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UD Selects: June Mixtape

It always starts with the music! Bringing you a pick of the month’s best releases, Jojo Jones and Maria Hanlon present 10 tunes that have hit their decks – and got a reload – in JuneStarring Kenzie TTH, MINIKINGZ, Malika, David Mrakpor & Blue Lab Beats, Ego Ella May, Kokoroko, George Riley, Nesta, Knucks, Guiltybeatz, Kyra, Greentea Peng & Ezra Collective

Kenzie TTH
Bonnie (B-side)

For fans of… FKA Twigs, Shy Girl, Pink Pantheress
Why listen… Ethereal alt-pop magic ready-made with main character energy

The ‘manic pixie dream girl’ is a trope tackled a lot in pop culture and music these days, but London via Boston artist Kenzie TTH has come through with a fresh take on it. She describes ‘Bonnie’ as the quirky character who we all have inside of us, however small. The deeper meaning matches the impressive production on this track with synthy bass and kicks that seem both hard hitting and feather light. The strength of Kenzie’s vocals cannot be missed, handled with superior control as she traverses the lines between alt-rnb and new wave pop music.  (JJ)

MINIKINGZ (Oscar #Worldpeace, Ragz Originale, Benjiflow)
Different Recordings

For fans of… Scribz Riley, 808Ink, Knucks
Why Listen… Sexy and addictive tune from the first official link up from three giants of the UK scene

We’ve seen features and collaborations between Ragz, Benji and Oscar, serving up verses on each others tunes for years, but this is the first official tune from the collective they are now calling MiniKingz. Individually all big names within the R&B, rap and grime scenes of the UK, with production skills aplenty (Ragz Originale produced half of Skepta’s Konnichiwa), this linkup from heaven does not disappoint. The track is tantalising and seductive whilst oozing with playful energy that gives MiniKingz their originality. An effortless bass line that makes you want to get up and dance, with lyrics that make you want to sit down and think, this track does it all. (JJ)

Stuck On You

For fans of… Jorja Smith, Mahalia, Olivia Rodrigo 
Why listen… Stripped back, flawless vocals and floaty piano chords

After a hiatus of a few years, Malika finally returns and it is most definitely been worth the wait. This slow, pop/R&B single displays sensational vocals and a ton of emotion. This is one of those songs that you hear new meaning in every time you listen, sensing the power behind Malika’s voice afresh. The layered harmonies and barely-there bass and kick drum serve to make you feel like you’re in episode 3 of a rom-com series, just when you’re about to reunite with your lover after a fight. Wow. (JJ)

David Mrakpor & Blue Lab Beats
Jazz re:freshed

For fans of… Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, Kokoroko 
Why listen… Summer ready, groovy, never-want-it-to-end, jazzy bliss

Even if you don’t know it, you will have heard a song by Blue Lab Beats somewhere in your day-to-day, as their 2022 album Motherland Journey is everywhere.This is the first single from the multi-instrumentalist David Mrakpor, who is one half of the London-based Jazztronica duo. It is a humble and blissful record, with Mrakpor displaying awe-inspiring talent, as he plays every instrument on the track (!). A vocal-less jazz effort with an addictive melody I am sure a festival crowd would find a way to sing along to. (JJ)

Ego Ella May
Miss U
Touching Bass LTD

For fans of… Erykah Badu, Floetry, Jill Scott
Why listen… The Queen of London Neo-soul & jazz shows how a break-up-song can be empowering

Ego Ella May is truly one of those names who has come up in conversations and playlists of the best London musicians for the past few years. Luckily we’re being blessed by new sounds, and this song is just a teaser of what’s to come on her new Touching Bass Presents collaboration album. The south London singer’s signature vocals shine through on this track of low tempo jazzy neo-soul. Teeming with Erykah Badu vibes, bongo drum riffs and smooth guitar. It is a beautiful thing to hear a beautiful, romantic track like this tinged with sadness as lyrics evoke the feeling of leaning into missing someone, when you know you’re supposed to be over them. Ever original, ever unique, Ego Ella May we salute you. (JJ)

Age of Ascent 
Brownswood Recordings

For fans of… Femi Kuti, Nubya Garcia, Nubiyan Twist.
Why listen… Recorded at the seaside at night, Kokoroko bring the ultimate chill-out tune

Ahead of the release of their debut album, ‘Could We Be More,’ on August 5th, the London-based collective serve us the sparkling ‘Age of Ascent’, to keep us going until then. The group’s Sheila Maurice-Grey explains, “We recorded it at the seaside at night and the moon was so big and shining on the sea in Eastbourne. We stood in silence and then went back to the studio to record it and you can hear that within the music: the sounds of the water, the sound of stillness and peacefulness.” The five minute song is the third single released this year and is laid-back while brass heavy, with a peaceful pace. Once you’ve heard it we can guarantee it will be your new favourite soul soother. (MH)

George Riley
PLZ Make It Ruin

For fans of… Anz, TYSON, Erika de Casier.
Why listen… Rising Star George Riley provides smooth vocals, steady beats and sensitive songwriting in this stunning new song

Shepherd’s Bush based singer George Riley mixes together jazz, R&B and Trip Hop to create her signature sound and unmistakable tone which features throughout ‘Sacrifice’. Riley teamed up with UK producer Vegyn for this tune, making it their second track together. ‘Sacrifice’ follows on from ‘Jealousy’ which was released in March and it doesn’t look like George Riley will be stopping anytime soon. She has just played at Glastonbury and is booked to play at Giles Peterson’s We Out Here festival in August, making serious waves in the industry this year already. (MH)

Nesta, Knucks, Guiltybeatz, Kyra.
Jah Knows
Black Wax

For fans of… BenjiFlow, Jeshi, Chronixx
Why listen… Ready to soundtrack the summer sunshine, Nesta’s new release ft Knucks, Guiltybeatz and Kyra is definitely worth a place in your playlist

Alternative R&B artist Nesta’s teamed up with Knucks, Guiltybeatz and Kyra for this warm, enticing summery song. Nesta’s music is filled with reggae roots and old-school energy, embracing his eclectic sounds through his songwriting and production. The collaboration of the four artists works brilliantly with each of them adding their own unique element to the song. Released on label Black Wax, this energising track is set to be a summer favourite. (MH)

Greentea Peng
Stuck In The Middle
Universal Music  

For fans of… Nia Archives, Lava La Rue, Amy Winehouse
Why listen… The Psychedelic Soul Songstress has you transfixed within seconds as she takes you on a journey

Released just in time for her summer festival appearances, Greentea Peng is back with another slice of escapism for us. This time she collaborated with legendary producers MJ Cole and Swindle. The instrumental is built around MJ Cole’s breezy strings and Swindle’s signature horns, complimenting Greentea Peng’s mesmerising vocals. Visually, the music video is DIY style as we follow Greentea Peng around a seaside town with intriguing people and places. This is a sun-drenched bop that you won’t be able to stop playing this summer. (MH)

Ezra Collective
Victory Dance
Partisan Records

For fans of… Alfa Mist, Moses Boyd, Blue Lab Beats
Why listen…‘Victory Dance’ is a sunny, salsa-infused track from the pioneers of new-wave UK Jazz music

Since the start, Ezra Collective have been bending the rules of traditional Jazz, making it fresh and enticing to a wider audience. Drummer Femi Koleoso says “Victory Dance embodies that feeling when something brings joy and the expression is beyond words. Not everyday talk. Sometimes you just have to dance instead.” The instrumental track washes away your worries and makes it almost impossible to not dance along. The band recently announced their signing with independent label Partisan Records making ‘Victory Dance the band’s debut single on the label. (MH)

Words by Maria Hanlon (MH) Listen to @mariahanlon Maria Meets on the 2nd and 4th Friday of the month 3-5pm on voicesradio.co.uk.

Words by Jojo Jones (JJ) Listen to Jojo Jones on the first Wednesday of the month
1-2pm on voicesradio.co.uk @jojo_j0nes  

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