Release Radar May 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.

XY GALA • Out Of My Mind

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XY GALA is a Hip-Hop artist from Rome, Italy, currently residing in London, United Kingdom. His unique delivery and sparkling punchlines give his music a moody vibe. During his teens, XY GALA developed a huge passion for music, inspired by Hip-Hop, Trap, and Rock. He began his music career performing and recording for numerous bands both in Rome and in London.

After being awarded a degree in our BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance course he decided, in 2021, that was the moment to establish his path as a solo artist, releasing his debut single 'Fighter' on April 17. The single featured on various radio stations, Word Play Magazine, and YMX Blog. His new single ‘Out Of My Mind’ is a sad ballad and is hard to be categorised under one music genre, because although it features a modern Hip-hop/Trap beat, it doesn’t present any rapped vocals. The song was also mixed and mastered by MA Popular Music Performance alumni Valentin Davion and Charlie Whiteside.

XY Gala talked on the meaning of the track, saying:

“In a few words, the narrator of the song is talking to a person who has suicidal thoughts. The narrator and the protagonist of the song are the same person though his mind is split in two different parts. One part is always thinking negatively, while the other part of his mind is the complete opposite and always reminds himself all the reasons why life is worth living.”

LISTEN HERE

TARANTOLA • Sugar Dumpling

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Tarantola is a London-based Reggae-Dub band that comprises 5 energetic musicians who come from Italy, Brasil, England, and Greece taking a various range of influences from the likes of Mellow Mood, Damian Marley, and Kumar Fyah. MA Songwriting alumni Mauro Lacandia seeks to recreate the legend of “Taranta” (the traditional music from Salento). Tarantola expands their web with each release, aiming to connect people from different countries, cultures, and heritage to be part of a family where everyone is celebrated as equal and where diversity matters as a form of connection and exchange.

After been featured on Irie Magazine, interviewed on Rai2 Tv NEWS (Italian national TV) and performing in many prestigious venues and festivals such as Koko (London) Bestival (Lulworth Castle), Hootananny (Brixton-Sold Out), Arts by the River Festival (Bournemouth - Headliners), Tarantola presents their fresh and best Reggae single release yet, called ‘Sugar Dumpling’.

Talking about their new single, Mauro says:

“Sugar Dumplin is a radio friendly tune that includes catchy vocals on top of infectious and danceable Reggae/Dancehall grooves mixed with that sunny vibe peculiar of South Italy Reggae Music! The song celebrates playful and mutual love. It also explores sexuality in a healthy way, through the comfort of 2 lovers who enjoy each other’s company!”

LISTEN HERE

LOS BRAVOS • I Can't Get Enough

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Behrouz Ghaemi aka Bruce Game is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter currently fronting the band Los Bravos. Bruce has been classically trained at Ukraine's Nezhdanova academy of music before moving to London in 2006 to pursue his career as a musician in contemporary music.

Bruce achieved his Higher Diploma, Bachelors and MA Music Performance degree at the ICMP and performing gigs across UK as Freddie Mercury impersonator before joining the 60s band Los Bravos in 2019 who are known for their mega-hit 'Black is Black' 1966 and also recently featured on the trailer of Once upon a time In Hollywood by Tarantino with another 60s hit 'Bring a little loving'.

Discussing the meaning behind their new track ‘I Can’t Get Enough’, Bruce explains:

“The song is dedicated to Manolo, Los Bravos original keyboard player, who took his own life after losing his wife in a car accident on this exact day. He was only 25 and Los Bravos were at their prime in 1968. This new single is a love song written by guitarist Jo Pro, mixed by ICMP alumni Adam Cain, and Produced by Los Bravos.”

LISTEN HERE

VAARAPANDIS • Marcin Nicklewicz

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VAARAPANDIS is a London based atmospheric synth-pop duo formed by MA Songwriting alumni Emmi Vaara and Adrianos Pandis. Combining dark 80’s synth and acoustic guitar sounds, along with a non-traditional rhythm section consisted mainly of house equipment, they tell stories of the subconscious and the mundane through their music.

Their debut single, 'Marcin Nicklewicz', was featured on Tom Robinson's BBC Introducing Mixtape show on BBC 6. 'The Spy' is the second single from upcoming debut EP 'Kids of Kilburn' scheduled to be released in the summer of 2021.

Talking about the themes of ‘The Spy’, the duo explained:

“It is meant to portray an 'afterparty' environment, delivering Crime scene music aesthetics with 80's pop culture references. This track is the 2nd single from our upcoming debut EP, 'Kids of Kilburn', scheduled to be released in the summer of 2021. Mixed by Adam Cain, mastered by Anthony Lim.”

LISTEN HERE

ALLISON MAREEK & STEPHEN GIRY • Crystal Chandeliers & Burgundy

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Following in the footsteps of the greats that came before, MA Songwriting alumni Allison and Stephen are carrying on this tradition of singer-songwriter harmony in life as well as on stage. Feeding their creativity on the likes of Stevie Nicks & Lindsey Buckingham, Robert Plant & Allison Kraus, Simon & Garfunkel and Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell to name a few, they crafted an unmistakable sound that is entwined to that of their two acoustic guitars, faithful companions on their journey around the world.

This release is the first single out of our upcoming new EP 'Foundation'. This EP will be paying tribute to the artists that shaped our musical identities, starting with the great Johnny Cash and the beautifully melancholic ballad 'Crystal Chandeliers & Burgundy'.

Discussing the meaning behind their single and upcoming EP they say:

“It’s a reflective song speaking of the troubles of a hard life and dreaming of a better one. A choice that seems to fit perfectly with the current state of the world. This EP idea was born to challenge our skills and creativity during lockdown and the song was recorded and mixed by us and mastered by EQUUS mastering (Belgium).”

LISTEN HERE

SHALISA TAYLOR • Tumbling Down

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With her mellow, silky voice and introspective songwriting style, Swedish singer/songwriter and MA Songwriting alumni Shalisa Taylor brings a fresh approach to the vocal-based musical lineage known through artists like Norah Jones and Adele. Taylor’s sound has definite hints of soul, but also evokes a soft spot between the sophisticated style of artists like Sam Smith and the outlook on youthful love by Scandinavian singers such as Sigrid or Miriam Bryant. Add her personal view on what could be described as “introverted Nordic nostalgic”, and you got the perfect soundtrack for an early autumn promenade.

‘Tumbling Down’ tells the story of a playful off-and-on relationship. Setting aside the pop beats from recent singles, ‘Tumbling Down’ is as soul as it comes. Cheeky baselines and a mid-tempo acoustic band serve as the soundtrack to this love loop. The storyline is based on this person that you know deep down is no good, but the excitement that they bring drags you back to them, over and over.

Giving an insight into the track, Taylor said:

“The song stems from a catchy, bouncy melody as I wanted the song to have a cheeky and playful tone and tried to play with opposites throughout.”

LISTEN HERE

ROOKES • BASIC

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Named by PSN Europe Magazine as one of the most exciting up-and-coming producers of 2020, London-based Rookes (BA Hons Creative Music Production student) is known for her charismatic and commanding stage presence, and her fearless exploration of queer-female identity with influences from KD Lang’s androgynous prowess as well as experimental, technological approach.

Rookes is also the co-founder of women and gender minority studio talent network 2% Rising, the winner of the Music Producer’s Guild 2020 Scholarship, and a recent recipient of the Help Musicians Do It Differently grant.

'BASIC' was written and produced as a collaboration with the electro-pop band 'CRISP&CLASSY' across three countries and time zones during lockdown. Rooted in C&C's 90's dance obsession, Rookes’ passionate pop beats and drawing inspiration from Sofi Tukker, Alaska Thunderfuck and En Vogue, 'BASIC' is everything you need to reinvigorate your Friday night and silence your haters.

LISTEN HERE

SOPHIE KILBURN • Movements

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Sophie Kilburn (student of ICMP’s Introduction to Music Production Part-Time Course) is a Derbyshire born singer, songwriter who merges melancholic pop with fiery indie-angst. Her bold sonic fusion of old-school rocker & modern pop warrior is inspired by Alt-Pop heroes like Haim, Phoebe Bridgers & Maggie Rogers, with a heavy emphasis on lyrics & storytelling.

From releasing “alt-indie banger” (Fame Magazine) ‘Indigo Fever’ and “driving pop-anthem” (Complex UK) ‘Broke’, Sophie has received global praise and recognition as an “undeniable songwriting talent” (XS Noize), as well as, backing from BBC Introducing and Mahogany.

Sophie returns with fiery indie-pop single 'Movements', which is the first installment off her debut EP 'My Room Made Public', which asks how much of our lives should we share? Anecdotally, she wrote the song in lockdown from a word association songwriting challenge done on her Instagram. She got followers to pick out of three random words and the one that got the most votes she would write a song from it. The word was 'hip-thrust' and 'Movements' was born.

Talking about the track, she says:

“This song is all about a relationship that has broken down. When your gut is saying something is wrong but neither of you are saying anything. You know you are losing them, but you’re still besotted.”

LISTEN HERE

SVEN REUS • Blue Birthday

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Initially on the way to become a primary education teacher, Dutchman Sven Ross decided to quit his study and jump into the London songwriting scene to develop his craft, taking part in ICMP’s CertHE Songwriting Course. Fast forward two years (and a global pandemic) and Sven returned to Amsterdam and launched into his career with the release of ‘Heart Against the Rocks’ on 26th March 2021.

With the guitar stylings of Ben Howard and the melodic sensibility of early Ed Sheeran, Sven shines his influences through the prism of his experiences growing up in the Dutch countryside to create a distinct and singular musical identity.

Sven’s new track ‘Blue Birthday’ brings to life a personal moment in his life and is the second track in his EP ‘Filled with Gold’. Talking about the meaning behind the track, he says:

“The song is perhaps the most personal from my upcoming EP and is about coming to terms with the mounting inevitability that one of the most important chapters of my life had closed for good. I saw a lot of people around me breaking up in a fight or eventually losing touch. I thought we could do better and end up as friends, or at least as people that would message each other on birthdays. But I guess some doors need to close eventually.” 

LISTEN HERE

CORRINA TAYLOR • Powerless

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ICMP MA Songwriting alumni Corrina Taylor boasts a varied sound covering acoustic folk-pop to rap, allowing her meaningful tracks to pick up plenty of online traction as she continues to add great tracks to an ever-expanding catalogue. With inspirations including artists Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Pink, Corrina promotes persistence and self-belief as the most important tools in a musician’s arsenal.

Corrina’s recent song ‘Powerless’ was one of the first tracks she wrote during the final year of her Masters at ICMP. With the main focus of her Major Rep project being addiction, the song is a powerful reflection of the first step of the 12 step recovery programme which is admitting you need help to overcome your addictions.

Talking about her writing process, Corrina said:

"I found that writing the track gave me a lot of self-awareness, which was very healing, and it helped me to develop compassion for myself and others struggling with these behaviours. I didn’t struggle to write the song, it all happened very naturally and easily. I wrote it on the piano over about 3 days and loved the process. This song is about allowing myself to be vulnerable about the things that I struggle with. The lyrics reflect very much the kind of thing I said to the group in my first “Any Addicts Annonymous” meeting.”

LISTEN HERE

BEN MEYERS • Thunder

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Ben Meyers (BA (Hons) Songwriting Course alumna) is an American/Australian neo-folk songwriter, currently based in London, England. He was brought up in a musical family filled with acoustic guitars and covers of great American folk tunes from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, The Band, The Grateful Dead, and much more. This is where he formed his strong roots in American folk and rock music and began his creative path of writing wholesome songs about love, life, and labour with a warm raspy voice and an “island jam” twist.

Talking about his track 'Thunder'  Ben said:

“Thunder in a way feels like a true anthem song for me. It is about going to the more difficult places of our souls and learning to understand them better. I wrote the song during a challenging period for myself, and a time when it wasn’t easy to share that experience with important people in my life, due to the beginnings of COVID, so I documented it into a folk-rock anthem in hopes of playing it for people on some brighter day. In a way, it feels like an invitation for the audience to watch me get into the ring with the harsher parts of myself and come out a strong romantic.” 

LISTEN HERE

EVELYN BATES • I Used to Have Dreams

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Evelyn Bates (BMus Popular Music Performance Vocals alumna) is a professional, classically trained pianist, composer, pop singer, and actress. She was born into a family of musicians and composers. Evelyn started studying piano in the tradition of the Russian piano school and singing at an early age and was accepted at a classical music school at the age of 6. She continued her studies and later started her degree at the renowned Gnesin Academy of Music, Moscow. She later won awards at piano competitions and was awarded full scholarships to study with world-renowned musicians.

Spending her time after school at classical concerts at the conservatoire and secretly performing jazz and pop music as a singer on school days, she combined both of her passions early on. In 2016 she moved to London to continue studying vocals, composition, songwriting, acting and art performance. She wrote music for critically acclaimed short films ‘It’s Not Safe Outside’, 'The Sessions' and others. Her first instrumental EP ‘I Want You to Know’ is written just for piano, and reflects on her ex-pianist career, struggles and sacrifices. She is also working on her first pop EP, which will be released later this year.

Speaking about her track ‘I Used to Have Dreams’ and her upcoming EP ‘I Want You to Know’ Evelyn says:

‘I Used To Have Dreams’ was written in the tradition of program music. The name speaks for itself - it is about losing your dreams and seeing them fall apart. Program music is when every turn/note, everything that you hear is an image in my head and means something very specific. I didn’t aim for very complex harmonies; I didn’t aim for innovative decisions as it simply wasn’t the point. Writing this EP was like therapy, where I needed to simplify things to see them more clearly in order to reflect on that. It is after studying composition at ICMP, that's where I started composing my own music and wrote music for 2 short films.”

LISTEN HERE

COLOURTELLY • Paranoid

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ColourTelly are a South London electronic duo comprised of Evangeline Cunningham (BMus Popular Music Performance alumna) and Ollie Chubb. Their music combines elements of hip hop, neo-soul and various electronic genres to create a sound that’s richly colourful and distinctly ‘London’. Over the course of 2020 the duo released 4 singles and are continuing into 2021 with the same energy, beginning the year with the release of 'W.G.O.’ and ‘Alone In The Crowd’ followed by many more through the year.

Their recent release ‘Paranoid’ sees yet another sharp sonic turn for the duo. The laid-back hip-hop influence on the last two releases has given way to frantic drums, crashing basses and cascading guitars. The lyrics explore contemporary relatable issues in the age of lockdown and deftly reflect themes of fear, false information, and anxiety in the public.

Talking about the track’s layered meaning, Evangeline said:

“The song asks simply whether in the face of adversity humanity is capable of composure or whether as a species we are too anxious and reactionary to forgo panic buying and other such self-serving activities. Is it really the virus we are afraid of or ourselves?” 

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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