Bristol Indie Soul Mixer
I would like to express my deepest and heartfelt thanks to all the people who participated in the UK’s first Indie Soul Mixer in Bristol, and, with respect to the UK participants, especially to the people who travelled from the USA to support and participate in the event.
The event succeeded because of the positive energy of those that attended, strong relationships and friendships were made, and foundations were built to take it to the next level –whether that is for the Mixer as an event or for artists collaborations that will evolve, it does not matter.
I hold immense pride for the artists who pass through the Indie Soul Mixer family whether in the US or the UK. The object of the exercise from day one is to help artists grow and build through education, collaboration, mutual cooperation and understanding – if as a movement or a group we grow we will individually succeed, that was my belief when I started this 6 years ago and it remains equally strong now.
Of course, some individuals will seek and do nurture their own goals from the outside, but this in the long term will not help them, or the artists, or the industry, it will only give rise to short term gratification . It is fine for people to help themselves, we all do it – but there is a bigger picture here and that is to increase the awareness of Soul Music and the Cultural identity that surrounds it.
The event was not without its difficulties but overall I do not think there is too much that we would have done differently, there are tweaks to be made, improvements in some areas, bits we missed and should have covered and so on but these will all come out in the debrief.
That said i take my strength from the positive energy that was created throughout the event, whether in individual discussions, small groups, on stage, within the event or outside.
Something should be said about problems and issues we faced:
The concept/ the name – We did not choose the name Indie Soul Mixer – it evolved over time. Indie Soul is now an accepted (sub) genre of our music and we have throughout our history had a hand in that. People in the US know it, use it and it has meaning. In the UK it has a meaning within a small grouping in the Soul Community. However it is clear that the general public have no idea what it is and it caused confusion. This will change- just google it – it is accepted broadly on music websites so we cannot change it – after all it is what we represent.
The term ‘mixer’ also confused people – it is not a word that is used much in the UK in the context of a gathering of people. Again this term evolved after 2 or 3 years of the event in the US – people would simply ask us – ‘oh when is your next mixer coming up’ and so it stuck. We therefore branded it and now cannot change it. We may change the way we use it, but we cannot change it
We had so many offers to help that we thought we could rely on people to do stuff. Often it didn’t materialise. In some cases that will have been down to us but in most cases i don’t think it was. I don’t need to or want to go into details or call people out over this as I am sure intentions were good. We are most appreciative of the people who helped, if only in a small way, help is help, and we love them for that. Those that didn’t also know who they are, so let’s leave it at that.
We are also a little disappointed at the so called Soul Community or Soul Scene in the UK. An event which I would have thought ought to have been to the forefront of their minds was effectively totally blanked by them with just a few exceptions. There is also evidence of direct and divisive actions by certain people. As if I am some kind of threat??
If people just want to go and play their records and have a party and not support the artists that create then that it absolutely fine by me but that’s not the agenda of Indie Soul Mixer. Maybe it is my fault for not cosying up to the machinations of the Soul Scene, but that’s not me either – I have long since said and it has been recorded such that a ‘scene’ is a barrier, barriers are detrimental to artists so we don’t deal with them.
All I know is that i have put time, effort and money into doing what I do. The people, artists included, to me are real people, they are not ‘facebook’ (or some other social networking site) ‘friends’. They are people i have real connections with and in many cases would regard them as friends and not just contacts. I am trying to have a real impact on their careers, not just do something for my own (short term) gratification or ego.
It is disappointing that we didn’t get more a bigger attendance. However overriding that is the aim of Indie Soul Mixer to promote and assist the artist. A bigger audience may have superficially helped them more but actually stronger connections were made by being smaller. For the first one I am happy.
There was also an intent on my part to make the event ‘Bristol-centric’, something that the city could embrace, build on and be proud of. Sadly both from the education side and the event side we were left disappointed by the lack of committment to the event- I would have expected the City and the Educators would have had some kind of interest in an event supporting grass roots and aspiring artists – it seems their priorities lay elsewhere.
The UK and Bristol particularly held its own. We showed that we have the talent to match. The purpose of this note is not to name names – there is plenty of information on our connected sites and the participants’ sites for that – and i have a fear of missing somebody out and i wouldn’t want to do that!
That said I feel I must give a special mention to my Musical Director Jay Wilcox. I cannot say more other than to say he was immense, garnering praise from all angles and especially from the US artists. I do hope he has gained some good contacts that he will be able to utilise on his projects in the future. I am sure he has and that, in a nutshell, is what it’s all about.
During the course of the programme we basically re-wrote the agenda. It became less structured, less formal, less classroom. We just vibed off each other in small discussion groups, strengthening links, discussing and debating problems, learning from each other, expressing wisdom, tackling issues. The informality of it all, I believe, made the discussions more potent, and the bonds between us much stronger. I think we covered everything and more that the structured agenda would have coped with.
Amongst all this we found time to:-
a) Do some studio sessions, some work was done, some of it informal, some of it just playing around, but we made some music, stay tuned! Assisted by Riley and CoCo (Friday) and Luke Type (Sat), Jamell and Alex at the Controls.
b) Include two extended visits to Ujima FM, so our artists were able to promote themselves on air
c) Receive Ujima TV, where they conducted several interviews on site for their new forthcoming ‘station’
d) Give plays to new albums by Beverly Knight, Maya Azucena and TypeSun.
e) Display an exhibition of Soul Photography by John Barrett
f) Discussions and advice and support to young aspiring musicians
f) have extensive discussions about hair!
The Friday and Saturday performances were phenomenal. I know it was my event and I would say that but they were.
The sound was superb, many thanks to A1 and Trinity, many of the artists commented on that. Held together and kept flowing by ‘The Diva’ Nikki Wade who was flawless, and Jay Wilcox and his band. Most of the sets were under rehearsed or even un-rehearsed, and the best compliment that i can give is that no one would have known.
Friday was enhanced by a representation courtesy of Godfrey Fletcher and Neo2Soul Promotions, NuVybe and Saturday by DNyce, Soul-D-Out.
Artists who performed were:
Thursday – DJ Ewan Hoozami (Funk from the Trunk)
MD Jay Wilcox with Chad and Liam
Elegance (Roxaya Hopkins) with Richard Price
Trish n Tom (TnT)
Khiry Da Young Prod’G
Jay Wilcox (solo)
DJ’s Greg Alexander (Soul Train)
MD Jay Wilcox with Chad and Liam
Edson Burton (Spoken Word)
Khiry da Young Prod’G
Misy, Nikki and Catt
Misty & Zion Flex
Nathan Watson (and Band)
Celestine with support from Joe Price
Indie Soul All Stars (Finale)
DJ’s Dnyce (Rampage London) and Mike Ashley (Soul Freedom)
Whist I am so pleased that the US came to the UK, I am equally pleased that the UK artists, from Bristol in particular, stood strong, and can stand shoulder to shoulder with their American Brothers and Sisters – you did us proud.
Indie Soul Stars at the Canteen Bristol
Muisc by Richard Price, Joe Price, Jay Wilcox and Liam Calloway
with Trish n Tom, Nikki Wade, Khiry, Catt, Misty Sharp, Elegance, LaSonya Gunter, Celestine, Bashema,.
The UK does not have or has a lesser framework within which new soul artists can operate and perform. This is made harder because of the global economic crisis but also worsened by the fact that certain groups within the UK Soul World do not embrace live music as fully as, I believe, they should.
The changes in the music industry and particularly the way in which people are buying (or stealing) music makes it even more imperative that live music becomes a strong income stream for an artist. It is no good any longer for people to just ‘buy the records’, that isn’t enough.
I have never understood and never will understand why these groups of people will not support live performance and rather just sit and listen to the record. Soul Music is built on cultural history of hurt and pain and this gives it the deep and emotional content that we all love so much. That SOUL is shared between participant and audience in live appearance. That connection when you get it will be more powerful than any record.
(The counter argument, which I don’t buy into, is that with a record you get the ‘hit’ every time you play the record, but live it depends on the performance and it’s less guaranteed- well give me the power of a live connection any day of the week)
We therefore need to support live music to embrace performance as it is inclusive of music, history and identity. The alternative is music made in a bedroom or a personal studio that is mechanical, bland, and devoid of the passion that we so desire.
I am pleased to say that I feel that for our first event in the UK we are still intact, we can move forward on the basis that we have introduced something that was different and difficult for people to grasp, we have the drive to take it to the next level, we need to do this, we need to evolve and mould the concept into something that retains its closeness and tightness but appeals more to a bigger audience. This i am sure we can achieve .
Most importantly we need to continue to give the artists the platform to facilitate, enhance and further their careers for the public benefit. We do this but there is no complacency.
From those that came and participated we received nothing but positive energy, this gives us the strength to carry on, enhance what we do.
Indie Soul Mixer is strong with annual events now in New York, Atlanta and now Bristol – look out for additional venues worldwide.
Thanks – this is going to sound like a CD cover!!
I would like to give my thanks, more so than these words can express to:-
The people who travelled across from the USA at their own expense, and gave what you gave, we love you each and every one of you.
All the other performers and participators
To anyone who has helped, even on small things, they matter to and you are appreciated as much as the ones who gave big.
To Trinity Community Arts Limited for the venue and especially Emma, Rhiannon, Karina, Jamell, Alex, Matt, Gary, Edson and Read
To Ujima Radio, Roger, Tim and Kevin, and presenters Maizee Maiz, Nia, Mistri and DJ Style and all the other DJ’s who supported us.
To Ujima TV, James and Nia
To The Canteen, Stokes Croft for Sunday afternoon.
To Celestine for embracing our people at her gig
To Steve Parkhouse and Jelli Records
To Steve Lloyd (Surecom Limited) for the website.
To Sam and Rich of BBC Introducing
To Denise Campbell
To Godrey Fletcher
To Steve Salvari (Nathan Watson Band)
to aka Subliminal for Radio drop and Promotion
To John and Jeanine Barrett
To Steve Ripley (Soulfood)
To Maya Azucena
To Garry Williams and Tracy for flyering Luxury Soul Weekender and Southport
to DJ Mr Soulsbury
To Eve, Levanna, Jordon and George
To Astral 22 (for remixes)
To SoulTrain Bristol, Paul and Greg
To Kirby at DMac
To Paul Thrower
To Marsha and Charlene
To Radio Cardiff
To A1 (Sound)
To Sarah Milford at Future Inns
To Radio Cardiff
To DJ’s, Websites, Bloggers, Radio Stations, Shops and Venues we have flyered, and anyone who has given us mentions or helped us spread the word.
To Julia and Carlton
To Dave Kay at Centre for Research into Development and Health Limited
To Colin Coates and Partners (Tax Consultants)
To Cara and Thomas and Mollie and Jessie
To anyone I’ve forgotten (not intentional!)
And most of all I want to extend my deepest gratitude and love to Beki for her time and commitment to the project (at the expense of her own work). We have been stressed, she has been stressed but ultimately we had the strength to see it through.
Atlanta Indie Soul Mixer October 22 2011
New York Indie Soul Mixer and Weekend of Soul with Make it Happen Entertainment and Injoy Enterprises March 24 2012
Life and Soul Promotions
Indie Soul Mixer (Worldwide)
Bristol Indie Soul Mixer CIC
21 June 2011