An 80s baby by name, an 80s baby by nature, I grew up listening to the eclectic sounds of Xscape, Bob Marley, Chaka Demus and Pliers and Spandau Ballet? These sounds were some of the first to penetrate my ears, educate my mind and move my body, beginning to form the basis of what is now one of my passions and an extensive archive of music on my Ipod Touch.

Continuing on this eclectic musical journey through much of the 90s, it was not until the end of the century that a new genre of music really got me excited. 2 step beats, dirty bass lines and lyrics spat at a speed faster than Twista, the Garage era was born. These were the days of bubbling to the remixes of Sisqo’s – Thong Song, K-Ci & Jo Jo’s – All My Life and for the true fans, the Garage Nation mixtapes. Too young to legally rave and with parents too strict to provide me with the opportunity to take the illegal route I was confined to practising my bubbling moves inside the four walls of my bedroom, and annoyingly so, on the bus on the way home from school thanks to my Nokia and the invention of speakerphone.

But it was the 2000’s that brought to my attention a genre of music that is to this day my passion. A self confessed lover of the ‘slow jam’, I became infatuated in 2001 when Case released ‘Missing You’. Aged a young and impressionable 14 years old, I found myself drawn to the slow sensuous beats, harmonious strings and picture perfect love story lyrics. Convinced from an early age that chivalry was dead but a hopeless romantic nonetheless, then, the lyrics painted stories as fantastical as those experienced by Disney characters loved the world over, such as Belle and The Beast and Cinderella and Prince Charming. Oh well, they made for imaginative daydreams, and were pleasant on the ears.

The next ten years have seen the urban music scene thrive, bringing the hottest RnB and Hip Hop tracks, the freshest Bashment riddims and the invention of Grime and Funky House. However despite these major movements, the most memorable for me has been my falling in love with the slow jam. No longer a young 14 year old infatuated with the fantasy love stories painted by the lyrics, but instead a 23 year old with a new found appreciation for how powerful the lyrics can be in reality when your own words fail you.

Dedicated to Lee. Thank you for making the lyrics a reality. 143 Always x