Little Simz set to receive Pioneer Award at 2020 AIM awards

Original Article

Little Simz has been announced as the recipient of the prestigious Pioneer Award at this year’s Association of Independent Music (AIM) Awards.

The rapper, who is also set to perform at next month’s virtual ceremony, becomes the youngest recipient of the award. It follows on from her triumph at the NME Awards 2020, where she picked up the Best British Album gong for ‘Grey Area’.

Simz said: “Delighted to receive the Pioneer Award this year and excited to perform. Big thank you and love to AIM Awards!”

AJ Tracey has also been confirmed as the winner of the Innovator prize and will also perform at the ceremony.

It’s great to see so many independent artists making waves in the commercial music scene. We’ll be celebrating with them as we tune into the AIM awards 2020.

Reported By: Jessica Rowe

Wordsmith of the week- SAM DOTIA

We’re ecstatic to be bringing you the first instalment of our Wordsmith Weekly feature. A weekly (believe it or not) feature championing some of the best songwriting talents the industry has to offer.  

Our first wordsmith is London’s SAM DOTIA, a soulful singer-songwriter whose lyricism is nothing short of heavenly. DOTIA is by no means confined by the boundaries of genre, dappling in R&B, Folk, Indie, Soul and beyond.

Drawing influence from the likes of Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver and HYUKOH, SAM DOTIA’s music oozes the same quality, authenticity and emotion. DOTIA’s tracks such as ‘Uriah’s Cry’ could effortlessly soundtrack a coming of age film, he is every music supervisor’s dream. 

His most recent release ‘Beautiful Disaster’ is a work of art, a collaboration with the equally talented Rachel Chinouriri. The track is ethereal, infused with soul, feeling and emotion. Truly a beautiful track, and a musical match made in heaven.

Follow SAM DOTIA

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Beyonce uses BET accept speech to call for the dismantling of ‘a racist and unequal system’

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Beyonce urged U.S. voters to “take action to dismantle a racist and unequal system” as she accepted the Humanitarian Award at the virtual BET Awards on Sunday night.

The 38-year-old singer was introduced by former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama, who paid tribute to her philanthropic efforts as well as her musical success.

Following tributes from Tyler Perry and her mother Tina Knowles-Lawson, Beyonce used her speech to encourage fans to vote in the upcoming U.S. election in November in the hopes they can collectively try and change the system.

“I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change,” Beyonce said, referencing the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. “Your voices are being heard, and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.”

Beyonce is the perfect example of using an immense public platform for good, we hope more artists will follow in her footsteps. 

Alicia Keys opens up about life in Lockdown with Swizz Beatz

Original Article

In a sweet seaside Q&A video on the Girl on Fire star’s YouTube channel, the musicians discussed how their family life has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis over the past few months, and answered questions from fans

Beginning the segment, Alicia asked whether the two had ever spent as much time together as they had during their coronavirus pandemic, to which Swizz shook his head and said: “This is, like, married married married.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 14: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE) Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz and family attend at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards which broadcasted live on FOX at the Microsoft Theater on March 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for iHeartMedia )

The singer went on to admit that she’s “loving” having some downtime, and confessed: “For (the children) to wake up knowing that we’re always there, for us to wake up, always being there — it’s kinda cool.”

We can’t wait to see what this talented singer-songwriter may have cooked up for fans during lockdown.

Redemption through song, Israel Nkeki’s story is like no other.

Israel Nkeki has lived a life worthy of a 100 films. A life journey that has taken Israel from Nigeria to Lewisham, from the streets to a stint in prison and eventually to becoming the soulful Croydon residing singer-songwriting he is today. 

After a conflict filled childhood in Benin City (Nigeria), a young Israel relocated to New Cross (London). Young, impressionable and cast a drift Israel Nkeki descended into a life on the streets and eventually found himself serving a sentence in prison. Prison was the wakeup call Israel needed, a turning point in his life that prompted him to put his pain into a creative medium and tell his story through music.

‘Moonlight’, Israel’s debut single coming on 20th June, uses hard hitting lyrics to tell the story of his painful journey and how split second decisions can have lifelong impact. Set on a backdrop of contemporary soul beats the track is emotive, poetic and modern.

 Israel’s music is rich with harsh realities, real life experiences and hard-learned lessons presented with soul, feeling and emotion. A story that needs to be told and a voice that needs to be heard. 

‘Moonlight’ is due to be released on June 20th.  

Follow Israel Nkeki

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The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Yajna

Hailing from the small village of Vittangi in the northernmost part of Sweden, is Yajna. A singer, sportsperson, and businesswoman, who has tried her hand at many careers, but always gone back to her ultimate passion – music.

Having grown up surrounded by music, her mother being a composer and organist in the local church, Yajna starting writing songs of her own from a young age, as well as becoming a star soloist for the local choir. However, in her teenage years, her talents saw her embark on a snowboarding career, going as far as to start her own company INACTION.

But in 2018, Yajna finally decided to follow her heart, to become a music artist. Her debut single, Natten Lång, was a storm of success across Swedish radio, but London was the place she found her true sound. It was there she recorded her recent trilogy, The Rising Phoenix, an epic and dreamy mix of soul and RnB.

The trilogy features singles ‘You Are Beatiful‘, ‘Femenomenal‘, and title-track ‘The Rising Phoenix‘. The songs take you on a journey through Yajna‘s life, from the ashes of her lowest moments, to her emergence from the fire. Ultimately, wishing to spread a message of hope, love and power.

The Rising Phoenix trilogy is out now:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yajnamusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/yajnamusic  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yajnamusic/  

Website: www.yajnamusic.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/yajnamusic  

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6vRcQwJni6XQcoQFeYlPu6?si=i95YLbUeTv6Lv44IFMu7YA  

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDjn4ac4V9o4OMNv9kXfPVA?view_as=subscriber  

Love Conquers Fear For Toby Tomtom, Who Reminds Us All We’re ‘Born 2 Be Free’

Toby Tomtom is an artist who exists purely to inspire others to reach their potential in life. It’s a little known fact that he was the man who took a young, unsigned Alicia Keys under his wing – teaching her the skills to sing in studio and also wrote and produced her first demo played on New York radio NYC Hot 97. Before even that, Toby had won an accolade now shared by John Legend – an ASCAP Abe Olman Award, which is given top top-tier up and coming songwriters. Since then, he has apprenticed and wrote/produced with Kenni Hairston (notably famed for working with Lauper and Cameo and writing “Running Back to You” for Vanessa Williams).

Presumably channelling some inner Miles Davis, who he lists as one of his major influences, Toby is an avid trumpeter. Having attended a college scholarship learning jazz and classical disciplines he is currently passing on the knowledge to his 8-year old son, which has re-ignited the passion for his first love – music. Having had a longstanding partnership with his brother on R&B/ Hip-hop writing and production, their eventual split encouraged an expansion of his musical creativity and diversity.

Born 2 Be Free‘ was a track inspired by his youngest son, that encapsulates an uplifting message – in his own words:

“It’s my hope for every child in the world. Dance if you want, pray if you want, love who you want! No shackles… gotta fight to be free!”

With a hands on approach in terms of composition and production, Toby showcases an array of talent on vocals, trumpet, piano, bass, guitar and drums, which correlates into something bridging the dance/EDM spectrum during recording, but equally transposes into intimate guitar and vocal sessions when performed live. Toby has stated the importance of his acoustic guitar as part of his songwriting process, so perhaps ‘Toby Unplugged’ is a potential could be a concept soon to be realised. In the mean time, in the tradition of Stevie Wonder and Calvin Harris this one-man wall of sound is ready for his songs to touch the world.

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoEa4tg_ez-BEeTvKKGcz0w

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TobyTomTom21/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tobytomtom21/

Website: www.tobytomtom.com

 

Journey from the underground – Andi McErnest first star to shine from new label: The Uprise

There’s no escaping the excitement and anticipation for what is to become the first release from The Uprise – a new record label enterprise founded by NFL superstar and BBC Sport pundit Osi Umenyiora. Here we can witness an initial glimpse at the various twists and turns that have given rise to their premier starlet Andi McErnest and his lead track – ‘Baby Ur Cool’.

Andi McEarnest

Andi McEarnest

The story here began with humble roots as Andi (known as A.M) found creative means of expression through poetry after the tragic loss of his father around the turn of the millennium. It wasn’t long before his passion took a musical turn as he worked with producers for a number of months to make a sequence of initial demos as the foundations of his career took form.

After having moved back to his native Nigeria, and then back to the UK, A.M continued his venture into music and, under the name Authentiq, signed with underground record label ‘Titans Entertinment’. Alongside this, Andi also managed a degree of success as a budding entrepreneur, launching his own fitness company ‘Oneinamillionbillion’ in London, and later partnering his brother at ‘The McErnest Company’ based in Lagos, Nigeria where he became their first music artist in 2015.

Listen here: The Uprise – Andi McErnest

The Uprise label has embarked on its own mantra, which looks to combine Brazilian-inspired street sound with UK grime to fulfil their vision of a Motown-style brand that draws upon the talent of their own roster of in-house writers and producers.  This draws very much upon an uplifting idea that tries to connect people of all cultures and backgrounds with music as a means of universal understanding.

On this basis, collaboration between this particular label and artist needs no further explanation.

A.M draws on inspiration from a lengthy roster of 90’s and contemporary RnB and hip hop including Sean Combs, Pharrell Williams and Fela Kuti. Continuing in the vein of catchy electro RnB the track itself features a chilled, seductive half beat – easily accessible and looks set to saturate the sound waves in clubs across the UK very soon.

J.J Leone reloads his musical prowess for new single.

Coined as a “Dark Soul” artist, J.J Leone prepares for an October release of his new single ‘Reload’.

Already selling out the legendary Ronnie Scott’s, J.J is also championing a unique style, ‘Reload’ is a sound that is both contemporary yet refreshing to the R&B and Soul genres.

‘Reload’ features melancholic vibes that are becoming more and more prominent in contemporary pop music today, following the likes of Lana Del Rey and The Weeknd. Featuring croon-styled vocals, and an electronic backing.

What differentiates J.J is the song being led by the guitar – allowing for the cross-genre compatibility between his soul driven sound and recent post noughties indie textures such as The XX.

Whilst the tune has its comparisons with other pop contemporaries and artists who have followed suit with electronics mixed with instrumentation, the track does indeed hold well on its own, and importantly suits the contemporary music climate.

The songs structure sets the dynamics and feel of the song incredibly well, a strong crescendo element to the composition; J.J spaces out his resources well and does not go in with all guns blazing – creating more of an impact, and even though the conclusive guitar solo does feel slightly out of place upon the first couple of listens, and a breakdown may have potentially been more favourable, I feel it’s an appropriate risk and concludes the song in a gripping manner.

What ‘Reload’ does splendidly is capture the growing melancholic atmosphere that some R&B and Pop artists are incorporating into their work and putting a familiar yet original spin on it, creating a more accessible & enjoyable form of the sound.

‘Reload’ is out on October the 6th and is available to pre-order now. To keep up to date with J.J Leone and his upcoming release check out his social media pages below.

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/j-j-leone​​

Facebook: www.facebook.com/iamjjleone​​

Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamjjleone​​

Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/jjleone​​

Website: www.jjleone.com

 

 

Video of the week: ‘Drop Top’ by Serena Kern

Calling all urban music fans, this is the video for you. ‘Video of the week’ goes to former innocent singer-songwriter Serena Kern, who has now ventured into a totally different style with her grime inspired new track ‘Drop Top’ ft. Ms Banks.

Find out more on Serena Kern here:

Links:

www.serenakern.com

https://www.facebook.com/SerenaKern

https://twitter.com/Serena_Kern

https://www.instagram.com/serena_kern/?hl=en

https://www.vevo.com/watch/serena-kern/drop-top-(produced-by-ayo-beatz)/QMAXQ1503621