DL21 at Hole in the Wall, Darlington, with Smoove

The musician – known to everyone as Smoove – will headline the free entry DL21 Pay What You Want event at the Hole In The Wall pub.

DL21 is the brainchild of Darlington-based DJ James Watson – also known as Mr Watson.

His monthly radio show is recorded in Darlington and broadcast on Method Radio (Newcastle), Soul Roots Radio (London) and The Face Radio (Brooklyn, New York).

Mr Watson, who has lived in Darlington for 17 years and says he “loves the town”, has helped promote several events at The Forum music venue and the town center.

He partnered with Darlington Borough Council to host the first DL21 event in the market square this summer, bringing together soul, funk bands and DJs.

Now Mr Watson has teamed up with Darlington For Culture and The Hole In The Wall for his next event, bringing Smoove to Darlington on Friday November 10th.

The Northern Echo: Smoove has been a DJ for three decades and will be taking to the stage in Darlington

Sunderland-born Smoove will headline the evening, supported by Darlington-based DJs Dave Oliver and “Tosh”.

Smoove’s love for music began decades ago when he first heard a new musical art form.

“I was lucky enough to witness the beginnings of hip-hop,” he says.

“I was more fascinated by the music than the lyrics and rap. I found that interesting.”

He discovered new artists through the art of sampling and performing in clubs, adding: “I wanted to make music with records. I realized I could make a living at it, so I started doing it. I ended up traveling all over the world – to Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and more.”

A radio show followed and when travel became less, he founded the soul and funk band Smoove & Turrell with singer John Turrell in 2009.

The Northern Echo: Smoove has traveled around the world performing and has been supported by Craig CharlesSmoove has traveled around the world performing and has been supported by Craig Charles (Image: MR WATSON)

Their first track, “I Can’t Give You Up”, was recorded at keyboardist Mike Porter’s house and was so popular in the underground mod and northern soul scenes that all of the first 500 pressings of the record sold out – they changed hands for up to 500 euros and £160.

They developed into a full soul band and were supported on the radio by Craig Charles. They gained confidence and popularity and now have several studio albums and a loyal live fan base behind them.

Smoove and Turrell recently sold out The Forum in Darlington and their new album Red Ellen has just been released.

To celebrate the new album, Smoove aired his Trunk of Funk DJ mix on the BBC 6Music show hosted by Smoove’s friend Craig Charles on Saturday (October 28).

Today, Smoove is an international DJ, record label boss, re-mixer and live performer with his own weekly radio show – The Northern Coal Experience – and has supported his long-time friend Mr. Watson in many of his endeavors, and he was only too happy to oblige , agreeing to headline the Hole In The Wall set – after returning from DJing in Dubai.

Visitors to the Darlington event can expect a varied program. Over the years, Smoove’s musical tastes have expanded – first thanks to discovering artists such as Van Morrison, Cat Stevens and Jimi Hendrix through his father’s record collection, and then through sampling artists.

He discovered his love for the disco scene, which has now developed into “New Disco” – a fusion of house and original disco.

“That kind of sound plays a big role in my set now,” he says. “But I like everything from jazz to rock, funk to folk and everything in between.”

Mr Watson said: “I love music and love bringing great artists to the city. It’s a great feeling when my radio show is brought to life by live bands or DJs.

The Northern Echo: James Watson - also known as Mr Watson - has lived in Darlington for 17 years and has sponsored several events in the townJames Watson – also known as Mr Watson – has lived in Darlington for 17 years and has sponsored several events in the town (Image: MR WATSON)

“Darlington for Culture and The Hole In The Wall did a great job of funding and promoting the event.”

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“This is a community DJ event with some fantastic support sets from Darlingtoners Dave Oliver and Tosh, followed by Smoove on the decks.”

“If visitors like it and want to contribute to the evening, the money goes straight back into the next event.”

  • DL21 takes place on Friday November 10th from 7am to midnight at Hole In The Wall, Market Square, Darlington. Free entry (pay what you want).

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