Music is such a universal language that brings people all of different races, ages and backgrounds together…it’s amazing that you can be in a venue of 40,000 people or 2,000 people and everyone has their own story of why they’re there.
I was so blessed to be a part of Jay Kamiraz’s (Mr Fabulous on BBC One’s ‘All Together Now’) BBC Three documentary, which aired earlier this week, but we filmed last year about his troubles and how he overcame them with his passion for music and it got me thinking…I was so blessed a few years ago that I got to see every show I wanted at no expense and I’ve been blessed to see some of my favourite artists live around the world.. I’ve seen Britney, Mariah, Lana, Kelly Clarkson & Miley Cyrus live and then I can also say artists like Sia in Budapest, Julia Michaels in Liverpool, Meghan Trainor…and many many more but I also got the opportunity to see artists who don’t impact popular charts as much as they used to – Michelle Branch, JoJo, Vanessa Carlton and now I can add Katharine McPhee to the list.
I was blessed to have seen Katharine perform in ‘Waitress‘ two weeks ago in the West End, and this Thursday evening, I was blessed to have met her, had my photo taken with her and had an ever such brief conversation…I mean, I was drunk and the conversation was me listing every song of hers at her…but it got her attention and she even commented on my photo. I just think about that boy in Devon in 2007 who stuck on her debut album for the first time…if I could go back and tell him these things…I don’t know how he would react.
My mom once told me via her crystals that I would meet Britney in a professional environment. I would be wearing a suit. My mom isn’t psychic and this depended purely on the gravitational pull of her crystals…but you hope to live another day.
With that being said; I’ve had a banging soundtrack to help me through this week.
Mariah Carey – ‘A No No’
WIthout a doubt, Mariah dropped the best album of 2018 with ‘Caution’, and whilst its sales haven’t been great, the record itself is cohesive and full of MOMENTS. Single two, ‘A No No’, gives the energy and triumphant that any Mariah single should have – it’s savage, it’s clever (her word play throughout is incredible “snakes in the grass / it’s time to cut the lawn”) and the sample literally goes through the roof.
I remember I was staying over a guy’s house last year when she dropped it as a promo single, and I just kept rewinding the sample (for those of you who don’t know it’s Lil Kim ‘Crush On You’ but it’s Notorious B-I-G rapping “he’s a slut / he’s a ho / he’s a freak / got a different girl every day of the week”). Every thing about the track is just so well executed and in the newly-released video version, Mariah throws in some whistle tones over the last chorus…which is such a Mariah thing to do.
There’s a rumoured remix coming but at this point there’s been so many names thrown out there – Cardi B, Missy Elliott, Lil Kim, Stefflon Don…I do love a Mariah remix though.
Emma Bunton – ‘Too Many Teardrops’
Ms. Bunton is not giving us a moment to breathe, is she? After debuting her first single ‘Baby Please Don’t Stop’ last week after a 12 year absence…she’s dropped another pre-album track for us and it’s the should-be-a-Bond-theme ‘Too Many Teardrops’.
The track maintains a 60s sound but it’s ridden with heartbreak as Emma remarks, “I might be bruised but I won’t be broken”. It’s just so nice to have Baby Spice back.
Clare Maguire – ‘Jungle Gardenia’
‘Jungle Gardenia’ marks the third release from Clare Maguire in this I’m-dropping-demos-era she’s blessed us with – and for a third week in a row, there’s no complaints.
The track itself is slightly different for Ms. Maguire once again and I read somewhere that she’d watched gay favourite ‘Paris Is Burning’ the night before writing the track and then blessed her pen and paper with this alternative, almost-70s romp. What’s there to not love? Clare Maguire giving the gays everything they want!
There’s a particularly sad lyric on the track “mother and papa don’t want me / living out my fantasy / they say it’s wrong / they say that I should leave” – if you’ve seen ‘Paris is Burning’ (which i admit I haven’t watched in full) one of the key narratives of the movie is the ‘Houses’ the drag scene create in order to serve as a surrogate family for those rejected by their families. Ms. Maguire. Once again, you have managed a literal beauty with a deep and cutting undertone.
Solange – ‘Almeda’
I’m going to say it and offend half my friends but I’ve always preferred Solange’s music to her sister Beyonce’s. Artistically, she has always been way more interesting and vocally interesting.
Her sophomore record ‘Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams’ incorporated disco, Motown, pop, and alt pop, and I have to give special shout-outs to ‘Would’ve Been The One’, and ‘Cosmic Journey’. Both songs are on a different scale and Solange herself hasn’t managed to top them, but she’s had some attempts – ‘Losing You’ from her EP ‘True’, ‘Cranes in the Sky’ from ‘Seat at the Table’ and now there’s ‘Almeda’ which serves as the first single from her newly-released ‘When I Get Home’.
The track is interesting and has a slight jazz sense to it and is layered with context and samples and is all about the appreciation of black people – an appreciation we should all have by the way. The chorus is slightly clunky but weirdly works.
Rita Ora – ‘Only Want You’ (Feat. 6LACK)
When ‘Phoenix’ dropped last year, I think we all sighed with relief. There’s no denying that I didn’t think RO2 would ever come…especially after having mega hit ‘Anywhere’ but she pulled herself together and got the album out last year, and whilst it felt like we’d heard everything already, there were some gems on the record ‘Falling to Pieces’ and ‘Only Want You’ being two of them, so the fact she’s dropped ‘Only Want You’ as the next single is a great release.
The track’s narrative sees Rita trying to work out how to move on from someone she’s very into and every guy she meets is a waste of time as he’s not the man she loves.
I’m super excited because this coming week I’m off to see ‘Benidorm Live‘, and obviously I’m hitting Soho during the week… as Thursday is my new Friday.