IN RETROSPECT: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – 20th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that an album can turn 20, when it sounds as fresh as the day it was born.

On this day, 25th August 1998, Ms. Lauryn Hill released her debut and thus far only solo studio album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia Records).

Following her years with hip-hop group Fugees (also featuring Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel), Hill, born and raised in New Jersey, used every ounce of her creative intelligence to curate something that would not only go on to win Grammys, or receive acclaim from critics and peers alike, but would serve as an educative tool for (but not limited to) her people – hip-hop in its truest sense, and at its most important.

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IN RETROSPECT: Gwen Stefani – Love. Angel. Music. Baby.

The 2000s was an important time in popular music. There was so much quality and so much of it to choose from. Pop music could be anything, anything at all. And by anyone at all. Competition within the industry definitely existed, but overall, there was a lot more variety across the board, an abundance of artistic individuality, all combined with original, well-crafted compositions.

At that time, there was also ‘just a girl’ who exemplified the aforementioned characteristics. She also happened to be the lead singer of an already established ska/punk/rock band. If you know anything about me, you’ll know I was a huge fan while I was growing up. Yes, we’re talking about Gwen Stefani.

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Chris Brown drops new music video for “Hope You Do”

When an artist releases an album with over 40 tracks, you might think that they would be satisfied with their work. They can put their feet up and stop there. Not Chris Brown.

Yesterday the veteran and 29-years-young singer from Virginia released his seventh (yes, seventh!) music video from his latest album Heartbreak on a Full Moon (2017). In the song “Hope You Do”, which was produced by ISM and A1 (and contains explicit lyrics), Brown talks of wanting to change his playful and wayward habits for a girl that he really likes, longing for her attention and engagement, while displaying a melodic and emotive vocal performance over the sultry, silky R&B/trap instrumental.

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NEW MUSIC: Ellis Aaron – “Me & You (Remix)”

Ellis Aaron is a singer, songwriter and musician from Bristol who is slowly making a name for himself on both the Bristol and worldwide music scenes. Having had his music played on local and international radio stations and received a lot of positive feedback from his fans and peers alike for his soulful and high-calibre productions, Aaron has released a new follow-up remix to his most recent single.

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Leaks, Covers & Mixtapes: A Brief Guide to JoJo’s Unofficial Releases

Fresh from touring in Japan and Okinawa with Armed Forces Entertainment, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque recently announced that she is ready to get back on the road for a new tour with a distinct twist. Hold on to your wigs…

Those well-accustomed to the R&B/pop singer’s journey will know that after crashing onto the scene at the age of 13 in 2004 with arguably her most popular song “Leave (Get Out)” and subsequently releasing two successful albums JoJo (2004) and The High Road (2006) on Blackground Records, Levesque hit what we shall now call a blip in the form of label troubles, which for seven years prevented her from releasing a third studio album. During that time, having tired relentlessly to put together several versions of a full LP with hopes of starting the next phase in her music career, she stayed proactive and released mixtapes to tide her loyal fans over, performed various covers… and unfortunately had a lot of the material that she was working on leaked.

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FEATURED EP: Oscar Jerome

London-based musician and singer-songwriter Oscar Jerome released his eponymous debut EP last week. After spending years grafting in the music scene and refining his talent, the young artist unveils a work consisting of four weighty tracks that are certainly a testament to that.

It’s hard to define Jerome’s sound as it’s a peculiar mixture. The influences of jazz, hip-hop and soul are clear, but it’s more aptly described as alternative. With contemplative and obscure lyrics, and arrangements that have carefully been thought out, he creates something original and mysterious that captures your attention from start to finish.

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FEATURED SONG: JoJo – “Mad Love.”

All is right in the world. Order has been restored. Finally, thankfully, gladly after 10 long years, it can be said with near absolute certainty that Joanna “JoJo” Levesque is releasing her third studio album.

There’s a lot that’s happened in the gap between The High Road (2006), which was JoJo’s last official LP, and the forthcoming Mad Love (out 14th October). In short, while dealing with legal troubles – without a doubt the main reason for her lengthy mainstream absence – she never let that stop her from creating and releasing music to her fans. She put out the mixtapes Can’t Take That Away from Me (2010) and Agápē (2012), followed by the EPs LoveJo (2014), III (2015) and LoveJo2 (2015).

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LIVE REVIEW: Julia Turner “Fifteen Times the Moon” Album Launch

Last Friday I attended an important gig for a good musician friend of mine. Jazz, blues singer-songwriter Julia Turner, whose new album Fifteen Times the Moon is set for release this year, hosted a pre-release album launch at the Bristol Folk House.

The show took place downstairs past the cafe in the medium-sized hall, which had a surprisingly really intimate feel. People sat in groups around tables or on a line of chairs off to the side of the stage. Lighting was dim (obviously, that would be pretty harsh to make people eat and drink in the dark now, wouldn’t it), which added to the cosiness – I felt as though I were in a living room. A big one, of course.

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