23-year-old new-wave R&B singer Tayla, whose sassy track ‘Call Me Danger’ became an underground hit last year, has emerged from her hometown of Birmingham to prove herself a vital new voice for 2017. And, right from the word go, she has no time for your bullshit – her follow-up single, ‘Coming Back Around’, released back in June, is a badass anthem for doing your own thing, in your own way. Marching, military beats and hand-claps provide the backdrop for her empowered lyrics: “All the money in the world could never buy me.”
Here she performs the song at UltraLounge, a multidiscipline arts space in Selfridges department store on Oxford Street; a 360-degree stage replete with screens and projections that bring a truly immersive atmosphere to gigs. This performance was all part of Music Matters, a series of shows intended to raise awareness of the fact that, according to the Music Venue Trust, 40% of London’s grass-roots venues have closed in the past 10 years. As you can see in the video above, Tayla proves why the space is so unique, performing alongside trippy projections of herself before the DJ cheekily drops in a Missy Elliot reference at the end of the track. Tayla ask the audience for help singing the song, but it’s clear she doesn’t need it.
That Missy Elliot reference, slipped in with futuristic-sounding R&B, sums Tayla up: she wears her influences openly (and has said her music tastes range from artists such as Alicia Keys and Missy to the more contemporary likes of Tory Lanez and even Twenty One Pilots) but still very much pushes things forward. The Music Matters campaign is vital because small venues help to foster this kind of new talent. 20% of profits from the UltraLounge shows goes to the Music Venue Trust, so grass-roots venues could soon be coming back round.