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

In Praise of Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean - 2012 press photo 01 (1448x815)It’s incredible how little I have written about Frank Ocean considering how many times I have played his music over the last four years, and how deeply it has touched me. Following the release of his second album, Blonde, in August, it’s high time I remedied this fact with a piece in praise of this singular artist. Continue reading

Sherika Sherard – Just Saying review

Sherika Sherard, 09, by Daniel Quesada (1920x1080)Jake Bugg has got nothing on Sherika Sherard. She doesn’t go about attempting to convince people of her musical authenticity. Because she is authentic, that’s who she is. This London-born singer-songwriter caught the attention of thousands – myself included – when a video of her busking went viral in 2014. Since then, her music has taken her around London and beyond UK shores. Her debut album – crowdfunded by her early supporters, and produced and mixed by Phil Holloway – represents a triumph for independence and authorship, even if the end result could use some technical adjustments. Continue reading

Jam of the Week: Sharon Van Etten – Just Like Blood

Sharon Van Etten, press photo, 2015, 01 (770x433)Sharon Van Etten has a voice that stops you in your tracks and holds there, leaving you staring somewhere into the middle distance, as her words float around your head. This Brooklyn-born, singer-songwriter so far has four studio albums to her name – her latest, Are We There, was released just last year. But despite a number of recommendations, Van Etten’s music is not yet in my music library. I know: what have I been doing to myself, right? Plenty of time to change that, thankfully, and what better place to start than her new EP, entitled I Don’t Want to Let You Down? Continue reading

Sherika Sherard review – destine for big things

Karamel, LondonSherika Sherard at Karamel, London, Apr 01, 2015 by Aaron Lee (3264x1836)The more Sherika Sherard plays, the more it feels like she is destine to capture the hearts of thousands – if not millions – the way her viral song, ‘Give Me a Job’, has done. Call it conjecture. Call it quadruple-S (subjectively succumbing to singer-songwriters) syndrome. But no other acoustic soul singers are capturing London, and tales of its inhabitants, at the stop-motion pace of this songstress from the south side of the River Thames. Continue reading

Singer-songwriter: the label of authenticity that’s lost all meaning

Jake Bugg, Brussels, Apr 30, 2012, by Kmeron / Vincent Philbert, 01 (2048x2394)What goes through your head when you hear the term: singer-songwriter? Is your mind filled with images of ginger-haired Ed Sheeran, innocent Nina Nesbitt and boyish-looking George Ezra? Or perhaps passionate Laura Marling, the watchful Bob Dylan or a smiling Carole King?

All of these musicians are frequently described as singer-songwriters. But the degree to which they are responsible for the creation of their songs – in other words, songwriting – is where the real distinction lies. Continue reading