LUNA SILVA

School musicals. If you are one of my kind, they will evoke painful memories of endless rehearsals for two-line parts and overpriced tickets that the entire family insisted on getting to watch your timid and sole appearance on stage. For Luna Silva, on the other hand, the school play was a time of excitement, of frenetic activity, and probably of massive stress. Yes, Luna was ALWAYS in charge of the music for what was possibly the greatest event of the year at my school – and as we all saw her handle the extremely important responsibilities that this implied, we all knew that she was made for music. A few years later, our predictions seem to be confirmed: she has not let go of her ukulele, and, with a bindi on her forehead and a smile on her face, she composes and performs pieces of world music that accompany her through her various travels.

Despite her young age, Luna has clearly already found and worked on her musical style, which harmoniously mingles pop-folk notes with melodies that are specific to a particular culture. In “Rain”, for example, she sings in three different languages – French, English and Spanish –, simply sitting on the beach in Málaga with her inevitable ukulele and a red flower in her hair. Add to her very feminine and soothing voice, and I assure you: you will feel Spain (I swear). No need for autotune or synth (those probably make her blood boil): it is in a simple, authentic way that Luna’s work takes us on a journey.

Today, Luna is a student at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, where she participates in a variety of shows and events, all of which can be found on her Facebook page. She is currently recording an album and making new videos that should be released soon. In the meantime, if you’re feeling blue, you can check out her Youtube channel – instant inner peace guaranteed.

Archie Smith

Beethoven started playing the piano aged four, Mozart at three. Even Chris Martin, frontman of legendary pop/rock band Coldplay, dipped his toe in the acoustic pool pre-puberty. So when Archie Smith tells me he was hitting the piano before he could speak, I know we are onto a winner.

Aged 20, from a rurality outside of Bath, Archie had somewhat of a classical beginning to his musical education. At school, he sung in choirs and in musical theatre most of the way through. Pop and rock soon followed, and he started his first band, ‘The Aviators’, aged 12. A slew of other groups, in different incarnations, came and went throughout school, until a year ago when Archie decided to go solo.

As is the case with most of the artists showcased as part of the ‘Born in Britain’ programme, Archie does all of his creative work alongside his studies. In just the past months, he has performed with the likes of Gabrielle Aplin (also on the Born in Britain site here), Lewis Watson, Luke Concannon, Josh Record, and many other talented, young musicians. He was also a part of the late BBC Introducing programme in Wiltshire, and has subsequently moved to BBC Introducing South. It’s amazing then, to weight these accomplishments along with all of the other commitments he has, but it’s done through hard graft and a natural flair.

His first CD, entitled ‘Out of the Ashes’, was recorded and released in 2012. After the physical editions sold out, Archie turned to his next project, which was to be the ‘I Will Love You’ EP. A magical and touching ballad (which I feel the music industry is hard pressed to come by nowadays) explores themes of love and loss. Taken as a piece on it’s own, it’s extremely easy listening, and receptive to the ideas of the writer. Accompanied by a short film, that Archie tells me really came about by a chance encounter whilst busking, the result is a deeply moving piece of musical cinema. Elrose Media have successfully conveyed the core meaning of the song through a plot that ebbs to an overwhelming conclusion.

What is clear is the artistry is at the core of Archie’s sound. Never one to rush his work, the writing process is always organic, and his inspiration comes from the heart of artistic endeavour. In true New-Romantic fashion, galleries and theatres hold much to be enjoyed, especially dance, for as Archie says ‘there isn’t much that is more captivating than watching people move to music’. Musically speaking, Coldplay is a tangible influence: mellow chords and robust lyrics melt together to create something of an echo. The protegee isn’t hollow though, bolstered by other contemporary classical notes to the tune of Eric Whitacre, The Beatles, Cat Stevens, and Andy Williams. The list is endless: but the sights are high.

In relying on classical tones, his contemporary sound is given a starting point from which age old concerns meld with those that are perhaps more modern. From his first CD ‘The First Days of Love’ is a standout track. Subtle and creative, it’s a gentle tune with a heartfelt message that most of us can associate with. Stripping back the angst of young adulthood, Archie gives us a refreshing taste of honest upset and, in turn, elation. A young Chris Martin? Perhaps – but Archie Smith will no doubt soon be a household name of it’s own.

www.archiesmithuk.com

Laurel (Laurel Arnell-Cullen)

Laurel, or Laurel Arnell-Cullen if we’re going to go with full names, is a beautiful young singer/songwriter.

Laurel is 19-years-old and she has been writing music since she was 12 (yes I did just say 12). Inspired by Laura Marling she learnt the guitar and began gigging in Southampton and Portsmouth winning the Portsmouth News’ ‘Best Solo Act’ in 2011.

After which, Laurel began working with ex Radio 1 house DJ, Dave Spoon, and later on, Nick Halkes, who co-founded the label XL. Since then, she has developed her sound and subsequently she has been attracting a lot of attention with some people dubbing her as the next Lana Del Rey.

To date, Laurel has played along side Lianne La Havas, Ed Sheeran, White Lies and Katy B.

I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the future and if her latest demo, Blue Blood, is anything to go by, her debut album will be something pretty special.

If you want to find out more about Laurel, check out her Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Tumblr

 

Hannah Grace

I was first introduced to Hannah’s music just a few weeks ago, as I walked into a gig only to be met with the sound of a quite excellent voice. My friend turned to me and said, ‘she’s really good!’ – and she was right. Hannah was impressive, and stood out. I took it upon myself to have a look at her youtube as soon as I returned home, and was faced with some fantastic music.

At just 19 years old, Hannah Grace has recently taken part in her first ever UK tour supporting Gabrielle Aplin (who you might remember from this article last year!).After traveling through the country and performing excellently every night, she has come back with even more drive, ‘I loved singing every night…I know now that it’s DEFINITELY what I want to do for a living’.

Hannah’s voice has great control and is a delight to listen to.  As well as writing her own songs, she’s also studying Jazz, which probably contributes to her style and love of covering artists such as Etta James…and it is Etta James that has lead to her most successful Youtube video. With almost 20,000 views, her cover of ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’, is both soulful and enjoyably classy. She sings with a maturity far beyond her years and the depth of her voice is reminiscent of Eva Cassidy.

Hannah can remember loving music for as long as she can remember, knowing that the Postman Pat theme tune was the first song she ever sang at age two. Now, of course, she’s singing to a rather different tune. Her YouTube Channel has over a thousand subscribers and I suspect that number will be increasing rapidly over the coming months.

Over the course of this year Hannah is getting ready for the release of her first EP (a process that she describes as ‘writing writing writing and preparing.’). With the excitement of this on the horizon she’s already beginning to look into a future when she will be able to write and sing songs, whilst still feeling happy in herself.

So why not check out some exciting new music? Meanwhile we’ll be sat impatiently waiting the release of her EP!

 

Connect with Hannah Grace on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.

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

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.