Just Being Me – Myles Sanko

myles-sanko

As a budding (young?) soul singer, I am always looking for inspiration. This can come from what I see around me, but mainly it’s discovering and admiring the incredible wealth of talent that is, was and will be. There are greats, people I’ve worshipped from a young age, I’m talking about people like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Bill Withers, Aaron Neville; the real denizens of soul, then there are the current crew. I genuinely believe we are in the middle of a new era of soul that in years to come will be regarded as equal to the era of the gentlemen named above (I’d like to point out that there are an equal number of soul goddesses with every ounce of magic these guys have and have had, I’m just focussing on the Tom cats). With artists like Gregory Porter, Jay Nemor, Marcel Russell, John Turrell, Thabo Mkwananzi, Cody Chestnutt, Michael Kiwanuka, Jack Tyson-Charles and a metric ton more (me) there is a tsunamic revolution happening. And riding the crest of this wave is the indisputably gifted, irrepressibly hard-working and inescapably enthralling Myles Sanko.

Myles’ latest album ‘Just Being Me’ is available from today, and once again he has drawn a masterpiece from his magic hat. I don’t quite know how he does it, but listening through the album is like being taken on a Hollywood tour of soul greats’ lavish vocal chords. It must be annoying for someone who has a definite style and sound of their own to be constantly compared with giants of the game, and I’ve been guilty of that myself, but it’s less being compared ‘with’ and more being compared ‘to’, the distinction being that although yes, he does sound ‘like’ such and such a singer, we, I, am saying that he stands up against these guys as an equal rather than a convincing superfan. With this in mind, it takes a really great artist to draw on the influences of what they love (see my first sentence…) and develop their own game, ultimately improving their own sound.

I’ll be honest, the opening bars of the title track caused me to double-check the sleeve, I thought Gregory Porter had recorded a duet. This proves to me how far Myles has come, and how sponge-like he is in learning techniques from the greats, touring with GP has taught young Anakin a great deal! His tone has such a richness to it, and in that track it was apparent he has increased his vocal range yet further, adding another layer to his already incredibly dense musical pan haggerty. Throughout the album there are glimpses of other legends; Otis, Gil, Bill, yet still with his signature crispness, ‘Forget Me Not’ is a great example of pure Myles, no Otis, no Gregory, just Sanko, and in each track, it’s just Sanko and it’s god damn perfect.

Musically, there is a heavy emphasis on the old-school. Small drum kits, plenty of piano and organ, nice unfussy jazz guitar solos and arrangements designed to allow Myles to soar. It’s definitely a case of the instrumentation and chord progressions providing the best possible platform for one of the finest vocalists currently operating to do his stuff unadulterated. It helps that the musicians he has at his disposal are absolutely prima, numero uno, ultimately talented guys and girls, and that he can call on some beautiful string sections, choirs and a pretty good composer, producer, artist and cinematographer (the last four all named Myles Sanko weirdly). The album begins with an instrumental, and ends with an extended string outro which epitomises the class and sophistication that this guy exudes.

myles-sanko-hoochie-coochie

When I stand in the kitchen washing dishes and singing, I bring certain people to mind, those guys I mentioned at the top of this piece. Myles Sanko was added to the list some time ago, because in my opinion his name deserves to be added to the list of artists whose names roll of the tongue when listing who other people sound like. Trust me, in years to come people will be saying ‘this guy, Singy McSingface, he’s great, he sounds like Myles Sanko’. So if he has the honour of making it into my dish-washing rollcall of honour, he definitely needs to be added to your playlist. Oh, and on a personal note from me to Myles, you can stop dreaming now; it’s happening.

You can catch Myles at Hoochie Coochie, Newcastle TONIGHT!! If you’re reading this tomorrow, you missed out.

Photographer – Joe Fowler

Joe Fowler

Joe Fowler

I am a jazz/funk/soul trombonist and vocalist with a passion for the music. Having lived in the area my entire life, bar an incredible year in Japan, I have engrained myself in the musical culture of the North East. Unfortunately, I am a Newcastle United supporter as well, and my love of football is the only thing that rivals music for my affections... In my downtime I work as an English teacher at Newcastle University.
Joe Fowler

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