The internet is a wonderful place to discover music, but nothing can replace the moment you first see an artist live – either they’ve got something or they haven’t. I consider both of the performers we’re presenting this month to be two of the most gifted emerging live artists in the UK if not further afield. Tawiah we’ve been supporting for a long time, since her debut EP “In Jodi’s Bedroom” made a real impact on the independent scene. Since then she’s written an album we can expect to hear later this year, but before that there is some incredible new music arriving imminently – which you will get to hear live for the very first time at this edition of PMOI Live. Mahalia is a young singer songwriter from Leicester I’ve had the pleasure of working with and watching grow (at an alarming rate) over the past year. Every time I speak to her she’s written a clutch of great new songs about her experiences – always honest, original and catchy. A naturally gifted performer who comes from a musical background, watching her sing her music live is inspiring and exciting. Our resident DJs Eric Lau and Marshmello will be on duty with an eclectic selection that will make you miss the last tube…
PUT ME °N IT was first invited to curate a stage at Soundwave Festival Croatia in 2010, which was a huge honour and pleasure. We returned for Soundwave 2012 with a bigger and better line up – in total there were 15 of us – for a beach party on the Saturday afternoon and a main stage session on the Sunday afternoon.
The beach party included DJ sets from ESKA who played a valiant and brilliantly eclectic set through technical turbulence, Ghostpoet whose was session so full of in your face heaters I can’t imagine what the hell he plays at night, and Eric Lau who took us on a musical journey from J Dilla to Jimi Hendrix. Tranqill hopped on the mic to host and the rest of the crew came out to dance and support. The beach stage at the new site is truly a site to behold; situated directly over the turquoise water, half the crowd is partying in the sea and the other half is in their swimwear dancing and sunning themselves in front of the DJ booth, splashing about in the shallows sipping smoothies, or chilling on the rocks underneath the shade of the pine trees.
The Sunday afternoon live session on the main stage was a very special moment for us. It takes a lot to attract the crowd away from the water down at the beach stage, but by the end of our session we’d managed to do just that. Szjerdene and her band started us off, her mellifluous tones stopping passers by in their tracks, glamorous long black dress and hair billowing in the wind. Tanya Auclair followed with her quirky yet catchy alt-pop and impressive one-woman band set up, flooring the audience as she artfully multi-tasked between uke, synth, percussion, looper and voice to create crunchy layers of juicy goodness. UK rapper/ producer Tranqill quite literally burst forth with his short and anything but sweet set of gritty tales that brought South London to the Dalmatian coast for an exciting, tension-filled minute. Tranqill’s set was hosted by regular collaborator, Washington DC’s rapper/producer extraordinaire Oddisee, who showed his experience and skill as a live artist, delivering a charismatic and passionate set of songs from his recently released debut album. Tawiah and her live band came next, and if there were any stragglers queueing for a beer before she took the mic, there were none afterwards as that incredible voice soared over the site and commanded their attention. For many people the highlight of the festival, Tawiah skanked, rocked and literally tore up the stage (her drummer The PSM jumped on top of the drum kit at one point, as the stage crew looked on in horror but couldn’t stop filming it on their camera phones). We finished with newcomer Anna Meredith, an accomplished classical composer whose new electronic material is easily some of the most exciting I’ve heard since I first stumbled across a young man named Steve Ellison six years ago, and whose performance elicited at least one marriage proposal. Eric Lau held the afternoon together DJing in between sets, and the stage crew somehow managed to stay calm despite my very ambitious programming. Video coming soon…
Remember when I got all excited about Tinashé a few years ago? Well around about the same time Island Records scooped up another talent of equal measure with a slew of great songs named Josephine Oniyama. Despite being the label who brought us artists like Bob Marley, Grace Jones and Baaba Maal, it seems that when Chris Blackwell left the company much of his vision, taste and flair for breaking artists who didn’t fit a pre-existing mould disappeared with him.
I first stumbled across Josephine’s brilliant and ridiculously catchy song A Freek A two years ago through Dom Servini, so I was very excited to discover that she has been working on an album with Ed Harcourt and Seb Rochford entitled “Portrait” due out on October 8th on Rubyworks/Ark Recordings. The new single “What A Day” is every bit as infectious as “A Freek A” and will be released on 20th August. I suggest watching the video below by way of brief introduction -
By rights the likes of Josephine and Tinashé (and many others you can find on this blog such as Tawiah, Tanya Auclair, Joshua Idehen, L.A. Salaami, Rahel, Ghostpoet and ESKA), are a new generation of homegrown singer-songwriters who probably grew up with The Smiths and Joni Mitchell as much as King Sunny Ade or Michael Jackson, as well as the artists Chris Blackwell worked with. The originality and richness of their music is the result, but so far it seems to be proving somewhat of a challenge for much of the industry to wrap their heads around (what some of us see as a no-brainer). Happily things change much faster now than ever before, and what with the quality of her voice and songwriting Josephine is undoubtedly about to make some serious headway. We will be supporting her with the very fibre of our beings.
Support: “What A Day” will be released on 20th August 2012.
I first came across Tawiah back in 2008, when hardly anyone was self-releasing EPs or making the kind of music she made. Her “In Jodi’s Bedroom” EP felt like it was part of the start of something so exciting in our music scene, at the time I could name the artists I knew of who sang in a London accent on one hand. I must have gone to see her live more than ten times, and hoped that one day I would book her.
Four years on, in a period of relative quiet to the outside world (writing a really good album takes time!), my partner in crime and resident DJ Eric Lau and I asked Tawiah to come and perform at the C.A.M.P., hoping we could do her justice. My favourite part of running a night is always soundcheck. The band might be a little stressed trying to tweak and perfect everything at the last minute, but I get a private gig where I don’t have to worry about the guest list or whether it will start raining and no one will come. My lasting thought as I watched Tawiah soundcheck, was that I was watching a future star, an incredibly gifted artist who couldn’t fail to go on and perform for the rest of her life to thousands of people.
I hope the video shows you even a tiny fraction of the atmosphere Tawiah and her band generated that night.