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.
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.
Taking precedent from the likes of Big Mama Thornton and Sister Rosetta Tharpe before her, Rasha Jay is an artist who’s not afraid to stride beyond convention and make music that’s true to herself. This is music that harks back to a previous time where blues and rock bounced in tandem, and women wailed with no apology. Her raw soul vocals and songwriting ability combined with blues based alt-rock – as seen in her forthcoming EP ‘High Dive‘, she has managed to take rock back its roots while also managing to keep her sound simultaneously fresh and urgent.
Thinking figuratively about how a person protects themselves from love, the underlying themes emanating through lead track ‘Red Coat‘ have been meticulously crafted to bring out elements that show just how dark, murky and conflicted love can be. Speaking about the record as a whole, she explains: “The EP ‘High Dive’, is a continuation of that exploration, the tangled mess of relating to each other, if and when to dive in, jump out, and the audience that’s always waiting to see what happens.”
Rasha’s mantra stems from one of looking to encourage all artists who are unsure of their own writing ability, or those who are lacking the confidence to write anything at all. From her own heart comes a raw, thunderous love for performing. To her, singing is like another language where you use the same words differently – it’s like learning to speak all over again, and once learnt there’s no turning back.
In order to typify the feeling Rasha is endeavouring to portray, everything is enveloped in a raw state. Her voice, the music – all the elements are kept as simple as possible with the sole aim of getting the message across. Furthering this, Rasha offers some insight on her lyrics: “I am in love with words, how they sound, nerdy things like syllable counts, inflection and assonance. But that adoration comes through in my songs, I hope.”
Away from the limelight, Rasha Jay has also been an active member of her community – volunteering for various non-profit organisations as either a mentor or helping homeless young adults. Her passion for words also extends to reading. Coupled with her love for using her voice, she’s also spent time reading to children at story time and in various other settings and has also notably stepped neatly into a voice-over role having narrated Talk Show Wendy Williams‘ audiobook ‘Hold me in Contempt‘, back in 2014.
Rasha Jay typifies a very niche selective of African-American alt-rock artists. She has not gone on record to say that she is looking to break down walls or to change anyone’s perceptions of the genre, this is merely the style that feels most appropriate and true to herself, and from that foundation she will endeavour to sing her heart out.
With male and female vocalists intertwined in haunting melodies, Son of William deliver acoustic brilliance within a folk framework. It’s the twinges of soul that bleed though in tracks like ‘Colour of Love’ that really set this duo apart. Elements of Cattle & Cane matched with flecks of Iron & Wine create a rough landscape for the pair to draw you into their world, capturing you with hypnotic harmonies and brooding melancholy.
Reminiscent of traditional Celtic music, ‘Colour of Love’ sees the duo harmonise throughout as the chords are arpeggiated to provide subtle melodies under the vocals. Here we see that the due use their small arsenal effectively in order to create their rich sound.
‘Dear Old Acquaintance’ see the duo employ their soul side as the vocals seamlessly switch between sparing and cohesively existing. This time with short, percussive chords built the tension of the verses before we find ourselves entranced in the chorus. We are once again invited into their world and before we know it, we never want to leave.
New track available from January 30th 2015
A London based four piece with a love of all things soul, Mama Moonshine are a band tailor made for swaying between funk jams and blues rhythms. This is a group who take in all kinds of influences – from the dusky likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Aretha, to the funk rock stylings of the Black Keys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – each member has their own unique sound, when moulded together creates a distinct and elevated tone.
Their brand new single ‘Sisters’ is out on January 30th, a heartfelt song about the loss and gain of true friendship. Hauntingly soulful and with smartly lyrics that unspool with a gentle power, the track is a solid example of this band’s class:
Mama Moonshine are clearly a band assured in their own sound, both in the studio and on the stage. Having sold out both The Camden Enterprise and Proud Galleries (Camden Town) they also played to a rapt crowd at the Audiofarm festival 2014, Brunswick in Brighton and Portobello Road, Notting Hill to name a few. Add to that recent radio appearances and a guest slot for vocalist Ruth with Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Band for charity last year, and this band is on the rise in the London Music Scene.
Don’t just take our word for it. There has been interest from cult hit-makers Tune-Yards and Little Dragon, who had some words of encouragement after hearing their new material: “Had a listen to your music. You have a great voice! Keep writing songs 🙂 and have a blast in the studio!! Lots of luv Yukimi”
‘Sisters’ will be available from online stockists and more from January 30th.
Half Ugandan half Congolese, Monica came to England aged eight. She is now living in London, signed to QH Music and is a star in the making.
On her first performance at performing arts school, an overwhelming audience response confirmed what she had known since writing her first song – music and performing was her true passion and a career she felt she had to pursue.
Her debut release ‘I Like It’ is about a man, ambitions and fantasies…
“At the time, there was this guy that was pursuing me, I also happened to think he was cute but didn’t want to tell him how I felt towards him. I feared that a relationship would interfere with my ambitions… I’m sure every woman has their fantasies!” -Monica Azull
Musically speaking the track has a very soulful R’N’B vibe to it. There is a strong beat that really drives the song which is topped off by Azull’s impeccable vocal skill.
Check out ‘I Like It’ here: https://soundcloud.com/monica_azull/i-like-it/s-jJ5Ji
For a debut release Monica has already had an overwhelming positive response to her track, this is one artist to listen out for and is sure to be making big waves in the music industry.
Twitter – @Monica_Azull
Instagram – Monica_Azull
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Monica.Azull http://www.qhmusic.co.uk/