The Philharmonia Orchestra has announced British-Ugandan Artist, Songwriter and Producer Love Ssega – founding songwriter and lead vocalist of Grammy Award-winning Clean Bandit – as their Artist in Residence for 2022-3. Launched in 2020, the residency programme is a collaboration between the Philharmonia and a highly acclaimed artist from a non-classical tradition, which explores and celebrates the fusion of two differing art forms, tapping into new ways of creating musically expressive experiences for live and digital audiences. The project will culminate at the end of the current Philharmonia season in June 2023. Love Ssega follows previous Artist in Residence House of Absolute, a collective of artists, dancers and musicians working across Hip Hop, theatre, live art and film.
Love Ssega, Artist in Residence, Philharmonia Orchestra said: “All musicians dream of working with orchestras, therefore it is an incredible honour and privilege to have an entire year with Philharmonia as their Artist In Residence. Having started off as a pop musician sampling string quartets, this feels like reaching a personal goal on a long artistic journey. Music can change the world, so I am delighted that with Philharmonia I can create newer, bigger pieces of art that can engage new audiences and speak to the biggest issue of our time in the climate crisis.”
The Philharmonia, which has a reputation for innovation, from virtual reality and digital installations through to artist collaborations, will work closely with Love Ssega throughout his residency, to combine his pop inspired style with their orchestral sound, collaboratively and artistically exploring themes that link together climate change and social justice.
London-born Love Ssega has built a varied career collaborating across art forms. His music blends a mix of New Wave, 80s Hip-Hop, African polyrhythms and NYC Disco into smart modern Pop and has been played all over the world and across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 3 and BBC 6Music. Love Ssega has performed at festivals from Glastonbury to Lake Of Stars, Malawi to Strawberry Festival, China. As a diverse and varied solo artist, his performance pieces have been commissioned by National Gallery and Serpentine Pavilion, with visual art shown at MoMA PS1 in New York with Slow Factory. His work as original frontman and founding songwriter for Clean Bandit landed in the UK charts and has also been performed globally. In 2018/19 Love Ssega was British Council and PRS Foundation’s Musician in Residence for China.
The multi-arts 2021 commission “Airs of the South Circular” by Love Ssega, highlighting the impact of air on the Black community in South London, reached 100,000 of his local London Borough of Lewisham’s 300,000 residents and saw him featured in YouTube Originals series “Seat At The Table” alongside Sir David Attenborough and President Barack Obama. His subsequent Live + Breathe campaign in Southwark and Lambeth saw Love Ssega collaborate with local community groups in the two boroughs and also record a new piece “Capes For Blue Skies” with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
As a result of his creative work and advocacy, Love Ssega was invited to speak at United Nations COP26 in Glasgow and recently by the New York Times for Climate Forward. Love Ssega is currently a Trustee of Shadwell Opera, Brian Eno-led music climate initiative EarthPercent and was also awarded the Arts Foundation Music For Change Fellowship in 2022.
Teddy Prout, Director of Learning & Engagement, Philharmonia Orchestra said: “We are delighted to be working with Love Ssega for his upcoming residency. We are hugely excited to see how he will combine his pop inspired style with our orchestral sound, working with the musicians in a novel way, and to see how the journey develops over the year.”
Thorben Dittes, Chief Executive, Philharmonia Orchestra said: “I very much look forward to seeing the results of Love Ssega’s residency with the Orchestra – his unique sound world and areas of artistic interest are bound to spark an inspired response from Philharmonia musicians.”