Mahalia – Diary of Me review

For a girl who hasn’t yet entered her twenties, Jamaican-Irish singer Mahalia Burkmar has achieved an awful lot already. She’s performed with Emeli Sandé, opened shows for Ed Sheeran and Tom Odeel, and appeared on the big screen in Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood.

Raised in Leicester, and now living in Birmingham, the 18-year-old’s first full-length mixtape, Diary of Me, is a mellow amalgamation of acoustic guitar melodies and chilled pop, which form the beds for her autobiography songs. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Kehlani – Advice

Kehlani - Advice (1000x562)When it comes to self-defence, Oakland-born R&B rebel Kehlani sounds like she could give an army of assailants a butt-whoopin’ they won’t soon forget. She’s a tough-talking-rough-riding-Michelle-Rodriguez kind of woman, or at least that’s the impression you get from her music and colourful body tatts. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Ty Dolla Sign – LA (ft. Kendrick Lamar, Brandy & James Fauntleroy)

Ty Dolla Sign - Free TC (1425x802)Ty Dolla Sign has been disrupting US hip hop and R&B with his fulsome productions for some time. The LA-based singer and producer has been making ever greater waves since releasing his Beach House mixtapes, and working with the likes of Wiz Khalifa, ASAP Rocky and French Montana. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Otis Redding – Blue Otis

Stax Records, 1965
Otis Redding banner, Apr 3, 2014, by Bill Lile (800x450)Had Otis Redding and his band not been tragically killed in 1967, we can only imagine what head-spinning music they would have made. It’s been said that if Otis and company had let go of their ethos for playing every single show they were booked for, they might have kept their feet on the ground, instead of boarding a plane bound for the storm that claimed their lives. We can’t know that. Their tireless work ethic and commitment to audiences brought about stacks of stirring soul that’s among the greatest examples of music full stop, as this week’s Choice Cut makes clear. Continue reading

Choice Cuts: Chic – Real People

Atlantic Records, 1980
Chic - Nile Rodgers at Sonar 2014, Jun 14, 2014, by scannerFM (1000x563)The first total solar eclipse in the UK since 1999 took place on Friday. A significant event, I’m sure you’ll agree. And this rare celestial event will now be even more significant in the history of music, for it marks the release of Chic’s ‘I’ll Be There’, the first single from Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards’s defining dance group for 23 years.

So what better time to (re)introduce you to, Real People, Chic’s fourth LP, an album of exceptional sonic grooves and lyrical quality that goes largely overlooked, thanks to changing music tastes at the tail end of the 1970s. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Marina and the Diamonds – Blue

Marina and the Diamonds, press photo 05, Charlotte Rutherford (3743x21050)Nuanced is a word I would use sparingly when it comes to describing the songs on Marina and the Diamond’s debut album, The Family Jewels. The Welsh pop singer, whose real name is Marina Diamandis, has a maidenly tone to her voice, but married with moments of overwrought production on tracks, such as ‘Oh No!’, she is at times pushed closer to the clique of shallow pop; home to the likes of Pixie Lott and Kesha. Yet free from the filter of studio production, Diamandis shines. Continue reading