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Pop: British Pop Moods: Solo Female Artist Moods: Type: Acoustic

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Denise Johnson

Denise Johnson

Anyone who has seen Denise Johnson sing will remember it, because there's an honesty about her stage presence that compels your attention.

No need for crazy dancing, no suspect stage gear, no gimmicks - Just that voice and an occasional tambourine.

Any BBC4 compilation of the mid 90's will see her alongside Bobby Gillespie at the forefront with Primal Scream in a position in many people's eyes (and ears) would argue played a big part of their shows and on their albums ''Screamadelica'' and ''Give Out But Don't Give Up'' carrying the band through some turbulent times.

But before that and since, there have been many recordings as a solo, featured or guest artist with a worthy contemporary list of co-writers, performers and bands.
Early days in the Manchester music community with bands like A Certain Ratio and several years spent in the maelstrom of recording and touring with Primal Scream, has led a path to recordings with Suede guitarist Bernard Butler, Bernard Sumner & Johnny Marr's band Electronic, The Stone Roses' Ian Brown debut solo album and New Order.

Guest appearances at the now legendary Manchester-Versus-Cancer shows performing with Paul Weller, The Charlatans and McAlmont & Butler and inclusion in The Guardian's list of all-time top 10 vocalists that have provided backing vocals (compiled to coincide with the Oscar winning documentary (''20 Feet From Stardom'') she has a reputation as someone who works with the people and the music that feels right, rather than projects she doesn't feel any empathy with or passion for.

These factors have cemented her position in Rock Royalty - not Gospel, you'll note, she's often wrongly cited as having started singing in church but her formative years were soundtracked by the likes of Whitesnake, Parliament Funkadelic, Kate Bush and Chaka Khan the Carpenters.

Denise Johnson has simultaneously kept busy with her own writing and recording: Firstly with her full band Honestly Express Yourself who notably supported Bernard Sumner's Bad Lieutenant but more recently as a soloist where she performs with just a guitarist alongside her.

With Tom Twemlow on acoustic guitar she has found a sound that compliments her range, tone and power as heard on ''I'm Not in Love'' her debut acoustic single, out now.

Her sets at Kendal Calling 2017 showed just what that voice is capable of, spine tingling with a depth of honesty it carried you away and left you wanting more, covers featured but so too did her own compositions, showcasing how good her writing really is.

Denise has an awesome talent but she presents it with an incredible modesty and very little fuss: this is what real music should feel like.





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