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.
𝙀𝙉𝙄𝘿 (𝘼 𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙮 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧) - 𝙆𝙮𝙡𝙚 𝙈 𝙒𝙖𝙩𝙨𝙤𝙣
Charles goes back two generations…
Parents. We can’t avoid them. We can’t ignore them. They are always an important and major part of everyone’s life. For some, they are very much around whether you want it or not. For others, they are a memory. Some of us will love or have loved our parents. Some will love one and resent the other. It is rare to not be close to at least one of them. But the one thing none of you will feel for them is nothing. There is a connection. We all have this in common. Grandparents on the other hand, well, this is where correlations are hard to draw. Many of you will be (or have been) very fond of your grandparents. Very close indeed. But others of you will have barely known them. This is the biggest genetic problem with them: they are usually so bloody old! Bit of a shame, not to mention a bugger. They’re usually the nice ones. The lenient ones. The ones who let you get away with things that your parents wouldn’t allow. Why? Because they want to be loved, and they want to see the love in the child’s eyes. And because they never have to deal with the aftermath of little Tommy eating too many sweets:
“You mustn’t let him eat so many sweets. You know how he gets”, says the parent.
“Oh, you always fuss. He’s happy. I didn’t turn out bad, did I?”, replies the grandparent.
“Only because when you were his age, sweets were rationed!”, exclaims the parent.
The grandparent smiles wryly while batting the air with a swift hand, knowing they’ll both be leaving soon, and the peace can resume.
I have been without grandparents now for 17 years. Makes me feel rather old, despite being only in my thirties (I can say that for around 5 months). Rather strangely, I was closest to the one who died when I was 4. It’s an Italian thang. I say I was “closest”; I suppose I mean I feel the most fondness in hindsight. One grandparent passed when I was minus 31, one went away when I was 4, another left for the sky a couple of years later, and the remaining one just kept on going. Decade after decade, despite having severe illness for around 70 years. These debilitating ailments of my grandmother made it difficult to enjoy her company - how terribly selfish of her (I probably thought, being a typical viewless young oaf). She was kind, she was caring, she wanted so much to enjoy the time with her grandchild, but she just couldn’t. And did I do all I could to make her comfortable and make her happy? Nope. I looked for ways to amuse myself, while occasionally wanting to pluck her long rogue whiskers. But her hair was always immaculate. She cared about appearances (as that generation did). That bright white bouffant of comfortably wavy perm. It was frankly all she had. She used to play the piano, and had an upright in the corner of the room. But it was little more than a sanitised shelf for medication by the time I was born. I never heard her play it.
2006 was a funny year for me - not haha funny. While most of you were listening to Gnarlz Barkley’s Crazy, Arctic Monkeys’ When the Sun Goes Down, Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars, and Lily Allen’s Smile, I was feeling different. I too was dancing around to these hits and many more, but something had hit me. I was not bereaved and in a deep state of sadness, but deeply pensive. I thought she would live forever. I had pretty much resigned myself to that notion; the stupid oaf that I was. But the point was, at the age of 22, I had no grandparents left. It felt weird. It felt isolating. My small family had shrunk by only one, yet it felt so much smaller. A generation was gone. This generation lived through both World Wars, for God’s sake! While my parents were making funeral arrangements, I was at home, writing a song for this dear sweet lady. In truth, it was actually for my mother, for she was (understandably) the most affected by this inevitable departure. This dear sweet lady was her mother. Always a connection, you see. This song was called ‘Don’t Let Sadness Bring You Down’, and was played at the old lady’s funeral. My mother didn’t listen to my advice though: as the song played, she wept. Wept with a haunting yelp that I will never forget. Ach, I’m sorry - I just broke slightly. Had to pause writing. Let me compose myself. Wipe wipe, blow nose, deep breath in. There we are. All better. My apologies. Anyway. I held her as she gave in to her feelings. “Let it out”, they say. “Let it out” is right. But EYE had to be brave. I had to be strong for my mother. Couldn’t have the entire Connolly family in a puddle of tears. We weren’t even wearing wellies! I shall move on now.
2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the loss of Kyle M Watson’s grandmother, Enid. Back in 2013, while others were listening to Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams’ Get Lucky, Drake’s Started From the Bottom, Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball, and Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams’ Blurred Lines (Pharrell really was pick of the pops back then), Kyle was in mourning. Deep mourning. He wasn’t able to groove to these tunes at all, for his was a different groove. One chiseled so deep it felt like starting from the bottom, without a rope. You see, Kyle’s grandmother lived with him and his mother. So Enid’s flight had left a void. A hole. An empty chair where love once sat. Enid was more like a second mother to Kyle, as his mother was out working most of the time. They lived in Barbados, known for its strong family values. It is clear this family was no exception. There is always that connection. A bond stronger than Loctite. A love greater than most. So when one of the family ceases to be, it is truly gut-wrenching for all. Having moved to New York at the age of 18 with his father, Kyle was all grown up and far away from Barbados life. But this didn’t mean he was ridding himself of it. Lord, no! So when news hit the big city, it started his decade of fond memories. Most days Enid passes through Kyle’s mind, even to this day. When someone dies, you are of course struck and truly flummoxed by grief. You are lost and disconnected from the world. Tears come, and tears come again. But over time, you relearn how to do life. When one life stops, others must continue. This grief turns into memories. Fondness ensues. You start to become a little more positive. You think about the good things. The beauty of that person, rather than dwelling on that person not existing anymore.
Kyle’s brand new release is about just this. ‘ENID (A letter to my grandmother)’ is a piece of sheer beauty. True, heartfelt beauty. It seems that Enid was not happy or content through her life. That she regretted not having enjoyed life more. Did she therefore take it out on others and make their lives as miserable as her own? Absolutely not. She realised the importance of happiness and tried to make sure that others didn’t make the same mistakes she did. Another’s smile would in turn make her smile. Smiling is a happy contagion. She saw this grandchild of hers, and wanted to please him. She wanted him to smile and enjoy life. He took note. Kyle carries her wishes with him wherever he goes. It just makes sense! Why live a life of misery when it’s the only one we’ve got? If it makes you happy, you’ve done well. If it brings you peace, you’ve done well. THIS is a life worth living. So was Enid’s unhappy life wasted? Perhaps initially it was not lived to its full potential, but soon enough she was bringing joy and wisdom to many. Most of all, her grandchild.
We’re all artists here. How many parents have suggested that art isn’t perhaps the best route to take? While they may want the best for you in terms of career, they are perhaps not looking at the contentment side of things. That satisfying positive energy that the creation of art brings. We can all have a “normal” job on the side, but it’s the art that makes us happy. Kyle is fulfilling Enid’s wishes in being happy in his life, but also something else. He wanted so much for her to be happy. To make her proud. I touched on this thought in the penultimate track of my upcoming album (in the works as we speak). To be proud is one thing. But to make someone else proud of you is another. I don’t mean support or love. I mean pride. For Enid to smugly claim, “THIS is my grandson!”, will in turn (I have no doubt) make Kyle proud, and happy. One learns from one’s mistakes, and passes on the info - it’s only natural - “so you don’t have to”!
Kyle M Watson has somehow managed to stay away from my Corner all these years. Despite consistently releasing quality track after quality track. Kyle, I hope you weren’t offended, saddened or disappointed, so here I am righting a wrong. I so nearly reviewed and talked about the chap many times. With every song he has released, frankly. But something told me that THIS would be the one to review. When I heard it for the first time, I knew instantly that I was right. It swoons and sways. It is sad yet warm. It is the feeling of a lost loved one. The piano, the strings, the deep beats that heave like a ship’s sails. And the voice. Kyle has the most soulful male voice on the New Artist Spotlight. It’s not just about him having a stunning voice. It’s the experience he has in singing and in living life. It’s just so clear and real. I have no doubt: Enid would be proud. She is proud.
And here’s to proud 39 year olds!
You can blame the parents, but you can rarely blame the grandparents.
Although they must have got their sweets on the black market - why else would they all have dentures…?
Listen to 𝙀𝙉𝙄𝘿 (𝘼 𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤 𝙢𝙮 𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙢𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧) on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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