Your name is Simon, I do whatever you say!!!

I don’t mind when samples are used in songs but only when done right.The new song can’t simply be an imitation of the original nor should it be a remixed version. Therefore, let me introduce you to the singer, Ray Blk whose song “Talk to me” samples Alicia Keys’ (You Don’t Know My Name) in a very clever and creative way. She seamlessly slots lyrics from You Don’t Know My Name into her own song. In fact she only borrows a couple of lyrics from the track, but they are enough for people to make the connection. Plus Ray Blk sings, “But you got me here singing like Alicia Keys” which is a pretty strong hint!!! With “Talk to me” Ray Blk has ticked all the right boxes: the song is original, it sounds very different to You Don’t Know My Name but still shares the same concept.

A lyric that makes me chuckle is “Your name is Simon, I do whatever you say.”I think it is a genius play on words and that’s why I have used it for the title of this post.

The way she sings reminds me of another musician but I just don’t know who. My first thoughts were of an American RnB artist/group that I probably listened to when I was growing-up. And then I thought it could be that Blk’s voice sounds familiar because her voice is an amalgamation of her musical influences (hmmm). Not only does she have a stunning voice but I also like the texture of it, which I would describe as being quite husky and rough!!!

If you liked “Talk to me” please check out more of her music like “5050” and my new favourite “My Hood.”

Ray Blk

Ray Blk

 

 

 

IT’S STRANGE!!!

Nowadays gamers are spoilt for choice,they can get their hands on games which feature realistic graphics, fantastic game-play and gripping plots. Plus on top of all that, games are even entertaining us with top-quality soundtracks.  The FIFA games are notorious for this…every year a FIFA game is released there is also a new soundtrack to enjoy, crammed with the best, new and alternative music from all corners of the world!!!  Therefore, thanks to games like FIFA, underground tracks have gained more exposure and are being heard by more people (hurrah).

Console games can provide a great platform for music: The first time I heard rock anthem “TNT” by AC/DC was whilst playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater on the PS1 (Playstation 1) with my brother 🙂 IT WAS DYNAMITE!!!!

Just by looking online, you can see the positive effect that a game has on a track. For example comments like, “Best FIFA song” or “FIFA brought me here”are everywhere when listening to songs such as Walk by Kwabs/Kangpe by Nneka ft Wesley Williams and It’s Strange by Louis The Child ft. K Flay.

The latter is a song that I am absolutely loving at the moment. It’s funny because for awhile I didn’t know the name of the song even though it was staring me right in the face. Basically, whenever the Radio DJ said “It’s Strange” at the end of the tune, I would be like “This song does not sound strange at all.” [You can see my problem]. What I like about the song is that it switches between two different styles, which kept me engaged as a listener. It starts with the solitary sound of an instrument, which I can only presume is a xylophone and K Flay’s smoky, cool vocals. The song then continues to build until the DROP (after the chorus). On the other side of the DROP, the song explodes with synthy dub-step before it returns once again to its low-energy state for the verses 🙂 (It sounds like I’m explaining a Scientific reaction).

Tony Hawk’s THROWBACK- I used to love singing along to “Superman” by Goldfinger when playing this game. #nostalgia #ska #PS1

 

C.B.R. is our Cosmic Girl!!!

Corinne Bailey Rae (C.B.R.) is back and looks all set for the release of third album “The Heart Speaks In Whispers”. Several weeks ago, she unveiled the first single called, “Been To The Moon.” This funky, new track stands out from her others because of its distinct electronic sound, which suits the galactic theme of the song (very well indeed) 🙂

Lyrics: Our movements are elliptical/Don’t you recognise a fellow astronaut?

Everything about the song is quite grand…from the backing music to the music video. In the music video, C.B.R. stars as a fashion-forward astronaut who is exploring the lands of a sandy, desert planet!!! The visuals are stunning, it is like watching a scene from Star Wars(ish).

Although it has been 5 years or so since Corinne Bailey Rae was last on tour and/or promoting new music, she has still kept a close eye on the music scene. In particular, she has used her role as a musician to champion and celebrate the work of other singer-songwriters. Most recently, I saw her on TV at the Mercury Awards (2015) as she was a judge on the panel 🙂

No matter what time of the day it is, I am always in the mood for listening to Corinne Bailey Rae’s sweet, soothing and breezy vocals. Therefore her return with new music can only be a good thing XxX

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Corinne Bailey Rae

Fashionably Late to the Travis Garland party? Better late than never!!!

It frustrates me when exceptionally good artists don’t get the recognition they deserve (sad times). Travis Garland is an example of the above: an *under-rated and hard working artist who more people should be aware of. He actually started out as one of the lead singers in boyband, NLT(Not Like Them) alongside Glee-star Kevin McHale. I’ve got to say they did have some great singles such as Karma, That Girl and She Said, I Said to name a few.

Post-Boy Band fame, Garland has gone on to have a lot of success as a solo artist with his covers and EPs. His original songs in particular, make me feel quite nostalgic as they remind me of the RnB that was around when I was still in primary school. (Refreshing to the ears)

In 2011, Garland released the song “Paint” which features the equally talented JoJo and samples Jai Paul’s BTSTU. As far as duets go this cheeky, playful and feisty track ranks very highly. I also appreciate the fact that the lyrics stay true to the title of the song, with words like paintbrush, canvas and overalls all making an appearance. Garland and JoJo both sound amazing on this track and have slick delivery, even when singing about items found in a hardware store.

Travis Garland and JoJo are artists whose musical careers took off when they were quite young. They had barely entered their teens. JoJo was only 13 years old when Leave (Get Out) was released. Now in their mid-twenties, their passion for singing and creating music is still evident. Even without the backing from a major record-label, Travis Garland has brought out some impressive songs which have caught people’s attention!!!

*Unfortunately, there are many under-rated singers…I have listed some of them in my music profile (click here) but they are just the tip of the iceberg.

travis garland

Travis Garland

nlt-back

NLT

No need to complicate things…keep it simple

After years of wanting to go to Live at Leeds (LAL) (the music festival that takes place across various venues in Leeds during the May Bank Holiday)… 2015 was finally my year 🙂 I had finished uni, I was living back at home and the line-up for LAL ’15 made it hard to resist.

I remember being so excited to see Lawson, Rhodes, Lucy Rose, Vaults and Raleigh Ritchie and on the day I was lucky enough to catch all of the above(apart from Lucy Rose darn it). There were some artists that I watched not knowing what to expect like Saint Raymond and MNEK (whose sets were amazing). Once I got home, I made it my mission to check out more of their music !!!

The award for the artist/band who was literally bouncing off the walls goes to……Raleigh Ritchie. His set was definitely the most fun and entertaining …I didn’t want it to end. He was so smiley on stage and spoke to the audience in between songs, calling us Yorkshians!!! (people from Yorkshire of course). There was no doubt that he was having a great time and his positive energy seemed to rub off on the crowd 🙂 During his set, he performed a song that I had not heard before called, “Keep It Simple” which I thought straightaway sounded brilliant!!! It didn’t have to grow on me. This is the perfect song to have on, if your spirits need lifting on a cold,dark evening!!! It is hard to feel blue when listening to Raleigh’s suave, rich voice on such a feel-good track 🙂

Since hearing it back in May, I was unable to find a good-quality version on YouTube (my trusted source) because it had not been released yet. 9 months later and the days of searching are finally over…Last week  the official audio of the song was uploaded onto YouTube which now features MC-of-the-moment, Stormzy. (So Happy)

One thing to take away from this post is that Greyworm can saaaaang, for all the Game of Thrones fans out there!!!

 

raleigh ritchie

Raleigh Ritchie

 

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Raleigh Ritchie @ Leeds O2 academy

 

Don’t you Run When you Hear the Sirens Coming…

Most days after work, I listen to Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1. Her show is great because it steers you in the right direction for the best new music and emerging talent. For example a few weeks ago, I had tuned into her show and heard a song that made my ears prick up and could not get out of my head. The track in question was called “Blue Lights” (which samples Dizzee Rascal’s “Sirens”) by 18 year old singer-songwriter Jorja Smith.

I like how the mood of the song is quite chilled and that Smith sings with a British accent. Her style of singing reminds me of the artist “Rainy Milo” whose London accent is evident in her vocals.

With an impressive debut single under her belt, I look forward to whatever Smith brings out next 🙂

Jorja Smith

Jorja Smith

 

 

Rainy Milo

Rainy Milo

No need to Panic! The Emperor has only gone and bought some new clothes!!!

Panic! At the Disco have brought out a new song and it’s called “Emperor’s New Clothes.”I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!!! Since the release of “Mona Lisa” back in 2011, I have not heard a peep from Brendon Urie and co. …until now!!! (Maybe I have been living under a rock). Therefore, when the DJ announced on the radio, that Panic! At the Disco (PATD) would be playing next. I assumed that I would be either singing along to “Mona Lisa” or my all time favourite, “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” A brand-spanking, new song from PATD, was the last thing on my mind 🙂 “Emperor’s New Clothes” is a song you can really rock-out to because it is loud and punchy. Not to mention, I have missed the hypnotising sound of Brendon’s charismatic and charming voice, which is set on fire in the chorus. It seems “Emperor’s New Clothes” is close to becoming a joint favourite with “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” OR at least sharing the same podium (the more times I listen to it).

I think I first became aware of PATD in High School when bands like Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy were also breaking out onto the scene. Fast forward to present day and it’s good to know that some of the bands I listened to as a teenager are still around. Not only are they still around but also continuing to make great music and songs that I can’t get enough of!!! Last year, Fall Out Boy made a huge comeback, much to the delight of their loyal fans and probably won over some new supporters in the process. Now that PATD have released a new album…all that is left now is for Gym Class Heroes to make their long-awaited return!!!

 

Men are from Mars and these two women are out of this world!!!

Grimes and Janelle Monae are both on a track together, which I think is INSANE (in a good way). The title of the song is called “Venus Fly” and listening to it is like drinking a can of Lucozade, it makes you feel so pumped and energised!!! As the song draws to an end you are left with the sound of a string instrument (possibly a violin?) , which is exactly what you need to help wind-down after the excitement and hyperactivity of the rest of the song. Please check out the video (below) and remember to turn the volume UP!!!

I admire these two artists on so many different levels. Not just for their incredible music but for their originality, talent and work-ethic!!! Janelle Monae creates empowering music and makes a conscious effort to convey important issues in her songs. Take the song Q.U.E.E.N. in which she talks about gender inequality, “She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel; so why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal?” Watching her give it her absolute all at Glastonbury 2011 and hearing songs such as “Tightrope” and the emotive “Cold War” first ignited my interest in her. Dressed in a variety of tuxedoes, Monae’s trademark look is actually inspired by her parents, who both had occupations which required them to wear a uniform. Therefore as a tribute to them, she wears her very own black + white uniform .

At the helm of everything she produces is Grimes or Claire Boucher who is the epitome of a DIY artist. She is credited as being a singer-songwriter, producer and director. She does everything by herself. On Jools Holland she sang, mixed beats on the decks and played the keyboard. It was like watching a master-class in multi-tasking (which I suck at). I would love to say it looked easy but that would be a lie 🙂 Grimes must have a method to the madness!!! Like her image, her vocals are cute and sweet-sounding 🙂 often dyeing her hair bright colors and donning garish and glittery eye make-up. As a reference point think pixie/water-nymph/anime character!!!

What more can I say… these two artists have a clear vision of the music they want to put out and seem to be 100% in control. They both use their music and public image to do good and help others. Whether it is by using characters or personas E.g. Cindi Mayweather is the protagonist in Janelle Monae’s futuristic concept albums (Electric Lady). Or by sharing advice, Grimes enlightened us on her tips to Being a BOSS in the piece she wrote for Rookie Yearbook three.

To conclude, believe me when I say that Janelle Monae and Grimes are career-driven, intellectual and independent women who are out of this world!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rae ‘N’ Rejjie

Rae Morris first caught my attention when she performed a song for the Mahogany sessions. I forget the exact song she performed but what I can remember is that she was sat down playing a piano. The song that I know her best for is “Love Again”which featured on an advert for Boohoo (other ads are available). 🙂  For some reason, listening to “Love Again”summons an image of Rae running across a misty heath or moor for some reason. It has an eerie and mysterious vibe about it.

Her voice is in its own lane really, it is not a vocal you could easily imitate. Only hearing the studio-versions of her songs, one might think she can’t possibly execute those distinctive sounds LIVE!!!. But watching her live, definitely shuts up the cynics/skeptics/naysayers and proves that her voice is authentic rather than being invented in a studio.

Rae Morris has teamed up with Irish rapper, Rejjie Snow for his song “Blakkst Skin.” (Snow has been supporting Madonna on her Rebel Hearts Tour in the UK). On paper, Rejjie and Rae Morris seem to make an odd pairing, however I think the collaberation works because of the contrast! In the verses, Rejjie wraps over a “rat-a-tat drum” and electro-funk beat whilst the chorus is more stripped back, with Morris’ delicate vocals as the stand-alone feature. Her vocals have a folkie undertone and she can comfortably sing in a higher register. When she hits those higher notes, it sounds like she is howling to the moooon!!!

CHRIS-mas is nearly REA!!!

Now that Christmas Day is only round the corner, I thought I would share a little secret about my all time favourite Christmas song, which is…… “Driving Home for Christmas” by Chris Rea 😉 I never tire of hearing this jazzy Christmas song!!! As soon as the intro starts playing, it makes me feel so cozy and relaxed.

Even though I don’t celebrate Crimbo, I still get excited about Christmas lights and decorations, the adverts on TV and the classic Christmas tunes!!!

With a thousand memories…I take a look at the driver next to me, he’s just the same [lyric]

Happy Holidays!!! XxX