LADY & JONES CHAT TOUR PLANS, FAVOURITE SONGS & THEIR NEW EP 73

It’s often been said that it’s those closest to us who bring out the best in all of us and husband and wife duo Lady & Jones are most certainly proof of that. The pair, from Virginia and Ohio respectively, have spent the past few months working tirelessly on their new EP, and with an album planned in the near future, their creative and musical partnership is going from strength to strength, just as they are. Here, they chat to thisisthelatest about song-writing inspiration, dream shows and their thoughts on the power of, in their own words, the social media game which they’re “late” to.

TITL: Please introduce yourselves.

Lady & Jones: First of all thank you for taking the time to chat with us – we are happy to have this opportunity! We are Lady & Jones, as you know, from the buckeye state of OH-IO. I – Jones – grew up in Ohio and we both have family and close friends still living there today. Lady lovingly calls Ohio “the pits”, since she loathes the cold. HA! I – Lady – was born in Virginia and spent a fair amount of my childhood in Georgia as my dads’ whole side of the family is from there. I love the sunshine and much prefer California to anywhere that I have lived.

TITL: It’s often been said that even friends can struggle to make a band work, so, as a married couple, what’s your secret?

L&J: Ha! Well, not sure we have figured that secret out, but we are always working at it. Music is one of the main things we argue about actually! Typically it’s nothing a chat, pizza or a burger won’t fix! We are both so passionate about our music that we won’t let anything stand in the way, even ourselves. Without music we would not be fulfilled and reciprocally we want to always have a happy healthy marriage. So we have no choice but to make it work! So we do, and we eat a lot of pizza in the meantime!

TITL: Which bands and artists would you say you’re most inspired and influenced by?

L&J: Jones has quite the man-crush on Jason Mraz and is always referencing his music. We don’t feel our music is like Jason’s necessarily but it definitely inspired Jones to write. We are influenced by so many bands but the ones that come to mind instantly are, Florence and the Machine, Hozier, Sara Bareilles, John Legend and X Ambassadors, just to name a few.

TITL: Tell me a little about your track “Not Sorry”. What’s the story behind it?

L&J: “Not Sorry” was written at a time when some very close family members and friends were experiencing hostile relationships. It was toxic and affecting many around us. At times it was hard to find words to deal with situations. Honestly, it started as a joke because Lady likes to say, “Sorry, not sorry”. Through the pain and many conversations this song developed as a conduit for the circumstances.

TITL: Is there an EP or an album in the works?

L&J: Yes! We are thrilled with the outcome of our first EP which is scheduled to drop this month after our second single “Our Story of Beauty” is released. Working with Mert Ozcan and Beto Vargas from The Record House was definitely rewarding and exciting.

TITL: Who or what most influences your song-writing and with that in mind, in your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why?

L&J: More than anything the situations we find ourselves in and the people around us have influenced the song-writing. I – Lady – have been touring with another company over the last year and have had the opportunity to travel, which has especially influenced my songwriting. I – Jones – find my writing is most influenced by small things. A single phrase or interactions on a crowded bus commute gets jotted down in a journal. At home it takes on a life of its own, turning into a new chorus, verse, or bridge. Inspiration truly comes from anywhere.

The greatest song ever written? Wow, that’s a question! We don’t want to offend the music gods by naming just one, so we will list a few of our favorites: “What’d I Say” by Ray Charles for his flawless improv, “Hotel California” by Eagles for its timeless lyrics, and “Some Nights” by Fun for its passion and powerful draw.

TITL: What are your upcoming performance plans and if you could share a stage with four other bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose?

L&J: We are currently putting together our band and were lucky enough to work with some phenomenal musicians in the process of creating our EP. We are hoping to share the stage with some of them here in the LA area soon after the EP release. If we were to share a stage with four other artists it would have to be Florence and the Machine, Karmin, Michael Jackson & Ray Charles.

TITL: Which venue, anywhere in the world, would you most like to play and why?

L&J: You know, we haven’t talked much about the venues as much as we have the fact that we would love touring together and are adamant about this happening soon! I – Lady – had the opportunity to perform at the Ryman this past year and I will never forget the surreal feeling of being on a stage that so many greats have performed on. That definitely is on the top of my list to experience with Jones by my side!

TITL: What are your thoughts on social media and to what extent has it helped grow your fan-base?

L&J: Unfortunately we are late to the social media game and it is still very new to us. We are growing daily and trying to reach fans organically. This industry proves delayed gratification. It is pretty overwhelming to worry about a number on your page! We try not to focus on that and instead keep dreaming, creating, and honing in on our craft. The fans and followers will come in time.

TITL: Would you agree that it’s a necessary tool for bands and artists or is still possible for those in the entertainment sector to get by without it?

L&J: We wish it wasn’t the case, but yes it does seem to be a necessary tool these days. There will always be exceptions to this rule but anymore most agents, managers, record labels, and writers won’t even consider you without seeing a high number on social media. So we play the game a little I suppose, but not without trying our hardest to be true to ourselves and our fans.

TITL: Finally then, what else does 2017 have in store for you and where would you like to see yourselves ten years from now?

L&J: We are excited for 2017 as we plan to start working on our first full album! It will be long hours and there will most definitely be pizza involved, but we are excited none the less. In ten years we hope to be doing music full time! We will be creating music that is still relevant with several tours under our belt. Exploring new places and meeting new people to share in our adventures is a huge goal! By that point, family will be in the mix for sure and we will be balancing it all, busy as ever but happier for it.

Give “Our Story of Beauty” a listen below and for more information on Lady & Jones, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Their self-titled EP is available now and can be purchased here.

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LIVE: THE SCRIPT @ MANCHESTER ARENA – FEBRUARY 3RD 2018 40

After a hugely successful mini-tour back in August and September ahead of fifth studio album Freedom Child’s release, it was really only a matter of time before The Script found their way back to the place they truly feel at home – on stage. But, before they delighted the thousands of die-hard fans, some of whom had queued since 2am to get the best spots at the barrier, who had sold-out Manchester Arena, it was up to Ella Eyre to metaphorically, and given the biting February cold, literally help warm them up ahead of the main event.

Ella walked on stage to a rapidly filling arena and for the next half hour, danced, shimmied and sang her way into the hearts of many before her. Vocally, she may not have been the strongest female to have graced the arena stage, but she certainly proved herself to be one of the most energetic as she encouraged the crowd to sing and dance along, especially to closing number and smash hit “Came Here For Love” which went down a storm.

After an interval of around half an hour, during which time a four sided curtain shrouded the B stage towards the back of the arena, the lights dimmed once more and, almost simultaneously, the cheering proceeded to get louder and louder. As the curtain fell away to the opening notes of “Superheroes”, the band, drummer Glen, guitarist Mark and front-man Danny, complete with newly dyed blonde locks, made their first appearance before their ecstatic audience, with Danny bouncing up and down brimming with the energy of a man half his age, but with a vocal that’s never sounded better.

Having told their fans via Twitter that this new tour was to be very interactive, following “Rock The World”, the band proceeded to prove said comment via “Paint The Town Green” and with Glen armed with a mini drum and Mark leading the way with his guitar, the band made their way through the packed crowd down to the front and onto the main stage.

“It’s Not Right For You” offered up the first real opportunity for the thousands packed into the venue to show off their vocal skills, and they seized said opportunity happily as their “oh-oh-oh’s” echoed around the vast space, before they earned themselves rapturous applause from Glen and bassist Ben in particular for their efforts during “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved.”

As Danny took a seat at the piano that had by now appeared on stage, he began to play the intro to “Wonders”, a track from the bands’ latest album which had already proven itself (given the Twitter reaction it’s received in recent months) to be a new fan favourite, so needless to say, as the thousands present finally heard it live for the first time, they were more than a little happy. One individual close to the front was likely even more so, when, mid-song, having left the piano, Danny proceeded to reach over, grab their drink and take a swig of it. The trio then continued to power their way through their set, delivering hit song after hit song – “Six Degrees Of Separation” and “Nothing” being just two, with applause and cheers rarely far from their ears. “If You Could See Me Now” meanwhile had many audience members, myself included, on the verge of tears, and the emotion in Danny’s voice, and in his eyes, was clear for all to hear and see.

“No Man Is An Island” had practically everyone in attendance (at least those I could see), including those in the seats, at Danny’s instruction, placing their left arm around the shoulder of the person next to them and taking eight steps to the left and eight to the right in time with the music – it made for quite a sight, one which has seen the crowd since be referred to, rather humorously, as “penguins.”

Continuing to be extremely (and surprisingly) interactive during with the crowd their set, the band then appeared in the middle of the seating area, surrounded by standing fans, and proceeded to play renditions of “If You Ever Come Back” and the beautifully melodic “Never Seen Anything Quite Like You”, before, as Mark and Glen made their way back to the main stage, Danny continued to delight those in the tiers by singing “The Energy Never Dies” as he made his way through the crowd back towards his bandmates.

It’s not every day you see fans hold up umbrellas indoors, but that’s exactly what some did during the performance of “Rain”, the song that rounded off the main set. Having left the stage for a few minutes, during which the sound of thousands of stamping feet and rapidly increasing in volume cheers echoed from all corners of the venue, the band then returned for their encore, kicking it off with “No Good In Goodbye”, closely followed by “Breakeven.”

With tonight being the first show the band have played in the arena since 2015, and following the bombing last year, it was touching to then see Danny introduce on stage the Parrs Wood High School Harmony Choir, who performed with Ariana Grande at the One Love Manchester concert.

He then went on to give an emotive and passionate speech about freedom:

“We all stand united together Manchester. That’s what this album is about; freedom. The freedom of expression, to love who you wanna love, to be who you wanna be, to say what you wanna say. Have no fear. Never fear! Now to me, music has always been the one true religion, because it accepts you no matter who you are, what colour, what creed, what sex, what shape, what nationality…it cares not. It’s always been there for me since I was young, and I’m guessing, by looking at all of you, it was there for you too.”

He called on everyone present to take out their phones and record the moment that was unfolding, inviting them to make a memory with him and the band. That moment, with thousands of lights filling the arena, created what Danny referred to as “a whole constellation of stars” of which he said, “every one of those is a portal to the outside world, and we’re going to give them a moment to remember.” As he asked if Manchester was ready to “make a moment”, the roaring cheer he received in response told him the answer was an emphatic ‘yes.’ From there “Hall Of Fame”, with the choir adding an extra special something to the performance, closed out the set, ending it on an undeniable high.

With over a dozen more dates still left for the band to perform on this leg of the tour, and likely scores more yet to be announced, tonight The Script not only entertained those before them, but also got those with tickets for upcoming shows, and following the show on social media, even more hyped up. They might have been away for close to three years, but given the energy and passion with which they performed each and every song, together with the reaction of the crowd, tonight in Manchester, it was like they never went away at all.

BRIT AWARDS 2018: RITA ORA TO PERFORM 41

The BRITs 2018 performance line-up adds another superstar in Rita Ora who will take to the stage at the awards ceremony for the first time this year. She will join Dua Lipa, Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Sam Smith, Stormzy, Rag’n’Bone Man and Jorja Smith at The O2 on 21 February for the biggest night in British music.

Previously nominated for four BRIT Awards, and with 7 million single sales and a No. 1 platinum debut album to her name, Rita’s recent return to music has seen her into the charts four times in less than a year, most recently with ‘For You’ – a duet with BRITs 2018 double-nominee Liam Payne.

Rita said: “I am so honoured to be performing at The BRITs this year, as a British artist it has always been a dream of mine and I am beyond excited”

BRITs Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said: “The BRIT Awards are a celebration of the biggest success stories of the last 12 months in music and Rita has had an incredible year.  She is one of the most exciting British artists of her generation.  I am so pleased to welcome her to The BRITs stage and very much look forward to what will undoubtably be one of the evenings many highlights.”

The 38th BRIT Awards will be hosted by Jack Whitehall and broadcast live on ITV. Celebrate with us on 21 February!