It’s not easy to listen to someone being mentally torn apart, to have their innermost personal thoughts laid bare on a song is often a heartbreaking experience. With RnB riser sV, however, his stripped-back single ‘Summer Snow’ may be a lesson in heartbreak but is a refreshingly cathartic and emotionally relatable experience.
With a history soaked deep in fashion design, experience producing music for acts in China and Korea as well as crafting his debut EP (or self-proclaimed ‘mini album’) around his war with depression – sV is ever the intriguing artist as all great names tend to be.
The track itself is the sound of genuine anguish. As sultry loops of electric guitar fill the reverb-laden soundscape, sV accompanies a wave of soft, crashing beats with his own sorrowful deliveries – begging us to “not let him fade away”.
One could write books on the track’s compositional accomplishments – with its crescendo-like structure bringing a natural evolution to such a short track – but track’s crown jewel lies in how well sV translates his own emtoional strife into something almost tangible.
This, of course, relates to the entire ‘AnxiousAlbum’ project from which ‘Summer Snow’ originates – a collection of material spawned from a harrowing grief.
“I created this album at the height of my depression. After years of not being able to create anything.The album is dedicated to my cousin who passed three years ago. Bringing mental health to the forefront; the impact of anxiety, depression, and stress in one.” – sV
It’s certainly a message that resonates with the strength of the artist that laid it before us. It doesn’t matter what your musical affiliations might be as, with such emotional poignance on display, ‘Summer Snow’ is required listening for everyone and anyone.
Not many would dare challenge the namesake of the John Paul Young classic, but in the case of rising R&B renegade Rachel Davie Lee there’s no doubt that there’s room for the two heavyweights to co-exist.
Unlike the piano-led belter that most will resonate such a name with, Rachel Davie Lee heads in a more stripped back direction, flirting with flattering electronics and soft, steady percussion for a more meditated interpretation of what a ‘banger’ can be.
With a background as a Compliance Officer and a family filled with industry professionals and entrepreneurs, the track is a well-needed respite for an artist in need of a creative outlet and Lee’s performance on ‘Love Is In The Air’ consequently pulls no punches. On the track’s hook, especially, the vocals take a new life as Lee’s delivery comes lurching through the speakers and filling the walls – it’s a spacious soundscape that does more than enough to highlight the artist’s standout vocals.
This, combined with the track’s smooth rhythms and good pacing, makes an indelible hit that is beyond a mere ‘good’ first impression. In fact, as the lead track from Lee’s debut EP ‘Barely Concealed’, you’d have to be a fool to not run the entire project cover to cover…multiple times. Most crucially, however, Lee established herself in the crowded R&B market, refusing to allow any influences to consume her own identity and, instead, carve out a well-deserved future within the industry.
‘Love Is In The Air’ is a sign of what is to come for this world-class wonder – put your ear to the floor and keep it there because great things are coming.
Keeping track of the hordes of ‘rising stars’ is as much of a task as any – the accessibility of new music is definitely a double-edged sword at times – but one name to bloom out of obscurity that demands attention is Jazmine Flowers. Having beaten lockdown as well as the ‘debut jitters’ on first EP ‘adulting’ we had a chat with one of Alt-R&B’s most promising names.
AM: First of all, huge congratulations on the new EP! How does it feel to have it out?
JF: Thank you! Ahh, it feels really good, I put so much energy into ‘adulting’ I’m just really happy that people can finally listen to and experience it.
AM: Up until now you’ve been releasing singles, how does it feel to have released your first ‘body of work’? Did it allow you to craft something with a wider message?
JF: It’s definitely a different feeling, this feels like a bit more of a statement, like you said with a way broader message. Of course, the EP is about growing up but I touched on so many subjects within each of these songs so it’s really just a cool opportunity to voice all these experiences and feelings I’ve had.
AM: Could you walk us through your general songwriting process?
JF: It does depend on who I’m working with and how I’m feeling that day. But I will usually pull up notes on my phone, where I have pages and pages of words, phrases and concepts that I like and see what fits the vibe of whatever the producer is working on. Then I’ll put some sort of meaning to those words and build from there!
AM: What were the most challenging aspects of recording/writing ‘adulting’?
JF: Well, a couple of weeks before I was due to finish recording the final vocals and mix the whole EP I got the coronavirus hahah which wasn’t ideal. Thankfully, I was out of self-isolation and completely better the day before I got back in the studio but I still sounded quite ill, if you listen to the middle 8 of ‘not like my friends’ you’ll see what I mean! But the whole writing process was chill, it’s made up of songs from before, during and after lockdown.
AM: The entirety of the ‘adulting’ EP is something you can really lose yourself in, was it ever intentional to write something that could be felt like an ‘escape’ from the world?
JF: Wow, thank you, that’s a huge compliment! Umm, I think because I tend to listen to music as an escape, I maybe make music like that naturally? It feels great to know that, with my music, I can do for other people what music does for me.
AM: You’re very first single ‘Awkward’ was released during a period of lockdown, was the writing and recording process of ‘adulting’ plagued by the lockdown as well? What challenges did it present?
JF: Half was and half wasn’t haha! I first wrote ‘awkward’ out in the beautiful city of Bergen, Norway back in autumn of 2019. Then in 2020 when we decided that ‘awkward’ was going to be my debut single, it was lockdown and I, of course, couldn’t fly back to re-record anything. So I finished writing and recording the vocals in London; it was a pain discussing every tiny detail by email rather than just in person but we made it work.
AM: What do you think you’ve learnt as both a person and an artist from writing ‘adulting’?
JF: Ahh so so soo much! The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that I’ll always be learning. When I write songs, like ‘ANGEL FORM’, I don’t really know what they’re about until i look back way later and realise ohhh yeah in that month I was feeling really happy or I went through this or that then. So it was interesting to go through some old songs and work out what they were about and why those lyrics came out of me when they did!
AM: Since the release of ‘Awkward’ in February, your status as a musician has grown significantly in a relatively short time? Has it taken some adapting to?
JF: To be honest, it doesn’t feel like much has changed haha so not much to adapt to! Numbers on my socials have grown and I have a lot more people supporting me now which is incredible! But it still very much feels like the start and that I have a lot more to do in terms of proving myself as an artist…or not proving myself but more so building a connection with the people who listen to my music and progressing as a writer, producer and musician!
AM: As a young artist, what are your main career aspirations?
JF: As an artist, all you can really wish for is to have as many people as possible hear or see your work. That’s all I really want.. and to one day do a ‘Hot Ones’ interview… then I’ve made it hahahah!
AM: I’ve recently graduated from uni and am of a similar age so I can understand the stress that comes with ‘needing to get your life started’, do you have any advice for musicians of your age that might not know how to handle the stress of adulting (excuse the pun).
JF: Congratulations on graduating from uni! I could never haha! Well, I’ll first be honest and say, I also don’t know how to handle the stress of adulting! What seems to be working for me is staying genuine as an artist and just as a person. If you’re falling out of love with what you’re doing then take a break. Stay in check with yourself, do a quick little self MOT, are you drinking enough water, eating vegetables, doing some form of exercise, even just a walk? And don’t forget to masturbate.
AM: Is the next step for your musical career already planned? Tours? A debut album perhaps?
JF: In truth, I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing with my life. I have nothing planned hahaha, I do have a show lined up on 25th October which is SOO exciting, I haven’t performed live in three years! and I also have a fuck load of songs. I just need to choose how to release them!
When you’ve worked behind names like Stormzy, Lisa Stansfield and IAMDDB, carving yourself an identity is no easy feat – having lived in the shadow of so many greats – but RnB star Medy Lema has found no issue in doing just that with new single “Fresh ‘n’ Nu”.
Carrying over a plethora of on-stage experience, performing to crowds since he was three, Lema’s persistence and bold spirit is told through autobiographical lyrics and pounding funk bass beats.
“I was in a difficult period of my life a few years ago but it was with the help of a few friends and the will of rising up that brought me this far because I’m not a quitter. Most of my songs are autobiographical in a way.” – Medy Lema
With this in mind, the Manchester-hailing genre-blender makes quick word from standing out from genre’s congested scene as the track bursts into a ripping guitar solo and funk jam to divert expectations and move feet; a sound as fresh and new as the title suggests.
Medy Lema is undoubtedly destined to take his unique brand of RnB, Soul, EDM and Funk to high places and beyond – whatever your musical preference, “Fresh ‘n’ Nu” is an undeniable hit and deserves to be heard.
Dropped July 23rd, ‘Used To’ is a sinfully rich dark pop single, overflowing with style and R&B influences; the track is the perfect introduction to Toronto based singer LOR and her refreshing authenticity.
A clean and straightforward piano-led instrumental is enriched with LOR’s distinct vocals as she croons about an unfulfilling relationship and flawed romance. Whilst the topic is effortlessly relatable, LOR manages to take ownership of it and not only infuse her musical spin but honest and deep cutting lyricism to keep the track mature and fully realised. This isn’t a breakup song; more, it is a recounting of how being lost in ‘love’ can keep you from finding yourself or your self-worth.
Using her vulnerability to radiate control, LOR takes a sour experience and turns it into audio magic, turning pain into power and demonstrating her skills as a lyricist and creative force. ‘Used to’ combats broken promises with smooth melodies, ethereal harmonies and certain vocal runs that will give you goosebumps every time. Coming in just under three and a half minutes, the track is all-encompassing and doesn’t waste a second, keeping a solid pace and bursting with a bittersweet narrative.
“Used to is about being in a relationship with someone who constantly lets you down but knows how to make it up to you every time, just enough that you don’t have the guts to walk away.” – LOR
‘Used to’ is available for streaming now, why not listen below?
Dropping June 21st, ‘Starlight’ is a straight-up disco soul anthem that brings pure joy. It is the perfect platform for Raya Max to reach her goal of bringing “listeners’ inner disco divas back to life following the miserable time we’ve had recently”, and she more than delivers on that.
The song itself is a hundred per cent Raya as she not only wrote and sung the track but produced it too, which further infuses Raya’s infectious passion with the traditional soul song format. Whilst ‘Starlight’ is steeped in ‘old school’ influences (Jazz, Soul, Disco etc.), the message of liberation from stagnation in life is more relevant than ever and, along with the sleek production, grounds the single in the modern soundscape. The upbeat nature of the instrumental effortlessly blends with Raya’s rich vocals creating an experience that oozes joy and professionalism.
‘Starlight’ is an open, authentic offering to the world in the form of a dance along anthem. Not only is it a pick-me-up melody to bring listeners out of lockdown blues, but it is also an inclusive experience that lifts from “the flamboyance of London club culture”, creating a new influence for Raya in the LGBTQIA+ community.
Overall, ‘Starlight’ is a new optimistic track that exudes endless energy, showing the strengths of Raya Max and her potential in the UK disco soul scene. It is the perfect soundtrack for the upcoming summer, and people should be ready to stream this bop when it drops on June 21st repeatedly.
The Brits 2021 took place on May 11th at London’s O2 Arena with an in-person crowd of 4000 people, particularly revolutionary in these socially distancing times. Hosted by Jack Whitehall, who has maintained the hosting role since 2018, and chock full of performances from the likes of Dua Lipa and Coldplay, the night was a success, especially as a government COVID piolt event.
It was a big night for firsts as Taylor Swift became the first female to receive the ‘Icon’ award. Little Mix became the first all-female band to win the ‘Best British Group’ Award, proving that girl power is still very much alive by winning an otherwise all-male category.
A true highlight of the night was a joint performance from Sir Elton John and Years & Years, who honoured the TV smash hit ‘It’s a Sin’ with the Pet Shops Boys classic of the same name.
Overall, the night was a triumph and a reminder that music not only survived but thrived even during a global pandemic.
The complete list of winners is as follows:
Global Icon – Taylor Swift
Rising Star – Griff
Breakthrough Artist – Arlo Parks
Male Solo Artist – J Hus
Female Solo Artist – Dua Lipa
British Single – Harry Styles (Watermelon Sugar)
British Group – Little Mix
International Group – Haim
International Female Solo Artist – Billie Eilish
International Male Solo Artist – The Weeknd
Mastercard Album Of The Year – Dua Lipa (Future Nostalgia)
Dropping May 14th, ‘Only U’ is a beautiful collection of retro pop and contemporary R&B nuances all tied together with Jade Moss’ smooth vocal performance. Moss, whose brand is nostalgic charm topped up with a distinct style and sense of self, croons through the tale of a female character fighting against the waves of love at first sight whilst creating a rich, charismatic track.
The track, taken from Moss’ upcoming debut EP, is sleek and sophisticated from the word go. With a real Amy Winehouse-Esq feel, the song is full of addictive harmonies that highlight Moss’ voice perfectly without overshadowing it and an upbeat instrumental with a level of class present throughout. ‘Only U’ never feels aged; it utilises retro styling in a way that keeps it grounded in a modern setting, avoiding over saturating the listener with overplayed cliches. The overall result is a soulful pop bop that fits Jade Moss to a ‘T’.
“The music that I write is about my experiences with love, joy, strength and the importance of self-worth” – Jade Moss
‘Only U’ is Jade Moss in her element. The song is a showcase of her style and her ability to connect through her lyrics and voice, allowing Moss to give the nod to her influences (Etta James, Grace Jones and Lauren Hill) whilst simultaneously carving her own distinctive path in a musical landscape that seems to be missing a bit of retro glamour. Make sure to keep an eye (and ear) out for ‘Only U’ dropping May 14th.
Preyah delivers pure pop prowess with her newest single, ‘On The Line’. The track, released on April 9th, is a blend of pop and electronic elements tied together with a soulful vocal performance that showcases Preyah’s talent and her glamourous style, especially present in the accompanying music video.
‘On The Line’ is a perfect floor filler. With a dramatic chorus highlighted with disco-Esq strings and an addictive instrumental that carries Preyah’s smooth voice to fruition whilst she makes relatable jabs at modern dating culture. The track is full of energy fit for a diva (“a quirky diva” in Preyah’s own words), and this energy is more than present in the music video, which is full of untouchable stage presence and a gorgeous lilac centric colour palette.
With style reminiscent of eccentric dance hall vibes and modern pop-rap tracks (see Doja Cat), Preyah has created an anthem perfect for a night out sing-along that screams empowerment and purpose. It’s sleek, professional and full of flair, marking Preyah as someone to watch as she shapes the pop landscape around her.
Check out Preyah at the following internet places:
We’re back once again to bring you a striking line-up of new Music with our Fresh Hit Radar.
Today we’ve got some power-packed tracks to help you get in to the feel-good Friday spirit.
First up it’s Mildflower with gorgeous Synth-Pop track ‘Just a Boy’. This single is bedroom Pop at its very best, subtly groovy and electro infused ‘Just a Boy’ is a total ear worm of a track. Packed full with innovative instrumental elements Mildflower creates a truly curious and other-worldly soundscape. Listen below-
Next up is a power packed single from Motion Sickness‘Ether’. Ethereal vocals sit over punchy pianos chords and a steady beat. ‘Ether’ feels full of mystery and just a hint of darkness, softly sweet vocals are contrasted by the track’s lurking and leering synths to create a threatening yet freeing soundscape. ‘Ether’ wouldn’t be misplaced in a James Bond film, intense and anthemic Motion Sickness establishes himself as a producer powerhouse.
If you’re feeling a little more angsty we’ve got a track for you. ‘Better off Meditating’ is a grungy single from Tamar Berk. Full of attitude and resentment ‘Better off Meditating’ has us feeling like we could take on the world and everyone in it. If you reminisce over the golden days of Pop-Punk you’ll love this one!
Ending on a sultry and soulful note we have Pavit Sanghera’s R&B single ‘Fake Love’.Pavit’s pure toned vocals will have you well and truly in your feels, not to mention those gorgeous runs! ‘Fake Love’ is just great R&B, reminding us of the soulful divas from the 90s, Pavit Sanghera has that nostalgic R&B style.