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UD Low Down: Open Mic @ Talent House 01/12

The final Open Mic of the year brought in talent from all over London. There’s warmth in the room as people are arriving. Free snacks courtesy of Tropical Sun, with spoken word, rap and the sweet sounds of London’s finest rising talents, it was truly a VIBE. Our favourite host, NAYANA, welcomed in everyone with her song ‘Journey’. It’s one she’s performed at previous Open Mics, but it serves as an ode to everyone performing, as they too are on their journey, much like her song describes. 

Dressed in all white we had EVA perform ‘The Snow’, a garage track about someone giving you the cold shoulder. She had great stage presence and the track makes you want to get up and dance. Then Vi.Vi performed a bossa nova indie song called ‘Footprints’, her dulcet vocals riding the waves of the bossa rhythm. Anariii wowed the audience with her rich vocals and impressive vocal range on her song ‘You Ain’t My Daddy’. For a change of pace we had rapper Tstarnay, who is also a teacher, performing their song ‘Times At Night’, which was the perfect blend of grime and hip hop – and a wicked flow. The tranquil melodies of Skye‘s ‘Inside’ drifted through the venue as her angelic voice left the crowd in awe. Tolu Elusade took to the stage to perform some spoken word poetry while Mar!k played ambient bass as Tolu beautifully shared fragments of her life. 

Like usual, there was a brief intermission to network, after which NAYANA and Mar!k took to the stage for a jam, inviting everyone in the room up on stage. It was amazing to hear so much improvised singing that actually flowed well. We had people return to the stage, we had new faces we hadn’t seen all night jump up too. It was a moment of soulful sound and spontaneity.

Reptile B gave us a full performance with choreography, the absolute works. His bars and his stage presence was on point, giving us a fresh on drill. Then we had Knap spitting over a drill remix of ‘Talking To The Moon’, his energy got the crowd amped up. Then the fly sounds of Kofi‘s latest song ‘Trendy’, which had a drill flip of ‘Gypsy Woman‘. Uche BW bounced between singing and rapping on his song ‘Netflix’. Back to R&B for a little, Claudia got the crowd involved for song as they shouted the word “love” at the end of every line of her chorus, it was a song about “falling for your sneaky link…”

Promise performed a gorgeous rendition of ‘No One’ by Alicia Keys, with a member of the audience joining her onstage for some wonderful harmonies. Katya performed her song ‘Hush’, her voice sweet as sugar while UD’s Michael played the keys. Lil Trubz poured his heart out through rap over a Drake beat.  Rashad‘s voice truly blew the crowd away – his vocals were heavenly. Anariii returned for a more upbeat song to get the crowd moving. Skye also returned for another sweet lullaby. Saadiq, who’s often capturing UD Open Mics on camera, took to the stage to perform what we all thought was a love poem about a relationship. Until he said the words, “I love you, Mary Jane” which clarified it a little more, still a beautiful poem about love though. And that concluded the night. There’s always such a big bag of talent at the UD Open Mic and there’s nowhere I’d rather be on a Thursday.

Words: Kat Friar. Kat is a freelance journalist, DJ and photographer with a passion for music. She likes to cover all bases regarding music so whether it’s a new album, a rising artist or a gig, she’ll be writing about it.

Photography: Saadiq T

Open Mic will return to Talent House in January 2023. Email openmic@udmusic.org with links to your music if you’d like to perform. Free tickets will be available from udtickets.com.

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