Words: Neil Harrison
If RnB and soul-tinged indie pop music sounds a little too much like appropriator-in-chief Ed Sheeran’s schmatlz for your tastes, then stop. Think again and praise the heavens for Zach Said.
With a soul inspired voice coupled with the guitar sensibilities of John Mayer, Zach Said released his debut EP Contrast at the end of 2017. Over 1 million Spotify streams later, he was being championed by the BBC and winning fans across the nation with his blending of genres. He’s just released new single Money on Insanity records. The track is taken from his forthcoming collection of tunes which features production from underground legend Shy FX and Laconic who have recently helmed tracks for Tom Brennan and Tiggs Da Author. He spent much of last year on the road supporting Anderson Paak as well as Bleachers. With so much praise and promise coming his way, we went to see what all the fuss is about.
Manchester’s Soup Kitchen provided the basement-cum-dive-bar backdrop – as well as a joyful house party vibe – to the BBC 1 Extra playlisted singer songwriter’s latest gig. Along with his three band members, Said dropped an hour long set that oozed class, wit and brilliance. Tracks like ‘Holding On’ and the night’s opener ‘Reconsider’ prove his position as one of British music’s biggest talents and, oddly, best kept secrets. Latest single ‘Money’, meanwhile, is an instant classic and you should stop whatever you are doing right now and listen to it. Seriously, right now.
Told you so. As far as inspiration goes, Said clearly knows his musical onions. It’s a rarity and treat to detect the soulful influences of greats such as Sam Cooke and James Brown, mixed with classic hip hop stylings, and handled beautifully within wholly contemporary context. Especially so when the conduit is a mesmerisingly talented, young British musician who is as expertly comfortable rapping as he is handling a telecaster.
Closing a stunning set with the brilliant ‘Screw Loose’, this was a charismatic, accomplished and just downright really fucking good gig. Based on this performance Zach Said should be your new, guilt-free, pop pleasure.