Little Simz has been announced as the recipient of the prestigious Pioneer Award at this year’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards.
The rapper, who is also set to perform at next month’s virtual ceremony, becomes the youngest recipient of the award. It follows on from her triumph at the NME Awards 2020, where she picked up the Best British Album gong for ‘Grey Area’.
Simz said: “Delighted to receive the Pioneer Award this year and excited to perform. Big thank you and love to AIM Awards!”
AJ Tracey has also been confirmed as the winner of the Innovator prize and will also perform at the ceremony.
It’s great to see so many independent artists making waves in the commercial music scene. We’ll be celebrating with them as we tune into the AIM awards 2020.
Israel Nkeki has lived a life worthy of a 100 films. A life journey that has taken Israel from Nigeria to Lewisham, from the streets to a stint in prison and eventually to becoming the soulful Croydon residing singer-songwriting he is today.
After a conflict filled childhood in Benin City (Nigeria), a young Israel relocated to New Cross (London). Young, impressionable and cast a drift Israel Nkeki descended into a life on the streets and eventually found himself serving a sentence in prison. Prison was the wakeup call Israel needed, a turning point in his life that prompted him to put his pain into a creative medium and tell his story through music.
‘Moonlight’, Israel’s debut single coming on 20th June, uses hard hitting lyrics to tell the story of his painful journey and how split second decisions can have lifelong impact. Set on a backdrop of contemporary soul beats the track is emotive, poetic and modern.
Israel’s music is rich with harsh realities, real life experiences and hard-learned lessons presented with soul, feeling and emotion. A story that needs to be told and a voice that needs to be heard.
Following on from a double-header of features on Grime Daily, the duo comprising of Zane Morris and Kelvin Bueno have been branded as ‘One to Watch‘ by Red Bull Music London. Ahead of the full length album release of ‘22 Reasons to Stay‘, SAZ’s forthcoming EP entitled ‘Dread Full‘ is painted as an homage to fallen inspirations of theirs – from Chester Bennington to MacMiller, celebrating their influence by fusing their sounds in unique ways.
SAZ have become embraced as pioneers in their own right – a constantly evolving project which embraces a soft and seductive blend of indie and acoustic, bound together with elements of hip-hop. A sumptuous blend of sentimental songwriting overlaid with an eclectic mix of ethereal instruments and folk-inspired guitar riffs that detail an ambience which is synonymous with London’s underground music scene that, in turn, detail images of vibrant landscapes and sultry road trips.
Historically since 2012, when Zane first started to release under SAZ, he has sought out artists and other creative types to collaborate with to create music and artwork in order to churn out new releases on a weekly basis – and this was sustained over a two year period. With a sound that may arguably span a variety of genres, all of their tracks have been produced by the two of them which has allowed for a consistency across the creative process. They play live as a 5-piece band, but are also acclaimed for their acoustic sets which utilise live production through the use of loop pedals.
Calling all urban music fans, this is the video for you. ‘Video of the week’ goes to former innocent singer-songwriter Serena Kern, who has now ventured into a totally different style with her grime inspired new track ‘Drop Top’ ft. Ms Banks.
On the 12th of July I was very fortunate enough to be invited to NME’s first Under The Radar event as sponsored by Starling Bank, for a night of new music in one of London’s more quirkier venues.
Under The Radar is a showcase of upcoming talent; an opportunity to see some of the U.K’s hottest new acts in an intimate space before they play more crowded venues, an opportunity to see artists like these in a 300 capacity venue do not come around often.
The event was held at London’s Omeara in Southwark, with a cryptic looking interior and sporting a food court round the side of the venue, the venue suited an exclusive event. The sound in the venue brought out the best in the carousing bands.
The artists that were showcased – both London based were Anteros, a contemporary indie band with rock accessibility and Age of L.U.N.A, a rap/hip-hop group with a nostalgic element to their tunes.
The first of the two artists were Anteros, based in London; an indie band with rock accessibility, comparable to the Britpop bands of the 90s, with the grand stage presence akin to Blondie and an upbeat personality, a band with a catchy arsenal of tunes that got people dancing.
Vocalist Laura Hayden boasted a swagger that set the tone of what the band are all about, and the rest of the band are aware of this, presenting their own confidence and holding their own presence. The band capture their audience and know exactly what to do with them.
Anteros carry a set of tunes that are both catchy and well structured, fans or not, listeners will be unable to resist the urge to hum their tunes days after.
Source: @Anterosofficial (Facebook)
The next artist and final of the night were Age of L.U.N.A, a hip-hop/rap outfit also from London. An example of the finest quality of hip-hop in contemporary music. With a classic, nostalgic vibe to them a la De La Soul & A Tribe Called Quest, the trio got the room moving with ease and a charm to their performance that makes them unique in the genres climate.
The quality of performance spoke volumes, from the choreographed style of their stage presence all the way to their interaction with the audience. The intricate instrumentals the mixture in diversity of vocal styles, from Daniella Thomas’s smooth soulful vocals to the mixture of rap styles; slick to aggressive from Butch and Kyote, it made the trio constantly interesting to watch and listen to.
Halfway through their set they performed a mash-up of classic hip-hop tunes which got the room moving, Daniella Thomas also brought out a Saxophone and played the hooks to these tunes, which added to the performance and made it even more exciting.
Source: @Theageofluna (Facebook)
Overall, NME x Starling Bank’s first Under The Radar event was a success, an overwhelmingly entertaining show, the question is; how are they going to top the next one?
For Wyclef Jean protégé and R&B artist ImSoMaleek – 2017 could be a pivotal year with the U.K release of InsomniaK, carrying the torch for the new wave of Neo-Soul and a melodic memoir of new tracks.
One of these new tracks on the album is ‘Baby it’s You’ which features Bronx-born hip hop artist Denzil Porter; who contributes with a verse for the melodic croon.
With its noticeable influences, the song is able to stand on its own and shines alongside contemporary artists such as Frank Ocean. Accessibility to ImSoMaleek’s music ranges from the likes of the Drake side of current hip-hop to the Robert Glasper side of R&B, whilst maintaining a pop factor.
Songs on InsomniaK including ‘Baby it’s You’ feature an intricately thought out instrumental and soaring vocal melodies. With his previous experience in big time productions and his reflective and personal approach to InsomniaK, it’s no surprise that ImSoMaleek was able to produce a big sounding ballad such as ‘Baby it’s You’.
‘Baby it’s You’ is introduced with a “smooth-jazz” chord progression, and instantly sets the mood for the sentimental ballad. With an apparent homage towards predecessors of the genre from the early “noughties” such as Usher & Ne-Yo, with the soulful and melodic vocal style to the backing vocals which are very reminiscent of the aforementioned influences.
The lyrical content is endearing and stylistically recognizable to R&B fans both old and new. ImSoMaleek has executed a tasteful love song, that bursts with emotion, and Denzil Porters contribution to the song is also consistent to the lyrical theme and provides to the song.
ImSoMaleek’s new album InsomniaK is set to be released 21/07/17 in the U.K. For now you can check out ‘Baby it’s You’ here;
M3staken, otherwise known as M3, is a boundary pushing artist and producer to adheres to no genre-defining limits.
The young musician from South Carolina creates a thought-provoking and jarring form of electronic beats with a hip-hop edge, seemingly creating a whole new space where his music doesn’t really belong anywhere. And this is a good thing.
Most artists we listen to can be easily placed in a box of a particular genre, but with M3, it is much more difficult, showing that he is a progressor of music, not just someone looking to fit in with a crowd.
His previous album, Apex, featured this unique amalgamation of sounds, combined with classical piano: something completely unheard of, but M3 was willing to see what it was like and what would happen.
Water Colors continues in much the same vein as his previous record, but it is clear that M3 is perfecting a sound of his own, saying that the new album is a ‘continuation’ of Apex.
‘Devil Ina Blue Dress’ is the latest genre-bending single from south London based Dexter Sampson, otherwise known as Dexman. Drawing on African influences, Dexman gives us an infectious blend of rap, hip-hop and afrorap which he is beginning to pioneer as an artist. The new single also features the talents of fellow rapper, J Wanza.
As part of the Leftwing movement, there is strong ethos behind the music that Dexman is creating which can heard in other releases such as ‘Mama Don’t Cry’, ‘Never See Us Gunnin’ and ‘Lean On Me’.
Although Dexman may be placed mainly within the box of rap/hip-hop, he has been known to cross into a number of other genres including reggaeton, drill, house and R&B. His evident wide range of influences only goes to prove that Dexman is a master in picking the best elements from any style to augment his own music.
Dexman also has been given invaluable information on the music industry from Corey Johnson, one of the most influential figures within the urban industry, looking after acts such as Nasty Crew, Lady Fury, Maxsta, 15 Family and Blade Brown and more recently being very closely linked with Drake ft Kyla’s huge hit One Dance. From this, it would seem that Dexman is equipped to go far with his music.
Devil Ina Blue Dress has received a brilliant response and after being featured on Link Up TV and Hackney’s Finest, the video received over 40,000 views on the platforms in under a week.
Not shy to the stage, Dexman has performed at both the O2 and Water Margin, alongside other Leftwing movement members, with great reviews, and this has encouraged Dexman to further his career musically.
Go2 (Lerish and Vizun, aka. Rick and Dale) combine hip-hop with Christian praise and worship to create a powerful musical outfit. Go2 caught the attention of the rights campaigner and political leader Jesse Jackson, and shortly thereafter they were requested to come and perform in Chicago at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition Headquarters run by Jackson and in support of civil rights and social justice. They have been building a large support base since then: they were nominated for Best Holy Hip Hop Artist at 2009 Gospel Choice Awards, have topped the Christian charts and have even shared a stage with Ludacris.
The duo met in church where Rick was a worship leader and Dale was a minister in training and sound engineer. They formed a friendship out of the mutual ambition to make hip-hop primarily but also because their faith was so important to them and music felt like a great way of expressing their feelings towards God and the ones they loved. Go2 believe that Jesus has blessed them with an ability to make unique music, which can help to spread their message. ‘Nothin On You’ https://soundcloud.com/go2/nothin-on-you-radio-edit Links http://www.ourstage.com/profile/therealgo2 https://twitter.com/TheRealGo2 https://www.facebook.com/therealgo2 https://soundcloud.com/Go2
About “Nothin On You”
I wrote this song with a very simple message in mind, nothing can nor should take the place of God in your life. I didn’t write this song to be against having fun or any of that, I wrote it because I myself had let things like money, houses, career and other materialistic things become more important to me than God. The first verse of this song is about a guy who came to a cross road in his life, in a night club, and realized that the things that he looked for to bring him joy no longer worked. He needed something more. I feel this song is very relatable because I think we’ve all had that eye opening point in our lives where we said, “there’s got to be more to life than this. “ This song has a very danceable beat; it reminds me of the famous line-dance style culture. Some songs that were very popular in this same vein are The Macarena, The Cha-Cha slide, The Wobble, The Cupid Shuffle and
The Electric Slide. What sets this song apart from the pack is the universal, relatable message embedded in this urban contemporary hit.