I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been a fan of The X Factor.  There, I said it.  As a musician and someone who’s pretty opposed to the mainstream, I don’t like how the show seems to generally dispose of those with real talent in favour of mass marketability; all too often promising artists are broken and thrown to the way side.

Imagine my surprise when a former contestant turns up in my inbox requesting that an article be written on his new release! Dez Mensa, formerly of The Risk from series 8 of The X Factor, has started making his own moves and has recently being signed to citadel music group. A brand new independent label based in Birmingham focusing on building immaculate talent.

Seeking to push out as a solo singer/songwriter/rapper, he brings us his single “Way Too Drunk”. So how does it fare?

The title kind of says it all.  A song written about getting up in the club and ending up ever so slightly too “turnt”, the beat’s typical of the new wave of club focused R’n’B, with punchy drum patterns, catchy basslines, and simple but effective synth melody.  The track could easily be slipped into a set with more established artists without any disturbance and it would definitely maintain the vibe – a potential club banger. Produced by Birmingham’s own Dynamiks, it’s a sure fire summer hit that would still have you hooked at Christmas.

Vocally, I’m pretty impressed. Dez Mensa has some good harmonies at work here and he’s written a really good example of a crossover record: raw enough for the club, but still radio friendly, it’s a good single and the visual should be a lot of fun to film.  I don’t really have any complaints about the track, but I’m not the biggest fan of turn up music.  However, I can definitely see the appeal of this as a single.  It’s simple, appealing, and has a decent degree of replay value – for a while.

Whatever this serves as the vanguard for should contain a solid degree of substance to reinforce and bolster the more material light tracks.  When put in the context of an EP or LP, some collaborations could either help or hinder – if Dez Mensa chooses well, it could go down so sweetly.  Also, in hearing that he’s a rapper I’d want to hear some songs that are straight bars too, but not in the style of Drake et al, but instead taking a page out of L. Marshall’s book, maybe.

Derry has recently being signed to citadel music group. A brand new independent label based in Birmingham focusing on building immaculate talent.

All in all, I’m not quite a fan yet, but my attention is piqued.  It’s an all round solid single and I am curious what comes next.  I reckon this will go down really well live as a closer to a show, or an opener to get the crowd pumped.  For now, it seems that going solo has begun to pay off for Dez Mensa and with over 200 shows post X Factor. Give it a listen, see what you think.

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