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The Cutting Crew biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here.

Although the band has only been together a few years, it took years of individual experience to make them collectively, what they are today. Lead vocalist Nick Van Eede’s musical background stretches back to the late seventies, when he was managed by ex-Animal Chas Chandler, who sent him on a tour of Poland as support for Slade. Nick recalls “I went with a kazoo and an acoustic guitar and opened for Slade in amphitheatres in front of 18,000 people. I went down as a storm and had the loudest kazoo in Europe, because Slade took their own PA on the road!” His career continued with tours supporting headliners like David Essex, Hot Chocolate and Alan Price… but there was always the desire for his own band. The Drivers seemed for a while to be that band, and in the early eighties, they took off for Canada, to a new life and a promising deal. Things were looking good, The Drivers had a couple of hits and went on the road, this time with a support of their own… and it was around this time that Fate came up trumps, with the introduction of Kevin MacMichael.
Canadian Kevin was at that time in a band called Fast Forward… the band that was to support the Drivers on the tour. He had gained invaluable experience in Halifax, Nova Scotia, working the cabarets that go on seven nights a week, until three in the morning! Kevin remembers the tour; “By the end of it, I knew The Drivers’ songs really well and Nick used to say, ‘why don’t you come up and sit in?’ They were a three piece band and had always wanted to work with another guitarist.”
Commitments meant that a musical relationship got no further than the discussion stage at that time, and after the tour, the pair went their separate ways. However, shortly after their return to the UK, The Drivers disbanded and with nothing to stop him, Nick returned to Canada and began working on his own music. He approached Kevin and more or less told him that if they didn’t get together now, they might as well forget it… but Fast Forward were about to tour again and it looked like there was no solution. It was now that Fate really took an upper hand, for on the brink of the tour, the band were involved in a serious car crash… and Kevin was the only one who escaped unhurt. It meant freedom for Kevin and Nick to begin working together and soon after they began writing songs and working on demos in Toronto… but because of existing contracts it was some months before they were able to drop everything else and form a group. “We said it was time to stop talking about it and do it, so we set ourselves definite goals and began auditioning players,” says Kevin.
Here Martin Beedle comes into the story. Martin is from Hull and drummed his way around the world before emerging as drummer for Cutting Crew. When he was seventeen, he landed a job in the resident band on the QE2, went wild in many ports in many countries, and followed up with stints backing artists like Dennis Waterman, The Three Degrees and more recently, John Parr. While playing in a pub in Lewisham, he was spotted by the fourth member of the band, Colin Farley.
Bass player Colin grew up with his family encouraging his interest in music, and reckons he got the music bug from his Dad who played in a show band for many years. He turned professional as a teenager and the early days found him working in various studios as a session musician. He was discovered a few years later, by Kevin and Nick, serenading senoritas in a castle in Spain. When Colin happened upon Martin in the pub, he dragged him in quick… “I just knew he was going to be the guy for the band.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Cutting Crew signed to Siren Records at the end of 1985, and the first fruit of the relationship was the stunning “(I Just) Died In Your Arms”, which took Europe and Britain by storm, and reached number four in the UK national charts. The second single, “I’ve Been In Love Before”, was released to coincide with the release of the album, “Broadcast”. The band’s first nationwide tour, which ended triumphantly at the Astoria in London’s West End, could only be deemed a huge success.
Cutting Crew have only just begun to edge their way into the international music scene… today it’s Europe, tomorrow without any doubt and if there is any justice, it will most certainly be the world.


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The Coronas biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here.


Their debut LP – 2007’s Heroes or Ghosts – achieved platinum sales in Ireland, and spawned massive singles such as “Grace, Don’t Wait!”, “Heroes or Ghosts” and especially “San Diego Song” which became an anthem in clubs and radio stations all across the country.
The Dublin quartet quickly followed its’ release with sell-out shows nationwide, two meteor award nominations and a spellbinding set on the main stage at Oxegen. All this along with tours in the U.S., UK and Asia, has enabled the Coronas to establish themselves as one of Irelands’ biggest new bands.
“We’ve worked really hard for the last two years but taking a break never really occurred to us”, says lead singer Danny O’Reilly. “We wanted to continue to build on what we had going and we knew the only way to do that was to go into the studio and record an album that we felt blew Heroes (or Ghosts) out of the water”.
“We were quite young when we recorded Heroes or Ghosts”, concurs guitarist Dave McPhillips (indeed they had all just turned 21). “And, although we were so proud of it, we really didn’t expect it to do as well as it did. The last couple of years on the road, constantly gigging and developing our sound, left us with a better idea of the album we wanted to make”

Indeed anyone who has become accustomed to the Coronas own brand of pop-rock tunes will have plenty of reason to cheer when it comes to their new album, Tony Was An Ex-Con, recorded over 6 weeks in the prestigious Sawmills studio in Cornwall. This time round the guys teamed up with esteemed producer John Cornfield (Muse, Razorlight, Oasis). “Working with John in the mill (Sawmills) was an amazing experience”, says bassist Knoxy. “We thought that, with his resume, he’d be telling us exactly what to do but he was really cool and just let us do our thing. It was a really chilled-out, productive atmosphere.”

The title track comes from an incredible story about the lads on tour in America, involving a psychotic bus driver who left the entire entourage fearing for their lives. “It’s funny looking back at it now, but at the time it was really quite scary”, says drummer Conor Egan. McPhillips: “The song was one of the first new songs that set us off on the writing spree that led to the entire record so it felt like the right title”

In Tony Was An Ex-Con, The Coronas’ fans will once again be reminded of the endearing spirit that made Heroes or Ghosts a true word-of-mouth success, while many will be impressed by how far they’ve come musically.
“We’re so proud of this record”, says O’Reilly. “We realised along time ago that it’s impossible to try to impress everyone. You can only make music that you believe in yourself – be it pop, rock, indie, rap, whatever. Hopefully the tunes will speak for themselves”

The Coronas new album ‘Tony Was An Ex-Con’ is out Sept. 25th.

Band history

When Danny O’Reilly (vocals/guitar) met Graham Knox (bass) for the first time, O’Reilly was only two weeks old while Knox had barely escaped his mothers’ womb. All their lives they were surrounded by music but it wasn’t until O’Reilly began writing songs at the tender age of 13 that they decided it would be cool to start a band. They recruited Terenure College school friends Conor Egan (drums) and another close friend to form Kiros and performed their first gig on a Saturday afternoon in a run-down pub in Dublin’s city centre to about 10 friends. The lads were all of 15, already hooked. Their adventures as Kiros, however, were short-lived as the band broke up before they turned 18. O’Reilly, Knox and Egan, however, continued to create music but soon they began to miss the thrill of live gigging and, calling themselves Corona, they decided to start playing to anyone who would listen.

They recorded a live EP in 2004 entitled “Corona – live at the Voodoo Lounge” and to this day they still get people requesting songs that they played that night as the EP began to get burned and passed around the Dublin college scene. In 2005, they recorded their debut EP in a house in Wicklow and although it was well received and contained some songs that the band still play today, they knew that something was missing from the band’s sound. Shortly after its’ release they met a young man from Monkstown called Dave McPhillips (lead guitar), in a frat house in Vancouver, of all places, and were so impressed with his guitar-shredding ability that they asked him join the band. They locked themselves away in a house for weeks creating their sound and began gigging around Dublin, creating an ever-growing following. In December 2006 they sold out two shows in Whelan’s purely from word of mouth and this led to the band being signed up by independent label 3ú Records.

2007 saw them change their name to “The Coronas” (due to an Italian dance act already called Corona) but this did not hinder their success as they began to take the Irish music scene by storm with their debut single “Decision Time” which reached no.8 in the retail charts in January ’07. Another top 20 single followed entitled “The Talk” which resulted in the band being signed to UK agency Marshall Arts.

Their hit singles “Grace, Don’t Wait!” and “San Diego Song” which spent a staggering 16 weeks in the Irish top 40 and the release of their debut album “Heroes or Ghosts” in October was met with rave reviews and has been lodged in the Irish charts ever since.

“The album is definitely a reflection of our journey as a band so far”, says lead singer and the bands main songwriter Danny O’Reilly. “Our only aim was to make an album we were proud of and we’re delighted to say that we’ve surpassed our expectations.” Heroes or Ghosts is out now in all major stores and on download. Their new single “Heroes or Ghosts” is set for release on the 5th of September 2008

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The Feeling biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here.
Dan Gillespie Sells – vocals & guitar
Richard Jones – bass
Kevin Jeremiah – guitar
Ciaran Jeremiah – keyboards
Paul Stewart – drums

The Feeling are five twentysomethings from Sussex and London who love pop music. Great big no-nonsense, hook-filled, giant-chorused pop music – music for the masses, only intelligent, with sunshine hooks and killer choruses that everyone can hum, from plumbers to professors.

Singer Dan Gillespie Sells, who admits to having had an indie phase once, says: “There are no guilty pleasures anymore. You’re allowed to like Andrew Gold, ELO, Supertramp or 10cc. It’s really liberating.”

The Feeling are pop and proud. They’re reclaiming the term.

Like The Raspberries or, more recently, Jellyfish or The New Radicals, The Feeling are premier exponents of prog pop meets nouveau soft-rock.

“You can get away with murder in pop music,” says Dan. “We like getting away with murder. We like great big choruses with great big hooks.”

If there’s a Lennon & McCartney – or rather, Becker-Fagen, Gouldman-Stewart, or Godley & Crème – in The Feeling, it’s the hydra-headed Dan Gillespie Sells, who handles the music and the words. The band, they say, have to “wrestle the songs out of him.”

As a Queen fan, Dan admits he doesn’t just like “concise pop songs” – he’s also a bit partial to “prog epics with ludicrous outros.”

This perfect blend of pop and prog will soon see the light of day on The Feeling’s debut album “Twelve Stops And Home”. It will be a 12-track affair “with no fillers, all stonkers – a classic album.”

It will also, explains Richard, be “lush and epic,” while at the same time being, in Dan’s words, “stripped-down.” The singer cites early Elton John records, The Beatles’ swansong and The Carpenters as examples of the feel The Feeling are after.

“They were epic but not lavishly orchestrated,” says Dan. “‘Rocket Man’ is just bass, guitar, piano and drums, but it’s vocally driven with not much else going on. ‘Let It Be’ was still powerful without the orchestration. It still had epic-ness; a melodic strength to it. Or ‘Solitaire’ by The Carpenters: that’s a great example of a song that’s epic but stripped down. The Carpenters were a big influence on me.”

The Feeling, who are all between 25 and 27, are overnight sensations with a bit of a past, cutting their teeth as session musicians on a variety of mainstream and marginal recordings. They’re all from Sussex, except Dan, who’s from London. Paul, Kevin and Ciaran even went to the same school: Paul and Ciaran were in the same year. The Sussex axis of the band have been friends for 13 years. They met Dan and Richard at music college in Croydon 10 years ago, and they’ve been working together in various forms ever since.

Five years ago they went through their “Hamburg era” when they appeared for several seasons in the Alps as a covers band who specialised in versions of Rolling Stones, Kinks, Stevie Wonder and Beatles songs as well as rocked-up versions of ’80s hits like “Take On Me” by A-ha, “Walk Like An Egyptian” by The Bangles and “Jump” by Van Halen: “Whatever got the crowd going.”

The band still go back there, to try out new material.

“It’s our spiritual home,” says Richard, adding more seriously: “That’s how
we got good at playing.”

The Feeling are, let’s not be coy, superb musicians who have spent years honing their craft. That’s not to imply that virtuoso expertise and dexterous professionalism in rock’n’roll are a necessity. But it certainly helps if you can play your instruments. And these cats can play.

But who inspired them, as individuals?

“Loads of people! Mick Fleetwood, Bernard Purdie, Roger Taylor and Ringo are all big influences. There seems to be a misconception that Ringo was crap, but some of his parts were genius,” says the drummer. “I’d love to contribute as much to our sound as he did to The Beatles.”

“Karen Carpenter was one of the greatest vocal technicians ever. She had a clean, pure voice, only filled with oodles of emotion. It was heartbreaking. But it doesn’t have to be flourish-y or over-elaborate. I’d choose Freddie Mercury for his stage presence, and Neil
Young for his guitar-playing. I’d like to be Karen Carpenter in Neil Young’s body. With Freddie Mercury’s trousers.”

“I like to get involved with the whole arrangement and see how I can complement it with my part. Bassists like Paul McCartney or John Deacon were great in this way. For technicality, I’d pick Jaco Pastorius [jazz-rock fusion supremo] or James Jamerson [Motown] ”

“Slash and Brian May – Slash for the sheer attitude of his playing, and Brian May for the fact that his solos are always an indispensable part of every Queen song.”

“Maybe Joe Zawinul,” says the quiet but deadly keyboardist, and you’ve got
to admire a band that reference groups like Earth Wind & Fire and Weather
Report. “But my favourites would be Garth Hudson of The Band and Tom Waits.”

The Feeling have an assured future. With dead-cert smash hits like “Fill My
Little World”, the joyous harmonies of “I Want You Now”, the lilting acoustic and electric guitars and micro-melodies of “Never Be Lonely”, the surging keyboard refrains and pop riffs of “Love It When You Call”, touching piano ballads like “Strange” and “Spare Me”, and the awesomely infectious “Helicopter”, pretty soon you won’t be able to – hey! – fight The Feeling. They’ll just be there, on our radios, a part of all our lives.

Believe it.

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Spandau Ballet biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here.
Spandau Ballet is a British band formed in London in the late 1970s. Initially inspired by the New Romantic fashion, their music has featured a mixture of funk, jazz, soul and synthpop. They were one of the most successful bands of the 1980s, achieving ten Top Ten singles and four Top Ten albums in the UK between 1980 and 1990. The band split acrimoniously in 1990 but announced their reunion in March 2009, complete with a tour that began in October 2009.

Formation and first successes

The band was formed in 1976 and was originally called ‘The Cut’, with Gary Kemp and Steve Norman on guitar, later saxophone and percussion. Kemp and Norman were both attending Dame Alice Owen’s School, Islington, and were close friends, as they shared a similar interest in music and a common desire to form a band. They were joined by fellow student John Keeble, who had met Norman through storing his drum kit in the school’s music room and would regularly meet at lunchtimes to practice. John was followed by bass player Michael Ellison. Tony Hadley, who knew Norman, then joined as lead singer. After a few months, Richard Miller replaced Michael Ellison on bass, before Kemp’s brother, Martin Kemp, finally took over the role, joining the band a couple of years later. By this time, the band had already gained some live experience. Steve Dagger, a friend of the band members, was then asked by Steve Norman and Gary Kemp to manage them. He was to be an integral part of the band’s initial and continuing success.
The band was called ‘The Makers’ in the early years, but profess to having changed their name after a friend of the band, journalist and DJ Robert Elms, saw the name scrawled on the wall of a nightclub lavatory during a visit to Berlin(It has also been said that the name Spandau Ballet came from a nickname for a popular form of suicide at Germany’s Spandau Prison; specifically, hanging oneself), but most probably it is a reference to the 1918 German pilots who flew with two Spandau machine guns in place on the aircraft cowling. The guns were said to make the enemy dance when fired at them from above, hence the term “Ballet”. The new Spandau Ballet, with Martin Kemp and Tony Hadley, began performing with this name and generating a positive buzz around London. Their music prior to then was in the style of the early Rolling Stones or The Kinks, but became more electronic as they began to hang out in clubs such as Sally’s and Blitz, where they would listen to bands like Kraftwerk and Telex. The Blitz was regarded as the birthplace of a new 1980s music and fashion phenomenon called New Romanticism.

The band was involved in a major bidding war, but eventually signed to Chrysalis Records and released “To Cut a Long Story Short”, produced by the electronic musician Richard James Burgess. Released just ten days after the band emerged from the studio in order to meet the huge demand created by the buzz they had established, “To Cut a Long Story Short” was an instant British top 5 hit in 1980. This was followed by hits with “The Freeze”, “Musclebound” and the well-received and Gold-certified album Journeys to Glory in 1981. The sound of Journeys to Glory was typified by chanted vocals, a splashy snare drum sound, strongly rhythmic guitar parts and a lack of guitar solos; the hallmarks of what would become known as the New Romantic sound and the sound of the early eighties.
The follow-up album, Diamond, also produced by Burgess, was released in 1982. This album was certified Gold by the BPI and featured the funk-flavoured single “Chant No. 1”. The band had Burgess remix every single from both albums for inclusion on each single’s B-side and for twelve-inch club releases. These mixes were later released as a boxed set. However, times were changing. The second single from Diamond was “Paint Me Down”, which broke their run of top 20 hits by stalling at #30, and the third single, “She Loved Like Diamond”, failed to make the UK Top 40 at all. Trevor Horn remixed the track “Instinction”, which was released as the fourth single from the album. This returned the band to the UK top ten after the poor chart performance of their previous two singles and of the Diamond album in general, which had peaked at #15.

International fame

With a slicker, more soulful sound, the band released their third album True, produced by Tony Swain and Steve Jolley, in March 1983. It was at this point that Steve Norman began playing saxophone for the band. The album topped the charts all around the world, and launched several international hit singles, such as “Gold” and the aforementioned title track which reached number 1 in several countries. In 1991, P.M. Dawn sampled the song “True” in “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss”, which also became a hit song.
The follow-up album, Parade, was released in June 1984 and its singles were again big successes in the charts in Europe, Australia and Canada. The album’s opening song, “Only When You Leave”, also became the band’s last American hit. At the end of 1984, the band performed on the Band Aid charity single and in 1985 they performed at Wembley Stadium as part of Live Aid. During this same year, Spandau Ballet achieved platinum status with the compilation, The Singles Collection, which kept the focus on the band between two studio albums and celebrated their five years of success. In 1986, Spandau Ballet signed to WEA/Universal and CBS Records and released Through the Barricades, which saw the band trying to move away from the pop and soul influences of True and Parade and more towards rock. The album, the title track and the single “Fight For Ourselves” were big hits in Europe and Australia, but not in the United States.


After a hiatus from recording during which the Kemps established themselves as credible actors in the gangster film The Krays, the band released Heart Like a Sky in September 1989. The album was not widely released (not at all in the US) and was for the most part disregarded. It did, however, do well in Italy. Afterwards, Spandau Ballet, from whom Gary Kemp was already feeling estranged, split up.
Later developments

Martin Kemp went on to land an acting role in the UK soap opera EastEnders, while Tony Hadley tried to establish a solo career. Gary Kemp did a little more acting, appearing in a supporting role in the Whitney Houston hit The Bodyguard, and in 1995 he released his first and only solo album, Little Bruises.

In the 1990s, Hadley, Norman and Keeble launched a failed court case against Gary Kemp for a share of Kemp’s song-writing royalties. Although initially vowing to appeal the verdict, they later decided against this. The three non-Kemp members toured as a trio, but as they had to sell their shares in Spandau Ballet’s company to Gary Kemp to pay off legal debts, and that company owned the rights to the name of Spandau Ballet, they had to tour under the moniker of ‘Hadley, Norman and Keeble, ex-Spandau Ballet’.

After leaving Eastenders, Martin Kemp became the face of SCS sofa stores and continued acting. Gary Kemp wrote songs with Paul Stratham, who had previously written songs for Dido, continued acting on stage, in film and in television, and worked on the musicals “Begbug” and “A Terrible Beauty” with Guy Pratt. Steve Norman moved to Ibiza, where he formed a lounge band, Cloudfish, with Rafa Peletey and Shelley Preston in 2001. Tony Hadley released three studio albums, landed the lead role in the musical Chicago and won the ITV reality show Reborn in the USA. In 1999, Hadley appeared as a guest vocalist on the Alan Parsons album The Time Machine, performing lead vocals on the song “Out Of The Blue”.


In early 2009, there was much speculation that the band was set to perform later that year. Although the band did not initially comment on these reports, the official Spandau Ballet website encouraged fans to sign up “for an exciting announcement”, fueling rumours that a reunion was imminent. Jonathan Ross also mentioned during his BBC Radio 2 programme on 21 March 2009 that he was aware that the band were re-forming and had been invited to the band’s reunion party.
The band eventually confirmed the rumours at a press conference held on 25 March 2009 on board HMS Belfast in London (a return to the venue of one of their first ever gigs) to announce their comeback tour. The band began a world tour in October 2009, starting with eight dates across Ireland and the UK, the first of which was in Dublin on 13 October 2009. The tickets for the UK and Ireland shows went on pre-sale on the official Spandau Ballet website on 25 March 2009. These then went on general release on 27 March 2009. For the general release tickets, the London O2 arena tickets sold out within 20 minutes and an extra two dates were added there because of demand. The band also announced an extra date in Birmingham and added Liverpool to the tour. They gave their “first public performance and interview anywhere in the world for 19 years” on Jonathan Ross’s BBC television show Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 24 April 2009.

The group released both their new album Once More, which featured reworked versions of their previous material, and the single of the same name on 19 October 2009.

It is expected a new studio album this year.

Virgin Media awarded Spandau Ballet as the Best Comeback of 2009 in their Virgin Media Awards.
Spandau Ballet biography

Pop culture references

Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton appeared on the ABC sitcom Modern Family as Izzy LaFontaine, a fictional bass player/backup vocalist for Spandau Ballet, in the episode “Great Expectations”.
Band members
Tony Hadley – lead vocals, synthesizers
Gary Kemp – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Martin Kemp – bass
Steve Norman – saxophone, guitar, percussion backing vocals
John Keeble – drums, backing vocals
1981: Journeys to Glory
1982: Diamond
1983: True
1984: Parade
1986: Through the Barricades
1989: Heart Like a Sky
2009: Once More
Awards and nominations
Q Awards

The Q Awards are hosted annually by the music magazine Q. Spandau Ballet has received one award.
|- | 2009 || Spandau Ballet || The Q Idol ||

BRIT Awards

The BRIT Awards are the British Phonographic Industry’s annual pop music awards. Spandau Ballet has received one award from one nominations.
|- |1984 ||Spandau Ballet||The Sony Award For Technical Excellence || |-

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DJ Ironik biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here. Ironik will be there performing live so make sure to join him!

“Ironik” was born on January 18, 1988 in London, England. He decided on a career in music at an early age. He started his early career at the age of 13 when he worked as a DJ in clubs, initially in his home country but his talent was quickly spotted and he moved around Europe.

His first single, “So Nice,” was Released in summer of 2007. It achieved popularity on the music channels, including remaining in the top 3 of the viewer request chart on Channel U for 20 weeks, however it had limited success elsewhere due to his bait lyrics.

At the age of 20 he signed with Atlantic/Warner UK.

The first hit was the single “Stay with Me”, which went into the charts at number 11 on downloads alone, then number five on its physical release. It equally had success on Channel U, remaining in the request chart top 10 for 26 weeks. The remix to “Stay with Me” features Chipmunk and Asylum label-mate, Wiley. His second single, “I Wanna Be Your Man” was released in September, 2008 & reached number 35 in the UK now at number 10 in download charts.

His debut album No Point in Wasting Tears was released on Atlantic/Asylum Records on September 29, 2008 and charted at 21 in National UK Charts.

Nominated for Best Newcomer at the 2008 MOBO Awards and Best Newcomer and Best Music Video (Stay With Me) at the 2008 Urban Music Awards.

The third single taken from his debut album will be “Tiny Dancer (Hold Me Closer)” which features Elton John. The song will be released in the UK on December 1, 2008.

Throughout October and November 2008, Ironik supported German Eurodance group Cascada on their second UK tour – The Perfect Day Tour 2008.

Ironik was voted by the public viewers of MTV UK The third favourite artist of the year 2008, coming after Katy Perry and UK Singer Duffy.

Also Nominated for Best Male Music in Film at the Screen Nation Film & TV Awards in November 2008.

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Diversity (Britain’s Got Talent 2009) biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – Diversity (Britain’s Got Talent 2009) will perform live at Bay Festival.

The Britain’s Got Talent Winner 2009 is Diversity dance troupe (picture above). The other finalists are second place finalist Susan Boyle and third place finalist Julian Smith. See photos here and more photos plus video of Diversity’s brilliant final performance below.

Diversity Britain’s Got Talent audition of 11 exciting dancers prove once again that we have much to see as the ITV1 show reveals more and more crowd pleasing performers every week, adding to the suspense as the internationally famous singing sensation Scottish singer Susan Boyle has new contenders.

Previously judges and audiences were wowed by another set of Britain’s Got Talent dancers, Flawless who handily lived up to their name. The Diversity Britain’s Got Talent audition at Manchester, England was equal if not even better.

Beginning their dance routine at BGT with a recording of the iconic words from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the Diversity dancers launched into a spirited and exhilarating dance performance which was a blend of many styles of dance and included comedic elements and even a remarkably well executed recreation of the iconic scene from Chariots of Fire, with a slow-motion run towards an imaginary finish line as the movie’s theme played.

Amanda Holden praised the Diversity Britain’s Got Talent audition saying, ‘Just when I think I’ve seen it all, and nothing could get any better, you came along.’ She went on to call the performance ‘dynamic,’ ‘funny’ and ‘imaginative and superb.’

Piers Morgan said he found the choreography, ‘inspired,’ and noted ‘we’ve had a lot of dance act here’ and ‘you are right up there with the best of the dancers we’ve seen.’

Simon Cowell said, ‘What I saw today was so inventive, so current but it kind of feels like a second wave of something; something I’ve never seen before.’ He went on to say, ‘I’ve never seen dance so imaginative, so creative, so entertaining.’

With that, Diversity dance troupe was given a yes from each judge and now competes against the global star and viral video sensation, Susan Boyle ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ and other BGT notables including the remarkable 10-year-old singer Hollie Steel who sang ‘I could Have Danced All Night’ and the 12-year-old Britain’s Got Talent singer Shaheen Jafargholi from Wales who sang the Michael Jackson classic, Who’s Loving You, is another strong contender.

As the dance group has advanced to semi-finals, we have not seen the last of Diversity Britain’s Got Talent performances. All BGT competitors are competing for a chance to win a cash prize of £100,000 and take part in the Royal Variety Performance.

As a biography, Diversity is a dance group from Essex, England. Diversity members’ ages range from 12 to 25. The youngest Diversity member is 12 years old and the oldest member is 25 years old.

The members of the dance group Diversity are four friends; Terry Smith from Rainham, Warren Russell from Dagenham, Perry Kiely from South Ockendon and Ike Ezekwugo from Leytonstone. The group also includes three sets of brothers who include Ian Mcnaughton, Jamie Mcnaughton, and Matt Mcnaughton from Basildon; Ashley Banjo and Jordan Banjo, brothers from Wickford; and Sam Craske and Mitchell Craske, Brothers from Dagenham.

The Diversity choreographer is Ashley Banjo, a university physics student. In an interview, he discussed his role.
Their professions range from school students, college and university students, along with a member who has a masters degree in IT, a plumber and a telecoms engineer.

Diversity has competed in various dance competitions and has won the U.K. Street Dance Championships. Additionally, they have been featured in Universal Pictures’ ”How to Step UP and Street Dance’.

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Calvin Harris biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets – here. Calvin Harris will perform live at Bay Festival.

Favoring a naughty schoolboy look that makes him seem even younger than his already tender years (22 when his first major-label album was released), Scottish artist, producer, and remixer Calvin Harris has a similarly youthful and forward-looking approach to his music. Skipping the usual apprenticeship in the clubs or on indie labels, Harris went from posting his own D.I.Y. electroclash music online through /MySpace and similar sites to signing with the multinational giant EMI almost in a single step.

Born on January 17, 1984, in the southern Scotland city of Dumfries, Harris was first attracted to electronic music in his teens and was recording bedroom demos by 1999. Two of these songs, “Da Bongos” and “Brighter Days,” were released as a 12″ club single and CD-EP by the Prima Facie label in early 2002 under the artist name Stouffer. With that single to his credit, the still teenaged Harris moved from Scotland to London, but as a very small fish in one of the world’s largest and most competitive ponds, Harris floundered; only one of his songs was released during his time in London, “Let Me Know” with vocalist Ayah on the Unabombers’ 2004 live-mix CD Electric Soul, Vol. 2.

Returning home to Dumfries, Harris began posting homemade solo recordings to his /MySpace page. An A&R representative from EMI liked what he heard and signed Harris to the label in 2006. Following a pair of successful singles, Harris released his debut album, I Created Disco, in the summer of 2007. It featured two Top Ten hits (“Acceptable in the 80s” and “The Girls”), and climbed high in the album charts. Along with his work as a solo artist, which includes touring in front of a full live band, Harris quickly became an in-demand remixer — working on singles by Jamiroquai, Groove Armada, All Saints, and CSS. He also wrote and produced songs for Kylie Minogue’s 2007 comeback album, and collaborated with Dizzee Rascal on “Dance wiv Me,” which reached number one in the U.K. “I’m Not Alone,” the first single from his second album, also hit number one upon release in April 2009, as did the album (Ready for the Weekend) when it appeared in August. Source: Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

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JLS biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets –

When JLS, Britain’s favourite new boyband in a generation (official!), signed with Epic records at the start of this year, the hallowed imprint meant one thing alone to the boys. This was previously the house of Michael, the home of their hero. Little did they know that a tragic turn of events would soon see them battling with Jacko for chart honours in the unlikeliest and most unforeseen passing on of a pop baton. The irresistible urban pop bounce of their debut single Beat Again eschewed all industry thinking about the potential of pop-stars born out of the reality TV genre and sailed to number one at a time when nobody, understandably, seemed to want anything musically other than Michael.

Beat Again became the fastest selling debut of the year. JLS’s stella debut has already earned them two prestigious Mobo nominations, for Best Newcomer and Best Single. As if to prove that their appeal lies outside of the standard pop network, JLS celebrity fans have announced themselves, unashamed, in as varied and distinct personae as Pet Shop Boys and Tinchy Stryder. At least one notable cover version of the song has been recorded and released, from pop girl du jour, Little Boots. It was a much more rarefied meeting on a red carpet that sealed the deal for Oritsé Willians, one corner of the irresistible pop prospect that JLS is turning into. ‘When Judi Dench told me she and her family were fans, that was it,’ he says, putting modesty aside for a second. ‘That woman is a Dame!’ Prepare, then, if you will, for the ascension of four new pop ‘Sirs’.

In the summer of 2007, Oritsé had a dream. ‘It was this idea of taking elements of the members of the greatest boybands of all time,’ he says, ‘And you’d end up with a supergroup.’ He could well just have turned that dream into a reality.

With their self-titled debut album fine-tuned, polished and awaiting a screaming reception from their loyal devotees and many more unusual quarters, the boys are feeling primed and ready to go. ‘I must say, though,’ says Oritsé, ‘we know how to make things difficult for ourselves.’ After releasing their debut single into impossibly unforeseen Jacko hysteria, their album will be released the same day as Robbie Williams comeback. ‘Robbie and Take That were one of our major inspirations,’ he says, ‘this feels like we’re really competing with the big boys.’

Oritsé’s companions for this assault on the big time are JB, Marvin and Aston. Together they collude to offer a blizzard of showmanship delivered with pure energy, passion and commitment. If their ambitions are high – secretly, they see the Jonas Brothers as their only real competition for global musical affections – they have the work ethic and sensational performance dexterity to substantiate the dream. ‘We work hard,’ says Jonathon ‘JB’ Benjamin. ‘That’s our ethos. It’s important to do things properly. JLS is all about excellence.’

You might think that you know JLS already (part 1): For most of the British public, Oritsé, JB, Aston, and Marvin are only the most successful group of all time to enter The X Factor, Simon Cowell’s star-making vehicle that ascended the ratings scale last year to become the most popular show on British TV. What lurks behind the scenes in JLS is an altogether more focussed proposition.

JLS found one another two summer’s ago. Vision firmly in mind, Oritsé had put up signs online and around his University of North London campus. He had been into the guitar shops on Charing Cross Road in London’s West End and begun a tireless trawl through MySpace pages to scout people he believed could turn his boyband supergroup dream into life. He knew exactly what he wanted.

In the event he found them: first Marvin, who he met outside Niketown on Oxford Circus and auditioned on the street. Then Aston, who he called on a football pitch and persuaded to try out. The final place was reserved for JB, who he’d been given the name of from a contact at University. They met at Starbucks. He toyed with different line-ups on his computer, pitting face next to face, working out how they would fit together, before alighting on his dream team. ‘And as soon as I saw the four of us, I knew it was perfect.’

The boys soon formed a brotherly bond, giving over all their time to rehearsals, polishing their act in blagged down time at The Dance Attic studios in West London. Their fervour for JLS bordered on the devotional. ‘It clicked immediately,’ says Aston now, ‘Oritsé had put in the groundwork and we felt like a group from the start.’ There was no time for time-wasters. ‘If one of us was late for rehearsals,’ says Marvin, ‘they’d have to pay for the rehearsal time.’ The dream was not just to be slick and solid, it was to fly.

Various parties, both within the boys families and industry contacts they had amassed, began mentioning the idea of trying out for X Factor. ‘We were quite anti the idea of going into it,’ says JB now. ‘We were of the opinion that through sheer hard work we could get there. It was about creating our own path. We’d won a best-unsigned act award, we’d arranged photo shoots of our own and we were doing paid gigs by the time we entered. We were our own industry, doing our own management meetings, organising our own showcases, sorting out our own lawyers. We got stylists and photographers to work for us for free. We had that level of achievement before any of the X Factor thing started.’ ‘The Leona effect changed the perception of the whole show,’ confirms Oritsé, ‘The chance to become a global superstar existed through it now.’

JLS were primed and ready to go. ‘The name,’ says Marvin, ‘came from our British identity.’ Jack the Lad Swing was a composite of their cheeky onstage persona and the US music genre New Jack Swing that had birthed their favourite boybands, Jodeci and Boyz II Men. ‘Britain had never had one of those before,’ says JB. ‘There were a lot of quality UK solo acts like Lemar and Craig David, but Oritsé had spotted a gap in the market that we wanted to fill. But to do it with a British twist.’

From the outset it was clear that JLS were not usual X Factor fodder. A year’s worth of disciplined rehearsal had turned them into something special. ‘Everyone said to us’ says Oritsé, ‘from the producers to the judges to the back-stage crew at X Factor ‘we can’t believe that you’re a real group.’ That was alien to us. We couldn’t believe that people would go for it if they weren’t. Everyone at The X Factor has a TV show to look after,’ says JB, ‘we had our lives and our careers to look after.’

Throughout the series one name kept on being mentioned to them, that of Epic Records Managing Director Nick Raphael, responsible for the platinum careers of Lemar and Jay Z. Since signing with them, they have doubled their workload. The X Factor was only just the beginning. They are all delighted with their experience on the show. ‘That sort of thing,’ says Marvin, ‘opens up so many doors for you that you didn’t even know existed before. Without that platform it would’ve taken us much longer to get to where we are now.’

You might think you know JLS (part 2): As it marched its way out of radio speakers up and down the country, the infectious, addictive, street-savvy pop gem Beat Again skewed perception of the fourpiece. ‘I think people might have expected a black Westlife,’ says Oritsé. ‘But that wasn’t what we wanted to do. We have our own sound and you can hear it all the way through the album.’

‘The music we are making,’ says JB, ‘is exactly what we wanted to make.’ Breaking every boyband rule as they go, JLS were involved in every aspect of the creative process as they put together their debut album. The boys have got involved in the writing, making sure that the sound of JLS is exactly what they first had in mind when they met to audition. They all talk excitably about the process and delightedly of the results.

Second out of the blocks on the single front is Everybody In Love, a song so begging to have a sea of blue-screened phones lit up in front of the band it might just as well have found sponsorship from every mobile network in the land. The vulnerability of four boys in love is an intrinsic part of pop’s landscape, from The Beatles to Take That, but rarely has it been put to such instantly anthemic proportions so early in a career. Prepare yourselves. This one is about to catch fire. ‘It was the obvious second single,’ says Oritsé, ‘in many ways it is even catchier than Beat Again. And it was important for us to sing about experiences we knew. The album as a whole had to be a collection of our own life’s experience.’

Fully aware of the fickle nature of the iTunes generation’s approach to investing in albums, the four boys made sure that every one of the songs on the album could be a potential single. You can hear it in the almost Backstreet Boys-ish, classic international boyband sound of Close To You, the flamenco punctuated disco-on-steroids of Heal This Heartbreak, the Kanye-ish robo-skip and saucy intentions of Private and the yearning melody of mid-paced winner Only Tonight.

So is the dream becoming a reality?

‘Everyday I have to pinch myself,’ says Oritsé, ‘that it has worked out exactly as I wanted it to. This is closer than I ever could’ve imagined to the original idea for JLS. Getting a number one single was just the validation of that for us. We’ve put every single bit of our energy and devotion into making this record. There can’t be a first time for JLS again so we have to make this right. I never anticipated anything happening this fast for us but somewhere along the line the stars have aligned for us. And most of all it is about sharing the most incredible journey of your life with three other guys that share this ambition and love for what you do. I set out wanting a pop supergroup and sometimes I have to say to myself ‘be careful what you wish for’. Because it might just come true. Let’s just hope people love our album as much as we do.’

Really, how could you not?

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The Saturdays biography

3 Days/ 30 Bands – 18 – 20th of June, Bay Festival, Isle of Man. Info & Tickets –
. The Saturdays will play live @ Bay Festival.

The first major girl band to be launched in the U.K. after a multi-year drought, the five-piece pop group the Saturdays boasted a photogenic appearance and electro-pop sound, leading to their labeling by some critics as the new Girls Aloud. Formed in 2007 through auditions that were held by a management company hoping to revive the flagging pop market, all five members had previous performing experience.

Una Healy started singing in a rock band and later recorded her own solo album, which she showcased around bars and clubs in her native Ireland. Vanessa White attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and appeared in the West End production of +The Lion King. Mollie King had been part of girl band Fallen Angels, who made it through to the boot camp stages of ITV’s The X-Factor, while the two most recognizable members, Frankie Sanford and Rochelle Wiseman, were previously in teen pop band S Club Juniors, who scored six Top Ten hits in the early noughties.

The band signed to an offshoot of Polydor Records, Fascination, the home of Girls Aloud, who they later supported on the Tangled Up tour. Their first single, “If This Is Love,” sampled Yazoo’s “Situation” and reached number eight in the U.K. charts. Their self-titled debut album then appeared at the end of 2008. Source: Jon O’Brien, All Music Guide

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Lemar biography where talent, dedication and persistence meet

Lemar is one of the artists which can be seen live at Bay Festival – 18 – 20th of June, Isle of Man. Full details and tickets here.

Superstar Lemar has returned with a brand new single and a Hits album. The new single, ‘The Way Love Goes’ was released on Valentine’s Day, Sunday 14th February, and was followed by a collection of Lemar’s hits, ‘The Hits’, on 8th March.

‘The Hits’ gathers together all of Lemar’s unforgettable hits on one record, including Top 10 tracks, ‘Dance (With U)’, ’50/50′, ‘If There’s Any Justice’, ‘It’s Not That Easy’ and ‘Time To Grow’. The album also features fthe single ‘The Way Love Goes,’ as well as another three brand new recordings; ‘Coming Home,’ ‘You Don’t Love Me,’ and an exciting exclusive re-recording of ‘What About Love’ from 2003’s ‘Dedicated’ album, featuring JLS.

The multi-platinum, chart-topping, award-winning singer who hails from Tottenham is one of the UK’s biggest success stories to date. From working in Natwest Bank to winning two BRIT awards and selling over 2 million albums, Lemar’s story is one of dedication, determination and an undeniable amount of talent.

As well as awards, acclaim and sold-out shows across the UK, Lemar helped put soul back on the pop map. Six top 10 singles including ‘If There’s Any Justice’, ‘Dance (With U)’, ’50/50′ and ‘Time To Grow’ established Lemar as a successful commercial act, and proved that British soul music had the power to go pop. Both the record industry and music fans acknowledged Lemar’s contributions with two BRIT and three MOBO awards achieved over successive years.

‘The Hits’ is Lemar’s fifth album since 2003. Over the years he has proven himself to be an enduring talent, one of Britain’s best loved voices, and a true pioneer of the UK Urban scene, paving the way for the current crop of artists who are ruling the charts and airwaves.

Lemar breaks down his incredible career, track by track:

Debut Album: ‘Dedicated’

“After Fame Academy finished, I was in a good place. It took a while to get a deal though, and I got nervous after a couple of months. Thankfully, I got signed in the third month. All I ever wanted was the opportunity for people to hear me sing, so you leave the rest to fate. Before that, I’d supported Usher and Destiny’s Child, and I’d been doing the rounds from the age of 17; all of the labels were given the opportunity to sign me, but nothing ever materialised, so it got frustrating. To think this came from me taking a chance and stepping out of my comfort zone to do Fame Academy is really amazing. I got signed to Sony after my A&R’s mum told him to watch me on the show. After the show had finished and Mercury didn’t pick up on the option to sign me, Nick Raphael [Sony A&R] and I went to a football match – I think Tottenham lost, which was a shame! We hung out, had a chat about music and what I wanted to do, and then about two weeks later I was signed to Sony and my journey began. Before I knew it, I was in these huge recording studios with cars, and hotels, and famous producers and it was all really exciting. With your first album, you just want to show people that you deserve the opportunity; I wanted to make sure that everyone knew by the end of that album that I could really sing.”

‘Dance (With U)’

“For me, just releasing a single was enough. I set out to do something in music at the age of 15, and so to have a single, and a major label deal was incredible. If it had ended there I would have been extremely happy. I made the song at Brian Rawling’s (Girls Aloud, David Bowie) studio with him, Craig Hardy (Elbow) and Fitzgerald Scott [Another Level, Keith Sweat]. Fitz had just flown in from the States that day, so he was really tired and he fell asleep in the session. He woke up after an hour or two, and Craig was playing the keys, and after about an hour of us jamming together, we had the song written and recorded. So we knew that team really worked, and we went on to do a lot of work together. We released it as the first single, and I remember it got some radio play here and there. Then it started to steamroll and every single radio station added it, which was amazing. It went in at No.2 – Blu Cantrell just pipped me to the post! But to me, it was as good as getting a No.1. I was so happy. The ‘fame’ side was very strange at first. I remember walking to my local petrol station in Tottenham one day to buy some bread; these two guys spotted me and started shouting. I didn’t recognise them so I thought I was about to have a fight! Obviously, that wasn’t the case; for that moment I’d forgotten I’d been on a TV show, and had a single out. After five minutes I had quite a few people around me and I ended up having to call my brother to come and pick me up.”


“I recorded that with Stargate [Beyoncé, Shakira, Rihanna] at their place in Sweden and I remember thinking I’d never been on a plane so much in my life as I had that year. I went to all these countries and places; Denmark, Sweden, France… With Stargate, their reputation preceded them; they’d sold some 10 million records by that point. So it’s hard as a new artist stepping into a studio with someone who has a history already and trying to put your stamp on stuff. But I was really adamant that I’d do it and learn. I was there for three or four days and we did ’50/50′.”

‘Another Day’

“One of Fitz’s mates in Atlanta had written that song, and he played it for me. I really liked it so I recorded it. What I really remember about that song though is the video. I read the script and it was all ‘You’re walking through the rain, all dramatic, it will be great.’ When you read a script you don’t actually think what it will be like doing it; it was a 14-hour shoot through the night, outside, and it was -4! I had a wetsuit on underneath my clothes, and I remember trying to walk through tonnes of artificial rain that they had pouring down on me, just absolutely soaked and shivering. After 14 hours I was like ‘I’m never, ever doing that again!’ I learnt early; an outdoor shoot in the rain? No. The end result was good, but never again.”


“I wrote this while I was in Fame Academy. I’d written the verses but I didn’t want the song to be too R&B, so I approached [Fame Academy contestant] Ainslie Henderson cos I knew he was very indie and I thought it needed that stamp on it. He came up with some melodies that I wouldn’t have come up with, and then we wrote the chorus together. I thought it was a cool blend of the two genres. I always try and keep my writing extremely personal or something that I relate to. Even if I’m singing someone else’s song, if I can relate to it then you get that emotion out. If you tell a 6 year-old to sing a love song, they might get the notes but not the emotion because they haven’t experienced it.”

Second Album: ‘Time To Grow’

“It was nerve-wracking going from the first to the second album because the first had done so well. It sold 700,000 copies, but then this one did closer to 900,000, so for the second to sell more than the first was a great thing; I was on the peak of a wave I suppose. I’d love to have a 15million-selling album, but what was great about recording this record was that it was big, so that my feet were off the ground but not so big I couldn’t see the ground. I felt there was somewhere still to go, I still had something to achieve. I really wanted to see if I could better the last album, and move it forward.”

‘If There’s Any Justice’

“I recorded this for ‘Dedicated’ but we never used it. It didn’t quite fit; it was largely an R&B record, though there were pop and soul moments on it. But with this album, when I finished Nick didn’t think we had the first single to set if off quite right. We remembered that we’d recorded this track a year or two earlier, so we played it again and realised it was quite good. We put some horns and strings and some finishing touches on it at Brian Rawling’s place and we decided to take a punt on it. I’m glad we did because it was the biggest single I’ve had. But it was quite groundbreaking at the time because it was going against the grain of what was popular then, which was all indie, pop and rock. This was a straight-out soul record so it could have gone really badly with no one playing it apart from Radio 2! But luckily Radio 1 really liked it and it went down well. I think it helped to reignite the soul movement, and since then there’s been a lot of soul coming through with Duffy, Adele and Amy. It’s cool to think I helped contribute to that.”

‘Time To Grow’

“I recorded that with Fitz and I remember doing the video for it in LA. I had to do some boxing, which was interesting because I’d never actually boxed before. I thought I’d done quite well but when I got back home I got cussed by my boxer friends who said I boxed like a woman! Life had definitely changed a lot by that point. I was all over the world, I went to more countries on that album than any other; Australia, America, France, Germany, Sweden, Austria… everywhere. That was a big change in my life. I had a bit more money then too, so I bought my own place. Everything was so good; I felt like there was no limit to what I could do. I felt so positive. I’d get to go to all these parties and awards shows. I think I’ve won 14 awards now, which isn’t bad going. The MOBO’s in 2003 was great because I got an award and I got to perform with George Benson as well. Two years before that, I was trying to sneak in. My friend actually stole a whole stack of tickets by the door – I can’t tell you how! – and so we all ended up sat in a box. From sneaking in to winning and performing with George Benson was such a transition for me. The BRITS were amazing as well. I’d just finished supporting Justin Timberlake at Wembley, and I was sat with two of my mates, just behind Justin. I remember them saying I’d won, and my friend hitting me to get up because I was just sat there, shocked. I didn’t know where to go, and I remember asking Justin should I go left or right! He didn’t know either. Eventually I made it to the stage and did my speech but I forgot to thank my managers. Luckily I won two awards that night so I rectified that when I won the next one!”

Third Album: ‘Truth About Love’

“I lost my mother to cancer when I was recording the first album, and of course that was very hard. It was a very hard time. Everything was going nicely and then you lose one of the most important people in your life. It was hard to adjust because you’re trying to mourn but at the same time you’re having to smile and sign autographs. I’m glad that I got through it, though I don’t know how I did get through it. I think I just buried myself in work so deeply that I didn’t really deal with it. It was on this album that I felt like I had enough. I started to record the album and I just got overwhelmed and felt like I had to get away. So I booked a holiday to Thailand and went away on my own for 10 days. No phone, no nothing, and I was able to mourn then properly and deal with things. Up until that, I just let work take my mind of things but it comes to a point when you have to deal with it. It’s very hard, but I know she’s watching. Life throws at you what it’s going to, so you have to deal with it and make the most of it. The most I can do is try and make her proud.”

‘It’s Not That Easy’

“I did that song with Deekay (P. Diddy, JLS). I think we were almost done with the album and Deekay had been writing stuff for me in Denmark, so they sent it over. I liked it, so I went over and recorded it because I liked the soul vibe. We’d recorded at least 30-odd songs by this point and you do get to the point where you think ‘Oh, it’s good enough.’ But if you are real with yourself, you know you’re four songs short and so you have to go that extra mile. I think it’s about making music that thinks outside the box. I try and make good music and put lyrics out there that hopefully say what I want to say, not only for people on my street to understand, but others too.”

‘Someone Should Tell You’

“I remember Lionel Richie saying to me ‘You can be all poetic and say the moon came from the stars and the shimmering sea sparkled,’ or you can just say ‘I love you.’ What I like about that song is that it’s very simple. That purity is what works in that song. I was really lucky to spend time with Lionel and then people like Lamont Dozier, one of the biggest songwriters of all time. I was able to hang out at his house, and listen to stories about Marvin and The Temptations. I’ve been so fortunate to have so many incredible experiences.”

Fourth Album: ‘The Reason’

“Father Lemar! I’d recently become a dad with my first child – I have two now, a son and a daughter. Every single song on the album is personal apart from one, which I didn’t write but it resonates strongly with me. ‘The Reason’ was me being more thoughtful I think. I was in a philosophical mood; you analyse life a little bit more being a dad perhaps, and for me, this album is my most complete album from beginning to end. I honestly think as a body of work it’s my best work. When you’ve done music for a while, you understand the reasons for a song or an album doing well and it’s often determined by much more than just the music. But what you do have control over is the music and you have to make sure you’re proud of that, and I’m extremely proud of this album. Whether people get it, or understand it, or have the opportunity to get it, is down to many reasons. You can only do your best.”

‘If She Knew’

“That song has two meanings. I’ve been in a relationship for a while now, and sometimes in a relationship the communication can go all over the place. You’re pretty sure that you know you’re right, and she’s pretty sure that she knows she’s right. So it’s a guy saying ‘You know what, if she only knew exactly how I felt about her then she wouldn’t have to ask if I want to be with her.’ I wrote that with Claude Kelly (Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera) and Soulshock & Karlin (Whitney Houston, Cheryl Cole) in LA. I went to record ‘Wait Forever’, and we did it so quickly that we had a spare day. Again, that song just flew out. We all felt it should be the first single, so we led with that.”

‘Weight of the World’

“I recorded this in Miami with Sam Watters (Anastasia, Keri Hilson, Kelly Clarkson) and Jim Jonsin (Lil Wayne, J.Lo). It has a really hard-hitting Miami bass sound to it, but with some steel pans on there too and synths. I wanted a hard-hitting club track with a haunted love song on top. The video was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life. I wanted it to look epic and be epic. So I flew to LA and I was on a mountain for some stupid reason because I hate heights. They had to chain me to a cliff because it was so windy. I thought if I fall from here, I’m going to die; it was so high. It turned out well but whenever I see that video I wonder what on earth I was thinking going up there!”


“This song is about love and war. The idea for it came to me while I was on a plane from London to Los Angeles. I was looking out of the window and thought about a fighter pilot in a plane falling to the ground and making his last call to base. (Not the kind of thoughts you’re really meant to be entertaining while on a flight but hey…!) I thought; I want to write a song that likens that loss of control and chaos, to the loss of control someone feels when their partner falls out of love with them and they can’t get them back. I wrote most of it on the plane and finished it when I got to the studio. I sent that one off to the record company with a few other songs and Nick called me back immediately after he heard it to let me know he thought it was a biggie. I wrote and produced the lyrics and music to ‘Mayday’ myself so I’m very proud of it.”


‘What About Love’ Ft. JLS

“This is from ‘Dedicated’ and it’s a song that I always wanted to release, but because it was slow, we decided it wouldn’t be great for radio. But whenever I’ve sung it on tour it always seems to be the moment people are waiting for; it’s all phones and lighters in the air. With JLS on the same label, we thought we’d throw it on here and give it a twist and breathe a little life into the song. They came in, we had a bit of a laugh, got their vocals down, got some live strings on there and re-did it. They were great.”

‘The Way Love Goes’

“This was written by Biff Stannard (Kylie, U2) and Ash Howes (Little Boots, Marina & The Diamonds). I said to Nick that I wanted to write a bunch of songs that were fun, uptempo, and something different to what people know of me. After ‘Justice’ and ‘It’s Not That Easy’, I think a lot of people still thought of me as soul, so I wanted to remind people that I do all things, including soul. This track comes out on Valentines Day, so hopefully it will bring out the romance in people!”

‘You Don’t Love Me’

“This is definitely inspired by the older days. I’d been in the studio with people like Lamont Dozier and gotten to watch them work. I have his song ‘Keep Me Hanging On’ on my iPod and a friend put me in touch with a producer who happened to send me a track that borrows from that song. So I took that and mixed it up; I’ve reversed it so it’s the guy being the one who feels he’s being kept hanging on. It’s got a lot of energy, it’s very intense. Hopefully it’s a good indication of where I’m going and where I want to go, and it shows that I am being experimental and playing around with my voice. In the future people won’t know exactly what they’ll get from me, but hopefully they’ll like what they get.”

‘Coming Home’

“I went in with Novel (Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis), who was over here from the US. Again, it’s uptempo, it’s a little different sonically to what people have heard from me, but I hope it broadens my audience beyond the UK. I’ve been so fortunate to achieve what I have, but there’s still a lot left I’d like to do. I really want to take it beyond England. I’ve proven myself here I think, so hopefully I’d like to get into Europe more heavily and into America. That would be quite nice. I feel far more ready for this year than I’ve felt any year. I’ve got some great material for my next album, I’m happy with my record company, my team and my personal life. It’s been a pretty crazy journey; I’ve seen a lot of people come and go, get deals and lose deals, so for me to be releasing a Hits album and preparing for a fifth album, is an incredible feeling.”

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