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UD Selects: February Mixtape

Bringing you a pick of the month’s best releases, Maria Hanlon presents 10 tunes that have hit her decks – and got a reload – in February. Starring Amie Blu, Yemi, Melle Brown, Essence Martins, Rae Khalil, Olympia Vitalis, monifé, Liam Bailey, nikhil, Kofi Stone & Benjamin Zephaniah

Photo: Benedict Priddy

Amie Blu
everything about her
Universal Music

For fans of… Humble the Great, Tia Gordon, BINA.
Why listen… Amie Blu gives us a bittersweet bop that you won’t be able to stop playing.

Amie Blu, 21, is no stranger to us at UD given she’s a former Flames Collective member. Having recently inked a deal with Universal, Amie’s just dropped ‘everything about her’, a warm and soulful track about toxic relationships. Her vocals effortlessly glide alongside the genre-spanning production. This is Amie’s first release on 0207 Def Jam and we’re hoping there’s much more to come from her this year. In Amie’s own words, “everything about her is about someone letting people’s past actions influence how they treat people in the present. This could be romantic, a friendship or a relationship with a family member.”

Shall Not Fade

For fans of… Prescribe Da Vibe, Y U QT, Sammy Virji
Why listen… This UKG banger will be a party staple for the year ahead.

Manchester born Yemi has been making waves in the UKG scene for a while now and you can see why with ‘Altar’. The track starts with an atmospheric choir singing and is injected with energy with the UKG twist. This track would be an amazing way to start a DJ set as you’re not sure what to expect at the start of the track. Yemi’s already been featured on some of London’s finest radio stations including Rinse, Reprezent and KISS and it looks like it’ll be an exciting year ahead for him.

Melle Brown
Just A Touch Of Love
Melle Brown

For fans of… Kerri Chandler, Moodymann, Annie Mac
Why listen… Melle Brown’s edit of this classic is an instant mood shifter.

Producer, DJ and radio host Melle Brown has been going from strength to strength so we were so happy to hear she’s got a new track out! As the queen of all things deep and soulful, Melle knows how to get you moving and her latest release was no different. ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ was timed perfectly to drop on Valentines day as Melle wrote, “This Valentines day, here’s an edit for all the lovers and two steppers! My take on C+C Music Factory – Just A Touch Of Love, hope you enjoy!”

Essence Martins
Like A Fool
Essence Martins

For fans of… Arlo Parks, Matilda Mann, Olivia Dean
Why listen… Essence Martins is a name you need to know in 2024. 

North West London’s Essence Martins is a rising star who’s soundscape spans indie-folk, pop and soul. Her ethereal voice is captivating and her songwriting is both relatable and conversational. ‘Like a Fool’ is Essence’s latest release and is about feeling frustrated with putting trust in someone unworthy. The track comes from her debut EP ‘Deer In The Headlights’ which dropped on the 23rd Feb. She is also supporting Rachel Chinouriri at KOKO in Camden on the 6th March. What a start to the year!

Rae Khalil
Def Jam Recordings

For fans of… Pip Millett, Anderson .Paak, Little Simz
Why listen… You can’t help but fall in love with Rae Khalil’s soulful voice. 

Singer-songwriter Rae Khalil recently signed to Def Jam Recordings via Anderson .Paak’s label, APESHIT. It seems like the perfect match as you can hear likeness to .Paak in Rae’s flawless production. ‘IS IT WORTH IT’ is Rae’s debut single and music video with the label after dropping ‘Eat Out’ with Pip Millett back in Jan. We’re already wanting more from Rae, and are keeping our eyes peeled! In the meantime make sure to check out the live performance of the track below.

Olympia Vitalis
Torriano Entertainment Group

For fans of… Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, D’Angelo
Why listen… If you’re an Amy Winehouse fan, Olympia Vitalis might be your new fave artist.

‘Mardy’ is Olympia Vitalis’ 4th release and discusses an incident she experienced at Notting Hill Carnival. Instead of letting unwanted attention ruin her day, she turned it into a brilliant and empowering new song. Not only is Olympia’s songwriting powerful but her voice is so unique and has a similar sound to the late great Amy Winehouse. As well as releasing tracks, Olympia has also just supported Kiefer on his UK tour and we’re really excited to see what she does next (there’s an announcement coming next week, so watch this space).

Not For You 

For fans of… Lucky Daye, Daniel Caesar, SZA
Why listen… With a seductive and soulful sound, monifé is a new name to add to your playlist.

‘Not For You’ is an emotional song about prioritising self-care instead of the need to please others. monifé’s vocals take the listener on a journey of self-empowerment, whilst creating a rich sonic soundscape. The backing vocals make the track sound dream-like and her soulful voice draws us right in. ‘Not For You’ was produced and co-written by nikhil, the collaboration we didn’t know we needed! We’ll be keeping an eye on monifé this year as we eagerly await more music from her.

Liam Bailey
Sekkle Down
Big Crown Records

For fans of… Kiko Bun, Prince Fatty, El Michels Affair
Why listen… Liam Bailey’s brand new album is drenched in nostalgia whilst still sounding fresh and exciting.

‘Zero Grace’ is Liam Bailey’s sophomore album on Big Crown Records, following the success of his 2020 album Ekundayo Inversions. The tried and tested chemistry of Bailey and producer Leon Michels (El Michels Affair) clearly works as they take Bailey’s sound to new levels throughout the album. ‘Sekkle Down’ is a vibey track that caught our attention and had us craving some sunshine. Make sure to listen from start to finish as each track is superb.

Kofi Stone, Benjamin Zephaniah
May Sound Crazy
Tru Community

For fans of… Summer Sons, Loyle Carner, Mos Def
Why listen… This highly anticipated track pays homage to hip-hop’s golden era.

Birmingham-raised rapper Kofi Stone has shared his new single ‘May Sound Crazy’, featuring the legendary late Benjamin Zephaniah. The track reflects on the complexities of Black British identity and was produced by Joice. Speaking about Zephaniah, Stone says on Instagram, “long may his legacy continue. there’s a story behind this one that i will certainly tell!” The music video is shot beautifully and definitely deserves a watch, check it out below.

See The Patterns

For fans of… Steve Lacy, The Internet, Solaaris
Why listen… nikhil is back with a new name and a brilliant new track.

nikhil (formerly known as Nikhil Beats) has just released his brand new single ‘See The Pattern’ which is a reflective and warm track showcasing his signature sound. On Instagram nikhil says, “There’s been a lot of DIY moments in my career but I feel like I’ve really pushed myself creatively with this first release of the year”. We’re really excited for this new chapter and rebrand for nikhil and hope there’s more music coming our way soon!

Words: Maria Hanlon @mariahanlon

Listen to The Voices Breakfast Show with Maria Hanlon on the 1st Friday of the month 9-11am on voicesradio.co.uk.

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