Tag Archives: Pop

Get to know: TONICA

We’ve been in conversation with Manchester based electro-pop band TONICA about their roots in music and their new single ‘Save Yourself’ which is out on August 11th. Get the lowdown here:

How did you get your initial start in music?

 

We’d both played various instruments from an early age, but the leap from playing for pleasure to planning a career in music came when we decided to move to Manchester. We met in the city and have been writing together ever since. 

 

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

 

Though I’m sure the industry will change as we progress as a band, I imagine our aim will always be the same – to have our music heard by more people. Whether it’s through a major label, an independent or some kind of self-release, I hope we continue to grow and gain more support with each record.  

 

How long have you been writing your own music?

 

We’ve been writing together for just under a year; though most of the TONICA material was done in early 2017 – I feel like we’re just hitting our stride.

 

Who are your top three influences and why?

 

Speaking specifically about the influences for this band, I’d say…

 

The Weekend – On both a song-writing and production level. The sonic of his tracks perfectly compliments the subject matter, I believe he’s at a commercial & creative peak right now.

 

Honne – They’re a throughly modern band yet their music feels classic, it’s like future-soul. I think we referenced them a few times over the last year, especially when recording/producing my voice. The vocal sounds on Honne’s first album are incredibly rich and satisfying. 

 

Miike Snow – I feel like MS are overlooked. Some of their music is incredible, particularly on the last album. I believe they work as a writing team for numerous pop-acts too. I like that you can hear that mainstream pop influence in the structure and arrangements – it’s definitely something we’re mindful of too. 

 

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

 

The track is called ’Save Yourself’ and it comes out on 11th August. I think the most important thing to know is that it’s our first release. We’ve been waiting to get this record out for a couple of months now and we’re excited to see what the reaction is. It was mixed by Lewis Gardiner (formally of Prides) and mastered by Chris Gerhinger (Drake, 1975). It was an honour to have them work on our debut and I hope the song gets the recognition we feel it deserves. 

 

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

 

We’re currently based in the centre of Manchester. There’s hundreds of great venues in the city, but if I had to name just a few I’d say – Deaf Institute (Oxford Road), Albert Hall (Peter Street) and the Night & Day Cafe (Oldham Street, NQ). 

 

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

 

I went to see a friend’s band called Big Society the other night, check them out. 

 

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

 

https://www.facebook.com/tonicaofficialband/

 

https://www.instagram.com/tonicamusic/

 

https://www.youtube.com/c/Tonicaofficial

 

https://soundcloud.com/tonicabandofficial

Get to know: J.J Leone

It’s easy to simply label a lot of artists as ‘singer-songwriters’, but J.J Leone takes this title to the next level, blending his talented songwriting skills with an easy listening combination of R&B and soul. We were lucky enough to have chat with him:

How did you get your initial start in music?

I was heavily influenced by my older brother’s musical ability as a kid, he was already doing tours when I was growing up but he introduced me to a lot of music and played guitar around me all the time. I looked up to him and still do, so I wanted to learn to play guitar like he could. I picked it up by ear and by watching him, then when I discovered guys like Jimi Hendrix, John Frusciante and John Mayer, they really pushed me to try different things with the instrument. Eventually I moved on to learning the drums, largely due to heavy rock and metal music I discovered, bass guitar and electronic production, which I put down to my love of Hip-Hop. I learnt everything by ear and with no tuition. I never really had a lot of confidence in my voice until I was like 18, and things grew from there!

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I don’t really have an ‘ultimate aim’ or an ‘end goal’ in music, because I’m not creating music to tick boxes along the way or to think: ‘Once I get to this stage, I’ll be satisfied’. I write and perform music because I love it, and the way it can bring people together. ‘Making it’ has different meanings to different people. If someone sits down one day and says ‘I wanna learn how to play Little Wing on the guitar’ and then a year later they can, then they’ve made it! I’m the kind of person who is restless and never really satisfied, so I just want to make music for many years and what will come will come!

How long have you been writing your own music?

I started writing my own music around the age of 14. It was never normally for myself, or I didn’t picture that these songs will have me singing them, or anything would come from them, I just enjoyed it! The first serious music I wrote was for my band when we were 15; we took a couple of them into the studio and we got to open for Suzi Quatro, Hot Chocolate and tour Barcelona amongst other things, so I guess they went down alright! That was the first time I realised that I could possibly get somewhere with my music, so ever since then every lyric, melody and instrumental section has been written by myself!

Who are your top three influences and why?

Stevie Wonder, Prince and Cody Chesnutt. There are so many more great musicians who i really admire, but Stevie Wonder for the simple fact of how long he has been around and stayed at the top of his game. He has made maybe two songs I don’t like in his whole career. Prince because of his attitude and diversity. Not only an amazing musician, who played all the instruments on his tracks himself, but because he was always coming up with something fresh and was an artist who defied genres and boundaries. You could tell he was just in it for the music and didn’t care about critics or any of that stuff. My brother introduced me to Cody Chesnutt a few years ago. He played me his album ‘The Headphone Masterpiece’. Cody really inspires me because he recorded that entire album is his mum’s kitchen, with some really basic recording gear. It taught me that you don’t have to have this and that costing x amount of dollars or pounds to put your message out there, he had a real DIY attitude, something I’m trying to apply to my own music.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

I suppose I would just like people to know that everything you hear on ‘With You’ is done by me. All the writing, the vocals, the instrument, the production. That and the fact that its available NOW WORLDWIDE!

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in Norwich. The local music scene is pretty tight-knit to be honest, every band kind of knows each other. There is actually a lot of singer-songwriters based here too, and a couple of venues that put on ‘Oen Mic’ nights, so there is a really good chance to connect with other artists. Norwich is a pretty artsy place in general, which I like. I’ve played in quite a few places in Norwich, and the county of Norfolk in general, I really like ‘The Owl Sanctuary’ because they are really fair to the artists who play there, its a really chilled vibe.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

There was a rapper I heard a couple of months back called ‘Obongjayar’ (I hope I’m spelling that right!). His stuff is really sick and I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t do some bits in 2017.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with: @iamjjleone. My official website is www.jjleone.com, which has further links to my Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud etc.

 

Listen to J.J’s new single ‘With You’ here:

Get to Know: Music Theory

Know Me Better music managed to get in conversation with emerging Egyptian pop artist, Music Theory, who’s releasing his new track emotive love song ‘Down The Aisle’.

 

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I started writing music when I was about 9 years old. My first song was about 7 lines. It was about a ball rolling down the street 🙂 I was a very shy person growing up. Writing music put me up when I’m feeling down. It helped me release my thoughts and dreams, that I usually couldn’t share. I could be whoever I want in this make believe world, that I create while writing.  As I grew up, I wrote also about experiences and emotions.

My inspiration was all those singers that I grew up listening to. Their ability to make me cry, feel loved or pumped up through their songs was amazing. I wanted to have that effect on people. My dream is to touch people’s hearts.

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up in the eighties and the nineties. I listened to mainstream music. Michael Jackson, REO speedwagon, Sublime, REM, Oasis, NKTOB, Boys 2 Men, Phil Collins, Bon Jovi, Stock Aitken Waterman, Pet Shop Boys, etc.

I could write an endless list. It was always about the song, not the artist. I always listen to mix tapes, never albums.

I believe that everything I hear influences me.

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

About 30 years. However, my song “Down The Aisle” is my first professional release.

 

How often do you play live?

I never played professionally, yet. I plan to do that in the near future, at a certain point.

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

Band Aid. USA for Africa. It was inspiring and extraordinary. Music can heal and connect the world.  

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

https://soundcloud.com/musictheory2016

https://www.facebook.com/musictheory2016/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNHe1k5TPYkM8EHLiaDkL_w

http://www.musictheory.zone/

http://mtmusictheory.blogspot.co.uk/ 

 

An introduction to Andrea Di-Giovanni

How did you get your initial start in music?

It all started when I was very young, my first piano lesson was at 4yo. It developed into singing also around the age of 8 and then turned into my life around the age of 18. Moving to the UK was though probably what got me massively into performing live with a band and songwriting.

What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

My aim is to help people who went through a very hard time in discovering and accepting themselves for who they really are. I hope that sharing my personal experience and what I’ve learned, can give relief and a friend that knows how it feels to be unaccepted and misunderstood.

How long have you been writing your own music?

I wrote my very first original when I was 16yo in Italian but the very first song I wrote in English is the second single and it happened 3 years ago. From there on I never stopped really.

Who are your top three influences and why?

I listen to all kind of music so it’s very hard for me to pick three but if I had to, they will surely be Sam Smith, Jess Glynne and Jessie J, each one of them for different reasons. I was very impressed by Sam’s lyrics and way of delivering his emotions, very raw and pure; the very 80’s background mixed up with nowadays electronic sounds it’s what I love about Jess Glynne and the incredible vocal technique and ability is what brought me close to Jessie J.

Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

It’s my first single, something quite new from what I normally used to do. It will be followed up by a second single in June and then the EP in July. You’ll get to know very different angles of my soul and a very deep journey into some significant relationshipsI’ve been into in the past couple of years. I don’t wanna say too much as I don’t wanna ruin the surprise!

Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m based in London, in the Fulham area. Here’s it’s full of talented amazing singer/songwriters and it’s so inspiring. From metal to techno, singer/songwriters to powerhouse bands, you get a bite of everything really and it helps keeping your mind wide open.

Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Apart from me, I’d say Becky Arundel, INA SHAI and STORME.

Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

You can hear more of me on my website (www.andreadigiovanni.it/en), my youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/andreadigiovannioff) and my facebook artist page (http://facebook.com/andreadigiovannimusic).

 

 

Interview with Challan

1. How did you get your initial start in music?

I started out dancing and first performed as a dancer. This then lead into me doing a little bit of tour managing for other artists. I would learn a lot form watching them perform and also get some experience from the managing side of the business from a bookings and tourings perspective. Then as I started to take singing more seriously I started  to look for producers to work with and I think my first real effort at producing what I considered complete song was with producer Blaze Billions, on a track called BreaK A Beat (this was never commercially released, just sold on the street as a CD). This was a very good development experience for me, and helped me to understand more of the process that is involved in producing a song and getting it mixed and mastered.

2. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

I love listening to and performing positive music, and to perform a show with other talented musicians that could really effect change, inspire and uplift would be a huge reward. I consider music a wonder medium for touching the heart and uplifting the mind and the more of this we can produce, hopefully the more positive the impact.  

3. How long have you been writing your own music?

I have been writing my own music for over 10 years on and off, but really only started seriously in the last 3 to 4 years.I wrote my first song when I was about 17. I remember being quite pleased with myself that I had managed to pen down something. But since then, I have written all my songs, sometimes with a little bit of help and direction from some other talented writers and performers.

4. Who are your top three influences and why?

God & Jesus Christ

They are my first influencers when it comes to producing music, as I am focused on trying to produce wholesome music to touch the spirit and inspire faith, and so I look at God and Jesus Christ as the best influencers to help me accomplish this. And by this I mean, I look for inspiration for the lyrics and the direction of the music based on the feelings and thoughts I get when I consider them and the task ahead.

Michael Jackson

I watched a lot of Michael Jackson growing up and I loved his passion, singing and powerful performances. I do not consider myself to be like Michael Jackson but certainly aspire to learn from his examples in performance, energy and positive messages.

5. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

Step by Step is a positive uplifting song. There are 10 children that sing on part of the track, and it has a very uplifting pre chorus and chorus with a wonderful catchy hook. The message is positive and I hope it provides a good feeling to those that hear it.

3 Remixes that have been produced to cater for slightly different tastes and genres.

Step By Step – Baltik Weather Studio Remix – Dance

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael/step-by-step-baltik-weather-remix-mp3

Step By Step – Blaze Billions Remix – Dance / Urban

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael/step-by-step-blaze-billions-remix-mp3

Step By Step – Larsmellow Remix – RnB

6. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I am currently based in Nottingham, England. And the local music scene is very vibrant. Some cool venues like Rough Trade, The Maze and Rescue Rooms have a lot of gigs, and there are many more too. 

7. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

There is a local Hip Hop Artist called KC DA Rookee who is a conscious artist. He has produced some fine music.

8. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

Pre-order now: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/step-by-step-single/id1093444648?ls=1

Links:

www.challancarmichael.co.uk

https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael

https://www.facebook.com/challancarmichaelmusic/

https://twitter.com/ChallanC

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCexVQanNA09bzBSj6P4T9ig

https://www.instagram.com/challancarmichael/

Olivia Shafique – Interview

  • How did you get your initial start in music?

I have been singing for as long as I can remember, mainly in the theatre doing musicals. I met my current manager online. We were emailing initially after he heard a song I posted on YouTube, after that we met one evening to discuss what he was doing and what he was looking for. That’s where it all began back in February this year.

  • What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

Of course my aim is to be signed with a label I love, I see myself traveling the world performing and doing festivals. Until then I am working on perfecting my sound and my style.

  • How long have you been writing your own music?

I have been writing music since I was 19. Although I had been singing and studying music from a very young age I only started writing when I attended Italia Conti. Learning chords changed how I did everything. Being able to write my own music became a whole new passion. I loved being able to express my true self through my music, I haven’t looked back since.

  • Who are your top three influences and why?

Without sounding cliché I was a MASSIVE Whitney Houston fan growing up. It was definitely listening to her songs that drove my passion and made me want to be a singer. I would perform her songs at family parties since I was about 5 years old. I still to this day don’t think there is a voice that could match hers.

As I got a bit older I became a massive fan of Eminem, I loved his honest lyrics and growing up in Spain I hadn’t really heard any artists like him before. I list him as an influence because he made me want to be a rapper,( I genuinely did until I was about 13 haha)! Luckily I grew up and realised that probably wasn’t the best idea but I still love his music today and will always be a massive fan.

Lastly I would say The Streets. It was the 1st time I had heard that really English sound. When I first started writing music I would always sing my songs with a strong British accent. I also love that their songs are so honest, something everyone can relate to. Their song Blinded by the Lights is still to this day my favourite song.

  • Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

My current release is the perfect tune for the summer, it’s all about feeling good and picking yourself up. If there’s anytime to listen to it’s now. Its available on iTunes so definitely one to buy if you’re feeling a bit down and want a song to cheer you up.

  • Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

I’m currently still at home with my parents. We live in Staines which of course is well known for ‘Ali G’. In terms of local venues it’s pretty quiet around my area, there are a few bars in Windsor which show live acts on the weekends such as the ticket hall and fire station, it’s always fun to head there and check out the new local talents.

  • Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

As far as my local scene goes there aren’t many up and coming artists that I’m hearing about. I know Disclosure were from a town very close to me in Surrey which is great. It gives me hope to think that if you work hard that one day you will make it no matter where you’re from or who you know!

  • Give our readers a roundup of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

You can find me on Facebook for anything music related on my fan page. I also have Instagram and Twitter which will give people a more personal insight into my life as well as all things music. And of course any performances/songs and videos I do will be posted on YouTube.

OLIVIA MY MUSIC COVER

Good Guy Dies

Good GD

  1. How did you get your initial start in music?

For Cherry, it all began when she was little girl, standing on a chair singing to entertain family members at informal get-togethers.

For Joe, it was seeing old footage of Rory Gallagher playing live on RTE back in N. Ireland. He then proceeded to beg his father to buy him his first guitar.

  1. What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?

       To headline Madison Square Garden, win song of the year at The Grammys and then play a gig at Folsom prison.

  1. How long have you been writing your own music?

Cherry has been writing songs since childhood, and Joe since the moment he picked up a guitar.        They started writing together in 2012.

  1. Who are your top three influences and why?

Cherry explains that her idols are “Bjork, because she doesn’t give a damn about being crazy, Tori Amos for the way she makes love to the piano when she plays it, and Jonathan Davies from Korn for his voice, his honesty and his intimacy.

For Joe it was “Gary Moore, because in my humble opinion he was the greatest guitar player ever to pick up the instrument; Rory Gallagher because he was a fantastic player and an incredible frontman- his shows were electrifying; and Phil Lynott because he had spellbinding stage presence, was a great songwriter and an amazing romantic poet.”

  1. Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?

The single ‘Hit Me Back’ is based on a story of a relationship which spirals into domestic violence and confronts the idea that love can be expressed in a relationship through violence. This has been drawn from Cherry’s background, as that particular belief is rife through many Eastern European relationships – a saying in Russia being “if he hits me, he loves me”. This song is a rallying cry from Cherry and Joe, to women all over the world to stop hiding their abuse.

  1. Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?

The band are based in London. Cherry lives in Hoxton where she describes the scene as “vibrant, brave and experimental” and  Joe lives in Brockley, where there’s a “small, intimate scene”. The guys’ favourite venue they’ve played to date is the 229 in Great Portland St and the oddest one was at a deserted airport in Riga, Latvia, as part of a midsummer night’s carnival.

  1. Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?

Joe says “As far as new bands go there’s an outfit called Speaks who are a hardcore hip hop outfit from Brighton, who are really nutty, very experimental, and bring rock guitars into the mix.” Cherry says “I really like FKA Twigs, she’s got a certain poise, sexuality and elegance.” 

  1. Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.

www.facebook.com/goodguydies

www.twitter.com/goodguydies

The guys release their debut single “Hit Me Back” on Fri 14th November with the accompanying video. It’ll be available to download exclusively from itunes.

You can also catch Good Guy Dies live at the following shows.

Fri 31st October: The Enterprise, 2 Haverstock Hill, Camden, London, NW3 2BL. Onstage 8.15pm

 Saturday 15th November: The Scala, 275 Pentonville Rd, King’s Cross, London, N1 9NL (supporting Primal Scream and The Libertines). Stage time TBC.