5 LIPA musicians making waves that you need to hear
By Alex Dop
Recently it has come to my attention that some acts whom I consider to be making the biggest waves in the British music scene are being overlooked as having come through the Liverpool music scene. Having spent 3 years as a student myself, it seems as though whilst there is typically one popular act in each year, there is another who surpasses everyone else, almost unnoticed by the local scene, until they are doing so well that they aren’t just big in Liverpool, but on a national, or international, scale. I understand why some acts keep the fact that they attended LIPA quiet, because it can sometimes overshadow what’s actually important, the music, so apologies in advance if any of those on the list like to keep their heads down in regards to this sort of thing, but hey…this is definitely all about you!
So, here are 5 that are smashing it right now that you need to check out!
Jalen N’Gonda is a young, blues Singer/Songwriter from Maryland, USA. In the past year or so his musical journey has hit a huge incline having sold out his first, headline, London show, supported Lauryn Hill at the Montreal Jazz Festival and gone viral with his debut single. The single is called ‘Holler (When You Call My Name)’ and is available now from all stores/streaming services. Come September, you’ll be able to buy a 7” Vinyl of that track, which I feel really compliments the aesthetic, not only of the single, but of Jalen. If you’re in to real, genuine blues then this is the guy for you. Everything from the songwriting, guitar tone and syruppy vocals, ooze authenticity.
I See Rivers
Let me introduce you to I See Rivers, an all female folk trio from Norway. I played for Sofar Liverpool on the same bill as I See Rivers and was completely immersed. Their hauntingly beautiful harmonies wrap around you, making you forget that you’re only hearing vocals and a single guitar. Correction, occasionally they would whack out a hand held glockenspiel or using their hands to add new textures to their set.
The trio recently supported Newton Faulkner on tour and, off the back of that are now in the studio working on their debut E.P with the producer of Newton Faulkner, The Noisettes and Tom Odell to name but a few.
These girls really drew me in upon first hearing them and, I hope, should do the same to anyone with a beating heart.
Ady has been carving out his musical journey over the past few years, bringing his audience a blend of Soul, Reggae and Hip-Hop. Having supported him on his first headline tour, long after first seeing him live, I’ve seen him grow as a frontman and vocalist. I would have said songwriter, but I have always thought that the quality of his songs are what makes him so engaging since fist hearing him. Ady has been travelling as far as Jamaica, working with producers and writing, as well as going in to the Radio 1 Live Lounge, making it on to the Radio 1 playlist and releasing numerous E.P’s. His most recent release is his self-titled E.P, available on all platforms now. The main reason to catch him live, or to seek out his material is to watch and listen to a natural front man, who sucks you in to his story so much that you end up pulling the same facial expressions as him.
SG Lewis is a talented producer from Reading who studied the sound tech course at LIPA. Many musicians at LIPA disregard sound techs making original music, however SG Lewis has quickly put down any doubters or snobbery that can come from such a competitive place. He blends soulful, almost melancholic arrangements with fantastic vocalists such as JP Cooper, with his latest single featuring the ever wonderful Gallant. Lewis spent much time DJing around the city, probably not getting the typical press that bands and artists usually do, which might be why he isn’t often mentioned as notable alumni. However, know that he has been taking his music all over the world, to place such as Ibiza, Europe and the US, as well as being a regular on BBC Radio 1 playlists.
Frances was in my year at LIPA, as was SG Lewis, however she was on my course. I saw her write and play for many people, all the while nurturing her own project in the background. Therefore, when the time came to show it to the public, it was already the finished article. She might disagree as it was around 3 years ago, but it was, OK Franny?! It was. Much like Ady, although in a different genre, Frances gives you songs. And by songs, I mean songs! Her natural gift as a songwriter means that every track is beautifully crafted and executed to the same degree. She has a gift for pouring emotion in to her tracks, almost giving them a heartbeat, meaning that you are never left with a filler.
If Adele-esque ballads are what float your boat then Frances is for you. She has a delicate, yet powerful voice and has supported James Bay on his US tour, with just a piano and said voice. She is a regular with Radio 1 and 2, writes with the likes of Disclosure and has been the emotive music behind an Amazon TV ad. If you haven’t caught her, then where have you been?!