Akse has painted a tribute to singer Denise Johnson in Hulme

'Our girl is on the streets where she grew up'

Graffiti artist Akse has painted a tribute to Denise Johnson in Hulme, just before the release of her posthumous album Where Does It Go this Friday 2nd October.

“We’re totally stunned into silence,” said Denise’s family about the portrait at Niamos radical arts and music cultural centre.

“Really cannot find words for how brilliant this is. We’re genuinely lost for words in the nicest sense”.

BBC producer and close friend of Denise, Natalie-Eve Williams tweeted: “Our girl is on the streets where she grew up. Cannot thank you enough @Akse_P19 for your kindness and generosity”.

When the news broke on 27th July that Denise Johnson, one of Manchester’s most talented and cherished singers, had died, so much love poured out for her from across the world. 

Her stunning voice can be heard on many iconic singles and albums over the last 30 years.

Denise is best known for the two albums she recorded and toured with Primal Scream in the 1990s, Screamadelica and Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Others include New Order, Johnny Marr, The Charlatans, Michael Hutchence, 808 State, Electronic, Bernard Butler, Ian Brown, The Waterboys and A Certain Ratio – whose album released later this month will also feature Denise.

Denise had been working on her debut album before she passed away, which means it will now be a posthumous release when it comes out on Friday 2nd October. 

Denise Johnson
Denise Johnson (credit: Danny Bird)

The album is acoustic, just Denise’s vocals and an acoustic guitar – apart from Steal Me Easy which has an organ – it was near completion, mastering and cover images and design were signed off. 

Denise’s delight at finally getting it to the point of release was immense. She was hugely proud of this album, and responses to her twitter comments about it show that this was going to be an incredibly well-received record.

Akse (pronounced- Ack-seh) is a French-born graffiti artist of Vietnamese heritage, based in Manchester since 1997. Akse started painting in 1992 and is a member of the P19 Graffiti Crew.

Over the last few years, Akse has focused on freehand HD photo-realism graffiti portraits. His work around Manchester always commands people’s attention and often reflects the social, political and cultural mood of the city. 

Akse is regularly commissioned to produce permanent artwork for private clients and businesses, but his more high profile murals regularly appear and then disappear from the walls and hoardings around the city.


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