Yoshika Colwell

Known to everyone as Yoshi, Yoshika Colwell is an undergraduate at the University of York and everyone who knows her know about her voice.

Singing live gigs across the city at various cabaret and jazz nights, Yoshi wows audiences wherever she sings with her beautiful smooth tone and alternative covers. She has a range of covers on Youtube under the title ‘Live in the Living Room’ where she re-discovers well known songs in a simple, yet beautiful style. Listening to them, you wouldn’t know she hadn’t written them herself. My personal favourite is her cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Rebel’ – believe me, it’s nothing like you’ve heard that song before!

As well as her beautiful covers, Yoshi also provides the vocal track for the radio drama Trimble, produced by URY (University Radio York) and written by Edward Greenwood. The show is currently nominated in the Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio drama catagory in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2014.

I thoroughly recommend listening to Yoshi and checking out her music. Not just because she’s a lovely person, but also because she’s an incredibly talented musician. Her soundcloud has a lot of good examples of her music – https://soundcloud.com/yoshikacolwell – but check out that aforementioned Bob Marley cover – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzxYuV_Pwc

George Ezra

Hailing from Bristol, this singer-songwriter has just hit number 5 on the BBCs ‘Sound of 2014’ list. And he’s only 19.

According to his page on the BBC, he was first spotted in 2012 by BBC Bristol who were “championing his bluesy, acoustic ballads”. Since then, he’s had a slot on the Glastonbury Introducing Stage as well as recording sessions at Maida Vale (the BBC recording studios in London for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term).

Zane Lowe recently described him as “One of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around”, and I would have to agree. George’s vocals are far beyond his years, and his bluesy style is reminiscent of the greats like Bob Dylan and his hero Woody Guthrie. He fits very nicely into the emerging style in the industry, creating a beautiful vintage sound and merging it beautifully with modern accoustic tracks.

In spite of his recognition from London, George stays true to his roots, playing a lot of gigs in Bristol and sticking around his hometown. According to him, the town is exciting and “things are happening”.

To hear more of George’s songs or to see where you can see him live, visit his website: www.georgeezra.com

Stephen Eyre

Glittering, charismatic and ever affable: aspiring singer-songwriter and producer Stephen Eyre springs from the buzzing London suburbia as a shining vision of our contemporary English zeitgeist. Much like his own multicultural background, the Essex-born musician dips his fingers in eclectic genres, from pop to Kraftwerk-esque electro to ethnic.

Eyre is, however, more than just a simple musician: currently studying BA Fine Art at UAL, he brings a vivacious body of performance work to the table that accompanies alternating soft and jazzy synths. Subtle exotic notes throb in the backdrop of his tracks like the faint after-note of a perfume – what Stephen calls an “oriental kind of sound”, acquired through the frequent use of pentatonic scales.

In his most accomplished track to date, Electric Girl, muffled drumbeats accompany a twirling, fluted melody that melts around Eyre’s deep, throbbing vocals. We are transported to a more romantic era and yet, simultaneously, a techno-futuristic dimension. The track is a juxtaposition, an oxymoron, a beautiful contradiction and portmanteau of universal sounds.

Something old, something new, something borrowed. The lingering feeling one receives is one of an upbeat, tender nostalgia, like hazy disco lights pulsing in a small jazz club located somewhere in a grungy basement (where all the cool art kids go at night).

Sitting in our art studio, Stephen answers a few of my questions about his influences and ambitions for the future:

 1.    How would you describe your music?

Oooh, that’s difficult! I focus on the instruments. I’d describe my music as alternative but with a pop sensibility – a pop structure, blending different sounds into a pastiche of different styles and hopefully creating my own genre. Basically an eclectic mix of styles blended into a hodgepodge of lush instrumentation with big synth influences.

2.    Name three of your favourite musicians.

Kate Bush, David Bowie, MGMT.

3.    What kind of music are you working on right now?

I’m really getting into live work at the moment. Last month I had my first gig, my second gig is coming up very soon. And I’m currently collaborating on a project with Michael Oliviere AKA Bubbles, songwriter for Jennifer Lopez, Eminem and Gwen Stefani. But I can’t say too much about that yet!

 4.    Do you think you bring your art degree/education into your music?

I think my study of art definitely affects the visual presentation of my music, but not the music itself. Contemporary art can tend to be quite intellectual and about ideas, whereas the music I make tends to be intuitive and emotional. I do think that music has a lot of unconscious cultural connotations, however.

5.    If you could give any advice to someone starting out writing and producing their own music, what would you say? 

Hmm, I think it is important to find creative ways around a problem or something that’s holding you back. I think you have to take a look at yourself as an artist and ask yourself if this is an artist you would really like to listen to or see!

Intrigued? Follow and hear more of Stephen’s lush music on his soundcloud, or treat yourself to a live performance at his next gig this Friday at White Rabbit.

 

 

Adam French

Adam French is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the North-West of England. His life as a solo-artist has been relatively short, yet he has already accomplished a lot. He has been featured as a top story on the National BBC ‘introducing’ page, as well as recently completing a tour of Southern Africa.

He’s received wonderful reviews for his music both live and recorded and has now produced a music video (featured) for his new single ‘Shiver’, starring Hollyoaks actress Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove and directed by Dean Straffron.

Adam spins himself as a new, innovative musician and has a genuine love for what he does. He is described by reporters as being incredibly hard-working and seems dedicated to his career. His style has all the workings of indie magic, and his emotive lyrics are thought provoking and well thought out. It’s evident that this is a musician who has worked hard at perfecting his craft and it seems the time has come for that hard work to start paying off.

Adam has also mastered the art of the ‘hook’ – his songs are catchy, almost addictive – and he achieves this with ease (and without the mass irritation caused by most ‘catchy’ tunes). After listening to his single a couple of times you can’t help but find yourself singing a few of his lyrics under your breath throughout the rest of the day. And what’s more, you don’t hate him for it!

If you want to find out more about Adam and his work or listen to more of his music there are several places you can go. Check out his Twitter @AdamFrenchUK or like him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/adamfrenchmusicuk

Alternatively, just visit his website www.adamfrench.co.uk and there are links to all of his social media, bios and much much more!

Luke Tristram Malkin

A talking squirrel isn’t what everyone looks for in a friend, but ‘Gary the Party Squirrel’ and his African adventure is what Luke Malkin is currently shooting in Tanzania. Luke; a film-maker originally from Stoke is currently living in Tanzania and working as a teacher. Some people just have all the fun!

The film he’s currently working on is a spin-off from a show that was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011 called “Squirrel Party”. It was an extremely successful show parodying Saturday morning children’s television, and Luke’s puppet, Gary, has since taken on a life of his own. Luke is the fictional children’s entertainer and Gary is, well, Gary, and they are struggling through the jungle in a futile search for the non-existent ‘Dark Green Squirrel’. Sounds a riot!

Luke did an MA in Digital Film Production at the University of York, and his final project, “Shed” (see production still far left) was a stunning and very moving piece of cinema. The 30 minute film was an adaptation of a play by his friend Tom Crowley, and followed the lives of a group of friends who had grown up visiting a shed in the woods in a small dead-end town. It was about growing up, getting out and letting go, and was a fantastic production. The whole film was shot inside a wooden shack they built within one of the York production studios and the logistics of the build were incredible.

Since that project, Luke has worked in Spain, making virtual learning films with the Virtual School as well as advertising films for a large independent Seville hotel. His portfolio is building and is set to be a big name in the film industry in a few years time.

If you want to check out more of Luke’s work, including his digital show reels, visit his website: lukemalkin.wordpress.com. There’s links to a lot of his films on youtube as well as an up-to-date blog of what he’s up to at the moment.

Mano’s Daughter

I am a fan of Tim Minchin, and as such, I follow him on Twitter. So, naturally when I read the tweet, “Tim Minchin: Gig Tip: Saw @ManosDaughter live the other night. Huge fan. Unique sound, brilliant lyrics, beautiful vocalist. Next gig Dec 6th @Cargo_LDN.”, I decided to check them out.

Upon doing so, I was amazed that this band hadn’t crossed my path before. They are an extremely talented trio, producing a wonderful collection of alternative electronic music, most of which cannot be described as anything less than hauntingly beautiful.

Hailing from London, the group consists of Sarah Carter (Vocals), Matthias Garrick (Synths, programming) and Dan See (Drums). They have been described as a mixture of Little Dragon, Florence and The Machine, with hints of Portishead. When seen live, (by audiences other than Tim Minchin) they have been described as “an explosive three piece, with their almost anthemic choruses and thought provoking lyrics”. They really do provide a really interesting listen, and go particularly well with essay-writing or coursework (something of a preoccupation of mine at the moment!).

Their influences range from The Invisible, Foals, Everything Everything to Bon Iver and Moloko. Mano’s Daughter make songs and song-writing the heart of their sound. The story and production values both play an equal part in this band’s finished product.

Check them out at http://www.manosdaughter.co.uk/ or just search for them on Youtube. Their own written stuff is incredible, but also I can thoroughly recommend their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Towers’ which is just stunning.

Odinn Orn Hilmarsson

Originally from Iceland and now living in London, Odinn is a graduate of the University of York whom I had the pleasure of meeting in my first year. Evidently a very talented multi-instrumental musician, just listening to him play is a wonderful experience, but it is his composition that sets him apart from the norm.

During his time as a student, Odinn began writing and producing scores for several of the theatre shows and films he became involved in during his spare time and his Masters degree in Digital Film Production. This has only spiralled, with his music now featuring in multiple shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The King’s Head Theatre (London), The Last Refuge Theatre (London) and many more.

Odinn’s acoustic and ethereal style is beautifully unique; his work has that invaluable quality of the greats like Zimmer and Williams – you know when you’re listening to Odinn Hilmarsson. And when you do listen to his music, you get that other-worldly prickling feeling reserved for finding something truly special. That and the chills usually caused by musical genius.

You can find his newest song Tomasina on his Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/gangleri – as well as teasers from his current projects and other experimental work.

Alternatively, you can find more of Odinn’s finished work at http://odinnhilmarsson.bandcamp.com/, or follow him on Twitter @odinnthehole. I can’t recommend highly enough giving this talented emerging artist a listen – you may just get the chance to boast, “I heard it before he was a household name”.

Joss Ryan

“I enjoyed listening to the music that made me want to run upstairs and lay some ideas down.” Joss Ryan explains to me how a wide variety of musical influences at a young age have helped him grow into a self-taught musician. But for the East London DJ and Producer, there was always more on the musical horizon, and his explorations through sound have given him a more refined set of influences. Jazz, Grime, and Soul have played integral roles in shaping Ryan, and it shows in his latest E.P. entitled ‘Blaze Blu’ (Relseased on DVA music).

It’s difficult to categorise the music into a genre, and for good reason. Ryan’s studies of Audio Engineering at the London School of Sound, combined with his five years of production experience have allowed him to conjure a natural ability to intertwine contrasting genres and triumph where others fail in making it sound balanced and effective. In ‘Modesty’ thick Jazz brass introduces a progressive instrumental that evolves into a melodic synth-fest, complete with shuffling piano a soaring string crescendo. Undertones of modern oriental vibe are also apparent, perhaps a throwback to Ryan’s passion for orchestral music in video games such as the Final Fantasy series.

Ryan makes no secret of his desire to develop a sound he “can call his own”, he is constantly reinventing himself to stay fresh. Noting the limitations of playing at clubs, Ryan treads through the dense wilderness of the world of music to discover instruments that he carries with him through all of his productions, gradually scultping a DNA pattern that formulates his sound. ‘Blaze Blu’s’ title track, with it’s anticipatory bellow and pulsating brass, boldly embodies Joss Ryan’s intention to not just push the boundaries, but to attempt to draw new boundaries of his own. “I think to play at a festival like outlook or dimensions is the dream right now, and to develop a ‘live show’ to perform.” Having played at Cable and clubs in the Dalston/Shoreditch area, fans of experimental electronica would be wise to listen out for this highly ambitious artist. 

Listen to his music on soundcloud here

Photography by Jamie Kendrick

INKA

Olivia Rafferty spent seven years playing the French Horn and singing classically. Though she stresses that this is not the kind of music she plays anymore, traditional music techniques are very much apparent in the melodious tones of this Edinburgh based singer songwriter. Originally from Aberdeen, she is now studying for a degree in English Literature at Edinburgh University, and since arriving here four years ago, INKA has been born out of the vibrant creative scene that the city has to offer.

Musically speaking, she cites the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Billy Joel as inspiration. Though she might not sound much like all or any of them, it’s their bottle she admires. ‘Melodic, real, and unashamedly catchy’ are the qualities she has taken and mastered from this slew of greats, but the fact that they are all men is noteworthy: this genre of acoustic pop has often been dominated by males, and INKA tells me that the contemporary Edinburgh music scene is no different. That’s not to mention the ‘Scottish folk’ tradition that pervades most of the sounds of these acoustic singers, but this is exactly what makes INKA such an exciting talent. As a female pop acoustic artist, she finds her niche quite neatly.

I for one find that there is much in her songs to empathise with. My favourite song, ‘Innocence’ speaks to me quite clearly about relationships I have been in. I know this to be true of all my friends also, be they male or female, Scot or not, and is this not the most obvious sign of a successful artist? There is absolutely something very universal about her lyrics, which she says often come to her at the most inconvenient of times. But often this is the way: genius strikes when you least expect it.

Rafferty graduates at the end of this academic year, and from there she hopes to go to Toronto. She is in the process of cultivating her first EP, but as she builds her fan base, gigging takes priority, but ‘putting one foot in front of the other’ moreso. Her gumption and drive will undoubtedly see her through – and I for one sincerely hope she continues to write, for her talent is enormous and very exciting.

inkamusicofficial@gmail.com

www.inkamusic.co.uk

Tom Scott

I’ve gone and got myself a new favourite acoustic musician again – I know, I know, it keeps happening, doesn’t it? I promise you, though, it’s always completely justifiable, and this time especially.

Tom Scott is a singer song-writer hailing from Yorkshire and based in Sheffield.  Currently unsigned, he is already building a name for himself on the Sheffield live and acoustic circuit, gigging at numerous venues across the city and making his music free to download via his Soundcloud (on the proviso that you share it round, of course). He has also recently made his way into the final sixteen acts for Kerrang Radio’s Unsigned Lounge competition, and given that there were over two hundred applications, this is no little achievement.

Though Tom describes himself as “an acoustic musician still finding his feet”, the delicate chords that match perfectly with poetic lyrics and a soft, lilting vocal, means he stands with the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Benjamin Francis Leftwich in his ability to leave the listener mellow, thoughtful and not a little goosepimply. With the positive recognition he is receiving, a growing fan-base and an undeniable talent, Tom is certainly and deservedly set for great things.

For more information about Tom’s music or where you can catch him live, check out his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @tomscottmusicuk.

Jacob Birge

Anyone familiar with the Edinburgh fashion scene will have come across the name Jacob Birge before. This young man is a creative force to be reckoned with; working in the fields of fashion, music, and design, Birge constantly pushes the boundaries of mixed media.

Having graduated from the Edinburgh College of Fashion in 2012, Birge’s graduate collection was shown in Vogue, Trendland, Slang Magazine, I Heart, and Not Just a Label. The collection ‘Symmetric Strategy’ showed clear references to architectural forms and geometricity, and their relationship with the female form in a Pughian fashion. There were also nods to the natural world – the final look, composed of tectonic membranes, was quite groundbreaking in it’s exceptional construction and conception.

Most important to Birge’s creative outlook has been his mixed education. Prior to the move to Edinburgh, the designer studied at TEKO Design College in Denmark. But interestingly, this was only a secondary degree following an MA in Chemistry for the University of Science and Technology Cracow in 2008. Such a comprehensive knowledge base imbues the designer’s work with intellectual facets that are so often lacking in most graduate collections.

Despite having interests that are far-reaching, encompassing science, maths, and music, fashion became Birge’s passion from an early age. In September 2012, he received funding to establish the fashion label Jacob Birge Vision. Plans for the brand include establishing it as a household name, as well as showing regular collections at London Fashion Week, the first of which will be shown this February for A/W 2013/14.

Musically speaking, Birge released his first album ‘Variations’ in November 2011. His sound is ethereal and arresting, a curious combination of natural harmony and discordance. He cites music as the overwhelming influence for all of his creative work, and includes Autechre, Venetian Snares, SND, and Aphex Twin as some of his favorite artists.

Jacob Birge is by far and away one of the most talented and hard working artists I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with. His focus on modernity and drive to discover will inevitably lead him to dizzying heights.

For the full body of work visit www.jacobbirge.eu.

Rioch Temporal

In the eternal quest to find the new sound, artists come and go, plagiarizing and pilfering from contemporary and historical modes in order to come up with something that is totally unique, with varying degrees of success. One musician that seems to have slipped quite stealthily onto this scene is GHR Leeming (under Rioch Temporal), whose progressive sound strikes a chord somewhere between metal and an acoustic singing sensation. We caught up to discuss all things artsy.

Tell us a little about your background.

I displayed an affinity for visual art and illustration from a very young age, but discovering musicians like Soundgarden, Tool and Cat Power in my teenage years became a catalyst for my desire to write and play music. After moving to Manchester at 18 I became involved with the underground music scene as a writer and promoter.

What creative spheres do you work in?

I’m a part-time music promoter, journalist and graphic designer, but I spend most of my time writing and playing music. I’m mainly a pianist, sampler and vocalist, though I’ll play any instrument I can get my hands on. I wrote both music and lyrics for my material, and am planning pen/pencil based artwork to go with it. When I have the time I create gig posters and band artwork using photography and digital techniques, but am increasingly integrating hand-drawn elements or entirely hand-drawn pieces.

Any hobbies you’d like to share?

I enjoy cooking, cycling, and swearing; and I can’t drive a car, but I can sure pull a damn good pint.

Inspiration?

The natural world: mankind’s history. Mythology, symbolism, and the occult. All colored by my own instincts, emotions, and experiences.

Have you had any training?

I have had classical training in the past, but for the last four years I have been very much self-taught. I constantly try to push the limits of what I’m doing vocally.

What are you working on at the moment?

My solo, piano-based project Rioch Temporal (compared to the likes of Austrian Soap&Skin). Planning a record, whilst working in a trio to prepare my songs for more band-based live performances. More collaborations are also in the works. The Rioch Temporal EP will be out at the end of this year, and I’m currently playing shows whilst getting my teeth into the writing.

Whilst many a young musician is crunching away at scores and tab, Leeming’s natural flair for composition is the piecemeal of great stuff to come. Leeming is currently based in Manchester, and available for gigs. Follow him on his journey up and away over on his blog, or alternatively, to get in contact email manager Rachel Emms at misanthropymusic@hotmail.com. For a free download of the track Helios (Wolves), head to soundcloud here.