BPSOCA have just released one of the best dance songs of 2021 that is destined to be inescapable across Bluetooth speakers this summer. BPSOCA music is a British record label that aims to bring Caribbean soul music back to the UK Charts. ‘Djèn Djèn’ has an irresistible pounding melody which is difficult to get to leave your subconscious once you’ve heard it. The track has some of the best vocal delivery that I’ve heard all year that complements the track’s narrative of the experience of the women’s perspective at a Soca Fate (Party).
The music track was fittingly produced in Trinidad, which allows the song to transcend Caribbean culture and transports the listener onto an energetic Caribbean beach.
BPSOCA Music have been heavily influenced by other Caribbean artists such as ‘Major Lazor’, ‘Machel Montano’ and ‘Bunji Garlin’. They have kickstarted the Caribbean soul revolution by releasing ‘Djèn Djèn’, and I am eagerly anticipating what other plethora of musical soliloquies they will craft to benefit music lovers.
Singer-songwriter Abraham Trai releases debut single ‘The One‘, and it’s super special. A debut single always needs to stand out from the crowd, especially the oversaturated music industry today, and Abraham’s debut lives up to any expectations you might have had. Inspired by the likes of soulful singers such as Adele, Sam Smith and Lewis Capaldi, Abraham Trai is armed with a distinctive vocal ability and could easily be the next big thing in the soul genre.
Written with Louisa Glanville, ‘The One’ showcases Abraham’s delicate vocals with an intricate piano line. Capturing the heartbreak of losing a loved one, this sadly relatable single is breathtaking. Writing songs about his personal experiences in life, ‘The One’ is taken from his forthcoming album, expected in 2022.
Series 9 X Factor finalist Melanie Masson releases her new single ‘Seasons‘ into the wild. Following in the footsteps of her exceptional debut cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’, her second single ‘Seasons’ is also a cover; this time Melanie puts her unforgettable twist on Future Islands’ anthem ‘Seasons (Waiting on You)’.
The artist has already received praise from the band themselves, with bass player William Cashion hailing it as ‘a beautiful version’. Produced by renowned producer Tristan Longworth, ‘Seasons’ is armed with a northern soul arrangement that will leave you dancing around your house.
“I loved the melody and lyrics to Seasons and really connected to it. It felt very reflective yet optimistic and that’s the mood I wanted to create for the video. I wanted to send out a positive message. It feels like we’re all in the same challenging situation right now. We all have our struggles, our ups and down but there’s always hope. It’s about hanging on to what’s important, taking strength from that and holding onto the belief that better days are coming. It’s a message to everyone to hang on in there.” – Melanie Masson
A soulful rendition that lives up to the original, Melanie Masson’s ‘Seasons’ is warm and feels like summer’s come early.
A collective quite unlike any other you’ll come across, The Fabulous Red Diesel are innovative and creating music without a specific label. Quirky and armed with everything you’d want from a ‘soul meets jazz collective’, ‘The Queensbury House Sessions’ is for fans of Madeline Peyroux, Joni Mitchell & even Frank Zappa.
With leading single ‘Butterfly Mind’ telling the tale of how true love remains a constant factor in life, no matter where your mind may drift to. On the release, vocalist Kat Lee-Ryan mentioned, “it’s about the way my brain works and the way music flits from one person to another, changing their perception (hopefully for the better) by tiny inspirational touches. And then it’s also a love song – I am married to the drummer and I’m saying no matter how many twists and turns and expansions my mind has, I am always grounded in him – you know I’ve got a butterfly mind but I settle on you.”
Uplifting and showcasing real potential in the world of soul-jazz and even funk and hip-hop, The Fabulous Red Diesel are a band that should be on everyone’s playlists.
Written by composer John Young while waiting for a long-haul flight – that’s one way to kill some time!
New single ‘Killing Time‘ by soul singer Laura Mitchell is a melancholic number that channels refreshing soundscapes while holding onto a nostalgic presence. Like something you’d hear straight out of the Love Actually soundtrack, this familiar yet authentic piece of music will pull at your heartstrings.
‘Killing Time’ features pianist David Bennett and Laura Mitchell’s jazzy vocals. Mainly working in the wedding industry, Laura’s no stranger to the stage, and connected with ‘Killing Time’ instantly.
“I didn’t see this coming or work towards it. I am in a wedding band. At weddings, many people ask, ‘Do you perform you own stuff?’ or ‘You should go on X Factor’ – I didn’t have plans for that. I used to write music in my teens but worked off most of that angst and sadly stopped writing music when I started learning about it at Uni. I suffered from stage fright for a long time, but through the wedding band, the ability to put on the dress and heels and become a rock star – singing other people’s songs, I become someone else. It’s nice for me to become vulnerable again with a chance to show off the softer side of my vocals.”
Killing Time is out now, and deserves a place on your playlist.
With over forty years of funk under their belt, Canadian soul powerhouses Crack of Dawn are veterans on the scene.
The titans of Soul have teamed up with the incredible Melba Moore to bring us brand new single Tiempo.
The female flair which Melba Moore adds to Tiempo elevates the tune to a whole new realm. Filled with emotion and pain, Tiempo is a stunning single from this dream team.
Soul diva Melba Moore is a four time Grammy® nominee and winner of the 1970 Tony Award®, for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, for her performance as Lutiebelle in Purlie.
Both a musical and Broadway legend Melba Moore lends her incredible vocal abilities and funky flair to Tiempo. With a massive eleven top ten US hits, Melba Moore is one of Pop music’s most enduring talents.
Crack of Dawn are legends in their own right. The Canadian powerhouses became the first ever Black Canadian band to sign with a major label, having joined Columbia in 1975.
After a period apart, Crack of Dawn reunited for a concert at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre in 2012. The group began working on a new album shortly after; with a lineup of old and new, the soulful legends were back and better than ever.
Tiempo, translating as ‘time’ in Spanish, is a grooving Soul track written by Dennis Nieves and Michael Dunston. Tiempo tells the tale of two lovers needing time to find themselves again after a tumultuous split. A soulful and emotive single, combining some of the best talents in the Soul & Funk genres, this track is truly unstoppable.
Israel Nkeki is set to release his powerful and emotive debut single ‘Moonlight’ on 20th June. The soulful track is poetic, using hard hitting lyricism that depicts Israel’s real life experiences.
Israel Nkeki’s upbringing, to put it simply, was one of a kind. A childhood spent in the gospel choirs of Benin City (Nigeria), but marred by family conflict and constant fighting. As a result a young Israel emigrated to New Cross (London), a lost teenager who found himself spiralling into a life on the streets and eventually prison. Fortunately Israel turned his life around, served his sentence and put his pain into the pursuit of a music career.
With life experience worthy of 100 films Israel Nkeki’s music depicts a rich tapestry that tells his life story. His tracks are soulful, emotive and poetic with hard hitting lyrics that tell it how it really is. His debut single ‘Moonlight’, due for release on 20th June, tells of how our split second decisions can have a profound impact on those around you.
‘Moonlight’ is a contemporary R&B track is full of feeling and soul, we can’t wait for the world to hear it on 20th June.
Military man turned soul songwriter invites you to sample his sound
Originally hailing from New Orleans, JoBee is an American songwriter whose ‘Love Addiction’ EP is now available in the UK. Real name Joseph McKeel, JoBee is a vibrant vocalist who specialises in an on trend falsetto and a melodic nature.
His music, influenced by soul, gospel, jazz and more, creates an immediate pop sound in the tradition of the classic soul singers, while retaining a sheen that is unmistakeably contemporary.
In ‘Love Addiction’, he has created an autobiographical reflection on a compelling, addictive, exciting, and not always healthy, relationship he experienced while he was writing.
Nominated for an Independent Music Award after performing at the Canadian Music Festival, JoBee is now looking to the UK to continue spreading his music. And having featured on the prestigious singersroom.com – an award winning site known for recognising talent – it’s obvious that this is one singer-songwriter with something genuine to offer.
Prior to launching his music career, McKeel is also proud to have served for eight years in the US Army, including tour in Iraq. Now, having swapped the military for the studio, JoBee is an artist with the potential to go all the way.
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.
Ben Okafor is a unique musician who makes roots reggae music and bridges an artistic gap between Jamaican reggae, Afro-pop and UK folk. He has shared a stage with popular music giants like Cliff Richard, Van Morrison and Billy Bragg and has been touring and making new music since 1985.
Perhaps the most pertinent thing about Ben’s music is his political focus and drive for social change. He was born in Enugu in eastern Nigeria with 7 siblings and his early life was defined by the Biafran civil war which erupted when he was 12. He enlisted in the Biafran military intelligence arm known as ‘the Boys Company’ without telling his parents, but luckily missed his mission rendezvous which failed with horrendous consequences. Nevertheless Ben witnessed the fighting, terror and violence first hand and has experienced being in the line of fire. This fraught background coloured some of his musical experiences in writing and in performance. Indeed, his music has such power in his native Nigeria that he has even been threatened not to play “Raise your Conscience” by a Nigerian military general and has had tanks at one of his gigs in Apartheid South Africa.
His music carries messages relating to these experiences and each one tells a fascinating story. It is for this reason that his music has received praise from the likes of Chris Rea, Bono and BBC Radio 2 DJ Simon Mayo and he has played at Glastonbury Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival and the World Music Festival in Copenhagen. Due to his political background Ben has also had the privilege to play at high profile events to influential world leaders such as Archbishop Rowan Williams and Gordon Brown at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, at the ‘Make Poverty History’ Gleneagles Summit and at a Commonwealth leader’s summit with HM the Queen and Prince Philip. He is therefore used to gaining a great deal of attention through his music, he sees his art and art in general as a way of influencing people to do good in the world. He currently runs a charity called ‘Amaka Beautiful Child’ (ABC) which is itself committed to ‘social and personal transformation through the arts’. It aims to use poetry, music, art, drama and dance (all interests of Ben’s) for the sake of social cohesion in order to bring communities together. Ben has been busy working on a number of projects such as the empowerment of young refugees, a campaign to make primary education free for all children globally (UN development goal for 2015), and the creation of a physical space for sociological artistic expression in his home town of Great Malvern.
Ben’s range of life experiences has provided him with some rich insight into the world around him. His albums like ‘Thing with War’ (2003) and ‘Child of Biafra’ (2007) investigate some of the effects of war and express Ben’s own experiences of conflict and violence. Whereas some of his other records such as ‘Nkiru’ (1989) and his most recent album, ‘Diverted Traffic’ (2009) delve more broadly into the human condition, self-identity, and the potential conflicts between artistic expression and a market centred music industry.
In early 2010, Ben’s youngest child was born which naturally took priority and caused him to take some time out from the industry. This didn’t stop him from continuing to write new music that will be recorded later this year for his new album.
Overall, there is no doubt that Ben Okafor is a fascinating musical talent with a rich personal history. Together these two facets of talent and wisdom make for quite a special listen.