Captivating and relatable DnB, with catchy, melodic hooks. Elizmi Haze has worked hard to perfect her own production skills to canvas a message of solidarity and support for anyone that has been affected by lack of loyalty and respect by a partner. Elizmi shares:
‘This song means a lot to me, i’ve experienced this myself in the past, and watched those close to me also go through this. It’s so important to spread a message that will validate people’s experiences. Emotional abuse is not okay, we often always focus on physical abuse and it’s important we highlight the emotional side also. Not all bruises are visible’.
With the message being so clearly so meaningful to Elizmi, it’s clear that she has worked hard to execute the overall track, with keen attention to detail. Masterfully building suspense with her use of breakbeats, synthesised strings and vox samples, Elizmi’s soaring vocals naturally complete the track, contrasting the deep, driving sub. With sweet piano riffs, like ear candy, she’s created the perfect atmosphere through which to share her message with passion and vigour.
Sometimes only the heavy drops of a track like this are stylistically strong enough to really get your point across. It’s a full and well-produced track- one, that if you can relate, you will belting out the lyrics along with an overwhelming sense of affirmation. ‘That Guy’ would make a comfortable addition to any good DnB playlist. As heard on: Artists Pick.
As the January blues begin to clear, this positive and hopeful track shares an inspiring message, to take time to enjoy the view and look ahead at what’s to come. It’s the perfect pick-me-up, as I walk to work on a sunny Monday morning at the beginning of February! Jewelia’s effortless vocals gloss above a gentle acoustic guitar and piano, narrate reflective verses and an uplifting, pop chorus. The soft indie-folk pop artist proves once again, that sometimes you just can’t go wrong with your acoustic guitar and a catchy hook. “Life is a Highway” feels like a breath of fresh air, with gently flowing guitar, light percussion and carefree vocals make for a heartening song expressing the beauty of the everyday.
London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jewelia creates her own flavour of pop, centred around her recognisable vocals, lyrical charisma and memorable melodies. Her self-produced music has garnered a warm welcome from listeners, with over 1.2 million views on her YouTube channel and a consistent 20,000 monthly listeners. Played on: Artists Pick.
CIRCUS by JULY
This London-based artist is one to watch for R&B, neo-soul fans out there. July feels that he has channelled his true essence as an artist on “Circus”, which really highlights his silky smooth, soulful vocals, reminiscent of Chris Brown and Ne-Yo (I actually had to double check that this really was an emerging artist!).
Not only does “Circus” represents some of the best staple sounds in its genre, but it also brings a fresh wave of innovation and personality to the table.
This is a perfectly packaged R&B track, with a refreshingly simple, clean melody, a good beat and a great performance. July brings so much passion to the table, as well as an obvious ability to combine a diverse range of influences into his tracks, pioneering the modern era of his genre. Played on: Artists Pick
Tokyo is the latest single from Close But No Cigar, following their debut EP ‘The Dance of Venus’. And what a debut. Reminiscent of bands such as Royal Blood, Nothing But Thieves, Foals and Biffy Clyro, this thunderous track is bursting with an impressive array of melodies and riffs across all of their instruments. This high energy, rock-band have masterfully assembled an addictive, stand-out track, that’s as catchy as it is complex. You could listen again and again, focussing on an equally powerful and unapologetic performance on each instrument, perfectly framing their underlying message:
“Tokyo reflects on the struggles one must endure to achieve a goal. When the line looks so far away that it seems almost impossible, like getting to Tokyo, on the other side of the world. The song also reflects on how society imposes its standards and suffocates people’s dreams, leading them to anxiety and psychosis. When society stands against you and the only choice you have is fight or flight”.
This song screams ‘fight’, without a doubt. The energy of the drums, the gnarly riffs and the compressed reverbed vocals build tension in the verses, seamlessly transitioning into an explosively catchy chorus. Decorated throughout with percussive, melodic and vocal acrobatics- everything about this track is impressive. Played on: Unsigned with Matt Wherry; Frequencies with Aisha and Artists Pick.
EXISTENTIAL by HANA LILI
If you’re looking for some new nostalgic, dreamy bedroom pop, Welsh-born and musical all-rounder Hana Lili has got you covered with Existential. Not only is this self-produced, easy-listening track very candid and catchy, it is actually rather vulnerable and emotionally authentic. Hana says:
‘“Existential is a song about having a crisis, how the world works, and the overwhelming feelings and emotions that it creates. “I sleep with the sound on” as a distraction to try and block out the noise in my head so eventually I can sleep, and forget about it all. Writing this song helped me refocus on those smaller steps, and forget about the overwhelming bigger picture that I have no control over”’.
With its ambient, noughties-esque pop production, Existential provides the perfect distraction for us listeners too. The perfect sonic backdrop loose yourself in. To refocus. To forget about the overwhelming bigger picture for a moment. It is no surprise that her music had an unexpected play on Love Island last year, Hana Lili is definitely an artist to watch out for in 2023. Played on: Artists Pick 10/01/23 and Frequencies with Aisha
CIRCLES by CLINTON N.
Clinton N’s track Circles is a relatable, heavy-hitting downtempo electronica track that you will want to turn up. The Ireland-based artist from Hong Kong has been mastering a fusion of chill, euphoric and melodic music across multiple genres. His earlier release “let go” accumulated 300k streams on Spotify within a year of release. No surprises. But, his tracks are never short of surprising little intricacies, which make Circles as ethereal as it is anthemic. Clinton says:
“A lot of the people I’ve seen (myself included) seem to all be stuck in their own daily routines and not really going anywhere in life. We all have our goals, and we try our best to reach them. But I noticed that most of the time we fail to actually follow through and instead just get comfortable and stay in our own daily ‘circles’”.
I feel like this message is perfectly conveyed by the composition. The push and pull of the female vocal layers that actually feel like they are trying to break free, against the heavy hit of the kick and the sub. Oof. Narrated by an effortless male vocal and closed with melancholic piano melody, against atmospheric samples. You’ll have this immersive track on repeat. Played on: Artists Pick 10/01/23; Unsigned with Matt Wherry; Frequencies with Aisha and TNG with Mike Darrah.
SPIRALS by ALAS DE LIONA
Spirals is the latest release from Alas De Liona, following her Radio Astronomy EP, a collection of space lullabies and cosmic folktales. This is a melancholic and beautiful track with a warm timbre, elevated by a stunning raw vocal, echoing that of Phoebe Bridgers. It’s a well-produced and nuanced dream-like experience that will make you feel!
The alt-pop, indie singer-songwriter, clearly has an intuition for expressing a meaning or a mood. Her hypnotic vocals narrate some heavy and hypercritical introspection, like she’s measuring herself up to a sense of expectation, as she repeats: ‘just a phase, or what?’ If you’ve been there, this track is cathartic.
In essence, Spirals has a sensible and cyclical, structured sound, like that of a simple 3-piece. However, there are clear infusions of folk and blues, which are wonderfully punctuated with the sound of an electric guitar, and delicately decorated with mesmerising harmonies, floating synth elements and whimsical arpeggios. The overall composition and production feels nostalgic- the perfect dichotomy of hope and sadness. Listen on: Artists Pick 17/01/23