Dedicated to the ‘outliers’ that give the composition its title – those that inadvertently change other people’s points of view by standing up for what they believe in – Outliers is at least in part inspired by Mikey’s own life experience. It’s a reflection of how his worldview has changed as he’s grown up, going from being a young man concerned more with creativity than success, to someone who has received numerous plaudits and been invited to Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. It’s a piece that combines music, dance and video, as Mikey is joined by an ensemble of musicians, alongside elements of choreography from his Boy Blue partner Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy MBE.
Thematically, the piece reflects on major issues that have become a concern of Mikey J’s, with themes of race, class, gender and equality predominating. The premiere of Outliers was a part of the Barbican’s 2018 Season, The Art of Change, which explored how artists respond to, reflect and affect change in the social and political landscape.