There For You
There For You is available at:
January 21st, 2016
BEING in the middle of planning a new radio station…
I am looking about for some great solo artists that could (theoretically) be featured. I find myself going back to band music and older sounds. When it comes to modern artists, there are still far too few great acts emerging- those that do things differently. Before reaching my featured artist, it is worth looking at the value of radio these days; the continuing output of great Yorkshire artists- finishing with a bit about male solo artists. To begin, it has come to my attention how few people (my age at least) are invested in radio these days. It seems the Internet- SoundCloud, YouTube etc. – is a more popular option when listening to new music. Most people prefer to stick to their own song selections: Few actually take the time to listen to the radio and investigate what they have on offer. If you think about the mainstream radio stations playing from London- Capital F.M., X Radio etc. – do they really reflect the tastes of the general public? I know stations have a target audience and have to conform to those guidelines- it seems there are few options for those who like their music more cutting-edge. Away from the more Pop-friendly stations, there are few genuinely fascinating radio stations. Absolute Radio is my favourite for a good reason: They play a great range of music and have presenters passionate about the songs they play. You have to look at the ‘lesser’ players- the up-and-coming stations that have fewer confines- to get a better spread of music. One of the biggest drawbacks of modern radio is how little-unsigned music is featured. Sure, some of the smaller stations dedicated time to the under-the-radar acts: Commercial stations tend to stick to the mainstream and popular. It is harder for a musician to get their songs heard across the airwaves- local radio is an option I guess. There are some phenomenal new bands and solo artists coming through that struggle to get their songs championed. Whilst there is a mass of acts coming through- how do you get to focus on the most worthy artists? – there needs to be more done to showcase some of the best out there. Scott Quinn has management behind him and has established a dedicated fan-base. To my mind, Quinn should get his music spread a little wider and further. It is great to see an ambitious young artist come through that overturns my skepticism about the solo market. I have heard too many artists that do not stay in the mind and do not simply install enough originality and passion into the songs. Quinn (on paper at least) might strike you as your average solo artists: When you dig deeper there is a much more to him that meets the eye. From the unique and impassioned voice; the songs that tackle love in a new light- there is something fresh about our hero. It is no surprise to see Yorkshire produce yet another wonderful musician.
Recently, I have been immersed in London and the musicians coming forth- I will be in Yorkshire and Scotland for the new week of reviewing by-and-large- so it is great to come back to a very prosperous county. Although London is leading the current charge- when considering the most diverse and stunning acts around- Yorkshire by no means a slouch. I have often speculated the reason behind Yorkshire’s consistency and quality. Perhaps there is less stress and hustle (compared to London) or a lack of expectations. When interviewing bands from the county, I asked that question. When answering, you get a clear conclusion: Less anxiety and a supportive network of musicians results in a prosperous scene. What I love about Yorkshire- among many reasons- is the sheer range of music that you can find. Other parts of the U.K. are diverse: Yorkshire acts go a lot further and take more care to ensure their output is as original and surprising as possible. The bands have that extra urgency and variegation; solo acts revoke the wonders of ‘30/’40s Swing- into a retro. blend of Pop and Electro.- whilst the Rock/Pop-led solo acts distinguish themselves from the pack. I always take a deep breath when it comes to a new male solo act: It is a patchy affair and often challenging finding one that differs from the James Bay/Ed Sheeran blandness of the mainstream. If you are talking about love and heartache- themes musicians need to move on from and expand their horizons- it is here you get some rather samey and forgettable moments. Luckily, and showing true promise, Scott Quinn has very in little with the maligned Pop stars of the charts. Quinn’s subjects often look at love, heartache relationships: He tackles these issues with enough personality, difference and urgency to ensure he does not fall into the traps of his lesser peers. Having a look back at his previous work- his Lust Game E.P. for instance- you have a young man who wants to stay in music for years to come. In each track, you cannot escape that commitment and soulfulness. Being compared with some of the best, older solo acts- a talent to keep your eye on. The main reason Quinn appeals to me is the way he backs up his lyrics and vocals: Those highly-charged and atmospheric compositions are a scintillating mix of beats and electronics. I think that is a way to elevate and improve songs about love and loss: Add those crackling and edgy backdrops and ensure the vocal has enough heart and soul. Quinn is a performer that sits alongside the most impressive and notable young talents emerging right now. His lyrics reflect universality and a shared pain: Issues that deal with break-ups; wondering where home is and assessing the world around him. Not willing to stick to tried-and-tested subject; there’s wide-ranging reach and something irrefutably special at work.
It wasn’t until I started getting into There For You– I thought this was the debut song from him- that I noticed Quinn had already released an E.P. I had to go to his SoundCloud page- I would highlight this across Facebook more- that I got to check his previous offerings. What struck me about the E.P.- his Lust Game E.P.– was the conviction and confidence right from the start. The title track spares no time in getting to work and evoking some stunning compositional sounds. Whirring and machine-like sounds boast a vocal that brims with heartache and passion. Many will be reminded of Sam Smith- the soulful and Blues concoctions- but Quinn is very much distinct. A catchy chorus- that looks at losing the heart of the girl- sees our man confused and lost. That drive and wave- the vocal has a restless energy and wonderful projection- ensures the song gets into the mind and provokes sing-along. Our hero wants his girl back and misses her touch. Whatever has caused the break-down burns hard and has left its scars. A wonderfully accomplished song that is endlessly memorable and impressive: That ambitious and edgy composition is the perfect backing for a lush and heartfelt vocal. Changing course and throwing surprises into the mix- you can never predict where it will head next- it is a wonderful track.
The City and Guess This Could Be boast more of the same qualities. The former has that rushing and head-spinning introduction. Pining for a girl once more- when she is all alone our man should be in her mind- we look at the cessation of a relationship. Maybe there is blame and recrimination- some issues that have not been worked through- there is imbalance and mixed motives from the start. Our hero is running through the city looking for answers. A Gospel-cum-Soul backing vocal- putting me in mind of the best harmonies I have heard- enforces that urgency and attack. The ghost of the girl lingers and is still in his soul. Guess This Could Be begins more gently and has a charming introduction. The vocal is more relaxed- backed by finger-clicked beats and a sparseness- it is one of the most soulful and honey-dripping vocals from Quinn. Recalling Michael Jackson, Boyz II Men and Marvin Gaye: A match for the best male voices over the last few decades. The backing vocals- whether Quinn alone or joined by other singers- augments the lyrics and sends shivers to the back of the neck. The song looks at the possibility of love- this feeling that is inside- and sees our man dancing with the girl. He needs to catch his breath and slow things down. Showing mature and control- needing to take time and not rush to the bedroom- it shows another side to Quinn.
There For You continues that mature lover-man bravery- a gentleman that wants a true and noble connection- you get more of that insatiable sweat and soulfulness come through. There have been no big departures from Lust Game E.P.– no need when the material was that strong- but if anything, the quality has gone up. The production and sound is as rich and polished as ever- allowing edge and rawness to come out too- but the vocals seem even more gripping and rounded. Quinn is an original voice that has elements of past masters: On his latest track, he mixes contemporary Pop with Soul of the ‘70s- topped off with some deliciously pure and sweet undertones. Being a sapling artist, any major shift would alienate and confuse existing sounds. What we have is a natural step and a reliably strong song and another gem from a young artist with a rare talent/.
Beginning with an atmospheric and night-time vibe- the darkness and sense of uncertainty pervade- lightness emerges to give lease a voice full of intention. Our hero recalls a girl that came to him- whether a current love or a friend in need- and someone who means a great deal. It seems like the girl was stuck and needed “space to breathe”. Perhaps a love was burning bright and took a turn for the worse. You get that feeling of disappointment and resentment in the early vocals- as confusion reigns and there is a sense of injustice- with that voice reflecting the disenfranchisement. With a rain-cloud hanging over the girl- backed by a tribal beat and a backing eeriness- you start to picture the scenes and emotions at play. The sweetheart might be exaggerating things and misinterpreting the situation: Perhaps there has been a lack of communication in the relationship and the desire to find some solace. I am not sure what the reasons behind the fracture is- whether the two have different aims or there’s been arguments- but you start to wonder whether they are together still. In these early stages, that feeling of loss and haunt comes through very strongly. Whilst the vocal has elements of the Pop mainstream- not quite as soulful and bold as previous endeavours- it is appropriate given the circumstances and subject matter. The song remains subtle and emotive in these early stages: Our hero ensures his voice is pure and does not needless explode right away. It is the composition that provides the most curious initial impressions. With the girl taking her smile away- the days turning to night- and memories starting to linger- you get a turn in fortunes and narrative. The hero promised he’d be “there for you” and that is employed as a mantra and mission statement. The beats get harder as the composition starts to swell. Reflecting on times lost and the years that have passed: It seems like the girl has not been in touch and they have drifted apart. In love, they promised the world and they would be there for one another- that has not been kept by the girl. Maybe the circumstances behind the break-up have meant communication and connection have not been a realistic option. You can tell There For You has been inspired by past events: That emotion and impact from the vocal comes from a soul that has seen too much pain and loss. The teary-eyed subject is not given a saccharine or overly-emotive delivery: Every note and idea is handled with dignity and a real composure. I became captivated by the composition that keeps getting bigger and harder as time elapses. More urgent and busy than previous numbers- showing a fresh direction from Quinn- you have a song that ensures every listener is roused and involved in the track. It is impossible to disassociate yourself from the lyrics that deal with an over-used subject- loss, relationship break-up etc. etc. – but ensure it does not devolve into a boring and predictable territory. It is vital to have these songs played but they account for an alarmingly large percentage of current sounds. What Quinn does is make universal issues sound fresh and personal. You do not have the same worn clichés and predictable stories unfold. Most songwriters show a lack of imagination when it comes to their lyrics and interpretations. It is good to hear a song that highlights a common qualm with an uncommon ear. That central idea- promising to be there for the girl- keeps coming back to bite and remind. Our hero wanted to keep that promise and ensure she was okay: For whatever reason, that promise has been broken and there seems to be little chance for repair and togetherness. The song builds intensity and passion into the final stages. That voice is multiplied to create a rapturous and heartbroken chorus. That choir-like vocal adds elements and additional regret to a song that seems like an exorcism, of sorts. Beats, heady electronics and dark undertones mix with something ethereal and uplifting. That strange mix of beautiful and disturbed blend supremely in a track that showcases what an agile talent Scott Quinn is. By the last notes, you reflect back and wonder where that song came from. If it is a relationship long in the past- or a current one that has a slight chance of rekindling- I am not sure. All I do know is we have a track impossible to ignore and forget.
Fans of Quinn’s previous work will find much to love in his latest single. Carrying from where Lust Game E.P. left off: There For You sounds like it could have been included on that record. The production and sound remain central to ensuring each note and lyric are given huge support and naturalness platforms. Quinn is impressively restrained in a song that deals with some harsh realisations and a lot of anger. That voice employs some of the soulful touches in the E.P. – although not as many as perhaps you’d like- and will bring in new listeners and followers. Whilst the subject matter does not stray from the familiar and every-day: The way it is addressed and represented shows Quinn to be a rare talent intent on originality. Fans of Electro.-Pop’s best will discover a new artist that ranks among the very best the genre has to offer. There For You is not a disposable number that does not demand interpretation and multiple listens. It will hit you on the first listen but you come back to try and assess what is being sung. I was wondering if the girl ever came good and got in touch with our hero. It is perhaps a mystery that will never be answered in a song that has an enormous amount of courage, nuance and positives.
There For You is another stunning cut from a British artist with an impeccable talent. Electro.-Pop and Soul fusions are a popular and appealing blend- Jamie xx beautifully exploited them in his album In Colour– and if you get the dynamics right; it can result in something simply breathtaking. I am not sure what is in mind for Quinn this year- if a new E.P. is going to be on the horizon- whether There For You is going to be a sign of future sounds. Lust Game E.P. was a compelling and nuanced release that marked Quinn as a definite artist to watch. I am staggered his social media numbers are not higher- there are lesser acts that have amassed more followers- so let’s hope this year that imbalance is rectified. There are so few artists that have that originality and quality at work. In a scene that is seeing an indeterminate amount of good musicians emerge- this is especially true of the mainstream- we should all take more time to celebrate those that go the extra distance. Maybe it is relevant to bring back the subject of radio-play and the way radio stations operate. I understand how commercial stations have a certain brand they need to conform too. By the same token, local stations and newer stations also have to confine themselves to an extent. With 24-hours in every day: You would think more time could be dedicated to a wider selection of new music. I am fearful the bright and restless best we have to offer are struggling to get their voices heard. Musicians coming through- that are original and impressive- are needlessly struggling for the smallest crumbs of affection.
The amount of graft, grit and electioneering involved- getting the music heard and promoted- is damn near killing them. I hope commercial radio- in years to come- dedicated more shows the underground stars that are showcasing so much more vibrancy and ability than a lot of the mainstream’s best. Quinn seems contented to perform and record for now: He will set his horizons on the festivals and big venues soon enough I am sure. If he were a weak and unoriginal artist, I wouldn’t care too much how his future shaped up. As it stands- being a performer that deserves acclaim and exposure- I am hopefully his following and music will get rewards and following. He should be proud of the fact he has distinguished himself from the pack and is capturing the ears of the music press. Another week and another fabulous Yorkshire-based artist under the microscope. A county that continues to stun me- that variation and quality- it is perhaps not that surprising someone like Scott Quinn should be discovered. That county sure loves Electro. blends- making sure honest and human emotions are elevated to the highest plateau- but Quinn surely ranks among the most impressive from God’s county. As London seems to be taking a lot of the top honours- when it comes to critics’ tips for this year- I think eyes and minds should highlight what great music is emanating from Yorkshire. Quinn is a new proposition and a musician that is just taking his first steps into the (shaky and hard) world of music. He understands the realities, expectations and capriciousness that he faces: The fact even the most intuitive and special have to fight needlessly hard. As this year unfolds for me, I hope to get a radio station started: Something that dedicates a lot of time to artists like Quinn (from all around the world) and gives more attention to those who would otherwise struggle. I am hopefully Quinn will bring his sensational blend of sounds down to London and seduce the audiences down here. There are plenty of places he can perform and contemporaries he could share the stage with. London is producing lots of agile Electro.-cum-Pop acts: It seems to be the in vogue sound that is rightfully getting acclaim and attention. Make sure you hear There For You and a direct statement from a musician that deserves a future in music. As I said, I am not sure whether an E.P. or album is mooted- shall have to speak with his management- but I will be all over it. A fresh musician to my ears, I am compelled to follow him closely and see were 2016 takes him. The men of the solo realm are not particularly standing tall in the imaginations of many. I have spent too much time criticising the likes of Ed Sheeran and their ilk- that represent the lack of energy and originality in music- but it is perhaps unfair. Those artists have their market and represent the desires of many listeners. For those listeners seeking something more adventurous, new and edgy: There are plenty of options coming through right now. There is fatigue and need for these artists to overthrow the bulk of boring and idea-less Pop artists- hopefully, it will happen soon. I shall sign off by commending Quinn on his authoritative and stunning track. There have been few male solo acts this year that have appealed to me: I am certain Quinn will be continuing his rise and endeavor years down the line. Let’s just hope the savviest radio stations get their act together and acknowledge a musician with a rare ability- songs that the masses want (and need) to hear! If you don’t believe me…
LISTEN for yourself.
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