Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Clarkson’

Charley says ALBUM! Rochelle – You vs. Me

April 4, 2012

There’s few words that make pop fans run for the hills faster than “authentic” and “guitars”. However, you might want to stick around for Rochelle’s debut album because it is very very good indeed. Rochelle has a natural popstar edginess to her and injects attitude into a brilliantly in-your-face album.

In 2011 Rochelle became the fourth Dutch X Factor winner and released a stripped down cover of Jordin Sparks’ epic “No Air”. With coach and producer Eric van Tijn firmly by her side she set out looking for the perfect sound to build her album around. For the next year a whole bunch of demos were recorded and a whole lot of different styles were tried out. At one point she teamed up with The Partysquad for the club/R&B-tinged theme to dance movie “Body Language”.

However, as I heard people from her label say on a Sony Music Benelux event where I saw Rochelle perform, in the end she decided: “You know what? Just give me a band to rock out with”. With her musical direction finally set in stone, everything quickly fell into place. Having carefully selected songs written by, among others, the people behind Sabrina Starke, Rochelle and a bunch of musicians got into the studio. Eric van Tijn was aided on production duties by the likes of Tearce ‘Kizzo’ Keaz of ‘Silly Boy‘ fame.

The first of the resulting songs we got to hear was lead single “What A Life“. The track takes the best bits about Jessie J and scrapes off the shiny pop gloss, till all that’s left is a raw yet approachable and damn catchy tune. Upcoming follow-up single “Untouchable” was created by Emeli Sandé and is a full-on anthem. Think “My December” era Kelly Clarkson. It’s not the only epic moment on the album “You vs. Me”, with the goosebumps inducing chorus of “Talking To My Shadow” as one of many examples.

In fact, Rochelle has opted to pack the entire album with as much power as possible. The only thing that comes close to a ballad is “Mummy’s Boy“, a musical fuck you to the man in the title that sounds reminiscent of Shontelle’s “Impossible”. On other tracks, like “Chasing Fire“, Rochelle has a touch of Gossip to her, while the verses of “Little Miss Unhappy” fit right in with Gotye. In the end though, all these influences combined result in the album being 100% Rochelle and 100% amazing.

“What A Life” by Rochelle is available on Spotify and iTunes.
“You vs. Me” by Rochelle is available on Spotify and iTunes.

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Charley says ARTIST! Iris aka Airis aka Laura Van den Bruel

March 18, 2012

So who is this Iris that’ll be representing Belgium at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in Baku, Azerbaijan?

Longtime readers of Charley says POP! may remember her from this post, but for those of you just joining, let me introduce you.

Iris was born in 1995 as Laura Van den Bruel and has been into music since she was a kid. As about half of Belgium’s talented youngsters she auditioned for Junior Eurovision at one point, but narrowly missed out on a place among the finalists.

But she needn’t worry, her big break would come just a few years later. A then 15 year old Laura submitted a YouTube rendition of Céline Dion’s “I’m Alive” to Joepie’s Talentbooth. This online competition was a joint effort by Belgium’s leading teen magazine Joepie and record label Sonic Angel. Laura’s impressive vocals earned her a spot among the five finalists and she went on to win the entire competition.

With a Sonic Angel record deal secured, it was time to decide how she would go about releasing her very first single. With the Flemish music scene saturated with Lauras (Laura Lynn, Laura Omloop, Laura Ramaekers…) she decided to go by the name of Airis. That’s Iris pronounced in English, with an extra A to make it all more Google-friendly.

For her debut Airis teamed up with Piet Vastenavondt, Wouter Vander Veken and Guus Fluit. The first being the lead singer of Owen and the latter two being the musical masterminds behind Bandits and Ellektra‘s musical output. The result was “Wonderful“, a country-light feel good song, that got her playlisted on radio and into the Flemish top 30.

Then late last year came the news that would make her a household name in Belgium. Iris, now without the extra A, was internally selected by Flemish public broadcaster één to represent Belgium at Eurovision, beating the likes of crooner Yannick Bovy to the spot.

An appeal was launched to submit songs for Iris to sing in Baku. No less than 270 tracks were submitted and after much deliberation just two remained.

Safety Net” was written by Boots Ottestad, Aimée Proal and Barrett Yeretsian, who among them have writing credentials for the likes of Robbie Williams and Kelly Clarkson.

However, in last night’s national final Belgium chose to send “Would You“, written by Jean Bosco Safari, Walter Mannaerts and 18 year old Nina Sampermans. Jean is a renowned Belgian singer/songwriter, Walter was the driving force behind Bab‘s excellent and majorly underrated debut album and Nina is working on a debut album of her own.

So with her entry chosen and a ticket to Azerbaijan in her pocket, what is next for Iris?

Eurosong.be have managed to find out that a full album will be released on April 27th. The album will include “Wonderful“, her two Eurovision songs and brand new tracks of which five have been chosen from Iris’s Eurovision entries that didn’t make the cut.

With Iris citing Carrie Underwood as her biggest idol in a recent interview, I’m excited to hear an entire album of Iris’s country-light pop!

“Would You” by Iris is available on iTunes.
“Wonderful” by Iris is available on Spotify and iTunes.
Iris’s debut album will be available as of Friday April 27th, you can still buy a FanShare and help fund this album.

See also: Charley says LIST! Meanwhile At SonicAngel…

Charley says WEEK! 2010.18

May 9, 2010

Dutch YouTube-sensation Esmée Denters featuring on a duet version of German rock band Stanfour’s ‘Life Without You‘.

Charley says SONG! Tom Helsen presents Barbara Dex – I Am [http://tinyurl.com/37qfz6l]

Charley says SONG! Nikki – Can’t Stop Thinking About You [http://tinyurl.com/2usul6r]

Charley says SONG! Betty – Déjà Vu [http://tinyurl.com/3yrl68e]

Charley says SONG! Bliss – Buttons (Live) [http://tinyurl.com/2v56rer]

Charley says SONG! Andes ft. James Walsh of Starsailor – Een Dag Meer / One More Day
[http://tinyurl.com/2u8wvmj]

Charley says SONG! Whatever – Scream [http://tinyurl.com/3a6d3fu]

Charley says SONG! Robert Ramirez – Sick Of Love [http://tinyurl.com/2uatvuc]

Charley says SONG! Nikki – Can’t Stop Thinking About You

May 4, 2010

I’m super excited about Nikki’s ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You‘!

For the second single of her upcoming album ‘Let It Go‘ the Dutch ‘Idols’ winner stepped it up a notch. Now I was personally a big fan of her Kelly Clarkson ‘Breakaway’-era sounding songs. ‘Bring Me Down‘ was one of the most amazing songs of 2008 and I’ve been screaming my heart out to Nikki’s last single ‘Perfect Day‘ for the last few months.

However, I’m happy to see her change direction a bit when the result is this catchy. Gone is the Dutch Kelly Clarkson, meet the Dutch P!nk. ‘Can’t Stop Thinking About You‘ was written by Guy Chambers and Busbee, the guy behind Alexandra Burke’s ‘Bad Boys‘. It’s ridiculously uptempo and I dare anyone not to at least tap their feet along.

Expect a full Charley says ARTIST! profile on Nikki soon!

See also: Charley says LIST! 3 Small Updates