recording artist Master Shortie from the album A.D.H.D. (2009). The track generated interest in McKenzie as a producer and songwriter, entailing Guy Moot of EMI Music Publishing to offer the artist a publishing deal. From 2010 to 2011, Labrinth mentored the Urban Development Vocal Collective (UDVC) alongside his sister, ShezAr. He also produced multiple tracks for the collective, contributing towards a nine-track project titled Urban Development. The vocalists also provided backing vocals for Labrinth’s original tracks. Other artists to collaborate with the collective include Wretch 32, Chip, Maverick Sabre and Devlin.