Former X-Factor hopeful turns attention to raising awareness of Nigerian schoolgirl kidnappings
With an incredible voice that has seen her through to the X Factor judges’ houses on two previous series, vocalist Annastasia Baker is set to release a new single focused on raising awareness for the 200 schoolgirls recently kidnapped in Nigeria. The single, ‘Let Me Go’, sees Annastasia on powerful vocal form as she highlights an issue close to her heart.
A mother with a young daughter of her own, Annastasia cannot imagine what the families of the lost girls are going through. And without the financial means to directly impact the ongoing campaign to find them, she has turned to music as a tool to keep the situation in the public eye.
The result is this top quality, soulful pop song – due for release June 16th.
It’s not difficult to see from the track why Annastasia Baker’s voice has seen her so close to the X-Factor live finals on two occasions, and this isn’t the only time she has been successful on screen. Crowned winner of Gospel TV Show ‘Time2Shine’ last year, Annastasia is looking to build on that success and use it as a springboard for her own career, as well as continuing the fight to improve the situation in Nigeria.
‘Let Me Go’ is released June 16th – please use #BringBackOurGirls to support the campaign.
Effective pop-reggae single out now, taken from ‘Back To You’ EP due July 7th
Readying herself for her first full release after a long break from the industry, Aysha Loren has released funky reggae track ‘Keep It Like It Is’ as a teaser for upcoming EP ‘Back To You’.
The single, a rhythmic blend of pop and reggae with a slice of funk for good measure, does a great job of ramping up the excitement for the EP, showcasing Aysha’s strong vocal with effective, relatable lyrics about choosing to stay ‘just friends’ with someone rather than risk it all by starting a relationship.
An experienced artist, Aysha Loren’s family has a successful background in the music industry which led her to a support slot for huge US group Destiny’s Child on their UK tour in her early days. More recently, Aysha has shared the stage with the talented likes of John Holt, Frankie Paul, Janet Kay and Luciano. Having taken a long break in between to start a family, she fell in love with the stage again after performing at a Whitney Houston tribute concert, the start of a journey which will culminate in the EP release on July 7th.
This experience led her to writing and performing again, re-building her reputation over the last couple of years which have seen Aysha reach the finals of the National UK Open Mic Competition as well as being named as Vibes FM Record of the Week for three weeks running.
Single ‘Keep It Like It Is’ is out now, with the ‘Back To You’ EP out on July 7th.
Upbeat acoustic roots tune taken from album ‘The Never Ending Pageant’ – released 21st July
Scotland born folk singer-songwriter Colin Clyne, a versatile acoustic artist as comfortable spinning off an upbeat folk ditty as a heartrending dose of roots melancholy, returns this summer with excellent single ‘Merry Go Round’, taken from album ‘The Never Ending Pageant’.
The single, a straight, driving example of how to write an acoustic folk track with true momentum and subtle harmonies, mixes Clyne’s Scottish folk heritage with a touch of Americana in the vocal arrangements – thanks perhaps to 10 years spent living in California.
It’s the first song from the new LP, both released through Colin’s hometown label Fat Hippy Records, a burgeoning independent label who have also recently signed a deal with fellow Aberdonian – and runner up on The Voice USA – Terry McDermott.
The album was produced & Engineered by Grammy Award Winning Engineer Alan Sanderson (The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Ryan Adams, Burt Bacharach), and you can hear the first single here:
It’s not difficult to see why his fans include influential new music tastemakers such as Jim Gellatly, John McRuvie, STV and Chris Hawkins of BBC 6 Music – the reflection of an impressive independent career that has seen Clyne support The Red Hot Chilli Pipers (internationally acclaimed Scottish touring band) at a Hogmanay gig in front of 6,000 people, as well as appearing at Belladrum Festival, Edinburgh Festival, The Viper Room in L.A, and the Sacramento Highland Games which boasts over 20,000 people.
Another highlight saw him crowned ‘Best Acoustic Act’ at the San Diego Music Awards in 2011 and 2012 (previously winners include Jewel and Jason Mraz), as well as being named by NBC San Diego as one of San Diego’s top 12 Singer songwriters. That particular list contained an elite list of names, including Jewel, Tom Waits and the late Jim Croce.
It marks an incredible career trajectory for an artist whose first cd was rehearsed and written in the cold store of a ship that he used to work in many years ago. In fact, the lifelong ship worker still does stints at sea from time to time, enjoying the time and space as good song writing inspiration.
All very impressive from an artist who, having severed his fingers in his teens having hardly learned a chord, didn’t touch a guitar again until he was 23.
Single ‘Merry Go Round’ will be released June 30th from the album ‘The Never Ending Pageant’ out July 21st.
‘Mini Mozart’ to become youngest record label boss in history with Music Raiser:
The World’s first crowd funded record label!
Prodigious 10 year old pianist Curtis Elton ATCL (1st year of a university degree) and brand new crowd funding website Music Raiser are teaming up this month, aiming to make Elton the youngest record label boss in history.
Already a huge success in the EU, MusicRaiser is a unique site designed to support musicians as the world’s first crowd funded record label. Launching in the UK, one of the first projects on their agenda will see ‘Mini Mozart’ Curtis Elton pledge to set up a record label to promote talented child musicians.
Curtis got the idea having been unceremoniously turned away from this year’s ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in spite of getting four ‘yes’ votes and rave reviews from the judges. The change of fortunes was especially surprising as producers had sought out the talented pianist to try again after booting him out at the same stage in 2011. Having been given assurances that the same would not happen this time, Elton was disappointed to learn that he would once again not make it to the live semi-finals.
But rather than resting on his laurels, Curtis is using the disappointment to come back fighting and make his own way in the music industry – as well as giving other talented youngsters the chance to do the same with the help of MusicRaiser.
With over €1 million raised in its first year on the EU mainland, MusicRaiser has an existing community of 40,000 fundraisers looking for the best new music projects in the industry. UK artists will be able to call on this community for the first time – including Curtis Elton, the ‘Mini Mozart’ looking to blaze trails as the youngest label boss ever.
International star on the rise and award nominee set for debut UK single release on July 14th
Born in Sri Lanka and now based in Sydney, Australia, Senani is a spiritual songwriter with a growing reputation in the USA, Asia and Australia. Now setting her sights on the UK, she releases her debut single ‘Free’ on July 14th.
A funk laced, rhythmic soul-pop track with nods to Sri Lankan and Indian influences, Senani describes ‘Free’ as ‘a song which liberates the listener and speaks of Freedom. To be who you want to be, unrestricted and filled with abundance as your true self’. The single is taken from the excellent album ‘Infinity’.
Already available in Australia and the US, the song was nominated for a 2013 Hollywood Music in Media award in the RNB/Soul category, and helped catapult Senani into the hot 100 list of unsigned artists/bands of 2013 from reputable U.S. magazine Music Connection.
Senani’s music has aired on national Australian FM radio as well as TV music show Rage and MTV India.
Her growing reputation has already seen her share the same bill as huge Australian acts such as Silver Chair and Margaret Urlich at the Mattara Music Festival in Newcastle, Australia, and her forward momentum looks likely to continue as she surrounds herself with top class talent. Whether writing or performing, the promising songwriter insists on working with experienced session musicians, players and writers to ensure her music remains as strong as possible.
The guitarist in her Sydney band – as well as for all the tracks on the ‘Infinity’ album – is Eric Rasmussen, formerly of Heatwave and now credited with co-writing four of the album tracks. Having worked with the likes of Human Nature, Smokey Robinson and Karen Carpenter, Rasmussen is an indicator of the kind of quality Senani is working with to fulfil her vision.
The guitarist she works with in LA is Michael O’Neil (George Benson) while bassist Hussain Jiffrey won a Grammy Award this year for work with the likes of Whitney Houston, Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert. Meanwhile, keys player Jim Kirby was a member of the Roy Orbison band until his death in 1988.
Senani’s music is given a glossy, professional sheen by producer Michael Lynch – a former audio engineer For Sony music (1996-2008) who now works for his own company Shoehorse Sound. Having worked with well-known Australian singers including Delta Goodrem, Jimmy Barnes, John Butler Trio and Midnight oil, he has mixed Senani’s songs ‘Free’, ‘Voodoo Girl’, ‘A Special Kind of Girl’, ‘No More’, ‘Just Us’ and ‘I Am a Woman’.
The list of top talent Senani is working with is seemingly endless, with Darryl Beaton (keyboard player with Australian music legends such as Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy) and Nikolas Pringadi (session pianist for Human Nature, Stan Walker, Cindy Lauper, Rick Astley and other International acts while in Australia). It all goes to prove that Senani’s music is drawing the interest of some top names in the music industry.
Senani’s success should come as little surprise, given that her mother was Sri Lanka’s most popular actress in the 1960’s and 70’s, also working off screen as a radio singer. She acted as the main star in over 40 films including Sri Lanka’s first colour movie produced by Science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke (Space Odyssey 2000).
Somewhat more surprising though is the fact that, under the advice of her parents, Senani is also the proud owner of a Medical Degree, following in the footsteps of her Father, a retired Doctor.
With medicine in place as an alternative career should her momentum in the music industry stall, it looks unlikely that her degree will be needed – Senani’s increasing international music profile should see to that.
Now producing music for the UK music industry, Kumar Sanu is making waves with his new album ‘Amor’ out June 2nd!
The promo video is an urban feature about his love for women. It has fast beats and crazy camera angles!
Tracks from the album include ‘Tu Ares’ which brings a Caribbean twist to the Indian pop sound and ‘Ek Masoom Ladki’ with a more deep soulful jazz beat to it, accompanied by an upbeat techno edge. The Song ‘wo ho na ho’ is a deep soulful song, sung beautifully by Kumar Sanu in his sweet heart felt soul voice. The song ‘Ashiqui-Ashiqui’ and ‘TERE BIN’ are contemporary number.
Sanu has had previous success with an album in the UK and is now coming back for more. His father Shri Pashupati Bhattacharjee was a prominent classical singer who, after a long career, found his place in Bollywood movies – setting the tone for his son’s career to follow.
Kumar Sanu has now acquired a total of 69 awards over a glittering career including 64 in his native India (from Filmfare, Zee Cine, Kishore Kumarand more) plus 5 internationally (from Sunrise Radio-London, West Indian Academy, Grammy-West Indies, Bollywood Music-U.S.A. and Radio Lotus-South Africa).
The success and undeniable vocal talent has made him one of the highest profile names in Bollywood, an accolade which he has used to give back to willing charities.
The organisations he has helped support include ‘Tsunami Victims Support’, ‘Cancer Research donations’ and ‘school & orphanage development programmes’. Sanu certainly can’t be accused of resting on his laurels. In fact, in 2009, he was awarded the PADMA SHRI award – the 4th largest civilian award it is possible to receive only from the President of India. Also Mumbai, Holland and Zurich hospitals use one of Kumar songs in their treatment of cancer patients!
‘Messing with History’ to follow on double A-side release out July 14th
Having previously performed separately as math rock band ‘You Slut!’ amongst various others, The Four Fours formed out of a creative impulse, writing and producing ‘Count to Ten’ in under a week. The track has garnered considerable attention on the rock scene and is building momentum internationally.
‘Count to Ten’ has a typical rock sound, incorporating heavy guitar riffs, a gritty vocal and anthemic chorus. No stranger to the genre, the contagious track has infused sci-fi influences to develop a more layered piece. The desire to maintain a little mystery and embrace escapism is represented by the baboon masks you often find the band wearing as a way to separate themselves from reality.
The trio have all been members of other bands who have supported artists such as Bloc Party, Amusement Parks on Fire and MaybeSheWill. As well as recording in acclaimed studios, Rockfield Studios in Monmouth (The Stone Roses, Kasabian, Black Sabbath), and The Townhouse Studios in Shepherds Bush (Muse, Coldplay, Queen). As a result The Four Fours understand the industry and have had time and experience to perfect their craft and produce tracks of a high quality.
The Four Fours have received a colossal amount of praise for new single ‘Count to Ten’ both online and on radio gaining airplay on stations including: Rocker’s Dive Radio (US), Code Zero Radio (US), Lonely Oak Radio (US), Rock 101 Radio (US), Hull Online Radio (UK), EGH Radio (UK) and UN.radio (UN.sung magazine‘s internet radio show).
Hoping to eclipse their previous successes, the potential for The Four Fours is fantastic and with the release of ‘Messing with History’ on the horizon, 2014 is proving to be an exciting year for the trio.
Russian songwriter offers up 3 track melodic metal release – Out Now
Specialising in rhythmically complex, melodic rock with all the power of metal music but with added tunefulness, Gravity Rain is the new music project of Russian songwriter Danny Klaven.
His new three track EP ‘The Shining Silence’ is out now, and showcases a mix of influences including Tool, Devin Townsend and Staind to name a few. The EP demonstrates a real talent for balancing effective melodies with the power of full on rock music.
Available to stream and download at a price of your choice – visit gravityrain.bandcamp.com – ‘The Shining Silence’ is out now and highly recommended for fans of all types of contemporary rock.
The blended sound of powerful metal music and contemplative, lyrical vocals is summed up perfectly by the EP artwork. Showing an unnaturally huge, stoneborn giant staring at the natural beauty of a growing tree, it demonstrates the mix of ideas that sums up the three songs – the impact of metal music married to the beauty of melody.
In the words of Danny Klaven himself: “When I was forming this band, I wanted to create music for the rock lovers that is not aggressive, that you could think and somewhat meditate while listening to it, that will have a lot of melody, beautiful vocals, but will retain the power of metal guitars and drums.”
It’s an ambition which is more than met with ‘The Shining Silence’ EP – available now online.
After 12 Years on the West End, the hugely popular show, ‘We will rock you’ will be closing for the final time.
Although with 4,500 performances and 6.6 million tickets sold across 12 years, what will the musicians do now?
WELL, THE TIME IS NOW AND THE BAND IS SPACE ELEVATOR!
Some of the Shows musicians have formed a new band called Space Elevator, playing the same type of rock music and unlike the iPlanet, no musical instruments are banned.
The group have played together in ‘We will Rock You’ and have now hooked up with the beautifully bonkers front woman ‘The Duchess’ to form the next best thing in British Rock.
Members from the new band, Space Elevator are asked about the show and their aspirations
When asked why Queen and Ben Elton’s show was such a success, they believe it is simply the Music.
“This is universally known and loved, Queen have so many hits that we would defy almost anyone even almost 30 years after the original four last played live not to know 90% of the Show. The music is loud and the audience gets swept away every night and at the end it’s like being at a rock concert, with the chance to stand up, stomp and clap and go nuts. Queen wrote songs that speak to all classes, all generations. They write songs to be sung on football terraces and also on the West End stage. Every member of Queen has written a top 10 hit. Such a vast catalogue of instantly catchy accessible music! The lyrics are witty and poignant and uplifting. The band in the show sounds so incredible that you get carried away with nostalgia and enthusiasm. Even though most of the vocals sound “musical theatre” the actual band sounds totally authentic and rocking like a Queen concert and that’s why it works. Also it shows great respect to Freddie’s memory. He was the greatest front man ever and this is acknowledged in the story”.
The Space Elevator line up have also worked in other West End shows including Rock of Ages, Rocky Horror, Wicked, Footloose, The Sound Of Music, Flashdance and Quadrophenia but now the focus is on the new music.
A final question was put to lead singer The Duchess…as to whether it was the show that gave them the Space Elevator idea? She commented that
“the music of Queen massively influenced Space Elevator’s sound, Freddie’s voice and Brian’s guitar especially, plus the bombastic theatrical sound of Queen. The song We Are The Losers is a complete homage to the sound of Queen with an obvious nod to We Are The Champions!”
Space Elevator consist of guitarist David Young (We Will Rock You/Curved Air), Elliott Ware (The Who/Rock of Ages/We Will Rock You/Sunny Afternoon) on keys, Neil Murray (Whitesnake/Black Sabbath/Gary Moore/The Brian May Band, We Will Rock You) on bass and Brian Greene (George Benson/Curved Air) on drums along with mysterious lead singer “The Duchess”.
Space Elevator CD is out now – from Amazon, HMV and all good record shops. Cat No SECD1
Renowned blind Indian maestro Baluji Shrivastav brings together this inspiring group of musicians from all over the world.
Baluji who is a world famous multi-instrumentalist and composer has recorded for dance, theatre, Western orchestra, Indian ensembles, Radio, TV and film, with music currently featured in Disney’s newest Film ‘Million Dollar Arm’ starring Jon Hamm from Madmen. He has recorded with celebrities such as, Massive Attack, Madness, Doves, Amorphous Androgynous, and on Shakira’s latest album. He has performed with great artists such as Stevie Wonder and Chris Martin. He also has his own Jazz ensemble Jazz Orient/Re-Orient and has recorded several albums of Indian Classical and fusion music.
This incredible orchestra of talented blind musicians from around the globe celebrates the power of music to transform lives. The Inner Vision Orchestra plays music from Iran, Lebanon, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, Japan, and soulful Gospel and Blues plus sublime Indian Ragas and Western Classical compositions.