Birmingham, 2018. The O2 Academy is rammed with punters looking to get licked, and UK rap legend Chip and Brummie superstar MIST are gearing up to take to the stage. This is an 0121 show, which, year after year, has become the go-to event for the young lads and ladies of the dance. “I was so pissed, I couldn’t go there were no tickets left and I was really annoyed. Can’t wait for next year…” reads one comment from an unlucky fan on YouTube vid from the evening.
These sought after shows are the mastermind of Nathan Dawe, who has slowly solidified himself as a multifaceted music lover and producer, connecting the dots between DJing, live events, UK garage, pop, and UK rap. 2019’s follow up 0121 event had performances from young rap icons Aitch and Jaykae. “It’s become a bit of a running joke on who is gonna come next…,” says Nathan, who has also scored 4 UK Top 40 hits in the past twelve months alone.
Born in Burton on Trent, Nathan’s career so far has been a singular, extraordinary experience. He’s the local club DJ, gone national – and straight into the heartland of UK heavyweight chart territory. He’s 26 now, but has been spinning records his whole life, ever since picking up his first pair of decks age nine. He laughs: “I would do my own parties at home and charge my mum and dad to come and listen.”
From his residencies in Zante, to sell out concerts at the O2 – Nathan has so far collaborated with the likes of Jaykae, KSI, Little Mix, Anne Marie and Mostack and is set to continue his epic rise beyond lockdown.
BLACK GRAPE could only have been made in Manchester. The swagger, fun and cryptic humour seem hewn from a city historian AJP Taylor once described as offering an archetypally different way of English urban life to London. Both Shaun Ryder and Paul Leveridge, known as Kermit, came from edgy-but-cool parts of the city. In Shaun’s case Salford, (though I know better than to designate that side of the Irwell as Manchester in certain company) with Kermit originating Moss Side. For those unfamiliar, ‘the Moss’ lay in the shadow of Manchester City’s old stadium at Maine Road, and was one of the first multi-ethnic areas in Manchester. I recall as a youth once going there with a mate to score drugs. This guy had been around, but his customary levity vanished when he warned: “the Moss can get fookin heavy.” We were given the run-around, and eventually the address of this party. So I had gathered that. However, it wasn’t heavy on this particular night as we had terrific fun in the company of a weird and wonderful assortment of friendly strangers. They weren’t hanging back when it came to caning it. It was the type of scene that wouldn’t be unfamiliar to either Shaun or Kermit. (Fuck me, they were probably even there…)
So we have two restlessly creative men, both from the wrong side of the tracks, neither inclined to go to art school or enrol on an MFA programme, yet loaded with street smarts and musical talent, and wanting the world. Good old punk had told every scally they could have it, and a generation of us went for it in our own ways, with varying degrees of success. Shaun’s astonishing rise and fall with the Happy Mondays is the stuff of legend.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, she grew up in a musical family, studying piano, classical violin and performing with her sisters Pat and Audrey in churches. Her first recording was ‘When I’m Gonna Be Free’ was in 1966.
She then recorded for the legendary Coxsone Dodd at Studio One and her first hit came in 1967 with the title ‘You Don’t Love Me – No, No, No’, one of the most famous reggae hits of all time, which has been covered by countless artists around the world including Beyonce, Rihanna, Sean Paul, Wu-Tang Clan, Eve, J Millz and Lily Allen.
In 1991 she re-recorded the single with Steelie and Cleavie – this version (which they recorded to commemorate Studio One’s 35th Anniversary) was a crossover hit in the mainstream pop charts, and in 1994 she was back on the charts with her re-recorded dancehall version which charted in 53 countries and its album was nominated for a Grammy Award.
In 1995 she produced and recorded ‘What Do You Do?’, followed up by Delroy Williams and herself producing Come Again on Trojan Records which sold close to 110,000 copies. Her 2000 single ‘Never Ever’ was released on Jet Star, becoming a smash hit on BBC Radio 1.
In 2001 she was honoured with the “Martin Luther King Award” by Caribbean Images in recognition of her contribution to Jamaican music.
MORE ARTISTS TO BE ADDED SOON