INTERVIEW: SUMif

INTERVIEW:

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SUMif

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THE fantastic SUMif has been telling me about...

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her latest single, Obvious, and what its tale is. I wanted to discover which artists she grew up around and whether we might see more material coming along – SUMif reveals when music became her life and what life is like in San Francisco.

The U.S. songwriter chooses a few albums that are important to her; whether she will come to the U.K. and play; the artist she’d support given the chance and some rising musicians we need to follow – she chooses a cool track to end the interview with.

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Hi, SUMif. How are you? How has your week been?

Fabulous! I just got back from a week skiing in Japan actually!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure thing. I’m SUMif. I’m based in San Francisco, California and I make Electro-Pop music. My main goal is to make you dance, or bob your head...or move at least a little. 

Obvious is your new track. What is the story behind the song?

Obvious is about the moment when I met someone who opened my eyes, who allowed me to see my truth clearly. At the time, I had been avoiding the reality of a certain situation but, all of a sudden, the answer was sitting in front of me in plain sight.  

Is there going to be more material coming along this year?

Always and forever will you be getting new material from me! But, yes, I have a little E.P. coming out very soon followed by many new singles and another E.P. 

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Do you recall which artists you were listening to growing up?

Yes! Lots of The Beatles, Sheryl Crow and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Those are the distinct names I can remember my parents loving, so they were often plated at home or in the car. 

Was there a moment when you realised songwriting and music was your calling?

I wrote a song my senior year of high-school about a boy (lolz) I met who lived across the country. We met at a pre-college summer camp of sorts. I was crazy about him and wrote this poppy little song on my acoustic guitar and sang it for my school talent show.

Someway, somehow, my song ended up getting voted our class graduation song  the song they play when you throw your hats up in the air…in front of the three-thousand-plus people in the audience…usually a song like Green Day’s Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) or Vitamin C’s Graduation would win.

It was the first time in my life that others saw my art and especially my songwriting as something worth paying attention to. I used this song to audition to the music program at NYU and, when I got in, it further led me to believe in myself as a songwriter. 

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You have become a San Francisco staple. How important is the area and the people?

S.F. is truly home. I could gush about the beauty of the Bay area for ages. I arrived in S.F. six years ago knowing essentially no one. I built a life there, one that I am so, so proud of. I am surrounded by the most fun brilliant excellent supportive people I could imagine there - they’re my family.

On top of that, I’ve able to build up my music project there and am a big fish in a little pond. In the Bay, they play me on the radio and I’m a go-to support act for smaller Pop acts that come through town. These are things that wouldn’t happen to me in L.A. where there are so many people trying to do exactly what I am.   

Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?

So, so many but, in this moment, I would say playing Pride on the main stage last summer. It was beyond my wildest hopes for the performance. The sun was shining; it was hot (very rare for S.F.) and there were somewhere between five-hundred and one-thousand people watching me but they weren’t just watching; they were jumping and singing and...it was everything. Playing at Pride and waving around a rainbow flag was really a true symbol of freedom for me and my journey with coming out and coming to terms with being gay. 

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Odesza - In Return

Cinematic-Pop that makes me jump and pretend to bang on drums no matter where I am or what I’m doing. I’ve seen Odesza live over ten times – they truly embody my goal of making people want to move with my music. 

Tove Lo - Lady Wood

Tove Lo is an incredible songwriter, performer and artist. She is one of my biggest inspirations.   

Jack’s Mannequin - Everything in Transit

This album came out right around the time I got my first car, where it held a permanent position in the C.D. player. Each track was and still is Pop-Rock perfection in my book.     

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Tove Lo. My rider would definitely have a ton of Harmless Harvest Coconut Water and RX bars. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Be authentic, be unapologetically yourself and don’t give up when it gets frustrating or hard - because it will be frustrating or hard most of the time. 

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Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?

I sure hope so. Right now, just S.F. on March 1st for Noise Pop Festival.

Might you come to the U.K. and play at some point?

Dying to! Help me make it happen?

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Dagny/PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathan Vivaas Kise

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’m a HUGE Scandinavian Pop fanatic…and my faves right now are Dagny, Sigrid; LÉON and ALMA.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Sigrid

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I travel quite a bit, so I essentially save up my ‘chill time’ and my spend time away from music while seeing new places. My greatest passion aside from music is exploring new places but, when I’m at home and living a normal week, I tell myself that, if I have time to watch T.V. or a movie, then I have time to work on music.

So, I try not to do many ‘wind down’ activates. I am working on reading more though! I am learning French and, while it’s not really unwinding, it is something completely different that I do enjoy. 

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Hmmm. SO hard to pick just one song. But, right now, let’s go with Flight FacilitiesClair de Lune. Thanks so much!

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INTERVIEW: Rasha Jay

INTERVIEW:

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Rasha Jay

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I am a little late putting this online...

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jordan Tempro 

but I have been speaking with Rasha Jay about her new single, Red Coat. I ask what it concerns and what we can expect from her upcoming E.P., High Dive – Rasha Jay talks about breaking down boundaries and when music came into her life.

The songwriter discusses a few albums important to her; whether she has plans for this year and what it is like stepping into Blues – a genre dominated by men – and whether there are challenges – she picks a great song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Rasha Jay. How are you? How has your week been?

I am well, thank you. My week has been great!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I am Rasha Jay; a singer and songwriter from the U.S. in the Alternative/Blues genre, mostly. Blues, mainly, because of how my voice comes across, I suppose, and Alternative in how I write my songs.

Can you tell me when you got into music? Were there particular records or artists that inspired that passion?

My family tells me that I’ve been singing since I was two or three; a relative would teach me Gospel songs on the front porch. I don’t recall it but seems about right! I was deeply drawn to music early on, hearing melodies and singing all of the time. Prince’s Sign o’ the Times album sticks out for me - I think it was mainly a black cover. I recall opening the album and reading the lyrics and being fascinated with the grooves.  

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 PHOTO CREDIT: @sayjor

You play in a Blues-Rock/Alt-Blues mould. It is traditionally populated by white men. Were there any hesitations stepping into that world?

No hesitations at all! It’s about storytelling and standing firm, singing your song. I have a song to sing and I rest on great shoulders; those unbridled voices I admire so much. I want to push it forward. I want to expand the story.

Do you think it is important that artists break down walls and barriers in order to bring about progression and evolution?

Yes, absolutely! I love the classic songs like everyone else but they’ve been done before. (And again and again as they should be). But, I’m more curious about what’s around the corner; what’s going to be a part of that lexicon that we can look back on in years to come? And, personally, am I pushing myself to seek new ways to convey my thoughts in song?

Red Coat is your new single. Is there a story behind it at all?

Red Coat is a song that I wrote, in part, years ago but it didn’t make my first E.P. It was something that always lingered around my mind, though. I sang the guitar riff all the time - it wouldn’t leave me. The song is about the murky, thick part of knowing yourself and how love can be abrasive. It’s also about how other’s behaviour can keep you from giving all that you have. To keep a part of yourself wrapped up is, I feel, perfectly fine and it happens within every relationship.

Can you reveal any details about your upcoming E.P., High Dive, and the sort of themes explored?

High Dive is a short journey about exploring different emotions, those that are conflicting and those that are tough. And, purposely, the songs have questions posed within the songs. They are questions that people ask of you and you ask of yourself.

Do you already have plans for 2019?

Yes. I can’t wait to release this single and its video! I’m also going to give listeners an inside view about how Red Coat was made in the studio with my co-producer, Katmaz. I can’t wait to go home to Maryland and sing these new songs live for my hometown and I’m planning my E.P. release show.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Jordan Tempro 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

My favorite time so far...that is tough!

But, I will say that playing live is my favorite thing to do and I am fortunate to know some talented musicians. One sticks out: my first show at The Twisted Elm in New Jersey a few years back. I’m playing with a new guitarist, Mike, and when my set was done they yelled “One more!” I was so shocked and humbled. Mike and I didn’t plan anything.

I looked to him and said “Plush by Stone Temple Pilots?” He nodded ‘yes’ and hit the chords. I had no idea if he knew it. I ended up doing two more encores that night. He knows every song. I keep him close to this day!

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Michael Jackson - Thriller

For every reason imaginable; all the reasons. I used to close my eyes and wish that P.Y.T. was written for me. And, I was like, six-years-old! 

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Anita Baker - Rapture

My aunt and grandmother had her poster on their walls! She was my earliest female representation of a Rock star. I hadn’t heard a voice like that and I watched everyone who heard her songs have so many different responses. Some would get quiet and sway, others would jump up and sing out. That is real power.

Janet Jackson - Control

I danced and danced to this album as a kid. I knew every move she did on the videos; I was Janet in my mind. I thought I wanted to be both dancer and singer. I still dance but it’s reduced itself to jumping around and hip-swaying.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

The Arctic Monkeys! My rider would just be a huge fan and some water. The fan and water to help me not faint at the thought of opening for them.  

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jordan Tempro

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I would say that whatever you are creating, know that everyone won’t be on board and you’ll have to ride alone. And that’s alright. Keep going.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

I’m working on that, I promise! I played in the U.K. previously. Looking to head back there as well.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Katmaz

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

My producer, Katmaz. His music is brooding and bubbling all at once. He gets me and my dark style and Red Coat couldn’t have sounded the way it does without our sync.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I unwind by listening to more music - I don’t want to get away from it. Late at night, I’m always looking for shows such as Rick and Morty and The Great British Bake Off.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

In true encore fashion, Plush by Stone Temple Pilots

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INTERVIEW: Glass Peaks

INTERVIEW:

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ant Adams

Glass Peaks

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THANKS to the guys of Glass Peaks...

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for talking with me about their new single, Misery, and how it came together. I was keen to learn how long they have known one another and whether they have plans for more material – they reveal some approaching artists worth looking out for.

I discover what sort of music the guys vibe to and how they spend their free time; which albums mean the most to them and how they are coping with the slightly cold weather – they each select a great song to end things with.

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Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Alf: Great, thanks! This week has been manic. We just put out our latest single, Misery, so we’ve been busy spreading it far and wide! 

Jake: It's been pretty beautiful, thank you. Releasing new music into the world is always satisfying.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Alf: Sure! We’re Glass Peaks; a three piece based in Kent/London. We write songs: some are really aggressively loud and intense, others are a lot more intricate with softer tones - we have a diverse musical palette. There’s a strong sense of the ’80s that seems to always find its way back into our music. 

Jake: Three idiots who try to write music…

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ant Adams

Are you managing to stay warm in the winter weather?! Does it inspire musical ideas?

Alf: Yes. I have a new scarf that I love loads. I think I’m going to wear it in July, that’s how much I love it. For me, it actually has the opposite effect. I get really bummed out by the U.K. climate in the winter. I feel far more creative in the summer months, generally. But, you never know! Ideas for music can just hit you randomly out of nowhere!

Jake: I'm ALWAYS boiling so the winter is great for me. We've just had a wood cabin built at the back of my garden which is lovely to write in over the winter months.

Grant: I really hate the sun so this winter weather is perfect for me. I feel winter is a much more inspiration season than most.

Misery is your latest track. What is the tale behind the song?

Alf: It’s loosely based on Stephen King’s novel, Misery. It’s real dark story that was adapted into a terrifying film starring Cathy Bates. I wrote the lyrics after watching that movie one weekend accompanied by the worst hangover I’ve ever had. It was of those tunes that just fell out of me. The whole track is a commentary on addictive personalities and the idea of craving something. 

There is a new label, Close-Up. Is that Glass Peaks’ label?

Alf: No, it’s not our label but I believe we’re the first band to sign to it! The Close-Up team are our booking agents and they decided to team up with a Modern Sky and start their own label. When they approached us to sign Misery to it we were absolutely thrilled. We’ve been working with Close-Up for years so it felt very logical and natural. 

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What is coming next for you guys in terms of material?

Alf: We have the next three (potentially four) tracks almost ready to go so we’re just planning those releases now. There’s so much work that goes into each release so we just want to make sure we get it right! We’re also putting out a video for Misery shortly, so do be sure to check that out!

Jake: In 2019, I would like to release as much music as we can. Show the world what we have in our back pocket.

Grant: A diverse spectrum I feel is what's on the horizon. Some of the new songs are a little different to what we've done before.

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How did the band form? Do you recall when you all met?

Alf: I’ve known Jake for years. We used to work with one another at a terrible music exhibition - but it enabled us to pretty much play the guitar all day which was amazing. Jake went travelling to the States for a year and, when he returned, he started Glass Peaks with Grant. I got involved a little later down the line. 

Jake: We grew from the ground, like an oak tree.

Grant: Yeah. Me and Jake were in a band before Glass Peaks and, as Alfie said, when he returned from the U.S. we started something new and fresh. Oh...and asked Alf to tag along.

In terms of music, do you share tastes? Would one find similar albums in your collections?

Alf: We do generally, yeah! I think you’d find a lot of crossover. We all share a love of Radiohead, Foals; Peter Gabriel etc. I’m really into the whole Shoegaze sound i.e. My Bloody Valentine, Ringo Deathstarr etc. I’m listening to loads of Beach House and The Phoenix Foundation at the moment. Grant has the best music taste of anybody I know though. It’s so unbelievably diverse; he’s always pulling corkers out of the bag when we’re driving around on tour. 

Jake: If we're ever a bit down, I'll just stick on a bit of George Michael and instantly the mood is lifted. We all love good music, no matter what genre.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Ant Adams

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Alf: We played the Isle of Wight Festival in 2018 which was pretty amazing. That definitely sticks in my mind as one to remember. I have some great memories of being in the studio in the summer and just really enjoying that intensely creative time with the guys. They’re always really great memories. 

Jake: Oh, man, we could do a separate article about all the stupid sh*t we've got up to over the years. So many memories. I absolutely love these boys and the memories we've made.

Grant: I'll give you a bizarre one. Us three walking around Newcastle with a big group of lads. Led by a man holding a roman legionnaire sword asking who's in his gang.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Ant Adams

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Alf: There are so many but Amnesiac by Radiohead stands out. I really like the fact that, despite it being recorded in the same sessions as Kid A, they decided to create another entire album that follows almost an entirely different narrative. It has some of my favourite tracks on it. Knives Out being a personal favourite. 

Jake: I would have to say Foals - Antidote.  It was an album that changed the way I played guitar forever. 

Grant: So many for different reasons but here is one - Silent Alarm by Bloc Party. It was the album that really sucked me into music and playing.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Alf: You know what; I’d love to get on the Wolf Alice support slot. I’m a huge fan of their early work as well as Visions of a Life and I think, sonically, it would work really well. The rider would be made up of largely beers, beers and more beers. I think I can speak on behalf of the whole band in regard to that. Haha.

Jake: I would like to support The 1975. The fans are mad. Beers, hummus; crisps, beers; Nandos and puppies.

Grant: If they got back together The Maccabees. I miss them so much and our sounds would work together I think. Alf's already got the rider sorted.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Jordan Logan

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Alf: We certainly do! We’re playing in Bristol at the Hy-Brasil Music Club on 20th Feb and we’re in London on the 22nd Feb at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen. Both shows are with the lovely lads in Bedroom Boredom. We’ve just confirmed a few festival shows that we’re super-stoked about - we’ll be announcing those in due course. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Alf: I’d say just make sure you’re one-hundred percent up for it. You can’t make a real go of it unless you have more than one-hundred percent commitment and energy. You need to learn to take constructive criticism well (and also accept that some people will just straight up hate your music for no real reason). 

Be prepared for knock-backs, setbacks; disappointments and more. If you can get through all of that with your chin up, good things will start to happen and it makes them all the more worth it. 

Jake: Save money now. You'll need it.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Shanghai Blues

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Alf: Hot Dreams are an amazing new artist who you should definitely check out. They recently posted the most gorgeous live performance video I’ve ever seen. Really stunning stuff. Submariner are another band to keep your eyes and ears open for; great lads with a great sound. Our roster pals Shanghai Blues and Hows Harry are all doing bits as well. There’s a lot of really great music out there right now. 

Jake: Another Sky and Calva Louise.

Grant: Sarpa Salpa are definitely a band you need to check out! Also, I don't know if these are now considered NEW, but Indoor Pets. Get on Teriyaki.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Indoor Pets

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Alf: Not really, no! Haha. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. When we do get downtime, I just like catching up with my mates. Spending time with the people you love is very important. 

Jake: I'm a barber and that's something I absolutely love and makes me feel very calm. Apart from working and making music, I enjoy talking to my dog like she's a human.

Grant: Playing Football Manger till ungodly hours of the morning. Stress-preventing.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Alf: What a treat! Can you please play Chillers by Another Sky? I’m absolutely obsessed with that band at the moment and the track is just perfect poetry

Jake: Spice Girls - 2 Become 1

Grant: Amazing! Could you conjure The Distance by Cake

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INTERVIEW: Rivah Jordan

INTERVIEW:

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PHOTO CREDIT: Roxanne Haynes

Rivah Jordan

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THE captivating and charismatic Rivah Jordan...

has been telling me about his musical tastes and his particular sound; what the story behind his new track, Shoebox, is; whether there is going to be more coming from him and what sort of influences go into his arsenal.

Rivah Jordan talks about the challenges he has faced in life and his philosophy; what sort of music captured him young; whether there are any rising artists to look out for – he picks a great song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Rivah. How are you? How has your week been?

Oh, man. Today, I’m trying to bend with the breeze like a tree, for my week has been character building to say the least. I like to think I’m dealing with it well. Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m the guy that effortlessly goes from Sean Paul to Skepta in six seconds...Rivah Jordan, the big artist with the big label in London, Sound Killaz Music. I’m a bit of an advocate for mental-health awareness and financial education. I write my own songs, make my own music; mix and master, will do my own artwork and shoot my own video if necessary and can and will do those things for other people. I’m a handsome, tall; light-skinned guy with dreadlocks and streaks of grey. I’m an entrepreneur and an educator. I’ll give you food. What more can I say?

Shoebox is your new track. Is there a background to the track?          

There most certainly is. It’s like the background music to my life. Call my line-up when you’re tripping, please don’t do that…I have to set boundaries every day; manage expectations, keep my business running which allows me to continue to live and grow; make music and stack the pinky in the shoebox. It’s a delicate balance.

I have to count up my blessings when unexpected expenses jump up on me as I can now afford them mostly. I can drop a rack (£1000) or stack some money, it’s kinda calm now. That hasn’t always been my position: I remember it taking me almost three years to save £1000. Nipsey Hussle said “That’s why they follow me, they think I know the way”.

I can feel a lot of people gravitating towards my energy. I really want to share something of value with them. I think Shoebox is the beginning, the first lesson; ALWAYS PAY YOURSELF FIRST. You pay the bills, the bank; the car loan, everybody else. Start loving yourself, start paying yourself; start saving. You’re worth it, you deserve it. I LOVE YOU!

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Might we see more material coming out this year?

I have a single called P.I.C. (Partner in Crime) ready. The song is finished. I have a remix or two; artwork is ready. I just need to finalise a mix and master. I’m late for Valentine’s, I’ve accepted it. I’m still coming with it, though. I have ten-twenty songs and am still creating so I want to finish up an album for this year. I have singles I produced by Prezident Brown and Cookie the Herbalist.

I recently mastered an E.P. for my brother Matthew Radics. I have an album of Dubs or Instrumental Reggae versions of original songs. I’m ambitious. I’m trying to get busy. I’d be really disappointed with myself if you didn’t see more material this year, let’s put it that way.

When did music come into your life? Did you have favourite artists as a child?

My father is Jack Radics (Google Twist and Shout (Jack Radics with Chaka Demus & Pliers - it’s fun!). With him being a musician, I think it’s appropriate for me to carry on the tradition. I was in studios, just being fascinated by the equipment and the lights from before I had any idea of the relevance of those experiences. I grew up in Jamaica so, as a child, it was popular artists in the dancehall from the late-'80s and early-'90s such as Bounty Killa, Shabba; Buju Banton and Beenie Man. Moving to the U.K. and getting into Hip Hop, I was a massive 2Pac fan.

I think it was 2Pac lyrics my friend heard me reciting that got him excited about me rapping. He was convinced I’d be great at it: I had no idea what he was talking about at the time.

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I love your style and the way you bring Trap music to new heights. Does that blend of Trap and Reggae come very naturally?

Thank you (smiles). I think it does come quite naturally. I often compare music with cooking and it’s about a meeting of styles and flavours. The dynamic of the population and the motto of Jamaica is ‘out of many, one people’. The cultural explosion coming from that place is the result of the diversity. We like it, we take it; we make it our own. We turn our hands and make fashion. We continue to compile all that has come before us and is around us into new and original stuff be it from Reggae, to toasting; to rapping, to Hip-Hop; to Dub, to Jungle; to EDM and beyond and then a little bit further.

Trap is just one of the things I blend with Reggae but I think my superpower is turning everything into Reggae. Hahaha. First, I like to understand rules; then it’s about bending them and pushing their limits with a view of creating a place and sound of my own. I think that’s always my aim.

You have seen troubles and faced challenges in life. Do you think that has impacted your ambitions and why you bonded to music?

That is 100% how it goes. I recently recorded a rapper diagnosed with diabetes. He dropped a line, which was something along the lines of: “I used to think of success as having the newest reg (car registration plate). Now success is about having the use of two of my legs”. Them bars hit me hard. As much as I advocate financial education and financial freedom, they are in my mind; an aspect of mental-health. There are people who have mental-health problems from suffering financial abuse - many people reading this may be unaware something like this exists….

I had no idea it existed either at a time or that I was being subjected to that kind of abuse. I once thought abuse was only really physical and maybe verbal, just a little. I now understand the scope for being abused is much broader than that...you could be emotionally or psychologically abused - and there is more that I don’t need to get into.

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PHOTO CREDIT: Roxanne Haynes

Drill music captivates the frustration of an entire generation and, if you listen to it, it’s really sad; really afraid and really angry. Millennials are trapping out the bando. When I listen to popular radio stations, they aren’t really playing a bunch of new bands like Oasis or Blur like when I moved to the U.K. The fact that the music is changing and the ways in which it’s changing says a lot. Different experiences are being shared; different problems are being solved and addressed.

I think the realignment of your ambitions is natural. I like music with a message, I like music with powerful feelings and emotions but try never to discredit music which I may not perceive as being powerful as it can be a different medicine for a different ailment, from which I do not suffer.

Sometimes, mindless music can be good as it works your mind less and gives it time to rest - that’s valuable too. I remember just wanting to sell drugs and be rich like Dipset. Given the money I actually bought studio equipment though, not chains or clothes. Now, I still want chains and clothes but I’m getting a better understanding of the values I have as a person and the values I want to bring across as a musician. I want to help people, I want to help myself; I want to heal people, I want to heal myself.

I want the platform to show people what they can be, to help people to become more; I want the Bentley for inspirational purposes and the Rolex for motivational use only. Hahaha. I want to help people identify with issues, find solutions and work through them. So, where some aims remain the same, some are completely different.

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Probably headlining the Montenegro Sun Reggae Festival in 2015. How rotten drunk I got the next night and how I have not arrived at that level of intoxication again since. EXIT Fest in Serbia is always a blast, though and the West Coast of America is crazy.

I have a few…

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Rivah Jordan - Jah Works (2012, Sound Killaz Music)

My first self-produced and self-released E.P. on my own label. This was really the beginning for Rivah Jordan.

Rivah Jordan - Hustlers World (2015, Sound Killaz Music)

My first self-produced and self-released full-length album on my own label.

Fido Guido - Realtà e Cultura (distributed by Sound Killaz Music)

I think this may be the single-highest-grossing product I have released. I worked on one song and licenced the product for distribution on my label. Eye-opening experience.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d love to open for the Migos. That’s a show I’d enjoy watching every night.

My rider needs would be water, weed; fruits, nuts and probably something strong/warm to drink if the vocals need warming up. I don’t think we need to talk about per diems, meals; transport, accommodation and all that mandatory stuff.

Right now, I think for a professional it’s all pretty routine.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

My Instagram: @RivahJordan. D.M. me, innit (laughs).

If that’s long, just be confident and remember: the music business is 10% music and 90% business. If your music is doing bits, just focus on improving your business. If your music isn’t doing bits, just focus on improving your business. D.M. me, tho, for real. It’s love.

Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

I think there are going to be loads because promoters are going to be all in my D.M.s offering me money to sing and I’ll be more than willing to do business. They may email soundkillaz@gmail.com to book me. I’ll put my own shows on too when the time is right.

How important is it being on stage and performing to the people?

I don’t know if there are words to quantify how important live performances are. So, let’s just say it’s of the utmost importance. Imagine asking a footballer how important is it to go out and play games? It’s about the number of appearances, how you well you performed and statistics. Seeing people react to your music or hearing about their reactions is completely different from being in their presence while they are reacting. Crowds let you know what you’re doing wrong or right, where and how to improve.

It’s super-important.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Pharoah

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

My brother Matthew Radics, TALAPATON; SABE and Pharoah. That’s pretty much the gang…all on IG. I love Lil Baby, Gunna; Moneybagg Yo and Jacquees and they are some of the artists you’ll catch me listening to.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Lil Baby

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Getting human contact and interaction, hanging out with friends; socialising. Getting in contact with nature. I love walks and driving down country lanes when I get the chance. I play basketball. I like video games. I read. I run a property management business, an independent label and I’m pursuing a career in music. Sometimes, I just want to sit in silence, smoke a joint and contemplate. Hot baths are great, too.

Downtime is essential though and being self-employed and self-motivated, a lot of the time I need to remind myself downtime is needed; it’s healthy and that it’s ok to have it. I like to embrace downtime when it presents itself.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Play Future - Crushed Up...no, no, no: Meek Mill - Respect the Game or, hold on...try Frostbite (Remix) with Offset and Rich the Kid...or one of them. I don’t know. Thanks for having me. All the best!

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Follow Rivah Jordan

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INTERVIEW: Roman Harris

INTERVIEW:

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Roman Harris

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THE fantastic Roman Harris...

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has been telling me about his new track, The Smell of Heather, and its unique inspiration; what it was like putting together the video and whether there is more material coming along – he recommends some rising artists to look out for.

I ask how music came to him and whether he has three favourite albums; how he spends time away from music and the advice he would give to emerging artists right now – Harris selects a cool song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Roman. How are you? How has your week been?

Heya. I’m alive, I’m well; I’m grateful to be here, so all is good. It has been a very demanding week but really exciting too - releasing new music is always exciting.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Well. I’d have to start with a ‘hello and nice to meet you’. Now that we’ve got that out the way...I’m that fusion of Indie, Folk and R&B that you didn’t know existed but will be truly happy you found.

The Smell of Heather is your latest track. Is there a story attached to the song?

I think many of the best songs ever written have a story attached to them - and The Smell of Heather is no different. I came across a book of poetry called Heather’s Book, written by the poet Vivian Anglin. It was an honest, compassionate and raunchy collection of poetry that told the story of the relationship between a man who wanted to see a woman beat her addiction and a woman whose addiction was forever pulling her away. The first poem in the book was entitled The Smell of Heather and it was this poem that inspired the song. The poem starts:

“The smell of Heather still lingers in my room/She came in a hurry and left too soon”

It’s these lines that form the idea for the chorus of the song. I would definitely encourage people to read this book as much as I would encourage them to listen to the song.

Its video is out. How involved did you get regarding the concept?

Yes, indeed! The video is out now and available to the world on YouTube. The concept was more or less already there, since the song tells a story but the director, Ngadi Vandy, was responsible for bringing it all together and Olucreates was the man behind the camera. They were a great team.

I must also tip my hat to Yana Penrose, Pete Hardingham and Kaid Hussain who were the actors in the video. They were all so fantastic to work with. I gave some artistic guidance here and there but, for the most part, I let the creatives do their thing and they did great

Might there be more material coming later in the year?

I’m glad you asked...

The Smell of Heather is just the start for 2019. I’ll be releasing more material throughout the year with my next single, Get Me Got Me, coming soon. But, for now, it’s all about The Smell of Heather and getting as many ears onto this song as possible.

The Smell of Heather is your debut song. How long were you writing music and experimenting before then?

Oh, wow! I’ve been writing for years now, mostly for other artists. My first break came with a song called Falling produced by Snakehips featuring Malika and released through Sony Music Entertainment. This song opened up a number of doors for me and was followed up by my first featured release entitled Moving Again produced by Cr3on and Marcus and released through PM Recordings in the Netherlands. Although I love writing for other people, it was a burning desire to make a mark with my own music and my own sound. That’s what has led me to where I am now.

You are from Brixton in South London. Do you draw any inspiration from the people and sounds around you?

Brixton is a fantastic part of London. The streets of Brixton are filled with stories and inspiration but I’d be lying if I said it was only Brixton that I drew inspiration from. That area is a major part of my life, my upbringing and my creative world. However, I was also raised for many years in Georgetown, Guyana and have travelled to other parts of the world, including Africa, Australia; America, the Caribbean. The list goes on, so I draw inspiration from everywhere I go; every experience I have and every person that I meet.

When did music come into your life? Did you have favourite artists as a child?

Music was in my life from as early as I can remember. I would love looking through my parents’ record collection. The artwork was so captivating and there was something so special about vinyl that a whole generation may sadly never understand. Growing up Prince, Guns N’ Roses, Snoop Doggy Dog; Jimi Hendrix, even Alice Cooper were played in my house. But, as far as a favourite artist, that’s easy and for every child I’m sure it was the same…Phil Collins!

Ahhhh, I’m just kidding. Although Phil is a legend, it was Michael Jackson! Thriller! Bad! Come on! I remember the Bad album cover. I would dress all in black and stick clothes pegs on myself to try and recreate the look of the jacket he was wearing.

Oh, the shame!

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

There’s been some really amazing moments thus far but I think my favourite memory in music has been watching a crowd of people vibe to a song that I wrote. Looking at their faces and the joy that they were feeling from hearing it while they were also totally oblivious to the fact that I had anything to do with creating it. Some may say that’s strange but it was that feeling of being on the outside and seeing people genuinely enjoy something, not because they know I had something to do with it but simply because they really love it that much.

That was priceless.

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

8701Usher

This album was the soundtrack to my first serious relationship. I was fifteen-years-old and every time I listen to this album it takes me back to those early years of relationship innocence and those feelings surface all over again. It makes me smile.

ParachutesColdplay

What a beautiful album. Parachutes was my introduction to Coldplay and there was just something so honest and warm about those songs and the songwriting that I instantly fell in love with their work. It also timestamps a very pivotal period in my life when I’d returned to the U.K. from Guyana and was about embark on a whole new life direction. The title of the album almost fits in with the sentiment. It’s almost as though they were my parachute easing me to a safe landing.

The Battle of Los AngelesRage Against the Machine

Sometimes, you meet people and they open up your musical world. I was in a three-piece band once upon a time and the bass player introduced me to R.A.T.M. and this album. Mind Blowing! These guys were amazing; knew how to rock and had such a strong message. One of the best albums ever!

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d absolutely love to support Foy Vance. The guy just makes it all look so effortless, his songs are crafted so beautifully and he holds an audience with such charisma. There’s a lot to learn from a man like that, not to mention he’s Irish and the Irish are amongst my favourite people.

Now, to my rider. This is not going to be very Rock and Roll and also far from diva-ish. I do like healthy eating so loads of water, fruit; salads, red wine and my guilty pleasure: mince pies with double cream.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I’d give this advice to new artists, old artists and those somewhere in-between. Firstly, ‘it’s always too early to quit’. Keeping that dream alive for just one more day may be all you need to see it come to fruition. Secondly, do not let social media rule you. These days nothing can break your will faster than spending ages looking at the lives of others. Thirdly and finally, love to create.

Fall in love over and over again with the buzz of creating something new and try your best to remember why you do this. We’re privileged to be able to make something from nothing. Never forget that and never take it for granted.

Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

Watch this space. The best way to do that is to follow me online - for social media it’s @iamromanharris - or keep an eye on my website.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Max Cyrus

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Yes, indeed! Max Cyrus, Mia Pearl; DeeRiginal and MALIKA. I am a genuine fan of all of their work; do give them a follow and keep an eye out for their music in 2019!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: MALIKA

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I think it’s so important to find ways to relax and unwind. It’s the only way that we can come back and bring the best so I always make time for me. Whether that be going to the gym, movies; travelling or just lying in bed all day watching re-runs of The Fresh Prince. I find a way to relax but I always find my way back to doing what I love. Making sweet music.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

The song I’d like to choose is called Untitiled by Rodney P featuring Lanre Sulola and produced by Max Cyrus Music. It’s a really great and powerful song and different to a lot of what you hear at the moment

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Follow Roman Harris

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INTERVIEW: Marie Dahlstrøm

INTERVIEW:

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Marie Dahlstrøm

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IT has been great speaking with Marie Dahlstrøm...

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about her new single, Mood, and working with Secaina. I ask what sort of music influences her and whether she has three favourite albums; if there will be tour dates and if there is a rising artist we need to look out for.

Dahlstrøm gives some useful advice for artists coming through and tells me how she relaxes when she has time; when she got into music and whether we might see more material coming along – she picks a great song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Marie. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey! I am good; had a nice week. Just got back from playing a show in Rome.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I am Danish. I sing, write; play and produce. Mostly. And I’m also studying a PhD at the moment. I live in London.

Mood is your latest track. Can you tell us when that was written and its inspiration?

Actually, Secaina and I were put in the same session last summer whilst at a female writing camp called She Writes. We did a song with another girl which included the bridge-section from Mood...half a year later we got together and both had a connection to that bridge. From that we created the rest of Mood one evening in my flat. It’s inspired by real life, mostly. A story of love. 

The visuals for the video are interesting. How did that all come together?

Over the last few years, I’ve been receiving so many nice videos from dancers around the world creating routines to my songs. I guess I wanted to create a music video which included dance for that reason. So, I put a request for dancers on my IG story and Sally and Douglas (dancing in the Mood video) sent me a video with their routine for the video.

Is there going to be more material coming from you this year?

Yes. I am currently working on my album. So, hopefully this will be ready in time.

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Do you recall when you got into music? Did you always know it was what you wanted to do?

I’ve been into music since I was little but I didn’t know this was what I wanted to do until I actually started releasing music.

Would you say there are artists you are inspired by and emulate?

Hmm. I could not say emulate. Definitely inspired by. I think especially the music that I started listen to in later teenage years have inspired me a lot.

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You hail from Rockslide, Denmark. What is the music vibe like there? Is there a lot of great music?

Roskilde is known from their massive music festival and it’s a very creative city with great music opportunities for kids. But I don’t know many artists from Roskilde.  

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Hmmm. There have been many good ones! I think every single experience since I released my project, NINE, have been amazing. The last two years have brought me so much good energy- everything from going to Corsica to write Kanel; to recording and releasing Her Songs in Los Angeles and playing a sold out show at my favourite venue in Copenhagen, Montmartre!

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Musiq SoulchildSoulstar

I think Musiq Souldchild is just one of my favourite artists ever (laughs).

Lizz WrightSalt

So much integrity and purpose in her lyrics and delivery. I’ve learned a lot from her music.

Jill ScottExperience: Jill Scott 826+

The live album I have rinsed the most! A definite classic. And inspiration to band leading.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d probably ask for a pop-up steam room, only organic foods; red wine and green tea; water in glass bottles – and have everything recyclable!

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Try and remain true to yourself, your sound. Know who you are. Trust your intuition.

Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

Yes! Working on it.

Is the stage somewhere you love to be? Can you describe the feeling when you are up there?

I didn’t use to love the stage, when I was younger. I always made excuses for not going on stage, but now I love it. I love it, mostly because of the communitive vibe me and my band create on stage. It’s such a nice bond and atmosphere.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: The Naked Eye/PHOTO CREDIT: @create_often

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

The Naked Eye! She’s about to release the most amazing project.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Not really but, when I do, I go for runs quite a lot, play tennis and see my family back in Denmark.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

I would say Lucy PearlTrippin’! Such a vibe!

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Follow Marie Dahlstrøm

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INTERVIEW: Molly Marrs

INTERVIEW:

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Molly Marrs

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I have been finding out about Molly Marrs...

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and her latest track, All of Me. She explains the inspiration for the song and what comes next; the artists who inspire her and whether there are tour dates coming up – Marrs reveals an artist she would like to tour with if she had the chance.

I ask when music came into her life and whether she gets time away from her busy schedule; what advice she would give to those coming through and how she feels being on the stage – she ends the interview by suggesting a cut from a Pop favourite.

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Hi, Molly. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello. My week has been great! This rainy weather has allowed me to stay in a few days to work at home - so I’ve been keeping myself busy making sure everything has been ready for this release.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hey guys! I’m Molly Marrs; a singer-songwriter here in Los Angeles. I’m a Texas native and I’m out here to share my story to as many people as I can through my music. 

(You can watch my mini documentary here).

 

Your new single, All of Me, is out. Is there a tale behind the song?

I wrote this song at a point in my life where I had let other people’s opinions matter more to me than my own. It ultimately led me down a lonely road of constant struggle and unhappiness. I found myself in a toxic environment that was getting me nowhere. It was both damaging to my personal life as well as my business relations.

At this point, I had found myself in a vicious cycle of betrayal and un-loyalty and it really tested my character. I finally came to the realization that I deserved better and needed to move on and cut ties. I completely started with a new slate and rebuilt my team organically from the ground up.

Here I am two years later and happier than I’ve ever been. I feel like I'm finally able to be confident in my work and I'm doing it independently. To me, that’s the most valuable accomplishment.

Do you foresee more material this year? Might there be an E.P.?

Yes! I’m currently working on some more stuff that I’m super-excited to be releasing soon.

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You have worked with a lot of different artists and producers. Do you think this has made your own work stronger?

Yes. I feel like I've learned something from everyone along the way.  

Having gained support from Boyz II Men and Fergie, how does that make you feel?!

Shawn Stockman was great. It was honestly a blessing and privilege to have worked with such an iconic talent in my first project out here in Los Angeles. Making friends and finding genuine people in the music industry is very rare and unheard of...but Fergie has been that one exception.

To see his success journey, and how humble he truly is, it amazes me! I value all of his advice/teachings but one thing I admire the most is his honesty. He’s been supportive, looked out for me and I had never met someone like that until now. So, I definitely feel honoured and grateful to have him apart of the team.

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When did music come into your life? Did you have favorite artists as a child?

Music has been a part of my life for as long as I could hold a microphone. I remember for Christmas one year when I was seven, my dad had bought me a small PA system. I would wheel the speaker outside plug it in on the front porch and then run inside the house to sing for all my neighbours and the cars driving by. I listened to a lot of artists but I think my all-time favorite would be Christina Aguilera.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

My favourite memory would be when I performed at Hakkasan in Las Vegas in November.

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

I honestly don’t have one! I love all kinds of music across all genres: it’s hard to pinpoint just one.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I would love to support Selena Quintanilla! Growing up, my mom would always play her and tell her all her wonderful stories. When Jennifer Lopez released the movie Selena, I watched it non-stop.

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

My advice to any new artist is, regardless of what anyone says, no one knows you better than yourself. If you don’t feel 100% confident or passionate about a project, a deal, or even lyrics to a song, don’t release it. If you’re unsure about a contract and have questions, seek advice and never assume anything. 

This industry does extremely well at telling others what they need to be, rather than taking what's already there and enhancing it. Everyone is going to have an opinion regardless - so might as well make yours the most important.

Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?

Hopefully, soon! Just trying to take one day at a time and enjoy the journey.

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Is the stage somewhere you love to be? Can you describe the feeling when you are up there?

It’s electrifying and my heart is full of pure happiness. Nothing else matters but that moment right there...regardless of the genre, I’m about to about to deliver a passionate message and I love being able to connect with others that way. Music truly is the universal language and that’s what makes it special.

Anyone and everyone can relate to or connect with a simple song. It’s always a privilege to be able to perform and I look forward to it every time.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Alina Baraz

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I really like Alina Baraz and Lolo Zuoi 

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 IN THIS PHOTO: LOLO (Lolo Zuoi)

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Time away from music? No, very unlikely. If I'm not in the studio myself, I still have to listen to something. To be honest, it’s hard for me at a time to sit in complete silence. Especially if I'm home alone making dinner, or working on my laptop; I will always have a candle lit and background music going on.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan! She’s just dropped her new album thank u, next so it’s got to be a track from there

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Follow Molly Marrs

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INTERVIEW: Peter and Kerry

INTERVIEW:

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Peter and Kerry

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MY last interview of the week...

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is with Peter and Kerry who have been talking with me about their great new single, They Know God (But I Know You), and how it came to be. I ask if there is going to be more material coming later this year and how the duo has evolved together – they recommend rising artists to look out.

I ask them which albums mean the most to them and whether there will be tour dates; how they found one another and whether they get time to unwind away from music – they select some great songs to end the interview with.

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Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Kerry: Very good, thank you. I’m just moving into a new studio so lots of packing and unpacking but very exciting.

Peter: Yes, also very good. I’ve been working with a good friend of mine on some of her new music in my studio which is super-fun.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Peter and Kerry: Sure. We are Peter and Kerry, a duo based in London and on the South East coast.

Are you managing to stay warm in the winter weather? Does it inspire musical ideas?

Kerry: Yes. I suppose so. Cold weather does make me sad.

Peter: Both my home and working space are very cold environments.

They Know God (But I Know You) is your new single. Can you explain the story behind it?

Peter and Kerry: They Know God (But I Know You) is about the strength both given and received in close relationships. We were on a little writing retreat recently, sat around the piano and it just flowed. We wrote the song very quickly.

How did you find one another and start playing together?

Peter and Kerry: We were both signed to the record label Tape Club Records and it was suggested we try collaborating on a song or two, so we hot-footed it to Pete’s dad’s house, instruments in hand. It was just supposed to be a one-off thing, but we ended up recording what was to be our first E.P. Clothes, Friends, Photos that weekend and never stopped writing together.

Do you feel there will be an E.P. coming later in the year?

Peter and Kerry: Who knows. At the moment, we just want to take the pressure out of goals, plans and strategies and release singles as and when we finish a song. But anything could change.

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How do you think you have progressed as a duo over the last year or so?

Peter and Kerry: We had a really long chat after our hiatus about what we wanted and we both agreed that it was to enjoy making music again and not feel pressured by industry ‘rules’. So, we did just that: we started making music for ourselves again which is a huge progression for us.

In terms of music, do you share tastes? Would one find similar albums in your collections?

Kerry: Most definitely. It was through our love of similar music that we first bonded in friendship. I mean, there are a couple of artists we heavily disagree on, *ahem*, The Pretenders.

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Kerry: For me, playing Le Botanique in Brussels is still up there as one of my favourite gigs of all time. Everything just fell into place.

Peter: There are way too many. Lots of innocuous, everyday things that I take for granted like being able to play/sing songs for friends in a fun situation like a dinner party; then, much bigger things like recording in Abbey Road or playing in Shepherds Bush in front of 1,800 people...or having audience members sing words back at you. They are all great feelings.

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 IMAGE CREDIT: Carina Crenshaw/www.sugah.de 

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Kerry: Ani DiFranco - So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter

It got me through some angsty times during adolescence and it’s the album that made me really want to hone my craft.

Peter: This is unbelievably difficult. It might be The Beach BoysPet Sounds because it got me to think so much deeper about music arranging. Or Michael Jackson’s Thriller because it was the first album I owned as a kid. Or Radiohead’s Kid A because it led to a huge interest in Electronic music (from Pop/Rock music).

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Kerry: Very tough question…probably Erykah Badu. Rider would just be an endless supply of Old Fashioneds and margaritas.

Peter: Stevie Wonder! Could the rider please include Ottolenghi to cook us some food?

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Kerry: Try to keep one foot in the present, because having both feet in the future doesn’t allow you to acknowledge your achievements.

Peter: I would absolute most certainly agree with Kerry’s advice.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Peter and Kerry: Not yet but watch this space!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Kadhja Bonet

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Kerry: Kadhja Bonet

Peter: Anna Leone’s My Soul I was my song of 2018.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Anna Leone/PHOTO CREDIT: @__gracerivera

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Peter: I work within music in some form every day but love to go running and organise my thoughts then. And dancing.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Peter and Kerry: Oh my god, there are way too many. Let’s go with Noname Don’t Forget About Me and ROSALÍA - PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ (Cap.3: Celos)

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Follow Peter and Kerry

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INTERVIEW: Ed Poole

INTERVIEW:

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Ed Poole

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I have really enjoyed getting to know Ed Poole...

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and discovering how his new song, Knives, started life. He discusses the song’s awesome video and reveals the music that captivates him – Poole selects a few albums that mean a lot to him and highlights some rising artists worth exploring.

I ask when there might be some tour dates and whether he gets chance to chill away from music; what we will get from his upcoming album, Envelop/Erase; how important it is being on the stage and whether Poole has a favourite memory from his time in music – he ends the interview by selecting a great song.

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Hi, Ed. How are you? How has your week been?

My week has been great, thanks. Busy but great!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hi! I’m Ed Poole. I’m a singer/songwriter based in Liverpool, U.K. - although I’m originally from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. I’ve been writing, releasing and performing music on my own since 2012. I’ve released two E.P.s called Winters and in the Company of Old Friends.

I recently signed to a new indie label in Liverpool called Doing Life Records who have helped me put out a split-E.P. (with my friend Seven Years Behind) and two standalone singles since 2016. I’ve played all over the U.K. and I’ve been lucky enough to open for some of my favourite artists, such as Kevin Devine, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly; The Xcerts and Vinnie Caruana.

I like movies, coffee; sport (some of it) and food (all of it)!

The music video for Knives has been released. What is the tale behind the song?

I wanted to write something that sounded really catchy and fun but also a bit more personal, lyrically, than I had done before. I demoed it a few times and, during that time, it went through loads of different versions. I eventually hit upon the dry 808 beat that drives it along which was something I hadn’t really tried before and it really excited me.

It’s about my own personal experiences of feeling a bit helpless and overwhelmed. Sometimes, I feel like you aren’t able to chase the demons away by yourself and you’re scrambling around in the dark.

Ultimately, however, the only way to find your way out is to learn to trust the inner-voice that comes from a place of self-confidence, rather than self-doubt.

The video was filmed in Liverpool. Was it a great video to shoot?

Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We filmed it one Saturday afternoon in my bedroom! I wanted to do something that was relatively quick and easy to shoot as well as being fun and representative of the song. I think we achieved that! We put a camera on top of a foot stool, a stack of books and a biscuit tin and just let it roll.

The hands you see popping into shot throughout belong to Simon (from Doing Life Records) and my wife, Nic. The hardest part was not bursting into laughter during takes because all of us had the giggles, throughout. It’s safe to say they enjoyed throwing sponge balls at my head.

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Envelop/Erase is your upcoming album. Do you think there are common themes and ideas that unite the songs?

Certainly. The idea that there are certain societal pressures - that have grown stronger over the last decade or so and have been exacerbated by social media - that can lead a person to feel as though they must outwardly project an idealised version of themselves as opposed to the ‘real’ version. I wanted the album to explore the idea that, when these ‘idealised versions’ are placed on such a pedestal, they can consume a person’s true identity and ultimately lead to loneliness and dissociation: kind of a long-winded way of saying “Oi! There’s nothing wrong with being boring, sometimes. Enjoy it!

Also, I thought longer and harder about lyrics - something I usually struggle with - than before and made a conscious effort to be more open and honest about my personal feelings and experiences than I’d perhaps been before. I think this has resulted in the most honest set of songs that I’ve ever written. Hopefully, this comes across when people listen to it!

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Is there a song from the album that you count as a favourite?

I keep changing from one to the other but I would have to say Knives. I think it best encapsulates what I wanted the whole album to be about, both musically and lyrically.

What do you think of the modern scene? Do you listen to a lot of new artists?

I think it’s much harder to build and maintain a strong music scene in the modern day. We are losing venues at a faster rate than in the past and there are, of course, more methods of entertainment available which may contribute to fewer people going out to check out local gigs. That being said, new venues still spring up all the time and there are so many incredible artists out there making music, right now. We just need to support and look after them (venues and artists alike).

Personally, I try to keep up to speed with new music as much as possible and I’m always open to new recommendations. Where I am, in Liverpool, we have a really exciting scene at the moment.

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I’d have to say my first experience of playing 2000trees Festival which was back in 2013. I was due to play an unplugged set (after hours) and was absolutely bricking it. Probably the most nervous I’ve ever been before going on stage. It was in the area which is now the Forest stage and it was packed with drunk festival goers. I was convinced I’d have empty tins of Strongbow bouncing off my head. As it turned out, they were all incredibly quiet and listened intently throughout the set. The buzz I felt afterwards was phenomenal! 

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

By the Way - Red Hot Chili Peppers

This is such a nostalgic album for me. When I listen to this record, I can literally close my eyes and remember almost everything I did in the summer of 2002, just after I left secondary school, being soundtracked by this album. Growing up, I was a huge Chilis fan and, whilst some of their output hasn’t aged all that well, this one seems to get better the older it becomes.

The '59 Sound - The Gaslight Anthem

This album was the first time my wife ever recommended any music to me, just after we had started dating. It had just come out and has been a favourite that we have shared ever since.

Sprained Ankle - Julien Baker

I can’t think of another artist that has had a more significant and immediate impact on me than the first time I heard Julien Baker. Everything about this album punches me right in the guts (in a good way). I love how minimal it is yet it sounds so huge at the same time. How she can tear you to pieces and then pick you back up all within the same song never fails to astound me.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’d support Bruce Springsteen and my rider would contain a signed photo of Bruce, three cans of Beavertown Neck Oil IPA and a packet of Imodium Instants.

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Practice hard, gig as much as you can and be polite and kind to everyone you meet on the road!

How important is it being on the stage and performing to people?

To me, it’s incredibly important. The best feeling I get from music is from playing gigs. As much fun as it is to write and record, there’s no feeling like performing live. I’m convinced I’ll be doing it forever, in one capacity or another. I couldn’t give it up.

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Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

There certainly are! I’ll be heading out for a few shows with my friend, B-Sydes, in February. B-Sydes and I have known each other for a while and I’m hugely excited to be able to get out on the road and play some shows with him.

16th February - Cambridge, Relevant Records Café

19th February - Worcester, Paradiddle’s Café Music Bar

22nd February - Manchester, Gulliver’s (supporting Andy Oliveri)

23rd February - Album Launch Show @ Liverpool, Outpost

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 IN THIS PHOTO: SPQR

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

In terms of Liverpool-based artists, I would strongly recommend checking out SPQR, A Burial At Sea and COLOUR. From elsewhere in the U.K., there is an amazing band called PEAKES (from Leeds) who I highly recommend. I think Lizzy Farrall is cool, too.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: PEAKES

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I am a huge fan of sitting and doing nothing - literally, just sitting. I cannot stress enough how relaxing a good sit can be. You can dress it up by adding a beer, glass of wine; cup of tea or whatever but the act of deciding you are done for the day and having a sit down is just the best.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Barbados by Lizzy Farrall, please!

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Follow Ed Poole

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INTERVIEW: Ferera Swan

INTERVIEW:

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Ferera Swan

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WITH Second Time out in the world...

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Ferera Swan has been telling me about the track and how it came together. She reveals how she got started in music and what her favourite memory is; what she thinks of the modern scene and how she has evolved as an artist.

Swan reveals whether more music is coming later this year and how she relaxes when she has time; which artist she would support on tour if she had the chance and the advice she’d give to any musicians coming through right now.

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Hi, Ferera. How are you? How has your week been?

It’s been going pretty well! Thank you for asking (smiles).

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I am a singer-songwriter and a composer. I’ve released two albums in the past (an R&B one and a Pop album) and rebranded last year. As an artist, I’ve found my voice by sharing my journey through music. As an adoptee, I’ve found my purpose through using my voice to serve others. I’ll be releasing my new single, Second Time, on February 1st!

Second Time is new. What was the inspiration behind the song?

Second Time was written for my birth mother over ten years ago after our reunion where we ultimately experienced the loss of each other all over again after a very complex relationship filled with grief, pain and (what I've now come to realize) love.

Might we see some more material later in the year?

I'll be releasing my new single, Second Time, this Friday, February 1st!  I'll be working on a lot more writing and recording this year, so I'll have some more music for everyone following the release of this single. Stay tuned! (Smiles).

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Can you recall the exact moment music struck you? Did you grow up in a musical family?

I started piano lessons when I was three years old and felt instantly connected to the music...it felt familiar, like it had already been a part of me all along.  

Looking back at last year, do you think you evolved as an artist? What are your impressions of 2018?

2018 was filled with a lot of personal growth, discovery; reflection, redefinition and transition…I think growth directly affects the music we create and what we’re able to share through our art. When we evolve as people, I think the music naturally does, too.

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What do you think of the modern scene? Do you listen to a lot of new artists?

There are a few I like but I find myself craving more vulnerability in not just the content but also the production.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I’ve got two so far. In high-school, I won a district composition contest for writing my piece for orchestra and piano titled Serenity and it was premiered by four orchestras and a pianist. I really struggled as a teenager adoptee navigating through emotions, etc. and I remember feeling proud, along with a sense of worth, when I won. I think that’s when I realized that we can turn our pain into beautiful things like music that can truly make a difference.

The second favorite was my last C.D. release party - so much fun in one night!

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

This one is really, really hard...I don’t think I can answer that in one answer!

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Sara Bareilles. All I need is a piano and I’m good to go!

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Be authentically you and people will be able to feel it; the honesty will reflect in all you do.

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Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?

Yes! I’ve got a handful of cities in mind. (Smiles).

How important is it being on the stage and performing to people?

If being on stage and performing is the way you know that you reach the hearts of others in need the most powerfully, then that’s where you need to be.

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Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

No one comes to mind at the moment!

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I love the outdoors and being in nature. I also enjoy cooking and working out (not at the same time) and spending time with my fur babies!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Misery Chain - Chris Cornell (he’s my fave!)

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Follow Ferera Swan

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INTERVIEW: Georgia Meek

INTERVIEW:

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Georgia Meek

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THE excellent Georgia Meek...

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has been telling me about her new single, Pray, and what it is all about; what we can expect from her upcoming E.P., Pop Culture, and how 2018 was for her – Meek recommends a new artist to watch and tells me what she has planned regarding touring.

I was eager to know which albums and artists are important to Meek and how her studio sound differs to that we hear on the stage; the advice she would give to artists coming through – she ends the interview by selecting a pretty cool track.

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Hi, Georgia. How are you? How has your week been?

Manic! I’m currently sitting at my laptop on the Monday of release week, which feels daunting to say the least. Haha.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a singer/songwriter/producer based between Surrey and London. I make Electro/Indie-Pop with a feminist punch.

Pray is your new track. Can you reveal how the song came together?

It was summer...I was working from a shed somewhere west of London. I remember the day I wrote it because it was one of those days last year where the heat was nearly unbearable. We had to keep turning the fan on and off to record.

It was around the time when my boyfriend (now ex-) had been putting me down a lot for going out. He didn’t like the fact that I liked to party and used to get super-jealous and paranoid every time I had a drink without him. It had got to the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ point, where I’d started drinking more to avoid tackling my relationship issues.

I’ll let the song tell you the rest...

I know the track is from your upcoming E.P., Pop Culture. Are there particular themes addressed throughout?

Being the deep thinker that I am, the birth of Pray was the beginning of a multitude of questions and protests within my internal conversations. I started to ask myself, ‘Why am I avoiding all of these issues in my life? I write about overcoming things like sexism and abuse in my past, yet I still can’t seem to get past basic problems like managing relationships, money and my health’.

It then struck me, that, everyone I know my age is in the same predicament. We put so much pressure on ourselves in our twenties to set ourselves up for the perfect life, whether that be finding a partner, getting that dream job or climbing a social ladder.

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The reality is, all this pressure is setting us up for failure. We are creating a generation of alcohol-dependant, mental-health sufferers.

Did you know that anxiety and depression in twenty-somethings is literally at an epidemic? In the U.K. in a year there are an average of 360,000 new diagnoses of cancer. Can you guess what the number is for anxiety diagnosis? 8.2 million.

Is there a song from the E.P. that struck you especially hard? Which was the most interesting to record?

Definitely. And it’s a song that directly addresses the route of all my anxiety issues - an uncontrollable and deeply disturbing fear of death. The song is called Bones:

“Cold, like the fragments of my bones

Disintegrating on their own, into the depths of the unknown

Dark, can’t hear the beating of my heart

I beg the lord I’ve left my mark

And disappear into the dark”

How was 2018 for you? Looking back, how important a year was it?

Unbelievable, I’m still pinching myself. The support on Bare was so uplifting, especially from fellow D.V. victims.

I feel like I really found my voice in the industry and have since signed with a label, manager and booking agent – so, if you’re reading this and are someone who streamed/downloaded or followed me in 2018, sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Do you remember the first moment music came into your life? Can you recall the first artist you became aware of?

When I was in reception class at school, there were some cubicle toilets round the corner in the classroom. I sat down for a wee and started singing Away in a Manger because we’d been getting ready for a Christmas nativity. When I finished singing and stood up to flush, I heard everyone round the corner in the classroom start clapping. Can you imagine how embarrassed I was as a five-year-old. Haha.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Now! Signing my first deal! That and waking up one morning to 200,000 streams on my Spotify.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Not a lot of albums on a whole do, but I definitely have three tracks…

Groove Armada - At the River. Because it reminds me of happier, simpler days.

The Jam - English Rose. I lost my dad when I was sixteen and he always used to pick up my acoustic guitar and noodle the riff.

Primal ScreamLoaded. Because it is literally impossible for me to be sad when I listen to it - in fact, I may just put it on now and dance around my kitchen for a bit.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I’m officially Billie EIlish-obsessed, like most other people in the world right now. I really want to give you a cool, alternative answer but this is the honest one. Haha.

And can I put a studio set up on a rider…?

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

HAVE A PLAN AND STICK TO IT. Be organised. But also I’m going to quote myself because I still mean every word of it:

Trust your own sound and don't let any idiots tell you that you need to change or 'define' it. I was confused for a long time because people would say things like: “I don't really get what genre you are writing in” or: “Who is this music for?” Let your answer always be: “For me and anyone else who fuc*ing well likes it”. Individuality is dying - remember that the next time someone questions who you are”.

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Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

I’m at The Slaughtered Lamb in London on 15th February and tickets for my headline show in Guildford go on sale on 4th Feb 4th - that’s on 27th April at The Star Inn.

I’ll also be a headliner at Dart Festival in Plymouth, plus lots more exciting things in the summer that I can’t reveal just yet.

How does your music differ on stage compared to how it is laid down in the studio?

We try to keep the sounds as close to the tracks as possible but there is undoubtedly an added punch that comes with my passion for performing live.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Your Smith

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’ve been raving about a girl called Your Smith recently. I think she’s a great writer, super-catchy.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Nope! Hahaha. I think the last time we spoke, I said I listen to other people’s music a lot when I’m not making my own - that’s still true but 95% of my time is spent working on myself.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

As I’m now listening to Loaded by Primal Scream, I think we should just leave it here…I dare you to hit play and not feel a little bit more positive

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Follow Georgia Meek

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INTERVIEW: LEISURE

INTERVIEW:

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LEISURE

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I start the week by finding out about the New Zealand band...

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Ravi Chand

LEISURE and their latest single, Easy Way Out. Jaden from the band takes up the questions and tells me about the track; what the music scene is like in New Zealand and how they got together – he reveals what we can expect from the band’s approaching album.

I ask if there is an album that means a lot to him; whether there are gigs coming up for the band; if there are any rising artists we need to get behind – he ends the interview by selecting a pretty cool track.

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Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Very well, thank you - though sorry it is only I, Jaden. N.Z. has a heatwave, so we're taking it easy.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

We're LEISURE, a five-piece sensual, relax-o band from New Zealand.

Easy Way Out is your new single. What is the story behind it?

We wrote it on a writing trip in Huia, New Zealand. We hired a place on Airbnb and had two makeshift studios going. The song is about pushing through the muck with a Cod-Reggae soundtrack.

I believe there is an album due later this year. Can you reveal the stories/ideas behind it?

Yes. We have just finished the record and the idea was to expand on where we've been but stay true to ourselves and enjoy the ride. 

How did LEISURE find one another? Was it an instant chemistry?

I had met all the guys over my years working in the N.Z. music industry. Once we all got together and made music it all happened pretty easily. Our first single, Got It Bad, was one of the first songs we wrote.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Ravi Chand

I cannot imagine there is a huge music scene in Auckland. Would that be a misconception?

Yep, totally: we have a very good music scene.

When you were growing up, what sort of music inspired you?

We all have different influences, which come through in our LEISURE tunes, but we all appreciate honest music with good songwriting and no B.S.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I think, for me, it would be our very first writing trip, where the band formed. But, we also recently performed at the Auckland Town Hall back by the seventy-two--piece, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Connor Nestor

Which one album means the most to you would you say (and why)?

It's hard to have just one, though I'd say Carole King - Tapestry. It never gets old and always puts a smile on my dial.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Not sure how to answer that...

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Do what makes you happy and focus on your craft.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Ravi Chand

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Yes. We're heading to Australia and have U.K. dates to be announced soon.

As you are all men of LEISURE; what leisure activity would you select as your favourite?

Somewhere at an isolated beach house, hanging out and making music.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: HIGH HØØPS

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Our guy Jordan from LEISURE, a.k.a. HIGH HØØPS, has a solo record out. A couple of the boys are working with a young kiwi artist called BENE; also Lord Echo from Wellington.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: BENE

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Yes. Personally, I spend time at my house working on the garden.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Personally, I've been enjoying Phoebe Bridgers’ Funeral

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Follow LEISURE

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INTERVIEW: Maya Lavelle

INTERVIEW:

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Maya Lavelle

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IT has been great speaking with the epic Maya Lavelle...

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about her new song, House on a Rocky Road, and how it came together. I ask about its video and shooting that; which artists and albums are important to her and whether there is a new artist we need to get behind.

Maya Lavelle discusses her upcoming album and reveals whether there are tour dates coming; which artist she’d support on tour given the chance and the advice she’d offer rising talent – she ends by selecting one of my favourite tracks ever.

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Hi, Maya. How are you? How has your week been?

Jolly good, thanks! My week has been pretty exciting with a new release coming up.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I just moved to London from Amsterdam. I would love people to join me on this peculiar journey and experience the twisted reality portrayed with my music, to escape boredom. To convey the stories of remarkable characters and quirky places, I blend Classical and Electronic music styles that merge into Electronic, Cinematic pop.

House on a Rocky Road is your new track. What inspired its creation?

From my experiences whilst living in Amsterdam, London and Los Angeles, as well as traveling through Asia and Africa. Amsterdam inspired me daily in writing my music. The amazing architecture and gothic buildings, the mystery behind the Red Light District; plenty of undiscovered dark corners, the quirky vibe of the coffee shops; old wooden sailors’ pubs, the graveyards of bicycles; beautiful art galleries in the nine streets, Vondelpark (which is 5 minutes’ walk from my studio) and, most importantly, positive people who appreciate freedom and love to celebrate life – they were triggering  a lot of my ideas.

I also get a lot of inspiration from going to the cinema, theater and through literature. In fact, just the illustration and reading the first few pages of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman spawned the idea that later evolved into House on a Rocky Road.

What was it like putting the music video together?

This video was shot in an old quarry and abandoned mine, which is today a remote cave. To perfectly portray the atmosphere of my songs, I tend to end up on difficult terrains for shooting the video because those are usually the ones that look the most mysterious.

I must say it was challenging to shoot in such warm weather, covered in dust from the erosion and bleeding from being stung by giant horseflies. Switching to the second shooting location in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, with a crew and cast of over seventy people wasn’t an easy task. But, everything went smoothly thanks to working with a very talented and professional team.

I understand there is an album approaching. Can you reveal anything about song themes/titles etc.?

My debut album, Hobo, took just over five years from concept to completion because of creating very rich arrangements in perfect counterpoint to convey the journey of peculiar places and edgy characters that you will find scattered throughout the album.

All the characters are lonely searching for love and care - just like Hobo and they all meet in House on a Rocky Road in Darkwille County.

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Were there experiences and particular stories that influenced the songs on the record?

Zombie Town represents a post-apocalyptic future we are heading towards by neglecting the outcome of global warming - and I wrote this out of great concern from current events that are taking place. Ben is a song about my dog that passed away and I wanted to bring him back to life, which I kind of did through the song.

Hobo is a song about a man who failed to fight the system and who lost everything but his soul. The character was inspired by what I recognised in the eyes of a stranger I met whilst walking down Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.

You hail from the Netherlands. What music did you listen to as a child and when did you decide to pursue it as a career?

As a child, I would listen to very diverse music from Jazz to Electronic to Classical and film soundtracks. I only saw one path for myself: music. It was like I didn’t have a choice. I went to music school when I was six and started playing piano and, soon after, I was writing piano compositions and songs.

Do you think there is a way to describe your sound – or do you feel like it is hard to categorise?

Phantasmagorical!

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I have many good memories...but one of my favourite was when I won an award on the Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands, for one of my compositions. I enjoy when big ensembles perform my music live.  

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Kate Bush - The Kick Inside

Dead Man’s Bones - Dead Man’s Bones

Björk – Utopia

Because I still didn’t get bored of them, even after playing them hundreds of times.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

AURORA. My rider would be to have a French bulldog puppy in the dressing room.

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I don’t think I can give any advice, because everyone has a different path, but you’ll need to grow a big capacity for hope and not let anyone else tailor your destiny.

Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

When my album is published in June I am hoping to tour.

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IN THIS PHOTO: SEVDALIZA

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

She is not a new artist, but you should check out SEVDALIZA if you don’t already know her

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I feel like music is like one of my organs. If it wasn’t there I would fall ill. I relax by watching T.V. series/films and going to the theater.  

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Kate Bush - Babooshka

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Follow Maya Lavelle

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INTERVIEW: Karolina Rose

INTERVIEW:

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Karolina Rose

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MY interview of the day...

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is with Karolina Rose who tells me about her new E.P., Invicta, and the sort of themes/stories that inspired the songs; whether she has a favourite cut from the E.P. and which albums are most important to the songwriter.

Karolina Rose talks about moving from Wall Street to music and where she heads next; her love for Kate Bush and which rising artists we need to look out for – she selects a song I definitely adore and can get behind to end the interview with.

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Hi, Karolina. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello! I’m doing well, thanks. I’m on my way to rehearsal. I have a release party this week at Muchmore’s in Brooklyn.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hello. I’m Karolina Rose. I am indie singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn. These days, I like to focus mainly on dark, dreamy music.

Invicta is your new E.P. What inspired the songs and the themes addressed?

Invicta is a mix of songs that had to do with my mindset at the time - changing careers and transitioning to a polar opposite pursuit; finding courage to pursue one’s calling/dreams/whatever name you want to give it (Crystal Gem, Going to Berlin), exploring the power of a new love (Move with Me and Love Crazy); attraction to the unknown (Downhill) and exploring dream states (Goodnight, Mr. Moon).

Do you have a favourite song from the E.P.?

It’s between Goodnight, Mr. Moon and Downhill (smiles). They both hit upon a very strong mood and it makes them stand alone for me. Goodnight, Mr. Moon is sort of divulging the secrets of our dream state to process life.

Downhill is that simultaneous feeling of excitement and fear when pursuing something entirely new and unknown. It’s walking right through it and cutting it with a knife.

I believe you left your job on Wall Street before getting into music. What was the reason behind leaving that job when you did?!

It’s something I felt I had to do. Pursuing music has been a gradual evolution for some time and, at some point, I realized my thoughts were entirely consumed by music...so I felt I had no choice but to dive in and walk away.

Do you think you learned anything from your time there that you have brought into music?

My life was enriched in learning and growth with all the lovely people I worked with and I still miss them. I reach out to them often and perhaps in this way I still hold onto to a piece of that world.

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When you were growing up, what sort of music did you listen to?

I listened to a combination of Alternative, Pop; Hip-Hop, Dance music and Polish and French music. I absolutely love Czeslaw Niemen from Poland - check out the legendary tune Dziwny Jest Ten Swiat. The live performance in Sopot in 1967, when he is dressed in a white suit with a bowl haircut, is amazing. It’s hard to find so here’s the only link.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I think the first time I heard the crowd singing back my tunes. I was taken aback. That mutual feedback feeling is really something.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

So many artists I could mention...

I’d say The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill is quite the masterpiece that I go back to.

Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love - her art has a poetic innocence and goodness that I live for.

Lungs and Ceremonials or any album by Florence + the Machine. I think listening to Florence lent to making me feel empowered to be a singer when I was in the Wall St.-music transition phase.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Kate Bush or Debbie Harry!

I’d request a few beautiful plants, an oil diffuser; lavender, very authentic Japanese green tea with pottery set; lots of champagne, some cozy throws and textures and things.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Brace yourselves. Haha, I don’t know. Maybe that living your dream is just lots of work that you can enjoy (a good amount of the time).

Do you think there are going to be any tour dates coming up?

Nothing I can announce yet. Follow me on Spotify, Songkick; Bandsintown or join on my website for the latest updates on that.

Might you come to the U.K. and perform this year?

Oh, I would really love that! I hope so! I’ll be sure to invite you (smiles).

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Blak Emoji/PHOTO CREDIT: Kathleen Reynolds

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Sure! Some of my favorite artists and friends making music I love are Blak Emoji, Janita; Whitney Tai and Mothica.

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IN THIS PHOTO: Janita/PHOTO CREDIT: Anthony Friend

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Haha. Not at the moment, I’m obsessed. I unwind with movies; anything I can do to spend time in nature, art exhibits or going to friends’ shows.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

This Woman’s Work - Kate Bush

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Follow Karolina Rose

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INTERVIEW: Jacob Henley

INTERVIEW:

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Jacob Henley

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WITH Train Rider out today...

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I have been speaking with Jacob Henley about its creation and what he has coming up; what it is like putting his debut track out there and which artists he is inspired by – Henley reveals albums that are important and influential to him.

I ask what it was like working with Ralph Murphy on Train Rider and which new artists we need to look out for; how he relaxes away from music and whether Henley will tour soon – he picks a good song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Jacob. How are you? How has your week been?

Hello! BUSY. Ahahaha. Over the last few months, my whole world has been releasing this single it seems. It’s been a battle but it’s going to make having it out into the world so much sweeter.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Well. My name is Jacob Henley and I’m a singer/songwriter from Canada, now living in Dublin, Ireland. If I had to describe my sound I would describe it as ‘Guitar-Driven Pop’, with influences such as James Bay, Shawn Mendes; John Mayer, Hozier - with nods to the artists I grew up listening to such as Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell etc. I’m a big fan of songwriters; I’ve always been a big fan of songwriters and the craft of taking real life stories and turning them into songs. I just love writing songs whether it’s for myself or others. It’s always been a love for me.

Train Rider is your debut single. Is there a history behind the song?

I wrote Train Rider about three years ago. I was taking a train to Toronto from where I live and I was enjoying the scenery of the ride (the train runs right beside Lake Ontario) and I saw a man and woman exchanging looks and smiling from across the seats. They didn’t know each other but they were smiling and seemed to catch themselves looking at each other, before looking away quickly, realising they’d been caught.

I wondered, in my head, if those people would work up the courage to talk to each other or if they would just let it pass them by. It sparked the influence and the song is really a story of finding love in unexpected places and taking chances.

You wrote it alongside Ralph Murphy. How did you come to work with him?

I actually started the song with my cousin Andrew Dawson (Gold Complex) who’s a writer and fantastic artist in Toronto and my friend Ryan O’Shaughnessy who is also an incredible writer and artist. We all met in Toronto at Canadian Music Week and one day we got together and wrote Train Rider in Andrew’s back garden in downtown Toronto. We then sent the song to my friend and mentor Ralph Murphy in Nashville who worked his magic on the song and finished it off!

Train Rider is your debut track. Are you excited to see how it’s received? What comes next?

This song has been a battle. I’ve been planning to release music for the last three years - but, for some reason, it didn’t work out or it didn’t feel right. In hindsight, I’m glad that I waited. I have grown so much in that time as a person and I feel like I am more sure of who I am now than I was back then. It’s got to feel right when you are releasing music in the world and I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can put this song out into the world. I’m excited to see how people feel about the song for sure! Every artist wants their music to be enjoyed and every artist wants their songs to be played.

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However, with Train Rider most of all, I would love it if someone related to the song or if it made them feel. The thing I love about music is the feelings it gives me. I remember the first time I heard Suzanne by Leonard Cohen; I remember the first time I heard Guiding Light by Foy Vance; I remember the first time I heard Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen – I remember exactly how I felt at those moments. I would love for people to have that reaction to my music, like I had to those artists’ music.

I’ve got plans to release more music this year and am currently in the process of recording my next single. The plan is to play as many shows as possible and get my songs out there! 2019 is going to be a busy year and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You began life in Canada but are based in Dublin. What inspired that move?

I’m from a small town called Newcastle, Ontario (Canada). It’s a small town outside of Toronto. I moved to Dublin about ten months ago for music but I’ve been writing/performing in cities across North America and the U.K. for years - cities like Nashville, Toronto; Montréal and London.

I went to Dublin in 2015 and as soon as I left I had this desire to go back. I went back in September 2017 and as soon as I left that time and landed in Canada, I knew that I wanted to move back there. I don’t know how to explain what inspired the move but all I can say is that it felt right. I’ve been so productive here and have met so many like-minded musicians and writers that this is where I want to be right now. I adore Canada and it will always be my home, but Ireland just feels right for me right now.

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What is the Dublin music scene like? Is it a great place to create?

Incredible. I think that the Irish music scene in general is pumping out so many incredible artists and songwriters. There is so much talent in this country and it’s steeped in their culture. Everyone and their mother can sing. Ahahaha. There’s something about this country that is so inspiring. I find that Ireland and Canada are very similar. Canada has pumped out so many great artists and songwriters but they are often overlooked and I feel like Ireland are the same. However, I feel like that’s changing with the power of the Internet and Spotify etc.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

There are so many. But, one for sure that always pops in my head is when my friend Neil Sanderson (Three Days Grace) saw me playing in my hometown pub in Newcastle, Ontario (when I was fourteen-years-old) and he said “Hey, kid! Wanna go to Nashville at the end of the month?” and I did what any kid dreaming of being a Rockstar would do and said “Let me ask my parents!” Ahahaha. We went down and met Ralph Murphy - it all kind of started there.

Do you have a list of artists who you draw influence from? What sort of music did you grow up around?

I come from a very musical family. Not everybody plays but everyone loves music and loves a variety of music. My dad is an incredible performer and great singer so I drew a lot of influence from him. But, I remember growing up and there were always loads of singer/songwriters playing around the house like Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell; Neil Young, Carole King; Bruce Springsteen etc. so I was heavily influenced by artists like that.

But, recently, I listen to a healthy dose of everything. Whether that’s James Bay, Shawn Mendes; Julia Michaels, Ariana Grande or any of the music that is doing well in the charts - I find myself listening to all of that. HOWEVER, I always go back to my old favourites.

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

The first Leonard Cohen album, for sure. I’ve never had an album that has moved me more than that album. It is such a masterpiece and his songwriting is so visual. Forever my favourite.

I’d say Foy Vance’s Closed Hands, Full of Friends album. Again, such a visual album and so perfect.

Then I would have to say Abbey Road because every songwriter has to have ONE Beatles album on their list and the whole album is a masterpiece.

Also, just a bonus…I would have to say Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder. MASTERPIECE.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

That’s a tough one. I don’t really know! I’d be grateful to open up for anyone. Maybe a bar or two of chocolate back stage wouldn’t go astray…ahaha

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Well. I would say this: put in the work. Go out and gig as much as possible, promote yourself on social media; write as MUCH as possible with as many different people as possible, put yourself in situations out of your comfort zone. Go to a conference, network; write with someone out of your genre. But, most importantly, be a good person. Good people are remembered for the right reasons.

Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?

I have plans for gigs coming up, starting with Train Rider’s single launch on 11th February at The Workman’s Club in Dublin with support from Tim Chadwick and Josh Gray. But, there will be more over the coming months and they will all be posted on my socials and website.

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Gold Complex

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Gold Complex, Ryan Mack; Tim Chadwick, 1000 Beasts; Laura Elizabeth Hughes, Ryan O’Shaughnessy; Kolumbus, Josh Gray; Orchid Collective and Zapho - those are just a few of my friends who I think are incredible.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Laura Elizabeth Hughes

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I watch A LOT of ice hockey. Ahaha. You can take the boy out of Canada - you can’t take the Canada out of the boy. I love walking around the city, spending time with my friends and writing. It’s important to enjoy your breaks - it keeps you fuelled for your work.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Lord (It’s Okay) - 1000 Beasts

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Follow Jacob Henley

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INTERVIEW: Lily & Madeleine

INTERVIEW:

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Lily & Madeleine

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IT has been enjoyable speaking with the duo...

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Lily & Madeleine who have been telling me about their current single, Analog Love, and how that came together. I ask them what we can expect from their upcoming album, Canterbury Girls, and what they have planned moving forward – they select some rising artists worth watching out for.

I ask how they found one another and why they moved to New York; which albums mean the most to them and whether we might see them tour very soon – they reveal whether they’ll come to the U.K. and end the interview with some great music.

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Hi, Lily and Madeleine. How are you? How has your week been?

Madeleine: We're good! Just keeping busy and trying to stay warm in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Madeleine: Sure! I'm Madeleine, Lily's older sister. We're from Indiana and just moved to N.Y.C. about a year ago. We write indie Folk/Pop music and recorded our most recent record, Canterbury Girls, with Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk in Nashville, TN where our label New West Records is based. We both play keys and Lily also plays guitar. 

When did you decide to record music to together? Was it a natural move for you both?

Madeleine: We started writing and recording when we were both in high-school and it started out as just a fun project. After signing to Asthmatic Kitty Records and releasing our E.P., suddenly we realized that we could write and play as a career and began pursuing a career in music since then. 

Lily: We had been singing around the house and writing little jingles our whole lives. Since then, we've made four full albums together!

 

Analog Love is your new track. Tell me how that track came to be.

Madeleine: We wrote Analog Love with our friend Lucie Silvas in Nashville a couple years ago. We usually don't start with the title of the song first but Lucie had the idea for the title and we went on from there. The song is about finding an uncomplicated and reassuring romantic relationship. Lily and I are often on tour, therefore our relationships must be long-distance. The distance can get frustrating, so finding a solid, real, ‘analog’ relationship was the inspiration there. 

Lily: We also don't write a lot of love songs because it can be hard to capture that emotion of longing without being too melodramatic. I think writing Analog Love was one of the only times I could express those feelings without being overwhelmed. And Lucie was amazing to write with, as always!

It is from the upcoming album, Canterbury Girls. What sort of themes and ideas might we find on the album?

Madeleine: Canterbury Girls is the most intimate and powerful project we've ever made. Each song tells a story of heartache, triumph; pain and, finally, self-love. 

Lily: I think the album is really about perseverance. We talk about the concept of ‘emotional baggage’ on a lot of the songs, but the album as a whole sends a message of staying strong and open while still processing your pain and acknowledging that you deserve better. 

You moved to New York early last year. How important was it to locate there and be in one of the world’s most inspiring places?

Madeleine: Our move to N.Y.C. was kind of random. We knew we wanted to leave Indiana but we weren't sure where to go. I was living with a boyfriend at the time and wasn't even sure I wanted to leave my relationship and my whole life behind. Lily gave me the strength to leave that toxic relationship and move to one of the most inspiring and exciting places. We found an apartment on Facebook and put down a deposit that day.

We flew out here with few belongings and have spent a year exploring, writing; eating, being lonely; meeting new friends and finding new inspiration. New York is incredible. 

Lily: Honestly, I just wanted to get out of the Midwest, make a new change and take a step forward in my life! I was between L.A. and New York, but we decided New York made more sense. 

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When you were all growing up, what sort of music inspired you?

Madeleine: I remember getting my own iPod Shuffle when I was young and listening to Enya, Simon & Garfunkel; Green Day and Shania Twain. I loved anything with a catchy melody and harmony.

Lily: I liked listening to artists that made music I couldn't fathom creating myself. Singers with unbelievable vocal ranges like Celine Dion and really interesting songwriters like Arcade Fire and The Shins. 

Do you think it is hard for female artists to get noticed in 2019? Have you found obstacles placed in your way because you are young women?

Madeleine: Certainly, some people don't take us as seriously because we're young and female. But I've found there's a lot to learn about the industry and, when people give us the chance to show our worth, we're able to learn so much more. 

Lily: Eh, yeah, of course. But, sometimes, it's fun when people underestimate you because it can be sooo satisfying to prove them wrong. 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Madeleine: We toured with Joshua Radin in Europe in 2017 and it was an amazing experience. We got to see so many beautiful cities and play to wonderful people. I can't wait to come back to Europe. 

Lily: We got to play with the Indianapolis Symphony when I was like sixtteen or seventeen. It was crazy to hear a song I wrote being arranged and played by such fantastic musicians. I hope we'll get to do that again sometime. 

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Madeleine: The album, I Want That You Are Always Happy, by The Middle East is very special to me. I originally found it at the library and borrowed it because the cover art was so strange. Turns out it has fourteen beautiful, original and emotional tracks. I listened to the album many times while going through a tough transitional period in my life and I think it brought me peace in that time. 

Lily: I bought Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes for my car cd player and listened to it for hours while I drove all over the Midwest. Gimme All Your Love is SERIOUSLY one of the best songs ever in my opinion. It never gets old. And the album has a really nice range of genre influences and mood switches that keeps your attention and makes it perfect for a long drive.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Madeleine: I would love to open for Kacey Musgraves! Her live shows look so fun and she is so talented and beautiful! My dream rider would include fancy French pastries and endless coffee. 

Lily: Yeah. Kacey or Kehlani. Kehlani has an incredible voice and I'd love to watch her show from backstage and drink champagne.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Madeleine: Write from the heart; don't try so hard. You have all the words within you. I would also say that to be successful you must be more than just an artist. You need to know how to book shows, made merchandise; create a budget, hire other musicians if needed; promote your music online, create connections in the industry. Being your own business owner will make you an even better artist in the long run. 

Lily: Artists on the come up think way too much about their image. Don't be afraid to look stupid or be yourself because, if you focus too much on copying current fashion or music trends, it's just gonna seem inauthentic and cheesy. Be ugly and weird and as quiet or as loud as you want to be. 

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Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Madeleine: We don't have any U.K. shows booked yet but we're working on it. For now, you can catch us in the States on the East Coast in Feb/March and on the West Coast in late-March. (We're hoping to come to U.K./E.U. after that...stay tuned.) 

Lily: We WILL be there soon!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Lennon Stella

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Madeleine: I'm LOVING Lennon Stella lately. She is a young lady writing and recording in the Nashville Pop scene and she first started out with her younger sister. Her music is fun and also poignant. She just released an E.P. late last year. 

Lily: We saw a woman named Cassandra Jenkins perform in Manhattan last week and I thought it was just amazing. She had a beautiful string section with her during her live performance and when I listened to her studio versions on Spotify the songs were just as amazing!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Cassandra Jenkins

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Madeleine: Lily and I try to rehearse every day but, when we need a moment to relax, we love to knit and crochet while watching Netflix. Knitting is also nice to do on tour because it's meditative yet productive. 

Lily: Yeah. Madge and I love working on a knitting/crochet project and bingeing a new series. I also like playing video games and taking longgg walks in New York while listening to an album or a podcast. 

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that)

Madeleine: I choose Months by The Middle East from their record, I Want That You Are Always Happy

Lily: I choose Dreamlover by skinny legend Mariah Carey

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Follow Lily & Madeleine

INTERVIEW: Charlotte Black

INTERVIEW:

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 Charlotte Black

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THIS week begins with a chat with Charlotte Black...

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who has been telling me about her latest single, Los Angeles, and what inspired its creation. I ask if she is already working on new material and which artists/albums have been most important to her; whether there are new artists to look out for and what the future holds.

Black talks about last year and tells me whether, as a rising artist, it is hard to get noticed; whether she gets time to chill and what advice she’d give to approaching artists – she ends the interview by selecting a track.

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Hi, Charlotte. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey, Sam. I’m great, thank you. I’m actually in Sydney as we speak and the weather is delicious! It’s been amazing having a hot January! 

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

I’m a Pop singer/songwriter from Edinburgh, currently based in London. I absolutely love intricate storytelling lyrics and aim to let my tracks be as vulnerable and true to me as possible. I’ve been on the music ‘releasing’ scene for about a year however I’ve been songwriting for such a long time. 

 

Los Angeles is your new track. Can you tell me about its background and story?

So. Los Angeles is about a summer romance that was that little bit of magic; the story being encapsulated in L.A., the city of dreams. It’s about longing to be back in a time and place with someone: Los Angeles being the metaphor for the person. 

Do you think there will be more material coming? How far ahead are you looking?

Absolutely. I’ve got a new song coming in the next two months. I’m even more excited about it than I was about Los Angeles! Then, I’ve got a few more in the process of being produced. It’s going to be a busy year! 

Looking back on 2018; what are your impressions and memories of the year?

2018 was actually one of the best years I’ve ever had; not only for music but it was a strong year of self-development. I really gave myself space to discover exactly what direction I wanted to take my music in and now I feel really excited for the future!  

When you were growing up, which artists guided and compelled you to get into the business?

I grew up listening to ABBA and Joni Mitchell. Then, as I got older, I fell in love with Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift - who were all a huge part of my inspiration of becoming a singer/songwriter. 

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Oh. It was definitely being playlisted on New Music Friday in several countries after my most recent release. It was such an incredible feeling to be placed alongside artists in such big fans of.  

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

This is a tricky one. First of all would be Taylor Swift’s Speak Now as that totally represents my teen. She’s the most relatable writer so I’d say that album was profound for me.

Secondly, it would be the A Star Is Born Soundtrack. i absolutely love every track on there.

Aaaaand probably Taylor Swift’s new album, Reputation - I found it fascinating watching the development of her writing and her career. This album represents so much courage and strength which I absolutely love.

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Taylor Swift, one-hundred times over. I love her energy whilst performing and think she’d be incredible to work alongside and support. I think there endless amounts I could learn from her, she’s unstoppable. 

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

I’d say, that if you’re writing/producing songs, make sure you’re creating tracks that you love, that you’re proud of and that are true to who you are as an artist. It’s so easy to produce what you think other people will like but, from experience, I’ve realised that the work that’s truly me is the work that people really respond to. 

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The music industry is getting bigger and more competitive. Is it hard for a new artist to get noticed and have their work heard, do you think?!

I think it’s always been a challenge, especially because the market is so saturated now with so much talent! It’s much easier nowadays to release as in independent artist which means we’re all aiming for the same spot on these Spotify playlists. However, I think if you put in your 10,000 hours and work as hard as you possibly can your work will be heard and celebrated.

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Nothing set in stone yet. However, I’ve got my live band set up so it should be very, very soon. 

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Foxgluvv

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

I’d definitely recommend checking out Foxgluvv. She’s full of sass and confidence and I just love her whole project. And Josh Piterman. He has the most beautiful voice! 

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Josh Piterman

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I love to travel. I try and go away as often as I can as all of these new places I visit end up being huge inspirations for my writing process. There’s something about a new city that always inspires me. For example, Los Angeles is about my time I spent there two years ago. 

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Ooo. I’d love to hear Dutch Melrose - Jazz, on The Drive Home. He’s a good friend of mine from L.A. and his music is incredible

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Follow Charlotte Black

INTERVIEW: Sincere Deceivers

INTERVIEW:

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Sincere Deceivers

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I have been speaking with Sincere Deceivers...

about their latest track, Hot Handed, and how it all came to pass. I was curious to learn why the Yorkshire natives relocated to London and what sort of music drives them – they recommend a new artist to look out for that is primed to go far.

The guys reveals the albums special to them and when we can see them perform; which artist they’d support on the road if they could and whether they have plans for more material – the members each choose a song to end the interview with.

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Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Matt: Great, thanks. We launched our new single last week, so mainly recovering from that!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?

Dom: Of course. We’re a London based three-piece. Matt is on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Tim on electric guitar and I play cello and do backing vocals. We make kind of layered, Folk-infused rock.

Hot Handed is your new single. Is there a tale behind the song at all?

Matt: Yes. It was inspired by two separate sets of events going on around the time of writing. The first was watching friends - and in particular Tim - get married and the other was seeing the impact of dementia on my grandparent’s relationship. I suppose it was an attempt to give some advice that I’m not qualified to give – make the most of special relationships, pursue them in good faith and hope for the best...because you never know what might get in the way down the line.

The song is quite unconventional in terms of its lyrics. Do you feel too many artists lack that original approach to songwriting?

Matt: I feel like it’s an aspect that sometimes get ignored or overlooked in the quest for killer melodies and hooks, but these things are definitely not mutually exclusive and there’s plenty of cracking songwriters out there trying to use words inventively to say something. 

You are Yorkshire natives but live in London. How did Sincere Deceivers find one another?

Tim: Matt and I were at college together back in Yorkshire and played in early line-ups of the band before heading off to various places for uni. After a break for a few years, we both ended up in London again and then roped in Dom, a friend of Matt’s, to make us a trio.

What is life like for a young band in London?

Dom: Unfortunately, I’m not sure we can get away with describing ourselves as young anymore - but London is a great city. There’s certainly lots of music going on and we’ve met some great people along the way. I play in a couple of other London based bands too.

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Do you have plans for more material a bit later this year?

Matt: Yes! We’ve written a few new ones over the last six months and we’re keen to get back in the studio. Watch this space.

When you were all growing up, what sort of music inspired you?

Tim: Matt and I were listening to a lot of Pop/Rock bands before we started playing together: The Beatles, obviously; Dylan and singer-songwriters like Tom McCrae, Damien Rice and Folk music like Kate Rusby. My parents introduced me to local folk songs from a young age.

Matt: I remember Urban Hymns by The Verve being one of the first albums I bought and thinking that was pretty cool. Rock music with an epic strings section. Bright Eyes were a formative discovery.

Dom: Muse; dad’s Pink Floyd and lots of choral stuff.

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Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

Tim: We launched our first E.P. together at St. Pancras Old Church and that was a special night.

Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?

Tim: Jeff Buckley - Grace

Because it’s the perfect combination of balls-out Rock and Roll with plenty of guitar wizardry, but so much emotion.

Matt: That Buckley album is special. I thought about this for a long time without anything definitive popping in my head. The album that has been on the heaviest rotation for the last seven years is Given to the Wild by The Maccabees. I just seem to keep going back.

Dom: Neutral Milk HoneyIn the Aeroplane Over the Sea

It’s shonky, lo-fi; surprising and mad but also emotional moving and intelligent. It’s when I realised you could get away with anything in music as long as you liked what you’re doing.

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If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

Matt: I’m gonna hijack this one: Scott Matthews. Because I think he’s one of the best singer-songwriters of the last decade and he seems fun. I quite like a sneaky scotch before we go on stage and I think Scott would enjoy one with us after the show too.

Dom: Can I have some Tangfastics, please?

Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?

Dom: We’re plotting getting out and about over the next few months. But, we will be back in London for a headline show at The Finsbury for Lost in the Manor on 7th March.

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?                           

Tim: I’m not sure we have much helpful advice about coming through, but we have been doing this a while and you can get caught up in the gigging and releasing - but then we try and hold to that reason you started, which is normally that you love making music.

Matt: Also, look after your ears in loud rooms. Mine are getting crunchy.

 IN THIS PHOTO: Amy May Ellis/PHOTO CREDIT: Emma Freemantle

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Matt: The awesome Amy May Ellis played with us at our single launch. We met her through Folkroom Records. They put on amazing fortnightly shows in London with some great acts, including Louis Brennan, Tom Hyatt; Kirsty Merryn and Winterfalle to name a few.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Tim: Following my beloved Huddersfield Town.

Matt: I quite like walking.

Dom: Eating food.

Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Dom: Jungle - House in LA

Tim: Lau - Toy Tigers

Matt: Sylvan EssoSlack Jaw

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Follow Sincere Deceivers

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INTERVIEW: Katy Tiz

INTERVIEW:

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Katy Tiz

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MY final interview of this week is with Katy Tiz...

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who has been talking about her latest, single, Life (ft. Ed Drewett). I ask what is coming up next and why the British songwriter located to America; how she views 2018 the sort of music she grew up around.

Tiz recommends a new artist to look out for and tells me the albums that mean the most to her; whether there are going to be tour dates coming and which artist she’d support on the road if possible – she selects a recent track to end the interview with.

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Hi, Katy. How are you? How has your week been?

Really great! I’m currently in London and it’s getting a bit cold so I look like penguin at wrapper up walking the streets.

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Hi! I’m Katy Tiz. I’m a singer songwriter and a part-time grilled cheese chef.

Life is your latest track. Is there a personal story behind it?

There is. This song has been in my life for over four years. I’ve always believed in it and it’s actually the first song that I’ve released that involved my bros (red triangle pro), so it’s a big tick in the box for me! 

I love the video’s concept/look. Did you have a lot of input regarding its direction?

Thank you! I had this concept in my head because I wanted it to be P.O.V. The only part of Life Ed and I sing to each other is the last chorus so I wanted it to tell my side of the story from his eyes. I worked with Jasper Soloff, who is just a dream. We chatted it through and he really supported what I wanted and made it come to life. We shot on 16 mm film. It was amazing!

Might we see more material coming this year? What are you working on?

Yes, you shall! I was in the studio last week. I’m feeling really inspired at the moment. It’s something I can’t force so I’m loving it.

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2018 must have been a pretty busy year. Do you think you learned anything about yourself as an artist during 2018?

Yes, absolutely. I learned to stop second guessing myself. I’ve also learned how important it is to continue driving forward.

Give me a sense of the music you grew up around and when it came into your life.

Well. I used to sit in my room for hours and listen to India Arie and Alicia Keys. Believe it or not, I was really shy. I just loved listening to music and daydreaming but I wouldn’t step out of my room and sing. EVER.

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 PHOTO CREDIT: Phil Knott

You are British but live in America. What was the reason for relocating and what is the music scene like where you are now?!

I’m all over the place now - and I love it because I get to work with people based all over. I really love their influence when we are in the studio. Every city brings something completely different and it keeps me on my feet. 

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

The very first phone call I got from America for my first record deal. I remember calling my brother in absolute disbelief. We were both so confused and stunned. He told me to go out, turn my phone off and have the best night of my life just in case it wasn’t real. And it was the BEST night of my life.

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Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor

Because she just open my eyes to music and singing.

Lauryn HillThe Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Because it reminds me of an amazing time in my life and becoming a proper adult.

And Spice Girls – because I am British and they are royalty. 

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

That’s a hard one...

I’m gonna go with P!nk. She’s incredible. And my rider would consist of my actual body weight in fries. (They don’t actually have to be hot because I love cold fries).

What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Take a moment when you need it to remember why you do what you do and who you are. Listening to your own music, even the really rubbish stuff. Be your own biggest critic and biggest fan.

Might we see some solo dates a bit later this year?

Yes. I hope so! 

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Reyn Hartley

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Reyn Hartley. He has a song out called Snitch and it’s sick. I listen to it in the gym and walk around like I think I’m a gangster. I can’t wait to hear more music from him.

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

I love driving - it really helps me unwind. I know that is weird but I love it. I used to drive for hours and hours at night. But now I don’t have a car. 

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

 Ok. Battle by David Guetta (my bros wrote it!)

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Follow Katy Tiz

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INTERVIEW: Jolé

INTERVIEW:

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Jolé

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IT has been great learning more about Jolé...

and his incredible world. He has been discussing his latest single, Seldom Seen, and revealing its inspiration. I was eager to learn when music arrived in his life and whether there are particular records that have informed him and inspired what he does – he recommends some approaching artists to follow.

I ask whether there are tour dates and, if he could support anyone on the road, who that would be; whether he has a favourite memory from his career so far and how he chills away from music – he chooses a great, if underappreciated, song to end the interview with.

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Hi, Jolé. How are you? How has your week been?

Hey! I’m good, thanks. My week has been great. It snowed, so that was fun!

For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?

Sure. My name is Josh and I go by ‘Jolé’, which was a nickname at school…I write lo-fi- Pop with Folky elements.

Seldom Seen is your new track. Is there a story behind it?

I wrote this song at a time when I was trying to hold down about four jobs and do music. It’s a song about trying to escape the troubles of everyday life and when you just don’t want to be seen. Cheerful!

Are you planning on more material for later in the year?

Yes. Definitely. I believe this year will be a busy one!

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2018 has ended and I wonder how you view the year that has just gone. Do you think you grew as an artist throughout?

2018 was a really great year for me. Although I didn’t release any music as Jolé, I was constantly writing and also working behind the scenes to build up the team that I work with now. I am super-lucky to have had the opportunities given to me in 2018 which set me up for 2019. I definitely grew as a songwriter and artist; I have been learning a lot! 

You have spent a few years with various bands but are now solo. What do you think you have learned from the time in those bands?

How to cope with touring...

I haven’t done it for a while but we were pretty much constantly on the road for five years. It was great fun with my best mates but it definitely takes its toll! I feel a lot more prepared for it now.

Give me a sense of the music you grew up around and when it came into your life…

My first experience of music would have to be Van Morrison. Apparently my mum and dad used to play his music when my mum was pregnant with me. They would play him and The Beach Boys when I was quite young. When I was a bit older, I remember going through their record collection and really taking a liking to Abracadabra by Steve Miller Band. I used to listen to the seven-inch on-repeat. The first album that really grabbed me was Parachutes by Coldplay. I remember hearing it for the first time at my cousin’s house and falling in love with it.

Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?

I went to Budapest over summer to play a couple of shows which was pretty ace!

Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?

Coldplay - Parachutes

(For the reasons I mentioned earlier).

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell

This is one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful albums I have heard. I saw it live and it was the best.

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

I love the sounds on this album and my first show I went to was Brian Wilson playing it in full!

If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?

I would love to support Beck! My rider would be just be stacks and stacks of flapjack and sweet (I have a sweet tooth), Mezcal and fresh lime.

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What advice would you give to new artists coming through?

Be nice to everyone. It’s a small world.

Do you think there are going to any tour dates coming up?

Yes. Definitely. Should be releasing some soon!

Is the stage somewhere you love to be?

90% of the time, yes!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Matt DiMona

Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?

Really enjoying a guy called Matt DiMona at the moment. Harvey Causon is wicked; King Princess is awesome too!

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 IN THIS PHOTO: Harvey Causon

Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?

Not really! I love my job so it’s hard to switch off but I love to listen to podcasts and read too. That’s probably how I tend to relax.

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).

Let’s say….Ed ProsekI Was Wrong. I’ve been listening to that a lot recently

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Follow Jolé

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