The title track from British DJ Sigala’s long-awaited debut album Brighter Days, featuring Paul Janeway from St. Paul and the Broken Bones, is a strong deep house opener packed with euphoric, feel-good vibes.
With it being just over three years since Norfolk-born Bruce Fielder released his smash debut hit Easy Love, dance fans have become quite accustomed to the producer’s particular style across the many singles the 25-year-old has released to-date. Take vibrant tropical house with the occasional funk and deep house influences and you have Fielder’s traditional sound which has seen him achieve seven Top 40 hits.
These seven chart successes all appear on the album, with 10 of the 16 tracks already being released as singles. While the popularity of these songs has already been proven, it’s the new collaborations with big names such as Kylie Minogue and Kodaline that have fans interested. Yet, while they show the range of Sigala’s tropical house sound, they fall short of conjuring up the last drop of summer – something which is probably not helped by the record’s autumnal release.
Of the few tracks which we haven’t heard before, it’s opener Brighter Days which is particularly distinctive. Janeway’s vocals have a noticeable Sam Smith/John Newman twang which is far from unfamiliar to Fielder and his listeners. What’s new and different is the deep house hook which is something fans have heard more of in live performances than in the studio (with the exception of his track with Blonde and Imani Williams, I Don’t Need No Money). Lyrics like “the sun breaking through those clouds” and “holding on for the brighter days” are typical Sigala – summery, vibrant and optimistic.
It’s a strong introduction to the record, with the underlying bass and heavy, hazy synth foreshadowing tracks such as Just Got Paid (feat. Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana) and You Don’t Know Me (feat. Shaun Frank, Flo Rida and Delaney Jane). However, Brighter Days and Sigala’s track with Nina Nesbitt and HRVY – Somebody – are the only two new, stand-out songs from the album. Yet, with so many featured artists and tracks we’ve heard before, there’s likely to be something for everyone on Sigala’s eagerly anticipated debut.
BrighterDays is the title track from Sigala’s album of the same name, available now on Apple Music and Spotify.
It’s Jonas-meet-Jonas as DNCE frontman Joe Jonas joins forces with tropical house hitmaker Jonas Blue on I See Love, taken from the Hotel Transylvania 3 soundtrack.
With the animated sequel being called Summer Vacation, it’s fitting that the team at Sony called on Blue to produce a summer single to accompany the movie. Mix this in with the funk typical of Joe Jonas and you move into your usual, commercial pop track. However, that is not to say that this latest collaboration isn’t at all enjoyable.
While previous singles such as Alien and Rise have seen the Essex DJ and producer flex his tropical house music muscles, I See Love sees him explore a new genre entirely. If you’re a Joe Jonas fan, then you’ll definitely enjoy this song, as it sounds more like a DNCE single than a Jonas Blue one. It’s alright for those like myself who will happily settle for typical funk pop, but for those who expected another single with tropical house at the forefront, then they may be disappointed.
In terms of the main hook, it’s the mixture of Joe’s chanting vocals and the underlying, refined bass notes which give the song its catchiness. Outside the realms of the chorus, the rhythm of the lyrics in verses follows the same off-beat pace throughout. Although this is both ideal and typical of this genre of music, if there’s the opportunity for experimentation with the speed of the vocals, then it feels somewhat lazy to have the same sound running all the way through. Sure, it may help with the song’s memorability, but it’s not the most creative.
Despite the criticisms, I See Love sits comfortably within this week’s new music playlists, but as your traditional pop track. If you’re looking for a casual, commercial sound and an easy dance track, then this is it.
If one was to look a bit too deeply into the name of Kygo’s new EP, then you may think that Stargazing is a nod to the Norwegian DJ’s inspirations. After all, with U2 – one of his favourite bands – featured on You’re the Best Thing About Me, and country-style guitars appearing on This Town (which may be seen as an homage to Avicii), what’s not to say that the producer’s latest release sees him gaze at his ‘stars’ with admiration?
Though, first and foremost, the name of the EP comes from the title of the opening track, which sees Kygo (real name Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll) collaborate with American singer, Justin Jesso. Once again, whether it’s the delicate chords in the verses which intertwine with the Jesso’s rhythm, or the bouncy stabs underneath the choppy vocals in the chorus, Kyrre’s talents with the piano shine through once again. Add this to Jesso’s voice – which has the ability to be both soft and soulful (with a slight rasp to it) – and imaginative vocals, then you have a successful first track which certainly sets the tone and lives up to its name.
What follows next is two tracks we’ve heard before: It Ain’t Me (feat. Selena Gomez) and First Time(feat. Ellie Goulding), so there’s a possibility that a few people will be annoyed at the lack of new material on the EP, but at last, we have the release which includes these previous singles. Kyrre’s collaboration with Gomez sees a brief guitar melody before quickly descending into the traditional piano tune with slight vocal distortion. It’s fitting that it follows on from Stargazing, as there’s certainly a few similarities.
Compare this to First Time and you have a more minimalistic sound from Kyrre. Yet again, the producer paves the way for the vocalist (in this case, Goulding) to take centre stage in the verses, before slowly progressing into the drop. Yet, the build-up this time around feels calmer and more stripped back. Rather than a melody playing before the main tune, Kyrre relies on Ellie’s vocals in the pre-chorus before introducing the interlude. It’s a movement which makes an interesting change from other tracks, highlighting a lighter tone from the DJ.
However, by far the most intriguing track of the five is This Town. The second new song on the EP, Kygo ditches the heavy, plucky synth and piano for a more chill, country vibe. It was something the artist flirted with a little in his track with Kodaline, Raging, but now it has a much stronger influence. The tempo is slow and in a sense, it feels more like a Sasha Sloan track than a song by Kygo, as yet again, Kyrre places heavy emphasis on the featured vocalist.
It’s a track which moves away from the Cloud Nine era whilst also building upon it, but it’s not the only song on the EP to do so, as the record comes to a close with a collaboration with U2 for a remix of their track, You’re the Best Thing About Me.
Whilst Kygo has always preferred piano or acoustic guitar in his tracks, he can now have a bit of fun with a grittier guitar sound that Bono and co. like to use in their music. In that regard, Kyrre does a great job of preserving the best parts of the original (including the smooth guitar and, for the most part, Bono’s unique sound) whilst adding a bit of a spring to the tempo and some slight distortion in his melody.
As an EP which shows off Kygo’s remixing capabilities and his new direction alongside his traditional sound, it may not be just the stars which the Norwegian is looking at, as it’s a release which shows that the DJ is very much looking onwards and upwards.
It was only a matter of time before OneRepublic returned with another summer smash. Before the rise of trap and tropical house, the pop-rock five-piece joined forces with Alesso to create the club track, If I Lose Myself. Now, the band hook up with hit remixers Seeb for the upbeat and exotic bop, Rich Love.
Two years since their number one remix of Mike Posner’s I Took a Pill in Ibiza, the trio (formed of Simen Matre Eriksrud, Espen Berg and Niklas Strandbråten) have secured what can be described as their most high profile collaboration yet. By working with the group behind Counting Stars, Rich Love is more than likely to be the next single to propel the DJs into the spotlight once more.
It’s a combination of catchy lyrics and a fluid melody which really sells the track. Lines such as broke as a bottle of a wine stand out amongst fast-flowing vocals. Then comes a tune typical of Seeb (bouncy, trickling and with some hazy synth in the background) which offers a new style of anthemic pop for OneRepublic to play across their summer tour. Rich Love is available now on iTunes and Spotify.
After his number two hit with Jonas Blue, it’s no surprise that JP Cooper’s follow-up single continues the laid-back vibe which made Perfect Strangers such a successful release. With minimalistic instrumentals (including bouncy, marimba-sounding synths and intricate guitar plucking), it fits into the textbook tropical house whilst allowing for some blissful originality.
After all, with Jonas Blue’s electronica somewhat interfering with JP Cooper’s vocals on Perfect Strangers, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for listeners to hear much of Cooper’s raw voice. Thankfully, with September Song‘s melody being saved for the chorus, the calming verses really enable the singer to show off his unique soul.
With the occasional high note alongside fuzzy, humming tones, JP is free from the restraints that come with a featured artist slot on a dance track. Cooper sticks to familiar ground on this single, introducing listeners to his unique sound, and it will be interesting to see which direction the singer takes his music next.
It may not be September, but JP Cooper’s latest release is the perfect chilled song to listen to on a February evening, or in the middle of summer.
From modelling to acting and TV presenting, Italian singer Ginny Vee has tried her hand at a variety of professions before pursuing her passion for music. Now, she tells Liam O’Dell more about her journey so far – up to the release of her latest single, Give Me Dynamite.
A career in the music industry is something Ginny Vee wanted since she was little – helped by the fact that her grandmother was an opera singer and piano teacher. However, Ginny’s path to her dream job saw her follow a tough road.
One problem emerged after Ginny talked about her passion to her parents, who wanted her to have a secure life. “The thing was, I didn’t want to disappoint them, of course,” she explains. “So that’s why I went to law school and I went for different jobs at the beginning.
“The thing is, it was so strong inside me – the feeling that it was the right thing to do – that when I really sat down, talked to them and talked through all of my feelings, I explained to them why it was so important that I needed to follow this career. They understood.”
Did they understand immediately? “It took quite a bit,” she admits. “The real change happened when they came to see me singing in a live concert. They saw how happy I was to be on stage – how free I was performing and enjoying the feeling, the connection between me and the people. They saw that it was the right thing for me.”
Ginny’s music career so far has seen her spend seven years working with three other singers in the cover band, Belle Ma Belle, before going solo later. In 2014, she released her EP, Heaven n Back.
“I was experimenting a bit,” Ginny explains. “I was studying my style, trying to figure out which one was the best style for me. So recently, I signed with Subside Records’ Mind the Floor, and they are more into EDM and tropical house.
“I gave it a shot. We looked at several songs together and when I heard this one – Give Me Dynamite – I thought it was a really good song. I thought it was just the right one to go for this year. It felt very actual, very modern, and I really liked the feeling of it, so I wanted to try something different.”
Give Me Dynamite has the sound of a traditional Europop single: punchy chords, tropical synths and a catchy chorus all make up a bubbly single to prepare you for summer. With euphoric instrumentals placed under lyrics such as ‘love to hate you’ and ‘want another black eye’ – it’s an interesting juxtaposition.
“That’s the first impression you could have – ‘love to hate you’ is something very strong to say,” Ginny says. “Basically, what is underneath is a story. It’s a love story that ended not very well, but actually, the meaning of it is this girl… She still really believes in the fact that the story shouldn’t end, because the great thing in that story with the guy was the fact that they were fighting.
“So actually, it’s a positive thing about that,” Ginny explains.
As well as Vee providing vocals, DJ Steve Manovski also lent a helping hand on the single. The musician co-produced Sigala’s top 10 hit, Give Me Your Love, so it’s no surprise that we hear similar piano stabs on this track.
Despite the two working together on Give Me Dynamite, Ginny is still yet to bump into Manovski in person. “I actually never met the guy, which is a shame,” she laughs. “This is how it goes in the industry right now; most of the time, you don’t meet the people.
“In one day, I recorded the vocals and everything and my producer told me there was some great news – that Manovski agreed to work on the song.
“That was great news because I really like his job and I really like his work. When they told me, I was really enthusiastic about it, but unfortunately I haven’t met the guy yet. I’d love to meet him in the near future.”
Although that is yet to happen, Ginny believes the relationship between them was very good, calling Manovski a ‘very nice’ person.
“I’m really lucky,” she says. “I’ve been working with a very professional and great team – all of them are really nice people, so I can’t complain. I’m really happy about that.”
So what’s next after Give Me Dynamite? “It’s very early,” says Ginny. “The song has been out for a small amount of time and obviously now I really want to focus on the promotion. I’m doing lots of interviews and for this one, I’m doing a lot of radio interviews and performing to promote the song. Of course, in the meantime, I’m working on my future material – more songs, more material – because I’m working on a tour for 2017.”
“In life, I’m a really, extremely shy person. So I don’t really interact well with people – I’m private with everything, but when I’m on stage, I’m really free to be what I want to be. I’m really happy,” Ginny explains.
“I feel like I’m expressing myself completely and I feel free. I’m not afraid, I’m not concerned about being in control or anything, I just feel like I really want to be on the stage forever and never leave.”
As the winter season comes to a close, it feels weird to look ahead to summer. Yet, for DJs keen to release the next big anthem, their focus has always been on that time of the year. If they can create a track which dominates the charts from June to August, then they tend to self-proclaim that they created the ‘summer smash’ of the year. Marshmello is one artist doing this, but with their track Run for Your Life, Mako is another artist keen to keep the party spirit alive.
Nostalgia and euphoria are two feelings Alex Seaver and Logan Light are always keen to create in their music. With somewhat mellow verses leading to a loud synth melody, it’s a build-up of emotions we hear on Run for Your Life too.
This time, it’s the turn of Natalola to provide the sassy, grumbling and almost Rihanna-sounding vocals. It’s a style of singing which fits perfectly into the bouncy, upbeat and tropical feel of the song.
Then, in terms of the chorus itself, we hear a group of rhythmic and fluttering melodies which create an emotive tune to relax to – be it the hazy synth chords at the forefront of the chorus, or the fluctuating high notes played every once in a while.
Granted, it’s a laid-back type of electronica which is more suited to chilled environments, as opposed to the clubs or dance floors, but it succeeds at being a great song to play in the background as you relax at home. It’s the mix of laid-back vocals and euphoric synths which Mako gets right every time.