Tuesday, 7 December 2021

MIRAA MAY DROPS NEW SINGLE ‘IN MY FEELINGS’

Algerian born, Tottenham raised, Miraa May, one of the fiercest, most prodigiously talented and highly rated artists in UK released her new single ‘In My Feelings’. on 1st December.

The raw and honest R&B track showcases Miraa’s silky smooth vocals and is the second release off her eagerly awaited TBA debut album.

Speaking about ‘In My Feelings’ Miraa says: Sometimes I get so deep in my feelings I can’t see a way out and as soon as someone has the looking glass to see that in me, I’m done out here. Always being the one who tries to work it out despite how angry you are is such a vulnerable yet peaceful state of mind to be in. To have unconditional love and empathy for everyone around us and ourselves is to truly be free of hate. This song is about having patience with the ones we love and most importantly, ourselves.”

‘In My Feelings’ follows her recent release ‘Go Girl’, which is an uplifting track celebrating female excellence featuring best friend RAYE. The single gained huge support, with over 843k streams and playlist additions on Radio 1,1Xtra, Kiss and Kiss Fresh.

As well as, critical acclaim from the likes of Notion, Music Week, Daily Star, The Line of Best Fit , GRM Daily, Link Up TV , Mixtape Madness and more. 

During the last 18 months, Miraa May had the life changing experience of becoming a first-time mum at the beginning of the pandemic. She began working on what would become her debut album, working almost entirely with a female team. Recently Miraa has been enjoying performing live with various festival appearances at TRNSMT, Tokyo World, Strawberries and Creem, Sound City and the Super Bock Festival in Lisbon.

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  DROPS NEW SINGLE  ‘IN MY FEELINGS’
Ever feel yourself needing a reminder that you are, in fact, a bad bitch? If so, listen to Miraa May.”The Face

MIRAA MAY NEW SINGLE ‘IN MY FEELINGS’ LISTEN HERE

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Friday, 26 November 2021

The Weeknd 'Blinding Lights' Is the New No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 Song of ALL TIME !

The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" shines brightest among the nearly 30,000 titles ever to hit the Billboard Hot 100 over the chart's 63-year history, as the single, released in November 2019, is the newly crowned No. 1 on Billboard's Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs recap.

  The Weeknd  'Blinding Lights' Is the New No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 Song of ALL TIME !

Meanwhile, The Beatles remain the leading act in the Hot 100's archives, topping Billboard's Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists retrospective.

Both 100-position charts, based on historical performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100, are updated as of today (Nov. 23) in the Greatest of All Time section of the charts menu on Billboard.com. (See both all-time surveys' methodologies below; the all-time chart was first revealed in 2008, for the Hot 100's 50th anniversary, and refreshed in both 2013 and 2018.) 

Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs, Top 10:

 1, "Blinding Lights," The Weeknd 

2, "The Twist," Chubby Checker 

3, "Smooth," Santana feat. Rob Thomas 

4, "Mack the Knife," Bobby Darin 

5, "Uptown Funk!," Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars 

6, "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes 

7, "Party Rock Anthem," LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock 

8, "I Gotta Feeling," The Black Eyed Peas 

9, "Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)," Los Del Rio 

10, "Shape of You," Ed Sheeran 

"Blinding Lights" rules Billboard's Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs chart after it logged a record-shattering run on the weekly Hot 100. After topping the chart for four weeks in April and May 2020, it went on to rewrite the marks for the most weeks spent in the top five (43), top 10 (57) and top 40 (86) and on the chart overall (90).

"I don't think [it] has hit me yet," The Weeknd told Billboard upon learning of the song's reigning all-time Hot 100 status. "I try not to dwell on it too much. I just count my blessings, and I'm just grateful."


"Blinding Lights" succeeds Chubby Checker's classic "The Twist" as the Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs' No. 1 hit, with the latter having led the Hot 100 for a week in September 1960 and again for two frames in January 1962. The transformative hit, now at No. 2, ruled the first recap in 2008 and retained the title through updates five and 10 years later. 

Rounding out the top five of the new Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs chart, Santana's 12-week No. 1 in 1999-2000, "Smooth," featuring Rob Thomas, ranks at No. 3, followed by Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" (nine weeks, 1959) at No. 3 and Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk!," featuring Bruno Mars, at No. 5 (14 weeks, 2015). 

"Blinding Lights" is one of three songs to peak in the 2020s on the Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs survey, with Dua Lipa's "Levitating" at No. 32 and 24kGoldn's "Mood," featuring iann dior, at No. 49. 

Plus, the longest-leading No. 1 on the Hot 100's history ranks at No. 41 on Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs: Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road," featuring Billy Ray Cyrus, which dominated for 19 weeks in 2019.

Four other songs are new to the all-time chart since the 2018 edition: Post Malone's "Circles" (No. 19, from 2019); Maroon 5's "Girls Like You," featuring Cardi B (No. 30, 2018); Post Malone and Swae Lee's "Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)" (No. 75, 2019); and Drake's "God's Plan" (No. 83, 2018). 

Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists, Top 10:

 1, The Beatles 

2, Madonna 

3, Elton John 

4, Elvis Presley 

5, Mariah Carey 

6, Stevie Wonder 

7, Janet Jackson 

8, Michael Jackson 

9, Whitney Houston 

10, Rihanna 

While the Greatest of All-Time Hot 100 Artists recap's top 10 mirrors that of the 2018 tabulation, Drake jumps to within the edge of the tier, bounding from No. 22 to No. 11. His top 10 count on the weekly Hot 100 stands at a record 54, while he also holds the marks for the most top 40 hits (144) and entries on the chart overall (259). He has notched nine No. 1s, through "Way 2 Sexy," featuring Future and Young Thug, this September.

Among other acts who made their Hot 100 debuts since 2000 and rank higher on the latest Greatest of All-Time Hot 100 Artists chart than on the 2018 tally: Taylor Swift (No. 21, up from No. 24); Maroon 5 (No. 24, up from No. 37); Bruno Mars (No. 29, up from No. 34); and Justin Bieber (No. 38, soaring from No. 93, driven by 12 more top 10s, including three No. 1s, since the 2018 ranking).

The Weeknd is additionally the top artist on the Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Songs recap that did not place on the 2018 list, at No. 43. He's one of four acts who first appeared on the weekly Hot 100 in the 2010s making the historical chart for the first time, alongside Post Malone (No. 77), Ariana Grande (No. 78) and Ed Sheeran (No. 87).

Methodology: Billboard's Greatest of All-Time Hot 100 Songs and Artists rankings are based on weekly performance on the Hot 100 (from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958, through Nov. 6, 2021). Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at lower spots earning the least. Due to changes in chart methodology over the years, eras are weighted differently to account for chart turnover rates during various periods. Artists are ranked based on a formula blending performance, as outlined above, of all their Hot 100 chart entries.

TAP HERE for BILLBOARD CHART BEAT - The Weeknd 'Blinding-Lights-all-time-hot-100

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

SEAN PAUL & SIA JOIN FORCES ON NEW SINGLE "DYNAMITE"

The multi-award-winning and Billboard chart topping, Sean Paul reunites with Sia to release their club anthem “Dynamite” – an indisputable pop banger to round out the year. Produced by Banx & Ranx and Greg Kurstin (Adele, Pink, The Foo Fighters), the upbeat single relies on dancehall-centric beats, Sia’s trademark quavering voice as she belts “Light me up and set me free,” and Sean’s undeniable dance inducing riffs

 Sean Paul reunites with Sia to release their club anthem “Dynamite”

LISTEN TO “DYNAMITE” HERE.

The track marks a highly anticipated follow-up collaboration between the genre-bending artists since their smash hit “Cheap Thrills,” also produced by Greg Kurstin, which has racked up over 1.6 billion YouTube views since its 2016 release.

Of the song, Sean Paul says, “’Dynamite’ started out as just a good vibe song. After recording ‘Cheap Thrills’ Sia and I knew we would record another single and ‘Dynamite’ is the second installment.” He adds “Banx and Ranx, Greg Kurstin, myself and Sia, worked on this single and I hope people gravitate towards it like our first single. ‘Dynamite’ is another feel good record for me and I just want to thank Sia and her entire team, my team Duttyrock, my management team and big up my mom who introduced me to Sia’s music.”

 Sean Paul reunites with Sia to release their club anthem “Dynamite”

Sean Paul reunites with Sia to release their club anthem “Dynamite Empowering women who creatively earn their living, “Only Fanz” garnered acclaim from Vibe hailing it a “tropical banger,” while Hot New Hip Hop declared it “one of the most fun songs of the summer.

LISTEN & WATCH “ONLY FANZ” HERE.

Throughout his career, the international superstar 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.

Earlier this year Sean 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  NEW SINGLE “DYNAMITE” FEATURING SIA
LISTEN TO “DYNAMITE” HERE

“The universe is held together by gravity, electromagnetism, and a worldwide adoration for the music of Sean Paul.” – The FADER

Sean Paul Socials:

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Friday, 15 October 2021

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


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

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 SaintΓ©’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

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Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Marvin Gaye What’s Going On - 50th Anniversary 2LP Edition. Read all about it here>

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

Friday, 1 October 2021

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

 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

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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

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

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

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

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/AccessDeniedPR Also 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

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