With just three days left till Summer in Southside, our Hippodrome Ambassadors Heather and Sipho caught up with some of the artists set to perform at the festival to find out more about their work.
They chatted to singer-songwriter Alisha Kadir, one of four acoustic acts opening Saturday night’s MIX UP event in the Stageside Bar opposite the theatre. Alisha will lead the line-up from 8pm, followed by Birmingham-based performers Transits, Ed Geater and Elektric.
Alisha describes her music as “ranty, political songs that are presented very softly”
“I like writing about the balance of power and how power works,” she said.
Nevertheless, she doesn’t see herself as having been heavily influenced by other political artists.
“I tend not to listen to anything that’s like the stuff I do. There are artists that I admire but they don’t necessarily influence my work. For example, I listen to a lot of digital music, but I’d never make any myself.”
Earlier in her musical career (according to Alisha, she has been “singing since [she] could talk”), she provided vocals for various bands, but more recently, she has felt liberated by a decision to go solo.
“You reach a point where you realise you’re relying on six people to all turn up on time and bring their instruments, and that doesn’t always happen. So I picked up a guitar and started learning myself. That was probably four years ago.”
Having performed locally for a few years now, Alisha is already familiar with some of the other artists performing at MIX UP, including Transits and our headline VJ, Tommy XJ.
“Tommy is one of my favourite people – he’s great!” she exclaimed.
Though not a regular Hippodrome visitor, she remembers attending events at the theatre in the past, including last year’s Summer in Southside festival.
“I seem to accidentally end up at all of them. It’s always a good vibe for this end of the city, being out in public space and trying to get more people involved in the arts.”
With more time to plan and a clearer sense of what’s happening at this year’s festival, she hopes to see more of what’s on offer, and seemed particularly keen to get stuck in to Polyglot’s ‘Tangle‘, an interactive installation that will see visitors stretching and weaving colourful elastic around the Southside area.
Asked what she would hope to find at an alternative night out for young creatives, Alisha talked about the importance of freedom to experiment and do things differently.
“I think having space to be strange and accepted is really important for a young creative. Even within the arts there are so many stereotypes and it’s not always okay to be strange and out there. So I think the most important thing is to have somewhere that’s comfortably weird.”