RISING R&B STAR JANICE TALKS HER NEW SINGLE “QUEEN” & UPCOMING ALBUM 48

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.

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LIVE: THE SCRIPT @ MANCHESTER ARENA – FEBRUARY 3RD 2018 39

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!