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
🙂

Happy New Year 2016 (and Here’s to 2017!)

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas, and that 2017 got off to a great start whatever it is you got up to – whether that was downing shots in the pub or cosied up in front of the TV. As has come to be tradition around here, I wanted my first blog of 2017 to look back on the previous year, talk you through the highlights and give some much-deserved thanks.

If you’ve been around here for the last couple of years then you’ll know that I totally re-designed the blog at the beginning of 2016. After starting this site back in 2010 it had become increasingly apparent that it was showing its age and in desperate need of a face-lift. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out – it’s undoubtedly a massive improvement!

Speaking of behind-the-scenes type things, we managed to hit over 5,500 views last year, with an average of 400-500 hits a month. Considering that it was on (just over) 3,500 in 2015 – with an average of approximately 2,000 over previous years – it totally blows my mind. To have grown by that many views – for someone who just sits in her bedroom and writes about things she’s passionate about – is an amazing feeling. Another thing that I’m always indescribably thankful for, is when an artist I’ve written about shares my work.

alex-marshall-blog-love

Click here to see some of the really lovely things people have said about my work.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I never expect – just because I’ve written about someone – that they’re going to share it with their followers in any way, so it’s always really flattering when it happens. Throughout 2016 my work was liked, read and shared by artists that I have great admiration and respect for, as well as people who have read and found something they like in it. That never goes unappreciated – after all, there wouldn’t be much point to me writing this blog if no one was reading it!

On that note, I’m beyond proud of all the posts that I uploaded last year. I remember when I interviewed Brian Dales (The Summer Set) back in 2012, he said “the more you practice your craft, the better you get at it”, and that is something that really resonated with me. When I set up this blog it was as a requirement for a university project, so priority-wise it always came second to something, whether that was my degree or a full-time job. However, over the last 2 years I’ve really focused a lot of my time and energy on writing and I think that shows, both in my skills as a journalist, and the amount of views this blog has gotten over the last 12 months.

However, whilst I feel like I’ve really honed my skills as a writer and I’m happy with my current style, that is by no means saying that everything I do is perfect – it isn’t – and that there isn’t always more to learn and improve on – there is.

My Top 5 most viewed posts this year

My Top 5 most viewed posts last year

I also saw some great artists live last year, including The Summer Set – on the UK leg of their ‘Stories For Monday tour’ – and Waltzz, the latter of whom approached me to possibly review some of his music at the beginning of the year. Following that, and also meeting up with him at a music showcase event in November, we’re now on each other’s Christmas card lists!

As well as that, I also reviewed Costa-Blanca based band Snowblind when they came over for a UK tour in the spring. Subsequently my review was then published in Spanish/English magazine ‘QR’. This was a huge achievement, and very flattering, for me as it’s not every day that I’m approached to have my work published. Seeing it in print was such a surreal feeling; I love how it came out.

Snowblind review in QR

Snowblind review in QR

There were also some amazing releases from some fantastic artists including, The Summer Set, Against The Current, rap/rock duo Stevie P and Sketch, and former member of The Cab Alex Marshall, who dropped his debut solo single during the summer. I won’t go into that in too much detail though because I have my ‘Top Songs of 2016’ coming in the next few weeks, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for that.

Going forward into 2017, I’d like to incorporate more of my interests into this platform that aren’t necessarily music based but more lifestyle. Over the course of last year I wrote about non-music related subjects and they seemed to be really well received. I opened up about my disability ahead of The Paralympics – something I’d never thought I’d do but I’m proud of all the same. And, I wrote a follow-up to my Tattoo Fixers article about the ‘On Holiday’ spin-off of the show. If you’ve started following my blog recently then you’ll also know that I actually got a piece done by Tattoo Fixers’ very own Sketch, at his South-east London studio Reppin Ink in November. Having wanted a piece done by him for a few years (not to mention being a big fan of his music) that was a major highlight of the year. It was a really fun experience, and he’s one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people you could ever hope to meet.

Click here to see the blog post all about my tattoo experience with Sketch

Click here to see the blog post all about my tattoo experience with Sketch

I’d also like to make these lifestyle posts a bit chattier; I’m thinking of posting one a week and calling it ‘Chatty Tuesday’ or something. I also hope to make my ‘Book Club’ reviews more regular again, and perhaps even do a ‘YouTuber of the Month’ segment; I have a lot of ideas. As I’m getting older I just want to widen the scope a bit, while also making sure that the blog remains very music-based. As such, I met and discovered some amazing talent last year, so I hope to get some interviews in the pipeline too.

With that being said, I also want to remember to live in the moment and spend time with family and friends. This means that I’m not going to try and review everything anymore, but instead focus on the music/things that I 100% love and have a strong desire to promote. So, if you’ve ever sent me something to review and I haven’t got back to you, I’m sorry but I am just one person, it’s a busy life and I can’t do everything – as I’m sure you can understand.

However, thank you for your support over the years and I hope that you’ll continue on this journey with me throughout 2017 – let’s make it a great one!

 

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 this year, be sure to come and join me on:

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🙂

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

🙂

Waltzz: ‘I’m Alright’ (Single Review)

Emerging rapper Waltzz releases infectiously optimistic two track single, ‘I’m Alright’.

waltzz-im-alright-1

©Daydream Exposure Photography

Just three months after the end of his PMP|3131 YouTube series – during which he dropped 31 videos in 31 days – Liam ‘Waltzz’ Stewart is showing no signs of slowing down, as he recently premiered his brand new single ‘I’m Alright’ online. The two track single, released on November 20th, also includes a second song ‘Looking Up’ – and it’s different to anything you’ve ever heard from him before.

After including a version of ‘I’m Alright’ on his previous PMP|3131 series, the official release has been re-worked and polished, with production by High Depth Music. Both tracks are upbeat and full of optimism, set to more of a hip-hop/pop backdrop, with a little bit of EDM thrown into the mix too.

 

 

‘I’m Alright’ opens with a punchy synth-led beat and a cheeky chuckle, making way for an insanely catchy, pop hook that won’t leave your head long after you’ve finished listening. Vocally, Waltzz switches it up a bit in this track, singing his way through the melodic choruses while his distinctive rap vocals make an appearance throughout the verses. This also gives more texture to the overall sound. Detailing his fondness for a very independent woman – and doing so with bucket-loads of positivity – it’s a track that definitely wouldn’t be out of place in the mainstream charts (and makes you want to dance too!)

Second song ‘Looking Up’ has more of a brooding, swelling opening – a great fit for the poignant nature of the lyrics. For anyone already a fan of Waltzz, this track bares similarities to his previous offering ‘Whatever It Takes’, in that it deals with the subject of family – particularly that of his estranged father. However, as opposed to recounting a story from another’s point of view, ‘Looking Up’ is much more direct. It gives listeners a candid insight into their rocky farther/son relationship, and Waltzz’s hope of putting the past behind them and moving on. Subject wise it’s heavier than ‘I’m Alright’, but still retains that sense of positivity – lyrically as well as musically – again, with a hook that is infectious as soon as the beat drops. It’s an expressive track brimming with sincerity that is, arguably, the most real and raw that Waltzz has ever dared to be. This lends to more of a sense of maturity, and no doubt also provides a sense of catharsis – turning the negative into something positive.


Overall, ‘I’m Alright’ is a great single, featuring two fantastic songs that show a different side to Waltzz, demonstrating his growth artistically and personally. I absolutely love the melodic choruses and the uplifting vibe of both pieces. As a package they complement each other brilliantly. Personally, I’m really looking forward to seeing where Waltzz goes from here and, if this is the start of a new chapter of his sound, what he has coming next.

 

If you’re interested in checking out Waltzz, I’ve written a few reviews about his music previously, please see the list below and check them out if you’d like to.

Click here to check out my introductory ‘One to watch’ on Waltzz,
Click here to see my piece on Waltzz’s ‘#PMP 31|31’ YouTube series,
Click here to see my review of Musique (a live showcase event at which he performed.)

If you’d like to hear more from Waltzz, 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

 

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. 🙂

Musique Showcase Event (Live Review)

Sunday October 30th 2016

Musique Showcase event featuring Waltzz @ Boxpark Shoreditch, London

Intimate acoustic showcase event brings together unsigned talent and looks to bridge the gap between the artist and industry.

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Let’s face it, there’s never really much to do on a Sunday is there – aside from sitting in your pyjamas and watching TV all day, right? Wrong! On this chilly October morning we venture up to London’s Shoreditch (aka the trendy part of the capital) which is playing host to a, relatively new, music event solely for unsigned and emerging talent.

Silver Kid and Shanika Ocean

Silver Kid and Shanika Ocean (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Held in Box Park; the world’s first pop-up mall fashioned out of a shipping container no less, Musique is an acoustic showcase that seeks to “bridge the gap between the artist and the industry.” Hosted by dynamic duo Shanika Ocean and Silver Kid – aptly named after his metallic shade of hair – the event is on track to having a permanent home in this quirky venue.

A number of acts from today’s line-up are no stranger to the showcase, having played on the Musique stage before – including rapper Waltzz, after he landed a guest appearance with friend and fellow artist, Mister Lees. With close to ten acts on the bill the event kicks off pretty quickly, with the majority performing between two and three songs each, including cover versions of popular hits as well as original tracks.

First up is singer-songwriter Harley Nixon, who takes to the stage – despite a pretty moderate foot injury, bandage and all – to perform original track ‘The Fall.’ His soulful vocals drenching the song in smooth R’n’B vibes, and easing the audience into proceedings.

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Waltzz and Luca (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Aspiring rapper Liam ‘Waltzz’ Stewart soon follows suit, accompanied by singer-songwriter Luca Martellotti on guitar and vocals. Both solo artists in their own right, the duo met six months ago and began performing together recently, fusing their respective styles of ‘hip-hop/rap’ and ‘guitar-led pop’ – and it definitely works. The pair open with a re-worked version of Luka’s original song ‘For the rest of my life’; a slower track with a chilled out vibe – Waltzz injecting some hip-hop flair and adding his own twist to it. Next, they pick up the pace with ‘For The Night’ – a track they wrote together – which would make the most discerning listener want to have a little groove in their seat. The pair then finish off with a goosebumps-inducing version of Waltzz’s emotional track ‘Whatever it takes.’ Overall, the two seem to complement each other brilliantly and balance the set really well.

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Talia Mar (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Twenty-year old singer-songwriter Talia Mar graces the stage next. Accompanied by a guitarist, known only as Joe, the pint-sized powerhouse treats the audience to some pitch-perfect originals including ‘Circles’ and ‘Stolen’ – the latter of which was originally released back in June as an Electro track, and also has a music video in the pipeline. (Check out the teaser trailer here.)

Leah McKenzie (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Leah McKenzie (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Big hair and an even bigger personality then fill the room as its Leah McKenzie’s time to shine. The X Factor 2016 contestant won all four judges over with her cover of Birdie’s ‘Wings’, which she demos for today’s audience. She follows this with an original song called ‘Change’. McKenzie strives to project an inspirational, motivational vibe through her music, urging everyone to pay close attention to the lyrics as “there’s a lot of music about sex and drugs, we don’t need to hear that anymore…it’s time to get a bit deeper [with the lyrics.]” Adding later “all of us are going through stuff and when you’re in that moment you just feel like giving up but actually you’re going to get through it…it’s about appreciating the life you’ve got.”

Dee Ajayi (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Dee Ajayi (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Next up its Dee Ajayi – who is the one of the few acts on today’s bill to play a set entirely made up of originals –opening with ‘She Loves Me Not’, a smooth and sultry song born out of a time when the singer felt quite “self-

destructive.” After a slight memory block on the following song she quickly picks things back up, demonstrating the beauty – and reality – of live music in the process. Closing number ‘Your Idea of Perfect’, is sassy and soulful. This, coupled with the solo bass accompaniment, gives the whole set a funky and fresh feel.

Harry Fisher (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Harry Fisher (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Now, if you happened to tune into this year’s season of The Voice UK, then you may recognise this next performer. With his distinctive mop of hair, Harry Fisher participated in the TV talent show as a member of team Boy George – who he is also currently writing with. Opening his set with a cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Sorry’, it is undeniable that Fisher is a powerhouse in every sense of the word. This carries through into his original song ‘Crazy’, and his closing cover of Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’, with host Silver saying that “people like Harry” are why he loves being a part of this platform. After putting out an album recently, the young talent is now performing anywhere that will have him, adding “[he’s] trying to do things like this all the time.”

Penultimate act Kestra is then called up to the stage to perform her short set of covers from the likes of Beyoncé and Rhianna. She is joined by Harry Fisher for two out of three songs, which starts as a duet but then almost seems to turn into a battle of the big voices. A songwriter since the age of 17, Kestra has written for a host of established artists including The Prodigy – which is no mean feat. However, the young mum – whose daughter is in the audience – has remained humble, stating “there are so many talented people in the world, so it’s a bit like lucky dip.” Well we don’t think her luck’s run out just yet, and with an album due for release next year who knows what’s in store.

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Emily Mutaako (© Skins Elliott Photography)

Bringing the show to a close is Emily Mutaako. Previously known as Emily Grace, Mutaako recently changed her stage name as, as she says, it’s more reflective of her artistry now in terms of her influences and culture. She treats the audience to covers of Amy Winehouse and Lianne La Havas, ending on an original song called ‘You Gotta Learn’, a track which she says is about “overcoming fear.” With an upbeat, and overall great vibe, it’s a brilliant note to end the day on.

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What it’s all about… (© Skins Elliott Photography)

So, if music is your thing and you want to uncover some hidden gems in the industry, Musique is the sort of thing you should check out. Equally, if you’re a performer and you want to get your music out to more people, something like this isn’t a bad place to start.

If I had one criticism of the event, it would be that I think it could benefit from half the amount of acts, slightly longer sets and less cover versions. This would then enable audiences to get a better feel for the artist and what they’re about, rather than hearing karaoke versions of popular hits. Nevertheless, it was really inspiring to see some great emerging talent in such an intimate setting. One thing’s for sure, I will definitely be going again – see you there? 😉

 

If you fancy going along to a Musique event, or if you’re interested in performing, be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter, and if you want to check out any of the acts mentioned in this blog all their names are hyperlinked within the review :).

 

All photography (aside from the top photo) is by ©Skins Elliott Photography. For more photos from the day head on over to Facebook, or to check out his work in general go to: http://www.skinselliottphotography.com/

 

As always thank you for reading. 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. 🙂