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D. Ward – Gone but anything but forgotten

Anyone who has live duets with Toni Braxton and Patti Labelle on their CV is someone who has clearly paid their musical dues and as the slick and soulful strains of Gone emanate from the speaker you know that you are listening to something a bit special. Yet despite being able to name drop those and many other top industry names D. Ward isn’t content to sit on his laurels and live off of past glories and this track, and the forthcoming album Journeys are proof of his this.

Soulful pop and groove-laden R&B lay down a platform for his amazing voice as he tells a tale of lost love, a reflective and wistful memory filled with a heavy heart and boundless emotion. Sometimes there is something to be said for an act which pulls familiar musical heartstrings, sometimes you might prefer the sound of an artist working at the modern edge of the genre in question. With D. Ward you get the perfect blend of both.


King Kush Releases Smooth And Soulful Track “Love Letter’

King Kush is a young upcoming hip hop artist delivering a sound that is relaxing with a chill vibe, while also exploring interesting subject matter through rap and smooth melodies. His collaboration with Saint Tut on the track “Love Letter” does in fact delve into a Neo-Soul sound which features very laid back beats, delicate harp countermelodies in combination with a very smooth melodic chorus and steady rap verses. Another interesting point to mention is that the use of autotune on the vocal melodies does not take away too much of the expression, but rather smoothens out the melody to make it even more luscious.

In this particular song, King Kush tells us all about a particular situation which leads to the composition of a hand written love letter in the hopes of clarifying making things better.  With a steady and convincing flow throughout the verses, also containing a light melodic character, the message is delivered clearly. Apart from the delicate and romantic melodies involved in expressing this situation, it is also interesting to note the harmonic progression within the underlying instrumental background, particularly the into, hinting at jazz inspired sonorities which add an added touch of sophistication to the whole sound while still conforming with the chill laid back atmosphere being created.

-Sarah Marie Bugeja


Tyc’s Track ‘Now Or Later’ Has Something For Everyone

While it’s nice to get lost in an emotion or to experiment with an unfamiliar aesthetic, musicians know better than anyone that sometimes you need to be taken on more of a journey. TyC is an artist who can bring you from Point A to wherever you need, even a few places you may not know you need. Now Or Later is a song that starts with acknowledgments of longing. There’s no speed to it, no dance, no energetic expression, just a cool and calm explanation of sympathy. We’ve all needed a song like this before. TyC has other plans for us though.

When the chorus hits, the mood changes in a way that isn’t easily defined. Between the unpredictable beat, the almost tropical upbeat instrumentation and the soulful delivery of the vocals, Now Or Later passes the listener through a mixed crowd of different feelings. By the time you make it out to breathe in the next verse, the song is a completely different setting and the feeling is beyond oversimplified themes. At this point, it’s not about where we’re going or even where we are. This is a song that takes you for a ride and that’s more than enough reason to pump the volume and enjoy yourself. Featuring Sonny Step, this track has something for everyone.


Check Out The Infectious Club Groove On ‘Want It All’ By James Francis

If anyone is the master of the effortlessly soulful, infectious club groove, it is James Francis. Want It All is the perfect example of the man at work, building a dance floor future classic out of the bare minimum, a tight beat, spacious dynamics and an inherent soulfulness which comes from not only his great vocal delivery but an understanding of the less is more concept.

But keeping things simple is not the same as simplistic and here he proves that it isn’t just about using only a few musical building blocks, it is about using the right few, ones which perfectly complement each other and using space and atmosphere as the mortar to hold it all together. James Francis is about many things but most importantly he is about just getting on with the job with the minimum of fuss. Want It All shows just how wonderfully he excels at it.


Jessica Curran’s Release Video For Well Crafted Song ‘Weightless’

There are certain musical styles that never seem to find a wider audience no matter how much talent can be found within. Weightless by Jessica Curran is a track that just might be able to pull in some pop diehards to appreciate the sounds of analog instruments and soulful sway. If vape lounges growing like weeds across America can signal anything for music, can it mean a concerted effort to bringing lounge music into fashion? Please?

This is a song built for stage and yet the recording doesn’t feel burnt from a lack of context. Curran’s stunning vocals are enough to pull the listener into a more intimate scene where without facial expressions, without bodily movements, without an atmosphere of coffee and socializing, we can still feel like we’re experiencing something. Weightless balances jazzy basslines and piano with a string arrangement that powerfully takes over in moments when vocals are absent. There’s never a dull moment and it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to hear anything else once Curran starts singing. This is a well-crafted song and we can only hope it’s an omen of the future.


Molto Fresco’s soulful dance jazz-pop ‘A Fresh Delight (You Bring Me)’

Although an album called Ain’t That A Beach Party Vol. 2 is going to put all sorts of preconceptions in the mind of the potential listener, even before the first notes have been released into the summer air, A Fresh Delight, which can be found in this compilation, manages to rise way beyond any notions of throw away seasonal hits. Instead it revels in a sort of elegant jazz delivery put to a joyous house beat but even rises beyond that with a smoky and languid vocal sitting contrastingly over the vibrant beat below.

It means that there is something for everyone here depending on how you approach the song. Those looking for a party will find a groovesome track with a great vocal, perfect as part of the soundtrack to your summer fun but approach from a different angle and you will find a fantastically soulful jazz-pop vocal being driven towards more commercial waters one beat at a time.


Christopher George releases Fire It Up

Classic and timeless vibes shoot right through the heart of Christopher George’s music, it is soulful, sassy, chilled and full of emotion and mood. That’s a lot to fit into one song but it is because he has studied the classic sound of the soul greats, the R&B icons and even some of the ground breaking pop writers that he understands just what makes a future classic song.

And if that seems like an over sell, close your eyes, wind back the clock and pretend it is any other decade from the 60’s onwards and this song could fit comfortably within it. Not because it is dated but because it is woven from all the musical threads that never go out of fashion. Would you consider a vintage Rolls Royce out dated? No because it’s built of sleek lines and of a design that transcends fashion. The same is true of Christopher George’s music.


A&R Factory Present: Jamie Light

Emerging UK singer Jamie Light is proud to unveil debut single “Lies”, released independently via his own label, Ninth Park Records . The self-penned and produced track immediately stands out with its catchy hook and Jamie’s soulful vocals laid over glitchy electro beats—stemming from the singer’s love of electro music and the R&B/soul he has been influenced by since his early years.

“I always wanted to mix glitch elements with R&B to give my music a unique vibe and the result was ‘Lies’, which I wrote about a previous situation”, Jamie says of the track. “The song is about confronting the demise of a turbulent relationship and moving on when you can no longer gain anything from being in it.”

“Lies” is available to stream now and is the first single to be taken from Jamie Light’s forthcoming debut EP, RITUALS, scheduled for release in June. Keep up to date with all future releases and news by following Jamie and Ninth Park online:






A&R Factory Present: Mac Original

Mac Original’s status does not do him justice, as so patently hinted in his name, he asserts originality and musical capability in his debut 13-track album Breathtaker. The album is a takeover of and R&B where there are inspirations and influences from Frank Ocean, Andre 3000 and Pharrell. The masterpiece becomes an adventurous story which is articulated by Mac Original himself, shedding light on the cold hard truths of reality.

The album shifts from high points to low points throughout, with elements of sorrow in ‘Breathtaker’ and ‘Meaning Of It (So Close)’, a damning journey of transformation in ‘Huger St’, whilst ‘Let it Breathe’ is glowing with blithe. However, what makes Mac Original’s prolific creation so audacious is how he presents the underlying issue of race. Rather than constructing the matter into a song of blues, he turns it around into a track of optimism, creating a contingent confidence to an ongoing problem. Mac Original delicately glosses over the plight of apprehension with a soothing melody lead by a piano, which sets the song aside from other tracks in the album as the moment becomes quite sincere. Remarkably, the song is anything but suffering, and becomes the meaning of hope and promise. “I’m just reflecting on some pain for my last name/You know my ancestors, yeah I had several/Every problem settled wasn’t no pulling the metal/More like whips to the back, shit I still feel that”. There is no hostility embodied in between the lyrics, neither is there enclosed in the melody. Mac Original’s primary goal is to focus on the truth, reminding us “don’t be afraid of the dark/because the new sun is a brighter year”.

What makes each track pop is the variety of Mac Original’s own personality. He reveals moments of misery, but shares the original characteristic of the album and that is feel good groove. ‘Let It Breathe’ flies high with aspects of soulful funk and jazz, with the use of brass instruments lifting the auspicious ambience. A string of buoyant beats infuses a cheery quality, completely transforming the summery vibe. What’s most promising about Mac Original’s outlook is how the depth of his material is set on the struggle he bears; however, he refuses to let his own personal troubles obstruct him from his growing success. Mac Original fruitfully articulates this understanding, whilst the song itself is stimulating to our own difficulties and is comforting to us.

Elsewhere, the cracks are earnestly displayed in ‘Huger St’, a soothing melody which heinously turns abruptly half way through the track. The rapid transformation in the song and the faint sound of police sirens in the background is almost damning to the listener and becomes a track thirsty for hope. The beat overlaps the rhythm creating a state of confusion, and where the ripple in the sound becomes ambiguous, the mood fluctuates to solemn disposition.

A recurring theme that flows through Breathtaker is the coming of age notion. Mac Original has experienced things he can’t express, he has seen things he can’t explain, and the method he copes with tragedy is through musical expression. ‘Breathtaker’ is a chilling track which pulls on the heart strings. Mac Original delves deep into his emotions, discussing how he’s been told what he should be and who he should be, but none of that truly matters when his close friend passed away, the only person mattered to him. As the album continues, Mac Original’s authentic narrative is so cohesive in its fundamental meaning. A connection is built between the listener and emotions run high, which is why the album is so easy to comprehend. ‘So Close’ is another example of Mac Original’s heartfelt work. He champions the R&B element of this track, and manages to portray his message across in a slow jam style. There is a trait of loneliness is Mac Original’s detached voice, and perhaps he hits a spot of reservation that his listeners can relate to. Lyrics that many can relate to, “So close so close so close/Yet so far from you”, and despite revealing such delicate emotions, this is when Mac Original is at his strongest.

In an attempt to parade all aspects of human emotion in Breathtaker, Mac Original constructs just that, and more than what he was bargaining for. Efficaciously, he tells a story of affliction, but in some cases, he extracts the goodness from the bad. The combination of alternate genres demonstrates artistic style and enterprise, and what therefore brands Mac Original as an innovative artist unique to American hip-hop.

Words Aly Mchugh

A&R Factory Present: Veronica King

A beautiful product of Panamanian-American heritage, singer-songwriter Veronica King rehashes classic, soulful R&B with a silken voice that conjures nostalgic vibes, prompts good times, and ignites familiarity. Her debut single, “Ice Cream Sundae”, captures the essence of a fun-loving, teenage love affair, while simultaneously evoking the sensuality of a mature, romantic relationship. The music video for “Ice Cream Sundae” takes the story of the song a step further from the point of view of a young man taking Veronica out on several romantic outings. The visuals combined with the lyrics demonstrate how he makes her laugh, smile, experience complete bliss while they are together, and, of course, “melt like an ice cream sundae” from his expressions of love.

“Ice Cream Sundae” was conceived when a producer from Jazmine Sullivan’s last album, Reality Show, connected with King and her writing team through social media. The instrumentation stirred their imaginations to the experience of falling in love. After some dedicated writing sessions, Kingand her team were motivated to push forward with this radio-ready ballad.

Heavily influenced by the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Bob James, Donny Hathaway, Michael Jackson, and the late Aaliyah, Veronica King hones in on creating a unique and unforgettable sound that blends her eclectic, musical taste with Electronica and the sounds of today. Veronica is an explorer, thinker, dreamer – and her music dares to touch on love, both lost and found, passion, and life’s trying obstacles. In this way, Veronica Kingcelebrates positivity in all aspects of her life and allows her music to precede her and inspire others.

Veronica King as the Indie Queen of R&B. Stay tuned for Veronica King’s debut EP, which will be released this spring 2017.

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