Posts Tagged ‘X Factor’

Charley says VIDEO! Abs – You Can Try (Produced by Moonflower)

May 19, 2012

Lester & Abdou were the X Factor 2008 contestants who with ‘U Should Be The One‘ and ‘This Song Is Gonna Save My Life‘ went on to have two excellent Future Presidents produced singles. After that Lester went on to rejoin his friend Gavin in DJ duo Moonflower, but didn’t leave his buddy hanging. The three of them joined forces as Moonflower ft. Abs and became the people behind that brilliant dance track ‘Nobody’s Missing You‘ that was all over Belgian dance radio last summer.

The trio is back for summer 2012 with ‘You Can Try‘. The single is credited solely to Abs, but was produced by Moonflower, so you can rest assured that everything you loved about their previous efforts is still present in this next hit!

‘You Can Try’ by Abs, produced by Moonflower, is available on Spotify and iTunes.

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Charley says INTERVIEW! Labrinth

April 20, 2012

“I wanted it to sound like an earthquake,
but not an earthquake without HD!”

Earlier this month Labrinth was in Belgium to open for Drake at Vorst Nationaal in Brussels. Just before he took to the stage I had a chat with the British singer, songwriter and producer extraordinaire!

With his Tinie Tempah featuring hit single “Earthquake” being one of the slickest productions in recent pop history and his debut album “Electronic Earth” available now on Spotify and iTunes we had plenty to discuss.

So treat yourself to Labrinth’s online album sampler and check out the interview for everything from the importance of artwork to his rumoured collaboration with Tulisa and the age old quesion… Is Simon Cowell as scary as he’s made out to be?

Charley: It’s super lame, but I have to ask, how many phone interviews have started with the journalist saying “Labrinth, come in”?

Labrinth: *laughs* So far, in Belgium, none! You can be the first!

Charley: I saw you tweet about getting to discover Brussels before your show here, how did you like it?

Labrinth: Brussels was really nice! It’s just weird to be here though, cause it’s such a different culture. The way everybody is and the way they approach things, it’s just very different.

Charley: I have to congratulate you on your album “Electronic Earth” being number 2 in the UK mid weeks, that must be awesome? [Note: Since this interview Labrinth’s album did in fact get to number 2 in the album charts where it’s still comfortably top 10]

Labrinth: Yeah, it’s really wild! I’ve been working for a long time and with a few artists and stuff like that, so you never expect these things, you just keep pushing for it, man.

Charley: For those who haven’t yet checked out your album, how would you describe it?

Labrinth: I would say it’s quite mixed, it’s got quite a lot of variety on it. If you’re into commercial variety, then I’m the guy for you.

Charley: I saw on your official web store that there’s this amazing 10 disc Limited Edition Boxset of your album with specially created artwork. How important is it for you to have that kind of releases?

Labrinth: It’s definitely important for me. It feels more engaging. It’s getting me and my fans closer and letting them know what I’m about and what I’m into. I just felt like sometimes we forget about the artwork in albums, cause of course there’s a lot of digital sales these days. I feel like this album will sell well physically cause there’s been a bit of time put into it.

Charley: Do you have any prized possessions like that in your own album collection as well?

Labrinth: Yeah, I think “Purple Rain” was sick, it was the first album I ever bought and I love the artwork on that. Parliament-Funkadelic album sleeves were insane… Of course Earth, Wind & Fire… Loads of old school bands! Especially from the 70’s, they have amazing artwork.

Charley: Back to your album, one of the singles was “Earthquake” which had a super cool video. Now, at one point you’re in this black cloak, and this might just be me, but is that a Star Wars reference?

Labrinth: It is! I’m a Jedi fan! I’ve always loved it, so I thought why not have a little tribute in my video to something I’m into.

Charley: One of the best things for me about “Earthquake” is how there’s so much going on in the production and yet it doesn’t feel cluttered. How do you find the right balance for that?

Labrinth: That’s definitely me going absolutely insane and throwing all the paint on the canvas while working closely with Serban Ghenea, who’s an amazing engineer. He helps me find some clarity in all the madness. I wanted it to sound like an earthquake, but not an earthquake without HD! *laughs*

Charley: One of my favourite tracks on the album is “Sundown“. I love how even without listening to the lyrics it’s dark and dirty and sexy… How do you go about creating an atmosphere like that?

Labrinth: That’s all mood, man. “Sundown” came to me randomly in the middle of the day. Sometimes those are the best songs where the melody comes to you, the vibe comes to you and you just have your way with it. That track for me is one of my favourites on the album, cause it’s just honest. You can hear my heart and my soul in it, honestly. Maybe not lyrically, but definitely in terms of the vibe, definitely.

Charley: I saw this YouTube clip where you show a camera crew around your studio and you just seemed to lit up talking about it. Is that your happy place?

Labrinth: Yeah, man, it definitely is! Oh my God, I love my home and my home is the studio, so… When I go back to the studio I just feel like… “It’s creative time!” It does take me to my happy place, but the stage as well!

Charley: To go from the comfort of your studio onto that stage, what was it like taking that step?

Labrinth: It was scary, man! Cause of course, I was performing alongside Tinie Tempah after producing his first two records and he brought me on a lot of shows, but it was a bit weird thinking about being the artist fronting your own music. It took a bit of time, but we just kept on working at it and it feels like I’m the right place right now. If you come down to my shows you can hear how my sound and the vibe works. I feel like I’ve got my music on stage now and people are hearing it and it’s full of integrity.

Charley: You mentioned producing for other people and one of my favourite productions of yours is Ms Dynamite’s “Neva Soft“. People mainly know her from her big mainstream hits, how do you go from that to those amazing minimalistic D&B beats?

Labrinth: I think one thing that everyone’s going to learn about me is that I’m not an artist that has one style. It’s not me trying to blow my own trumpet or anything, it’s just that’s the way I like music anyway. One day you’ll hear me producing a dirty hip hop record that sounds amazing and then the next you’ll hear me producing a jazz record. That’s what I’m about, I just want to make music and hopefully people love that and enjoy what I put out.

Charley: Is there any truth to the rumours that you’re working on Tulisa‘s solo album?

Labrinth: She asked me to work on some tracks for her and we had a chat about it, but we haven’t confirmed yet.

Charley: Well I hope you do anyway!

Labrinth: Excellent, thank you very much.

Charley: Now one last question, you’re signed to Simon Cowell’s record label Syco. Is he as scary as people make him out to be?

Labrinth: No, man! He’s definitely not! I think it’s about giving him the right stuff. If he likes your music he doesn’t turn into the horrible person he seems to be on The X Factor.

Charley: Well, with your track record that shouldn’t be a problem!

“Electronic Earth” by Labrinth is available on Spotify and iTunes.

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.

Charley says VIDEO! Tom Dice – Utopia

March 13, 2012

For “Utopia“, the lead single of his upcoming sophomore album, X Factor 2008 runner-up Tom Dice has rejoined forces with Jeroen Swinnen and Ashley Hicklin. You may remember how the three of them wrote the lovely “Me And My Guitar” which went on to become the most successful Flemish entry in Eurovision history.

I had the pleasure of accompanying Tom a couple of times when he was promoting “Il Nous Faut“, his gorgeous duet with French singer Elisa Tovati. He’s genuinely a nice guy who loves what he’s doing and doesn’t mind working hard to get there, even when he was ill on some of those aforementioned promo dates!

With Tom being the biggest success story of his label and keeping in mind how much I liked his first album, I have high hopes for whatever he comes up with next!

“Utopia” by Tom Dice is available on iTunes.

See also: Charley says ALBUM! Tom Dice – Teardrops

 

Charley says VIDEO! Alice Avery – Oops Baby

February 28, 2012

Alice Avery may have missed out on a spot in the Belgian X Factor 2008 live shows, but was signed to coach Maurice Engelen’s label SonicAngel regardless. In 2011 she released her first single “U Make My Heart Beat” and now, over a year later, we finally get treated to single number two.

I was hoping she’d stick to the pop/rock with overprocessed vocals style of her debut, so at first I was a bit disappointed to hear she’d hopped onto the retro sound bandwagon of Bruno Mars and Eliza Doolittle. That is until we got to the undeniably catchy chorus!

Not unsimilar to Natalia’s revenge anthem “On The Radio” (“Don’t worry about your paintings, don’t think of your tv, they’ve found a better place now, I’m thinking: charity”) Alice’s new offering has a wronged lover take matters into her own hands…

“Ooh baby, oops, I think I dropped your iPhone,
accidentally broke your XBox
and I think I lost your keys on my way home…”

 I’ve basically had this on repeat all morning.

“Oops Baby” by Alice Avery is available on iTunes and Spotify.

Charley says LIST! Meanwhile At SonicAngel…

June 9, 2011

The people at SonicAngel have been busy!

Axeela finally released her second single with Maurice Engelen’s record label.

Back in May of last year Axeela got herself noticed at Tom Dice’s album launch and a couple of months later the Junior Eurovision alum had her very own single out. I got a chance to talk to her then about ‘What Do You Want From Me?‘, what the future has in store for this young popstar and how Christina isn’t copying Gaga.

The best thing about ‘Hump Hump’, Axeela’s new song, is having the anthemic chorus blast out of your speakers. In it she tells us: “I’m a saint and a sinner, a virgin and a stripper, dangerous like the Jack Ripper…” That about covers it all, no?

Right before that first chorus Axeela tells us “Let me introduce myself” and to have as many people possible hear her introduction, ‘Hump Hump’ can not only be heard on www.axeela.com, it’s available as a free legal download there as well!

From one child star on to another. If you’ve seen the excellent JESC documentary ‘Sounds Like Teen Spirit’ you may be familiar with Bab. She may have missed out on going to the 2007 international final in Rotterdam, but her ‘Laat Mij Gerust‘ became a tween favourite. A couple of singles followed and eventually an album was given away with a magazine. It’s a shame more people didn’t get to hear it as second single ‘Zo Is Er Maar Één‘ was far from the only rockin’ pop tune on there.

Having outgrown the tween rock, Bab is now signed to SonicAngel and has settled herself nicely into the singer/songwriter niche.

Bab – Wounds
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgI3rASyiL8 

Wounds‘ is her first single through her new label and her first in English. I’m in two minds about this one. On the one hand it’s a gorgeous laid back track, but it doesn’t scream ‘big comeback single’ to me. And why is it called ‘Wounds‘? That title doesn’t really trigger any specific bit of the song when thinking of it. I guess I just expected a little more instant-ness.

That being said, I’m curious to hear what else Bab and SonicAngel come up with together!

Continuing our theme of talent show acts, I’ve been meaning for ages to write an update on Simon Sins.

Since we last talked about the Wannasing? winner he got signed, but has already left the SonicAngel family again. Let’s hope we somehow get to hear some new music from him soon anyway!

In Simon’s place have come  a whole bunch of new signings, including Rodwan Belkaïd and Koko Moon (aka Karim Lequenne). Between the addition of these two and already having Tom Dice, Alice Avery and Mathieu & Guillaume on their roster, it would seem that SonicAngel have nearly every X Factor 2008 contestant signed up!

There’s one more popstar you should already be familiar with that has reinvented herself and is trying her luck through this label, but I’ll be giving her a special post of her own. Be sure to watch out for that sometime soon on Charley says POP!

Right, that about concludes this update on SonicAngel.

I’ll be leaving you with the very first Airis video. Laura Van Den Bruel, as she’s known in everyday life, sang her way to a record contract in teen magazine Joepie’s Talent Booth competition. Her YouTube rendition of Celine Dion’ ‘I’m Alive’ won her the chance to record ‘Wonderful‘, the song that should make her Belgium’s very own Taylor Swift.

Enjoy!

See also: Charley says ARTIST! Axeela
See also: Charley says INTERVIEW! Axeela
See also: Charley says ARTIST! Simon Sinnaeve

Charley says VIDEO! Pearl – Like A Video Game

April 24, 2011

I jumped up out of my seat in excitement when I spotted this!

Nearly a year ago I interviewed dance producer Peter Luts in anticipation of his new talent show Looking For Pearl. A year earlier he’d found a new singer for his best known project, Lasgo, through a similar contest. This time round the goal was to start up something entirely new.

Some well known faces came to audition, Marjolein Lecluyze being one of them. You may remember her as part of the ill-fated group Popz, but she is best known for the music she released in 2006 and 2007. Singles like ‘Luister Naar M’n Hart‘ en ‘Kamer‘ may have been aimed at kids, but with Milk Inc.’s Regi on production duties I can’t deny playing the hell out of these songs.

Another known face was Charlotte Buyl. A couple of years earlier she’d made her first steps in the music business as part of Miss Behave on the Tom Dice season of X Factor. The group lost two members when they were booted out of the competition and after Charlotte decided to quit the band as well, the two remaining members formed Glamm. Free to pursue solo ambitions Charlotte entered Looking For Pearl.

Pearl – Speechless
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzEudd84sg0

The two girls made it to the final, with Charlotte taking the prize in the end.

Together with two dancers who were chosen on the show as well, she was now the face of Pearl.

The video for ‘Speechless‘, their very first single, was released soon after the contest ended. The Peter Luts produced dance track did pretty well in the charts, and deservedly so, as Charlotte delivers on the song’s awesome chorus.

Now, about seven months later, Pearl is finally back for music video number two.

Like A Video Game‘ has Charlotte strutting through Movie Park Germany, with none other than Pacman as love interest. The song may take a couple of listens, but will lodge itself firmly into your head.

And one thing’s for sure, it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to those Peter Luts synths.

See also: Charley says INTERVIEW! Peter Luts

Charley says VIDEO! A Butterfly Mind – Lonely Heart On Wheels

April 7, 2011

Cappaert sisters Annelies and Sarah first came to Belgium’s attention in Idool 2004, went on to be runners-up in X Factor 2005 as a duo and changed their name to A Butterfly Mind for their first album campaign a couple of years later.

This is their Eurosong 2008 entry ‘Lonely Heart On Wheels‘.

Just because.

Charley says LIST! Christmas 2010

December 24, 2010

On the night (well, actually the 11.30 AM) before Christmas I thought I’d list you some of the brand new Christmas tunes that have come out of Belgium and The Netherlands these last few weeks!

Above we find the brilliant but un-Googleable ‘It’s Christmas‘ by Do. We first met Do when she the voice on DJ Sammy’s ‘Heaven‘,  a Bryan Adams cover she would go on to release an unplugged version of her own of. More solo success came with the release of the amazing pop tune ‘Love Is Killing Me‘. After her second album underperformed it all went a bit quiet around Do. Around 2008, 2009 things were looking up again with a Playboy shoot and a place among the judges of Belgian X Factor. We finally got some new music as well with ‘Zingen In Het Donker‘. The single can be found on the album of the same name, which was a charity release for a domestic violence cause. A cover album and one with original English songs were set to follow, but haven’t yet materialised. To ease the wait, december 2010 saw the release of  ‘It’s Christmas‘. An original Christmas tune which shows Do’s qualities as a gorgeous, fun and most of all amazing singer.

Belgium has never really had much of a Christmas pop tradition. Off the top of my head, the only recent-ish properly released songs I can think of are Laura Lynn’s remake of a Marva classic and one from the first season of Big Brother. Radio station MNM saw the time fit to make a change and instructed three Belgian pop acts to come up with some fresh material. All three songs can be heard here by clicking “>> KLIK HIER EN BELUISTER DE 3 MNM-KERSTLIEDJES”. Brahim recorded a soulful cover of ‘White Christmas’, while Lester & Abdou made ‘Jingle Bells’ sound like a cross between ‘Riverside’ and ‘The Time (Dirty Bit)’. The third artist to record an MNM Christmas song is Charley says POP! favourite Katerine Avgoustakis. Two years ago she already covered ‘All I Want For Christmas‘ as part of a free download action, so it was time to up her game. Katerine ended up getting together with producer Yves Gaillard and creating ‘Merry Xmas’. This brand new track which, as far as I know, is the only one of the three to be available on iTunes.

Finally, thank God for Disney Channel getting Sita to release music! Her fellow host Dean, winner of Idool 2007 in Belgium, is still coming out with songs of his own. Just a week ago the video for his new single ‘All I Can See‘ was put up on YouTube. Sita fans however have been have been waiting impatiently since the release of ‘Als De Nacht Valt‘. Luckily, her partnering up with Dean on Disney Channel has led to a couple of Sita & Dean releases. I’ve previously posted the fantastisc Camp Rock cover ‘Wouldn’t Change A Thing‘ and now the duo get to release ‘Winter Wonderland‘. The video was shot in Disneyland Paris and contains some familiar faces, Cheyenne & Mayleen. These former Junior Songfestival finalists won My Camp Rock earlier this year. Their rendition of ‘Santa Claus Is Coming To Town‘ serves as the b-side to the ‘Winter Wonderland‘ single. I know there’s some big Sita fans reading this site, so to end this post let me point you to towards the video of Sita & Dean singing ‘Something That I Want‘ from the movie Rapunzel. With multiple international versions being around, I’m surprised the two of them didn’t get to record a version of the new Narnia theme as well. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get a full album of Sita & Dean singing Disney?

In any case, I want to conclude by wishing you all a very merry Christmas! Also, a big thank you to all the artists, their teams and record companies who have helped along the way! I’ve recently learned that in the last six months some stuff hasn’t been going smoothly with the Charley says POP! e-mail address. Some mails that have been sent to me have not properly arrived and some mails that I’ve sent out appear to not have reached their destination. I hope to sort this out as soon as possible to once again ensure a smooth stream op pop blogging! Most of all, a huge thank you to all the people who visited this site! Thank you for reading my ramblings, commenting and coming back!

Charley

Charley says ARTIST! Lords Of Acid

September 17, 2010

A month ago I was watching the ‘Sucker Punch‘ trailer and noticed a familiar song being used.

Vanessa Hudgens and Emily Browning were kicking ass to the 1994 Lords Of Acid single ‘The Crablouse‘!

I never got round to mentioning this on Charley says POP!, but I was just watching ‘De Vrijdagshow’, an entertainment news program, and apparently this is still considered ‘news’, so here I am posting about it anyway.

Lords Of Acid is a music project by Maurice Engelen. Maurice is also the man behind Praga Khan and late 90’s / early 00’s record label Antler Subway. Most recently he was an X Factor judge, co-founded the new label Sonic Angel and mentored Eurovision 2010 revelation Tom Dice.

In 1988 Lords Of Acid had their first hit with ‘I Sit On Acid‘, which would be ripped off years later on The Chemical Brother’s ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl‘. They went on to release four studio albums and were touring the States as recently as this year.

What with being born the year they broke through, I only got to known about this band around the time former ‘Wheel Of Fortune’-girl Deborah Ostrega was their lead singer.

In 2003 they released ‘Private Parts‘, an album which served as a collection of new songs and their greatest hits rerecorded with Deborah’s vocals.

It also includes the controversial video to ‘Gimme Gimme‘, which made a lasting impression to say the least!