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.
Hyson Green have just released their much anticipated debut album. Aptly titled ‘Lost in the World’, the 10 track project really does pull you from the lockdown blues into a carefully crafted world of horns and harmonies.
‘Lost in the World’ is best described as the music we know and love, but rarely hear on radio anymore. Hyson Green have produced a perfect collection of contemporary sounds shaped on experience and the love of good music, bringing us those nostalgic vibes we’ve been longing for.
The project combines the musicianship of two brothers David and Roy Osbourne, and was devised across both sides of the pond from Nottingham and London all the way to Los Angeles. ‘Lost in the World’s’ first track ‘Clear Blue Sky’ is the perfect song to listen to on this sunny Friday afternoon.
2019 has been a great year for innovative songwriters and inspiring lyrics. Songwriting Spotlist’s have put together a Top 3 Artists to watch out for in 2020 specifically relating to artistry in songwriting.
Prime Sinister is an innovative hip-hop artist from West London, who is combining the styles and sounds from rap and grime music that inspired him throughout his childhood with his own creative method of lyrical rhyming. Prime Sinister is breaking new ground with his own rap style creation: ‘syllablism’, which can be defined simply as the consecutive use of rhyming syllable patterns. The lyrical style constructs a symmetrical sequence, taking on a life of its own it encapsulates perfectly the themes of a new world that run throughout the album. Prime Sinister’s ‘syllablism’ is demonstrated in new single ‘Prime Time’. Speaking about the meaning and lyrics of ‘Prime Time’ he says: ‘Prime Time’ is the fifth track on the album. It’s produced by Muckaniks, who’s someone I’ve wanted to work with for years. I love his production work, especially on ‘Face The World’ by Rye Shabby, so I told him I needed a beat like that, as opposed to a beat like ‘Revvin’ by Ocean Wisdom and Dizzee Rascal, which is one of his more grime-sounding beats. There are multiple stories told in the song, but I mostly used my imagination. If there was a part that I felt particularly resonated with me, it would be this section in the second verse: “He spewed a bluish green, fluid like his truant schemes, clueless, he, moved upon the cupids that the jewelers clean/ So like the jewellers plea to drool upon the ghoulish sea of rudeness, he would use his prudish cruelness to imbue and please/ He’s on a looting spree of fruitlessness and prudency, shooting me, and brewing my pursuers into bluish tea’.
Singer, songwriter and musician Amahla taps into an era before her time to create contemporary soul music. After releasing her debut single ‘Old Soul’ in June 2018 Amahla was awarded the PRS Lynsey De Paul Prize for outstanding emerging female songwriters, and the MOBO Awards/Help Musicians fund for her exceptional voice. In February 2019 Amahla’s released her EP ‘Consider This’ which explores issues of Domestic Violence, Race, Class and inner city life to critical acclaim for its addressing of social issues, songwriting and vocal delivery. This summer Amahla wrote and featured on a soulful track with Drum and Bass duo Brookes Brothers. ‘In The Moment’ received support on Spotify’s New Music Friday UK and currently sits just below one million streams. Over the course of the year Amahla’s distinctive voice and songwriting has gained tremendous support from music press and tastemakers with impressive features and reviews from Clash Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, Complex UK, Bandcamp, Earmilk, and more. Amahla is unafraid to explore uncomfortable societal issues and puts classic songwriting at the core. Amahla’s goal: to be one of the best vocalists, songwriters and entertainers of her generation.
Get ready for Valentines Day with this anti-valentines day track set to be released on the 14th of February by up and coming American pop starlet Kelsey. Lyrically, the track Nobody alludes to the haunting experience of being lost to the memory of a loved one and feeling like a stranger to someone you once knew so well. It is a ghost story, speaking of the power that haunting memories of a lost lover can have. Kelsey has always been inspired by music from a young age and has expressed how the music that could instantly take hold of her mood and emotions were the songs that stuck with her the most. The captivating words of such songs are what motivates Kelsey with her songwriting today. So far Kelsey hasn’t got any music released, but for a teaser into the behind the scenes and what to expect from Kelsey can be seen in a short documentary released on YouTube:
Kelsey is the up-and-coming pop singer from New Jersey that is bound to grab the attention of listeners with her captivating and intimate lyrics. Kelsey has always been inspired by music from a young age and has expressed how the music that could instantly take hold of her mood and emotions were the songs that stuck with her the most. The captivating words of such songs are what motivates Kelsey with her songwriting today.
Leading up the release of her debut track ‘Nobody’, Kelsey has posted pictures on her Instagram @kelseyvibesss of her sat down on the floor, handwriting ideas for lyrics and captioning the post with teasers of the lyrics for the track. Opening her world up to fans for them to see everything that goes into the songwriting process is something that Kelsey is passionate about, she has done this also by releasing part of a documentary about her music-making on YouTube. You can watch part 1 of the documentary now for a sneak-peak and insight into what Kelsey is all about!
Lyrically, the track Nobodyalludes to the haunting experience of being lost to the memory of a loved one and feeling like a stranger to someone you once knew so well. It is a ghost story, speaking of the power that haunting memories of a lost lover can have.
Rising from a life that is nothing short of remarkable, Estelle California is a new soul singer who literally puts a piece of her soul into every song. Hailing from France, following the trauma of her fractured and abusive childhood, Estelle suppressed many memories to try and move on.
Estelle had found that she had lost her identity. The only thing she felt gave her freedom singing and creating music. Estelle felt herself drawn further and further away from Paris, the place that held so many dark memories for her. She travelled Africa and found herself fascinated, she was connected to the people and culture there.
The black community became something extremely important to Estelle, especially considering that she grew up in a family and a community that was profoundly racist – something that Estelle condemns and is now a passionate advocate for black rights, which is something that inspires a lot of her music!
Releasing her new single ‘Black Is The True Light’, the song is a tribute to the African American and African communities around the world who have constantly battled against division and hatred. Estelle;
“This song is the biggest love song I could have ever dreamed to have,” Estelle says. “It is my love, purpose and my duty to shine the black glory and the light of resilience that comes out of the darkness”.
Estelle’s forthcoming EP, My Name is Freedom, sees her backed by legendary producer and drummer Narada Michael Walden (Whitney Houston; Mariah Carey; Lionel Richie); ace guitarist Vernon “Ice” Black (Diana Ross, Anastacia; Babyface); James Henry and veteran vocalists Larry Batiste, Cornell Carter and Tony Lindsay.
The Singing Soldiers defy expectation at every juncture – their musical skill is undeniable, their spine-chilling harmonies and contemporary, outlaw country style as well as their infectious personalities are undeniable but are at odds with the trauma they have lived through and continue to battle against. Both Graham Trude and Chris Earl have been directly affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition which impacts immeasurably on not only the sufferer but the family and friends around them. Determined to quash the stigma and misconceptions of the condition and to give hope and inspirations to others around the world, Frontline Soldiers is a single which will resonate with people from all backgrounds – touching, moving, profound yet uplifting, it’s a song which begs to be heard.
This is not a charity single made up of assembled supporters, nor a twee cover version by overly auto-tuned amateurs. This is the real deal, two music professionals and members of the Canadian armed forces who have joined together to put across a message of hope to those affected by PTSD – a number which according to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, exceeds 354 million people world-wide. Graham Trude is an Afghanistan Veteran and First Responder diagnosed with complex PTSD from his experiences and Chris Earl is a current serving military member who has family members struggling with PTSD. Chris and Graham are both signed Nashville Recording Artists and professional musicians who found each other and dedicated themselves to healing trauma through music therapy.
Already selling out large venues in their home
country, The Singing Soldiers deliver an experience that can only be born out
of experience. It is an evening of laughing and crying and relatable REAL-LIFE
material that help our listeners know we truly understand.
“We are extremely proud to join forces with the Singing Soldiers. Chris and Graham are true ambassadors for the cause we serve and we thank them for their willingness to pay it forward to help us help our ill and injured Veterans, First Responders and their families.” – Scott Maxwell, Executive Director, Wounded Warriors Canada
“There are hundreds of Indie bands with trendy sounds, but we do good old fashioned music with a modern twist”
Devon-based Horizonz have often found themselves turned down for gigs, purely due to their devotion to original music – which they’re frequently told is a ‘dying breed’. While being 4 guys who all hold down full-time jobs alongside their joint passion for making music, these are very much local lads looking to make music larger than their surroundings.
All their music has been recorded in a local studio, engineered by Andrew Doc Collins, who they regard as something of a genius in piecing together the elements of their alt-country inspired soft rock. Their latest single ‘Better Days’ released 5th July, discusses a common theme of a relationship which is on the verge of collapse due to unhappiness, and even possible violence, while also clutching at straws that things will work themselves out in the end. As the chorus line goes: “I need to see if there’s still part of you, that’s sorry for all the things that you said..”
While not previously discussed in the media, but wowing their audiences nonetheless, their distinguished keyboard player is not only self-taught, but also completely blind! So easy is this to forget that the band themselves often have to remind themselves to guide him off-stage at the end of gigs!
“We often forget Jason is blind and walk off all the time and then have to return to get him because we forgot he couldn’t see. Jason’s personality is brilliant, his sense of humour relating to the condition is outstanding.”
After noticing a decline in ‘traditional’ or ‘dad-rock’, Horizonz are looking to spark a resurgence of focus on guitar-based music with a strong emphasis on vocal melodies. They have proven to be staunch in their commitment to revitalising the magic in live performance, honing their formula of big choruses, tight harmonies and energy levels to leave audiences hypnotised.
It’s been almost a decade since Izabella Clare and Rob Varley of ‘dark dance’ duo Mai Eve walked out on their last band. Disillusioned and fed up of compromising on the music, image, direction and commitment of other members, this paved the way for a new project producing an unholy crossover of EDM and rock.
“We like to think our uniqueness comes from combining rock structures with club beats with a throwback to 80s synth sounds. Our primary goal is simply to entertain.”
Taken from the forthcoming ‘Silverscreen’ EP, debut release ‘When You Scream‘ is Mai Eve’s first attempt to cross over into dance and was produced with the club scene in mind. With a beat that’s generally uplifting, the subject matter is much darker, discussing themes of abusive relationships from a woman’s perspective.
“We take a lot of inspiration from the black and white films of the 40’s and 50’s… We hope that when you listen to our music you visualise a scene and feel the emotions”
With Izabella having spent a number of years in recovery from illness this, however, did afford Rob time to discover his love for EDM and a passion for production. Together, they bring their extensive experience in heavy melodic rock and align it with a love for sequencers and analogue keys to produce tracks that curl themselves around your consciousness with or without invitation.
Energizing something of a revival in 90’s trip-hop blended with 80’s synth atmospherics is ARLS – New Zealand-based duo Bravo Bonez and Alba Rose. Enlisting legendary producer Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers; Super Furry Animals; The Chills) to produce a debut single which looks already to be figuring amongst the years best new tracks. The bizarre collaboration between university student Alba and perpetual planet-traveller Bravo, found the pair hit it off musically following a ‘coffee date’ pushed for by their respective mums, from which they stayed in touch and arrived where they are now.
Front and centre of ARLS is Alba Rose, a vocalist whose gift for melody and imbuing a track with emotion belies the fact that she is still studying at university. Bravo Bonez travels the Earth constantly and is the enigma of the band. As composer and arranger, he hides a wealth of music experience behind his shades, bringing the darker elements of the 90’s trip-hop scene along with the ethereal splendour of Cocteau Twins at their peak. The perhaps unlikely union is entirely in keeping with the bizarre genesis of debut single: LUCKY. A throwaway hummed vocal sent as a voice memo by Alba to Bravo became an earworm neither of them could shake.
Aligning themselves with a mysterious atmospheric essence, akin to that of Massive Attack, LUCKY’s lyrics are grounded in reality and tell of wrenching yourself from an unfulfilling relationship, reminding yourself you’re strong enough to emerge from the pain whilst delivering a sideswipe at the person they’re leaving, that they were lucky to have what they’ve lost.
Throughout the track, there is a sense that vocals are announced with a degree of pain, a lack of belief in her words, but also a belief that it’s not worth continuing this dead end if the result is that of it ultimately draining her.
Performance art offers a unique introspective into the depths of human creativity. In terms of potential, most of us are blessed with an array of possibilities, but some are left with regret that these aren’t acted upon until it’s perceived that its too late. Berislav Sertić is a Croatian dancer, actor, model and singer has embarked to demonstrate these facets combined in his incredible video to the track ‘I Gave My Life’ – the first video in what his to be his Catharsis trilogy, which will the cover keystones of human existence – Life, Death, and Sex.
It was the emergence of a collaboration between himself with ex-Soul II Soul James Perri (aka Jimi Polo) – known for his work with David Guetta and Daft Punk, that has since laid the foundation for his signature sound that is laced heavily in 1980’s electro-pop. The artistic direction the pair have now taken has seen Berislav’s exemplary levels of creativity take form. It was after signing a record deal with a record deal with Croatia records in 2015 that the lavish theatrical style for his videos first emerged.
Already by the age of 9, Berislav had developed a love for dancing and attended the Tihana Škrinjarić school of dance, before a move to Austria saw his talent for the art develop further. Engaging in a pursuit of various disciplines saw him embark on numerous project with Croatian music artists as well as participating in theatrical productions such as Hair. Following an inherent determination to be the very best at everything he was involved with, he moved briefly to Los Angeles to attend the Sanford Meisner school of acting, which led to leading acting roles in TV series and commercials.