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Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Jarell Perry 'Whiskey A Go Go' [Free MP3]

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On the eve of the new year, it is a good time to peek into the future and get to know some of the most promising new artists that are likely to impact the pop scene in 2013. Jarell Perry is one of those bright new talents to keep your eyes (and ears on). I previously wrote about his collaboration with Swedish dance maestros Andalo & Blucker and I alerted you about his tune, "Awkward." This weekend, Perry unveiled "Whiskey A Go Go" that is arguably his most radio-ready artist effort to date.

Produced by Hassan Johnson, the song tells the story about heartache and "pouring a couple of rounds" trying to cope with a love lost. "Make it go/Make it all go/Go good," Perry cheers in the song's chorus, toasting to better times.

Inspired by artists ranging from Marvin Gaye to Alicia Keys and from Miike Snow to Diplo, Perry's mission is to serve up an unpredictable blend of pop and R&B. It's a sound that some may refer to as acoustic pop with an R&B flavor that is colored with a bit of electronica. But regardless of the different labels that apply, Perry's music is primarily dominated by his powerful songwriting and emotive delivery that is a powerhouse combo that hits are made of.

"Whiskey A Go Go" marks another milestone in the budding career of the young artist who started out his career writing for other people. About a year ago, Perry decided it was time to go back to his roots and perform his own songs. "I started feeling I wasn't being fulfilled anymore," he says in an interview with Kempire Radio. "I was always reaching for somebody else or doing a style of music and cater to who was going to be the next big thing. I kind had forgotten about myself and what I wanted to say."

It was familiar territory for Perry who started out singing in church and then continued pursuing music in college at UCLA. "After singing in church as a kid, I really get into writing in college," he explains. "I had a band at UCLA and we were doing shows here and there. When I graduated I decided I wanted to keep pursuing it."

Perry is currently putting the final touches on his debut LP "Simple Things" that he will release independently earlier next year. The LP also includes a collaboration with Zac Poor, another hotly-tipped up and comer, titled "Mind Over Matter." Watch this space for more information about Perry and if you're in Los Angeles make sure to see him at The Key Club in January.

December 30, 2012 | Permalink

Pop Newcomer Collin McLoughlin Covers OneRepublic 'If I Lose Myself' [Review]

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After his successful appearance as a finalist on NBC's hit show The Voice, New York crooner Collin Mcloughlin has gone right into the studio to record new music for his many new-found fans. In between his writing and recording sessions, he took some time out to revamp OnceRepublic's terrific new single and give it a unique new twist of his own.

It's not the first time McLoughlin revamps a hit song. In fact, his gut-wrenching covers of tracks like David Guetta feat. Sia "Titanium" and Swedish House Mafia's "Save The World" is what got him noticed in the first place. It's good to see that McLoughlin continues his tradition of covering others while working on original material as well. I'm sure his Voice coach Adam Levine would mightily agree with me.

McLoughlin's remake of OneRepublic's new "If I Lose Myself" perfectly accentuates the soaring and uplifting qualities of the track, and neatly fits its dreamy, morning-glory lyrics like, "I woke up with the sun/Thought of all the people, places and things I've loved." 

McLoughlin writes me, "'I've been super busy producing my new EP and my side project, Tears of Tempo [Sonically] this newest cover of One Republic exemplifies the side project's sound, in the vein of acts like Adventure Club, Blackmill, Seven Lions, Rameses B. I produced it, mixed it, recorded and re arranged it in my appartment." 

McLoughlin's remake starts out crisp and poignant much like Ryan Tedder's original production. But he takes it to a new place of splendor when a very gentle electro wobble (aka dream-step) kicks in around the 1:30 minute mark that gives the song a whole new life and fits his striking pop vocals perfectly. The song comes along with a video that was directed by Collin Kelly that is an atmospheric collage of scenes and sights around New York. 

December 28, 2012 | Permalink

Anouk Unveils New Track 'Stardust' From Forthcoming New LP [Review]

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Like a true artist, Anouk doesn't shy away from taking a bit of risk once in a while. In fact, her music is fueled by her ongoing quest to challenge herself creatively, to think out of the box and to surprise fans with new musical projects that are different than the ones she worked on before. Her new single "Stardust" is an excellent example of that. The track is taken from her forthcoming new LP, entitled "Sad Singalong Songs," that will be released on May 17.

After the gritty pop-rock of 2011's "To Get Her Together,' the Dutch superstar veers left field on "Stardust" that shows a gentler and more delicate side of her. The retro-styled tune is introduced by the sound of a departing train that accentuates the deeper meaning of Anouk's lyrics (and also hints at the LP's overall theme). "Come on love/I'm telling you/I won't be far," Anouk sings, combining hope and vulnerability, and asking her lover to shine his light on her darkness. "You will be the one making my dreams come true."

The effortless shimmer of the song's verses are amplified by a glorious, sunburst chorus filled with soaring, even whimsical, strings that is absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything Anouk has ever served up before. "Some days when I wake before the sunrise/Dreaming/Wishing I could hope at times/That you might never have to live without me," she candidly shares.

On a related note, Anouk will be representing The Netherlands at the 2013 Eurovision Song Festival that is even more proof that the singer likes to shake things up and surprise people. Until then, make sure to download and enjoy this terrific new "Stardust." Highly recommended.

 Anouk "Stardust' [MP3] 

December 27, 2012 | Permalink

Listen to Cherry Cherry Boom Boom 'One And One' Betablock3r Remix [Review]

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Any DJ will tell you that there's not one simple formula to crafting a great remix. Remixes come in all shapes and sizes, and good ones will put a unique twist on a track that lets you experience it in a completely new way. Certain songs, however, pack all the components that will make it a little easier for a producer to reimagine and revamp an original. Cherry Cherry Boom Boom's new single "One And Only" is one of those songs that I'm sure remixers love to get their hands on. It's dominated by an upbeat and crisp production, packs a hooky melody and has a timeless quality to it.

Hot on the heels of an action-packed remix EP (including a banging remix by Dutch soundboard maestro R3hab), "One And Only" now gets a very accomplished remix treatment from Los Angeles outfit Betablock3r. They steer Cherry Cherry Boom Boom's original slightly left field without straying too far from what makes the song so terrific in the first place. Betablock3r gives the song a bit of an indie disco vibe with a funked up groove, a bouncy bassline, gentle vocal sampling and shimmering synths that make this remix one to keep. 

As I wrote earlier, "One And Only" is an original track that Cherry Cherry Boom Boom wrote, performed and produced. The song was engineered by Tony Ugval and mixed by three-time GRAMMY winner Robert "Hitmixer" Orton who recently mixed tracks for Carly Rae Jepsen and Nikki Williams. "I hadn't written a song for my voice in a while," Cherry Cherry Boom Boom told me. "I'd mostly been writing for others. But, I love singing and I just felt like singing a couple of my favorite songs. So, I did.  And, that led to deciding to write an original one." (Click here to download "One & Only" remixes.)

December 21, 2012 | Permalink

Listen to Mika featuring Ariana Grande 'Popular Song' [Review]

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Mika's "The Origin Of Love" is without a doubt of the finest and most accomplished pop records of 2012 that underlines once again that Mika is, quite frankly, one of the most gifted pop writers on the planet today. One of the highlights on the album is "Popular Song" that he co-wrote with singer Priscilla Renea who is also featured on the track  When I spent some time with Mika in Los Angeles in October, he told me he was working on a new version of the song with teen pop sensation and labelmate Ariana Grande, and I was anxious to hear how the remake would turn out.

Today, Republic Records finally unveiled the new version of "Popular Song" that captures the original's sentiment perfectly and keeps its optimistic spirit fully intact. The happy-go-lucky remake features a slightly different arrangement that neatly matches the youthful exuberance that dominates the song (and defines Mika's distinct brand of pop).

"Popular Song" is partly based on "Popular" from the musical Wicked that Mika skillfully incorporated into his own version. In a making-of series on YouTube, Mika explains that the song's original composer Stephen Schwartz came to his studio one day and listened to his second album. "Even though we never wrote together, I sent him an email after meeting to ask if I could play with ['Popular'] a little to change up its meaning," he explains. "I respect him as a songwriter and wanted to make sure he was okay with it."

Mika teamed with co-writer Priscillia Renea to create a song based on Schwartz's original that is inspired by his own story. "It's the only song on ['The Origin Of Love'] that deals with my childhood," he explains.

The track's lyrics describe in no-so subtle terms what it was like to turn from an outcast into the most popular kid of the class - so to say. "I never was a scholar/You were always popular/You were singing all the songs I don’t know/Now you’re in the front row/Cause my song is popular." Even though the song's album version is perfect as it is, young Ariana Grande gives the song a fresh new flair that helps shine a welcome new light on Mika's terrific tune.

December 18, 2012 | Permalink