A new sound for Liverpool…

This January saw the launch of a brand new campaign for the city, bringing together Liverpool’s arts organisations to show-off their impressive cultural credentials.

At the heart of this campaign is a new film, aptly named ‘#CulturesClub’, which shines a spotlight on the huge array of establishments that make up the region’s live performance, music and dance, galleries and exhibitions, film and digital technologies, comedy, festivals and museums, all brought to life with a specially created soundtrack — ‘It’s The LVP’.

Several weeks back I was asked by Culture Liverpool to recommend artists that could artistically articulate the key messages of the campaign. An exciting prospect yet challenging, not least because there was an almost impossible impending deadline but because quite naturally I wanted to present something that would be very different than what others would do and really make a statement.

I have been involved in many commercial campaigns before — and a couple of really creative positioning projects too. In 2013, for the launch of the inaugural Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF), I had the opportunity to commission and support the creation of ‘The New Merseybeat’ — which saw us engaging with musicians, creatives and the people of Liverpool to reflect the new contemporary ‘sound of the city’, which essentially was an analogy of what LIMF was about to do.

This was a successful project — a true collaboration by so many and expertly managed by the team at Seven Streets. However, ‘The New Merseybeat’ was ‘just’ music and a visual narrative. It certainly wasn’t a campaign with so many institutions that were so invested, nor one that also needed to include certain words and straplines and that, most important to me, needed to be authentically represented by respected artists.

My first thought was that we needed a gifted wordsmith, who would not only understand and be respectful to the campaign focus, but confident enough to flip it their own way. I liked the idea of a dynamic between two different voices — and if they could represent diversity even better. Then, naturally, they would need to UNDERSTAND and LOVE Liverpool. It didn’t take me long to come up with the idea of approaching Dayzy and Raven with this brief.

I have known Dayzy for a while. In fact since he was around 10 years old. He’s from a very creative family and has been really developing his skill as a rapper for a few years now; he has a really exciting and unique almost Modern / Neo-Old Skool Hip-Hop sound. Dayzy has created a nice space for himself within the regional music scene and I thought this project could really benefit from his wordplay, melody and overall vibe.

Raven is another creative I have known for around a decade. She is very dedicated to her work and understands the power of words, yet is still free enough to have fun with the craft. Her background and artistic vision is strong and she certainly likes a challenge. I once got her to write a song inspired by flowers! So naturally I thought she would be up for this challenge and be able to create something fresh. I also know she loves collaboration, so was confident she could work alongside Dayzy and the creative team.

Dayzy and Raven had never worked together before — but were aware of each other, which happens quite a bit in Liverpool. When I approached them I was hoping that would be a selling point, but to be fair, I didn’t even need to bring that in to play. They both loved the concept, the challenge and creative opportunity and within a few emails and a quick zoom it was confirmed.

Now the way I have learned to work with creative forces like Dayzy and Raven is to give clear parameters, be available for support, guidance and encouragement — but essentially GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY and let these vessels do what they do best. So that’s what I did — I tapped in every now and again to see how it was going. Helped them select a beat (wonderfully supplied by Nak), supported on some lyrical choices etc and then just acted as a buffer between them and any unnecessary alterations to their vision.

Once the song was written and developed sufficiently, I was keen they record with someone and somewhere they would feel creatively comfortable and empowered — so having them get in with local music legend Kof at his studio, GoPlay, was a no brainer.

A cultural and creative haven for many artists from under-represented groups and genres, Kof has found his lane by providing a service that is more than a studio and production house, but essentially acts as a creative hub and inspiration for so many. The guys got in and nailed it within one evening. A quick mix by Kof and then mastered by the award-winning mix and master engineer, Mike Cave.

Two weeks from idea green light to recording red light to full sign off. BOOM!

Just shows what can occur when you put together talented, diverse and creatively gifted people, with compassion and respect, proper resource and an impactful platform and say ‘GO!’.

Big love to all those involved!

Super proud to have contributed a little bit. Check it out below.

Yaw Owusu, Playmaker Thirteen

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