Jorja Smith – Project 11 EP review

Jorja Smith, Afropunk London 2016, Ally Pally, by Aaron Lee (960x540)The confidence that resonates from Jorja Smith quickly leaves you defenceless. She’s an 18-year-old going on 28, singing about urban life, young love and society’s uncomfortable injustices.

Propelled by the response to ‘Blue Lights’, a short tale of a young person walking unwelcome streets, which garnered much acclaim for her at the start of the year, Smith has apparently received plenty of offers from major labels, but has so far declined them all. She prefers do her own thing. The strength of her first EP, Project 11, is good reason for this rising talent to continue being an independent woman. Continue reading

Porter Shields and Scoop, GNC’s Undisclosed

GNC Undisclosed ad May 9, 2015 (1106x622)London’s newest best kept secret, a party in a city hotel’s carpeted guest lounge that feels like a “living room”, continues to turn up startling gems.

Following last month’s mix of poetry and rap, the GNC crew returned with two new acts for Undisclosed: Porter Shields and Scoop. Continue reading

Theresa Lola and Barney Artist, GNC’s Undisclosed

Theresa Lola, at South Place Hotel, by Aaron Lee, 02, (1920x1080)For discerning lovers of culture and music, newly launched night, Undisclosed, offers an alternative to usual regimented, tense clubbing experience.

Part clubnight, part talent showcase, this was a premier, of sorts, for the new monthly event, which is organised by north London DJ collective, We GNC, and happened at the South Place Hotel, London, on April 4. Continue reading

New talent, Radar: Naomi Scott, Fifi Rong, Geovarn and more

Naomi Scott, Radar at Under the Bridge, London, Feb 26, 2015, by Aaron Lee (3264x1836)Seeing a showcase of fledgling music acts the day after the Brit Awards puts the art of music-making in sharp relief. Because while it’s tough for anyone to sell music nowadays, for unknown and unsigned artists it’s a constant struggle just to be heard.

If any of the six acts at the February edition of Radar at Under the Bridge in London, organised by Music Week and MusicConnex, were frustrated with the noise levels, they did well to hide it. The boldest made animated efforts to connect with the audience of A&Rs, music press and invited industry guests, encouraging sing-alongs, rave-fuelled hip shaking and, in the case of Fifi Rong, aerobics, even though the air of post-work reluctance was there.

The six artists – Bella Figura*, Jungle Doctors, Princess Slayer, Geovarn, Fifi Rong and Naomi Scott – each had something different to offer on an evening of instant attractions and acquired tastes. Continue reading

Tunage: Pearls Negras – Nossa Gang

Pearls Negras, press photo, 2014 (724x408)Brazilian hip hop doesn’t get much of an airing outside of its Latin American homeland and diasporas. A real shame, because the rappers and beat-makers of the Rainbow Nation have plenty to offer.

Pearls Negras, originally from Rio’s Vidigal favella, are a proud example. This female trio, now based in London, is serving up attitude-filled, baile-funk (the dance music borne of Rio’s nightlife) for the party goers who arrive fashionably late and aren’t afraid to tell the host to “bow down”. Still in their teens, Alice Coelho, Jennifer ‘Jeni’ Loiola and Mariana ‘Mari’ Alves rap with a fiery confidence that comes from growing up fast in the often unforgiving slums of their hometown. The beats are punchy, bearing similar elements to soco or bashment (Rihanna comes to mind; though the trio’s own non-Brazilian influences include Beyoncé, Ciara and Nicki Minaj). Continue reading