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.
With millions of streams to her name already, and with a sound reminiscent of Jessie Ware and Lianne La Havas, R ‘n’ B newcomer Janice- pronounced Jah-nees – already has a big year ahead with the release of her debut album and a Scandinavian tour in place for February and March. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to chat dream shows and the advice she’d give to aspiring artists.
TITL: Please sum yourself up in 3 words for me.
Janice: Warm, strong, brave.
TITL: Have you always wanted to be an artist or did you have other aspirations growing up?
J: Yes. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to sing but the confidence to actually do it came much later and also and grew into becoming an artist who creates music.
TITL: If you had to say you sounded similar to another band or artist, which would it be?
J: That’s a hard one. Sabina Ddumba and I have the same character in our voices I would say but totally different sounds.
TITL: Tell me about your latest track “Queen.” Is there a story behind it?
J: It’s about that person that makes you wanna be the best version of yourself and also about never settling for less than a partner that makes you feel like you can do anything.
TITL: The song is taken from your upcoming album Fallin’ Up. Is there a story behind the title and how did you find the writing/creative and recording process?
J: It was harder to come up with the title than to actually write the album! But yeah, I was listening to all the tracks and I heard it so clear. It’s all stories about a place and a state I was in and the place I’ve developed and where I’ve landed now. I felt that I was falling down time after time but I ain’t anymore – I’m Fallin Up! The creative process was long, fun, amazing and exhausting. HYENA and I experimented a lot with sounds and different genres and we found Javeon McCarthy, an amazing artist, songwriter and now friend who we connected with at first sight. We’ve written the majority of the album together. I can’t wait for the world to hear it!
TITL: Which song on the album are you most proud of and why?
J: Oh lord what a hard question! I mean, they’re all my babies and I’ve got so much love for each and every track but If I have to say one, it’ll be “Changing” I think… I wanted to write it as a part two of “Don’t Need To” and it’s a song where I’m so vulnerable yet strong which makes it special. I get to sing my heart out which I love. HYENA’s production is magical and it’s very electronic yet organic which makes it huge. And the backing vocals…SO powerful!!! I’m very proud of it.
TITL: Hailing from Sweden, how are you finding the more global reaction to your music? Is it at all daunting to hear that notably thanks to social media, individuals in far flung places are discovering your music and keeping up to date with what you’re up to?
J: It’s been very inspiring throughout the years to see Sweden’s music export grow and to see the power of music. It’s limitless and that’s what makes it so beautiful. To see how far my music can go is a blessing. Social media is powerful in that way because basically anyone anywhere can discover you and show you and your music love and I’ve really experienced that through this process and still am.
TITL: Are you much of a social media user, and to what extent do you think it’s impacting your career and the music industry in general?
J: Yeah I am but I try not to be for periods of time. It’s so distracting and misleading but it’s also the way we communicate and connect nowadays. I use it as a tool to extend my music and myself as an artist which basically everyone does. You can sort of get to know an artist by following them on Instagram or Twitter for example but social media is also so dangerous in that way. You can post the things you like however often you want to, or not, and in that way, it works great; but I also think it’s important to at least talk about how and why social media can be negative too. You don’t have to share everything with everyone but to show that you are human is important – especially for the ones that look up to you.
TITL: You recently participated in a Paste session in the US, performing as the headliner in their Sweden Makes Music show. What was that like and is breaking into the US market something you’re considerably focused on in terms of your plans for this year?
J: It was like a dream. Couldn’t have ended 2017 any better. And I know it’s gonna be a challenge but I’m ready for it and I’m going to work so, so, so hard.
TITL: You’ve already been nominated for Swedish Grammy in the category of Best New Act, but do you care much about awards and accolades or are you more concerned about what your fans think?
J: It’s insane and I’m so happy! I appreciate that they appreciate what I’m doing but that’s not what I do it for. It’s more important that my music resonates with my fans and that it brings them the kind of hope, joy and comforting only music can bring.
TITL: What are your upcoming tour and performance plans?
J: I’m going on a Scandinavian tour in February-March.
TITL: If you could play any venue in the world, which would it be and why? What is it about that venue that means so much to you?
J: Madison Square Garden. It’s been a dream since I was little kid and a big goal for me still. I like to visualize and I don’t know why but if I close my eyes and think of it, I see it so clearly.
TITL: Finally then, given how hard the music industry can be, especially on new and upcoming artists, what advice would you give to those wanting to follow in your footsteps? Is there anything you’ve been told recently that you wish you’d known before you started on this journey?
J: To keep on doing what you love and don’t let anyone change who you are and what you want. Dream big, visualize, work hard and you can have it, you’ll have it!
Check out the video for Janice’s latest track “Queen” below and for more information on her and her music, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
Jorja Smith will become the first BRITs Critics’ Choice winner to perform on The BRITs main show in the same year as winning the award.
The 2017 winner of Critics’ Choice and British Breakthrough Act, Rag’n’Bone Man invited the R&B prodigy to perform alongside him following an incredible 12 months since winning the awards. It will be the first time that two Critics’ Choice winners have performed together on The BRITs stage.
Jorja was one of the live highlights of The BRITs Nominations Launch which broadcast live on ITV1 on 13 January, stunning the audience at home and in the studio with her single ‘Let Me Down’ featuring Stormzy. Jorja will embark on a sold out UK headline tour ahead of The Awards show.
On the announcement, Jorja said: “I can’t believe I’ll be performing at The BRIT Awards. Rag’n’Bone Man has had an incredible year and is such a crazy talent. When he asked me at the end of last year to perform I was so happy as it’s a real honour to be sharing the stage with him.”
Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut album ‘Human’ went straight to No.1 in February, achieving the fastest selling UK male debut of the decade and selling over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
BRITs Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said: “It will be an amazing moment from two incredible artists: One artist who has achieved huge success last year performing with another artist who is about to do the same this year. Jorja’s performance on the launch show was simply stunning and I cannot wait to see her perform with Rag’n’Bone Man on the main show.”
The BRIT Awards 2018 with Mastercard – Celebrate with us on 21 February 2018!