I never tire watching people's faces as they walk past the decorated glass mural that frames Café Artum. Taking centre stage for Friday evening in the cosy-café on Steelhouse Lane, three local musicians performed for The Process, Stage 3.
The Process was first introduced as a platform to provide Midlands-based artists with a chance to perform, surrounded by a supportive community. The casual setting, in one of Birmingham's most significant cultural establishments, has always seemed to draw out something unique from every performance - this Friday was no exception.
Artist #1 - Paola Adele
Returning to the stage, and a seasoned regular with The Process, Paola Adele propped herself on the high stool with her guitar. Writing from her own experiences, Paola's set provides a touching retelling of her story through soft, soulful tones. The intimate setting heightened the intimacy of the artist and her guitar. Pieces about her finding a sense of home in Birmingham, coupled with the touching recognition given to her mother, created a beautifully vulnerable performance from such a unique voice. This poetic primadonna is certainly worth following.
Artist #2 - Richard Sharpe
A bumbling boy of charisma, Richard took to stage with his recently appointed percussionist and namesake. Performing an eclectic mix of R&B, reggae and hip-hop covers, Rich's smile lit up the stage and got the crowd's feet moving. Rich instantly brought a smile to everyone's face with his first cover of 'Get Low' by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz. His acoustic funk and percussive accomplice certainly made such an 'iconic' song their own. With little encouragement needed, Rich ended his energetic set with a cover of the unforgettable anthem "Where is the love?" with total crowd participation. Richard answered this question at the end of the set; it was right in that room.
Artist #3 - Harrison James
With the process, I have come to expect the unexpected. Every event has had something that blows you away and stays with you for the rest of the evening. Our last performer of the night did just that.
As Harrison James took his place in front of the microphone with a cheeky grin, he humbly introduced himself to the audience. But as the backing track began to spin, the crowd were stunned into silence by the power of Harrison's soulful technique. I subtly mouthed the 'F word' to one of my friends. It was spine-chillingly good.
Amongst the superb original tracks, including one first time performance of his new song, Harrison James' cover of "Aint no sunshine" truly topped things. A truly original take on such a classic revealed an artist that is acutely aware of how to put yourself into your art. An instant favourite for any lovers of soul.
Luckily, our work with the Process, and with the help of Café Artum, has reached a point where these events will become monthly events. Running every second Friday of the month, everyone is welcome to attend. And any budding musicians out there, drop us a line. You won't find a better room to be in on a Friday evening.
- by Michael Delaney