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

Jennifer Kamikazi Celebrates Black Beauty In Latest Single

British/Rwandan singer-songwriter, JENNIFER KAMIKAZI‘s soulful and uplifting R&B single, ‘Black Skin’, could not be released at a more pivotal time. The song carries a powerful and uplifting message of black pride and beauty.

Kamikazi ( meaning ‘little queen’ in her mother tongue) has made a striking transition from indie/folk to R&B, collaborating with producer Tania Ilyashova. Jennifer’s sweet-sounding and velvety tones are complemented beautifully by the chilled laid back groove of the track. Speaking on the inspiration behind the song, Kamikazi vulnerably describes her personal experience of colourism:

“I wrote this song during quarantine to celebrate the skin colour that I now adore, not just my complexion but every complexion. Growing up in Rwanda, I was never ashamed of my dark skin. It wasn’t until I moved to the UK I experienced the harsh reality of growing up in a society with toxic beauty standards hardly anyone can meet. Through ‘Black Skin’ I hope to challenge the western beauty ideal, and also wish to start a conversation on colourism, something prevalent both in Black and Asian communities.”

‘Black Skin follows’ her two successful EP’s ‘Wildflower’ and ‘Wander in Wonder’ with now over one million streams. Check out the video below, created by Jennifer during lockdown…

EP Review: Chances Ocean – Isaac B

Released earlier in the year, the piano-led single ‘Love Yourz’ leads the way with in ISAAC B‘s latest EP, ‘Chances Ocean’. The melodic piece which encourages us to be grateful for what we got, rather pining after other’s success stories, sets the tone for this conscious mini set.

‘Chances Ocean’ then takes on a meditative and somewhat a seductive stance on hip-hop and R&B, which arguably has a Tom Misch twang to it. The promising rapper covers a ray of topics – from paying homage to prominent figures who paved the way in hip-hop (in ‘I’m Here’), to contemplating the reason why the good die young and his desire to get a Grammy in honor of his late grandmother (in ‘Did You Further) and having that ego boost, while staying humble, as his career progresses (in ‘Lean’.)

When I first discovered Isaac B through his bass-heavy joint, ‘See No Evil, Hear No Evil (SNE HNE)’ last year, from that moment I knew he was a serious hip-hop contender who isn’t worry about following the crowd. Tracks ‘Oceans and Chances’ and ‘Yourz Truly’ (to me) reveals that side of him as a musician. Although he has sheer determination to make an impressive dent in the game, his priority is to stay true to himself rather than chasing ‘the fame’.

Sonically, I expected to hear some roaring thuds as in ‘SNE HNE’ – but it doesn’t mean that I was left disappointed. ‘Chances Ocean’ reveals to me that this conscious spitter can turn his hand to anything and I cannot to see how far his musical journey will take him.

Have a listen to ‘Chances Ocean’ below…

Must Listens: Love Yourz, Oceans and Chances, Higher Power

Dwayne Patrick Offers Inspiration In Latest Single, ‘Keep Up’ Ft. Naye

Award winning producer DWAYNE PATRICK started producing music at the tender age of 16, and after developing his craft, he quickly forged a name as a prolific producer, bagging an impressive list of credits on tracks with Ghetts, Wretch 32, Swiss (So Solid), Paigey Cakey and Kele Le Roc.

After joining JOAT Music Group (known for launching J Hus’ career) and singing a publishing deal with the UK arm of the influential Peer Music, 2020 sees the young beat-master step out as an artist in his own right to release music with no compromises. He announces this move with his first single as a solo artist ‘Keep Up.’

This R&B-chill track features vocalist Naye, who has added a shimmeringly wavy vocal to the track and beat, written and produced by Patrick, who sits a range of contemporary sounds from RnB strings, rimshots and synth lines on top of a banging bottom end. Lyrically, ‘Keep Up’ acts as a positive message and reminder to the listener to keep grinding and to always look forward, never back. Patrick adds: “I want to create music that people can have great experiences with while listening. I think we achieved that with this one.”

The multi-talented London-based producer also scores music for film and Theatre – his musical theatre debut ‘LOVE THY FRO’ at Theatre Peckham in 2018 was a sold out run and returned to the box office the following year with more shows. He has also composed music for UK feature film ‘Brash Young Turks’ (from award winning director Naeem Mahmood – producer of two Star Wars films), and more recently produced two tracks on Swiss’ (So Solid) new album ‘Isolation & Muziq’ (released April 2020).

Outside of music, Dwayne Patrick is also CEO of the hugely successful ‘I CAN Project’, a community based project which deliver Self Development Programmes for young people. He has welcomed Rita Ora into the studio and also received a royal visit from Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, who commended the value of the I CAN Project.

Have a listen to ‘Keep Up’ below…

Ricardo Williams Says ‘Sorry’ In His Latest Afterhours Joint

Fresh off the heels of his come back single, ‘Raindrops’ (which premiered on BBC 1xtra and featured in several Spotify editorial playlists) RICARDO WILLIAMS presents ‘Sorry’.

The new joint is Ricardo’s 2020 style apology letter, admitting wrongs, realising mistakes and trying to make it right. This release yet again shows a different shade to Williams’ musical style, more upbeat and bouncy but still obtaining his R&B swag.

‘Sorry’ is taken from Ricardo’s upcoming EP, ‘Love Tape 2’, due out later this year. Check it out below…