It’s hard to pin every point in the process leading up to this EP, but as far as I can recollect, I was involved in music, working with different musicians, exploring various sounds, and always with more than two projects on the go.
I had for some time wanted to explore Jazz as a genre, and it was in 2014 at Kensington and Chelsea College in London’s Westbourne Park, where I took a Music BTEC course and was tutored by Carlos Brizzola. We kept in touch, and it was in early 2018 that we started collaborating, and after some time the release of an EP seemed the next natural step.
Two of the EP’s songs “Diamond Fingers” and “Please Sir” had in fact been written prior to collaborating with Carlos, but they are included – and evolved to contain jazzy chords- necessary to make all the EP’s songs fit together. This EP, in all its Jazziness, is an ode to Carlos who passed away in April 2019, days before we were set to mix the album.
Carlos Brizzola was humble and a fantastic composer and guitarist, which can be felt in his mesmerizing playing – so look out for those guitar parts! Working with Carlos was a duo initiative, and every experience helps you evolve as an artist and fellow musician.
When I was fronting-writing lyrics for an African fusion band “Watusi blue’’, the experience of song creation was very much jamming, improvising, recording, listening, reflecting, and repeating. I really enjoyed this collective approach, the morale of the band, and that every person was of equal value and a contributing force. I learned to appreciate the contribution of every instrumentalist and truly value playing with a live band. Never piss off the drummer, they control the rhythm: yes drumsticks have been thrown about in rehearsals!
At some point, I met Tony Cannam, creator of “The Soul Naturals”, a retro soulful rhythm & blues act, and performed as a singer in their set, and in some gigs, I would perform my own material.
I learned a lot from Tony’s songwriting process, as we were often involved in one another’s songs,
always debating the importance of lyrics and original material. From debates on lyrics to the creation of musical form, the importance of sheet notation, and so on, there are endless facets to musical creation.
I found a new approach to lyrical creation when I’d meet up and jam with musical friends George Lama Mathias and Eska Ross, known mutually through a guitarist I’d worked with. We’d all rock up at George’s, people would bring ideas, and pre-recorded tracks and we’d jam and they’d record my vocal improvisations. As the session progressed, Eska, a producer and heavily involved in Hip-Hop, was deeply focused on the task of live editing. Some quite interesting results can be rendered this way, and the song “Diamond Fingers’’ evolved from George’s initial studio track with my jamming, into the song it is now.
These people who I worked with and who through meeting, exchanging ideas, jamming, and being part of each other’s creative circuit, influenced me until now, and are in a sense a big part of this EP’s creation. It was also the musicians who recorded the EP who breathed life into each song, whose individuality gave new colour, flavour, and life to the music.
“Infinity” as an EP reflects my time working with Carlos, the musicians who recorded it, and everyone who came before. I hope you enjoy the music, and the narrative ideas, If you’d like to learn the stories behind my lyrics and song creations, read my upcoming blogs.
I hope to continue exploring Jazz as a genre, but I would like to also explore its fusion, with say for instance the middle -eastern soundscape and other non-western scales.
This EP’s release has taken time, mainly due to Carlos’s tragic passing away just days before we were set to mix, but mostly my fanatic perfectionism, having been back to Hackney Road Studio a handful of times, to re-record certain parts, and add finishing touches!
But perhaps as important to me as all of this is YOU, the listener, that makes all of this matter.
I look forward to many more sometimes hard but worthwhile experiences along my musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are a part of that journey.
If you’d like to hear my latest milestone on my journey, click here to listen to my most recent EP, “Infinity”.
Thank you for being a listener and making it all matter.
There are no comments yet, add one below.