Kiesza is one of those artists whose backstory is almost too perfect. The Canadian native has a past that reads like something from a romantic novel. Starting out singing folk songs while she helped sail a 132-foot yacht from Victoria to Hawaii? Check. A former Miss Universe Canada entrant? Check. Almost joined the navy? Check? A synchronised swimmer? Double-check. It’s the kind of CV that makes life easy for lazy hacks like yours truly, so much so that you can’t help but be a little suspicious about it. We’ll probably find out that she’s actually a failed X-Factor contestant from Stourbridge at some point, but let’s take her claims at face value for the time being.
If Kiesza’s personal history makes her a shoe-in for stardom, at least she’s backing things up on the musical front. ‘Hideaway’ employs its slinky house grooves and Kiesza’s undeniably compelling vocals to impressive effect. Smooth and swishy through most of its running time, it even manages to pop in a cheeky honking crescendo before it winds up. If the whole things sounds pretty effortless, it’s something that was reflected in the track’s genesis.
“It’s a crazy story,” Kiesza told Planet Notion. “I was just about to head to the airport to board a plane to LA. At the time, I was in New York and I was going to head out there as my writing was picking up. I was ready to board a plane and Rami – the producer I work with – had started working on this track in the studio and it sounded really cool. It reminded me of a lot of the people that I’m into, so I asked if I could jump on the mic before I had to go. The entire song just came out. Everything you hear was finished in an hour-and-a-half. It just poured out. I nearly missed my flight; it was like a scene from a movie. Two days later, I get this call from Rami saying, ‘I think you need to come back to New York.’ That’s when I knew I’d found a sound that really worked for me. I ended up going back there and working on more tracks. The rest is history.”
It should also be noted that the ‘Hideaway’ EP comes with a cover of the immortal ‘What Is Love?’ by Haddaway. It has to be worth picking up for that alone.
In a comparatively short time, Disclosure – otherwise known as brothers Guy and Howard Laurence – have successfully conquered the musical landscape with their 21st century take on velvety deep house. Yet for all their hits, festival appearances and Grammy awards, there are those that have a bit of a problem with them, largely because they had the temerity to achieve all this whilst being unacceptably youthful.
They weren’t even born until the early 90s! The bloody cheek. While ‘proper’ house heads were gurning their way around warehouse parties, smashed off their boxes on ecstasy pipes, these two hadn’t even bothered to be conceived. It would be enough to make you absolutely furious, if your depleted levels of serotonin hadn’t already turned you into a sullen, emotionless robot.
Anyway Grandad, Disclosure are almost comically unconcerned with your objections.
“I don’t really care if people don’t think that I’m a deep house artist,” Guy told Interview Magazine. “I know what I know, I’ve got the record collection, I know what’s in it, I know the artists that I love and the DJs that I love, you know? I could give you a big list of names if you wanted, but I like to think that you don’t need to hear that list of names. I think that people can hear it in the music. You can, in all the drum sounds that we use and the bass lines and the synths. I think it’s obvious to anyone that we know about house music and we know where it comes from. Someone tweeted me the other day, just being like, ‘Oh, I bet you don’t even know who Derrick Carter is,’ and it’s just like, of course I know who Derrick Carter is! Ugh, it just makes me angry a little bit. But there’s no point in getting stressed over it, because I know the music that I love.”
So that’s that.
Interestingly, ‘F For You’ was the only song on Disclosure’s debut album ‘Settle’ that featured Howard’s vocals. Wonder how the poor lad feels about being replaced by Mary J Blige?
The year 2014 already promises to be a year when charming, enigmatic vocalists take centre stage. From the BBC’s Sound of 2014 winner Sam Smith to critic’s favourite Kwabs gaining much attention. UK music finds itself in a season where it is producing the finest songwriters in recent memory. Adio Merchant aka Manchester based act Bipolar Sunshine, is another name that has surfaced in recent times; a former frontman for the mid noughties group Kid British, the singer has since gone on to pursue a solo career which has blossomed thanks to his encapsulating, eclectic productions and heart-warming tones.
“Where Did The Love Go” is a tear drenched, emotional composition by Bipolar Sunshine that expresses his pain at seeing a woman’s reluctance to love again. Beautifully performed amidst its grey and somewhat depressive backdrop, the new single is the perfect introduction to the songwriter who is currently in the final stages of preparing his forthcoming album. So far, Bipolar Sunshine has already released a handful of solid projects, including the EP, “Drowning Butterflies”, which received solid reviews from music publications Guardian Music and NME. The EP featured the lead single “Love More, Worry Less”, a track that was played frequently on BBC Radio 1′s specialist shows. Speaking to music publication Soul Culture earlier this year, the Manchester prodigy spoke on the reason for “Love More …” being the first track released.
“I was pretty optimistic when we were choosing the lead song off the EP. I was just thinking, ‘You know what, I like the song’ – and like I say, it’s too difficult to think which one everyone’s gonna like or which ones the radio’s going to like”.
Merchant also gained media coverage for his unique recording experience with D&B group Rudimental last year when the two acts recorded a new song from scratch in 24 hours. Bipolar Sunshine will be supporting the Hackney collective this Februaryand will then go on to headline his own tour later this spring.
Turning to a 2013 summer anthem to create his latest banger, south London’s Grime and Hip Hop star Sneakbo takes on Tujamo and Plastik Funk’s epic riddim “Who”, recreating it to make new track “Dr. Who”. The Brixton resident flips the House favourite into a raucous Grime affair, with the rapper’s raspy vocals barking with machismo over the infectious instrumental.
Emerging in 2012, the south Londoner wasted no time in making a name for himself, releasing numerous underground gems and guest appearing on tracks by L Marshall and African star D’Banj. Prior to “Dr Who”, Sneakbo has shown his ability in making crossover singles, with tracks such as “The Wave”, “Zim Zimma” and “Ring A Ling” dominating both the clubs and commercial radio collectively.
“Who” took the club scene by storm last year, as producers Tujamo and Plastik Funk hooked up to collaborate on a number of tracks to get the Ibiza crowd pumped during the summer months. This monster hit proved to be the standout cut, with the track receiving several spins both on the dancefloors and on the radio. Both DJs have remained favourites within the popular European House and Dance circuits, and the success of “Who” will inevitably lead to greater worldwide exposure.
“Dr. Who” will get its official release in March, after debuting on BBC 1Xtra DJ Mistsjam’s show back in January.
The internationally acclaimed DJ and Producer David Guetta get’s the carnival juices flowing with his new single “Shot Me Down”. Sampling the haunting Cher/Nancy Sinatra composition “Bang Bang”, and flipping it into a more colourful affair, the worldwide star brings highly touted singer/songwriter Skylar Grey to recreate the ominous tones of the 1960′s favourite.
Having accomplished so much within the last ten years (including two GRAMMY Awards) David Guetta has become one of the most recognised names in dance music, having charted in several continents, in addition to working with the biggest stars in music. Rihanna, Flo-Rida, and Kelly Rowland are just some of the names the French superstar has collaborated with, whilst names such as SIA and Skylar Grey highlight Guetta’s fondness of recruiting the best writers for his works.
Whilst the profile of Guetta resides on the A-List, there is still a sense of mystique that surrounds the guest singer of “Shot Me Down”. Having featured on tracks by Dr Dre, Eminem and Lupe Fiasco, Skylar Grey (real name Holly Hafermann) has kept such a low profile that it even surprised Guetta when they first met. Grey told Billboard.com about their encounter. “We met at a sushi restaurant in LA … I guess he thought I was really unattractive and overweight. He’s like ‘oh, you’re not fat and ugly we can keep you on the song!” Although taken aback by the “Titanium” hitmaker’s choice of words, the 27 year old was quick to quash any potential rumours of tension, adding “He’s actually really fun to work with”.
Gradually making his way from the underground circuit to daytime radio, Tom Wilkinson, better known as Wilkinson, has been earmarked as one of the names to take centre stage in 2014. The solo producer delivers a subtle and slick new dance cut in “Too Close” that features Detour City’s vocalist Tabitha Benjamin, who offers a melancholic performance that adds soul to the impressionable release. “Too Close” is accompanied by a somewhat dark video, which explores themes of loneliness and love, and helps to add visuals to Benjamin’s verses of her pain stricken heart.
Producing and song-writing since the age of 16, the low profiled Wilkinson’s talents were spotted by fellow DJs Andy C and London Elektricity which led to further opportunities. The year 2013 proved to be Wilkinson’s breakthrough year, releasing his debut album “Lazers Not Included” as well as the huge single “Afterglow” which featured The Voice contestant Becky Hill.
Already being given props by I-D Magazine and BBC Radio 1Xtra, “Too Close” could provide Wilkinson with a crossover hit for 2014, as the likes of Rudimental and Disclosure proved that specialist acts could dominate the mainstream.
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