SINGLE REVIEW: Don’t You Dare! by Red Tan

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https://www.facebook.com/redtanofficial/

Red Tan is a female electro pop artist originally from the Philippines. She has studied and performed music from aged 16 and performed worldwide as a jazz singer. After meeting her husband, music was put on the back burner for motherhood, but he encouraged her to get back into music and she got a spot at the World Championships of Performing Arts. Tragically, she then lost her husband to the dengue virus but she bravely carried on to win two medals. She’s since reach the grand finals of Open Mic Uk, performing at the O2 Arena.

This track, Don’t You Dare!, is part of an EP dedicated to her late husband. It’s a feisty and upbeat electro pop song that encapsulates her strength and resilience of character. The track starts with a message to anyone who has tried to hold her back: “Thanks to all of you who put me down….”.

Her voice is as strong as her character and as the music progresses her versatile vocal range and distinctive tone come to the fore. The contrast between the relatively sparse verses and the huge choruses is effective, as is the breakdown bridge which begins: “Without you I wouldn’t be where I am…..you made me realize how strong I am”.
It builds to a powerful and anthemic chorus, Red Tan defiantly singing, “I am tough, you won’t wreck me….”. She is bolstered by a punchy beat that shows an influence of dubstep along with modern sounding synths, produced to perfection.

Overall, this is an inspiring and empowering electro pop track from a highly gifted artist who’s had to overcome considerable adversity. With a very strong voice well suited to radio, the catchy and instantly memorable Don’t You Dare! seems like the perfect song to project her on to the world stage for what will undoubtedly be a long and successful career.

 

VERDICT= 9 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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SINGLE REVIEW: Body Talk by JayQ

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JayQ is a singer, songwriter and rapper in the hip hop/RnB/dancehall genres and hails from New Orleans. He has been involved in music from an early age, honing his singing and performance skills while participating in his local church choir. Since then he has developed his own music and on his debut EP, JayQ 4U, he has collaborated with the Grammy award winning hit maker SOK07 (who wrote Drunk In Love by Beyoncé ft. Jay Z). He has also collaborated with the up and coming OBA.

This release, Body Talk, is his major release for the summer and it’s a slinky RnB/dancehall track with a decidedly sensual vibe. Starting out with a simple but effective synth melody, JayQ enters with sparse handclaps, which soon develops into a seductive beat that will lure people to the dance floor. Similarly, the arrangement is cleverly built up with subtle layers of synth and percussion brought in gradually.

JayQ has a naturally assured and relaxed style on the mic, with a distinctive style and artistic persona. The vocal melody is very influenced by dancehall and reggae and delivered with panache. The catchy “Talk to me, babe” hook quickly sticks in your mind.

Lyrically, it depicts a situation that many will relate to, about chasing after a woman who is playing hard to get but has a strong physical allure. This game of cat and mouse is captured in edgy, entertaining lines like, “You give me the cold shoulder when I try to get intimate…I’m like the Pentagon baby, I don’t negotiate with terrorists….”.

Overall, this is a perfect RnB/dancehall track for the summer by a naturally gifted up and coming artist. Designed for the dance floor but equally radio friendly (except for some suggestive lyrics, perhaps), this should help to put JayQ on the musical map and garner a wave of fans in the process. With further strong material in the future, he may find himself being hailed as the new Drake.

 

VERDICT = 8.8 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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SINGLE REVIEW: Jealous by Violeta

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https://www.facebook.com/Violeta-Bozanic-230235573986828/

Violeta Bozanic is an Australian singer, songwriter and pianist but perhaps most notably a child prodigy who’s launching her pop career at the age of just eleven! She has competed in various talent competitions across Australia including Australia’s Got Talent and Talent Quests Australia, which she won. She also won the prestigious 2018 World Championships of Performing Arts.

She has now co-written her debut single Jealous with Dapo Torimiro (John Legend, Stevie Wonder And Justin Bieber) which was produced by the world renowned Jeffrey Weber.

Jealous is a flawlessly produced pop/RnB track that provides the perfect vehicle to showcase Violeta’s precious talent. Her singing voice is highly mature for her age and listeners will assume she’s in the age group of most pop stars just from the music alone.

Starting with a lovely acoustic guitar figure, this continues and provides the melodic bedrock for her lead vocals. Her voice is strong with a huge range, both low (for a female) to very high. This large vocal range is used as an effective dynamic, singing in a relatively low register on the verse before leaping up an octave for the chorus.

Again, the rhythms of the vocal melody are counterbalanced cleverly with long melodies on the verse contrasted with short, catchy refrains on the highly infectious chorus. The repetition of the title hook is very effective, along with the call and response backing vocals which feature some rich harmonies.

Lyrically, it’s a relatable tale of being messed around by someone trying to induce jealousy but becoming wise to it. The audience this track is aimed at will particularly resonate with the subject matter but its appeal is universal.

Overall, this is a hugely impressive debut pop track that would be an achievement for any artist, let alone a girl of eleven. Her style and voice already sound fully mature and fully developed, with a distinctive tone and a range that could rival any of the world’s biggest stars. Pop stardom seems almost an inevitability for Violeta.

 

VERDICT = 8.8 out of 10

 

Alex Faulkner

 

 

 

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Bare by Luci

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Luci is a singer and songwriter born in Lima, Peru but grew up in the Midwest and South of the United States. She learnt piano and flute in her youth and went on to study music production while at college. This eventually led to the release of her debut EP Live It Up in 2010.

Her music is a blend of modern pop and RnB infused with the influence of Latin styles and she regards her influences as Christina Aguilera, Beyoncé and Shakira amongst others. This album, Bare, sees her return to the pop scene and it consists of eleven tracks. The album is a mixture of pop and the more Latin influenced tracks that show her Peruvian heritage.

The album gets off to a strong start with the sassy pop of New Normal. It showcases Luci’s powerful voice which brings to mind Christina Aguilera, not just in its power but also her huge vocal range. Lyrically, it is about her own life’s journey and her return to music, captured by the opening line “I’ve got the new vision of a warrior”.

The following Boss Bitches is just as strong, a Latin-inflected RnB track. Lyrically it’s an empowering feminist anthem which will be particularly popular with her female audience. Luci gives a fantastic vocal performance and this is surely a contender as a single.

Free The Wildings is another super catchy pop/RnB with an irresistible hook while Oyeme shows a gentler side, a poignant piano-led ballad with an affecting and emotive lead vocal performance once again.

The Latin American influence really shines through on the Shakira-esque Marialucia (her full first name). With its incredibly funky and danceable sound this is a potential Hips Don’t Lie-style worldwide hit!

Culebra is another track sung in both Spanish and English, and it’s another infectious piece of Latin pop, this one with a more languid, laid back rhythm and tempo. Luci turns up the heat with the super sensual Savage, an X-rated lyric set to a slinky groove. It’s a fine track which shows her earthy, sexual side.

The following F***** Up is also X-rated due to its title but is lyrically more of a plea for love and validation. Hold My Breath is so languid it’s mesmerising and yet comes from a similarly troubled place emotionally. Luci’s artistic honesty and openness is one of her strongest qualities.

Can’t Stop Us is a return to the ultra positive and empowering vibe of earlier tracks and is musically quite different, a dubstep-infused RnB track with a killer hook. The final track Needs is another of her steamy, explicit songs, this one a very sexy slice of RnB designed to get hips grinding on the dance floor. It’s a fantastic way to finish, bringing to mind the smash hit Dirrty by Christina Aguilera and perhaps this track can follow suit.

Overall, this is a first class modern pop album full of musical variety. Luci is an intoxicating mixture of globe-conquering pop stars like Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Shakira and has several potential hits on her hands. With international appeal, along with a fabulous voice and image, there’s nothing to stop her emulating the success of all her musical heroines.

 

VERDICT = 9 out of 10       

Alex Faulkner

 

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SINGLE REVIEW: Truth Syrum (ft. Wo-Billz) by Nikia

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www.soundsofnikia.com

Nikia is a R&B/pop singer who was born in New York and raised in California. She hails from a large musical family and was musically highly precocious, starting her career as a professional singer at just thirteen and signing a deal with L.A.’s Swooper Records at fifteen. She released her first single Wanna Get With You the next year and then released a Spanish crossover album which was a big hit overseas. She has since released several albums, EPs and singles including the 2016 EP She Is Me. She has also more recently released the song Do U from her upcoming album No Fairytale.

This track, Truth Syrum (ft. Wo-Billz), is a slow R&B/pop ballad that makes a wonderful showcase for Nikia’s considerable talents as a vocalist. Set to a musical backdrop of subtle synths and a languid, seductive R&B beat, as soon as Nikia enters on the verse her silky smooth vocals captures the attention. With a voice comparable to megastars like Beyonce and Rihanna, she gets to express her vocal range at the end of the memorable chorus.

Lyrically, it’s an emotionally heartfelt plea towards a lover who has been straying: “Out in the clubs, playing with these freaks….you’re out in these streets while I’m lonely in our sheets….”. After the first chorus we then here a rap section from guest vocalist Wo-Billz, whose naturally contrasting style is highly effective juxtaposed against the sung sections. Wo-Billz gives the track a cutting edge vibe and keeps it real with killer lines like, “Go scuba diving for your ring…..”. After the second chorus Nikia delivers the poignant refrain, “What goes around comes around….”, aided by some slick production effects on her voice which adds to the modernity of the sound.

Overall, this is an emotionally powerful R&B/pop track about infidelity by a truly gifted female singer. The song captures the pain and heartbreak of being cheated on, while the acerbic contribution of female rapper and guest star Wo-Billz adds some bite and dry humour to proceedings. The production is flawless and very commercial, making it perfect for radio. It feels only a matter of time before Nikia breaks through to the world stage and Truth Syrum could be the song that gets her there.

 

VERDICT = 8.8 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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SINGLE REVIEW: Move by Glorious

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www.gloriouslive.com

Glorious is a pop singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Washington, D.C. but now based in New York. Remarkably, by the age of three she started playing drums and is now a livetronica drummer. She combines this talent and her jazz background with her abilities as a songwriter and vocalist. Her influences are numerous, from fellow pop singers like Beyonce and Pink, EDM artists like Tiesto, David Guetta and Diplo as well as jazz legends like Miles Davis.

This track, Move, is a hugely infectious pop track that shows her self-belief and artistic potential. She has a magnificent voice, comparable to Beyonce and Christina Aguilera with a similarly huge vocal range. The song itself is actually about her skills as a drummer, however, and the power that rhythm has to make people dance. Naturally, it has a brilliant beat that gets your top tapping immediately, but the track also features a funky, driving bassline and a lead vocal from Glorious that is by turns smoky and sultry then exultant and powerful on the incendiary chorus.

The title hook is brief but incredibly catchy: “I make the whole room move….”. After the second chorus the song takes an unexpected left turn into a dreamy, blissed out middle eight section where she sings sincerely, “I know you feel it, deep in your soul….”. It then gradually builds back up for a couple more killer choruses, with some fantastic vocal extemporizations towards the end. The production is slick, inventive and modern, as good as anything you’ll hear in the Billboard Top 100.

Overall, Glorious has written, performed and produced a pop classic. As vocally gifted as her idols, her skills behind the kit only add to her appeal, but most importantly this is simply a great song. Equally suited to both radio and the dancefloor, this track will surely make a strong impact on the music world and make her legions of new fans. For my money, Glorious could well go on to become the next Beyonce.

 

VERDICT= 9.2 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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SINGLE REVIEW: MistaRomeo by Yvonne Sangudi

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Yvonne Sangudi is a Tanzanian-American singer and songwriter who currently resides in Los Angeles. She was musically precocious as a child and was writing, recording and producing by the age of nine! Since then she gained a huge amount of progress and experience, being described by the Huffington Post as “the next great songstress”. Her music combines pop with reggaeton and world-beat, though her influences range from Bach to Shania Twain.

She released her debut single Tanzanite back in 2014, which reached #35 on the iTunes Top 100 Pop Charts (New Releases). Following a hiatus, she is back with MistaRomeo, was co-produced by Jens Gad, who is the older brother of Toby Gad (who was named the #3 top Producer & Songwriter by Billboard). The Gad brothers have penned hits for Beyonce, Madonna, Brandy, John Legend, Fergie, Leona Lewis and Engima. The track is an instantly infectious fusion of pop and world-beat, similar in style to the sound that made Shakira huge.

Starting with a catchy swirling synth riff, it breaks into a Hips Don’t Lie-style beat that could lure anyone to the dancefloor. Yvonne has a powerful, charismatic vocal style which emerges on the verses, counterpointed by lush backing harmonies. It builds to a memorable chorus, augmented by some skyscraping “Oh-oh’s” that seem ubiquitous in modern pop.

Lyrically, it’s about falling for a lothario then realizing he’s worthless, summed up succinctly in the chorus: “Oh, MistaRomeo, you liar….you liar….”. After the second chorus there is an effective middle section where it breaks down to the beat then builds up again. The final chorus features some superb extemporizations where Yvonne showcases her remarkable vocal range.

Overall, this is an excellent pop/world-beat fusion by an artist who has emerged fully developed on just her second single. Very well written and flawlessly produced, Yvonne Sangudi’s show-stealing performance sticks in the mind along with the addictive vocal melody. This is a singer all set for the world stage, and in this instance the hype is fully justified.

 

VERDICT = 8.8 out of 10

Alex Faulkner

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