The midlands have never been short of musical success, but it’s the urban music scene of lat that’s been creeping into more mainstream success. From lyricists in the grime scene, like Jaykae, Mist, Lady Leshur, to singers like Jorja Smith and Mahalia, the Midlands urban scene has been getting the attention it deserves. However, there are also many other Hip-Hop and RnB artists coming out of the city. I am really excited to see it grow:
An artist who’s radiant and powerful voice is more than enough to make your mind up on his talents, without even mentioning the support he’s received. Recent years have seen him provide the backing vocals for a few globally recognised solo artists, from Dwele, Bilal and on Emeli Sande’s most recent album. Ricardo Williams blew me away earlier this year with his debut 7-track EP titled ‘Intermission Vol 1’, featuring American RnB singer – Yummy Bingham, as well as a beautiful accompaniment to his standout track ‘Tell Me’ from Teni Tinks.
Kofi Stone has already released a string of impressive singles in his short career which have earnt him recognition from some of the UK’s biggest music publications, with the likes of GRM Daily, Link Up TV, and Complex springing to mind. Known for his candid, conscious lyrical ability, Kofi’s skills with the pen haven’t gone unnoticed with a list of strong solo performances last year. Most impressively last year saw him support soul singer – Etta Bond at The Cuban Embassy in Birmingham, perform to a sold-out crowd at London’s Servant Jazz Quarter, as well as support from pop group, KIOKO at their sold show in Birmingham’s O2 Academy. Starting 2019 strongly, Kofi’s recent track ‘Rodney’s Place’ earnt a place on BBC 1xtra’s track of the week.
Growing up in Birmingham’s Solihull, Dee Ajayi striking positive attitude stands out firmly amongst her growing catalogue of music. First grabbing my attention at Sofar Sounds with an inspiring performance of her hit single, ‘Finishing Touches’ she has gone to perform as a solo artist around London and Birmingham. With a wonderful stage presence to match, in her short career she has supported the likes of Emeli Sande, Stormzy, Macklemore, and Will Heard.
Elektric combination of indie alternative, to more old school RnB and Hip Hop in her productions, blends well with her dynamic melodic rap songwriter style. A career in music always seemed to be her destiny having made music for over 12 years she’s allowed for growth and time to develop her craft which is clear from her more recent music, like ‘Ether’ growing more into hip hop influenced style. Her debut EP ‘Not Another Love Song’ saw her receive support from Baby People was toured across the UK and Europe at respected venues such as 02 Academy, 02 Institute, Rough Trade, The Jam Café, and Nottingham Playhouse. Elektric has also been supported frequently by BBC WM, BBC Radio 1 and BBC 1XTRA, and local radio stations.
Hailing from the west midlands is the amazingly enchanting soulful vocalist, Namiwa Jazz. Namiwa seems to ebb and flow between spoken word and singing, drawing on the range of influences from RnB, Neo- Soul, Hip Hop, and African jazz is truly captivating and unique. But she’s an incredibly versatile performer, at Moseley’s funk and jazz festival her voice comfortably stood out amongst the many percussion elements to her track ‘Namaste Jazz’. At only 24 years she has earnt her support from many respected musicians from Jimmy Cliff, Public Enemy, and the Floacist (Floetry), to Teedra Moses and Jacob Banks.