Our next weekly wordsmith is none other than the fantastic, soulful legend Joyce Sims. Joyce Sims is the infamous voice behind Billboard top ten hit Come Into My Life, a veteran in the music world and one of the most recognised voices in the club anthem scene.
Joyce has already established herself time and time again as a musical legend but she isn’t stopping there. Joyce Sims is set to make her return with a new single Everybody’s Going Through Something, scheduled for release 24th August and taken from her exciting new album Change coming in Autumn of 2020.
Joyce’s vocal and musical prowess has been evident since childhood where she began singing in a local church choir. Her very first single (You Are My) All and All, released in 1986, set her on the path to greatness reaching number 16 in the UK singles chart and number 6 in the US Dance Chart. From their Joyce’s success grew and grew, with the writing and performance of Come Into My Life in 1988 her soul legend status was confirmed.
Joyce’s UK fanbase have always held a special place for the soulful singer, demonstrating their support and loyalty for her throughout her career now spanning decades. She is back, better than ever, and ready to bless the industry with her vocal prowess and soulful melodies.
Everybody’s Going Through Something was originally written by Joyce with other singers in mind, but with the events of Covid-19 and BLM rattling the world Joyce knew she had to record it herself and include it on new album Change.
The track is classic Joyce Sims, authentic and raw with a vocal style you just can’t match anywhere else.
The return of Joyce Sims is set to be a highlight for music in 2020.
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.
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.
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/