Skinny Pelembe (UK)
The multi-talented wonder, Skinny Pelembe comes to Bucharest in premiere on 12.10, in Expirat.
With a sample-hunting, studio-meddling mindset, Skinny Pelembe’s music roams hazy afro-tipped soul with psychedelic tangents. Born in Johannesburg, growing up in Doncaster, he’s a sparkling multi-instrumentalist who blends his production, guitar, singing and MC-ing to tap into a unique, influence-weaving sound.
First debuting in 2017, he’s honed a distinctive musical style; memories and observations are weaved together, sun-dazzled California folk diced with the murkier corners of the UK dance lineage. He celebrates flawed, post-recession Britain, exalting the UK in all of its imperfect, contradictory realities.
Releasing debut album “Dreaming Is Dead Now” in May 2019, he’s been tipped by The Observer, The Quietus and Huck. Singles “I Just Wanna Be Your Prisoner” and “Spit / Swallow” were both picked for BBC 6 Music’s A-List. He’s guested with Lauren Laverne, Mary Anne Hobbs and Tom Ravenscroft on 6 Music, with Jamz Supernova on BBC 1xtra, and recorded live sessions for The Vinyl Factory and Worldwide FM. He sold out a headline UK tour last year, was booked for 6 Music’s 2018 showcase at The Great Escape, and has supported Nightmares on Wax and Maribou State.
It was Future Bubblers, a Gilles Peterson and Brownswood-founded, Arts Council-supported programme for unsigned artists, that provided Skinny with an important early launchpad. His track ‘Should You Go’, for instance, first self-released on his 2017 “Seven Year Curse” EP, was included on Gilles Peterson’s iconic Brownswood Bubblers series. It also sparked connections with other artists on Future Bubblers, such as Yazmin Lacey, who had been picked for the scheme in the previous year. The pair performed together at the 2018 edition of Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards, and Lacey featured on Skinny’s “Sleep More, Make More Friends” EP later that year. His music has spurred new connections and garnered him attention from artists he’s long admired, such as legendary producer and label boss James Lavelle (Mo’Wax), who tapped him up earlier this year, asking him to open for UNKLE at the Royal Festival Hall. The album is co-produced by Malcolm Catto (The Heliocentrics), and the producer’s connection to the LA hip-hop world saw Skinny's musical hero and iconic beatmaker Madlib drop by the studio during sessions for the record, while on the single “Dreaming Is Dead Now”.
"When you have all these people that you hold in such high regard wanting to talk to you,” he says, “you're kind of like, ‘Yeah, maybe I can add something to the conversation.’"