I’m not exactly sure how I discovered this highly original band, all I know is that I followed an Internet link and it led me to the Soundcloud page of Irresponsible Recordings where my ears first experienced the epic St Catherine’s Oratory, and I have to confess I haven’t been quite the same since!
Taken from their excellent EP Once on the Grand Union, this track has it all in abundance: charisma, energy, foot-stomping goodness and above all originality. As soon as you press play you are greeted by a violin ensemble which soon transforms into a fiddle-fest straight out of an epic western with a back beat of drums mimicking the canter of a stallion as it turns into a full gallop. The trumpet that follows and the anthemic chorus are led by some magnificent and full-of-emotion vocals. This song tells a story, and this story really comes alive when you watch the video which accompanies the song.
A huge welcome to our new followers, listeners and readers. Today is the 1st September 2014 and a perfect opportunity to start a series of daily posts shining the spotlight on some of the outstanding independent emerging musicians which I ‘discover’ on a daily basis.
The music industry is going through unprecedented change and as more and more platforms continue to emerge broadening the choice of ways to consume music, more and more artists are able to produce high quality music often from their own bedrooms, and the choice of music has become as vast as the ways to access it. This has created something of a paradise for music lovers, especially lovers of new independent music, and at the same time a massive challenge for artists to get noticed amongst all the ‘noise’.
Through these posts as well as the Under The Radar Live Sessions which I produce and present on Internet Radio, I hope to help some of these artists reach new audiences and in turn grow their fan bases. The artists featured have been hand-picked by me, I do not welcome unsolicited CDs or approaches from artists, instead I purposefully go out and look for new artists using a variety of sources and platforms. I do not look for specific genres or styles, but I am strongly attracted to original, quirky, unusual songs.
I hope you enjoy these posts and of course the featured artists. I would very much welcome any thoughts, comments and feedback and if you discover a new artist you enjoy and decide to purchase their music or attend one of their gigs, it would be a tremendous honour if you let them know you found them through these posts.
I first ‘discovered’ Harriet through a new platform called Richer Unsigned which is the brainchild of Julian Richer, the founder of Britain’s largest and most successful independent HiFi retailers. Her song ‘Afterglow’ is one of those songs which made the hairs at the back of my neck stand on end as soon as the first few bars and Harriet’s sultry voice gently caressed my ear drums.
Harriet is a young singer song-writer based in London. Her distinctive voice and her song-writing caught the attention of producer Steve Anderson, who has worked with a host of well established global artists and was originally one half of the famous remix/production team Brothers in Rhythm. Steve has managed to capture the essence of Harriet’s voice, personality and songs and taken her to the same high level as some of the world-class superstar artists he has worked with.
Afterglow is a collaboration between Steve and Harriet which is taken from Harriet’s debut EP ‘What’s Mine Is Yours‘ featuring three original songs which have been expertly produced by Steve and beautifully sung by Harriet.
Although Harriet’s voice and style are reminiscent of the great late Karen Carpenter, she manages to remain fresh, relevant and original without sounding like an imitator, which is only possible to achieve by being natural, and natural she certainly is.
Expect to hear a lot more about this supremely talented vocalist and song writer, but for now, enjoy these songs and support Harriet by downloading her EP.
For regular followers of Under The Radar Live Sessions the name Aimée will be familiar as the very first artist I ever interviewed back in October 2008 when she was merely 13 years old. In those days Aimee used to perform extensively at open-mic evenings around Hampshire and Surrey accompanied by her trusty guitars ‘Jeremy’ and ‘Jemima’. Her songs were always catchy and expertly written, sung with the passion and conviction of someone much older and experienced than her.
Since then, she has been joined by two of her younger siblings, sister Freya on violin and backing vocals, and brother Ross on cajon. Her sound has developed into her very own brand of acoustic folk with elements of americana, and delicious harmony-laden pop.
Codes is her latest EP, a collection of four tracks, each giving a clear insight into the versatility and sheer creative genius of these three young artists.
Echoes of Celtic chants greet you with Aimee’s opening verses, who is soon joined by Freya on harmonies. The guitar arrangements together with the violin and the beat of the cajon provide a magnificent accompaniment to their vocals.
A beautiful melodic song, oozing sensitivity, hope, and a certain melancholy with a seriously infectious angelic chorus.
A dramatic violin instantly transports you across Europe and to some bazaar in north Africa. This can easily be described as a masterpiece and quite possibly one of the strongest examples of the magnificent artistic creativity of these siblings.
I guess this is Aimée’s very clever interpretation of a rap song, injecting a large dose of urban sound into her song. Classy, sweet, and as ever, driven by a strong melody and magnificent violin and expert percussion.
To summarise, this EP is testament to a very special artist who continues to push the boundaries. Aimée has not exactly found ‘her sound’ but rather she has created her own genre and continues to develop as a singer song-writer and performer of the highest calibre.
You can buy Codes via Aimée’s website, click image below:
Here is Aimée with Freya and Ross performing at the recent Abbotsbury Festival:
This week we have the pleasure of welcoming Dutch songstress currently living in the UK Gitta De Ridder. Eloquent, warm and with a distinctive and rather infectious voice, Gitta left us under no illusions about her musicianship and her undeniable gift for writing heartfelt, melodic and memorable songs.
Introducing Goldie Reed, singer-songwriter from Biggin Hill. We’ve been looking forward to welcoming this talented songstress to our studios for some time now, and her session left us with enamoured with her voice, her charm and natural stage presence. Goldie is signed to small independent label Big I Am music and is in the process of finishing her second album.
I first learned about Sophie Villy following an article from Guardian Music called “Six must-listen new tracks from around the world” where her song ‘Connected’ (reviewed below) was chosen as one of the six songs. This led to an unexpected but very pleasant opportunity to welcome Sophie to our studios for a live session during her maiden visit to London back in February of this year.
Born in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia in the far eastern end of Europe, Sophie has been singing since she was three. Her music is “inspired” by her designer mother, Mila, and influenced by her musician father, David, who used to gather an intimate circle of friends for regular sessions in his “Music Lair” – a room smelling of “autumn, wine and cigars” – at their home.
She started writing songs at the age of 14 and at 16, while studying tourism at high school, Sophie began performing in local clubs with her good friend and talented guitarist Irakli Metreveli, doing covers and original work.
Her second album, ‘Dress,’ is an eclectic collection of twelve lyrical tales taken from real life experiences which consider and reflect a modern reality. Sophie sings about things that really matter to her, not just love, the weather and flowers, but real life topics which affect us all in a deep and very meaningful way. Her voice is pure, sincere and husky.
Recorded in an old Georgian film studio – and with vintage analogue equipment – ‘Dress’ has all the hallmarks of becoming an iconic album and it is certainly worthy of occupying a place in all music connoisseurs album collections.
I have picked four tracks which caught my ears, but in fairness, I have to say each and every track has its own charm, its own magnetism, and its own charisma.
The opening track, starts with interesting, almost tribal percussion, which is soon joined by a very soulful piano and a mellow cello. Just as your ears start to embrace this cacophony of sound, Sophie’s sultry and husky vocals join in and add an element of uplifting melancholy. Her tone is gentle, melodic and she sings with an indescribably delicious accent which has strong Mediterranean, Arabic and Georgian tones. This already very likeable song is further lifted to new levels by the addition of a distant, solemn and rather magnificent trumpet. No wonder this song has received much global attention.
Greets you with a mellow jazz piano introduction. Sophie’s voice is gentle and almost spoken, although she is singing the slightest of melodies. The song is magnificently produced with rich bass, and blends from mellow jazz to very contemporary prog rock which is marked by the distinctive sound of drums and piano, characteristic from this genre.
Man in the Mist
Opens with a gentle but suspense-driven string arrangement. Sophie’s voice delicate and husky as always is accompanied by more strings, adorned with her signature vintage guitar and marked by a pulsating funky bass. Towards the end of the song the tempo slows right down and the bass becomes less funky and more soulful. This is a classy composition expertly produced to a very high standard.
This is a very iconic track, driven by Sophie’s deliciously retro vintage guitar which cries 100% blues and easily transports you to a set from a Tarrantino movie. Her voice is fresh, always delicate and husky, yet it could easily be Jagger’s or Dinah Washington’s. This is another classy tune expertly composed, and delivered in a totally original, engaging and unforgettable way.
Here is Sophie performing ‘Who’ at the Under The Radar Live Sessions studio in February this year
Sophie Villy – Who (Video Under The Radar Live Sessions Feb 2014)
In this audio clip, Sophie reveals how she transitioned from a high-diver to a singer song-writer.
Without a doubt Sophie Villy is destined for great success, she is naturally beautiful, she has a unique style, and there is no denying her natural talent and musical ability. Her lyrics are deep, meaningful and heartfelt, and the twang on her magnificent vintage guitar echoes in your head long after the album has finished playing. Go and buy it now on iTunes or CD Baby
Stacey Skeete, is a London-based singer song-writer with the most exquisite voice. Simple, yet heartfelt songs beautifully sung. Feeling honoured and privileged to have welcomed this enchanting songstress to our studios. Currently putting the finishing touches to her debut EP which promises to be a collection of songs which will captivate, move and inspire you.
Listen to the full session here:
Her stunning single ‘I Forgive You’ is now available for download and you can enjoy the exquisite acoustic version performed live at the Under The Radar Live Sessions studios right here: