Joel Culpepper, Chasing Grace, Rough Copy impress at Jazz Café London | Review

joel culpepper

Promising up and coming acts Joel Culpepper, Rough Copy and Chasing Grace took to the stage of London’s highly respected Jazz Café in January to perform for popular ’90s Hip Hop and R&B night, Supa Dupa Fly.

Taking to the stage first were Chasing Grace; a talented duo, comprising of singer-songwriters Phillip Plested and Grace Ackerman, that have been making headlines lately with their acoustic covers.


Though they appeared taken aback by either the size of the Jazz Café, or by the large amount of support from friends and family, the duo caught the chatty audience by surprise from the first sung word. Accompanied by an electric guitarist and drummer, they began with their cover of Rihanna‘s “Stay” before performing “Around Here,” from their upcoming EP Don’t You Worry Child.

The rapport between Phillip and Grace was exceptional, in both stage presence and voice, and that was consistently apparent as they followed up with their cover of Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child,” a song that becomes a lot more emotional when stripped down to an acoustic level and showed just how well their voices worked separately and together in harmony. Chasing Grace are certainly an act to watch in the future, and it should come as no surprise given that they’ve already supported Emeli Sandé and toured with Devlin, in featuring on his upcoming album.


Rough Copy, who some may remember from last year’s series of X-Factor UK took to the stage next adorned in chains, watches, bandanas and other garments reminiscent of Big Sean’s attire with a hint of Blackstreet. The R&B group, comprised of members Sterling, Joey J and Kaz, opened with “Our Love” from their Street but Sweet EP [free on BandCamp] and had the sweet side locked down as they maneuvered around the stage, singing into the eyes of the women in the crowd and shouting out a friend that recently got married.

The group followed with “Express Train,” a slowed down track that let them show off their solo capabilities, with Joey J reminding those who saw them on X-Factor of his falsetto skills. Their playfully braggadocio behaviour, also seen on the show, was in full effect and after they closed their set with their brilliant cover of “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon they danced for a few minutes on stage to the DJs tunes, making the most of their first ever performance here. Having worked with Ghetts and supported Jagged Edge, 112 and Jeremih, Rough Copy are making movements and while I wasn’t sure about them after listening to aforementioned EP – possibly due to an unnecessary overuse of auto-tune – their live performance won me over.


Arguably the most anticipated act of the night was Joel Culpepper, an artist that we at SoulCulture have featured numerous times before. Backed up by Santhy Mercado on vocals and his band The Transformers, aptly named given each members ability to play multiple instruments, the crowd was in eager anticipation to see what the soulful singer had in store following his Skydive EP.

His drummer proceeded to get the show started, and as the musicians came in building the intro up it was almost like church, with JC playing the role of reverend as he and the outfit delved into tracks old and new, including a few from Skydive including “Passenger” and “Heaven” – two of our favourites here at SoulCulture.

Throughout his set he laid down smooth moves energetically, shifting around like a less flamboyant James Brown. The change in direction that Skydive brought Joel musically has certainly instilled a new confidence in him, one that is never boisterous and yet is unafraid to take risks and push forward; something clear both on the EP and in his live performance.

Each act shined on the Jazz Café stage, together providing a mix that ensured nobody left without enjoying one at least. Though Chasing Grace, Rough Copy and Joel Culpepper may be relatively young in their music careers, the night showed that they all have long-lasting potential.

Follow @ItsSupaDupaFly for information on their next event.