Release Radar April 2021 | News | ICMP London

The ICMP community never stops surprising us and, once again, they have provided the best monthly soundtrack we could ever wish for!

Here is a great selection of tracks being released this month. Follow our playlist to not miss out on any new tracks by our students and alumni.

VERTAAL • Alcazar

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Coming from different social backgrounds, albeit from the same town, Ajit Gill (BMus Popular Music Performance Drums alumna) and Theo Howarth met while working as techs on tour. Finding a shared love of groove, nu-jazz, and broken beat quickly found them writing and recording together. The resulting burst of shared musical ideas traversing spiritual nu-jazz, Dilla-inspired hip-hop and neo-soul, gave birth to Vertaal, the duo developing a passion for the freedom and raw expression of the music.

For live gigs they are augmented by a fluctuating line-up of guest instrumentalists who change the flavour of every show, stretching and expanding the arrangements. This informs their studio journey as their catalogue is constantly re-evaluated, re-recorded and re-released as part of their unique journey as an ever-evolving band. Vertaal have been a notable presence in capital over the last 18 months. Tipped as “ones to watch for 2019” by Jazz Re:freshed and for 2021 by BBC Introducing, Vertaal played an exclusive pick of sold out shows at prestigious venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, Pizza Express Soho and the Jazz Café. They have also supported the likes of Mark Guiliana (David Bowie), & Pete Ray Biggin (Level 42) and finished off 2019 guesting for Richard Spaven at The Cambridge Jazz Festival.

The track 'Alcazar/Husky', lifted from Vertaal’s 'Paradigm Shifting'' extended LP features bass player Severin Bruhin and saxophonist Loren Hignall to create an expansive musical journey that ends in a thunderous cacophony of percussion and echoes.

Speaking about the track, Ajit says:

“In a year of chaos and uncertainty, the track has been inspired by observations of people’s habits and home rituals, how bonds are formed and broken and human quirks that make us unique as individuals yet also very similar in our approach to life and it’s various challenges.”

ICMP Alumni Severin Bruhin (BMus Popular Music Performance Bass alumna) and Luca Gianassi (BMus Popular Music Performance Guitar alumna) are also involved in the process of these projects.

LISTEN HERE

OLIVER BEARDMORE • Fiesta

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Originally from Birmingham, Oliver (MA Songwriting alumna) made his lyrical ambition known at a young age with a trio of singles in 2017 and 2018 that drew comparisons to the songwriting of indie staples such as Alex Turner and Noel Gallagher. The unrelenting gigging that ensued culminated in a raucous sold-out headline show at The Rocksteady, London in December 2019.

After a hiatus from the studio, Oliver now returns with ‘Fiesta’, the lead single from his recently released EP. Oliver’s new direction defines a sonic palate which places him at the end of a more avant-garde lineage: inspired sonically by shoegaze and dream pop royalty Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive but with a melodic sensibility more akin to Lorde and Lana Del Rey.

Straddling a wide stretch of the alternative guitar music spectrum, Oliver took a brief step back from some of his bleaker, more shoegaze inspired soundscapes to try and really blend warmer Dream pop ambiance, Indie guitar textures, and traditional Songwriting.

Talking about ‘Fiesta’ Oliver said:

"I also wanted to continue the exploration of walls of sound, inspired by tracks including ‘Only You Know’ by Dion, ‘Be My Baby’ by the Ronettes & Robin Guthrie’s work with Cocteau Twins. It’s definitely a self-conscious throwback of sorts (brit dream pop?) Lyrically it’s just the silly quips you have with someone you'd move heaven and earth for! "

LISTEN HERE

LONGLIGHT • Choppy Water

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AWAL artists LONGLIGHT are a genre-bending, Avant-pop band led by Jo Williams (BA (Hons) Songwriting Course alumna) and Lucas Polo (BMus Popular Music Performance alumna). Previously known as Beautiful Thing on international underground circuits, the group are known for their soaring vocals and widescreen sound. Previous years have seen the band tour in the USA, play at many UK festivals including Glastonbury 2017/2019 and collaborate with a variety of acts from Hussain Manawer, to KWAKE BASS and Hattie Erawan.

Their debut single 'Choppy Water' introduces the soulful voice of Jo Williams amongst a shapeshifting soundscape. Produced by Danny Allin (Daniel Blumberg, Marmozets Labrinth) the acoustic track’s warm harmonies have an underlying focus on the alignment of humanity and nature. The track has received support from BBC Introducing 3 Counties, Amazing Radio and another 16 radio stations, plus a number of blogs and Spotify playlists. It will be followed by another 8 singles throughout 2021 and 2022.

The lyrics are personal, reflective of Williams' current situation with relationships, in a new age of social angst. He explains:

“Choppy Water is about a former love of mine, we were trying to distract ourselves with video games and plans for the future, to escape the fact we were growing apart. The song clings to the hope of seeing that person again. The theme is strangely apt now in our current social situation: unable to see those we care for, but accepting that in due course, we will see each other again once the dust has settled”

Speaking about their time at ICMP the artists said:

“ICMP has been instrumental in supporting the project from day one, granting us two Accelerator funds, plus continued mentoring from The Hub. We both attended the college and so did a large portion of our band.”

LISTEN HERE

MACIE NYAH • My Friends

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Macie Nyah (BA Creative Musicianship) aka 'that singer with curly hair and all-things-pink', takes her influences from the likes of chart-topping artists such as Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa, and Raye. Macie’s music is a strong introduction in representing her main goal which is to empower and inspire both her fellow females and whoever else may need it. Despite her young age (19), Macie has already performed on stages at festivals such as Latitude and Sundown.

Her latest release, 'My Friends', was created entirely by ICMP students and alumni. The track was co-written by Macie and Francesca Morris (MA Songwriting alumna) back in February 2020, while the vocals were recorded in the ICMP studio last December. Finally, the track was produced by GNIE (BA Creative Music Production). 

"The song is about some pretty rubbish friends I've had and because I know this is something that affects a lot of people, I hope that it can inspire others to see that they shouldn't just accept it and that they are worth so much more! "

LISTEN HERE

RAFAELLA • Sincerely Me

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Born and raised in Cyprus, Rafaèlla (BMus Popular Music Performance alumna) started working in the music industry from a young age performing alongside her father. She took part in a variety of musical theatre shows and worked for both TV and Radio. Now based in London, Rafaèlla started releasing her own music in the beginning of 2020 with her debut single ‘Nobody Knows’ and sad pop anthem ‘Broken’.

After more than 100.000 streams and worldwide press, radio and podcast support Cypriot singer Rafaèlla has released her heartbreaking debut album 'Sincerely, me' on the 16th of April.

‘“I've spent around a thousand sleepless nights trying to get my thoughts out of my head. I've been writing "Sincerely, me" for years now. The whole album is a storyline, a message, everything I haven't got the chance to say to my first love. Moving on from it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. All the songs of this album talk about my process of moving on. Denial, sadness, anger, depression and finally acceptance and closure. A rollercoaster of feelings. So step on it with me.”

The album was produced by fellow ICMP student Michael Fink (MA Creative Music Production), who is also featured on one song. 'Sincerely, me' is accompanied by a 5-part documentary about the songs and the making process and a number of music videos (including the 'Big World' video that features several ICMP students).

LISTEN HERE

THE ANAHIT • 2070

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After graduating from ICMP in 2017 Lead Singer and Songwriter Rita Csanyi (BA (Hons) Songwriting Course) and Guitarist George (BMus Popular Music Performance) formed their band The Anahit, releasing 3 albums and regularly performing in their home country of Hungary.

They had the chance to open for the band Halott Pénz, playing Lauber Dezső Sport Arena in Pécs and Papp László Arena in Budapest, performing in front of thousands of people and have worked with Electronic/Dance artist ‘Anatu’ on their single ‘Lonely’ which gained a lot of international attention, airplays on radios in Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Serbia, Greece.

They have recently released their brand-new single ’2070’ which Rita describes as a funny and brutally honest pop/r&b song:

"This song reflects on the society that we live in. A society, where money and connections can get you far, even if you don’t have any talent in anything at all. Well, I don’t have that money and those connections but I believe that our music can get far and be heard by millions, so this is why I wrote this tune. It’s like having a conversation with an imaginary billionaire who has it all and telling him or her (because there’s no gender on purpose in the song) that I can make it in the industry no matter what. It’s simple and fun, the kinda track that you can dance to with your friends and feel that you can achieve everything you dream of in this crazy life.."

LISTEN HERE

RICHARD MARC • Put it in a Postcard

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Richard Marc is a writer and producer from Yorkshire. Since graduating from ICMP’s BA (Hons) Songwriting Course in 2017 he has collaborated with artists such as Matt Marcii, Lauren Alex Hooper and TikTok star Sophie Frear. Richard has received acclaim thus far, having his work supported by the mental health charity Young Minds, and BBC Introducing, amongst other stations, and having one of his songs with Sophie Frear used in various TikTok videos, amassing over 8 million views so far.

He has chosen this moment to step into the spotlight himself; taking inspiration from artists such as Nick Wilson, Lauv, and Taylor Swift, he combines catchy pop melodies with fresh sounding production and a vintage aesthetic to create his own chill-indie-pop vibe.

‘Put It In A Postcard’ is the first single from the EP called 'Mixtape Vol. 1' which, with 35mm film photos and analogue audio processing creates a vintage feel in the project. The track was written with Masters in Songwriting student Lauren Alex Hooper, and produced by Richard. Following the release of the single, a remix was released on April 1st which can be heard here.

When asked about the inspiration behind the song, Richard said:

"It’s something I think we can all relate to, everyone has been through a bad break up, whether it’s a romantic relationship or a friendship. This song is full of things I wanted to say to this person; why did it end up like this? It’s not so much being sad the relationship is over, but angry at how it ended.."

LISTEN HERE

PORTEOUS, SEBASTIAN MAYOR • Just Say Maybe

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PORTEOUS is a 21-year-old artist and songwriter based in London studying at ICMP’s BA (Hons) Songwriting Course. With Jazz, Indie, and Pop influences ranging from artists such as Jordan Rakei, Radiohead, and Foals, he bring together funky indie, danceable pop, with youthful energy and soul.

As a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer known first for his work as a performing musician on the UK scene he’s jumped into lots of zoom writing sessions over the last year and grown a following on his TikTok. His new release is a collaboration with fellow ICMP BA (Hons) Songwriting student, Sebastian Mayor. While becoming good friends in the first year of their time at ICMP, ‘Just Say Maybe’ was actually the first track they wrote together!

As a writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Sebastian Mayor has been lucky enough to perform live in prestigious venues such as the Spice of Life (London Soho), Casa Da Música (Oporto), as well as the local scene in Buenos Aires. Gathering close to half a Million streams on Spotify alone with his first acoustic amateur releases, at just 16 years old, Sebastian Mayor found overwhelming encouragement to keep writing and recording.

'Just Say Maybe’ brings together tight grooves reminiscent of Bill Withers and Tom Misch, with irresistible hooks and melodies that will run in your head for days. Mixed in Paris by the reputable Jack Lahana and mastered by Antoine Chabert (RAM, Daft Punk), the track marries expressive keys with delicate, warm guitar playing, smooth vocals, and blends the character and groove of old funk and soul records with a pop sensibility that will make it your 2021 anthem.

"This song represents a longing for a love that shouldn’t be, lyrically following the story of a budding relationship that had to be put on hold, an infatuation for someone far away, and a desire to give things another go.."

LISTEN HERE

M U U N E • Wait For It

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M U U N E was created in 2018 by Axel Lagho and Elisa Bentley, who instantly connected after meeting in London after attending ICMP's BMus Popular Music Performance. With the same musical interests (and love of colour) the duo moved to Paris to begin their musical journey.

Their four track EP is filled with songs that will get you up and grooving. It is performed, recorded, produced and promoted entirely by the duo! Inspired by disco bass lines, blues guitar and light vocals, their musical genre ranges from easy listening, summer-time indie pop, to 60s dance-floor fillers with a dash of rock 'n' roll. All four tracks work in harmony together, exploring themes of moving on, allowing yourself to dream, calling for change and growth.

"We were approaching a big life change when we were writing Wait For It, which talks about following your heart and embracing new horizons. I think of it as my 'affirmation song,' as it reminds me in moments of stress to slow down and wait and see what the universe will bring."

LISTEN HERE

FRANCESCA GUERRA • 100 per 100

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Francesca Guerra is an Italian emerging artist who moved to London 3 years ago to attend ICMP's BMus Popular Music Performance. She started writing her own songs while on the course meeting people that led her to an exciting path of artistic rediscovery.

Francesca wrote the music and lyrics of her latest release '100 per 100' on the piano when she recently visited Italy. Later, she gave it to her fellow BMus Popular Music Performance classmate Evin Durkin who did an amazing job as a producer. Guitars on the track are played by Evin Durkin and drums by Jon Harris. Finally, Andrea Nardini mixed and mastered the single and Valerio Brini, who filmed the videoclip in Rome of the single which was released on 26th of March.

"The song is about changing and how it can be exciting and scary at the same time. It's the perfect mix of happiness and melancholy!"

LISTEN HERE

THE BIGGER PICTURE • Sparkle

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The Bigger Picture is an alternative-rock band featuring Massimiliano Porcelli, Jordan Brown, Harley Mann (BA Creative Musicianship) and Abigail Flower-Ellis (BMus Popular Music Performance), incorporating a huge amount of influences coming from different genres. Their biggest influences are Biffy Clyro, Manchester Orchestra, Muse, Editors, White Lies, Arcane Roots, Arcade Fire and many others that share this massive sound full of life, emotions and desires that only truly express through music and composition.

As a five-piece band with both a male and a female vocalist, they are able to achieve different dynamics through the songs and adding a lot of harmonies that will enrich the whole arrangements giving us multiple choices every time they compose a new song. 

Their debut single, 'Sparkle', was produced by Matteo Galesi, a fellow ICMP BMus Popular Music Performance alumn, who has a magnificent taste and skills when it comes to work on and record rock music and any other sub-genre of it. Elisa Zuin, a BA Songwriting alumn, is working with the band as their manager, helping them to develop their social media presence and taking care of anything related to blogs, distribution, streaming services and any possible contact with small labels and gig promoters. 

"We are extremely proud of it especially because for it being our first release it perfectly embodies the completeness of our sound and all the different influences we have giving a perfect idea of who we are as a band and act."

LISTEN HERE

MATEUS DE SÁ • the darkness too shall pass

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MA Songwriting student Mateus de Sá is a 21-year-old London based singer-songwriter originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He started releasing his music in 2019 with the single 'Kite' and has explored a range of genres like Folk, Pop, R&B and Hip-Hop throughout his work. He told us:

"I wrote 'this darkness too shall pass' as a therapeutic way of conveying my experience with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, something which all listeners will be able to relate to. The song reflects on the struggles and challenges of this period, but also drives forth a message of hope, and that there are better days ahead."

LISTEN HERE

WLMR • Wastin' time

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Born and raised on the south Swedish country side, WLMR has just realised his debut single 'Wastin' time'. The idea of the song started during the 2020 Christmas lockdown as there was nothing else to do than to waste time around the house. The BA Creative Music Production student explained us how he fell in love with music:

'Growing up I was very fond of my fathers record player and the vinyl records that he had with it. I constantly wanted to listen to the KISS and AC/DC records until one day when he put on Kraftwerk's record 'Mensch-Maschine' (Man-Machine). Hearing that record sparked my interest in electronic music and I have never lost interest since. "

LISTEN HERE

RAFAÈLLA • Drifting

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BMus Music Performance alumna Rafaèlla released her new single 'Drifting' which is leading up to her debut album. The Cypriot singer initially wrote the song for her sleep paralysis and bad insomnia and shared with us how she overcame this dark time:

"I focused on myself, my goals and my dreams and suddenly I found myself fighting back in those nightmares. I even learned how to wake up from sleep paralysis. I just relaxed. Drifting is a song about facing your own fears and realizing that the enemy was you after all."

LISTEN HERE

ARTFAIR • Simple Life

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Formed on the dance floor of a murky Camden tavern, alt-pop band Artfair have had a lightning start to their career, selling out their debut headline show and getting into the studio to record their first three singles. The first single 'Simple Life' is now released and the students from our Songwriting and Performance degrees said about it:

"Simple Life is a feel-good indie summer anthem. We wanted to show everyone what makes us different from other bands, making people scream out our lyrics and then double take for a moment to think about what they mean.

LISTEN HERE

ROSEPIP • Do or Die

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Rosie Bow aka Rosepip draws her musical influences from the likes of Devil Doll, Johnny Cash, Paloma Faith and Imelda May. As her artist project, Rosie blends old school vintage grooves with a modern twist and lyrically has a way with words and an answer for everything, delivering double entendres and flirtation in a traditional Mae West Style.

Do or Die is a motivational dance track that Rosie wrote and part produced under her Rosepip project. It features the amazing voice of ICMP Alumnus Hakeem Montague and brings feel-good emotions to the surface. 

LISTEN HERE

Let us know what you're up to

If you're an ICMP student, alumn or tutor and have new music coming out anytime soon, please get in touch!

We are always happy to support you and share your new releases and career news with the rest of the ICMP community.

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