Manchester’s JP Cooper is a self-made, self-taught musician who manages to exist effortlessly within two scenes generally considered to be at varying ends of the sonic spectrum. Learning his craft on the Indie Rock scene, but later connecting with the Sing Out Gospel Gospel Choir, his exquisite vocal and adroitly played guitar seamlessly encompasses the best of both worlds. It’s Indie with soul, soul with heart. This is meaningful music from the mind of a man who’s lived life, loss and longing. JP defines the idea of what it is to be a truly singular artist who both defies convention and resists comparison. “I don’t want to be seen as a singer/ songwriter because people lump you into that sulky troubadour box,” points out JP with a quick laugh. “I want to be a bit more than that. I want to make great music and grow. I’ve always loved and admired artists that evolve; people like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Björk. Hopefully I can be an artist who will explore and transform in a similar way.”

Bought up during the guitar-laden years of Britpop, like many young Manchester teens, JP played in various bands throughout school. Broadening his musical tastes beyond Oasis by regularly visiting eponymous record store, the Vinyl Exchange, it was there the young music enthusiast discovered everything from Björk to Aphex Twin, Donny Hathaway and Rufus Wainwright. Deciding to go solo while at college, JP was finally able to fully draw on his various influences and begin to experiment with the sort of artist he wanted to be. “I realised that I didn’t want to have to rely on anybody – as long as I could play and I could write then I’d be pretty self-sufficient. And I could make the music I wanted to make without having to compromise.” Teaching himself guitar, JP began testing his sound out at Open Mic nights and quickly started getting booked to play all over Manchester. Within a year he rose to selling out 250 capacity venue, the Deaf Institute. However, because he was a white guy with a guitar, he found himself increasingly booked at folk / indie / band nights. Ill at ease in a scene into which he was thrust, slowly his audience began to diversify as the subtleties in his music began to emerge. He joined Manchester’s Sing Out Gospel Choir and released a series of three mixtapes, noticing a growing fanbase within the urban world. Soon he was not only selling out venues like the Gorilla in Manchester, but he was hitting capacity at shows in London too. “As soon I found an outlet into the soul and urban world, everything changed overnight. Since then it’s grown and grown and I’ve found my audience. It’s really nice to be embraced by that world.”

After signing to Island Records 18 months ago, JP released two EPs, which combined have had over 5 million plays. The first, Keep The Quiet Out, was produced by the Confectionary [Bonkaz, Jacob Banks]. The most recent (When The Darkness Comes), produced by the duo One-Bit, features six perfectly executed vignettes. The EP is deeply personable yet utterly relatable. “It’s about relationships, people’s struggles, family and the human mind, the weirdness of it, the complexities of it,” explains JP.

He not only has a large online following, but he has a large and loyal live fanbase too. Last year, he sold out four headline shows in London, including Scala, The Village Underground and Koko. The EPs, along with his engaging live performances, have won JP a legion of fans as disparate as his sounds; the likes of Boy George, The Cast Of EastEnders, Maverick Sabre, Sean Mendez and Stormzy have all sung his praises, while recent collaborations with the likes of George the Poet have seen Cooper diversify a little into the spoken word arena. “It’s not my world at all but it’s taught me loads,” he muses. “The whole imagination behind it all inspires me to want to be better.”

Next up is JP’s debut album proper which promises to be bigger and bolder affair, while retaining a sense of simplicity and honesty. Featuring elements of Hip Hop, stand-up soul and Country-inflected guitar, there will also be some unexpected twists and turns. JP isn’t an artist that deals in the formulaic, the predictable or the conventional. “It’s going to be bold,” he decides. “I’ve enjoyed some spot plays on Radio and I know I’m lucky to have those because what I do really doesn’t sound like anything else on there. I’d like to carry on down that route. I don’t want my music to sound like everything else that’s being put out at the minute.”

JP Cooper isn’t the sort of artist to list his ambitions as being awards and accolades. That’s not why he makes music. He’s isn’t here to make cookie-cutter sounds that cynically appeal to a mass market. Rather he wants to challenge the ideas of what music people should – and shouldn’t – be making. “There’s no façade. I’m just somebody who lives life and writes about it. It’s a human experience. I’m not untouchable,” he points out. “I think people trust what I do because of the way that I am; there’s no front. I think that makes people want to find out more. Hopefully when they do find out more, they’ll like what they hear. I know nothing’s promised, and I know I’ve been doing this for a few years now, but it feels just like the beginning. And that’s really exciting.”


With a vocal range in Mariah Carey territory, Laura White’s voice has already caught the attention of Jessie J, Beverley Knight, Adele and James Morrison. Laura’s story in music began at just four years old, when she demonstrated a love for gospel and soul music, unlike any of her family at the time. At eight, Laura took up classical piano and clarinet and by thirteen, finally plucked up the courage to enter local music shows. At fifteen she started to gig taking her self-put together band around Manchester, London and anywhere she could. She eventually managed to secure small festival slots to sing her self-penned songs written on her piano at home.

At eighteen, Laura won a slot on  a TV show ‘E4 School of Performing Arts’ beating 10,000 applicants to become one of six singer/songwriters living in a central London hostel studying music. Following this, Laura received enormous support, gaining 500,000 fans on myspace, making her the 5th most viewed unsigned artist in the world.  She was then head hunted by producer Mark Ronson, for a three-piece ‘soul’ girlband.  Laura secured a place in the band and began recording but as the signing date with Universal Records grew nearer, Laura realised that she wanted to sing her own music and pulled out, to concentrate on forging her own path.

In the past five years Laura has written with world renowned producers Cutfather, Steve Booker and The Invisible Men to name a few, writing for her own projects and other artists, including the global smash Gin Lee ‘Falling’ reaching number 1 in four countries and Rita Ora’s Grammy nominated ‘NY Raining’ which also featured in smash hit TV show, Empire.

She reached number 14 on the itunes chart with her self released single ‘You Should Have Known’, receiving a phone call from the then Top 40 chart Radio 1 DJ Reggie Yates congratulating her on being the only independent top 40 Breakthrough artist.

This year she has penned tracks for Paloma Faith and John Newman and has sold out two headline shows in Manchester and London as well as releasing a second independent EP, which went straight to number 3 on the itunes soul and RnB chart.

In April 2016 Laura joined the ILUVLIVE artist development programme and will be developing new material for an EP on iluvlive records later this year. Finally, with a team in place dedicated to helping her to achieve her dream as an independent recording artist, the sky really is the limit.

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Whinnie Williams has the voice of an angel, and, on occasion, but only when necessary of course, the mouth of a particularly salty sea dog. She’s one part Bardot, the other part Del Boy; Barbarella chic cut with Babs Windsor cheek. She has a poodle called Brian and a dad who was once British Judo Champion. Fashion editors adore her, yet she chooses to live in the decade that style forgot –  surrounded by Formica and flock wallpaper, in a seventies-themed, semi-detached house in Gants Hill, North East London, where she sleeps beside a stuffed swan and writes pop songs on GarageBand. Some days she’ll turn to her pet poodle and ask: ‘What’s it all about, Brian?’.  Other times she’ll come up with the most painfully, beautiful lyrics imaginable.

With such impeccable credentials, it’s little wonder that Future Cut, the producers who discovered Lily Allen, Rizzle Kicks and Wretch 32, and the team behind hits for the likes of One Direction, Rihanna and Professor Green – were so keen to assist her return to the charts. Return, because, not that long ago, Whinnie was known as Sunday Girl – a musical chapter of her life that saw her score a hit single with the Pixie’s cover Where Is My Mind, sing alongside superstar French DJ Martin ‘Hello’ Solvig and tour with Ellie Goulding.

Now she says of that period: ‘Sunday Girl, was a rehearsal. This is really me.’ Her up-coming releases are the result of a year of home-recordings and commuting between Gants Hill and Hastings, holed up in her dad’s caravan overlooking the sea. In true DIY style she creates everything, from making music videos with her boyfriend to recruiting her best friends to join her 8 piece band to shooting incredible artwork with her housemate. Back in the Future Cut studio, Whinnie has come up with an album which, if you so wish, can only be described as pure pop drama; combining lyrics to die for with delicious melodies, all accompanied by a large dollop of British HP sauce. Imagine if Lana Del Ray were held hostage in a Hastings’ caravan for 12 months, and you get the picture.

“Now and again I’m sent a record that completely floors me just by its absolute beauty… I’ve listened it to all afternoon, watched the video…Whinnie Williams, why are you so damn good?!” Mistajam 1Xtra

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22 year old singer/songwriter Willow Robinson was born in Los Angeles and grew up between the Welsh Borders and London where he is now based.  With influences ranging from Mick Jagger to Otis Redding, his guitar driven, soulful, rock n roll meets folk songs are full of raw emotion. After signing to record label Clark & McGee Ltd in 2015 and playing a series of support slots with artists including The Jesus and Mary Chain and Killing Joke he is now set to release debut single ‘Stones’ in April 2016 to be followed with live shows throughout the Summer.

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The North West London artist signed to Universal Motown after Multi-Grammy award winner NEYO discovered her online through her Drake cover. Rele is really starting to make some incredible noise. She has built an organic following of over 800k followers across her social media.

London born with Indian Heritage, Sonna Rele’s mother is a well-respected Indian singer & her Father is a renowned musician. Sonna sunk her teeth into R&B/Soul legends at an early age before discovering the intoxicating world of hip hop and the DIY spirit of London’s Fusion. Frank Ocean is a musical hero, Brandy is an all-time favourite, and acts like Kendrick Lamar keep her wanting to push all creative boundaries.

“Sonna has one of the strongest vocal ranges to come out of the UK in recent years.” – MTV

“There is a quality in Sonna’s voice that lingers in your ears after she performs a song. Her musicianship is refreshing and undeniably authentic.” – NE-YO 

“An extraordinary and unique talent, with all the potential of the great Grammy winning artists I’ve worked with” – Jody Gerson – Universal Music Publishing

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17 year old multi award winning singer/songwriter and BRIT School student, who is no stranger to playing venues across London, including The Roundhouse, The 100 club, Hard Rock Café, and The Jazz Café. Natalie has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Soul II Soul, Hudson Taylor and Sex pistol Glen Matlock.

A two time winner of the Mayor of London Gigs: Big Busk competition, winner of Open Mic UK, winner of the guardian 2014 Music Award and winner of the London Music Award for Best Undiscovered Talent.

Natalie’s début single ‘Follow You Home’ reached number 15 in the singer/songwriter iTunes top 200 chart.

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HOST: Mark Sutherland (Editor of Music Week)


Tickets – Early Bird: £6 | Early Advance: £8 | Advance: £10 | On The Door: £15