Spotlight On Music and Tracks

By Alexandra Warren

Lewisham-born musician, vocalist and DJ Coby Sey (main picture) is hard at work on his upcoming show – a collaboration with the London Contemporary Orchestra (LCO) at the Southbank Centre.

The concert is part of the newly-launched Purcell Sessions, in which audiovisual installations, new collaborations and cross-genre concepts invite artists to expand their creative boundaries in the intimate venue.

For this, Coby Sey is the perfect candidate. His dreamlike compositions overlaid with quiet vocals defy genre and offer a shifting, disorienting vision of club music.

He described the collaboration with LCO as an “honour”, saying: “They’re very adventurous in their approach. They’re really open to trying new ideas and sounds and sonics.”

Despite the orchestra coming from a classical background and Coby Sey coming from a more experimental one, there is a true collaboration.

He said: “I think with LCO they really understand composition and work that’s not considered ‘classical’.

“There is a thread there that can be connected and they can see the merit in connecting these two worlds. They do it in a way where it doesn’t feel like icing on a cake.

“Not only does it feel like a true collaboration when they do work with artists that are not considered compositional in the classical way, but they really understand it.”

Coby Sey started experimenting with music when he was a child, saying he spent hours jamming on a drum kit at school with a friend and was also “that annoying kid at school that would hit the table with my hands to make sounds”.

But a lot of his early encouragement came from his family, who bought his instruments to keep him and his older brother Kwes, now also a music producer and artist, out of trouble.

He said: “My grandad, my grandmother and my parents bought a bunch of instruments for us to use around the house, to keep us occupied so that we wouldn’t find ourselves distracted by the surroundings that we lived in South-east London.

“Growing up in those times in the late 1980s and 1990s, it wasn’t exactly known for being safe.

It wasn’t super dangerous but it wasn’t proper safe either. Our family did whatever they could to keep us occupied, through

getting instruments, getting hold of books and video games too, and it just kind of stuck with us.”

Growing up in Lewisham contributed to his music in other ways, too.

His 2017 EP, titled Whities 10: Transport for Lewisham, openly drew from experiences in his home borough.

He said: “It consists of five tracks and it was my way of coming to terms with a relationship that didn’t work, sadly, and me applying Lewisham and the transportation of Lewisham as a metaphor for that.

“Initially, while I was making it I did have moments where I felt like it was maybe a bit too much reminiscent of where I grew up, but then I realised somewhere in the middle that this works and I learned to embrace it.

“In hindsight I realised how much where I am does impact how I create music, even though that particular EP was the beginning of the sound that I wanted to explore and see if I could use for other songs.”

The EP was pivotal, not just in finding his sound, but also by being the first project where he made the decision to add vocals.

He said: “In the past it was something I didn’t think that I felt the need to do, but it was all very intuitive. It just made sense.

“As a result of that I found myself more and more over time making use of my voice in my music and my vocals being more upfront.”

This is something he has taken through to his new album, which is due to be released next year.

The title is yet to be released, but Coby Sey said it has a ‘nocturnal feel’ to it.

He said: “This album is me honing in on taking my sounds further and also demonstrating the ability to embody music, not necessarily from one particular way of working but just really, really embody it.

“It’s also an album that I created during the night-time. It’s definitely got a nocturnal feel to it.”

Coby Sey x LCO is at the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall on December 8. Tickets can be found at https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/gigs/coby-sey-x-lco.


SPOTLIGHT  ON TRACKS

Born in Merton to Sri Lankan parents, Gilska was immersed in classical training until she diverged and dived into darker waters, finding her niche in dark pop.

Partnering with Mört, her producer, Gilska composes deceptively innocent dance beats laced through with dark undertones that offer her listeners a melancholic pop experience.

Gilska

With her sophisticated lyrics and vocals, it won’t be long before her music captivates you.

Fantasy is a piece of dark electronic pop dealing with forbidden temptations and escapism.

Haunting waves of synth chords play behind lyrics which capture the essence of wanting precisely what you shouldn’t – an impulse to indulge in more of it.


Hot on the heels of her critically acclaimed EP Fieldnotes, award-winning singer-songwriter and musician Ego Ella May has shared her new single For the Both of Us.

Backed by a 42-piece orchestra and televised by BBC Four, Ego Ella May premiered the track at the EFG London Jazz Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

 

Singer-songwriter Ego Ella May – For the Both of Us

Penned and produced by Ego herself, with additional production by Shivum Sharma, Ego said: “For the Both of Us is a song about what happens after a romantic relationship ends.

The dreams you held together, the plans you made. What do you do with it all?

“It’s sad because not only does the relationship die, but so does your future life with that person.

When I wrote it I’d just been broken up with someone, and was thinking about all the things I would miss and all the things we wouldn’t get to do anymore.

I started off writing this on guitar and then worked with Shivum Sharma to add the strings and it turned into something really beautiful that I’m so proud of.

I don’t usually like to use the whole ‘turn your heartbreak into something positive’ but I’m glad I got a good song out of it.”

 


 

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One thought on “Spotlight On Music and Tracks

  • 5 December 2021 at 21:51
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    Re: Spotlight On Music and Tracks
    3 December 2021 Alexandra Warren

    Gilska would like to thank Alexandra Warren very much for including her on Spotlight On Music Tracks on 03 December 2021. For a new artist like Gilska this kind of local support is critical and is most appreciated.

    Gilska is excited about her debut single release on the 10th of December 2021.

    Background:
    Gilska is described as a natural performer, born to sing.
    Gilska writes her songs hitting chords intuitively and naturally on her piano.

    Passionate about music, dance and performance, Gilska decided to be a music artist, singer songwriter at Artsed London. Having graduated from the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Surrey, with a BA Honours in Music in 2020, Gilska is now focused on her music career writing and recording a number of songs for future release.

    Gilska has developed a unique fashion sense which is both edgy and classy according to her friends and her wit and sense of humor has kept her friends in screams of laughter from nursery to Uni.
    Gilska’s USP is her attention grabbing stage presence and performance the minute she steps on to sing.

    Music is in Gilska’s DNA. Her grandpa was a famous pop artist, in his youth in Sri Lanka.
    Gilska could sing and dance before she could walk (her mother told her) and started song writing seriously at age 13.

    Early music influence Eretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, Mariah Carey, Beyonce, Alecia Keys
    later years; Weeknd, Lana Del Ray, Dua Lipa

    Gilska has performed in many venues including Queen Elizabeth Hall, Royal college and Royal Academy of Music, a highlight being Wembley for Voice In A Million from 2016 to 2018. VIAM raises awareness of the plight of orphans around the globe including UK to promote adoption.

    Reply

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