Germany’s Queen of Soul Joy Denalane Presents Her Latest Single ‘The Show’

Germany’s undisputed Queen of Soul, Joy Denalane release has released her stunning new single, ‘The Show’. Taken from her upcoming album ‘Let Yourself Be Loved – Deluxe Edition,’ out September 3 on Lesedi / Motown Records.  

Testament to a musical ability that comes from years at the top of her game, Joy Denalane is one of modern soul’s brightest stars and ‘The Show’ does not disappoint. Managing to sound classic and contemporary at the same time, it’s neo-soul at its best – a bittersweet account of Joy’s vulnerabilities as a parent, delivered in beautifully confident fashion.  

“The Show is about that moment when kids realize: After all, my parents are just as questionable and flawed as I am”’ says Joy. “When children become teenagers, their parents’ hero status is quite rightly questioned. I tell my children: Please forgive me, that I too am only a part of the show, a part of the system – and as such fallible. The song aims to soften the shock of that realization for the kids and help navigate them through the complexities of life.” 

Listen to ‘The Show’ below.

Dutch Soulstress Releases The Stunning New EP Royal Escape

Rising Dutch songstress Latanya Alberto reveals her new single ‘Get It Right’, taken from her EP titled ‘The Royal Escape’. A sublime dose of sultry neo-soul with a 2021 edge, the track was produced by LA based producers Shanks (BOSCO, SiR, Ledisi) and Sammy Perez. The second track to be taken from the EP, ‘Get It Right’ comes after the stunning ‘Royal (Recall)’ and it’s powerful visuals.

Speaking about ‘Get It Right’, Latanya shares the tracks meaning; “How many people are truly unapologetically themselves? This means being honest with yourself, being confident in your decisions, being prepared to walk away to remain in a position of dignity. The song emphasizes the journey back to that stage”.

Born and raised in Amsterdam to Surimenese and Curaçaoan parents, Latanya Alberto started writing poetry as a teenager, which became the basis for her lyrics today. Delving deeper into cultural awareness, female empowerment, social justice and romance, Latanya takes inspiration from the wordplay of legends India Arie and Erykah Badu. Latanya explains her M.O; “To deliver the story that needs to be heard, the consciousness that needs to be awakened, and the emotion that needs to be freed”.

Listen to ‘Get It Right’ below.

Have You Met.. Zen Zin & Pawcut

Sudanese MC/Singer Zen-Zin and German producer Pawcut are not your average rap group. Zen-Zin lives and works in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, while Pawcut is producing his beats in a small German town called Minden. Nevertheless, the mix of Zen-Zin’s melodious flow and Pawcut’s skillfully layed beats make a perfect fit. “Next Flight Ontario” is the follow-up album to their debut “Butterfly Effect” on Jakarta Records. The pair took time to join our ‘Have you Met‘ Q&A serirs

Where did you grow up? How did you get into creating music?

Zen-Zin: Well, I was born in Sudan but then my whole family moved to Malaysia for a few years and then we came back, but I wasn’t into music back then. To be honest, it had never even crossed my mind, but one day my cousin had burnt two CD’s for my brother, one was filled with audio tracks and the other had music videos on it. The first song on the CD with the videos was Xzibit’s song “Multiply” which was beyond dope, but it didn’t change me or reel me in like that. The second song was Bow Wow’s “Basketball” featuring Fabolous which was also dope but again – it didn’t change me. The third song was the song that ruined my life and changed everything, the song was Bone Thugs & Harmony’s song called “Crossroads”. Now originally the song had come out in the 1990s but I was too young to understand anything and to be honest rap wasn’t in my world like that, so I was really late to the party. When I heard that song around 2005, they had already released three more albums, but that was a game-changer for me. Sometimes I wish I had never heard that song, maybe then I’d be happy and content with how things are, but everything happens for a reason – so it is what it is.

Pawcut: I grew up in a rather small city called Minden in Germany. Music has always been very present and important to me. The first thing that brought me in touch with actually getting creative in doing something myself was trying to do Ska/Punk in a band in the 80s (yes I’m old) and doing the standard rec/pause/rec Grandmaster Flash impersonations on a tape deck. About 20 years ago, after ways of life lead me to different paths, I started cutting records with two turntables and later samples into a Korg ESX 1 sampler and Fruity Loops. For the last ten years, music has been my main focus and passion.

What’s the music culture like in the city you grew up in?

Zen-Zin: To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to the scene in the city anymore. I used to but not anymore. We have a lot of talented artists here, but I can’t focus on what they’re doing and continue to better myself at the same time, so I just mind my own business and worry about what I’m doing. I wish everybody the best you know, I’m sure what they’re doing is dope, but it’s just not for me, you know.

Pawcut: As I said, it’s small, about 80k people, but we have a nice Jazz club and a Hip-Hop scene that has been more active in the past, but it’s still there.

What’s your relationship with Pawcut/Zen-Zin and how did you meet?

Zen-Zin: I had heard about Pawcut from a friend, but I didn’t know who he was and I’m 100% sure he didn’t know about me at all. I don’t even think he knows about me now lol, but we connected through emails, Facebook texts and everything just kinda fell into place and it just felt right. We had done like two tracks and then decided to keep it going and I won’t lie, I loved his production, it felt mature to me and it was definitely the first time for me to work with a bigger artist who knew what he was doing. There have definitely been a lot of teaching moments along the way and I won’t lie I was kinda intimidated… You have to understand that I wasn’t born into this nor do I know anyone who does this on a professional level. My closest friends aren’t artist, so all of this is new to me. I’m learning on the job every day, so obviously I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but with every new project, I hear and feel the progress.

Pawcut: We met about eight years ago and we’ve worked on music with little interruptions since. Zen-Zin is and has always been a very fast, clean and visionary vocalist to me. Meanwhile, we’ve been through some highs and lows as artists, but also on the ways of life side of things and becoming friends even though we never met in person. And that’s a lot in my world.

How have you tried to bring your Sudanese culture into your music? 

Zen-Zin: I reference some people sometimes in my music and maybe an incident that happened or a quick mention here or there, but I try to not mesh the two together because honestly, I don’t think that that’s what it’s about. I know some artist thrived off that like J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar, but that’s why I gravitated towards Drake more cause I just like good music. 

It doesn’t always have to have a hidden message or be about something, you know. Sometimes just being creative is enough. I don’t like to overthink it, I feel that’s where the art dies, but then again that’s how I feel. Maybe other artists like to whiteboard it and calculate every bar or hook or concept, but I just like it to be organic, it gives the music a longer shelf life in my opinion.

What is your relationship like with Melting Pot, and how has it impacted your music career?

Zen-Zin: MPM has definitely been a big help, I mean without them we wouldn’t be doing this interview here lol, I gotta show ’em respect and tip my hat to them for taking a leap of faith with us, cause this is a business at the end of the day so it’s a numbers game… But the fact that they took this risk with us, lets me know that they also care about the creative aspect of it and that’s rare in today’s world. I hope we don’t disappoint them, but you never know with music, cause you might release a project today and not get the results you want, but then again that same project might blow and start to do numbers four years from now out of nowhere so it’s a tough thing to gauge you know. I just want to personally thank Oliver and the whole team for the support and for believing in me and Pawcut and in “Next Flight Ontario”.

Pawcut: What Zen-Zin said… Also, you got to really give MPM props for rolling with us through the options to promote us beyond “sound” were rather slim. The album just released so time will tell about the impact.

If you weren’t making music, what do you think you would be doing?

Zen-Zin: If I wasn’t making music, I’d probably be a farmer or a getaway driver, you know… lol. I don’t really know, maybe a screenwriter cause I write a lot but that industry’s ten times harder so I don’t really focus on it too much, but if I wasn’t rapping I’d like to think I was being useful, whether to society or the world or even to the neighbourhood.

Pawcut: I don’t know, I assume I’d spend even more time with the stuff I do besides music which is long walking with the dogs, spending time with my wife I love to death and smoke lots of weed whilst watching brainless stuff on my tv.

Do you play any instruments, if not, which would you love to learn first?

Zen-Zin: I don’t play any instruments nor do I make any beats. I leave that to the professionals. I’m more of a “let me stay in my own zone and don’t touch anything kind of guy”, if I could learn to play an instrument I’d have to go with the piano, I like the sounds it makes especially when you know what you’re doing with it.

Pawcut: Nor do I. My parents tried to get me into piano lessons when I was five or six but I was way too unfocused – and they were not strict enough. 

Which other artists would you love to collaborate with most?

Zen-Zin: I used to want to collaborate with a lot of people but I don’t anymore. Maybe in the future, but right now I like how I and Paw do what we do. I like the fact that it’s just us, you know. There aren’t any ghostwriters or ghost-producers. It’s just the two of us doing what we want, how we want when we want. It’s actually similar to a “blade & whistler” situation for the marvel fans out there.

Pawcut: I think that’s a more complex thing to me than drop big names here now. For me even if I don’t meet someone in person, I need to have a feeling of chemistry that’s beyond a big name or band or even high-quality work. That’s a thing that comes with time and work you put in, not through “hiring” a vocalist or having a “plan”. I want to have an influence on my work that sees the light as well. That’s why I don’t sell my beats or put single beats of mine on multiple random projects or compilations. 

I have people like Zen-Zin, Pseudo Slang, Ella Mae Sueref, N-O, Dre Skuffs and others like my German regulars Katharsis and Headrick, where everything grew organically over the years. So I don’t really long for the big names or coups except it became an opportunity that felt right without forcing it.

How would you describe your rapping/singing style in three words?

Zen-Zin: Organic, conversational, and untethered.

Mndsgn Releases New Song + Video ‘Slowdance’

Mndsgn shares a new song and video from his forthcoming album Rare Pleasure, out June 4th on Stones Throw Records. Celestial and hypnotic, “Slowdance” arrives with the perfect visual counterpart conceptualized by Mndsgn himself and directed by Eric Coleman. The video meets the artist on a glimmering beach as he sets up a transformative flower circle for two souls to find coalescence in the rhythm of the song. The new track follows last month’s single “Hope You’re Doin’ Better,” which came alongside a self-directed video.

Speaking on the track, Mndsgn says: “To me, the ability to deal with time and changes are tied to my ability to dance. The tempos speed up and slow down. Chords progress, weaving through tensions and resolves. The rhythms alternate from something familiar to something strange. Sometimes we adjust accordingly, sometimes we struggle to find the groove, finding ourselves a few beats ahead or behind. However we choose to dance is entirely up to our own expression. The point is to keep dancing whether fast or slow.”

Rare Pleasure is Mndsgn’s third album to be released on Stones Throw Records. Following 2016’s Body Wash, this album truly shows the artist’s evolution from his roots as a heralded beatmaker to vocalist, songwriter and arranger.

Watch and listen to “Slowdance” below.

The Simpsons’ Matt Groening Will Join Theo Parrish On NTS April 28th

NTS, the London station that has redefined internet radio over the last decade, is turning 10 years old.

To celebrate it will host a week of celebrations with 10 special guests curating both of its channels all day long.

Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons and the inspiration for NTS’ name, will be on curation duties alongside longtime friend of NTS Theo Parrish, Detroit titans Dopplereffekt, shoegaze icons my bloody valentine, Arca, Mica Levi, Laurie Anderson and more.

The special week of broadcasts will also raise money for The Global Foodbanking Network.

Proceedings take place from Monday April 19 to Friday April 23.

Matt Groening curated an edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties the year before NTS was founded while the station recently hosted The Sopranos‘ Michael Imperioli.

Full info here.

Jordan Rakei Returns With His Dreamy New Single ‘Imagination’

The artist-curated mix series, Late Night Tales, is pleased to announce its next compilation, this time curated by multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Jordan Rakei.

For Rakei’s Late Night Tales, the first mix of the acclaimed series’ 20th year, the 28-year-old modern soul icon effortlessly stamps his own jazz and hip-hop driven sound all over this gorgeous array of handpicked tracks.

A beautifully layered blend that is mirrored in the music he’s made, it comes as no surprise that such a supremely gifted songwriter should deliver a mix that is all about the song.  

I wanted to try and showcase as many people as I knew on this mix,” says Rakei. “My idea of Late Night Tales was to distil a series of relaxing moments; the whole conceptual sonic of relaxation. So, I was trying to think of all the collaborators and friends that I knew, who’d recorded stuff with this horizontal vibe.

Plus, I was also trying to help my friends’ stuff get into the world. I know the story of Khruangbin blowing up after appearing on the series (in fact, I think that’s how I discovered them). So, the main idea was to create a certain atmosphere, but also to help some of my favourite collaborators and buddies to give their songs a little push out into the world. Hope you like it.”

Check it out below

Nasty C Joins Ari Lennox For Their New Single, Black and White

“Black and White” is the latest single from South African rapper Nasty C. With the song finding itself placed on the ‘Coming to America 2’ soundtrack, Nasty C has stumbled into a new sense of popularity. Although, people will most likely discover the collaboration through Tiny Desk Concert team  who recently released a ‘Coming to America 2’ soundtrack special concert.

Nasty C’s real name is Nsikayesizwe David Junior Ngcobo, got his start in 2016 with the release of his debut album “Bad Hair”. After receiving critical acclaim for his album and a few mixtapes, he went on to sign with Def Jam in March of last year. It would be this deal that would bridge the musical gap between Africa and the States, and bring us the future summer time jam that is “Black and White”. 

Nasty C impresses with his wordplay, rapping about being a devoted soulmate while Ari Lennox answers back in her signature Badu-esque tone. Despite being a rapper at heart, Nasty C impressively flits between rapping and carrying a melodic chorus throughout the track making sure to cater for Rap and RnB heads alike. 

In the early stages of his joint venture deal with Def Jam, Nasty C’s future in the music business looks bright. In a time where space between the diasporas are getting smaller and smaller (thanks to the internet and films like Black Panther), and the fusion of various genres is becoming the norm, this is the perfect moment for Nasty C to shine.

Listen to Black and White below.

New York House DJ Carlos Sanchez has Died

A longtime staple of the New York house scene, DJ Carlos Sanchez, has passed away. The news comes three years after the likes of Francois K, DJ Spinna and Soul Clap played a fundraiser event to cover the medical expenses of Sanchez, who had been diagnosed with kidney failure in 2018.

Sanchez produced under his given name and the Carlos Sanchez Movement, and released the bulk of his music via New York-based house label Maxi Records. He also worked as a professor at Pace University, where he taught a World Music & The Underground course. Sanchez additionally played a pivotal role in the underground dance music community as a promoter, and heavily influenced the programming at New York clubs Leviticus and Save The Robots.

Gyakie Taps On Naija’s Omah Lay For A Banging Remix

Gyakie has just released a bubbly remix to her chart-topping single ‘Forever‘ in collaboration with Naija’s next rated superstar, Omah Lay.

With this remix featuring Omah Lay, Gyakie will continue her valiant strides while using this motherland association to further solidify her status as the next takeover star from Africa whose eyes are set beyond the Atlantic embankment.

Listen to ‘Forever’ below.

Virginia Hip Hop Artist Al-Dom Releases His The Pensive New Single

Having recently revealed his stellar new project NEW DREAM to acclaim from Rap Caviar, CLASH, Wonderland, DJ-Booth,  DUMMY, Fashionably Early and gained plaudits from fellow Norfolk, Virginia raised artist Pusha T, Al-Doms continues to keep the heat up with a visually stunning video for EP lead track Rat Race.

Directed by Aaron Dee, the video serves as a stellar visual accompaniment to a body of work which looks set to put Al-Doms on the radar for 2021 and beyond.

Listen to Rat Race below.