REVIEW: DEQN SUE – ‘JUGGERNAUT’ 23

Described as an alternative pop artist, Deqn Sue is, certainly for many in the UK, a considerably unknown talent, however thanks to her latest album Juggernaut, that may well change very soon.

The album begins with the upbeat and rather funky (I can’t recall the last time I used that word in a review) “Starter Adult”, which tells the story of a young individual who dreams of a big and bright future, but is brought back to reality as she finds herself back at her family home after finishing college. The rhythm and tempo of the song is what really makes it work, but for an opening number, it’s pretty good all round.

In a world where self-esteem and body image are constantly under scrutiny, largely thanks to the media, “Unicorn” plays like an anthem of sorts, reminding all those who hear it that’s okay – and great – to be yourself and to like, even love, who you are.

As someone who works in retail, I related strongly to “Delivery Girl”, written about how sometimes those who work in the customer service sector are deemed almost as second class citizens when compared to those in higher, more managerial positions. “Melanin” meanwhile is another reflection on the power and importance of self-love, though this time more targeted at those with dark skin.

“Messy” is a highlight of the album. With its funny but honest lyrics, directed at someone who can’t keep their mouth shut and who likes to tell tales on – or spill the secrets of – others, the song is a refreshing way of telling off those who really should mind their own business. Closing number “Hello Neighbour” is perhaps the most reflective, sentimental track on the collection, and showcases Deqn Sue’s impressive vocal ability.

Not everyone will like the many sounds and styles Deqn Sue showcases on the album, but, most notably because of “Unicorn” and its positive and powerful message, everyone should hear it.

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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.