Uzoechi Osisioa Emenike has had slow rise to fame in the last 12 months. Known as MNEK, the south London artist put on a humbling show when we saw him at Wilton Hall last Tuesday June 14th.
In an extremely intimate setting, the build-up to his performance was different to others – there wasn’t a big queue to get in but there was an air of anticipation as people waited eagerly for him to come on stage.
What is instantly obvious from the 22-year-old is how different he is from other pop artists, he interacts with the crowd in such a way that you feel like you’re on stage with him. When the lights dimmed, and he came out in a fluffy pink jacket backed up by his dancers and singers. Instantly he had the crowd dancing, opening with ‘Correct’ and ‘Paradise’. This wasn’t just about his immediate singing talent, it was a performance.
His medley of ‘Ready For Your Love’/‘Deeper’/‘The Rhythm’/‘More Than a Phone’/‘IDGAF’ showed the young artist’s talent but what was most exciting was when he slowed things down with ‘Blinded by Your Grace’ which showed his raw talent and amazing voice. It was almost unusual for someone so young to control the stage and interact with the crowd as well as he did and he clearly hadn’t forgotten his roots, paying tribute to his parents who were watching on from the crowd. He ended the show with ‘Colour’ and ‘Tongue’, two of his more well-known songs and had the crowd dancing again.
After the gig, MNEK didn’t just disappear he went to the bar and greeted his fans. It’s clear that while his fame is on the up, he is staying humble and true to himself. MNEK is precociously talented and bewilderingly young. Though he is undoubtedly keen for his music to stand on its own, it’s impossible to ignore that this self-assured Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer has achieved a staggering amount already – at just 22.