A celebration of Birmingham’s culture and creativity. An exploration into the sounds of the city. ‘On Record’ compiles the best of Birmingham’s talent from global stars to local treasures.
Whilst being honoured to host the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham is running a six-month long programme, ‘Birmingham 2022 Festival’, that will work to illuminate West Midlands’ notorious culture sector. The festival will run from March and come to a close in September. Notably, the festival aims to entertain and engage over 2.5 million people: both in a digital space and in person. The idea behind the festival is that lasting change will be generated, with more funding for community led projects and a replenished creative legacy for the city. More than 200 projects will be delivered across the region, including art, photography, dance, theatre, digital art, and music.
‘On Record’ is arguably one of the most exciting additions to the Birmingham 2022 Festival line up.
The album, billed as ‘a sonic love letter to Birmingham’, has been commissioned and produced by Birmingham Music Archive. Birmingham Music Archive, established by Jez Collins, collates the music and tales of popular culture within the city we call home. The platform isn’t only concerned with ‘star’ names, but instead actively spotlights all the city’s musical activity, from bands to record shops. Birmingham Music Archive plays a vital part in preserving, recognising and celebrating the second city’s rich musical heritage.
‘On Record’ features eleven original songs, all exclusively written and recorded, by the likes of: Bambi Bains, Cherry Pickles, Dapz on the Map, SANITY, Tj Rehmi, and UB40, and produced by Grammy Nominee Simon Duggal. The album brings unity, celebrating the diverse talent of the city spanning a multitude of genres. According to executive producer and founder-director of Birmingham Music Archive, Jez Collins, the album is the ‘first ever multi-artist, multi-genre album to be written completely about a city the highs- and lows’.
The album, spanning Afrobeat, neo-soul, trip-hop, Asian electronica, folk, garage rock, jazz, reggae, RnB, Hip-Hop and UK rap, was released on the 17th of June, and is available on all streaming platforms, as well as via a limited vinyl run. To complement the album, there is also set to be a new podcast and live events series, ‘In Conversation’, that will take place at Birmingham’s symphony hall.
According to Robin Cambell, vocalist and guitarist of the internationally renowned Birmingham reggae band UB40, ‘The “On Record” album is an exciting project with an eclectic mix of Birmingham artists that represent the cultural diversity of our city – and we’re proud of our contribution to it’. Brum-born rapper, SANITY, having already been a part of the Commonwealth Games back in 2018, during the handover from Australia’s Gold Coast to Birmingham, has said that ‘I’m excited to be a part of something so personal to Birmingham. It’s such an inclusive project reflecting the true diversity of our city – there’s something for everyone.”
Jez Collins spoke directly to Brum Radio regarding the album: ‘It’s a sonic love letter to Birmingham, and I asked all the artists, I said write a new song that just responds to the word ‘Birmingham’ and what has come back has just blown my mind.’
You can find out more about Birmingham Music Archive here, and more about the Birmingham 2022 Festival here.
‘On Record’ is this week’s featured album on the Official Brum Radio A-List. You can listen to Brum Radio’s Official A-List on Saturday’s at 2pm (UK Time), or listen back to the latest episode here.