So it’s that time for Future Flavours #3 Espa.
Now before we get onto this amazing talent let’s take a quick look at the music news where Taylor Swift used her millions of followers to persuade Apple that maybe they were being a delicate area of the body used for waste disposal. Stopping artists getting their royalties come on! Swift action followed.
But wait is it all as it seems?
Some are saying that this was an intricate ploy that enabled both parties to come out smelling of red roses with Apple apparently listening to an artist (of a suitable pedigree) and Taylor Swift looking like a leader we can trust in the lead up to an election of course.Well anything is possible in music machinations after all she has just announced that her album 1989 will now be streamed on Apple (is it now!). Either way I do think that the artists win (to an extent) and that ain’t bad.
In other great news Missy Elliot is headlining Bestival-she will be getting up in our grill and we like it.
So to the awesomeness that is Espa who is stepping out alone, rather like David Cameron trying to hold the whole of the EU to ransom. Like Davey boy I would never like Espa to be part of any union and the only ransom she is holding us to is in respect of the top notch tracks that this young lady keeps churning out. I have to admit I wish there was a bit more info on her (cue my request for an interview) but on the other hand, the whole scarcity of info on her is a telling promotional tool and of course increases that intrigue to know more-not saying it’s premeditated but I definitely think it works.
So what do I know-well she is a woman? (ahem)
A little more than that. Well she is a UK artist and she can count one previous Future Flavour (Kwabs) as someone she grew up with. By association alone Espa is another supreme UK talent who admits she would like to be the love child of Jimi Hendrix and Bjork-what a smouldering mix of talent.
So music well let’s start with some early material with, Balistiq’s Louder and a great Shabba Ranks sample-where is that great controversial but entertaining dancehall star now? Last I heard Shabba was still doing things Slow and Sexy and still thought he was Mr Loverman while confusing a few non Jamaican speaking individuals by repeating the phrase- ‘Love Punaany, I Love Punaany Bad’ to young women.
Another pertinent collaborative track (in terms of her musical journey) happened with the brilliantly named hip-hop outfit, Flat Bush Zombies on their track Red Light, Green Light. In terms of Espa this turned out to be a huge lynch pin. As the info goes, Espa’s musical history saw her spend a good period of her time in New York and Flat Bush Zombies hailing from NYC seemed to have been a catalyst for her burgeoning musical output.
Both tracks however did not necessarily point to her current musical output/direction which rests (as some say) in that genre called alternative rnb. Is that correct? I don’t know really but you certainly hear an eclectic amount of influences and they are not all in that alternative rnb genre. In terms of production she has kept that transatlantic opting for music courtesy of US producers while keeping it ‘real’ by using London producers like Todd Carter and more notably (but not necessarily more talented) Shift K3y. Shift of course being the name behind some huge hits like Touch (2014) which reached number 3 and Name and Number in 2015. Vocally I think that Espa is hugely versatile able to bless an underground banger or a pop track (should she choose) ease.
So following those journeys to New York where she professes she did a lot of ‘growing up’ Espa dropped her first and beautiful 4 track ep called 150th and Broadway which is named after a place in New York. As a note when I feature people in my blog it’s always difficult (but not impossible) to pick out individual tracks because generally the particular artist is being written about because they produce quality each and every time-they are givers of quality like a Shaman gives out potions laced with natural LSD. Having said that, I do have to point you to the atmospheric Still Wait off the ep where Espa drops some BARS-tidy!
So back to present time and Espa rekindles our passion for her with some fresh FRESH new material and her ep LG60 and boy it’s terrifyingly good. I got a great sample of the ep when she performed live at Dalston Boy’s Club a secret gig. That live component made tracks that were already scintillating that bit more special. At the show she dedicated a track to one of her inspirations Craig (X-Man) David. She’s already shown huge respect to Craig David who really put the UK on the musical map. Check out her cover of his classic Fill Me In (2000). The cover is so kosher it’s orthodox-she totally owns her rendition and I dutifully added the track to my playlist.
So that latest ep well once again it bangs like an over-zealous iron mason. The lead track with an accompanying rather surreal video is Pray For Me-one word-TIDY. This manages to bring something that is, I expect, modern day soul. Whatever category it is in, the track will surely be featured on radio and maybe even some TV synchronisation-it’s got that feel.
Looking at Espa’s journey so far, it has in truth been short but she’s already made a telling impact on the UK musical scene getting played by Zane Lowe, getting co-signed by names like Kwabs (he was actually at her show) and generally dropping tracks which are quintessentially individual to her. The new ep (with the creative artwork courtesy of Espa) will undoubtedly add more credence and consensus that she has to be a Future Flavour: n’est-ce pas Nespa?
Holly Silius & Espa collaboration on Hair and Make-Up concept and design//Photography – Charlotte Rutherford
TRACK LISTING LG60-ORBIT//PRAY FOR ME//FOUR WALLS//RODNEY FT ERICK ARC ELLIOT