Listen up: Soho Rising spring 2022 is (finally) here
BERWYN, ENNY, Gabriels and more. Live performances with some of the most exciting names in music are back in the UK from March
Wednesday 2 March 2022 By Samuel Fishwick
If music be the food of love, then feast your hungry ears, eyes and souls on Soho Rising. The year is 2022, London: the ‘never-endemic’ is receding, dance floors are buzzing, airwaves are lit, and a new dawn of artists is breaking. Just when you thought you were out, you finally are.
Supported by Bowers & Wilkins, Soho Rising is our platform that champions and uncovers emerging talent in the music industry by inviting upcoming artists to perform in our Houses. If you’ve been around our blocs before, you might have heard us break the likes of Arlo Parks, Holly Humberstone, Griff and Joy Crookes well ahead of their BRIT and Mercury nominations.
‘We made a very deliberate move three years ago to prioritise emerging talent, as it positions us as a tastemaker, which aligns perfectly with our members. It also gives us longevity with the artist, so we can be a meaningful part of their journey for years to come,’ says Dom Chung, Soho House’s Head of Music, who has been plugged into every corner of the industry for 20 years.
‘I’m a music fan first and foremost, and I am driven by the idea of discovery and finding new music across multiple genres. That natural sense of curiosity leads me to find lots of new talent weekly,’ he adds. So, listen up.
Friday 4 March, White City House
Close your eyes, think of summer and let Goya Gumbani’s jazz-infused hip-hop sweep you straight there. The extraordinary rapper hails from New York, but lives in Catford, London. All Brooklyn-tinted bars sprinkled over soulful brass and looping piano samples, the impeccably dressed MC draws his style from his Jamaican-British-Guyanese roots. His seven-track EP, Krystin, named after his late sister, reflects on love and loss. It’s a joy: dashes of Dennis Brown, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu and Dwele are all here. Behind every cloud, there’s still sun, rum, and fun.
Tuesday 29 March, 180 House
‘It’s a beautiful time for British music,’ says the Mercury-nominated rising rapper who is a handsome poster boy. Trinidad-born, Romford-raised, BERWYN – real name Berwyn Du Bois – taught himself piano, guitar, drums and violin at primary school. Caribbean flair flashes in every percussion hit and delicate key on his acclaimed album, DEMOTAPE/VEGA. It’s loaded with sharp wit and suffering too, mind: on the song ‘Trap Phone’, BERWYN recalls losing friends to knife crime, while ‘Glory’ details his mother facing imprisonment.
Thursday 31 March
Blessed with a voice as smooth and rich as milk and honey, Priya Ragu was born to parents who fled from the Sri Lankan civil war and raised her in Switzerland. The Tamil-Swiss singer quit a safe job as an accountant in 2017 to move to New York and was snapped up by Warner Studios in 2020. Hits like ‘Chicken Lemon Rice’ are a blast of unfettered, planet-arcing optimism. Her debut single, ‘Good Love 2.0’, nabbed remixes from the likes of Honey Dijon and Little Dragon. She wisely branded her own music ‘Raguwavy’ for its blend of soul, R&B, and her Sri Lankan heritage. US Vogue called her ‘a window into the future of pop’. Open it wide.
Friday 1 April
Take a pinch of Chance the Rapper, a hit of J Cole, a sprinkle of Stevie Wonder, and a splash of Cuban salsa. You’ve arrived at Jords, aka Jordan Edwards-Wilks, a Croydon (south London) boy raised in the mid-noughties on Giggs, Ghetts, Wretch 32 and Kano, dancing at raves and drinking orange juice and rum. The artist’s dad was a jazz musician and dancer who played with Sade; his mum introduced him to R&B and reggae. It all plugs into club-ready bangers like ‘Enemies’ and the UK funky smash that was his debut album, Almost An Adult, a coming-of-age piece of work like no other.
Thursday 7 April, Shoreditch
Genre-bending pop-punk princess, Willow Kayne, scooped the Rising Star Award at last year’s Ivor Novellos and found herself whisked off to Abbey Road Studios to work with Nile Rodgers. The rest will soon be history. Kayne’s debut EP, Playground Antics, was all brash drum and bass clapbacks with an electric sense of self-worth and substance. Take ‘Two Seater’, a hooky single that jumps between profanity-drenched bars and syrupy pop vocals, an ode to ditching deadwood pals and exes. Bristolian classmates (who she says never got on with her) get in touch to tell her how wild a moment it is for her. ‘Success is the best form of revenge,’ she says.
Thursday 14 April, Soho Farmhouse
Another of Croydon’s finest, Rachel Chinouriri’s silvery vocals, shimmying beats and pulsating electronics have won big plaudits – she’s scored support slots for Celeste, Sam Fender and Lianne La Havas, plus a sync on Michaela Coel’s boundary-breaking series, I May Destroy You. ‘I literally cannot write when I’m happy,’ says the rising superstar, whose glitchy, glorious EP Four° In Winter finds the brightest spots in the darkest subjects. Call her an alchemist: she turns grief into gold.
Thursday 5 May, Shoreditch House
How shaken are we by Lex Amor’s debut EP, Government Tropicana? Call the seismologists, we’re off the Richter scale. Rap, poetry, beauty, truth – it’s all present in her paean to working class London and the joy found in its jarring, jostling layers of culture. Mostly mellow, then suddenly deep, but always with a flick of levity to lighten the mood, the basic premise of her next album ‘is for me to articulate the human experience that binds us all together’. Huge if true, but we wouldn’t bet against her.
Tuesday 10 May, 180 House
Elton John calls the Los Angeles trio’s Love And Hate In A Different Time ‘one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the past 10 years’. In other words: the real deal. Yes, Gabriels channel everything from The Flamingos-era doo-wop to yearning jazz; glossy, swooning soul, classic R&B, vibrant gospel choirs with flourishes of airy electronics. But there’s no word for what we felt when gospel singer, choir director and frontman Jacob Lusk electrified a Black Lives Matter march with an impromptu version of Billie Holiday’s ‘Strange Fruit’. Shivers.
Thursday 12 May, Little Beach House Brighton
If 19-year-old Crystal Murray makes you feel like a plodding dinosaur, buckle up. Since the age of 12, the daughter of an African-American jazz saxophonist and Franco-Spanish booking agent has been enchanting the streets of Paris with her French fashion collective, Gucci Gang. Then, bored, she pivoted to pop. Blonde hair, pink and black mullet, red hair piled into two pyramids, head-to-toe mesh, she says that a childhood diet of Macy Gray, John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye and Beyoncé fuelled her neo-soul debut EP, I Was Wrong. Her new anthem, ‘Other Men’ ft. Le Diouck, takes inspiration from her love of Paris’s underground electronic scene. What’s the French for ‘We Stan’?
Tuesday 24 May, 180 House
The days were short, the tracksuit bottoms were long, the joy was thin on the ground. But back in October’s lockdown (the first one), there was one bright spot: ENNY, born Enitan Adepitan, who came flying out of Thamesmead in south-east London with Peng Black Girls. The lyrics and video ‘are a love letter to Blackness, womanhood, and crucially pengness (a London slang word that essentially means ‘hotness’),’ said The Guardian, and who are we to disagree? Come for the high praise, stay for the lyrics, like: ‘Want a fat booty like Kardashians? / No / Want a fat booty like my aunty got, yo.’
Click here to view our full events listing.
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