17 year old teen star Luke Friend has hit the headlines again – this time making the judges houses in the tenth series of ITV’s The X Factor. The X Factor judging panel praising the star, including Sharon Osbourne who has returned from exile saying “Luke I am crazy about you! You are quite fabulous.” Luke Friend opened the show and was also the first to be invited to the live arena auditions.
West Country boy Luke Friend has just come off the back of being crowned the winner of the singing competition TeenStar in July, the nationwide competition for teens and pre-teens! The TeenStar singing competition’s Grand Final took place within The O2 in London and gave acts the chance to play in front of a massive crowd and music industry judging panel.
Other X Factor judges include former Pussy Cat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger who told 17-year-old Luke Friend that he’s a “little diamond of rough” as he took to the audition room with Ben E. King’s Stand By Me. Louis Walsh commented “You have your own style, your own finish, love your voice. You’re different.”
Four yes’s later and Luke Friend was on his way to the arena auditions to sing in front of the judges once more, as well as a live audience of 4,000 people.
Luke Friend has already impressed an impressive judging panel at TeenStar who crowned the star singing competition winner. The TeenStar judging panel included former Radio 1 DJ and Choice FM presenter Ras Kwame who first discovered Emeli Sande, four time Ivor Novello award winner Mark Hill, Choice FM presenter E Plus, Capital FM producer and celebrity journo Jon Hornbuckle, Editor of Shout Magazine Ali Henderson, Head of BGM Michael King and Head of Future Music Chris Grayston who first discovered Birdy through the Open Mic UK music competition, so Luke’s talent was in good hands to be judged.
Chris Grayston remembers Luke Friend from the Open Mic UK competition, saying “It’s great to watch Luke’s development over the years and now he’s found his own image, sound and confidence there’s nothing stopping him!”
Much talk was also of Luke’s hair which he revealed to the judge panel he hadn’t washed for 9 months. Perhaps it’s just as well they keep themselves behind a desk!
London-based trio Whales In Cubicles have announced the release of their new single ‘Wax & Feathers’ on October 7th 2013, taken from the band’s highly anticipated debut album due out in early 2014.
Founded by frontman Stef Bernardi, Whales in Cubicles are the product of a soul-searching expedition that saw Bernardi travel from his home in Italy throughout the United States. The line-up was made complete with a chance encounter in Washington D.C. between Bernardi and fellow members Alex and Jamie, before the group found their home in the UK.
Since releasing the debut single ‘We Never Win’ in 2012, Whales In Cubicles have carved out a distinctive niche within the UK music scene, creating complex but often minimalist soundscapes that owe more to 90’s alternative rock than psychedelia. With strong support from Clash, The Fly, The Independent, and major attention from BBC Radio 1, BBC 6Music and XFM’s John Kennedy, Whales In Cubicles have had a busy year that has seen them head out in support of Tribes, Turbowolf and Dinosaur Pile-Up in the lead up to their forthcoming debut album.
Recorded at Monnow Valley Studio with producer Nick Mailing and mixed by Simon Barnicott,‘Wax and Feathers’ is a haunting slice of nostalgia that questions whether man’s search for freedom is paradoxically another form of his own self-imposed imprisonment.
‘Wax & Feathers’ will be released on Oct 7th via CLUB.THE.MAMMOTH records and available from all good digital outlets. Whales In Cubicles debut album will be released in January 2014.
Having impressed with urban reggae LP ‘Real’ earlier this year, Canada based singer-songwriter Herrington Codner returns this winter with single ‘Justice For Freedom’.
Aiming to bring a touch of sunshine as winter closes in, the track is something of a call to arms, with political overtones demanding ‘justice for freedom’ and asking the listener to ‘stand up for what you believe in’. These are familiar overtones in reggae music, and ones which Codner utilises very effectively with a catchy, pop-friendly chorus and a strong vocal.
The LP ‘Real’ is the third album release from Codner’s own imprint Center Lane Records. Written and developed on the Canadian roads and highways while working as a professional truck driver, the songs find inspiration from the sublime to the mundane. Based on everything from his personal beliefs to the everyday happenings of the world around him, they perfectly encapsulate a personal world view.
Match that with strong production and an obvious appreciation for a range of musical genres, and the new single is the latest in what promises to be a string of great releases. Codner has christened his blending of reggae and pop staples as ‘Ragwire’, a new genre which sets him apart from his contemporaries.
‘Justice For Freedom’ is released on Monday, November 25th
McLean, the award winning British singer-songwriter has marked his return with the sensational new single ‘Does It Hurt’.
The artist shot to fame back in 2007 with the track ‘Broken’, one of the singer’s early singles. Working under the alias Digga, the track spread throughout the urban and RnB scene worldwide and was picked up by high profile names, including Tinie Tempah, Tinchy Stryder and Professor Green who created their own remixes of the track. The success of the song led to McLean being signed by Atlantic Records. McLean’s second single ‘My Name’, released in 2010, clocked up a number 10 chart position in the UK Top 40 and peaked at no.5 in the UK R&B Chart. That year he went on to win the best music video category at the Urban Music Awards for the track and was nominated for a MOBO award. The exposure brought McLean into further contact with some of the industry’s top names and he went on to tour with N-Dubz, Trey Songz and Roll Deep, as well as featuring as a guest vocalist on tracks such as Chase and Status’ ‘Take U There’.
A whirlwind three years persuaded McLean into taking a step back from the scene for a short while. Travelling to the US, McLean switched focus to writing new material, working with producers in both New York and L.A. The trip was hugely beneficial and saw McLean penning the majority of his forthcoming album.
‘Does It Hurt’ presents the singer’s first official release since 2010’s ‘Finally In Love’. A supremely heartfelt song, from the opening piano melody to McLean’s powerful vocals, ‘Does It Hurt’ echoes the singer’s trademark emotive sound. The single has been produced by the amazing trio that is TMS (Producers of No. 1 hits such as ‘Read All About It’ by Professor Green/Emeli Sande & ‘Wings’ by Little Mix) along with being mixed and mastered by Grammy award winning producer Steve Orchard, who described McLean as ‘a great singer… [with] a lot of fresh energy’. The critically acclaimed singer is set to make a long awaited return with his excellent new single.
‘Does It Hurt’ is released on November 18th. Stream the song over on Soundcloud:
Already having a dedicated fan base,a European tour supporting L.A Guns and even offers from numerous labels under their belts, Damn Dice is ready set for big things with their new 6 track EP ‘Wild ‘N’Ready’.
Relatively new to the music scene (only together since 2011), Damn Dice have gained respect amongst music fans, musicians and critics alike. Damn Dice has had positive feedback flooding in from all directions even from big names like Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe and Beau Hill of Beau Hill Productions (Alice Cooper, Europe, Warrant, Stevie Nicks). Taking influences from classic rock to metal and everything in between, Damn Dice’s music is a powerful combination of all kinds of genres with the energy of a 70’s punk band and the punch of a modern metal band.
“Damn Dice” refers to the band’s motto and the message they try and put across in their music: “live your life, don’t think twice, just roll the damn dice!” The band has followed this motto their entire career, it’s what made brothers Fransoa (drummer) and Wallis (guitarist) move to London to start the band and the same reason that pushed Marco (bassist)to do the same. The motto has been a constant influence in everything the band does together, from song writing to band business.
‘Wild Into The Night’ is the first video from the upcoming EP ‘Wild ‘N’Ready’. Filmed in the band’s London flat, the video showcases a true rock and roll lifestyle: throwing televisions out of windows, partying and playing live. After the television was hurled-full pelt out of the window one of the band’s concerned neighbours called the police to stifle the racket. After discovering that Damn Dice were filming a music video no further action was taken due to the fact that the policeman on duty turned out to be a dedicated rock fan.
‘Wild ‘N’Ready’ is released on 21st October 2013
Watch the ‘Wild Into The Night’ video here:
Combining aspects of dancehall, R&B and hip-hop, ‘Bashment Ladies’ is the infectious new single from talented singer Elena.
Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, Elena was exposed to a range of music which quickly inspired her to pen her own tunes. Moving to the UK in 1999, Elena’s passion for music became insatiable and she proceeded to write and record many new songs. Marrying her childhood sweetheart and undertaking a medical degree, Elena persisted with music, inspired by her many new life experiences. Speaking of her music during this time, Elena has stated that “everything was a challenge, but anything in life that is worth your love is worth fighting for”.
‘Bashment Ladies’ signifies a new beginning for the singer. Bringing together her extensive influences and songwriting prowess, the catchy single emphasises the singer’s distinct sound. Striking a perfect balance between contemporary and classic influences, the single sees a dancehall rhythm and bass melody accompanying Elena’s distinct vocals. Soon to have you singing and dancing, the single features a fitting video which captures the listener’s attentions. Bursting with vibrancy and colour, the stylish video echoes the Jamaican influences of the track.
Check out the video here: