How often do you travel?
Several times a month; more frequently if I’m touring. Summer’s my busiest time, when I’m doing shows, festivals, functions. I performed at the Goodwood Festival recently – I was DJ-ing and had to go straight on stage, so I missed seeing the cars. Last autumn I went to Lima to perform at a huge function for the photographer Mario Testino’s charity; Mario’s from Peru – I was told about Machu Picchu being magnificent, but I had no time to see it.
What do you need for the perfect holiday?
Culture is high on my list. I was in Sri Lanka and I visited the temples, and learnt more about Buddhist culture. We climbed the Sigiriya rock fortress and saw the frescoes with the painted maidens, then heard stories about the kings. While there I learnt to make Sri Lankan dhal, with lots of coconut milk and found out that certain yoga poses are good for your digestion. I love learning something new travelling.
Most adventurous travel experience?
Cuba. I felt really connected to the country. More people are going there now but it still felt remote to me. I loved the diversity and the mix of people. Havana felt as if it was in time warp, stuck in the Seventies. It was beautiful, as were the vintage cars, the fashions. Brazil felt adventurous, too – Rio, and Salvador in Bahia – amazing places.
Your most relaxing destination?
Cape Verde. My parents are from Nigeria, they had me in London, and I really wanted to go to Africa. I had been to South Africa and Kenya and then I read about Cape Verde. I went and fell in love with the place. They have a mantra, printed on the T-shirts and hats – “No stress”. And there is no stress.
Favourite place you’ve performed?
Last summer we did Sziget Festival in Hungary. We flew into Budapest the night before and I had the daytime to look around before the evening’s gig. Budapest is gorgeous.
I’m raving a bit about it, but right up there would be Sri Lanka; I’d been in the Maldives, and from there we flew to Colombo; it’s modernising, they say, it’s got trendy cafés and boutiques. Then we took a helicopter to Dambulla – the cave temples were unbelievable. I planned to go to Trincomalee, but I loved Dambulla so much that I stayed on at the amazing Kalundewa Retreat.
It has to be the Kalundewa Retreat. I was with my girlfriend, and we were lucky to be the only people staying the whole time. No televisions; wildlife everywhere. I realised as much as I like being on a beach, with a view of the ocean, I love being in the emerald hills, breathing in the mountain air.
Still London. I grew up on Aylesbury Estate, in south-east London. I live in the east now, in Hackney. Our city is so ethnically diverse, I love it for that. My second favourite city is Amsterdam: all the coolest young fashion designers are there and the creativity coming from the youth in Amsterdam is exciting. Martin Garrix, a Dutch DJ superstar, and Diztortion, who’s a very big producer in the UK, he’s from Holland. I go there, soak up the culture and the fashion shops.
An insider’s guide to Amsterdam
Worst travel experience?
The airport in Vietnam was probably one of the most hostile places I’ve witnessed. But as soon as I got to Saigon city and then out to the Vietnamese countryside, it was sublime… funny that. I was with a girl, and when people see a couple, they’re more respectful. It could have been worse if I’d been with a bunch of guys – some people see that as trouble.
Emirates, they’re very good. We used to have a party in Dubai – at the nightclub White Dubai – every few weeks, so I was constantly flying on Emirates. The service is great and again, it’s that thing of diversity, accepting people from other places in the world and respecting other cultures that I like.
Best piece of travel advice?
Try to be a bit rogue in your approach – challenge yourself in your comfort zone. We can gravitate to places where our own culture is strongest – parts of Spain, where there are loads of Brits, say. We’re creatures of habit. But I think it’s important to think outside the box when you travel, to experience something new. Whenever I’ve left somewhere I’ve really connected to I’ve always made a friend. I try and go to the less glamorous spots, and meet people who can tell me the stories about the real place.
What do you hate about holidays?
How they try and sting you by overcharging sometimes, especially in tourist destinations. That’s why it’s important to know someone who lives there. You go and haggle with shopkeepers, and if you’re with a local, they’re going to think twice about putting up their prices.
This summer I’ll be in and out of Ibiza, one of the biggest party capitals of the world, performing at Ushuaïa, so am looking forward to the good party atmosphere there.
Tinie Tempah’s Disturbing Ibiza Residency runs every Friday at Ushuaïa, Ibiza until September 15.
Interview by Beverley D’Silva