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Notts-stars: Liam Bailey, Dog Is Dead...

March 2011

SHE cooks a mean meatball and avocado salad, does Amy Winehouse. Just ask Liam Bailey. The soul singer from Beeston, who released his debut single for Polydor Records two days ago, has been round her gaff for dinner.
“She’s a brilliant cook,” says the 25-year-old.
“Apart from me mam’s lasagne it was the best meal I’d ever had.”
Liam released two singles on Winehouse’s Lioness Records label, 2am Rough Tracks and So Down, Cold. Although, by that time, he was already signed to Polydor.
“They heard about me,” he says simply.
“Winehouse heard some stuff I’d done that was pretty rough, Polydor wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. I hadn’t even bothered playing it to them but Winehouse heard them and she put them out on her label.”
He adds: “She’s sound, you know. She’s a lovely girl. And she knows her music. She’s up there, one of the most iconic singers to come out of this country in the 21st century.
“Yeah, all right, she has her faults but I’ve got nothing but good things to say about her.”
Winehouse will be seeing him play in London next week, he says.
“We’ve been out a few times.”
Liam was born in Beeston. His dad is a factory worker, his mum works on the tills at a supermarket. It was his mum’s record collection that he feasted upon, from Michael Jackson to The Beatles, Bob Marley to Jimi Hendrix.
The family moved to Selston when he was 10.
Later, while living in Sneinton, he played in a number of bands around the city, including Bosco, but moved to London to live with a girlfriend and to pursue music five years ago.
“I was still coming back to Nottingham because I’ve got a lot of mates there and my family. So I’d have a jam with mates on a Friday night and play a gig on Saturday evening under the name Soul Parade.”
Polydor picked him up two years ago and his debut single, You Better Leave Me, was released this week to coincide with his current tour supporting Plan B around the UK. After that he’ll open for the hotly-tipped Jessie J but neither tour brings him home.
That said, he will be joining Chase & Status when they play their sell-out gig at Rock City next Sunday, to perform with them on Blind Faith, their Top 5 hit on which he sings.
“That was mad,” he says.
“I didn’t even know who Chase & Status were when I got a phone call from them asking if I fancied doing something.”
The song is included on the Chase & Status album, No More Idols, which reached No. 2.
Liam’s debut album, produced by Salaam Remi (Nas, Fugees, Amy Winehouse) will be released in May.
Another Nottingham name getting a lot of attention is Dog Is Dead.
“I rate Dog Is Dead, they’re good songwriters,” says Liam.
“Although I felt sorry for them. I was playing a gig supporting someone who dropped out so the promoter brought in Dog Is Dead. But the room was full of people from my label and some of my mates, so when I’d done my set everyone left. There was only me and a few of my mates watching them.”
There is little need to feel sorry for Dog Is Dead. After playing Glastonbury last summer, the five-piece from West Bridgford have been been all over Radio 1.
“The current single, River Jordan, was playlisted, which is pretty incredible,” says guitarist Rob Milton.
“We did a four-song session for Huw Stephens and I was interviewed by Jo Whiley for her show last weekend. She seemed really nice and didn’t emphasise too much how much she hated the band name,” he laughs.
The NME stamped its approval with a full page feature last week and in a couple of weeks they’ll be seen in an episode of Channel 4 youth drama, Skins.
Last night Dog Is Dead started their UK tour in Manchester.
“This is the most exciting bit,” says Rob.
Their current single, River Jordan, is the final instalment in their trilogy of singles on the Your Childhood label, following July’s Glockenspiel Song and October’s Young.
“We’ve offers from labels which we’re considering,” says George Akins, the band’s manager.
“It’s all pretty exciting stuff. The plan is to record an album with them this summer.”
Liam also rates Nottingham rapper Cappo, acoustic singer songwriter Nina Smith and knows The Petebox, the beatboxer who toured last year, opening for Diversity. He is also the drummer for Nottingham guitar band Swimming, who’ll be playing a set at Fopp on Tuesday from 5pm to plug the release of their new single, Sun In The Island. The single has been played on Radio 1 by Fearne Cotton and Rob Da Bank.
Other Nottingham talent to listen out for are Ronika, who shares management with Plan B and Hot Horizons, who are signed to EMI’s Zarcorp label. They’ll be supporting Dog Is Dead at the Rescue Rooms tomorrow.
Natalie Duncan recently moved to London to pursue her music career, having already recorded demos for EMI.
And there’s Parade, the new girl group, featuring Gunthorpe’s Bianca Claxton, who release their debut single, Louder, on Monday.
It’s expected to chart, particularly now it’s being used to soundtrack the new TV ad for Rimmel.
Parade have already supported Shakira and Alexandra Burke and this week it was announced they’ll be opening for Shayne Ward on his next tour.
And Nottingham’s national pop profile has already been raised by the success of boy band The Wanted, featuring Jay McGuiness from Farndon, a one-time resident of Carlton.
After a No. 1 single and Top 10 album, they’re releasing the official single for Comic Relief, Gold Forever, on March 13.
They also play a sell-out show at the Royal Concert Hall on April 2.
“My agenda is to make people know about Nottingham and that it has a very eclectic and quite substantial music scene,” says Liam.
“The industry should start going there to see what’s going on. I’m going to be reading the riot act to them.”

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