In this instalment it’s a little weighted on the transatlantic artists but of course UK is repped to the fullest as usual with not so much a Future Flavour as a returning Flavour with Big Narstie and a UK camera guy whose tender years are misleading when it comes to his maturity behind the camera-let’s go in.
Triple Threat Trillogy
So first let’s head stateside to New Jersey with a band called Trillogy who have been turning up the heat slowly but surely on their brand and of course their music. In a previous guise they were still a threesome but the then lead female vocalist was someone completely different. Unfortunately the music industry as many know is a rather callous beast but one person’s disappointment is another’s joy and the female vocalist Kira Bishop seems to be the addition that the group needed to form a perfect triumvirate.
There is a real togetherness (whether manufactured or not) in this outfit comprising of Kira, OxPro and JayWill. Hard work and perseverance are evidently paying off for the group with music placements on huge shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kourtney and Kim Take New York and Kloe and Lamar to aid the all-important promotion of their music. Add to that a personal invitation by BET to one of their events because they recognised them as the hottest group at the moment and things are bubbling very nicely.
Musically there’s a clear foundation in hip-hop which allows OxPro and Jay-Will (who also uses his production skills) the opportunity to bring a street flex to the music . Do not let the word commercial stop you from listening because the intention is to bring the street and commercial colliding together in a comfortable marriage and in truth divorce proceedings are no-where in sight because I think it works.
They have been compared to Black Eyed Peas. I would say they maybe are somewhere in between Black Eye Peas in their original guise as a proper hip-hop outfit (without Fergie) and their present outlook where BEP are one of the most successful groups of all time. Of course Trillogy have a long way to go before their achievements reach those heady heights. There’s a real club feel to all their tracks that calls for party up vibes and a beautiful sunset as a backdrop as you enjoy your nights in hedonistic fun but it’s not all fun and indeed they are just as comfortable getting a little more socially conscious.
So their latest release an EP Trillogy Live at Stadium Red is the obligatory banger with cool cuts like the bass driven Ultimate High with a bit of the Lil John about it to the feature with Godson For You with a tinge of rock thrown in it’s all big and special so watch out-Trillogy coming very soon I expect.
The sultry Jenna Andrews
So we are still staying stateside and we go to the extremes in terms of genres from dirty bass driven hip-hop with Trillogy to Jenna Andrews whose a soulful vocalist who brings a pop driven sound that caresses rather than blasts-check one of her early successful tracks Tumblin Down.
It’s a romantic story of hardship in the pursuit of a dream where she lived in her car for a few months unable to afford housing she spent the time learning the guitar and writing songs. 7 months after that bold decision Jenna found herself in the office of the management for Nelly Furtado and Tamia and twenty four hours later Jenna was signed to Island. “I talk to the little girl in me or other young women that are dealing with similar things, to remind them that your dreams can come true if you have hope” she states.
It’s unusual in this day and age that this can happen but it did and now Jenna is dropping her seven track debut EP Kiss and Run on Island Records and the first cut off that EP is the title track with an intriguing video, Kiss and Run
With her inspirations steeped in jazz and RnB/soul with figures like Donnie Hathaway and Carole King she is unsurprisingly soulful. She has supported the UK’s very own soulful talent the awesome Marsha Ambrosius and the chances of supporting or working with her stable mate Nelly Furtado surely must be on the cards after she performed at Furtado’s album launch.
Of course nothing is guaranteed in music but with stripped down performances like this one of a John Mayer cover Waiting On The World To Change (2006) her class is assured.
Kiss and Run out in November
Big Narstie-(Flavour Ditto collaboration)
Next up we head full steam to London for a guy who is not so much a Future Flavour but a returning flavour (if you forgot him see his SBTV freestyle below)
If you know grime and the charismatic characters that make up the scene then you will know that Big Narstie is probably one of the biggest characters known for embracing his size and clowning around to an extent but behind that is a fierce verbal emcee. He’s been in the scene for a strong minute but he had been a little quiet by his standards and indeed his self-deprecating, humorous side was missed but hey Narstie is back.
His newest release is his EP Pain and from the moment that Narstie opens with All The Things Above with its hauntingly simple piano rift followed by its equally haunting female vocalist and that familiar grime influenced beat you know Narstie means business-indeed this opener sees Narstie on a more serious flex. He details life in London town with all the social issues that pertain to the diverse and sometimes hard LDN. It’s a brilliant cut that has that anthem sound about it like Devlin’s London City (2009) in some respects.
In truth the whole EP follows on from his highly successful prior mix-tapes. He mixes in heavy metal on Grinding but then hurtles us into a rave influenced sound on High and Drunk.
The title track Pain is quintessential fire. Also check Ultra Gass which evidently sees Narstie back in his more playful mood.
Big Narstie is back and look out for him possibly featuring on Ed Sheeran’s up and coming EP if that happens then 2013 may well be the year to get Narstie!
Pre-order link for Pain http://itunes.apple.com/gb/preorder/pain-ep/id558322211 @BigNarstie
Look out for the arrival of Rival
At twenty-two Rival is a young guy but he has been working feverishly to get his name up there with some of the heavyweights of the grime fraternity for a small bit of time. It seems however that the heat was turned up in 2011 and 2012. He is taking things back to grime’s real origins with all the tense on the brink of busting you up verbal delivery that made and makes grime so popular
His cv of collaborative work is now reading like a who is who of UK verbal dons-Lioness, Dot Rotten, Ghetts and now Big Narstie, J2k and Mercston who feature on the remix of his latest cut Late Nights Early Mornings.
With freestyles for some of the biggest urban purveyors like SBTV and Grime Daily-Rival is setting a foundation for a really productive 2013.
He will live a long life that LifeLines (Flavour Ditto collaboration)!
Lifelines is another talent from the West London area. You may not know the name LifeLines but work with names like Etta Bond, and Shakka then the likelihood that this guy will soon be on the national stations is high. Of course association can be misleading and it is of course no guarantee of talent but in this case Lifelines has all the signs that he could be a major artist. Indeed he could be the catalyst for a slight shift in the UK musical scene in terms of the music that reaches the upper echelons of the charts; his music is hip-hop, rnb devoid of the dance formula.
Lifelines has been producing from a young age initially using his mum’s vinyls on a makeshift production programme (as his bio states) to create his own remixes. The influences of his mother’s musical tastes are clearly evident in his EP One Love with samples from HUGE classics from the 90’s and further back. Of course anybody can sample it’s how you put the samples together but I think that the real deal is his wish to use these old samples. I really think that this love for old skool classics and of course the fact that he is an artist very much of now will see people hankering for his productive skills because he is coming at music from a different (not necessarily new) place.
With a double threat he raps over the top of his production with playful wordplay reminiscent of the 90’s but he’s no clean cut Will Smith whose hardest curse would be “darn” with a moderate scowl so as not to offend too much-one of his tracks has a title with an animal theme or to put it another way another word for cat (meowww)! The playfulness however should not distract from the fact that Lifelines can lay down some weighty verbals.
One Hope (download his EP from Soundcloud here) is his current EP and like its predecessor One Love it is evidently setting out his stall as an artist very different from the artists currently- he seems to be wanting to bring old skool flavours with new skool swagger (check his flex with Etta Bond by the way). Incidentally this is early stages for him but the early signs are very exciting.
The final EP of the trilogy, ‘One Faith’ will be coming before Christmas and then they’ll be a slew of video’s to accompany the album which sources behind closed doors tell me is going to have some incredible features.
Until that time, check out the visuals for his track ‘Loves Crazy’ feat Angel from the One Love EP which uses an old skool sample from the huge Anita Baker classic Sweet Love (1986)
Third EP, ‘One Faith’ is due before the end of the year which will be followed by an album.
Kelly Erez-Flavour Of The Old School
Ok so following on from Lifelong who is bringing that 90’s flex we go to a lady that is doing something similar with her soulful, ballad, RnB vibes that made the 90’s so delectable.
Kelly Erez is an East London lady whose influences are entrenched in those vibes that made people like R Kelly, Mariah Carey, Aliyah, and others icons of then and now. With plays and support coming from 1xtra since early 2011 and a feature in the Blues and Soul magazine she seems to be touching a pleasant nerve with a whole host of people.
After a period of time where she gained a huge amount of followers for her note perfect covers check this cover of the UK rock outfit Whitesnake classic Is This Love 1987 Kelly finally drops her album written and produced (bar one or two tracks) solely by Kelly and her sister and it is a powerful benchmark of an album.
It’s slow jam heaven with flexes like Hand On Heart or Come To Me which has that same feel you get when you hear a bit of Brian McKnight-also really loving I Don’t Mind which is a totally soulful cut.
This album is evidently a true representation of Kelly’s musical tastes and so do not expect anything other than a total submersion in emotional RnB /soul songs that talk about love and relationships. This I hasten to add is her debut so do not for one minute think that she is a one trick pony she wants to experiment (I am well informed) and show diversity but for now her concentration is on this present album.
Watch out for Kelly Erez if you want something a little different 500,000 views of Kelly`s social media posts in just the past month say people do want something a little different!
Come To Me released 5th November
http://store.kellyerez.com (CD exclusively available from Kelly`s official store only)
She is Laura Mvula
So from one female vocalist to the next with Laura Mvula whose musical journey started to an extent with a spell as a composer at the Birmingham Conservatoire so that already indicates that she might be a bit special and she is.
Mvula is wonderfully different bringing a distinctive vocal and a sound that would be best described as something brilliant.
She’s no newcomer to an extent having been part of a jazz/neo-soul band called Judy’s House where she sang lead vocals and importantly wrote the entire band’s original material. She is evidently somewhat mercurial and she is rocking the whole ambiguous thing with very little if much information about her around (maybe I should try harder to find some).
Her website is a blatant tease it has two sections-‘Watch Video’ and ‘Find Out More’. The latter section basically asks if you want more info but when you click on there you can only leave your email and some info on what you want to know-for me I want to know basically everything! The section for the video builds on the teasing and offers up her latest material She which is engaging to say the least I replayed this a number of times.
It’s a track that seems to mix an orchestra, church feel all held together by Laura’s rousing jazzy vocals-it’s enigmatically different!
You really need to keep a watch on this lady. She has the managerial backing of Kwame Kwatten who has helped launch artists like Shola Ama and Master Shortie but this aside Laura is destined for huge things. I would not be surprised if she is nominated in some music competition- I know a bit early but I am going to stick my neck out!
Lights, camera-Hamish Stephenson.
From music to a young director and video producer whose work ethic and huge talent will undoubtedly be in demand. Despite still attending school, Hamish has shown amazing fortitude, strength and maturity to achieve what he has so far. Hamish is already set to have an influential and marvellous career behind the camera lens having worked with hot and creative artists like Vince Kidd (who featured in Flavour a little while ago) and Hatty Keane this is evidently just the tip for this young guy whose professionalism is second to none.
From a commercial perspective he is making all the correct moves working on such big names as Evisu and Miko Spinelli- watch out for the talented Mr Stephenson and holla at him on the below links for his services.
Ditto Flavour Partnership
You may have noticed that on a couple of the featured artists the name Ditto. Well this is Flavour/Ditto partnership where we can offer budding artists like you the chance to get your music out there.
So who are Ditto Music? Well they are world’s leading independent digital distributor, helping over 30,000 artists get their music in every major store including iTunes, Amazon and Spotify to name but a few. More than just getting music live they help out on chart campaigns, offering advice to help music go further and for the relevant artists can potentially provide coverage in the biggest publications, including the likes of MTV and MOBO.
Past clients for Ditto have been Lady Leshurr, Grammy nominated Jon B, A Dot, Z Dot, Ice Kid, Mike Hough, Shystie, Context, Kof, StayFresh, Blizzard and a host of others
In terms of the Flavour partnership there will be the opportunity for exposure in the monthly Future Flavours column, a possible full interview and feature in the main magazine and the chance to take part in the Flavour Live event where you can perform in front of an audience brimming with industry heads.
So to launch this exciting collaboration between Ditto and Flavour we are offering a chance for only one person/band a free chart breaker package which includes distribution, chart registration in the US, UK, a sms keyword, pre-order function and of course a performance at the next Flavour Live event.
The giving does not stop there. If you release your music through www.dittomusic.com and use the Special Offer code HARJOTXL you will be entitled to free distribution to Amazon, Spotify, eMusic, 7Digital & Rhapsody!
So for a chance to win that main prize send through your music, a picture, bio and a short bit of info on highlights of your career so far to firstname.lastname@example.org
The competition ends on the 03 12 12 but the offer code is a permanent feature.