REVIEW: TRISTN – ‘JANUARY’ 46

TRISTN’s new album January instantly grabs the listeners’ attention with the thumping drum beat that kicks off opening number “All Of You” – it’s one of the best openings this reviewer has come across in several months and sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the collection.

“Sky Wide Open” doesn’t pack the same punch, but it’s a toe-tapping track that’s radio friendly and super catchy, so it’s little to no surprise TRISTN chose to release it as a single back in June. “Nothing To Say (Nothin’)” meanwhile is considerably stripped back, both in terms of its lyrical strength and instrumentation; it’s simplistic to the point of being rather boring and runs the risk of being skipped over by those who choose to give it a listen. Next track “Now You Know” keeps things running on the ballad-style route its predecessor started to take the album on, only this time, there’s an emotional intensity to TRISTN’s voice that makes the song haunting enough to linger in the mind long after it’s finished and it’s undoubtedly a highlight of the album.

It’s a shame therefore that “So Suddenly” which follows doesn’t reach the same high standard so by the time “Anywhere But Here” rolls around and the tempo picks up again, it’s a huge relief. The song itself is far from great, but the thumping of guitars and pounding of drums is more than enough to have this reviewer at least smiling again and believing that things are about to vastly improve, which they do thanks to the electro-pop vibe that reverberates throughout “Simple.”

“Last Goodbye” fares even better and looks set to be a fan favourite – imagine scores of hands clapping in unison and voices shouting out the chorus in perfect harmony – and would make a fantastic future release. It’s considerably disappointing therefore to find that TRISTN chose to slow things down again, this time via “Shattered Hearts” – the track alone sends the momentum produced by the two previous tracks on a sharp downhill trajectory, at least until about half-way through when, as the pace and tempo picks up, so does the strength of the song.

Closing number “Remember Me” is another ballad, but one, like “Now You Know”, that hits home emotionally and serves as a reminder to all those who hear it that we only live once and that there is no stronger voice in the world than our own; both actual and internal. From this reviewers’ viewpoint at least – as someone who has undergone some difficult times in recent months – it’s a stunning number that will likely resonate on several levels with people all over the world.

January is released on September 8th.

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2017 MOBO AWARD WINNERS REVEALED 15

The annual MOBO Awards took place in the UK Wednesday (November 29).

UK grime artist Stormzy dominated, picking up three out of the five gongs for Best Male Act, Best Grime Act and Best Album for his debut “Gang, Signs & Prayer”.

Wizkid was crowned Best International Act, which means he goes down in history as the first African artist to have won the BET Award and MOBO Award for Best African Act as well as the MTV EMA for Best Worldwide Act and also the Best International Act.

Below is the full list of the 2017 MOBO Awards winners:

Best Male Act: Stormzy
Best Female Act: Stefflon Don
Best Album: Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Best Newcomer: Dave
Best Song: J Hus – Did You See
Best Video (in association with Link Up TV): Mist – Hot Property
Best Hip Hop Act: Giggs
Best Grime Act: Stormzy
BestR&B/Soul Act (supported by Mi-Soul): Craig David
Best International Act: Wizkid
Best African Act (in association with The Beat London 103.6FM): Davido
Best Reggae Act: Damian Marley
Best Jazz Act (supported by Jazz FM): Moses Boyd
Best Gospel Act (supported by Premier Gospel): Volney Morgan & New-Ye

2018 BRIT AWARDS: CRITICS’ CHOICE SHORTLIST REVEALED 18

We are extremely excited to announce that Jorja Smith, Stefflon Don and Mabel have been nominated for the 2018 BRITs Critics’ Choice award. These three outstanding talents have been whittled down from over 100 artists selected by a team of music industry experts across radio, TV, print and online.

The BRITs Critics’ Choice award has been successfully predicting and identifying the next artist to make waves in the music industry since 2008. Winners across the last ten years include Adele, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding and last year’s winner Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, who have gone on to achieve extraordinary chart success not only in the UK, but worldwide.

Jorja Smith, a 20-year-old R&B songstress from Walsall in the West Midlands met her now manager aged 15 but it was the release of her Dizzee Rascal inspired ‘Blue Lights’ in 2016 that put her and her soulful, diverse vocals into the spotlight. She has seen her international profile rocket this year after featuring on Drake’s ‘More Life’. 

Speaking of her nomination, Jorja said: “It’s an honour to be recognised amongst such incredible emerging talent. 2017 was a very special year and there’s so much more to come from me in 2018!” 

Multitalented rapper, singer and songwriter Stefflon Don sent ripples through the music industry with her cover of Wretch 32’s ‘Six Words’ and Section Boyz’s ‘Lock Arff’ in 2015. Her ability to switch between rap, grime, dancehall patios and smooth vocals effortlessly and with confidence is perhaps why she has gathered the attention of her musical peers – collaborating with the likes of Lethal Bizzle, French Montana and Skepta. 

Speaking of her Critics’ Choice nomination, Steff said: “I am so excited to be nominated for this amazing award. A big shout out to all my fans and dons for their support. 2017 has been lit and I can’t wait for 2018! Mad love to you all”

21-year-old Mabel released her first single, ‘Know Me Better’ on Soundcloud in July 2015. It was a viral hit and was picked up by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Annie Mac. By October of that year she had signed a major label deal. Fast forward to 2017, and her single ‘Finders Keepers’ has been one of the breakout hits of the year, spending five weeks in the UK Top 10 and reaching almost 20 million views on YouTube.  

Speaking of her nomination, Mabel said: “Being nominated for the Critics’ Choice award really is a dream come true for me.  So much hard work has gone into getting to this point, so to be acknowledged by something like the BRIT Awards means the world.”

The 2018 Critics’ Choice Award winner will be announced on Monday 4 December, and will be the first recipient of the bespoke award designed by Sir Anish Kapoor.