FEATURE: REALI-T – A Look Back at 2021 | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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So, how was your 2021?

I’m sure a few people can agree that 2021 was just 2020 Part 2. Uncertain times, a dithering government and seemingly no light at the end of this murky underpass. However, there were quite a few memorable moments for me, musically, that made the year much more bearable.

What was your best moment?

It was undoubtedly performing at the opening of the glamorous new venue in Sunderland, The Fire Station. I have to admit, I was unaware of the sheer magnitude of this event until we were much closer to it. However, I’m just glad to be part of what I hope will be a historical moment in North East arts and music.

A friend of mine pointed out that people will look back at me being the first hip-hop artist to perform at this venue, which is a huge honour. I will also never forget the blank faces of local authority figures/MPs as I introduced myself as the “Black Guy In Your Neighbourhood” and performed my own rendition of an A Tribe Called Quest classic. “Can I kick it?, I asked, enthusiastically. They probably wanted me to but weren’t sure about it.

And your worst moment?

I never thought I’d be one of these normals that get COVID. I thought I was invincible. Immortal in fact. So when it got me, it got me GOOD! Wouldn’t wish it on my second to last worst enemy.

Who was your favourite band/artist this year?

I had a few artists and bands in mind but this year it’s gotta be Field Music for a number of reasons. These people are talented as heck. Working with them was so easy too and they just made me feel at ease with anything we were performing together.

Your favourite song of the year?

Peru by Fireboy DML. I don’t mind the remix with Ed Sheeran either.

Recommended album?

I mean…is it too arrogant to recommend my album? Someone’s gotta do it, right? Commercial Break out on all streaming platforms NOW!

Favourite TV show of the year?

Dopesick. As a member of the medical profession it was a real eye opener.

Your favourite film?

Not many movies intrigued me this year. I’ll just say Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Best book you read?

The Naked Face by Sidney Sheldon.

Best podcast?

The Joe Rogan Podcast, but only the Francis Ngannou episode. It helps me sleep. Francis’ voice is very soothing.

Just wanted to throw in that I have my own podcast that I run with one of the best producers on this side of heaven, 40 (F. K. A. Naughty40). The In Your Neighbourhood Podcast. Check it out if you dare!

Favourite venue of the year?

Cobalt Studios was THE venue mainly because of the Born Lippy poetry events that take place there monthly. Absolutely terrific and always full, which is rare for a non-indie band event in the North East. I also watched the legendary Chiedu Oraka kill it there which was inspiring. 

What was your favourite gig/show of the year?

Born Lippy Unplugged at Cobalt Studios. This event was supposed to take place all the way back in 2020 before the pandemic, but because of various circumstances it kept getting postponed. When it finally went ahead it was worth the wait. You should have been there.

Any upcoming artists we should keep an eye out for in 2022?

Two nouns. Jack Craggs. I was always aware that he was talented but watching him perform at a Wright Music Management event in South Shields confirmed my previous suspicions. A unique voice and songwriter. Watch out for him.

And finally, what has next year got in store for you?

Securing my status as a sex symbol and adult heartthrob is the most important goal for next year. I’m performing in Leeds for the first time thanks to the Galaxians and already have a festival appearance booked for the summer, so that’s a good start. There’ll be more music for sure. Apart from that, I just want to enjoy my life.

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