Free Download: Esser "Headlock"
Check out a totally-free download of Esser's brand-new single "Headlock." Following the release of "I Love You," this new track is another good example of his Esser's left-field pop experimentations. The song is a quirky and totally fun tune that combines the singer's indie sensibilities with a distinct pop flavor. It's sweet and crunchy as I like to put it. The 23 year-old singer was initially signed to hipster label Merok, but is now part of Transgressive Records, wihch has a distribution and promotion pact with Warner Brother to give obscure new talent a chance to get some mainstream exposure. Let's see how fast the Esser buzz catches on overseas.
Download Esser "Headlock"
Vote for Charlotte Gainsbourg to Win an 2008 MTV Video Music Award
MTV is doing things a little different for this year's Video Music Awards. Viewers will not only be able to vote for a select group of nominated videos, they can now also vote to select the nominees. One of the potential nominees for Best Pop Video is the wonderful Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Head over to the MTV web site to check out and vote for two of her videos that are up for nomination. The first is for "The Songs That We Sing" that was directed by Nathalie Canguilhem. The second video that is up for nominee consideration is "The Operator," which was directed by famed director and photographer Jean Baptise Mondino. An MTV nod would most certainly help throw Gainsbourg back in the spotlight.
Both of these songs are taken from her 2007 album, titled "5:55," which is one of my favorite records of last year. The French chanteuse, who is the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birki, recorded the CD in collaboration with Air's Nicolas Godin and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.
Kylie Dazzles in London
ArjanWrites.com reader Will W. flew to London last week to watch Kylie Minogue perform at the 02 Arena, and he has lots of great things to say about the show. "Seeing Kylie perform live was an experience on a completely different level," he writes on his Facebook page. "Say what you will about Kylie Minogue's musical ability, but after watching her on stage, you will quickly understand why she was voted Great Britain's Favourite Entertainer yet again recently."
Arjan interviews Roisin Murphy (Part 2)
"We are going to do a bigger tour in the autumn, so we are going to play some pretty big venues and then we are going to release a DVD in October as well, so you are going to be able to see it and hear the entire show," Roisin Murphy tells me in an exclusive interview.
Find the second part of my interview with Roisin Murphy after the jump. If you missed Part 1, read it here.
Read about Roisin 's take on Sophie Ellis-Bextor's "On & Off," her growth as a performer, her love for Grace Jones, the dire situation at EMI, her love for intellectual men and much more.
Arjan: Looking back at the last 10 months, how has touring and the release of "Overpowered" affected you as an artist?
Róisín: Well, you know a little bit about my story. I was not really a singer at all when I began to make music. I was just messing around with my boyfriend, having a good time in his studio which he owned. We used to go down and just make stupid little tracks. So I was saying stuff like “do you like my tight sweater, see how it fits my body” and all that. And then I became a singer and from there I became a performer. This album in particular has really helped to grow and become a better performer and be comfortable on stage. From a little girl who was just messing around to what I am doing now has been a massive leap of understanding and knowing about what I do.
This album also taught me that I can make records in lots of different ways with different people and I think it added a lot to my confidence.
Arjan: You have played a lot of big European festivals this year. I'd imagine pleasing a festival audience is not easy, especially because you have people out there that are not there to see you specifically, but maybe the band after you.
Róisín: Totally. I have been the preacher man, you know, you go out there and try to convert people. It is a challenge on a lot of levels I mean you are used to having soundchecks, you are used to – you know, having it all your way, it is your show. You have to do things differently at festivals, but I have been doing them for years now. I did lots of festivals with Moloko, so I am kind of used to it. I love the fact that one day I am playing in a defused coal mine in East Germany and then the next day I am playing in a field in England and then the next day I am on a beach in Spain.
But I love it, I like a little bit of challenge, you know me.
Arjan: I have been really enjoying the Brussels show you recorded and put out on CD by the way.
Róisín: Yeah, that was a great show. We are going to do a bigger tour in the autumn, so we are going to play some pretty big venues and then we are going to release a DVD in October as well, so you are going to be able to see it and hear the entire show.
Arjan: Any dates yet for that bigger tour? Venues?
Róisín: It's all in the works right now so I'm not exactly sure about the details.
Arjan: A lot of people have also asked about how you feel about the lack of commercial success of your recent singles. How do you respond to that?
Róisín: Well, I get a lot of people saying to me, 'you should be as big as Madonna, 'you are the next big star,' whatever, it is very, very hard to be disappointed in the situation that I am in right now considering where I have come from. And for me, I have made a great record. I am gathering more and more fans and more and more momentum.
You have to contextualize what has happened with the singles and with what is happening in the music business, and particularly what is happening with my record label, EMI, everybody is fired. I am just going out there and playing the shows and gather more and more fans. It is very difficult for me to be disappointed in that.
Also, don't forget the fact that when I left Moloko I didn’t even know that I’d have a career. For me to be here talking to you now about what I am doing is just an absolute pleasure. It's really nice to talk to you again.
Arjan: Thanks, Róisín. It's my pleasure as well. Readers are also curious about you take on Sophie Ellis-Bextor's version of "On & Off" that Calvin Harris originally wrote for you. Thoughts?
Róisín: I think it is great. I think it is lot better than my version actually. I think it suits her voice better, I think it is more narrative somehow with her singing it, that kind of dry delivery that she does, it doesn’t sound like anybody else, she has really made it her own. I think it is great - it is a really good pop song.
Arjan: Dale wondered how big of an inspiration Grace Jones is to you.
Róisín: She has been a huge influence of on me. I love her records, but as a live performer, she has been an absolutely massive influence on me. I saw her like 6, 7 years ago in Florence, Italy and it was so dramatic, yet so simple. No special effects. Just performance.
Arjan: Have you seen her new video?
Róisín: I haven’t – I heard of it though. it is quite a slow song somebody was telling me...
Arjan: Yeah, you should see the video - it is amazing, it is just out of this world. She's such a freak of nature.
Róisín: Yeah, that's right. She is very, what is the word - she is very unusual.
Arjan: So after all the touring in Europe, are you planning a nice vacation?
Róisín: A vacation, me? Hello no.
Róisín: I don't like vacations. I am supposed to have September off, but September is fashion month all over the world, so I am going to go and do some fashion things, stop thinking about music for a while, start thinking about dresses and hats again.
Arjan: What shows would you like to see?
Róisín: Vivienne Westwood, Viktor & Rolf and I’d love to see the Louis Vuitton show. I would also love to come over to New York and see the Marc Jacobs show. I love him. He is a genius.
Arjan: When you don’t really take a vacation, how do you relax on the road? Do you listen to music, read or sleep a lot or what do you do?
Róisín: I have an iPod full of lectures actually which I download from a great company called The Teaching Company. You can go to their site and download philosophy lectures, lectures about history and science and social sciences and things like that.
I like to listen to clever men talking. It gets me all wet and soggy listening to those intellectuals. [Laughs]
No, honestly, I love an intelligent man. If I don’t have any around me, I only have a lot of roadies around me who are rocking around the Christmas tree, so I thought let me get me some intellectual stimulus while I'm on the road.
Arjan: So have you already thought about your next album or is it way too early for that?
Róisín: Yeah, a bit to early, but I am going to go into the studio in a couple of weeks actually. I am going to go and write a song with two of the girls who have toured with me and I am going to do like a little sort of girl group thing and see how that goes.
Free Download" Keri Hilson "Energy"
Before the talented Keri Hilson became a global chart sensation together with Timbaland and "The Way I Are," the Atlanta-based artist was mostly known as an R&B songwriter. Hilson has written hits for people like Mary J Blige, Chris Brown, Toni Braxton and Britney Spears.
After the massive success of "The Way I Are," the singer is now looking to continue her momentum in the charts with her brand-new single, titled "Energy."
It can't be all that easy for Hilson to carve out a nice of her own in the overpopulated R&B landscape with superstar singers like Rihanna and Beyonce and emerging singers like Jordin Sparks and Michelle Williams competing for the same coveted space.
"Energy" is an accomplished slice of producer-based r&b pop that is slick, sleek and will surely get her some chart attention - here and overseas. But its radio-friendly quality does not deliver a distinct little spark to help her create a groove of her own if that was ever her intent. Download a guilt-free copy at MTV web site while you can.
Download Keri Hilson "Energy"