AURORA Q&A


Aurora - Love your new video. How did you get into writing music and singing in the first place?

Thank you!!! I never got into singing really, but I got into writing music when I was around 6. Didn't add any lyrics before I was 9! I remember writing music always made me very happy. It's a nice thing to have in your life.


What international artists inspired you the most and how were you introduced to them?

Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Both introduced by my mom and dad! But it was not before I was around 9 I learnt to appreciate the lyrics and the stories they managed to tell through their songs. I'm really inspired by that! 

What Scandanavian musicians influence you when writing?

Hm.. I don't really know! I'm more inspired by the Scandinavian people than the musicians. But I guess we all have a certain darkness in our music. But I think that's because of our dark winters. I love our dark winters.

 
You’ve had an incredible 18 months. You’ve just completed your NYC/LA shows. What stands out as being the most memorable occasion?

Everything. Just traveling with my amazing band and wonderful manager. And to actually have people coming to my shows and singing along to my songs. It moves me more than anything. I don't even know how do describe it. It's lovely.

I would be terrified of performing - how do you source that…rawness of laying yourself bare into positive energy when taking to the stage?

I'm always terrified!! I never thought I would ever stand on a stage, it's a very strange thing. But it got easier when I changed the focus from me - to the audience. When you think about it it's quite a lovely thing! That these people actually came here to listen to me, and my job is to make them feel it was worth it.

The album - tell us about that! How many songs will it contain?

11. My favorite number. 


Your cover of Nature Boy is immense - how it was picked to be a cover?

I just really love the song. It's so magical. And I wouldn't miss the chance to tell that story my own way! 

Will you release a recorded version soon? Maybe as a bonus track?

Maybeeeeeeeeeeeee...!

How does it feel to have such strong and positive reaction to her your music so early on? Especially online.

It's wonderful. Very scary, and strange. But I'm glad to see how many good and supporting people there are in the world. I couldn't have done this without supporters, so I'm very grateful. 

It feels to me that your songs are very much stories. Narrative based....

Absolutely. I like to write songs that can satisfy the people listening to the melodies and the people listening to the lyrics.

If you could collaborate with one major artist...

Bob Dylan or Chemical brothers! 

Are you still in the experimental stage with regards to the sounds of the album or have the songs pretty much taken form and shape?

The songs have pretty much taken form now. And live it's mostly about spreading the energy and making each song sound like a soup foul of energy and emotions! Maybe not a soup. Maybe a bowl. 
 
How much does Bergen inspire you?

In many ways, the lovely people and the lovely nature. I'm very inspired by nature, my house is in the middle of the forest. It's lovely. 

Could you envisage a time recording elsewhere? LA or London?

I don't think so! I like being home.

So - Aurora thank you for this interview - but before you go a question for laughs...If you were to put together a 4 track covers EP….from the top of your head, which songs/artists immediately come to mind?

Maybe "Forever" by dePresno, "The brothel" by Susanne sundför, "tambourine man" by Bob Dylan, and "Tomorrow never knows" by the Beatles! Thank you:) lovely questions! 

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KASTRUP INTERVIEW



So, Kastrup - why name yourself after the Danish airport?

For us, the residents of Malmö, Kastrup is much more than just an airport. It is the train station that you’re passing by, drunk and hungry on your way home from a wet night in Copenhagen, saying "Why don’t we just do it? Let’s get off here and take the first cheapest plane away from here. We just do it! Run away from everything”. Kastrup is also the node that we need to take us to to get out in the the world. It represents so much more than just an airport. There's also something exciting about airports, it is always a very special atmosphere, it's a no man's land, the definitive border between something new and something old.

You’re both from Sweden - Malmö to be precise. What was it like when Eurovision came to town?

Timmie: That's right, Eurovision 2013 huh? I don’t remember actually. I recall that there were very many bewildered tourists, a lot of different music stages around the town. A good vibe!

Puppe: Remember seeing it on big screen in “Folkets park” with Timmie actually. A lot of people and a good vibe!


Now - you both met at the Malmö academy of music. Did you immediately hit it off?

Timmie: It is becoming more and more blurred to me, how it actually happened. I know that we did some school assignments together. I remember that I thought that Puppe had something special, and above all something I had not. I wanted to be near him, to learn more, but also to get the opportunity to work more together in the future. Then we became friends during the time outside of the school, so the step was not that far.

Puppe: Same thing here. I don’t remember the start of it. But I guess we had some school assignment, started talking about music and I could tell Timmie had a great sense of music and songwriting. I remember us going to his rehearsal room, (which I got in on later), brought beer and started jammin’ with two keyboards and microphones, and I thought it was great! Later we booked one of the schools' studios to just “record something”, and we ended up with a nice ballad, not so Kastrup-ish though, but nice! I guess that was a bit like a start for something but we didn't know it was the start of Kastrup. 



You are one of my favourite unsigned Swedish acts of 2015 thanks to Thieves. It is bloody immense. Where did the song come from?

Timmie: It's a very old song. I think I wrote it around 2008/2009 when I studied theatre in the middle of nowhere in Skåne. There were pianos everywhere in the school. I always used to sit down and play something. Thieves was that kind of song that just came to me. It’s hard to say how. It’s always like that. I think the class rehearsed a play and during the break I went away to be by myself for awhile, sat down at a piano and sang the song that years later would become “Thieves”. It has been sprouting for a long time, but I have refused to let it go. I have always known that it is a very good song. I just needed to figure out how to do it.

Despite its BIGNESS I could totally envisage an awesome naked acoustic version as a b-side/download….it is a brilliant song. Can that happen?

A few weeks ago we actually did an extremely naked version of Thieves, live on Swedish radio. Don’t know if it's possible to hear now, will check on it! But we have some plans to make an acoustic version, live video or something like that. Hold on!


Its a bit different to more rockier Lydia. Your first single. Can you tell me something about the genesis of Lydia and why its a different shade of pop to Thieves…

It's really not that much difference. It is all about the mix. There are at least as many synths in Lydia as in Thieves, but right there and then we gave the guitars a bigger role and decided to go in the indie-pop / rock direction.

The biggest difference is probably that in the genesis of Lydia we were a band. We were five musicians who jammed until the arrangement sounded good live, right the in the rehearsal room. That’s also why Lydia is an extremely good live song, the arrangement is written to sound good with loud drums and distorted guitars directly in the room.

Thieves contains some seriously sexy synths - please tell me we are gonna hear some more from them.

You will certainly hear more synths! That we can promise. But it's not that fun to head in to the studio and choose "The Epic Thieves preset" on every song we write. We are constantly trying to find new and interesting sounds.


You’re both rather nice looking chaps - so why aint you in the Thieves Video?! 

Haha, thank you! Actually, we had an idea about having us in the video. But Christopher (the man who came up with the idea and then did it all, director, photographer and producer) thought it would be "too messy" and that it would ruin the whole vibe. We trusted him. We will certainly appear in some video in the future :)

Are you thinking of performing soon and any time in London?

Of course! That is absolutely our plan. Maybe this fall, but more realistic is that you’ll see us in early 2016!

Will you be releasing new material soon? To consolidate on Thieves? Want more. 

We are working with about five to ten songs right now, two of them are candidates to be the next single. However, it is just a waste to release any of them during the summer, there is hardly no one who listens to what you say then. The plan is to be release the next Kastrup single in early September. Hold on!

If you could a covers EP of Swedish Hits - which 5 songs would you pick and why.

Wow, erhm. Tough question. Not that we think that we could do it better than the original, but...

  1. Duvchi - Turtleduvs
  2. Thomas Stenström - Fåglar
  3. Amason - Ålen
  4. Axwell^Ingrosso - On my way
  5. Me and my army - The only one

What acts from Sweden inspire you the most?

Seinabo Sey, Frida Sundemo, Silvana Imam, Jonathan Johansson, Kent, Vincent Pontare & Salem Al Fakir (mostly as songwriters and producers to Avicii, Seinabo, Veronica Maggio, Axwell & Ingrosso.) 

What are the biggest challenges being an unsigned act?

The time. To get the time to suffice. We do everything ourselves. We write, record, manage public relations and do the marketing activities. We’re booking our, we’re networking, e-mailing, update our social media, keep in touch with fans and audience and so on and so on. Then of course, channels. It takes time to build up such large channels and that kind of network that an established record company has.

So would you like to stay unsigned - or rather what I mean is, be somewhat like Robyn, Konichiwa Records and have arrangements with the majors)

That is something that we’re thinking about very much nowadays. The Robyn arrangement with Konichiwa is almost becoming a standard now among more established artists. If we will do the same, don’t really know yet, we'll see. Again, it is something we are discussing right now. One step at a time.

Do you think its still important to have that larger representation - would you like to get that support from a big label?

You're on to something that the entire industry discusses very much right now, what should one have a major label for? Really? Now that there are so many tools for the individual creator to do everything yourself. Being signed to a Major also means to compete with the world's greatest artists. You get a tiny little attention in a big, big bank with already very established artists. It's all about visions and approaches. If we find someone who thinks like us and the chemistry is there, then you never know what can happen :)

You’ve majored in pop production at MAM. What other Swedish producers would you love to work the most?

Timmie: Wow, hard question. So many! I’m a big fan of the Danish producer Jon "Joshua" Schumann (Kashmir, Mew, Kent, Carpark North), but yeah, he’s Danish, haha. Would be cool to do something with Magnus Lidehäll (Mapei, Seinabo Sey, Veronica Maggio) or Joel Humlén (Frida Sundemo).

Puppe: Magnus Lidhäll would have been fun maybe! But, yeah hard question!

Please say the follow-up is gonna be soon! Whats next for Kastrup - are there songs shortlisted as potential singles yet? Or do you guys wanna keep it an open field and see what happens?

There’s two potential singles right now. Their working titles are “Come and get me” and “You and I”, but you’ll never know. We’ll spend the summer in our new studio. Maybe the next single is not even written yet. Who knows. But the plan is to release it in September! Stay tuned.

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Buy the single here: Thieves
Kastrup: Facebook

LCMDF - Fooled


Wow. Its been two years since LCMDF gave us a lick tip of their attitude - in the form of their brilliant and iconic #haters which of course was the theme for that years Helsinki Pride. They're back and with an amazing thriller single - Fooled. It's been too long! Don't leave it that long Emma+Mia again! Pop missed you!!! Fooled is a chunky, bouncy, cocky synth 80's rebellious pop song. If you like Sophia Somajo and Rebecca & Fiona you'll love Fooled. LCMDF thank you so much for returning!


Michael Cragg at GuardianMusic hits the nail on the head when he describes LCMDF purveyors of excellent big pop music that 'could bring about a mild panic attack in a more unsuspecting listener.' Which is one of the reasons why I've always love them and Fooled refuses to let the ball drop - they spin their distinctive disruptive electro beats all over the place, decorate the chorus with trippy messy chaotic boom-claps that wrap around sonic explosive rhythms that recall the very best moments of J-pop. Every beat feels like a mini-fizzle explosion in the ears and I love love love every single moment of it!  Kiitos Paljon

KASTRUP - THIEVES


Speechless. My heart raced a million beats when first hearing Thieves. Rendered Speechless. Discovering Kastrup was like an electric bolt hitting water - absolutely terrifying but beautiful. Revitalising. Big shout out to you to Musikguiden i P3 for the heads-up. Tack, Tack, Tack. Thieves is their second single (check out the glorious Lydia on their soundcloud). Perhaps named after the Danish Airport - I don't know. Amazing. The band are my favourite act to come out of Sweden this year. Rarely do I throw out hyperbolic slogans - but I can't get enough of Thieves


The sexy synth throbs around the beloved, yet vulnerable, voice have me doing a locomotion of happy feels. There are Kleerup/Robyn aspects to this. Throw-in shades of Brandon Flowers, Cure, Oh Fibes, The Ark and Eric Hassle and you may steal a little idea of what Kastrup are about. And yet, there is something evocative and explosive about Thieves that has me right around their Kastrups fingers. They've sparkled into my heart. I can't get enough of them. Swedish duo of the year. I may be rejoicing their arrival quite a lot on this blog this year so apologises beforehand.

Awa - Obvious


Sweden's only ever X Factor winner Awa is back! And, with a supercool track. Co-written by Marlene & the Trinity team, Obvious is her follow up to Not Ready To Say Goodbye. With the ever fashionable 90's house pace, the single is remarkably on-trend though refuses to be gimmicky or try-too-hard. Awa has taken her time with material. Not rushing with her debut single was a remarkable move - Goodbye was a huge hit for her. Finding the right follow-up has taken her team over a year but the fact that this song is perhaps the best to come out of Sweden this side of 2015 shows the AnR team were wise to dig for that straw amongst a tremendous hay-stack. Sweden produces so many great songs and with this - Awa's got herself an amazing one. Cannot wait for the eventual album.

HARRIET RETURNS & CHATS (AND GOSSIPS) WITH DSTP (About Fly, the album & the next release!)



Just after the release of new single Fly, I met the singer Harriet in an lovely old arts cafe tucked behind Angel tube station in Islington, London. She wanted to discuss her new single, a follow-up from her Christmas EP "Maybe This Christmas" & her debut "What's Mine Is Yours" released in 2014. Fly signals the beginning of a vast volley of new material from Harriet. Fly is a rather plucky stomper of a song with a upbeat rhythm & delivers a stern declaration within its lyrics. I wanted to know more about its creation, whether there were more like it in her goodie bag of songs and what she was planning to do next. So armed with a brief set of questions I ordered the hot chocolate and we were set! Fly: (Itunes Order Link)


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Did London treat you well during the filming of Fly? 
Yes! We had a few surprised tourists who made a cameo or two but thats what I love about London which is why we did that video in that way. I love the city and the moment Fly came out of the oven, so to speak, I had the concept of the video there and then. I loved doing it. I used to live in the West End of London and I'd spend so much of my time wandering, and wondering, around and about. People-watching. Observing the city come alive with my headphones plugged-in channeling new songs I'd just written. Which is why I'm wearing headphones in the video.



Okay, I must ask why the handwriting theme in so much of your promo content? 
Hahahahha!!! When I was little I was obsessed letter writing and I guess it stems from that! I think your handwriting is an extension of your personality too. I think that’s cool!
You’ve just released Fly which isn’t about the nasty insect or the Jeff Goldblum film. Or, is it? 
No, but thats pretty awesome! Though I’d love it if it was picked to be the theme for the inevitable future Hollywood remake! Ok so Fly is about wanting to escape from a loveless relationship, and fall in love for “real”!
Its a bit uptempo from your last release like 'If (When You Go)' for example.
Yes. The last two releases were of a reflective, more melancholic vibe. The melody and tempo was representative this. Fly felt like the next natural progression. It was a challenge to keep my sound and identity in a more uptempo song. But Steve Anderson’s production and arrangement colours the song perfectly. It is important my album has texture and these uptempo numbers are really key to maintain energy levels in that body of work. Plus, when it comes to performing them live, its great to have a variety of ‘zones’ to go into when performing. 
Steve is producing all your stuff yes?
Yes! Steve and I have written the majority of the album together. I believe Steve is the best producer for my my record. We have a very special connection and something special happens when we go into the recording studio. However there have been other songwriters involved with the album along the way. Like Judie Tzuke, Cliff Masterson, Dave Munday and Charlie Dore to name but a few. When Steve and I first wrote and recorded together I knew (and felt) this relationship would form the foundation on which my sound would be built. I return to this identity with everything I do now, to try to keep everything relevant.
Whats’ next (after Fly)?
Well, follow-up single possibilities have been shortlisted. Its a little bit like a horse-race with an ever changing front-runner. Sometimes a torch ballad I wrote last winter comes out as favourite. Then it’s an upbeat song I wrote last week with Steve. So you never know. At the moment two particular songs have been underscored with a highlighter by myself and my team. We’re just doing the arithmetic on timelines and discussing what, where and why. But for now, we’re focusing on my audience. I want to give them more and I want to see them at shows. So releasing another EP is next up!
An EP!? Details please!
A covers EP. Tracks to be confirmed.
Sorry but i am gonna have to roast you on this - I need more details. 
Well. Its a little too early yet. We are still experimenting and throwing around ideas. So please get in touch via my twitter or FB to suggest song titles. No suggestion is too outrageous or out there! I wanna hear from you.
Why covers? 
After the overwhelming reaction to She’s Out of My Life, Home and A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes (From Disney’s Cinderella feature film) I really wanted to celebrate the songwriters I love and experiment with that before the next single. A covers EP is a wonderful opportunity to interpret songs in my way. And to raise a toast to those amazing songs!
Would do a cover of a Sex Pistols song?
Ha! Interesting curveball but ultimately yes, if the song is right, and I feel a connection with it. Its about the song, the lyric, the melody and the narrative. Sometimes the most obvious choice actually doesn’t work when you go into the studio. You never know. That’s why we are being open with it. Who knows - could be anything from Bananarama to The Clash! My followers on Facebook (link) and Twitter (link) have already been making immense suggestions. We’ve so far had ABBA, Take That, The Beatles but also the likes of Beth Orton, Prefab Sprout and Somewhere from West Side Story. I love learning about what my fans are into! They’ve given me a lot of homework to get on with but I love it and I am so energised to try it all out.
Harriet with her band Darren Williams, Dishan Abrahams & Cliff Masterson
What about a themed EP?
Good idea actually. Definitely. Exploring one particular act through a handful of their songs would be a real challenge and I would love to try this out.
Oooooooooooh what about A Disney EP? 
Steve and I talked about this a while ago. I love Disney. Adore them. Everything they do! As I am talking to you i am going through the potential track list in my head! 
Let It Go?! Would you go there?
Wow. You think I could do that? Thank you. What an amazing song. I love Idina Menzel. My gosh. Her range. Her voice. It is amazing. I don’t think I could do Let It Go justice. There are already so many excellent covers of Let It Go out there. However generally speaking, I’m a little unsure about covering songs released by iconic and legendary female artists. There is a certain magic that is created when an exceptional voice meets an exception song and I think when that it happens it should be respected and honoured. I always ask - what could I bring to a song? Could I do it justice? That’s always on my mind. Respect for the original performer and their audience is key for me. Having said that, I wouldn’t rule out anything without thinking about it probably first. For instance, I think, a male singer can bring something incredibly different to a song originally recorded by a female artist and vice versa.
So when is this covers EP coming out and will it be just a digital release? As I know you’ve been getting requests to do something, to quote Olivia Newton John, physical? 
Well. I love Olivia Newton John and getting physical! (Hahahahha). Seriously though, I love Olivia. I know I’ve just said I’d be unsure about covering songs by iconic legendary singers but I would simply love to cover one of Olivia’s songs. I love Hopelessly Devoted To You. I think its a masterpiece. In fact, everything she touches is pure gold. I’ve just seen on my facebook page the appearance of her gem - I Honestly Love You.  Which is such a beautiful song. Thank you Mr.Hurstrom, what an excellent idea. In fact, all the suggestions have been awesome and I’m tremendously grateful for all the ideas. Keep them coming. As for a physical release...My album will definitely be available in physical form. My heart hopes that, if possible, we can arrange something special before that too. The stars have to be aligned, but my team and I are working  hard to make this happen. We’ve got a few extra surprises down the line too. As for release date… it will be soon. Steve and I are heading into the studio in a few days so please get those suggestions in asap!
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HarrietsMusic Facebook Page (Where you can suggest a song & say hi) Link
Harriets Twitter Link
Harriet's Album Producer Steve Anderson Twitter Link

DANNII IS BACK! SO PRESS PLAY (UPDATED!)



Dannii announced today in an interview with Cameron Adams that she is not only returning to music but also the stage! The glorious Sydney Mardi Gra festivities this summer. So so so very soon! As she's a pop legend, DSTP has taken this opportunity to revel in all things DM by wandering through her delicious discography & celebrating some of my favourite hits, b-sides and rarities. It was hard to select ten songs from her huge discography but, for me, these are the ones that had me constantly hitting repeat and earned a very special place in my heart. 

UPDATE: Dannii has revealed the brand song #pressplay today which not only arrives in time for Mardi Gra but also celebrates her time in the music industry being 25th years since her very first single Love and Kisses came out. Check it out below: 



Everlasting Night 


Given the arena Dannii is returning on Everlasting Night seems the perfect song to begin proceedings. I think it was either 1995 Gay Pride at Galaxy when I first heard this gloriously euphoric song that was announced as the next single. My 11 year old heart raced as the uplifting synths pumped through the sound systems while Dannii's vocals boomed throughout. It was amazing. Everlasting Night became the anthem I'd hum in-between school breaks at my first year of my very dreary secondary school. The song worked as a rainbow blanket comforting those first few difficult months at big school when you're trying to find friends and forge alliances but also gain strength & mark out your identity. Everlasting Night was that song for me. It wouldn't be until 1998 when a hard copy was available thanks to Everlasting Night becoming entwined with the Mardi Gra festivities in Sydney which it was somewhat re-written & re-produced. A best-of compilation cannot exist without Everlasting Night. It is almighty awesome.

Who Do You Love Now?


Sounding like a disco call to arms, Who Do You Love Now was a trance-tastic club power ballad that takes no prisoners. It ravaged you entirely. When the beat kicked-in goosebumps soared through every fibre of the body. Soaring high into the charts at no.3 in the UK it really should've gone straight to no.1. Who Do You Love Now is a pumping athletic club song that snatches the hi-NRG baton that was Dannii's epic single All I Wanna Do and refuses to regress, paved the way for Dannii's Neon Night's album and emerged as an unrelenting mini-marathon of a club hit. Absolutely flawless.

All I Wanna Do


All I Wanna Do is a regal dance-pop song. Posture royally straight, beats decked out like diamonds and refrains addictive, All I Wanna Do is one of shiniest gems in Dannii's crown. All I Wanna Do became the highest charting UK single of her career, entering the UK Top 40 at no.4. Her success with the song ensured its writers and producers replicated the song into what emerged into Believe which as everyone knows became a huge hit for Cher. With its James Bond Theme-esque guitars underscoring Dannii's siren-like vocal, All I Wanna Do was a revelation when I first heard it 1997 and I still marvel at its decadent display of dance, almighty production and sweeping electronic nuances.

Nervous 


An addictive pop cherry of a song if there ever was one, Nervous found itself on constant replay when I first heard it. Not once did it ever feel the side-effects of overplay: burn out. Being a b-side to I Begin To Wonder in 2003, it's over ten years now and I don't think I'll ever tire hearing it. It is immense. Written by Ian Masterson and Terry Ronald, Nervous is a song I've always wondered why the hell it wasn't a) on the album and b) potentially a single! I L.O.V.E Nervous. Its delicious smooth dark electro synths slide over Dannii's sensual vocals and marry-up together to create an highly edgy pop song with raw slicks and addictive beats. Gorgeous.

I Begin To Wonder


I Begin To Wonder leaves me breathless. Just like Who Do You Love Now, I Begin To Wonder takes no prisoners and had me in a disco asthama attack. Written by Dannii Minogue, Jean-Claude Ades, Dacia Bridges and Olaf Kramolowsky for Minogue's 2003 album Neon Nights it incredibly well in the United Kingdom charting at no.2 and certified gold in Australia. I Begin To Wonder is, in many ways, the one song in Dannii's music box that feels very much like a supermodel strutting down the catwalk edging out all competitors, totally fierce and full of attitude. It simply struts.

Come & Get It


In many ways, this is I Begin To Wonders very naughty twin sister. Released a promo single in Germany and somewhat lost as a hidden track on Neon Nights I refuse to allow Come & Get It to be forgotten. For me, the composition written by JCA and Dannii is perhaps more favourable than its sister track. I don't know why exactly but there's something about the Donna Summer-esque vocals layered over the chorus and huge Blade Runner movie soundtrack atmosphere that has always drawn to Come & Get It. As such it is a must in any Dannii essential playlist. The vocal arrangements over the chorus is pure ecstasy and worth the entry price alone. Dreamy.

This Is It


Talking of Dannii's vocals, it was Dannii's ever happy cover of Melba Moore's This Is It which saw me really take notice of the amazing lungs, harmonies and vocal arrangement contained in Dannii's singles. This Is It was also the first single from her second album and it felt very much like a game-changer. For sure, I loved Success and Baby Love, but it was with this release I felt Dannii was putting the exclamation mark in her pop delivery. The message was very much "I have arrived - take notice!". It became one of Dannii's biggest singles repeating the top ten success of her debut single Love and Kisses when it went no.10 in summer months of 1993. Moreover, it is rare example in pop where the cover eclipsed the original and has become staple in Dannii's live shows. Pure pop bliss.

Feels Like I Do


Another JCA production, co-written by pop queen Hannah Robinson and Dannii Feels Like I Do is nothing else like she released during her time with AATW. In many ways you could almost imagine Lady Gaga plonk this on her future albums (you know, when she had her high pop-voltage moments and refrained from going into that weird arty-pop space Gaga loves to linger around for, sadly, too long). Feels Like I Do was decked out in sharp beats, euphoric rifts and uplifting toplines. It is irresistibly catchy and feels delicious next to So Under Pressure where the song was given b-side status. It was eventually given well-deserved higher prominence on Dannii's Club Disco album which is well worth tracking down if you can get a copy.

Goodbye Song

Dann

This was a b-side initially available on the release of Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling and the Masterson/Ronald track should've been a single. I won't hear any arguments exposing otherwise. The bitchy lyrics are tremendous as they wrap themselves around the whip-ass immense production. Goodbye Song is, in many ways, is unusual in that there is no other song like it in Dannii's huge discography and for that reason alone it deserves toasting. On so many levels this track works. Quirky, delicious, creative and funky I never tire of Goodbye Song. On the re-release of Dannii Minogue's excellent Neon Nights, Goodbye Song finally found itself on the album it long deserved be on.

It Won't Work Out


Dannii rarely does ballads. But when she does they're immense. Whether it be I Don't Wanna Take This Pain, The Winner Takes It All or Live For The One I Love Dannii's ballads reveal not only a softer side but also great power behind her voice. One of my favourites of these moments was the last track on her Neon Nights album It Won't Work Out. Written by Terry Ronald, Ian Masterson and Dannii, the song feels confessional, incredibly heart-breaking and revelatory. As such, this chillingly honest heartfelt narrative is not only a brilliant moment on Neon Nights but highlights stunning vocals from Dannii. It is a perfect closer to a excellent pop album and one I constantly go back to. Beautiful.

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Dannii has released a number of greatest hits packages and the recent This Is It: The Very Best Of Dannii Minogue features all her singles and the new song Cos You're Beautiful. Besides the studio albums all of which were re-released and re-mastered with unreleased material and are well-worth hunting down, a lot of the rarer songs featured above are also available on the following releases - The 1995 Sessions, The Early Years, The Hits & Beyond, Club Disco, Unleashed -  all of which you can all track down on places like Amazon.



2015 in Pop! (New acts & releases that I am pretty excited about)


ACT: Kylie Minogue & Giorgio Moroder

WHY: This is pretty much self-explanatory. Kylie. And Moroder. Says it all actually. The album includes a whole gang of exciting collaborations but for me I am gonna head straight towards to the union of Kylie and Giorgio. It's peculiar to think that the two haven't already worked together but its never too late and it seems right to do it now. So excited about this. My lips tremble at the thought of it all. Clutching my disco pearls. 
SOUND: 

ACT: Karen Harding
WHY: Putting my hands up here. Self-Confessin'. I've loved Karen Harding and "Say Something" since I first heard it in the cold months of 2014. Her powerful warm yet soulful vocals surround her debut single that immediately sounds sliced between a lost retro garage house gem of the 1990s and yet spiky dance anthem of 2015. Karen, I can't wait for the album! 
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ACT: Harriet
WHY: Buoyed after the success of her Christmas EP (buy here) and her debut EP "What's Mine Is Yours" (Buy here), Harriet has already planned the follow-up making good on the sparkling response received repeated airplay on BBC Radio 2 & performed live on Graham Norton's weekend show. New stuff is probably due February. She's been busy working with mighty song maestros Steve Anderson, Cliff Masterson, Judie Tzuke and has pencilled in some more very additional exciting sessions before a summertime release of her album.
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ACT: Nervo
WHY: Been waiting for their album Collateral (wip title) to come for a while now. But all good things and all that, right? The album contains their amazing first single with Au Revoir Simone "Rise Early Morning" which is everything I expected and had hoped would be. Big, dance and anthemic. All eyes and eyes will be on the Jake Shears & Kylie duet which is apparently very disco. Should be out around May via Astralworks. Very excited. 
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ACT: Billie Marten
WHY: Her voice is something else. I can never ever tire of Billie Marten. She is outer-wordly and her performances are always spellbinding. I am transfixed by her material and thankfully down to taking all the right steps in 2013 and 2014, it is this year when it looks like she's about to soar. Last year saw her release beautiful "Ribbon", perform at Reading over the summer and take part in Music Weeks Presenting series. Four days ago she signed to the glorious people at Chess Club Records (MØ & Oceaán). So very exciting times for Billie this year.  
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ACT: Bianca
WHY: Bianca is pure pop. So that's always a pretty good place to start. She's working with Steve Anderson and Richard Stannard on her debut album which promises to doff its hat to big hair, Whitney, leg-warmers, Stock/Aitken and everything pop. Also gotta take this moment to note Bianca's stunning voice which she showed off gloriously in her stunning cover of Robbers. Big voice+big things=big 2015. *Gets popcorn*
SOUND: soundcloud.com/biancamusicuk

ACT: Markus Feehily 
WHY: I've always wondered why there wasn't a really male popstar who'd somehow managed create the same delicious magic stardust which fuelled the comets of Robyn and Mary J Blige, combine the two and festoon himself with the glorious afterglow of such a dyadic collision. I thought perhaps for one moment Sam Smith may lead me down that rather interesting path. He sadly hasn't. I gather however Markus has taken on the challenge with immense gusto and as such I can't wait to hear and see him take to the stage in March when he finally unveils his hotly anticipated new sound. Gonna be a good'un. 
SOUND: Not yet. 

ACT: Aurora
WHY: It certainly helps that she shares the name of one of my favourite Disney princesses. It also helps that she hails from one of my favourite regions of pop: Norway. Bergen to be precise. Signed already to Petroleum/GlassNote Records (Decca), Aurora's deliciously synth trinkets of exuberance have ensured she is definitely one of my acts to watch out for this year. My favourite has to be "Awakening". Check it out here. But in fact, everything she touches turns to gold. 
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ACT: Levana 
WHY: I'm rather excited about Levana. I mean c'mon - what a pop name!? Levana! She's been a busy queen b working steadily on her new album with the brilliant pop producer Sarah de Courcy. Nay, Sarah is an immense talent so I'm keeping my eye on Levana. So far proceedings have been kept under wraps but last year she teamed up with the lovely people over at Freemasons (here). And, though I'm thinkin the dance collab is quite far removed from her general sound, the sumptuous voice  of Levana decorates the track like a sonic jewel in the crown. Cannot wait to hear more. 
SOUND: Not yet. 

ACT: Blänk
WHY: Ever since the Nordic trio uploaded their seminal beauty of a song "Tears Run Dry",  I've been fallen hard for the delicious music of Lina, Klas & Simon. "Tears Run Dry" was co-written by one of my favourite Swedish scribes of very good music Noonie Bao (who had a number 1 in the UK with "I Could Be The One" with Avicii). Clapping my hands with joy at the news that three-piece's forthcoming LP "Only Built For Northern Lights" is due out on 9 March via Grind Records.
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ACT: Vaults
WHY: The first of December saw Vaults release "Poison" & additional songs from their big buzz EP "Vultures". They've been bubbling for quite some time but it is 2015 that should see them have some fun. Elegant and sophisticated, their earthy dark electro music fronted by the organic vocals of lead singer Blithe provides a sublime tableau of stylish and critically substantial pop music. Ever since "Premonitions" and "Cry No More" in 2013, I've been hooked. Their debut album is going to be tres tres good. 
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ACT: Sonia Stein
WHY: I love St.Vincent. I also love Shannon Saunders. & Laurel. Love those three too? Sonia may be up your straße. I love her ghostly dark production that drapes itself around her sumptuous voice. Layer on a gorgeous guitar and Sonia makes strikingly atmospheric music which never fails to provide a firework of goosebumps. One of the best new arrivals of 2014 and one to watch this year. 
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ACT: Say Lou Lou
WHY: Been waiting for their debut album for some now despite. So very much buzzed about the news that, yes, the album is coming out! Their new single "Games For Girls" is a little like a pop remix of a Rebecca & Fiona song which is an immense compliment. As I love love love love Rebecca & Fiona. The album, Lucid Dreaming, is out next month. Getting out the streamers already. Oh yes! 
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ACT: Robyn
WHY: The return of Robyn. Don't need many reasons to fully explain why I am excited about new material from Robyn. Suffice to say after a few years of collaborating with very talented persons rumour has Robyn is releasing her big follow-up to Body Talk in the much adored latter end of 2015. So, there may be a bit of a wait but it'll be well-worth it. 
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ACT: Ina Wroldsen
WHY: Involved in some of the biggest pop songs of the last few years, Ina branched off with Swede Arnthor to create Ask Embla and thus released one of the finest pop albums of the decade. Now, Ina is going solo. Her first song "Aliens" has over 2 million streams on spotify alone. In her native Norway, it is gigantic thanks to immense - and well-deserved - radio support. I can't wait for her debut album. Counting the days, nay minutes, until its released. 
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