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.
Judge Connolly listens to the jury…
First impressions. Good thing? Bad thing? Are you a cynical, judgemental old fart who has guessed a “type” based on very little? Or are you perhaps a sensitive, observant soul who feels you can tell more about a person based on just a couple of initial moments? These two “definers” could perhaps be construed as much the same, considering the thought process is basically the total of educated guess and assumption. I think I am a despicable blend of the two. I am often right. And you’ll be pleased to hear that I am also often wrong. My belief is that so few of us are honest with ourselves. We like to think of ourselves as good, honest, kind people. Yet when we meet someone, be it in person or online, are most of us not instantly judging? Summing up? Wanting to define and categorise said person? I think it’s human nature. A sort basic instinct. Do I instantly take a dislike to this person? Could this person be a friend for life? Do I trust this person? I think this is the main reason most of us naturally do this: trust. Pretty much everything is based on trust, and so we must not let our guard down. Just because someone said something in a peculiarly undesired tone, or just because they smiled with THAT look in their eyes, should that mean they are instantly in the red cross pile, rather than the green tick pile? Most of us (consciously or not) are guilty of this reckoning, let’s face it. Bear in mind that just as you are busy judging, you too are being judged. Bet you hadn’t thought of THAT one. “But, but… I’m completely infallible and perfect in every way!! How could anyone POSSIBLY think negatively of ME??” - probably because that very thought of yours is written all over your face - and people don’t like that. Now, I am aware I may get a lot of hate in the comments for this, but so be it. Things are more fun with a bit of contention. Anything to set the rusty cogs in motion and kickstart the heart into a healthy upbeat rhythm. But “be nice”.
I think one tends to judge more as one ages. Is this because an older person has worked out that there is only a finite number of character traits and that all those years of experience has taught us what to look for, what to hold on to, and what to discard? Or is this simply old-fart syndrome? As usual, I think it is a bit of both. Is it therefore okay to think this way? I think it is relatively healthy in small doses. Instant dismissal is wrong. But so is instant trust. It can burn you down the line. Give it a little time, give THEM some time, be yourself and hope that they do the same. Your wall can stand tall, but maybe leave the door ajar. Older people do I think tend to be more honest in appearance because they care little about whether they are liked or not. It just doesn’t matter. An older person may feel less need to impress. And I think this is why younger people can be harmed in being the judger or the judgee. Younger people care more about how they come across, and so are therefore more likely to “put on an act”. But this in turn can be seen through, due to them not being the very greatest actor in the world. The truth will out, an' all that. Thus leading to a feeling of distrust, when this so easily could have been avoided by simply being oneself. Just because you might feel judged, doesn’t mean you have to act. You are not on stage, trying to win the part. Just be yourself. If they don’t like you, it’s their loss, not their fault. And you will feel better for having been the real you.
Sticking with this idea though, of judgement, it really does happen all the time. Just because a man is panting to the point of almost fainting, doesn’t mean he has asthma. Just because a person wears a baseball cap, doesn’t necessarily mean they play baseball. Just because they didn’t laugh, doesn’t mean it wasn’t funny. Say for example, if an outsider (non-musician) meets a so-called “musician”, they will usually ask one of two questions. “Have you done anything I might have heard?” or, “Are you signed to a label?”. Once the artist inevitably replies with No and No, that artist is instantly dismissed as a charlatan. A no-hoper. A talentless fake. A pitied yet blindly hopeful pretender. People will assume that the artist is no good, because otherwise they would have been signed to a major label and would have had a string of major hits - OBVIOUSLY! But it has not occurred to them the whole idea of being really talented, yet unsuccessful. Non-arty types don’t seem to get this. If someone runs their own little internet-based jewellery business but hasn’t yet been bought up by Tiffany, do the definers automatically dismiss them as failures? No! So why do we unsigned artists get treated with such throwaway contempt, or plain pity?? Just because there are so many of us? Not exactly a great argument… There are millions of people without enough money for food. Should we dismiss them too, on the basis that there are so many? In fact, it is so often these very artists who barely have enough money to survive, through holding on to their dream, passion and art. The dream is everything. Money is not. Money is only part of everything.
On this note, I bring you an artist so wedded to her talent and her dream, that in part she lives this very dream! London(ish)-based songwriter and composer, Jane Marie, has a brand new single out. Let’s explore Just Because and its maker. Jane studied at the London College of Music, being the largest specialist music and performing arts institution in the UK, having been in existence for over 130 years - the college, not Jane. With this experience and education under her belt, she was able to pursue a successful career in music. Yes folks, an ACTUAL career in music - proof that it does from time to time genuinely happen. If that isn’t enough persuasion to continue with your dream, I will give you more. Jane has worked with the BBC and Channel 4 (almost as famous as the BBC in the UK) and has even worked with independent film companies, all as a composer. Here’s a quote from film director and producer, Simon Cox: “Jane’s music will touch, inspire and lift you - she is in a class of her own!”, and I agree. So basically, she knows her stuff and has great talent. Whilst this is simply wonderful, every composer and songwriter has the need to be creating their own art, under their own name, to truly express themselves, without barriers. A bit of “me-time”. Her latest venture into “her-time” is Just Because. Unusually, Jane does not sing her own work, but relies on Jessica Mia to sing her heart out. And why NOT?? I have always admired people who are honest with themselves and admit that perhaps (in this case) someone else could do the melody more justice. Or, Jane could have a fabulous singing voice, but it might just simply not suit the song. Either way, what we end up with is a composer doing what she does best, and a singer doing what she does best. Meaning the song can genuinely fly as high as initially intended.
The softest, sweetest melody is honest to the core. Unadulterated and impossible not to trust. The bare piano simply emphasises its morality. Light yet impactful cinematic percussion lends propulsion to the mood as the piece begins its ascent. Abrasive, close-mic’d strings strut their determined way to the right, as the strident acoustic guitar balances this on the left. As the piece continues to build, it becomes apparent that this is a story of yearning. We breathe for a brief stanza before the sizzlingly bright drums and deep bass complete the collective with vigour. At around the halfway point, the strings take on a motif that could so easily be played by bell ringers. And then…… The extended bridge weaves its way from nothing, to everything. The cool sweeps in, the hot strings take hold, and Jessica's raunchy singing comes into its own. This is for me the climax of the piece. The honesty turns to passion as the drums build with anticipation, racing the guitars and bass to the finish line! But the chorus swoops in to take over, just in time, before anyone is hurt. Splendid! Please show Jane some love by listening to her music and letting her know your thoughts, as she has freshly joined the New Artist Spotlight, and most of you have probably not come across her yet.
By court of law, I declare this artist Guilty! Not of malice, but of great talent and a thoroughly likeable character.
“Judge not, lest ye be judged” - oh piffle. Judge away! But be honest, optimistic and open in doing so. Why? Just because.
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