El Rey Theatre was packed Wednesday night with fans of San Diego’s Augustana, who gained national recognition with their radio hit, “Boston,” back in 2005, but before they had a chance to ascend the stage, an exciting new act, Graffiti6, stole the spotlight.
Formed in 2008, Graffiti6 is a British duo comprised of DJ/Producer Tommy D and singer/songwriter Jamie Scott. This powerhouse of pop music garnered American attention with a slew of TV sync licenses, which landed their music on such shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Teen Wolf, and Football Wives just to name a few. Their first single, “Stare Into the Sun,” was featured on ad campaigns for The Sun Newspaper, and encouraged the duo to record their first full length album, Colours, which releases TODAY, January 25, 2012.
The lead track off this debut record is what piqued my interest in Graffiti6. “Free” is the tortured tail of love unrequited. Unique but catchy, “Free” is exactly the type of single that leaves a listener wanting more (warranting the release of a 7-track albumette, Free – EP). The music video for “Free” was filmed in downtown L.A. Check it out below.
The set began with “Lay Me Down,” a song off the Free – EP and track 11 on the upcoming Colours full length. Tight harmonies set the standard for an evening of country and soul-infused music. Some of the greatest British acts in history were known to imitate American roots and gospel music — The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, etc. — and it seems Graffiti6 is taking a page from this book. Barreling into “Annie You Save Me” with a classic R&B chord progression, Scott really began to show off what his voice is capable of. Backed by his lead and bass guitar players, I was surprised to find so finely tuned a vocal performance.
The craft of live performance is sometimes masked by flashy production effects. Not so with Graffiti6. Scott’s voice is perhaps the most technically flawless voice I’ve heard live. Mixing notes that would make Adele jealous, Scott’s vocals were seamless. He sometimes yields his voice to break emotionally, but can easily and effortlessly mix through all of his vocal bridges – an affect mastered by very few pop musicians. To compare his voice would be a disservice, but I can safely say fans of Adam Levine will feel right at home listening to Scott. Of course, the music is very different from Maroon 5’s. In fact, the sound of the entire band is closer to that of the Eagles, and songs like “Foxes” and “Stone In My Heart” clearly demonstrate this similarity.
Despite all of the throw-back in these and other tracks like “This Man” and “Stare Into the Sun,” in talent and image Scott gives a mainstream vibe to Graffiti6. If you have the opportunity and you’re a fan of vocal excellence, I highly recommend you check these guys out live.