Beverley Knight, Badly Drawn Boy and Alice Russell In The Round

Alice Russell

Alice Russell - Credit: Archant

Now in its fifth year of intimate Roundhouse gigs, the season prides itself on an ecclectic mix of premieres and one-offs

Badly Drawn Boy

Badly Drawn Boy - Credit: Archant

Badly Drawn Boy and Beverley Knight are among the line-up for the fifth 'In The Round' series of intimate gigs at The Roundhouse.

Alice Russell, Anaïs Mitchell, John Grant, Malian musician Fatoumata Diawara, Jorge Drexler, and Afrobeat stars KOKOROKO complete the programme of seated concerts in the iconic main space around an almost circular stage.

Organisers pride themselves on a ecclectic mix of genre-spanning artists, one-offs, solo sets and premieres.

The season kicks off on January 24 with Latin Music star Jorge Drexler's solo show Silente and ends on Febuary 1 with soul star Knight.

Young artists who learn skills at the Roundhouse Studios will play support for each headliner.

Badly Drawn Boy aka Damon Gough plays his first London show for five years performing new material and songs from his Mercury Prize winning album The Hour of Bewilderbeast which came out almost 20 years ago.

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While Knight celebrates the release of her new live album, BK25: Beverley Knight with The Leo Green Orchestra at The Royal Festival Hall, that marks her 25 years in the business and is set to showcase highlights from her career including hits Shoulda Woulda Coulda and Come as You Are, as well as classic covers, and brand new material.

Blues soul singer Russell, who has won accolades from the likes of Gilles Peterson and David Byrne, and lent her strong emotional tones to releases by Mr Scruff, Nostalgia 77 and DJ Yoda will premiere tracks from her nearly completed album Under the Munka Moon which she calls, "the closest I have got to doing gritty stuff".

Looking after her 3 and 5-year-old has delayed its arrival, but inspired some of its content.

"Having kids is like a mirror being held up to you, when you become a parent you have to take yourself apart and rethink yourself," she says.

But through a process of "having really good boundaries, saying no to stuff you are not totally sure about, and being really urgent and clear about getting on with things" she's managed to carve out the time.

"The album has taken a long time because I have chosen to be around for my kids and it's been hard to have head space.," she adds.

"It's definitely a departure for me, it's darker, more ballsy, and reflective than my other recordings."

With her usual band and four backing vocalists to really showcase the new material, there will be 15 people on a stage that she's previously shared with the likes of Annie Lennox, but never alone.

"It's daunting but exciting to be playing this amazing space, but it's funny, I had the Roundhouse in mind as a place to play this new music. I am being a bit ballsy in premiering nearly all of the new stuff, I am asking a lot of the diehard fans ,but they can take it.

"The world has got darker and you need to get your balls out and communicate with people that's my motto."

Reflecting on her journey so far from art student to musical success, she adds: "This is the closest album yet to my authetic self, it's taken a long time to find that."

Alice Russell plays The Roundhouse on Jan 27