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Neighbourhood Watch

Bolton & Manchester I’m Daniella Lubasu, more commonly known as DellaXOZ, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter and producer from Bolton in Greater Manchester. I’m quite a homebody, spending all my time in my room making and listening to music, but when I do go out and about, I’ve stumbled upon some cool places. Here are some of my highlights: Local radio station My town has a local radio station, Bolton FM. Inside, it has a quirky indie vibe, like a baby Radio X. It had been hiding in plain sight next to the market that I’ve been to hundreds of times but I actually never knew of its existence until I was around 15, when I randomly ended up doing work experience here. It’s an unpredictable little place — on the first day I walked in and one of the actors from a BBC3 show I loved was just casually sat there, which blew my mind. One of the things I love about Bolton is how random it can be, like P!NK choosing to do a massive show at the Bolton Stadium. At Radio X, one of the presenters Big H, had my classmate and I live on air to talk about her music, and he was so excited at the idea of us bringing our own music to the show to play. They’ve even had Blossoms, one of the biggest Northern bands of this generation on the show when they were tiny, to do an acoustic performance. I think more aspiring artists in and around Bolton should run into Bolton FM’s open arms; one day I want to go back and do a little set, for the full circle experience. Shopping Afflecks! It’s in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, and I don’t even know how to describe it. It’s like if the mall was alternative and indie, and all the cool kids go. Whenever I was on my break at college in Salford, I would get on the bus and end up in or around Affleck’s to waste time. There are so many mini stores in there, from the piercings shop to the animé café to record stores. It has a cinematic vibe and makes you feel like you’re in one of those cool British coming-of-age films like Spike Island or something. I love that us young people still have this cool collective place to go, like all the generations before us had. Also, there’s this big staircase that you walk down to exit, and the walls surrounding are just completely plastered with the posters of the most iconic Mancunian musicians alongside logos and gig posters, I would love to see a DellaXOZ addition on there one day. Music venues I love going to concerts in Manchester; I’ve always felt that the energy of a Northern crowd is unparalleled. One of my favourites, I’d say, is Albert Hall. I’ve seen some great acts there, like The Night Café and Declan McKenna. With all the fans packed in the middle of the room and the balcony above running all around, it just feels so alive. When lockdown ended, I took my sister to her first-ever gig here — my second-ever gig —, and our love for live shows became one of our biggest shared interests. I love music everywhere I am, but for many reasons, this city amplifies it; I always leave shows in Manchester feeling so energetic and musically inspired. I have to mention Victoria Warehouse in this too. I played my second-ever show here opening for The Wombats. With a capacity that big, this early into my career with the support of my siblings and cousins in the crowd, it has a really big place in my heart. Places to eat There’s this all-you-can-eat buffet called Cosmo’s in Deansgate. I went with my family when I was younger and again recently and I love it so much. You walk in and go up a spiral staircase and you enter the world of food; aisles and aisles of dishes from every culture you can think of, you just grab a plate and put whatever you want on. I sometimes treat my relationship with food like I do with my relationship with music – I can’t pick one style, so I’ll have them all! Kind of chaotic, but if you’re an indecisive, unfussy person like me you’ll love it. The 8/36/37 bus This is random, but there are three bus routes that connect my hometown Bolton to central Manchester; the 8, 36 or 37. In college, I inadvertently behaved like an angsty indie film character and would do things like get on the bus with no real destination in mind, just sitting and thinking and writing and listening to music. The bus is an underrated people-watching spot I feel — one of my songs ‘Where do I belong?’ was born from this environment, and I’d definitely recommend it as a top 5 location to songwrite. I’m not sure why inspiration comes naturally when you’re in a random location like that, but I kind of treat it like one of those tourist buses where you get to see the whole city. Depending on which direction you come from, you look out the window and can slowly watch the chaos of the city fade into the quiet of my town, or vice versa. It’s quite satisfying, you get the best of both worlds. DellaXOZ’s EP Dellairium is out now.
Words by DellaXOZ
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