Folklore Sessions Presents;
Steven Bamidele + Support
£10adv | Dec 5th 2023
Steven Bamidele is a London-based singer, songwriter, and producer. Born in Nigeria, he spent his formative years in Suffolk, before moving to Brighton. This upbringing is reflected in his lyrics, which often explore themes of racial identity, family, and self-reflection. With influences ranging from Marvin Gaye and Radiohead to Lianne La Havas and Solange, Steven crafts his own unique and intricate sound, combining synth textures, syncopated beats, and reverb-drenched falsetto to create psychedelic forward-thinking soul.
With fond memories of his early childhood, Steven’s move to the predominantly white county of Suffolk led him to experience paradoxical feelings around his mixed-race heritage. He explains, “there were very few people of colour and because of this I felt like I stuck out, as if a spotlight was on me. However, simultaneously, I felt invisible.” Steven adopted his mum’s unused acoustic guitar and began teaching himself Green Day and Fall Out Boy songs. Eventually, he found solace and comfort in music as a creative output, especially in his most introverted and lonely moments. As time went on, he joined various bands at school and played in the worship band at his church, all of which built his live performance skills and musical language. In 2011, after discovering James Blake, Modeselekor and the creative potential of electronic music, Steven began to pair his introspective style of song writing with production styles rooted in curiosity and exploration.
“I’m a big fan of people doing what they do no matter what they do no matter what anyone says, going against the grain, being stubborn about it. I think the best results in art come out of that attitude.”
From synths to found sounds, he allowed ideas to come through organically, following impulses to tell stories and evoke feelings. At that point, music took over and Steven did whatever was necessary to make the music happen, taking on a variety of jobs and sometimes prioritising his creative instincts over the needs of those around him. “I chilled out in my early 20s,” he acknowledges, “but it was when my dad passed and then covid arrived a couple of months later that I really started to slow down and accept that other people and things demanded my attention and care.”
After self-releasing several singles, Steven released his debut EP “Uncrowded” alongside a remix from Salami Rose Joe Luis, signed to Brainfeeder. Receiving support from KCRW, Fred Perry and BBC Radio 4, he went on to be sampled by KayCyy for his “Get Used To It” mixtape. Under his former alias ‘Mirror Signal’, Steven was featured on the ‘Brownswood Bubblers 11’ compilation, performed a live session for Gilles Peterson and was selected by Jamie Cullum and PRS Foundation to perform at Montreal Jazz Festival in 2016. His stage presence and love of sharing his music live has continued to grow. He has played extensively in London and Brighton and recently supported Marlon Craft at Camden’s Jazz Café.
On the journey to finding his sound, Steven has developed into a meticulous producer and thoughtful songwriter. Everything from his experiences in childhood, to his relationships with those close to him, fuel the openness and integrity of his lyrics. In conjunction, his obsession with sound, rhythm and his wide array of influences have inspired the attention to detail he pays when making his records.