South London’s Oscar Jerome is today(20/052020) sharing the latest single, ‘Give Back What U Stole From Me’, to be lifted from his highly-anticipated debut album, ‘Breathe Deep’, due for release July 10th via Caroline International. Alongside the new single and video, the guitarist and vocalist (who also plays in Brownswood-signed afrobeat group Kokoroko) is now announcing a lengthy UK/European tour for later this year, including his biggest headliner to date at Electric Brixton, London on November 25th (after sold-out shows across the capital at the likes of Heaven, Village Underground and EartH.) You can stream ‘Give Back What U Stole From Me’–which follows the recent ‘Your Saint’ single ft Brother Portrait and the 6-Music B-listed ‘Sun For Someone’ ft Joe Armon-Jones–here.
“This is the sequel to a track I released a few years back. We have been playing it live for a long time and it has evolved into something a lot more upbeat and funky so I wanted people to hear that on the record,” Oscar says of ‘Give Back What U Stole From Me’. Always a stand-out from Oscar and band’s wild live shows, the new single sees those languid vocals and jazz-guitar flourishes bolstered by the soaring saxophone of Theo Erskine and a loose, shuffling rhythm section courtesy of bassist Jack Polley, drummer Ayo Salawu (Kokoroko) and percussionist Crispin Spry (Brian Eno, Mulatu Astatke). “I wrote this song about the greed and disgusting self-importance of bankers,” Oscar reflects: “The lyrics can apply to many situations, however, I’d say it is more relevant than ever right now as we see the health and livelihood of ordinary people being overlooked as large corporations exploit the situation and get propped up by government money.”
A staple of the capital’s burgeoning jazz scene–previously collaborating with everyone from Shabaka Hutchings to Moses Boyd and Yussef Dayes–the incoming ‘Breathe Deep’ LP sees Oscar bring in an army of collaborators that he says have been an integral part of his journey so far. The guests include several of his fellow band-mates in Kokoroko (for whom Oscar wrote the breakthrough track ‘Abusey Junction’, currently at over 50 million streams) and Joe Armon-Jones, plus friends in Sons of Kemet, Maisha and Steam Down as well as the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas. The record arrives off the back of a fast-growing catalogue that’s seen the Norwich-born guitarist and vocalist pick up frequent support and playlisting from the likes of 6 Music, Radio 1 and 1Xtra and embark on packed-out tours around the US, UK, Europe and Australia (including a tour with American jazz maestro Kamasi Washington).
Talking about his highly-anticipated debut album, Oscar says: “‘Breathe Deep’ is a pretty broad presentation of who I am musically and my journey to get to this point. On a personal level, it’s a reflection of the effort put in during that path of self-bettering, both emotionally and in life more broadly. It’s about preparing oneself for failure and growing from that. Taking a moment to step back and see where things are going and where one has been. It also addresses the resilience of people, which is reflected in the more political moments on the album. The world is a messed up place but people still find ways of preparing themselves for it.”