We’re proud to introduce the mjf Soundcheck Artists of 2022!

For the next 8 weeks, we will be working with 10 Manchester-based artists aged between 18-25  on what will be the third round of our talent development programme. Alongside artist mentors from our Hot House Programme and experienced industry guests, our 10 selected artists will be working on an idea for a new piece of music. It will be focused on taking risks, improvisation and musical identity.

Find out more about each of our insanely talented and unique artists by hovering over their image below.

AJ Kalombo
AJ is a 19-year-old singer from Audenshaw, Tameside and currently studying at the University of Warwick. She applied to Soundcheck in order to to deepen her musical knowledge, gain confidence by going out of her comfort zone and develop her own sound. AJ is also excited to meet and network with other like-minded artists and musicians. Her idea is to create a piece of music that combines her love and appreciation for 20th Century Jazz with modern Jazz.
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Ariale Luviluka
20-year-old Ariale from Salford, is a self-taught ukulele player and singer. Her idea for soundcheck is to incorporate some classical Indian singing techniques to her voice whilst still maintaining her northern accent/ personality. She aims to develop a song that celebrates the experiences she had as a child and that shaped who she is today. Bollywood was a big part of her childhood and recent research opened a whole new world of carnatic music.
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Bitez
Bitez is a British Jamaican-born Nigerian Neo-Soul, Jazz, and Psychedelic R&B Singer-Songwriter from Manchester. She fuses Trip Hop, soulful vocals, and spoken word into her Afro-futuristic and surreal tracks. Bitez is also a multi-award-winning poet, musician, actress, author, filmmaker, and BBC Words First artist. In 2021 she was awarded Manchester Young Creative of The Year.
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Danny Djalili
22-year-old Danny is a guitarist and singer. His goal is to write a relatable song about overthinking. He’d like to also start enjoying the writing process more instead of worrying too much about the end result and to free himself up vocally to achieve more authenticity. Although, he is simultaneously very excited to make friends and jam with the dope individuals on this course.
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Dragos Colceriu
Dragoș is a 24-year-old guitarist from Romania. He moved to Manchester 5 years ago to pursue his dream of becoming a professional musician and he is actively gigging on the Manchester scene. So far he has mostly played rock music with his band. But going forwards he wants to embark on a solo project exploring other genres such as Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul, R‘N’B and in which he can express himself as an improviser.
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Jennifer Iguodala
For 22-year-old Jennifer, music has always been a big part of her life. Back in 2019, her passion for lyric writing developed and she decided to pursue a career as a singer songwriter. Last year she started learning how to play the guitar again and it helped her development as a songwriter. Her musical influences are Joni Mitchell, Amy Winehouse and Frank Ocean. Just like these artists she often writes songs about love and her personal afflictions.
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Kojo Sapong
Kojo is an artist that on a mission to make something that moves him and people like him. He combines his influences into one sound which is familiar but at the same time unique. Influences including Bossa Nova, 70s rock, pysch, house, old school hip hop, UK hip hop, and others. He is excited to add more freedom through improvisation in order to introduce a beauty and a freshness to his music whilst helping to show you him.
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Kitty Davies
Kitty, performing under the name ‘The Dove & The Dragon’ is a 24 year old artist, actress, baker, balter & primarily ‘musical storyteller’ from Salford. Influenced by artists such as Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez, she dabbles across genres and instruments. She loves trying to capture an image or a moment through her songs, and despite having chosen to not record or release my music yet, she has an extensive background in street and live music performance.
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Louis Reilly
Louis is a 21 year old drummer studying at the RNCM. He is interested in the modern jazz scene with elements of electronic, classical and ambient music all mixed up to create mesmerising and powerful music. His idea for Soundcheck will be performed by his band Apollo House, a contemporary jazz quartet with influences including Bill Laurence, Gogo Penguin and Portico Quartet.
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Maria Rocha
Maria Rocha is a guitarist, writer and arranger from Porto (Portugal). Since moving to Manchester, she has been active in the local live music scene, playing with a wide range of musicians as well as crafting her own original music. She is a member of the up-and-coming jazz punk trio Moby Dickless, and more recently has co-formed the 15-piece fusion collective K’in Ensemble which explores Folk, Jazz and non-Western music through improvisation.
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