February Essentials on Tradiio

February Essentials

Here at Essentially Pop we’re honoured to be a part of the Tradiio family. As one of their industry partners, we curate a monthly playlist, featuring artists we’ve written about, and also those whose music we’ve enjoyed. If we could, we’d make a playlist including every Tradiio artist!

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Out of Belfast comes six-piece indie folk band, runabay. Formed in early 2014 the group has already earned a reputation as one of Northern Ireland’s most up and coming bands.

Comprising John McManus (vocals/guitar), Gary Graham (guitar/vocals), Gerard McHugh (vocals/percussion), Dean Walker (bass/vocals), Declan McCartan (cello/vocals), and George Sloan (drums/vocals), Runabay draws their musical influences from Irish traditional folk music and indie bands like Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Hozier – as well as all the greats from every genre.

The song we featured in our playlist is ‘This Day’. Sung in runabay’s customary guitar-led indie-folk style, yet at the same time highlighting their ongoing development as a band (for comparison check out our article about their ‘June EP’) the song speaks from the point of a view of a man who wants what has been the perfect day to last forever. runabay have seen a great response to their music thus far, with airplay on BBC Radio Ulster, Amazing Radio, and Tom Robinson’s 6 Music show. Additionally the band received nominations last year for the Pure M Awards, ‘Best Irish Single’, and Best EP in 2015′.


Ayelle is a London-based Swedish singer songwriter. We interviewed her after the release of her song, ‘Waiting’, and asked her to talk us through the song:

EP: Talk to us about ‘Waiting’, your new release. What’s behind the song? Is it inspired by someone in particular?
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A: Yeah it is, I probably shouldn’t say too much but it’s about a guy I was seeing that couldn’t really give too much of himself, for whatever reason, but I decided not to wait for my needs to be met and ended it. I find that this is a pretty common predicament that comes with gender imbalance in relationships where women give and give of themselves without getting much in return. The whole situation was making me fairly miserable so the song was my way of working through that emotion and finding the strength to put myself first instead. I definitely said too much haha.
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Liv Austen

We saw Liv perform live at London’s Borderline venue back in October, and have since interviewed her and featured her Essential Weekly Playlist.

We asked her to give us her story:

LA: I grew up in Norway and was an extremely shy child, but with an enormous need to express myself artistically – a difficult combination! I played piano, acted in drama groups and sang in choirs, and finally (with some help) came out of my shell and stepped in to the spotlight a bit more. In my teens I discovered my passion for songwriting, which has been an essential part of my life ever since. I trained in performing arts both in Norway and in the UK, and after graduating I moved to London. I finally decided to try out some of my songs in some small venues around town, and it’s been a bit of a crazy ride since!

Liv’s song, ‘Workin’ Man’s Dream’, is the title track from Liv’s EP, which was rated by W21 Music as the Best EP of the year. It quite rightly deserves a place on our playlist!

Nylon Ostrich

Formed in 2011, the Indie Rock band comprises Guy Lancefield on Vocals and Guitar, Jake Lowe on Guitar, Harvey Godden on Bass, and Harvey Ludlow playing Drums. They released their EP, ‘Four Letter Words’, in September 2015. Three of their songs, title track ‘Four Letter Words’, ‘Stay’, and ‘Take It In’, featured in Tradiio’s Best of January Playlist, with all three of their songs, as well as ‘Battle Scars’, making Tradiio’s track of the week lists, in December and January. As a consequence of their popularity, Nylon Ostrich are part of Tradiio’s “watch” list for February. We wrote about them at the beginning of the month.


In January we wrote about Raveena, whose sound skilfully blends soul, R&B and jazz. The twenty two year old New York based vocalist sees herself as a feminine force to be reckoned with. We added Raveena’s song, ‘I’m Your Girl’, to our February Essentials Playlist.

Narrow Plains

Releasing their self titled debut album on Valentine’s Day, London band Narrow Plains are no strangers to readers of Essentially Pop, as we’ve featured them on no fewer than four occasions over the past eighteen months. We added their song, ‘Dreams’, from their ‘Somewhere In Between’ EP, to our February playlist.

Mohawk Radio

Mohawk Radio is a four piece with James ‘Gregsy’ Gregory on lead guitar, Sean Frankland on bass/backing vocals, Dave Quinn on drums, and Mia Page with her melodic yet powerful vocals. It is essential to make mention of the whole band as they are all really what makes Mohawk Radio the amazing band they are. It starts with the great songwriting in its beginning stage and James on lead guitar using good dynamics and fitting every guitar part perfectly in place with the feel of the songs.

Sean and Dave provide seamless rhythm grooves that move the songs in the direction they were meant to go.  And Mia, with a stunning ability to sing that rivals even the most accomplished pop artists of our time, provides her commanding vocals over the bands rock sound.

We featured ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’ in our February Essentials Playlist. Mohawk Radio’s latest song, ‘Two Million Heartbeats’ was released on February 19.

Leena Ojala

Together We Have It No More’, by Leena Ojala, is a superb song with brilliant vocals and production.

Born in Germany with a Finnish father and English mother, Leena spent her childhood travelling between Hong Kong and Essex, before eventually settling in London, where she started working on her career as a musical artist. Her debut, ‘EP1’, was released on November 13 last year.

‘Together We Have It No More’ is Leena’s latest release, and was written about the decision to end a relationship. We added the remix version, by FØRTE, aka David Burreddu to our playlist. FØRTE, who with his band Pistol Shrimp was recently featured in an Oakley video, has proven himself to be an avid beat maker and producer, creating unique experiences for his listeners. His most recent mix, ‘Don’t’, by Dominique, was recently number 7 on Tradiio’s US charts, four months since its release. It’s a new and exciting direction into the unknown with David’s electronic alter ego.

And Then There Was One

And Then There Was One is the solo project of Stevie Caldwell, a singer songwriter from Boston, who cites her influences as Fleetwood Mac, and Hole. Not surprising then to hear that, when she first started writing music and lyrics at the age of 13,

I originally wanted to write lyrics and melodies as beautiful as Stevie Nicks, and rock out as hard as Hole. Now I just want to sound like me.

Stevie’s music is hard to classify in terms of genre – lyrically it has something we can’t quite put our finger on – it’s a roller coaster of emotion; introspective and self-exploratory. Love given, love lost, love unrequited. It’s REAL. Sad, emotional. Stirring.

We added her outstanding song, ‘The Girl Who Fell’, to our February playlist.

Pure Youth

Another up and coming band we’ve featured a few times on EP in the past year, London band Pure Youth released their latest track, ‘New November’, late last year, accompanied by a stunning music video. They round up number 10 in our February Essentials Playlist on Tradiio.

You can invest in all the artists we’ve featured – we have – and listen to more of their music, and support them for free, on Tradiio. Stay tuned for our March Essentials – coming very soon!

About the author

There’s a lot of music out there - good music. At Essentially Pop our remit is that we cover music that deserves to be heard, with a particular focus on independent artists. That doesn't mean we won't cover your old favourites - rather we hope to give you some new favourites as well.

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