TOKIO Myers relishes being labelled an underdog.

It worked for him when he rocked up to the prestigious Royal College of Music – not an aspiring rapper as many expected, but as a pianist with a love for classical composers Frederic Chopin and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

And it happened again when he successfully brought his electrifying mash-ups to television screens across the country on Britain’s Got Talent, sweeping to victory in the process.

From delicate piano pieces to full-on electronic behemoths, he mixed Adele and Ed Sheeran with Beethoven. Viewers lapped it up, and now they’re doing the same to his debut album Our Generation, released in November, which fuses classical music, cinematic, hip-hop, dance and soul.

Ahead of a Brighton performance next year, he reflects on a whirlwind year. “The more you put me in a place I’m not supposed to be, it excites me more. I get a kick out of it because I know I can educate people,” he says.

“I really love the underdog, I don’t like doing the obvious thing. I don’t want to be put in a box.” His motivation to audition for the ITV talent show came from a fear of stagnation.

After years as a session musician for Mr Hudson And The Library, where he toured with everyone from Kanye West to Amy Winehouse, Tokio wanted to flaunt a sound he had worked hard to hone.

“I reached a point in my life and things were pretty static – and I hate static,” he says. “I woke up one morning and decided I was going to do it, just for the sheer sake it was going to be super challenging.”

If Myers’ album showcases his supreme musicianship, his live shows are a whole different animal. He has been known to play “in the round”, with his keyboards, electronic drum pad and other equipment at the centre of the stage and Myers frantically trying to spin all the plates.

He says he is keen to provide a unique experience at his concerts to impress seasoned – and potentially jaded – gig-goers. The last thing he wants is for his gigs to have a “soulless vibe”. He adds: “These people have seen loads of these things. They’re going every week, week in week out, so the challenge for me was to make it different.”

Born in London, Tokio was awarded a scholarship at the Royal College before going on to work with pop artist Mr Hudson (real name Benjamin Hudson McIldowie). Meeting Kanye was a highlight of Myers’ previous musical life, he says, recalling a backstage basketball match with the superstar who is good friends with and a collaborator of McIldowie.

“Within five minutes, we were off to play basketball. They bring a net with them on tour and I’m there blocking Kanye, taking jump shots in his face pulling faces at him. It was very surreal.”

As a touring musician he also performed at Glastonbury in 2009 and it’s a festival he would like to return to. “I want to take this to the top, this isn’t just for my bedroom,” he laughs, perhaps at his own rise from small crowds to the Royal Variety Show (BGT winners automatically play the event).

“I definitely would love to be a household name, that’s a dream,” he continues. “The same as Hans Zimmer is. You say his name and you’re like, ‘Ah amazing, epic composer’. That kind of vibe, that’s all I want – nothing much.”

During his classical training he was surrounded by a lot of aspiring musicians from a rich, white background. Tokio would very much like the classical scene to be more diverse, but not at the expense of his former peers.

“My fight isn’t with race,” he says. “My mum’s white, my dad’s black. I’ve got nothing against race, or money or wealth or any of that kind of stuff. Those kids didn’t choose to be part of that – they were born in it. But at the same time it should be for everyone. There’s loads of kids who won’t do it because of the perception it’s not for them. I hope those kids will see me and say it’s cool to play Chopin or Rachmaninoff.”

His main motivation behind his music is to offer escapism to anyone who listens to it. “I’ve been lucky to go away and certain places and culture and nature is priority,” he says. "People live simply, they’re not chasing a Ferrari or big house. I try and take people into a world and forget all about the **** we have to deal with, chasing the rent money or their struggles.”

Perhaps it’s not something you’d expect an artist signed to Simon Cowell’s massive Syco record label to come out with. But then, clearly, Tokio is no ordinary artist. And he says that despite his own hesitations about the world of shows like BGT, he owes them, and Cowell, a lot.

“Simon’s been massive,” he says. “I spoke to him last night on the phone and he’s just been there through the whole process. He flew me out to LA and went to his house and we were just playing demos. I felt like a kid in a spaceship. His team they are on it. They are really good, they’re really excited. We recorded a 40-piece live orchestra in Abbey Road with full brass system – everything is real, nothing is cheap.”

He goes to these extraordinary lengths because it is his job to touch people with his art, he adds. “I am here to connect. It’s a crazy time we live in and music is important to all of us – when we’re down, when we’re happy, and when we need a little boost.”

As Myers looks ahead to an exciting year, in which his profile will surely rise even further, he delivers a rhetorical question that acts as a rallying call. “What do we go to if it isn’t music?”

Tokio Myers, Brighton Dome, April 23. For tickets and more information visit or call 01273 709709