Words: James Keith

I don’t care who you are, the inescapable truth is that MJ Cole defined an era. Often jazz, soulful, funky or all of the above, his signature sound is mercurial and hard to define, but instantly recognisable nonetheless. Even by itself, his breakout hit “Sincere” was a landmark moment in music that presented UK garage and 2-step as being sleek and stylish, and possessing limitless potential. A close ally and collaborator with other legends like Wookie, Todd Edwards, DJ Hype and the like, MJ Cole has been a mainstay in that level since the early 2000s, enjoying just as much success in the mainstream as the underground.

Often favouring to work with singers with big, room-filling soul voices like Digga, Laura Vane and Elizabeth Troy, Cole’s productions are just as much about the songwriting and the vocals as they are about filling a dancefloor. That’s not to say there’s anything predictable about MJ Cole or the types of artists he likes to work with. In 2017, he contributed some golden UKG rhythms to “Sweet Luv” from Avelino’s BULLSHIT project, teamed up with Kojey Radical for “Soak It Up” last year, and then earlier this year he created the surprising and blissful “Mercy” with jazz outfit Kudu Blue.

Despite having a career that spans three decades, MJ Cole is still as vital as ever. He’s still exploring new sounds and keeping his ear to the ground for new talents to work with. By now, it would be more than understandable if the producer wanted to fall back on retrospectives and reliving the classics, but instead he’s still pushing the boundaries, testing himself and breaking into new areas.

Here are 20 reasons to love MJ Cole.

Posted on September 27, 2019