What a crazy Month February has been – and we’re only two months into 2017. We kicked off Awards Season with dancing houses at The Brits, Lady Gaga’s epic Super Bowl Half-Time performance, Adele’s domination at the Grammy’s and Oscar worthy music performances from JT and John Legend. Top that off with Beyonce and Jay-Z announcing to the world they’re having twins with an Instagram photo that has earned them over 7.3 million likes! And Breathe! We had great new music from London Grammar, who once again enchanted us with their beautiful new single ‘Big Picture‘, while Fionn Regan delivered his soothing sounds in ‘The Meetings of the Waters‘. But before we get into my top tracks for February, let’s see what else has been going on in the music world. Lana Del Rey unveiled her highly anticipated return with new single ‘Love’, while DJ Kahled collaborated with none other than Beyonce and Jay Z for his new single ‘Shining’, taken from his forthcoming album Grateful. This month also saw Ed Sheeran remain at the top of the charts for the entire month with ‘Shape Of You’. Just wait till the album is released and we’re bound to see total chart domination! Speaking of albums, La La Land topped the album charts, followed by Elbow with Little Fictions, and Rag’n’ Bone Man the following week with his debut album Human.
I know it’s only February but Festival season is just around the corner, so of course there’s going to be plenty of Festival acts announced. Are you ready for a barrage of artist announcements? Here we go! Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro are set to headline the new UK festival TRNSMT (pronounced ‘transmit’). The three-day festival will take place in Glasgow (July 7-9) with The 1975, George Ezra, London Grammar and Circa Waves to name but a few. Bestival (Sept 7-10) also announced a few of their acts including Jamie T, The xx, Pet Shop Boys and the last ever UK performance for A Tribe Called Quest. The 15th Anniversary of Lovebox (July 14-15) is heating up with headliners Frank Ocean and Chase & Status taking centre stage. They’ll be joined by Solange, Sampha, Jamie xx and more throughout the weekend. Wireless Festival (July 7-9) announced Chance the Rapper, Skepta and The Weeknd as their headliners, while Reading & Leeds (Aug 25-27) confirmed Eminem as their final headliner. Creamfields (August 24-27) are celebrating their 20th anniversary with Stormzy, Chainsmokers, Deadmau5 and Eric Prydz. They’ll be joined by dance heavyweights Fatboy Slim, Diplo, Chase & Status, Faithless and Pendulum. Not to be left out, V Festival (August 19-20) unveiled Jay Z and Pink as their headliners, while arguably the biggest festival of them all, Glastonbury (June 21-25), finally confirmed Foo Fighters as their second headliner. Over the other side of the pond at Coachella Festival, (April 14-16 and 21-23) Beyonce has had to drop out of headlining the sunny Palm Springs music festival on Doctors orders. The rumour mill is already going wild for her replacement!
So where do I start about Lady Gaga’s electric Super Bowl half-time performance? In case you missed it, check out the epic performance here. Highlights include Gaga jumping off the roof of the stadium before launching into a mega-mix of hits from Poker Face to Born this Way, Just Dance and Band Romance, a fierce mic drop and catching a football while jumping off the platform. Gaga then announced a world tour to end the evening in style. Take a bow Gaga!
Back in the UK, the BRITS took centre stage for the coveted awards ceremony. Katy Perry opened the night with her new single ‘Chained To The Rhythm’, which included some rather large skeleton puppets, baring quite the resemblance to May and Trump. However, it wasn’t just the political aspect that garnered people’s attention, but the dancer dressed as a house falling off the stage! Chris Martin paid a heartfelt tribute to the late George Michael, performing Michael’s song ‘A Different Corner’ with footage of the iconic singer performing behind him on the big screen. A touching ‘duet’ and a well deserved standing ovation. Other performances throughout the evening included Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran with Stormzy and Little Mix. Top awards of the night included David Bowie for British Male and Album of the Year, Emelie Sande for British Female, International Male & Female to Drake and Beyonce respectively, and Adele for Global Success Award.
Over in the US, The Grammy’s took place in Los Angeles with host James Corden. Adele, David Bowie and Beyoncé were among the top winners with Adele taking home the coveted Album of the Year for 25, as well as Song of the Year and Record of the Year for ‘Hello‘. Adele is now the first artist to win the top three categories twice, having previously won in 2012. While it was always going to be a close call between herself and Beyonce, Adele used her acceptance speech to show her appreciation for Beyonce. “What the f**k does she have to do to win Album of the Year?” Speaking of, Queen B was the most nominated artist this year securing 9 nominations, but ultimately took home two awards for Best Music Video (Formation) and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Lemonade. She now holds a remarkable 22 Grammy’s! David Bowie won in all of the five categories he was nominated for including Best Alternative Album. Chance the Rapper also had a big night taking home three awards for Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance for ‘No Problem‘ and Best Rap Album for Colouring Book, while Drake’s smash hit ‘Hotline Bling‘ received two awards for Best Rap Song and Rap/Sung Performance. Performances throughout the ceremony included Adele with ‘Hello’ and a tribute to George Michael with ‘Fastlove’. Despite her vocal hiccup, Adele proved what a pro she is and started the tribute again earning herself a well deserved standing ovation. Beyonce also performed two tracks from her album Lemonade: ‘Love Drought’ and ‘Sandcastles’ complete with some impressive staging and Beyonce looking like a Goddess, while Bruno mars blew the roof off with an incredible tribute to Prince. French electronic duo Daft Punk, made their highly anticipated comeback performing alongside The Weeknd. Over at the Oscars, we were treated to some live performances from Justin Timberlake, John Legend, Sting, Lin Manuel Miranda, Auli’i Cravalho – all performing their Oscar nominated songs. This year’s Best Original Song went to La La Land’s ‘City of Stars’ by Justin Hurwitz.
While James Corden is still making waves over in the US, his ever popular Carpool Karaoke feature is getting it’s own TV series for Apple Music. While James Corden won’t be hosting the show himself, it will still follow the same format with stars such as Will Smith, John Legend, Alicia Keys, Seth MacFarlane and evan John Cena. Hopefully we’ll get a release date soon, although it’s going to be tricky follow previous stars such as Adele and Michelle Obama.
Now we’re in March, we can look ahead to the Teenage Cancer Trust where Ed Sheeran has been announced as the latest headliner. Ed will play the Royal Albert Hall on March 28 as part of a week of gigs alongside The Who, Paul Weller, Pet Shop Boys with Johnny Marr and Olly Murs.
1) Stormzy – Big For Your Boots (Sep Post)
Stormzy is back with his latest single ‘Big For Your Boots’ taken from his highly anticipated debut album, Gang Signs & Prayers. Produced by Sir Spyro (Ghetts, P Money) and Fraser T Smith (Adele, Sam Smith), ‘Big For Your Boots’ serves up some true old-school grime instrumentals with pitched up vocals and a fiery riddim, all the while staying true to its Garage and Jungle roots. Gang Signs & Prayers is available now via Merky Records. Upcoming dates for Stormzy include O2 Academy Brixton (May 2-4) Wildlife (June 9-10) and V Festival (August 19-20) to name but a few.
2) NVOY – Golden Touch ft Natalola
London producer duo NVOY (aka James and Conner) have teamed up with singer/songwriter Natalola for their latest single ‘Golden Touch’, which serves as the follow up to ‘Make You Mine’. Known for their unique blend of house, UK bass, future RnB and electronic, the producer duo showcase their talents with their multi-layered production and surging builds and breaks, all intertwined with Natalola’s sweet vocals. Currently signed to Black Butter Records, their debut EP Aurum is available now.
3) Rag’n’Bone Man – Ego
It’s been a pretty busy few months for Rag’n’bone Man, aka Rory Graham, who kicked off the new year winning the Brits Critic’s Choice Award. Since then, Rag’n’Bone Man has gone from strength to strength with the success of singles ‘Human’ and ‘Skin’. His latest track ‘Ego’ comes across like a duet, when in fact Rag’nBone Man intricately switches his styles from gritty blues crooner, to slick rapper with his sauntering hip hop style. While ’Ego’ is not as captivating as his previous singles, there’s still plenty of depth to to his rich vocals. Upcoming dates include Shepherds Bush Empire (April 20), Wildlife (June 9-10) and Lovebox Festival (July 14-15). Human is available now via Sony Records.
4) Will Heard – I Better Love You
Will Heard first came to prominence when he featured on Klangkarussel’s infectious summer-smash single ‘Sonnentanz (Sun Don’t Shine’) back in 2014. Since then he’s been a featured artist on a number of chart-topping singles including ‘I Will For Love’ and ’Rumour Mill’ with Rudimental, and ’Anywhere’ with Dillon Francis. Now the London-based singer/songwriter has branched out on his own for his debut EP Trust featuring the single ‘I Better Love You’. The single showcases Heard’s upbeat, soulful vocals and infectious 80’s inspired synths. The Trust EP is available now via Black Butter Records. Upcoming gigs for Heard include Omeara, London (May 16) and Wildlife Festival (June 9-10)
5) Sigrid – Don’t Kill My Vibe
There must be something in the water, because we have yet another Scandinavian Popstar on the rise. 20-year-old Sigrid has just unveiled her debut anthem ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’; a defiant statement to at all the cynics out there; nobody’s holding this girl back. The single premiered as Mista Jam’s Hottest Record on Radio 1, and serves up some soft, building piano accompaniment, before building to a rousing euphoric chorus with warped synths and skittering beats. Hailing from Norway, Sigrid is one to watch with her edgy, yet melodic vibes. ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ is available now via Island Records.
6) Tchami – Adieu
Parisian producer Tchami just dropped his latest single ‘Adieu’. The single serves as a departure from his previously darker future-house sound and instead instead delivers a tropical percussive vibe throughout with soft synths and infectious vocal samples. The single serves as the follow up to 2015’s Afterlife EP, as well as production credits with Major Lazer, Dillon Francis, DJ Snake and Aluna George. Upcoming UK dates include We Are FSTVL (May 26-28). ‘Adieu‘ is available now via Confession Records.
7) Moon Boots – Tear My Heart Ft Lulu James
Brooklyn-based producer Moon Boots (AKA Peter Dougherty) unveiled his new single ‘Tear My Heart’. The single serves as the follow up to 2015’s successful ‘Red Sky’ and features the soulful vocals of Lulu James, who’s currently signed to Black Butter Records. The disco-house producer perfectly blends some classic house rhythms with ethereal synths, with Lulu’s soulful vocals intertwined throughout. ‘Tear My Heart’ is the first single to be taken from his debut LP First Landing. The album is set for release via Anjunadeep, Above & Beyond’s deep house imprint, and will be available later this year. Upcoming dates for Moon Boots include Spring Awakening Festival in Chicago (June 9-11)
8) Bugzy Malone – Aggy Wid It
Manchester based MC Bugzy Malone is back with his new single ‘Aggy Wid It’. The single premiered as MistaJam’s Hottest record and serves up some aggressive bars, packing a punch with it’s infectious energy. With slick production from Zdot (Stormzy, Wiley, Lady Leshurr) Bugzy Malone makes a clear statement that he’s back in business. Expect Bugzy to make plenty of Festival appearances this summer. ‘Aggy Wid It’ is available now via ILL Gotten Records.
9) Disciples – On My Mind
South London production trio Nathan Vincent Duvall, Gavin Koolmon and Luke McDermott, aka Disciples, unveiled their latest, soulful banger ‘On My Mind’. The BRIT nominated trio deliver an instantly catchy topline with Duvall’s silky vocals and slick production throughout. The single serves as the follow up to ‘Daylight’ and 2015’s chart-topping ‘How Deep is Your Love’ with Calvin Harris. Having completed a successful residency at Together @ Amnesia, the trio are returning to Ibiza for their second residency this March and are set to perform alongside Danny Howard, Camelphat and more. ‘On My Mind’ is available now via Parlophone and FFRR. Upcoming dates for the trio include Hideout Music Festival (June 26-30) and Creamfields (August 24-27).
10) Icarus – King Kong
Bristol-based brotherly duo Ian and Tom Griffiths, aka Icarus, dropped their latest single ‘King Kong’, which premiered with Danny Howard on Radio 1 as his Hottest Record. The production duo serve up a soulful taste of disco/house, infused with infectious brass melodies, sassy vocals, quirky electronic flourishes and an uplifting vibe that just screams Summer time! Having previously focused on more atmospheric tracks in the past, King Kong is a welcome change and perfect way to kick off the Spring/Summer season. King Kong is available now on FFFR. Upcoming dates for the duo include Fabric with Groove Armada (June 4) and Creamfields (August 24-27)
11) Will Joseph Cook – Beach (I Wanna Make You Mine)
Time for a change of pace with some vibrant, indie-pop vibes. Will Joseph Cook unveiled his new feel-good single ‘Beach (I Wanna Make You Mine)’. Taken from his forthcoming debut album Sweet Dreamer, the technicolour-single serves up a soaring pop anthem with its glossy melodies and sparkling, summer vibes. The single originally appeared on his 2015 EP Proof Enough, however the fan favourite has since been re-recorded and will feature on his debut album Sweet Dreamer. Having already unveiled title track ‘Take Me Dancing’ and ‘Girls Like Me’, Sweet Dreamer is set for release April 14, while the single is available now via Atlantic. Upcoming dates for Will include Heaven (May 11), and Reading & Leeds Festival (August 25-27).
12) THEY. – Truth Be Told
LA based producer/songwriter duo THEY. made up of Dante Jones (production) and Drew Love (Vocals), dropped another track in the lead up to the release of their debut album NÜ RELIGION: HYENA. ‘Truth Be Told’ is their latest offering, having previously unveiled ‘Silence’, ‘All’ and ‘Dante’s Creek’ earlier in the week. Truth Be Told slows the tempo down to deliver a smooth mix of styles from R&B, rock and trap – perfectly highlighting their varied influences. NÜ RELIGION: HYENA is available now via Mind of a Genius Records / Warner Bros. Upcoming dates for the genre-defying duo include Panaroma Festival in NY (July 28-29) and Reading Festival (Aug 25-27)
13) In the Morning – (GotSome & Jaded Remix)
DJ/Production trio Jaded have teamed up with fellow production duo GotSome for the remix of ‘In The Morning’. Jaded are known for their quirky house-driven tracks with catchy vocal lines, fusing house with hip-hop and techno to deliver something truly unique. Add GotSome into the mix and you’ve got one infectious, bass heavy club banger. With Jaded’s success last year with ‘4000Hz‘, In The Morning looks to follow the same route. ‘In The Morning‘ is available now via Black Records. No upcoming dates for Jaded as of yet, but you can catch GotSome at Common People Festival (May 27-28)
Check out the full playlist below and here’s to another exciting month of music ahead!