Neethusha is following her own path with new romantic ballad ‘Why Did I Lose You’

Life isn’t black and white, nothing is set in stone and the journey we all take is determined by our own actions. Indian born vocalist Neethusha is a perfect example of how life can take unexpected turns. Already having her life planned out Neethusha confessed her Indian upbringing and the pressures from society nearly stopped her from beginning her musical journey. However with a self-driven determination she is now realising her new love ballad ‘Why Did I Lose You.’

Watch the music video for the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPHs6KtSgE8

The free spirited singer/songwriter began her journey in the music industry as the lead singer for the band SteroGrind on Kappa TV back in her Kerala hometown. Pushing past the social restraints she faced and instead began listening to the ‘voice in my head’ that encouraged her to pursue her passion. Breaking away from life as a computer science graduate and an engineer in the Bangalore offices of Deloitte, Neethusha turned her music outlet into something more than expression. Her determination lead to show performances such as Facebook India Party and Femina Style Diva in South India in 2015. Since 2016 Neethusha has been a solo artist who has played gigs all around the country including Elle Carnival.

The ballad ‘Why Did I Lose You’ begins as a slow guitar strumming piece with Neethusha’s vocals almost floating over the music before kicking into a thumping drum beat that almost resonates. Her soft but powerful voice echoes the sound of Sharon den Adel, lead singer of Within Temptation, whilst the lyrics and style of the song remind of Celine Dion. A connection that is hardly surprising as Neethusha draws influence from bands such as Savage Garden and Coldplay as well as artists Shania Twain and Dion. Neethusha has explained her aim is to create music consisting of many genres such as funk, rock and acoustic led pop. Keeping the open mindedness that has helped her to find success.

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/neethushavc

https://www.youtube.com/user/neethushavc

https://www.facebook.com/neethusha

https://twitter.com/neethushavc

https://www.instagram.com/vcneethusha

 

Review by Skye W. Winwood

Salute Music Makers competition update: now calling all women!

The deadline for Salute Music Makers songwriter competition is fast approaching with the cut off being midnight on August 13th. As a reminder this competition is open to anyone in the UK wanting to prove themselves as driven songwriters completely free of charge. Offering a cash prize to the winner of £50,000 to spend on whatever they deem worthy. As well as the other finalists all leaving with £10,000 for making it through the initial 100 that will be chosen through way of a public vote.

With entries flooding in from all ages and genres the competition has proven to be youth-led in terms of age demographic with the largest age range being between sixteen and thirty-four allowing for a vast variety of talent. However one demographic is not being represented how the competition thought and are left wondering why. Currently, the competition has proven to be male dominated with only 19% of current entrants being female. Female producer and songwriter Dee Adam who has been recruited as a member of Salute’s curator panel has said, ‘I am surprised and a little sad that so few girls have entered the competition, especially knowing how many talented female songwriters there are in the UK.’ Dee goes on to express how she feels ‘girls need to be heard in an industry that is heavily dominated by males,’ wanting to encourage female songwriters to step forward and take advantage of an opportunity such as this! There is still time for anyone in the UK to enter but a huge encouragement towards women wanting to make a break in the music world!

Links:

http://www.salutemusic.uk/salute-competition.html

https://www.facebook.com/salutemusicuk/

https://twitter.com/salutemusicUK

 

 By Skye W. Winwood

R.I.P Chester Bennington

Many posts and news articles have been written about Chester Bennington’s death but this won’t be one of them. I will acknowledge for any who had yet to know that the frontman for rock band Linkin Park passed away on July 20th 2017. The reason this post is being written a few weeks after his death is because I wanted it to be a remembrance post more than an announcement. So, if you’re here for the details of his death you will have to find another blog because the purpose of this post is to look back on the life of a musically talented man who was gone too soon.

Although I wouldn’t class myself as a hard-core Linkin Park fan their music is part of the soundtrack of my childhood that followed me into my adult life. To learn of Chester’s passing hit me with a personal pain as if I had lost a friend. Chester was also known for being the lead singer of both Dead by Sunrise and fronted Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015 but was, of course, most known for his music with Linkin Park. Chester’s career and recognition as a promising vocalist began with the band’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, in 2000, two of their most popular songs (‘One Step Closer’ and ‘In The End’) being from that album.

However Linkin Park was not his first band. Much like any young hopeful Chester first started testing his musical ability in 1993 when he released a three-track cassette named Sean Dowdell and Friends? after the band who recorded it. Later he moved onto form a new band, Grey Daze, and found larger success with the post-grunge band from Phoenix recording three albums (Demo, Wake/Me, …no sun today) from 1993 to 1997 until 1998 where Chester left to pursue something more. The road to Linkin Park nearly proved too much for Chester, almost pushing him to give up on music altogether. Until the vice president of A&R at Zomba Music in LA offered him an audition that would lead to the creation of classic and brilliant music we all associate Chester with today. Quitting his job and putting aside his own personal life Chester managed to record a song for the band (initially named Xero) in a single day. The band faced much rejection until the previous president of A&R at Zomba Music used his new vice president position and Warner Bros. to get the band sighed to their record label. With this helping hand the band were able to get off their feet and jump head first into a sea of success.

Linkin Park’s first album caused them to stand out in the alternative music world as something different that would refuse to fade into the background. Chester admitted in an interview in 2002 that some lyrics from particular songs on the album were personal to him allowing him to give such soulful performances during live shows. The album has proved to be one of the band’s most successful as Hybrid Theory has since been named the best modern classic of the last fifteen years in 2012. With Loudwire ranking it number 10 on its Best Hard Rock Albums list. The band exploded on the alternative music scene and continued to release numerous albums: Meteora (2003), Minutes to Midnight (2007), A Thousand Suns (2010), Living Things (2012), The Hunting Party (2014) and One More Light in May this year which the band were currently touring to support.

Chester’s insanely successful career as a music artist was not his only achievements in life however. On May 12th 1996, Chester welcomed his first child into the world with then-partner Elka Brand and adopting Brand’s other son in 2006. He had another son in 2002 with his first wife Samantha Marie Olit before divorcing in 2005 to lead to his second marriage in 2006 with Talinda Ann Bentley and had three more children. Chester was also a tattoo enthusiast which can been seen by pictures of his own body art and did work to promote with Club Tattoo, a tattoo parlour in Arizona.

Chester’s love of music began at an early age when he listened to bands like Depeche Mode and Stone Temple Pilots and would later achieve his dream of becoming a member of the latter. In his early life Chester struggled with drug addiction but was able to overcome this and focus his energy into his musical career allowing him to soar high in the music wold. Throughout his career Chester was plagued with poor health, falling ill many times during touring leaving for some shows to be cancelled and others postponed. Still, Chester prevailed in his career and continued to provide us with the music we have all come to know and love.

My personal relationship with Linkin Park and Chester’s music will remain in my memories, immortalised as part of the reason my love for music has only continued to grow throughout my life. Out of respect for his family and friends details of his death will not be discussed but I feel I am able to say, along with an uncountable number of fans, that Chester will be greatly missed. The music world becoming just a little quieter without him. We have lost many music legends in recent time and Chester has now been added to the stars who will continue to shine.

 

By Skye W. Winwood

‘Girls/Girls/Boys’; LGBT anthem or insult? The debate

The best way to begin this blog entry is with a confession: I have been a Sinner since about 2009. Panic! At the Disco being one of my favourite bands for the past eight years. However I’m not so consumed by my appreciation for them that I am not able to see the continuing issues with one of their most popular songs ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’. The issue being whether the controversial song is actually in support of the LGBTQ+ community or if it is exploiting the community for popularity.

Listen to the song here: https://soundcloud.com/panicatthedisco/panic-at-the-disco-girlsgirlsboys

‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ was the third single to be released from Panic’s fourth studio album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! and peaked at 31 in Billboard’s US Hot Rock Songs in 2013. Since it’s release the song has had fans spilt on the debate about whether or not it should be held as an LGBT anthem or if the song acts more as an insult. As both a Panic fan and someone who belongs to the LGBTQ+ community I personally find the song to be both positively and negatively controversial. As a disclaimer any views expressed in this blog entry are not meant to offend either artist or fans but simply an exploration of an interesting argument.

The song has been labelled controversial for many reasons but one of those reasons being most predominately the music video, at least the director’s cut.

Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkWF2WkWd7g

The censored version of the video was inspired by D’Angelo’s ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)’ using the same background and single shot of a nude male (Brendon Urie) zooming in and out but never dropping below the hips. Due to this the music video was not initially seen as an issue but a homage to an iconic video however the release of the director’s cut changed this. The end of the uncensored music video shows two women intimately touching both Urie and one another in such a way that it indicates a threesome. An assumption confirmed by Urie when he explained the song was about just that. When the song started to be famed as an LGBTQ+ anthem many people in the community drew attention to this version of the music video to illustrate the point that it was not the initial intention of the song. Some positives of the video have been showing two people of the same sex being physically intimate with one another  (sexualisation aside) instead of hiding it.

Accompanied with the music video are some of the lyrics such as ‘I am just a villain vying for attention from a girl, a girl who can’t decide.’ It can be argued that lyrics such as these are exploiting the community due to the fact that it implies bisexuality – as the song has been linked to – can be defined as ‘not making a decision’ whereas in reality bisexuality is the being attracted to both sexes. Due to this many people believe the song to be misinformed and should not be held as an anthem. The lyrics may not be such an issue if the artist himself identified as part of the community but has been quoted describing the song as ‘barsexual’ as opposed to bisexual. ‘Barsexual’ being when sexual experimentation takes place after a few drinks. However one of the most prominent lyrics within the song is ‘love is not a choice’, an idea completely embodying the values of the LGBTQ+ community and one of the reasons it can be argued the song is an anthem. In interviews the singer has been quoted saying, ‘the perfect summarisation of that song is in the lyric, “love is not a choice”, I really believe that.’ As well as explaining how he doesn’t understand the need for labels and people should just be allowed to love who they want to love.

Throughout his career Urie has been labelled straight, gay, bisexual and everything in between so it was only expected that a song like ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ would bring this speculation back to the surface. Although not explicitly a member himself Urie has always shown support for the LGBTQ+ community and not detracted fans from using his music as sexual expression. Believing ‘[sexual fluidity] should be celebrated. There’s no shame in it and if I can help shed some light on that fact then great.’ Brendon shows obvious support and lack of prejudice towards the community through his views and music. Due to this ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ has gained as much of a positive following as negative.

Lyrics and music video aside the song has brought fans together and inspired people to have a more accepting nature and realise prejudice needs to be a thing of the past. One of the most amazing visual signs of the positive effects the song has had are at Panic! At The Disco concerts. Fans came up with the idea to hold up multi-coloured hearts and shine lights through them as remembrance for the victims of the June 11th Pulse Orlando shootings. Something that continued as support for all in the community. Panic! At The Disco have also released official ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ shirts benefiting the victims of the shootings.

With these facts in mind it is understandable why people believe ‘Girls/Girls/Boys’ not to be fitting for the title ‘LGBT Anthem’ however the way it has rallied fans is undeniable. Despite the initial message of the song not explicitly being one for the LGBTQ+ community it has evolved into one due to fan interpretation. The song also being a reminder of how important fans are in the creation of music as well as the artists. Overall I believe the positive effects of the song outweigh the negative and even though I would not use the term ‘LGBT Anthem’ it is a song of both support and love continuing to be promoted.

 

Links:

http://www.fuse.tv/2013/10/panic-at-the-disco-brendon-urie-sexuality

http://globalnews.ca/news/955513/panic-at-the-disco-singer-brendon-urie-opens-up-about-his-sexuality/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/05/brendon-urie-sexuality-_n_5774292.html

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Prog-rock band Greta Van Fleet are bringing back classic rock

Over the years bands have been inspired by, recorded covers of and have managed near perfect imitations of classic rock bands. Greta Van Fleet are nothing like these bands. The hard rock sound of the band is nothing close to an imitation; any modern twists completely removed. Leaving it nearly impossible to believe they have only been a band since 2012.

Listen to the song ‘Highway Tune’ here: https://soundcloud.com/user-929091655/highway-tune-1

The band consist of brothers Josh Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and friend Danny Wager (replacement for original drummer Kyle Hauk). The name of the band derived from a woman from Frankenmuth who gave her blessing for the boys to use her name. Boys being the operative word! The old school sound of the band does not fit with the fresh faced look of the four but proves that you should never judge a book by it’s cover.

The first time I heard ‘Highway Tune’ playing from another room on Planet Rock I found myself head banging away thinking it to be a Led Zeppelin song and was utterly shocked when the presenter explained who they were. The powerful and goose bump raising vocals of Josh Kiszka were so similar to Robert Plant it was eerie. As well as the drummer baring a distinctive resemblance in sound to John Bonham. Even after listening to more of the band’s music it’s still hard to believe classic rock genre musicians this talented exist in 2017. The band also have elements of both Wolfmother and Rush.

Since 2012 the band have recorded and released numerous songs such as ‘Highway Tune’, ‘Cloud Train’, ‘Standing On’, ‘By The Riverside’ and ‘Lover, Leaver, Taker, Believer’, just to name a few. Each song further solidifying their legends-in-the-making status. By February 2014 the band had a live EP recorded in one take and was released on June 7th of the same year. The song ‘Standing On’ later featuring in Chevy Equinox advertisements in the Detroit area. January this year ‘Highway Tune’ featured on the television show Shameless and then proceeded to be released on iTunes in March. By April 8th the music video was played exclusively on the online magazine Loudwire and their debut EP titled Black Smoke Rising was released April 21th. Since then the band have been named Apple Music’s new artist of the week and are currently touring to promote their music with English rock band The Struts.

Watch this acoustic live performance of ‘Black Smoke Rising’ to witness the ridiculous vocal range of Josh Kiszka: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjgC7vkC8Co

Another incredible live performance of ‘Safari Song’, including an insane drum solo from Danny Wager: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXdM1rqSlSQ

Only being in their early twenties Greta Van Fleet have promising careers ahead of them in the alternative music world and will appeal to fans pining for the return of classic rock.

Links:

http://gretavanfleet.com/

https://www.facebook.com/gretavanfleet/

https://twitter.com/GretaVanFleet?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

Have a drink with Albino and their new track ‘Belinda’

In 2017 the 60s are thriving as the decade seems to be making a comeback with the help of bands just like Albino. The four man folk rock band are about to release their new album Night At The Chemist which contains the retro track ‘Belinda.’

Listen to ‘Belinda’ here: https://soundcloud.com/al-bino-6/belinda

Fueled by whiskey and embodying a vintage rock sound Albino promote the iconic ‘flower-power’ that made bands like The Animals and The Doors unforgettable. The band themselves stating: ‘we may not change the world with our music but we’ll definitely leave a scar.’ Made up of Ben Tucker on guitar and vocals, Merv ‘Fuzzy’ Salole on bass, Gareth Morris also on guitar and Don Gibson on percussion, Albino have said their main aim is to entertain with their rambunctious and humours music. Two words perfect for describing the single ‘Belinda.’

The sound of the track alone reminds of an upbeat Johnny Cash with the lyrics telling the tale of a man in love with a woman who is too good for her lay about husband. The narrator of the song just asking ‘when ya finally gonna notice me, Belinda?’ The toe tapping tune contains comical and off-the-wall lyrics that will have you dancing and laughing hysterically at the same time. The music video for the song is both belly aching hilarious and simultaneously creative by using stop animation Lego pieces to form the narrative based video.

Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzNMThSkNBk

Ben, as the main songwriter, uses inspiration from his own life to come up with the simple but extremely catchy words. The rest of the album exploring topics from love and deviancy to distrust of priests and historical events. Much like ‘Belinda’ the songs seem to play almost like short stories that will no doubt keep listeners entertained for hours.

Since putting their drunken genius to work in 2005 Albino shifted through time and have grown as a band to the point where now they are confident enough to say they have found their own sound. Even if the sound is lost 50 years in the past! Although Albino’s multi-talented line up has changed over the years their unwavering commitment and electric energy has remained the same.

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/Albinomusic/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYeh0Lung8nhaCa1Zb5W8cw

http://www.albinomusic.com/index.php

 

Review by Skye W.Winwood

After 50 years the Summer of Love is here! World premiere of A Teenage Opera

 

The ‘opera that never was’ is celebrating its golden anniversary as it turns 50 since its inception and what better way to celebrate than with its first ever live performance! Youth Music Theatre UK (YMT) have taken on the task of bringing this legendary 60s rock opera to life at South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell from August 11th to 13th.

YMT is a national charity that is supported by a wide range of trusts and foundations and has trained over 8,000 young and ambitious performers. The biggest commissioner of new music theatre in the UK has helped kick off the careers of musicians Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith as well as actors Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham) and Charlotte Ritchie (Fresh Meat, Siblings and Call The Midwife). The company has also been successful with their past shows such as their production of Loserville: The Musical. Charlotte Ritchie has been quoted saying, ‘YMT is an amazing opportunity for anyone wanting to get into musical theatre or film.’

Currently the national YMT company consists of 300 talented musicians and performers that were given the opportunity to take part in the highly anticipated A Teenage Opera but only 40 have succeeded in the age ranges of 11-21 years. Selected from 1,200 hopefuls from across the UK and Ireland on a national auditions tour.

Begun in January 1966 the finished production for A Teenage Opera has been sat on the self for far too long and gained a following of fans who have waited five decades with bated breath. A collective sigh (or more accurately gasp) can now be released as YMT contacted original creators Mark Wirtz and Keith West to make the trippy magical 60s musical a reality. Wirtz has been successful in pushing the music forth, if not the production, as the iconic song ‘Grocer Jack’ – that will feature in the musical – released July 28th 1967 was an instant hit. Holding the number 2 spot and featured on the very first broadcast of Radio 1 on September 30th 1967. Paul McCartney has given credit to the unfinished opera by saying the melodic structure and tempo changes inspired his song writing process for Abbey Road. As well as Cliff Richard commenting he would have liked a role in the performance. With a new story and additional lyrics by Pete Gallagher (Jesus Christ Superstar, Buddy, Dr Dolittle) and directed by West End’s Julie Atherton (Sister Act, Mama Mia, Fame) A Teenage Opera will embody the psychedelic and carefree aura we all miss from the 1960s.

Like any good celebratory party there is a dress code (optional) of Hippies vs Mods vs Rockers and a limited offer of 50% off tickets for people also celebrating their 50th year!

 

More information:

Creative Team: Music & lyrics: Mark Wirtz & Keith West | Book & additional lyrics: Pete Gallagher | Original Concept: Mark Wirtz | Director: Julie Atherton | Choreographer: Stuart Rogers | Musical Supervisor: Michael Bradley | Musical Director: Joe Louis Robinson

 

Performances:

11 – 13 August | Fri-Sat 7.30pm | Sat-Sun 2.30pm

 

Adults: £14.00 / Concession: £10.00

Box office: 01344 484 123

Website Booking Link: http://www.southhillpark.org.uk/events/a-teenage-opera/

 

By Skye W.Winwood

Artist of the Year 2017 Panic! At The Disco

Nearly thirteen years at the top and Panic! At The Disco frontman Brendon Urie shows no signs of slowing down. After releasing the band’s fifth album Death of a Bachelor, Urie has hit the ground running. Recently finishing up a worldwide tour and is now gracing the stage of Broadway in his role as Charlie Price in Kinky Boots (running until August 6th).

The AP Music Awards (Alternative Press) have recognised Urie’s achievements by naming the band Artist of the Year 2017. Out shining the other nominees such as fellow band Fall Out Boy – whose bassist discovered Panic back in 2004 – and Blink 182 – who the band would cover before writing their own music. Hosted by Black Veil Bride frontman, Andy Biersack, the event recognises the talents of artists belonging to the alternative side of music. Other bands such as Twenty One Pilots and The Pretty Reckless also going home with outstanding awards that were well deserved.

Now with five ground breaking albums in his musical arsenal as well as other multiple awards and recognition, Urie really earnt his place among the legends by writing, producing and recording the band’s most recent album Death of a Bachelor mostly solo. Released on January 15th 2016, on the label Fueled by Ramen, the entire album was written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist Brendon Urie and produced with the help of Jake Sinclair. It’s the band’s third album since the original line up (of Brendon Urie, Spencer Smith, Ryan Ross and Jon Walker) went their separate ways to leave the singer and drummer to write and release their third album Vices & Virtues. And the second album since the departure of drummer Spencer Smith, with bassist Dallon Weekes also having no contribution.

Death of a Bachelor hit number one on the US Billboard 200 after its debut earning the band its first number one album. It has since be nominated for a Grammy Award of Best Rock Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards but lost out to Tell Me I’m Pretty by Cage The Elephant. Apart from its musical achievement the album seems to show a personal growth for Urie as the songs don more maturity than those from Vegas party fuelled Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die. Expressing a nostalgia for the wild life he has lived with ‘Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time’ and ‘Golden Days’ as well as the excitement of leaving that past behind to pursue a new life with his wife, Sarah Urie, through ‘Death of a Bachelor.’

Singles from the album like ‘Victorious’ encompass the flamboyant genius of Queen whilst ‘Death of a Bachelor’ could have been written for Frank Sinatra. These comparisons are hardly surprising when Urie himself has been quoted crediting inspirations to the previously mentioned artists. The album also provided fans with some continuation from the previous one (Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die) through the music video for ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’. Seemingly a visual sequel to ‘This is Gospel’ the music video is an oddly twisted story that sees Urie transforming into a demon in jagged, stop animation-like editing. Continuing the reputation the band have for memorable music videos. Urie has since said that he hopes to bring his experience on the Broadway stage to the next album leaving fans to wonder how previous theatrics will be topped.

Death of a Bachelor continues the band’s notorious habit of trying to reinvent themselves every album and only one of the reasons the Artist of the Year Award could not have gone to anyone else.

Watch the winning moment here as well as Brendon’s ‘thank you’ video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=162&v=guTUHdVhq78

 

Links:

http://www.altpress.com/apmas2017_home

http://www.altpress.com/news/entry/panic_at_the_disco_artist_of_the_year_2017_apmas

http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/2017_apmas_winners_list

http://www.altpress.com/apmas2017_home

 

Review By Skye W. Winwood

Calling all aspiring songwriters!

Have a passion for music and song writing that desperately needs to be heard by the right people? Salute Music Makers, the unique songwriter’s competition platform, launched in April have now eradicated their £20 entry fee. Meaning it’s now free to enter! Due to the high levels of excitement and support surrounding the competition Salute have been able to complete their second year goal early with the help from GRM Daily, Unsigned Music Awards, UNILAD and more.

The competition is like no other. Different from the likes of the X-Factor and The Voice by only having one condition to this no strings attached opportunity: each entrant must write their own original song. The way the competition works is contestants will upload their music to a platform where it will then be judged by a team of respected curators and industry experts to find a top 100. Those top 100 will then be dwindled down to a final 6 through way of a public vote as they compete in live shows hosted on social media. The overall winner will receive a cash prize of £50,000 to spend how they deem fit to help them pursue their musical dream. Or whatever they like! As mentioned before the money comes with no strings attached. The other finalists will not go home empty handed, however, as they will receive their own cash prize of £10,000!

 

If you’re interested check out these links for more information:

http://www.salutemusic.uk/salute-competition.html

https://www.facebook.com/salutemusicuk/

https://twitter.com/salutemusicUK

 

By Skye W.Winwood

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