Friday, 27 February 2015

New Music : RUCHELLE SCOTT - Ain't Got The Time


Ain't Got The Time

Introducing new UK talent RUCHELLE SCOTT

The 23 year old's new single 'Ain't Got The Time' is her debut release and the first track to be taken from her forthcoming EP 

Fusing a modern hip-hop soul sound with elements of the past, particularly the golden age of R&B from the early 90's (think along the lines of MARY J BLIGE & FAITH EVANS), displaying the North Londoner's love for the genre but with a current twist.

RUCHELLE has already appeared on stage at the Royal Albert Hall with KEISHA WHITE but is hoping that 2015 will be the year that she strikes out on her own and on the strength of this debut, her success is only a matter of time. 

You can listen to the track here 

'Ain't Got The Time' is available here on itunes & 

Twitter: @_ruchellescott 


Caught Live : REBECCA FERGUSON - Lady Sings The Blues @ St. James Studio, 16th Feb 2015




Undoubtedly one of THE most unique voices to come from any UK TV talent show, REBECCA FERGUSON's sound has always had a timeless quality and a style that harks back more to a classic era of jazz and early soul.

It was therefore only a matter of time before these two elements would be combined and in doing so she has probably embarked on her most successful venture yet.

Having already been a lifelong fan of her music, REBECCA has taken on the task of recreating and recording some of the best known songs by the legendary BILLIE HOLIDAY

Taking most of it's content from HOLIDAY's 1956 album of the same name, 'Lady Sings The Blues' is not only a tribute to a jazz great but allows the former X Factor star to show exactly what she is capable of. 

Under the supervision of producer & musical director TROY MILLER, who has previously worked with other unique voices including AMY WINEHOUSE and more recently LAURA MVULA, the album captures the true sound of a golden age of music. To help achieve this, some of the recordings were made in Capitol studios in LA, where many of BILLIE's originals were created, and was also the place that saw the likes of FRANK SINATRA regularly record. 

Possibly helping to bring more emotion to the recording, REBECCA was pregnant with her third child during the making of the album. 

Last week was the first time that this new material was to be heard in public in the extremely intimate surroundings of the Studio at London's St. James' Theatre, a perfect venue for the performance given it's jazz club vibe.

With a band of quality musicians taking their places lead again by TROY MILLER, our star arrived on stage.

REBECCA's look brought an air of 50's glamour to the proceedings, resplendent in her gold designer dress complete with a pair of Louboutins she took her position centre stage to perform the lively opener 'Get Happy'. 

In her opening speech she spoke of how she had fallen in love with the way BILLIE HOLIDAY put her spirit into her songs, possibly emphasized by the two tracks that followed  'Fine And Mellow' and the classic 'That Ole Devil Called Love'. 

She dedicated the beautiful 'Embraceable You' to newborn daughter Arabella (who's photo sat on the piano by her side throughout the show) before continuing to explain that HOLIDAY's style of singing was always a mixture of 'sweet and sorrow' but although REBECCA never tried to emulate her sound, her own unique vocals provided us with a very similar quality.

Introducing 'Lover Man' she compared her own slightly unpredictable love life to that of HOLIDAY's too, indeed the two singers have strangely shared many experiences throughout their lives which makes the connection deeper and some of the songs all the more poignant. 

A string of classics familiar to many made up the set list from 'Stormy Weather' to 'Blue Moon, 'God Bless The Child' to 'They Can't Take That Away From Me' all delivered with high quality, not just from the vocalist but from the tight ensemble also on the stage. 

With a reprise of the opening song as the final encore the show was over but it was clear that not just the audience but the whole band themselves had enjoyed the experience. A truly unique and unforgettable performance from all involved.

'Lady Sings The Blues' is released on March 9th and you can pre-order and preview the album now on itunes

REBECCA FERGUSON returns to the ST. JAMES THEATRE for more shows in March but at time of writing these are already sold out, however I suspect that a tour for the album will not be far away.

Friday, 20 February 2015



Live in London
o2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
17th February 2015

Cover versions have been around as long as pop music has. It's a tradition that goes right back to the start with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and even Elvis beginning their careers by putting their own spin on other people's songs. To put your stamp on the material of others and (to coin a slightly over-used talent show phrase) 'make it your own' is always harder than it seems.

Enter SCOTT BRADLEE, a multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger from New York, known in musical circles for his work in the jazz world, who in 2009 stumbled on the idea of recreating some classic 80's hits in a 20's ragtime style. 

Expanding the project in 2013, Bradlee developed POSTMODERN JUKEBOX where he enlisted the help of a collective of like minded & equally talented musicians to re visualize a selection of more current pop songs in a variety of different styles. They worked on a catalogue of hits, bringing jazzy, bluesy or soulful flavour to tracks by MILEY CYRUS, NICKELBACK & LORDE to name just three. One of the major keys to the project's success was the array of new emerging quality vocalist brought in to sing on these tracks. 

As with most things in the internet age, the major breakthrough came when these performances were taken direct to the public via YouTube and it very quickly grew into a social media phenomenon with the videos being shared all over Twitter and Facebook. Many of the artists being covered also showed their appreciation of the new takes on their work.

Eventually as POSTMODERN JUKEBOX grew, with new covers posted on a regular basis, the demand to see the band live also grew and they decided to take the show on the road, firstly in the US, then to an International audience.

I attended their debut London show last year at Camden's Dingwalls. Their popularity had already exceeded the demand of the tiny venue with an extra show had being added meaning the band were to perform the whole show twice on the same night. Already loving the covers I'd seen online, I went along not knowing quite what to expect from the live experience. 

When I witness what was the first of these two shows I was blown away at the work and energy that had gone into it. Not just the songs, but the whole production, from the introduction from host and MC DRUE DAVIS to the corny voiceover "words from our sponsors", the tap dancing and the incredible vocals of the singers (which at that time included PMJ alumni ROBYN ADELE ANDERSON, ASHLEY STROUD & CRISTINA GATTI). It really was, as their name suggests, like a jukebox of your favourite current hits turned completely on it's head. After nearly 90 minutes, I felt exhausted and couldn't believe they were about to do it all again. It instantly established itself as my absolute favourite show of 2014.

2015 rolls around and POSTMODERN JUKEBOX are back again. With 2 more albums worth of material and a brand new European tour. This time, the production has shifted up a gear and as demand dictates sees them heading to bigger venues, with their London show this time round taking them to their biggest theatre to date with a sold out show at the o2 Empire in Shepherd's Bush.

The anticipation levels were also increased, was it going to be as good as before? Well the answer came pretty quickly as the show opened and we were treated a surprise performance from Californian chorus line girls, The LA FOLLIES, bringing some extra glamour to the proceedings before the music began.

Soon the band arrived on stage with SCOTT BRADLEE not unexpectedly earning the warmest welcome as he took his regular seat at the piano. Our new host, MYKAL KILGORE took to the mike to introduce the first vocalist of the night from the 2015 line up. 

Sassy LA singer ARIANA SAVALAS sashayed on to the stage and instantly caught everyone's attention. Not only were her jazzy vocals perfect for the songs, which kicked off with the 1920's 'flapper' version of IGGY AZALEA's 'Fancy', but she injected a great amount of humour, toying with the audience with her vampish quips. As her late father Telly might have said "Who love's ya baby?", we do!

Switching gear our next performer was the first of the boys to sing. Texas born CASEY ABRAMS look, style and sound is about as far away from his break as an American Idol contestant as you can think. 

Strumming the double bass, his version of 'I'm Not The Only One' brought a New Orleans swing that SAM SMITH could never have dreamed would ever be applied to his ballad.

The youngest member of the the troupe followed. At only 21 KIAH VICTORIA has already been making a bit of a name for herself in the R&B world, even attracting the attention of JAY-Z, and the New Yorker brought a smooth soul sound to the proceedings, making JOHN LEGEND's 'All Of Me' sound like it would if it was recorded somewhere in Detroit in the early 60's.

Last of the trio of PMJ ladies to join us was MORGAN JAMES. Yet again, another vocalist with a fine pedigree, both for her singing and acting talents. Her powerful tones set the bar high and showed why her own solo work, with her album 'Hunter' recently released, is getting a lot of attention, both back home and in the UK. 

Last and by no means least, it was our host's time to shine. MYKAL KILGORE has some great credentials for his work on Broadway and brought the house down with the 40's swinging version of the standard 'The Greatest Love Of All'.

So what about the boss? The band left the stage allowing SCOTT BRADLEE to have his moment with the audience. Asking for suggestions of artists from the crowd he proceeded to play an improvised mash-up featuring hits from QUEEN, BEYONCE, SIA, THE SPICE GIRLS & a little bit of PRINCE all rolled into a 3 minute medley, proving just what a talented and quick thinking musician he really is. 

The night wasn't without it's other unsung heroes, literally, in the shape of CHRISTOPHER ERK aka THE TAP FACTOR who's hot shoe shuffles accompanied many of the night's tracks. 

The other, undoubtedly the liveliest person in the entire theatre was The Tambourine GuyTIM KUBART. He doesn't sing, he doesn't really dance but what he does do is bring his electric presence to the show as he throws himself all over the stage sends excitement levels through the roof!

Other songs from TAYLOR SWIFT, MAROON 5, KATY PERRY and FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE all got their jazzed up treatment throughout the evening but for me the two major highlights were ARIANA SAVALAS' sexy Jessica Rabbit style take on the BLACKSTREET R&B anthem 'No Diggity' where she toyed with the boys in the front row getting a few hot under the collar. 

Then, the song that silenced the capacity crowd was a solid gold gem from MORGAN JAMES. She powered through her jaw dropping version of the massive HOZIER hit 'Take Me To Church', accompanied with Scott alone on the piano was flawless and the proverbial pin could be heard falling to the floor. A show-stopper.

All too soon the night was nearly over but not before there was time for just one encore featuring a version of MEGHAN TRAINOR's monster track 'All About That (Double) Bass'. Then they were gone but it was clear that everyone involved was elated by what had just occurred. A two hour non-stop marathon of full on entertainment that could not be bettered.
The entire band also kindly hung around to meet excited fans after the show despite having to make a quick getaway to head off to Amsterdam for a show the following night as their European tour continues.

See our full photo gallery and video playlist from the show here

The good news is that SCOTT BRADLEE & POSTMODERN JUKEBOX will return to London for yet another huge show on March 22nd, this time taking the whole crew along to indigo2 at The o2. If you're lucky you can still get a ticket but be quick and make sure you get to see this phenomenal show. 

Check here for availability

For more on POSTMODERN JUKEBOX visit

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Caught Live : LION BABE - Debut London Show 4th Feb 2015 - Review


Live In London 

4th February 2015

I first became aware of LION BABE just over two years ago in late 2012 when they dropped a mysterious viral video for their track 'Treat Me Like Fire'. The visual showed a sultry female vocalist who very much lived up to the band name who danced proudly around caves and forrests, displaying her mane of hair and sung, backed by an electronic, neo-soul sound, with a vocal style comparable to that of contemporaries in the genre like Erykah Badu or Jill Scott

Fast forward to 2015 and now I, and fortunately it seems a lot of others, know more about the duo thanks mainly to the release of their first self titled EP late last year.

LION BABE consists of producer/instrumentalist Lucas Goodman (aka @Astro_Raw) and Jillian Hervey (aka @Jillonce), the aforementioned singer and front woman of the group (who just happens to be the daughter of US singer/actress/model Vanessa Williams - a fact even I wasn't aware of unless fairly recently).

Their love for the UK is apparent as they have been recently working on new music in London with a variety of rising stars on the British scene including Joel Compass, Shift Key as well as a rumoured collaboration with uptown funker Mark Ronson.

So it was about time that they came to show us what they are truly all about and bring their live performance to the UK for the first time. 

An audience made up of a select few who were lucky enough to get tickets to this auspicious event as well a few names from the music world (including The Saturday's Vanessa White & Girls Aloud's Nicola Roberts) crammed into the relatively tiny Studio Spaces in Shoreditch in anticipation of what was to come. 

As lights dimmed, a neon sign displaying the band's logo lit up. It was time for Lion Babe. The band hit the stage with Lucas kicking off the instrumental opener. This was the opportunity for Jillian to make her entrance which she did by displaying another of her talents, dance. Although it was a fairly small stage she instantly captivated the audience with her contemporary moves before moving on to the first song of the night, 'Don't Break My Heart'.

Although only a short set, the band performed the EP in it's entirety as well as a brand new, previously unheard song 'Wonder Woman' plus a mash-up of their own track (which I think is titled) 'Can You Be The One' mixed with their take on the Wayne Wonder tune 'No Letting Go'

The highlights of the set for me were previous single, the Nina Simone sampling 'Jump Hi' and the song that started it all 'Treat Me Like Fire' which brought us full circle with it's imminent remixed re-release it was the perfect way to close the show as the band played on Jillian made her way out through the centre of the crowd. 

My only slight criticism was with the sound which at times was not as clear as it might have been but overall the show was the perfect introduction to the group and did exactly as intended, leaving you wanting more.

You can watch the whole playlist here

New to DVD : GONE TO FAR - Review


DVD RELEASED 9th February 2015

Coming to DVD this month is the new British comedy 'Gone Too Far'. 

Set in South East London the story centres around Yemi (Malachi Kirby), a street wise teen brought up in the UK, who meets his Nigeria raised brother, Iku (O.C. Ukeje), when he arrives in England for the very first time.  

Their initial meeting does not go well with Yemi particularly embarressed by much of what his estraged sibling does and says, not to mention his questionable fashion sense but under strict instructions from their mum he is forced to stay by his side.

Things get even more complicated when the Peckham boy sets out to try and win the heart of (or at least a date a with) his crush, sassy local girl Armani (played by Adulthood's Shanika Warren-Markland who clearly enjoyed getting her teeth into this juicy role).

Events are set over the course of a day that starts off relatively light hearted, with much of the comedy coming from the quarrelling and almost slapstick antics between the two brothers, but things eventually take a turn when it becomes clear that the object of Yemi's affections is playing him off against her ex in an attempt to make him jealous which threatens to make things become slightly darker. 

Armani's sidekick Paris (Adelayo Adedayo) is initially caught up in the whole scenario too before gradually realising that what is going on is not going to be for the best for anyone concerned. 

There is heightend tension between the Jamaican and Nigerian elements within the community and these quite serious issues are prominently dealt with, but never moralistically, throughout the story.

The film itself is an adaptation of the Olivier Award-winning stage play by British-Nigerian writer Bola Agbaje. Agbaje adapted the screenplay from her own play and is one of only three black women ever to direct a feature film in the UK.

While it's clear that the movie was made on a fairly strict budget, it's the performances from what is a largely relatively unknown cast that are all so convincing and their contribution is what help make the film a success. Serious issue are dealt with well and in a way that should make the target audience take note. Look out too for a few familiar faces that make appearances along the way including comedian and presenter Eddie Kadi.

The dvd is released on 9th February 2015, Cert:12 with extras including bonus scenes & behind the scenes features.

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