Tuesday April 15, was set to be a great day for me and anyone else that was heading to Proud Camden that night, the sun was out and I knew I was in for an evening of great UK music courtesy of the latest edition of The Drop. Just as I suspected, the evening was jam packed full of unique and exciting British artists, ranging from Pop and R&B to Jazz and Soul and even an ‘East meets West’ vocal genius. The Drop’s headline act was Angel and from the performance I saw, I would go so far as to say we could call him the Prince of UK R&B and one of Pop music best kept secrets.
The North London native gave a glorious and resonating performance that more than reached out to his fans, who came down to support him, and the vast majority of females in the room who appeared to be ogling him all night. Although I have to admit, Angel really did look every bit the Prince of R&B up on that stage, with his fresh white shirt, mix of stylish bling and quirky-cool hat – he seemed to be rocking what I described as a fresh ‘pirate’ look, but whatever his look was, he made it his own and rocked that stage like the star that he has so deservedly become.
Proud Camden, situated in the heart of Stables Market, is truly a unique venue and gave the night an even more exclusive atmosphere which added to the authenticity of the evening. The atmosphere was also pumped up by hosts Ronnell and Elle, and I would give them ratings for their confident and humerus collaboration. They worked just as well with the audience as they did each other, and seemed to be having as good a time as the rest of us.
The first act they introduced to us, was fresh young UK vocalist Kane who performed with his live band and three sensational back up vocalists. Kane set the night up with his catchy lyrics and feel good vibes. He gave a very admirable and mature performance, cleverly mixed with a boyish charm. He has already been compared to Usher and Trey Songz and he managed to keep that comparison alive throughout his set, whilst adding his own uniqueness and flavour. Kane is already off to a great start for 2014 with the release of his single “Turn it Up” featuring Sneakbo, and I am excited to watch this hot newcomer rise.
Next to the stage was beautiful Bolton singer and 2008′s X Factor contestant Laura White. This stunning vocalist set the stage on fire with her groovy style and Jazz sounds mixed with her mature and soulful side, and she left me feeling speechless. I had previously seen this star on the X Factor and was mesmerized back then, but seeing her sing live just escalated her whole performance to another level. This northern star (pardon the pun) performed songs from her critically acclaimed debut EP What My Mother Taught Me which was released back in November 2013 and reached number one in the UK Singer/Songwriter album charts. From the performance I witnessed, there is no doubting that achievement as Laura has a voice that takes over a room and just makes you smile.
I was not ready for Laura Whites performance to be over, however next up to perform was North London raised Raphaella whose striking mix of Persian and English heritage is truly something to talk about (or in my case, write about). This sensational young star, who is signed to Koochulu label, explores traditional Persian instruments within her alternative Pop sound, which in collaboration, captures her heritage so beautifully. She gave a bold and confident performance that accentuated this singer’s maturity and eclecticism of a performer that is so beyond her years. She is such a unique artist with her ‘East meets West’ demeanour, that she has undoubtedly distinguished herself within the music industry, and I am confident I will be seeing lots more of her.
All three artists gave applaudable and unique performances that set the night up on a high, which was a perfect atmosphere to bring headliner Angel onto the stage. Angel, whose biggest inspiration was his father (another extremely talented musician), gave a performance that unquestionably would make any parent proud. He is what the music industry would describe as a triple threat, he is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and a record producer, and along with those threats, he is also an incredible live performer.
Signed to Island Records, Angel’s critically acclaimed album About Time was released in 2013 to rave reviews and as he performed songs from the album at Proud Camden, I felt the album title speaking for every single person at the venue. From listening to his music, it is clear that Angel draws on his own real experiences and is not interested in creating fickle music, which is something I think is incredibly important for an artist, as it turns their songs into exceptional stories, and that is how we the listeners become a part of their journey. I believe the whole of Proud Camden felt a part of Angel’s journey, as his strengths so apparently lie with creating music that truly resonates with his listeners’ lives. I hope that his story continues to grow and I am sure that, on the verge of his sophomore album, this R&B stars’ plot is only just unravelling.