MRCY are producer Barney Lister and vocalist Kojo Degraft-Johnson. With work that is as classic in feel as it is contemporary in concern, their vision of Soul through the looking-glass draws inspiration from the timeless musical warmth of Marvin Gaye to the genre-melding, modern sensibility of Khruangbin and Sault. Arriving with a fully-formed vision, MRCY have nonetheless hustled hard to make work in their own voice. Born amidst Huddersfield’s melting-pot culture, Barney has established himself as one of the UK’s most in-demand, eclectic young producers, ranging from an Ivor Novello Award for his long-standing collaboration with Obongjayar to Mercury-nominated artists like Joy Crookes and Olivia Dean. South London-raised Kojo, meanwhile, earned his stripes in church as well as singing with equally-illustrious homegrown artists like Cleo Sol and Little Simz. Each, in their own way, were seeking more MRCY in their lives.

Having first connected over Instagram during the pandemic, MRCY met up in Brixton between lockdowns and allowed the band’s sound – and bond – to deepen. First single ‘Lorelei’ previewed MRCY’s soon-to-be-signature mix, setting commanding vocals and effortless, at times ethereal production over songs designed to challenge and transport from the everyday (‘it’s like hearing a distant memory,’ Barney says, ‘but one that speaks to where you are now’). ‘Flowers In Mourning’ is the second preview of the band’s upcoming project, bound by a striking visual aesthetic made in collaboration with Harris Elliot which warps AI, Adinkra symbolism and British iconography into the MRCY motif. MRCY’s music reverberates with individual perspectives, but also reminds how those shared experiences of graft, grit and abandon have always been able to bring crowds – or a new band – together.

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