Perhaps seeing the film Beasts of The Southern Wild last week has left me particularly sensitive to talented young ladies who appear to walk bravely alone through their own worlds, but I've watched this video at least five times now and each time it leaves me grinning. Another collaboration between the brilliantly original visual artist Rainbowmonkey and equally talented producer Débruit, this short film brings out the magic in one of my favourite songs "Cuivrée", taken from his debut album 'From the Horizon'.
I first came across Tawiah back in 2008, when hardly anyone was self-releasing EPs or making the kind of music she made. Her "In Jodi's Bedroom" EP felt like it was part of the start of something so exciting in our music scene, at the time I could name the artists I knew of who sang in a London accent on one hand. I must have gone to see her live more than ten times, and hoped that one day I would book her.
Four years on, in a period of relative quiet to the outside world (writing a really good album takes time!), my partner in crime and resident DJ Eric Lau and I asked Tawiah to come and perform at the C.A.M.P., hoping we could do her justice. My favourite part of running a night is always soundcheck. The band might be a little stressed trying to tweak and perfect everything at the last minute, but I get a private gig where I don't have to worry about the guest list or whether it will start raining and no one will come. My lasting thought as I watched Tawiah soundcheck, was that I was watching a future star, an incredibly gifted artist who couldn't fail to go on and perform for the rest of her life to thousands of people.
I hope the video shows you even a tiny fraction of the atmosphere Tawiah and her band generated that night.
Confession time: I haven't listened to Zaki Ibrahims' new album "Every Opposite" enough to give a fully formed opinion yet, but what I have heard so far I've liked. The first single "Something In The Water" has become something of a classic in my imaginary DJ sets, and this beautiful second single "The Do" sends my emotions scattering in various directions, settling in somewhat of an uneasy question mark. That abrupt ending forces a repeat. Zaki's voice is so beautiful, and these new songs are the first time I've really heard it in the kind of production that meets it so perfectly.
Szjerdene tends to evoke the same response from everyone I speak to about her, whether it's A&Rs or brand new fans, experimental producers who make albums out of pigs or people who er, don't do that. They all say - *sharp intake of breath* "Her voice!!" It stays with you, as it did with me when I first came across it four years ago.
The single "Blue Lullaby" from her recently released "Patchwork EP" is desperately melancholic, but the beauty of Szjerdene's tone at times made me forget I was sad, and the next moment intensified the feeling almost unbearably. It may have taken her a couple of years to finish and release, but the mark of a good song is its ability to stand the test of time.
The performers I book for Put Me On It Live shows (so far Tanya Auclair, Dego with live band, Szjerdene and Tawiah) make it increasingly difficult to book the next one. I try to catch artists on the cusp of much bigger things, or those willing to do me huge favours, before it's too late and they're selling out huge venues. As I pushed my way through the crowd that night so many people stopped me to ask about Szjerdene and what she's doing next. Working with her gave me the insight that she is very much a perfectionist, so the answer is probably taking her time, which makes it all the more exciting.
This is one of those moments - a Lianne LaHavas, Michael Kiwanuka, Tinashe pre-launch moment.
A friend sent me a video of Kwabena performing an unbelievable cover of "Lost Child" for the Royal Family a while back (or Prince Harry nervously sitting next to Goldie, watch it after the jump). If ever there were a moment for this guy, it's now. There is precious little information about him floating around but I will dig around and get back to you, I promise.
The current funneling of the very best of the 80s (Kate Bush, The Bangles, Fleetwood Mac etc) through the world of alternative pop music by the likes of Niki and The Dove, Gotye, Toro y Moi & co seems to be churning out the musical equivalent of anti-depressants. Without the worrying side effects. The Fox is a particular favourite in my house (ie: enforced listening). After a few weeks of making up my own utterly ridiculous words I looked up the lyrics to this song online, and its up beat power-punch crunchiness made even less sense, if it really is about insomnia.
Download Niki & The Dove "The Fox" here. Happy times.
Sometimes it's worth stopping to think about how incredibly recent it is that an artist could explode this quickly. For some people like Lianne, a natural performer and songwriter, it's a great thing. For a writer so young this song has such a timeless vein of universal truth running through it, which is probably why so many of the Youtube comments involve crying. There's certainly something about the direct to camera delivery that's reminiscent of the horrible moment you catch yourself crying in the mirror and it suddenly feels even worse. Or so I'm told, ahem.
Lianne is currently on tour in Europe throughout the spring/ summer.
Ah, Jessie Ware, the future doyenne of classy British electro-soul or some other such silly made up genre. Whoever is in charge of pop music (Cowell? Guetta? Satan?) please find it in the gaping chasm where your soul should be to make Jessie Ware a great big pop star we can all be proud of. Thanks.