Fresh off the back of a run of UK dates supporting Kamasi Washington and an Annie Mac Presents show with IAMDDB at Jazz Cafe, Oscar Jerome is today sharing his latest single ‘Gravitate’ – the South London artist’s first release since signing to Caroline International – as well as news of a lengthy European tour later this year that will culminate in his biggest headliner to date at London’s Heaven. Taking inspiration from the sounds of British broken beat and featuring Joe Armon-Jones on piano and several of his fellow band-members in afrobeat ensemble Kokoroko, ‘Gravitate’ arrives alongside a video of Oscar and his current band of collaborators performing the track live in the studio. You can check out the video, directed by CHILD, here.
The new single and accompanying video see Oscar Jerome at his best, his Trinity Laban Conservatoire training shining through in a way that's usually reserved for his exuberant, all-out live show. In the track Oscar delivers his jangly, shimmering guitar against a sun-soaked backdrop of jazzy keys, lush vocal harmonies and a gloriously polyrhythmic percussion section that drives the track from start to finish. Oscar says of the track: “This pays homage to a lot of the pioneers of the British broken beats genre as well as a lot of my soul, jazz and rock influences. The subject matter is both cosmic and personal. I reference a lot of imagery of the early life of a star in space as well as ideas of individuality and self-acceptance.”
Shouting out his collaborators and discussing the origin of ‘Gravitate’, Oscar says: “This is a tune I started writing with beat maker Ben Hauke which slowly worked its way into a much more live sounding piece after we experimented with it a lot on stage with the band and producer Beni Giles got involved. Special mention to Ayo Salawu [Kokoroko] for playing that drum beat so good! It also features Joe Armon-Jones [Ezra Collective] on piano, Crispin Spry on percussion, as well as George Riley, Sheila Maurice-Grey [Kokoroko] and Richie Seivwright [Kokoroko] on vocals.”
It’s been quite the few years for Oscar Jerome; through a steady release of singles and EPs he’s gone on to clock up considerable airtime and playlisting from the likes of 6 Music, Radio 1 and 1Xtra and become something of a mainstay of the London jazz scene, collaborating with peers in Ezra Collective, Sons of Kemet and Binker & Moses and consistently playing to sold-out crowds across the capital, including at such venues as Corsica Studios, Ghost Notes, Village Underground and most-recently EartH. On top of that he’s been busy taking to stages across the rest of the UK, Europe and the US too. With the Kamasi Washington tour behind him and a 15-date EU tour in his sights – as well as with the recent signing to Caroline International, who all but signed him on the spot after catching him play at this year’s SXSW – it’s clear that Oscar is only just getting started.