Two piece creating a genre of their own, Urban Punk sums it up perfectly… with vocals as sharp as the busted windows of an East London derelict factory and basslines that Bruno Mars’ bassist would be proud of. Reminiscent of old-school lively Hip-Hop. These guys have got it all.

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After accumulating an impressive 1 million views online on their UK rap and grime medley, British duo Off Colour return with their brand new single ‘Pure Gold’. Their brand of minimal and urban inspired pop has been turning heads in recent months and has often drawn comparisons to the likes of Ed Sheeran, Bastille and One Republic.

The first in a series of new tracks Off Colour will be releasing this summer, ‘Pure Gold’ follows previous release Broken Bond which helped establish the duo as serious ‘ones to watch’ on the UK new music scene, being championed key tastemakers and publications, Off Colour were clearly starting to win over a legion of loyal supporters.

Flourishing on the live circuit, Off Colour have gone on to perform at world renowned venues such as The Roundhouse and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, not to mention opening for Bombay Bicycle Club.

With more music and live shows planned for releases throughout the course of 2016, expect to be hearing and seeing a lot more from this dynamic duo.

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Matt Wills knows there are a lot of sensitive male singer songwriters around at the moment. And he knows that he looks like one, too. “How many guys have you seen with big hair, small guitars, black women’s jeans and a song about a girl called ‘Laura’,” he laughs. “I realise that it’s a cliché to be a singer-songwriter,” he says. “And I realise that to stand up in front of people, you’ve got to have something different to say.”

He may have the hair, but Matt Wills isn’t like the rest. He’s a songwriter who pours romance and vitriol into his songs in equal measure, and who seeks out collaborators from the worlds of electronic music and grime to fuse his guitar compositions into something new – as evidenced by his forthcoming Hurricane EP, propelled by electronic beats and featuring guest bars from rapper Devlin.

“I love acoustic music, and I wanted to take the heartbreak and feeling from it and mix it with beats and a little bit of electronica,” he says. “Electronic music can still have emotion, but it’s got to make you want to dance.”

You’ll find dancing at Matt’s live shows, and plenty more too. His first headline gig was at Dalston’s Servant’s Jazz Quarters in 2015. To mark the occasion, he hired an owl for a doorman. “A giant Eurasian owl,” he notes. “I saw it on Leicester Square and was like, bruv, can I hire this?” At another gig, he hung disposable cameras from the ceiling for fans to take pictures, which he developed and then hung up at his next show. “For me, my shows are so important. I want people to see something different. I want people to have fun.”

Singer-songwriters typically tend to want to tell you about their emotions, and in this respect Matt Wills is no different. But there’s more: there’s a lyrical bite, a fork in his tongue. “Singers are nice these days, because of social media, but I say what I want to say,” he says. “I grew up listening to Jamie T, Oasis, hip hop, grime and Roll Deep, and the thing in common is the attitude of it all. No one is nice all the time. Everyone fucking hates someone!”

The Hurricane EP is Matt’s statement of intent, a manifesto for an electronic singer-songwriter. It opens with a remix of the title track by London born Mad Decent signing Daktyl, and the “love song version” of Hurricane, with a guest appearance from Matt’s teenage favourite Devlin. “He talks a lot about love, but in a more angry way, which is the vibe of this song,” he says. Rounding off the EP is the contrite Put It All On Me and the frantic Overdose – which is about Matt’s insatiable appetite for experience. “I find that if I like something I want to have lots of it,” he says. “Life is a buffet.”

The two sides in balance. The yin and yang of Matt Wills, the singer-songwriter who’ll pour his heart out – then knife you in yours too.

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Signed to Insanity Records (Sony), Cameron Bloomfield is a multi-instrumentalist, who writes and composes all of his songs and performs them with the heart and soul of a man beyond his years. As a lover of all genres, the fusion of styles to create the ‘Cameron sound’ is clear but hugely diverse – from Folk to Pop, Classical, Blues and Rock.

After a run of London shows throughout the summer, Cameron is now working on new music for his debut EP, to be released in early 2017.

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At only 17 years old, South London-based artist Joy Crookes is something of an anomaly for a girl of her age. Born and raised in Elephant and Castle, Joy has had a passion for music since she was young – but whilst many other girls of her age would still be working out where their life might be heading, Joy’s path has been set in stone for a while.

It’s instantly evident that Joy is a natural wordsmith, penning personal lyrics that are both frank, and engaging – not just for her years but by any standard. Her diverse array of musical influences manifest in a signature sound that is complex, haunting and sophisticated.

A wonderfully introspective piece of songwriting, Joy Crookes is raising the bar once again with her second single ’Sinatra’. Staying true to the cinematic, ambitious sound of her debut ‘New Manhattan’ – Crookes wonderfully showcases her vocal confidence, delivering a truly sublime performance.

“‘Sinatra’ is about a fatal attraction,” explains Joy. “Most of us can relate to misguided love…being with, or staying with someone who isn’t right for you. You can almost become addicted to a person; the ‘Sinatra Charm’ as referenced in the song.”

Sparking to life with some haunting, sparse piano arrangements, Joy then begins to recount a tale of the aforementioned misguided love. “Those sweeter days don’t taste the same / I never learn to walk away” she sings – just before soaring into the theatrical, rousing chorus.

‘Sinatra’ – produced by Michael Percy, is another powerful statement of intent from the young artist, blending elements of theatrical pop with subtle touches of brooding RnB, creating a sound very much of her own.

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Influenced by a range of genres, Benjamin Joseph Edwards, or Miller Blue, is a self taught songwriter and producer originally from Shropshire. Producing his first EP in his bedroom studio at home with influences from the likes of Nas, The Fugees, James Blake, Chet Faker and Frank Ocean, Miller developed his craft until he finally felt comfortable with his sound. The result of this was his Persistence EP which has an eclectic sound blending soulfully subdued vocals and refreshing melodic raps with electronically driven instrumental elements of Hip Hop, R&B, Soul and Pop.

With the new EP nearly ready for release early next year and some recent plays by Huw Stephens of his tune “marigold” on radio 1 2017 is set to be an exciting year for Miller Blue. He has been working with some of best producers in the country including Grammy award winning production team Mojam Music.
Picked by BBC introducing Shropshire as “ones to watch ” the future is bright.

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HOST: Mark Sutherland (Editor of Music Week)


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