The Music Mag: Unsigned UK Music News, Reviews & Promotion
The Music Mag is proud to showcase a very special talent; a lovely lady by the name of Dana McKeon has begun to take the UK (and European) beatboxing scene by storm. However, one of the things that sets Dana apart from many other beatboxers is her beautiful singing voice and guitar skills.
Her highly anticipated debut EP ‘Street Art’ is due for release this month.
Labelled as Malta’s international beatbox pinoeer, Dana McKeon was ranked 5th at the 2012 Beatbox World Championships and more recently became female Vice-Champion at the 2012 and 2013 UK Beatbox Championships.
Her music can be described as is a unique genre-fusion, showcasing her stunning beatboxing techniques, a melodic voice, mixed with multi-instrumentalisation. Dana’s musical ventures have taken around the world, with performances ranging from intimate, high-profile acoustic gigs to large-scale concerts and festivals. Some of her performances include performing at the 2012 Paralympics and at the Duke of Edinburgh Award Forum – in front of Prince Edward and the president of Malta.
Following launch events in London and Malta, Dana has just released her EP ‘Street Art’, along a the single by the same name:
The song features a blend of Dana’s trademark beatboxing, singing, complemented by an original music video highlighting alternative forms of art such as Reverse Graffiti and UV Graffiti/Body Art.
The music video for ‘Street Art’ is based around reverse graffiti, which is an innovation art form spreading across the globe. It involves the removal of dust/grime from a dirty surface to create an image, in the video the image created is a beautiful garden by cleaning a wall in a main road. The English artist, Paul Curtis aka Moose, used a power washer and hand-made stencils to carry out Malta’s first large-scale Reverse Graffiti project. Not only was this a visually pleasing project, the work sent out a strong message about pollution and legal alternatives to vandalism.
The Maltese beatboxing sensation is now gearing up for a summer full of gigs and festivals, plus a couple more big collaborations/releases in the coming months. Find out more on her Facebook & Twitter pages.
Electro Noire Pop Duo no:carrier released their new album ‘Wisdom & Failure’ last month. The album tells stories of hurtful memories, fears for the future and strong personalities.
The new album showcases their unique brand of electro noire pop. ‘Wisdom & Failure’ uses a mixture of dark wave and electro pop to fuse a versatile and interesting sound.
The album which features 12 tracks followers the protagonists who keep looking back, haunted by ghosts of the past. Hurtful memories of past events (“Last Scene,” “Alone Now”) stand next to strong characters that carve their own path (“Let Me Walk Alone,” “Losing Sight Of The Coast”) mixed amongst tragic stories about failure (“The Nine Days’ Queen,” “Sunset Castle”). However, above all else remains strength and wisom, both of which can arise from failure (“Wisdom And Failure”).
The album cover is a beautifully hand drawn illustration, designed by Cassidy Bliss Cooper. The cover helps to portray the relationship between wisdom and failure.
When asked about the meaning of the album, songwriter Chris Wirsig said “it’s about being strong, fighting against adversities. You look back, you learn from the past, and maybe you also despair of it. But you stick to your intentions, do what you want, and you go for it, regardless of what others say, regardless of which opinions you hear, regardless of if you’ll succeed or fail.”
Walter Lee Younger (Extraordinaire) was born in Nashville, TN, earning his stripes out of Chattanooga, TNA – which is where he’s currently based. Having spent most of his summers in Atlanta music became his heartbeat and he participated in plays, talent shows and even appearing on television on Lou Rawls’ UNCF hosted telathon.
Extraordinaire is a producer, songwriter, hustler, one half of the group Black Folk Inc and founding member of Circa 94 Beats. He has an ‘anything goes’ approach to his music, which is often shown in his raw sound stating if “it sounds good, feels good, it’s music”.
His success as part of Black Folk Inc launched his career in production to the next level. He began producing music for artists signed to labels including Atlantic, Sony and SRC, as well as having an opportunity to work with Lil Wayne, but a tragedy ripped the opportunity away from him.
Younger turned his attention to the hip hop collective Circa 94 Beats with an aim to rebuild and come back stronger – releasing several projects, including records released on the Serious Knock Entertainment label.
“I Love doing music for the sake of art’s sake and creating new sounds…that is my Walter Lee artistic side… but the Extraordinaire side of me will always be competitive and go HARD when it comes to making music!”
Let’s face it – the popular music industry today has turned in to softcore porn. Like it or not you can’t turn on the TV without seeing an advert for the latest track which includes the latest scantily clad singer clasping on to a phallic object whilst miming sex acts.
Where did this obsession with musicians looking like pornstars come from? It’s safe to say that in the 1990′s there was a move away from the more cutesy/authentic singers such as Celine Dion and Whitney Houston.
Cue October 1998, ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ rocketed in to the charts fronted by the sexy schoolgirl Britney Spears. It was definitely not the first example that ‘sex sells’, but it was one of the more recent examples of people realising that a gorgeous teenage girl could send the whole world in to a frenzy.”
In the 2000′s we saw artists such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera push forward as a female fronted sex symbol in music, but it’s not until recent years that we saw Rihanna and Miley Cyrus take music videos to a new level.
Things have stepped up yet again: full on nudity in videos, performing sexual acts on objects, selfies of bare arses – it’s hard to see what will come next, short of musicians actually turning in to porn stars for sales. The rise of social media has also brought the topic to the forefront a lot more…
But hey, who are we to judge. It’s the way the music industry has gone and rather than moan and complain about all of the hot women taking their clothes off we are going to share a few examples of how music has turned in to porn:
Do you think all of this is ok and just the way the music industry has moved? Or do you think singers should be based on their voice and not their looks? If you have any thoughts please comment below…
Marla Mase has released her new EP ‘Half-Life’. At once confrontational and completely vulnerable, the EP’s name was taken from a quote by Junot Diaz; ‘the half-life of love is forever’.
When questioned about ‘Half-Life’ Marla said “I wanted to go back to the personal. They say you can find the universal in the personal.”
Marla Mase is a New York based singer, songwriter and producer, known for her provocative, raw performance style and intelligent lyrics. Her music ranges from rock n’ roll to experimental spoken word, funk and punk rock. She is backed by the Tomás Doncker Band. When touring in China, Marla was invited by Friends of the UN to perform for UN GLOBAL PEACE DAY in Linzhou City, where she was given an honorary “Messenger of Peace” award for her visionary work as a songwriter and performing artist. The Huffington Post featured her in 2013, saying “her feisty message of peace and perhaps wake up the beast in all of us.”
Marla released “SPEAK Deluxe” on Feb 28, 2013, a 16 track CD containing human rights and feminist perspectives. AnnaRexia is spearheading the StayImperfect Project or Love Your Butt Campaign, which Marla created to empower women to love themselves and their bodies. Proceeds from AnnaRexia go towards theprojectheal.org, a non-profit founded by two teenage eating disorder survivors, that raises funds for girls whose families cannot afford to send them to treatment.
Frank Turner will be performing on BT Sport tonight at 10pm. He will be playing one of his latest tracks ‘Recovery’ and the famous summer anthem of last year ‘The Way I Tend To Be’.
Here’s a picture of Frank Turner posing during rehearsals this afternoon:
Accompanied by Matt Nasir (Mandolin/guitar/backing vocals), Frank will be performing on BT Sport’s Life’s a Pitch, a journalistic sports show hosted by Des Kelly.
Watch his live performances of both songs here.
For more information about Frank Turner, head on over to his Twitter page.
Lael Summer is an artist we featured back in October – she has a gorgeous voice, a good look and her songs are to die for. She’s recently releases ‘Burder to Bear’, her debut album which features songs such as ‘In Time’ and ‘Kiss and Tell’.
When asked about the new album Lael said “During the writing process I had the freedom to explore all these facets of my identity I never really acknowledged or could make sense of. I picked through my thoughts, my dreams, my nightmares, conversations, observations and memories and used the fragments of my life to piece together something I could share with others.”
The album features 12 tracks and Lael’s cover of the Hall and Oate’s song, ‘Do What You Want, Be What You Are’ has previously been picked as a track to watch out for by the Kings of A&R.
Listen to ‘Do What You Want, Be What You Are’:
Born and raised in NYC, Lael Summer experienced growing up in the city that never sleeps. A young girl in a big city can often lead to a feeling of loneliness and the track titles ‘I need a man’ and ‘Look around’ show that whilst growing up in the big apple she often felt lost and alone in a city occupied by millions of people.
Her music reflects the search for love, with her passion shining through like a powerful ray of sunlight. Lael’s ‘Burden to Bear’ is a very good album, which fans of passionate and well written music will adore.
Keep up to date and follow Lael on Facebook.
Every time you go to see a band play live it is the result of a great deal of hard work from a team of people behind the scenes.
Of course, no one would be paying to go and see the show if it wasn’t for the artists themselves, but by the same token there are a lot more people involved in the event than simply those who perform onstage.
Let’s take a look at how to light a gig effectively:
Crew members behind the scenes at a gig
Stage crew members take on many different roles. Some travel with the artists and others are ‘in-house’ and cater for every act that plays at the venue at which they work.
Alongside roles such as back-line technicians, onstage monitor engineers and front-of-house sound engineers, lighting technicians play a significant part in the production of the overall experience of a live show.
Being a lighting designer can be one of the most rewarding and creative positions a crew member can have.
Ins and outs of being a lighting designer
Essentially the job of the person who looks after the lighting will vary greatly depending on the size of the venue. An in-house lighting tech role will usually include running and maintaining the venue’s rig and accommodating any extra lighting equipment visiting acts may bring with them.
For a touring lighting technician/designer things can get a lot more creative depending on the budgets available and the status of the artist.
Duties of a lighting designer
Modern lighting rigs feature state-of-the-art technology which is far removed from the old bulb-powered spot and floodlight combinations.
A lighting technician’s duties include dealing with anything from large LED display backdrops through to innovative arrangements of different types of illuminations around the stage; his or her duties are never to one way of doing something.
Controlling electric and artificial lighting and creating lighting effects means having an eye for detail and a creative streak as much as it relies on knowing how to wire systems up and rig and de-rig before and after shows.
Whilst the sound engineer has the important job of making sure that the artist’s music comes across as intended, a lighting technician is really responsible for the overall atmosphere of a performance.
An in-house lighting tech who takes pride in his or her work can make or break a gig for a visiting band, and at the top of the industry touring lighting designers with world class acts have the ability to create memorable shows which set the bar for others to aspire to.
If you’re a lighting designer or involved with lighting a gig please leave any helpful tips you may have below in the comments!
Deanna Ross and Kevin Smith make up a beautiful folk duo by the name of The Jinxes. The real life couple are set to release their second E.P ‘We Create’ just two weeks before their wedding.
The Monterey Bay act are fans of trying to encourage others to allow their creativity flow as well. Ross, herself a longtime dance teacher and choreographer says “I meet plenty of people who think they’re not creative, but it’s never true! Their creativity just hasn’t been realized or cultivated yet.”
Kevin Smith adds, “Mastery in the arts might take 10,000 hours, but getting started just takes courage.”
Listen to ‘We Create’:
The E.P contains 5 unreleased tracks: ‘My Butterfly’, ‘The Situation’, ‘Can You Hear It Ring?’, ‘We Create’ and ‘Which Way Do We Go Now?’ and will definitely satisfy fans and new listeners alike.
The E.P is beautiful from the get go, it includes inspiring and moving lyrics about creativity, love and aspiration: ‘We Create’ is a soothing and refreshing take on the folk scene today.
Knave Coin is giving away 1 million free coins, but from all of the music lovers out there they want to know which mix do you prefer? In the video below there’s two mixes and here’s a chance for you to help decide on which song they go with.
For more information on Knave Coin go to their facebook page.
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