X-Factor finalist Fleur East celebrated her upcoming single and album with close friends in a strikingly unexpected way – debuting the tracks as a silent disco. I attended the event where the fabulous DJ Melody Kane span out some banging classics to ensure the dance floor was always busy.
As well as the dance floor the party boasted a bowling alley and a photo booth, all contributing to a very lively scene. At regular intervals the party music would stop for the album previews. Fleur would say a few words about each piece, before we listened via headphones to a new song from her upcoming album, Love, Sax and Flashbacks. She also was extremely thankful to everybody who attended and acknowledged the fact that they had been there throughout what she called her “struggle” in this industry.
She has been in the music game for many years. But it’s thanks to her recent X-Factor success that she’s been signed to Simon Cowell’s label Syco. Her new album is set for release in December.
Although Fleur’s single, Sax, is yet to be released, it is already taking over social media by storm, mainly with dance videos – the catchy chorus has a great instrumental break that you’ll find is an irresistible temptation to strut your stuff.
The songs I heard from her album gave me the same feel. It was recorded in London and LA after Fleur had been touring with X-Factor. She told us her main aim with the album is to bring the party to people’s houses. In fact she rejected the idea of making her final recording a slow jam as she really does intend that anyone hearing her album will want to boogie. Her aims certainly seemed to be working at the silent disco. Not one person with headphones on wasn’t dancing as we previewed the new upbeat classics.
Fleur’s album has up-to-date lyrics – for example the current buzz-phrase “Netflix and Chill” – but it captures upbeat rhythms of various styles from over the decades including the electronic 80s vibe.
It was a delight to meet Fleur and connect with her warm spirit and we even exchanged a few Ghanaian words! Fleur has a kind heart and I wish her every success in her well-deserved career.
You can pre-order Fleur’s single on iTunes, and she is releasing the song on Friday November 6th so that it coincides with her X Factor performance this weekend. This has been pushed back from the original release date as Fleur told her fans, “I’ve decided that I didn’t just want you to hear it. I wanted you to experience it with me for the first time.”
Phone snaps from the launch below.
You can vote for Fleur to win a UMA here.
You can vote for DJ Melody Kane to win a UMA here.
Check out Fleur's new clothing line with Lipsy here
Words by @sazrah_producer
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Grammy nominated R&B star AMERIIE has announced her forthcoming UK tour kicking off next week on the 26th March 2015. She has had huge hits with One Thing, Why Don’t We and Gotta Work and is releasing a new single Mustang. She will be performing her classics as well as new material with a full band on the following dates:
I caught up with the beautiful songstress to find out more about her tour, single and future plans as an artist.
Ameriie! It is so lovely to be having you back in the UK. How long has it been since you were last here?
Thank you! I love the UK. I believe I was there a few months ago.
You like to promote the fact that people should only do what they love. Why is this such an important message to you?
It isn’t so much about doing only what you love, but trying to create a life where your passions guide how you spend your time. If you’re passionate about something, try to find a way to make a living doing it, and if that isn’t possible, do what you can to make it something in which you can devote a good portion of your time.
I hear you and completely agree! You have a new single out named Mustang which I have been playing on my radio show and the listeners love it. What is it about?
Mustang celebrates the untameable woman!
Your UK tour kicks off this month and your fans are very excited. For you, what is the most exciting aspect of this tour?
The most exciting thing is probably actually getting out there and performing. I love that the venues are intimate because the exchange between me and everyone in the audience is different as a result. Closer, probably. And of course, the live band adds another level of energy.
I know I was one of the many people who had your album Because I love it on repeat for years. It featured some big hits. Will you be performing any of these hits on the tour?
Thank you! I will be but I’m not sure exactly which ones as we’re still cementing the set list.
Exciting stuff! What’s the next step for you as an artist?
Completing both BILI and Cymatika Vol I.!
Is Mustang going to be part of an album?
Mustang is a part of BILI.
Where can your fans keep up with future announcements from you?
Both www.Ameriie.com and www.youtube.com/BooksBeautyAmeriie are the best places.
Thank you for this!
Thank you for having me! ^_^
Words by Sazrah Producer
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Time to start the new year with a new upcoming sensation. I am also proud to feature another #FemaleTakeOver post! I bring to you DJ TeeTee, an Essex born and bred, New York trained DJ, TeeTee is that hip-hop wielding selector with club bangers at her whim. Cementing herself firmly on the map in 2013, TeeTee is a resident fixture at FashBashSoundClash, a bi-monthly party curated by Kelis' tour DJ - DJ Nikki Beatnik. Her sets will have you feeling like you are in Atlanta one minute, New York the next all whilst landing you safely back in London thanks to her seamless selection of club bangers blended with a range of not so obvious tunes. TeeTee welcomes you to her musical world!
Check out DJ TeeTee's mixes here
Blog by @sazrah_poducer
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Time for another #FemaleTakeover and #IndustryTips post. Today it's with the famous DJ Melody Kane. She is SBTV's official dj but it doesn't end there. Melody also mixes for BBC Radio 1 and 1xtra and has supported the likes of Snoop Dogg, 2Chainz, Tinie Tempah, A$AP Rocky, Professor Green, Ms Dynamite, Jessie J, Example, Flo Rida, Black Eyed Peas and many more. Not to mention the many festivals you will have caught her at over the Summers doing her thing on the decks. Girl knows how to work it - that's all I can say! Luckily I managed to grab Melody from her busy schedule to ask her those all important questions about how to do it in such a tough industry. Enjoy.
Melody! You make a living solely on DJ'ing! What is your secret?
[Laughs] No secret, just a lot of hard work and I always try to keep things professional. I’ve been doing this a long time behind the scenes before I got where I am today.
What struggles have you faced being a female in the music game?
There’s a lot of blaggers and scoundrels in this business and they tend to see woman as an easy target. So this goes back to your first question, of always keeping things professional and understanding all areas of the music business. Took a few years to find my feet properly, believe me!
At the recent AIM Women in Music event, Sophie Ellis Bexter mentioned women are usually set to compete against each other in the industry which is a shame as she believes we should support one another more. What are your thoughts on this? Do you see other female DJ's as competition?
The music business is no different than any other. You’ve got a good job and somebody else wants it. The grass is always greener. But if you handle your own business correctly, you don’t really have the time to focus on others. You just do you. Let them do them.
What advice would you give to other up and coming females out there?
You don’t have to act like a man and you don’t have to act like a girl. You need to act like somebody who has confidence in themselves and takes what they do seriously. If you do this you’ll find people will mirror this in the way they do business with you.
Any projects you are working on?
There’s a lot in the pipeline. Next year my music project is set to take off properly. I’ve been in the studio for sometime now trying to perfect my sound and I’m nearly ready to let the world hear…watch this space as Melody Kane Sound Xchange is coming soon.
Can't wait to hear the new fire - especially as you are visiting my studio soon! Thanks Melody
Melody's endearing smile, inspiring confidence and warm heart allowed me to immediately see why she has been so successful- along with her great talents of course! It is true, how you present yourself to others reflects what you get back. Wise tips there Miss Kane.
All details on keeping up with DJ Melody Kane can be found via her website
Written by @sazrah_producer
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Hi All, I am terribly sorry I have not blogged for so long. I have been so busy on this music thing and also have been running projects for young people which is going amazing and is really inspiring for both me and the youngsters. But I do have blogs in the pipeline and interviews I am waiting to finish off and post.
I just wanted to give you something in the mean time as it has been TOO long. I thought I would share with you this short video of an event I was proud to be a part of last year- Womanity! It was a really empowering event aimed at females and was run by the Young Woman's Music Project.
YWMP are an organisation that works to build young females confidence when it comes to working in this industry. This event will hopefully become more regular and I look forward to seeing more from the YWMP in the future.
Beyonce flaunts her curves to the themes of Earth, Wind, Fire and Water in her new H & M bikini advert. If you have noticed Beyonce is constantly popping up on your TV during commercial breaks it is all part of her 'Mrs Carter' advertising campaign which is setting the world up for her much anticipated album and tour. Not long ago she released a Pepsi advert in which she dances to a Timbaland-composed beat and now she is back with a Summer vibe. This luxurious advert shot in the Bahamas, features a song 'Standing On The Sun' which will appear on her new album. What do you think of it? Feel free to comment on my facebook page!
Some of my twitter followers may have noticed my recent tweets and retweets involving the word #Banji! If you haven't found what it means yet, now is the moment for you! B.A.N.J.I stands for 'Be Authentic Never Jeopardise Individuality' which is a strong and powerful message that I feel is much needed in the media driven world we live in today. Constantly we are being fed information leading us to believe we need to look or act a certain way to fit into society. However Sharaya J - a rising star mentored by Missy Elliott is having none of this, creating a breath of fresh air in the current music world. Her debut single 'Banji' spreads the word about embracing your unique qualities and not changing for anybody. It is out on iTunes so get your copy here.
#Banji is becoming a popular trend and is taking the web by storm. It feels good to see such a positive force being shared increasingly around the world. As a female music producer in a male driven industry, I have always been a strong believer in staying true to yourself and following your dreams no matter what. This is why Missy Elliott has been a strong influence in my life and it touches my heart to know that everybody else who feels this way is speaking up and pulling together as a unit. Hopefully this will help people who have lost their way due to pressure from others, to open their eyes and find love within themselves again.
Below are some videos I have recently been enjoying created by folks who have been inspired by the #Banji movement.
Are YOU Banji?
Sharaya is very humble, much like Missy Elliott and interacts with her fans on a regular basis. She welcomes her audience to share stories of what they have been through and why they are #Banji.
If you feel you are #Banji, Sharaya J would love to hear from you! Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and see if you make it onto her Testimonial Tuesdays (see below). I particularly like the first story on this video as I rock a mohawk myself! Enjoy!
"A beautiful song and a beautiful voice for a very important cause!" - Perez Hilton
You should all be aware by now of the beautiful Linda Harrison and if you don't, you need to catch up here! I interviewed the singer songwriter in a previous blog where we discussed how successful she has been self-managing her career. She has since reached higher success with the release of her single Overexposure. But it doesn't stop there! Harrison releases a very moving single tomorrow (December 17th) in aid of the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children). I have been lucky enough to see Linda perform this song live and it was very inspirtational. I love all of her music - it is contagious, but it is this very song that blows me away the most. I even shed a little tear when I watched the music video for it.
Here it is below:
Just beautiful! The arrangement is outstanding and the chorus just hits me hard. I can feel every word she is saying. I find the video very innocent and effective in delivering a message through art. But it is also very open, leaving you to interpret it in your own way.
How Can You Help?
"Be With You" will be released on 17th December. Pre-order your copy by texting TRACK NSPCC to 80818 (UK only. Texts cost £1). For more details, please visit:
"WHAT a voice!" - Ally McCrae (BBC Radio 1)
"A moving number that certainly tugs at the heartstrings" - Jim Gellatly (IN:DEMAND radio + Amazing radio)
Mean Girlz Media is a hugely successful music promotion company which is all run by ladies! As you all know, I strongly agree with more women in the music industry so I was buzzing when I heard about these girls. I was even more over the moon when they tweeted me showing interest in my work too! They are based in St.Louis America, but after few exchanges of emails I decided to fly over there and chat to them - Just kidding - I am not made of money! So I did a lil' Skype interview with ShaeRai and Karyn who run the company. I found out who they have worked with, how they do it and what it feels like for them being females in the industry. And boy we had a good giggle! A pleasure to talk with. Here is how it went down....
How did Mean Girlz Media come about?
ShaeRai: Mean Girlz Media pretty much started out as a crew of girls. People already knew me and Karyn worked a lot in the entertainment industry. Karyn was known as a blogger (and also dj's partime as DJ RNS), I was known for doing promotions. It was like ‘Whenever there is a celebrity in town, ShaeRai is gonna be around’ so it started out as a joke amongst our friends. There was a singer in the crew, a rapper in the crew and everybody in the club used to say 'Y’all look mean'! So we were like ‘Ok, we’re the mean girlz crew’. That’s how Mean Girlz was originally born - as a joke. We thought ‘Well everybody says we look mean so fine, we’re the Mean Girlz’!
Karyn: And we really like to tell people the truth so they say ‘You’re mean’ when we’re just teling the truth.
OK, in a harsh way or a constructive criticism way?
ShaeRai: Well it depends how people take it. Usually it’s constructive criticism but some people take it as being mean but I think 'I’m just telling you the truth so nobody else hurts your feelings, but OK'!
Who have you worked with?
ShaeRai: As Mean Girlz media, a lot of local artists! But our resume between the both of us is ten plus years so we have done stuff for Trey songz, Pharrell, Fall out boy, Gym Class Heroes, Bobby V, Mike Jones, the list is ridiculous because it has been so many years. I even forget some people I worked with and then I find pictures and think 'Oh yeah. I forgot I did that'! The latest project we did was for Shorty da Prince. Who is in BET's 106 And Park here in America. He is one of the new hosts. Shorty is from St.Louis, we have known him from way back in the day from when he was just an artist going to clubs and being on radio. So yeah - shout out to Shorty!
So when you work with these artists, what do you do?
ShaeRai: Promotions, PR work, putting them in right spot and right direction. Help them get the overall look. They’ll have an idea and we’ll build on that idea and just try and get it rolling for them.
Do you go to them or do they come to you?
ShaeRai: Usually they find us
Karyn: But that’s the way we prefer it.
ShaeRai: I mean, we paid our dues in the industry because we did go after so many people at one point in time saying ‘Hey do you need help with this? Let me do this’ so then when people saw what we were doing, everybody else was like ‘Yo, when I do my next project I need to call y’all’ or ‘I'm about to drop this new album. What are you doing, can we meet next week?’ and its like ‘I aint doing nothing! What’s good'!
So the hard work pays off?
ShaeRai: Yes and I feel like for one, being a female in the industry. That’s the biggest thing. Nobody ever takes you seriously. They think you are a groupie and your trying to get in with these people. The mentor I had here, a lot of people used to see me with him all the time and the first thig they'd say is ‘Oh you’re his girlfriend’ and I’d be like ‘No he has a girlfriend and that’s not me’. But when people saw how hard I worked they realised ‘Wow no, she really does this for real’ and they see me and Karyn out and realise we really go hard, we do this by ourselves with nobody else but we're smashing everybody else! We can do no work here for months and then come out months later and smash it out for someone who has been working all year round!
With being female, sometimes people don’t want to take you seriously upfront. They think 'she is going to be emotional' or you've got some type of motive but it is like ’No, this is what I love. This is what I do. Music’
Karyn: I am kinda inspired by everything. Sometimes I am just riding in the car and then I get an idea! But the first song I ever remember knowing all the words to was Do or Die by Po Pimp! I can say that when I was younger I understood the level of how hard it is. I used to listen to Mc Lyte and she had the Ruff Neck video and I was like ‘They have female rappers?’ I mean, I am not a rapper but it's something to be looking up to!
ShaeRai: The first song I remember knowing all the rap words to was by Da Brat Funkdafied! I ain’t even gonna front. I knew it backwards, forwards, Jermaine DuPri’s part, everybody’s part! I thought Da Brat was the dopest person. At the time, I didn’t realise she was from the Midwest! I didn’t even know the Midwest was bigger than St.Louis! I was like ‘Wow! She is from Chicago, that’s not far! My Aunty lives there'!
That’s when I started researching and learning different things about people like Russell Simmons - who he is outside the businessman. And others, like Mona Scott-Young who I am obsessed with right now!
So one person would lead you to be inspired by another person and so on?
ShaeRai: Yes! Cause people like Mona Scott, Chris Lighty and Russell Simmons had more of an impact than the artists themselves. Because the artists took a little bit of Russell or a little bit of Mona etc. You know, Missy Elliott has a little bit of Mona in her (she manages Missy) so it’s like ‘I can make a bigger impact without anybody even knowing who I am!’
Karyn: Yeah we really want to be people that nobody knows but just be really rich!
You mean you like to be in the background but make big movements?
ShaeRai: Yes!! But the important people know who we are!!
Karyn: There is a phrase: ‘Important, not famous’. No limelight- I like to be able to go out in my sweat pants and nobody say anything!’
ShaeRai: It’s like, when you get to that level of fame you really don’t know who is there and who is not and it taints your personality. Not everybody gets tainted. Like, from that call we did with Missy Elliott last week on the Nerve Dj call, I can tell that she hasn’t been tainted by the industry. I can tell she kept a lot of her real friends around her from the time when she was struggling, to now. Her same crew is around her and it keeps her a grounded person. And I feel like a lot of people lose sight of just being able to connect to real people. Instead of having fake people around you saying ‘You're the greatest’ when that last album you did sucked ass!
What are the main aims and dreams for your company?
ShaeRai: Biggest thing is for Mean Girlz Media to be a taste-maker in the industry and for people to realise that whoever we like, we see their grind and we want to work for the underdogs. We want to be known as helping the people out there who you never expect, get up there and get out there. The taste-makers, the forefronts, be known for really dope management. Bring people out there and help them make it.
Karyn: We want to help people get there and then let them go and then we’ll start over. We don’t want to be riding the same horse for 10 years.
So there you have it! Go check out these girls as I love what they are doing! They also advised y'all (yes i've picked up the accent, saying y'all hehe) to check out www.midwestmixtapes.com to see who is out there in Midwest America. Check out Mean Girlz Radio and follow Mean Girlz on twitter!
Written By Sazrah
Yes! The rumors are true. Missy Elliott really is back after 7 years and has hit her fans hard by releasing not ONE but TWO songs, titled 9th Inning & Triple Threat (OUT NOW so go grab your copies from iTunes).
I cannot wait for the album to drop. Everybody who went to school with me will know I have always been a massive fan of Missy Elliott and her music. She is the reason I am a producer and songwriter today! Her music inspires me at every level. As I state in my YouTube interview, the fact Missy has shown support for me and my musical dream via twitter is the ultimate blessing and keeps me going. I could go on forever about why I love Missy but let me introduce todays blog!
#KeepMusicReal is my hashtag for today because Missy brought up a point I have been thinking about for ages!
Missy's fans (also known as #MEaddicts) have been voicing how various stations are not accepting their requests to play Missy’s two comeback tunes. Elliott is a HUGELY, well-known, respected musician with millions of followers and has worked with the biggest artists in the game. She has always stayed true to her hip hop roots and has every right to be blasted on every station like before. But it seems today the industry is less about the talent and truth, and more about forcing listeners to grow accustomed to nonsense by recycling trash & replaying it until people find it catchy. Does this mean Missy is going to 'change' to fit the pop music world like some other hip hoppers have been doing? Hell no.
In response to @9thWonderofPR,who was describing how he stands by Missy and refuses to settle for the ‘bubblegum and foolery’ the stations are pushing today, Missy stated:
‘Good music has become bad music and bad music is good music now smh! They not giving ppl what they want 2 hear. But hey I change music, always been ahead of time and I will continue 2 be and ppl will have 2 catch up! But it is something str8 that's happening behind the scenes that's blocking real music from being played. That's why y’all have to flood the radio stations to so u force them to start playing different styles of music’ @MissyElliott
Amen. This does NOT mean just Hip Hop, it means but ALL styles people! This is why I chose present on AfroVibesShow home of African music! And this is why I have happily agreed to be a judge on local urban and world music talent show Bling_Ya_Ting! Because it helps support REAL music.
Let's help spread this message! Don’t just listen to real music, share it, request it. #KeepMusicReal. Let’s lift these talented artists up from underground and into todays mainstream culture. Let's make them as big as Missy has made herself, just by being herself.
How does Missy do it?
Not only does Missy hit you musically but she hits you visually. When I was a kid and even NOW, when I listen to a good song, I imagine a crazy video in my head. So as you can imagine, when I first discovered Missy Elliott I was over the moon. I thought ‘FINALLY! Somebody else with crazy ideas that has actually made them a reality’ and it gave me hope. To me, she is the only artist apart from MJ who I feel goes that extra mile to make her music-video’s unique and timeless! The only music-videos I have ever bought on iTunes are Missy's, Ludacris' and MJ's. Standing out as an individual is the most important thing any of you can do.
ShaiRai from Mean Girlz Media said to me via Skype:
'I can tell that Missy hasn’t been tainted by the industry. I can tell she kept a lot of her real friends around her from the time when she was struggling, to now. Her same crew is around her and it keeps her a grounded person. And I feel like a lot of people lose sight of just being able to connect to real people.'
So artists - don’t be afraid to fulfill those crazy ideas and just be YOU and stick with those you love and trust. And musicians - stick to your passion and do what you enjoy. Help inspire others visually. I used to get excited and choreograph dances to Missy's tracks and teach them to my friends at school because her music just makes me move. I want to get that feeling again and from more artists and I bet you do too!
Don't forget to request Missy's music on all your local radio stations!! Missy is going to spread the word and YOU CAN TOO!!!
Sazrah is a UK music producer who has composed music for BBC 1xtra, Film, Catwalk and famous artists. Her blogs are about upcoming artists, music industry tips and general chit chat!