London’s 2012 trailblazers!

The UK charts are in trouble. For the first time in my entirety The Eurovision Song Contest gave a perfect reflection of the charts in the UK! The winning song sounded a helluva lot better than most of the junk that sells these days. How many artists have fallen victim to the current faze of trashy, deplorable dance music?  Nicki Minaj went from Beam me up Scotty to Starships, Ne-Yo collaborated with Pitbull and the wounds of Usher’s betrayal are too fresh to even talk about. With acts like LMFAO receiving Grammy nominations and Katy Perry out selling Micheal Jackson, it’s safe to say the world of pop is seriously messed up. As the 2012 games edge ever closer and the world turns their gaze to London, this article triumphantly proves that we still have amazing artists worthy of attention…

LIANNE LA HAVAS

I became mesmerized by this young lady after seeing her perform on Later with Jools Holland. Her beautiful voice has already won her a number of accolades; she has supported Bombay Bicycle Club on their 2012 tour and was nominated in BBC’s Sound of 2012 Poll. Raised in Streatham and educated in Croydon, the South East songstress can also add providing backing vocals for Paloma Faith to her list of achievements. Despite being signed to Warner Bros. for the last two years, she decided to pour her time into honing her songwriting skills before finally presenting her beauties to us. I could only describe her as an enchanting mixture of both Norah Jones and Erykah Badu, with the volume reduced and the simple sincerity amplified. As a huge Corinne Bailey Rae fan I love that Lianne similarly possesses a rich warm tone that does not rely on vocal acrobatics to enchant. Her mum’s love of Jill Scott is apparent in Lianne’s genuine relaying of her own relationships; she showcases captivating story telling rarely found in someone so young and fresh to the music business. If I could be a recording artist this is the exact direction I would go in: soulful, honest and beautiful. I have been waiting months and months for her debut album and can not wait to buy it. Yes BUY it!  The album, titled ‘Is your love big enough’ is finally available from July 9 2012. Download her free EP on her website now!!! http://www.liannelahavas.com/ Or catch her performing in London on the 16th and 17th July at Village Underground. Tickets go on sale Wednesday. See you there!

JOSH OSHO
A friend of mine showed me a video of Josh on youtube, and I was pleasantly surprised with the sophisticated mature musician presented to me. I found myself looking through his other videos, and stumbled upon a Josh covering Kanye. His rendition of Mr West’s ‘Jesus walks’ showcases his craft as an original and inventive musician. I adore covers and believe the most magic happens when the song is dissected, rearranged and beautifully reworked; his is a poignant interpretation that pulls the lyrical masterpiece apart, adorning it in refreshing simplicity. The threads of the original melody are carefully woven into a folksy translation. It grew on me and I appreciate his confidence to extract what means most to him from this iconic anthem (ending freaked me out though).
After an allegedly tumultuous past, Josh was triumphantly signed to Island Records in 2011. No-one can deny that as a young, new artist it was an amazing feat to have Ghostface Killah feature on his first ever single ‘Redemption Days’. With Childish Gambino electrifying his follow-up single ‘Giants’ it seems this is one young man with friends in high places. I’m interested to see where his career will go and the progression he’ll make; I can see that he’s inspired by a plethora of genres and can’t want to see them exert their power over his material. His upcoming debut album L.I.F.E. (Learning Is For Ever), will be released on 25 June 2012.
ALEX CLARE
While it’s Safari all the way for me, I owe an Internet Explorer ad for bringing Alex Clare into my life. Now that I’ve stumbled upon his incredible voice I have no intention of losing it.

It was on an especially bland Wednesday night that Alex’s raspy vocals sliced through my dreary revision and woke me up. It was a brilliant excuse to abandon my essay, introducing me to yet another remarkable Londoner. While my eyes glazed over the actual advertisement, there was something in the nameless voice that dragged me onto Google. After a quick search I found out his name and proceeded to devour all of his Youtube videos at once. The atmospheric Dubstep bass and insanely infectious melody of ‘Too Close’ has clocked up over 11 million views since accompanying the ad. Hundreds of thousands of people flooded the comments with praise and gratitude to Internet Explorer for bringing this artist to the masses.

Back in May last year, Reggie Yates awarded his Song of the Day to Alex Clare’s cover of the Prince classic, ‘When Doves Cry’. As a Live Lounge junkie I similarly fell in love with Clare after hearing him cover Etta James’ ‘Damn your eyes’. In my opinion, any man that can sing an Etta James song well deserves recognition. He definitely impressed me and further cemented his place in my heart (and iPod) when I listened to songs such as Hummingbird and Treading Water. Music is more than the rhythm, the melody or the instrumentation; it’s the feeling, the power it has to transport and to move. I feel that there is something in Alex’s delivery that makes me invest in every single syllable; I hear, and I believe. I may sound like a crazed groupie but I think phenomenal talent deserves appreciation. This is not aggrandizement, it’s the truth. It doesn’t hurt that he hails from my neck of the woods either. (SOUTH EAST LONDON!!!!!)

TYLER JAMES

There is something about a man being able to sing in falsetto that makes my spine tingle. I can’t explain it, but the control and skill that it takes to maintain that pitch and power is somewhat erotic. It’s the reason Robin Thicke is probably responsible for the births of a number of children throughout the world. So this is the real reason that I love Tyler James; his luxurious jazzy tones and seductive bluesy hues. What’s even better is that although he is incredibly talented he appears quite humble and genuine too. Tyler was the gracious runner up in the UK’s first season of The Voice and simultaneously impressed Will.i.am and the nation. Tackling songs as varied as Bohemian Rhapsody and Goldigga, Tyler proved himself as a professional, multi-faceted performer. While Will.i.am challenged Tyler to sing outside of his comfort zone, he went from strength to strength, overcoming nerves to make it to the final.

Frank Ocean fans would be interested to see his performance of Swim Good, while fans of Amy Winehouse will enjoy the lovely duet the pair recorded together. In true talent show fashion, the winner has not been as successful as expected, so hopefully Tyler will take his time in writing a quality album and not fade into obscurity. I’m patient and enjoying the suspense until Tyler makes his mark on the charts. The suspense is delicious.

ETTA BOND

I was lucky enough to see Etta Bond take to the stage at my beloved Troy Bar in December 2011. The tiny intimate venue was perfect for her hauntingly delicate vocals. She gave an impromptu performance with the band asking them simply to give her something sexy and slow to vibe too. What followed was an incredibly mesmerizing, unique slow jam. Confident without a hint of arrogance, I was surprised to find that someone so grounded and humble was already signed. I love how you can hear her English accent without the pretentious over exaggeration of Kate Nash. Her relaxed, effortless talent, comes across as very natural and pure. I’m looking forward to hearing more of her original material. Her understated stage presence is mesmerizing.

SO FINALLY… These are the people that are capable of paving the way for bold, TALENTED artists whose love of their craft is represented in their material. I believe amongst them they have the power to dig the UK out of the current musical rut and put London back on the map as the place to find an abundance of soul, style and integrity. While talent is not predetermined by location I do see these lot as our very own Avengers, assembled to save the UK from musical peril.

Simply put, LONDON ROCKS!

ORIGINALLY POSTED: 19TH JUNE 2012

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