Next month (10-20 July) the annual Summer Series At Somerset House with American Express returns, bringing a host of gigs to the London landmark. To preview the acts taking over the courtyard Mark Bowers of Metropolis Music who helped to book the gigs has made us a Playlist of his personal picks from the line-up. “This year’s Summer Series with American Express is set to be one of the best yet, not only featuring some of the biggest artists on the scene today, such as Sam Smith, Bastille and Clean Bandit but some of the most exciting up and coming artists, as well. Jess Glynne, MNEK, Francois and the Atlas Mountains and one of my favourites, Kiesza, are all on the line-up and, with music genres ranging from Indie Rock to Folk Pop, it’s going to be one to remember," he explains. “The most important thing to me when booking artists, is to remember that this is a music festival, unlike any other. It’s intimate and in the most amazing venue – the courtyard of Somerset House. As such, it’s a very different vibe to the huge arena concerts, giving artists the opportunity to perform to a really engaged crowd in a unique venue. We therefore spend a lot of time finding artists who are right for the Series itself and will create something special for the audience. What I love most about Summer Series is that amongst the more established artists the festival is recognised for bringing up and coming acts to the forefront and has also been a fantastic platform for artists on the verge of breaking into the mainstream. Artists like Alt J, Bondax, Chloe Howl and Miles Kane are examples of those who have opened for headliners in the past and have gone on to become some of the hottest artists and bands around today. Jessie Ware for example went from opening for Paloma Faith in 2012 to having a sold out show the next year."
Daughter – Youth "Singer Elena is the friendliest, funniest, happiest woman you could meet, but her brilliant lyrics are so dark and brooding, especially on this song, it’s powerful stuff!"
Kiesza – What Is Love "The Canadian singer-songwriter’s stripped back version of Haddaway's What Is Love is a haunting retake on a classic, and simply stunning."
Jess Glynne – Right Here "One of the hottest new talents in the music scene at the moment, Jess Glynne can seem to do no wrong. Right Here is an infectious mix of pop, funky drums and trumpet sounds set to make it one of the biggest summer anthems."
Agnes Obel – Riverside "This was the first song of Agnes’ that we heard back in 2010. Such a simple melody and beautifully sung, her voice is like being wrapped in cotton wool, a stunningly talented lady."
François & the Atlas Mountains – Summer Of The Heart "This band offers something new, bringing folk and African rhythms to a more refined indie-pop sound. Summer Of The Heart is a charming, synth-lead track which echoes summer in every way."
Chvrches – The Mother We Share "An obvious choice but one of our favourite songs of 2013 and three of the friendliest people you could meet, a joy to work with."
Little Dragon - Paris "Dreamy, shape-shifting, bespoke R&B pop, full of clever little sounds, topped off by the half-Japanese, half-Swedish, American-raised Nagano's yearning glide of a voice."
The Cat Empire – Steal The Light "From The Cat Empire’s sixth album, this song has all the ska, funk and jazz undertones that we expect from the Aussie band, layered with a strong Latin beat that will make you want to dance.""
Franz Ferdinand – Ulysses "This is a band at the top of their game and I love this tune as it was something fresh and different for the band. But its unusually slow start, simplistic drum beat, mixed with a catchy loud chorus makes for an exciting listen."
MNEK – Every Little Word "An impressively silky-smooth groove, mixed with gentle bass sounds and funky undercurrents makes this the perfect summer accompaniment.”
For more, including the full line-up and ticket details, head to Somersethouse.org.uk.