Producer Steve James and vocalist Nea have teamed up for their new single "Still Ain't You", written about moving on with a new relationship whilst still having feelings for an ex. Speaking on how the track came about, James said: "We wrote and recorded it in a day in October 2018. I've just been itching to release it ever since. This is one of my favorite songs I've been a part of." The track opens with gorgeous ethereal synths building to a bopping pop house beat, all led by a catchy vocal line. Passionate about music from a young age, James dropped out of high school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career. He caught recognition in 2015 with his popular remix of ZHU's hit Faded and has since gone on to work with the likes of Martin Garrix, Justin Bieber, Little Mix and more.
We look forward to the release of his upcoming debut EP +1, about which he said: "It always goes back to putting people in a mindset. We listen to music to hype us up or chill us out. Music gets those emotions out. I want to give listeners different avenues to explore their feelings. I feel like my generation understands this. It can be really challenging, but I want to offer an outlet. I'm with you. I'm like your plus one."
Salt Lake City-based producer Thrillogy has given Urbanstep & Sever's track Heresy an intense re-imagining with elements of metal, psy trance and melodic dubstep. Turn the volume up for this one! Screamo vocals from the original match perfectly with Thrillogy's metal guitar work and the track never cedes a dull moment effortlessly switching between its various musical styles. Thrillogy has been putting out tracks and remixes since 2015 and in 2016 he was featured on a remix album for Kap Slap with Ultra Records. He's been rising ever since and we look forward to hearing more next year!
Sydney-based emcee and vocalist Imagine The Rapper brings us a stirring new hip hop single to close out the year called "Open Wounds". His warm Australian vocals absolutely shine on this track, particularly on the catchy chorus melody mirroring the lead synth. The track opens with a smooth guitar melody before trap drums and bass drop over it. Imagine wrote the song based on his experiences moving from a small town in regional NSW to Sydney to find better opportunities for his music. A challenging period for his career, it's helped shape his resolve and determination. He wrote on Facebook: "This years been a big a step in the right direction for me !!! I left my life in the country to follow my dreams in the big smoke with nothing in my pockets. There's been plenty of set backs behind the scenes that could've really broken me but I'm still moving... I can't thank you all enough for supporting me and my dreams and I promise that I'll push even harder in 2020!!!" Keep an ear out for Imagine The Rapper, he's on the rise!
Bristol-based electronic trio KOKO have stripped back their fantastic recent debut single "Freak" giving it a simpler and moodier feel. And mood they do well. From the soft melancholy piano to the beautiful bridge vocal melody, it's enough to give its audience shivers. After the bridge they introduce the punch line: "'Cause I'm a freak; there's nothing else I'd rather be." Speaking on the song's theme, KOKO write: "It's a FU to the man! We're telling you to be whoever, or whatever, you want. Embrace individuality." If you're in London in January, there's a few tickets left to see them performing at The Waiting Room on the 22nd.
Australian artists Sembari and Veda have teamed up for their emotive new single "Over The Edge". Tense melodic tones and lush electronic production from Sembari underpin Veda's beautiful, haunting vocals. The track swells from crackling verses to a striking trap chorus punctuated with distorted synths. The two wrote the song together in Brisbane and describe it as: "A deep, dark dive into a world of love, loss, envy & revenge." Sembari released a cool behind the scenes video for the track on Facebook which you can check out below. He also maintains a playlist of his favourite songs on Spotify. If you're looking for more, check out Veda's recent debut EP "Desperate Sins" which features similar dark, emotive tones.
Swedish pop duo Rallie & Coal have gone acoustic for their debut single "Prom Queen Crown (Acoustic)". The song compares adult life to the simplicity and naivety of high school. Reverb on Rallie's gorgeous vocals adds wonderful atmosphere and contrast in the chorus. The track then introduces lovely acoustic percussion before the second chorus. Rallie has always loved and been around music, from starring in a leading role in the musical Hairspray at age 12 to being accepted into Musikmakarna last year (the Songwriters Academy of Sweden) where she has worked with the likes of Kristian Kostov, Benjamin Ingrosso and Joy Deb. A talented singer and guitarist, Coal auditioned for Idol at age 16 and was subsequently scouted for British X Factor. He has worked to hone his songwriting skills over the past few years and written for the likes of Ana Diaz and Ace Wilder. Combining their creativity and Rallie's flair for lyrics, they've crafted an impressive debut and we look forward to hearing more from them next year!
German artist Harina brings us a powerful new climate change song for the season titled "Last Christmas". Based on the Carol of the Bells melody over plucked strings and sizzling moody trap production, she delivers her message with fantastic haunting vocals. Driving the message home, a child's voice says in the breakdown: "This year is gonna be Santa Claus' last visit. He always came to bring us presents but my mummy said they had to close down the North Pole. His elves can't breathe underwater. So I guess this is our last." With such a hard hitting and cleverly constructed banger, she's made an impressive splash with her debut. And I think it's one of my favourite songs of the year.
Eddy Calvert has released a sexy new tropical banger called "Naked" featuring rapper Tory Lanez. The track has an airy soundscape punctuated by strong melodic vocals and an afrobeat rhythm. Since 2017, Calvert has released a steady stream of impressive urban pop singles. He is yet to release a full EP or album, something he ascribes to being a perfectionist, but he's planning on releasing lots of new music next year including some cool features. Keep an ear out for Eddy Calvert!
Fun fact on Tory Lanez' stage name: Tory is a nod to Notorious B.I.G. and Lanez comes from his childhood nickname because he was always getting into trouble in the streets and laneways as a kid.
Shalom and salem are Hebrew and Arabic words for "peace" and form the title of Swiss artist daFOO's latest single. The track has a dancey electro pop feel to it with middle eastern influences and features American singer Benjah in the verses. With similar pronunciation and meaning, the titular words "Shalom & Salem" symbolize how although we are each different with different backgrounds and upbringings, we all share much in common. We shouldn't let our differences isolate us and lead us to fear and hate. We should instead see each other as equals and share kindness and inclusiveness. This is the core message behind daFOO's new single. He grew up around religious manipulation, violence and crime and it has shaped who he is today as a youth worker and artist. He wants to help bring peace to people, something he believes has a positive snowball effect in the world. And that's something we can get behind. "Shalom oh shalom & salem aleikum!"