On September 1st, the Talent House saw rappers, singers and music lovers gather for an open mic under UD’s ambient purple lights. The mood was set as the performers walked through the door. Nayana, a North London based singer/songwriter opened up the showcase with one of her own songs. She did a brilliant job hosting, introducing the acts and getting them to plug their socials to the audience.
The first act A8illity performed his song ‘Riri’, a rap/R&B hybrid tune that definitely showcased his abilities to do both exceedingly well. Following him, Macelino took to the stage to perform ‘Wavey (Stacey)’, a genre fusion of Jazz, Lofi and Drill. He had bars and stage presence that complemented the beat and confidence that never faulted. We then had Lil Hav, who had spent a lot of time living in Detroit. He’d just come back a week prior and he was performing for the first time on his birthday. You could really hear the Detriot influence in his music and you’d never be able to tell that it was his first time performing, he handled it like a pro. Trap artist 2biz graced the stage next, he brought energy and wicked lyricism.
When Kenzie covered ‘Higher’ by Tems, the mood shifted. The audience was in awe of her voice, she hit the notes perfectly and put her own spin on the song. Otilefty was up next, an Afrobeats artist that filled the room vibes as he got the crowd on their feet. Belinda Kapinga performed a sultry R&B track, ‘Nothing To You’. She poured her heart out as her smooth vocals flooded the stage. Keeping in line with R&B, Nicole impressed the audience with her beautiful vocal range. Marzena and her guitarist performed an acoustic rendition of her song ‘Should I’ that wowed the crowd. Her tone was both rich and angelic, her vocals clearly influenced by Soul, Jazz and R&B. A break in vocal performances arose when spoken word artist, Nathan Brown-Bennett took to the stage to recite his poem ‘How PC?’, a harrowing piece about racial profiling and strip searches. He’s definitely a wordsmith that really knows how to get you to pay attention to important issues that need to be addressed.
There was an intermission to network, get snacks and drinks, have a chitchat with the new friends that had been made. We had a little acapella from Disco B, who’d later return to the stage for a full blown house track. NDI came through with heat as her bars rode the beat with ease. Nirobi performed her song ‘ANIMAL‘, the flow was deadly. She can seriously spit, her friend joined her on stage for another song and definitely matched her energy.
Next we had Radar followed by Tevvy iixv, two Dancehall artists that supported each other throughout the other’s performance. They both had really energetic performances that added a little something different to the evening. When Disco B returned, she had everyone dancing on their feet. Ariez Baby had really good crowd engagement when she hopped on stage to perform her song ‘RISK’ which has been featured on GRM Daily. Dan Dannah finished off the night with the hardest grime performance, as he switched up between flows, navigating the beat with glorious wordplay.
The talent that beamed throughout each performer was evident. UD Open Mics are not to be missed, everyone there was a star in the making. So make sure you get yourself to the next one – whether as a performer or to enjoy new music – you won’t want to miss it.
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