Secret Sessions Live is an intimate music event with a line up that’s kept on the low down. Intrigued? You should be. If you’re not in the know, let me fill you in…
Secret Sessions began on YouTube back in the fresh-faced year of 2011; when they featured stripped back performances from the likes of Ben Howard, Bastille and The Lumineers. Since then, they’ve come a long way. Whilst continuing to maintain a strong presence on YouTube, Secret Sessions have now curated a magical night of live music to help find, develop and empower emerging artists.
With over 1000 artists in their community, the platform covers a wide range of genres; from hip-hop to folk; and jazz to rock. Once a month, 150 guests gather in the esteemed Oak Room of Covent Garden’s Hospital Club – a room of plush sofas, muralled walls and dreamy lighting – the room where Radiohead’s third album was recorded.
The best part about it is that Secret Sessions hold two fingers up to the exclusive music industry. The acts are not allowed to announce anything on social media until after all of the allocated tickets are gone. Plus, the musicians are not only given the opportunity to play live, but they also receive advice on how to progress their projects whilst connecting with others.
On the night, brands who wish to contribute to culture and arts get to attend – and…it’s free for the guests! All in all: it’s a win-win situation, right?! Secret Sessions pull the focus back to the actual music, as opposed to pop culture fandom that is ever so evident in 21st century society.
Thursday 25th January
A frosty winter evening: listeners filled the venue in anticipation – all with one thing in common: a love of music. Hoping to hear some original tunes, the crowd edged closer to the stage, reluctant to come across as too keen. Soon however, the room was so packed that there was no choice but to pile forward during the introductory speech by Secret Sessions founder, Harriet Jordan-Wrench. She explained that the course of the night could be compared to a subscriber shuffling a Spotify playlist – a completely random selection of sheer musical talent.
Kicking things off were Blushes – an indie-pop band with a unique sound pallet including male and female vocals and electronic beats seeping through. They were featured on NME’s top 100 list for musicians to watch out for in 2018 and the reason soon became clear: catchy bedroom-pop tunes and effective production left the audience totally immersed.
Switching the vibe up, Will Varley was on next. The folk singer and co-founder of Smuggler Records shared his music that challenges our society by combining personal storytelling and strong political statements. Varley’s songs are relevant and powerful. He promoted his upcoming gig at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire and every ear in the room stood to attention as soon as his picked up his guitar.
Closing the night was hip-hop/rap artist Afronaut Zu, who uses music to comment on current world events. He took to the stage to promote his new self-produced single ‘Oh My God’, immediately getting the crowd boogying with infectious beats. The explosive performance held a great amount of power and emotion whilst his management looked on proudly – an ideal closing act who certainly stole the show.
All in all, Secret Sessions Live was a totally immersive and refreshing event. Being able to listen to new talent, all of an extremely high standard was fantastic – especially at a time where names are constantly joining the scene and it’s hard to see the forest from the trees. And what’s more, it was humbling to know that each individual in the audience attended purely for the love of music; each person simply wanting to show support and provide help to others.
p.s. it’s an ideal date night…!