We head back to LA to meet our next LCM featured artist 20 year old singer-songwriter Caity Krone. A lady of great taste Caity is a big fan of the music from the Laurel Canyon era and this has influenced her original music. Writing her own original material, combining folk-pop, classic rock, and alt-country she is inspired by her musical idols, Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is her self funded debut single 'Record About You' released in early October. It's an autobiographical and personal song about unrequited love. We really like this one a lot and think it has a great Fleetwood Mac vibe. We look forward to new music from Caity in the future.
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There are very exciting times ahead for our next LCM featured artist singer-songwriter Charlotte Campbell. Charlotte is currently on a European tour and then she heads back home to London to headline for the first time at St Pancras Old Church on the 13th October, for the release of her new album 'Endless Light'. Our favourite London busker Charlotte can often be found around town including her regular spot near the London Eye on the Southbank. She also runs a monthly songwriters residency in London at the Monarch in Camden. We first met Charlotte about four years ago at the Finsbury in Manor House and have been eagerly following her excellent progress since then. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the very catchy and pop-tastic 'Hello & Hi' taken from her new album set to be released on the 20th October.
After writing music for 10 years, Charlotte Campbell's career really began when she found herself on London's Southbank, guitar in hand and a case full of change. She found a stage there and an audience. She has captured the hearts of tourists and Londoners with her sweet vocals and thoughtful lyrics. Through glorious summers and bitterly cold winters Charlotte sings her favourite cover songs as well as performing her own original music.
Charlotte's growing fan base have helped her fund her first and second albums through crowdfunding campaigns. Making Waves is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and shaped like a shiny mirror made of plastic.
"She takes to the microphone, chirrups a smily greeting to passers-by and launches into a series of soulful, husky-voiced reworkings of chart hits. It’s a lovely experience: all smiles and chirpy ditties" - Time Out London
Having been featured in Time Out London, The Metro and The Londonist, Charlotte is making a big name for herself in her hometown
Our next LCM featured artist is a very good London based singer-songwriter, promoter, event organiser and host of a very popular residency at The Hospital Club. Vin Goodwin will be MCing and hosting our gig at the Green Note on Tuesday night and he with also be playing some of his own songs. Marvelous. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the beautiful title track from his 2015 EP called 'The Hunted', which also features backing vocals from Judie Tzuke.
Vin is often found singing and playing solo on his piano, but occasionally he rounds up a host of brilliantly talented musicians and forms a band to give his songs that bit of extra oomph. Very occasionally he even steps away from the piano to prove he’s actually got legs that can do that ‘standing up’ thing.
Vin released his first single “Falling Man” in 2011 and first EP “Swim the Wild Water” in 2012 both produced by the brilliant Cam Blackwood (who produced George Ezra’s million selling debut album). May 2015 saw the release of his second EP “The Hunted”, produced by singer songwriter Jamie Lawson (award winning, number 1 album selling first signing to Ed Sheeran’s label). With songwriting help from I.Am.Willow and Jamie Lawson, the incredible musicianship of Jimmy Sims, Matthew Racher and James Welch plus backing vocals provided by the legendary Judie Tzuke, the EP was a collaborative dream come true for Vin. His tunes, and dance remixes have had quite a bit of radio AirPlay in UK, USA and Europe.
The Bedford, Regal Room, Elgin, Troubadour, St James Theatre, Hospital Club, Festival and the cavernously beautiful Natural History Museum in London are just a few of the venues Vin has played, with a couple of appearances at festivals like Vannfest, Sound Lounge Festival and Marylebone Summer Fayre. When Vin isn’t writing and performing, he can often be found running and hosting his own music nights around London, principally at private members club The Hospital Club in Covent Garden where he organises and hosts monthly Vin’s Night In, Vin’s Veg Out and HYPE.
WIth a brand new fourth album 'The Architect' set for release on the 17th November, our LCM featured artist today is Paloma Faith. The new album features an array of high profile collaborators including Sia, John Legend, Jesse Shatkin, Starsmith, Rag’N’Bone Man, Samuel L. Jackson and Owen Jones. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the excellent first single 'Crybaby'. Watch out too for Paloma's 2018 UK tour with a London date on the 14th March at the O2 in Greenwich.
We have been a big fans of our next LCM featured family band since their second album 'Talk On Corners' was released back in 1997. We are delighted that The Corrs are releasing a brand new album 'Jupiter Calling' on the 10th November. Look out too for their London date at The Royal Albert Hall on October 19th . Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the tender and personal first single the 'Son Of Solomon'. Let us know what you think?
'Jupiter Calling' is the upcoming seventh album by The Corrs, set to be released on 10 November 2017 by East West Records. It is their first new material in two years, following White Light (2015). It was produced by T Bone Burnett and recorded at RAK Studios in London. Following the release of White Light in 2015, the band toured the UK and Ireland in January 2016, and continental Europe in mid-2016 on their White Light Tour. Andrea Corr spoke to The Sun in January 2016, stating that the band were not planning to record a follow-up soon after, "as long as we're all happy to continue. And we are all very happy."
The band chose to include a song about Syria on the album, called "SOS (Song of Syria)", which they called their most "politically outspoken and evocative" song to date. Andrea also spoke of playing the song "Son of Solomon" for Burnett: "He said 'Okay, don't play that any more'. When you're on the verge of knowing something you're much better than when you know it too well. And he was right. That's when the magic happens." Caroline described the recording process as "the most freeing experience we've had in the studio."
Of working with the band, Burnett complimented their "deep, generous spirit" and their "writing, singing and playing". The album was primarily recorded live, with minimal overdubbing. While working on the album, Burnett made use of 40 spools of two-inch tape and a Ludwig drum kit. Guitarist Anthony Drennan and bassist Robbie Malone are also set to appear on the record.
If you are going to base the name of your new album on a lyric of a Buffalo Springfield classic song and then do a wonderful cover as the title track, you can't go far wrong. Our next LCM featured artist Hayley Reinhart has done just that. Her highly anticipated new album 'What's That Sound?' will be released this Friday September 22nd. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is a great toe-tapping cover of the Box Top's 1967 release 'The Letter'.
Originally from the Chicago area, Hayley Reinhart was born into a musical family with a deep love of rock-and-roll, funk, jazz, classic pop, and the blues. In her early childhood, she started joining her parents’ rock band 'Midnight' onstage and quickly found herself hooked on performing. "One memory that stands out is my golden birthday, when I turned nine on September 9, 1999,” says Hayley. "My parents were playing a tattoo convention and there were all these tough-looking people and biker dudes there, and I got up to sing a LeAnn Rimes song with my hair in little Princess Leia buns. But then once I started singing it got so quiet and the tattoo machines all went off,everyone was listening to me. I was so overcome by it, I cried right afterward, but they were happy tears. I just thought to myself, ‘This is amazing.’”
Through the years Hayley continued singing with Midnight, and later joined a high school jazz band that led her to perform at major jazz festivals across Europe while still a teenager. She then studied jazz in college and, at age 20, landed a spot on season 10 of American Idol, eventually finishing in third place. The following year, Hayley made her full-length debut with Listen Up!, a 2012 Interscope Records release that premiered at #17 on the Billboard 200 chart.
A milestone year for Hayley, 2015 marked the release of "Can’t Help Falling in Love” (a song included on her 2016 sophomore album Better). Chosen as the unforgettable soundtrack to the Extra Gum ad spot "The Story of Sarah and Juan,” Hayley's spellbinding rendition hit #1 on Spotify’s global viral chart in 2015 and has now amassed over 57 million streams on the platform. That same year, she began collaborating and touring with YouTube sensation Scott Bradlee’s 'Postmodern Jukebox', offering up jazz/ragtime/swing-inspired updates of songs like Radiohead’s "Creep” and The White Stripes’ "Seven Nation Army.” To date, Hayley's Postmodern Jukebox contributions have garnered more than 112 million views on YouTube.
Our next LCM featured artist Manchester based singer-songwriter Tracey Browne is a firm favourite here at LCM and you might remember we hosted her last London gig at the Green Note back in April. We are delighted that Tracey Brown will be releasing her fabulous new album 'The Doctrine Of Song' at the end of October. We have an advance copy and it's very good. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the first single, the very catchy 'As Far As The Heart Can See'
Tracey Browne is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and session singer; her credits include recording projects by Thea Gilmore, Nigel Stonier and a host of independent artists.
From producing and recording other artists, to singing and playing live with bands and songwriters of many different genres, Tracey has become one of the most versatile musicians to work with in the UK. Playing guitar, piano, tenor guitar, bass guitar, Q-chord and providing outstanding vocals, both on her own songs and harmonising with others, she is in demand on the professional circuit.
Tracey trained as a sound engineer at Manchester’s ‘Airtight Studios’, where she recorded and mixed her 2 EP’s, ‘Tooth and Nail’, (2007) and ‘The Cat and the Moon’, (2009), her album ‘Everyone Is Ordinary’, (2012) and her duo album with Raevennan Husbandes ‘East by North West’ (2015).
Our next LCM featured artists are an excellent London band with a great fresh sound. With a new EP 'Haze' recently released in May and a host of festival dates over the summer, The King's Parade are making amazing progress in the indie music scene. TKP are one of our favourite London live bands and we think they will have a very successful and bright future ahead. Since their formation in 2012, this four-piece’s assured touch of classic Detroit blues with melodic, crossover pop has evoked the crafted sounds of Jamie Woon, Leon Bridges and Alabama Shakes. We hope that you enjoy our LCM #TrackOfTheDay, their great new single 'Mother Tongue' taken from their 'Haze' EP.
After releasing their debut EP ‘Vagabond' in 2015 as well as a string of singles including ‘Bunched Up Letters’, ‘Silhouette’ and ‘Gathering the Pieces of a Broken Heart', The King’s Parade have seen themselves picking up wide critical acclaim. They also independently sold out London’s OSLO on the last leg of their debut sold-out European tour – echoing a growing number of hype acts growing fan bases and selling out large venues completely under the radar.
Their classic sound was honed by musicians that were previously playing together more than 40 hours a week on a Hawaiian cruise ship. Think the Beatles’ unknown early gigs in Hamburg’s strip clubs and you’re just about there. The King’s Parade continue to refine a new soul blueprint that’s seeing a loyal and expectant fan base grow by the day, cementing their status as one of the most naturally talented and hustling young acts this year.
We head of the South Coast of England to meet our next LCM featured artist, Erin Bloomer. Erin is a very good 15 year old singer-songwriter and she has been singing since she could talk. Her passion for music, dance and performing coupled with her natural song writing and guitar playing abilities makes it all seem so effortless. Described as having a beautifully captivating voice with a mesmerizing stage presence to go in-hand. Erin has burst on to the independent music scene with an experience, confidence and style beyond her age. She started singing and posting it to YouTube a couple of years ago and now has over 1800 subscribers. Her Instagram account has over 100K followers. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is her wonderful debut original song called 'Right Love, Wrong TIme' which shows great promise. It has already been played on BBC Introducing South and was 'Track Of The Day' on BBC Radio Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire. Erin is a very talented young lady with a very bright future ahead of her..
LCM EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE
We are thrilled today to share with you the exclusive premiere of the new video for 'Traveling', the debut single from Orian Peled and Obadiah Jones, otherwise known as the excellent Americana-Pop duo O&O.
The video for ‘Traveling’ was shot in Obadiah’s hometown of Aspen, Colorado while O&O were on their US tour. Directed and filmed by LA-based cinematographer, Mike Zunigathe video features styling by Nashville-trendsetters 'Two Old Hippies' and a custom made bass guitar by Miles Phillips Custom Guitars.
London based, American-Israeli duo, O&O, released their Country-tinged debut single ‘Traveling’ on June 16th 2017. The single featured on Chris Country Radio's New Music Playlist, is released in support of Youth Music and all proceeds go towards raising awareness about the charity's music-making projects for children and young people experiencing challenging circumstances.
2016 saw O&O perform select shows in NYC, Nashville and headline a sold-out evening at Steve’s Guitars in Colorado. While State-side, they recorded at Great Divide Studios in Aspen, a hidden gem previously employed by Beyoncé, Hall & Oates and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic.
The resulting debut features the duo's distinctive, close-harmony sound with a retro-Americana flare......Fleetwood Mac meets The Civil Wars. Most recently, O&O supported Australian Music Award nominees, the Germein Sisters, ahead of the band's appearance at the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival.
O&O are comprised of Colorado-native, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, Obadiah Jones, and Israeli vocalist, Orian Peled. 'The shared dream of a career in music led us both halfway across the world to the classrooms of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), where we met for the first time.' While performing together in various projects during their three-year course, O&O established their deepest connection as a songwriting partnership and were awarded the unique opportunity of a one-on-one songwriting session with Sir Paul.
'Upon graduating and with student visa expiration dates looming, we knew there would be no country where we could both live and work together,' Obadiah recalls. Determined to overcome the bureaucracy, they found an unlikely solution – to live and perform on cruise ships. A six-month stint in the Caribbean ultimately led them on a two-year journey, performing for thousands, honing their distinct sound and touring far reaching parts of the world from Alaska to the Greek Isles.
‘Traveling’, with its rumbling guitar, captures the feeling of being on the move, with each other as the only constant. The desire to continue living and creating music together despite the challenges of coming from two different countries inspired ‘Coming Over,’ the 70s-folk-rock-inspired B-Side, which recalls a musical era explored by artists such as Ray LaMontagne, Haim and Father John Misty.
'We both feel very fortunate to have had musical opportunities from a young age,' says Orian, and, after learning about Youth Music's Give a Gig campaign, O&O were inspired to support the charity through their music. The pair recently performed two pop-up concerts in collaboration with Network Rail and Busk In London to raise donations for Youth Music.
Orian and Obadiah are one of our LCM 'Ones To Watch' in 2017. We think they have a great future ahead of them.
'Traveling' is now available on iTunes and Spotify.
We head to Buckinghamshire for our next excellent young LCM featured artist. At the beating heart of the musical collective known as 'Hannah’s Yard' lies the beautifully understated voice of 21 year old singer Hannah Layton Turner. Think Nora Jones with touches of Katie Melua. The band's music is on the acoustic pop side with a heady fusion of Jazz, Folk and Country. Their debut album ‘Beginnings’ was released on 12 May 2017 and features 14 songs recorded in Hannah’s home town of Olney (not far from Milton Keynes)…the small English town where ‘Amazing Grace’ was written in the 1770s. This wonderful collection of meaningful songs about life and love includes a recording of Hannah at just 15 years of age, when she first met fellow musicians Barnaby Pinny and James Reader.
An upload of the collective’s song and our LCM #TrackOfTheDay 'Why Would I Know' to the BBC Introducing website in September 2015, resulted in a first national radio play on Mark Forrest’s BBC Introducing show the following November. Local station BBC Three Counties Radio immediately awarded the song ‘Introducing Track of the Week’ resulting in cross-station airplay and invitations to perform live on the station.
An official launch of the song was expedited and by February 2016, following a live performance on his BBC Radio Oxford show, Alex Lester played ‘Why Would I Know’ on his Radio Two programme. Hannah’s Yard went on to appear on Robert Elms’ BBC Radio London show at the end of February marking a remarkable six months of progress for Hannah and her musicians.
Excitingly the band supported Gordon Haskell on his UK tour earlier this year.
Our next LCM featured artist is Welsh singer-songwriter Lloyd Jerwood.You’ll find elements of delayed pop riffs, bluesy guitar parts, and ‘rootsy’ folk music here, tied together with heartbreakingly honest, modern songwriting. Lloyd combines a vocal ability and tone that have been compared to Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran, with his songwriting and guitar playing to a young John Mayer and The Tallest Man On Earth. Young hearts and old shoulders will all find something of themselves in Lloyd's music. Recent support from BBC Radio Wales saw Lloyd perform a live session on Jamie Owen’s breakfast show.
Through a combination of his musical influences and expertly crafted, heartfelt songs, a unique sound is woven. The diversity of Lloyd’s musical tastes shines through when he performs and his switching of styles keeps his audiences locked in the performance.
Now in 2017, five years and a degree later, Lloyd will be releasing his debut EP and embarking on his first UK tour. Recent support from BBC Radio Wales saw Lloyd perform a live session on Jamie Owen’s Sunday breakfast show. Lloyd released his excellent smooth and bluesy first single and our LCM #TrackOfTheDay ‘Grey Mind’ in May.
Lloyd will be supporting Me For Queen at The Sound Lounge, Tooting on the 6th September. It's an evening you don't want to miss.
We continue our look this week at the stars of the recent Music Makers festival with our next LCM featured band led by Australian brother and sister duo Matty & Julia Gurry aka Belle Roscoe. Originally from Melbourne but now London based Matty and Julia have a great indie folk/ rock sound and have been building a solid underground buzz across mainland Europe and the UK. Their refreshingly cool & epic indie melodies are fused with the underground old school electronic world. I had the pleasure of first meeting Matty & Julia when they came as our guests to Danni Nicholls recent album launch at SPOC. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is a lovely live version of 'Heart Crash' recorded at a 'Cuthbert Corner' session at the The Star Hotel in Port Fairy, Australia.
Belle Roscoe have been spending time in Europe defining their sound & collaborating with European musicians and renowned DJ producer Luuk Cox (Shameboy, Girls in Hawaii, Stromae, & MLCD), the band have recently worked with legendary US producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Paper Kites), and are touring across Europe.
With a new album promised later in the year, they are band on the rise. Catch them live if you can.
The Cambridge Folk Festival hosts a wide range of music styles from Traditional Folk through to Contemporary Folk, Americana, Country, Blues & Roots and even Folk Electronica. Our next LCM featured artists are a very exciting award winning family trio (two sisters and a cousin) from Exeter, Wildwood Kin. Emillie Key, Beth Key, Meghann Loney have been making rapid progress and creating a lot of attention in the past 18 months. They worked and performed with Seth Lakeman on his last album and joined him on his latest UK tours. Their highly anticipated debut album 'Turning Tides' to due to be released on the 18th August. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is their uptempo and rocky new single 'Taking A Hold', showcasing their trademark harmonies.
Wildwood Kin formed four years ago while in their mid to late teens. They borrow heavily from early folk influences, not least in their hypnotic three-part harmonies. But 'Turning Tides', their extraordinary debut album, delves deeply in to other genres, featuring both electric and acoustic instruments and it boasts inventive electronics and spectral atmospherics.
Guitarist Emillie Key, her bouzouki/keyboard-playing sister Beth and their drumming cousin Meghann Loney all sing, swapping leads on songs they write themselves, and joining forces on harmonies that have remained their trademark. Their sound has matured at speed and their confidence caught up with their talent. From their simple beginnings at a pub near their native Exeter, to a powerful live band inspired by the likes of Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons and Fleetwood Mac to the force of nature they are now, Wildwood Kin have become one of Britain’s most exciting and intriguing new bands.
In their symbolism-laden lyrics, you’ll hear a range of inspirations from their love of the writings of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien to their upbringing in a progressive church in which music and faith was instrumental. In the joyous blend of their voices, you’ll hear three young women who found themselves through writing songs and whose purpose is to inspire and empower their listeners.
Wildwood Kin had self-released just one EP when they caught the ear of BBC Introducing and began getting festival bookings and tour supports. This shortly led to the girls joining forces with their female manager Sarah Woodward, who played a major part in helping the girls evolve their sound and grow in confidence, whilst also connecting them with like-minded industry and media contacts.
While still unsigned, last summer Radio 2 fell for their glorious, tribal drums-driven debut single, 'Warrior Daughter' and after being presented with The Bob Harris 'Emerging Artist of the Year Award', they were invited to record a BBC Introducing session at Maida Vale studios. Impressed by their unique sound, presenters Jo Whiley, Mark Radcliffe, Steve Wright and Jamie Cullum all declared their love for a band who had only just begun to believe that music could be their career.
Late last year, on the strength of a pivotal show at London’s Union Chapel, record label approaches came flooding in. Wildwood Kin went with Sony, which made them its first signing to the newly-revived Silvertone label. By then, 'Turning Tides' had been written and recording begun at Middle Farm in Devon.
“Making the album was a huge learning process,” says Emillie. “We had no idea what we were capable of and we constantly surprised ourselves. We went in to the studio not knowing where the boundaries were and discovered that, of course, there aren’t any. That’s what we found most exciting.”
“We started recording the album in London,” says Meg. “But we grew up in the countryside, so when we discovered Middle Farm Studios in Devon, a converted barn with woodburners, we felt at home the moment we stepped inside.”
With the aid of producer Jamie Evans, with whom they had recorded Warrior Daughter, Wildwood Kin started stepping further away from their folk roots. Emillie took up electric guitar, out went the tambourine and in came synths, ambient sounds and tougher drums.
“Some people advised us not to change our style, but we were determined to experiment,” says Beth. “We love folk, but we’re also fans of Sigur Ros, Radiohead and Explosions In The Sky. We didn’t want to take the safe option. The aim was to find a sound that reflected the music we love, but was ours entirely."
They succeeded. In the pulsing Author, the hymnal Circumstance and a reworked Warrior Daughter you’ll hear folk reinvented with widescreen ambition and a wide-eyed sense of adventure. Dove’s sombre electronics lend it both the solace of a prayer and a bewitching, otherwordly beauty. On and On is simultaneously stately and ethereal, Run is anthemic rock and the title track’s dreamy, shape-shifting pop cedes to an ominous, electronic outro.
“Some of the album is still quite folky, elsewhere it’s not,” says Meg. “We like having lots of different styles on there. There’s even some blues-rock which we got in to towards the end of recording and decided to include. No one told us what we could or couldn’t do so we took that freedom and ran with it.“
Emillie, Beth and Meg were destined to be in a band together. Their mums – who are sisters – performed as part-time singer/songwriter duo. Beth and Emillie’s mum also wrote gospel music and filled the house with Sting, Stevie Wonder and Simon & Garfunkel, while Meg’s mum was a DJ who loved Madness and Motown and took her daughter to gigs to get the karaoke going. All grew up singing and playing instruments.
Our next LCM featured artist Country Soul & Pop singer-songwriter Jo Smith is in London today. She is playing a set later this evening (6:45PM) in Canary Wharf for the excellent two-day festival 'Nashville Meets London'. It's a free event if you fancy going along. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the very catchy 'Old School Grove' taken from her 2016 EP 'Introducing Jo Smith'. It's a laid-back toe-tapper with plenty of soul and Wall of Sound-style harmonies, that pay homage to the days of the Ronettes and the Shangri-Las.
Jo is originally from Arlington in Georgia, but is now based in Nashville. Her music is soulful country soul and pop with retro production, layered harmonies and a touch of playfulness. Formerly a major label country artist as Joanna Smith, she released charting singles "Gettin' Married" and "Georgia Mud". Jo Smith has returned with a new EP and some of country's biggest names in her corner. Shane McAnally co-produced her EP with Jesse Frasure, and the four-song set shows Jo following the soul-music footsteps of artists like Maren Morris. While her EP has been out since 2016, feel-good lead single "Old School Groove" was recently released to radio, just in time for the windows-down summer listening season.
Jo comes by her brand of country honestly, coming of age to the music that would eventually inform her solo output. "I grew up in South Georgia listening to my dad’s country and Motown records, and it was so important to me to blend those influences on my new EP," she says. "My single 'Old School Groove' sets the tone perfectly of who I am as an artist, and I'm so proud the world is getting to hear it."
We first introduced our next LCM featured artist Melbourne based singer-songwriter Meg Mac back in 2015. We highly rated her music and as a result Meg was one of our recommended artists and 'one to watch in 2016'. We are delighted to announce that Meg has just released her wonderful debut album entitled 'Low Blows' on Friday. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the very catchy title track.
The album was recorded in 'Niles City Sound' in Fort Worth, Texas and in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. It was produced by Austin Jenkins, Josh Block, Chris Vivion.
Meg said that she wanted to aim for a live sound: "A lot of the vocal performances are live and unedited. It is hard to leave mistakes on a record but I think it was important to do that
The Western Australian - Interview by Simon Collins (12/07/17)
“Is it a soul album?” Melbourne-based singer/songwriter Meg Mac repeats the question posed in a Perth pub in relation to her stunning debut album, Low Blows.
“I don’t know. You tell me,” the normally shy 27-year-old adds. “You don’t know what your music is until people write about it ... I’d definitely say it’s soulful.”
The artist born Megan Sullivan McInerney possesses an enthralling voice, one that’s equally powerful and vulnerable. One worthy of being described as soulful. Very soulful. Mac grew up listening to her dad’s soul records — Ray Charles, Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Bill Withers, whose Grandma’s Hands she covered in 2014 on the MegMac EP — as well as her mum singing Irish folk songs around the house.
“I find a lot of folk music soulful,” she says. “I think (French singer) Edith Piaf is soulful. If I feel something, that’s what it’s about for me.”
Mac felt a connection when she first heard Leon Bridge’s 2015 debut album Coming Home, which earned the Texan soul artist a Grammy nomination and comparisons to the late, great Sam Cooke — Mac’s all-time favourite singer.
“I hadn’t felt like that for ages listening to an album,” she says. “You felt like you were in the room and they were playing for you. That was something I really wanted my album to feel like.
“I wanted everyone to know I’m serious. These are my songs and I wanted it to feel like you could come over to my house and I could sing these songs for you.”
Mac crossed paths with Bridges when he was touring Australia in early 2016. She wanted to meet his band, which features members of the Niles City Sound team that discovered him and produced Coming Home.
Producer/musicians Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion run a studio loaded with vintage gear in Fort Worth, Texas and possess a clear vision on how to get the best out of a song. As they say on their website: “Niles City Sound makes records without shortcuts, without creative limitations on the authenticity of raw performance”.
Mac joined Niles City Sound in their studio for a day to try out one song, which was the first time she’d heard her voice on tape rather than a digital recording.
“The whole thing was just so fun and I was like ‘Yep, that feels like the right place to make my album’,” the WA Academy of Performing Arts graduate says. “Fort Worth reminds me a lot of Perth.”
Mac and the Texan trio built songs around piano and her incredible voice with as little editing as possible.
“There’s mistakes on there,” she says. “I write these songs so I can sing them, not so I can record them ... You need to know it’s just me, singing my song.”
In addition to the Fort Worth sessions, Mac recorded stripped-back ballad Shiny Bright in a single take at the famed Electric Lady studio in New York with producer John O’Mahony (Coldplay, Metric).
She also recorded Brooklyn Apartment and Ride It in Melbourne with members of the Panics. The ex-WA band’s drummer Myles Wootton sat in the producer’s chair.
Dylan Ollivierre of Perth popsters the Money War added guitar and keyboards to three tracks, including the gospel-inspired Cages.
Mac delves into rare storyteller terrain for Brooklyn Apartment, which she wrote while eavesdropping in an Airbnb in New York.
Meanwhile, Shiny Bright sees her reflect on the bombshell that “life’s not as shiny and bright as you thought it was, but that’s OK”.
Most of the songs on Low Blows are introspective ruminations, from the title track “about standing up for yourself and being confident” to opener Grace Gold’s desire to balance strength and kindness.
Kindness finds Mac declaring that “kindness is overrated and gets you nowhere” — not a sentiment she subscribes to but simply how she felt when she wrote the song.
Writing songs is often how she processes experiences and emotions, whether penning lyrics in her Melbourne bedroom or at the old upright piano in her parents’ living room in Sydney. (She also has a hard-drive full of vocal snippets recorded on her phone.)
“When I go and just sit down and sing, I’m like ‘Everything’s OK, this is why I do what I do’,” Mac says. “No matter how I’m feeling, if I go to the piano I’ll sing myself out of a feeling.”
Since winning Triple J Unearthed in 2014, Mac has earned a steady stream of industry and popular support.
Singles Roll Up Your Sleeves and Never Be both featured in the upper echelons of the Triple J Hottest 100 in 2015. That same year, she was pleasantly surprised to receive her first ARIA nominations, for best female artist and breakthrough artist. Both went to Courtney Barnett.
“And all I’d done that year was released Never Be,” she laughs. “I was shocked, but obviously I was very happy about it.”
Relief was the overwhelming emotion when she finished making Low Blows in October last year. Now that work is over, the work begins again with touring, kicking off at the Splendour in the Grass festival on July 23.
In October, Mac plays three shows at the Rosemount Hotel — more performances in the 600-capacity room were added after the first sold out the day it went on sale.
She’s excited about hitting the road. “I write songs so I can sing them for people. The album was made to be played live.”
Our next LCM featured artists today are the new London trio of Sophie-Rose (vocals), Anna (harp) and Kristy (vocals, keyboard) better known as Paradisia. After being involved in a variety of musical projects together over the last five years, they formed Paradisia in 2015. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the beautiful 'Warpaint', one of the lead singles from their recently released debut album 'Sound Of Freedom'.
Sophie-Rose and Kristy played their first show together in a support slot at Brixton Academy in 2010 whilst playing in punk band 'Rum Shebeen'. A chance spotting of a harp belonging to Anna at her house party united the three, as well as a mutual love of Joni Mitchell, and since then the past five years have been spent working together on a number of musical projects. Having toured extensively with these previous projects, supporting the likes of Paolo Nutini, Carole King and Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park, Paradisia spent time in Berlin to record their debut record in 2015 and chose their cover of Springsteen’s 'Dancing in the Dark' as their debut single. The track rose to #8 in the HypeMachine chart and has over 50,000 plays on SoundCloud to date. Of the track, the band says ‘it’s a beautifully written song and slowing it down was our way of bringing attention to the lyrics, so we wanted to show the beauty and sadness of them with our own interpretation’.
The band's name itself is a word they use to describe an idealistic and beautiful aesthetic, a space away from reality to a place that occupies a perfect limbo between this world and a dreamlike utopia, the diversion to a higher sphere that music tends to offer most often: escapism. With relatable lyrics that draw inspiration from personal experiences, Paradisia is a world into which most can escape.
Paradisia released their 12-track debut album 'Sound Of Freedom' on the 26th May, 2017.
Our LCM featured artists today are the award-winning Exeter based duo of Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood, better known as 'Sound Of The Sirens'. Already championed by Chris Evans, who declared himself “blown away” when he heard Sound of the Sirens for the first time and he subsequently invited them to perform alongside U2 and Take That on TFI Friday last year They have recently released at the end of May their excellent and high rated debut album 'For All Of Sins'. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is the lead single the very catchy 'Smokescreen'.
Abbe and Hannah will next be performing in London at The Water Rats on the 19th October
Their fan base has built up not just over several sublime EP releases, but also through their live shows, which combine a natural facility for connecting with their audiences and unforgettable performances predicated on energy, warmth, humour and, above all, real conviction. This is true whether Sound of the Sirens are playing the intimate environs of Exeter Cathedral, before tens of thousands at the Isle of Wight Festival or supporting Rick Astley on his UK arena tour.
"We work well together,” says Abbe, a graduate of Dartington College of Arts, who’s now a vocal coach and drama practitioner for Vocal Arts.“ We have fun and a shared vision of what we want our music to do and how we want it to influence people. Music moves people and can help people overcome adversity. As performers we have a responsibility to write music that will impact and not offend. If people are listening to your voice, use it wisely.”
Abbe and Hannah, who studied performance art at Barnstaple College, met when they worked together at the Timepiece in Exeter, the venue which gave them their debut as Sound of the Sirens. Drawing on diverse influences, including Bob Dylan, Ed Sheeran, Joni Mitchell, KT Tunstall, The Carpenters, they write from a personal experience they feel others can relate to. “We can also be quite inventive in our writing, using different text games to create a stimulus from which to write,” says Hannah.“
We definitely put our emotion into our music and publicly vent. We often put a positive spin on the sadness that life can bring, finding strength in doing so and hopefully helping others to deal with the same issues.”
One of those issues – mental health – is the subject of The Voices.“We’ve been moved by a mental health campaign, #itaffectsme, that’s bringing people together to be open about mental health issues. It’s also campaigning to get mental health awareness to be spoken about in primary school education to prepare the next generation. As teachers and musicians we feel this is brilliant.”
Sound of the Sirens want to both enlighten and entertain, and they want to do it with euphony. For All Our Sins accomplishes all of the above.
We love a very good cover song here at LCM HQ and our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is a great acoustic version of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time after Time' by sisters Megan and Jaclyn Davies & Boyce Avenue.
Megan Davies is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter originally from Harrisburg, PA. She graduated from Belmont University where she studied song-writing and classical guitar. During the summer of 2013, Megan began uploading acoustic covers and mashups to YouTube – collaborating with both her sister, Jaclyn, and other artist friends in Nashville. Since then, her creative stylings have garnered her over 100 million views and 900k subscribers.
In April 2016, Megan was the featured Artist for the Spotify curated playlist “Acoustic Covers” which received global visibility. Her songs on Spotify maintain over 2 Million listeners a month. In June 2015, her 3-song mashup “See You Again/ Love Me Like You Do/ Sugar” reached #1 on both the US and Global Spotify Viral 50 charts. The Coffee House station on XM Radio voted Megan and fellow artist Emily Hackett’s cover of Lorde’s “Royals” the Best Cover of 2013.
While Megan enjoys producing covers and mashups, her passion lies in writing and performing her own original music. Her unique sound has been influenced by a combination of commercial pop, indie folk and experimental rock. She is currently writing for her debut pop-project. Fans can get a sneak-peak of original music to come from Megan’s self-produced Mixtape CDs – sold exclusively at live shows.
We continue your look at the stars of this year's Buckle & Boots festival with our next LCM featured artist, Leeds based Country singer-songwriter Jade Helliwell. Jade belongs to the fast growing group of modern British New Country artists who are challenging the previously all-conquering American Country scene. Writing and singing her own, highly acclaimed songs, Jade’s style is a notably British blend of contemporary Country, with a hint of mainstream pop music. Our LCM #TrackOfTheDay is a wonderful live version of 'Ask Me To Stay' taken from her 2016 EP 'Forget The Night'.
Growing up listening to many styles of music, Jade always seemed to gravitate back to country music. She explains, “Like any young person I loved the latest chart music and I’ve been infatuated by my fair share of boy bands and girl power, but it was always country music that really inspired me. First the old country greats like Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton, then later artists such as Carrie Underwood, Kacey Musgraves, Lady Antebellum and, of course, Taylor Swift”. Jade takes all of these great artists as influence, and uses them to shape her own style. True to it’s Country music roots, Jade’s songwriting is often her way of telling stories, both of herself and of those around her.
Jade is happiest on stage playing her music live. She is constantly gigging and, along with her own regular shows, has performed at some of the best summer music festivals on the calendar such as Bingley Music Live, Oakwell Festival, Buckle & Boots and Galtres Parklands Festival with the likes of The Feeling, Human League, Dodgy and the mighty Chic! She has also been lucky enough to be invited to open up for some amazing artists such as The Christians, Thorne Hill, The Muldoon Brothers, The Dunwells, Southern Halo, Frankie Davies, Dawson Reigns, Turin Brakes, Graham Goulding and T-Rex.
In February 2017 Jade won the prestigious Yamaha Hoedown competition, securing a slot at the UK’s biggest Country Music festival, Country 2 Country (C2C) at the 02 in London. Jade is proud to be a Yamaha artist and can be seen playing a variety of Yamaha guitars on her live shows.
Her ‘Forget The Night’ EP was released on October 24th 2016, and stormed straight to number 2 on the UK Country charts on its first day of release, and reached number 47 in the iTunes UK Album charts. After unexpected success in May 2017 following a viral video of Jade singing which gained over 15 million views, her EP once again entered the charts peaking at number 1 on the UK iTunes Country charts and number 8 on the iTunes UK Albums charts.
Jade recently signed with ROAR Global management and looks forward to an exciting year including performances at FSA, Buckle and Boots Festival and the BCMA awards celebration.