Thursday 26 August 2021

The Specials new album "Protest Songs - 1924-2012" out in October

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 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

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Sean Paul new single “Only Fanz,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign

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 Socials:

Monday 16 August 2021


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. 

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

Connect with JP Cooper here:





Saturday 14 August 2021

RAY BLK drops the video for “M.I.A.” featuring Kaash Paige

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