“Electronic Soul At Its Finest” – Clash
“An introspective neo-soul masterpiece” – FIP
“Extremely talented. Gorgeously soulful” – Tony Minvielle (Jazz FM)
“Unbelievable talent” – BBC Introducing
‘Summing Up’ is the debut album from singer, songwriter, and producer Steven Bamidele. The album is a deeply personal project that has seen Steven using lyrical exploration as a form of self-therapy, often unpicking themes of racial identity, family, and self-reflection.
The album features previous singles “Kaleidoscope feat. Scarlett Fae”, “Dark Sense Of Humour (Farfisa)”, “Sitting In The Dark”, and “Head Down”, which have received support from Clash Magazine, Tony Minvielle (Jazz FM), Valida (KCRW), Bill Brewster, BBC Introducing, New Music Friday UK (Spotify), Lefto, Laurent Garnier and Stereofox.
Tackling subjects that include his childhood, mental health struggles and his relationships with those close to him, Steven Bamidele writes with an openness and integrity throughout ‘Summing Up’ that allows the audience to share and understand his stories, while also seeing a reflection of their own. With a Bossa nova-tinged guitar hook, focus track “Lesson Learnt” thoughtfully leaves space for individual interpretations on what it is to second guess what those around you need and expect from you; toeing the line between trying to live as an individual without disappointing the people close to you.
His relationship between individualism and relating to society is a topic explored across ‘Summing Up’. Brimming with carefully thought-out production, “Dark Sense Of Humour (Farfisa)” is written about his childhood experiences of displacement moving from Nigeria to the UK at a young age. Steven utilises the experimental musicality of the track to tell the story of these paradoxical feelings he dwelled on since relocating. These feelings, alongside his relationship with his late father as a mixed-race child, are echoed in “Head Down”. Here, Steven repeats the title of the track as the main hook creating an anthem for the introverts and outsiders who may feel like they are watching and waiting on the sidelines.
The theme of self-reflection and the years of obsessive dedication to finding his creative voice are also explored across the album. Highlighting his introspective style of song writing and production styles rooted in curiosity and exploration, “Kaleidoscope” is a love song shimmering with humility; “It’s to my girlfriend Lucy,” Steven explains, “it’s me saying I know I haven’t been the most present and attentive person, but I want to try and be better.” More open in their dedication, “Sitting In The Dark” and “Throw It All Away!” explore the tunnel vision Steven has had for making music over the years and the subsequent guilt he’s felt as family and friends have fallen to the wayside in pursuit of a dream.
Speaking about the latter track, he adds, “I wanted to make a dance track the way I would make one which is sad and awkward.” Stepping out of his comfort zone, the musical evolution of this track serves as a representation of Steven’s progression with making music, summing up what it means to find your feet and become a more authentic version of yourself both creatively and personally. “I’m a big fan of people doing 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, Steven has allowed ideas to come through organically, following impulses to tell stories and evoke feelings. As reflected on ‘Summing Up’, at a point in his life, music took over and Steven did whatever was necessary to make it happen. “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,” he acknowledges
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. After self-releasing several singles, his debut EP “Uncrowded” and the Salami Rose Joe Louis remix, Steven 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.