Labrinth Performs Acoustic 'Beneath Your Beautiful' and Talks Signing to Simon Cowell

Labrinth is ready to stand out. After a stint of helping others succeed as artists, it’s his time to bask in the spotlight. The UK singer-songwriter recently sat down at Billboard’s NYC studio for an interview and two acoustic performances.

After he built his name as a songwriter for several UK singers, record and TV exec Simon Cowell caught wind of him in 2010. Cowell signed him to his Syco Records label. “It totally kicked off from there,” he says. Below, he performs “Beneath Your Beautiful,” a quiet smash that features Emeli Sande and is about hoping a woman he’s infatuated with stops being so guarded and lets him in. It’s a smash in the UK from his 2012 debut album “Electronic Earth” and weeks ago peaked stateside on the Hot 100 at No. 34.

“Emeli, I felt, had enough soul,” he says of why he picked Sande as the female perspective on the track. “And enough lyrical ability along with it to represent that area of the song.”

Lab notes that life behind the scenes, as a writer, wasn’t so bad. But he’s more than ready to have his songs be heard exactly as he meant them to be.

“It’s a lot easier producing for people or being in the background and they can take all the fire from the front,” Lab says through laughter. “But in order to express the ideas that I have without any kind of contamination, I thought it would be a cool thing to be out front.”

Check out Labrinth’s video interview and two performances to hear him, and his guitar, as wants to be heard.