Will The Four Be The Next Great Indie Artist Mine?

A lot of serious music fans tend to dismiss reality competition shows. They can certainly seem very commercial, and there are indications that they’re ultimately more scripted than they look on TV. That said, the talent on display is real, and a lot of the artists who get the opportunity to perform on these shows don’t have fan bases, radio play, or studio connections to their names. The Four is the latest of these shows, and we just got word that Fox would be renewing the series after the conclusion of a successful first season. So does this mean it’s going to be the next great indie artist mine, a la American Idol or The Voice?

If you saw promos for this show and dismissed it as something less than serious, you could be forgiven. For one thing, it seemed more or less like a ripoff of The Voice at first glance. There were to be four celebrity judges, various stages of competition between contestants, and even the staging vaguely resembled that of The Voice. Naturally the competition works a little bit differently, but The Four looked like (and is) more of an imitation than an original concept. Plus, it sort of has a silly name.

You might also have thought the show looked like a sort of vanity project for P. Diddy (or Sean Combs, or Diddy, or whatever it is these days). The iconic hip-hop artist is known for tackling different pursuits and staying in the public eye. He’s guest starred with younger rappers, appeared in films, and even gained a name for himself on the poker circuit. In fact, Diddy was asked to place the first bet on brand new blackjack tables in Atlantic City once – perhaps the perfect example of how his mere presence can enhance a project. Thus, you might wonder if The Four is more or less a money-making win-win between Fox and the rapper.

I know at least that these are some of the reasons I didn’t initially take The Four seriously. But having actually tuned in to some of the later episodes, I was hit with that same realization: that as commercial and promotional as these shows can look, they still showcase some extraordinary talent. As every struggling musician well understands, there are just more artists than there are career opportunities in this business, and these shows tend to highlight that fact. Fielding competitors from countrywide auditions and competitions, they tend to find countless people who are every bit as talented as the artists topping the charts.

I’ll issue a slight spoiler alert here in case you haven’t seen the finale yet or you’re interested in watching the whole first season. But if you want an idea of the kind of performer The Four is uncovering, take a look at this piece on the finale, and the artist who won it all. Her final performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” is about as impressive as anything you can hear on a radio these days, and it’s wonderful to see another previously unknown artist get her moment.

Here’s hoping The Four continues to be a helpful tool for discovering artists and bringing them the success they deserve.

New Music Video: Maybe We Land – Awir Leon


Minimalist electronic composer and singer AWIR LEON reveals Maybe We Land, the second of a trio of single and video packages in the lead up to his forthcoming debut LP Giants. Set to drop on 14th October, the album will be released on the pioneering label of the burgeoning Parisian beat-scene Nowadays Records.

The latest offering relates to the artist’s move from Amsterdam (where he was part of the experimental trio UNNO) to Paris, and how the period of transition often felt destructive and chaotic.  AWIR LEON’s roller coaster journey is reflected in Ian Robinson’s mesmerising visuals. Footage of dancing silhouettes set against the late night city back drop of Tel Aviv was captured by a camera attached to a moving skateboard.

Building on the success of Sitting So High, once named Song of the Week by NEW LEASE MUSIC, AWIR LEON’s latest single draws comparisons to the most avant-garde elements of acclaimed works by James Blake or Nicolas Jaar.

Check out the video to Maybe We Land

Song of the Day: Puppet Master – Adilson Evora

Puppet Master 2

ADILSON EVORA released his latest  offering Puppet Master late last month, showcasing his distinctive and mesmerizing style through Hip-Hop while merging it with electronica and soul. 

The Dutch rapper/singer/songwriter recently released his debut ep titled From Sunup Till Son Down which is being well received by blogs and online magazine’s across Europe.

From performances in his hometown Rotterdam, Amsterdam; Cologne (Germany) and Moscow (Russia), to airplay on MTV (Portugal) with his feature on Dj Ride’s track Move, ADILSON EVORA (formerly known as Concept) has definitely the potential to reach a broad audience and a natural ability to deliver a musical high for the listener.

Currently finishing his first full length project titled Under The Bridge, Adilson is ready to introduce his sound and to be a part of the constant elevation and growth of Hip-Hop music in Europe.   

New Track: Expensive (from The Intent Soundtrack) – Big Tobz

big Tobz expensive
The Intent – A gritty thriller, packed with an incredible cast of UK actors and music artists made its debut in selected UK cinemas last Wednesday. BIG TOBZ has just dropped Expensive, taken from the incredible soundtrack that is loaded with exclusive records written specifically for the film, Ghetts, Scorcher, Stormzy, Fekky and Ms Banks all feature on the 18-track album that will be released to accompany the film.

The Big Tobz track and video give an insight to the world that is uncovered and the bold and eerie tale that is about to unfold in The Intent.

In a groundbreaking move that merges the world of UK film and music, co-directors Nicky Slimting Walker and Femi Oyeniran present an equally thrilling soundtrack that sets the tone and propels the audience throughout.

Set in the heart of London, the chilling tale of gang warfare, greed and drugs unfolds. Newfound infamy for the TIC crew affords the gang members the fast life, which catches the attention of all the wrong people and trust starts to become an issue, ultimately leading to their downfall. Infiltration, dishonour and ego are key to the plot but the key question is, what is “The Intent” of each player.

Featuring a cast of celebrated acting talent, The Intent also debuts a stellar line up of musicians in their first on-screen roles. MOBO nominated and former Topboy actor/musician Scorcher takes the lead as ‘Gunz’ and stars alongside Ashley Chin (Starred Up, Plastic), award-winning Hip Hop Duo Krept & Konan, Femi Oyeniran (Kidulthood), Jade Asha (As Bad as Me), Nicky Slimting Walker (It’s a Lot), Dylan Duffus (1 Day), Shone Romulus (Topboy), Sarah Akokhia (Hallows Eve) and rap royalty Fekky.

Interview with: Antonia Redding

Antonia Redding in Brighton, England on 29 Decmber 2015.

After reviewing I Find Myself Here, named album of the month by NEW LEASE MUSIC, it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome back ANTONIA REDDING  to find out what she’s up to – and the inspiration behind her latest project.

NLM: First of all, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC

AR: Thank you for inviting me, it’s my pleasure.

NLM: You released your album I Find Myself Here in January. Describe the story behind the project?

AR: Since arriving in UK from Zimbabwe in 2005 I have been writing songs, developing my guitar, percussion and vocal skills and working on live performance practise. By 2013 I had an extensive body of work and my loyal fans began asking when I would bring out a CD. I had made a few attempts at recording but felt that my inadequate understanding of the production process was holding me back from achieving the quality I was after. I started studying production techniques, under the guidance of Joe Watson, and felt that a new doorway had opened up for me.

I decided to record one song with Joe in My 2014. This song was, Hold On, Release, which turned out so well that I decided to stick with Joe and at least record an EP. In fact 18 months later I had a twelve track album, I Find Myself Here, not just of my back catalogue but containing 5 songs I wrote during the recording process. Although Joe and I are mostly responsible for the instrumentation, I have also had some wonderfully accomplished guest artists. All in all this has produced an album that has exceeded my expectations.


NLM: What’s the public reception on the album?

AR: I have received a wonderful reaction to the album. My loyal fans who loved my songs really appreciated the quality of production. Those who did not know my music before have given great feedback about the lyrics, vocals and musicianship on the album. It has been described as ‘real’, ‘authentic’, ‘uplifting’, ‘heartfelt’, ‘deep’, ‘joyful’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘passionate’. Many have commented on the African rhythms that weave their way all through the album, giving it a unique feel.

NLM: What’s your favourite track on the album and why?

AR: I have different favourites at different times, depending on my mood, but if I had to pick one it would be Hearts and Stars. This song is special to me as I created it at one of my darkest times, and yet is so uplifting and filled with hope it makes me bounce with joy. It represents the essence of what songwriting is for me. A form of alchemy that transmutes dark powerful overwhelming emotions into something beautiful and joyful.


NLM: How would you describe your sound to potential fans?

AR: Deep and thoughtful lyrics with a blend of folk sounds, rock guitar, interesting instruments and African rhythms.

NLM: If you were to collaborate with just ONE chart-topping artist of today, who would it be?

AR: Of all the chart toppers, I have always admired Eminem as a lyricist. I enjoy hip hop beats and the way they are a vehicle for strong lyrics and vocals. I am always interested in doing collaborations outside of my primary genre, to extend my musical boundaries and expand my vocal abilities. So I would love to collaborate with Eminem.

NLM: If you were granted three wishes to change the music industry, what would they be?

AR: The music industry is in a state of rapid change at the moment due to advances in technology and access via the internet. I believe that this means the wishes I have for the industry are coming to pass.

a) A democratisation of the industry, that is more artist than label focused. We have better access to a wider range of independent artists who are driving their own success and are not so ‘hit’ focused, as is the limited field of major record labels. This means there is greater scope for creativity and the emergence of new and exciting sounds, and a focus on ‘great’ songs instead.

b) A crossover of global artists working together creating new future sounds.

c) Greater expansion and focus on live gigs and musical experiences.

NLM: What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Do you have any upcoming gigs/other projects?

AR: 2016 is an exciting year for me. With my album completed I can focus more on live gigs. Primarily my partner and I are developing an exclusive, private live venue in Brighton. I will be performing here over the summer and plan to develop live streaming of these events to make the live experience available to my global fans.

I have an exciting gig at Zimfest, Oslo, in Norway at the end of August. Not only will I have the chance to perform my songs, I have the great honour of performing backing vocals with Busi Ncube. She is a Zimbabwean legend and has always been one of my favourite live artists.

As far as writing and production go, I am collaborating with some different artists, in and out of my primary genre. I am coming up with some interesting new songs and expanding my vocal range.

NLM: How can potential fans reach you?

AR: Potential fans can reach me via my website www.antoniaredding.com

NLM: Finally, if music didn’t exist, what other profession would you do?

AR: If music didn’t exist I would be an environmentalist. I love nature and am keen to find sustainable solutions to live harmoniously, rather than erroneously on this earth. I believe that this planet as our common ground, and what unites us as humanity. I hope that as humans we realise how petty our perceived differences are in the face of a universal view.