Music Potential ‘Unleashed’ @ Camden Roundhouse, 4.8.14

Camden’s Roundhouse was the venue for the climax of Capital XTRA’s Music Potential, in partnership with Barclaycard which engages 16-25 year olds across London and Birmingham who are not in full-time education, employment or training (NEET). ‘Unleashed’ was the culmination of Capital XTRA’s year long project which provides experience, support and help for young people hoping to pursue a career in the music industry. The event showcased Music Potential’s up-and-coming talent, encouraging its participants to ‘unleash their potential’ alongside current chart dwellers Sigma, Fuse ODG and Music Potential ambassador Joel Compass.

Capital XTRA breakfast hosts Kojo and Jade Avia hosted the event and Manny ‘the name you can trust’ Norte provided the beats throughout the evening. The quality of music on show from all of the participants in the Music Potential programme was of an amazingly high standard and the first solo act of the night, Susan Boateng set the bar extremely high. With just a piano to aid her, Boateng played an original track titled ‘In The Air’ which was an atmospheric aria that featured a Kate Bush-inspired howling chorus. Soulful singer Namiwa Jazz followed performing another original track ‘Jungle’ which got the crowd dancing with its funky bass line and note perfect harmonies.

Birmingham based rapper Reload succeeded the ladies on stage and he performed his instantly catchy self-penned track entitled ‘Fire In The Booth’, giving a shout out to Charlie Sloth along the way. The supremely talented singer/producer Joel Compass then took to the stage to perform his three biggest tracks to date, ‘Run’, ‘Forgive Me’ and latest single ‘Girlfriends’ and even after a slight technical hitch with the sound system, Compass showed exactly why his album is so highly anticipated. Compass said about the programme:

“Music Potential gives young people the opportunity to develop practical skills and experience to help kick start their career in the music industry. Everyone I’ve met through the programme is passionate about music and it was a real honour to share the stage with some of these rising stars.”

Following Compass on stage would be a tough ask for anyone but acoustic songstress Stephanie Santiago stepped up to the plate and did not disappoint as she wowed the audience with her powerful, exquisite voice performing another original track ‘Break Me’. Rapper & wordsmith D-South was next to take to the stage alongside vocalist Zico performing their track ‘Night Time’ which saw D-South’s lyrical content and slick flow combine with Zico’s smooth vocals to offer a dedication to all the nubian queens.

Vocalist Tim Victor was next up and his sleek and polished vocals grabbed the crowd’s attention as he performed his track ‘Be Who You Are’, which acted as a motivational mantra, reminding the audience to “be yourself” and “love yourself”. A collective known as Music Potential Collective 1 were up next performing their track ‘Stay’. When asked about the Music Potential process they said,

“It’s hard to find people out there that want to collaborate so meeting each other every week and getting to know each other on a social level as well as musically has helped us build friendships as well as musical relationships,  so it’s been a really good networking opportunity.”

Chart topping drum & bass duo Sigma then pushed the tempo up and got the crowd moving by performing, amongst others, their remix of Clean Bandit’s ‘Extraordinary’, UK number 1 ‘’Nobody To Love’ and new single and Paloma Faith collaboration ‘Changing’. With some words of wisdom to all the up-and-coming artists in attendance they said,

“Do what you love to do cos at the end of the day, you can fail at doing something you hate so fail at something you love, that’s the most important thing; but don’t fail obviously, succeed!”

Someone who has been working hard at doing what they love over the last 12 months was up next as vocalist and former Music Potential participant KASS, who now works as part of the Music Potential team, performed an amazing version of one of her own tracks and accompanied it with some unique staccato dance moves showcasing her all round talent as not only a vocalist but also a complete performer.

One of the final few acts was to follow as rapper Stiley performed his track ‘You Should Be Mine’ alongside the returning Namiwa Jazz. The track was a mash up of hip-hop and soul and had a really good vibe about it so watch this space for that one! Not to be outdone however, rapper Mr Macee and vocalist Michiel then graced the stage with a track named ‘Thug Cry’ but there weren’t any thugs crying in the Roundhouse audience as the duo bounded across the stage demanding the crowds energy right to the very end of their performance.

The final Music Potential participants to perform were a collective of vocalists and rappers, known for the purposes of the project as Music Potential Collective 3, featuring vocalists Tiffany Brown and Stephanie Santiago alongside rappers Shiv and Stipe, performing their track ‘Scared Of You’ but on the basis of their performance, they weren’t scared of anyone as their confident stage presence gave the crowd an insight into what they can expect in the future from these young talents.

Whilst all of the Music Potential participants had performed, there was only one man who could finish the night off as headline act and chart topper Fuse ODG played through a storming set of his biggest hits to date including ‘Azonto’, ‘Antenna’, Million Pound Girl’ and the Sean Paul collaboration ‘Dangerous Love’. Everyone in the Roundhouse was on their feet as the ‘King of Afrobeats’ bounced around the stage and encouraged dance off’s within the crowd and he clearly enjoyed performing to the welcoming crowd. To ensure that his set was one to remember, Fuse brought out friend and collaborator Angel for an exclusive performance of their new single and future chart hit ‘TINA’, much to the crowds delight.

Having been a year in the making, the Music Potential ‘Unleashed’ event was the perfect way to showcase some of the young talent that the UK has to offer; not many young people get an opportunity to perform at such a prestigious venue as the Roundhouse and so I’m sure it will be a night that all the participants in the programme will never forget. With the support of Capital Xtra, Barclaycard, Industry In The Streets and the huge number of people who give their time and energy to support the cause, Music Potential has helped endless amounts of young people who aren’t in full-time education, employment or training into an industry they love and has given them valuable experience to go on and reach their dreams. If the level of talent on show next year is anywhere near as good as this year then the 2015 Music Potential Unleashed showcase will be equally incredible.

Matt Tarr

*Photo courtesy of John Phillips

Matt Tarr

Matt Tarr

Urban Music Editor
With grime and hip hop being major influences on him growing up in South East London, Matt's passion is urban music but over the years he has gathered a hugely diverse taste, ranging from Wiley to The Smiths by way of Machine Head, that has made him a very open minded individual.
Matt Tarr