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.

DAMIAN JONES • Hold Me - Summer of Love '88 Remix

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Damian Jones is an Australian, singer-songwriter, and MA Songwriting alumn based in London. After starting their journey in songwriting over two years ago they have been writing and creating non-stop ever since. The culmination of which came with their debut track 'Hold Me', in June. They take inspiration from an eclectic collection of genres, eras, and artists - from Motown and 80’s UK pop, to Ed Sheeran and Madonna.

Since releasing their debut track Damian has now produced a remix of his track Hold Me, called the 'Summer Of Love '88 Remix'. The remix draws heavy inspiration from late 80s UK house and pop and the explosion of the illegal rave scene during this period.

LISTEN HERE

ILLUSTRA • Harbin

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Illustra is the electronica project of Lucidia Omamori (vocalist, harpist and songwriter) and Rafael Marchante Angulo (guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer). They have been making music together since 2010 as the duo named Shrinari. Lucidia attended ICMP and graduated with a first-class honours in BA (Hons) Songwriting 2020.

‘Harbin’, the debut single of this new project, sees Rafael, from Valencia, Spain, using his production style throughout as a way to celebrate the legacy of the Cafè Del Mar, and Buddha Bar music scenes, combining chilled beats with devotional chants, yet also encompassing the simple human longing for love and connection.

Lucidia wrote the track whilst she was at ICMP in her third and final year. In response to feedback received by her songwriting teachers, she focussed on writing songs with a more commercially viable structure, which gave her permission to explore another aspect of herself artistically.

Lucidia spent a lot of time in India as a teenager in the 90’s and this sound is reminiscent of the music of the time. In her own words:

“The track depicts the search for union, which pulls on our emotions and longs to be expressed in the physical through intimacy and our innate desire to merge with the beloved in each other and also with the divine.”

As a duo, Shrinari have played at alternative festivals including Boomtown, Sunrise, All about Love festival and were recently featured on BBC Radio Bristol’s 2021 Airwaves Festival. Shrinari are about to release their new album this summer, 'Hold onto the Hope though!'.

LISTEN HERE

ROCHELLE ROCHELLE • BEE

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BA (Hons) Songwriting student Rochelle Anne Swanson aka Rochelle Rochelle is a London-based Scottish singer-songwriter, performer and creative collaborator. Her songwriting is informed by both the historical traditions and contemporary innovations inherent in Scotland’s culture. Swanson’s unique music is the fusion of folk, fantasy and futurism. Her songs are a celebration of those lived experiences that, for most of us, go unnoticed - sometimes sweet and innocent, other times dark and sinister: always captivating, emotive and moving.

BEE, Rochelle Rochelle’s first release from her forthcoming EP looks at the cyclical nature of life and form. It is a song about curiosity after a year of lockdown, highlighting thoughts of trepidation about venturing out into society again after a long period of isolation and how this has manifested in herself and those around her.

Giving us further insight into this introspective track, Rochelle said:

“BEE confronts my desire for nature, contact, and new beginnings. The use of repetition, loops, sampling, light and dark, polyphony and resolution all work harmoniously throughout. I wanted the lyricism to be wistful, set upon an erratic backdrop of cross-rhythms and sub-bass lines while the repetitive marimba weaves through hypnotically.”

The song was self-produced and then mastered at the Green Door Studio in Glasgow. The song features the musicians David Swanson on drums and marimba, Alyssa Smillie (ASTER) on bass and the artwork and video for the song was provided by Ramune Kregzdyte and Cococollective.

LISTEN HERE

MAKEUP • Monsters

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Makeup (Matthew Saunders-Davies) is a singer/songwriter wannabe-rockstar from Oxford and an alumn of our MA Songwriting course. Inspired by classic rock, indie, blues, and a little bit of pop, he started writing songs at 14. He has since released three singles between 2018 and 2020 and now he is back with his fourth: Monsters.

Giving us an insight into the track’s meaning and how he has channeled personal struggles into creativity, Matthew said:

“Everyone has similar experiences with nightmares at some point in their lives, but no one ever asks if the monsters under their bed are okay. written, recorded and produced in his bedroom, this song tackles his experiences with nightmares and insomnia and trying to humanise demons.”

LISTEN HERE

KAI AZIZI • Nights in the Rain

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IXI is a character created by BA (Hons) Creative Music Production student Kai Azizi who’s adventures and morals define him. His story involves him traveling across the universe, with each new path and place he crosses linking him closer to his own humanity.

His recent release ‘Nights In The Rain’ was co-produced by fellow Creative Music Production student Emilia Buchanan who helped provide the overarching drums and bass as well as adding textures and layer effects. The song is derived from one of his darkest periods, playing on his intrinsic desire to feel like he belongs around people, but so subtly somehow missing the mark.

Giving us an extra tidbit of insight into the track’s message, IXI said:

“With the ever-present sense of freedom coming from the end of Covid-19 regulations, and the looming ideology of a wider social atmosphere becoming present in most of our lives, I believe a lot of people will be able to relate and reflect themselves into this song.”

LISTEN HERE

JAM ESTHER • Bless This Mess

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‘Discreetly outside the box’ Jam Esther (Higher Diploma in Music Performance) is an unconventional human and musician who won't fit any standard definition. Her music could be defined as alternative rock but wanders across various styles and genres through her music.

She released her first single Bless This Mess on the 11th of June, but her love story with music spans much longer. Writing songs since a teenager, Jam literally went across borders through a journey made of bands and live performances. She always kept writing and now the result of her journey is being released.

Giving us an insight into her new release Jam shared the following:

“Bless This Mess is a song about chaos leading to creation. It's an alternative rock song that blends a pretty familiar blues chord progression with odd rhythms and an exotic riff. The track is 100% self-produced, all you hear in the track is made by myself - every instrument and vocals, the recording, mixing and mastering, the production of the upcoming official video. Bless This mess, indeed!”

LISTEN HERE

SARÉ • My Idea of You

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Born in Yerevan, Armenia Masters in Music Performance student/alumi SARÉ discovered his love for music, especially for singing at the very young age of four. This discovery quickly led him to his first foray into the music industry as a child star. Numerous concerts, talk shows and radio appearances, tours around the world later, SARÉ fulfilled his longtime dream of studying music in Europe.

SARÉ has dedicated his time since to broadening and perfecting his musical skills, earning a bachelor’s degree in Classical Voice (Lübeck, Germany) and a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Music Performance (London, United Kingdom). Currently, SARÉ is working on new music, as well as sharing his expertise as an established vocal coach.

My Idea of You describes a situation where one develops emotions towards the other to, later on, find out the untruthfulness of that picture, that idea of the other person. Yet we grow and learn from our reflections.

LISTEN HERE

J WHITE • Call You Mine

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A BA (Hons) Creative Music Production student at ICMP since 2018, J White is a hip-hop producer/artist from Bedfordshire. Inspired by the likes of Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, Kaytranada and Conor Albert, J mixes classic hip-hop grooves with soulful chords and electronic production.

Call You Mine is an upbeat Pop/soul track that was produced from a task set for J in his second year at ICMP, set by Music Production tutor Charlie Thomas to create a track in a week using no more than 4 audio tracks at one time using a digital audio workstation. Having received positive feedback in class, 18 months later Call You Mine will finally be released.

Talking about their new track J explained:

“Written by Linden Iliffe, the vocals reflect the ideas of simplicity and honesty that the task was founded upon and explores the feeling of joy and satisfaction of knowing you are with someone you belong with.”

LISTEN HERE

LONGLIGHT • Alara

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AWAL artists LONGLIGHT are a genre-bending, avant-pop band led by Jo Williams (BA (Hons) Songwriting Course alumn) and Lucas Polo (BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance alumn). Previously eminent as Beautiful Thing on international underground circuits, the group are known for their soaring vocals and widescreen sound.

Produced by Danny Allin (Daniel Blumberg, Marmozets, and Labrinth) LONGLIGHT's sophomore single develops the sonic universe introduced by their racing debut 'CHOPPY WATER'. Starring the trademark soulful voice of Jo Williams alongside simmering synths and a lyrical Lucas Polo guitar line, 'ALARA' drives itself through genres whilst all the time keeping rooted in classic pop.

Diving into the track’s writing process, the duo explain:

"With the unexpected turn of the pandemic, 'ALARA' took on new meaning, as 'CHOPPY WATER' yearns for closeness, our follow up solidifies the reliance we have all had on everyday people and in turn their reliance on us."

LISTEN HERE

ELLIE GRACE • Thinking About Her

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The bold and unapologetic London based singer-songwriter, with a passion for grabbing people's attention with performances as vibrant as her red hair. BA (Hons) Songwriting alumn Ellie tells raw stories through a fresh blend of indie rock and electro-pop in her DIY solo project, through single releases and music videos. This Aries moon-gazer can light up any room with her excitable energy and keeps eyes fixated on her every move.

Being hugely inspired by lyricists such as Alanis Morissette and Taylor Swift and pop acts such as Halsey and FLETCHER, Ellie is enjoying the fact that pop music can be just as moving and narrative as its contemporary alternatives. She achieved various qualifications in music and eventually graduated from ICMP with Honours in Songwriting in 2018.

A self-confessed hopeless romantic, she has come to realise that love stories aren’t always sweet and sad tales aren’t always poetic, and so her new music is driven by female power, brutal honesty, and loss of any fear of judgement. Folk song-craft and electro-pop fuse together to tell a story of a London girl who will no longer be censored or silenced.

Ellie’s new track ‘Thinking About Her’ is an upbeat Indie-Pop pride anthem, produced by Erim Ahmet. It is about what it was like falling in love with a girl for the first time and all of the excitement that came with that!

LISTEN HERE

SAVRI • Someone

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BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance alumn Severin Bruhin grew up in a village in central Switzerland where he picked up the violoncello at age 5 and the electric bass seven years later. The exposure to classical, jazz, hip-hop and rock music played a significant role in shaping his musical DNA. In 2016, he decided to break out of the bubble he was stuck in and moved to London to follow the one thing that meant everything to him: music.

He has since played international tours and concerts in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, and alongside the hip-hop jazz duo Vertaal he played the major jazz clubs in London, including Ronnie Scott’s and sold-out Jazz Cafe. After receiving an award for ‘Best Bass’ at ICMP, he returned to Switzerland to build on his success under the name SAVRI.

Talking about his new track ‘Someone’, SAVRI said:

“Life is a series of unique moments and experiences lined up after each other. I often feel that I’m too caught up in things and don‘t fully cherish the experience and the people I’m sharing it with. ‘Someone‘ is about people I met along the way and maybe spent a day, a year, or even decades with. Eventually, our ways always separate in some way or the other. This is a big thank you to everyone who shared a part of my way.”

This song also features a few former students of the ICMP Laizer (Rachel Laizer, BA (Hons) Songwriting 2019) on vocals, and Luca Gianassi (BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance 2019) and Radovan Brtko (Higher Diploma in Music Performance & BMus Student) on guitar.

LISTEN HERE

DENQUAR • So This Is Love

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Songstress, performing artist, and vocalist Denquar is thrilled to release this summery, soulful, jazz and pop song, 'So This Is Love', produced by Mark Pelli (Magic!, Chris Brown, Jojo, Shakira, Sabrina Claudio). Having toured around Asia as a jazz singer, her influences in jazz and soul are most certainly present in this self-reflected song about finding love. Born and raised in Hong Kong, half Thai and half English, Denquar is currently studying a Master of Arts in Songwriting at ICMP. With the much-anticipated release of this ear-worm Denquar is set to make a real start to her songwriting career.

'So This Is Love' is a soulful, summery and jazzy love song with a modern arrangement. Written and performed by Denquar with additional input by Robin Banerjee (Amy Winehouse, Mr Ska PC, Jazz Jamaica).

Giving us an insight into the track’s vibe, Denquar said:

“The song is a realisation of finding 'love', not quite like the set of cliches found in movies and song, but rather induces a more natural, more sustainable 'high'. It's a summery, fun, soulful tune more than anything!”

LISTEN HERE

PAUL USHER • Never Gonna Leave Him

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Akin to a hybrid of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own’ and Joel Corry/MNEK’s ‘Head & Heart’ collaboration, this self-composed unforgettable Dance/Pop earworm sees BA (Hons) Songwriting student Paul Usher embracing his love of 90’s house and is draped in drink-in-hand, heart-on-sleeve, pop realness. Full of bittersweet euphoria, an LGBT love story plays out with tears-on-the-dancefloor and a hands in the air chorus perfect for Pride celebrations and clubs reopening.

Following up the Graham Norton premiered ‘Paper Cups’ which Gay Times called ‘Refreshingly Honest’, and debut ‘Jesus Is A Preston Boy’ which Attitude magazine called ‘A striking first impression...profound’, ‘Never Gonna Leave Him’ is a continuation of the LGBT love story first mentioned in his debut.

Diving into the track’s meaning inspiration Paul says:

“I’m sure we’ve all experienced bumping into an ex on a night out; it can be gut-wrenching but, as in this case, it also proved how intense our connection still was. The song's about wrestling with the fact that he had a new boyfriend and fighting the fire of lust and jealousy between us.”

“I saw the first guy I’d ever loved across the dancefloor for the first time since we’d parted ways. Even in the darkness of a club, filled with seemingly thousands of people, we locked eyes, instinctively; the bond has never faltered. I’m sure others can relate to the internal conflict that creates.”

Remixed by Adriano Desire, produced by Paul and Sam Welch, this tour-de-force cements Paul’s place as an artist and songwriter to be reckoned with who will not shy away from lacerating his music, lyrics and videos with pride.

LISTEN HERE

GHOST TEMPLES • Aren't You Tired

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First year BA (Hons) Creative Music Production student Christian Vaage (Ghost Temples) mixes electronic pop music, skilful sound design, and modern classical into their artist project and new track ‘Aren’t You Tired’.

‘Aren’t You Tired’ is an aggressive pop tune with some unusual instrumentation, inspired by King Crimson and Zeal & Ardor. The song is written, performed, produced, mixed and mastered by me, with a guest guitar solo by Christian’s friend Lewis (lead guitarist of the London-based psychedelia band FEZ).

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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