BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP – launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17

BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham Review




Words by Ed King / Pics by Michelle Martin & Ed King

‘You’ve always had the power to go back…’

It’s here: the day in question, of reckoning, red letter. Call Me Unique is launching her Urban Gypsy II EP tonight, three years since its predecessor came off stage at The Yardbird, with a smorgasboard showcase at Mama Roux’s – the raw and raucous live music sponge in the Rainbow portfolio. And I’ve seen the running order; I kid you not there’s over ten artists joining Unique on stage, with an average of five minutes to perform and turn around. I’d make a joke, but it’s an important day.

Known for many years as the Girl-With-The-Guitar (and still on some bus routes) Call Me Unique has been frustratingly close to something for some time. Her combination of soul, rap, jazz, verse and scat, peppered with flecks of folk and bonfire laments, has BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Ed King - Birmingham Reviewbeen circling the thermals for a while; deserving of adulation beyond this city, whilst gaining some ground in London and Europe (based out of Budapest) Call Me Unique has sorely needed a win. Not a pat on the back, not a friend saying ‘well done’, a win. And the only way this was going to happen, to really happen, to happen in a way that would push this all forward, was the holy trinity: write, record, release.

So, no pressure then.

Walking into Mama Roux’s the first thing I notice are the numbers. Full room – check. Next are the people who make up those numbers – a regular line up of musicians and music professionals, with some healthy creative faces on the periphery to even things out. Then there’s what I can only assume are Mama Roux’s regular crowd or the throng that attend Digbeth Dining Club, with a handful trapped at two iron mesh tables by the front of the stage. I maybe address that one.BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Ed King - Birmingham Review

But before anyone can say ‘shall we sit upstairs’ the stage begins, with Unique and guests walking us through the EP that started ‘the Urban Gypsy Experience’ a handful of years ago. ‘Stranger’ is up first, with rappers Trademark Blud and Boy October (aka Christian Deveaux) giving some significant punch to my favourite track from Urban Gypsy I, before trading places with Kezia Soul and Simon Jnr for ‘Here’.

The eponymous track gets Lady Sanity and RTKal up on stage, always good to see, before the pinnacle performance of the first half from Jugganaut and Malik MD7 – bouncing ‘Bombs & Wars’ around the room and back again. So far this is going extremely well. Then Ed Geater and Affie Jam join Call Me Unique to perform ‘Sholow’, with Geater’s vocal leading the song in a memorable Bill Withers moment. It’s not often you see these three on stage without guitars in their hands; wouldn’t mind that happening again.

N.B. Ed Geater produced Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP, that’s why he is on stage tonight. All the other artists are here from love, affinity, involvement or love. Life is quite simple.

BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Ed King - Birmingham ReviewRound Two is a showcase of Urban Gypsy II, the full EP getting performed with a selection of guests – kicking off, as the god of track listing intended, with the dreamlike ‘Dreamers’. A surprisingly effective cover of ‘Genie in a Bottle’ comes up next, with a mix of vox pops and ‘eerie sounds’ taking us into ‘Birds’ – the second track from the EP in question.

The rib digging ‘Only Girl in Manville’ gets a darker delivery, as the band step back to let the words speak for themselves, before the first (noticeable, at least) slip up on a running order that could have been Chrystal Maze challenge. But without missing a beat, figuratively or literally, a quick crowd search then a “come on up here girl” pulls Tina Amana up on stage for the ‘Say My Name’ cover, who I haven’t seen with Unique since the Sun at the Station gig back in March 2015. It’s a beautiful silver lining, and represents the genuine love and support that fills up this room tonight. They even share a mic. Although that was more a technical issue than some crazed close quarter duet.BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Ed King - Birmingham Review

Leanne Louise is our next guest of honour, as her and Unique banter back and forth with ‘Hashtag’; no egos, a shared stage and joint presence. Job done. Then a journey back to the source with ‘The Wife’, before the final two tracks from Call Me Unique’s new EP, ‘Shoulda’ and ‘Ashon’, gets their turn in the spotlight tonight. There’s a lot of personal exposure on Urban Gypsy II but perhaps these two tracks are amongst the more visceral – challenging hypocritical fists in the former and honouring a ‘son who never got to breathe’ in the latter. But I’ll sum up the end of this set, of this gig, of this obstacle course release, in one word. Strength. Even with tears streaming down your face.

Call Me Unique has a few more to add anyway, with her standard call to “support local artists” getting sandwiched with a more mature declaration of strength. There’s that word again. But oddly, perhaps, perhaps not, it was the call to “make this our home” that I walk out of the venue carrying closest. The Yardbird was an important playground for BREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17 / Michelle Martin - Birmingham ReviewCall Me Unique and others; full of talent, ambition and garrulous endevour. It meant a lot to many. And whilst I’ve only been in Mama Roux’s a handful of times I’m old enough to see something unfolding itself here, tonight, with an honest soul at the centre. And I can all too easily be a cynic.

So go out and buy Urban Gypsy II, support your local music scene, support your local music venues. Do as she says. And someone, somewhere under the arches in Digbeth, with an address book and a diary, should start seriously clicking their heals together.

‘…there’s no place like home.’

Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP is out now, launched at Mama Roux’s on Friday 5th May. For more on Call Me Unique, including online sales of Urban Gypsy II, visit

For more from Mama Roux’s, including a full events programme and online ticket sales, visit

BPREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP – launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17

BPREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17Words by Ed King 

On Friday 5th May, Call Me Unique will launch her new Urban Gypsy II EP at Mama Roux’s.

Doors open at 8:30pm, with kicking out time bang on the witching hour. Entry is a curious ‘Pay as You Feel’, but it would be worth saving some shekles for a copy of the Urban Gypsy II EP itself which will be on sale for the first time on Friday. Plus there’s a bar and Digbeth Dining Club… For more direct gig info, click here.

That being said, you’re going to get more artists on stage than is probably good for you – so throwing some money at the rider bill might be a considerate gesture. Joining Call Me Unique will be Ed Geater, Leanne Louise, Malik MD7, Lady Sanity, Trademark Blud, Boy October (Christian Deveaux), RTKal, Keziasoul, Affie Jam, Juggernaut, Simon Jnr. Plus ‘a few surprises’, which could well be the fire department turning up to make sure there’s still room on stage.

It’s a local luminary love in, celebrating a new body of work from Call Me Unique getting its first on stage outing. And why not, damn it. Birmingham Review was there for the Urban Gypsy I EP launch in 2014 where the same good vibes and good will PACKED OUT The Yardbird on a cold Monday in January, and we’ve have been chomping at several bits for the past… three years, three months and eight days to hear the follow up. There’s an album lurking in the background somewhere too; big things this year, as the girl with the guitar grows ever closer to a more mature spotlight.

Urban Gypsy I was a storming EP; you can read my BREVIEW of the release here and the BREVIEW of The Yardbird launch party here. Its only misstep was not having an album to back it up. Time past, creative frustrations grew, Call Me Unique started building a significant fan base in mainland Europe and I honestly didn’t know if we’d get our second pound of flesh from this artist.

Then, eventually, a ZIP file of Urban Gypsy II lands in my inbox; I’ll admit more than a few nails didn’t make it that morning.

BPREVIEW: Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP - launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17Produced by Ed Geater, Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP is a ‘richer landscape’ than its predecessor, with 6 tracks (including the beautiful ‘Dreamers’ intro) of honest intent. Moments more ‘dark and brooding’, then mournful, are followed by a playful lilt and, ultimately, hope; there’s a definite step up in both the confidence and sound of this EP.

The content has matured too, with Call Me Unique shining a unashamed light on some deeply personal subject matter: domestic violence, ‘a son who never got to breathe’, love, the betrayal of love, fickleness, friendship, the fight for mental health, and above all a woman’s strength to stay in the game and smile whilst winning it. It’s beautiful, worth the wait, and as I said in my BREVIEW of the lead single ‘Shoulda’, brings a ‘proud treble clef tear to my eye’. Birmingham has some incredible talent at the moment, with Call Me Unique and her peers that appear on this EP being amongst the top strata. Proud is the word.

Ed Geater, a man whose name has been on this site a few times recently, has also mastered the production (if you’ll excuse the wording). Proving to be just as talented behind the glass as his is on stage, Geater’s work on Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP is exactly what you’d want from a producer – pulling the strong strands from an artist, getting them to own their own, then tying them together for the world to understand.

But you’ll get to see/hear for yourself soon enough. So hold on until the end of the week, get yourself to Mama Roux’s or the various online outlets, check out Urban Gypsy II, then watch all those eager years and crossed fingers start to fade… fade… fade… Just add album.

Call Me Unique’s Urban Gypsy II EP – launch night @ Mama Roux’s 05.05.17


Call Me Unique launches her Urban Gypsy II EP at Mama Roux’s on Friday 5th May – for direct gig info, click here. For more on Call Me Unique, visit


For more from Mama Roux’s, including a full events programme and online ticket sales, visit


BREVIEW: ‘Shoulda’ – Call Me Unique

BREVIEW: ‘Shoulda’ – Call Me Unique / By Andras ŐrsWords by Ed King

It’s been a few years since Call Me Unique released her Urban Gypsy EP – the sterling 7 track mark in the sand that got crossed fingers everywhere twitching for an album. But the world is not fairy-tale with lottery ticket trees, and life got in the way. Relationship, representation, repatriation… radio silence.

But today, Friday 7th April, in the year of our lord 2017, Call Me Unique has released ‘Shoulda’ – the first single off her upcoming Urban Gypsy II EP, set for release on 5th May. Hallelujah. And the big question lurking behind every word is… was it worth the wait?

Yes, is the short answer. But ‘I’ll tell you why’ is where it gets interesting. And as the 4min self declaration of self determination unfolds, you’ll probably get spikes down your spine to illustrate my point. Honesty. Ah… that seven letter word that Call Me Unique has had in bucket loads ever since we first heard her perform ‘The Wife’ on Radio WM. But ‘Shoulda’ is something different, something visceral; it’s tough about being tough. It’s about fuck you and survival, and just typing these words brings a proud treble clef tear to my eye. Go and listen to it and you’ll see/hear what I mean.

Dark and brooding, in all the best ways you can be, ‘Shoulda’ opens with echoed effects and muffled kick drums, before Unique’s tempered vocals set a steady pace and start telling their story. The tone is similar to Urban Gypsy I but there’s a richer landscape. Unique’s lyrics have matured in three years too – whatever girl was behind the raw six string wonders that first introduced us to this artist, now stands as a woman who doesn’t need to shout to be heard.

The pace, alongside the lyrics, is another step up. There’s a control to it, a bravery; even when the rap gets delivered there is no edge of ego. Everything in this track has its place because that’s how it works. Because that’s what she came here to say. Confidence.

A lot of this, I suspect, has come from the production partnership with Ed Geater who has stepped behind the glass for Urban Gypsy II. Geater has done the job a producer should do – find the power in an artist, bring it out of them and onto a record. You get the sense the rest of the EP is going to have some colourful twists in it too.

But these plaudits have been heard before and Call Me Unique is arguably not where she should or deserves to be. Yet. The quality and evolution of ‘Shoulda’ sets a solid precedent, but it needs to be followed with an EP and album that will confidently dust off the cobwebs. This should, no ‘a’, be a strong year for Call Me Unique. Next stop May 5th.

‘Shoulda’ – Call Me Unique












For more on Call Me Unique, visit