Song of the Week: Elohim – Sensations

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I wouldn’t normally choose a Song of the Week by an artist I’d already featured a few months earlier, but this choice seems fair because Sensations is even better than Elohim’s previous peak, The Bridge and the Wall. Elohim fits into the category of ‘Soundcloud girls’ – well known to a certain set of bloggers and music geeks, yet entirely anonymous on a grander scale. But while most of her contemporaries in this crowd make half-hearted attempts at being poptastic while still trying to retain their cool cred, Elohim has managed to balance the two aims much more naturally, and the result is some high quality indie-pop which feels current yet somehow equally out of place in 2016. I wish she’d get over the face-hiding gimmick though… it wasn’t that interesting when Daft Punk did it, let alone Sia. Just post a selfie and get on with making good music – that’s my advice!

Future Hits: Will you realise when I’m gone, that I dance to a different song?

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My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:

  • Kungs vs Cookin’ on 3 Burners – This Girl
  • Reggie n Bollie – New Girl
  • Craig David – One More Time
  • Kent Jones – Don’t Mind
  • OneRepublic – Wherever I Go

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my  Spotify playlist, updated weekly with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Dagny (Republic)

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The Great Escape was the third time I’d seen Dagny at a festival, but the first time I walked away thinking it was time to feature the Norwegian singer here in Future Pop. She’s come a long way since I first caught her playing forgettable acoustic-pop (like this) at Sweden’s Where’s The Music festival in 2015, where she was outshone by other acts on the line-up such as Aurora. I was surprised, therefore, to see her become one of the hottest unsigned acts of the year a few months later when she released Backbeat. At Eurosonic festival earlier this year, I discovered she’d transformed into a sparkly blonde electro-pop singer, and at The Great Escape I found she’d made further progress, putting on a charismatic performance of a strong selection of sassy songs. Thanks to online buzz she signed a deal with Universal Republic, home of many brilliant female artists, from Taylor Swift to Lorde. So far Backbeat is the only song online (her earlier releases have mysteriously vanished!) but I’m intrigued to see the fruits of her work under the new label.

Future Stars: Muna (Columbia)

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It’s often an act that I don’t expect much from who becomes my highlight of a festival – there’s nothing better than discovering a new favourite completely out of the blue. I was aware of LA girl trio Muna before The Great Escape, but they weren’t top of my list to see. They played the songs I knew, Winterbreak and Loudspeaker, but it was their new, unreleased tunes, the upbeat I Know a Place and the lovely ballad If You Love Me Now, that convinced me these girls are ones to watch. I need studio versions of these songs ASAP! The band is made up of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson, all in their early 20s, who met while at university in California. They’re signed to Sony RCA for the US, and will release through Columbia in the UK. As a girl group with instruments, Muna will inevitably be compared to Haim, and their sound is quite similar, but I feel their songs have more warmth and groove to them.

Song of the Week: Amir – J’ai cherché

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I’m off to Eurovision for the first time this week, which as a superfan of the Song Contest, is obviously hugely exciting. I’ve been preparing by listening to this playlist of the year’s entries (in roughly best-to-worst order) compiled by my poptastic pal Talia. There isn’t one immediately obvious winner a la Euphoria or Fairytale, but there are some really nice tunes in the mix. The track which stood out to me most on first listen was the joyous J’ai cherché from France’s smiley singer Amir, a finalist in The Voice in 2014. Unusually for the French, the track isn’t entirely in their native language – the extremely catchy chorus is in English (there’s a full English version too). It will be interesting to see if this improves their chances in the competition. In recent years they’ve contributed some of my favourite entries but haven’t performed much better than the UK’s embarrassing attempts. 2014’s brilliant Moustache by Twin Twin actually came last. The campaign for justice for France in Eurovision starts here!

Future Hits: Got that sunshine in my pocket, got that good song in my feet

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

My weekly playlist features five tracks I predict will be future hit singles in the UK.

Tracklisting:

  • Ariana Grande – Into You
  • Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell
  • Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop The Feeling
  • Selena Gomez – Kill Em With Kindness
  • High Contrast – Remind Me

For more Future Hits, subscribe to my Spotify playlist, updated weekly with the next big thing.

Future Stars: Frenship (Unsigned)

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Frenship is an LA-based electro-pop duo, made up of Brett Hite and James Sunderland, who are hoping to tap into the tropical trend. They’re best known for featuring on the Hype Machine favourite Knives by Norwegian producer Matoma, in which they somehow manage to sound like Flo Rida. They’ve also been building up a following over the past six months by releasing their own music on Soundcloud and Spotify. Their latest single Capsize has been by far their biggest success, with 3 million plays on Spotify so far. It adds a female voice into the mix, in the form of 23-year-old Emily Warren, a songwriter who has co-written hits for Tiësto and The Chainsmokers, and album tracks for 5SOS and Fifth Harmony. Capsize also has another familiar co-writer, Scissor Sisters member Babydaddy, whose recent credits include Demi Lovato’s Confident. The track has a summery beach bliss sound – it’s basically 2016 by numbers. Their tracks are all credited to Frenship on Spotify, suggesting there’s no label involved, but they are represented by industry heavyweights CAA and Red Light Management.

Future Stars: James TW (Island)

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Last week I saw Island’s new singer-songwriter signing James TW supporting Shawn Mendes and it was the best-matched headliner and support I’ve seen in a while. Any one of the 18-year-old Brit’s songs could have been tracks from Shawn’s album. James is quite geeky and posh (the TW stands for Taylor-Watts) and not an obvious heartthrob, but he’s truly talented. He has a strong voice with a lovely tone, and the songs sit precisely where Shawn meets Sheeran. It was a track called Different which really won me over, where he sings about a friend who’s “different in a cool way.” It’s such a teenage way of expressing the sentiment, which I think will appeal to the intended audience. Weirdly it’s the last track on his EP, so I hope this doesn’t mean the label have missed its hit potential. He’s also covers Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn in his live set and EP, a very smart choice as it’s familiar to the teen fans from One Direction’s X Factor performance. Impressively, Torn already has 5 million Spotify plays after just 3 weeks of release, and his single When You Love Someone has a million plays too.

Top of the Poptastic: The best singles of April 2016

Here are my top 20 singles of April, compiled into a poptastic playlist for your enjoyment. I hope you discover some new favourites! I’ve also updated my Spotify playlist, which features all the songs from my monthly charts (or the ones available on Spotify, at least), and you can listen to that here.

  1. Little Mix ft. Sean Paul – Hair
  2. Basic Tape – Not Afraid
  3. Lisa Ajax – Give Me That
  4. Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna – This Is What You Came For
  5. Zedd ft. Kesha – True Colours
  6. Kacey Musgraves – High Time
  7. Broods – Free
  8. The Fooo Conspiracy – Summer Love
  9. KOLAJ – The Touch
  10. Mu – Vampire
  11. Kyla La Grange – Hummingbird
  12. Cruel Youth – Diamond Days
  13. Nakita – Where Are You?
  14. Amy Grant & Tori Kelly – Baby Baby
  15. Bahari – Dancing on the Sun
  16. Cheat Codes x Kris Kross Amsterdam – Sex
  17. Mozambo & Max Liese Ft. Julia Church – Vapours
  18. Erik Hassle – If Your Man Only Knew
  19. Gwen Stefani – Misery
  20. Ingrid Michaelson – Hell No

Song of the Week: Beyoncé – Daddy Lessons

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I haven’t had chance to listen to Lemonade yet (or any of Beyoncé’s previous albums for that matter… maybe one day), but as soon as I heard that it featured a country song I had to check it out. While the country-dance music trend has come and gone, 2016 seems to be the year that country intertwines with hip-hop and R&B. Kacey Musgraves duetted with Miguel, Nelly’s new single is a cover of a recent country hit, Justin Timberlake is rumoured to be working on a country album after owning last year’s CMAs, and now Beyoncé’s got involved, so it’s definitely a trend. In Daddy Lessons, her voice blends well with the jaunty guitar, and she’s gotten into the spirit of the genre with lyrics about a dastardly dude and threats of violence. The Pistol Annies would be proud.