In the deep red plush interior of Koko’s VIP room Charli Howard and I waited in anticipation for what would occur. The brightly lit stage offered an impossibly perfect view that could only be seen from the upper balcony.
I was thoroughly unprepared for the lyrical integrity and the passions produced by a musical artist putting everything they have into a single song. This was Capital Xtra’s Music Potential Unleashed, and I was in awe.
The first ten artists and groups to perform would be members of the ‘Music Potential’ course that had come tonight to show us how much they had excelled
The first artists to perform were a group of four singles from London, named 4 Tune’s, singing their song ‘Why?’ The mix of girl punk-like angst with powerful vocals was the perfect opening act for the night. Instantly I knew two things, firstly that each of these girls brought a different distinct sound and soul to the table, from their range of style to their vocal styling. And finally, that tonight my ears were about to evolve.
Then Madison Saskia took to the stage for her time to shine with her slow and soul penetrating song ‘Nothing Else Matters’ which was reminiscent of being dipped in a warm honey and milk bath. Singing sweetly she reminded us that sometime the best performances breath life into the melody as well as adding heartbreakingly tender lyrics.
Giving us a short break, allowing us to clamber for the parts of emotion that lay scattered across the now full balcony, was the aesthetically pleasing video for Namiwah Jazz’s ‘Jungle.’ The reprieve didn’t last long.
One of my favorite performances of the night was a young man, who’s flawless and potent message still filled me with a sense of wonder that reminded me of Jamie T, Damien Rice, with a edge of the soulful sighs of Lana Del Rey. As Chad Ariss belted out line after line of ‘Corruption & Greed,’ seemingly without taking a single breath in between delivery of lyrics merged with a bittersweet agony that’s impossible to manufacture, he blew me away. Here’s to you Chad!
The aptly named Seven Suns sang their enchanting melody ‘You My High’ and my warmed my heart, while J Grant & Elle Chante’s ‘Recognise Her’ and Untold’s ‘Too Far Gone’ saw the crowd slowly ascend into fits of dancing and ecstacy.
One of the stand out performances of the night was a music video for Raleigh Richie’s ‘You Make It Worse.’ A fantastically made and chilling ‘Groundhog Day’ comparable story, made by young people in Birmingham that told what seemed like one simple message. Live each day to the fullest.
The performances from the Music Potential course climaxed with Dee Ajayi’s reggae infused ‘So Sure,’ Kemi Sulola’s melody rich offering ‘Your Lady’ and, bringing up the rear was a encore by all of the programmes participants, ending on a sweet, sweet, note.
Joining the Music Potential performers on stage was none other than Melissa Steel who had the crowd moving with her energetic dancing duo from the opening notes of her hit song ‘Kisses For Breakfast’ and finished by telling the Music Potential programme participants that she wanted to be here because ‘she knows what it’s like’ and advising them to ’Always be nice and respect those around you but to believe in yourself above all.’
Nick Brewer popped on stage too, Looking dapper in a khaki green trench coat and brown brogues give the award for the best remix of his song ‘Talk to Me’
Finally, as the crowd reached it’s peak, bubbling and jumping with excitement, Krept & Konan breezed on to the stage going straight into ‘Don’t Waste My Time.’
All the crowds, in every dark corner and spacious dance floor in KOKO went wild. But this only continued as the proceeded to master the art of performing to every song they energetically doused the crowd in. Even inviting Stormzy and Youngen up on the stage which had now become their dominion, which proceed to drive the audience into a state of frenzy as they surged even closer to the magic that their presence brought to the stage.
All I have left to say is well done to everyone who won an award! We look forward to seeing more of you in the future. Oh and Capital Xtra, you did it again. We see you.