BBC Radio 1 launch ‘Brit List’ after they “struggled to break any UK artists in 2016”

2016 was a great year for UK music with Adele and David Bowie dominating UK artist sales but when it came to introducing new UK acts, 2016 was a loss. Fortunately Radio 1 are coming to the rescue.

That’s not to say that 2016 didn’t see the rise of some great new talent from our little island, like Rag N Bone Man, but overall it wasn’t a great year for breaking out new British artists. Now BBC Radio 1, the 3rd most popular UK radio station and the home of new music, have a plan to fix that with their new ‘Brit List’.

Radio 1’s Brit List will support the top up and comers in UK music that aims to help newer artists breakout on their radio station. Artists can submit themselves, whether they are signed or unsigned, to get onto the list for a “three-single playlist commitment”. Up to six new British artists will get chosen and the hope is that by their 3rd single the artist will end up on Radio 1’s A-list.

BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra Head of Music, Chris Price said: “It’s no secret that the wider music industry, of which Radio 1 forms an important part, struggled to break any UK artists in 2016. This is about Radio 1 taking a leading role in trying to fix that issue. We should continue to play a part in breaking UK artists at home and on the world stage.”

If you’re an artist looking to apply for Radio 1’s new Brit List you need to submit a 1-page PDF document featuring background and statistics of you’re artist as well as links to 3 singles in order of the approximate dates you intend to release them to Ty.Powell@bbc.co.uk. To be defined as new artists can not have released an album by the submission deadline of Friday, February 3rd.

London Grammar’s New Epic Ballad Lives Up To It’s Expectations

With the coming of the new year brings the comeback of a brilliant band some of us may have
forgotten.

London Grammar brought out their epic brand new single at the beginning of the year and its something quite spectacular. This new powerful ballad is named ‘Rooting for You’ and really shows off the true power of lead singer – Hannah Reid’s voice.

Back in 2013/14, they managed to overcome the new music charts, winning many awards including the prestigious Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically with their single ‘Strong’. London Grammar are famous for their strong and powerful ballads, but this new single reveals how much they can really get out of their sound and after not releasing anything since ‘If You Wait’ in 2013, this new track has brought  London Grammar back to the front of all our minds.

The instrumentation seems to be taking a step into the background while the vocals supply the full melody and power to song, it is also slower and emptier than much of there older material but this i think brings out their true talent in turning a small orchestra into a huge sound.

As much as this new single is a big powerful piece of music, it does miss the catchy hooks that may have propelled it onto the radio and with lots of new year releases such as Ed Sheeran’s ‘ Castle on the Hill’ and ‘Shape of You’, London Grammar will find it hard to break through and on to the charts.

So will this new stirring echoey sound be able to rock the music world like they managed to 4 years ago with their debut album, or will they struggle to compete with the catchy pop songs of the new generation ?

Artists still turning down Trump’s inauguration; “I think you’re a tyrant”

Either Trump’s team are getting desperate or the staff involved in invitations are incredibly disengaged with the liberal artists they’re inviting, who are publicly rejecting them.

It seems the search for an act that actually wants to play at Trump’s inauguration ceremony is never-ending. It’s like a fairy tale where the orange prince runs around all of the record labels looking for the perfect musician and then at the last minute the poor, downtrodden Prince Trump will come across a shining, fascistic beauty that fate destined to play at his ceremony – probably Kid Rock or something.

Except this fairy tale is unfortunately real, and reflects the divisiveness of the next most powerful man in the world. Yesterday Charlotte Church tweeted that she had been invited to play at Trump’s inauguration and Church, being a vocal supporter of women’s rights, the LGBT community, the EU and various other liberal things, of course said no. Which raises the question, are Trump’s team just incompetent or are they really that desperate for an artist that they’re trying everyone.

Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration, a simple Internet search would show I think you’re a tyrant. Bye

As Church says herself, it’s no surprise that Church was going to decline, but there are only so many conservative artists out there and even they’re wary of the Trumpster. Church follows a long line of artists to decline an invitation to play at the ceremony, including Rebecca Ferguson who actually accepted on the condition that she sing ‘Strange Fruit’ – Billie Holiday’s anti-racist song about lynching. Surprisingly her offer hasn’t been accepted… yet.

Another ill informed invitation was sent to notable activist and vegan Moby who responded aptly, saying on Instagram: “Hahahahaha, I was just asked by a booking agent if I would consider djing at one of the inaugural balls for #trump… Hahahahaha, wait, Hahahaha, really?” Moby joked that he would accept if he could play Public Enemy and Stockhausen remixes and if Trump released his tax returns. I think Moby’s safe in that respect.

Whilst we’re seeing many flat-out denials to play at the ceremony there are also many more invitations being quietly rejected or just ignored. It’s a little worrying when a ceremony that used to represent major importance and an honour is now being actively avoided by the majority of artists. It says a lot about Trump and his divisiveness, however with the questionable invites maybe it’s all part of his plan? “Look at all these disgraceful liberal musicians who won’t respect the public vote. It’s such a shame, ladies and gentleman, this is such a shame for this great country.”  Not an actual quote FYI.

I’m not saying there is a conspiracy but with all of these rejections you’d think Trump’s team would try and go after someone they know is actually supportive, like Kanye West, Azealia Banks, Kid Rock, Ted Nugent or someone similar. However these artists are yet to be extended the arm, unless even they’ve declined and decided to do it silently.

Whatever the case, there’s only 10 days left to see who Trump can manage to get onboard and boy I hope it isn’t a fairy tale ending.

President Barack Obama: “I’m still waiting for my job at Spotify”

January 20th is closing in fast and will see President Barack Obama leave the White House for the final time, so what are his plans? According to the man himself he’s waiting to be hired by Spotify.

Well okay – maybe, just maybe, Obama was joking when he said: “I’m still waiting for my job at Spotify”. Regardless of his career prospects following his two terms as president of the USA, Obama has embraced Spotify in recent years showing an unmatched recognition of music streaming by a political leader.

Both the POTUS and First Lady Michelle Obama, have created Spotify playlists to share their music tastes around the world. In fact their embrace of the music streaming service led to an official White House Spotify profile where the pair have shared various playlists of theirs, as well as the Biden’s tracklists for celebrating the summer and the holidays.

Obama’s use of Spotify is just one representation of his terms as president, the cool, calm and collected man that showed himself as a real human and earned respect around the world because of it. He has also been vocal in his support of modern hip-hop, naming Kendrick Lamar’s ‘How Much A Dollar Cost’ as his favourite song of 2015. A great choice considering it’s message about society, spirituality, generosity and greed.

Last year Obama revealed his final Summer playlists (at least as President) which features Daytime and Nighttime select cuts. The playlists included a massive range of music old and new, including Nina Simone, Beach Boys, Miles Davis, Jay Z, Courtney Barnett, Common and many more. The president’s love of music hasn’t been revealed through his playlists as Obama has notoriously sung at speeches many times before, including a version of Uptown Funk and even an Iggy Azalea track.

Obama has generally been a revolutionary with his embrace of new technology and platforms, having live-streamed interviews on YouTube and allowing people to get involved via the internet. His successor, President-elect Donald Trump has also welcomed new platforms, however in perhaps a slightly different manner. Trump has gained recognition for his prominent use of Twitter which some celebrate as a way to engage with the world, and others criticise for his hyperbole, tone and making various rants over issues generally deemed unimportant.

It will be interesting to see if President Trump will keep the White House Spotify profile active with his own music tastes or not. However if he does, I’m not expecting much more than a playlist of 30 Ted Nugent songs.

Ed Sheeran teases fans with new lyrics and a sudden release date

Ed Sheeran tweets for the first time in over a year with clues about his 3rd album. New lyrics, album cover previews, and a sudden release date all in the space of 3 days.

With the coming of a new year, one musician to make a sudden come back is Ed Sheeran. Over the course of the last 3 days he has tweeted clues and videos teasing fans about his upcoming 3rd album. Back in December 2015 Ed Sheeran decided to take a step back from the public eye when he quoted: “I’m taking a break from my phone, emails and all social media for a while, I’ve had such an amazing ride over the last 5 years but I find myself seeing the world through a computer screen and not my eyes”.

We then heard nothing from him for over a year, with no clues or idea when his 3rd album may be coming, this was until the 12th December when he tweeted a picture of just a solid blue square evidently telling the world he was back and ready to go. This blue square was to be of some relevance as it will be the colour of his new album.

The new album is to be named “%” after his two previous albums “+” and “X”. We know this after he tweeted the symbol on top of a blue background on Monday and today posted the symbol on its own. This isnt the only mystery reveal, Ed Sheeran seems to be dropping hints left, right and centre as he has been tweeting captions of lyrics reading “The Club isn’t the best place to find a lover” and “When I was six years old I broke my leg…”.

The new release is scheduled to be released for Friday 6th January at 5am GMT ( 12AM EST)  which will definitely keep a lot of people awake tonight as they eagerly await what is to come, whether it’ll be the entire album, a demo, a single, who knows? One thing is for sure though, there are a lot of people very excited about it.

As well his upcoming album release, Ed Sheeran is strongly rumoured as one of Glastonbury 2017’s headliners as he is reported to have said “The next festival I do will be headlining Glastonbury, but it wont just be next year. I want to be able to have at least three or four albums before i do it”. With the release of the 3rd album does this mean he’s ready to take to the Pyramid Stage as a headliner?

So what will we find out tomorrow? Is there a new chart topping album on its way tomorrow? or will we have to wait longer?