Photography | Alexander Henshaw
Described as having “a distinctive approach to storytelling” and whose music has “a thoroughgoing disregard for genre” (Pinkwafer.club), Millicent B James is an award-winning composer, arranger, performer and artist who combines gospel, jazz cinematic and afro-futurism to create a myriad of sonorities in her music.
Millicent has been commissioned by the BBC to arrange three pieces for BBC Radio 2’s Piano Room Session with Lemar. She conducted the BBC Concert Orchestra at the BBC Maida Vale Studios in London. She recently performed her new commission “Come Show Them the River” with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, where it received high praise from the Guardian and the Telegraph, resulting in a 4-star review from both.
Her music has also been commissioned by the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group for the Commonwealth Games Festival 2022, Sister Music, NMC Recordings, Spitalfields Music Festival, Manasamitra Mentoring Scheme and National Youth Choirs of Great Britain as part of the Young Composer’s Scheme 2023.
As a multi-faceted musician, Millicent continues to perform her compositions and performs with her band based in Birmingham, UK. Millicent has always been interested in her Jamaican family heritage, her origin story, the depths of the human imagination (evidenced by the works of Japanese Animator Hayao Miyazaki - Studio Ghibli) African Mythology as well as Cultural Anthropology which continues to inspire her music-making. Moyo, Vol. 1 (2020) & Moyo, Vol. 2 (2021) are self-released EPs which highlight these interests.
Millicent enjoys collaborative work and writing for media projects and in 2021, worked closely with animators such as Ilaina Lowe and Alice Harper on an animated music video featured on her second EP, Moyo, Vol. 2. She has also worked with video game developers, ensembles/chamber groups, jazz bands, dancers and musicians such as Xhosa Cole, Germa Adan, Wildforms, NAMYWA, Rowland Sutherland, Tunde Jegede and Andy Ingamells.
In 2017, Millicent received a scholarship to study Music Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she graduated with a First-Class Bachelor of Music with Honours Degree and was awarded the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Composition Prize in 2021. She received tuition from prominent composers such as Errollyn Wallen, Andrew Toovey, Joe Cutler, Trish Clowes and Richard Ayres.
"irresistible gospel and soul"
"modernist complexity with gospel-ish intensity"
“truly cinematic, evocative and compelling”
"a thoroughgoing disregard for genre makes for an unbridled ride"
"She has seamlessly interwoven a myriad of sounds, drawing inspiration from gospel, jazz, soul, contemporary classical, ambient and afro music, and the result is truly outstanding"
"Her lyrics are beautiful and the vocal delivery interacts with the instruments on an impressive level."
The Jazz Loop