Leeds label and development organisation Come Play With Me have announced a new compilation Side by Side.
This project aims to support women, marginalised genders and LGBTQ+ artists based in Leeds and around the north of England.
The album features a collection of 12 brand new tracks from an exceptionally talented group of artists, including emerging shoegaze/dream-pop songwriter Bored At My Grandma’s House, renowned composer and Carnatic vocalist Supriya Nagarajan, art-rock collective Dilettante led by multi-instrumentalist Francesca Pidgeon and soul/pop singer-songwriter Tyron Webster. The album is due for release this summer, both digitally and on limited vinyl, via the CPWM website along with online streaming services.
The Come Play With Me compilation’s first single, Love’s A Joke, I’m The Butt Of It, comes from Jamaal Monarch who’s a hip-hop artist raised in Manchester with Pakistani roots. Unafraid to confront both personal introspection and wider societal issues Jamaal’s music displays courage and vulnerability, representing a brave individual voice that allows the listener to view the world through his unique lens. Having steadily built a reputation through a string of energetic performances across the UK including big shows at the Manchester and Birmingham Pride events, Jamaal released his long-awaited debut album, Audio Honey, in December 2020. Produced, engineered and mixed by Jamaal himself, the album was mastered by Eve Studios’ Joel Patchett.
Accompanied by a soundtrack of intricate beats and futuristic synths, Love’s A Joke… showcases Jamaal’s ability to fluidly switch between deftly delivered free-flowing rap verses and vocal chorus hooks layered with elaborate harmonies.
“The track was inspired by, well, I fell in love super hard in April and that whole period was a real coming-of-age, turning point moment for me,” says Jamaal Monarch. “COVID aside, I had just had a birthday, my Gran died, this love was heavy on my mind and heart, and I learned a lot through the whole experience. This track is me being able to digest and understand how that love made me feel, how I looked at myself, how I looked at someone else. Also, this track is part of my journey in understanding love as a concept generally, romantically or platonically, and understanding my own worth and value in these situations. I’m really proud of the writing on this song, simply because it helped me digest an experience, learn, and understand my emotions.”
Side by Side is available to pre-order here.
Words by Paul Clarke, you can see his author profile here.