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Top Tip for 2013 – Experimental and eccentric, with an artistic edge: Mikky Ekko

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Mikky Ekko is an American singer-songwriter and producer, who I first featured on here back in March 2012.

I’d heard Ekko’s track, ‘Who Are You, Really?’ on an early episode of Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s now cancelled mystery drama series, Ringer. Since writing and dueting on Rihanna’s latest ‘Unapologetic’ album track ‘Stay’, Ekko is beginning to create the level of interest and excitement that his early fans and critics have long since predicted.

Ekko is currently working with producer Clams Casino on tracks for his forthcoming debut album.

Pull Me Down’ is the latest track to be aired from the much anticipated body of work. Ekko is experimental and eccentric, with an artistic edge that sets his lyrics and live shows apart from the rest. I foresee many more high profile collaborations for this artist.


Mikky Ekko is the first of my weekly top tips for 2013.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂


Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

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To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow…to the last syllable of recorded time @BRIT_Awards

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To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,  To the last syllable of recorded time…

Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5, 19-21

After hearing that his beloved and rather terrifying better half, Lady Macbeth, has died, my favourite of all Shakespeare’s main protagonists discusses his indifference to the event and to the path that his murderous actions have led him on. Macbeth speaks about the mechanical beat of time as it transports him scene to scene, referring to time as a mere sequence of words. Macbeth hyperbolizes this reference to such an extent as to liken his current frame of mind to ‘the last syllable of recorded time’ – I felt much the same after the first couple of minutes of Damon Albarn’s acceptance speech at last night’s 2012 BRIT Awards.

To be fair, Albarn had every right to thank all those colleagues and friends which had helped Blur on their road to success and he did appear most humble. The ill-advised action of cutting the winner of the biggest award of the night, was down to poor time management on behalf of the producers and Adele, understandably, won’t have concerned herself with their excuses.

Just one major surprise of the night for me, which was One Direction claiming the award for Best Single. I’m not sure why I’m surprised really, as the award was voted for by the general public and their fans are evidently loyal, to the death (threats) in some cases.

British Male Solo Artist

Ed Sheeran / James Blake  / James Morrison  / Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds / Professor Green

My tip: Ed Sheeran.

Winner: Ed Sheeran. Sheeran performed his latest single, ‘Lego House’ at the ceremony and was clearly a popular winner with the audience. I had rather hoped to see Ron Weasley sitting beside him on the night, but had to content myself with the great industry unwashed.

British Female Solo Artist

Adele / Florence + the Machine / Jessie J / Kate Bush / Laura Marling

My tip: Adele.

Winner: Adele. Adele performed ‘Rolling In The Deep’ at the ceremony and was cited as the artist which fellow artists and celebrity guests were most looking forward to seeing. I hope Adele remains as down to earth and humble as she appears; if she didn’t it would be completely understandable as her past life is surely barely recognisable in comparison to her new reality. It would be disappointing though, as she appears to be so charming and genuinely awestruck at her achievements.

British Breakthrough Act

Anna Calvi / Ed Sheeran / Emeli Sandé / Jessie J / The Vaccines

My tip: Jessie J.

Winner: Ed Sheeran. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was disappointed not to see Will Young in the running for Best Male; I’m not sure it ‘fits’ that a winner of British Breakthrough should also be awarded Best Male. To me, Young would have been a worthy and popular winner and Sheeran could rightly have taken this award.

British Group

Arctic Monkeys / Chase & Status / Coldplay / Elbow / Kasabian

My tip: Coldplay.

Winner: Coldplay. No major surprises here. Coldplay also performed live on the night and were enjoyable as always. I realised last night that two of the members of the band look strikingly similar to two of my best friend’s ex-boyfriends…interesting. I think that she is secretely part of some government Coldplay cloning process.

British Single

Adele: ‘Someone Like You’

Ed Sheeran: ‘The A Team’

Example: ‘Changed The Way You Kiss Me’

Jessie J feat B.o.B: ‘Price Tag’

JLS feat Dev: ‘She Makes Me Wanna’

Military Wives and Gareth Malone: ‘Wherever You Are’

Olly Murs feat Rizzle Kicks: ‘Heart Skips A Beat’

One Direction: ‘What Makes You Beautiful’

Pixie Lott: ‘All About Tonight’

The Wanted: ‘Glad You Came’

My tip: Jessie  J. ‘Price Tag’

Winner: One Direction: ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. A catchy track I will admit, sometimes annoyingly so. It was quite touching to see how genuinely surprised the boys were. My favourite is the Irish one, for purely genealogical reasons. His name is irrelevant.

Mastercard British Album Of The Year

Adele: 21 / Coldplay: Mylo Xyloto / Ed Sheeran: + / Florence + the Machine: / Ceremonials / PJ Harvey: Let England Shake

My tip: Ed Sheeran: +

Winner: Adele: 21. I wonder what she was going to say. We may never know…

International Male Solo Artist

Aloe Blacc / Bon Iver / Bruno Mars / David Guetta / Ryan Adams

My tip: Bruno Mars.

Winner: Bruno Mars. Mars may have the whitest teeth I have ever seen on a human being, and the smoothest skin. Yes, I admit it, I have quite the crush on the romantic crooner but did not realise how short he was! I am, however, willing to overlook this.

International Female Solo Artist

Beyoncé / Bjork / Feist / Lady Gaga / Rihanna

My tip: Beyonce.

Winner: Rihanna. Rihanna performed latest single ‘We Found Love’ at the ceremony; I lose track of which is in fact her latest single, there seems to be so many released in quick succession. A popular performer with the audience. I do enjoy a nice sweater dress, but would probably pair it with some lovely knitted aztec leggings before leaving the house.

International Group

Fleet Foxes / Foo Fighters /  Jay Z and Kanye West / Lady Antebellum / Maroon 5

My tip: Jay Z and Kanye West.

Winner: Foo Fighters. The Fighters were not in attendance, which I always find incredibly disappointing and a waste of an award to be honest. With today’s high-tech diarised devices, there really is no excuse for missing a big event. Death, perhaps.

International Breakthrough Act

Aloe Blacc / Bon Iver / Foster The People / Lana Del Rey / Nicki Minaj

My tip: Lana Del Rey.

Winner: Lana Del Rey. Del Rey was rather sweet upon collecting her award and was no doubt pleased to have some positive publicity after recent weeks. I personally don’t see what all the fuss was about Stateside; she’s never going to sing pitch perfect as she has a distinct style which doesn’t necessitate it. She is what I would refer to as an emotalist; a personally coined phrase which I would use to describe a singer who uses her emotions to govern her vocals and as we females well know – that could be highs, then lows, then everything inbetween and in no immediately evident pattern.

shelleyhanveywriter 🙂

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

February 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Top tips for 2012, featuring First Aid Kit, L.P. and Various Cruelties @firstaidkitband @LPROCK @v_cruelties

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First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo, consisting of sisters Johanna and Klara Soderberg. The siblings formed their band and began writing in 2007, aged just 17 and 14 and have since gone on to release their debut album ‘The Big Black & The Blue’ (2010) and to support Fleet Foxes in Europe. They have a great deal in common with the aforementioned folk septet, particularly with regard to their tight vocal harmonies and earthy songwriting style. The band are set to release their second album ‘The Lion’s Roar’, on January 23rd, 2012, from which I have selected one of my favourite tracks, ‘Emmylou.’

L.P. or Laura Pergolizzi to the over-familiar amongst us, is a rock singer and songwriter from New York. Since signing to Warner Music Group, she has amassed considerable songwriting credits, including tracks penned for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Rihanna and… ahem, Heidi Montag. Currently working on her debut release for the major label; I have selected the track ‘Into The Wild’ to give you a taste of what’s to come from this fiesty rock frontrunner.

Various Cruelties are a four-piece band based in London, who make ‘Motown-influenced indie’ music. The band centres around songwriter and frontman Liam O’Donnell who, inspired by his Northern Soul roots in Leeds, moved to London to write about his experiences to date and stumbled across some bandmates along the way. Fast forward two years and O’Donnell and co are set to release their debut album in the Spring of 2012. They have found themselves on several ‘must watch’ lists and have enjoyed high praise from several notable TV performances, including Jools Holland at the back end of last year. I think this band have a great deal to look forward to in 2012, particularly with their USP (O’Donnell) at the helm. My favourite track to date would be ‘If It Wasn’t For You’ which I have loaded below. The band are currently touring the UK.


shelleyhanveywriter 🙂 / / /

Written by shelleyhanveywriter

January 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

2011 UK Music Festivals; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist?

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I think we’ve pretty much seen the majority of what the UK Music Festival scene has in store for us this year, but I’ve had cause to wonder; what constitutes a headline-worthy artist? Are record sales the main criterion; perhaps international or tabloid appeal, or could it be something else?

It has always been my opinion that those festivals which consistently perform well with ticket sales, are those which have a clear brand identity and generally, a niche market; Leeds and Reading Festivals, Cambridge Folk Festival, Glastonbury and T In The Park being prime examples. I suppose it isn’t  rocket science really – if you cater to a specific section of the gig-going public, provide the artists and bands that  they want to see, at a price they can afford, how can you go wrong? But so many appear to do just that. Looking at some of the festival line-ups for 2011, I’ve felt largely underwhelmed and uninspired, with only a select few pricking my curiosity to find out more. Admittedly, music tastes are subjective and entirely personal to the ticket-holder, but when the ‘big five’ (V Festival, Glastonbury, Leeds Festival, Reading Festival and T In The Park) music festivals in the UK are charging relatively similar weekend prices, how can a couple of them defend their line-ups against their peers?

Of course, a music festival is about much more than just the music; the location has to be just right, as well as: accessibility, on-site facilities, entertainment, catering, toilets, general crowd atmosphere and the list goes on. Can a perfect ten in all of these criteria however, really make up for a poor line-up? Is a great festival weekend about who you’re with, not where you are; would you trade six good medium-stage acts for one great main stage act?

The UK Festival Awards 2010 announced the following winners late last year:

Best Small Festival in association with Doodson Entertainment – Kendal Calling

Best Medium Festival in association with Smirnoff Flavours – Green Man Festival

Best Major Festival in association with Tuborg – Bestival (see photo above)

Line-Up of the Year in association with XL Video – Rockness

Bestival is a boutique music festival, which takes place at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight. The four-day spectacular which promises to inspire ‘peace, love and dancing’, is curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ, Rob Da Bank. This year, the festival takes place on the 8th – 11th September 2011 and is set across 15 stages, offering the likes of The Cure, Pendulum, Primal Scream, Kelis, Robyn, PJ Harvey, Noah and the Whale, The Unthanks and Groove Armada. It would be fair to say that the line-up is a mix of folk fusion and boutique chic and the festival site promises ‘an original boutique camping experience, cocktail bars, fancy dress and a hidden disco.’ I think the fact that the festival has always promoted itself as being particularly family friendly hasn’t hurt; children enjoy music too, it isn’t all about the beer tokens people! To find out more about Bestival, please visit the link below.

Green Man Festival takes place on the 19th-21st August 2011 (the same weekend as V Festival, but tailored to an entirely different audience) in the Brecon Beacons. The festival is aimed specifically at the folk and electronic indie- loving public and again, is very welcoming to families with children of all ages; indeed, under 12s get in free. Highlights on the line-up this year include: Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem, Bellowhead, Explosions In The Sky, The Burns Unit and Villagers. I think that I would enjoy this particular festival; I love folk and electronic music and I love a beautiful scenic environment in which to camp and lounge. To find out more about Green Man Festival, please visit the link below.

Kendal Calling takes place on the 29th-31st July 2011 in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District. This is an independent festival, combining contemporary music and art with rural entertainment. I think it would be a fair assumption to say that this festival largely caters to a somewhat younger demographic than the former two; particularly with regards to the line-up, which this year includes: The Cribs, Blondie, Chase and Status, Echo and the Bunnymen, Levellers and Young Knives.  The festival also offers dance, comedy and new music stages. For more information on Kendal Calling…you know what to do.

Out of the ‘big five’ headlining acts this year, my favourite would have to be Glastonbury (22nd-26th June 2011): Coldplay, U2 and Beyonce. The brilliance of these choices lies in the fact that there will probably be something for everyone here. The acts are diverse enough to attract wider audiences, yet remain true to what a great headliner should be – an act that commands your attention, whether that be by dividing the audience right down the middle or uniting everyone with one memorable anthem that will go on to sum up the entire weekend.

Taking in to account the line-up in its entirety however, I would have to opt for Latitude Festival as my favourite(14th-17th July 2011). The mix of folk, electronica, comedy, poetry and the spoken word could have been tailored specifically with me in mind. I would pay to see the majority of the acts on the billing, including: The National, Bombay Bicycle Club, Caribou, The Duke and the King, Foals, Hurts, KT Tunstall and Rumer , as well as the fantastic stand-ups on offer including Alan Carr and Omad Djalili . Plus it also takes place on my birthday weekend!

Whichever UK festival you choose to visit this year, I wish you good weather and great memories 🙂 / / / / / / / / /

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