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

Song of the Day: Same Window – Nick Brewer x Phil Simmonds

Continuing their burgeoning musical alliance, UK Hip Hop vocalist, NICK BREWER‘s (pictured) and critically acclaimed songwriter and producer, Phil Simmonds’ second single together, ‘Same Window’, elicits the same soulful yet expressive sound the two talented artists have forged across their collaboration. The flow of effortless vocals from Nick and the production prowess of Phil makes for a unique project that’s hard to ignore. The track is taken from their 5-track EP collaboration, out now.

The second single to my upcoming EP alongside Phil Simmonds contains the first lyrics written in the first lockdown last year. That feeling of being stuck in the same spot, not knowing where to move to, but a feeling of hope deep down – Nick Brewer

Prolific British songwriter and record producer, Phil Simmonds began his career as a live musician and later musical director for major players such as Jessie J, Angel Haze, Zak Abel and Leona Lewis. Finding his strength in collaborations and producing full projects, Phil then went on to produce Eryn Allen Kane’s critically acclaimed ‘A Tree Planted By Water’ project as well as the debut album for Lily Papas and further writing/producing credits for Prince Fox, Olivia O’Brien, Iyamah, Desi Valentine, Stan Taylor and a host of others.

Gaining widespread acclaim in 2015 for his UK top 20 single ‘Talk To Me’ featuring Bibi Bourelly, East London based rapper, Nick Brewer has continued to solidify his presence within UK grime since he burst onto the scene in 2010 and quickly became known for his ability to effortlessly flow with tongue-swirling efficiency.

With a steady stream of releases over the last decade, Nick has worked alongside some of the UK’s largest names in the industry, including Stormzy, Naomi Scott, Little Simz, George the Poet, Barney Artist, Ruby Maze, Kinnship and Tink who featured on his 2015 ‘Warning Light’ EP.

This versatile collaborative project between Nick Brewer and Phil Simmonds showcases a different side to their creativity, an exciting taster of what’s to come. Check out ‘Same Window’ below…

Song of the Day: Angel – Ashleigh Bankx

London-based artist ASHLEIGH BANKX is the latest singer to emerge from the UK’s resurgent soul/R&B scene, and she’s making a huge statement with debut single ‘Angel’, an impassioned love song that arrives with accompanying Lutch Media-directed visuals to set the mood.

Inspired by the likes of Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and Rihanna, as well as music from her Zimbabwean roots, Ashleigh brings a much-revered throwback neo-soul sound of yesteryear, with a unique, modern twist. ‘Angel’ begins with an empowering voiceover sample from Nina Simone that leads perfectly into the rest of the song. Ashleigh says: “‘Angel’ is about self-liberation, understanding and valuing yourself through past experiences with relationships and society. The song is about black love and centres around the concept of self-love, self-confidence, self-pride and the unity of and journey between two lovers. I want the listener to determine what mood and emotion they feel when they listen to the song.”

‘Angel’ set the tone for her work-in-progress EP…be sure to look out for that…but for now check out the official music video for the single below…

Amy Steele Shares Emotional Version Of Jacob Banks Classic, ‘Slow Up’

Amy Steele is a London based futuristic soul singer who at 24, has already developed into a talented singer/songwriter. For the last five years, Amy has pursued music in tandem with studying for a degree in medicine. Having recently completed her degree, now being Dr Steele, she has fully set her sights on her music. Amy has been working with a wealth of international producers, from Alex Wells (Declan McKenna, Paloma Faith), Draper (Lapsley, All Saints) and Babel to create a record that reflects her artistry and who she is musically.

Amy has just released the next in a series of covers she has been working on during lockdown. Throughout lockdown Amy has chosen records that move her, and which she feels hold important messages for us this year. Her latest choice is the beautiful ‘Slow Up’ originally by the seminal London Soul singer Jacob Banks. Amy wanted to honor the original, whilst reiterating the powerful message of the song to her growing fan base.

Amy says ‘Slow Up’ is a track to remind us to stay positive and not to let the perception of the world change us or harden us with its prejudice. We’ve had a difficult year of social injustice and seen the way the world can corrupt innocence, but ‘Slow Up’ is a reminder to stay strong and true to who we are. Amy makes ‘Slow Up’ her own, offering a beautifully mournful and emotional interpretation of the well-known classic from Jacob Banks.

The rising UK talent of Amy Steele has been in the studio completing her upcoming EP due for release in 2021. Her first single ‘Bury You Deep’ saw her quickly amass over a million views on You Tube once the stunning young soulful singer handed out the stems to some keen dance producers to remix, including Catch 44 aka Ras Kwame of Capital Xtra who did a banging garage remix.  Amy’s second single release ‘The Wolves’ exceeded the first and clocked up over two million listens and counting with features and plays across UKF and BBC Radio 1. Her most recent track ‘Graces’ was performed live on BBC Radio London and amassed over two million views on Spotify across all the remixes.

In 2019 she released singles from her upcoming project, including: ‘Long Way Home’, ‘Graces’ and ‘Saltwater’, that each received tremendous support from BBC Radio, Kiss FM, Rinse and tastemakers Clash Magazine, The Voice, This Is RnB and UKF. Through these records, teased from the upcoming EP, ‘Memories In Watercolour’, Amy showcases her sultry vocals and distinctive tone that has marked her out as a name to watch out for this year.

Check out Amy’s stunning single below…

Andria Piperni Shares New Single, ‘Settle’

Possessing a hazy moody feel over her inimate soulful jazz trademark, singer/songwriter ANDRIA PIPERNI ponders in brand new single, ‘Settle’ whether if love is worth fighting for.

‘Settle’ sets the tone for Andria’s debut six-track EP ‘Who’s Counting?’, slated for release this spring. Produced and mixed by Chris Vincent (credits include Busty and the Bass, Macy Gray, George Clinton, Nora Toutain), the project underlines a theme of awakening that in many ways reflects the general mood of the past year, as we’ve been forced to face truths like never before.

Music video for the single coming out soon…but for now, listen to ‘Settle’ below…