REVIEW: Jamie Woon, Leadmill

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Jamie Woon needs a bigger stage. The singer songwriter, who has previously supported Amy Winehouse on tour, performed his latest material for an intimate audience at The Leadmill on Tuesday. But Woon’s exciting combination of pop, soul and dubstep deserved to be showcased to a much larger crowd.

Born to Malaysian Chinese parents in New Malden, London, the unassuming artist has slowly been making a name for himself on the UK music scene. His single Night Air attracted limited commercial success in 2010, peaking at number 67 in the charts, but this seems to have been a minor blip. He has since gone on to claim fourth place in the BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll and received critical acclaim for his album Mirrorwriting.

Performing live in Sheffield, Woon demonstrated why he has been labelled ‘one to watch’. His sheer inventiveness and willingness to experiment marks him out from other current singer songwriters. His voice displays a comparable range to that of Plan B’s Ben Drew, yet with greater depth and clarity. Meanwhile his chilling melodies show influences of US producer Timbaland and old school R’n’B, particularly on the infectious single Lady Luck.

Woon appears modest as both a musician and a person. He shies away from the audience, hiding behind a heavy mop of black hair. But he needn’t be so coy. He shows musical wisdom way beyond his young 27 years, adeptly mixing tracks together live on stage. In the encore, his song ‘Spirits’ blends beautiful choral harmonies with brilliant raw beats. Similarly, the songs Night Air, Shoulda and Echoes combine the very best of dubstep and soul.

It’s only a matter of time until this guy attracts the global attention he deserves.