Thursday 20 June 2013

New Music: Chrisette Michele 'Better'

Chrisette Michele has the voice of an angel!

We are big fans of this lovely lady here at MusicConnex. Being signed to Motown Records seems to be a suitable home for the woman who has a voice reminiscent of the phenomenal Diva voices we grew up listening to from this iconic label. Last week saw the release of Michele's latest album 'Better' which was preceded by singles "A Couple of Forevers" and "Let me Win".

New Single: "Better"

With features on the album such as 2 Chainz, Bilal and Wale to name but a few we have been eagerly awaiting the release date. The album does not dissapoint. In fact Michele has taken her music to another level again. We would highly recommend this album!

Previous Releases: 

A Couple of Forevers

Let Me Win

'Better' will be the Grammy award winner's fourth studio album and was released June 7th. Now available to download in iTunes. 

Article By: Claire Cripps
Images By: MusicConnex does not own the copyright to any images shown. Image's used were sourced here.

Wednesday 19 June 2013

#MCXTALENT2013  #EVENTREVIEW by Gaynor Tutani

One of the biggest mistakes that one can ever do is read a review of an event they intend to review. I am sure you can all think of many reasons why it is not advisable, yet I found myself reading Claire Cripps’ account of MusicConnex’s Showcase held on the 1st of June. Was it a mistake? Absolutely not! I actually pictured myself having a conversation with her about the performances over a few glasses of wine if not bottles, trying to explain the amazing experience I believe we both had from the marvellous musicianship presented on the night. Claire’s ability to review all 7 acts microscopically yet concise is admirable. She successfully painted a vivid picture of the night and as I read it I felt like I was back at the Flyover, being surrounded by similar souls; music lovers, and people driven by passion. Like she said, “the atmosphere was electric” and it left me buzzing for days. I have never been to such a showcase whereby each act is pure perfection. Some might view this as maybe an exaggeration, however, I can assure you that it is far from it, MusicConnex know their stuff when it comes to music and I am not surprised given their history.
As I arrived, Honey Larochelle the headline walked passed me, smiled, and said “hello” casually like she knew me. I coolly greeted her but I will not deny that I was surprised. She had a bubbly buzz far from a diva and this was the prelude for all the artists. They were all pleasant and sociable with captivating stage presence, bold personalities which somewhat had an effect of reflecting who they are through their music and this is what stood out for me. I believe that the effect or rather essence of quality music can reveal one’s own identity so it was such a good feeling having the artists share parts of themselves.
Charlene the first act and host had a feminine poise that calmed me. Her sound was soothing, and her music has a feel good factor which makes you think of love or rather what it can be. The follow up Nate Williams has ‘the boy next door’ look so you can easily underestimate his ability but his vocals awakens you and you just cannot help but smile from the surprise once he starts singing. He is like that unexpected gift whose humbleness makes you admire his talents even more. As for Sherry Davis, apparently she was ill on the night. I am not denying her illness but it did not resonate what so ever! Artists that show up and deliver regardless of any setbacks, coupled with sweet melodies deserve respect and she earned mine. At this point all three acts had me reeling with joy. The music was just absolutely incredible. I have no favourite performance however, Izzy Bizu’s set stuck with me. The night before I randomly saw her on a train but I did not know her then. She had a skateboard next to her, with her ripped jeans revealing scars on her knees. As I sat opposite her I found myself admiring the care free attitude that boasted from her demeanour thus when I noticed that she was the girl from the previous night, I was at awe. Not only because of her incredible vocal ranges but because she had the same alluring element that exudes stardom. She is definitely one to watch out for!
The following three ladies took the night to greater heights. Tasita D’mour takes the stage as her own home. It all appears natural to her that one can think singing is simple. I felt like I was at a Diana Ross and the Supreme concert, her voice is just a power house. At this stage, as I write I am not sure how I will describe Acantha Lang and Honey, and I feel that I may not have the words to express my own excitement. They were just born to perform! Acantha is full of emotion given her blues background. Every song has a story that you wish you could have a day with her just to find out more. She is that type of artist that you may not know her music when you first hear her, but after, you cannot be anything but a fan.
Honey blazed the night, with her red hair, red lips, everything about her was fire! She has a playful persona and she is very open too. She knows how to engage with a crowd and just be herself. She definitely gave me the “Yes Feeling” with every song she performed l related to the words and the meaning behind the songs which I am sure many people did. She loves, she lives and she is just comfortable with who she is that one cannot help but love her.
It has been 2 weeks after the showcase yet I am still able to visualise it, the whole night was a fantastic experience including the vibrating crowd and I have to give credit to the house band. I will definitely not forget it and I am already looking forward to the next showcase; 20th July I know where I will be!


Tuesday 18 June 2013

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: The Stars come out for Stephen Lawrence Unity Concert

Today MusicConnex was granted exclusive access to the launch of the upcoming Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust event titled 'Unity - A Concert for Stephen'.  This event marks the 20-year anniversary of Stephen Lawrence's untimely death and aims to champion youth and social empowerment. 

Today Doreen Lawrence OBE announced that this concert would be happening on September 29th, 2013 at The O2 Arena.  Speaking about the event she said, “I would like Stephen to be remembered as a young man who had a future.  He was well loved, and had he been given the chance to survive maybe he would have been the one to bridge the gap between black and white because he didn’t distinguish between black or white. He saw people as people.”

In Doreen and Neville Lawrence's position most people would be crippled by the unfair injustice of having a young teenage son taken from them, and yet in the face of overwhelming grief, they have forged ahead to create a movement with which to empower other young minds. A movement to enable future generations to see the possibilities within themselves and each other. A movement where there are people available to help encourage and support these young minds. A movement of hope. 

The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust was formed in 1998 by Stephen's parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence as a way to help future generations of young people to enjoy all of the possible opportunities ahead. Since the formation the trust has awarded over 100 bursaries to young people from diverse, disadvantaged backgrounds. In 2008, the trust gained momentum and support with the help of public funding to open the Stephen Lawrence Centre in Deptford SE8 as a centre for excellence for architecture, design and the wider built environment. 

Here is a short quote about the centre and its work. "There are many more people who find themselves confronted with seemingly insurmountable obstacles to entry into other under-represented professions, such as law, finance and the media. So we resolved that the Stephen Lawrence Centre would not just be a centre for architecture and the built environment professions but it would be an environment in which aspiring young people could be built up and readied to be change champions in their own right."

"The Trust decided that our primary focus would be the promotion of social justice. We see this as creating a level-playing field to ensure equity and fairness."

The trust remains committed to building a substantial legacy with which to help future generations to reach the potential they hold within themselves. They have outlined a 20 year plan to take them towards this legacy. Click here for further details. 

Today it seemed like the whole industry had turned up at Studio One, Abbey Road Studios London to hear the big reveal of this landmark event. 

Amongst the crowd of onlookers were headliners Emeli Sandé and Rizzle Kicks who took the stage to talk about why it meant so much for them to be involved with this amazing event. 

Other performers on the day will be:  Jessie J, Ed Sheeran, Soul 2 Soul, Rudimental, Labrinth, Plan B, Tinie Tempah and Jamie Cullum. An amazing line up! 

Jessie J said  "When I was asked to be involved in this event I said 'oh yes'. "Anyone that is there at this event I would like them to walk away and ask what can I do to make this world a better place."

Beverly Knight was quoted as saying "The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust is a "Catalyst for change, emblem of hope"

Jamie Cullum said "I feel proud to a part of this event"

Doreen Lawrence took to the stage to say thank you for the support given to this cause by the music industry and went on to say "We want to bring hope to the future for young people. This will mean the trust will be able to continue for the next  20 years" 

Tickets go on sale Friday 21st June at 9am. 
We will see you there!

Article By: Claire Cripps
Images from: Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and Claire Cripps 

Monday 17 June 2013

New Music: VV Brown 'Samson'

VV Brown is back!

After the cancellation of the album release 'Lollopops and Politics' in 2012, Brown has been relatively quiet on the scene with regards to any physical release. 
She is now gearing up for release of her single 'Samson' which has a completely new sound to it. It would be fair to say that this track sits comfortably in the electronic genre which is very different from  Brown's previous releases. Her vocal is not diminished by this, it is simply used as another tool to explore her vocal prowess. It will be intersting to hear what else comes from Brown and this new sound. 
Check out the track below and tell us what you think.

Written By: Claire Cripps
Images By: MusicConnex does not own the copyright to any images shown. Image's used were sourced here.  

Saturday 15 June 2013

News: PRS & The Arts Council announce new scheme to help musicians

At MusicConnex we are huge music fans. It comes as no surprise that we should want to find more and more opportunities to help support musicians in any way possible.  

In May at The Great Escape, it was announced that PRS and Arts Council England have entered into a collaboration they call the Momentum Music Fund (MMF). In summary they have invested £500,000 in National Lottery money over a two year period, with the focus being on enabling artists and bands to apply for small grants which can range from £5000 to £15,000 to help support both development and long term career.

The first deadline for application is Friday 28th June 2013, with awards being announced in August 2013. Further rounds will be announced towards the end of the year. You can apply here.

This is a brilliant scheme. Those of us with a love of music understand how hard it can be to source support in order to be able to develop your music or your career. Its a tough landscape out there with more focus being put on an artist already being 'the finished product' upon signing. This help could well be the difference between someone being able to pursue music or having to give it up. To us, that makes this scheme priceless.

Article By: Claire Cripps
Photography: MusicConnex does not own the copyright to any images shown. Image's used were sourced here. 

Friday 7 June 2013

Event Review: #MCXTALENT2013 Pt 1 June 1st!

After the sun started to get low in the sky at the end of a scorcher of a day in West London, the crowd gathered at new funky venue The Flyover in Notting Hill for the MusicConnex Showcase event. A major date in the diary for all of the real music heads. This was tipped to be a great event with some serious musical talent. Sound checks were over, the doors were open and the crowd was eager. Dressed to the nines; from the grown and sexy to the young and funky, everyone and their best friend, sister and aunt turned up to support these amazing acts. The atmosphere was electric. With support from Dj’s DJG121, Undercover and the man himself JM, the tunes were spinning and the beat was bumping in anticipation.  

First up was the evening’s co-host Charlene. Who started the show off in true style with fresh and funky tracks and delicate melody lines all wrapped up with catchy playful lyrics. Fantastic vocals. Clean and fresh. Really easy to listen to and vibe to. My favourite track from her set would be ‘Intoxicated’ which had tones of a throw back summers day. Relaxed, chilled, instantly got you hooked to her sound. This songstress is currently working on an album for release later this year and I for one will be excited to hear the finished product.
(L-R) Mike Davis and Nate Williams
Next on the bill was the Gentleman of the evening Mr Nate Williams. Nate started playing music at 5 years old and sites his influences as Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones. This definitely came through from the first song ‘Gotta Let go’ with soft delicate chord progressions that were reminiscent of early Jackson tracks. Add to this the raw, stripped back presentation with most tracks using just vocals and either guitar or Hammond, it was a full sensory experience which drew you into the Williams world. It is so hard for me to pick one track out of the set because each one was as amazing as the last. Williams told MusicConnex last night that he will be working on new material as of next week so I am truly excited to see where else this young man can go musically. When I spoke to Honey Larochelle she actually mentioned how Nate Williams set had really stood out to her. Check out his Soundcloud and fall in love with him a little bit like we did.


With influences of old school soul, reggae and gospel Sherry Davis is vocally sublime from the first note. Smooth and strong, her vocals are diverse to say the least. She sings effortlessly whilst supporting herself on keys as if she was born doing this. Its all very natural to Davis. Song wise, there is a really conscious use of the instrumentation to create a really large, driving sound which makes you want to move. My pick of the set would be Star Crossed Lovers from her new EP of the same name released June 3rd. Sherry Davis will continue to grow and I believe, become a regular on our radio waves.

Izzy Bizu
Next up was the youngster of the night Izzy Bizu. Bizu maybe young in years at just 19 years old but there is absolutely nothing about her voice which would mirror that. It was actually breathtaking to hear her perform. The way that she approaches her performance and her vocals is completely individual to anything I have heard in a long time. Her rhythm is so responsive to the music that there’s a whole journey you are taken on through Bizu’s story.

So bouncy and energetic. An organic musician with effortless range. The audience loved this set and really got involved with each track, she also really knew how to get the crowd laughing and was a blast in between tracks. The stand out for me was ‘White Tiger’ which was so powerful. Almost reminded me of being in the audience at a Jill Scott show when you are transfixed to where Scott wants to take you. If Bizu can be this talented at 19, I have no way of imagining where her career will take her can be because she is already phenomenal just as she is. Check Izzy Bizu out at her next show – 17th June, I Luv Live at XoYo.  

Tasita D'Mour

Tasita D’Mour graced the stage next.
This woman is quite simply a vocal power house. That voice! Captivating is a word I could use but there are so many other words to describe a voice like this. D’Mour has worked with so many world-renowned artists because of exactly this. Her tracks are punchy with a big sound. The upcoming single (out on July 22nd) is called ‘Change my Heart’ and its ready for radio. The lyrics are so relatable and her voice on this record is just magical.

Acantha Lang
Acantha Lang; What a voice! What power. What presence. With influences stemming from blues and rock artists such as Coco Taylor, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Led Zepplin and The Stones it was easy to see how this American songstress becomes one with the songs and relays that emotion with her whole being to the crowd.

  Vocally she has a natural rasp to
 her voice, which has touches of an early   Aretha Franklin, but she also has moments where she opens up and allows this buttery soulful tone to flow into the room and fill the space way above the crowd. It’s organic and exquisite. It’s delicate and yet its strong and its always emotional. Each of Lang’s tracks were incredible so again, it was hard to pick a standout.
Finishing off this stellar set was a cover of the 4 Non Blondes hit ‘What’s going on’ and the only way I can describe this moment was ‘stop, look and listen’. This song was not what I would call a cover, it was a completely reworked version to make it have that signature Lang sound and it not only worked, it excelled! The whole crowd were dancing along to the beat – which had a reggae feel on the drums and guitar, absolutely fantastic Lang moment to end on. I need more!

Honey Larochelle
The Honey Bee was in the building as the amazing Honey Larochelle took to the stage to mark the release of her album ‘The Yes Feeling’ out now on iTunes. I got a chance to sit down with this wonderful lady and chat about all of the ingredients to her talent (but more of that later). She opened her set with ‘Be Your Baby’ which has this really 60’s soul feel with luscious lyrics. Shortly after that things became a little cheeky and mischievous with ‘Back of my car’.

This track is so sexy and fun showing off in full colour Larochelle’s playful side perfectly and it’s so catchy! ‘Whose gonna love you’ has the feeling of the girl groups such as the Marvelettes or the Supremes. You can just picture a three piece backing group swaying side to side in sympathetic heartbreak. Following this came ‘I Open My Heart’ which has a relaxed reggae feel and has a fantastic hook that’s easy to sing along to. The single ‘Heaven’ is next in this already amazing performance and it is yet another example of just how charismatic Larochelle is behind the microphone. She literally commands the stage with an effortless energy. Each song gives you a taste of her huge range and vocal versatility and she does it all with ease. Her tone is so easy to listen to even though it is undeniably powerful in every song. Track after track the set just grew to a crescendo moment. This lady truly knows how to connect with her audience in a way that creates a loyalty and support of her. Once you hear her, you are on her team. Team Larochelle is gathering people as it spins worldwide and I am definitely one of them.


This was an absolutely unbelievable line up. It’s a very rare thing to have so much talent in one showcase but MusicConnex made that happen. With each act, the energy just continued to build and grow. The music was both appreciated and supported by the dedicated crowd, such a wonderful atmosphere. At the end of the night there was only one question left to ask – when’s the next showcase?

Review written by: Claire Cripps

Photography by: AJ

Having fallen in love with music at a young age whilst listening to the likes of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Booker T & the MG's & Bob Marley in her parents record collection, music has been a consistent force in Claire's life. After studying music at college & university, she went on to work in the music industry and decided to start a blog called as an outlet for all of the amazing music she would hear around her. Claire is an avid supporter of new music and the live industry.