A bevy of talent from both the UK and the US.
And The Soul Survivor London Award show!
This mammoth feast of musical goodness could only be the MusicConnex September Showcase Series.
Fresh (quite literally) from the Friday night performance in Manchester at renowned music venue Band on The Wall, Saturday the artists moved south to London Town to perform for the eager crowd. After a schedule of promo all over town, the audience had heard enough about each of these amazing ladies to know that an amazing evening was on the cards. In addition The Soul Survivor Awards were to be announced on the night and we were all excited to see who would walk away with the many awards!
You could hear the soothing baselines vibrate through the walls as DJ’s Undercover and JM were on hand to warm up the crowd for the beginning of what was sure to be an electric night.... MusicConnex part 3.
As people filtered in and the venue filled to brimming, the buzz was evident for both audience and artists.
First up for the night we had the amazing Ann Marie Lataille who immediately went in with her acapella rendition of 'At Last' hitting high notes that completely silenced the room and low notes that vibrated in my chest. Chatting to the audience and pulling them into friendship and fan ship in one swoop. She’s hilarious and friendly and easy to engage with. That was in the first song alone. A solid force to behold. Followed up by 'Life's hard to handle' touching lyrics and intelligent melody. Mixed together in a song that captures the heartstrings in that relatable way which makes you feel connected. Whilst effortlessly flowing through octaves with the soulful energy of a woman twice her age. Perfection.
Ann- Marie finished out her set with 'So High' feat rapper Guiltz. A reggae beat and punchy melody. The little dub step breakdown was a nice touch. The hooks are immediately catchy. A clear radio track. Nicely built to a crescendo with Ann-Marie jumping from vocal support to mc mode and bringing on what can only be described as an epic bass face from a few members of the MusicConnex team. Don't tell them I told on them! Music to make you dance for sure.
Ann Marie was eclectic in musical genre and hilarious in person. Such a full body of work for someone who only has one EP. We will be staying tuned for the follow up EP.
Kadice took to the stage and immediately surprised me. Which is a rarity. When Kadice started singing – a sublime rendition of ‘Ready Ready Love’ I was, it is fair to say, mesmerized. This artist is in her 20s and yet as she went from ‘Ready Ready Love’ to ‘Misty Blue’ I had the feeling of being transported back to the early days of Jazz. She has the vocal dexterity of an old school blues artist with the belt of someone like Jennifer Hudson. By the time she sang ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ I was a life long fan. The crowd loved her. I don’t think the audience could have anticipated the kind of performance which they were about to witness when this young songstress took to the stage but they sure were impressed.
All of these amazing songs were delivered as if they had been originally written for and performed by Kadice herself. With the types of influences Kadice sited in her interview with us on the run up for the event, its completely understandable how she can put herself into the songs and become one with the original. These renditions were spectacular. A big talent.
MusicConnex very own Charlene was third on the bill for the evening and we were all very excited to have her there launching her debut album ‘Good Day’. When she sang her song ‘It is the way’ I just was taken away into a day dreaming moment, like with so many great songs. When you get swept up in the music it is amazing. This is definitely one of my favourites on the album but it came to life in a completely different way when performed live with a feature by Purple Reign PR's Rowan who was in his induction week! He graced the stage and together they really set this song alight. So delicate and emotional. Really raw in texture and such interesting harmonies. There are so many great songs on this album. We would highly recommend you buy it and take a listen.
The music was then paused so that Soul Survivors could present the award for Best Soul Album. The amazing Omar was on hand to accept his win. The win was a landslide of appreciation from the Soul Survivor readers. They certainly know what they like! He is indeed a lovely chap! The 2013 release ‘The Man’ was one of our favourite albums of the year so far, so it was great to see Omar get that recognition.
Closing the evening was Timotha Lanae hailing all the way from the US of A to come and treat us to some real musical talent. When we sat down to have a phone chat with her, her energy immediately came across even from Minneapolis to London. So when she hit the stage she hit us with the same Timotha personality that immediately puts you at ease and makes you feel like long lost friends. Starting off with her version of the Maxwell hit ‘Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)’ from the outset the standard had been set. Giving her own spin on this classic RnB slow jam Timotha really made sure the crowd was paying attention. Following up with the song ‘My Man’ from the album ‘Red’ the energy was increased and the crowd responded. The track had fierce driving energy and you felt like American hospitality had been brought to West London. She encouraged the crowd to sing along and get involved and Timotha makes it easy to do so. Her understanding of Jazz is evident through every word. The playfulness within each song is enchanting.
Timotha even brought us some of her very own ‘baby making music’ as she described it. Using both growl and soft tones she owns the stage. She is captivating. Her entire body is involved in every song. She communicates every word masterfully. Very few artist’s understand how to 'talk' in that way to an audience.
You can hear a chorus of 'woohoo's' from the ladies in the audience agreeing with the sentiments of the amazing Timotha as she explains a bit about ‘her man’ by singing verses from 'He loves me' by the iconic Jill Scott. She does this effortlessly too. And not in a Jill tribute kind of way. Purely as Timotha. Adding in a scat here, a chord run there and yet keeping us all open mouth, captivated and focused throughout.
Closing up the set with ‘Getting To Know You’ which has a real funky groove. Soft vocals. A sing-along vibe. Timotha makes it easy and seamless with each song. The Rhodes sound on the keys makes it feel like rain drops on a cold day when all you want to do is decide to stay in with your special someone and while away the day. She paints those kinds of pictures with her songs and makes it all easy to just listen and be.
As the artists came off of stage and the audience turned its attention to the amazing winners of the Soul Survivor awards of which there were many, I had time to sit back and reflect on the evening.
Yet another evening of real music from real artists who truly study their art and take it seriously. These ladies brought their ‘A’ game and managed to take it higher still when on stage even when there seemed to be no more to give. They shared their music but they also shared part of themselves. They invited us into their story and made us feel like a part of their friend family. We got to know so much in such a short time. The crowd moved and swayed. Listened and responded. Sang along when asked and sang along when not!
The question remains, when is the next showcase?