Artist Feature: James (Blues Singer)

Blues/Rock'n'roll singer


Favourite album: ‘If That’s What It Takes’ By Michael McDonald

Grew up listening to: Elton John, Billy Joel, The Beatles, Rod Stewart, Jools Holland, Tina Turner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino.

Which artists/performers are your greatest influence: Elton John, Michael McDonald, Richard Tee, Rod Stewart, Steely Dan. (And lots more!)

Artists we should check out: Ruen Brothers (Who I’ve been lucky enough to play piano/bv’s for over the last year)

Career highlight: Recording with Rick Rubin in Malibu.

Claims to fame: Meeting Michael McDonald and him telling me he’s a fan of my own music.

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Steely Dan at Coachella music festival.

What does the future hold: Release my debut album next year and begin playing festivals with my band. Then just see what the future holds!

CLICK HERE to listen to James.

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Artist Feature: Jo Harrop (Jazz Singer)

Jo Harrop & Hannah Vasanth















Favourite album: At the minute I have Anita O’day Sings for Oscar Peterson on repeat…
Grew up listening to: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, Tony Bennett, Jack Jones, The Carpenters, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, and also Whitney Houston was a big favourite in my young life (Oh and the Doors in my Uni years – who didnt!?! 😉 )
Greatest influence: All of the above, and Audrey Hepburn!!
Artists we should check out: The Slow Show – an amazing band from Manchester!
Career highlight: I supported the Blind Boys Of Alabama (Theme tune from HBO’s The Wire….
Claims to fame:  I sang with Neil Diamond at the 100th Royal Variety Performance at the Royal Albert Hall, and I’ve sung with Enrique Inglesias! Oh and I was as a dancer on the “Its A Rainbow Baby” Rainbow dance video…. I got to dance in a bed with Zippy & George! Yes really.
Best gigs you’ve seen this year: Last night I saw Cafe Society Swing (Alex Webb’s Copasetics Foundation) last night at hideaway! It’s a wonderful show and one of highlights I have seen this year. I recently saw Michelle John – she is incredible!!! Also, Andreya Triani – who was amazing, and The Slow Show!
What does the future hold: I am working with Alex Webb on a great new project, “Carrying The Torch” which celebrates the great torch singers like, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Edith Piaf, playing songs such as I’m A Fool To Want You and Hymne A L’Amour. We play some London dates including St James Theatre February 20th 2016.
I also continue to work as an advocate for animal rights and conservation of the environment.


Artist Feature: Michael


Christmas Singer


Favourite Christmas song: ‘Cool Yule’ (Louis Armstrong) – “lay a lick on a peppermint stick” Best. Lyric. Ever. ;-D

Favourite Christmas movie: ‘Die Hard’ – I find it warms the blood with unparalleled joy, as one gives thanks for Bruce Willis, and all that he achieved in that tower.

Any Christmas traditions: I wear a Red Reindeer jumper… and that’s all … no other clothing is required on Christmas Day. I used to watch ‘Empire Strikes Back’ every Christmas as a kid. As Samuel Johnson dug, “Claret is the liquid for boys, Port for men; but he who aspires to be a hero must drink Brandy”. Having encountered and consumed all three life-affirming impostors, I can usually be found invoking the deities of Nashville through gauzy Fender-Dobro and Vocal hallucinations of a Country Christmas.

Favourite Christmas album: ‘When My Heart Finds Christmas’ (Harry Connick, Jr.) – put your Buble down and listen to the real deal – all arrangements for orchestra, big band and quartet penned by Connick, plus many great originals and killer playing from all throughout.

Any Christmas gigs booked in: I can be found making noise at the Archduke with Nick Pini on Sunday afternoons – with my traditional Festive knees-up taking place there on the 13th December. I will also be finishing off my ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ Opera before the curtain falls on 2015, ready for an enthusiastic splurge of related endeavours in the new year.

Stocking fillers: Same thing I ask for every year… a pocket-sized James Titshall to take around with me on a day-to-day basis and let me know I’m doing ok … alas, this has yet to materialise. Any recordings by Troyka, Toy Rokit, Nick Cave or Ryan Bingham, an advance copy of Dr. James D. Boys’ new book “Hillary Rising”, and a veritable embarrassment of Sound Generation paraphernalia.


Artist Feature: Havana Kings (Cuban Band)

Havana sugar kings-trio



Favourite album: Stevie Wonder ‘Songs in the Key of Life’

Grew up listening to: Irakere, Brass Construction, The Commodores, Stevie Wonder, Orquesta Aragon, Beny Moré. Chucho Valdez of Irakere, lived a few doors away from my Grandparents in Havana and he would bring us music from all over the world. As a kid I would listen to his stories while my Grandfather smoked a fat cigar. Chucho introduced me to jazz and the greats like Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin.

Which artists/performers are your greatest influence: Beny Moré, Chucho Valdez, Tata Guines.

Artists we should check out: Yosvani Terry, Gonzalo Rubalcava, Trombone Shorty.

Career highlight: Playing Ronnie Scotts as part of Omar Puente’s Sextet on Bata drums, incorporating the folklore of traditional afro-Cuban Bata with latin jazz.

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Juan Luis Guerra y la 440. A great Bachata band from Dominican Republic.

What does the future hold: Playing, collaborating, writing, recording, making music 24/7!

Artist Feature: Meg (Jazz Singer)

Jazz Singer

Favourite artist/s: I love Joni Mitchell, Billie Holliday, Al Green, and Willie Nelson-among loads of others!

Favourite album: Louis Armstrong playes WC Handy

What does the future hold: Global Warming, increase in gas prices…kidding! In August I’m touring Japan, and I have two eminent albums about to be released: Hello Mr. Magpie which is being released in August with ADI records, and an independently released jazz influenced album yet to be named. A very exciting end of summer!

Grew up listening to: James Taylor, Elton John, musicals, and No Doubt

Artist/producer we should check out: Sam Johnson is a fantastic player and songwriter, very young and hugely talented. Also the Kosmic Troubadour is an artist that plays an open mic I host frequently at Off Broadway bar and he is popular with the Hipsters.

Claims to fame: My cute cavalier King Charles spaniel is featured in an international campaign for a dog diffuser plug in! He is recognized on the street. 🙂

Best gig you’ve seen this year: I saw 100 years of Billie at the Hackney Empire: it was her 100th birthday and there was a full orchestra playing all the hits with three incredible female vocalists-and I wept three times. In a good way. It’s a wonderful venue with lots of history, and the songs are timeless.

Artist Feature: DJ JC

DJ JC Sound generation DJ


Favourite artist/s:
Currently I’d say either Daley or Drake. I first saw a video of Daley on YouTube covering Maxwell’s ‘Pretty Wings’ and that was all I needed to know! After that, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see him perform live at an intimate show in the Jazz Café in Camden; his vocals were absolutely unreal. As for Drake, the man writes his own history. I saw him at Wireless a few years back, and he put on the best show I’ve ever experienced.

Favourite album:
Really enjoying ‘Tuxedo’ by Tuxedo (Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One). A soulful, contemporary, electro-funk sound rolled into one album. For me a definite sound track to a long awaited summer.

What does the future hold:
I can be a bit of a realist at times, so I can’t take anything for granted as a DJ. The optimist in me is driving to mould my DJ career into something that mainly my mother, other family and friends can be proud of. Treating this journey like a business, I feel, will increase its longevity. So, branding myself, marketing, networking, but most of all, having fun with the whole experience is all I’ll say for now…

Grew up listening to:
Reggae music. Coming from a British-Caribbean home, having a mother who loves a bit of Beres Hammond and a father who is a DJ, it wasn’t a genre I could avoid. My brother was, and still is, big into his non-mainstream Hip Hop which opened a new world to me with artists like J-Dilla. R’n’B, Garage, Grime, House, Soul all had a part to play in my musical upbringing, and play a massive part in my DJ sets.

Artist/producer we should check out:
As previously mentioned, Daley, Tuxedo are two acts that I’m really loving. Leon Bridges, Bo Saris, BANKS, Kaytranada, MNEK, Chronixx, Jamie XX… different vibes, good music, get researching!

Claims to fame:
I used to play professional Football as a teen, small stints at Brentford, Luton Town and Fulham were all quite clearly unsuccessful! Other than that, let’s just say there is plenty room for impressions on the fame scale. Watch this space!

Best gig you’ve seen this year:

Not seen any in the first half of the year; DJ Lifestyle is relentless! But I am going to see Slum Village at the Jazz Café in a couple months. I have also got Wireless, Lovebox and a few other amazing shows to attend this Summer. Definitely a few unmissable moments lined up that you can keep up with on my Twitter feed (marketing masterclass!)

Artist Feature: Libby (singer from Replay)

Soul Singer for Hire

Favourite album: Very difficult to pick just one, but the album I go back to time and time again is ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ by Swedish singer Trijntje Oosterhuis and Guitarist Leonardo Amuedo. Although Jackson’s songs speak for themselves, Trijntje’s passion brings new life to the music I have grown up with.

Grew up listening to: I was really lucky as a child to have such an eclectic mix of musical styles around me. My parent’s record collection had everything from musical theatre, to Motown, to Jazz. Listening to such a wide range of music so early on gave me a real desire to make music a big part of my life…So that’s what I did!

Which artists are your greatest influence: Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Etta James, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Joss Stone. To name a few!

Artist we should check out: Kwabs – what a phenomenal voice! Kwabs’ music is easy to recognize and hard to forget.

What does the future hold: For the last 3 years, myself and the very talented Michael Pitman (Drummer and writer from Xerath) have been working on an amazing EP, which is being released later this year! I am the feature vocalist on the whole album, which is an absolute privilege! Also for me, the start of 2015 has been very exciting, as I have officially set up my company. I hope that the future holds more gigs and session work as it is my main passion but I am also looking forward to running my business and finding out what new possibilities that brings!

Artist Feature: Isabella (Harpist)

Wedding Harpist

Favourite album: Tie between Kate Havnevik’s album ‘Melankton’, & Florence and the Machine’s album ‘Ceremonials’.

Which artists/performers are your greatest influence: Deborah Henson-Conant & David Garrett.

Artists we should check out: The Corners of the Earth.

Career highlight: performing at the Brits with Florence and the Machine and Dizzee Rascal & performing at Buckingham Palace.

To book Isabella click HERE to contact us.

-ISQ Feature


Richard Sadler and Irene Serra talk all things -isq!

Elevator pitch:

R: -isq is a diversely influenced, musical project by four jazz musicians who love lots of music other than jazz. (I wrote that 4 years ago!)

I: -isq represents everything that I love about music-making! I like to think we are 4 improvising musicians who love playing all types of good music, including our own!

Who/what are your influences:

R: Every piece of music we have ever heard! We all come from different corners – as well as jazz, there is pop, rock, flamenco, electronica etc etc – it is all about the song – good music and lyrics! Personally, Mingus, Ellington, Nirvana, Little Richard, The Bad Plus, Elvis Costello, John Barry, John Martyn, Led Zeppelin and on and on…then there’s the bass players, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Scott LaFaro etc etc…it’s never ending!!!

I: I remember the first time that I ever heard E.S.T. (it was actually Richard that downloaded one of their albums onto my MP3 player) and my jaw (and the proverbial penny) just dropped! These guys were playing all this wonderful music and you could obviously tell they were all great, improvising musicians who transcended any genre and just created this awesome soundscape. I knew I wanted to be in a band like that so Richard and I talked about it and got Chris and John onboard. And then I thought, right, we better get writing! And here we are 5 years later…

How has –isq ‘TOO’, moved on from the debut album:

R: ‘TOO’ very much consolidates what we set out to do – writing and performing as a band. Taking songs, simple or ‘complicated’ and making them accessible to the listener. The musical interaction between band members. The relevance of the music for ‘the song’. We are definitely not being lead in any one direction. One of the joys of producing your own albums is that you have complete creative control over the entire process. We were involved in everything – writing, recording, mixing, mastering, artwork, production etc etc – it’s soooo knackering but so satisfying! The interesting thing now will be to see where the music takes -isq next.

I: I think we consolidated our sound and I definitely had a much clearer idea about this album as a whole, both musically and visually in regards to the CD artwork and the accompanying music video. In retrospect, the first album seems so much more tentative. I wish I had recorded our very first rehearsals as -isq. I don’t think any of the tunes we played actually made it on to any of the albums!

–isq career highlight to date:

R: People ‘getting’ what we do – live and on recordings. It’s the most rewarding thing to find that you are moving people with your music and it changes their lives (hopefully for the better!)

I: One of my sisters texting me to say she “REALLY” liked the new album. They are usually quite non-plussed about these things.

Interesting fact about –isq:

R: ‘isq’ isn’t actually ‘The Irene Serra Quartet’ – shhhh!

I: We seem to spend a lot more time drinking coffee and chatting when we’re together than actually making music! I think that must be the secret to our success…

What’s next for –isq (aside from world domination):

R: More gigs, more writing, another video, the next -isq album, a long holiday?

I: Definitely many more musical adventures! I’m really excited to see where we can take the music and the performance aspect of the live gigs. And yes please, a holiday.

Artist Feature: Irene

Jazz singer London

Favourite artist/s: My iTunes library would seriously indicate that I have multiple personality disorder! There is everything from Mozart to Bill Evans, an American composer and conductor called Eric Whitacre, Lambert, Hendricks And Ross, Carole King, Bjork, Tom Waits, Kurt Elling, John Martyn, Nirvana, Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, Ben Howard, Go Go Penguin. Basically, any music that I think is written and performed from a truthful place.

Favourite album: Completely depends on what day you ask me but I have spent a lot of quality time listening to Solid Air by John Martyn and Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis. I mean, you really can’t fault them.

What does the future hold: Lots of nice and wonderful musical adventures I hope! We have just released the second -isq album so am busy promoting that and we have our launch gig at the Pizza Express Jazz Club Soho on Wednesday 29th April. I am also in the process of writing and recording my solo project called Wolf And I, which will be a mix of jazz-tinged electronic pop. I hope to release an EP in the coming Autumn so those two projects are keeping me very busy for the minute!

Grew up listening to: My mom was a massive music fan, always singing around the house, so from her side I got to know and love Frank Sinatra and a lot of the classic Italian vocalists of her time such as Patty Pravo and Mina, 2 astounding Italian singers from the 60’s and 70’s. My big sister fed me on a diet of heavy metal like AC/DC, Sepultura, Metallica and Guns n’ Roses. I can probably remember most of the lyrics to Use Your Illusion 1 AND 2. And of course, the classic quality pop music like Micheal Jackson, Prince and Madonna. Yes, I was a slightly weird and confused child.

Artist/producer we should check out: At the moment, I’m really into this wonderful Danish artist called Agnes Obel. I guess you would call it Chamber pop music. She’s a classical pianist that writes and sings beautiful songs with a string quartet. Breathtaking stuff. I’m listening to Emily King a lot as well, although besides a few singles, her last full album was released in 2011. On the production side, I’ve been admiring Arca’s work through the FKA Twigs LP1 and Bjorks new album. He supposedly lives in Dalston as well so I really do hope I bump into him so I can hassle/hustle the life out of him! And Diplo, an American DJ and producer also does really interesting work. You might recognise him from his collaborations with M.I.A., Sia and Madonna.

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Agnes Obel at the Shepherds Bush Empire hands down. The songs were amazing, the vocal harmonies were lush and there was obviously a lot of talent and musicianship onstage which always helps!

Artist Feature: Matt Holborn from Nouveau Bohème (Gypsy Jazz Band)

London & UK Wedding Bands.

Matt Holborn is an outstanding violinist who performs with gypsy jazz band, Nouveau Bohème Quartet. NBQ comprises of some of the country’s finest Gypsy Jazz musicians. Between them they have performed at Wembley Stadium, The Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Festival Django Reinhardt Samois sur Seine and at the BRITs after party. They have performed extensively across Europe, South America, and the Middle East.

Favourite album: Didier Lockwood-tribute to Stephane Grapelli.

What does the future hold: Lots of playing, practise and more playing.

Grew up listening to: Bob Dylan, Django Reinhardt and Metallica.

Artist/producer we should check out: Noya Rao 

Claims to fame: I’ve played at Buckingham Palace.

Career highlight: Playing the main stage at Samois Gypsy Jazz Festival in France.

Watch a video of NBQ here.

Click here to book NBQ.

Artist Feature: Marie Anne




Favourite album: Illusions by Ibrahim Maalouf.

Grew up listening to: Miles Davis, Astor Piazzolla, Didier Lockwood, Maxim Vengerov, Jascha Heifetz, Jeff Buckley, Norah Jones and Lauryn Hill.

Artists we should check out: Rhye, Ibrahim Maalouf, Meshell Ndegeocello, Camille, Robert Glasper, Hiromi Uehara, Emeli Sande and Ray Chen.

Career highlight: Emeli Sande’s live dvd recording, discovering Tokyo for 10 days for Louis Vuitton, Elvis Tour sharing conversations with the King’s Musicians, Gospel gig with 1000 children at Royal Albert Hall…

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Live lounge session with Kodaline.

Artist Feature: DJ Alex

DJ for hire London and UK

Favourite artists: Obviously Michael Jackson! I am also a big admirer of Otis Jackson, Jr (Madlib/Quasimoto)

Favourite album: Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall’, truly a masterpiece of an album. There is literally a song for everyone on that. A strong favourite for me would be ‘Get on the Floor’.

What does the future hold: Gigging about as much as possible in London at the moment, in hope that one day I can travel across the globe playing songs tailored to each city I visit.

Grew up listening to: I grew up listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac, Donna Summer, The Police and Ghanaian High Life, all through my mother. I would often be rummaging around her record collection finding all sorts of music.

Artist/producer we should check out: Trudie Dawn Smith, South London native. With so much to offer musically and a journey ahead I’d say definitely look out for them.

Claims to fame: I was in a Kylie Minogue music video a couple years back. She even followed me down Soho in one section of the video.

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Madlib at Koko’s. He’s a real inspiration to DJs both in how well he selects each track as well as performing them.

Artist Feature: Cecilia

Harpist for Hire

Which artists/performers are your greatest influence? I’ve been influenced by so many musicians throughout my life from various genres and countries. Out of the many fantastic harpists I’ve heard there are a couple that really stick out for me for completely different reasons. Marissa Robles, a wonderful Spanish harpist who lives in the UK has influenced me so much as a player over the years, her way of teaching and clarity of performance is always an inspiration. My teacher of many years, Daphne Boden has always been so supportive and taught me so much over the many years I have known her.

What does the future hold?: I graduated from The Royal College of Music this summer so am currently embracing freelancing! Currently I’ve got a few recitals and cruises lined up which I’m very excited about.

Grew up listening to: When I was younger my parents constantly had classical music playing in the house which is probably where my love of harp and orchestral music came from. Since being in London I’ve been making an effort to discover as much as I can.

Career highlight: I recently performed at The Wigmore Hall which is an incredible and intimate venue to play at. I have also been fortunate enough to play at several private events for HRH Prince Charles on his personal harp!

Claims to fame: I think my biggest claim to fame has to have been playing in a commercial for Walkers Crisps and being fed crisps by Stephen Fry….!

Listen to Cecilia’s duo, Aeolia, perform ‘The Christmas Song’ HERE.

Watch Cecilia in the Walkers Crisps advert HERE.

And here’s Cecilia being fed crisps by Stephen Fry!


Artist Feature: DJ Ray

DJ's for Weddings and Events

Favourite artist/s: Way too many too choose but if I had to make a choice right now Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, ATCQ, Common, J.Dilla and Robert Nesta Marley they all pretty much highlight what I love about music.

Favourite album: This is an easy one, my favourite album of all time is Marvin Gaye “What’s Goin’ On” funnily enough my favourite Marvin Gaye song is “Let’s Get It on” which is not on that album. Sly and the family Stone’s rendition of “Que Sera Sera” and The Five Stairsteps “Ooh Child” are my all time favourite songs though.

What does the future hold: I live for each day so don’t really plan too far ahead.  Though saying that i’d like to start my own clothing label one day and I am planning to take a course on pattern cutting. I like how some fellas these days are making an effort in their appearance and see a gap in the market for well-designed tailored mens shirts.

Grew up listening to: I grew up pretty much listening to everything, my dad loved Jazz/Motown and my mom loved easy listening artists and filipino folk music which I’ve recently started exploring, my earliest memories of record shopping/collecting would be in the 80s heading down to Our Price on Marble Arch with my dad so i could get the latest Street Sounds / Electro compilations for my birthday so my friends and I could breakdance in the garden. I still have and play those records today

Artist/producer we should check out: SevnthWonder, Phazz, TroyBoi and Snakehips are producers I’m currently feeling. Artist-wise, I’m keeping a close eye on Sinead Harnett and really loving “Goddess” album by Banks at the moment.

Claims to fame: I do extra work so right now I’m in an advert with Lorraine Kelly, it’s funny I don’t watch or even own a TV and I was DJing one Friday evening in Camino Kings Cross and suddenly my phone and facebook was blowing up with messages from my friends who had just seen the advert. I am also in a film called “Anomaly” and am in a shot with a good friend of mine Noel Clarke and Ian Somerhalder. Unfortunately I didn’t get invited to the premiere so still haven’t seen flick yet.

Artist Feature: Louise

Soul Singer for weddings and events


Where does the inspiration come from for your songs? In general my lyrics come from things I am feeling, going through or observations/stories about other people. Musically, melodies often pop into my head and then I tend to sit down at the piano and work out what chords work underneath.

Which artist is your greatest influence? I don’t have one particular artist who has influenced me but I have always loved Soul and Hip Hop. I’d say production wise my tracks are influenced by neo-soul artists such as D’Angelo, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.

Tell us some news: I AM going to do an album (hopefully by the end of this year).

Career highlight: Supporting Roberta Flack at The Indig02 in May this year.

What does the future hold: who knows? But I want to get my music on Radio 2. that is a big goal of mine. Oh and obviously i would love to perform on Jools Holland’s show.

Best gig you’ve seen this year: Justin Timberlake at the 02! Incredible show. He is an amazing performer, I love all his songs and his band and dancers were all amazing.

Favourite album: Lucy Pearl – Lucy Pearl

Someone we should check out: Cecelia Stalin. Incredible Swedish Jazz singer based in London. Her voice is out of this world. She gives me goosebumps!

Claim to fame: Ed Sheeran is an extra in one of my music videos! (for my track ‘A Little While Longer’) I sung on a Vaseline advert a few years ago. I have played at Glastonbury, and I recorded a track with Example just before his first album came out! We went to the same university.

Artist Feature: Helen


Favourite artist: Impossible to pick one! Sheila Jordan, Sarah Vaughan, Mel Tormé.

Greatest Influence: Carmen McRae.

Current listening: Tom Waits’ albums Closing Time, and The Heart of Saturday Night, on vinyl re-issue.

Someone new on the scene we should check out: Laura Jurd and Kwabena Adjepong.

Tell us about your upcoming album: ‘When First I Saw You There’ has originals & standards with some lush production, featuring a choir, strings and horns! I can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s due for release next month…..But you can pre-order a copy HERE.

Highlight of your career: Singing to a packed audience at Kings Place with The London Vocal Project for the Kenny Wheeler/Norma Winstone ‘Mirrors’ album launch on my Birthday last year!

Other projects: Singing to a packed audience at Kings Place with The London Vocal Project for the Kenny Wheeler/Norma Winstone ‘Mirrors’ album launch on my Birthday last year!

Tell us about your upcoming album: ‘When First I Saw You There’ has originals & standards with some lush production, featuring a choir, strings and horns! I can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s due for release next month…..But you can pre-order a copy HERE.

Highlight of your career: Singing to a packed audience at Kings Place with The London Vocal Project for the Kenny Wheeler/Norma Winstone ‘Mirrors’ album launch on my Birthday last year!

Other projects: Singing to a packed audience at Kings Place with The London Vocal Project for the Kenny Wheeler/Norma Winstone ‘Mirrors’ album launch on my Birthday last year!