Lily McKenzie – Forget About Us


Great new track and beautifully directed video for you all, ‘Forget About Us’ – courtesy of Lily McKenzie, featuring Ryan Keen and Lee Levent.

It will be released on Lil’y ‘Breathe’ EP, which is out 4th March – well worth a buy judging by this track!

Follow her on Twitter here 
Check out her on SoundClous here

Ryan Keen – Winter Rain + New Website!


I would attempt to upload this somehow, but then I’d have two problems:

  1. I’d probably fail.
  2. It would mean you wouldn’t necessarily sign up to Ryan Keen’s mail-list.

Which to be able to download this track for free, you have to do. Don’t consider it an order, but you really should do it! Not just because the track, ‘Winter Rain’, is brilliant, but because then you’ll automatically receive updates from one of the best singer/songwriters out there… Win win really.

Ryan’s EP, ‘Focus’, is ‘coming soon’ – just hope soon rather than later! But if this track is anything to go by, the EP will sound and feel superb!

If you get to see him supporting Ed, or at one of his ‘smaller’ gigs, then count yourself lucky!

(Oh, and there’s a video due soon, made by the people behind Rastamouse… Cannot wait for that!)

You can sign up to receive ‘Winter Rain’, and future updates on Ryan’s new site here: http://www.ryankeen.co.uk/

As a sidenote: Ryan was my first ever interview, and was my first ever WordPress post. It feels like a year ago, but was actually only over a couple of months ago! Time’s gone quick! You can read the interview here!

My Tips For 2013! (yes, 2013)


I found this a hard concept to put across, even to myself. We’re only just a few days into 2012, and I’m already thinking about 2013? But, I thought it might read quite well, as no-one, as far as I know, has done a feature like this before – probably for good reasoning I guess.

The artists featured in this post will ultimately have great 2012’s. It’s meant as no disrespect to them if I’ve put them in my 2013 tips list, it doesn’t mean they’ll do nothing noteworthy in this new year – in fact, quite the opposite. They will build up a bigger fan base, play to larger crowds, possibly even get chart success, but 2013 will be the year they properly blow up! Basically, the artists tipped here, are the artists that I see having the sort of year Maverick Sabre and Emeli Sande had in the year just gone. (Sidenote: It also doesn’t mean they won’t do a Sheeran and storm the music world in 2012 without much promotion or backing…)

If that’s not explained well, I apologise, but I even found it hard to explain to myself. Hopefully you’ll get the picture after reading through to the end.

I did think of just rolling out a very long list of the relatively unheard talent out there, but then again, I wanted to say a little more on a few of the artists. Also, similarly to most of my posts, there will be people I’ve left out, forgotten, whatever. But I can’t know about everything, especially as this is music for 2013!

Ryan Keen was recently featured in the Daily Star’s artists for 2012, and that’s no surprise. I’d say Ryan will achieve great things this year, without doubt. He’s got new music coming fairly shortly, and notably a video made by the same people that make Rastamouse – and you have no heart if you can’t enjoy that fact. His unbelievable, flamenco style guitar skills, mixed with raw, honest, and heartfelt lyrics, delivered in a stunning voice will shine through and leave so many artists long behind. I can surely see Ryan being properly noticed this year, but I’d say 2013 will be when we see him conquer music, like his mate, a little-known Ed Sheeran has done so very recently.

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Random Impulse is by far one of the most unique artists out there that I know about. A combination of grime and hard guitar rifts, is something you don’t find easily. Random Impulse (real name, Jovel Walker) has found a gap which is somewhat untouched – which in music, is very hard these days. My only real criticism of popular music these days is that there does need to be more originality in the charts – and why couldn’t Jovel play a part in the reclamation of original and successful music – which I think will build up this year, with new and exciting artists breaking through this year. But like I’ve already said, this is ‘Tips for 2013’ – so again, I see Jovel’s big year to be the next one along.

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A third act who is associated with Ed Sheeran, is Mikill Pane. But with no offence meant at all to Ed (there’s obviously no offence meant AT ALL), I do long for the day when the majority of people know of Mikill through his own work. ‘Summer In The City’ and ‘Read My Lips’ are two tracks which showcase his talent perfectly, and really stand out amongst everything else. I find it incredible how more people are still unaware of his own tracks, people still just know him from ‘Little Lady’. I mean, that’s not necessarily a bad thing I guess, ‘Little Lady’ was one of the most heart-wrenchingly brilliant songs of the year just gone. But still, when I’m a fan of an artist, I want them to be mainly known through their own excellent material.

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Some other artists/groups I think will feature big in 2013 also are:
Josh Osho/ Etta Bond/ Kings Of The City/ Yasmin/ Passenger/ Josh Kumra/ Kal Lavelle/ Lester Clayton/ Antonio Lulic/ Daley/ Russo/ Dream Mclean/ Gabrielle Aplin / Red N Pink/ Shaka/ Lauren Aquilina/ The Dash (if there’s a revival in Rock anytime soon?)/ Liam Bailey/ Nina Nesbitt/ Leddra Chapman/ Maiday.

The beautiful thing about that very very long list, is that even I am still ignorant to much more UK talent. There’s so much more out there, and that’s the main reason I started this whole blog, so I can finally keep on top of talent that’s out there – and there will be so much more that comes through to our attention this year as well!

I feel I need to make this clear again, the artists featured will have a good 2012! Some will get tracks on Radio 1 and the likes, through ‘Records Of The Week’ features for example. Sheeran got a lot of attention from ‘The A Team’ being Fearne Cotten’s one week. I said it earlier, but they may even get a surge of chart success, like Emeli Sande did with ‘Heaven’ – which reached number 2! It’s just I think there first full on successful year throughout will be 2013.

Why I think these artists are tips for 2013, not 2012, is because of people’s attitudes to music. There’s so much music out there, but most people just stick to listening to the same things – even listening to good music over and over again. It’s not my place to say this is wrong, but it would help if they did the tiniest bit of searching, to find artists such as these featured ones. Just to give some more new excitement in music, in effect making it easier for proper talent to be noticed. The capacity for people to listen to music is large, so why not fill it up with a wider range? Don’t wait for the talent to come to you, go find it before the rest of the public have it thrusted into their ears.

That was effectively a rant I guess, but I didn’t really mean it to come out like that. What I’m trying to say, simply, is that artists like these shouldn’t have to only come into the public attention through things like the ‘BBC’s Sound Of’ features. People need to be more aware, and able to find the talent. I mean, it is effectively for their own benefit.

And that’s why I adore things like SB.TV so much. Jamal Edwards and his team are, and will, play an ever growing role in the development of music in the coming years. 2011 was just the start for them, and I can’t wait to see how big they are by 2013!

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Effectively, on reading back through this again, I’d say the title is misleading. I possibly chose it to be misleading subconsciously. I say this because, it’s more about the amount of talent out there in the UK. I want people to find new music, I’d much rather people liked artists like Random Impulse or Ryan Keen, than LMFAO or Pitbull. People need to know about the talent the UK has to offer. And anything I can do to make people realise this, the better.

Basically, see this post as a declaration of unjust in the music world we live in. Just don’t see me as a sort of mentally music based Charlie Sheen.

Who Does 2011 Belong To?… Ed Sheeran.


(continued from the post below, I know it may not be continued, as this will appear before the first post, but yeah, read the one below first please…)

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I remember thinking after the BBC released their Sound Of 2011 longlist, ‘Oh, yeah, you’ve really missed someone out from that!’. They really did, didn’t they. Ed Sheeran. What a year he’s had! He stated his musical intentions, maybe indirectly in the charts too – with the release of his No. 5 Collaborations EP in January – featuring the likes of Sway, Random Impulse and Wiley. It shocked everyone, seeing it climb peak at number 2 in the iTunes charts – especially considering he was still an independent artist! Well, he was, but not for much longer, as on January 12th, Ed signed with Atlantic Records and it went from strength to strength from there on in.

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His first move after the record signing, was a good-willed one, as always. The ‘One Take’ EP was released for free, featuring a version of ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, a Jamie Woon cover of ‘Wayfaring Stranger’, and a version of ‘UNI’. And like anything he’s released, it went down a storm with his ever growing fan base – with over 10,000 downloads in the first 12 hours.

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These were just a few highlights of the year for Ed. There’s so many I could write about. The free Camden Barfly gig being one. It attracted over 1,000 people, and if you’ve never been to the Barfly, you’ll know that, as great a venue as it is, it couldn’t hold 1,000 people. Not letting that stop him, Ed played 3 times inside the venue – until it shut. Then once more outside in the nearby car park for anyone that still hadn’t seen him.

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Also, Sheeran performed ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and debut single, ‘The A Team’ on ‘Later … With Jools Holland’ in April. With nothing but his vocals, acoustic guitar, and a loop pedal. The performance was stunning, proper goose-bump stuff!

Then the release of ‘The A Team’ just 6 weeks later. Things were moving quick, as his debut single charted at number 3 in the UK – selling 58,000 copies in the first week! It was the lead single from his debut album, ‘+’, released in early September. It showed, not just the progression throughout 2011, but the progressions since Ed started performing, writing, singing, and being around music. ‘+’ went straight in at number 1, the week after Example’s album had done just the same – and both were full of joy for the other one!

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From that last bit, it seems like Ed did nothing between April and September? Very wrong. Notably, he performed a headline set at Glastonbury on the BBC Introducing stage. This was one of many summer festival performances, Bestival and Reading Festival to name a couple others.

He also released his second single in the run up to the album release. ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’, and although it charted lower than ‘The A Team’ (number 4), it still sold more first week copies. But to be frank, this release wasn’t really about chart position. Obviously it was intended to promote the album. But it had much more meaning than that. ‘You Need Me…’ was the first introduction many people had to Ed – due to Jamal Edwards and SBTV. The song has changed through the years, with many new and retracted verses. So to see a final single was brilliant for Ed fans, even if they didn’t like the new beat put in, they understood it had to be done.

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‘Lego House’ was the next single, and the first off the back of ‘+’. I’m proud to say that I was there on Ed’s sell-out Autum Tour, when they filmed the iconic video – at Herts University Forum, with Rupert Grint. It was also my 17th birthday that day. So, yeah, it was a pretty good day really. Anyway, ‘Lego House’ peaked at number 5. Why it didn’t chart higher was because it was available from the album, so people just couldn’t wait to buy the single version. So to peak at number 5 is absolutely massive!

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There’s so much I could write about Ed Sheeran. I am one of the people that knew of him before ‘The A Team’ release, and I’ve actually met him a couple of times. Not that he’d, one; read this, or two; remember me, but even so. However, I don’t think when you discovered his music matters. As long as you support him, go to gigs, buy the singles, watch the videos, then why should it matter who saw him first?

It’s also strange to see an artist break through, and still manage to maintain their backgrounds. He’s kept the same support artists through the year close to him. Ryan Keen, Lester Clayton to name a couple.

It’s also shown by the No. 5 Collaborations EP (talked about earlier) – which came out in January 2011. Many artists would have left it behind. But not Ed. Because, as I’m writing this, I’m preparing to hear the specially recorded Live Lounge for the No. 5 Collaborations, featuring Wretch 32, P Money, Devlin and Mikill Pane for Trevor Nelson’s show on BBC Radio 1xtra. This is around 11/12 months after the release. What more could Ed do to show how committed to his music than this. (Listen and watch the whole sessions here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/1xtra/sessions/2011-12-21_edsheeran)

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I think Ed is the perfect middle ground I mentioned earlier. He’s actually broken through – without having a big backing of influential music people at the start, like Jessie J. He was an independent artist at the start of 2011. He ends 2011, with a number 1 album – which sold over 102,000 copies in it’s first week, and was the most downloaded debut album in history, singles charting 3, 4 and 5, with live festival and TV performances as well. But most importantly, with a religiously following fan base, stronger than anything that could have been imagined. The future looks pretty good for him really.

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