January often has a bad rep after feeling over indulged, not to mention wounded wallets after the festive season but ILUVLIVE held at Zigfrid Von Underbelly unleashed a ray of light for anyone feeling subdued.
The first ILUVLIVE of 2017 packed a real punch with a variety of heavyweight contenders that I’d suggest you keep you eye on this year!
Hosted by Jade Avia, first to the stage was a male singer by the name of LA Gray who has toured with 112, an American RnB quartet. With a refreshing outlook on life, this North-West Londoner effortlessly embodies the 90s RnB music that many of us grew up with and can relate to. A combination of smooth, silky vocals accompanied by great lyrics, the song “Better Days” makes for a great uplifting ballad.
Next up was Kadija Kamara, a songstress taking on a strong influence from 60s and 70s music. Kadija’s music exudes soul, whilst her distinctive voice trembles with feeling. So how do you turn an acoustic set, electric? This London-based Alternative Soul Rock artist shows us how with her power-driving anthem “Alright” which has a similar feeling to Lenny Kravitz Fly Away wrapped in a reassuring, inspirational theme, this song definitely makes you feel good!
A producer and songwriter hailing from North London, third on the list was CallMeTheKidd. Oozing confidence and swag reinforced by a lyric in his song “Leaders”, “I do not wear Huaraches, they’re trashy” demonstrates his unique, trend-setting style.  Seeing and hearing “Bounce” performed live really brought another dimension to the song. Riddled with classic guitar funk riffs and a heavy rhythmic section, this definitely had an old school, throwback vibe that you couldn’t help but move to.
Following that, a young singer named Paige-Lihya came on the stage. At just 17 years old, her use of texture and tones create a distinguishable voice beyond her years. Coupled with her natural talent for songwriting and a sprinkling of jazz vocal embellishment, her RnB/Neo Soul style is easy and appealing to listen to. “Can’t Be With You” honestly describes the difficulty in her past relationship, a mellow song exploring heartbreak. The more upbeat, bouncy “Crazy” still embodies the topic of love but allows Paige-Lihya’s vocal ability to shine as her confidence grew.
Last to bless the stage but by far the least was Shaé, who might I add has a great sense of style. With her oversized gold frames and purple lipstick, I could tell she came to shut things down. From her opening song a cover of Nao’s Bad Blood, Shaé had already captivated the audience with no sweat. The second song on her set list “Treat Me Like Somebody”, an original sees the talented female switch things up as she raps her feelings, which reflects on the pain she experienced in her past relationship. After warming up, her rendition of Drake’s hit Controlla surely turned up the heat as we saw more of Shaé’s personally come out, with dancing and catchy lyrics. Her final song was a cover of Chance the Rapper’s and Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam presented in a gospel-rooted style. With striking vocal ability that soars and a falsetto range that glitters as well as great control and dynamics, the audience was left with an appetite wanting more. Look out for the talented songstress this year!
So all in all, an amazing night with super talented musicians set to do big things! Well done to the ILUVLIVE team, Rashun.K (DJ), to the house band and also to the artists’ band who held it down and kept the vibe and energy levels up. The first ILUVLIVE of this year was fantastic and if you weren’t there, shame on you. Do yourself a favour and make sure you’re at the next one!
Written By Rianne