Break Up With Your Girlfriend I’m A Whore?: Everything wrong with Ariana Grande’s latest release

images
Ariana Grande comes back into the limelight with new album

After taking a short break from releasing records, pop music sensation Ariana Grande has come out with a new album titled “Thank You, Next.” I was scanning the tracklist earlier today and came across a track with a title that rang alarm bells immediately, it is titled  “Break Up With Your Girlfriend I’m Bored.”

The title pretty much explains the gist of the track without anyone having to listen to it. There’s a man that Grande is clearly interested in, unfortunately he is spoken for. Of course you can see where this is going. Sweet little Ariana doesn’t care about the man’s relationship status and basically spends the entire song encouraging him to break up with his partner and be with her instead. She even goes onto sing about how she knows it’s the wrong thing to do, but she doesn’t care because she’s bored.

Ariana-Grande--Performing-with-Justin-Bieber--25-662x801.jpg
Ariana performing with fellow popsar Justin Beiber

I listened to the track as well as scanning the lyrics and let me tell you, don’t be shocked if the act of cheating in relationships becomes even more common and “normal” than it already is. Grande is (supposedly) a role model for many young teenage girls with many youngsters wanting to be a world famous popstar like her. It is due to this fact that many of her fans will soak up the lyrics of her songs as if it were a verse in a holy book. So, if she’s talking about wanting to break up a relationship to get the man she wants, the chances of her fans thinking that this is the right way to go about things is pretty high.

I’m not saying that just because Grande is in the public eye that she needs to write PG material, but writing songs about wanting a man to leave his girlfriend for you because you’re bored isn’t exactly the most positive message to be preaching. This society needs celebrities that use their fame in a responsible way, by encouraging people to be accepting of different cultures, sexualities and genders and writing songs about working hard to achieve your dreams.

Grande is preaching one thing and one thing only; if you want something, spread your legs and wreck some homes to get it.

Break Up With Your Girlfriend I’m A Whore – That seems a much more fitting title to me.

I don’t know what has happened to sweet little Disney Ariana, but she has developed all the class and morals of a backstreet sex worker and it’s certaintly not a pretty sight.

 

Advertisements

My Top Five Love Songs

imagesWell there we go, another Valentine’s Day draws to a close. Cards, flowers, chocolates and vairous assortments of gifts have been exchanged between loving couples all day long. Rest assured to those singletons out there, you can come out of hiding, It’s all over for another year and normal serivce has now resumed. With love being so high on the agaenda yesterday, it got me thinking about love songs. I must admit I am a sucker for the ocassional heart-wrenching ballad. With that in mind, I’ve decided to compose my own list of my top five soppy love numbers. In no particular order of course:

1) If You’re Not The One – Daniel Beddingfeild

This is a particular favourite of mine. With great instrumentation, arrangement and lyrics I’m sure most poeple can connect with, it really is almost the perfect love song. Nothing too heavy, just a good old fashion chilled out 00’s ballad with some lovely harmonies thrown in for the musician’s of the world to understand and appreciate.

2) Hero – Enrique Iglesias

Keeping up with the theme of acoustic guitar led 00’s pop-ballads, we dig up this bad boy from the time capsule. Any male singer looking to get the attention of the ladies is bound to have this in their set list, and if they want to really seal the deal – They’ll sing it in Spanish! I have always loved this song at all times of year and you’d best beleive that being the overly-emotional aritst that I am, I’ve sent it to a few girlfriends. A great number, but a track that many would class as a one hit wonder. That is unless you were a huge Enrique fan and had his whole back catalogue.

3) I Found Lovin’ – The Fatback Band

Now we’re heading even futher back in time as we zoom straight back to the 80’s. Instantly recongiseable with its synth intro and lead riff, this is a song I’ve been raised on due to having an 80’s music nerd for a Dad. This is possibly the funkiest love song I’ve ever heard and also had the pleasure of covering in bands once or twice and my god it’s fun being a keys player if this is in the set list!

4) Bless The Broken Road – Rascal Flatts

Most people don’t know this but I am a HUGE country music fan. The level of musicianship and songwriting in most country music defies belief, so much so that it’s inspired me to save for a ticket to Nashville in 2020 – but that’s a story for another time.

Originally written by Bobby E Boyd, Jeff Hanna and Marcus Hummon, this romantic hit ticks every box when it comes to country music writing and is actually one of Rascal Flatts’ highest selling records, peaking at number one in 2004 and staying there for a total of 25 weeks. It could of course be argued that the success celebrated by Flatts’ frontman Gary Levox and co wasn’t actually theirs to celebrate. Nonetheless, the track was a hit and continues to be in most romantic dinner date playlists across the globe.

5) Careless Whisper – George Michael

Alot of people reading will now be groaning and rolling their eyes as I hadn’t managed to dodge the typical George bullet. I’m sorry, okay? I’ve recently started working with a George Michael Tribute band and I’ve offically caught the bug (no, not that one, mind out of the gutter please…) Moving swiftly on and back to the music, everyone on the entire planet who isn’t a toddler or a newborn will recognise the unmistable sax riff that opens this ball of musical cheese up. Often found on the guilty pleasures list if you’re not aged 40 or above, but even the “cool kids” can’t deny it, that sax gets you everytime!

 

And there we have it folks, my top five love songs. Now, as I finish writing this it is 12:36am which does in fact make the date the 15th January thus, Valentine’s Day is no more, lovey dovey couples who are far too fond of PDA can get safely back into their little love nests and normal people can go about their days undisturbed! I like love and affection as much as the next man, but a whole day of it is just a bit too much.

Is The CD Dead (and is it killing the music industry?)

cd-81826_960_720.jpgThe CD or Compact disc has been the most popular form of audio consumption for years, decades even. Everyone remembers their first CD, mine was Mcfly’s “Room On The Third Floor” – A great record that I still own. As time has gone on and generations have succeeded mine, I have started to notice a decline in the purchasing of CD’s, in 2019 people much prefer to stream their music instead of having a physical disc copy.

images.png
HMV have been fighting closure for a number of years.

The rise of streaming coupled with the slow death of brick and mortar music stores such as HMV have made me really question the future of the CD as a viable audio consumption and distribution method. Let’s be real here, what are you more likely to do, add your favorite song to your Spotify playlist for free and from the comfort of your own home OR go out to an actual store and spend money on a CD? Unfortunately, the majority of the modern generation, including myself, would choose option one.

 

download-2
Spotify is one of the most popular music streaming platforms

The only time I’ve even seen a CD in recent situations is if I go to see an unsigned live band and they happen to be selling an E.P of some kind, but even then the band rarely make sales and would be much better off promoting their Spotify handles.

Why has the music and audio industry become so streaming heavy? Purely due to the convenience OF streaming. As stated above, in order for someone to grab the latest tune, all they have to do is add the track to their Spotify playlist with one simple click. Frankly, the modern generations have become lazy in many ways of life and would rather not venture outside and spend money when they can get the music they want online to stream for free.

So, we’ve looked at why the CD is becoming less and less popular, what does that mean for music industry professionals and the music they write, produce and distribute?

Let me start this off by saying that it’s not a pretty picture. It is near on impossible for unsigned artists to make a solid living off of streaming royalties, if you want to make money from your music, you’ve got to think of other ways to do so. I can imagine some of you are skeptical about this so rather than take my word for it, lets look at the actual figures.

Pretty shocking numbers right? What the above image tells me, is that in order to make any form of decent money purely from streams, you have to have serious backing from a label. Obviously, bands at all levels make the majority of their money through touring and merch sales anyway but its a real kick in the teeth for artists knowing that in the streaming world, their music that they’ve worked extremely hard to create, holds pretty much zero monetry value.

I’ve heard the argument that if you want to make money from your songs then you’re better off selling CD’s. My response to that is always that nobody in this day and age is going to buy a phsyical CD when they can just go home and stream the track online. It may be an extremely pessamistic way of looking at it, but no matter what bands do, the reality is there is no money in selling records anymore.  This is the conseqeunce of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

I’d like to wrap this up by encouraging music consumers and fans to support their favourite unsgined bands by going to shows, buying their merch and if they have a CD for sale, by that too! They would’ve slogged in the studio for days, sometimes even weeks to get the record finished, the least they deserve is some form of small finacial reward.

My Top Five Unsigned Artists of 2018

My Top Five Unsigned Artists of 2018

As 2018 comes to a close, I want to take the time to reflect on some of the great unsigned or independent talent I have discovered throughout what has been an interesting musical year. This list is in no particular order, it is just a list of unsigned artists I have discovered and really admire.

1) Orla Gartland

45208142_10156052955682956_6301618678601351168_oYou would’ve seen two features of Orla Gartland for the blog this year. I reviewed her latest release “Between My Teeth” recently and also featured her on “Artist Spotlight” when I first discovered her. Since I last wrote about her, she is doing extremely well, releasing new content regularly as well as touring for the rest of the year, I’m excited to see what 2019 holds for Gartland and will be following her career closely.

Listen to “Between My Teeth” HERE.

2) Harry Cash

48363143_1831417893653339_2486844231126089728_n
Photo Credit: GEth

Musician & Producer Harry Cash has started to make a bit of noise recently as a solo artist, deciding to release a single “Beauty” which was his first solo release in five years. With the help of the mysterious, yet clever “GEth”, Harry has been able to gain lots of exposure and create a big buzz behind his music, receiving requests for signed photos from across the world as well as having regular airtime on local radio. Who knew that gaining himself a new girlfriend would spark such a creative fire inside of him!

Watch the official music video for “Beauty” shot by Reiss Beckford Media and GEth Films HERE. 

3) Harry Adams

accessory harry coverAnother “Harry” who caught my attention this year was the intriguing Harry Adams. The most recent winner of the “Undiscovered Live Music Project” in Essex, Adams has gone on to release a brilliant single in the form of “Accessory” and perform lots of live gigs around London and hopes to continue her studio work across 2019. I for one, am looking forward to seeing what tricks Harry has up her sleeve!

Watch the music video for “Accessory” HERE.

4) Past Kings

36242408_872541842955482_8268561800060993536_nPast Kings are a 4 piece indie rock band hailing from Essex. They are perhaps the most fresh faced band outfit to feature on the blog, still gelling together and honing their crafts as individuals and as a band. Nevertheless, they certainly made an impression on me, especially with their original material and arrangements. They have been rather quiet recently but do have gigs booked and recording time planned so be sure to keep an eye out for these lads!

Stream their latest track “Night Time” HERE.

5) Fortify

20108470_1778540555771568_2682495840622307881_n.jpg

Last but by no means least are Easycore band Fortify. These guys caught my attention when they supported my friends “Fyresky” at Chinnerys, Southend a while back. They too have been in the shadows recently but we are assured it is for a good reason! I intend to go and watch a few of their live shows next year whenever the chance comes up!

Listen to their E.P “Valhalla” HERE

 

The Continuing Death Of Independent Live Music Venues

The Continuing Death Of Independent Live Music Venues

download-1.jpgMusic and live entertainment, it’s one of those art-forms that is timeless. For decades, generations of people have spent their weekends in venues around the country covered in sweat and rocking out to their favourite bands with like minded strangers. Some of the most successful bands have been discovered and watched at “grassroots” venues like The Dagenham Roundhouse.

The Roundhouse has had bands like Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin through its doors before they skyrocketed to super-stardom. I’ve been fortunate to play on this stage once last year on tour with The Signatures, it was a good venue to add my list.

Unfortunately, during my time on stage at The Roundhouse, I noticed one painful thing; independent live music is becoming less and less popular. Is this because of the increasing popularity of social media? pure laziness from the public? money? who knows.. it just isn’t getting any better. Some of the most famous venues like The Fiddler’s Elbow in Camden can be virtually empty on some Friday nights, it’s a sad state of affairs.

download.png
The famous Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden

The decreasing popularity of independent live music means a decrease in takings for venues, a decrease in money for the venues means they can’t keep up with their costs, and ultimately, this means the venues have no choice but to close. According to The Music Venue Trust; a third of independent live music venues have closed over the last decade falling from 700 open venues to 400 across the UK.

images-1.jpg
My unsigned band Denzeity

Being in an unsigned band, I know the struggle artists go through, I know how difficult it is playing to 15 people and feeling disheartened beyond belief. A few months ago, me and the guys of Denzeity decided to do some pre show flyer-ing as commuters came in and out of the tube station, the amount of people that ignored us and looked uninterested really got to me, people just simply aren’t interested in going to see or support local grassroots bands and venues anymore, they’d rather watch videos on social media. Whilst this does help bands, there is nothing better than having people take the effort to turn out to your show!

The final question I’d like to ask is: Are venues doing enough for bands?

I know some people will read that and scoff. It’s something that needs to be talked about because I’ve had several experiences of venues preaching in their emails that bands MUST advertise on social media to get people through the door, they MUST bring x amount of people blah blah blah and then? make no effort of their own to do EXACTLY that!

This, for me, is also one of the main reasons venues are closing every month. You can’t put all the blame on the public or record labels, your venue, YOUR responsibility!

I’m going to conclude this post with somewhat of a plea; PLEASE go out and support your local, unsigned bands and artists! A ticket doesn’t usually cost much in grassroots venues, a tenner at the max, that’s cheaper (and a lot more fun) than a meal for two! Live music NEEDS to stay alive, its fun, its good for the soul and the mind and the money you spend on a ticket, merch, CD’S keeps people like me being able to carry on gigging and performing for you all!

Go out and see an unsigned band this Friday, you’ll be surprised at what you hear.

Record Labels: Are They Really Needed?

Over the years, technology has seen many changes in the way the music industry operates and functions. One of the most notorious changes has been that of the record label.

What Are Record Labels?

For those of you that don’t know, a record label is a company that is in charge of marketing and distributing the music of artists to digital and phsyical music stores around the world. (HMV, Itunes, Spotify etc). There are still several record labels operating wordwide, but not anywhere near as many as there used to be.

Major Labels

download-1.jpg
“The Big Three”

As of 2012, there are only 3 labels that are considered “major”. Major labels tend to sign acts like Adele, Justin Bieber and other successful artists. The “big three” as they are known are: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

These days, a lot of labels are brought out by these big three and continue as “sub-labels” under either the Sony, Universal or Warner umbrellas. This generally happens in order to enable the labels to continue operating as well as giving them access to the resources available to the big three.

Independent Labels

download.png
Cool Thing Records

Along with major labels, there are independent or “indie” labels. These labels are not associated with any major or sub label and are generally created by unsigned bands in order to give them a more professional look. Some bands start by distributing their own music and then progress onto distributing the music of other bands.

A local independent label currently gaining popularity is “Cool Thing Records” a label started by Southend based band “Asylums.”

How Technology has changed the need for labels

download-1.pngIn the 21st Century music business, there are several companies and websites that enable artists to make their music available on digital platforms such as Itunes and Spotify. The two topped ranked companies for this are CDBaby and Distrokid; in order to make your music purchasable/streamable to the world, you simply pay a small fee, upload your music and artwork and wait for it to appear.

images.jpg
Andie Case

There are several unsigned or independent artists that have seen top 40  success without the help of the big three. The most memorable example of this has got to be U.S Singer-Songwriter Andie Case; she uploaded a song to Itunes and within a few weeks it was being played on the UK Top 40, her career then sky rocketed and she is still experiencing success today.

Previously mentioned Indie band “Asylums” has also experienced great success over the years, being played on John Kennedy’s Radio X show and being able to play some of the biggest festivals in the UK and Europe.

My Personal thoughts

download-2.jpg
Spotify is fast becoming the number one music streaming service.

For me, the fact that some of my friends have achieved success without a Universal, Sony or Warner contract says a lot. I feel that perhaps the only major use these “big three” have are their resources and contacts. Of course, in this industry it is all about who you know and not so much what you know but the need of these guys for their contacts could very soon be wiped out by the ease of the internet.

There are artists in all genres that are making a solid living through gigging and Spotify streaming royalties (no major radio airplay) This again, says it all to me. Anybody can distribute their music digitally through the websites mentioned, the only thing that can’t be done without a major label is physical distribution to stores like HMV but they’re dying out slowly anyway.

In conclusion, I think that perhaps in 10-15 years, the big three will be no more, is this necessarily a negative thing? I don’t think so; if you can cut out the middle man and take more money for yourself, why wouldn’t you? Anything is possible thanks to technology these days, you’ve just gotta be brave enough to take the plunge.

 

Is Singing To Backing Track “live” Music?

This was a recent topic of discussion and debate amongst members of a musicians Facebook group I am a part of. I must admit it was entertaining to read some of the comments on the thread as people had their egos damaged by some home truths on the matter. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts on this never ending argument:

For me, live music, is exactly that, a LIVE band with LIVE instruments fronted by a LIVE singer. When I see a poster outside a pub with the words “LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY NIGHT” I, as a musician and avid gig-goer, expect an entirely live performance! Of course, the singer is live, they are actually singing, using their own voice, but some may argue that they are merely a glorified karaoke singer… I mean this in no disrespect to any of my fellow entertainers, but that is essentially what you are doing.

I understand the use of backing tracks amongst some entertainers, it saves costs and allows the said singer to only have to worry about themselves but I do not agree with venues labelling them as live music, because they are only half live. In the Facebook group, there were lots of arguments amongst members on either side, some people even getting into insults and age difference.. really?! I chose not to add my “2 cents” to the conversation simply because it seemed the group were too immature to have a normal discussion..

Another point raised was that there are many famous acts that choose to mime during this performances, this is a completely different thing and bore no relevance to the discussion, but since it mentioned, I’d like to add that I do not agree with this practice, playing to backing tracks for ease when you can’t ship your whole band across the world, fine, miming to said backing track out of laziness, not fine.

Let’s wrap this one up here with this final point from me; singing to a backing tack does NOT necessarily make you a less skilled performer, you still have to be able to sing to a high standard in order to get booked and re-booked by venues. HOWEVER, I know that I would much rather spend my money watching a live band, wether it be covers or originals, than watching one person sing to a track.