Birmingham ‘Seoul’ sensation is big in South Korea

Despite lockdown travel restrictions, a Birmingham artist’s voice has reached across the seas with an official release in South Korea.

Anne-Marie Allen, age 33 from Birmingham, collaborated with K-Pop artist 30 year-old Nayu Gil (12Dal) to produce Covid-19 inspired track ‘Light Up’.

The cross-continental collaboration was arranged by Birmingham-based songwriter, artist and founder of the Songwall music platform, Brendan Poynton, who secured funding from the South Korean Government to create the track.

‘Light Up’, which is exclusively available in South Korea ahead of a UK release in April, was produced by Brendan and celebrated K-Pop producer 2Soo. The song combines both Korean and English lyrics and has been written in response to the Covid19 pandemic. All of the proceeds from the Korean release will be donated to the South Korean Covid-19 response.

Anne-Marie, who is a charity coordinator at a Birmingham homeless hostel, has been writing songs since the age of 14, but it was only in the last four years that she started singing professionally.

Known for her soulful R&B style, Anne-Marie proved a hit in venues across the UK and Germany pre-lockdown, but this latest release could see fans having to travel to Seoul rather than Selly Oak to see her perform.

Anne-Marie said: “This whole experience has been absolutely incredible. As an independent singer-songwriter I never dreamed that I’d have an international release to my name so early on in my professional career. Brendan and Songwall’s support has been absolutely phenomenal.”

She continued: “I was a little nervous about the collaboration at first, as my style of music is very different from K-Pop. I like to combine upbeat melodies with quite dark and in-depth lyrics. When I heard the beat and started working with Brendan, 12Dal and 2Soo on the lyrics, however, I soon realised that what we were creating was completely unique.”

Music promoter and Songwall founder, Brendan Poynton said: “This truly was a unique and fascinating experience. ‘Light Up’ is a direct response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The lyrics focus on the coming together of humanity to fight this virus and finding hope in adversity.

“Live performance is an absolutely essential part of any independent artist’s career. Lockdown has, by necessity, brought an end to that.”

“While in the UK the response from Government has been to push through advertisements encouraging artists to retrain, South Korea has recognised the huge contribution that arts and culture make to their economy and have found ways to support the industry. It has been fantastic to be able to play a small part in that, but it’s a real shame that we’re not seeing similar homegrown support for artists from our own Government.”

It is hoped that this will be just the beginning of a series of cross-country collaborations for unsigned UK artists after Songwall founder Brendan signed a three-year exclusive partnership deal with Korean music and events company LivelyC.

The Songwall founder is also developing an app that will make cross-country collaborations a lot easier and allow independent UK artists to access international markets.

Artists or music fans interested in finding out more can sign up for free to Songwall at: or follow Brendan and Songwall on Facebook, Instagram YouTube or LinkedIn. ‘Light Up’ can be streamed on YouTube via: