Life as an emerging musician – or, in some cases, even as an established musician – often involves a certain amount of precarity. It can take months, or even years, for your music to put food on the table, and even then there’s the lingering threat of instability, a problem highlighted by the industry-wide shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are a few ways to navigate an early music career though, ranging from a healthy dose of luck and/or generational wealth (we can dream lol), to vital creative residency programmes that provide musicians a foundation to flourish.
Over the past few years, Laylow has played host to some of music’s best underground or up-and-coming acts through its ongoing residency programme, from Westerman, to the Paul Institute, to the rapper, activist, and poet Akala. Based at the former site of a bordello and drinking den under west London’s ionic Trellick Tower, the restaurant and club offers these musicians board, lodgings, and a recording studio.
Laylow’s basement performance space also provides headroom to experiment and trial new material for the club’s high-profile guests and patrons, hosting gigs by “genre-bending newcomers” and a range of more established names.
Two years before her show-stopping performance at the 2020 BRIT Awards, the British-Jamaican jazz singer Celeste landed a Laylow residency, where she recorded the live visuals for “Both Sides of the Moon”. The next year, Jai and A.K. Paul settled in for a stint at Laylow, to coincide with their long-awaited return. In 2020, Caroline Polachek took over the club for three months, as her residency coincided with the rest of the UK being plunged into a fresh COVID lockdown.
Adding to this impressive musical legacy, Laylow expanded its recording facilities at the beginning of lockdown, adding a new floor with a recording studio that includes a vintage mixing desk, and a variety of microphones and instruments. Add to that the networking opportunities of living, practicing, and performing within the tight-knit members’ club (Celeste, for example, bumped into Spike Lee, and ended up playing a set for the BlacKkKlansmandirector at a party hosted by British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful), and it’s clear to see the advantages as an emerging artist.
The most recent beneficiary of Laylow’s residency programme is Dazed 100 alum Ethan P Flynn, whose time at the club has spanned March 2022 (coinciding with the official release of his debut EP, Universal Deluge, via Young). Take a closer look at the club, and its past residents, here.