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.”
Following the release of their album, Freedom Fables, a 9-piece afro-jazz group, Nubiyan Twist joined us on the radio show to discuss the album, and their journey. Now, it wasn’t all nine members of the group (the show would be way over an hour and a half) but we spoke with Pilo and Joe.
Lucky Daye returns to his funk laced RnB roots a year and some change after his album Painted debuted to the world. Lucky Daye comes from humble beginnings, having auditioned for American Idol (his audition clip is still up on Youtube to this day) only to be voted off before the big live shows. From there, he would take his talents behind the scenes, penning songs for singers such as Trey Songz, Ella Mai and Mary J. Blige.
Now on his solo journey, he returns with his second release Table for Two. Daye enlists the help of an all-female feature list to bring his vision to light. The EP takes us on a journey, with skits between tracks where Lucky Daye grapples with rejection and heartbreak. Daye carries on the chopped and screwed rap style vocals from his first album into Table for Two, further solidifying his cinematic approach to making music. These skits offer the most vulnerable side of Daye’s artistic expression; this project is bathed in the regret of a man who let a good one get away.
With an impressive and seamless set of features from Ari Lennox, Yebba, Queen Naija, our own Mahalia and Tiana Major9 and Joyce Wrice, at a glance it does look like overkill but each songstress adds something important and beautiful to Daye’s melancholic but hopeful perspective on love.
Following the release of their first single of 2021, Celine & The Blue took some time to join our Q&A series so we could learn a little bit more about them. Their upbeat, lively music has aired on BBC Introducing, BBC Radio Berkshire, Eagle Radio and Vibe Radio.
Where did you grow up?
Oh, we come from all the places! From Italy we have Céline (Milan) and Enea (Martina Franca). Jay grew up in Uden, a village in the Netherlands, Elliot is from Chelmsford, Essex and Myles grew up in seaside town Bognor Regis. All the different cultures we grew up in truly make up for such a fun blend of personalities!
Who were the people/things around which made you want to pursue music?
Some of Enea’s friends and his teachers loved music in a way that was inspiring. He got competitive because he wanted to know as much as they did, or play as well as they did so he got hooked with music and fell in love with it. Being exposed to a lot of different genres throughout his childhood,
Elliot joined his first band at 14. They played gigs all over Essex and it snowballed from there! The experience of our first headline gig in this band was just so wholesome, emotional and iconic, Céline officially knew music was what she had to do in life.
For Myles, bands like Nirvana, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Queens of the Stone Age originally inspired him to pursue music. He also started playing with a best friend which helped him progress to begin with without really trying.
Jay’s dad is a singer and played in a couple function bands some years ago. After taking piano lessons for 2 years when he was 9, Jay switched to guitar and that’s when he realised music was IT for him!
What fond memories in the early stages of your music career do you have?
Depends how early we’re talking! Jay formed his first band in the final year of primary school, they were called Sandstorm, wrote 3 songs and performed in front of over 200 people. They were 5 13-year-olds with their hair gelled into mohawks. It was special.
Enea’s best memory is from high school during the first time performing in front of a crowd. It was a feeling of terror and excitement performing an ‘underbaked’ song with a leg that wouldn’t stop shaking. We still love getting that same feeling.
For a school project Céline decided she was going to write and record an EP. Holding the final CD in her hands and distributing copies to people was the most enriching and thrilling experience, it was like giving out little bits of love to everyone!
Myles performed at a yearly show on a stage 500 feet from the sea called “The ROX”, he performed 5 songs with his band and while they all had a blast doing it, he can’t remember if the crowd liked them…
Elliot’s band won a battle of the bands competition. It was run across 5 or 6 rounds that were all hosted at different venues throughout Essex. They thought they had made it haha!
Do you play an instrument, if not, what would you love to learn most?
Keysplayer Enea would love to learn how to play drums without his neighbours complaining. Céline plays piano, a bit of guitar and ukulele, but she’d absolutely love to play the harp, so majestic and enchanted!
To add his guitar and singing skills, Jay would like to add saxophone. Elliot is thinking about following Enea’s tracks and learning to play piano. Myles has a thing for the mandolin and the accordion, we highly rate that!
How did the band come together?
We met at music uni, Enea and Céline needed a band for an assessment and we were all in the same friend group so the guys volunteered to help. When we first performed together, we just fell in love with us as a team.
What are some of the challenges of working in a band?
What’s hardest about being in a band is understanding how to take full advantage of our potential. With 5 people there are so many things you could be doing; everyday we are developing our method to becoming more efficient. Also, we value and love to focus on communication as we are so different from one another, each of us expresses themselves in such unique ways, we always turn seemingly complex communication challenges into our greatest strength!
What inspired you to create Crave Love?
Initially Crave Love started off as some chords that Enea really digged. The theme of wanting love for the sake of love was something he’d been philosophizing about at that time.
Writing the lyrics, Céline wanted the surface of this song to illustrate a breakup, and the deeper layers to show a much more complex dynamic of love as a primordial human need, highlighting emotions of grief, deprivation and melancholy. When we first wrote it, little did we know that Jay was about to write a heart shattering solo, the brightest, most vividly red and shiny cherry on top of the cake.
Describe some of your emotions when you made your debut at Ronnie Scott?
Ronnie’s has always been somewhere that we’ve aspired to play. Elliot even heard incredible stories about it from his Nan who would frequently visit the venue as a teen. We were so so super hyped! It wasn’t even a gig with the full rig. It was an acoustic set.
We were super nervous, Myles swears his stomach was in knots, but as soon as we started playing the nerves vanished and it was quite surreal. The atmosphere in Ronnie’s and the people we met there were just magical. We never felt more inspired. The aura, the aesthetic and the history of that place simply drowned us in excitement and a desire to never leave that place. It really was quite a mind blowing moment.
Do you have any creative hobbies outside of music?
Céline is the hobby queen, currently she is knitting and crocheting a whole wardrobe’s worth of clothes. Myles and Enea doodle all the time! Jay plays football and often teams up with Elliot in a gaming marathon.
Are there any UK based artists which have influenced your style of music?
Here’s a list of our favourites that we recommend everyone to check out!
Singer, songwriter and aspiring producer Meron T is back to bless our ears with her brand new single “Dailyy” ft. Sey G.
Love and heartbreak is a subject many of us can relate to. Meron T’s “Dailyy” was made at a time of transitioning out of a romantic relationship into a platonic friendship, and speaks on the emotional battles of adjusting, and the friendship not working out.
Produced by Sey G, this soulful release is Meron T’s prominent thoughts, a freestyle of feelings and emotions present at the time
Following on from a series of singles, ‘Runnin’ Wild’, ‘Confliction’ and ‘Jump The Line’, First Word Records are pleased to present a full-length EP from soul artist Olivier St.Louis, produced by Oddisee – ‘M.O.T.H. (Matters Of The Heartless)’ Olivier was born in Washington DC of Haitian and Cameroon heritage, but spent his teens studying in the UK.
When asked his thoughts on his artistry, Olivier St. Louis simply states “no punches pulled, no compromises, just me”.
Listen to ‘M.O.T.H. (Matters Of The Heartless) below.
Continuing this year’s start of strong releases, our Spotify ‘Soul Food’ includes music from Hip Hop, RnB, Neo-Soul, Broken Beat and Jazz from artist we think who deserve your attention. All our tracks stay on the palylisr for 4 weeks, as we rotate with new tracks bi-weekly.
Gilles Peterson and Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick have teamed up to create a new project STR4TA.
This week, they released their latest single ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’, building up to the release of their album ‘Aspects’ on Brownswood Recordings on March 26.
‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ recalls the early-80s British funk scene, laidback and groove-driven. It is a sound that Maunick helped to drive with his involvement in groups Incognito, Light Of The World and Freeez.
As STR4TA, Peterson and Maunick released their single ‘Aspects’ in October of last year, although they didn’t announce that they were behind the project. This forthcoming album marks the first original material that the pair have produced together in over a decade.
Listen to ‘Rhythm In Your Mind’ below, and preorder the album here.
Elisa Imperilee releases ‘Water’ produced by long-time collaborator SRIGALA and accompanied by the singer’s first visual directed by ALMASS BADAT.
‘Water’ is a haunting tale of empowerment following Elisa’s journey through isolation and fear as she faces her feelings. This is Elisa’s first self released track which follows her first release with MC Manik.
Speaking about the track, Elisa mentions: “People always told me that time was a healer. But sometimes time isn’t enough and the difficult truth is that you have to put in work to heal yourself.When I wrote this song I was in a dark place yet somehow this felt more comfortable than the prospect of facing the feelings I had been avoiding for a long time. I was becoming aware of the trap I was in and this song chronicles my coming to terms with the fact I had to dive into those difficult emotions to get out of it.”
Xavier Omar has had an interesting trajectory. Starting his career in 2012 under the moniker SPZRKT, (abbreviation for Spazzy Rocket) he released a steady stream of EP’s produced by his musical match, Sango. His rise in popularity and recognition has been nothing short of gradual. After four EP’s and penning an open letter in which he divorced his old stage name, Omar released his first ever album and music video for Just Get Here ft. VanJess and Wale last autumn. A unique approach to protecting his mystique, which for the most part has worked in his favour.
Xavier Omar returns again not long after the release of his debut with if You Feel. Omar’s secondary effort, released almost a year to the day of Moments Spent Loving You is a perfectly sequenced, 11 track body of work. This go around, we get to hear Omar collaborate with the likes of Mereba (Like I Feel), Masego (SURF) and new comer Jae Stephens for the laid back summertime track All Our Time.
Getting more personal on this album, the singer-songwriter lets listeners in on his new marriage, expressing his devotion to his wife on tracks like Protect and in particular So Much More; a stand out, 90s nostalgia slow jam.
In true Omar style, each song is laced with warm and intricate harmonies. Pushing the limits, we see Omar sample the Dru Hill smash ‘Tell Me’ for the 5th track on the album,‘want/need’ where he flits between rapping and singing effortlessly.
‘If You Feel’ is a great continuation to Xavier Oamr’s journey; a piece of art where the underground RnB artist meets the mainstream without losing substance. A perfect balance.
Check out the full album below, and let us know what you think: