INTERVIEW: Bisola

INTERVIEW:

 

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Bisola

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IT is tricky defining what really makes an artist stand…

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out from everyone out there. Similarly, it can be a right pickle deciphering what separates a really great song from an average one. For me, personally, I look for something life-affirming and uplifting. If you are in a similar mainframe, Bisola is the musician for you. Honing her skills since the age of thirteen; the London-based singer-songwriter released her debut E.P., Holding on to the Light, in 2013 – it was met with huge applause and positive reviews. Million Miles is her new track and signals future release: a moment of musical brilliance capable of entrancing every listener. I was eager to learn more about the woman behind the music. Bisola talks about her upbringing and musical progression; where she is heading this year and a little insight behind Million Miles.

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Hi Bisola. How are you? How has your week been?

It’s been non-stop actually since the single came out: lots to do around promoting the single. It’s funny. It’s been a lot of work to get the music recorded, music video and (completing) promo shoots. Once the track has been released, I’m still working just as hard, if not harder

For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a singer-songwriter. My thing is inspirational and positive music. I like to call my sound ‘Soulful-Pop’: especially once you hear the tracks on my new E.P. There’s a more mainstream Pop edge to the songs but they still maintain a soulfulness. I think what really defines my music is that I always have a message encouraging people in some way. I try to shine a light ‘in the darkness’.

You have been recording music since the age of thirteen. Were you always interested in music or was there a particular person who got you into it?

I remember my grandma taking me to church when I was (something like) four or five years old. I just remember thinking the music was so beautiful and something about it captured me.

That’s one of my earlier memories of music. I’ve always had a deep connection to it; almost like it’s part of my D.N.A. I’m always humming and listening to music – even if I’m not writing.

Your debut E.P., Holding on to the Light, was released in 2013. How do you think you have changed as an artist since then and what was it like having an E.P. out there?

I’ve definitely pushed myself to newer heights in this new E.P. Lyrically and arrangement-wise, there’s definitely a real sense of maturity and progression when you listen to it. The other big difference with this album is that it’s more personal than past works as I (really) share some of my own personal experiences – which is interesting as I’m naturally a very private person but I really felt like these songs needed to be out there.

 

The Impossible followed that E.P. and reached number five on the Indie Charts. It won huge plaudits from critics. What was it like receiving such accolade and what is the inspiration behind the song?

I was really chuffed the song did so well and that people really responded so positively to it. I wrote this song while on the beach in Miami. I’d just completed a trip around the world. I travelled for about three months just chilling and exploring the world, and while on that beach in Miami, I was thinking about how fortunate I was to have been able to do something like this – that people only dream and wish they could do but never do. I didn’t think it’d be possible either but I’d got to a point in my life earlier that year where I just felt fed up of ‘the rat race’. You know; you wake up, go to work; come back home, sleep; go to work; same routine over and over.

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I was thinking there’s got to be more to life than this. I didn’t have much money saved up or anything, but the moment I made up my mind to chuck it all and go travelling – things literally fell into place to make it happen.

The lesson I learnt from that experience was changing our lives and our circumstances often start with a decision.

If I didn’t make that decision to pursue my dream of travelling around the world I don’t know if the song would ever have been written – so I’m really grateful that I didn’t let fear hold me back. I hope that this inspires someone to go do that thing they’ve been putting off for so long because they think they don’t have what it takes or whatever.

Million Miles is your new song. Can you tell us the story behind it please?

The story wasn’t anything spectacular – I wish I could say otherwise. I realised one New Year’s Eve that I’d not written a single song that year and I decided there and then I wasn’t going to go into the next year without getting a song completed. I already had a melody for the chorus recorded on my phone – a long time ago and – I decided to work with it; something just kept nudging me in the direction of it being a love song. With me not being the world’s most romantic person, I decided to ‘borrow’ the words that couples often say as their wedding vows (when getting married). The song just kinda went from there. I’m particularly excited about it as it’s a lot more up-tempo than the other stuff I’ve written in the past.

What was it like working with producer David Ezra on the track?

Amazing! I love that guy! He and I crack each other up so much and we’re always teasing each other endlessly. He’s a brilliant producer but I’ve also got strong ideas about what I want my music to sound like; so we’re always going back and forth trying to convince each other on who’s right. He’s definitely someone I’d like to keep working with in the future and I highly recommend him to anyone looking for a good-quality producer. He’s very professional and reliable, which for me, is really important – it’s the little things as they say.

The music video seems like it was quite fun to shoot. Whose concept was the video and is that a side of music you enjoy being involved with?

I worked with a bunch of lovely guys up in Manchester who runs a production company called Video Inc. They were really enthusiastic, and more importantly, cost-effective for the final product. We came up with the concept collaboratively. I definitely wanted to convey the wedding vow element to the song as well as (wanted to make sure) it was ‘PG-13-friendly’ as I wanted the video to appeal to everyone. Overall, it’s great to have a music video as people love visuals and it really does bring the song to life; but the process to get one done can be hard work – it didn’t help that the day we did the shoot it was freezing cold. I couldn’t feel my toes and fingers at one point! (ha ha). But I’m really pleased with the video. Everyone says it looks great.

Lessons My Mama Taught Me is your upcoming E.P. (out in March). It has quite a sassy, home-grown title. Are there home truths and cautionary tales on the record? What kind of themes and sounds can one expect?

Yeah. It’s a tribute album to my mum who sadly passed away last year. Although the songs were written at different points before and after she left us, the collection of songs takes the listeners through a journey around the themes of maximising our time and talents; not procrastinating and not being afraid to tell someone how much they mean to you.

London is an important city to you – and one you have performed in a lot. What is it like being a musician in London and how inspiring are the people to your music?

London’s probably the best place to be for music right now. So many venues offer live music and want live music than ever before.

Funny enough, I recently moved just outside London (‘cos it’s so expensive) but I’m in London pretty much every day for work and performances – nothing else really compares to it. I heard Ed Sheeran moved to London before he hit the big time as he realised that’s where he could get the opportunities for his music to be heard – clearly it worked!  I think one of the things that make London so great for music is that it’s so diverse and people are open to giving people a platform to share it.

Your music and voice is really smooth and sensual but has a real power and flair to it. Who were the artists you were brought up and inspired you early?

Whitney, baby! (Whitney Houston). I used to practice singing just like her when I was growing up and hitting all the high notes. Also, Mariah Carey was another artist I used to try and emulate. I think in their prime they were such massive singers and were so good. I thought: yeah I wanna sing like that. They really inspired me for sure. I was also fortunate to have been involved in singing in church for a good few years as that really helped me discovered my own voice and build confidence in my performances

Are there any musicians around at the moment really exciting you that we should all know more about?

I’ve been talking a lot about JP Cooper. He’s starting to get his break – he had a number one track with Jonas Blue last summer and he’s on an upward trajectory. I think what’s exciting about him is that he’s been around for years and years just plugging away and doing his music and not giving up – so it’s so encouraging to see things really starting to happen for him. It certainly gives me hope to carry on what I’m doing!

Looking back on your career to date, which memories stand out as especially memorable?

I think my favourite memory is when I had my launch gig for my first E.P.

The way the E.P. happened was such a quick and amazing experience and so many of my friends turned up to support me on the night – many of them didn’t tell me they were coming: they just showed up at the end of the gig and I was like “whaaaa!”. It was special.

This year has only just begun but you must have plans ahead. What are you most looking forward to or hope to achieve in 2017?

I’m definitely looking forward to the E.P. (coming out) in March. I actually wanted to originally release it in September last year but then the process took a little longer than I anticipated, and in the end, I decided to move it to January. Good thing I did as one of my favourite tracks on the E.P. was written in November and that would’ve missed the E.P. – had I gone with my original September release. Everything really does happen for a reason

What advice would you provide any young songwriter coming through right now?

Never stop writing! Share your music as much as you can – as that’s the way you grow – you discover your own sound and style and can carve out your own niche to set you apart from the crowd.

With platforms like YouTube you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home to share your music. Also, if you can learn to play an instrument (if you don’t already play one) that definitely helps.

I originally didn’t play any instruments when I started writing songs as a kid, but over the years I’ve picked up the guitar and it’s really helped me with writing better songs. I’ll let you into a little secret: I learned to play the guitar from YouTube! (ha ha). I’ve had a handful of lessons with a tutor to help me polish up some elements but I don’t know if I’d have ever have stuck at it if it wasn’t for YouTube. I could learn at my own pace and in my own way.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name any song (not yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.

Emeli Sandé’s My Kind of Love. That’s a great track

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Follow Bisola

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Official:

http://bisolamusic.com/

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Bisolamusic/

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/bisolamusic

SoundCloud:

https://soundcloud.com/bisolamusic

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/user/BisolaTheMusic

 

 

TRACK REVIEW: Alluri – Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake)

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Alluri

 

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Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake)

 

9.2/10

 

 

 

Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVKabVJElp8&feature=youtu.be

GENRE:

Indie

ORIGIN:

London, U.K.

RELEASE DATE:

2nd November 2016

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IT is not often I get to review an artist who…

creates something truly universal – singing in another language and offering the listener a glimpse into a rather exotic and different world. Before I come to that (and my featured artist) I wanted to talk about different cultures and travel – and how that can inspire music – in addition to solo artists sourcing from different decades and genres. I will finish by having a look at the different ways songwriters are projecting love and documenting relationship breakdown. One thing that excited me about discovering new music is the places I get to ‘visit’. Although Alluri is based in London, his Indian heritage directly feeds into his music. It has been a while since I’ve reviewed a foreign songwriter so this will be quite interesting. It can be argued how much of one’s culture goes into music – how much of it is enforced by commercial ideals and pressures. I see a lot of artists writing about home and sourcing inspiration from where they live. That not only makes music more personal and flexible: you get a real sense of who the musician is and where they come from. When I’ve reviewed artists from around the world, with each, I get a striking blend of national identity and familiarity. I hate artists that replicate others and simply do what everyone has done before. It is so lamentable and means music becomes over-stuffed with generic and formulaic songs. When you come across a foreign artist; there is instantly something unexpected and curious. In the past few months/year, I have looked at acts like Vanessa Forero – who has Colombian heritage and uses native instruments in her work – in addition to Mexico’s The Peppersplum. With each, I was treated to some ‘mainstream’/everyday sounds but got a real taste of where they came from and the environment they grew up in. That was most striking and pure with Forero – who champions the use of odd and strange woodwind in her music.

She takes from her Colombian lineage and introduces the listener to the kind of instruments she heard as a girl. That can seem like a risky venture in music. If you subject the listener to something rather strange then that runs the risk of them looking elsewhere. One would feel, when hearing about Colombian pipes and instruments, there was a touch of World music about things – a genre that has always struggled for acceptance. True, there was an element of that but you got Pop, Soul and Indie within her music: every track has a different skin and only employed Colombian instruments as a backdrop and emphasis. Hyderabad is the capital of southern India’s Telangaa state. It is one of the most upscale providences of India and houses the technological hub that drives the nation. In addition, it boasts many upscale shops and restaurants; historical sites such as Colconda Fort and a sixteenth-century mosque. Although around thirteen-percentage of the metropolitan area are composed of slums – those living well below the poverty line – Hyderabad has a rich and mixed musical scene. Dances like Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam styles are popular (in Decca especially). Western and Indian popular music are favoured in addition to Filmi music – all of the historical, cultural and cosmopolitan blends would have inspired the young Alluri. Before I continue my points, let me introduce him to you:

Born and raised in Hyderabad, London based Alluri’s latest cut Evari Kosam (For Who’s Sake) is a flawless demonstration of how the music world is a truly universal sphere, which exists only in the cultural blend that shapes its very existence.  

After digesting a diet of classical music as an early teen, an impressionable Alluri’s real music education began after he was gifted a guitar. Immersing himself an artist at a time, he learnt the guitar through the versatile catalogue of British indie of the 80s very finest. With Morrissey proving an overriding influence, it was his introduction to artists like The Doves on his relocation to the UK to study that really fuelled the singer/songwriter within.

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A diarist to his core, Alluri’s songs wrote themselves during a six month travel break between completing his Masters in Finland and returning home to India. Contemplating a return to the setting that shaped him, travelling allowed him to assess how he had changed, provoking the realisation that in London he had been something of an outsider in cultural terms, while simultaneously feeling fully at home in aspects of British life.

Sung in Telugu while boasting a vintage, British sound, Alluri’s Evari Kosam (For Who’s Sake) is the culmination of his journey to date. The original demo was immediately picked up by legendary producers Tommasso Colliva & Massimo Martelotta (Muse).. With Telugu being so similar to Italian, Tommaso instantly bonded with the track, infusing his polished production style with Alluri’s raw songwriting talent. The new single represents a sonic shift in Alluri’s sound, employing an anthemic brass section & piano textures to enchanting effect. The haunting visual, is the brainchild of Indian director Reema Sengupta, Who says: 

“I wanted to make an awkward mood-piece of a lonely young man reeling from a break-up; and the sleeplessness, binge-eating and self-doubt that come with it. The protagonist sits in his own mindspace, littered with the little things he is holding on to – remnants of an ended but far-from-forgotten relationship.”

I love that idea of ‘Indian Indie’ as a concept in music. I have reviewed an Indian artist before (Antriksh Bali) who hails from Delhi. Coming from a different region of India, it is interesting seeing how someone like Alluri differs. I do love to mention influences and inspirations as a way of explaining a musician. In terms of Alluri, you get that distinct flavour of home with a mix of more universal artists. In various songs, you hear acts like Pink Floyd and Doves and get a sense of what influenced the young man. Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is performed in (Alluri’s) native tongue, Teluga. I admire an artist who retains their national identity but mixes that with other sounds. In the case of Alluri; he is influenced by British music and a range of different acts. I mentioned Doves as one source of inspiration. Those ‘90s/’00s Indie acts are big in his mind. The way Doves could project epic soundscapes and sheer intimacy within the space of a single song is something that has compelled Alluri. So too are the older gods such as Pink Floyd whose experimentation and tripped-out corners have oozed their way into Alluri’s sonic palette.

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What I love about Alluri’s songwriting is the fact he does not shy away from recognising where came from. Vanessa Forero, whom I mentioned earlier, sings songs in Spanish and is keen to recognise where she came from and who she is. Alluri does not completely fill his music with Western sounds and try to fit into the pack too obediently. That would be quite a worry were that the case. So many musicians are moulded into something chart-ready and commercial – it means you get a mass of musicians who are following directives and making the most consumable music possible. The bold and brave artists are those that take risks and remain loyal to their instincts. It would be understandable was Alluri to produce a modern-day version of the bands/acts he grew up listening to. If you make music in the U.K., it can be challenging deciphering what the people want and whether certain sounds will be accepted. Fortunately, the people are responding to Alluri’s music with gusto and taking it to heart. It is some of the most fascinating and genre-less as you are likely to imagine. I mentioned how it was ‘Indian Indie’ but that would do it a disservice. It is much richer and more intriguing than that: a blend of Eastern wisdom and sounds together with a more familiar Western vibe. Every review I tackle I am looking at a musician’s influences and seeing whether they come into their own music forcefully. We all have those acts that really compel us but, if you are a musician, you have to be quite subtle when it comes to incorporating that into songs. Alluri has that distinctive British sound but ensures Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) cannot be compared with any other song. It is a fascinating piece that has already received impassioned reviews and got to the ears of the biggest tastemakers in the U.K.

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Before I come to look at the song itself – and the back catalogue of Alluri – I want to talk about love as an influence and the ways in which it is represented. I have heard so many songs that investigate break-ups and heartache but do so in such an insipid way. When I hear Alluri’s music and look at his past; you get a sense of a young man who has felt the sting of betrayal but eager to document that without falling into clichés. Many artists simply follow tropes and fill the songs with lazy lines and some rather uninspired sentiments. That can put off many people and is something we want to see less of. Sure, love is an important concern but it is the most common one in music. If everyone is writing about it that means it becomes harder and harder providing original aperture and revelation. Alluri has looked at love in his repertoire but never sounds like he is following others or reading from a manual. You get words from the heart together with some very deep language and well-crafted lines. Hats go off to him, but in a larger sense, it is his music and personality that really get to me. He has that Indian heritage but is based out of London. The young musician has soaked up all the capital has to offer but ensures the music keeps his home and heart strong and undiluted. He is a man who has a strong personality and resolve but has that tender and venerable side. All of this comes through in music but it is the compositional experimentation that elevates things above the regular and routine. Splicing together Eastern sounds (from southern India) together with British suggestions is a rather tasty and spicy treat. I would expect Alluri to keep recording and producing music for many years to come. His current single proves he is one of the most promising artists around. Those that create something genuinely new and original are to be commended – it becomes harder as time elapses. When you have that ‘genre-less’ sound already established, it means critics and listeners are going to be hooked and fascinated. I cannot wait to see where Alluri goes and just how far he can take his music.

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I will investigate Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake), but before then, I shall have a quick look at Alluri’s back catalogue and how it compares. It’s With You is taken from the Who Are We? E.P. and looks at a beast being woken. Whether looking at love or a new bond, all the dreams (of a heroine I assume) have entered the hero’s world. There is that immediacy and drive throughout the song. This is evident in the composition which pairs hard-hitting, punchy percussion with twirling guitar notes and a distinct skip in the step. It is an implacable song that fights for submission and love. The girl is maybe unwilling to give herself fully to our man but he will not rest. That determination is underpinned by a composition that remains spirited and rich throughout. It is a fantastic song that gets into the head for a number of different reasons. The composition alone has enough energy and catchiness to captivate every listener whilst the lyrics talk of a man who is trying to make things happen and fighting against a sense of reluctant perhaps. This Life has a 1990s feel and a sense of fear running through. Alluri knows there is hate and uncertainty in the world and paints a very realistic picture. What you get from the song is hopefulness and a need to stand together. It has that Oasis-like anthemia swagger with a touch of The Beatles perhaps. Those snarly and electric guitar lines recall the 1990s legends whereas the abiding messages look back at the ’60s and a need to join together and stand tall.

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The entire Who Are We? E.P. has a defiance and fantastically rousing sound – this comes through clearly in This Life. It is not quite as instant and immediate as It’s With You but it (This Life) has a fantastic chorus which sticks in the mind for ages. It is a more slow-burning song that reveals new ideas and pleasure across time. Even though it is a three-track E.P., there is so much ground covered. A fantastic accomplishment that has that very British sound to it. Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) retains the British sensibilities but changes its themes somewhat. There were some negatives and relegation on the E.P. but that need for betterment and improvement comes through. The latest track is more reflective and down but there is still room for light and life. The biggest change – from the E.P. to Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) – is the sounds and lyrics. Alluri brings more Indian sounds to his current song and shows he is always adapting and keeping fresh. If he were to pen another Who Are We? song then that would be troubling. What we get is a natural development but retention of that established sound. The fantastic guitars and percussion notes are there together with the assured and defined vocal. Bringing in a different language can be risky – and maybe seem strange to new listeners – but you get such an accessibility from Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) few will walk past. It is a song that gets into the mind and compels you to listen time again.

Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) spares no times with handshakes and awkward introductions. From the opening notes, you are straight into the song. The vocal comes in very quickly and is backed by a rather delicate piano sound. Unlike the E.P. – which was more bombastic and Rock-based – here there is more demure and calm. Our hero sees a girl is coming home but questions whether she has come back for him. “You smile like a machine” (translated) is a line that suggests her heart is not in things. Having left work and home – coming back somewhere she once called home perhaps – there is not the sort of warmth and happiness one would expect. Maybe rekindling a romance or seeing a former sweetheart is too painful. Dredging up those memories has caused a rather awkward situation to become palatable. The silences and smiles seem like the natural reaction given the situation. Maybe there was love but things became too hard to continue. The hero is examining every side and wondering why the girl is here. Before you settle into the comfort of piano and soft vocals, you get a blast of horns and an accelerated tempo. It is magisterial and regal; the drums roll and the brass reaches the sky. Juxtaposing a rather nervy and tense session of reflection; the composition acts like sunshine and support. It gives the song its much-needed sense of safety and provides positivity. Given the gravitas and seriousness of the words, one would need something to balance that out. Luckily, the music provides that and is a rather unexpected treat. Alluri is just a speck in the girl’s eye – maybe she does not even think about him. Conversely, our man cannot stop thinking about her. She infests his waking life and infuses his dreams without any consideration. It is the imbalance and tension that comes through sternly in the vocal. You can hear that emotion and fatigue; the need for answers and that desire to rekindle things. Maybe mistakes were made but there is a real desire to get back to better times.

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After the first verse, we get some wordless chanting (from the hero) and a continuation of the composition. Those horns seem warmer and more enriching. Like someone walking into the sun – seeking some nourishment and truth – it is a blissful, candid sound. You get immersed in the notes and swim in its mix of caramel-smooth romance and tender kiss. It is an austere sound too and one which prompts reflection and self-assessment. The hero is pacing the room and seems lost at the moment. With hissing percussion and relentlessly rousing brass, it is as though this is a vital punctuation. In the song’s video, the hero is putting on a bow-tie and there is a drink with two straws. It seems like an important date beginning or a chance to broker some sense of reconciliation. In scenes of binge-eating and sullen expression, the lyrics talk of the hero becoming a “mobile kitchen”. He is getting into a state and cannot overcome the memories of the girl. This excessive eating is down to the girl: he cannot forget what they have together and how things ending. Rather than move on, he is self-destructing to an extent and trying to find answers in food. This idea of the other half moving on is enforced. She might be eating out and enjoying the company of another man whilst this man stays home alone and has only himself for company. He wonders whether she thinks of him and whether there is any memory she holds dear. You can hear the tears being fought but there is a slight hopefulness in the voice. Maybe not prepared to give up the fight, Alluri is remembering all the good times that came before. You get a sense of Doves’ 2002 album The Last Broadcast in some aspects. The horns remind me of the Cheshire band. The way they climb and fly brings light and physicality to the song. It is one of the most addictive and standout parts of the song. The notes intertwine and swoon; they strike with the percussion and stand alone, proudly. Few artists have the confidence to step away from vocal and lyrics for so long and let the music campaign. Such is the ability of Alluri, you have a song that says what it needs to in a short matter of time and then lets the music expand that point. Here, Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is defined by its blunt and heart-aching thoughts and sumptuous composition.

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Alluri is a slave and someone who is held captive by these thoughts and pain. The girl is not thinking of him the way she should and that is causing stress. Spring will arrive, as it is said, when she looks at him and provides a human touch. The final seconds keep the composition going and offer chants and exclamation from the hero. It is fascinating seeing how Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) develops and changes as it reaches the end. The song’s first half presents the lyrics and the pain Alluri feels. The second deals more with the music and expanding on those thoughts. The music is the extension of the lyrics and provides a new way of explaining the deep emotions and regrets the hero feels. Maybe the lyrics (and translation) may not instantly hit everyone but will become clearer and affective when you play the song more. Although some of the translations are not perfect; you get a real sense of what is being sung and the feelings portrayed. Alluri has gone through a painful split but wants answers. Whether he got them I am not sure but hope he did. Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is clearly painful from Alluri’s perspective but is fascinating from the listener’s viewpoint.

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I have talked about various different themes – and how they relate to Alluri – and will return to those in the conclusion. I want to look at Alluri and where he might head in 2017. Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is released on Killing Moon and was picked up by legendary Muse producer, Tommasso Colliva. Those names alone suggest the music is rather stealthy and exceptional. The likes of Colliva would not pick up a song that was anything less than inspiring and awesome. Luckily, Alluri has crafted something wondrous and thought-provoking. Talking about the song, Alluri assessed it in these terms:

I wanted to make an awkward mood-piece of a lonely young man reeling from a break-up; and the sleeplessness, binge-eating and self-doubt that come with it. The protagonist sits in his own mindspace, littered with the little things he is holding on to – remnants of an ended but far-from-forgotten relationship.”

That synopsis might sound off-putting and odd but it is one of the most honest and real representations of love you can imagine. Many songwriters, when looking at break-up couch it in oblique sentiments and ambiguity. You get quasi-poetic expressions and stereotypical couplets. Essentially, real emotions and feelings are buried in digestible soundbites and made-for-radio quotations. Alluri has no such desires (to follow the herd in such an obvious way) and creates a song that is real and naked. We can all relate to the self-destructive nature of the protagonist. It is such an evocative and tense piece but has enough light and accessibility so it does not scare listeners off. Alluri is, essentially, a diarist and documents his trials and tribulations on a regular basis. When coming to London, Alluri felt like an outsider and has to assimilate into a new nation. That can be hard for the best of us but for a musician, it can be even more difficult.

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Not only do you have to adjust in terms of language and culture but you have to sell your music to a foreign audience. Things are different here (compared with India) so it has been a tough right-of-passage. Luckily, Alluri has had the opportunity to go back home and been touring around India. The raw expression and polished sound of his latest single is the bond of a fantastic Indian songwriter and a well-heeled, expert producer. I hope Alluri spends a lot more time in the U.K. as there is a lot for him to learn. In that, I mean there’s a wealth of venues to tour and stations to crack. I could see his music appearing on a station like ‘6 Music who always take risks and are one of the most wide-ranging and multi-cultural stations in the world. Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is a gorgeous and memorable song that deals with some tough times. The fact Alluri sings in his native tongue means it is much more personal and distinct than you’d imagine. That is a good thing and means there is going to be that demand out there. Where he goes from here will be interesting. Following his Who Are We? E.P., I guess it may be a little while before a new one is released. Maybe he will be thinking of an album but I do not want to put ideas into his head. Whatever is planned it will be great seeing a singular young artist take flight and make his next move. So far, he has settled in London but has that huge support back home. I am always searching for artists that have that special something about them: with Alluri, you get that in spades! He is going to keep on recording music and surely looking for gigs around the country. I have mentioned Vanessa Forero a lot: someone who has a similar discipline and approach to music and been getting gigs around the U.K. I hope Alluri looks beyond London and gets his music out there. I know there will be cities and towns who will welcome him in and provide a keen ear. That is going to be in the future, but for now, Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake) is where he is and what he is about.

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I’ll end by revisiting my themes of national/international mixtures and influences; take a quick peek back at new and interesting ways of portraying love. Alluri has a population of nearly seven-million (a metropolitan population even larger) and is the sixth most-populous urban agglomeration in India. It where Alluri comes from and inspires his music and voice. Having kept that identity and heritage in his current song – choosing to sing Telugu and proud – it means you get a real and vibrant sound of India coming out. I have always yearned to make my blog more international and take in more foreign artists. A lot of the time, I get to here British artists, and whilst that is great, I am denying myself a large part of the world. I do not get to hear too many Indian-based musicians so it has been a treat getting to hear Alluri. His upbringing and tongue can be heard all over his current single. It has got me interested in India as a nation and what other artists are playing there. As I stated earlier, this is only the second time I have reviewed an Indian act. Maybe there are not that many indigenous artists or those that have that Western, British sound. Sure, there will be a lot of Indian acts in a very traditional sense. How well they could ever translate beyond the country’s borders is a gamble. It is heartening discovering a young man who does not abandon his roots to fit into the British music scene. He grew up, like a lot of people in India, with those British acts and classic legends. From ‘00s Indie to ‘70s Prog.-Rock; the young man was treated to a real spread of sounds and veritable banquet of possibilities. I guess that is one negative of Britain. We do not really have a ‘native’ or traditional sound like India. In terms of instrumentations and genres, there is nothing distinctly British. With India, you have that different languages and dialects but a national sound that is very much their own – the U.K. has to make do with mongrel sounds and universal genres. Alluri brings the spice, sentiments and sensations of India into a less romantic (but more commercial) British template.

Let’s round this up by taking a look at influences and giving relationship breakup a new perspective. Alluri has mentioned Doves as an influence which is something you do not often see. Perhaps not a big takeaway from Evari Kosam (For Whose Sake), you do get embers of the sadly-rested northern band in the song. The way instruments represent emotions; the sweeping score and direct, earnest vocals can be applied to both Alluri and Doves. Aside from that band, it is clear the London-based musician had a childhood filled with some truly exceptional music. I hear too many new musicians take inspiration from the same acts. It means, when they head into music, you have a mass of artists all saying the same thing and sounding very similar. It also means you have less distinction and, if you are one of those acts, are going to have a very difficult life – perhaps not survive as long as a truly original act. Alluri realises this and is not going to make the mistakes many others have. You get Indian influences but not so many it pushes listeners away or is too divisive. Likewise, when employing British influence, there are not too many obvious examples. Together, you get a song/artist that has the capacity to remain for a long time and bring his very special sound to the masses. I cannot wait to see if Alluri tours widely this year or has any more music left in his locker. Already catching the eye of some big magazines/websites; that will be very pleasing to someone keen to play music for as long as possible. The reason he is remaining in the critical consciousness is because of the unique way common issues are addressed. Not only do you have that flavoursome, multi-cultural sound but words that give a new angle to a commonplace concern. We have all been, in some form, victim to love and the cruel heart is possesses. Whether that is unrequited yearning or a full-on break-up – we have all been through the mill at least once. Alluri takes the muse and does not apply the same shades as everyone else. You get a very personal and uncommon experience in his music. It is as though the music has been ripped from a diary – such is the language and vivid expressions. There is something very human and unambiguous about the music. Many artists cram their heartbroken mandates with clichés and really boring lines. It might sound cruel but if you are going to tackle something as every day and over-familiar as heartbreak then make sure you provide a new slant on the issue. With Alluri, you have a man who brings such vibrancy, fascination and personality into his music. Many have tried to be as daring and unique as Alluri (but failed). He is very much…

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THE real deal.

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Follow Alluri

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Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/allurimusic

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/allurimusic

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/allurimusic/

YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBg10OrI7hcGuyOSotZrNWg

SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/alluri-2

FEATURE: Pop Goes the Theory: The Rise and Rule of the Female Solo Artist (Part One)

FEATURE:

 

 Pop Goes the Theory:

 

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The Rise and Rule of the Female Solo Artist (Part One)

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THIS will be, like so many others, a feature I intend to extend across…

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PHOTO CREDIT: Josh Shinner

a few editions. Last year, I was amazed by some rather wonderful female solo artists. Billie Marten, who I will bring back into this feature, was my standout: creating the majestic Writing of Blues and Yellows and still scurrying around my brain without any desire to relinquish its tenancy. I shall leave her until last because I wanted to select a few other artists worth watching – from mainstream-approved stars to some upcoming sensations. Jones (or ‘JONES’) is the moniker of Cherie Jones-Mattis and is housed on the 37 Adventures Records label. The Alternative-Pop singer-songwriter arrived in music in 2015: her extend play, Indulge, was named after her debut single and showed her to be one of the most promising young artists around. New Skin is her debut album and has drawn comparisons with the likes of Lykke Li and Yukimi Nagano. She teamed up with Shy Luv on the new single, Shock Horror! You can watch the video with Karma Kid and see just what all the fuss is about.

The London-based musician has a big future ahead and is an artist I’m tipping for great things. I have read interviews she’s conducted and (Jones) comes across as honest, earnest and open.

Last year, she amassed huge followers on social media and wracked up an impressive amount of Spotify plays. 2017 looks set to be even more exciting as she has the task of following up New Skin. I cannot wait to see where she goes and just how far she will progress.

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Izzy Bizu is an artist that I have been following a while and another unique and fantastic talent. She was labelled BBC Introducing’s standout of 2016 and rightfully so.

A Moment of Madness is her debut album (released last year) and boasts a cavalcade of bright and hopeful songs. We all heard White Tiger do the rounds on radio and T.V. Bizu was shortlisted in BBC’s ‘Sound of…’ 2016 poll and saw her introductory L.P. score impassioned reviews and common praise.

Sometimes sharp-tongued; the young Londoner is a peppy and chatty woman who can never be accused of being ordinary and unspectacular. She is not your average Pop/Soul star for sure. She is warm and welcoming but has that distinct Landaan accent. Relocating to south-west London after spending her childhood in Ethiopia, her mother’s homeland, and Bahrain – where her father was working at the time. By her teens, she was sneaking into clubs and fell into a typical teenager lifestyle. There is still evidence of that now – occasionally boozy trips abroad – but Bizu has the discipline and attitude to succeed and remain. If her debut album has too many hints of Amy Winehouse, her songwriting and backstory hardly compares with the great, late legend. In fact, there is something cosmopolitan, town-straddling and ethereal about Bizu. Her music looks at love, regrets and fuc**** up but is very much her own voice.

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Jorja Smith found herself included on BBC’s ‘Sound of…’ 2017 and was one of a host of female artists tipped for greatness. Maggie Rogers – someone I will include in a future edition – but does not possess the same magic and mystique as Smith. The Walsall-based teenager is just starting her career but all the signs look promising. After sampling Dizzee Rascal’s Sirens – for her standout track, Blue Lights – she got the thumbs-up from the Grime master. Her confidence, songwriting expertise and authority are already there – keep your eyes in her direction. I know Smith has a lot of attention on her shoulders and is being tipped for greatness. That acclaim might be the ruination of anyone trying to find their voice and create their first moments. Smith has been making music for years and has a great support network around her – her family are especially supportive of her career. I, for one, am eager to see where Jorja Smith heads this year. I suspect an album will arrive but she is busy performing and interviewing.

The hype is still there but she remains cool and settled. Of all the names that appeared on BBC’s shortlist of names to watch this year; there will be few that can match the sheer promise and vibrancy of Smith.

Her songwriting and voice have that extra edge and nuance. I feel she will remain for many years and continue to create album after album of exceptional work. Not to suggest BBC got their rankings wrong but always put a bet on the outsider. Jorja Smith is a smart, relatable and multi-talented artist whose fascinating career has only just begun.

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PHOTO CREDIT: ED HARDY X Illustrated People Shop

All the names above are relatively established or have made their way to the precipice of the mainstream. In future editions, I will look at artists like JAIN and Lula James but am keen to highlight some underground, unsigned musicians that are doing wonderful things. London-based Lola Coca is one of my favourite current act and someone who always brings the good. She is a colourful, bright and vivacious human who is always dressed in eye-catching clothes and has an infectious personality. She has street smarts and attitude but a vulnerability and keen wit; an intellect and passion for music that few others possess.

Bad Girlfriend was the song that put her on the map as it were. A track still talked about and played: a masterful, commanding song that looked at boys wanting only one thing for their birthday – you might not have to use your imagination to figure it out.

Blending Ska, Reggae and Pop together with R&B; you get sweet-leaf hang and island percussion alongside whip-smart beats and hazy electronics. It is the vocals that get to me and really stand out. Lola Coca is a fantastic songwriter whose lyrics are truly memorable and humorous. That vocal dominates and shows such cool, verve and attitude. Whether negotiating sleazy businessmen (GQ) or oral sex-fixated boyfriends (Bad Girlfriend); she is always-in-control and hypnotic. Latest single Ego is, perhaps, her most assured and layered song. It builds off her previous work and proves she means business. Her first headline show will happen on 20th February at Camden Assembly and you can still book a ticket. I know this year will be the finest from Lola Coca and one where she goes from underground hero to a stone-cold radio fixture – someone dominating the airwaves.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Anna Urik

MissDefiant are another London act who are unlike any other duo out there.

Jordan Cather and Emily Rose Adams take a bit of Lady Gaga and Madonna and fuse it with a world of variegation and energy. Their songs always convey important messages but never in a dour and overly-serious way.

I have followed their careers for a while and know they’re another act that will go far. They play Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen on the first of next month. I suggest you get down there and see the girls in the flesh. If you hanker for a duo that combines the best aspects of 1980s Pop with modern-day Electro.-Pop and Soul then you should not deny yourself the chance to hear the girls. 133t is an instantly memorable song with incredible production values whilst Calculator, their latest release, is as memorable, ear-lodging and fresh as songs come. There is never a sense the girls are following anyone else’s footsteps and trying to conform to expectations. They make their own music and follow their own intuitions. It is no surprise they have amassed a serious following and have some loyal fans following them. Competition out there is fierce and I know Cather and Adams will handle everything with aplomb and conviction. You fall for their music but get hooked by their varied and strong songwriting; the way they can shift themes and subjects without losing that singularity and focus. They are no throwaway Pop act – that talk of love and relationship woes endlessly – but a very serious duo capable of igniting the dancefloor. Their live performances are fantastic and they are indispensable in modern music.

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My penultimate artist is another London-based singer – I shall come to look at more international artists in the next part. At the initial stages of her career, she is fighting to be taken seriously and avoid the pitfalls of her peers. Newspapers are linking her with Harry Styles and whether they are dating: it takes focus from her music and reduces her to tabloid fodder. That is the gamble every young Pop star takes when they enter the scene. The press will always be on their back and I hope Dua Lipa overcomes the hurdles and can shake off the paparazzi. She has just teamed up with Martin Garrix on his latest track, Scared to Be Lonely. In fact, Dua Lipa can sit alongside any other artist and fit into their fold. Her voice and adaptability mean there will be many requests from other acts.

Right now, songs like Hotter than Hell and Blow Your Mind (Mwah) show she is a young lady with a serious amount of talent. Her songs are sexy, sweaty and suggestive but there is never a crude edge or anything approaching crass.

There is tease and suggestiveness together with a boot-load of passion and power. The young artist has very little time to rest and relax through this year. She is busy speaking with magazines, recording new material and preparing her forthcoming debut album in June. The eponymous record sees her co-write every track and brings together new tracks with some of her older material. Dua Lipa is off to the U.S. to tour there soon (having played there last year) and has already created a huge fanbase over there. Despite the fact she has not yet released her debut album – but has that demand from America – is quite frightening and impressive. If she can dodge relationship rumours and stay focused on the music she will be one of the most talked-about (for the right reasons) acts of this year.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Victor De Jesus

Because it is 2017 (and promised I would wait until this year to mention her again), I am including Billie Marten in this run-down. She created my favourite album of last year (Writing of Blues and Yellows) and remains a British treasure. The Ripon-based teenager had a frantic and busy year (in 2016) and is taking the time to record new material and plan her moves. She balances study with recording and has some tough questions ahead. I know Marten is working on new songs and taking some time out.

It will be hard following up an album like Writing of Blues and Yellows which remains an absolute work of wonder. I could not believe, when I reviewed the record, just how mature, accomplished and nuanced it was.

I am still listening to the album months after its release. Songs lodge in the mind and do not let go. I try to unravel the complexities of songs like Emily and Unaware but struggle to make sense. The entire record stems from a young woman who grew up listening to the right influences. As a Folk artist, she always ran the risk of being lumped in with the less inspired, more boring options available. It only takes a few seconds of her music to realise she is a very special artist. It is that voice that rules and swoons; it swims and seduces as it pleases. I look forward to following Marten’s career and throwing as much support behind it as possible. She is someone who will be a huge star in future years and, already, is a staggering songwriter with very few peers and equals.

It is clear there is some immense female talent out there and I cannot wait to see the best and brightest shine. I have just tipped the iceberg but will continue to pull together artists you need to watch. Those I have include today are all doing great work and will continue that throughout 2017. From BBC Introducing’s Izzy Bizu to Billie Marten; there is a wealth of female talent around. They often get overlooked in favour of their male peers and are not afforded the same opportunities. Surely that will change because, as you can see, there are so many fantastic artists around right now. Have a look around and discover the true extent…

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OF music’s brightest female talent.

FEATURE: The January Playlist: Vol. 5: A Time to Hold On

FEATURE:

 

The January Playlist

 

The January Playlist Vol. 5: A Time to Hold On

 

Vol. 5: A Time to Hold On

_______________

I seem to contextualise every new post with regards Donald Trump’s…

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presidency. It has been a rather ‘predictable’ start for the orange-skinned tyrant. Determined to ban every minority and foreigner from the country; ban abortion and deny climate change – there are few humans out there who are confident of positive change and harmony. Regardless, music is here and is, as always, the shoulder we can all cry on. This week, there are some fantastic new tracks and underground gems. January is almost over so a perfect time to cram some brilliant music into another bumper edition. Aside from some Dutch Uncles and Elbow; there are some new cuts from Nelly Furtado, Father John Misty and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man. If that wasn’t enough, I have been scouring the hottest fresh cuts from R&B, Hip-Hop and Indie – making sure there is no stone left unturned. Have a good look and listen and hopefully there will be something in there that sticks in the mind. If not, I shall make sure I try a lot harder in February’s first Playlist!

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Dutch UnclesOh Yeah

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Nelly FurtadoCold Hard Truth

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Ed SheeranCastle on the Hill

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PHOTO CREDIT: MATT SAV

Pond Sweep Me Off My Feet

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Pulled Apart by HorsesHotel Motivation

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Circa Waves Wake Up

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Shy Luv ft. JonesShock Horror

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Ty Segall Break a Guitar

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Austra I Love You More Than You Love Yourself

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Rag ‘n’ Bone Man Skin

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Yasutaka Nakata (ft. Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) Crazy Crazy

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VitalicLevitation

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Father John MistyPure Comedy

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Joe GoddardMusic Is the Answer

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SkottGlitter & Gloss

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AnohniParadise

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PHOTO CREDIT: Mohave

Louise LemónEgyptian Darkness

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Clouds NothingEnter Entirely

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Rex Orange CountyBest Friend

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Hannah Lou ClarkDon’t Sweat It

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Young Fathers (ft. Leith Congregational Choir)Only God Knows

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SZADrew Barrymore

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DouniaEast Coast Hiding

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Izzy Bizu Talking to You

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Chase Atlantic Church

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Kehlani Do U Dirty

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Dan CrollAway from Today

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Sophie Ellis-BextorWild Forever

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Valerie JuneShakedown

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Au/RaKicks

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Rose Elinor DougallStellular

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GolpfrappAnymore

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Jessie ReyezShutter Island

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Horse ThiefAnother Youth

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Cascada Run

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Ásgeir Unbound

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Little MixTouch

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L.A. SalamiI Can’t Slow Her Down

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Nick GrantLuxury Vintage Touch

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ContessaRunning

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Dave (ft. J. Hus) – Samantha

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Martin Garrix (ft. Dua Lipa)Scared to be Lonely

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Elbow Gentle Storm

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Shotgun MouthwashHigh Contrast

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ZAYN and Taylor SwiftI Don’t Wanna Live Forever

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DecadeBrand New Again

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Lost Kings (ft. Tinashe) – Quit You

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Rejjie Snow Crooked Cops

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The Knocks (ft. Jerm)Lie

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LÉON Liar

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BahariGet Together

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Ward ThomasBoomerang

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Luke Sital-SinghKilling Me

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Machine Gun Kelly Dopeman

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Urban ConeOld School

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Imelda May (ft. Jeff Beck)Black Tears

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Bell Biv DeVoeI’m Betta

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Allison CrutchfieldI Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California

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Major Lazer (Ft. PARTYNEXTDOOR & Nicki Minaj) Run Up

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JapandroidsNo Known Drink or Drug

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Jamiroquai Automaton

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Migos Big on Big

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ClovesBetter Now

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R3hab (ft. Verite)Trouble

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Frank Carter & the RattlesnakesBluebelle

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Pissed JeansIgnorecam

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Stefflon Don (ft. Giggs)Real Ting Remix

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Tift MerrittStitch of the World

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PriestsNothing Feels Natural

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Matt Martians (ft. Syd & Steve Lacy)Dent Jusay’

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Johnny FlynnRaising the Dead

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Missy Elliott (ft. Lamb)I’m Better

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal FeverFrench Press

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I am seeing a lot of great albums arrive and some awesome new songs approach. It seems like there is no let-up in the sheer volume and quality of 2017’s music. This first month has been a bold and consistent one and follows on from 2016. That was a marvellous year: this one is shaping up to be even better and more astonishing. I cannot wait to hear what February has in mind – January has been a really full and flavoursome one. We have been witness to the succession of Donald Trump and his mad brand of politics. As I keep saying time again: this is the time to stick together and let music stand up for everyone. It is that unifying force that will never disappoint. That is evident and clear as this week’s selection of new songs proves – another sumptuous banquet of song.

 

TRACK REVIEW: Twin Prop Plane – Hand Across My Mouth

TRACK REVIEW:

 

Twin Prop Plane

 

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Hand Across My Mouth

 

 

9.4/10

 

  

Hand Across My Mouth is available at:

https://twinpropplane.bandcamp.com/

GENRES:

Indie; Folk; Alternative.

ORIGIN:

London, U.K.

RELEASE DATE:

12th December 2016

James Taylor – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Songwriter
Alex Murphy – Bass Guitar, Backing Vocals, Percussion
Davina Panjanaden – Violin, Backing Vocals
Edwin Magombe – Keyboard
Ivan Polakovic – Drums
Kristoffer Rylander – Producer, Additional Percussion

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GROUPS will be focused on this year as…

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we confidently head into February. We have already heard great albums from The xx (not a fan myself but their new one has been well-received) and more looks set to follow. I have stated how solo artists will be put in the spotlight this year. That is the way the end-of-year polls went: highlighting the finest solo artists around the country. Most of these – well, a lot – are Urban artists and define a new demand in music. It seems like there is a clambering for artists that differ from the normal and provide something vital and urgent. I want to chat about influences again – a subject that is always relevant – and why we should be excited about music this year (more so than last). Before that, I am presented with a five-piece act that gets me thinking about dynamics and band sizes. It might seem like an odd lead-off but most bands tend to be four-piece. You get duos and trios – are they bands?! – but you do not hear many five-pieces.  Twin Prop Plane are inspired by Arcade Fire – a six-piece I shall invoke later – and have healthy numbers in the ranks. The reason I want to bring this up is to show the strength in numbers. I have extolled the virtues of duos and solo artists but have not spent a huge time on bands. It is said, as I have proffered several times, bands are becoming less essential and original. The past couple of years have not seen too many great, enduring groups pop up – compared with solo artists anyway. That seems troubling considering just how many new bands you hear coming through. Every week, it seems like there is a dozen-or-so new groups being hailed as future wonders. Why, therefore, do they not remain in the mind and make their way to the mainstream? Perhaps it is the bands already at that level not providing ample influence and guidance.

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I think of 2016, and when it comes to band-made albums, struggle to think of too many I can name. To my ear, the best music of last year was made by solo performers. This year, there seems to be a slight shift happening. I mentioned The xx but other bands, like Elbow, are preparing to release their latest album (Little Fictions). After that, there will be a run of interesting band-created albums for us to sink our teeth into. I know solo artists have been much represented in magazines and polls but keep your ears open and hear what bands are providing. I am excited about Dutch Uncles and what Big Balloon (their upcoming album) will sound like. More than anything, it is those eager bands of the underground that are pricking my ears. I will not name names – there is a long, long list – but some definite mainstream acts of the future. I am not talking about bands that sound like everyone else and have that predictable, plodding nature. The Amazons, long-listed by BBC as an artist to watch in 2017, define what I mean: good, honest music that is free from pretention and gets crowds jumping. Getting back to my original point and I am pleased to see a five-piece come my way. I guess there are a lot of bands that are quintets but you do not really seem them heavily promoted. With that extra member, if you feel a band should be a quartet, it provides extra weight, strength and drive. In the case of Twin Prop Plane, they are a bi-gender, mixed race band that I feel will go quite far. Again, we often overlook gender and race in bands – something that should be highlighted more. I am seeing mixed gender groups form but largely they are either all-male or all-female (much rarer). More often than not, there will be the balance of male-female with the boys taking the majority share – as is the case of Twin Prop Plane (and Arcade Fire for that matter). I love the traditional four-piece bands but find they are not that varied and too homogenised.

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I am an advocate of promoting women in music and seeing more of them in bands – not feeling off-put and feeling that is a male-dominated side of music. I have written pieces about the imbalance in music regarding gender and race so finding bands that are not all-white, all-male is a progressive and positive step. Whether it is only a small change it makes a huge amount of difference. In order for music to move forward and not have stigma and subjugation; there needs to be a look at the current scene and raising questions. I will go into more depth in the conclusion but am keen to get to my featured act. They are a band that have a lot planned for this year and are worth a lot of attention and praise. They go by the name of Twin Prop Plane:

The five-piece draw on an eclectic mix of influences include indie bands such as Belle and Sebastian, Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire and The Mountain Goats as well as from jazz and classical music. Founded by singer/songwriter James Taylor, their sound often contrasts light moods with subtle lyrical meaning.

The single launch party took place at The George Tavern in Shadwell on Sunday 11th December and the band have played at venues across the capital such as The Barfly, The Enterprise and The Old Queen’s Head since they formed in 2016.

The band are playing at The Workshop, Hoxton on Thursday 2nd February 2017 and are taking bookings for the new year”.

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It might seem foolhardy talking about a band’s influences in the context of original material. Every group has influences but always want to be seen as distinct. That is the case with Twin Prop Plane but the band sources Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire as idols. Those are two North American acts that interest me greatly. Not only are they separate from Indie/Rock groups – artists influenced by the same old bands; a rather unsophisticated sound – these twin bands are defined by their inventiveness, intelligence and soundscapes. Arcade Fire are making a charge this year and already released an anti-Trump song – the marvellous I Give You Power. Following from their previous record, Reflektor, the Canadian band are readying themselves for new music. What has always defined their sound is a sense of humanity and familiarity. You bond with songs and become involved with them. Whether you prefer albums like Neon Bible and The Suburbs; plump for Reflektor or Funeral – so many beautiful, hugely evocative moments to cherish. It is hard to define just what makes their music stand out: maybe the detailed, story-like lyrics or the colourful compositions. The same can be said for Vampire Weekend. The U.S. band are always pushing the envelope and subverting expectations. They sit outside the arena of their peers and produce some of the most accomplished and fascinating music around. In the same way music you hear in your childhood influences later tastes: the bands/acts musicians fall for defines their direction. I like a good Rock band who can bring the noise and invigorate the senses. What I have found, over the past years, are too many bands taking artists like Led Zeppelin and Arctic Monkeys, for instance, and replicating their sound – without offering anything new and original. If you are compelled by a band then you should not just copy what they are doing. Twin Prop Plane have the same attributes. They are more than capable of providing energetic, spirited music but do so much more. There are stories and true-to-life revelations; stunning melodies and nuanced treasures. I am basing this off of a single but I can hear those embers of Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire; more than that, a band that has their own voice and are among the most interesting and distinct in the U.K.

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This year, as I have said, is an exciting one for sure. Not only is the music itself proving to be more intriguing and diverse but there is a human need for musical positivity. 2016 was a rather brutal and relentless one for many reasons. Political shifts and division seemed to define the year; there was a definite negativity passing over the planet. Aside from that, we experienced musical legends passing and were subjected to so many horrors around the globe. I have proffered how music has a duty to fill the void and cheer souls. It is a platform that does not judge or have its own agenda. If last year was a fantastic and vital one for music then this year seems likely to top that. I have stated how there will be some great albums (made by bands) emerging but some wonderful young solo artists are showcasing their talent. Aside from RAY BLK and Jorja Smith there is Loyle Carner and Anderson.Paak. Not only is there going to be more racial diversity (promoting the new artists) but, I hope, women will play a larger role. Setting aside gender and race, it seems like quality alone will be at an absolute peak. We all need a happier and more uplifting year: finding music that calms and invigorates – in addition to inspiring and motivating. Where do Twin Prop Plane fit into this dichotomy? Well, the London band has that established and confident sound that could resonate from a mainstream act. They sound confident and solid in this early stage. I know 2017 is going to be hectic for them but in a good way. I am thrilled by the new artists arriving and cannot wait to see how this year pans out. In previous years, there have been too many samey bands and Pop-driven acts that are quite sugary and generic. Last year saw less of that and a move towards real, genuine music. That will continue throughout 2017 and provide the public with some tremendous sounds.

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The competition is fierce in the band market: that is especially true of London. The capital is growing and becoming much more prominent as a music centre. Of course, London has always been prominent and important but that is increasing. If you consider bands, there is such a choice it is quite dizzying. I know, whenever I review a London band, I tip them to go far but that is true for Twin Prop Plane. They will be patient and continue to work hard. I know there will be hurdles to overcome but the five-piece will negotiate them ably. What interests me about Twin Prop Plane is how different they sound to everyone else. Music will be exciting this year and I expect Twin Prop Plane to make headway. I am not sure what their plans are with regards albums and E.P.s but one hopes something will arrive later in the year. Hand Across My Mouth is a brilliant and assured first single that will get a lot of people excited. The band have launched the single and gained some positive feedback. It is daunting, in this early stage, deciding where to go and how things will unfold. I will be backing the band and sure they’ll take their music up and down the U.K. We need to promote our great national bands and ensure they get as many opportunities as they can. We are at a point where London’s music venues are safe. There have been no more closures and it seems like new artists can breathe a sigh of relief. There are those places to perform and music lovers are rejoicing. Twin Prop Plan are in the perfect city for opportunities and will take full advantage. Against the bad memories of 2016, there is a tide of hope and strength in 2017. Our young and eager musicians are here to help and bring smiles to faces.

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As usual, at this point in any of my reviews, I look back at the artist’s back catalogue and see where their new song fits into that. Given this is the debut cut from Twin Prop Plane, I shall plough straight ahead and review the song in question. Not only does the band’s name itself provoke questions and images – there must be a story behind the name one would have thought? – but their debut single has quite an intriguing title. You imagine a sense of suppression and violence; a struggle and silencing perhaps. Hand Across My Mouth does not begin with violent exclamation or any sudden rush. Instead, there is a pastoral sense of calm and reflection. The violin is the most prominent instrument in the opening moments and sets the tone of the song. It provides something quite tender and comforting but imbued with a sense of trepidation and fear. When one hears the skipping acoustic guitar line there is a certain familiarity to that. It is the violin accompaniment that turns a potentially well-worn and overly-familiar introduction into something new and striking. There is not much time spent on the introduction which allows the lyrics to start affecting. When one hears the lead sing about a “microgram or carcinogens” you think of illness and disease. Whether that is a physical ailment or a general feeling of unease it is hard to say. Whilst he will flush the body and come out of the shower cleansed and pure, you start to speculate what the song’s origins are. Given the title (Hand Across My Mouth) I feel there is an emotional/political element to the song. It is hard to think of any song in an age of Trump that is not motivated by him.

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When hearing and watching him on T.V. there is that feeling of unease and sickness – like we need to take a long shower. One imagines the band were casting around elsewhere for inspiration but it is would be interesting discovering whether there was a political motivation. Our hero wants the Devil to get away and cast from his soul. I have mentioned bands like Vampire Weekend (when comparing Twin Prop Plane) but there is a definite Folk feeling early on. Maybe not quite as soft and grave as a Nick Drake track: you get a feeling of the man when hearing the strings combination and types of messages proffered. The hero is walking through supermarket aisles aimlessly and robotically collecting his shopping. He is “Bored to tears” every hour of the day and akin to a ship’s captain navigating a ship through the waters. Right away, you get a feeling of a man who needs to change things up and find excitement. When you hear love songs and the usual fare, there is always a real limitation with regards inspiration and motivation. You hear an artist’s personal view and broken heart, and whilst that is important in modern music, how many of us are compelled to do something and change out ways? With Hand Across My Hand, one reflects on their own life and just how exciting it is. I myself have that same feeling of fatigue and stuck-in-a-rut-boredom. Walking the supermarkets zombie-like is a common feeling; needing things to improve is a regular dream of mine. If the band strike a chord and resonate in one verse, they create something quite unexpected and distant in the next. “Raise up your hand and strike a blow for the hegemony” begins the next verse but talks of “letters dictated authoritatively”.

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The “Gujarati niece” (from Milton Keynes) has been trying to remain free and survive the winter. It is hard to listen to the verse without casting images in your mind and wondering what is being referred to. Maybe that niece has rebelled against a trodden life and gone out exploring. Maybe she has remained at home but is enjoying a different way of life. It seems the niece figure is holding on to a sense of freedom and a better life. There is a sense of the intercontinental and Asiatic; relatives and friends across the waters. “From Luton to Kolkata/From Leicester to Chennai” – everything our hero holds dear will go away to die. It is a striking sentiment but one supported by luscious, graceful strings. James Taylor and Davina Panjanaden (with Alex Murphy) combine vocals in this verse and blend together wonderfully. Panjanaden’s violin continues to provide virtue and romance – with a degree of sadness and strain. Vishnu will preserve our man whilst Shiva will destroy. One suspects Panjanaden’s Asian background might have influenced the lyrics and the projection of Shiva and Vishnu. There are few songs that bring the two together if you think about it. That sense of unpredictability is what makes Hand Across My Mouth a very intriguing song. When singing about “you boy” (our man won his knees, fingers in the dirt), one speculates who is being talked about. Many of the song’s lyrics are quite oblique so it can be challenging really digging to the core. That is part of the beauty really: you would not want things to be too clear-cut and spoil any sense of mystery. Whereas the opening verse was a calm and acoustic-led; things become more rousing and spirited past the halfway mark. If Taylor is inspired by the North American likes of Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire; it is Noah and the Whale who come through in his vocal delivery and sound. You get suggestions of Charlie Fink and his distinct sound.

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Continuing on its plight, the song looks at a “future practitioner of dentistry”: a son “still living in sin” and secrecy. He is a chapped-lipped, cravated teenager (they are becoming so common these days!) and you are transported back to a past time. The descriptions and characters do not seem to fit into the modern world, such is their quirkiness and old-world charm. From the opening verse and its obvious sentiments, you step more into the literary world. One wonders whether the future practitioner and teenager are one of the same or two distinct characters. Elsewhere, two blue-lit torsos are listening to the radio’s faint embers and the smell of (burnt) cumin seeds. The scenes are so evocative and beautifully described you might need a few listens to really concentrate – distracted as you are by the sheer poetry and beauty of the lyrics. It is at this point I become less interested in pure meaning and truth and start to enjoy the words in a different way. Few bands have the descriptive powers and original bent as Twin Prop Plane. They are not an arty band who stuff clever-clever lyrics in to compensate for a lack of music and vocal prowess. Throughout Hand Across My Mouth, you get the sense of a band who can fit into the mainstream but give direction to insipid and stereotyped bands who need guidance – just how you should write a song. Whether the London band’s future songs will focus on love, or follow the same path of Hand Across My Mouth, I know they will continue to create fascinating songs. In this one, we are watching a raised cup brought to the lips. Every “net curtain twitches” and “every letter box creaks” as the rain soaks through the jeans of the hero. It seems to come back to the opening verse and that sense of weariness. Our hero goes into the future at an incredible speed and walks through the rain-painted streets. The band delivers the final verses with chorusing, hand-claps and dancing strings. It is a stop-start composition that goes from energetic to sedate. You never quite know what to expect but are caught in the sheer vibrancy and colour of the song. There are Celtic strings and Folk touches; U.S. influence and the sound of the city streets. By the end, you have to drink it all in and come to your own conclusions. It might take a few more spins to grasp everything and really understand every line and storyline. Hand Across My Mouth is a song that introduces a band unlike no other but not too distinct that means you struggle to relate. It is a confident, full and intelligent song with an impressively tight and together performance and plenty of repeatability.

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Hand Across My Mouth is the start of things for Twin Prop Plane. They have the song out there and it is pleasing to hear them come out strong. After launching the single at The George Tavern (on 11th December) they are preparing to play The Workshop, Hoxton on 2nd February. In the ultra-cool recess of the capital, it is a chance to bring the music to new followers and potential D.J.s. Hoxton Radio is based nearby and, perhaps, an opportunity for the quintet to impress. That is what they are doing at the moment and it is tempting to see where they can head. I am very proud of British music and the sheer vitality and wealth of talent out there. London is, as many would expect, leading the way and providing some sensational new artists. I am confident bands will come more to the fore (I shall expand on that shortly) and feel Twin Prop Plane will enjoy some success. I try not to leap ahead and speculate where a band will go after a single song. I would like to think the London quintet will release more songs – whether that is an album or E.P. I am not sure. It sounds like there is excitement and confidence in the band so it seems likely we’ll get more material sooner rather than later. In terms of their touring schedule, they do not have to struggle as much as others. Those based out of cities – in smaller towns for example – often find a limited local scene to ply their trade. They are one of the most interesting bands playing out of the capital so I would urge them to keep plugging and making new music. They will balance those commitments with the demands of the road. There is the need to get Hand Across My Mouth out there and exposed. The song goes deep and ensures it remains long in the memory. It is rare discovering music that does that: hits you pretty hard but is deep and detailed enough you’re curiously picking it apart for weeks to come.

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That is a commodity the band should not ignore and keep going strong. I speculated as to whether they would release an E.P. or album. Whatever they have planned, I know it will follow the same sort of path as Hand Across My Mouth. I opened by talking about bands and mixing configurations up a bit. We see, all too often, the all-male dynamic appear. It can get quite predictable and is something that needs to be overhauled. I am not suggesting all bands need to recruit female members but it is richness and diversity that Twin Prop Plane possesses that is their strength. That range is not just confined to gender either. I have reviewed a lot of all-male, all-white bands and get a bit fatigued after a while. The way music will evolve is for certain archetypes and stereotypes to be shattered and rebuilt. I have written pieces about how there is an imbalance in music in terms of race and gender. Female artists have to work harder to get the same chances as their male peers. When it comes to black and Asian acts; they are often overlooked by and large – or at least are not afforded the same publicity as a white artist for instance. We are starting to see some changes and positivity come through but it is a small step – one that has taken a long time to occur. Twin Prop Plane have that natural friendship in the ranks and do not have to prove anything. Just by seeing their members – the balance of gender and race – I am already more compelled and interested than I otherwise would have been. That is not to say I have an agenda or ‘club rules’ but is good to see a band that is not the same as everyone else. This extends past appearances and goes right into the music.

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I know the guys have their influences – I have mentioned Arcade Fire enough – but, in true terms, they are very much their own band. Yes, you can hear shades of others but there are things one hears in Hand Across My Mouth that makes the London band an original and impressive force. Those lyrics are unusual and intelligent. They are not ridden with clichés and easy rhymes; they have a real character and story to them. The artists that will shine and stand out this year are those that do not blindly replicate what is already out there. We all see those kinds of bands/artists that are happy being like the rest and expending very little energy. That is okay if you want quick, short-lasting chart success but it does not cut much mustard with those who know what they are talking about. Fortunately, Twin Prop Plane will never suffer any easy comparisons and brief success. The guys seem determined to stick around and that is a good thing. Once they have completed their gigs in the coming weeks they will be looking further ahead and what they can achieve. I would like to see them cast their mind further across the U.K. and try to score gigs as far as possible. There are some great venues and towns that would welcome them. I have seen lesser acts tour the U.K. and even find appreciation internationally. For the London group, they have a skill set and kinship that is cannot be faked or broken. Here is to them and whatever comes next. If Hand Across My Mouth is anything to go by it seems likely the band will enjoy a lot of success throughout 2017. Coming in with a debut single can be nerve-wracking and unsure. There are so many other artists out there getting heard and promoted can be really tough. No such fears for the intrepid quintet who have crafted an exceptional introduction. Their mission is set and clear: they have a plan in action and…

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WILL not fail.

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INTERVIEW: Bianca Rose

INTERVIEW:

 

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Bianca Rose

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THE British/Jamaican/Nigerian singer-songwriter Bianca Rose has been writing and…

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composing for a decade now. In 2007, her self-released but E.P. (Truth and Tiny Tragedies) arrived and marked her out as a singular songwriting talent. Following that, she continued to write her own material whilst collaborating with others. Bianca Rose has – whilst accompanying herself on guitar and ukulele – performed sets for Sofar Sounds, Tigmus and the CrimeJazz Festival in The Netherlands (among others). This year finds the London-based artist step out alone and release some new material – stuff she has been working on for a long time now. Because of Love sees Bianca Rose collaborating with award-nominated cellist/songwriter Ayanna Witter-Johnson. The combination is stunning and is the second single to be taken from Bianca Rose’s forthcoming debut album. With so much going on, I leapt at the chance to speak with the songwriter about her new material but also her upbringing and musical tastes. She talks about her new single and her hopes for 2017.

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Hi Bianca. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey! I’m doing really well, thank you. My week is going fine: have a load of plates spinning in the run-up to the release of the album – but it’s fun; I’m enjoying the process.

For those new to your music, can you introduce yourself please?

Well. I’m a London-based singer-songwriter. I’ve been making music for quite a few years now; writing for myself and others and about to release my debut album, No Fear Here.

Because of Love is your latest single and featured the talent of Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the song and how you came to work with Ayanna?

This song is essentially about love and what one might do; or how far one might go when compelled by a perfect love.

Working with Ayanna was a joy. We’ve been friends for some years now and happened to be a part of an artist retreat a few years ago. We wrote this song whilst there, and as I was creating this album, I thought it would fit nicely in its themes and overall soundscape.

It is the second single to be drawn from your forthcoming album, No Fear Here (due on 30th January). Can you reveal the themes/type of songs we can expect from the L.P.?

The songs on this album have a very bright and optimistic outlook despite being born out of a difficult time. I went through a period of time where I couldn’t create. It was very painful, and when I drilled down to find the whys, I met fear and doubt at the base of the tree. Confronting these forces and learning how to not be controlled by them helped me move out and through this dark time – and thankfully into a place where I could create again. 80% of this album is the first songs I wrote when could write again: therefore the songs house the thoughts and emotions I was living with at that time.

Was it a difficult album to create, emotionally, or was it quite an easy and smooth process?

It was very easy actually. Writing (I think) comes easier to me than singing, so after having my ability to write return to me after that challenging time, the songs just poured out.

You have said, when explaining the album’s inclusion of fear in various forms, you try to destroy all traces of fear from your daily life. Has that become harder given the way the political world is transforming and how important is music in fighting fear and prejudice?

That’s an interesting question.

The political climate doesn’t (or hasn’t) affected my ability to use the tools I’ve learnt to root out and keep fear at bay on a personal level. It’s never been the wider or bigger issues that have ever induced fear in me; rather local or more internal neuroses.

I do think it has been, and continues to be, the responsibility of the artist to make sense of the things that are happening both internally and externally to us all – and to attempt to comment on it. Be it art about love, politics; the environment or everyday observation. We can express things in a song that may be impossible to say in a conversation. That is such a gift. I’m so excited to grow in this area as I continue to create more music.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Cat Lane

After the album is released do you have plans for tours or any goals for the rest of 2017?

YES! I love sharing music live. A tour is being scheduled for later this year but I will be gigging as much as I can until then.

Your debut E.P., Truth and Tiny Tragedies, was released ten years ago. What have you learnt from the past decade and how would you say you’ve evolved as an artist?

Mostly I think I’ve learnt how to live and allow life to inform art. I’ve learnt about timing – and there is a time to write and time not to. There is a time to champion the artists around you and help them establish their place and a time to step forward. I say all of that (to say that) whilst still being ambitious. I’ve become more accepting of the journey of being an artist.

In the ensuing period (between your debut E.P. and debut album) you have performed a range of gigs, from Sofar Sounds to CrimeJazz Festival (in Holland). Which gigs have been particular memorable and how important is touring to you?

You know, I just love gigging. Every moment I get in front of a crowd and share my stories and songs is such a joy – so I don’t really have a stand-out show.

Being locked in a moment with the audience is an incredibly thrilling experience for me and I do it every chance I can get.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Cat Lane

You are a lyricist in the Ready Riters songwriting collective – and co-wrote X-Factor contestant Annastasia Baker’s debut album (resulting in Annastasia’s 2014 Mobo nomination). Is it hard writing for others and how do you adjust, in terms of discipline, getting inside someone else’s head and writing from their point-of-view?

Writing for others exercises a different muscle. When I’m writing for me, I allow the thoughts and melodies to flow. To an extent, there are moments when writing for others that I must allow that flow to happen. As I’m usually in the room with at least two people (often more) who are also contributing to the process, I’ve had to learn to collaborate well – which was difficult in the beginning. If I lead with empathy and understanding it’s relatively easy to understand someone else’s heart and motivation.

Take me back to your upbringing. I know you have British, Jamaican and Nigerian heritage. How do your African roots, for instance, enforce your songwriting and outlook on life?

I think my heritage is less something that enforces my songwriting but is more a foundation that underpins it all.

Like a foundation, I’m not conscious of its presence in my songwriting,  but I know it’s there  – a vague answer but that’s how I feel about it.

What were the kind of albums you grew up listening to? Which artists filled your young ears?

I came from a Christian home so I grew up listening to a lot of Gospel music (which I love). I loved R’n’B and Garage in my teens but discovering music from singer-songwriter like John Mayer, Lisa Hannigan; Lizz Wright and Foy Vance flipped the script for me.  Discovering Jazz music for myself (not what was taught at school or second-hand) was also pivotal.

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If you had to select three albums that have, as a child or adult, meant the most to you, what would they be and why?

John MayerRoom for Squares. It was so important in my development. I discovered this album and it changed how I approached songwriting. It was the first time I had heard someone capture everyday moments in a song. I was used to the stereotypical relationship melodrama found in the R’n’B music and this was a marked departure.

Dinah Washington – I had a best-of album of hers which I played and played constantly for a long period of time. Just the way she expressed the words she sang just pulls you in close.

Arctic MonkeysWhatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. It was an album I didn’t expect to love. I couldn’t listen to anything else for about a month. The songs talk about their lives, their small town; their mentality in such a convicting way that I could put myself in their lives. The last song on the album – A Certain Romance – always makes me emotional. Listening to this album the first time, I knew I wanted to write music that made people feel like I felt.

A lot of websites have published their list of musicians to watch this year. Which acts would you suggest we keep a close eye on?

Jake Issac.

Ayanna Witter-Johnson – she recording an album right now that I cannot wait to have in my collection

Is there any advice you’d offer new songwriters coming through at the moment?

Read books. Read poetry. Crucial.

Listen to music that is nothing like what you make. Then, put all of that down and write, write, write. Disengage from social media often (I’m sill learning to do this).

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you want (not one of yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll include it here.

Clair de Lune from Rick Wakeman’s stunning new album, Piano Portraits

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Follow Bianca Rose

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PHOTO CREDIT: Lesley Lau Photography

Official:

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INTERVIEW: Ailbhe Reddy

INTERVIEW:

 

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Ailbhe Reddy

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ANOTHER one of my musical ambitions, aside from seeking artists…

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outside of the U.K. has been to discover a true Irish gem: specifically someone from the great city of Dublin. I am familiar with the music there but have few requests from bands/acts. When I heard Ailbhe Reddy’s current single, Relent, I was compelled to get in touch. She has been compared, without any exaggeration, to the likes of Hannah Reid (London Grammar) and Daughter. Reddy plays Servant Jazz Quarters on 15th February: a chance for British audiences to see one E.I.R.E.’s most promising singer-songwriters amaze and seduce. I will (hopefully) get to that gig. Regardless, Reddy has a busy and exciting year ahead. She talks about her upcoming plans; her favourite memory from 2016 and the musicians that inspired her growing up.

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Hi Ailbhe. How are you? How has your week been?

I’m well, I’m good! I’ve had a great week. I spent my weekend between the studio recording new material and filming a music video for Relent.

For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a singer-songwriter from Dublin, Ireland. My music has been described as a variety of different genres: mainly Folk, Alternative/Indie-Pop.

Relent is your latest single. Can you tell us a bit about it and what compelled the song?

The song was inspired from the natural retrospection that results from a break-up. I had gone through a break up a few months before and not really processed it until much later.

When I finally looked back on it I felt an immense sense of guilt and loss – because I hadn’t even tried to maintain something important to me. I think songs can often only come from the perspective of the person writing – who sees themselves as blameless. I really wanted to put something forward that was more honest. I’m trying to portray the guilt of my own failings within the song.

The vocals on the track are especially arresting and beautiful. You have been compared with some real musical heavyweights. Do you have to work on your voice a lot of has it come rather naturally?

Thanks so much. I’m delighted with the comparisons to Daughter and London Grammar.  My voice has matured and improved a lot over the last two/three years of gigging and recording so I’m hoping to continue that. I work on it a lot, especially improving my range, so that I can sing a song like Relent – which is quite powerful and challenging to sing.

You are based in Dublin (not many of us think of the city regarding music). What is the scene like in the city?

I would have thought that Dublin was thought of as a hub for music. There’s a really vibrant music scene here and a brilliant community of performers and promoters that work together. I find myself inspired and impressed every time I go to a gig here. It’s also a great place to start your career as it’s a tight-knit community where people support each other.

Your early singles, like Flesh & Blood and Cover Me, gained impassioned reviews and were celebrated by many. How do you think you’ve progressed as an artist and do you ever look back on your early days?

I definitely think I’ve progressed. My music now is more lush, instrumentally, and more honest and clear, lyrically.

Lyrics have always been central to whatever I write so I take real pride in people being able to relate to them.

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2016 was a busy year for many of us. What would you say was your proudest memory from the year?

I played a lot of brilliant festivals to great crowds last year. My highlight was playing at Other Voices – which is a prestigious festival in Dingle which happens every year (and recorded for the television programme of the same name). It’s something I grew up watching and being part of it was a dream come true. The crowds there were so appreciative and engaged; I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.

With Relent out, can we expect an album or E.P. this year?

I’m recording new material as much as I can in hopes of releasing a few things before 2017 is out.

You’re playing Servant Jazz Quarters on 15th February. Is this your first time at the venue and do you get to play in London a lot?

This is my first time playing in London so I’m really excited about it. I’m hoping to be back over in the U.K. a lot this year.

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PHOTO CREDIT: @chazlottee

With your music finding a lot of fans across social media and music-sharing platforms; how important are these outlets for a new musician promoting their work? Do you get quite overwhelmed knowing a song like Relent has amassed thousands of Spotify plays?

Spotify has been huge for me. I think the curated playlists are amazing for new independent artists like myself. I can be heard among established artists like Ben Howard, Hozier and Daughter within a playlist.

Relent was played over twelve-thousand times during its first day on Spotify so that was really incredible for me to see. There is no feeling that I can compare to knowing that people are listening and relating to your music. It’s amazing.

Who were the musicians and artists you grew up listening to?

I listened to a mix of whatever my older sisters were listening to – Jeff Buckley, Coldplay; Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers – and whatever my mum was listening to – Queen, David Bowie; Simon & Garfunkel and Don McLean.  I think this really informed my taste growing up.

Are there any artists coming through you would recommend we check out?

There’s definitely a lot of incredible musicians coming up in Dublin: Maria Kelly (who is supporting me on the 15th), Farah Elle; Barq and Rosa Nutty are all artists I see going really far who are from Dublin.

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What advice would you offer any young songwriting starting out?

Keep writing; write every day.

Be honest and take risks even though they might feel terrifying – people appreciate it.

Finally, and for being a good sport, you can choose any song you like (not yours as I’ll do that) and I’ll play it here.

Hundred Waters – Cavity.  I can’t stop listening to this track this week.

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