Waves in brief: An introduction to the artists at Inner City Waves #13

Don’t be deterred by the threat of bad luck; the thirteenth Inner City Waves has a line-up too strong to be left to chance! Five up-and-coming acts, three of them key players in Manchester’s urban music scene, take to the stage on 17th August. They range from contemporary soul frontrunners to lyrical athletes shaping Manchester rap and we’re equally excited to hear each act’s offering. DJ Toucan spins tunes on the night and as always, entry is free with the recommended registration, so you’ve no reason not to head out and support these deserving acts! Without further ado, here your introduction to each and every one.

Jerome Thomas

Fresh from his performance at Bluedot (the first festival appearance outside of London for he and his group) Jerome Thomas is poised to spread his soothing, contemporary RnB sound even further. COLORS subscribers may already be acquainted with his rich timbre, courtesy of his breathtaking 1989 performance for the channel, earlier this year. But there’s much more to Thomas’ game: the breathy low register he unveils on his track with fellow London ace Joe Armon-Jones and the melodic flow of his EP cut Company, but two notable elements. Jerome recently featured on Ryan Svendsen’s balearic-flavoured RnB cut One Hundred Percent and alongside regular collaborator Warren XClnce, is equipped to make waves greater still. If you’re a fan of Daniel Caesar, Alxndr London or Boadi, you’ll want to give this man your time!

Berry Blacc

Since his last Inner City Waves appearance twelve months ago, the multi-talented, Mancunian baritone has released his self-produced album From Maia and toured with renowned hip-hop outfit The Mouse Outfit. The new record features Layfullstop., [KSR] and Chris Amor, plus additional production from the likes of Metronome and Kydro, reflecting the respect felt for him within the local scene. A mature and assured MC with a feel for melody and a producer’s mindset, he’s well-equipped to go far.

Aaliyah Espirit

Vocalist and poet Aaliyah Espirit splits her time between Manchester and Bristol, but is also making waves in the nation’s capital. Like Yazmin Lacey and Mali Hayes before her, she’s part of the Future Bubblers development program and has a Brownswood basement session in the works. She rolls with Bristol’s Cosmic Soul Collective and has collaborated with artist such as they and Jevon Ives, as she hones her skills and develops her own vision. From narrative poetry to ethereal neo-soul melodies, there’s little she cannot pull off. Her conviction, integrity and ambition make Aaliyah an exciting prospect and a must see for fans of the aforementioned Bubblers, IAMDDB and Olivia Nelson.

Heavy Lemo

This Liverpool-based five piece feature Misha Gray (former Beats & Pieces Big Band member) on keys, hinting toward their chops as a performance unit. Recent remixes of their new album material are available to stream on Bandcamp and their Reform radio session is a perfect example to their group energy and understanding. If you appreciate the live, jazzy and funky hip-hop vibes of Son of Sam and Akua Naru, then they should be up your street.


Polished to a high shine, Jaxn’s recently released EP Lotus is packed with warm synths and heartfelt melodies; bringing to mind images of highways flanked by palm trees and oceans glistening in the daylight. You may know Jaxn from the recent Reform Radio Rhythm Lab sessions, where he set to work with rapper and producer Blind MIC, but otherwise his work with Josh Baker and new video Like You Do is great introduction to his work.