2017 may have been the year that the internet labelled ‘the worst year ever’ and almost exploded from overload of angsty Facebook posts about the state of politics, world disasters and celeb slip-ups, but it did give us one good thing: Louis Berry. Or at least a few more tracks by him.

Who is Louis Berry? Short answer: your favourite new lad. Longer answer: if Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan (and a little splash of Led Zep) were a cocktail and you accidentally slipped a whole can of Redbull in. He lists his influences as the aforementioned Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan but also throws in the likes of Sam Cooke, The Stone Roses, Otis Redding and, oddly enough, Tupac. He isn’t just throwing legends in to make him sound knowledgeable and cool though, you can actually hear this exotic mix in his music: it’s got a distinct classic flavour but with an incredibly fresh and modern feel. It is stupidly exciting to finally have a young voice with such an evident appreciation of his musical predecessors and yet still able to play his own twist on them.

More than that though, his message is one of social progression and the voice of people that are too often brushed aside. His aim is to create music that people can connect with. Admittedly, that’s going to be difficult. Born and raised on the infamous Kirkby estate just outside Liverpool, his Dad was a heroin addict and Berry had to resort to whatever he could to make ends meet. It’s hardly a life most people can imagine. While his music is angry, gritty and honest (he puts his contemporaries like Jake Bugg to shame), it also has such a zest for life and his lyrics and gruff voice suggest a soul with a conscience and a sense of morality. Combine this with a cheeky Scouse charm and electric live performances and you’ve got yourself someone that people want to listen to and try to connect with.

In terms of 2018, I personally can’t wait. In regards to the new year, Berry says “listen people say this for hype ‘big things coming next year’, I’m not hyping f*ck all, this is the truth. Next year is change the game time.” Now all we know for certain is that he is playing Neighbourhood Weekender (26-27th May) alongside acts such as Jake Bugg, Editors and Kodaline. Hopefully ‘the game time’ will also include finally releasing that debut album he has been putting the final touches on and maybe a new tour. For now though we will have to make do with the tracks he has released so far. And if you don’t like that, I doubt he could care less. Which makes him even cooler.

Layla Davis, KCL Radio

Listen as Shock Radio’s Tom Hinckley met Louis at Leeds Festival 2017 for us.