EP Review: Take It Or Leave It – Kiana Corley

KIANA CORLEY‘s latest heartfelt EP, ‘Take it or Leave it,’ tells a story of reflecting on new love, break ups, lost love, and self reflection; a kind of reflection that can only be gained when you take a step back from that relationship. Kiana deliveres the aforementioned themes in a wholesome soulful voice – a cross-between Sade and Corinne Bailey Rae – where she’s not backwards in coming forward in telling the truth.

Sonically, the five-track set goes on a journey through many different musical styles – from upbeat ukulele- infused pop to funk. Highly motivated by helping and inspiring others, through her authentically original music, Kiana hopes this EP will help with the healing process of anyone who had to go through a hard breakup.

So if you’ve just come out of a messy relationship, it’s time to start the healing process; have a listen to Kiana’s soothing EP below…

Must Listens: Lukewarm, Tell Me, Black Canvas

Album Interview: Within & Without – Céline And The Blue

CÉLINE AND THE BLUE debuted on the blog in 2019 with sassy number, ‘Learn To Be Alone’ and since then, they’ve been regular favourites with you guys (and myself, I have to say). Their most recent offering, ‘Crave Love’ scooped the Song of the Week title for two consecutive weeks in January AND Song of the Month title in February. So it’s an absolute pleasure to invite frontwoman, Cèline Buccomino into the interview seat to discuss latest EP, ‘Within & Without, out now all good DSPs.

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?

CB: Heyy, thank you so much for chatting to us on here! 2021 has been very promising so far, it’s been filled with loving, inspiring and exciting energy. We’re very keen to express that back through our music, the past year has just made us that much more committed to this career.

NLM: You recently released your EP, ‘Within & Without’. What is the public perception on the project so far?

CB: Our listeners are so talented at spreading the love! We’re very grateful for every message we receive about our music. It’s so lovely to hear when listeners connect with the story line intertwined within the track list. Even the press response was great, we love seeing new people come in from new sources!

NLM: What inspired you to produce the EP?

CB: Our favourite thing about the EP is that it came about extremely organically, we hadn’t initially planned to set out the releases as an EP. Once a few songs had come out, we noticed a common thread between the tracks, it only made sense to encompass them in a unique body of work. We thought this collection really embodies our origins as musicians and is the perfect way to wrap up the first ‘era’ of our music!

NLM: How would you describe the album’s sound to potential fans?

CB: ‘Within & Without’ has a groovy and colourful character which ventures into the genres of Jazz, Soul and Pop. An authentic sound dominates the sound pallet with live instruments, guitar and keys solos and fresh vocals. We wanted to inject a lot of good feelings in this EP, we hope you sense those too!

NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the EP and why?

CB: As the whole band, ‘Learn To Be Alone’ is our jam! We feel so good while performing it, it fires great connection between us and makes us feel alive! Despite this, we each have individual preferences which vary from ‘Safe’ to ‘Crave Love’ to ‘Papaya’.

NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the EP, who would it be and why?

CB: It would be quite hard to settle on just one artist as everyone has their own favourite, but John Mayer is probably the one we might find a common agreement on. It would be incredible to witness him interpreting our genre. And he’s just so timeless and brilliant!

NLM: Did the Covid pandemic present any drawbacks in the production of your EP?

CB: It slowed the production down loads! We started recording ‘Papaya’ and ‘Safe’ in March 2020 and then had to wait until August to finish them. It was frustrating! Making music is made up of many things, we were still working hard on the behind the scenes elements but for a while we were missing out on the actual ‘making music’ part of it, which was hard to adjust to. We made it in the end, better late than never!

NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?

CB: Yes! We are making some fresh music, focusing on production a bit more to refine the sound pallet and we’re loving what’s coming out of this so far. We absolutely cannot wait to showcase this new music getting back into gigging this year!

NLM: How can potential fans find you?

CB: First of all, thank you so much if you want to check out our work and connect with us! Just look for ‘Céline & The Blue’, our music is on every music streaming platform, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. You can also find our podcast ‘Out of The Blue – By Céline & The Blue’ on any platform for podcast streaming.

NLM: Finally, any special shout outs to those involved in the production of ‘Within & Without’?

CB: Biggest thanks go to Sam and Tom over at Studio 91 who have really helped us craft the sound for this project. Their imprint has been essential to provide this EP with the character it has. We always have the best experience working with them, the environment at Studio 91 is stimulating, positive and a true pleasure!

Within & Without is now out on all good download/streaming sites

EP Review: The Lovers’ Tape – Shantéh x Joshua. James

What meant to be a standalone track to be release on Valentines Day, singer/songwriter SHANTÉH and producer JOSHUA. JAMES’ new EP, ‘The Lovers’ Tape’ was quickly turn into a four-track project that was written, recorded, mixed and mastered in four days (yes, four days!)

Bringing all angles of a love story to the table – from building trust, to an untimely separation, then from re-exploring the idea of a relationship to finally solidifying a true bond and commitment – ‘The Lovers’ Tape’ possesses a fresh take on 90s Slow Jam – thanks to the warming glow of the background vocals (which takes on a Jodeci-ish vibe in third track, ‘Luvin’ You’), the sombre feel from the piano (featured in ‘Foundations’) and the vibrant guitar plucks, giving off a Afro tone (in concluding track, ‘Meant To Be’). Each aforementioned component are all brought together by an uplifting meaty bass.

There’s no doubt about it that this mini set is definitely for those who love them some good old 90s Sow Jam. I, for one, am really impressed by their quick turnaround on a project of such high calibre – and still have it ready in time for Valentine’s Day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the South Londoners will join up for another collaboration. Check out ‘The Lovers’ Tape below…

Must Listen: Foundation

EP Review: 034 – Oloye Coldman

Although it’s only five tracks long, OLOYE COLDMAN‘s latest EP, ‘034’ features 16 (yes,16!) artists contributing to a spectrum of sound where western urban influences meets the gleeful presence of the Motherland (more specifically, Nigeria).

Here in this set, you’ll experience the real vibrancy on a modern take of Igbo music, working with the sweet runs of piano keys and trumpet, giving a real bluesy jazz feel (listen to ‘Why E Be’), straight up chilled hip-hop/R&B trap effort (in ‘What’) to old school-hip-hop-inspired sound with vocals giving a rich motherland feel (listen to concluding track, ‘Gone’).

In this bio, Oloye described his EP as ‘the first of its kind in Nigeria’ – he’s not wrong – as this mini set is bursting with massive sounds which will leave lasting impression. Have a listen to the EP below…

Must Listens: What, Gone

EP Review: Nightshades – Herbivores

Picking up right where they left off on their self-titled debut EP, which was released back in the summer to rave reviews and strong support from tastemakers such as SoulBounce, Gigwise and SingersRoom, prolific Brooklyn neo-soul collective HERBIVORES  have unveiled their sophomore EP and second project of the year titled ‘Nightshades’.

Written by all four members, Bel-Ami, Reddaz, Misha Savage and Will Sacks, the EP invites you into a lush offering of featherlight neo soul paired with unmatched powerhouse performance.

Second offering, ‘Mama Nose’ stills retains their signature sound but the second-to-none vocal performance gives the arrangements a reggae riddim twist. ‘Boomerang’ possess a spirit of Southern soul: the confident guitar plucks leads the way in the track, later joined by the infectious bounce of the bass and gleeful trumpets, pulled together by gusty vocals that really hits the spot.

A bed of airy electronica-ish backdrop is added to their neo soul vibe in the latter part of the set, creating a real intimate and euphoric experience.

Now I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never heard of these guys before this EP – but I’m glad I did as the name Herbivores will be firmly on my radar for 2021. Have a listen to ‘Nightshades’ – I have a sneaky feeling that they’ll be on your musical radar too.

Must Listen: Walk Away