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Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Magic!'s Debut Single 'Rude' [Review]


Summer is over and the darker days of fall are upon us, but that doesn't mean we have to shy away from sun-soaked pop tunes that warm up our speakers no matter what time of year it is. The gentlemen of Magic! understand that perfectly. Led by GRAMMY Award winning songwriter and producer Nasri, this Los Angeles based outfit serves up a deliciously hooky brew of Carribean-flavored and reggae-tinged feel-good pop that is the perfect antidote to the banging EDM bombast that is currently ruling the charts. "You can't fight the sunshine," Nasri argues on one of their tracks that sums up their point of view up perfectly.

Pop aficionados among you will certainly be familiar with Nasri's work. As one half of the in-demand writing and production duo The Messengers, Nasri has penned music for everybody from Justin Bieber, Pitbull to Chris Brown and Christina Aguilera. He garnered a GRAMMY Award in the category of "Best R&B Album" for Chris Brown's F.A.M.E. in 2012. One of his most recent productions include "Feel This Moment" by Pitbull and Christina Aguilera.

Magic!'s ready-radio debut single "Rude" is a perfect example of their glistenting pop. Ruled by a Jamaican guitar twang and Nasri's silky smooth vocals, the light-hearted yet poignant tune tells a story about a painful rejection. "I had this picture in my head of a guy asking a father for his marriage blessing and getting rejected," Nasri says in a press release. "It's fun, soulful, easy and you know the hook right away. That's what we want our songs to do." 

Magic! happened when Nasri heard collaborator and guitarist Mark Pelli strum a reggae-tinged riff during a writing session in 2012. Something instantly clicked. "I'm a huge fan of The Police, and I always wanted to do my own project that merged reggae, rock, pop, and a little soul for quite some time," Nasri explains.

He adds, "The moment Mark began playing, it felt natural. We had this vision, and it all tied together instantly. We began recording, and the sound was so locked in on every song. That's even where we derived the band name. Everything simply worked like Magic!" 

Soon after that initial jam, drummer Alex Tanas and bassist Ben Spivak joined the fold as the quartet entered a Los Angeles studio to record its full-length 2013 debut. There weren't any boundaries or rules. It was all about following that collective muse. "We started recording, and it was so easy," adds Nasri. "We're all from Toronto originally. We know the same streets, and we grew up on the same music. It's the real thing."

"I want everybody to join us on this Magic! adventure," Nasri concludes. "It's a stressful time out there, and people are struggling to find hope in balance. This music is meant to put you in a good mood. We want to bring people together to have a good time. It's not about us. It's about the music. We want you to be a part of that energy and a positive musical world."

(Follow this space for more Magic! updates soon. In the meantime follow the band on Facebook for news. There are some rumblings that the band may change its name to make it easier to find but regardless of the group name the music stands strong and must be heard. Big ups to Julie P. for playing this in her car and turning me on to Magic!)

September 24, 2013 | Permalink

Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Elli Ingram 'Sober' (Debut EP)


Elli Ingram has a voice that can move mountains. Often compared to icons like Adele and Amy Winehouse, the British singer/songwriter combines an intensely soulful vocal performance with a knack for authentic storytelling that comes straight from the heart. Following the release of her debut EP this summer, Ingram has been working on more new music with the guys of Chase & Status, which will likely add an edgy twist to her music. Ingram also makes an appearance on the track "Heaven Knows" that is featured on Chase & Status forthcoming new LP, Brand-New Machine.

Hailing from Brighton, England, Ingram grew up with music all around her. "Living in Brighton has allowed me to be an individual," she explains in an interview with Life + Times. "The majority of people that live in Brighton are real characters and I definitely soak that up. Both my parents, and in fact, my whole family are always making a racket. My sister was always on the piano whilst I was growing up and we would all sing along. I think in my case, nature and nurture have both had a strong impact on my music."

Ingram's rise to fame started when she started posting covers to YouTube, including a cover of Kendrick Lamar's "Poetic Justice" that garnered almost half a million views to date. Island Records quickly noted her talent, and signed Ingram to their hot and happening roster. Produced Felix Joseph and Rudi Redz, the singer released her debut EP, entitled Sober, this summer that is a cohesive collection of songs that gives a few more clues about her developing brand of hazy soul pop that is infused with imaginative hip hop stylings.

One of the first things that makes Ingram's stand out is her brutally honest storytelling. "I can only write about how I feel inside. If I try to write about something I can’t relate to it sounds like shit," she said in an interview. "I’ve found it hard to open up with my lyrics but I’m getting use to it now. It’s not an easy thing letting people hear my lyrics; it’s basically my diary."

The lead track from the Sober EP is "Mad Love," a breezy and warming song about falling in love. "Who made you so mad?/What makes you so mad?/I wanna get mad with you/Mad in love." There's a clear theme to the EP that refers directly to its title. Ingram explains, "As I started writing, it just so happened that the majority of the songs talk about drinking in some way or another; being out with your mates, the morning after. So, I guess it was a little tongue and cheek that the EP was everything but sober." (Download Elli Ingram Sober on iTunes or listen to it on Soundcloud.)  

September 23, 2013 | Permalink

Watch Disclosure Perform 'Latch' ft. Sam Smith in NYC's Central Park [360° Video]

Disclosure jpg

Given the instant global success of their debut album, it's hard to believe that Disclosure was still making music in their bedroom without the support of a major label around this time last year. After the British deep house revivalists were scooped up by Island Records, their music has taken the world by storm, which has opened the doors for many other cool British upstarts. With the popularity of commercial EDM peaking, Disclosure's soulful dubs also shows fans there's more to dance music than just big drops, gritty dubstep wobbles and saucy synths. Disclosure performed late last week in front of a sold out crowd at New York's Central Park together with a few special guests. Immersive Technologies captured the show in 360 degrees that allows viewers at home to enjoy the show from all possible angles. Check out Disclosure's performance of "Latch" featuring Sam Smith in Central Park and set the playback to wide-screen while rotating the camera via your mouse to get the full experience. (Disclosure 'Settle" is available via Cherrytree Records in the U.S.)

September 21, 2013 | Permalink

Icona Pop Crushes America's Got Talent with Medley Performance [VIDEO]


Can I just take a second of your time to acknowledge the fierceness that was Icona Pop on America's Got Talent last night? The Swedish pop duo appeared on the show's season finale, and performed a medley of "I Love It" and their new single "All Night." It was a blow out moment that was the kick off to a series of high-profile media appearances including David Letterman, The Today Show and my ARTIST#TALK where the group will guest next week Thursday. Their debut LP This Is... Icona Pop is released next week. Do yourself a big favor and go pick it up.

September 19, 2013 | Permalink

Hot New Talent Alert: Listen to Luminites 'Do Something' [Single Preview]


Reality singing contests like The X Factor and The Voice continue to be a rich breeding ground for exciting new pop talent in the U.K. One of those newcomers to keep your eye on is Luminites who appeared on last year's season of Britain's Got Talent. They are the quartet of Ben, Corey, JJ and Steph who are gearing up to release their debut single, entitled "Do Something," on November 10.

The feel-good, genre-mashing "Do Something" is described in a press release as a song that is "about grabbing the bull by the horns and jumping at the opportunities life throws your way." That sentiment speaks directly to the band's recent experiences following their stint on a major TV show. "Everything we’ve done and all the success we’ve achieved so far has been down to us putting ourselves out there and making the most of everything that’s come our way and that’s why this song means so much to us," they explain.

They add, "We are so excited to be releasing our first ever single and hope people enjoy it."    

The success of the band has been long in the making and started much earlier than their run on Britain's Got Talent. Luminites got their start when their manager saw Ben beatboxing in the streets of London and decided to pair him up with three other young up and comers. The four instantly bonded and continued their street performances. "There was no gelling process, the group explains. "The second that we met each other we all had something in common, and the conversation got rolling straight away. It was really nice."

After two years of relentless rehearsals, sessions, gigs and street performances, Luminites' hard work paid off when they were given the platform to showcase their talent in front of millions of people on the Britain’s Got Talent stage.  The band impresses the judges with their performances of classics such as "Hurts So Good" and "To Love Somebody." They even managed to wow Simon Cowell who said, "Thank god for sending me Luminites!"

Following their success on Britain's Got Talent, the group has continued to engage with fans through social media and YouTube while working on new music. More news to follow soon. (Luminites "Do Something" will be released in the U.K. on November 10 via Syco/Sony Music.)

September 19, 2013 | Permalink