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By CAMILLA NASCHERT
Only a stone’s throw from Camden Town station, blue neon lights illuminate the entrance of The Jazz Café, a venue that until recently ran along the lines of Ronnie Scott’s with live Jazz sessions every day of the week.
Tonight, London-based singer-songwriter Josh Kumra will be playing his first headline show here, together with support acts Billy Lockett and Matt Fryer. The atmosphere is relaxed and chatty, drinks are flowing. Many here are friends of the artists.
When Matt Fryer and his band start the night, any doubts on whether the £8 entry fee was really worth it are washed away. Not only are the sound melodic and the lyrics smart, the young artists are truly talented and the crowd is charmed by an eclectic mix of Hip Hop, rap and smooth guitar tunes.
Next up is singer-songwriter Billy Lockett from Northampton, who successfully strikes the balance between drumming, playing the guitar, filling the room with his unique voice and effortlessly interacting with the audience all at the same time. Billy mixes covers with extracts from his newly released EP ‘Pathways’ and also introduces brand new songs of his, each of which telling a different story.
The support acts did an incredible job at kick-starting the concert. Warmed up by music and beer, some audience members cannot quite stop their dancing shoes once Josh Kumra finally appears. Supporting One Republic earlier this year, the guitarist has played on both the biggest stages in Europe, as well as in the smaller, more intimate venues. The latter, however, is where his talent for creating personal connection with the audience truly shines.
The 22-year-old captivates the audience with his incredibly strong, yet rough and soulful voice that carries over the goosebump-4guaranteed melodic tunes. Chatting with the audience, telling short stories about each song and even whipping out a harmonica, Josh Kumra really proves his entertainment qualities.
His pleasant spontaneity shows how free and fun professional music can be. And by throwing in covers and a glimpse of his new releases, Kumra leaves no doubt that tonight is merely the shape of things to come.
It is hard to put a stamp on Josh Kumra’s music style because he freely blends elements of Soul, Blues, Gospel and Hip Hop into his guitar sound, making him a fascinating newcomer.
Kumra’s first album “Good things come to those who don’t wait” was released earlier this year, including his breakthrough hit ‘Don’t Go’, penned with rapper Wrench 32. The song instantly hit the UK Charts in 2011 and led to Josh Kumra’s record deal with Sony RCA. With his debut, the young musician truly proved his potential and talent as an artist and writer. Undoubtedly, this is only the beginning.
Josh Kumra performed at The Jazz Cafe Camden at 8pm on October 8th 2013.
Picture: Brendan Docherty