Live Playlist Unsigned Sessions

PizzaExpress Live (Holborn)

Every week in selected PizzaExpress restaurants, for the past two years, our Live Playlist musicians have been entertaining guests up and down the country. Unsigned Sessions takes this to the next level, giving four different acts a chance to showcase their own material in front of industry and audiences in London. Come to see tomorrow’s biggest stars as they begin their journey to fame! May show with Jules Rendell + Graham J.


Book tickets for Live Playlist Unsigned Sessions


28th May

Jules Rendell + Graham J.

Jules Rendell
Soul-pop artist Jules Rendell showcases her new material from forthcoming album, ‘Imagine’ in May’s Live Playlist Sessions. Making music “that pours with instrumentality, and melds well with her tender, almost airy voice,” ( she has allowed her soul, jazz and gospel roots to be further influenced by an electronic edge, creating city-life soundscapes that reflect life in the capital. Rendell made London her home a decade ago, where she has been honing her craft as a singer, songwriter, vocal arranger and backing vocalist (JP Cooper, Lizzie Deane, X Factor, Gorillaz to name a few). Her live performances include a sell out show at the London Hippodrome, the Pheasantry, O2 Islington, Manchester Academy and on Robert Elms BBC London show. TV credits include London Live, OH TV, Songs of Praise, BBC 1Xtra live session (with vocal group Get Gospel) and a placement on US feature film, ‘The Father’s Love’ for her song ‘Thank You’.

“Certainly a very soulful sound with an ethereal edge.”
- Robert Elms, BBC London

“Very soulful. Nice job!”
- Candi Staton

''Her debut EP, The Lotus Bloom, is out and shows she's an intelligent, diverse artist who has something to say.'’

'‘If you like something more refined, more soulful and day I say it poetic Jules Rendell has released just the EP for you, The Lotus Bloom is a subtle yet enchanting EP by a performer who oozes soul and sophistication.'’
- Rhythm and Booze

“Jules’ five-track EP, The Lotus Bloom, puts her somewhere near Minnie Riperton in style: not for her the belt-it-out and snarl approach, more the exquisitely measured, deftly placed emotional squeeze of someone who’s interested in delivering you the message in the song.”
- Echoes magazine

Graham J.
Graham is a Dubliner with a unique vocal talent. He played on Sue Marchant’s BBC Cambridge show earlier in the year and has also appeared live on BBC Coventry this year as well as numerous Irish Radio stations. Blues Matters said about one of his 2017 singles “…the vocals and musicianship are outstanding and the whole things engulfs you at times”, while Paul Coia at BBC Berkshire said “Graham was an absolute joy and is clearly a massive talent”. On his debut album Wild Is... Graham explores elements of jazz, blues, classical and alternative contemporary. The avant-garde, almost vaudevillian, presentation underlies themes of evolution and transformation which define the work. The strictures of Graham's extensive operatic career as a rarely found tenore contraltino, though strongly acknowledged, are overthrown by his love of a broader breadth of influences including Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey and Karen Carpenter. A sense of mourning, loss and ultimately resolution permeate Graham's choice of repertoire echoing the work of truly indefinable characters like Rufus Wainright, Antony and the Johnsons, Bjork.

“…wouldn’t be out of place in a Lloyd-Webber blockbuster musical”
- Maverick Magazine

“Numbers like ‘Summertime’ found Norton riffing and flouting vocal feathers over swanky jazz arrangements”
- The Thin Air


25th June

Lee Noble partners with PizzaExpress Live to present some of the most exciting new music London has to offer. Discover truly exceptional live artists with us tonight:

The Blackheart Orchestra + Freesoul Familia + Lanterns + Dana Ali

The Blackheart Orchestra
Described by Rock Society magazine as “One of the most extraordinary female voices singing anywhere” and by Genesis Legend Steve Hackett as “Beautiful, powerful and inspiring” award-winning British songwriters, composers and multi-instrumentalists Chrissy Mostyn and Rick Pilkington are The Blackheart Orchestra.
The pioneering duo blend musical styles seamlessly sidestepping boundaries to create music huge enough to fill a cathedral. Well known for producing music beyond all easily marketed genres, their multi-instrumental sonic landscapes have always been too unpredictable for pop, too adventurous for the mainstream and too plain weird for folk. Fusing acoustic fragility and electronica, The Blackheart Orchestra bring together stringed instruments with 80’s synthesisers and classical influences. One moment their sound is minimal and molecular, the next a mountain-like wall of sound with vast symphonic climaxes.
Their four critically acclaimed albums and mesmerising live shows have won them obsessive worldwide fans, plaudits from musical giants and placements on TV commercials and films. Chrissy Mostyn’s haunting vocals, the Mike Oldfield-like multi-instrumental playing of Rick Pilkington plus their fearless combination of conventional and unconventional all reflect their self-created universe where art meets sound and words paint pictures that take you with them on their deep musical journey into the human psyche.

“The band’s fresh new sound is delicate and fragrant” PROG Magazine

“Their songs are all stand-alone masterpieces” Fatea Magazine

“A mesmerizing powerhouse – Mostyn’s vocals are a force to be reckoned with” XUNE MAG

“Expect the unexpected, a refreshing lack of boundaries” Louder Than War

Freesoul Familia
This new seven-piece outfit has crafted a life of its own, thanks to their blend of rhythms and commanding stage presence. The exceptional voice of front woman Dee Gomez take's their fusion of Latin, soul, funk and hip-hop to next level vibes. Freesoul Familia combine the forces of 7 exquisitely talented musicians to create a galaxy of grooves, visceral vibes and invite you all to be immersed in their world. A collective that truly has to be seen to be believed, fusing jazz, funk, neo soul and Latin influences to captivate, elevate and inspire. Each individual member of the Familia enthrals in their own right, combined they are a phenomenon. Dee Gomez has taken Bristol by storm with her exceptionally powerful vocal range, control and soul, Hal Sutherland defies belief with his piano fortitude, Alfie Grieve and Rustom Jhavieri embellish exquisitely with trumpet and Alto saxophone, Joe Wilkinson personifies the pulse on drums, Sam Fox's bass grooves gratify every need and Jerome Gamble seals the deal on the guitar with his masterful ear for melodic magic

Lanterns (Jana Vargova) is a London-based singer-songwriter. Originally from Slovakia with roots in classical music, this versatile musician combines the personal storytelling of Joni Mitchell with unexpected harmonies and melodic rock (Sting, Radiohead). Her songs are little stories from a world of self-reflection, loss and gain, roaming and searching for home and fascination with the unknown. Having found herself on the local jazz scene, she put together the finest talent of musicians, bringing specific sound to the project. They have been performing across London venues such as The Troubadour, Sofar Sounds, Mau Mau Bar…Lanterns draws inspiration from personal events in her life and poetry. When it comes to storytelling, the influence of traditional Slovak folk tales is nestled underneath the landscape of catchy folk-rock choruses and unexpected harmonies. Just when you think you know where the song will take you, Lanterns suddenly changes course. The band is currently in the studio working on their debut EP, expecting a release this coming autumn.

Dana Ali
Dana is an American Neo Soul artist, singer songwriter from Atlanta, GA USA. She has crossed the waters to the United Kingdom with her bass player Dave Hewitt (Babe Ruth fame). Together they have cowritten songs which have been recorded, in Nashville, USA and in the U.K. Ali and Hewitt formed the Dana Ali band, taking elements of Soul, Jazz, Blues and R&B with Latin and Funk Rhythms to create a fresh and distinctive sound.


30th July

Steve Marano + Elliot Porter + Evert Outen

Steve Marano 
Country/Folk & Blues Influenced artist - writes heartfelt soulful catchy sing along songs that stick in your mind. Performances include a tour of Nashville, Tennessee and west coast USA a 5 year stint of the main stages at Guilfest Music Festival. A tour of Australia with a self-funded recording project with band Hank.

Independent releases include Jacksons Corner & Devil is a bullet. Currently working on a new recording project with top producer Mick Boggis who has  worked on many blockbuster hit films and with all the greats. Entitled "BrickLane" the intent is for a non digital Vinyl only release. 11 new tracks which cover the normal romantic topics but also address current political problems we face. Hopefully this album will help break down recent barriers that are being built and help change peoples perception  for the better of  what's really happening in the world today.

Elliot Porter
Elliot Porter is a singer songwriter based in Cambridge in the U.K who has just finished recording a new album. Inspired by songwriters including Damien Rice, Glen Hansard and Neil Young, Elliot Porter self-produces, blending emotive and powerful chord arrangements with catchy tunes and strong vocals.
Elliot’s debut E.P 'Sleeping Under The Stars', November 2012, includes the track ‘She Only Goes’ which immediately went to number one spot on Cambridge 105FM’s unsigned chart where it held top position for 13 weeks. Elliot reached the area finals of the Open Mic UK Competition.
Elliot was nominated for Best Male Solo Artist at The Cambridge NMG Awards and appeared on their charity Christmas single, which received Radio airplay from BBC Introducing.
Elliot toured the UK in the summer of 2015, returning home to another NMG Award nomination. His E.P Keep Going was released on 23 November 2015.
Since then he has secured radio play from BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 2 and made a host of festival appearances including ‘How The Light Get’s in and Homegrown Festival’ whilst also touring the country again in October 2016 and 17. 
2018 see's Elliot release his debut album, again produced by Dave Gerard and featuring some stellar musicians and a summer tour.

''Confident, warm and very beautiful''
Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2 on 'Keep Going'.  

“Elliot Porter’s music is beautiful with lovely Lennon and Damien Rice-esque melodies that stay with you and touch the soul”. 
Lonely Oak Radio