9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW UK
Initially raised in Crystal Palace before settling in Edmonton, Clementine made his UK television debut on BBC2’s Later… with Jools Holland in October last year. Unsigned in the UK at the time, the performance of the title track from his debut EP led to two critically acclaimed sold-out shows at London’s Purcell Room and a five star review in the London’s Evening Standard. Since then, Clementine has supported the likes of Cat Power, Tune-Yards and Woodkid, headlined London’s Koko and played sold-out shows across Europe, including to 1200 people at La Cigale in Paris.
Benjamin Clementine has announced plans for the release of his new four-track EP, ‘Glorious You’. Available on August 25, this will be Clementine’s first release since signing to Virgin/EMI and follows his impassioned and critically acclaimed debut EP ‘Cornerstone’. ‘Glorious You’ includes the home-town hymn ‘Edmonton’ – a Zane Lowe Next Hype – and the opening and lead track ‘Condolence’.
Clementine has packed a lot into his 24 years: heartbreak, homelessness and reinvention, before reaching cult status in Paris. The real learning started aged 11, when one of his older brothers brought a keyboard home; within a year Benjamin was the more proficient. Later, while his siblings got into hip-hop, he found himself tuning into classical radio; the first piece he heard was a spare, beautiful piano solo by Erik Satie, which transformed the way he played. He began imitating Satie and other solo pianists. At age 16, in a rare moment of permitted TV watching, he caught New York avant-gardists Anthony and the Johnsons performing the disarmingly naked ‘Hope There’s Someone’ on the BBC – and was duly blown away.
Moving to Paris had a sort of abstract logic: there’d been trouble with a flatmate in Camden, a brief infatuation with a woman who was half-Brazilian, half-French, and an overwhelming urge to get away. When his money ran out, he started sleeping rough and then busking inside the Metro at Place de Clichy station, where he would put his grey Kangol hat on the floor to collect donations and sing A cappella. From there, what was born out of a need to survive, became a calling for Clementine and an experience for the thousands of Parisian commuters that saw him perform daily, building his voice and refining his craft, as he made enough money to move first to a hostel and then into a room of his own. Now, three years on and back residing in his native London, Benjamin Clementine is back for a very special show at the Emmanuel Centre on Oct 29th.
“Visceral doesn’t even begin to describe Clementine’s songs, which combine the hurt and danger of Nina Simone, Antony Hegarty’s tremulous passion and Laura Mvula’s boundary-straddling music” – Sunday Times Culture
“’Cornerstone’ is packed with emotion: loneliness, fear and isolation – driven by relentless piano and haunting lyricism that recalls Clementine’s difficult past” – The Lines of Best Fit
“An extraordinary new musical talent. Incredible” ***** – Evening Standard (London’s Purcell Room, Dec 13)
Tickets £17.50 + booking fee via WeGotTickets / Billetto / Seetickets