Category Archives: New Artists Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Trouvere – Beach House

Introducing the catchy and upbeat Beach House by Trouvere; a pop duo comprised of singers Greg LaFollette and Shell Snyder. Beginning as friends who were both pursuing their own careers in the music business, they eventually collaborated to write their first song (This Is Our Song) and Trouvere was born.

trouvere

Greg spoke to 20GreatSongs about Trouvere’s music and inspiration:

How long have you guys known each other and how long have you been performing together?

Shell and I have known each other for a few years now. We met while she was fronting a different band and I worked on their record in the studio. I knew then, at some point, I wanted to make more music with her. I’m really grateful for the opportunity.

Coming from Nashville, are you influenced at all by country music?

Well, we’ve both lived in nashville for around 5 years now, and country music definitely has a profound fingerprint that it puts on the city. That being said, so does a lot of the indie pop stuff that we love. We are both really influenced by a ton of great artists, so, whatever genre they may fall into, we are grateful to be surrounded by such great music and musicians.

Out of all of the songs you have done so far, do you have a favourite?

I really like the song “follow me.” There’s a level of poetry and flow in that song that I am proud of.

[You can listen to all of Trouvere’s music at http://www.trouveretheband.com/music]

Which artists would you like to collaborate or duet with?

I think it would be fun to be in the studio with Kanye. He seems like he just plays around and experiments until awesome stuff happens. I’d also love to work with Jackson Browne. He seems like he is a resident artist.

What advice would you give to other singer songwriters?

Stick around long enough to be in the right place at the right time…and have courage.

And finally, what are you working on at the moment?

We just released a Christmas record on November 5th, so we are working on promoting that and getting it in as many ears and hearts as possible.

See more of Trouvere on their website and have a listen to the rest of their music here.

New Artists Spotlight: Luca – Sailors

This week’s featured song is ‘Sailors’ by Luca; an acoustic singer-songwriter from New York City. Taking inspiration from partly from dreams and partly from the personal experiences of a friend, ‘Sailors’ is a melancholic song about the war between old love and new love.

Luca caught up with 20GreatSongs to discuss her inspiration and experiences so far:

How long have you been playing the guitar and writing songs?

I remember writing my first song when i was ten. my parents were both musicians so we always had guitars lying around the house. My first musical obsession was the violin but I picked up guitar now and then as well.

Is most of what you perform original material or do you do covers as well?

I used to sing a lot of jazz and cover stuff when I lived in California but it’s all originals these days.

Where do you get your inspiration to write? And what inspired ‘Sailors’?

A lot of what I write comes from dreams. Sailors was half dream and half I was watching a friend about to throw a lot of beautiful things in his life away…this tells that story and is a sort of begging to reconsider.

Out of all of the songs you have written so far, do you have a favourite?

The newest one usually! Right now ‘Sleepers.’

[You can listen to ‘Sleepers’ on Soundcloud here]

Who are your favourite artists of all time?

Thom Yorke, Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen.

Most unusual situation you have ever found yourself in?

I was in an elevator with my blonde tan hot athletic looking ex in Hawaii. A bunch of girls from another country got on who didn’t speak English and all started pointing at him and screaming DAVID BECKHAM DAAAAAAVID BECKHAAAAM!!!!! They were pulling out paper and pens for autographs by the time we escaped. You don’t quickly forget the sound of ten girls screaming in very small enclosed spaces.

What are you working on at the moment?

My first album! Everything out so far is acoustic demos, if you listen hard enough you’ll hear the nyc sirens and traffic in the background…this new album should be ready in the next few months.

I’m always blogging new songs and poetry as well, thegreatpower.wordpress.com

What advice would you give to other singer songwriters?

Write every day. Make it more human. Give them stories.

Also, the wise Franz Kafka said, ‘don’t bend, don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.’ I have this written on my wall so I see it when I wake up every morning.

And finally, what would your 20 Great Songs list be? 

As of today and in no certain order…

  1. The Verve – Judas
  2. Band of Horses – Infinite Arms
  3. Kanye West – Blood On The Leaves
  4. James Blake – Our Love Comes Back
  5. Bon Iver – Holocene
  6. Erik Satie – Gymnopédie No. 1
  7. Dustin O’Halloran – Opus 54
  8. The Cure – Pictures Of You
  9. Jeff Buckley – Lilac Wine
  10. Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should’ve Come Over
  11. Jeff Buckley – Morning Theft
  12. Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
  13. Miles Davis – Blue In Green
  14. Otis Redding – A Change Is Gonna Come
  15. Radiohead – Scatterbrain
  16. Radiohead – Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
  17. Radiohead – All I Need (Spotify version performed by Vitamin String Quartet)
  18. Radiohead – House of Cards (Spotify version performed by Vitamin String Quartet)
  19. Thom Yorke – Black Swan
  20. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 24 in C Minor, K.491

If you have a Spotify account you can listen to the full playlist here:

Musician Spotlight: Wonder

Check out ‘Jubilee’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poUOG3xxI8s

Great song and interview!

"we'll never be royals."


Her name is Hannah, but you know her as Wonder. Hailing from a part of the West Coast known for vampires, Wonder emerges and presents us with something much, much cooler: Zombies. Okay. Not real Zombies. BUT her single, Zombie, is something to drool (maybe moan? too much?) over because it’s just beautiful.

Hear what Wonder had to say in our Q&A sesh earlier this month, and don’t forget to find her on all social media. Links can be found at the end of the article.

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How long have you been performing and playing?

I’ve been a natural performer my entire life. I love making people laugh, and I love being able to touch even deeper than humor by honesty and with music. I started playing guitar in 2009, and began performing locally shortly afterward.

Which instruments do you play & what’s your fave?

I play a little piano and…

View original post 623 more words

Luke Britnell – Think Positive

Luke Britnell is a 19-year old singer, songwriter and guitarist from London who recently appeared on the X Factor UK, delivering his original uplifting song ‘Think Positive’ to the X Factor judges and over 9 million viewers. Since the audition he has attracted a large following on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and he is now in the process of recording and releasing his debut EP.

Here is the original music video for ‘Think Positive’ or you can see the X Factor audition by clicking on the link below:

(You can see his great X Factor audition here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=272YwiUNWRk)

Luke was kind enough to chat to 20GreatSongs and share his inspirations, aspirations and thoughts on the X Factor audition:
First of all, what or who are your musical influences?

They actually vary from a wide range. One day I could be listening to Bruno Mars and be loving it and the next I could be jamming out to some Guns N’ Roses, Bob Marley, Jay-Z, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Elvis, I could go on all day. As a whole I try to listen to a lot of different musical styles purposely to open my mind to discovering as much new music as possible.

And where did the inspiration for the song (Think Positive) come from?

Well I initially had wrote this bubbly, happy sounding guitar part and wanted to expand on it by adding some lyrics. My vocal teacher at the time had taken a listen to it and helped me finish writing it. We basically thought about what we wanted the song to be about, eventually coming up with the idea of having a song with a positive message (it was the first song I had worked on and I didn’t want to start writing love songs just yet) we then added the lyrics that would become the verses, and chorus. The ‘Woohoo’s’ were put in as I was recording the original version, basically to fill the gap that had nothing there at the time, as it sounded pretty empty without those added, that was the same case for the ‘Doobedoo’s’.

The song is incredibly catchy – it was definitely a good sign when Gary joined in on the ‘woo hoo’ and started swaying and clicking to the song with the other judges! How did it feel? Have you been approached with any offers to record professionally?

Thanks! It was pretty surreal. Especially after feeling so anxious before the audition, knowing I’m about to go in and perform the song without having a single clue of how the judges would react to it, so to have them singing along was a lovely little surprise. I was also pretty stoked to find out a few people had got in touch with me about recording, but for now the plan is to go in and record an EP full of originals, and then get that on iTunes as soon as possible.

Which was more nerve-wracking, the initial intimate audition for the judges or the live arena audition and why?

Both to their own; the room audition is nerve-wracking as it’s so up close and personal, if you make one little mistake they could spot that from a mile off. The arena audition is nerve-wracking as you are performing to such a large number of people at such a large venue, and if that’s not what you’re used to or have experienced before, it’s pretty daunting. But if I had to choose I’d say the obvious nerve-wracking audition for me would be the arena audition, as you saw, haha.

Coolest gig you have performed so far?

Definitely in Belfast a couple of years ago, so many people turned up and had made signs, bracelets, etc and sung along to every song! That was such a rare, and fun night for me.

What would be your dream gig venue?

The O2 Arena in London. I’ve seen so many different artists perform there and was lucky enough to get a chance to walk on the stage and get a tour of the place on a college trip, always loved the atmosphere in there, dream big!

Is there anyone that you would want to duet with?

Without a doubt, John Mayer or Katy Perry.

What advice would you give to other singer songwriters?

I wouldn’t say I’m in such a position to give advice as I’m always learning so much myself. But I’ve learnt personally is to just write about what you know, and your true emotions. Just be as honest and true to yourself as possible, and believe in what it is you’re doing, if you don’t believe in what you’re doing, then who will?

Most unusual situation you have found yourself in?

I had flown to Malta on my own late last year to play a gig on new years eve. Unfortunately for some reason the gig got cancelled and I was stuck in Malta for new years, so someone who lived there had arranged for me to go out with some of his friends that night. I ended up spending 2012 new years partying with three maltese guys who I had met literally that night. Pretty crazy, they were a right laugh.

What are you working on at the moment?

My main focus at the moment is to get my EP recorded and up on iTunes as soon as possible. I’m so excited to finally have something to show for all the incredible support and following I’ve gained since the X Factor. I’ll still be uploading tons of covers on YouTube and playing loads of gigs.

You can check Luke out on Twitter, Facebook or his YouTube channel.

And what would your 20 Great Songs list be?

This is a tough one, I’ll probably end up kicking myself later on remembering songs I haven’t put in this list. In no particular order:

  1. Zac Brown Band – Keep Me In Mind
  2. Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
  3. Guns N’ Roses – Nightrain
  4. Bob Marley & The Wailers – Is This Love
  5. Eric Clapton – Change The World
  6. Foo Fighters – Best Of You
  7. Bruno Mars – It Will Rain
  8. John Mayer – Slow Dancing In A Burning Room – Live at the Nokia Theatre
  9. John Mayer – Free Fallin’ – Live at the Nokia Theatre
  10. Aerosmith – Same Old Song And Dance
  11. Aerosmith – Love In An Elevator – Single Version
  12. Karaoke Library – Only You Can Love Me This Way (Full Vocal Version) [In the Style of Keith Urban]
  13. Bruce Springsteen – Pay Me My Money Down
  14. David Ryan Harris – For You
  15. Des’ree – Crazy Maze
  16. John Lennon – Imagine
  17. Toto – Africa
  18. Train – Drops of Jupiter
  19. 2Pac – Changes – 1998 Greatest Hits (Explicit)
  20. Kanye West – Clique

Spotify playlist here: Luke Britnell’s 20 Great Songs

Or if you’re already logged into Spotify, you can listen to the full playlist below!

Maia – Living in the Alligator

Introducing a new sound to the folk music world, Maia are the second act to be featured in the 20GreatSongs Artist Spotlight series. Fresh from the success of their first Glastonbury performance earlier this year, they are pioneers of a genre that they call “sci-fi Folk” – ‘a combination of highly polar instruments, other worldly harmonies and four quirky lads’.

Here is Living in the Alligator:

Interview

Big thanks to Maia‘s Joe Haig (Piano/ Trumpet/Vocals) for sharing some of the bands’ experience and wisdom with 20GreatSongs:

How did you guys meet?

We were all reading variations of music and music technology, in our first term at Huddersfield Uni, and kept bumping into each other on nights out. Lots of red wine was involved and it’s all rather hazy now!

What or who are your musical influences?

Well everything we’ve ever heard is somewhere in our heads, but listening to ‘Love’ (Arthur Lee’s band) was a bit of a turning point for creating pop music together

Where did the inspiration for the song come from?

Tom (who does the main singing and the words) was walking round the Natural History Museum in London and saw an iron lung, the Victorian breathing apparatus, and it had the caption ‘Living in the Alligator’ – history was born!

Coolest gig you have performed so far and what would be your dream venue?

There have been so many awesome gigs so far, and each has it’s own surprises! It would have to be a top 3; playing at Glastonbury Festival was a bit of a dream come true, Broadstairs main stage and selling out of merch, and coming off stage at the Wharf Chambers in Leeds to an enormous roaring cheer!

Dream venue would be Wembley, but that might be too small. Failing that, the moon

What advice would you give to other singer songwriters?

There is nothing more important than recording, be it words or music, every single idea you get. You never know!

Oh and get a band together.

Most unusual situation you have found yourself in?

It has to be the time we woke up on a ship in the Thames, and thought we had walked out into zombie apocalypse.

They turned out to be ravers by the thousand!

What are you working on at the moment?

We are working to put out a few singles in the new year, and trying to build a time machine. The former is going better than the latter.

Check Maia out on their Facebook page or their website at www.maiatheband.com

Maia’s 20 Great Songs list:

  1. David Bowie – Heroes
  2. Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive
  3. The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin
  4. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water
  5. Horseflies – Hush Little Baby
  6. Loudon Wainwright III – The Swimming Song
  7. New Order – Blue Monday
  8. Love – Alone Again Or
  9. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean – Single Version
  10. Bot’Ox – Tout passe, tout lasse, tout casse
  11. The Cherry Boys – Kardomah Cafe
  12. John Grant – Chicken Bones
  13. Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues
  14. The Smiths – Bigmouth Strikes Again
  15. Kraftwerk – Pocket Calculator
  16. Black Star Liner – Superfly And Bindi
  17. Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
  18. The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize??
  19. Tom Waits – Martha
  20. America – A Horse With No Name

Or if you have Spotify and are logged in, you can listen to the playlist here:

Lucy Cait

Inspired by the finger picking style of Johnny Flynn, 19-year-old Lucy Cait’s ‘Sweet Merry Merchant Man’ is the first song in the UK Music Acts 20 Great Songs series list:

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Currently finishing touring her album ‘Gabriel’s Wharf’, Lucy heads off to university in September. Here she shares her experiences so far with 20GreatSongs:

Which artists are you currently listening to?

Currently listening to Haim, Lorde and Rudimental.

Do you play anything other than the guitar?

I play guitar as my first instrument, a bit of bass, and used to be a cellist in an orchestra. I also used to sing in choirs.

Who are your idols?

I want to be in a band like Warpaint. They are real heroes.

Who would you want to duet with?

I sometimes sing with my mate Patch And The Giant and that’s always pretty dreamy.  But one of the first albums I bought was ‘Push The Button’ by Chemical Brothers – a feature on one of their tracks would be grand!

Coolest gig you have performed so far?

Most gigs are a lot of fun, but playing at LeeFest was an absolute highlight. I got a wicked reaction and then got a slot on the main stage a little bit later! It’s the first big festival I played at and it just blew my mind.

Dream gig venue?

The dream is to play at Glasto! Any stage, any year, it’s just the best place in the whole world.

Most unusual situation you’ve found yourself in?

I went for a run in Greenwich Park but somehow got caught up in a 10k race. As I got to the finish line and everyone was getting slower I realised that I was in fact now part of the race. The only thing I could do was sprint like Usain Bolt. I refused the medal and goody bag through sheer embarrassment.

And finally, what advice would you give to other singer songwriters?

Make sure you have fun on stage, if you’re having a good time the audience will have a wicked time too.

You can hear the rest of Lucy Cait’s songs on Soundcloud here or buy ‘Gabriel’s Wharf’ from Folkroom Records here!

Lucy Caits’ 20 Great Songs list: 

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)
Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha – The Norman Cook Remix (Single Version)
Kanye West – The New Workout Plan
Estelle – 1980
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
John Legend – P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care)
Johnny Flynn – Eyeless In Holloway
Kleerup – Until We Bleed – Feat. Lykke Li
Nina Simone – My Baby Just Cares For Me
Warpaint – Beetles
Noah And The Whale – Give A Little Love
Badly Drawn Boy – I Love NYE
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Could You Be Loved
Nirvana – Come As You Are
Michael Jackson – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
Kings Of Leon – King Of The Rodeo
Sean Paul – Get Busy
The Streets – The Escapist
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Otherside
Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

(Full Spotify Playlist link: Lucy Cait’s 20 Great Songs)