Focus Music Blog
BILLY PORTER SIGNS TO ISLAND RECORDS & RELEASES DEBUT SINGLE "CHILDREN" - OUT TODAY
Fri, 15 Oct 2021 11:39:00 +0000

GRAMMY®, EMMY®, and Tony® Award-winning actor, singer, director, composer, playwright, and author Billy Porter unveils a brand new single entitled “Children” today. The single marks Billy’s debut under his newly minted joint partnership with Island UK and Republic Records. NEW YORK, NY (October 15, 2021)

BILLY PORTER SIGNS TO ISLAND RECORDS & RELEASES DEBUT SINGLE "CHILDREN"


“Children” is a high-energy dancefloor anthem co-written with GRAMMY® Award-nominated songwriter MNEK [H.E.R., Dua Lipa] and Little Mix’s Jade Thirwell. Speaking about the inspiration behind the track Billy says, “It’s a song that is inspired by my life and everything I’ve gone through to get here.”

The song begins wistfully, with Porter empathizing:

See I know times are hard, Yeah I mean it from the heart
You’re not losing the fight, love will make it alright
Cos i’ve been there, done that, worn that dress, so you know mama knows it best

A beat drop follows, kicking into a propulsive disco groove as Porter triumphantly promises: a change starts today, better wipe those tears away.

“Music is my first love,” says Porter. “I grew up singing in the church. When I first put out commercial music in 1997, the industry was not ready for all this Black Boy Joy! But luckily the world has caught up. I could not be more thrilled to entrust this next chapter of my music career to the Island/Republic team. Make way children! Daddy’s back.”

Porter delivers the song’s show-stopping hook, “Gotta let these children know what time it is,” punctuated by his jaw-dropping range.

“For the first time, my music is what I want it to be, what I want it to say, which is hope, love,” said Porter. “We have to choose it every day so we can fight the evil that is so pervasive. We can only fight it with love and I am so excited for my music for that.”

 BILLY PORTER SIGNS TO ISLAND RECORDS & RELEASES DEBUT SINGLE "CHILDREN" - (Photo credit: Meredith Truax)

Photo credit: Meredith Truax

BILLY PORTER SETS STAGE FOR FORTHCOMING ALBUM WITH BRAND NEW SINGLE “CHILDREN”  AND MAKES DEBUT UNDER JOINT PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN  
ISLAND UK & REPUBLIC RECORDS

TAP>LISTEN TO “CHILDREN” HERE

--------------
ABOUT BILLY PORTER: Billy Porter is a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning. Porter began his music career in 1997 with the release of his self-titled (aka Untitled) debut album which spawned the Top 10 “Bubbling Under” single, “Show Me,” and the monster ballad, “Love Is On The Way,” which also appeared at the pivotal moment in the film, “First Wives Club.” He went on to release “At the Corner of Broadway + Soul” (2005), “Billy’s Back on Broadway” (2014), and “The Soul of Richard Rodgers” (2017) featuring Pentatonix, India.Arie, Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo, among others. Porter scored his first #1 with “Love Yourself” in 2019 on the US Dance Club Songs Chart. He followed that up with his 2020 reimagining of the legendary Buffalo Springfield anthem, “For What It’s Worth,” and a fierce collab with The Shapeshifters on “Finally Ready.” 2021 saw Porter covering Juliet Roberts club classic “Caught in The Middle” for Red Hot + Free, which supports underserved communities afflicted with HIV/AIDS. He was also enlisted by multiplatinum international superstar Jessie J for “I Want Love.” And he delivered a fierce turn on Earth, Wind, and Fire’s iconic “Shining Star” as Fab G, the Fairy Godmuva, in the new remake of “Cinderella.” Porter is a veteran of the theater (Miss Saigon, Angels in America, Grease). He won a Tony® in the category of “Best Leading Actor in a Musical” for Kinky Boots in 2013, and a GRAMMY® for the latter’s Official Soundtrack in the category of “Best Musical Theater Album” in 2014. Porter took home the EMMY® Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” in 2019 for his work as Pray Tell on Pose, making history in being the first openly gay man to do so. Time Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential People” of 2020. This October, Billy will release his highly anticipated memoir, “Unprotected.” His directorial film debut, “What If,” is set to drop in 2022. Billy kicks off his next chapter in music, his first love, with a new album coming soon.
Miraa May teams up with RAYE for R&B anthem "Go Girl" - Read all about it here
Fri, 15 Oct 2021 10:56:00 +0000

Algerian born, Tottenham raised, Miraa May one of the fiercest, most prodigiously talented and highly rated artists in UK music teams up with best friend RAYE on the unmissable R&B anthem “Go Girl”. The song celebrates female excellence and the unbreakable bond Miraa shares with her female friends and gives us the first taste of what’s to come on her eagerly awaited TBA debut album.

Speaking about Go Girl Miraa says:“I’m so excited for my first release in a whole year! More crazy that it’s the first drop off my debut album, and to top that off I got to write it with the incredible RAYE, couldn’t have asked for more”

‘Go Girl’ launcheD on 6th October at 7.30pm with a ‘Targo Embargo’ on 1Xtra’s DJ Target show, as well as a ‘Just Dropped’ play on Radio 1’s Clara Amfo show. Listen here

The accompanying video, creatively directed by Miraa May alongside Ghanaian-British director Sheena Brobbey, drops at 8pm on 6th October. It’s a non-stop party that features Miraa, RAYE and their girls in staycation mode, celebrating friendship and having fun, in a powerful and joyous display of female empowerment.

‘Go Girl’ marks the full return of Miraa May who during the last 18 months, had the life changing experience of becoming a first-time mum at the beginning of the pandemic. During that time   she began working on what would become her debut album, working almost entirely with a female team. The release of the single follows Miraa’s recent festival appearances at TRNSMT, Tokyo World, Strawberries and Creem, and Sound City, as well as a feature on fast rising midlands rapper Sainté’s latest track ‘No Love’.

Miraa May is a lynchpin in the UK music industry, since being discovered by Salaam Remi (Nas, Amy Winehouse, The Fugees) she’s been prolific in her output and racked up collaborations with everyone from JME, Col3trane, WSTRN and more. When not making her own music she can be found writing for some of the hottest names in the game, her cuts include the top 10 hit ‘Be Honest’ by Jorja Smith and Burna Boy as well as ‘Jealous’ by Mahalia and Rico Nasty – and her prowess as a writer saw her invited to an all-star writing camp in Jamaica alongside Cadenza, Amine, Proteje, Dre Skull, and Guilty Beatz to name a few (the sessions were filmed by The Face and turned into their ‘Voices of Jamaica’ documentary). She also starred in the video for Little Simz’ ‘Woman’ alongside other major female industry players such as ZeZe Millz, Jourdan Dunn and Joy Crookes. Her connections speak volumes about the high regard in which she’s held by her peers and contemporaries – a vital voice, artist and personality.

Miraa May is an unstoppable force who continues to share with the world her undeniable talents, with 2022 shaping up as her most exciting yet.  

MIRAA MAY Feat. RAYE  ‘GO GIRL’ - Photo credit Sheena Brobbey

Photo credit Sheena Brobbey

MIRAA MAY Feat. RAYE

‘GO GIRL’ TAP HERE TO LISTEN 

TAP HERE TO WATCH VIDEO

“Ever feel yourself needing a reminder that you are, in fact, a bad bitch? If so, listen to Miraa May.” – The Face

Connect with Miraa

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Marvin Gaye What’s Going On - 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition. Read all about it here>
Tue, 12 Oct 2021 10:37:00 +0000

Throughout 2021, the world has been celebrating the life and legacy of R&B pioneer Marvin Gaye to honor the 50th anniversary of the release of his groundbreaking record What’s Going On. After half a century, the wisdom behind R&B’s first seamless concept album, What’s Going On, continues to ring true: a poignant plea that we might organize to address often-overlooked issues of inequality and ecological distress.

Closing out the year, Motown and UMe are continuing the celebration with the release of What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition on December 3, 2021. This premium vinyl release features direct-to-analog mastering from the original primary album tape reels by acclaimed engineer Kevin Gray, one of the first times this has been done since 1971, offering an undeniably authentic listening experience.

What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition bonus LP opens up the album’s writing and production palette. Featured are four rare cuts making their vinyl debut, highlighted by a previously unreleased “stripped” version of the title song, plus all six original mono single mixes and their B-sides, with all of those 7” versions on vinyl for the first time since their original releases. Among them are alternate versions of “God Is Love” and “Flying High (In The Friendly Sky),” the latter issued on 45 as “Sad Tomorrows.” Full track listing below.

With two 180gm records, a tip-on heavy stock jacket, original gatefold with complete lyrics, this formidable release also includes printed sleeves with track details, a rare image from the cover sessions, and a brief essay honoring arranger David Van De Pitte. Highlighted is a main essay by acclaimed author and poet Hanif Abdurraqib who was just named one of the 25 recipients of the 2021 MacArthur “genius” grantAn e-commerce edition will also include three exclusive lithographs from the What’s Going On photo sessions. CLICK HERE to Purchase the What’s Going On: 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition.

In addition to What’s Going On 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition, Motown/UMe is releasing a four-track remix suite from GRAMMY®-nominated producer Salaam Remi, known for his work with countless hip hop, pop, and R&B icons. The suite includes remixes of What’s Going On tracks, which includes “No Need,” an unreleased instrumental from the “Sad Tomorrows” sessions, as well as a reinterpretation of the holiday release “I Want To Come Home For Christmas,” originally recorded in 1972 and thematically tied to What’s Going On as a tribute to the Vietnam troops yearning to be with their families for the holidays.

With a vulnerable depth and complexity, Marvin Gaye opened the door musically, culturally, and politically for countless musicians over the last five decades to address the injustices of our world. Sitting at the No. 1 spot on Rolling Stone’s 2020 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time,”What’s Going On has proven its evergreen relevance and its legacy will continue to influence and shape the music of future generations.

TRACK LISTS 

What’s Going On 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition: 

LP 1: Original LP

SIDE 1

1. What’s Going On 3:53

2. What’s Happening Brother 2:44

3. Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky) 3:50

4. Save The Children 4:03

5. God Is Love 1:42

6. Mercy Mercy Me 3:13

SIDE 2

1. Right On 7:32

2. Wholy Holy 3:08

3. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) 5:27

LP 2: Bonus Tracks

SIDE 3

1. What’s Going On stripped version *  3:57

2. What’s Going On  mix 1/no strings or horns 3:54 

3. What’s Going On rhythm & strings instrumental mix 3:50

4. Symphony demo version 2:49

SIDE 4 - Original Mono Single Mixes

1. What’s Going On 3:54

2. God Is Love 2:51

3. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) 2:30

4. Sad Tomorrows 2:22

5. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) 2:58

6. Wholy Holy 3:09

 ------------------

Produced by Marvin Gaye
Album Arranged and Orchestra Conducted by David Van DePitte
*Previously Unreleased

And

Marvin Gaye x Salaam Remi: The Remix Suite:

1. Save the Children (Salaam Remi Mix)

2. Sad Tomorrows (Salaam Remi Mix)

3. No Need (Salaam Remi Mix)

4. I Want To Come Home For Christmas (Salaam Remi Mix)
Marvin Gaye What’s Going On - 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition

Marvin Gaye What’s Going On - 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition
An e-commerce edition will also include three exclusive lithographs from the What’s Going On photo sessions. 
  • The No. 1 Album of All Time from Original Analog Tapes
  • Plus Bonus Material Out December 3, 2021
  • Remixes from Acclaimed Producer Salaam Remi out November 19th
RAY BLK HIGHLY ANTICIPATED DEBUT ALBUM ‘ACCESS DENIED’ OUT TODAY ON ISLAND RECORDS
Fri, 01 Oct 2021 09:18:00 +0000

 RAY BLK HIGHLY ANTICIPATED DEBUT ALBUM ‘ACCESS DENIED’ OUT OCTOBER 1 ON ISLAND RECORDS

NEW SINGLE “OVER YOU” FT. STEFFLON DON OUT NOW -
Listen to “Over You” here:

RAY BLK ANNOUNCES NEW DATE FOR HIGHLY ANTICIPATED DEBUT ALBUM ‘ACCESS DENIED’ OUT NOW

 👀👀👀

Follow RAY BLK:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram  

READ MORE POSTS ON RAY BLK

WHO SAID WHAT

“Although the album is called ‘Access Denied’, Ray BLK has granted us the first glimpse into her rebirth, and we’re ready for the ride.”  NME *****

“The debut studio album from Ray Blk   should already be on your list of things to look forward to” – Complex

‘Access Denied’ has proven itself every bit worth the wait.” DIY **** 

“When you can switch between soulful vocals and biting verses as seamlessly as Ray BLK does here, this debut deserves to be more than a mere platform for her talents: it should be a podium.” Loud & Quiet 7/10

 “An inheritor to Lauryn Hill’s soulful crown” The Times
The Specials eagerly awaited new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”, OUT NOW
Fri, 01 Oct 2021 08:45:00 +0000

The Specials eagerly awaited new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”, conceived and recorded during lockdown, during a time when the world was in a state of social, existential and political flux, is out now. The already critically-acclaimed record, follows a triumphant 2019 for Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter, who celebrated their first ever number 1 album “Encore” 40 years after they exploded onto the music scene and launched the 2 Tone movement. Released via new label Island Records, “Protest Songs 1924 – 2012” features twelve singular takes on specially chosen protest songs across an almost 100-year span and shows that The Specials still care, are still protesting and are still pissed off!

The Specials emerged in the late 1970s as the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, and sang of racism, unemployment and injustice making a very clear political statement every time they stepped on stage. It's fitting, then, that in 2021, at a time when the world is riven with social, racial and political unrest, that the Specials have made this album of Protest Songs and are once again reflecting the society we live in and taking a stand against all forms of injustice. A typically unpredictable collection of unique takes from folk to post-punk, righteous uplift to biting satire, and from Kingston to Alabama, the album is a powerful reminder that there are no fixed rules to what makes a protest song. All that’s required is the combination of something that needs to be said with music that needs to be heard. “People have been using music as a vehicle for protest since time immemorial,” says bass-player Horace Panter. “Injustice is timeless.”

In February 2020, Horace, Terry, Lynval and co-producer Nikolaj Torp Larsen gathered to begin work on a reggae record, the follow up to Encore. Then Covid hit and plans were put on hold. During the first lockdown and following the murder of George Floyd and the waves of protest that grew around the world, Terry suggested that they make a different kind of record as a response to recent events.

The trio started by picking some personal favourites. The Mothers of Invention’s Trouble Every Day (Horace), Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows (Terry) while Lynval was keen to sing Bob Marley’s classic rebel song Get Up, Stand Up. Other favourites included Talking Heads’ Listening Wind and “Trouble Every Day” which was about the Watts riots in 1965. Spending months combing YouTube and books for songs they had never heard before, they discovered or rediscovered Big Bill Broonzy’s angry 1938 blues Black, Brown and White and the Staple Singers’ stirring Freedom Highway, written for the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The Dixie Jubilee Singers first recorded the spiritual Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around in 1924 but it was the civil rights movement that tweaked the lyrics and made it an anthem.

Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes is another example of a song that found its true calling after the fact. Written by the poet Rod McKuen in 1963, it was rerecorded three years later, during the dog days of the Vietnam war.

Folk singer Malvina Reynolds, best known for Little Boxes, provides two spiky odes to the contributions of ordinary people: I Live in a City and I Don’t Mind Failing in This World: And because the Specials have always had a taste for black comedy, they’ve chosen two songs by bluesman Jerry McCain (My Next Door Neighbor) and Wild Thing writer Chip Taylor (Fuck All the Perfect People). “Terry said, ‘I’ve found this song, listen to this,’” Horace remembers. “We all sat there open-mouthed.” 

The album was recorded in a studio in West London in May of this year with regular bandmates Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboards, Kenrick Rowe on drums and Steve Cradock on guitar. Hannah Hu, a young singer from Bradford, fronts Listening Wind and sings back-up on Freedom Highway and Everybody Knows.

The Specials remain one of the most electrifying, influential and important bands of all time and this new record and the success of Encore proves that they are every bit as relevant and vital as they were in 1979.   
The Specials eagerly awaited new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”, OUT NOW.
The Specials eagerly awaited new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”, OUT NOW.
THE SPECIALS "PROTEST SONGS 1924 – 2012" OUT NOW
WATCH “FREEDOM HIGHWAY” VIDEO HERE

 >Read more posts on The Specials here

WHO SAID WHAT

The anger still burnshis (Terry Hall) spirit of glum idealism may make him the most quintessentially British protest singer ever. And that is special.” **** Daily Telegraph

“The Specials are so much more than relevant. In times like these, they might just be essential” The Big Issue

“Protest Songs 1924–2012 feels like the right album at the right time by the right band”UNCUT - 8/10

“More than a covers album, this is a cathartic reminder of pop’s revolutionary power” The Wire

“40 years on it’s The Specials, once more, fashioning a compelling soundtrack to troubled times past and present” **** Record Collector

RAY BLK TEAMS UP WITH STEFFLON DON FOR "OVER YOU"
Tue, 21 Sep 2021 09:36:00 +0000

Ahead of the release on October 1st of her eagerly awaited debut album “Access Denied”, Ray Blk, one of the most powerful and important voices in music, drops her new single “Over You" Listen to “Over You” here: 

The track featuring the one and only Stefflon Don, was produced by Fred Ball  (Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Eminem) and Rymez (Stefflon Don, D Block Europe, Ms Banks) and the accompanying video will launch on September 20th.

“Over you is about enjoying the feeling of healing from a breakup. That sudden realisation that you no longer care about something that was making you constantly sad. You wake up one day and you don’t think about that person anymore or care to entertain them. I wanted to make a song about overcoming a break-up and for it to be upbeat so you could hear it in a club or in a party, as that’s where we usually end up when going through a break-up to distract yourself. I want the people who are going through that to hear the words in that moment and start to, or continue to, move on.” 

Ray Blk

The new single is only one of the standout tracks on Ray’s long-awaited 14-song debut album which features special guests including Giggs, Kojey Radical, Suburban Plaza, Kaash Paige and of course Stefflon Don. The album has been a couple of years in the making and Ray is thrilled that she will be able to share her artistry, heart and soul with her fans. Fans can pre-order the album from: https://RAYBLK.lnk.to/AccessDeniedPRAlso keep an eye out for a special announcement on Ray’s socials regarding her official merch store where fans will be able to purchase exclusive tees, hoodies, vinyl and CD’s! 

Alongside the single release, Ray has teamed up with Tommy Jeans and Vevo on their “Less Buzz More Music” campaign. The campaign aims to nurture positivity and looks to offer an alternative, through the power of music, to today’s hyper-connected world – from the news to social media. The campaign spotlights Ray through live video performances created for Vevo’s original content series, ROUNDS, a series of live performances by emerging and established musicians, using a 360-degree portraiture effect.

Ray has also been announced as an Ambassador for National Album Day which returns on Saturday 16th October, and spotlights women artists and their huge contribution to music and culture through the art of the album. Revisiting iconic and influential albums by women artists, from the earliest pioneers to present-day legends, and pointing towards exciting new and future talent, the 2021 event will also highlight the integral role women play within the wider music community, not only as recording artists, but as songwriters, producers, and cultural influencers.

Ray has spent lockdown writing and recording her long-awaited debut album which promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year, reminding everyone what a truly special and unique artist she is. She also wrote and performed “Warriors”, the lead track from the hugely acclaimed 8 times BAFTA nominated film “Rocks”, which was also nominated for Sync Of The Year at this year’s Music Week Awards.

Proving that she has other strings to her bow Ray hosted a 12-week run of the Apple Agenda Show with Mabel, Mahalia, Ghetts and many more. As well as this, she fronted a special Black History Blackout Radio show for Apple music which showcased her passion and knowledge about black women in music including interviews with legends Ms Dynamite and Estelle.

Following her highly acclaimed Oxford University and Ted talks, Ray was also invited by Cambridge University to discuss what Black History Month means to her and share her experience as a black woman in the entertainment industry with the Cambridge Union.

 RAY BLK TEAMS UP WITH STEFFLON DON FOR "OVER YOU"

RAY BLK feat. STEFFLON DON

>LISTEN TO “OVER YOU”

“The UK star has made a name for herself with brilliant, socially conscious R&B” NME
“The debut studio album from Ray Blk 
should already be on your list of things to look forward to” – Complex
“An inheritor to Lauryn Hill’s soulful crown” The Times

 👀👀👀

Follow RAY BLK:

Facebook

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READ MORE POSTS ON RAY BL

Drake scores fourth Number 1 on Official Albums Chart with “Certified Lover Boy”
Fri, 17 Sep 2021 13:59:00 +0000

Global superstar Drake celebrates his 4Th Number 1 success in the UK with his phenomenal new album Certified Lover Boy, after landing the top spot on the Official Albums Chart. CLB has already racked up an astonishing 70.4 million streams in the UK this week and gives Drake his fourth Number 1 record in the UK, following Views (2016), Scorpion (2018), and Dark Lane Demo Tapes (2020).

Drake has also earned three spots in the Top 5 in this week’s singles chart with Girls Want Girls (2), Fair Trade (3) and Champagne Poetry (5) – bringing his total number of Top 10 singles to 30.This is the second time Drake has managed three simultaneous Top 5 singles in the UK – previously he managed the feat in 2018 following the release of his Scorpion album. 

On release day Drake topped his own all-time record for single-day streams on Spotify with Certified Lover Boy, his last album, Scorpion, was the previous record-holder with 132 million single-day streams and CLB also became the most streamed album in less than 24 hours on Apple Music in 2021.  

Drake scores fourth Number 1 on Official Albums Chart with “Certified Lover Boy”
“Certified Lover Boy” 
  •  Number 1 on Official Albums Chart
  • Over 70 Million streams
  • Over 72,000 Total Consumption First Week

About the album & Track Listing - Tap Here
Drake Drops Highly Anticipated New Album “Certified Lover Boy” Out Now
Wed, 08 Sep 2021 12:13:00 +0000
Drake Drops Highly Anticipated New Album “Certified Lover Boy” Listen HERE

Drake Drops Highly Anticipated New Album “Certified Lover Boy”    Out Now


Drake Drops Highly Anticipated New Album “Certified Lover Boy”    Out Now
TRACKLISTING

1. Champagne Poetry
2. Papi’s Home
3. Girls Want Girls ft. Lil Baby
4. In The Bible ft. Lil Durk & Giveon
5. Love All ft. Jay-Z
6. Fair Trade ft. Travis Scott
7. Way 2 Sexy ft. Future & Young Thug
8. TSU
9. N 2 Deep ft. Future
10. Pipe Down
11. Yebba’s Heartbreak
12. No Friends In The Industry
13. Knife Talk ft. 21 Savage & Project Pat
14. 7am On Bridle Path
15. Race My Mind
16. Fountains ft. Tems
17. Get Along Better ft. Ty Dolla $ign
18. You Only Live Twice ft. Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
19. IMY2 ft. Kid Cudi
20. Fucking Fans
21. The Remorse
------------------

The Specials new album "Protest Songs - 1924-2012" out in October
Thu, 26 Aug 2021 16:56:00 +0000
The Specials who enjoyed a triumphant 2019 with the release of the critically acclaimed “Encore”, their first ever number 1 album, coming 40 years after they exploded onto the music scene and launched the 2 Tone movement, make a very timely return with the release of their brand new album “Protest Songs – 1924 -2012”. Released on 1st October through their new label Island Records, the album features twelve singular takes on specially chosen protest songs across an almost 100-year span and shows The Specials still care, are still protesting and still pissed off! You can also catch the Specials on tour across the UK, full dates below.

The Specials emerged in the late 1970s as the multiracial flagship of the 2 Tone movement, and sang of racism, unemployment and injustice making a very clear political statement every time they stepped on stage. It's fitting, then, that in 2021, at a time when the world is riven with social, racial and political unrest, that the Specials have made this album of Protest Songs and are once again reflecting the society we live in and taking a stand against all forms of injustice. A typically unpredictable collection of unique takes from folk to post-punk, righteous uplift to biting satire, and from Kingston to Alabama, the album is a powerful reminder that there are no fixed rules to what makes a protest song. All that’s required is the combination of something that needs to be said with music that needs to be heard. “People have been using music as a vehicle for protest since time immemorial,” says bass-player Horace Panter. “Injustice is timeless.”

In February 2020, Horace, Terry, Lynval and co-producer Nikolaj Torp Larsen gathered to begin work on a reggae record, the follow up to Encore. Then Covid hit and plans were put on hold. During the first lockdown and following the murder of George Floyd and the waves of protest that grew around the world, Terry suggested that they make a different kind of record as a response to recent events.

The trio started by picking some personal favourites. The Mothers of Invention’s Trouble Every Day (Horace), Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows (Terry) while Lynval was keen to sing Bob Marley’s classic rebel song Get Up, Stand Up. Other favourites included Talking Heads’ Listening Wind and “Trouble Every Day” which was about the Watts riots in 1965. Spending months combing YouTube and books for songs they had never heard before, they discovered or rediscovered Big Bill Broonzy’s angry 1938 blues Black, Brown and White and the Staple Singers’ stirring Freedom Highway, written for the marches from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. The Dixie Jubilee Singers first recorded the spiritual Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Us Around in 1924 but it was the civil rights movement that tweaked the lyrics and made it an anthem.

Soldiers Who Want to Be Heroes is another example of a song that found its true calling after the fact. Written by the poet Rod McKuen in 1963, it was rerecorded three years later, during the dog days of the Vietnam war.

Folk singer Malvina Reynolds, best known for Little Boxes, provides two spiky odes to the contributions of ordinary people: I Live in a City and I Don’t Mind Failing in This World: And because the Specials have always had a taste for black comedy, they’ve chosen two songs by bluesman Jerry McCain (My Next Door Neighbor) and Wild Thing writer Chip Taylor (Fuck All the Perfect People). “Terry said, ‘I’ve found this song, listen to this,’” Horace remembers. “We all sat there open-mouthed.”

The album was recorded in a studio in West London in May of this year with regular bandmates Nikolaj Torp Larsen on keyboards, Kenrick Rowe on drums and Steve Cradock on guitar. Hannah Hu, a young singer from Bradford, fronts Listening Wind and sings back-up on Freedom Highway and Everybody Knows.

The Specials remain one of the most electrifying, influential and important bands of all time and this new record and the success of Encore proves that they are every bit as relevant and vital as they were in 1979.

You can see The Specials on tour at the following venues:

28 August – Margate – Dreamland
31 August – Bristol – O2 Academy (sold out)
02 September – Plymouth Pavilions
03 September – Bournemouth Windsor Hall
04 September – Brighton Centre (sold out)
07 September – Edinburgh Usher Hall
09 September – Manchester O2 Victoria Warehouse
10 September – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
11 September – Coventry Building Society Arena
13 September – Hull Bonus Arena
14 September – Blackpool Empress Ballroom
16 September – Birmingham O2 Academy (sold out)
17 September – Nottingham Motorpoint Arena
18 September – Doncaster The Dome
20 September – Newcastle – O2 City Hall
21 September – Reading Rivermead
23 September – London Roundhouse (sold out)
24 September – London Roundhouse (sold out)
25 September – London Troxy

THE SPECIALS "PROTEST SONGS 1924 – 2012" OUT 24th SEPTEMBER
WATCH “FREEDOM HIGHWAY” VIDEO HERE
The Specials new album "Protest Songs - 1924-2012" out in September

👀👀👀
Who said what
“The anger still burns…his (Terry Hall) spirit of glum idealism may make him the most quintessentially British protest singer ever. And that is special.” **** Daily Telegraph

“You just had to look at the audience to see how their message has reverberated through the decades” **** The Times

“The Specials are so much more than relevant. In times like these, they might just be essential”  The Big Issue
Sean Paul new single “Only Fanz,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign
Wed, 18 Aug 2021 13:17:00 +0000
Today, Multi-Award-winning international superstar Sean Paul unveils “Only Fanz,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign – a captivating dancehall banger empowering woman who creatively earn their living. Demonstrating Sean's versatility and range, “Only Fanz” pairs first-class production with two of music most prolific artists, known for their undeniable hooks and melodic vocals.

Directed by Myles Whittingham, the clever, just under three-minute visuals find Sean Paul & Ty Dolla $ign pulled into the vast possibilities of the web, mesmerized by the beauty and talent of the surrounding video stars.

“’Only Fanz’ is for all the independent women who know their worth and empowering all the independent women who work hard to make their money,” says Sean Paul.” The single also features Ty Dolla $ign, who I respect immensely. It’s been amazing to work with him. He was the perfect addition, knocked out his verse in no time and sent it back.”

Ty Dolla $ign shared mutual adoration adding, “I’m honored to work with a legend like Sean Paul, man! He’s a true hit maker and I hope you all love this song as much as we do!”

Sean Paul unveils “Only Fanz,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign - Photo copyright Charlotte Rutherford (All Rights Reserved)
Sean Paul new single "Only Fanz" - Photo credit: Charlotte Rutherford

Throughout his career, Sean Paul has carved a home for himself while championing dancehall, as being an artist with a unique sound, look and passion. His ability to show the power and unity in music through various collaborations, across many genres has catapulted his career over the years on various charts, awards and with an enormous fanbase. Effectively Sean has brought that same concept back to his own genre and collaborated with some of his colleagues in reggae and dancehall, highlighting that together we can also make great music.

This year, he released Live N Livin, a collaborative celebration of his Jamaican heritage and dancehall roots in which Sean trades the mic with Buju Banton and Mavado. Dancehall can be stereotyped as a competitive, macho space where sound clashes are king, but Live N Livin is meant to emphasize what’s possible when unity is the goal. “We don’t need to divide our fans to attain the rotations on the airwaves or streams,” Sean says. “I hold this album very dear to my heart because it shows the effort of collaboration over confrontation.”

He’ll bring that spirit to the rest of his 2021 releases, too. Stay tuned for more from Sean Paul soon.

SEAN PAUL DEBUTS NEW SINGLE “ONLY FANZ” FEATURING TY DOLLA $IGN 

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Sean Paul Socials:
 
 
READ ALL ABOUT SEAN PAUL
It’s rare for an artist to become the personification of their genre. For just a word or phrase from their mouth to conjure the entire artform. Sean Paul is one of those artists. Let him say “shake dat ting” in his commanding voice, and you’ll hear the embodiment of dancehall. Across seven studio albums and counting, Sean Paul has taken the genre global, from its origin in clubs in Kingston, Jamaica to the top of the charts, packing some of the biggest venues in more than 120 countries. Only Sean has the distinction of being the first Jamaican to play shows in Kazakhstan and Madagascar.

The Grammy Award-winning, international superstar has ignited stages in over 120 other countries, performing for huge audiences in some of the biggest venues around the world. Sean Paul has earned several Grammy and Billboard Music Award nominations and is the recipient of an American Music Award, MOBO Awards, Soul Train Awards, MTV Music Awards, ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards, a Source Award and a BET Award. He is the only Jamaican artist to have won an American Music Award (2006) for Favorite Pop/Rock Male artist.
LISTEN/ WATCH “ONLY FANZ” HERE
JP COOPER DROPS “CALL MY NAME” SINGLE & ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM “SHE” - Listen Here
Mon, 16 Aug 2021 17:56:00 +0000
Acclaimed British singer and songwriter, JP Cooper, has dropped his uplifting new single “Call My Name” on 13th August and announced his new album titled “SHE” which will be released on 15th October via Island Records.

“Call My Name” follows his recent releases, “If The World Should Ever Stop” and his gospel-tinged track “Holy Water”. In the new video for “Call My Name” JP Cooper continues to follow the story that we’ve seen in his previous two videos as we begin to see the father seeking help for his addictions, whilst the daughter continues in her own world of discovery. “Call My Name” is a infectious, upbeat and inspiring track where JP provides us with a signature big hook chorus coupled with his natural soulful delivery.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the new song JP says: 
“Call my name is a song for anybody who struggles to reach out and ask for help. I wrote it whilst I was in the US and I remember feeling a little isolated and alone. I would finish my studio sessions and all my people at home would be in bed because of the time difference and I remember wishing I had somebody to call. I guess in a way I wrote it for me. I know there have been many times when I’ve shut myself away and tried to deal with things on my own. This song is a reminder not to do that.”

In addition to the new single, JP Cooper has also made a very exciting announcement for his fans, a new album landing on 15th October called “SHE”.

Speaking about his album announcement, JP says:
“'Many of these songs on the album have been inspired and nurtured by women throughout my life, from experiences with family, friends, and girlfriends along with all the amazing lessons, blessings and struggles that those experiences have come with. When I think about the word, ‘SHE’, I think about learning and all the women who have guided, challenged, loved and helped me grow.”

JP Cooper has graced two of the biggest and most enduring hit singles of the last few years; the Jonas Blue’s memorable “Perfect Strangers”, which Cooper co-wrote, and his inescapable radio hit “September Song” (which has racked up over 600 million streams worldwide). Cooper also recently teamed up with Sigala on R3HAB’s new single, “Runaway” and Emily Burns’ new version of her song “Is It Just Me?” which also reached a Top 10 position on the iTunes chart. The Manchester born troubadour has an incredible 1 million ADJ Global album sales, an extraordinary 4 billion total global streams, fuelled by his devoted 11 million monthly Spotify listeners. In addition to over 120,00 radio plays across 250 radio stations and sold out UK and European tours.

2021 promises to be JP’s most exciting year, with his new album on the way including some of his most personal, authentic and moving music yet. 
P COOPER  DROPS “CALL MY NAME” SINGLE  & ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM “SHE” - Listen Here
JP COOPER “CALL MY NAME” SINGLE &  NEW ALBUM “SHE”
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4 billion streams globally
1 Million ADJ. Global album sales
11 million monthly Spotify listeners
Top 10 debut album

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Connect with JP Cooper here:

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RAY BLK drops the video for “M.I.A.” featuring Kaash Paige
Sat, 14 Aug 2021 20:41:00 +0000

Widely regarded as one of the realest, most powerful and important voices in music, Ray Blk drops the video for her recent Island Records single “M.I.A.”. Featuring exciting US rising star Kaash Paige, and taken from her eagerly-awaited debut album “ACCESS DENIED” (September). You can watch the video for “M.I.A” here 

Produced by acclaimed East London film director Darnell Depradine (Aitch, Potter Payper, Jacob Banks) the video for M.I.A. serves up pure feel good summer vibes as we see Ray enjoying a cook out with family and friends including familiar faces such as Kojey Radical and MNEK. The video then switches gear and delivers sultry evening scenes as Ray and Kaash escape onto the streets of London and LA. Described by NME as “an R&B legend in the making”, Kaash Paige has worked with the likes of Travis Scott, Alicia Keys and Moneybagg Yo.   

Speaking about the video release Ray says: “For the video I wanted to have a bbq with my friends and family because the essence of the song is just about having the best experiences with someone you love, as being surrounded by my friends and family is when I feel my best and in my element. We shot it in South London but it looked and felt like we were away somewhere, similar to the lyric in MIA about your loved one feeling like a vacation, because it’s not about where you are, but who you’re with.”

Darnell Depradine says: “I’ve wanted to work with Ray for a long time so I knew we had to make something amazing. Everyone really worked well to make it a special day, we literally had a bbq gathering to make everything be authentic and I feel we really got that feeling we wanted,”

Ray also recently dropped a LIVE VEVO performance for “MIA” which is available to watch here

The video follows her recent announcement for her and long-awaited debut album, “ACCESS DENIED” on September 17th through Island Records. Featured guests on the 14-song set include Giggs, Stefflon Don, Kojey Radical, Suburban Plaza and of course Kaash Paige. The album has been a couple of years in the making and Ray is thrilled that she will be able to share her artistry, heart and soul with her fans.

Ray has spent lockdown writing and recording her long-awaited debut album which promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year, reminding everyone what a truly special and unique artist she is. She also wrote and performed “Warriors”, the lead track from the hugely acclaimed 8 times BAFTA nominated film “Rocks”, which has also been nominated for Sync Of The Year at this years Music Week Awards.

Proving that she has other strings to her bow Ray hosted a 12-week run of the Apple Agenda Show with Mabel, Mahalia, Ghetts and many more. As well as this, she fronted a special Black History Blackout Radio show for Apple music which showcased her passion and knowledge about black women in music including interviews with legends Ms Dynamite and Estelle.

Following her highly acclaimed Oxford University and Ted talks, Ray was also invited by Cambridge University to discuss what Black History Month means to her and share her experience as a black woman in the entertainment industry with the Cambridge Union.

RAY BLK  drops the video for   “M.I.A.”  featuring Kaash Paige - TAP TO READ POST

Follow RAY BLK: 
 ----------------------------
“The UK star has made a name for herself with brilliant, socially conscious R&B” NME
“The debut studio album from Ray Blk should already be on your list of things to look forward to” - Complex
“An inheritor to Lauryn Hill’s soulful crown” The Times

 >Tap here to read posts about Ray

DJ, Jack Fowler, has dropped his new single “Foolish”
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 15:56:00 +0000

East London born and bred singer, songwriter and DJ, Jack Fowler, has dropped his new single “Foolish” via Island Records.

This hugely infectious feel-good, soon to be dance anthem, is also set to air on fashion brand, I Saw It First’s TV advert for the UK’s most talked about show this summer Love Island. Jack is of course one of the massively successful Love Island’s most popular and enduring stars and this single proves that he has so much more to offer.   

“Foolish”, drenched in pure Ibiza vibes, couldn’t come at a more perfect time with the sun shining and the summer ready to finally kick in post lockdown.

Speaking about the single Jack says: "I’ve always wanted to write and release music that's relatable as well as giving people summer vibes music that they can party to... having that mix of a serious subject while maintaining that upbeat feel-good factor. I hooked up with vocal coach Ali Tennant (Jessie J, David Guetta, JLS) and then recorded around 15-20 songs. It was clear that ‘Foolish” should be the first single as it’s not only the realest one but is also an absolute summer banger! It’s all happened very naturally!”

“Foolish” follows Jack’s 2020 debut single “Back to Yours”, an R&B slow jam showcasing his smooth butter vocals. Jack was first introduced to music by his St Helenian father, who listened to all of the great soul and reggae artists including Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and Barry White. Jack began to develop his own taste in music after buying his first ever record, Nelly’s classic ‘Dilemma’ album, before graduating to the music of Tupac, Biggie Smalls to Drake, Jay Z and J Cole. However, it was PartyNextDoor’s self-titled album that really inspired Jack to start writing and producing his own music.

Now managed by Simon Webbe of the Brit Award winning pop band, Blue, the natural born performer has been smashing it across all areas of the industry, from launching his own clothing line with ‘I Saw It First’, to countless presenting gigs with worldwide brands, and building a huge fanbase across social media platforms including a staggering 1.2 million Instagram followers.  This is only the beginning.  Stay tuned for much more exciting music to come from East London’s own triple threat. 

JACK FOWLER NEW SINGLE “FOOLISH”LISTEN HERE

DJ, Jack Fowler, has dropped his new single “Foolish”   
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Post Malone releases new single "Motley Crew"
Sat, 10 Jul 2021 12:20:00 +0000

GRAMMY® Award-nominated diamond-certified Dallas, TX maverick Post Malone releases his brand new single entitled "Motley Crew".

"Motley Crew" is the hugely acclaimed and much-loved artist's first new original music of the year and is the lead track from a companion project to a forthcoming documentary, coming soon. Once again, Post delivers the perfect anthem to rage to, living up to the title of "Motley Crew" like only he can. 

Malone also released a video for the track directed by Cole Bennett and co-produced by DreVision Media. Shot at Auto Club Speedway, the video features NASCAR stars Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace. Other notable guest appearances include Tommy Lee, Big Sean, French Montana, Kerwin Frost, LoveLeo, SAINt JHN, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga, Pressa, Trinidad James, and Tyla Yaweh

 Post Malone's "Motley Crew" - Photo copyright Adam DeGross (All Rights Reserved)
 Photo Credit: Adam DeGross

TAP HERE Listen to "Motley Crew"

TAP HERE Watch Official "Motley Crew" Music Video

Post Malone's "Motley Crew"
RAY BLK drops new single “M.I.A.” featuring Kaash Paige & ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM “ACCESS DENIED”
Thu, 08 Jul 2021 08:40:00 +0000

Ray Blk one of the realest, most challenging and important voices in music, dropped her brand new single “M.I.A.”, on July 6th through Island Records and reveals the title “ACCESS DENIED” and date (September 17) of her long-awaited debut album.

The single features exciting new US rising star Kaash Paige, who is signed to Def Jam US and managed by Roc Nation. Described by NME as “an R&B legend in the making”, Kaash Paige has worked with the likes of Travis Scott, Alicia Keys and Moneybagg Yo.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the song Ray says: “MIA is my summer anthem as we’re released from lockdown. It’s just about escaping, or being with someone who feels like an escape, like you’re on holiday and just at peace, away from the noise. After being in lockdown for so long and being overwhelmed or feeling low, I’m ready to be out with the people I love the most in our element with this playing in the background as the soundtrack to our summer.”

The single launched on July 6th with a Hottest Record on Annie Mac’s show and a Targo Embargo on 1XTRA.Listen to M.I.A. here:

Even more exciting for fans is the announcement that Ray will finally release her much vaunted and long-awaited debut album, “ACCESS DENIED” on September 17th through Island Records. Fans will be able to pre-order the album from here: 

Featured guests on the 14-song set include Giggs, Stefflon Don, Kojey Radical, Suburban Plaza and of course Kaash Paige. The album has been a couple of years in the making and Ray is thrilled that she will be able to share her artistry, heart and soul with her fans.

Speaking about the album release, Ray says: “I’ve been looking forward to this moment of releasing my debut album since I was 13 in the studio with MNEK learning how to write songs and knew for certain I wanted to be a singer. Access Denied is for those who like myself, know disappointment too well and have learned to create boundaries as a coping mechanism for self protection. I’ve opened up about how the childhood I had made me guarded, how disappointing relationships made me fear love and how being told no so many times in the music industry kicked me down, but I got back up. I want people to listen to this record and value themselves enough to deny access to those who are undeserving, and to also value themselves enough to keep believing in themselves when they’re denied access to certain spaces and say yes to themselves when the world tells them no.”

Ray has spent lockdown writing and recording her long-awaited debut album which promises to be one of the cultural highlights of the year, reminding everyone what a truly special and unique artist she is. She also wrote and performed “Warriors”, the lead track from the hugely acclaimed 8 times BAFTA nominated film “Rocks”, which has also been nominated for Sync Of The Year at this years Music Week Awards.

Proving that she has other strings to her bow Ray hosted a 12-week run of the Apple Agenda Show with Mabel, Mahalia, Ghetts and many more. As well as this, she fronted a special Black History Blackout Radio show for Apple music which showcased her passion and knowledge about black women in music including interviews with legends Ms Dynamite and Estelle.

Following her highly acclaimed Oxford University and Ted talks, Ray was also invited by Cambridge University to discuss what Black History Month means to her and share her experience as a black woman in the entertainment industry with the Cambridge Union.

RAY BLK  drops new single  “M.I.A.”  featuring Kaash Paige  & ANNOUNCES DEBUT ALBUM  “ACCESS DENIED”

Follow RAY BLK:

 ----------------
“The UK star has made a name for herself with brilliant, socially conscious R&B” NME
“The debut studio album from Ray Blk should already be on your list of things to look forward to” - Complex
“An inheritor to Lauryn Hill’s soulful crown” The Times

About Ray:

Known for her no-holds barred lyrics and straight talking, whether it’s on or off the mic, Ray BLK (real name Rita Ekwere) is going to speak her mind. “I always have to get everything off my chest,” says singer-songwriter. “As an artist and somebody who's been blessed with a platform, I feel like it is part of my responsibility.” 

The 26 year-old artist is celebrated for music that makes a statement and her new single “Lovesick”, recent track “Warriors” the lead song from the hugely acclaimed ROCKS film and forthcoming album prove that the ultimate girl’s girl is back with messages of tough love, a catalogue of quotables and a renewed focus on self-love. The outcome is the musical equivalent of the unfiltered girl talk from your most raucous WhatsApp group chat.

Sonically and thematically, it’s both a throwback to the rawness of her ‘Durt’ days as well as a sleeker, slicker sound that is ushering in what she refers to as her “gangster era”.  “I'm really owning myself, where I'm from, what I feel and I'm just not giving a shit,” she says. In this album, she is embracing the realness we have become accustomed to; the prettiest of voices sat atop a grittiness that thoroughly sets her apart from her peers.

Born in Nigeria, raised in Catford, Ray BLK’s music is heavily influenced by her upbringing. “I grew up with Grime music and clash culture in the playground,” she says. “As much as I don't make Grime music, I like hard hitting beats that you can sing over.” Aside from the apt characterisation of her hometown on songs like the 2016 breakout hit ‘My Hood’ featuring Stormzy, South London has shaped her sound, which sees her marrying the candour and lyricism of a rapper with honeyed R&B vocals.

Her musical journey began at the tender age of 8, scrawling lyrics in school notebooks.

Even then her work was standout, catching the eye of a teacher who placed her on a music program for gifted and talented pupils. By 13, she was crafting her first body of work with school friend and future record producer and songwriter MNEK, forming the group New Found Content. It was during this time she would hone the introspective and sociopolitical writing she is so well known for. It took several years and a English Literature degree at university for her to release a mixtape of ripped beats entitled ‘Havisham’, a hip-hop, R&B, and neo-soul hybrid inspired by the jilted Charles Dickens character. It was then she adopted her stage name, taking ‘Ray’ from her surname and ‘BLK’, an acronym of her three most important values: Building, Living, Knowing.

The following year saw the release of ‘Durt’, Ray’s crtically acclaimed first EP which featured collaborations with Stormzy, Wretch 32 and SG Lewis and won Ray a legion of new, non-local fans. Ray was also announced as the winner of the prestigious BBC Sound of Poll for 2017, becoming the first, and indeed only, unsigned artist to do so. She also received a best newcomer nomination at the 2016 MOBO Awards. In January 2018 she signed to Island Records and later released her eight-track project Empress, with a strong female empowerment message in the title track, “Got My Own" and "Girl Like Me". In the hard-hitting "Run Run", Ray references the youth violence that plagued her area, an issue she continues to be vocal on.

Her willingness to address difficult topics with deftness is second to none, from touching on domestic violence to partnering up with charities to do talks at schools about consent, after speaking publicly about her own experience with sexual assault this year. She has also been making herself heard as a host of Beats 1 agenda show on Apple Music, a gig that was extended by popular demand. “When I was younger, three things I wanted to do were sing, act and present,” she says. “I kind of feel like I'm just getting to live out one of my dreams like a side hustle.” 

Her discography has already seen her hailed as the queen of UK R&B, but the best is yet to come, with Ray leaning into a newfound sense of autonomy. After her BBC Sound Of 2017 win, she cites a pressure to fit into a poppier, more polished mould that she’s now free from. “I am still proud of the music I made,” she says. “But I'll be real and say it felt inauthentic to me, because it felt very polite and brushed up and I’m just ratchet!”

Lovesick, the first album’s first single, is an anthem for newly anointed savages who have decided to no longer settle. “It really is just about reclaiming your power in a relationship where the person has made you feel like you need them and has made you feel not good enough,” Ray explains.

Ray has also faced obstacles in the industry as a black, dark skinned woman - another topic she has frequently and openly discussed. “It's about being told no and always remembering to tell yourself yes.”

Over the years, Ray has been dubbed “the Lauryn Hill of the UK” (who she cites as inspiration alongside female rappers such as Eve and Missy Elliott) but also grew up on a diet of her mum’s musical tastes: Whitney Houston, gospel music and Mary J Blige. Her writing is heavily influenced by the “realness and his relatability” of Drake’s lyrics and her stateside contemporaries SZA and Summer Walker. Straddling different styles and genres effortlessly whilst borrowing from various global, generational influences, she creates something that is distinctively Ray BLK. As a teaser on what to expect on the album Ray says

“For those who joined during Empress, they're gonna be like, whoa. For those who've been there since DURT they're gonna be like, “Yes, she's back!”

JESSIA releases the official video to her latest single, “I Should Quit”
Thu, 24 Jun 2021 05:23:00 +0000

Canadian pop songstress JESSIA released the official video to her latest single, “I Should Quit” New York, NY on June 18th 2021– watch HERE.

Directed by Nina Kramer, the carefree video highlights JESSIA’s struggle to accept her friends’ advice to stop making impulsive bad choices, while knowing that she should quit but in reality admits she has no intention of doing so. On the track, JESSIA says “I’m really good at giving advice but not always good at taking it. I know what I SHOULD do but what’s the fun in always playing it safe? Sometimes you just need to fully accept that you are a hot mess.” 

Recently, JESSIA was featured as Billboard Magazine’s Chartbreaker” for the month of June. Her CRIA Gold-certified body acceptance anthem “I’m not Pretty” is currently Top 5 at Hot AC radio in Canada and features GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist Bebe Rexha on the official remix version of the track released last month. “I’m not Pretty” recently crossed 100 million+ streams and this week tops the Billboard Canada Emerging Artists Chart for the SEVENTH consecutive week at #1.

“I’m not Pretty" initially exploded on Tik Tok when JESSIA introduced an acapella hook of the song by sharing, “I don’t know if this is total trash, or if it’s actually a bop.” Turns out, it was the latter as the clip racked up 1 million views in a day. The candid lyrics describe a journey towards self-love and the emotions one can feel while on its path - a message that has instantly resonated with audiences all over the world. 
 
Watch how “I’m not Pretty” unfolded on TikTok: 
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5 // Part 6
 
In addition to early support from international tastemakers, Grammy award winning singer, songwriter, and producer Ryan Tedder personally reached out to JESSIA upon hearing the song to champion her work and collaborate.  Together they are putting the finishing touches on more new music—due out soon.

2021 TOUR DATES

July 1 – Lights On Canada Day – Ottawa, ON

July 31 – Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL

October 30 – Outside Lands Festival – San Francisco, CA

JESSIA releases the official video to her latest single, “I Should Quit” -

WATCH “I SHOULD QUIT” OFFICIAL VIDEO HERE  

👀👀👀

Socials:

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ABOUT REPUBLIC RECORDS
A division of Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company, Republic Records is home to an all-star roster of multi-platinum, award-winning legends and superstar artists such as Ariana Grande, Black Thought, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Greta Van Fleet, Hailee Steinfeld, Jack Johnson, James Blake, James Bay, Jessie J, John Mellencamp, Jonas Brothers, Julia Michaels, Kid Cudi, Lil Wayne, Lorde, Metro Boomin, NAV, Nicki Minaj, Of Monsters and Men, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Seth MacFarlane, Stevie Wonder, Taylor Swift, The Weeknd and more. Founded by brothers and chief executives Monte and Avery Lipman, it is also comprised of innovative business ventures, including American Recordings, Boominati Worldwide, Brushfire, Casablanca Records, Cash Money, Lava Records, XO, Young Money, among others. Republic also maintains a long-standing strategic alliance with Universal Music Latin Entertainment (J Balvin and Karol G).  In addition, Republic has expanded to release high-profile soundtracks for Universal Pictures (Fifty Shades of Grey), Sony Pictures (Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse) and NBC TV (The Voice), as well as other notable film and television franchises. Extending further into the worlds of film, television, and content, Republic launched Federal Films in order to produce movies and series powered by the label's catalog and artists. Its first production was the Jonas Brothers documentary Chasing Happiness for Amazon Prime Video.
Apple TV+ announces new music docuseries “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything”
Tue, 25 May 2021 16:25:00 +0000
Apple TV+ has announced “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything,” an immersive, new docuseries that will explore the musicians and soundtracks that shaped the culture and politics of 1971. Executive produced by Academy, BAFTA and Grammy Award winners Asif Kapadia (“Amy,” “Senna”) and James Gay-Rees (“Amy,” “Senna,” “Exit Through the Gift Shop”), the eight-part docuseries will premiere May 21 on Apple TV+.

An immersive, deep-dive rich with archival footage and interviews, “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything,” will show how the musical icons of the time were influenced by the changing tides of history; and, in turn, how they used their music to inspire hope, change and the culture around them. The docuseries will examine the most iconic artists and songs that we still listen to 50 years later, including The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed and more.

Hailing from Universal Music Group’s (UMG) Mercury Studios in association with On The Corner Films, Asif Kapadia will serve as series director and will executive produce alongside James Gay-Rees, David Joseph and UMG’s Adam Barker. Chris King serves as editor and executive producer. Danielle Peck is series producer and directs alongside James Rogan.

“1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything” joins Apple’s award-winning offering of unscripted series and films including “Boys State,” which won two Critics Choice Documentary Awards and the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Award; Critics Choice Award-winning and Emmy and Grammy Award-nominated “Beastie Boys Story”; the global smash hit documentary “Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry”; Werner Herzog’s Critics Choice Documentary Award nominee “Fireball: Visitors from Darker Worlds”; as well as upcoming documentary “The Supermodels,” from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries; and the recently announced “Number One on the Call Sheet,” from acclaimed storytellers Jamie Foxx, Kevin Hart, Datari Turner and Dan Cogan.
 
Apple TV+ announces new music docuseries
“1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything”
 

Apple TV+  “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything”

JP COOPER DROPS NEW SINGLE “HOLY WATER” > LISTEN HERE
Tue, 25 May 2021 09:59:00 +0000

Acclaimed British singer and songwriter JP Cooper, whose debut album “Raised Under Grey Skies”, and huge global hit “September Song”, introduced an artist of great depth with a voice and songs to match, returns with the release on May 21st of his new brand new Island Records single “Holy Water”. You can listen to the single > >HERE.

“Holy Water” is a deeply personal song for Cooper which explores the idea of picking yourself up whenever you fall, a great lesson he learnt from his dad.

Speaking about the inspiration behind the new song JP says:

Holy Water is a song that was half finished for about 5 years. I was raised in a strong Catholic household so questioning yourself and your choices was a big part of what was going on in my mind, especially in my teens, early twenties. There were a lot of things I was doing that I probably shouldn’t have been doing given the way that I was raised. There were lots of parts of myself that I guess I was at war with. My dad was always an amazing example… if you fall down, pick yourself up and keep it moving and I guess for him the church and his faith gave him the opportunity to start again, which is what initially inspired me to write the song. The song is for everyone though, regardless of their beliefs. I think we all, as human beings, want to to evolve and become better people. No matter how many times we let ourselves down, the important thing is to put it behind you, move forward and try to be better the next day. Holy Water is about showing gratitude to the people around me who taught me how to try and do that and how to process that. It doesn’t make me perfect but that’s a huge part of being human.

The infectious new gospel-tinged track follows JP’s 2020 EP release ‘Too Close’ which included the uplifting track “Little Bit of Love” which was written as a response to how many of us were feeling dealing with the pandemic.

JP’s soulful voice has graced two of the biggest and most enduring Top 10 singles of the last few years; the Jonas Blue’s memorable “Perfect Strangers”, which Cooper co-wrote, and his inescapable radio hit “September Song” (which has racked up over 600 million streams worldwide). JP also recently featured on Emily Burns’ new version of her song “Is It Just Me?” which also reached a Top 10 position on the iTunes chart. The Manchester born troubadour Cooper has an incredible 1 million ADJ Global album sales, an extraordinary 4 billion total global streams, fuelled by his devoted 10 million monthly Spotify listeners. In addition to over 120,00 radio plays across 250 radio stations and sold out UK and European tours.

2021 promises to be JP’s most exciting year with lots of new music to come.

JP COOPER  DROPS NEW SINGLE  “HOLY WATER”  LISTEN NOW

JP COOPER “HOLY WATER” >> LISTEN NOW

  • 4 billion streams globally
  • 1 Million ADJ. Global album sales
  • 10 million monthly Spotify listeners
  • Top 10 debut album

Connect with JP Cooper

Giant mural by Dreph uveiled in Brixton as Motown & Island celebrate 50th Anniversary of Marvin Gaye's album "What's Going On'. Read all about it & more >
Fri, 21 May 2021 15:36:00 +0000

UK visual artist Dreph has today unveiled a giant public mural in Brixton, London, as part of the global celebrations to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Marvin Gaye's timeless album, What's Going On

The stunning 16-foot piece pays homage to the 40th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton Uprising – a watershed moment for race relations in the UK. Growing tensions around racial inequality erupted into violent clashes between the predominantly Black youth of Brixton and the Metropolitan police force. The uprising was sparked by the same police violence and injustice that Marvin Gaye sang about in What's Going On. The riots took place over three days, devastating the community and injuring over 300 people.

Dreph's art represents the musical message of What's Going On, which still held its significance amongst police brutality and racial inequality in 1981 and continues to encourage today's social justice movement. The picket signs reference the lyrics from the title track and words taken from the album's song titles within the piece. The symbols represent contemporary movements campaigning to address the climate crisis, gender inequality, and world peace.

On the mural, Dreph said: "It's an honour to make artwork in celebration of such an iconic album, from such a legendary artist. It is disappointing though, that many of the lyrics of the album are still so pertinent. This painting for me is a recognition of today, with hope for a better tomorrow".

The making of What's Going On is legendary. With his brother Frankie back from Vietnam and struggling to find a job, the Earth showing signs of ecological distress, police brutality at a protest in Berkeley, and a boiling point of inequality in black urban neighborhoods, Marvin Gaye wrote a poignant plea that we might organize to address these often-overlooked issues. Fifty years later, the influence and meaning behind one of R&B’s first seamless concept albums, What’s Going On, continues to ring true. Calling out to a broken country, Gaye searched for reason and hope in a world that felt desperate and senseless. He opened the door musically, culturally, and politically for countless musicians over the last five decades to address, with a vulnerable depth and complexity, the injustices of our world.

Dreph's involvement in the UK is part of the global activities to honour this momentous record and celebrate Gaye’s life and legacy, Motown/UMe are introducing, today (May 21, 2021), exactly 50 years from the album’s original release, a charge of releases that both conserve and reimagine the essence of What’s Going On.

Listen to What’s Going On here

Representing the younger generations, soul-stirring R&B virtuoso Jac Ross (Darkchild/Island) has released a cover of “What’s Going On” (View here) Ross has quickly made himself known in the R&B scene with his single “It’s OK To Be Black” and has built a buzz around his electric live show and his ability to connect to listeners through his songs. Highly influenced by Gaye and striving to carry on the messages of struggle, perseverance, and cultural change, Ross’ cover honours and preserves the track’s original atmosphere while imbuing the weight and emotion of today’s social climate. “Honestly, I would rank What’s Going On as one of the best pieces I’ve ever heard,” says Ross. “It holds substance and has charisma all at the same time. To me the album is a socially conscious project. It’s what Marvin sees, being converted to what he says in real time.  Even when we fast forward into the present, this piece of work holds the same impact. The project inspired my career in many ways, one of which is simply making a real effort to speak out when the time is right.  Another thing I’ve learned from watching Marvin’s career is that you can be versatile. You just simply must pay attention to what the world is telling you in that moment.”

One of the most influential and successful people in hip-hop for the past several decades, Young Guru, is announcing his “What’s Going On” remix to be released in June. A Grammy-winning engineer for Everything Is Love by The Carters, Young Guru has worked closely with genre-defining artists. With What’s Going On as a driving influence for himself as well as the many artists he has worked with, Guru is developing a rendition of the track infused with the genres, grooves, and tones that Gaye’s work would go on to inspire. “My goal was to meld the worlds of where I'm from,” says Guru. “This record affected my father when it came out, but I also want it to affect my son right now with this remix. And for me, that's the biggest thing, showing reverence, but also showing how it's still effective today and how it still goes with the times today.”

Offering an option to explore the title track itself, Motown/UMe have released a new lyric video for “What’s Going On” featuring the captivating art of animator and director Tim Fox. There are also eight brand-new pseudo-videos released for the remaining tracks on the original record, each animated by a different artist to match the message and atmosphere of the song, delivering a dynamic visual complement to the listening experience. View the visual album HERE.

You can also catch the Apple TV documentary 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything, covering the year in music and highlighting the release of What’s Going On, available today. Watch the official trailer HERE.

CNN has aired their special What’s Going On: Marvin Gaye’s Anthem for the Ages (first aired May 9, 2021) hosted by Don Lemon and featuring interviews from artists inspired by Gaye’s masterwork including Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Maxwell, Sheila E., Spike Lee, Lee Daniels and Capitol Records artist Devon Gilfillian, whose most recent release is a cover of the full What’s Going On album. You can watch the special on CNN VOD HERE.

Marvin Gaye’s What's Going On continues to be hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. It was the first of Gaye's albums to break the top ten of Billboard’s Top LPs, spawned three No. 1 singles, at the time became Motown's best-selling album, decades later earned the No. 1 spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2020 list of “The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.” Marvin Gaye continues to hold his place as one of the greatest singers, composers and producers in this half a century, and What's Going On has proven that its timeless message and sound will continue to change the face of music for years to come.

Giant mural by Dreph uveiled in Brixton as Motown & Island celebrate 50th Anniversary of Marvin Gaye's album "What's Going On'.
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LISTEN: Marvin Gaye's 'What’s Going On'

VIEW: Jac Ross cover of 'What’s Going On' 

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