Jammin’ In July: My Musical Alphabet

Greetings readers,

Today I’m taking inspiration from fellow music-blogger Daria, from The Music Wonderland, who created her own musical alphabet. I thought it was a great way to share your favourite artists, so I asked if I could upload my own version and she said yes. So, I’ve combed my ITunes, album collection, and previous blogs to bring you my favourite artists for each letter of the alphabet – complete with some throwbacks in there too.

(There are a few gaps towards the end though, sorry!)

 

A – Against The Current

One of my favourite bands at the moment, New Yorkers Against The Current also dropped one of my favourite albums of 2016 with their debut release, ‘In Our Bones’. They have a lot of different elements to their sound, from danceable pop-driven tracks to dark, brooding rock vibes, which all combine to make something undeniably addictive.

To see my review of ATC’s debut album ‘In Our Bones’, click here.

 

B – Bring Me The Horizon

BMTH have been around since my early teens but, admittedly, I have only really gotten into their music recently. Whilst I liked the rough and raw screamo sound of previous releases, I couldn’t listen to it for too long; I couldn’t understand the lyrics, I couldn’t sing along, it just didn’t hit me in the same way that bands like Bullet For My Valentine did at the time, with their darkly twisted debut album ‘The Poison’. However, with their newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’ came a new sound that I’m totally into. Gone are the undecipherable lyrics and discordant arrangements, to be replaced by a melodic stadium-rock vibe. Their trademark ferocity is still there, but has evolved into something different – a change for the better in my opinion.

To see my review of Bring Me The Horizon’s newest release ‘That’s The Spirit’, click here.

 

C – Cassadee Pope

If you were into the pop-punk scene in early 2007 when the female fronted era exploded, then you may recognise ex Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope. Having been a fan of the band since their formation in 2008, I was crushed when they decided to go on hiatus with only one album to their name – 2008’s ‘Hold On Tight’. Following their short-lived time as a band, I was beyond intrigued when I found that Pope went on to become a contestant on The Voice USA; following her journey through the competition, which ultimately saw her crowned the winner. She has since released her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’, which reached #1 in the US Country music chart.

To see my article on Cassadee Pope following her win on The Voice USA, click here.

 

D – Demi Lovato

Quite simply, I absolutely adore Demi Lovato. From her musical ability and captivating power-house vocals, to her confidence to speak candidly about her personal struggles, I think that she is someone to be admired.

For more about why I like Demi Lovato, and why she is #1 on my ‘Top 10 Interview Wish-List, click here.

 

E – Ed Sheeran

Simply put? Ed Sheeran is amazing. I truly believe that he is one of the biggest icons of my generation. He has gone from strength to strength within the industry over the years, not just with his own albums but working behind the scenes on hits for other artists, including Justin Bieber, Major Lazer and One Direction. Everything he has done, to this day, has been absolute fire; with one chart hit after another. And, since the release of his newest album ‘Divide’, 2017 has so far been another massive year for our favourite red-head – already having made history by occupying both the #1 and #2 spot in the charts with ‘comeback’ singles ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’ respectively. He gets better and better with each album.

To see my review of ‘Shape Of You’ and ‘Castle On The Hill’, click here.

 

F – Francheschi (Elissa)

I’ve been a fan of Elissa Franceschi’s music since my late teens. Introduced to her after she did guest vocals on You Me At Six track ‘Always Attract’, I then went on to check out her solo music – and fell in love. The soulful songstress has a beautifully delicate, yet powerful, quality to her vocals and her music is always mesmerising; full of honesty and overflowing with poignancy. She is currently on a musical hiatus, as she has been for the last few years, but there have been some little signs online that could hint at a possible return to music soon – here’s hoping! It’s been far too long.

To see my review of Elissa Franceschi’s EP ‘Devoid of Rue’, click here.

 

G – Green Day

One of my first favourite bands back when I first discovered rock music, Green Day were a huge part of the soundtrack to my early teens. Admittedly, I don’t listen to them nowadays, but there will always be a special place in my heart for them.

 

H – Hobbie Stuart

Honey-voiced heart-throb Hobbie Stuart, is a pop singer-songwriter and vlogger. Having built an online following via YouTube over the last six years, Stuart uploads both cover videos and original material to his channel. His smooth, r’n’b-tinged vocals seem to be able to wrap themselves around any song; leaving their own stamp on existing tracks and giving life to his own songs. Having seen him play a short set in Brighton, where he also turned on the town’s Christmas lights, it’s fair to say that he’s just as good live as he is on record – a rare quality nowadays. As well as his hypnotising vocals, Stewart’s hilariously candid personality also comes across in his vlogs, making them even more entertaining. You just can’t help but love him, really.

To check out my initial ‘One to Watch’ on Hobbie Stuart, click here.

For my live review of Stuart’s short set at Brighton’s Christmas light’s switch on, click here.

 

I – Issues

I discovered this metalcore six-piece after recommendation from a friend of mine, and I’m so glad I gave them a listen. Their thrashing yet melodic sound draws on a multitude of different genres, from heavy rock to electronic, and even some R&B. There is a brutal heaviness running through every track, which is lifted by honey-voiced vocalist Tyler Carter’s melodic tone as it drizzles over the gravelly sounds of Michael Bohn’s aggressive screams. This provides a great contrast and incorporating elements of other genres also brings something different to the table, keeping things interesting.

To see my introductory ‘One To Watch’ on Issues, click here.

 

J – Justin Timberlake

Sorry, I’m not sorry. Justin Timberlake is up there with some of the best male vocalists in the pop scene. From the curly-haired kid in boyband Nsync to the suave pin-up that girls fantasize over, JT and his music continue to stand the test of time – his smooth brand of r’n’b drenched pop still winning hearts, and awards, worldwide.

 

K – Kelly Clarkson

Again, another artist whose vocals continue to always cause a stir in the pop charts, fifteen years after she became the first ever winner of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson has an amazing voice; strong, bold and powerful, both on and off record. The majority of her music centres on themes such as heart-break, self-empowerment and independence, much of which really speaks to me. Her second studio album ‘Breakaway’ was a big part of the soundtrack to my early teens, with its pop-rock sound and dark undertones.

 

L – Luke Pickett

Luke Pickett is an artist that, I don’t think, gets as much recognition as he should. I discovered Pickett’s music 10 years ago, thanks to my friend using his track ‘Empty Corridors’ as her profile song on Myspace – remember those days?! I fell in love with it and soon became addicted to other songs such as ‘Going Down With This Ship’, ‘Dream Love Cure’ and ‘Cruel Love’. I even came close to interviewing him for this blog at the very beginning, after emailing his management, but somehow it fell through. I still go back and listen to those old songs from time to time, and I’m always keeping an eye on his new stuff. With his level of talent, impeccable, addictive vocals and ability to craft a captivating, poignant song, I can’t understand how he’s not a mainstream artist!

 

M – My Chemical Romance

The mouth-piece for an entire musical movement, and responsible for starting a conversation about the misunderstanding of subcultures, My Chemical Romance became the voice of a generation of misfit teens and in the process became revered; seen almost like heroes. Their music spoke to so many people (including myself) and created a community. Over the years, and the many colours/styles of Gerard Way’s hair, they created so many iconic moments that will always be remembered. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it still hurts my heart a little that they’re not together anymore.

 

N – Nirvana

Another band that I, admittedly, don’t listen to anymore, but who influenced my music tastes back in the day. When I started listening to rock music in my mid-teens, Nirvana were a band that I inevitably came across; I say inevitably because you can’t have not heard of them if you’re into rock, I mean everybody knows who Kurt Cobain is, right? I loved the overall vibe of their music, (I used to be into the heavier stuff!) Kurt’s gruff and gravelly vocals, and I’ve always been interested in their/his compelling story. It’s not at all surprising to me that their music continues to influence musicians and have an effect on people, to this day.

 

O – Out Of Sight

Having disbanded quite a few years ago, you might think it’s weird that I chose to include pop-punk band Out Of Sight. However, after seeing them supporting You Me At Six live back in 2009, they were a band that left a lasting impression and I loved their music. Luckily, when I did work experience for Kerrang! that same year, I was given a copy of their demo CD by Katie P after I told her how much I liked them. To this day, I’m still so thankful to her for that because, if she hadn’t, their music would be 100% lost to me – and I’m so glad that it isn’t. I still listen to it from time to time and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

 

P – Panic! At The Disco

Another band that were a big part of the 2007 explosion of ‘emo’/pop-punk artists in the rock scene, you couldn’t not like Panic! At The Disco. Their single ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ is now a cult favourite among people of that era – there was a time when everyone was singing along to that chorus!. Over the years they’ve headlined the likes of Reading Festival and gained national airplay on Radio One, and continue to sell out arenas to this day.

 

Q – Queen

Not a band that I listen to regularly, but Queen is an absolute classic – there’s no doubt about it. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, ‘I Want To Break Free’… everyone knows at least one of their songs, and they’re great to dance to!

 

R – Room 94

I discovered Room 94 thanks to Twitter back in 2012, and they quickly went on to become one of my favourite bands at the time. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you may know that I tried for an entire year to get an interview with the boys and, after meeting them at multiple shows, luckily got that chance at the Brighton date of their 2013 ‘Three Brothers and One Kit’ summer tour. It’s still one of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done and they’re really lovely and funny guys – I’d interview them again in a heartbeat!

To see my interview with Room 94, click here.

 

S – Set It Off

This Floridian foursome have been one of my favourite bands for a few years, after discovering them when I was invited to interview them at a show. I’d never listened to them, or seen them live, but their stage presence and show changed that irrevocably. So taken was I that I went straight to their merch desk after their set and bought their debut – and at the time, only – album ‘Cinematics’, which I listened to in its entirety for months. I’ve kept up to date with their releases ever since, and seen their sound evolve from dark and twisted orchestral pop-rock, to something lighter and increasingly pop-based, all whilst retaining that certain Set It Off something.

To see my review of Set It Off’s second album ‘Duality’ click here.
I’ve also done short reviews of a handful of their songs from newest album ‘Upside Down’. To see those, click here (Uncontainable), here (Something New) and here (Crutch).

 

T – The Summer Set

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, then you’ll know that The Summer Set are one of my Top 5 favourite bands ever! I try to see them live every time they come to the UK and each time is always more fun than the last; they never fail to put on an amazing show, it’s like a party that nobody wants to end. I love their unique brand of inspirational, poignant, summery, feel good pop-rock, made even more distinctive by Brian Dales’ original vocal tone. I’ve bought every album they’ve ever released and their music just gets better and better over the years. Their newest release ‘Stories For Monday’ was one of my top albums of last year and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next!

I’ve actually been lucky enough to chat to John Gomez, Jess Bowen and Brian Dales on separate occasions and they’re all lovely (the latter I even managed to interview before a show at Kingston Peel, despite him being a little worse for wear!)

To see my review of the band’s newest album ‘Stories For Monday’, click here.
And, to see my review of the last time I saw them live, at Portsmouth’s Wedgewood Rooms, click here.

U – —–

 

V – Versaemerge

Another great band that, sadly, aren’t together in this format currently, Versaemerge were part of the second wave of the pop-punk/emo scene. When the likes of Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco were established they paved the way for similar bands to breakout, one of them being Versaemerge. After being signed by the front-running label of the era, Fuelled By Ramen, Versaemerge released their debut – and sadly only – album ‘Fixed At Zero’. Over the years they battled a lot of obstacles, including significant line-up changes, as well as the long wait between releases. By the time a second album looked to be forming it came with a change of sound, gone was the dark melodic rock, in favour of an electronic vibe; times and the scene had changed. Shortly after, remaining members, Sierra Kusterbeck and Blake Harnage decided to reinvent themselves as Versa, an entirely new entity. However, the status of the band is unclear as no new material has been released, and vocalist Sierra now fronts new musical project ‘Neaux’. One thing’s for sure, I hope they revive Versa at some point because I’d be so sad if they just faded away.

As a female, Sierra was one of my main inspirations of that time, and while I was at university I was actually lucky enough to interview Blake Harnage for an article I was working on about fan-funding. To see that article, click here.

 

W – Waltzz

A young aspiring rapper that reached out to me for a review back in 2015, Waltzz is now a name that you’ll definitely be familiar with if you follow my blog regularly. Full of passion and unrivalled drive, Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – is an artist that I really admire. From his music (and his passion for it) to the overall message he tries to convey, he is definitely worth checking out. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting him and he’s a really great, down to earth guy too – which is always a plus!

To see my review of Waltzz’s most recent single ‘I’m Alright’, click here.

 

X – —-

 

Y – You Me At Six

You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was seventeen and, now in my mid-twenties, they still are. Over the years I’ve seen them grow with their music and, in turn, I have grown up with it. So many of their songs serve as a reminder of many different events and happenings, and I have nothing but fond memories of seeing them live – all 10+ times! They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and my only hope is that they continue making music for a long time yet!

To read my review of You Me At Six’s latest album ‘Night People’, click here.

 

Z – —-

 

And there you have it – if you got this far, to you I give the biggest of high-fives. I hope that I inspired you to give some of these artists a try, if you’ve not heard of them. What did you think of my choices? If you’ve got any recommendations for the letters I missed feel free to let me know in a comment.

As always, thank you for reading! I’m uploading twice a week throughout July so, 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:

Facebook & Twitter
🙂

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Stevie P & Sketch – Nightmares (Single Review)

Our favourite ink-stained bad boys are back with an early Christmas present of sorts.

Photo by Gi Lewis at iNdepthphoto

Photo by Gi Lewis at iNdepthphoto

Having released a few singles online previously, rap/rock duo Stevie P and Sketch (the latter of whom you may recognise from E4’s Tattoo Fixers) dropped the video for their brand-new track ‘Nightmares’ earlier this week. There has definitely been some buzz created around their newest offering, with both the lads and videographer Gi Lewis of ‘iNdepthphoto’, releasing a series of gritty images and video snippets online in the run-up to the full release.

‘Nightmares’ is a menacingly dark and powerful track about freedom of speech and the right to self-expression, as well as the stifling of honest voices in the mainstream media – in particular, the world of ‘show business’. However, as this song proves, these boys aren’t ones to be silenced. Abrupt and raw with emotion, it grabs you by the throat and demands your full attention as the guys illustrate their frustrations.

Opening with the distant wail of a police siren, followed shortly after by an eerie piano-led melody and a steady beat, the instrumental undeniably has a foreboding quality to it – like a storm is about to hit. Sketch’s vocals quickly drop into the mix; a ferocious torrent of words describing the struggle of celebrity status, constantly being under the microscope, and the restrictions that come with it.

The chorus retains that – almost creepy – haunting vibe with Stevie P’s rock-solid tone and bold delivery, and Sketch injecting some raw scream vocals throughout. This adds texture as well as giving the track a rock edge. Stevie P then takes to the mic to elaborate on retaining creative freedom, resolving to fight back.

The closing chorus also sees the guys add some beautiful harmonies, with Sketch throwing in some higher notes among the rapping and screams, and Stevie P harmonising with his own main vocal line. His tone acts as a great contrast to Sketch’s and, as we’ve seen previously, their voices complement each other brilliantly – ‘Nightmares’ is no exception.

The video, shot and directed by Gi Lewis of ‘iNdepthphoto’ in his debut effort, captures everything the song stands for. It’s not dressed up in narrative concepts or effect-heavy cinematography, instead staying true to the root of the track. There’s a real authenticity to it, using appropriate locations to create an atmosphere and drive that “dirty south” feel home.

Overall, ‘Nightmares’ has more of an aggressive vibe than anything we’ve heard from Stevie P and Sketch so far, their previous releases having been fairly mellower. However, it’s clear that this is all them; they’re not pretending to be anything and, as is their style, the song undeniably leaves a lasting impression that makes you want to hear it again.

 

Favourite lyrics:

That chorus though… you can’t help but sing along 🙂 ❤

“They’ve been holding us down, holding us back from making a sound / it’s time to fucking scream until they hear us loud.”

“Ain’t your puppet on a string and I won’t cover up a thing / so if you’re thinking that you own me you’ve clearly never known me.”

“I ain’t stupid manipulation is putrid / do you really think I’d lose my sound just ‘coz for you it suited?”

“Do you think this music produced should be disputed? / controlling pricks trying’a push my buttons, I will not be muted.”

“We’ve only got one life, well I think it’s time that we defend it.”

“Fuck the media and their backlash / we’re working here in squalor while they sit there with their stacked cash.”

“Trying to express the truth ‘coz believe me when I tell you they ain’t.”

“These last words from me is I will never accept defeat.”

 

To keep up to date with everything Stevie P and Sketch are up to go and show the guys some love on Twitter, and for new videos, be sure to subscribe to Sketch’s YouTube channel: Sketch TV

Stevie P Sketch.

 

As you may – or in some cases may not – know, I have featured the guys in a few other blog posts so, if you’re interested in those, please see the list below and check them out if you’d like to.

Click here for my review of Sketch and Stevie P’s debut track ‘Everything Part 2’,
click here to see my review of their follow-up single ‘Street Lights’,
click here to find out why the duo are #3 on my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’,
click here to read my original article on ‘Tattoo Fixers’,
click here for my follow-up article on spin-off show, ‘Tattoo Fixers On Holiday’,
And, if you’re interested, click here to check out my blog about getting tattooed by Sketch at his studio last month.

Big thank you to Gi Lewis of iNdepthphoto for sending me the image. He shot a whole host of promo pictures for this project, so if you fancy checking out any more of his work, head on over to www.indepthphoto.com.

 

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, through the New Year and beyond, be sure to come and join me on:

Facebook & Twitter

🙂

 

WaltzzUK: PMP 31|31

“He is well and truly out of his mind.” Emerging rapper WaltzzUK releases brand new videos everyday throughout the month of August.

Waltzz PMP Calendar Full

31 videos in 31 days, who does that?! WaltzzUK that’s who. Hot on the heels of his ‘#I2IWednesdays YouTube series, the young talent has recently unveiled new project ‘Practice Makes Perfect 31|31’, releasing 31 self-produced videos in as many days throughout the month of August.

Originally planning to promote the material as three separate mixtapes, but subsequently fearing that they may not reflect him as an artist by the time they could all be released, Waltzz followed the sage advice of friend Camile Reid. It was suggested that the rapper could use the pieces as the basis for 31|31, and the series was born.

Waltzz PMP Profile Photo1 by Daydream Exposure

Waltzz – real name Liam Stewart – writes, records and engineers the entirety of his material from his bedroom, as well as filming, editing and releasing everything independently. He also performs regularly across his hometown of Ipswich, as well as London, promoting his material online via social media. The emerging artist has even gone so far as to take to the streets fully decked out in a Santa suit – adopting the character #SantaCrizzle – which resulted in him scoring some radio play on BBC Radio Suffolk.

After quitting his job as a chef, Waltzz left the creature comforts of home behind too; going on numerous music related courses, sofa surfing at friend’s houses, sleeping at Tower Bridge, and even ‘borrowing’ McDonald’s electricity in the early hours of the morning to re-charge equipment – all in the name of music. In keeping with his nomadic lifestyle, he has since been trekking around the streets of London armed with a camera, a tripod, his computer and (a friend’s) IPhone, capturing concept ideas to incorporate into the current video thread.

One thing’s for sure, his efforts did not go to waste. Taking full advantage of what the capital has to offer, Waltzz captures the picturesque side of the city, including a number of London’s iconic landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, The London Eye, and even Buckingham Palace – utilising each setting lyrically as well as visually.

Waltzz also pays visits to the likes of Warner Music, UMG and Universal (the last of which he even gets into a little bit of trouble at, after trying to leave a promo sticker on their door.) He also cheekily pens a note to Warner Music asking them to “stop signing rubbish rappers”, and showers the elevator of a posh hotel in sweets wrappers, in the same video. Certainly makes you wonder how much trouble he got into that day.

Now on day 10 of ‘PMP 31|31’, Waltzz has already dropped a stack of videos, including dreamy, summer hit ‘Those Were The Days’, ‘Celebrate’ (which also coincided with his 20th birthday), cheeky track ‘Test Drive’, and an acoustic remix of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ featuring fellow singer-songwriter Luca Martellotti.

It has been said that Waltzz is first and foremost a lyricist, and you can definitely see his flair for song-writing in tracks like ‘Those Were The Days’, with lyrics such as: “get some vision ‘coz you’re different, don’t fit in but it’s fine/ you’re just meant for different things you’ve got a different mind.” As a whole though, every piece is undeniably well-crafted. From the lyrics and arrangements, to production and the accompanying visual elements, you can see that a lot of thought and effort has gone into each track, individually and as a package.

There’s more to come before the month’s out too, with Waltzz premiering a brand new video on his YouTube channel at 8pm daily. I, for one, am definitely intrigued to see what else he has lined up throughout the rest of the series.

 

Favourite tracks (so far) :
Those Were The Days
Celebrate
Test Drive
Tired

If you’re interested in checking out ‘#PMP 31|31’ head over to WaltzzUK’s YouTube channel, or if you’ve got no idea who Waltzz is, click here to check out my introductory ‘One to watch’ and get up to speed.

 

If you’d like to hear more from WaltzzUK, all of his released 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 / Instagram

 

As always, thank you reading, if you’d like to keep up to date with my posts feel free to come and join me on:

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Stevie P & Sketch – Street Lights (Single Review)

The loveable rogues recently dropped the video for new song ‘Street Lights’ – and it’s about time.

Stevie P and Sketch Streetlights screen shot

Following the positive response from their previous collaboration, ‘Everything Part 2’, singer-songwriters Stevie P and Sketch released their brand new track ‘Street Lights’ earlier this month – and it’s about time too.

We’ve been being teased with the idea of a new song for a while, with Stevie P playfully suggesting that when ‘Everything Part 2’ hit 10,000 views he and Sketch – who you may recognise if you’ve ever watched E4’s Tattoo Fixers – would “consider releasing their latest vid.” However, for whatever reason, things have been on hold; Stevie also saying via his social media that it’s something he’s been waiting “too long” for.

But, the wait is finally over. Released on July 9th, ‘Street Lights’ is a poignant rap ballad that sees the guys baring their souls once again. The track opens with a beautifully sombre piano melody that really compliments the vibe of the lyrics and adds to the emotionality of the song. The darkly candid nature of the lyrics also sets it apart, they’re not rapping about bitches and money, it’s a real snapshot of the guy’s thoughts; the heart and passion they put into their performance throughout is undeniable.

The star of the show though is the chorus; switching up the vocals from rapping to singing it’s a surprise of the best kind. Adding in some beautiful harmonies – Sketch tackling the higher notes effortlessly, and Stevie gliding through the lower – it creates a somewhat haunting effect, as well as adding another texture to the track alongside the grittier vibe of the verses.

As well as the song its self, the accompanying music video – produced by One Take ‘OT’ Visuals – is extremely slick and atmospheric. Shot in at black and white, and seemingly during the evening, it’s an all-round perfect fit for the song.

Overall, it’s fair to say that the guys have done it again and created something undeniably captivating; something that makes you pause and take notice. Though it does pose the question, they can rap, and they can both sing for sure, what are they going to work into their sound next? (my money’s on some Oli Sykes-esque scream vocals.)

Unfortunately, the duo did face some “minor issues” regarding the release of this track, but by the looks of things we won’t have to wait as long for the next one. A few days ago Sketch shared a short collab the guys “threw together” during a recent studio session, on his YouTube channel Sketch TV. As is their style, ‘Harsh Truth’ sees the pair dig deep and gives us another little glimpse inside their thoughts, dealing with life, love, and getting some things off their chests with some hip-hop flair. The ‘Tattoo Fixers’ star has also said that there are loads of upcoming videos in the pipeline (does happy dance) so, fingers crossed there’s much more to come.

 

Favourite lyrics:
The whole thing?!
“I think I’m lost to the point where I couldn’t even find myself / heaven is a myth but inside my mind you’ll find a hell.”

 

As always thanks for reading, I absolutely love this song so I hope I inspired you to give it a listen. If you’ve ever stumbled across my little corner of the internet before, you may remember that I’ve included Stevie P and Sketch in a few of my posts. See the list below and check them out if you’d like to :).

Click here for my review of their previous track ‘Everything Part 2’,
Click here to find out why the duo are #3 on my ‘Top 10 Interviews Wish List’,
and if you’re a fan of E4’s hugely popular TV programme ‘Tattoo Fixers’, on which Sketch is one of the featured artists, why not click here and have a read of my article about the show.

To keep up to date with everything Stevie P and Sketch are up to, go and show the guys some love, on Twitter: Stevie P / Sketch.

 

I’m blogging every Monday and Thursday throughout July. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter. To see my previous posts, and what is still to come, click here. 🙂

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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🙂

Tracks Of The Month: September

Hola readers,

I know I’ve been quiet recently, but I’m back from my little break and ready to share my favourite tracks of the month with you. Now, both these songs are ones I’ve discovered within the last few weeks, and normally I would wait a little while to include them here but, honestly, I’ve been listening to them so much that I just feel the need to share them sooner rather than later. So, here we go…

Stevie P ft. Sketch – Everything (Part 2)

I stumbled across this track on Twitter after it was retweeted by Sketch – whose name you may recognise if you’ve seen my post on E4’s hugely popular TV show, Tattoo Fixers. A follow-up to Stevie P’s original song ‘Everything’, this version has been re-vamped and now includes the vocal talents of award-winning tattooist Sketch. What’s more, it’s a first look at the duo’s upcoming E.P ‘Southern Comfort.’ (Which I am beyond excited to hear.)

‘Everything (Part 2)’ is predominantly a rap track, with a piano-led instrumental that gives it a more delicate feel. The song is a tribute to the pair’s respective daughters, about how – despite the obstacles they’ve faced in the past – they’re striving to be better for their kids; to be there for them and give them everything.

The poignancy of the song really packs a punch, and the pair perform with such conviction in every word that you’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by it. The unrelenting passion and honesty at play here really come across, giving it both an endearing and empowering quality. The lyrics also obviously deal with some hugely personal matters, thus showing a vulnerable side to the lads – almost like saying ‘have a look inside me.’ The instrumental fits with the tone of the song perfectly – like pieces of a puzzle – accentuating the lyrics and heightening the emotional feel of the piece.

A heartfelt depiction of a father’s love, like an open letter letting their kids know that “daddy’s here.” I have major respect for the guys for putting this out there, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of their EP to see what else they have in store.

Click here to see my previous post on E4’s Tattoo Fixers, featuring Sketch, and if you should feel so inclined, go and show the boys some love on Twitter:
Stevie P / Sketch

 

Snowblind – Memories

I saw these guys live when I was out in Spain a few weeks back, having caught their set when they played at a local bar. At the time they mainly played covers of well-known pop/rock hits, but there were a few original songs tucked away in there too. Being the music-obsessive that I am, once I knew they wrote their own stuff, my ears pricked like a dog on the hunt. After their set (and a brief chat with vocalist Charlie Ledger) I was passed a copy of their self-titled debut offering. It was here that I found ‘Memories’.

Telling the story of missing someone, and the frustration that comes with that situation, ‘Memories’ is a beautifully sombre-sounding track. It opens with a delicate yet powerful melody, which is quickly enhanced by the addition of Ledger’s smooth, ‘old-school rock’ style vocals. The honesty and intensity that it’s sung with is mesmerizing; effortless and quietly captivating throughout the verses, then as the chorus crashes through, the floodgates open to a torrent of raw emotion that hits you right in the chest. The instrumental works brilliantly to compliment the overall vibe of the song and you can really feel the conflicting emotions at play throughout.

*Please note that I will be doing a full review of Snowblind’s album very soon, but I couldn’t not include this song here as I’ve found myself gravitating towards it (and singing it around the house on an almost daily basis!)

**This is an older video (posted at the beginning of 2014) but it’s what I could find online to share the song with you.

That’s it for my ‘Tracks Of The Month’ September edition so, if you got this far, thanks for reading. I have loads of new reviews lined up so be sure to follow the blog to keep up to date, and if you haven’t already come and join me on:

Facebook & Twitter. 🙂