VIDEO: Tulisa “We Are Young”

“Forgive for us for what we have done” begs Tulisa rather aptly on her debut single “We Are Young”. This week the former N Dubz vocalist and current X Factor judge may have joined Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Saved By The Bell’s Dustin Diamond in the ever increasing list of sex-tape shame stars, but after a profuse apology on YouTube, the inevitable accusations have been made that it was just a clever PR stunt – one akin to her cousin Dappy’s ‘candid’ full frontal shots appearing just ahead of his debut single “No Regrets” back in September… Whether Tulisa’s team were to blame or not, today’s scandal is tomorrow’s chip paper, so we suggest you just ignore the fuss and just enjoy the dance-tastic track.

VIDEO: Paloma Faith “Picking Up The Pieces”

News that Paloma Faith was finally set to reveal the first taster from forthcoming album “Fall To Grace” on Radio 1. Having fallen head over heals in love with the creative genius behind 2009’s sleeper sensation “Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful?”, particularly given her festival stealing set at 2010’s Cheltenham Jazz Festival, The Kaje has been sat tightly wondering what the next installation would be… The answer is the serene “Picking Up The Pieces”. Picking up where she left off proves a wise move and if there is any justice in the world, Faith will be one music’s biggest names by the time 2012 ends.

The Kaje Tips For The Tops 2012!!!!

Each new year is filled with questions – simply because everybody wants to know what will happen. While we are completely incapable of predicting the future, here at The Kaje we thought we would take a brief moment to highlight a selection of music acts that we hope will breakthrough to the big time in 2012…

20. Asami

Former Popstars (Australia) contestant Asami took time out from the reality TV circuit to become a Yoga instructor and battle health issues before deciding to recruit some close friends and relaunch her music career. With two EPs already under their belt, 2012 could easily be the year for Asami to break through with their bright and breezy pop.

19. The Jezabels

Having already conquered their home country of Australia, university pals The Jezabels have now set their sights on world domination. With a growing fanbase on these shores, it is only a matter of time before they become household names.

18. Frank Ocean

Having honed his craft as a member of OFWGKTA, Frank Ocean is now perfectly placed launch his debut effort into the mainstream. More than just another rapper, Frank Ocean eloquently assesses society in his touching numbers.

17. Michael Kiwanuka

With a support slot for British soulstress of the moment Adele already under his belt, Kiwanuka is all set to make 2012 his own. A man who can send shivers down your spine with one single note, Kiwanuka will move you beyond the realms of the possible.

16. Poppy & The Jezebels

Birmingham school friends Poppy & The Jezebels nearly broke the big time a couple of years back. However their big break never quite arrived. Rather than give up the ghost, the quartet headed back to the drawing board and are finally ready to unleash what promises to be a blinding debut.

15. Strangers

The Departure’s David Jones is another former nearly-but-not-quite who is far from ready to give up his musical goal. While disheartened by his mainstream failure, he decided to continue in his quest and it appears he has found strength in his darkest hour. Strangers are better than anything he has done to date.

14. Antonio Lulic

Antonio Lulic is an act who knows how to use social networking. Having first come to The Kaje‘s attention after we saw a tweet that fellow singer/songwriter Ben James Miller had tattooed Lulic’s lyrics on his arm, we turned to YouTube to find out more. And boy were we blown away…

13. Jack Robert Hardman

Jack Robert Hardman’s simple and straight forward approach to home recording has to lead a wealth of vocally charged folk pop that hits all the right marks. His debut single “Famous” is all set for a January release and we just hope he gains the radio play he so rightly deserves.

12. Blue Angel

London’s Blue Angel first came to our attention with the stirring “43 Days” which documented violence on a London bus. With subtle beats blended with a blinding vocal, we were equally excited by the follow-up “Beautiful Day”. With a promise of an album in 2012, here at The Kaje we are already salivating with excitement.

11. Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson may be familiar to some of you from the disturbingly frank documentary “We Need To Talk About Dad”, however there is much for to Johnson than a troubled past. Johnson is a frank, honest and uplifting singer/songwriter who makes you smile and cry simultaneously.

10. Stooshe

X Factor’s Little Mix may have already been hailed as the next big British girl band, but we think these three Londoners may well beat them to the crown. Fresh and funky but in a good way.

9. Radio Star

Melbourne’s Radio Star may also be known as The Sunny Days, but regardless of what pseudonym they use, they create fun 80s inspired indie pop that has been missing from the 80s revival. With the boys relocating to Europe in April, we suggest you get your hands on their eponymous EP in preparation for the explosion.

8. Parnell Page

Parnell Page is another upcoming who came to The Kaje‘s attention through social networking. Having seen a tweet about his Saint Saviour cover “Fallen Trees”, we immediately went on the hunt for the haunting vocalist’s original material. If this Jack Hawitt penned number is a taster of what is to come from his debut EP then we are truly unable to contain our excitement.

7. Bobbie Gordon

Another upcoming British talent with an Adele connection. East London’s Bobbie Gordon spent time as Adele’s backing vocalist, before facing up to her own secret ambitions. With Adele advising her to chase her dreams, Gordon left the tour and has just released an unbelievably brilliant EP.

6. Ronika

Nottingham’s Ronika caught our eye with one of the most unique and eye catching press shots ever. But this stunning sensation is far more than just an eye pleased. With incessantly catchy tunes, Ronika is going to get stuck in your head and make you shake your bootie through 2012 and beyond..

5. Bastille

Dan Smith, aka Bastille, has a vocal to die for. The Kaje are rarely left speechless, but the moment we first heard his awe-inducing “Laura Palmer” we were dumbfounded. We were listening to the voice of the future and we knew it. Be prepared as Bastille is about to explode.

4. Alfie Ordinary

Alfie Ordinary has spent 2011 completing his degree while balancing performances at festivals up and down the country. With his distinct brand of acoustic pop having worked up a frenzy of fans, Alfie Ordinary is finally ready to release an EP and we suggest you sign up for it now before it sells out.

3. Lianne La Havas

Lianne La Havas is a name you may well already know. With a Jools Holland appearance and a Willy Mason duet already under her belt, La Havas and her silky smooth vocal are set to dominate the airwaves far past 2012.

2. Jess Hall Band

Swindon’s Jess Hall Band are just four teenage mates having a lot of fun while making tender and tempting tracks. Their debut single “Play Shy” saw them break Radio 1, but with tracks like “Grace” up their sleeve, it is obvious that there is a lot more to come from this troupe.

1. Kal Lavelle

Kal Lavelle has been working the live circuit for several years. Having watched her best mate Ed Sheeran break through to the big time last year, Lavelle’s time in the spotlight is more than overdue. Having experienced chart success alongside Artful on “Could Just Be The Bassline”, Lavelle’s debut EP “Shivers” has seen her ride to the top of the iTunes chart, now we just have to hope her upcoming album tops the Official Charts in a similar fashion. True talent always wins through in the end.

WIN! Signed Jess Hall Band EPs!!

The Jess Hall Band may only just be on the cusp of releasing their debut EP “Play Shy”, but the Swindon based quartet are without any doubt one of 2012’s bands to watch. Having already graced the Radio 1 airwaves with the EP’s title track, their distinctive take on folk-pop sets them aside from their peers. Here at The Kaje we have been lucky enough to get our hands of some signed EPs – so if you want to grab a copy then simply tell us what song the group sang for their The Kaje Session. Answers to by Tuesday 29th November.

The Kaje talks slow burn success with Black Diamond Bay

Black Diamond Bay founder Jesse O’Mahoney is sat in a coffee shop in central London pondering his band’s recent good fortune. What had started out as just a musical experiment with close pal Tom Sidebottom, has mutated through the years and is currently a five piece Slo Mo House Band (Sidebottom is no longer in the live band, but still produces the group). Having just garnered their first spin on Radio 1 (“I Dreamt We Were Bank Robbers”), O’Mahoney is aware that everything might suddenly be jumping up to the next level – but he remains modest about their good fortune…

Can you tell us a little about how Black Diamond Bay has evolved through the years…

Me and Tom were in Leeds about four years ago, where we grew up together. We sat in Tom’s bedroom and wrote an album of songs which were originally intended to be an easy listening album. It was a sort of joke between us and it turned into something quite unexpected. It was kind of a slowed down dance music, using the digital elements of dance music. It has a more classical musicianship from Tom, who is a classically trained violin player and pianist. We were sort of surprised by the collection of songs we had created, so we decided to start playing them live. We soon realised that playing live as two people sat behind a laptop was as boring for the people watching as it was for us. So we decided to put a band together.

Tom taught at the music college in Leeds, Leeds College of Music, and so he had ready to access to some of the finest musicians around. So we essentially cherry-picked the best musicians we could find. We looked for people who we got on with, but were also great musicians. As a result they come from very different backgrounds musically, which I think has really helped the band overall. We have got an avant-garde jazz bass player, who is also a heavy metal man. The drummer who is heavy into cut-up electro and dubstep. The guitarist comes from a pop – Prince and Quincy Jones style background. Tom is classically trained. Agne comes from Lithuania and brings a touch of mysticism and magic with her. I came from a Bob Dylan/Neil Young, singer/songwriter area. That is what I listened to when I was writing stuff. I haven’t quite obtained their dizzy heights.

Once we had these musicians in place, we brought them in with the intention of playing what we had written. It took us a while as when we learnt to play those song, they evolved into something new – an album which we put out last year – but it was not until we got rid of those songs that we really came into our own. We are not trying to emulate something that Tom and I had done, we are doing something that works as the band. There is a lot more collaboration within the band.

How would you define the project in its current state?

I quite like likening us to Rutger Hauer’s character Roy in “Blade Runner” – an android wrestling with human emotions and trying to discover what it is to be human. He is trying to fool Harrison Ford (as Rick Deckard) into letting him live. Our music has always been a coming together of analogue and digital.

Our name Black Diamond Bay is a Bob Dylan song about the way human beings create stories as a way of creating pathos. Until you create that story around someone, it is just a name you can’t relate with.

Our sound has always been about that battle between the analogue and digital. How we express ourselves in the technical age through computers and guitars. How they sometimes clash and sometimes work. We have that synergy that works, but it is always the battle between the guitarist and bass player. So we are Rutger Hauer.

You have just had your Radio 1 debut – how do you feel about the exposure?

The exposure is an incredible thing. But it is hard not to be wary of it. These days everyone is very well versed in the world of music and the ebb and flow of support and interest from different people in the industry. We were building up really well this live show, between Leeds and London. We now have people who know our songs and sing them back to us during our show, which is the best thing ever. Then the exposure comes along and in some ways it can derail your slightly, as you get ahead of yourself. But it has been great to be heard and to get the response, but we have to not allow ourselves to think we are now an enormous pop band.

What would you say the band’s intentions are?

We are actually planning mass intergalactic domination. We are planning an invasion of Saturn next, we have had it with this country. We have used up all the natural resources. There is nothing left to conquer. Agne chose it, she saw it in a poster. We all wanted to go to Mars but she made the decision.

But seriously, we didn’t have management or much of a team around us in terms of PR. We didn’t have much of a strategy beyond building our live show. So now we have a lot of that coming together. We are putting out a release early next year and promoting that, just hoping we get an audience. We’d like to use the exposure to get some festival slots next year, as we feel that is somewhere we can be very succesful due to our expansive sound.

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

FEATURE: The Jess Hall Band “”Basically David found me on the internet, on YouTube, and a few months later signed me as a solo artist.”

“Basically David (Steele – the band’s manager) found me on the internet, on YouTube, and a few months later signed me as a solo artist. Then he asked if I would like a band and I just said yes.” Jess Hall is not just another YouTube phenomenon. Rebecca Black may have set the bar for ‘success’ earlier in the year with her unexpected super flop “Friday”, but not everyone who uses the interactive video site is quite so calculated in their approach. Though Black may have hit the headlines for her autotuned attempt at pop success (in her defense she is no more or less talented than many of today’s autotuned pop starlets out there), just a quick listen to any of Hall’s home-made clips and it becomes clear as to why she was so quickly snapped up. Boasting a crisp, colourful vocal, Hall oozes effortless appeal and bursts with irresistible charm. However, the modest teenager from Swindon was far from seeking the solo spotlight as she knew her closest pals were equally talented. She continues, “I knew exactly who I wanted, so it just went from there.”

“They are like my comfort blanket.”

“It is much more fun, to be honest. It is so much better. I get so nervous on my own. I need them. They are like my comfort blanket,” giggles Hall. With best buds Alex Stone (Guitar/Vocals), Andy Vincent (Bass) and Stefan Pysanczyn (Drums) firmly installed by her side, it is obvious for any onlooker that their genuine love for each other is at the core of the project.

With the core ingredients having blossomed beautifully, the quartet have found themselves suddenly thrust into the limelight ahead of time. Having won praise for their debut single “Play Shy” (lifted from the EP of the same name) having come to the attention of BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 1 wasted no time in giving the track its first championing forcing the group to settle on a name – The Jess Hall Band. Hall explains, “We tried for a different band name but we got given a time limit and it was before Radio 1, but we couldn’t think of anything. We didn’t want to settle with a rubbish one so we just whacked band on the end of my name.”

“I wouldn’t want to do it without these guys,” explains Hall when asked about what the boys had brought to the table. Veering away from the specifics, she smiles at her co-writer Stone to respond in detail. He is beaten by Vincent, who interjects, “bass” causing the quartet to descend into giggles before Stone offers, “It gives it a fuller sound. We bring different ideas to the table.”

“I am really not sure how it all happened.”

Talking about the track that has brought them all the attention, Hall explains, “we wrote Play Shy with Guy Sigsworth, who writes with Madonna and Bjork. We co-wrote that in May and then Radio 1 liked it. I am really not sure how it all happened.” Whereas Stone is happy to explain the process, “The de-de-de-de bit is something I wrote a long time ago. I was playing it at the sessions in Fulham and I was told to turn it into a song, so I wrote a verse and at the next session we worked together to turn it into a song.”

“Songs like ‘Grace’ were mine before I joined the band. I gave them to Jess, but all the other tracks were co-writes between Jess and other people.” With their debut EP all ready to be unleashed, Stone and Hall are happy to share the writing credits. In a band without any ego, the enjoyment is apparent. The Jess Hall Band are just four talented teenagers from Swindon who are embarking on the ride of their life.

“Play Shy” is out now on iTunes.

Words and Images: Jeremy Williams

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