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Last night, at the MOBO Awards Nominations party in that London, Liverpool’s Esco Williams stole the show. We mean, totally hijacked the proceedings. Got everyone up, got everyone singing. You know, like what happens when you blend music of black origin with showmanship of Liverpool blood.

The man’s the proud winner of MOBO’s UnSung Award 2012, hunting out the finest unsigned artist in the UK (although he lost out to the Loved Ones in the inaugural GIT awards earlier in the year), and a sometime member of the exhilarating Sense of Sound collective. Oh, and he was placed in the top twenty of MTV’s Brand New for 2012.

It’s fair to say the self confessed soul nerd is about to put Liverpool’s music of black origin (which is legion, and thrilling, if under most peoples’ radar) right back on the map.

Williams is continuing the family tradition. His uncle was legendary Liverpool DJ James Klass, a one-man black music missionary, bringing funk and soul to the underground clubs of the city in the 70s.

“I had direct access to all that,” Esco says.

“Yeah, Black music is underrepresented in this city in a huge way. I intend to change all that.”

Don’t bet against it. With the MOBOs returning to the Arena in November, and Esco already attracting serious attention on national radio and in all the right places, we think MOBO founder Kanya King was right to put her faith in our boy when she said:

“We have a key role in uncovering upcoming urban talent with our annual MOBO UnSung talent search, and we’re thrilled that Liverpool’s Esco Williams won this year’s competition. His performance on our MOBO Tour was highly acclaimed. Look out for him in the years to come.”

So, we had a li’l chat with Esco after the party…

What do you put all this sudden adulation down to, we wondered?

“I used to do full blown jazz-soul music and I’ve felt the wall, but now my music has evolved and taken a different shape. I’m suddenly the Will Smith of Liverpool. My stuff is safe, fun and positive. With any luck, as I continue to progress with the plan I can help shake the stereotype that’s attached to ‘urban’ music… That is, while people continue to call me an urban artist…”

It’s been an amazing year. What next?

I hope to continue to succeed in music. I’ve achieved a fair bit so far but I want to see how far I can go. If I can buy a house, rebuild Pleasure Island and tour the world a few times all from the strength of my music… then maybe I’ll be satisfied. But really, do you remember Pleasure Island?! The world could do with a LOAD of those, like.

Are you planning on sticking around for a while, or after tonight is London calling?

I want to stay based in Liverpool. I’m too chilled for London, granted I have to go and gig there and show my face and what not but with the internet and that, I really don’t think there is that much of a point. I can go crash at Jay Norton’s or borrow Kof’s couch for a few days and tha’ if I have to. I need the…um…genuineness is that a real word? Let’s roll with it… of Scousers to keep my feet and my life on the ground too.

Who are your audiences in the city? What’s the feedback like?

I was talking about this whole audience thing the other day. The people who support me at the minute la… they range from toddlers to teenage nerds, right through to 48 year young women who love to dance. Rather amazing. The feedback so far is really good too. Put it this way, my supporters funded my soon-to-be-released album. They have faith in me and I love them for it.

Where do you like going out in town?

I don’t get out much, I’m a proper herm’ me. When I do go out things tend to get messy though. I’m a big fan of Camel Club, Santa Chupitos and Revolution. The newer, cooler one though. You should have asked me where I eat, or what games I currently beat everyone on. Hahah, sigh.

What do you think about Liverpool’s live music scene at the moment?

The live music scene is getting better and better. Sure, we’ve seen some venues close, but from the Kazimier opening things have popped off. The past nine months to a year, our live music has really began to blossom again. Liverpool music is vibrant as ever, varied, cool, loud and the artists and bands themselves are really making the effort. Leaf cafe is kicking but with some swish events too. Liverpool has got its mojo back, it’s evident and I’m loving it like Maccie D’s. More so, even.

What’s the seven words you’d use to describe yourself?

Nerdy, caffeine infused, brown soul powered superhero.

Esco Williams, we salute you. Catch him at Tighten Up on 28 September.

Pics: Pete Carr