Full of attitude, energy and seemingly buoyed by newfound confidence, Mabel kicked off 2018 with a bang, collaborating with Not3s on his Top-20-charting single 'My Lover', and recruiting the young MC on her own rapidly-rising new single, 'Fine Line'. "Blazing a trail that's all her own" (Guardian) and "flipping the music-world's male gaze without missing a beat" (Dazed), Mabel is a once-seen, not-forgotten talent who, startlingly, has also only just begun.
Jaykae, is undoubtedly an artist we must thank for putting Birmingham's Grime scene officially on the map. Like any true artist does, he draws deeply from his life experiences. Triumphs, setbacks, friends, family, dreams and new found fatherhood all have an impact on Jaykae's style, as he bares all, giving listeners solid, rugged Grime. This visceral realness connects him & makes his voice indepensible to his ever growing fanbase.
A recent collaboration with Ed Sheeran, featuring a remix from producer Sir Spyro, starring Stormzy, Jaykae and 18-year-old rap superstar Aitch, saw Take Me Back To London rise up the charts.
The story of UB40, and how this group of young friends from Birmingham transcended their working-class origins to become the world's most successful reggae band is not the stuff of fairytales as might be imagined. The group's led a charmed life in many respects it's true, but it's been a long haul since the days they'd meet up in the bars and clubs around Moseley. With a new album set for release soon and a celebration 40th anniversary performance at the Royal Albert Hall planned for the summer, UB40 are just as popular as ever.
IRISH trio The Script have enjoyed phenomenal success since they first hit the big time back in 2008. The boys are touring throughout February 2018, and halfway through UK dates on the 'FreedomChildTour,' Danny O'Donoghue hits Summerfield Studios, for writing, vocals and piano tracking sessions.
An incredible 45 years since their formation, the music of the Electric Light Orchestra is still as popular as ever. All over the world, people are tuning into the sound of ELO via radio, the internet, cinemas and TV. The seemingly ageless songs of ELO leader Jeff Lynne are even being heard again in the singles charts, thanks to the cream of today's young dance acts sampling the band's original music and turning on a whole new generation of fans.
Birmingham's very own singing sensation Laura Mvula has come into the nation's conscience big time in the past year. Laura has accepted an invitation to write the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of Antony & Cleopatra.
Laura admits: "It's way the hardest thing I've ever had to do, the hardest by miles. After jumping in and agreeing to do it, the realisation of what I had taken on suddenly hit me, and I thought, 'oh f**k!!". Laura, has been working with ex-Abbey Road engineer and producer Gareth Cousins, at Summerfield Studios on the project.
Unlike a lot of other pop stars in the business, Omi writes his own songs. Since any kind of collaboration requires multiple people to put production before themselves, he says it's a good idea to "leave your egos outside the door". According to him, taking that one hour before recording to 'vibe' with the co-writers is imperative because the composition of music is more spiritual than anything else.
Despite the sudden attention that 'Cheerleader' received, he doesn't think there's a foolproof formula to a global hit, as it's the listeners who make or break a record. "Plus if anyone had the formula to making a hit song, they would probably be selling it on eBay," he says, jokingly.
Jeff Lynne's ELO
Digital Farm Animals
The Luka State
Oceans Ate Alaska
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Gareth Cousins (producer)
Wisebuddah Studios London
Gullane (Thomas) Limited