It must of been sometime in 08 when a friend and I went down to the Slaughtered Lamb ( love this venue) in Farringdon to watch our boy Jamie Woon play a gig. We came across this incredible support act. This ginger haired kid armed with a baseball cap, hoody, loop pedal and acoustic guitar he had the place rocking. It wasn’t the easy quality of the songs, his voice or his undeniable charisma but it was this one cheeky line that got me:

“I will blast and I didn’t go to BRIT school”

My friend was cracking up as she never went to BRIT (hater) but as a BRIT school alumni myself I more than raised an eyebrow but the way he idelivered it meant I couldn’t not smile. He certainly came good on that statement. Talking to him afterwards he was even more likeable off stage and he happily accepted my invitation to come down to perform at our Remedy night in Camden. His name was Ed Sheeran. It turned out to be an epic night.

Now Music is Remedy events was and never had been a purely black audience. The music was/is always of a soulful hiphop rnb nature but it was never just a black thing despite it being a night on the black music circuit so to speak. Part of me was unsure how the crowd would take to this white kid rapping and talking about his “eyes being red” and “rasta man time”. Chukie talked about this on a recent Halfcast and how he saw him set up at an event one time and thought it was not going to go down well at all (he was proven wrong). We were one of the first nights on the circuit to book him. The crowd didn’t know him but as he took to the stage and performed his set by the end he had ripped the roof off of the bar the place went crazy for him.

As we moved into the new decade he agreed to headline a live band gig with The Remedies (The Music is Remedy houseband) backing him. It was a match made in Heaven. The energy on and off stage that night again was incredible and Ed and his songs with a full band sounded perfect. We became his go to band as he experimented with the sounds and was fortunate enough to perform with him on his Live At The Bedford EP. which was another very very special night. Our 8 minute or maybe 12 minutes rendition of “You need me” is probably one of my favourite memories performing on stage in my career and I still listen back to it today. We were on it that night. That song was what made him in those early days, now it doesn’t get any play. It’s irrelevant but if you knew about him then you knew about that song.

As the decade has gone he has shown he has hits for days. He was always a great songwriter keeping it simple and giving people something they could relate to.

The last time I saw him was backstage at Brixton Academy after he just rocked a sold out venue with just his guitar and loop pedal in 2013. He would go on to do far biggest stages with those same tools and even though he sounded great with the band he didn’t need us. His stage presence and connection with the crowd along with ultimately his songs meant he didn’t need anything else and so our journey together came to an end.

I don’t think there is anyone better placed to have received his artist of the decade award and who I would could Artist of the decade. I feel very privileged to have been there at the start and watch on with nothing but joy and admiration as he continued to soar. He is the dream that all artists look to achieve when they first set out. Really inspiring.

To all artists out there he serves as a great reminder that:

1. It isn’t always about how you look

2. Gig gig and gig some more perfect your live performance craft and build your tribe

3. Write good songs that people can relate too

4. Nice guys don’t always finish last

5. Love the game

It could happen.

Salute to my artist of the decade Ed Sheeran.

This was really tough to put together and I missed out a lot of my favourite artists because there is just so much fantastic music out there. What a time to be alive the UK scene is thriving with quality artists and music. There is still undoubtedly work to be done  but when I look back on the decade and see the commercial successes of artists like Lianne La Havas, Tom Misch, Alfamist, Inua Ellams, Little Simz and longtime Remedy favourites Michael Kiwanuka, Shakka, Yomi Sode and of course Ed Sheeran the music scene Music is Remedy supports has grown massively and is in a good place. 

Let’s keep pushing things forward: 

Here’s the full list again 

1. Tawiah “starts again”
2. Sasha Keable “Man”
3. Barney Artist “Leave it all “
4. JNR Williams “U 4 Ever”
5. Emmavie “High off this”
6. Ezra Collective “Space is the Place”
7. Joe Hertz “Rain in Cuba”
8. Cleo Sol “Sweet Blue”
9. Yakul “Daydreaming”
10. Blue Lab Beats “Hi There”
11. Etta Bond “The One”
12. Ego Ella May “Girls dont always sing about boys”
13. Little Simz “Boss”
14. Dornik “Retail Therapy”
15. Kano “Hoodies All Summer”
16. Rukhsana Merrise “Hung up”
17. Ella Frank “Kettle”
18. P Money “Shh Hut Yuh Mout”
19. Catherine Sera ft Emmavie “Fling Love”
20. Romderful ft Jay Prince “Catch Me”

No words that I write will ever give this body of work the adulation it deserves. It is incredible. Tawiah for years has shown the world just how incredible a songwriter and musician she is. How vocally she had an immense range and ability to touch listeners souls with her tone control and power on the microphone.

Borders is probably my favourite track but there is many I could choose from and I think it’s the kind of album that when you go back to it you could find a new favourite to fit your current chapter because the songs are that good. This album will stand the test of time.

In another place and time this would be receiving Grammy and BRIT nominations. She would be embarking on a world tour to promote it. though this is however unlikely to happen I think it is safe to say that anyone that spends anytime with the album will find at least one track that touches them, makes them want to turn it up, sing-along and most importantly enjoy .

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My go to UK project of the year. 4 sublime tracks that I struggle to choose a favourite from. A project I again really struggle to find any flaws with. I love the lyrical content and the attitude she delivers every line with. Her vocal is brilliant. Strong but not overpowering and extremely polished. The production also is well polished with my kind of gorgeous live UK soul sound running through every track. There is nothing not to like about this project at all. If I had to pick one “Mr Impatient” probably gets the nod because of those horns but really I cant fault the project… give me that album!

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I do love this brother. So much of what I have liked this year this guy Barney Artist has been connected with. Anytime I have needed a pick me up over the last few months this has been my go to hype tune. The horns, vocal samples tom roll to bring in the chorus and the way that bass line comes in on the 2nd verse…. HAAARD! And then there is his flow… undeniable how well he is able to flex over the beat and production clearly getting better and better with every track he puts out as the years go by and his audiences grow he keeps getting better. It is fantastic seeing him succeed and I’ve no doubt 2020 he will keep it moving to the next level he deserves to reach!

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It has been amazing to see the progression of this young man and his wonderful voice in 2019. Two really strong EPs released getting plenty of critical acclaim. Stunning visuals that show his culture, personality and history complimenting his sound perfectly. I could have had a couple of tracks in the top 20 (Us in Major is stunning) but this one for me is the standout. Royce Wood Junior on production pulls this simply gorgeous track together. The sentiment in the lyrics carries through to the track and his voice. The BVs give it even more feeling and then you get this random outro that has shades of 70′s Stevie Wonder in its choice of chords guitar,bass and synth sounds and it just builds and builds gloriously I really do not want it to end. It is immense.

Amazing to see his voice being recognised on another level, fully deserved and can’t wait to see what 2020 holds for him.

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Probably my favourite RnB tune of the year. I remember at the top of the year listening to an Eric Lau interview and he mentioned how he had been working on the mixed for the forthcoming album and it got me very excited. Emmavie has always been incredible but hearing someone like Lau co-sign made me think she is gonna be moving things to another level and I wasn’t wrong. Her album has a whole other level of quality then anything she has previously dropped. Her production style a mesh of Timbo Neptunes and Neo Soul from the golden late 90s early 00s era is music to my ears and she pulls it off perfectly. The production in this tune again just incredible. I think this album will solidify her status in the industry as someone you should be working with not only as a songwriter and producer but also as an artist.

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When I have needed to get my head down and to work this has been my go to track. I find myself bopping my head to the beat and as the track builds I start typing and getting productive. Ezra Collective have been one of my favourite musical discoveries of the year ( late to the party I know). Their combination of soul jazz and hip hop is I think the closest any UK act has come to emulating the early work of Roots making HipHop music LIVE. Obviously there is so much more to there music (plenty of West Indian, African and British references in their music) than this and plenty of other gems to discover on their incredible album “You Can’t Steal My Joy” but this first track sets the tone for the album and gives this undeniable bop your head vibe that I just love and of course they bring the HORNS good and proper!!! Quality.

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Joe Hertz brought some of my favourite artists together to create this beautiful number that was part of the soundtrack to my summer. Sam Wills‘ gorgeous vocals were perfect for this track and its hook. Whilst Barney Artist once again delivers another perfect example of the quality of flows he continues to put out there. And those horns are just pure bliss. Blue Lab Beats also feature adding their own soul jazz flavour to the beat. I love the element of collaboration. There isn’t enough of it and it is a major win win when you bring people together. Artits more of this in 2020 the quality and potential is there come together.

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Tune is toooo slick. Soon as the beat comes in your head starts rocking. Keys soft and sweet and the tune has this aura of coolness that covers every aspect it. The video is also incredible. Can’t not rate everything Cleo Sol and her camp put out there… I just want more. Give me more please.

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