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.
𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙊𝙪𝙩 - 𝙎𝙖𝙣𝙤 𝙃𝙞𝙡𝙡
Charles carries on regardless…
Lately, I have been a very busy bee. Mainly with my recent mixing and producing for other artists, such as CHVRLI BLVCK, Billy Lowry, Vida, Wanaka, Eleanor Collides, Steven Heath and Rich Allen, to name but a few. I have also managed to fit in the odd bit of my own stuff. That album ain’t gonna make itself… Of course there are the ongoing frustrations in life like technology, companies, systems and people. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but it really does waste a lot of time and energy. And there’s food and standard daily chores. Having no butler, maid or slave, I am left to fend for myself in this regard. While this is perfectly normal, my job is perfectly abnormal. I have no office, nor lunch break. I don’t clock in at 9, I don’t clock out at 5. One of the best and worst things about being self-employed is that I have to manage my own time. Can’t stand the phrase/term, but this we rather unimaginatively call ‘time management’. I don’t like it, I’m not great at it, but I’m getting better. The problem is, that I get in the zone. Although to me mixing is an artful skill rather than an art (unlike production), I treat it like an art, in that I find myself wrapped up in it for hours, fully absorbed as I would be with art. And as each hour passes, it feels like 15-20 minutes. I take mixing seriously and I treat it as preciously as if it were my own music. I know some clients of mine find it difficult to point out things they want altered in my mix, BECAUSE it is personal to me. They don’t want to offend or upset me. But they mustn’t think like this. I have rather quickly realised that it is the client’s views and wants that are to be adhered to. Not my own. For the duration of that mix, they are my boss. Besides, a lot of mixing is simply taste. It is not right or wrong. If an artist wants their lead vocal upped by 20db, then the artist shall have their lead vocal upped by 20db. I will suggest that this perhaps isn’t the best idea (and explain why), but ultimately they have full control - as they should.
Why mention all this? Well, I must be brutally honest with you here. I was not looking forward to writing this review. I was simply a little exhausted. Exhausted from the constant mixing and producing, exhausted from staring at screens 95% of the day, exhausted by the idea of having to listen to hundreds of songs this very morning, only to pick just one, then write my article (for free). Then I remembered. This is my job. I love my job. Most people don’t love their job. I mix and produce most days of the week, and write this article every Monday (and yes, the whole process really does take up most of the day). Work is usually exhausting. This is normal. It means you have worked hard. Which is a good thing. What you don’t want in a job is to wake up and dread the day. This, I avoid. I may be exhausted, but I am happy. Very happy. It is so fulfilling to get paid for doing what I am best at, and what I enjoy. While it is important to not overdo it, working hard is perhaps something that a lot of people these days feel is to be avoided, due to mental health. But working hard is what makes you enjoy the rest of what life has to offer. The contrast. There is however, something called burnout. This is when you really have overdone it. This is when it is time to have a break. Luckily, I am not at ‘burnout’ phase - and I hope I never will be. I relish every mix I get to play with. There are no sighs and no swear words. Only smiles. In fact (shameless plug), should you be interested in my services, pick up the receiver and dial 555-2368. Sorry, that’s the number for Ghostbusters. You’ll find me in the book anyway - or on t’interweb. So you see, I am very much NOT turning away work. I crave it, always. Sometimes though, I just want a break. I know I have worked hard for a long period and I would like some time away from the knobs and faders. Simply for a change. And so my girlfriend and I booked a trip to Italy. Yes, one of a cluster of countries that is dying from nearly 50° heat right now (God help them), but hopefully not for too long. This world, eh? Roll on the end of August. Time for Time Out.
Now. This week’s song choice will be both unsurprising and surprising to a lot of you. Unsurprising, because it’s just so good. But surprising, because it is neither BRAND new, nor years old. I usually try to pick songs that have just been released within the week. Or I delve deeply into the world of time travel. But this one is close to 4 weeks old, and has already captured the attention and hearts of many. Another surprise here: I usually like to bring something that you probably haven’t heard yet. However, this was secretly a little test of mine. You see, I am well aware of the “CC bump” - as it has been called - in relation to the New Artist Spotlight Top 20 chart. For those unfamiliar, this is where I review a song, and a week or two later it bombs into the chart like a rocket. This can mean various things. The ideal is that it is complete coincidence. The most likely explanation is that the song is brilliant (hence I reviewed it), but that the NAS members had only known of its existence - or felt the urge to press play - after having read my review. The other unfortunate strong possibility is (I’m afraid to say), laziness. So many songs to choose from, “oh I’ll just vote for whatever CC picked”, perhaps having not even heard the song. I hope this is pure fiction in my pessimistically wandering mind, though. So here was my test. I heard this song the day it was released, loved it, and I said nothing. I wanted to see how well it would do WITHOUT any influence from me. The next week’s chart it was straight in at number 9. Great start! The following week saw it drop one place to number 10. Still Top 10 though! But then what happened yesterday…? BANG! Number 1. And with zero input from me. So my test just shows. You people have great taste, and you almost certainly don’t need me to show you what’s good. I however need you. It’s not very fun nattering to oneself. So I’m sticking around, as long as YOU stick around.
But but but… Who have you been talking about for that entire paragraph?? Why, none other than than Sano Hill, of course! Ireland’s finest since Boyzone. Sano Hill is not his actual name, but seeing as he seems to want to be referred to and known as Sano Hill, I will stick with Sano Hill so as to shroud this whole thing in mystery. His latest single, Time Out, is probably my favourite of his so far (it was hard not to review it over the last few weeks), and is apparently Sano Hill’s favourite too! But when I say it is my favourite, it’s not one of those “this one’s pretty cool” moments. Ya know those artists where the talent just goes on and on and on…? Well, Time Out is just a one hit wonder. No no - I mustn’t play with your emotions like this. Sano Hill is one of those artists that just keeps on giving. Every single single is double double good. Hit after hit after hit. He is currently in the process of putting an album together, and my word, a Sano Hill album is exactly what I want and what we need. He has a sound. A vibe. That Sano Hill style. Each song is different, but he ties it all together in that familiar hue of which we are so fond. He is essentially an acoustic player, but his songs have so much more than an acoustic guitar and voice. Time Out retains that acoustic “vibe” but goes even further with the depth and arrangement than his previous releases. Such professional recordings and attention to detail though can be wasted without a sound shepherd. Someone to draw together its components and make the song a whole. That shepherd is not me. It is Braddon Williams. The same Braddon Williams who worked for Sony Music for a decade with such acts as Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, Mark Ronson, Il Divo, Wyclef Jean, Billy Joel, Kelly Clarkson, P Diddy, and The Script. Meaning, he ain’t half bad. Out of all the stunning NAS mixes I have heard from Braddon Williams, it is Time Out, for me, that is the winner. I think if you’re serious about your music, you need to have a pro on the sound side of things. And it’s not just about the technical aspect of it. A pro will have a musical ear, and will be able to suggest things in order to enhance what is already there, without detracting from the initial impact.
Time Out has echoes of the greats from the past: U2, Springsteen, Bowie, Dylan, The Stones, and even Mick Hucknall gets a look in. But what really gets me in the song is the subtle detail. The mature layers of depth. It’s like hearing a classic - which I think of ALL Sano Hill’s releases. The chorus is huge yet still with the feel of an acoustic song. This in itself is SO incredibly difficult to achieve. This is Wembley Stadium sound, with Royal Albert Hall class. Sano Hill’s additions of strings and backing vocals are what make this such a rich piece. This may be his chance to relax and have his time out, but fat chance of that happening. True artists never really stop. They pause for a sip of tea (or Poitín), then crack on. I mean, why lie on the beach in the sunshine, drinking piña colada, when you can be making music?? I know it’s only rock and roll, but I like it. And you will too.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some herding to do.
Listen to 𝙏𝙞𝙢𝙚 𝙊𝙪𝙩 on the 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿 Spotify playlist HERE!
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