Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Apple TV+ announces new music docuseries “1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything”

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

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

Friday, 21 May 2021

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 >

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'.
 👀👀👀

LISTEN: Marvin Gaye's 'What’s Going On'

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

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

RAY BLK DROPS NEW SINGLE "DARK SKINNED"

Ray Blk one of the realest, most challenging and important voices in music, drops her brand new single “Dark Skinned”, through Island Records.  Ray will also release a special live VEVO performance of the track. Speaking about the inspiration behind the song Ray says: “This song to me is a celebration of being Dark Skinned. The conversation around race often feels heavy and negative, but I love my blackness and it is a privilege to be black. A lot of people told me it would be hard to break into this industry because of the colour of my skin, but I believe that whatever the situation, I am going to shine regardless and I refuse to cater to that ideology. I always try to remind people of this in my music, like with the ‘My Hood’ lyric ‘Through concrete flowers grow’ and now on ‘Dark Skinned,’ I say ‘I’m even glowing in the dark’. I want people to say yes to themselves when the world keeps telling them no.

Listen to Dark Skinned here:

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 Ray is. Ray recently performed live and shared career advice on the career training platform, Apprentice Nation, alongside Ghetts, Young T & Bugsey and IAMDDB. She also wrote and performed “Warriors”, the lead track from the hugely acclaimed BAFTA awarded hit film “Rocks”.

Ray also 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 new single ‘DARK SKINNED’ OUT NOW

RAY BLK new single ‘DARK SKINNED’
LISTEN HERE:

Follow RAY BLK:

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“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: