Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Raye - Hotbox

Hailing from South London, more specifically Croydon, emerging newcomer RAYE (real name: Rachel Keen) has today announced details regarding the release of her forthcoming debut EP Welcome To The Winter, along with the unveiling of her new song entitled "Hotbox".The EP, which will see its release this coming November, was recorded, written, and co-produced by Raye over the past 18 months, and stands as the first full body of work to come from the exciting young artist.

At only 17 years of age, you would be forgiven for thinking this all might be something throwaway. But Raye is something of an anomaly for a person of her tender age, and is showing early signs of incomparable potential. Brought up in a musical family - her parents met at church - both of them musicians in the parish, her musical heritage goes right back to her Grandfather, who was a songwriter and musician in his own right. Since the age of 10, she's been writing her own music, slowly developing all the time to become the artist she is today. Along the way, Raye has become confidently adept at various different instruments including the cello, flute, and piano, alongside honing her production skills, while also learning the play the guitar.

Music has always been a huge part of Raye's life. Brought up on the classic soul/jazz maestros of the 40's and 50's like Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole etc - this is where her love for songwriting and melody began. Since then her influences, have aligned with the times, citing Drake, and her all time hero Lauryn Hill as huge sources of inspiration.

Welcome To The Winter features 7 tracks, all of which document the thoughts and trivialities of a young adult's life. "Hotbox", written at the age of 15, specifically details an experience Raye personally had. Finding herself on the top deck of a Croydon night bus, she was greeted by a group of 20-somethings who decided it would be socially acceptable to light up a joint, and "hotbox" the top deck. Raye recalls this experience as a moment of realisation, that people at this young age like herself, have to passively inhale a lot of crap, whether they like it or not.

The title track and EP as a whole, revolve around the idea that this time in her life and career is pivotal. Up until now, it's all been sunshine, summer holidays and ice creams, little-to-no worries, few expectations, and limited responsibilities. But now, Raye is having to grow up fast to keep up with her own talent. "When you get to a certain age, everything quickly begins to get very real and cold," she explains. It's time for Raye to throw on that thick winter coat, and dive into the unknown, to be vulnerable, and to immerse herself into the potentially scary world of mass popularity, and equally scary world of critical evaluation.

Raye's subtle take on warm, electronic-infused R&B is one that instantly captivates listeners. Carefully drawing inspiration from a finely tuned set of musical eras, genres, and artists; rarely is it the case that a songwriter and performer at such a young age is capable of delivering such well-rounded, exciting and impressive music. The world is at Raye's feet, and you'd be hard pushed to say she isn't capable of delivering the goods.

Raye's Welcome To The Winter EP will be released as a free download this November, but in the meantime, you can stream "Hotbox", as well as her previous track "Need Me" below.

Premiere via Hillydilly.

EKKAH - Last Chance To Dance

Birmingham-bred, London-based R&B/funk pop duo EKKAH, comprised of longtime friends Rebekah Pennington and Rebecca Wilson have just unveiled the visuals for their infectious new single "Last Chance To Dance", directed by Studio G01 and the title track taken from their forthcoming debut EP scheduled for release on November 24th via Year One Recordings (UK & rest of the world) / Honeymoon (US).

Premiere via Noisey.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kiki Rowe - Kiki Rowe (Mini-Album)

Today our attention seems to be focused on Canada. After having just blogged about Vancouver's Sundays, we now we find ourselves blogging about another one of our favorite up-and-comers, Toronto-based R&B/pop artist Keandra Shan Lal, affectionately known to her fans as Kiki Rowe, who has just released her eponymous debut mini-album. The release features collaborations with a stellar lineup of producers such as DJ Mustard, Maino, Ivan Barias, Austin Paul, J. Oliver, The Avengerz and Adam Pallin (from ASTR), as well as a remix of "Be Alright" from DJ Phresh.

In regards to the album, Kiki says; "The past year of my life has been completely dedicated to making this album. It's the first complete body of work I've ever released, so it's exciting and nerve-racking all in one. I self-titled the album because that was my way of introducing myself to the world."

Download Kiki Rowe's self-titled debut mini-album for free via SoundCloud.

Premiere via Earmilk.

Sundays - Neverland (EP)

Enigmatic Vancouver-based R&B artist known simply as Sundays has just released her second EP titled Neverland, which includes her previously released singles, "Theia Mania" and "Shades of Pemberley" plus another two equally moving and gorgeous new tracks, "The Veil" and the EP's title track "Neverland".

Neverland is available now on iTunes.

Premiere via Hillydilly.

Sonia Stein - Waiting

We've been fans of Shoreditch-based singer/songwriter Sonia Stein for quite a while now. Ever since we first heard her rather impeccable debut offering "Friendly Ghost" we've known that Sonia had something truly special to offer her listeners. However, up until recently we knew very little about about her. Now thanks to Clash, who got the exclusive premiere of her new video for "Waiting", we now know that Sonia was born in Berlin and grew up living in Warsaw, New York and Boston. For us (and presumably for other music bloggers as well), any sort of backstory we can obtain from an artist is indeed important. It helps us better understand what all is going in to the music he/she is making. As for Sonia, her music (as Clash so elegantly put it) reflects both her travels and her inward journey. Built from real experience. - Which is among one of the many reasons why we adore Sonia so much.

Watch the music video for "Waiting" below, produced by Art.War.

Sonia Stein's debut EP Symbol is now available for pre-order on iTunes.