Tracks of the Month – March/April

Hola readers,

I hope you’re all doing really well; today I’m going to share my tracks of the month with you. The eagle-eyed among you may’ve noticed that I didn’t post one of these last month, and that is for two main reasons:

#1. Most of what I was listening to I’d already done previous reviews on, and…
#2. Let’s be honest, after its release on March 3rd, Ed Sheeran’s new album Divide was pretty much all I was listening to for weeks afterwards. (I’ve just been so busy that I haven’t had the chance to review it yet!)

There have been a few songs that fell through the cracks over the last few months though, so I’ll include them too and go from the less, to the more recent tracks.

 

Little Mix – Touch (Ed Sheeran Cover)

As part of Radio One’s Live Lounge session, man of the moment, Ed Sheeran turned his attention to Little Mix’s ‘Touch’, taken from their new album ‘Glory Days’. Released online on Feb 21st, Sheeran’s acoustic-sounding cover also includes some soulful backing vocals; the stripped back arrangement giving the track a whole different – much more raw – feel. Seriously, is there anything this man can’t make sound infinitely better?

 

Stevie P, Sketch and Jack Holding

(Also) way back in late February, Rap/rock duo Stevie P & Sketch dropped a rough phone recording of an – as yet untitled – track on Sketch’s YouTube channel ‘Sketch TV’. Along with fellow singer-songwriter Jack Holding on guitar (as well as providing backing vocals) the trio jam out the song in a really raw, acoustic kind of way – even down to Sketch getting a beat going on his shoe! As is their style, the verses comprise of back and forth rap vocals, while the chorus incorporates some beautifully haunting vocal harmonies. The stripped back arrangement gives it a certain charm whilst adding even more of a sense of honesty; it doesn’t need to hide behind complex instrumentals, it makes an impact –perhaps even more so – without.

*I know it’s not a full track or official single or anything but I did just want to give it an honourable mention as it is beautiful.

To see my reviews of Stevie & Sketch’s previous tracks, click here.

 

Katherine McNamara – Chatter

Released three years ago as part of the soundtrack to Cartoon Network original movie Contest, ‘Chatter’, is the theme tune for any school underdog, outcast or ‘weird kid’. Sung by actress Katherine McNamara (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, Shadowhunters), who also stars in the film, the song is almost like a helping hand letting you know that someone is listening. It’s an insanely catchy slice of pop, featuring some brilliantly encouraging lyrics (“words only hurt when you let them matter, don’t let them matter, it’s only chatter,”) and is definitely one of those songs that I wish fifteen year old me could’ve known.

 

Talia Mar – In The Day

After seeing upcoming singer-songwriter Talia Mar live, and reviewing her debut single ‘Stolen’, at the tail-end of last year I’ve been curious to hear more of her material. And, as luck would have it, the emerging talent unveiled follow-up single ‘In The Day’ online in late March. The self-produced electro-R&B track tells the story of what it’s like being the ‘other woman’ in a relationship, complete with a brooding vibe drenched in shadowy undertones – giving it an almost haunting quality. Mar’s powerhouse vocals are faultless throughout; the track really showcases her range as she glides through bold lower notes and drops in her pitch-perfect falsetto to accent certain phrases, giving it a really beautiful sound overall. If you follow her on social media at all then you’ll know that Mar is also gearing up to release her – as yet untitled – EP soon, so I’m really interested to get my hands on that and hear more of her songs. If they’re anything like the ones she’s dropped so far, the EP’s going to be absolute fire.

To see my review of Talia Mar’s debut single Stolen, click here.

 

Another song I’ve been listening to a lot is this acoustic version of ‘Eyelids’ by American trio PVRIS – or Paris to you and me. I’m not going to say too much about it as I included the full version of the song in my Jan/Feb ‘Tracks of the Month’ but, again, I did want to give it an honourable mention as I absolutely love it.

 

As always, thank you for reading! I hope I inspired you to give these songs a listen, if you haven’t already, and if you like what I do here and 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

🙂

 

Goodbye November, Hello December!

Hello everyone,

Seeing as we’ve now waved goodbye to November and welcomed December (AKA: The month of Christmas) with open, festive-jumper-clad, arms, I just wanted to write a chattier post to end my November series and to say a few thank you’s. If you’ve been following my posts this past month then you’ll know that I’d planned to do a series of sorts throughout November as it was ‘National Blog Posting Month’ (yes, that is a real thing, click here if you don’t believe me!)

Now, you may’ve noticed that my list of planned posts started off a little longer at the beginning of the series, as I’d originally planned to do 13 uploads across the month every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. These included some new ‘One to Watch’ posts and some opinion/discussion type articles that I’ve had on my mind for a while. However, I did say in my introductory post that the list might be subject to change, and as the weeks went by I did actually end up halving that amount.

There were a few reasons for this change, one being that I started the series late; I’d posted my previous blog not long before, and I wanted to give it time to breathe and to give people a chance to read it. Similarly, I decided to push back some articles to a later date rather than have them squashed into a series because, again, I wanted them to have chance to breathe and not be overlooked, which is always a danger when you post more frequently as things are easier to miss. I also decided not to include certain review-based posts as they were no longer relevant (and in some cases I’d lost enthusiasm for them.)

Aside from this change of mind, I’ve also been really stressed and had quite a busy month in terms of general life things. There have been birthdays and days out, I got tattooed by Tattoo Fixers’ Sketch at his studio Reppin Ink at the beginning of the month, and I had to visit the hospital more recently for a routine appointment that ended up taking longer than I’d hoped. Ultimately, I think I underestimated the amount of time things would take, how I would feel after certain days, and how long it’d take me to re-charge and feel like myself again. I’ve had fun, but I’ve also had a lot to deal with which, unfortunately, prevented me from being able to blog as much as I’d like to and, because of this, I also didn’t really stick to the schedule I’d created for myself – I think I managed two posts a week in most cases.

However, the pieces that I did post I was 100% happy with – and I’m glad that so many of you seemed to like them too, as my monthly hits went through the roof. Over the course of November I received some lovely messages, as well as multiple ‘likes’ and re-tweets on Twitter from artists that I admire, and I never feel entitled to that. I never automatically expect, because I’ve written a piece about someone’s music, or a live event, that anyone’s going to share it or reach out to me in anyway, so it’s always exciting when it happens.

On that note, I just wanted to take the time to say a massive thank you to anyone who did read or share my work last month, in particular:

 

  • MusiqueLDN 

MusiqueLDN is a live events company whose mission statement is to “bridge the gap between the artist and the industry”, by holding showcase events solely for unsigned talent. They held an event in Box Park Shoreditch, on Oct 30th, which I reviewed as part of this series.

  • Leah McKenzie

Leah McKenzie is a singer-songwriter who performed at the Musique event, and she also sent me some really positive feedback following my review, as did her manager Olivia Connolly, which I was thrilled to bits with. A larger than life character, McKenzie is all about spreading love and positivity, and inspiring others through her music.

  • Waltzz

 If you’ve read my blog before then, chances are, you’ll already be pretty familiar with this name as I’ve reviewed his work a number of times. Upcoming rapper Liam ‘Waltzz’ Stewart also performed at the Musique event and, after a chat with him, I decided to go so I could check him out live and so I could say hi in person, because we’d only ever spoken through the internet at that point. He also dropped new two-track single ‘I’m Alright’ earlier this month, which is included in this series too.

  • Sketch

Again, this name is going to be of no surprise to you if you’re familiar with my blog as I’ve written about the tattooist/singer-songwriter a few times over the last year. As I mentioned earlier, I actually got tattooed by Sketch at his studio Reppin Ink earlier this month. After being a fan of Tattoo Fixers and his work for a while, I’m pleased to say that he has left me with some amazing tattoos that I couldn’t be happier with. He is also one of the loveliest, most down to earth people you could ever hope to meet.

Thank you to all of you for showing the love and sharing my work last month. It means so much to me that you’ve read what I’ve written and like it enough to share it with your fan-bases and friends, please know that it never goes unappreciated. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, the reason I write about anything is because, at the core of everything, I’m a fan and there’s a certain amount of admiration and respect there. So, to get any kind of positive feedback is awesome for little ol’ me who sits in my bedroom and writes reviews about things that I’m passionate about and want to share.

 

 Click here to see some of the lovely things people have said about the blog.


Click here to see some of the lovely things people have said about the blog.

 

As for what’s coming over the next few weeks as we all start to wind down for Christmas, I currently have five new blog posts in the pipeline for the month of December, then I shall be taking a break over the festive season to spend time with family and friends.

 

During this post I’m aware that I have mentioned other pieces that I uploaded this month so, if any of those pique your interest, please see the list below and check them out if you’d like to.

Click here to see my introduction to National Blog Posting Month, and all uploads throughout the series.

Click here to see my blog post all about my tattoo experience with Sketch at his south-east London studio, Reppin Ink.

Click here to see my review of Musique, a live showcase event in Shoreditch’s Box Park solely for unsigned talent.

Click here to see my latest review of Waltzz, and his new two-track single, ‘I’m Alright’.

 

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

🙂

Tattoo Time: Getting Inked by Sketch at Reppin Ink

Hola readers,

As you can probably tell by the title, today’s post is going to be a little bit of a different one. If you’re no stranger to my little corner of the internet, then you’ll know that I’m a fan of E4’s hugely popular show Tattoo Fixers – and tattoos in general. You may also know that, outside of his work in tattooing, resident ink-slinger Sketch is also a singer-songwriter. Teaming up with friend and fellow artist Stevie P, the duo have released a few tracks online – which I have also previously featured on this very blog. Needless to say, I’m a fan of Sketch’s work, both in tattooing and music. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen that I actually got tattooed by the man himself recently at his south-east London studio, Reppin Ink.

TattooDay_Lightbox

Initially I was going to vlog parts of the day, but I hadn’t been tattooed since 2012 so I was really nervous going in. I also didn’t necessarily think about the practicality of filming, being that I was getting a rib tattoo so I was quite ‘exposed’, let’s say.

My friend and I got to the shop and, despite having ventured there a few times previously, were again both struck by how cool the inside of the studio looks. The walls are a deep purple – which also happens to be my favourite colour so maybe I’m a little biased – and the featured artwork is nothing short of beautiful. Displayed proudly behind the desk is a picture of the Tattoo Fixers cast, and there are also certificates from various tattoo conventions dotted around.

reppin-ink-wall-art

Reppin Ink wall art (I want this in my house!)

After a little while, Sketch came in and asked if I had any reference images for the piece I was having done – a dream catcher on my ribs – which I then gave to him. We had a bit of a chat about design specifics, and off he went into the back to draw everything up. My friend and I stayed out front and, once I’d signed the consent form with her nudging me excitedly, I made a tongue-in-cheek comment that I was scared. At which point, Sketch popped his head around the corner and asked “are you scared?” I told him I was, mainly because I hadn’t been tattooed in a while, before the appointment everybody kept telling me that rib tattoos really hurt, and I generally have anxiety anyway. Thankfully he was a total sweetheart about it, saying that he gets anxiety too sometimes, and that we could take our time. He also said that I may feel like I’m going to pass out at the beginning because you realise it’s not that bad, and your body has all this adrenaline that it doesn’t need so it just gets rid of it. This really reassured me and made me feel better. Then, off he went to continue drawing and, shortly after, Bring Me The Horizon’s newest single ‘Oh No’ started blaring from the back room – needless to say we had a bit of a sing along while we waited, my nerves well and truly calmed.

Not long after, in-house piercer Victoria came out with the initial design on an IPad (or some sort of tablet-looking thing) and after a few small tweaks we were called through to the back. Sketch very courteously asked me if I wanted any help with my bag, and he also took an instant liking to the waistcoat I was wearing, almost immediately asking where I’d got it. Following this, it was a case of rearranging and taping my clothes in place so that my ribs were actually exposed, putting the stencil on, and going over to the mirror to check everything was 100% as I wanted it – que some hilarious wardrobe issues, tipping tattoo beds and awkward manoeuvres around the studio. But, to their credit, Sketch and fellow tattooist Jack took it all in good humour, which made me feel even more comfortable – I’m sure they’ve seen a lot worse!

Getting Tattooed by Sketch

Getting my rib piece was nowhere near as painful as I thought it would be; as soon as he started, it was like I instantly remembered the ‘pain’ of getting tattooed and wondered what I was worried about. I’ve always been pretty good at getting tattoos, in fact I’ve been known to say that I quite enjoy it (don’t give me that look.) My friend even kept saying that she couldn’t believe how well I sat and that my face showed no signs of discomfort at all – I’m sure it did! Halfway through my leg started twitching loads and Sketch tapped the top of it and was like, ‘now I can feel your leg going.’ But, honestly, even I was surprised by how little it hurt both during and after – I started dancing in front of my friend after it was done and she was like “how are you doing that already?”

It helped that we chatted our way through it though, chewing over past drunken antics, questionable tattoos, my blogging, the show, being in the public eye, and how he refuses to tattoo any direct copies. He also asked about my disability and of course we spoke about music; there was even talk of a possible interview with him and Stevie P at some point to drum up publicity ahead of their next single. So, Sketch if you’re reading this, be sure to hit me up :). It was a lot of fun – he even had to tell me to stop laughing at one point.

dreamcatcher-by-sketch

My dream-catcher tattoo (just done.)

When my ribs were done I couldn’t wait to get a look at it. But, I was pretty wary of moving because, as I said, when I tried to get up previously the tattoo bed ended up tipping over – with my natural reaction being to try and stop it – which resulted in a casual nip-slip. Sketch also said he wanted to let me get my bearings for five minutes because I was shaking – I’m sure he thought I was going to pass out. He took my hand and helped me over to the mirror, telling me to lean back on him so I could check it out properly, and as soon as I saw it I was totally blown away. He asked me if I liked it and I think my face said it all; it’s everything I’d said I wanted, having combined all the elements, and style, beautifully. It’s delicate, it’s ornate, and it’s pretty. All the detail in the dot-work mandala design is amazing, and the little pops of colour really lifts it, rather than it just being standard black and grey. I love it – photos really don’t do it justice.

Being the trooper that I am, that wasn’t the only tattoo I was getting done that day; I was also getting a rose added to some existing pieces already on my wrist. However, we took a break before moving on to that, so I could get dressed again properly and sort myself out. I was made to feel very comfortable walking around the studio and at no point did I feel awkward or restricted. Like before, it was a case of talking through reference images, getting a stencil drawn up and going from there. It didn’t take us long to get started and, again, we talked all the way through it, from anxiety issues to my interest in tattooing – over the course of the day I think we chatted about everything other than our mutual love of sloths, surprisingly!

Getting Tattooed by Sketch

If you can believe it, getting my wrist done actually hurt more than my ribs did; it seemed to bleed more as well because of all the shading involved. But the end result was totally worth it because, as I said to Sketch, it looks sick. As before, he took my hand and helped me over to the mirror so I could get a proper look at it, and again, I was ecstatic. It’s bold but still feminine, the white highlight throughout is beautiful and the shading on it is amazing – I’m so happy with it.

My Rose tattoo by Sketch

My rose tattoo

Throughout both of my tattoos Sketch was really attentive, taking my hand and helping me to the mirror, and asking me if I felt ok or if I felt sick, on numerous occasions. I felt so comfortable and looked-after throughout the day, and Sketch is an absolute sweetheart; he was very open to getting pictures with both of us – he even tried my waistcoat on at one point. There was just constant banter and chats the whole time and we hung out in the shop pretty much all day.

They say you shouldn’t meet your idols but, luckily, I’ve never had any problems and this day was no exception. Sketch is one of the most honest and genuine people you could ever hope to meet; he’s a very ‘what you see is what you get’ character, and I think a lot of people would quickly realise that he is just a normal, down-to-earth guy who happens to be on TV. You can also tell there’s a genuine passion for what he does; he cares very much about the customer and what they want, and that ultimately they’re happy with it. You can see this as he goes to the mirror with you to see your reaction to your new piece; he’s not just like, ‘Ok, I’ve done it…next!’

It’s definitely not about the money with him either; he asked me early on what I was quoted for the work, so I told him and also said I’d brought extra cash with me in case we did run over, to which he replied “nah I wouldn’t charge you any more for it.” When we were done Sketch handed me the stencil of the rose, which he also signed, and said “this is yours, if you ever want it added to take that in and they’ll have the right one.” To which I replied, if I ever wanted it added to I’d just come back to him.

My rose stencil_Sketch

We hung out in the front of the shop a little while after that, as my friend decided to also get a piercing that day, and I ended up speaking to Victoria about after-care. She advised me to wash them with water and re-wrap them that night, and then continue to wash them with clean water and apply Bepanthen, morning and night, from the following day onwards. I didn’t get any ink transfer on anything, they didn’t bobble/scab nearly as much as my others did, and they definitely weren’t as sore – itchy, yes. Sore, no. My tattoos stayed relatively smooth up until they were healed and, honestly, I wish I’d had her there for all my tattoos; her advice was great, and the healing process on both my tattoos was totally different to the three I already had.

Now, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade so the shop shall remain nameless, but I couldn’t help but compare it where I’ve been tattooed before as it was a completely different experience. My usual tattoo studio is very ‘in and out’ – though that may be because all of my previous appointments were walk-ins and very small pieces. There’s not much of an atmosphere and as said, the aftercare advice wasn’t the same – a couple of my tattoos they didn’t even wrap, and one of my tattoos I was told to not even bother putting cream on.

Reppin Ink is totally different; there’s a jukebox in the back, there was music on the majority of the time, and it just generally had a warmer atmosphere overall – despite the back door being open. This may also have something to do with everyone who works there, as they’re all lovely people, very easy to chat to and, as said, they make you feel very comfortable and at home. It’s a very free and creative space, and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else for my tattoos now – I’m already planning my next one. If I could tattoo, I’d want to work in there tomorrow.

A lot of people have a lot of different opinions on Sketch’s work – as they will with anyone who’s in the public eye – but in my experience, he does a fantastic job. He incorporated everything I wanted into each design resulting in tattoos that I absolutely love and couldn’t be happier with. He’s very warm, welcoming and caring of his customers, and this reflects in the overall atmosphere and vibe of the studio. Ultimately, I’m glad I went to him.

Emma-Sketch-Sophie

As always thank you for reading. Like I said at the beginning, I have featured Sketch 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,
And click here for my follow-up article on spin-off show, ‘Tattoo Fixers On Holiday.’

 

I’m blogging every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout November as its ‘National Blog Posting Month’. However, my schedule has gone a bit awry lately as I’ve had a lot going on. To keep up to date with my upcoming posts, come and join me on Facebook & Twitter, and to see what else is coming up throughout the rest of this month, click here. 🙂

 

‘Jammin’ In July’ Is Back!

Hola readers,

This month I’ve decided to bring back a monthly thread that I started last year, known as ‘Jammin’ In July’. Throughout the next four weeks I’ll be posting blogs on Mondays and Thursdays, ending with (hopefully) 8 uploads.

Summer is a great time for music, with all the summer festivals and tours, so I thought it’d be fitting to bring back this series. Organised as ever, I’ve planned all the blog posts already including: album reviews, single reviews, and maybe even some vlogs ;). See the full list below.

(As the posts go live I’ll add the hyperlinks so you can just click on each entry to see it.)

 

COMING UP:

To keep up to date feel free to come and join me on Facebook and Twitter, I’ll be back on Monday with my overview of TV musical drama Nashville. See you there? 🙂

My Top 10 Interview Wish-List

Greetings readers,

Today’s post is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I originally planned to upload it as a video, but that proved to be a bit of a faff, so I decided to write it instead and…well, here we are.

I’ve always said that interviewing is my favourite aspect of what I do; it’s always exciting for me to interview an artist because I’m just little ol’ me who started a blog at university, I don’t have the added benefit of an established magazine behind me, it is just me. As a result, there are people I’d love to interview that I’ll probably never get the chance to, so I thought I’d compile a Top 10 wish-list of my dream interviewees.

Firstly though, I’d like to talk a bit about my interview style and what inspired my particular approach. The reason I interview anyone is because I admire their work, so when I get the opportunity to talk to an artist my goal is to make them feel as comfortable as possible. By doing this the interview becomes more conversational, which makes for a better experience; let’s face it, uber-formal, stilted interviews aren’t a comfortable watch, or read, and you’re less likely to get the best responses.

I watch a lot of interviews and the person that always sticks in my mind is Ellen DeGeneres. If you watch The Ellen Show, you’ll know that it looks like a hugely fun environment – from being in the audience to being a guest – and you can tell that there’s a genuine admiration or friendship between Ellen and the majority of her interviewees. The fact that the likes of Taylor Swift and Gwen Stefani have been on the show multiple times is testament to the warm and welcoming environment Ellen creates, and it always makes for a great watch. This down-to-earth, semi-informal, atmosphere is what I try to achieve with my own interviews.

‘So who’s in your Top 10?’ I hear you ask… continue reading to find out.

 

#1 Demi Lovato

I think Demi Lovato is an extremely inspiring young woman. I’ve reviewed many of her songs on this blog and I think, musically, she’s a powerhouse. Outside of her music, Lovato has been very vocal in regards to her struggles with mental health, including discovering she was bi-polar and conquering an eating disorder. She has since spoken out about the controversy’s that have surrounded her and has chosen to become a positive influence to others, stating that she wants to be the difference for people who think they have to look, or be, a certain way to be considered cool. I watched an MTV documentary on Lovato, ‘Staying Strong’, which gave an insight into her struggles and treatment, and it moved me to tears at points. I think often we forget that people in the public eye are just that – people, and it takes a strong person to be able to admit so publicly that they have done things they aren’t proud of, and change their ways. It’s for these reasons, and more, that I’d love to talk to Demi Lovato about her career, life, aspirations for the future and everything in between.

Click here to see my review of Lovato’s single ‘Confident.’

 

#2 Alex DeLeon

If you’ve read my blog before then you’ll definitely recognise this name. Alex DeLeon is the lead vocalist of The Cab – a band I was fortunate enough to interview back in 2012, via email, after contacting their manager. However, DeLeon has recently unveiled a brand new solo project under the moniker Bohnes. Having released a number of singles it’s clear that the singer’s newest venture is a world away from the pop-rock sounds of The Cab, favouring a more synth based, pop/dance sound. So, does this mean an uncertain future for the band? It’d be great to sit down with DeLeon to chat about this new project, the status of the band, and what he has coming up.

Click here to see my review of DeLeon’s debut single as Bohnes, ‘Guns and Roses.’

 

#3 Sketch & Stevie P

If you’re a fan of E4’s hugely popular TV show ‘Tattoo Fixers’ then you’ll already be familiar with half of this duo. Let’s be honest, I feel like I could talk to Sketch about tattooing (and a mutual love of Sloths) for ages, but outside of his work in tattooing, he also makes music. I first became aware of this after stumbling across a 30 second clip of a song called ‘I Walk With’, featuring Stevie P, that the tattooist shared on Twitter. With its heavy rock sound, complete with raw scream vocals, it came across as very Bring Me The Horizon-esque; I definitely wanted to hear the full track. Following this, the lads released a song called ‘Everything (Part 2)’, and what I was met with totally caught me off guard; it was rap, totally not what I was expecting. However, the song is undeniably beautiful, and you’d have to be made of stone not to be moved by it.

Five months on, the guys have yet to release a follow-up but have teased that new single ‘Street Lights’ is in the pipeline. Stevie has said via Twitter that the duo are currently facing ‘a few minor issues,’ and Sketch has also previously tweeted that he’s unable to release music at the moment, so there are obviously bigger things at play here. Having said that, it’d be great to chat to the pair about their music at some point and see what they have planned. I bet they’d be a really interesting pair to have a chat with too.

I’d also just like to say that I know ‘Tattoo Fixers’ has been getting a lot of negative press over the last few weeks, mainly over how the show is made, allegations of plagiarism concerning designs, and its implications on the tattooing industry as a whole. These aren’t things that I feel qualified to comment on, however, I can say that as a viewer I really enjoy the show and I like each of the artist’s different styles (I’ve actually emailed both Sketch and Alice about possibly getting pieces done by them.) Personally, I’d love to hang out on-set for a day to see for myself how things are done, so I could say from experience ‘this is what goes on’.

Click here to see my review of ‘Everything (Part 2)’.

 

#4 Vicky Pattison

I don’t know about you, but having never watched Geordie Shore, I had no idea who Vicky Pattison was until she appeared on last year’s ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.’ However, I see that as a good thing because I had no preconceived notions of her going in; as I’ve said elsewhere in this post, it’s all too easy to judge someone based on their media coverage. I thought she was absolutely brilliant, hilarious and a lovely, down-to-earth girl. She gave an interview on Loose Women following winning ‘I’m A Celeb’, and I was even more struck by how eloquent and candid she was. Again, it takes a strong person to hold their hands up and admit their wrong-doings and I have a lot of respect for her for doing that and changing her ways  – and with it the public’s perception of her. I think she’d be great fun to talk to about how she, and her career, have grown since Geordie Shore (and I daresay she’d be brilliant company on a night out as well!)

 

#5 Zoe Sugg & Gabriella Lindley

If you don’t know who Zoe Sugg and Gabriella Lindley (AKA Zoella and Velvet Gh0st) are, then to you I ask, where have you been? The two are huge hits on YouTube, with their beauty tips as well as follow-me-around style videos, having racked up millions of subscribers between them. One of the first videos I saw of Zoe’s was one about dealing with anxiety, and I had huge admiration for her taking on that subject because it takes guts to discuss that sort of thing so publicly. Similarly, Gabriella is also very candid and open about her struggles with the same issues, and knowing that both the girls suffer with anxiety is one of the reasons why I’d like to interview them together. I feel like they’d be more comfortable because they’d have each other for support, rather than it being a one-on-one situation which might make them feel more pressure – which totally isn’t what I’m going for. I watch both the girls’ videos regularly and I love their personalities and the way they come across onscreen, so it’d be awesome to chat to them about their internet presence and being in the public eye. Gabriella has also started posting covers among her video content, click here to check out my review of her most recent cover of Ariana Grande’s ‘Leave Me Lonely’, featuring fellow YouTuber Hobbie Stuart.

 

#6 Taylor Swift

As I said in my previous review of Swift’s fifth studio album, 1989: ‘whatever your opinion of the darling of pop music, you can’t deny that Taylor Swift is slaying the industry at the moment.’ From taking on the likes of Apple and Spotify, she seems to be everywhere. I’ve been a fan of Swift’s since the early days of ‘Love Story’ back in 2008, and since then we’ve seen her grow into the artist that she is today who looks set to take over the world. As with the majority of people in the public eye, everyone has an opinion on Swift, be it positive or negative there will always be one, and I think it would be great to be able to have an opinion based off of actual personal experience rather than media sensationalism.

Click here to see my review of Swift’s album ‘1989.’

 

#7 Ed Sheeran

There is one simple reason for this pick: I love Ed Sheeran. From his magnificent music to his endearingly down-to-earth nature, he comes across as a genuinely nice guy – and those are always the best kinds of people. He has said things in previous interviews that I whole-heartedly agree with, and his passion for what he does is undeniable. Sheeran is currently taking a break from social media, but has said that he’ll be back in the autumn with a brand-new album. It would be absolutely amazing to be one of the first to speak to him about his new music and what makes it “the best thing [he has] made thus far.”

Click here to see my review of Sheeran’s most recent album ‘X.’

 

#8 Simon Cowell

I know this will seem like a controversial choice, but that’s exactly my reasoning. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know who Simon Cowell is and, whether you love him or loathe him, everyone has their own opinion of the music mogul. It’s safe to say that the majority of these opinions will be based on media perception and what we read – unless you’re a close personal friend of Mr. Cowell that is. Personally, I like to judge people based on my own experience of them as opposed to hearsay, (remember the old saying ‘don’t believe everything you read’?) and I would just love the chance to talk to Simon Cowell about the industry, and discover for myself what the big man in music is actually like.

 

#9 Gerard Way

The My Chemical Romance frontman was a huge inspiration to me growing up, aside from the fact that I loved the band’s music, I watched a lot of interviews with Way and I was always struck by his way with words. He would always put his points across eloquently and with such honesty; which I think is what gained him the unwavering respect of a generation of music fans, including me. A lot of people took Way to their hearts and revered him, almost like a hero, and I am proud to say that I grew up in a time when the band existed. They had their fair share of negative attention, but I have nothing but fond memories of their music and being inspired by them. I’m so glad I got to see them live before they split; it’d be a dream come true to catch up with Gerard Way and chat about his career after MCR and what he is up to at the moment.

 

#10 You Me At Six

Again, my teenage self wouldn’t be happy if this Surrey-based quintet didn’t make an appearance. You Me At Six have been one of my favourite bands since I was 17 and, now in my 20s, I feel as though I’ve grown up with them and their music. They have yet to make an album that I dislike, and they always put on a killer live show; I’ve seen them play 10 times and the last time I went I felt like one of the oldest people in the room (long gone are the days of me wearing brightly coloured fishnets, a tutu and home-made t-shirts.) Being that YMAS are one of my longest standing favourite bands it’d be great to speak to them about their career to date, and what their next move is.

Click here to see my live review of You Me At Six at Brixton Academy.

 

And there you have it, there are some artists I’ve interviewed before that I’d love to follow-up with, but for this list I decided to just include those that I’d probably have no chance of ever interviewing.

Who would be your dream person to interview? Are there any from my list that you wouldn’t mind having a good ol’ chin-wag with? Feel free to let me know in a comment :).

 

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Tattoo Fixers.

Let me start this off by pointing out that I am in no way saying that you should go out and get tattooed; it’s against the law to get inked if you’re under 18 so if a place/person is willing to tattoo you underage, then maybe you should question if it’s really a good idea to get tattooed by them in the first place. However, everyone of age is entitled to get a tattoo so, if you decide to go ahead with it, always go to a licensed studio and check out the portfolios of the people who are going to work on you.

Little known fact about me: I’m a huge fan of body art. I currently have five tattoos and I think that they can look amazing if they’re done well (I.E by a professional artist,) and if they suit the person. I’ve been interested in tattoos for around six years; the entire process just fascinates me, but getting inked is not something I take lightly. However, there are those out there that do, and that’s something this E4 TV show knows a thing or two about.

tattoo fixers title

If you follow me on Twitter then you may’ve seen me tweet about Tattoo Fixers a fair bit over the last few weeks, and seeing as I’m ecstatic that the show has hit our screens again for a second series, I thought I’d get you up to speed.

Based in London’s Hackney, this pop-up parlour brings together three of the UK’s best artists to right the nation’s inking wrongs. The artists-in-chief include, master of portraits Jay Hutton, animal-loving new girl Alice Perrin, and award-winning South London lad, Sketch. Together with their hilariously sassy, straight-talking receptionist Paisley, they turn your mishaps into masterpieces (complete with a lot of wincing, shocked faces and raised eyebrows – zombie-finger penis tattoo anyone? No I’m not kidding.)

Personally, I have a self-imposed rule that I have to have wanted a certain design for at least six months before I get it – and when you watch this show it’s easy to see why. “I was at a party”, “I was drunk”, “I was on holiday” and “my mate bought a tattoo gun”, are all common opening lines from those who appear, and it’s all too easy for viewers to watch through parted fingers while simultaneously chuckling to themselves and squealing ‘why would you do that?!’ at the TV.

Throughout the first and second series I was hooked, and you’d only need take a look the amount of tweets and re-tweets that adorn my Twitter feed every Tuesday night, to see I’m not the only one. Sketch even shared an article via Digital Spy entitled ‘7 reasons why everyone can’t stop talking about Tattoo Fixers’ (click to check it out.)

There are a few reasons why I personally really enjoy the show. As said, I’m interested in the artistry involved and how it’s done, and it’s funny. From certain clients claiming they prefer being tattooed over sex, to an unfortunate One Direction-looking tattoo that resulted in Sketch quoting their song-titles during the consultation, (insert surprised face here!.) You just never know what’s coming next.

As well as this, I love the idea of all three artists giving their creative input to the vague briefs that people give them, as it allows you to see the different approaches and styles, and gives the client more than one choice. It also helps that each of the resident tattooists (and of course Paisley) come across as extremely down-to-earth, approachable and attentive; when they ask a client what they think of their new body art you can tell they actually care about the answer. One of the instances that really sticks in my mind from series one, was when 75 year-old Abigail was tattooed by Sketch.

Hers was a beautiful story and you could tell the guys were touched by it – having gone in to get a white rose to compliment a scar she has as a result of an operation. After making Sketch blush, with a rather hilarious reference to ‘the horizontal tango’, it was decided that he would do the inking, much to his delight.

In all, Tattoo Fixers looks like a lot of fun to be a part of, and the banter back and forth between the guys always makes for a fun watch – I wouldn’t mind working there myself. I’d actually love to work in a tattoo shop (as an assistant or a receptionist, there’s no way you could let me loose on anyone’s skin!) as I feel that it’s a hugely creative space – which I think is an aspect that’s sometimes overlooked. True, there’s a fair bit of bad ink out there – as this show highlights – but done well there’s a hell of a lot of artistry and passion involved, and it’s an extremely personal experience.

If you fancy checking out Tattoo Fixers, you can catch up on all the episodes on 4OD (where you can also take a look at each of the artists’ bios.) I for one, can’t wait to see what’s in store through the next series – one thing’s for sure #TattooCrushTuesday should definitely be a thing.

 

You can keep up to date with each of the artists on Twitter:

Alice      Jay      Sketch      Paisley

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 in Nov 2016.

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