I broke my unwritten rule of only booking artists I had seen live when I asked L.A. Salami to play in our front room and I was anxious that this enigmatic young singer would live up to the expectation set in the videos I had seen on YouTube.
Lookman Adekunle Salami (to give him his full name) didn’t disappoint. From the moment he played his first chord, we were all captivated. He gave us many of the songs that I already know so well from YouTube – Day to Day (For 6 Days a Week), Monday May Be Coming, No Halleujahs Now, When The Poet Sings, and the utterly bewitching I’ll Tell You of a Girl, as well as some that were new to me.
He has an easy delivery and warmth of tone that makes you feel like he’s been around for years and you’ve known these songs forever. It’s hard to believe that it is less than five years since he was given his first guitar. There were many moments of pure poetry that lulled you into a warm and cosy place, but then he brought us sharply back to reality with the dark but hauntingly beautiful “Loosely on my Mind”, a tale of murder on the streets of London.
L.A. Salami is such a gifted young songwriter, it was hard not to draw comparisons with the greats he told me was inspired by – Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. While the influence is there to see, this is no cheap imitation – he is crafting songs that are entirely his own. We talked after the show about songwriting and he talked of ‘big songs’ – those that last through the generations, and ‘small songs’ that may be good, but are essentially throw away. There is no doubt in my mind that L.A. is well on his way to creating some big songs of his own.
He finished the night with a plea to find him on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and left us with a song called “Come Back for the Rest of Me”. You can bet we will L.A. Salami!