Words: Emily Ames

Images: Alistair Parker

In the last few years, radio in England, like all media has become more fragmented. It is all too easy to relegate anything that is not considered the pop mainstream to a niche from which it is difficult to escape. While the likes of N-Dubz, the manufactured Wanted and their X Factor contemporaries occupy the prime time the rest of the great reggae, indie, jazz artists are consigned to Radio Two or the fringe niche stations. It is not the pop or mainstream that is a problem, but a lack of imagination within radio. Watching Marlon Roudette at the Notting Hill Arts Club dip in and out of his West Indian accent whilst switching from a guitar to a steel pan and presenting a huge variety of musical influences, I thought with pleasure at the difficulty they would have shoving him down any pigeonhole.


Variety is a skill that comes with maturity and experience. His pop, soul, reggae, influences derive from his childhood in both St. Vincent and London and travelling all over the world due to his early successes. Although performing for only the second time in England with his new solo record Matter Fixed, Notting Hill arts club is an old home for Marlon who began his career with the successful band Mattafix here in 2005. Marlon’s conscious lyrics and impressive vocals have always been present in his music and while forever linked with his hit “Big City Life” he has evolved as a solo artist by a right of passage that is leading to greater things.

Songs such as “City like this” and “New Age”, which has already hit the mainstream in Germany with eight weeks at number one, show off his ability to write hits that don’t jeopordise his music lyrically. “Brotherhood of the Broken” and “Didn’t I” both shed light on his Caribbean upbringing with the formers heavy reggae beat and the latters ragga rap mid-song which had the entire crowd moving in time. Finally “Riding Home”, a clever rap dedicated to his homeland St. Vincent, broken up with his own powerful vocals, reiteretated my belief that Marlon Roudette would resist the petty divisions in UK music.


So whether it be radio one for his hits, radio two for his reggae undertones, or radio 3 for his influences from all over the world, lets hope Marlon Roudette exceeds the norm and makes it onto all three.

Marlon’s EP Riding Home is out now on iTunes.

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