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The days when R&B groups flooded the airwaves are long gone. Jodeci, Next, En Vogue, SWV, 112, Eternal, Damage - these are just a few names that once upon a time you couldn’t escape. Something changed somewhere, as if the desire to go solo took over. Justin Timberlake left *NSYNC. Raphael Saadiq left Tony! Toni! Toné!. Sisqó stepped away from Dru Hill. Even Bobby Valentino put Mista in his rearview.
There have always been anomalies that continue to fly the flag for R&B groups, however. MiC LOWRY are determined to keep the flame flickering, simply out of love for the music that moulded them as individuals.
“We’re just a bunch of Liverpool lads trying to work out where we fit into the world and having as much fun as we can while we’re at it,” explains Ben Sharples. “The fact we’ve got this far is amazing. Where we go from here we can’t wait to find out.”
Joining Ben, the talented quintet is also comprised of Delleile Ankrah, Akia Jones, Kaine Ofoeme and Michael Welch. Formed in 2011, the boys grew up on a musical diet of hip-hop soul and R&B, and the influence is clear in their music.
Last year MiC LOWRY were invited to support Justin Bieber on the European leg of his Purpose tour. Performing in 22 cities over 37 dates, it gave the Liverpudlians the opportunity to cut their teeth on a world stage with the modern day king of pop. Armed solely with an acoustic guitar and their God given vocal talents, they exceeded the expectations of critics and made a lot of new fans in the process.
Their latest offering, 'MOOD', is an EP that expands on their favoured soulful sound while also dipping their toe in to the waters of funk and garage. But instead of simply throwing a bunch of sounds against the wall and hoping they stick, the guys are tightly gripping the steering wheel as they navigated their way through the many styles, sewing it all together with some luxurious soul.
A team of celebrated producers including MNEK, Harmony Samuels, Stereotypes and Shift K3y has pushed MiC LOWRY to take risks and try new sounds this time around. And for the first time the boys have also been heavily involved in the songwriting process. “It meant more to us because it was personal,” says Akia. “Our individual personalities and the different sides of us are in these songs.”
What sets MiC LOWRY apart from many of today’s other R&B acts is their willingness to embrace love over sex. Some might say that vulgarity has taken over the genre: R&B has long been baby-making music, but also used to set the scene for a romantic evening. 'MOOD' is the perfect vehicle to reinstate love as the first true subject matter of R&B with memorable melodies, relatable topics, and killer harmonies that feel so effortless.
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Words: Will Lavin
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