Saturday, February 9

UK Soul 1st Birthday Live Showcase Review:

On 1st February celebrated its 1st birthday by providing a showcase of UK talent for their guest! Now how nice is that?

So there I am, sitting nice and comfortably on the huge sofas with my drink in hand, waiting for the show to start. This gave me ample time to check out my surroundings. For those of you not familiar with the Hobgoblin, this pub/bar is based in Islington, just down the road from Angel tube station. The venue itself is very welcoming with its plush, comfy sofas, bare-grain wood tables and cheaper than average drinks. The atmosphere was on the right side of mellow: people were waiting for the show to start, but there was a general buzz of anticipation. The DJ, Paul Aaaron selected some impressive classics for us all to jam to, as we waited for the first artist to take the stage.

First up was Jae P – a rapper/emcee from North London, who has supported Akon on tour. He opened the showcase with his track 'Wonderful Dream' which had a nice flow, creative lyrics and a catchy hook. Next, he performed his first single due for release from his album: 'Unsigned and Hungry: vol.1' (out March 2008). Entitled, 'You Don't Even Know My Name', it's a tune for anyone that has ever had a crush! A great track, especially for the summer months. Also look out for a wicked fusion track that combines Indy acoustics and Jae P's hip hop style in 'Good Morning'.
Jae P proves that UK hip hop is still producing talented artists: his use of flow and rhythm give his lyrics shape and he has clarity to his voice, as I heard when he performed a capella.

Up next was soul singer Sante, who although seemed a little nervous, nevertheless, performed well. Sante possesses a sweet voice, which was better revealed on her slower, sexier track 'Tonight'.
Her vocals chop and change between rough and smooth like sea. Sante has a sultry quality her voice and the audience were receptive to her lyrics.

Third on the bill was Jamie Lewis: the birthday boy came with entourage in tow to perform on his special day. Accompanied by beat-boxer MC Zani – more on him in a bit! He sang two original tracks; 'Slowly Getting Nowhere' and 'Vibin Me' and did a cover of Musiq Soulchild's 'Girlfriend'.
'Slowly Getting Nowhere' has an excellent backing track, and many people will relate to the lyrics. 'Vibin Me' was a more upbeat song. His style is more commercial, better suited to popular RnB. Jamie Lewis is smooth, there's no doubt about that. He has that 'ladies man aura' about him.

Here I have to mention MC Zani who tore the place up with his freestyle beatboxing! What an amazing talent to have! He gave us some Timberland classics: Justin Timberlake's 'My Love', Genuine's 'Pony' and Aaliayh's 'Are You That Somebody?' And it was just him, no backing track, no music, just his voice, singing and all! Fantastic interlude to the show!

Last but not least was Kyra Simone: petite with a mega watt smile. And what a voice! So much better live, because you get to experience the nuances of her voice, which has an awesome range and power. Kyra Simone has tight control over her instrument: rapidly changing her tone and pitch, along with the personality behind the voice. She was accompanied on acoustic guitar by Super Soul Brotha Del, and her backing singers Jason Jermaine and Andrae Bentley were fantastic.
For our listening pleasure, she performed 'He Is my God' and 'Let's Just Be Friends' and 'Cup of Coffee' and then she hit us with a jazz lounge version of Janet Jackson's 'Any Time, Any Place'.
Ms Simone reminds be of a mix between Dawn Robinson and a female Raphael Saadiq. Expect big things from little Ms Kyra Simone.

A very enjoyable night on the whole, and something that I think should be made a regular thing if possible. Live music, home-grown talent and pleasant atmosphere – what more could you ask for on a Friday night?

Big thanks go to family for bringing us an evening of soulful entertainment. Also to Paul Aaaron, Groove Lineage and the Hobgoblin for hosting the event.

Review By WordSmith (


UK Soul's very own Steven McIntosh recently went out on location to interview two up and coming singers called Kyra Simone and Emarah about their forthcoming projects, their opinions on the current music scene and much more. To listen to the interview and download it please visit the UK Soul's Clickcaster page at

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