Coffee House Sessions: Ady Suleiman

Arriving onstage later than planned with no time even for a brief introduction is something a fair number of artists would be irked by – for Ady Suleiman however, this is no bother.

By way of introduction, the Sony Music-signed artist takes to the stage armed only with his voice and his guitarist; the resulting harmony symphonised between them is much stronger a greeting than any announcement could have awarded them. Despite the lack of “Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Ady Suleiman to the stage,” the attention of the audience has been well and truly captured. Suleiman has only time for three songs to declare his worth, but having impressed his crowd already with his half-a-minute-long harmony, the following songs are at his discretion.

There’s a gentle, up-beat quality to Suleiman’s acoustic sound. It’s melodic and melancholic; the backbone of his undefinable style. The true heights of his voice are reached effortlessly, a soulful sound with a slightly jagged edge. Listening to Suleiman, whose fan-base already includes names like Joey Bada$$ and Chance the Rapper, online, the task of rendering his music fully acoustic for the tour seems like an impossible one, but the musician’s translation of this seems entirely fool-proof.

The folky nature of the guitar on opening song ‘What’s The Score’ means that the acoustic version is slightly transformed from the original, but the bluesy prop of the track and the local twang of Suleiman’s accent means that the song isn’t rooted too far from the fundamental track.

Suleiman’s second track is a newer one, and a song, he says, that hasn’t been played live before. The Nottingham-born, London-based artist keeps it simple – it’s a unique track with an urban edge, but also one that stays authentic to Suleiman’s reggae and RnB influences. This is a song very much about the rhythm, which offers a spine to the track – combined with eclectic back vocals set to mimic a driving bassline, the song harnesses every inch of talent Suleiman and his guitarist hold.

‘State of Mind’ closes the set. Of the gentle, acoustic rap, Suleiman says: “The lyrics are still important to me, still relevant.” A bluesy, soulful and heartfelt song of resonating strength and hardened emotions transpires before breaking down into a countdown of fluctuating rhythm, descending to focus on the songs pinnacle – the lyrics.

It’s an unprecedentedly short set, a quarter of an hour at the very most. Even in the presence of a dancing Buzz Lightyear – presumably from a university fund-raising event – the soul of Suleiman’s voice fights off the competition, holding the attention of his crowd with his experienced style.

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