Watching tremendous growth occur in the artistry of a recording artist who you’ve watched transform into the very makings of a star is always great to see, and Mike Hough’s journey to the big time is no exception.
The 22-year old independent artist performed his first sold-out show at London’s world-famous The Jazz Café in Camden over the weekend. From screaming girls (someone burst into tears and near collapsed at the mere sight of him, I was ready to call an ambulance or two) to excited fans camping from early hours just so they could get to the front, in a queue that almost wrapped itself around the block, it seems like Mike is the newest member of a legion of people who now boast a dedicated fan base (his are called #Houghligans), willing to do anything to catch a glimpse of him.
I’ve seen Mike perform before, due to knowing him through a friend, but this show was by far his best. You could immediately tell that he just loves what he does, and despite the fact that he’d performed many gigs before, he still mentioned how he couldn’t believe people had actually paid to come and see him. Well, he better get used to it, because I have a feeling this was only the beginning.
Opening the show with a few tracks from his catalogue, such as ‘Hero‘ and ‘Nothing To Lose‘, Mike sang his way through fan favourites, with the help of two female backing singers and a band. The highlight has to be his utterly soulful 70’s/80’s esque medley, a fusion of MJ’s ‘Rock With You,’ ‘Chaka Khan’s ‘Aint Nobody’, with a little sprinkle of Luther Vandross, and Evelyn King complementing the mix. Of course, the crowd went absolutely nuts, you could even spot his dedicated mum having the time of her life at the front of the balcony. My favourite performance was definitely the acoustic ‘Lost In Love‘ however, the vocals on which were just absolutely ridiculous (I’ll be looking to download the full version when it’s out.)
Ending the show with the addictive ‘Better‘, Mike smashed his ways through an hour of various riffs and runs, hitting everything with accuracy like a magnetic dart to a metal pinboard (I was shaking my head wondering how they came out so effortlessly,) as an audience packed to the rafters, sang along to every word like a choir, “You’re gonna’ make me emotional, stop it,” he joked, before breaking the song down and thanking the audience, before leaving the stage. I remember how the girls at the front refused to leave the stage area for a good five minutes so, chanting “We want more,” because they wanted him to come back although the show had ended, even my friend stated that she thought “They’re gonna’ be there all night,” because they simply weren’t ready to leave.
It’s great to see people who work extremely hard, get what they want the most. From performing at small university gig, to supporting Brandy, MKS and JLS on their massive farewell arena tour, to finally selling out his very own show at the Jazz Café all in the space of what is actually, less than a year, Mike’s definitely on his way to the top.
I’ve said this before, but – the best is truly, yet to come.