An exciting and progressive new Manchester-based independent label NRTHRN has launched today with its first ever release. With a manifesto that champions burgeoning LGBTQIA+ and POC talent born and bred in the north of England, NRTHRN is as much a label as it is a creative hub, inspired by the spirit of collectives across the pond such as BROCKHAMPTON and Odd Future.
“A Northern label with a collective mindset – championing weird and wonderful creatives of all disciplines” is the ethos of NRTHRN, the unique new collective founded by Preston-based Omar Ferguson. Omar is also the man behind Vzion, and he’s marked the announcement of the label with a brand new track today, ‘Elio’, which is a smooth yet jaded take on the cyclical nature of relationships, taking direct inspiration from Kevin Abstract, Frank Ocean and the seismic Oscar-nominated film ‘Call Me By Your Name’.
NRTHRN is a strong circle of talented creators with a shared desire for a safe and inclusive space to share their art; a nurturing and supportive community for all. Identifying as gay, and with Caribbean and Persian heritage, Omar soon realised he didn’t fit into a box. As all great stories go, Omar decided to create his own box. In his own words, “My vision for NRTHRN is to build a platform that is, like my influences BROCKHAMPTON and Odd Future, a home for like-minded members to release both solo and collaborative ventures. I want to create a platform to empower people in the music industry who look and sound like me, and to show that ‘DIY’ doesn’t have to equal ‘going it alone'”.
On July 11, NRTHRN will hold its first showcase, receiving support from Manchester International Festival as part of its ‘MIF Sounds’ programme, being granted one of only ten places (more info on the event and set timings here). It will include performances from Vzion, as well as Manchester-based ZULA, an experimental duo forged in the small hours, all 5am sultry whispered epiphanies over molten beats, every element considered, crafted and curated. Also on the line-up will be Glue70, who boasts a rich tapestry of sounds, from a childhood of reggae, French house, breakbeat and sampled hip-hop, he cites Daft Punk and Boards of Canada amongst his influences. Versatile and nuanced, Yemi is championed by BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing Manchester and will showcase her RnB melodies, deep soul vocals and DnB-inspired grooves as a quartet featuring drums, keys/synth and viola at MIF. Hailing from Merseyside, growing up in North Wales and now based in Manchester, Nyree is a visual artist, singer/songwriter and producer, using poetry in her work, she is an honest and vulnerable performer. Inspired by jazz classics and a life spent travelling and performing around Europe, Ava will envelop any audience in her rich, soulful tones and impressive musicianship. Determined and dedicated to his music, Manchester-based, Birmingham-raised wordsmith Ceeow prides himself in being community-focussed, having worked in mental health support for many years. Ceeow masterfully blends hip-hop and jazz, with thrilling results.
In a testing time for new artists, NRTHRN’s unique, youthful and exemplary pool of LGBTQIA+ and POC centred artists are a truly compelling collective amongst the noise. Watch this space.