One To Watch: Ruelle

Never heard of American singer-songwriter Ruelle? Well, if you watch TV, chances are she’s been right under your nose this whole time.

ruelle

Meet Ruelle, an electronic-pop artist based in Country music capital, Nashville Tennessee. If you’re sitting there thinking ‘I’ve never heard of her’, think again, because – if you watch a lot of film and TV – you’ve probably heard her music without even realising it.

Having released two band-led indie/pop albums under her real name Maggie Eckford, a change came when she began writing music for TV/Film. Noting a very different sound to her previous offerings, she chose to unleash this different musical direction under new moniker, Ruelle. This project sees her take on a darker, orchestral, electronic sound, comprising of swelling dark undertones and melodic, catchy choruses.

It’s this dramatic aesthetic that has seen her music featured on multiple popular television shows including: ‘Revenge’, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ and Netflix original series ‘Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments’. Her track ‘Take It All’ also featured in the season seven trailer for ‘The Walking Dead’.

At its core, Ruelle’s music is a very beat-driven, electronic sound drenched in a shadowy, haunting vibe. This, coupled with the epic, explosive choruses, works to create a sense of urgency and anticipation throughout. This edgy feel is then lifted by Ruelle’s distinctively light, yet strong, vocals – giving it an almost ethereal quality.

 Tracks such as ‘Invincible’, ‘Live Like Legends’, and – the epic-sounding theme to the Shadowhunters series – ‘This Is The Hunt’, are quietly menacing with boldly explosive choruses. Contrastingly, the dreamy, romantic sounds of ‘Storm’, ‘War of Hearts’ and, airy piano-led ballad, ‘I Get To Love You’, show more of a delicate side to Ruelle’s sound whilst still retaining that intensely dynamic feel.

Similarly, alongside the obvious cinematic quality, ‘Monsters’ also incorporates a bouncy electronic riff, keeping that almost eerie vibe whilst also creating something upbeat that you can really groove to. Whatever the sentiment, one thing that’s ever present is the trademark moodiness and addictive, charming melodies which ensure the songs leave an impression. It all adds up to something incredibly unique, and makes you want to hear more.

Having taken a break from performing over the last few years to concentrate on writing – after signing with record label ‘Razor and Tie’ – Eckford looks set to take the music world by storm as a performer with this brooding, cinematic sound. After bringing together all of her material written and recorded specifically for TV and film in the form of two EPs – 2015’s ‘Up In Flames’ and 2016’s ‘Madness’ – Ruelle is now currently working on her first full-length album. One thing’s for sure: she’s undoubtedly one to keep your eye on.

 

Final verdict:

Simply put, I really like Ruelle’s music. If you didn’t know, I also featured ‘Invincible’ in my February ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ – and it was really difficult deciding which song to include! I love the dramatic, epic-sounding vibe of her songs and the sense of urgency and anticipation they create; it’s not surprising that her work has been featured in multiple television shows and films, as it lends its self really well to cinematics. I’m definitely looking forward to the full album being released; I’m intrigued to explore her sound more, and to see if all the songs are as addictive as the ones I’ve already heard.

 

Favourite tracks:

Invincible
Storm
Monsters

(click to hear each track)

 

If you like what you hear and want to keep up to date with whatever Ruelle has coming up, be sure to follow her on:

Facebook   /   Twitter   / Instagram  /  YouTube

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Laurrhie Brouns – Ascension: Golden Seeds Of Light (Introducing & EP Review)

Ex The Voice of Holland contestant Laurrhie Brouns shows that this is her time to rise.

©Ilse Wolf

Meet upcoming talent Laurrhie Brouns; if you watch the Holland edition of popular TV talent show ‘The Voice’, chances are that name may already be familiar. However, if like me you’re based in the UK – or any other country for that matter – and haven’t even heard Laurrhie’s name before…Well, that’s all about to change.

©Ilse Wolf

The Haitian/Dutch singer-songwriter released her EP, ‘Ascension: Golden Seeds Of Light’, at the tail-end of 2016, having written it herself as well as acting as co-producer and executive producer of the project. Describing her sound as ‘Eurokpop’, Brouns says, “this is a completely new genre that I created myself.” Fusing together elements from all of her influences, including K-Pop, Pop, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop, she has created something rather distinctive. Brouns also taught herself to read and write Korean in order to successfully incorporate the K into the K-pop aspect of her sound, which can be heard in snippets throughout the EP; something she describes as “forming a musical bridge between the East and West.”

 

 

As soon as you hit play, it’s apparent that ‘Ascension: Golden Seeds Of Light’ has a futuristic, electronic vibe with K-pop accents, drenched in soul. Add in some beat-driven, addictive choruses and an overall uplifting quality, and you’ll get a feel for where this EP is going.

Opening number ‘Taboo’ kicks things off with a lively and fiercely bold feel; Brouns exudes confidence and is extremely unapologetic – and with vocals like these she has every right to be. Switching between her soulful lower register and her chills-inducing higher register effortlessly, it showcases her range brilliantly and sets the tone for the record.

This assertive attitude can also be heard in second track ‘Collective Upgrade’, during which listeners get their first taste of two languages coming together and how those short accents work within the arrangement. Laurrhie’s powerhouse pipes also come out in full force during the chorus – showing the dynamics of her vocals even more so.

‘Rise’ marries a sense of fiery determination with a soulful chorus and inspiring lyrics, while ‘True North’ slows things down a little and plays up the soul. EP closer ‘Astral Plane’ is the mellowest of the bunch, with things getting progressively softer as the record goes on. The piano-led arrangement, coupled with Laurrhie’s vocals, creates a dreamy sound that brings the EP to an end perfectly.

Overall, ‘Ascension: Golden Seeds Of Light’ brings together elements of multiple different genres and blends the sounds together seamlessly – languages and all. The soulful, R&B vocals really compliment the instrumentals whilst having the power to stand out, everything coming together to create something unique with bags of positivity.

Brouns has said that through her original brand of soulful European K-Pop she hopes to “comfort, uplift and inspire”, adding “it is my intention that when you listen to my music it will lift you up…soothe you, bring you joy…move your heart and stir your soul in every way, and activate the evolution of you.”

©YoSoyVideo

As well as the EP, Brouns also has some high-profile performance experience under her belt, including multiple performances at the Amsterdam Arena – in front of 50,000 people, no less – and participating in a club tour across the Netherlands, which saw her share the stage with soulful R&B powerhouse Emeli Sande and Bob Marley’s band The Wailers. In 2012, she also went on to become a contestant on The Voice Of Holland; her powerful rendition of David Guetta’s dance track ‘Without You’ impressing the judges so much that she had her pick of the bunch. During her time in the competition, Brouns’ sensational performances saw her become a favourite among viewers and dubbed ‘the one to watch.’

Alongside this, she has also ventured into other creative avenues; swapping music for the big screen in – Dutch film-maker Lodewicjk Crijns’ 2012 project – ‘Alleen Maar Nette Mensen’ (‘Only Decent People’), in which she played the character of Shandra. Brouns was also accepted into the National Ballett Academy, where she danced in ‘Die Zauberflote’ (The Magic Flute.)

So, what’s next for Laurrhie Brouns? Recently billed by – UK Blog Awards 2017 nominee – Liquid Entertainment Online as their ‘Verge of Stardom’ artist, her talent has been compared to the likes of household names Adele, Beyoncé, and Alicia Keys, but with a unique twist. All of this begs the question: how is she not a mainstream artist, gaining regular radio-play and a well-deserved spot amongst the big names in the industry? I could see her sitting quite comfortably alongside the likes of Emeli Sande – an influence you can hear in her vocals. One thing’s for sure though, I can predict only great things for this amazingly talented lady.

 

Favourite tracks:

Taboo
Rise

 

If you’re curious to hear more of Laurrhie’s distinctive sound, you can keep up to date a number of different ways:

Facebook    Twitter    YouTube    Instagram

As well as through her official Website.

‘Ascension: Golden Seeds Of Light’ is available now from online downloading and streaming services.

 

As always, thank you for reading! If you like what I do here and you want to keep up to date with my upcoming posts, feel free to come and join me on:

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Artists You Should Know: The Cab (Music Is Love Throwback)

Hi everyone,

If you’ve ever come across my little corner of the internet before, then you’ll know that Las Vegas based rockers The Cab have been one of my favourite bands for years. I’ve posted numerous reviews of their music in the past, and I’ve met both Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall; the former a number of times, which I have also relayed in blog posts.

Back in 2009 fans created an anniversary known as ‘The Cab Day’ to honour the release of the band’s debut album ‘Whisper War’, and next week – April 29th to be exact – marks the eighth anniversary of that same release. Over the years the band have undergone multiple line-up changes (vocalist Alex DeLeon being the only original member of the band left) and they’ve practically been silent on the music front since dropping their most recent EP, ‘Lock Me Up’, back in 2014. DeLeon has since premiered a brand new solo project under the moniker Bohnes, and there is a massive-question mark over the current status of the band, with no official statement having been released.

However, founding member Cash Colligan has expressed, via social media, that he’d be interested in a ten year reunion featuring the original line-up. Being that I’m from the UK and I’ve not had the chance to see the band live because they’ve never done a European tour, I’m in full support of this idea; and if they could bring it overseas to give fans like me the opportunity, not to just see them but the original line-up, that would be the icing on the cake.

So, in honour of ‘The Cab Day 2016’, I thought I’d share with you a short piece that I wrote on the band back in 2012, around the release of their second album Symphony Soldier. Originally this article was to feature on my other website, Music Is Love, as part of a university project. Since graduating MIL isn’t something I’ve continued with, as I already had this blog for three years by that point, so I thought it’d be cool to share the pieces, on this site, from time to time.

Enjoy.

 

What’s not to love about this Las Vegas based five piece?
Seriously, let us know if you find anything.

the cab pr shots

“The reason we are a band is the fans,” say Las Vegas based band The Cab. “Without them, we’d be sitting on the couch playing songs for each other. We still can’t believe it when people get tattoos or write letters about how the songs have helped them through hard times. It’s very humbling.” The pop/rock five piece, hailing from Las Vegas are, vocalist Alex DeLeon, guitarist/keyboardist Alex Marshall, bassist Joey Thunder, Chantry Johnson also on guitar and drummer Dave Briggs, and they’ve had their fair share of ups and downs over the years, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it seems as though these boys are testament to that.

In 2008 the band, then a different line-up, released their debut album Whisper War through record label Fuelled by Ramen. The album is full of killer tracks, addictive choruses and an upbeat vibe that is more fun than a bathtub full of chocolate. But despite the pop-punk sound that would’ve been a perfect fit for the market of the time, and some collaborations with some pretty high profile artists in the rock world, namely, label mate, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump and Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope, the record failed to propel the boys to the heights of bands like Paramore.

Sadly the album didn’t get the exposure it deserved and the Cab remained pretty under the radar. When it came to making a second album, the guys took their sweet time. After a three year wait, during which time they went through multiple line-up changes and parted ways with Fuelled by Ramen. Symphony Soldier is an undoubtedly exceptional album, made by a band who wouldn’t compromise their artistic integrity at any cost, they persevered and after signing to new label Z-Entertainment records, in 2012 second album Symphony Soldier was released in both, the US and the UK.

“In the US, we were blown away with the initial response. We didn’t know what to expect really.” Say the band, “It’s amazing that people in countries we haven’t had the chance to visit yet are so passionate about the music. It’s support like that, that keeps us going. ” And the boys like to thank the fans for that in any way they can, like including things in Symphony Soldier pre-order packages like phone calls and handwritten lyrics. Still The Cab, and just as addictive as Whisper War, Symphony Soldier has less of the Fall Out Boy/Panic! At The Disco-esque influence, but still retains everything we’ve come to associate with The Cab; the lyrics are still as honest and beautiful, the melodies are still as catchy and dance-able, but there is definitely an increased air of maturity that shows how much the boys have grown. The guys also got to work with some well known artists in the industry for this record, such as Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Bruno Mars, and Pete Wentz (Ex-Fall Out Boy) some of whom, members of the band cite as major influences.

the cab press shots

Since the release, the band have been working hard to get their foot firmly on the ladder; releasing music videos for their first two singles ‘Bad’ and ‘Endlessly’, gaining national airplay in America and more recently on UK’s Capital FM, and after an intimate gig on The London Eye for a selection of competition winners, caught the attention of tabloid newspaper The Sun.

And it doesn’t stop there, the guys supported Maroon 5 on their ‘Overexposed’ tour in 2012, and are hard at work recording, as yet untitled, album number three. So despite all their struggles it seems that things are finally picking up speed. “We have had our fair share of obstacles as a band, but giving up was never an option. We love what we do.” This is a band that has everything: the polished sound, the amazing, meaningful, honest lyrics, and everything fits together complimenting each other. Each member is amazingly skilled at what they do, and they’re really nice guys …so why wouldn’t we love them?

But, being from the UK, the question on a lot of people’s lips is, are there any plans for a UK tour? “It’s been in the works for a long time, just need to have the right shows booked and make it all work. But it’s high on our priority. ” We’ll just have to keep everything crossed. But wherever you are in the world, if you can make it to a show I would. When asked what their live show is like, their cheeky reply will no doubt make you smile. “Joey may or may not be playing naked. You will just have to come and find out. ” So, that’s appreciative down-to-earth guys, amazing music and a possibly naked Joey Thunder… how can you resist that?

 

To see my review of The Cab’s most recent EP ‘Lock Me Up’, click here.

To see my interview with the band back in 2012 following the release of their second album ‘Symphony Soldier’, click here.

To see my ‘One to Watch’ on The Cab, click here.

To see my first ever (short) reviews of The Cab, click here.

To check out my countdown to the release of ‘Symphony Soldier’, known as ‘The Cab Week’, click here.

To check out my blog posts of the times I met Alex DeLeon and Alex Marshall, click here, here and here.

 

Happy The Cab Day 🙂

Artists You Should Know: The Summer Set (Music Is Love Throwback)

Greetings readers,

It may be April Fool’s Day but this is not a drill.

The Summer Set have wasted no time (see what I did there?) in the run up to the release of their brand-new album, dropping music videos for a number of songs including ‘Figure Me Out’, ‘Missin You’, ‘Jean Jacket’ and ‘Wasted’. In honour of ‘Stories For Monday’ being officially unveiled today, I thought I’d share with you a short profile I wrote a while back ahead of the release of the band’s previous offering ‘Legendary.’

I originally wrote this to feature on my other website, Music Is Love, which was part of a university project. Since graduating MIL isn’t something I’ve continued with, as I already had this blog for three years by that point, so I thought it’d be cool to share the pieces, on this site, from time to time.

Enjoy.

Music Is Love welcome The Summer Set and their
infectious pop-punk party with open arms.

TSS press shot

The Summer Set are a pop-rock band hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona. The band – completed by Brian Dales on vocals, John Gomez on guitar, piano and back-up vocals, Josh Montgomery also on guitar, bassist Stephen Gomez and drummer Jess Bowen – are slowly building up a fan-base here in the UK. Their brand of energetic, fun pop-rock has so far proved a hit with audiences, the guys having played shows with We Are the in Crowd, Mayday Parade and All Time Low.

The band, formed by brothers John and Stephen, released their first full length album Love Like This in 2009, their second album Everything’s Fine in 2011. However after some re-evaluating the band switched labels in 2012, parting ways with Razor and Tie and Teaming up with Fearless Records (Mayday Parade, Bless the Fall) and are currently hard at work recording their new album. Singer, Brian Dales says of the upcoming release, “it’s going to come out sometime in the spring, hopefully, fingers crossed. We’re almost done. l like to go into every record as if it’s our first record, so it’s definitely different than Everything’s Fine, but it’s really fun, I think it’s a lot more fun, more high energy of a record. Everything’s Fine was a very sentimental record for us and I like that every record’s different.”

Their energy and fun is infectious both on and off record with catchy chorus’s and beats that have crowds bouncing along in no time. A Love Like This is proof of exactly that; a high octane whirlwind of colour and fun. Though, second album Everything’s Fine showed that the band weren’t afraid to mix it up a bit and show their sensitive side. But don’t worry, it’s still a feel good album, songs like ‘Must Be The Music’ and ‘Someone Like You’ project an infectious, warm beat that is hard not to get swept up into. Check your troubles at the door, Everything’s Fine.

After a hectic schedule, the guys took some time off last April to re-energize, which Brain says comes across in the show but “more importantly on the new record, I think taking a little break and kind of rejuvenating ourselves and writing new music, I think that break came through and we figured out exactly what kind of record we wanted to make, and we’re really excited about this one.”

Click here to see my interview with The Summer Set vocalist Brian Dales

Click here to see my interview with The Summer Set vocalist Brian Dales

The quintet have crossed the pond four times now, and are set to rack up another notch on the transatlantic tour belt with a headliner next month, kicking off in Oxford on May 20th and closing in Manchester on June 1st. So does that mean we can look forward to seeing more of these guys in the UK in the future? “Hope so” Brian teases, “I can see the momentum that’s kind of happening every time we come back, and I kinda want to capitalise on that; I think it’s getting a little bigger every time, and slow and steady’s kind of our thing.” They do say that slow and steady always wins the race, so let’s hope that this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

 

Have you listened to The Summer Set’s new album ‘Stories For Monday’ in its entirety yet? What’s your favourite song? I’d love to know your thoughts on it, so feel free to let me know in a comment. 🙂

Click to check out my previous reviews of ‘Figure Me Out’, ‘Missin You’ and ‘Jean Jacket’.

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One To Watch: WaltzzUK

“Let’s inspire others to inspire others.” Aspiring rapper sets his sights on spreading positivity.

Waltzz uk

Allow me to introduce you to Waltzz; a young rapper hailing from English countryside town, Ipswich. Currently unsigned, 19 year old Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – seeks to inspire others through his distinctive brand of hip-hop infused rap music.

His most recent offering ‘Inspire to Inspire’, released at the tail end of 2015, demonstrates this positive outlook. On his official website Waltzz explains: “Inspire to Inspire is about being your best self, no matter what repercussions may occur – being unapologetically you and inspiring others to do the same. Inspire to inspire.”

waltzz UK

The young Brit has been releasing music online since 2013, after premiering his debut offering ‘Heartless EP’; the project’s accompanying visual components saw it receive approximately one thousand plays on the first day alone. Following its success, Waltzz has regularly been posting tracks and music videos, which are also made available for free download via his website. Free music?! Where do we sign up?

As a result Waltzz has a rather large selection of material available for your listening pleasure; five EPs to be precise. Citing influences such as Eminem, Tupac and J.Cole, his music is evocative and fiercely passionate; the majority, if not all, of which is based on real-life situations, making it unashamedly candid. From the relationship he has with his own emotions and his music, to his family and significant other, every song tells a story.

As expected, the sound has evolved over the years. His ‘Wasted Youth’ EP exuding a dark and, at times, ferocious quality in tracks like ‘Any Problems’ and ‘Welcome to my World’ – the latter also giving us a glimpse into Waltzz’s desire to inspire, as he raps “I just wanna be a role model.”

Fast forward to 2015 and ‘Inspire to Inspire’, builds upon that same positivity with more of a pop/R’n’B vibe. The 11 track EP also further showcases Stewart’s flair for writing lyrics, and producing songs with substance. Since the release of I2I, he has also dropped an acoustic version, which sees him strip back a selection of the songs. Armed with nothing but a piano to accompany his vocals, the result is something that feels incredibly intimate. The delicate arrangement draws focus to the lyrics, allowing the raw emotion at play to really impact the listener. This can be heard in intensely poignant, almost cinematic, track ‘Whatever it Takes’, as well as anti-love-song, ‘All Night’.

 

It doesn’t stop there though; the ever hard-working Waltzz currently has yet another EP on the horizon, and began a weekly YouTube series at the beginning of the year to promote the release. Known as ‘I2I Wednesdays’, the thread features everything from “covers, remixes, songs, and freestyles, or anything else WaltzzUK.” Including infectious pop numbers like ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, and most recent upload ‘Heat Of The Moment’ – a musical lecture on love in honour of Valentine’s Day, complete with a really fun concept video.

As well as his online performances, Stewart has also racked up live appearances at renowned London venues such as Indigo 2, Hoxton Underbelly and 02 Academy Islington, last year alone.

waltzzUK live

Having really hit the ground running, it looks as though there is no stopping Liam ‘Waltzz’ Stewart and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has in store for the coming months. In his track ‘This Passion’ – taken from his ‘I2I Wednesdays’ series – he raps “this passion’s all I’ve got,” and it shows.


Final Verdict:

Simply put, I really like Waltzz UK. I love the positive nature of his message – encouraging people to be their best self – I think it’s a great attitude to have. Inspire to inspire indeed. The passion he has for his work is undeniable, everything being polished and very professional – from his recordings to his official website. Each track is packed with raw emotion and lyrically demonstrates ingenuity; I’m also a big fan of his piano-based acoustic tracks, as they show a whole different side to his persona.

 

Favourite tracks:

I’m Sorry / Get Some / All Night (Acoustic) / Whatever it Takes (Acoustic) / I Wanna Be Your Lover

 

If you’d like to hear more from Waltzz UK, all of his material is available for free download, or to stream, through his official website. You can also keep up to date with everything on:

Facebook / Twitter / YouTube

For regular updates come and join me on:

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One To Watch: Snowblind (+ Album Review)

Meet Snowblind, an emerging rock band based in Spain’s Costa Blanca. The four-piece – made up of vocalist/guitarist Charlie Ledger, lead guitarist Jac Bentley, bassist Stuart Hodge and drummer Josh Watts – play a “diverse set of original and well-known tunes”, according to their Facebook page.

Snowblind

Alongside their original material they also put their own stamp on familiar hits, from Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin to The White Stripes and Kings of Leon (there’s even some Phil Collins tucked away in there.) Now if you’re sat there thinking ‘their music must be Spanish though, right?’ Wrong. The band formed in early 2012 after meeting in Spain, however, none of the four were born there; vocalist Charlie Ledger originally hails from UK county, Essex.

In an article by local newspaper ‘Costa-Blanca People’, published earlier this year*, it was said that it can be quite limiting when it comes to sharing their own material in Spain, as the majority of people want to hear songs they know. However, the lads have journeyed over to the UK a number of times – most recently for a spring tour in April – where they got the chance to play their original material, and it’s a whole different ball game. Though, judging by their self-titled debut offering, it doesn’t take long to figure out why.

Citing influences such as the Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro, and Nirvana, among others, their music is straight-up rock, boasting beautiful melodies, addictive hooks and stunning vocals. Thematically, the album appears to center around the darker side of love and the conflicting emotions that come with it. For instance, beautifully powerful track ‘Memories’ is a story of missing someone and the frustration of being in that situation.

However, don’t assume this album is ‘all doom and gloom’ – it isn’t. While it does largely center around a deep and emotional theme, tracks like ‘Mastermind’ show the band’s fun side, with its jaunty, almost Ska-esque, instrumental. And there are also pockets of humour in songs like ‘Regrets of a Heart Throb’; its tongue-in-cheek lyrics telling the tale of a regrettable turn of events after one too many drinks, with a hook that is sure to get crowds singing along. ‘Getaway’ and ‘Downtown Poverty’ both have a smooth old-school rock quality to them, as does album closer ‘Red Light District’, which sounds like it was made to fill every corner of an arena.

Each song is absolutely captivating, bursting at the seams with such emotion and passion that seems invariably deep rooted. Ledger sings every word effortlessly but with such conviction that you can tell he means it, and that raw honesty is what will connect with an audience. It’s definitely a case of ‘All killer, no filler’; each track is extremely fluid and well-crafted that it makes you wonder why these guys are not mainstream artists – I could definitely see them on the main stage at Reading Festival. With such a compelling sound not one track is flimsy or one-dimensional; every element combining to create something that you’ll want to hear again (and again, and again!)

Final verdict:

I’m totally obsessed with this album, I’ve listened to it pretty much once a day for the past few months and it has fast become a firm favourite. The same can definitely also be said for the track ‘Memories’; it’s a beautiful song full of raw emotion that I can hugely relate to – I’d love to sing it with them! The guys are artists, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. I just hope they continue to make music.

Favourite tracks:

Memories (to check out my previous review of this track click here.)
Undefined
Regrets of a Heart-throb
Red Light District

Check out the band’s manager’s YouTube channel for live videos from their performances both across Spain and the UK.

To keep up to date with everything Snowblind are up to, go and show them some love on Facebook, and if you’re ever in the Costa Blanca I highly recommend checking them out live if you can (and of course nabbing yourself a copy of this album.) You won’t be disappointed.

 

* A picture of the article from ‘Costa Blanca People’ was posted by Snowblind to their Facebook page in August 2015, so I’m assuming the article was published around that time also. However, if the article was in fact published earlier I can only apologise for the mix-up. 🙂

One To Watch: Hobbie Stuart

Never heard of Hobbie Stuart? – looks like I got here just in time then. Hailing from the English seaside town of Brighton, Stuart is a pop singer-songwriter and online vlogger.

hobbie stuart hotline bling screen shot

Since 2010 Stuart has been uploading cover videos, original tracks, and the occasional vlog to his YouTube channel. Throughout the years he has amassed over 300,000 subscribers, racked up an impressive 28 million views, gained over 150 thousand Facebook likes and 104 thousand Twitter followers – and it’s easy to see (or hear) why.

Alongside his few follow-me-around style videos, Stuart predominantly uses his channel to promote his music – posting cover versions of popular tracks. He frequently records mash-ups of chart hits, and they’re always done with such finesse and fluidity that you start to think they actually belong together. For instance, one of the first covers I heard from him was his version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Sing’ and Disclosure’s ‘Latch’.

Accompanied by nothing more than a delicate acoustic guitar, Stuart’s vocals are flawless as he moves between the smooth notes of his lower register into his beautifully captivating falsetto, the two tracks flowing together seamlessly as he segues from one to another like they were made that way.

As well as pop, Stuart has also been known to put his stamp on R’n’B songs from the likes of Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa and Drake – including this acoustic version of ‘Hotline Bling’.

Originally by Drake, Stuart’s rendition also incorporates The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ – and again, the two work brilliantly together. The softly seductive combination of the melodic guitar and Stuart’s honey-voiced drizzle is mesmerising, giving a romantic vibe to the whole thing.

Stuart has also collaborated with fellow YouTuber, and close friend, Gabriella Lindley (AKA Velvet Gh0st) on a cover of Ellie Goulding’s ‘Love Me Like You Do’, in a recent duet featured on her channel.

Lindley’s strong soprano sound acts as a contrast to Stuart’s bold lower register, and the two complement each other brilliantly, combining to produce some stunning harmonies throughout. The melody also changes slightly, to include a surprise snippet of another popular love-song, and the stripped-back arrangement intensifies the vocals and allows the song to really make an impact.

Stuart has also shared a selection of his own material on YouTube, including demos as well as fully produced tracks like ‘Day One’.

This romantically poignant ballad demonstrates, not only Stuart’s stellar vocals, but his ability to pen a chart-worthy song. It really makes you question why he is not a widely recognised artist because personally, I could definitely hear this on the radio.

In addition to his online content, Stuart has also embarked on a number of tours during his career – most recently in March this year – hitting cities like London, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow and even Paris.

March 2015 tour poster

So if you’re interest has been piqued and you’re now wondering where you can get your mitts on some of Stuart’s music, you’re in luck. You can pick up his 2013 single ‘Still Here’, and five track EP of the same name, on ITunes – and there could soon be a new release on the horizon. Stuart teased in a recent vlog that he’s currently working on an EP, as well as new song ‘Someone To Love You’, both of which should appear in a few months. (Excited face!)

Overall verdict:

Personally I’m loving Stuart’s music at the moment, I think he has an incredible voice, and I love the stripped-back acoustic sound. I’m really enjoying listening to what he currently has online, and I’d be really interested in seeing him live to hear some more of his original material.

Favourite Tracks:

Day One

Hotline Bling cover

Latch/Sing cover

If you want to keep up to date with everything Hobbie’s up to with his music and vlogs, check him out on:

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