A soul singer to rival the greats, but with bang up-to-date production
Who? 21-year-old soul singer from the North East
Sounds like Modern soul with a post-dubstep twist
While Lulu James’ home town of South Shields may have a rich industrial heritage and be famed as the setting of many a Catherine Cookson novel, it doesn’t have quite the same reputation for churning out soul divas. But that could all be about to change with the emergence of the town’s 21-year-old singer.
Since dropping hauntingly beautiful debut single ‘Be Safe’, Lulu’s name has been on everyone’s lips. She’s received support and heavy rotation from Zane Lowe, Annie Mac and Mistajam.
Before moving to the north east of England aged six, Lulu lived in Tanzania where she developed a love of singing through being in the church choir.
While coming here at such a young age, without a word of English, was at first a strange experience (she says she was “completely thrown in at the deep end”), it did open up a world of new musical inspiration including Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.
Lulu dabbled with music throughout school, but really started to take things seriously when the sheer number of friends encouraging her became hard to ignore. “I was the person who turned up to open mic nights, or went busking by myself singing acapella,” she says.
Embarking on an urban music course in Newcastle, Lulu was paired with tutor DomZilla and the two of them immediately began writing together.
Combining current influences like James Blake and Jamie XX with her enormous vocal talent and love of soul music, Lulu has created something that sounds both reassuringly familiar and quietly innovative. She calls it “21st century soul.” And if this century is in need of a new soul diva, Lulu may just be it.
Lulu James’ next single, ‘Closer’, will be out in March on RCA