Saturday Afternoon Artist: Plan B

Plan B is a UK soul artist whose import CD “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” just dropped in the US this week.  He’s big across the pond, but new to most Americans.  This Saturday night he’s playing Chop Suey with his band. Am guessing this will be your last chance to see him in such an intimate venue with cheap tickets. I guarantee next time around they’ll be at a much bigger venue… so this is the inside scoop, early.

Ben Drew, a.k.a. Plan B, grew up listening to Michael Jackson and later got into hip-hop, punk and groups like The Prodigy.  He loved singing Motown and soul, but felt he was really listened to more when he started rapping.

So he pulled stories from his own life and, inspired by Eminem, spit them over beats.  His first record “Who Needs Action When You Got Words” was all about growing up in East London.  The notoriety he got from rapping helped him land some acting jobs in movies. He also started doing soundtrack work.

On the new second album “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” Drew goes back to his love of soul music.   But he keeps the storytelling.  The songs are about a well-dressed singer who becomes successful, only to find himself arrested and put in prison for a crime he’s innocent of.

Plan B just recently won big at the 2011 Brit Awards, voted Best Male Solo Artist.  And pop legend Elton John said, “He’s a 27 year old white boy who has the voice of Smokey Robinson”. This week on Saturday’s show, I’ll play 3 songs from Plan B’s new record. And hopefully will see you at the show that night at Chop Suey!

Michele Myers spins every Saturday on KEXP from 3-6pm. Every week she plays 3-in-a-row from the Saturday Afternoon Artist. She is the creator of KEXP Documentaries and hosts Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 6-9am on KEXP’s sister NPR station WNYE 91.5FM in New York City.

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