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.

Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are revitalizing the classics.

Not many artists can say they’ve outsold legendary acts such as Earth, Wind & Fire, except for Canada’s own Crack of Dawn who are back with Spotlight, featuring a collection of classic tracks.

With other titles such as being the first black band to be signed to a major label (CBS) as well as being picked up by Otis Redding’s producer, Crack of Dawn were anticipated for bigger things, though word from them remained quiet… until now.

Returning with a selection of re-recorded classics from the band as well as some new tracks, Crack of Dawn’s Spotlight is an authentic return to the classic funk and soul sounds of their era.

The overarching theme of the album seems to be nostalgia and sentimentality, what Spotlight does exceedingly well is maintain an authentic sound throughout; it does not do anything out of the ordinary and the album is actually not that adventurous – and that’s fine.

For funk fans, there is something for everyone, from the strong Stevie Wonder vibes on one of the lead tracks ‘Booby Ruby’ to the falsetto vocals on ‘Keep the Faith’ that allude to a sound similar to what the Ohio Players had on their album Honey.

The album opens up strong with the classic and unmistakable funk sounds, ‘Crack of Dawn’ does a great job in laying out what the band is capable of, from the jazz inclined funk virtuosity to the soaring synth melodies and strong bass grooves. The first four tracks of the album maintain that uplifting funk quality as seen with their contemporaries, what Spotlight manages to capture in the earlier parts of the album are different flavors of funk from their era, ‘Somebody’s Watching’ features almost a 1970s “cop-drama” tonality to it with the wah-heavy guitars with a catchy descending riff during the chorus.

Halfway through the album with ‘It’s alright’ changes the pace with an authentic funk ballad that heavily enforces the theme of sentimentality and nostalgia throughout the album. The theme reaches its pinnacle with the track ‘Ol’ Skool’ which sounds like it could have come straight out of the late 70s, the track also pays homage to their contemporaries through the years within the lyrical content, ‘Ol’ Skool’ comes across as a a labor of love and defines the bands mission.

Whilst the album remains authentic to its sound and doesn’t deviate from its purpose, its biggest flaw is the length in which the album tends to latch on to the sentimental ballad sounds. Tracks five through to nine are all sentimental ballads with only slight variations on how they approach the stereotypical funk-ballad sounds, and whilst the dynamics of the album are thoroughly consistent, by track nine the ballads become exhausting, despite how well they are crafted. With only one track left of the album there is very little opportunity to pick up from where the album started.

spotlight

Click here to check out a review of the title track ‘Spotlight’.

‘Changes’, the final track finally picks up the pace and invokes a big finale to the album, bringing it back to the big, groovy funk tracks that started the album and brings a full circle to what the band can do.

Spotlight is a great album because it’s an authentic return to funk. In a time where experimentation is key to surviving in the music world, it’s nice to hear something new and modern that throws the listener back to the 1970’s and the dawn of funk. Spotlight is not adventurous and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, and that’s okay – because it’s a nostalgic throwback to the times where they outsold Earth, Wind & Fire. It’s the bands opportunity to reminisce the good old days.

You can keep up to date with Crack of Dawn and purchase the latest album by following their social network links below;

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoNzxEP5sJc

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crackofdawnofficial/?hl=en

Website: https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

 

 

 

Mosaic take a trip to ‘Rio’ with new pop driven track.

From Guildford to Rio, Mosaic are adding their stamp to the British indie-rock circuit with their track ‘Rio’.

Based in Newbury, Mosaic are throwing it back to the party anthems of yore and providing a contemporary take on sounds that any indie veteran will recognize.

The bouncing rhythms and linear guitar melodies will instantly be recognizable to fans of the Arctic Monkeys and Bloc Party, combining the two influences for that synonymous garage-rock aesthetic.

What makes ‘Rio’ more relevant than it’s predecessors is its lyrical content, which contains stories within university settings, making the music not only more original but more relatable to its audience whilst making the songs less romanticized and more personal.

Craig of Mosaic’s vocal style is also rather unique within the genre with it’s higher register and almost has a Bret Anderson of Suede texture to it, which is a welcoming change to the over-accentuated and stylized vocal performances that are stereotypical within Indie.

Whilst ‘Rio’ does try to put its own mark on British indie music, the song sounds too familiar within the genre; indie veterans are going to feel at home when listening to the tune. However, you are not going to find anything too abstract here for those looking for something new.

Overall, ‘Rio’ is a welcoming addition to the Indie circuit and does its job in keeping the genre relatable to new and upcoming fans whilst keeping the customary bouncy rhythms and guitar melodies.

‘Rio’ is out now, you can keep up with Mosaic on their social networks below;

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mosaicofficial

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuenCiVLKdpI_cs-989bsUQ

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com_mosaicofficial

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

Website: https://www.mosaicofficial.co.uk

 

Crack of Dawn take the spotlight in upcoming single

Canada’s answer to Earth, Wind & Fire; Crack of Dawn are preparing to step back into the ‘Spotlight’ with the upcoming release of their new single.

The track ‘Spotlight’ is a reflective return to the band after a period of absence, with melodic, soulful vibes in a modern take.

The band hold the mantle of being one of the first black bands to be signed to a major label (CBS) and outsold their funky contemporaries; Earth, Wind & Fire.

The new track ‘Spotlight’ is a ballad through & through, it’s a safe comeback and yet a sentimental sound that ticks all the right boxes.

The aesthetic is laid as soon as the rolling drums hits the first beat, along with the chunky sounding guitar coupled with a faint “siren-like” synth playing a counter melody alongside the the repeated opening phrase.

The song then goes straight into the nostalgic sounding soul-ballad, held by a strong vocal performance and with stops to keep the listener on their toes, adding dynamic flair.

As with virtuoso soul/funk artists, the harmonies are impeccable, keeping that notorious smooth texture; with a belted main vocal being supported by harmonies that present no flaw.

‘Spotlight’ is Crack of Dawn’s attempt at standing on it’s own two feet, in a world of neo-soul and the evolution of classic genres, ‘Spotlight’ proves that Crack of Dawn’s modern evolution of their sound can stand up in the funk & soul scene of today, and this track is assurance to the fans that they’ve still got what it takes.

‘Spotlight’ is out on the 19th of November, you can keep up to date with the band on their social networks below;

https://www.facebook.com/CrackofDawnBand/

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

https://www.crackofdawn.ca/

“The Mario Baloetlli of art school rock” Johann Sebastian Punk teases his debut album with the release of ‘Confessions’

Sicily’s answer to Syd Barret; Johann Sebastian Punk is preparing for the debut of his debut album Phoney Music Entertainment with the release of ‘Confessions’ which is sure to take listeners on a sonic journey of sorts.

What is apparent is that Johann has adorned an embodiment of some of the greatest icons of the eclectic side of the music world, including names such as Bowie, Adam Ant & Syd Barrett – going beyond the boundaries of when music becomes art.

Incorporating the iconic storytelling aspects of songwriting modeled by the aforementioned influences. The song is more than just a five minute jingle, it’s a psychedelic journey that presents something new with each listen.

Whilst the previously mentioned influences give an overall picture as to what the listener might expect upon listening. The song features a diverse range of influences and sparks multiple ideas in its composition, the ambient yet haunting atmosphere of the song sets the overall mood for the song.

The song features intricate choral-like vocals which makes the composition sound grand, along with woodwind instruments that add a fantastical element to the piece.

The composition concludes with a crescendo, still maintaining that dream-like, fantastical quality to the piece, we are introduced with a static drum beat. It brings familiarity in the form of Radiohead’s more experimental tunes and even The Beatles during their psychedelic years.

What Confessions does well is paint a sonic picture, those who are looking for substance and something comparable to artwork can eagerly look forward to Johann’s debut album Phoney Music Entertainment, which releases on the 13th of October. However, not only is a second single ‘Tragedy’ due for release before then, but U.K fans can listen to the debut album digitally during the second week of September.

For more on Johann Sebastian Punk and to keep up with his upcoming releases, you can find his social media links below;

Twitter: @JohannSebastianPunk

Instagram: @johannsebastianpunk

https://www.facebook.com/johannsebastianpunk/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDUUkQQFWXIFK8R3YjHY0jA

Youth sensation Shannon K returns with best single yet – ‘Just Another Boy’

IMG_9874

 Daughter of award winning Bollywood vocalist finds her ideal sound with new single, out March 30th

With a string of singles already under her belt, Shannon K is becoming something of a prolific artist when it comes to new releases. With three songs already unleashed in the past year, her fourth demonstrates a young pop artist who has really started to find her style.
Her best song yet, ‘Just Another Boy’ is a straight-forward, immediately accessible pop hit in the contemporary ‘girl power’ mould of Taylor Swift. Boasting genuine pop impact in the distorted vocals and the stilted but relentless rhythms, the track truly comes alive on the speedily delivered chorus.
But, just when you think you’ve got the track figured out, it takes a left turn in the shape of an airy, languid middle eight, which kicks back in once more with that superb chorus. The gradual build from there to the multi-layered ending is brilliantly produced and it’s a track to be proud of with its honest, confident and powerful lyrics:
Hear the track for yourself: https://soundcloud.com/galaxy-of-stars/just-another-boy
Following on from anti-drugs single ‘Just Say No’ and festive track ‘Christmas Song’, this track marks a watershed move from Shannon K, moving on from the themed ideals of the previous releases and into serious pop territory.
No doubt it makes her father, Kumar Sanu, very proud – and he knows what it takes to make it in the music industry. A glittering career as a vocalist in Bollywood has seen him win a total of 69 awards including 64 in his native India (from Filmfare, Zee Cine, Kishore Kumarand more) plus 5 internationally (from Sunrise Radio-London, West Indian Academy, Grammy-West Indies, Bollywood Music-U.S.A. and Radio Lotus-South Africa).
With that kind of support behind her, and quality singles like ‘Just Another Boy’ now in the works, it won’t be long before Shannon K is up for her own awards.
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/ShannonKSinger
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_A._Williams

NATIONAL SINGING COMPETITION FOR TEENAGERS – TEENSTAR ANNOUNCE SECOND LONDON DATE

TeenstarNational singing competition for teenagers TeenStar have announced that due to massive demand for auditions in London, they have had to add an addition London date. The additional London date will take place on Saturday 8th March at Dingwalls in Camden.
 
TeenStar is brought to you by Future Music, the company behind the discovery of artists such as Jacob Banks, Warner Music’s Birdy, Columbia Record’s Lucy Spraggan, Union J’s Jaymi Hensley and Jahmene Douglas, both of whom are now signed to Sony Music.
 
A national singing competition for teenagers, TeenStar is a one-of-a-kind singing contest looking to find the UK’s best teen singer, duo, vocal group or rapper to be crowned the UK’s Best TeenStar! With the addition of an extra London date due to popular demand, the national singing competition for teenagers TeenStar is already anticipated to attract over 10,000 entrants and with auditions taking place across the UK, now is the time to enter.
 
NATIONAL SINGING COMPETITION FOR TEENAGERS – TEENSTAR
 
TeenStar has a prize pool worth thousands of pounds, including a £5,000 cash prize for the winning act to help develop their music. Contestants in the national singing competition for teenagers TeenStar also have the chance to win prizes along the entire course of the contest, such as recording studio time with some of the country’s top producers.
 
The contest is open to all with the auditions split into three age categories. There will be the late-teens, mid-teens and then a special category to search for the stars of tomorrow, the pre-teens.
 
TeenStar takes place at some of the best venues in the UK such as the Birmingham NEC and Sheffield City Hall and will be judged by some of the music industry’s top professionals, including judges who work for BBC Radio, Kiss FM and Choice FM, regional press and record labels, with the judges getting more prestigious as the singing contest progress. The Grand Final of the national singing competition for teenagers TeenStar is the climax of the whole contest and is staged at one of the most prestigious live music venues in the UK – with last year’s Grand Final being held at The O2 in London!
 
The competition champion will be crowned winner in front of a capacity crowd, including industry insiders, celebrity guests, national press, A&R from record labels, industry and media representatives who have the capacity to change the winner’s music career forever!
 
NATIONAL SINGING COMPETITION FOR TEENAGERS TEENSTAR – Enter Now!
 
Whether it’s a pop, RnB, grime, acoustic or classical, national singing competition for teenagers TeenStar is ready to find the greatest undiscovered talent from across the country. TeenStar provides a platform to help acts get noticed and offers winners the potential to be successfully launched in the UK as a major recording artist.
 
The national singing competition for teenagers TeenStar is open to anyone aged 19 and under. Audition slots are available across the UK, so if you’re a teen singer and think you’ve got what it takes, enter TeenStar now!

New Band! F*CK ART, LET'S DANCE

FALDHamburg’s FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! release their debut album Atlas on 28th April 2014 via Audiolith. The album channels, youth, wonderment and discovery, about young hearts trading in security for the unknown – a life of possibilities and adventure – something we all yearn.

You can listen to, and download, their free album track “HOME” on Audiolith‘s SoundCloud page.
The band’s name – FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! – speaks for itself. Whilst listening to Atlas you can imagine club kids from Dalston, London to Williamsburg, New York dancing carefree in the darkest, coolest corners of some of the best underground clubs, music pulsing, the band’s name emblazoned onto loose fitted vests, graffitied luminously across brick walls – FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! have the capacity to start a movement.
Opening with title track ‘Atlas’, the band evoke the feeling of the joyous abandon of youth but FALD bring the intelligence of Foals whilst maintaining that edge. Progressing forward, a more electronic vibe seeps in with tracks like ‘Home’, channeling an early Friendly Fires sound. There’s a wistfulness about Atlas though, something that East India Youth fans will definitely find appealing but they never slow the pace, they aim to bring you up and keep you there right until the very last track.
Although Atlas is the band’s debut, they’ve been hard at work during their inception in 2009. FALD literally formed from a need to make people dance, tired of watching ‘gig zombies’ stand around at local live shows, they wanted to inspire people to move. Before they had even released a record, they played over 200 gigs earning a reputation for their upbeat, danceable performances. They soon found themselves flying across the Atlantic to SXSW, impressing audiences with their international sound, which led to their 2012 EP Lovers Arcade.
With Atlas, this addictive four-piece will make you dance, sweat and smile – they embody both the fun and introspective elements of youth and have translated them into thirteen perfect tracks.
If you want to catch one of their electrifying live shows, FUCK ART, LET’S DANCE! will be playing at Proud Camden on 22nd February 2014. You can buy your ticket here.
Atlas is released on 28th April 2014 via Audiolith.