Already having received the accolade of BBC Introducing’s Track of the Month, Brooke Law’s latest single “See ya Later” is a brilliant fusion of pop, R&B and Asian rhythms. Born into roots stemming from a mixed heritage background, the environment in which Brooke has grown up in is one that has openly encouraged expression.
As a London-born British singer/songwriter, a major influence stems from the diversity of her multi-ethnic family – Eurasian on her maternal side, and mixed Jewish on her paternal side. It is from this bedrock of ‘unity-through-diversity’, strength and positive action that inspires Brooke to express her own values and beliefs through music.
Brooke has dedicated her Archetypes EP to all women and girls to support them in all they choose to do and be. In doing so, she gives thanks to all the women who continue to fight equality and freedom while striving to put an end to violence against women and children:
“[It’s] is about nurture and giving everything you have to love your child. I’m not a mother, but I know being a mother is the hardest ‘job’ in the world. No one is taught how to raise someone and everyday mothers are making choices for their kids. Mothers make these choices with all their heart and power. If women were recognised more, maybe there would be more equality within the sexes.”
In taking inspiration from an array of great musicians from Annie Lennox to Jeff Buckley, Brooke’s music, like her beliefs, in uncompromisingly emotional and direct – in her own words ’gutsy pop’, with her most notable performance to date headlining at the Jazz Cafe in Camden.
Brooke is performing at Paradise London Live at the Century Club – Friday 9th November, with doors opening at 7pm.
In a world saturated with media-machines, spooling out artificial success stories with frightening regularity, it almost seems alien to consider an artist overcoming unbelievable odds to achieve realisation of their triumph. In her local Sisaala dialect, the word ‘Wiyaala‘ dialect translates as ”the doer”, which is perhaps an underwhelming descriptive of how her path has trudged from humble beginnings through spells of defiance and courage, leading her to become known as the Young Lioness of Africa.
Her journey has been one that is synonymous with overcoming a patriarchal and conservative society, frequently known for it’s hostility towards artistic growth. As a rising star making a name for herself of the global stage, echoes of her work can be felt in her home community as much as far-flung areas abroad. Already she is one of Ghana’s most toured exports, with an impressive roster of international shows already piling up – including Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia, WOMAD in the UK and Timitar Festival in Morocco.
Her music can been described as a potent fusion of West African folk songs with Afro-pop, and carries a real essence of her cultural heritage. Inspired by her own interpretation of African mythology, her songs are brought to life through spectacularly energetic dance moves and unique hand-made garments of her own design, which she then models in her performances.
CNN Africa has claimed her to be only woman in world who is singing in Sissala, and she is also responsible for helping revitalise the native music scene. Not only has she organised The Djimba World Music Festival, which is now in its third year, she is an active influencer for UNICEF Ghana and fights for the abolition of FGM, Early Child Marriage and also rights for children, both of which she was fortunate to escape at an early age.
At just 13-years-old, Hitha is bidding to be the next young starlet. The Californian singer-songwriter has recently released ‘Standing Up With Pride’, a pop romp which delivers a message of positivity. We speak to Hitha to find out where she finds the inspiration for her upbeat pop.
What’s your single ‘Standing Up With Pride’ about?
Even though we all may have many activities and things we care about in our lives, this song is about putting forth your biggest passion and going for it. I used to play soccer and basketball and tennis and volleyball while also doing vocal lessons twice a week. I realized that I liked singing the best, and so I decided to put it as my number one priority and focused on that. I still play volleyball, but everything else I’ve set aside and singing is my number one focus.
Your songs portray a message of positivity and hope. What’s your main source of inspiration?
My main source of inspiration is everyday life. I try to take problems from everywhere to make my songs relatable so everyone can connect with them.
What’s your biggest ambition as a teen popstar?
I hope that I become known as the positive little girl who loves to write and perform. When people hear my music, I want them to know that they can always count on themselves to figure out what their true passion is, and then put in the hard work and practice alongside their talent to get the achievement they’re looking for. There’s always a positive ending if you try hard and don’t give up.
Does your Asian heritage influence the music you make?
I actually started my music with India Classical singing when I was 4. Indian classical signing helped me with many vocal/technical attributes and I have realized that music is my passion. Basically, it gave me foundation to build my music future on.
Aspiring to make a positive influence in this world, the Californian artist, Hitha, releases her new single ‘Standing Up With Pride’. At such a young age of thirteen, she is creating music addressing how overwhelming situations can appear, but she is determined to show everyone the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the range of generations, Hitha claims that her music is relatable to all.
Her music is conveying the message of pursuing your true passion in life and letting go off everything negative. Her positive attitude is truly contagious and for sure will inspire all listeners. By being such a brave individual expressing how even young children struggle with depression and how it should be voiced out loud so that others can help make a difference is really supporting our society to move forward. Following in the footsteps of big pop artists with the likes of Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, Hitha too is on her path to success.
Hitha, being raised by her two Indian parents, discovered a love for Bollywood dancing and traditional Indian singing but also Western musical traditions. This all-round entertainer as a dancer, writer, singer and musician initially made a name for herself through her renditions of cover versions on YouTube and things began to excel from there.
To create a more visual message to ‘Standing Up With Pride’, Hitha made a music video for it. She portrays the negative thoughts cleverly by having her video in black and white which later transforms into a world of colour when Hitha embraces the positivity.
This track is especially significant in meaning to Hitha herself as she says:
“It is my own story. One day, I decided to just let go of everything, just be positive and only pursue my passion – that decision changed my life. I believe this positivity is going to help many people. There’s always a positive ending if you try hard and don’t give up”
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.
‘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;
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;
When would happen if you took classical music and mixed it with something as niche darkwave? The answer could be in Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab’s latest collaboration.
Both hailing from the Czech Republic; Singer & lyricist Natalie Kocab and composer Michaela Polakova join forces in a testament to experimentation, which also features a helping hand from The Verve’s guitarist Nick McCabe and Lou Reed bassist Fernando Saunders.
The album consists of ten tracks and provide a variety of tones and textures, with influences from Patti Smith to Nick Cave, all the way to My Bloody Valentine and The Cure.
The album opens with one of three lead singles ‘Underwater’ which does an excellent job of setting the tone for the rest of the album, providing a strong opening and a strong vocal performance accompanied with poetic lyricism from Natalie which remains consistent throughout the rest of the album. The song features an atmospheric soundscape with a jarring middle eight, comparable to albums such as Pornography by The Cure.
The album then follows into ‘Kiev’, which changes from a soundscape-like structure into something more post-rock influence, with what sounds like a slight oriental twist to the composition. The song follows through with a crescendo; a big finish maintaining that post-rock attribute.
‘These Years’ which is the second lead single changes the atmosphere a bit, the orchestral side to Michaela’s compositions are more apparent here followed by opening with a 90’s or early 2000’s pop melody showcasing its contemporary elements; though like a facade this changes a minute into the track where the melody completely juxtaposes and becomes jarring, maintaining the authenticity to the album.
The album is a collective of melancholic and jarring pop tracks followed by experimental, post punk influenced tracks, Nick McCabe’s guitars compliment the classical compositions and just like Kevin Shields and Patti Smith’s collaboration in 2005 and 2006, vocalizes the instrument.
Tracks that follow such as the title track; ‘Ellis Island’ and the third lead track ‘Social Affair’ are more of a radio friendly take on the sound that Michaela & Natalie have crafted, contemporary structures whilst maintaining a certain melancholy that is not too drastic or dissonant, ‘Social Affair’ features a more alternative rock take on their sound.
‘Zadnej Kod’, which is performed in Czech is again a more orchestral track, which features haunting tonality, the track picks up and features almost an operatic rock dynamic to it.
I do feel however, following Zadnej Kod that ‘Feeling Falls’ and ‘Carry On’ could have been positioned differently on the album, ‘Feeling Falls’ feels very similar melody-wise and Carry On feels slightly anti-climatic in its positioning. And whilst ‘Feeling Falls’ does well in its minimalist, spacious approach it’s light dynamics into a crescendo came too soon after ‘Zadnej Kod’.
The album concludes with the track ‘Backstabbers’ which unlike the aforementioned two tracks is positioned well and conclude the album perfectly, whilst yet another pop oriented track among the final three, the dynamic changes with acoustic guitars at the forefront mixed with the whirling, wall of sound like tonalities of the electric guitars, the song also features lounge-like spoken word vocals, which adds a nice, conclusive shift from the powerful vocal performance which remained consistent, to something that tones down the album.
Whilst the album features a plethora of musical styles and experimentation, it does not sound messy one bit, Michaela’s work on the compositions make the album sound consistent and authentic whilst making the album interesting throughout, the album does not go off on a tangent nor does it become monotonous: It’s a fresh and relevant take on experimentation that rivals the likes of recent contemporaries.
Natalie Kocab’s vocals are personally one of the biggest highlights of the album, the overall vocal performance was powerful and suited the music that was accompanying them,.
Overall, the album genuinely offers something for everyone, a welcoming form of experimentation that is not to alien to the average listener yet interesting enough to keep die-hard alternative music fans listening throughout.
Ellis Island is out now, you can purchase the album from this link; https://wmcz.lnk.to/ellisisland
To keep up to date with Michaela Polakova and Natalie Kocab, you can follow their social networks below;
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;
Les Kirsh is an artist that you might consider the ultimate songwriter: he’s dabbled in a host of different genres during his many years of penning songs, but on thing has always stayed the same, and that’s Les’ passion for soul music, where his roots lie.
Back in the 70s, Les was inches away from becoming a big name when a car crash sadly put his career on hold. It’s only now, several decades later, that Les has returned to being a singer, releasing three old tracks that have been remastered and modernized by the talented producer, Andy Whitmore.
One of those tracks is ‘Say’; possibly the most soul-esque of the three tracks. A delicate string track opens the song before making way for a simple guitar sequence that sits comfortably underneath Les’ powerful vocals. Soulful backing vocals add another layer of texture, contrasting Les’s voice with a gentle swoon.
Whilst much can be said for Andy Whitmore, re-working the track to fit a modern audience, this would be doing Les an injustice who examples some of his best, most effective song writing. It’s simple, but this is what works best about it – soul is truly at the heart of this track and Les doesn’t buy into any of the gimmicks. It’s no wonder that Kirsh labels his style as ‘modern soul’.
Not only this, but it’s a groove heavy that’ll have you tapping your feet and maybe even having a little dance in the kitchen. Don’t be embarrassed. You know you want to.
Canadian alternative pop duo, Elsiane are releasing their experimental masterpiece, Death of the Artist on 21st April, but the new record is anything but.
If anything, this record from the talented pair is a ‘rebirth’ as opposed to a death, their 3rd album since Elsiane’s inception in 2000. Despite their varying musical backgrounds, Elsieanne Caplette and Stephane Sotto have come together to form a vehicle for their alternative tendencies and Death of the Artist is arguably their best work to date.
You might assume that any act’s dream is to sign for a major label, but having dealt with one and realising that many simply try to mold artists into something that ‘sells’, Elsiane threw in the towel, deciding to release their record independently instead.
The band’s 2007 debut album revealed them as one of the hottest acts in Canada, whilst their sophomore release Mechanics of Emotion confirmed this. However, difficult times lay ahead for the pair, who struggled with the music lifestyle, separating as a couple, and almost as artists. Fortunately for us alt-pop lovers, Elsieanne and Stephane reunited to give us Death of the Artist.
With a sound akin to Massive Attack combined with Kate Bush, Elsiane are creating some music that you should definitely check out.