Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: OSCAR JEROME

The vibing jazz musician you’re hearing everywhere…

A self-described control freak, Oscar Jerome is the multifaceted musician learning how to marry creative freedom with his passion for jazz, soul and experimentation. Part of the group of musicians that are dominating the airwaves right now – think Tom Misch, Poppy Ajudha and Wu Lu – Oscar has the charm of South London and the inspiration from the powerful history of jazz.

From playing at Ronnie Scott’s legendary Soho jazz club to Peckham’s Steez night, it’s clear that playing around the world and with other musicians – from trumpets to electronica in one evening – has come naturally to Jerome, as his days of jamming with various bands around the south of the city has informed his thoughtful political music. But it’s pretty easy listening, with smooth sounds emanating from his Colors performance.

“It’s just kinda really, growing up in South London because of the uni that I was at and this night called Steez.” He explains. “That was a real important event that created a community of musicians, that are now all of the people you see who are blowing up. We all used to play at that place.”

In a world where there’s always something to feel guilty for – forgetting your reusuable water bottle, spending too much time on instagram or neglecting that gym membership – Oscar’s refreshing take on music itself and the recognition of its ability to start a conversation is uplifting.

“I think that really if anyone in a position where people will look up to you or listen to your voice, I think you do have a bit of a responsibility to talk about political issues that are going on.” He muses. “I try and talk about the fact that obviously I’m a white musician playing music that’s of a black origin, and I always wanna make that a conversation that’s ongoing with what I’m doing.”

It’s been a pretty busy year for the musician. After releasing a five track collection at the start of the year, along with “Where Are Your Branches?”, playing an exclusive set on Gilles Peterson for the BBC Radio 6 UK jazz special and playing his biggest ever show, he’s on the way up. So how does Oscar feel about his career so far? “It’s never really like, things never happen in milestones like that, something happens and you’re like ‘whats next?’ It’s really hard to sit back and reflect. I try to make myself do that now.”

Whilst the movement of jazz and experimental music has been garnering attention for a`while now, Oscar’s ease of character and ability to read an audience is what differentiates him from his collaborators. Each show with the vocalist/guitarist/everything-else-ist is a new experience, “I might switch it up for that kind of audience because people wanna be more energetic and having a good time, or if people wanna be deadly silent and focusing on what you’re doing, I might do something different on my own.”

Whether you’re in the mood to dance or chill, there’s something he’s been part of out there. “Music can be an escape and a release for a lot of people. It’s a way to get away from a lot of life stresses and troubles. So in that sense, I try equally to make it something positive.”

Whether it’s the considered lyricism or the improvisational melodies, we’re excited to see where he’s going next. And as Oscar himself said, “there’s a lot of stuff in music that you can’t explain in words”, so go add his soulful beats to your playlist now, along with his top picks, Ego Ella May, Brother Portrait and Wu-Lu. Wanna see him live? Oscar is headlining at EartH in Hackney on February 20th!

Photography
Rory James
Words
Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins
NEW NOISE: OSCAR JEROME

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