#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Ben Haenow


   

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Ben Haenow is probably best known for winning X Factor back in 2014. From there, he released his self-titled, debut album, the lead single from which (Second Hand Heart), featured the singing sensation that is Kelly Clarkson. Now, 2018 has seen the release of his second studio album, Alive. We thought it was a good time to catch up with Ben about everything he’s been up to and more! Check out what he had to say, in this interview…


Hey Ben, how’s it going?
Great thanks! Thanks for having me.

So you are about to release your second album, ‘Alive’, how do you feel prior to a new release? Is it nerve-wracking or exciting?
Yeah, a bit of both. I’m anxious but really can’t wait for people to hear the new tracks so bring it oooon!

Where did the idea for the title come from and what’s the meaning behind it?
The lead track is called ‘Alive’. It was basically written as a thank you to the fans for keeping my dream alive, so we went with that for the album too.

What’s the track you’re most excited for people to hear? What’s your usual process for writing/recording?
The process can vary, sometimes it starts with a vocal melody, or maybe a just a lyric idea or guitar lick. Then it develops from there. It might take a day, a week or longer before it’s all done but that’s the beauty of it. You can take a bit more time writing and playing with sounds until you’re happy. I’d say ‘Give Me Your Love’ is one I want to see reactions too.

Where do you take inspirations from when writing/recording your music?
I guess for this album, the inspiration came from my experiences between X Factor and now. I try to draw on personal experiences when writing as I feel people connect more with something if there is truth/reality in a lyric.

Collaborating with Kelly Clarkson must’ve been pretty cool, how was it?
It was great! She is obviously a very talented lady and boy can she siiiiiing! She was a true professional and an absolute pleasure to work with.

If you could collaborate with anyone else, who would it be and why?
Gary Clarke Jr
– I think the bluesy vibe is really cool and he has a pretty awesome voice too. I love his musical style.

What music have you been listening to most recently?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Stevie Wonder recently so I’m on a soul trip at the moment.

If you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
Selena Gomez
’s ‘Wolves’ – I love the song and have an idea I’d like to try.

That’d be pretty cool…you should do it! So, do you have any pre or post-gig rituals? Or have any of you got any weird habits?
Lots of weird habits if you ask my wife… but we (me and the band) have a ritual which we call ‘Ukla’… I cannot tell you what it is but we UKLAA before every show.

Do you have any other passions outside of music?
I love to cook… and eat.

What really grinds your gears (winds you up)?
The song ‘Jellicle Cats’ from Cats the Musical… I like real cats but that song, and those cats REALLY grind my gears!!

What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you, in life?
I was 14, at a motorway service station, whilst en route to Devon with my dad and brother. I was wearing the Kappa tracksuit trousers with the poppers all the way down the legs… my brother thought it would be funny to pull my trousers completely off leaving me in my pants and a t-shirt in the middle of Little Chef!

Oh dear; that’s pretty embarrassing! So, what’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Guardians of the Galaxy 2… they’re great films.

If, in say 10 years time, a film was made about your life, who would you want to play you?
Danny DeVito or Morgan Freeman… that would be fantastic.

If you were a chocolate bar, which one would you be and why?
I’d probably be a KitKat… chunky.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t eat yellow snow… or brown snow… or snow in general!

Thanks very much for taking the time to chat!
No problem and thank you for having me!!! Hope to speak soon.


Ben Haenow‘s latest album, Alive, is available:


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#WildCardWednesday: Kris Evans – ‘Famous’


   

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Kris Evans (previously of The Mend/Race The Horizon) has just dropped his new single, ‘Famous’…and it’s massive!

Think Dappy meets Chris Brown with a slightly more underground, urban edge but topped with a strong chorus and you’ve got this single; it’s genuinely one of the freshest songs I’ve heard recently and I can’t get enough of it!

Also, 2018 is already looking very promising for Kris, who’s been nominated for ‘Best Urban Act Of 2018’ at the Unsigned Music Awards! What’s more, Kris has further big plans ahead, which include more releases and some exciting live performances across the UK.

No music video has been released for this track yet, but if one does emerge, we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

What are your thoughts of this epic singer and monster tune? Got a #WildCardWednesday track to recommend us? Please leave your thoughts or song suggestions in a comment or hit us up via our socials.

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‘Famous’ can be downloaded off iTunes now – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/famous-single/1348400033


#Two4Tunesday: Prides – ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ & Matrix & Futurebound – ‘Light Us Up’ featuring Calum Scott


   

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Prides – ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’

Prides (check out our interview here) have just dropped their latest single, ‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ which is taken from the forthcoming album, A Mind Like The Tide (out next year). The album is actually being split into two parts, with Part 1 coming October 27th 2017.

The track sees the duo release a song which keeps to their trademark, synth-pop sound and it’s catchy as hell…I can’t wait for the rest of the album!

The audio video is below but no official music video has emerged yet, but we’ll keep you updated on this.


‘Let’s Stay In Bed All Day’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/lets-stay-in-bed-all-day/id1268816597?i=1268816600



Matrix & Futurebound – ‘Light Us Up’ featuring Calum Scott

Matrix & Futurebound are an electronic duo who have just teamed up with ex-Britain’s Got Talent contestant (and incredible vocalist) Calum Scott.

The track has a summery vibe to it and Calum Scott’s passionate, ascending vocals weave their way beautifully throughout the uplifting instrumentation. It is a true anthem and begs to be sung at the top of your voice or pumped loudly through your car speakers. It’s a true feel-good track – I can’t get enough of this.

No music video has been made for this track yet either, but we’ll keep you updated on this.


‘Light Us Up’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/light-us-up-feat-calum-scott-nick-talos-remix-single/id1244764883


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#Two4Tunesday: Charlie Puth – ‘Attention’ & Yes Lad – ‘Walk Away’


   

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Charlie Puth – ‘Attention’

Charlie Puth has been going from strength to strength and whilst I wasn’t a fan of his big hit, ‘Marvin Gaye’, I loved his collaboration with Selena Gomez on We Don’t Talk Any More. Since then, it appears the singer songwriter is gearing up to release a new album with brand new single, ‘Attention’ leading the way.

The song is catchy and I love the way the percussion builds up throughout the track – the bass line is funky and his vocals are great (even if auto tune has been used evidently). A great single and a surefire sign of great things to come.

The music video is steamy and features Puth in a tumultuous relationship, breaking up with glass flying before kissing and making up and starting the cycle all over again. Check it out below.


‘Attention’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/attention/id1226009041?i=1226009487



Yes Lad – ‘Walk Away’

Yes Lad are a five-piece boyband who emerged on the scene after their appearances on X Factor UK.

The electro-pop song is tinged with urban sounds and makes for a fantastic debut single from the band. ‘Walk Away’ is catchy, and follows the current trend of having sampled vocals over the chorus but it’s unique in it’s own way – an impressive debut, looking forward to seeing what the boys release next.

The music video for the track, was filmed in Manchester and features the band performing the track, and showing off some impressive dance moves.


‘Walk Away’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/walk-away/id1210428767?i=1210429183


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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Janet Devlin

Matt does a Skype interview with Janet Devlin and finds out all about her latest single, ‘Outernet Song’, her upcoming concept album and which flavour biscuit she’d be. It’s all here…


   

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Having recently released her single, ‘Outernet Song’, I got the chance to chat with the talented, Irish singer/songerwriter, Janet Devlin.

During our interview, Janet discussed how her new single, ‘Outernet Song’ came about, discussed her upcoming album (tentatively titled Holy Water) and we even found out what type of biscuit she’d be, so please make sure you check it all out in the video below!

I really hope you enjoy this interview! Please go ahead and show your support by sharing the link on your social media accounts!


*** Apologies for the poor connection quality of this video…it may be a bit jumpy but it’s still a great interview! ***


Janet Devlin‘s releases are all available:


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#Review: Lucy Spraggan – I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing


   

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Lucy Spraggan is an outstanding singer, songwriter and all-round storyteller, most notable for her appearance on 2012’s series of X Factor. However, since then, she has built a huge following, from her debut, independent album through to this, her fourth album release. This is ‘I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing’.

Lucy Spraggan - I Hope You Don't Mind Me Writing.jpg

The album opens with the folk-like songs, ‘Fight For It’ and ‘Loaded Guns’, the first of which has an almost Irish folksong feel to it and the latter with it’s gun sounds and interesting vocal sample, make for a superb opening to the record. ‘Grown Up’ is a very personal song with a deep appreciation of life while ‘I Don’t Live There Anymore’ is a beautiful reflection of times past.

There are three, clear, stand-out tracks on the album (which must be why they were singles!): ‘Dear You’ is brimming with personal emotion – an open letter which deals with mental health issues (the video for which features Thomas Turgoose and can be seen below); ‘Freddos Aren’t 10p’ with its retro references and nostalgia and ‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ which is a very powerful, catchy song which touches on the positives in a negative relationship.

There are other great tracks, such as ‘Hey William’ (a collaboration with The Dunwells) which is fairly indie in style with great backing vocals; ‘All That I’ve Loved (For Barbara)’ which tells a story and shows off her powerful vocals and ‘Puppy Dog Eyes’ that’s a track about the downfall of a relationship.

The entire album is filled with a strong sense of nostalgia, personal emotions, rocky relationships and her trademark story-telling. It’s what makes Lucy Spraggan such an interesting artist and means that her songs are always diverse.

The production on the album is fantastic and lead by Jon Maguire (who’s also worked with the likes of One DirectionCalum ScottBen Haenow and Sam Feldt)! It can be rare to find a pop album produced predominantly by one person these days, but an excellent job has been done to ensure that all the tracks are diverse in feel yet come together with a similar sound; it’s a truly brilliant record.

In summary, Lucy Spraggan has shown that she has been hard at work further developing her songwriting skills, to produce a heavily themed album but with wide variety of song styles whilst maintaining her fantastically poetic lyric-writing ability. It’s a definite, must-have album!

Rating
4-5


‘I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-hope-you-dont-mind-me-writing/id1176961001


I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing on Spotify

‘Modern Day Frankenstein’ (Official Video)

‘Dear You’ (Official Video)


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of the album…have you heard it yet? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment below or let us know via our social media.


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#Two4Tunesday: Maroon 5 – ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ featuring Kendrick Lamar & Little Mix – ‘Shout Out To My Ex’


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Maroon 5 – ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ featuring Kendrick Lamar

Maroon 5 have made a huge comeback with this fantastic new track, ‘Don’t Wanna Know’. The song is heavily influenced by current tropical house trends and features guest vocals from Kendrick Lamar.

The video is hilarious too as it features various people dressed in Pokemon-style outfits and sees people trying to catch them.

A great song, from a great band, with a great video!


‘Don’t Wanna Know’ is on iTunes for downloading now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dont-wanna-know-feat.-kendrick/id1163369446?i=1163369683



Little Mix – ‘Shout Out To My Ex’

Little Mix have also just released their first track from their new album, ‘Shout Out To My Ex’.

The group first performed their new song on X Factor with a brilliant reception! The song has possible underlying connections to Zayn Malik‘s relationship to Perrie? Either way, it’s a monstrous new song from the band!

No video has been released as of yet, but we’ll update you on this – for now, watch their awesome X Factor performance below.


‘Shout Out To My Ex’ can also be downloaded from iTunes now! – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/shout-out-to-my-ex/id1163867793?i=1163867939


Matt – Muzik Speaks
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