Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝘾𝙧𝙖𝙯𝙮 𝙐 - 𝙍𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝘼𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣
Charles quotes Nina Simone: "It's a new dawn, it's a new day..."
A couple of days ago, April predictably dropped its blossom and went into hibernation for the usual 11 months. Unpredictably however, it brought some rather beautiful weather, at least in London. Which was nice. As one month goes on sabbatical, another yawns, stretches and leaps out of bed. May Day was upon us. The day has many meanings in various places and eras. A bank holiday in general. Labour Day: a day for labourers to kick off their work boots and have a well deserved laze. In London it is known for the May Day Riots… Oh what joy. To some, May Day is the beginning of summer. Which of course, it isn’t. There are other things one can celebrate on this day, but for me personally, I just liked that this year it fell on a Sunday. The day of laze. The day we traditionally don’t get up until the crack of noon, when getting up is just about the most exertion of the day. Sunday is the end of the week. Day 7, not Day 1 - as we used to say, for some reason. No work, no rush, NO POWER TOOLS! Sorry, I have a thing about people using power tools on a Sunday - drives me up the wall. Why use a petrol-driven leaf blower, when man invented the humble, silent rake…? It’s a stick with a comb, and it works. Anyway…!
For most people, Sunday is a joy. A relief from all that the week has thrown in one’s face. A time for composure and reflection. A time for contemplation and taking stock (a queer expression). Whatever your belief or spirituality, meditation is usually at the core of Sunday. A relaxed Sunday morning (or early afternoon) coffee is very different to a rushed, much needed, midweek slug of caffeine. It brings peace in the mind, rather than war of a kind. This could be called meditation. It doesn’t have to be all zen-like yoga with bendy legs, impeccable posture, closed eyes and tacked fingers. No matter how heavy one’s week has been, one’s Sunday is a vital day to refresh and recharge for the gruelling week ahead, but at the same time it is important not to think about the days to come. One must live for the moment, as if life is to be a perpetual Day of Sun. It brings the family together. It allows God his weekly speech, making one feel it has been relabelled “Sinday”, for you have been very bad indeed. Or so the story goes. We put so much faith and hope in Sunday. We look forward to it like a child looks forward to Christmas. As if the day will always bring sun. It is sad but true, that the week itself can be that bad, but this is the general way of things for normal people.
Artists, however are not normal people. We get through the week as best we can, aware that cuts and bruises will not kill us. We must battle, heave and trudge from Monday through to Friday in our “day job”, collapse on Saturday, and then finally enjoy the Sunday…? No no no. Sunday is when we get the REAL stuff done. The stuff that matters. The ART! Because it is the only chance most of us get. We artists will often work hardest on Sundays. The difference being that we care and that it is our driven passion. This doesn’t mean it isn’t exhausting work to attain perfection. We feel reborn as soon as the music touches our eardrums. Less meditation, more euphoria.
One such artist from the New Artist Spotlight has just released a brand new single on this very day. What a peculiar thing to do, I thought. But in fact, Sunday is seemingly fast replacing Friday as New Music Day. “Give us this day, our daily…” - dose of music! This particular artist may be familiar to you, but not in his present form. Don’t worry, no surgery has taken place. Most of you will be familiar with NAS artist, F.R. Music Project (will refer to them as FRMP). They had been with us since their very first single, Lovesong, and made quite a stir. In fact, it was at a time when the general standard of the NAS was not quite as high as it is now - “you can’t say that!!”. Well shock, horror, I said that. The song therefore had quite an impact. As time went on, the standard of our wonderful Enn Aye Ess shot through the roof, and so too did FRMP’s. Unfortunately, most good things tend to come to an end. After a total of 9 fab singles, this chapter - much like April - was to close. But as one door closes, another oh-so conveniently opens. Occasionally there can be a period of time where the new door is locked and one cannot find the key, but this is much like a child learning how to walk. The door WILL open, one just has to give it time. Well Rich Allen - the R in F.R. - did not give it time. He didn’t need to. The times they are a-changin’, and his creative juices are a-flowin’. This is the sign of a true artist - unstoppable creation. A bucket will never catch all the water from an ever-flowing hose. The art is the water, while Rich is the bucket. Sorry, Rich. I just called you a bucket. The point is, he does not want to waste a drop of inspiration.
We must mourn the death of a great band, and celebrate their music with love and affection, while simultaneously welcoming a man gone solo. To Rich, this may seem like a daunting challenge, to carry the torch alone. But with the drive of a 4x4 truck, he is simply unstoppable. Please welcome the rise and shine of Mr. Rich Allen with his debut single, Crazy U. His very first offering is from the heart. Rich can only write from the heart, and this can only be a good thing. He sings beautifully and believably, about his former lover. I say beautifully: the song is called Crazy U… I meant his voice is beautiful. His ex-lover “April” has flown with no remaining whiffs of bad air, and Rich is now happily married to “May” - you live, you learn. Does he wish he had got it right the first time…? Well, sadness, grief and loss bring artists much inspiration. Hence The Blues. So in this way, it really is true what they say: “everything happens for a reason”. Call it fate. Call it luck! Call it what you will. But Rich is in a better place right now, and that is all that matters.
Despite the Floridian's determination though, he felt he needed some sort of helping hand. I was astounded and honoured to receive a message from him a couple of months back, asking if I would consider mixing and co-producing his new solo material. I considered it. For around 3 seconds. I said yes. Despite my embarrassment of never having reviewed FRMP (there is always so much great music to choose from each week!), I have always been a fan. Rich sent me a raw demo and I instantly had a beaming smile on my face. Not on my foot; on my face. It was all such high quality. The writing, the playing, the singing, the recording. I was floored by his professionalism. There was freshness and light in this rebirth! He did the pushing and made a baby, while I cleaned it up and wrapped a warm towel around it.
As has often been the case lately, I won’t be going into the ins and outs of the music itself, for that is what the play button is for. I am here to force you to- “No no no!” - all right then, TELL you to- “No no no!” - okay, ASK you politely to listen. That better? Yes? Good. My job is to say “Hey, here’s a thing. I think it’s fabulous. You might like it”. Please show your love and appreciation for a man whose motto might as well be “All You Need Is Love”. If George Bailey was “the richest man in town”, Rich Allen is the georgest. No, the kindest - there we go.
Rich and Miss Simone have mutual feelings. Nina, I’m sorry to have left you hanging: “…it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good”.
Listen to 𝘾𝙧𝙖𝙯𝙮 𝙐 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
Listen to 𝘾𝙧𝙖𝙯𝙮 𝙐 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Apple Music playlist HERE!
Follow 𝙍𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝘼𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣 on Instagram HERE!
Hire Charles for your mixing HERE!
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