April 15th, 2019
Iyamah is making soulful waves in the music industry, having supported the likes of Mahalia on tour. With festivals begging and sold out shows of her own, truth be told 2019 is already her year. We caught up with the star to talk through her style, philosophy and debut EP…
Why the name Iyamah, and how do you pronounce it?
The name comes from my Nigerian family surname Ayamah. I replaced the A with an I so it’s pronounced “I-yam-ah” which sounds like ‘I am a’. It gives me the freedom to be able to be who I want to be and create who I am as an artist with no restrictions. Not growing up with my father meant I couldn’t learn about my African roots through him, so I found a sense of belonging through music, where I was able to connect to the sounds and instruments that that related to the culture, that drew me closer to my identity.
How did you get into music and what would you be doing if your career took a different route?
I’ve always been a creative kid – I grew up with my mother who worked in fashion when she was in her 20s making clothes, before then becoming a painter. So a lot of my childhood was going to the studio to draw with her. I always struggled to pay attention in school, especially with academic subjects, but I was always really good at anything creative or sporty. I think at one point I thought I was going to be a sprinter! I was a really speedy runner, always chosen for the 80-100 metres.
Who do you look up to, who do you, and what’s your career goals?
I look up to a lot of empowering women. Maybe because I was raised by one, but even when I was a young teen I remember always feeling good after watching Beyoncé’s music videos on YouTube! I just felt great knowing there were other women out there who had the confidence to make an impact and stand up for themselves. We are lucky in this generation to have so many strong and powerful female role models in the public eye.
How would you describe your music?
I say it’s ‘rootsy soul’.
Your debut EP is out, and is titled ‘Truth EP.1’. Tell us some home truths and a few white lies!
Ok I’ve had 5 hamsters, 2 tortoises and 1 cat. I also speak French…
What stories are you sharing on this EP?
I talk about my hometown and where I’m from, my childhood going into adolescence, responsibility and relationships, acceptance of self and identity. It’s a journey really, these songs were written when I was 19-21.
Your recent gig SOLD OUT – congrats! What are your fans like, and what stories/interaction do you have with them?
I always try to reply to my followers, some of the messages I get are so so lovely, and they cheer me up when I read them. We all have down days, so I’m grateful to have supports to lift me up when I’m low! I’d like to start connecting with more fans at my shows and just have a chat. I wouldn’t be doing all these great things if it wasn’t for them.
We love your fashion sense – what makes a good outfit, and what does style mean to you?
Thank you! I think style is another way of expressing myself, just like a tattoo. It adds to your authenticity and makes you unique. People usually remember you by your style and you can tell a lot about someone based on the way they present themselves and the clothes they’re into!
On your first ever visit to Superdry, what did you make of us?
I hadn’t actually been to Superdry in a while as I assumed it was mainly sportswear, however I was so happily surprised as the store had so many cool items that were right up my street!
What did you pick out from the store?
Well as soon as I walked in I saw this green silk dress which I instantly thought is SO ME! I also found this amazing long black dress with writing along the neckline, and a grey dress with rainbow down the side, perfect for summer vibes.
What’s Iyamah’s plans for the rest of 2019?
Festivals, hopefully another tour support and I’m gathering more songs for potentially another EP, but we’ll see how it goes!
April 10th, 2019
Tim Atlas is reaching dizzy heights in 2019, quite literally! The LA singer’s latest single takes him to space, with a trippy take on love and relationships. What’s more, Superdry jumped at the chance to collaborate on this eclectic music video – look out for some inventive reworking of an SD rucksack – who says you can’t style it out on the moon!?
How’s your 2019 been treating you so far?
My 2019 has been pretty great so far. Busy, but a good busy. Lots of writing, lots of scheming, and a bunch of new things.
Your new single is called Dizzy – what’s the story here?
Dizzy started in my living room while I was trying out new sounds for my upcoming record, and I just happened upon this disco-inspired demo so I ran with it. We wrote it about the ups and downs of a relationship, and I think it’s pretty fitting.
Moments/tasks in life that make your head all a dizz?
I think social media makes me feel spinny. You know those moments where you lay on your couch and look at your feed, then an hour later, you realise you’ve gone down the Instagram rabbit hole and you don’t know how you got there? Just dazed and confused!
Another moment – my dog likes to run in circles around me at the park and it definitely gives me the spins.
You included a few Superdry items in the video – bravo! What was the video concept?
So excited to have partnered with Superdry on this video! It starts with a girl breaking up with me, saying she needs “space”. I take it literally and spend the whole video trying to get to outer space. The video switches back and forth from scenes in my head to scenes that are actually happening, and it just gets progressively more and more ridiculous throughout. A silly concept that we had a blast making.
How was it filming this amazing concept?
It’s pretty mind-boggling to witness this ridiculous idea grow from nothing to sitting on set in a full-on spacesuit as we put together a rocket ship. I met with Joe, our director/mastermind, in North Hollywood as he presented every idea with “Wouldn’t it be crazy..” – and somehow 90% of those ideas made it into the final cut of the video. We went as far as hiring a very talented prop master to build a spaceship for us, which is now sitting on my apartment balcony if anyone is interested. Overall, an absolute joy to work with this cast and crew – all really amazing human beings involved in sending me to space.
How would you fare in Space?
I feel like I’d do alright being subtracted from society for an extended period of time. I don’t know if I could do space food though. Can you have noodles in space? That’d be a deal breaker.
Let’s do a twist on “who would be your shipwrecked squad” – who would you like to be lost in space and quite content with?
Oh man, excellent question. First – Bill Nye the science guy because I feel like he has all the answers and I like having my mind blown with knowledge. Second – Aziz Ansari because he’s hilarious but also likes to talk deep from time to time.
Summer is coming…what’s the itinerary to a perfect sunny season in Tim Atlas’s book?
I’m not a summer person to be honest. My daily itinerary would consist of maybe a hike in the morning, grabbing a cold brew and then sticking my head in a freezer til the sun goes down. But I love a good music festival and tropical vacations. I’d love to just retreat somewhere nice like Thailand and write music.
The dream for me is to eat really good sushi in Japan. I think about this often. Maybe go skiing afterwards.
Who would be on your iconic festival line-up – feel free to make it fictional and impossible!
Super band consisting of John Mayer, D’angelo, and Thundercat
Death Cab for Cutie
Kanye (but only playing his first 3 albums from beginning to end)
Funniest festival story?
This isn’t a funny story, but it was a moment I’ll never forget. It was during Paul McCartney’s set at Outside Lands in 2013. He was singing Hey Jude, and all my friends and I were singing at the top of our lungs with our arms around each other. It was just this surreal moment where I realised that it was special.
You’re heading to Brighton for The Great Escape Festival in May! Who else are you hoping to catch in action, and any seaside must-do’s to tick of?
So excited for this! Definitely want to catch Still Woozy, Innerwave, LEISURE, and innerwave. We have a couple friends playing the festival as well like Gia Margaret and Big Wild, so I’m very excited to catch them!
What’s your summer style?
Can’t go wrong with some light trousers, a vintage tee, and some sunglasses. Literally me all summer.
WATCH THE VIDEO TO TIM ATLAS’S NEW SINGLE DIZZY HERE!
FOLLOW TIM ATLAS ON INSTAGRAM HERE!
BEHIND THE SCENES PHOTOS BY CHRISTIAN APOLONIO
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL HERE!
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT TIM ATLAS AT THE GREAT ESCAPE FESTIVAL HERE!
TIM ATLAS PLAYS A HEADLINE SHOW AT THE LEXINGTON WITH LIVE NATION ON MAY 14th – BUY TICKETS HERE!
April 8th, 2019
Producers, DJs, and all round music mavericks, James and Darius, aka iLL BLU, are taking on 2019 with a host of new tracks and collabs. They stepped away from the decks to step inside Superdry for the insight…
Let’s start with an obvious – what does iLL BLU actually mean?
iLL BLU was a name we thought of after we made the track ‘Frontline’ with Princesss Nyah. We knew we had a big tune on our hands and we wanted to continue producing as a duo so we thought what would represent us. iLL BLU represents our different approaches to making music. ILL being raw and rugged with beats and BLU being a cool, melodic and rounded approach.
You’re childhood friends, so it’s safe to say you both get on, but when do you clash?
We get on really well, we never really clash musically and our way of working is very complimentary too. However, we do have quite heated debates over current affairs!
How did music producing come about, and how did you make a career of it?
James: Music was always around me growing up as I played drums and other instruments at music school, so producing started off as a hobby for me. When Darius and I met, we had similar music influences and so we connected over that.
Darius: I started to rap and produce beats in the early 2000’s with 50 cent, JAY-Z, and Hi TeK being the key influences. Then came funky house around 2006. Our career ignited with the track ‘Frontline’ and since then we started to get more remix work and produce for a variety of different artists across different genres.
You’ve been a production force in the music industry for a decade – what have you learned along the way?
We’ve learnt that there are lots of ups and downs. The volatility of the industry, combined with the fact that music is subjective, means that you have to stay focused and be consistent. We believe it’s essential to stay humble and look ahead of the curve. We think it’s key to be versatile and open minded to new change and talent to stay fresh and on trend.
You’ve worked with some of the most iconic and diverse singers, from Sam Smith to Hot Chip. Who else is on your wishlist and why?
Our Wishlist would be:
Koffee: We think she’s an amazing talent with a new, exciting sound that we haven’t really heard coming out of Jamaica.
Drake: We respect him could make a sick tune that could go everywhere!
What does a track need to get you excited to collaborate and remix on?
We love a cool and interesting vocal, or if we hear an artist who has a nice tone to their voice.
You’re known for your genre defying reinventions – is it important to constantly develop your sound?
Yes, we stay very open minded and keep things interesting. Essentially there’s a running theme and vein of consistency to distinguish us within other genres but in a new exciting way.
Your new track Go Time is a powerhouse of collaborators – Tell us more!
We’ve been working with ZieZie for a while now and we wanted to make another banger like our previous single ‘Chop my Money’. We had already produced the track and he delivered the hook with some incredible melodies. Ay Em, we met in the studio and he was the perfect fit. Gecko, we have history with him and the whole way that his feature came about was very organic. We had previously worked with C Tangana and produced a track for him. It made perfect sense to have him feature on the song and he brought something different which was very exciting.
Wildest night you’ve DJ’d at?
We’ve had too many wild nights to remember!
You recently visited Superdry’s Regent Street flagship – what did you make of the new collection, and what did you pick out?
We loved the collection, there are so many great pieces. We picked out some cool camo jackets, some great sweatshirts too. The joggers were dope- thanks guys!
What’s your definition of ‘style’?
Simple yet effective!
Finally, what’s your summer plans, and how are you going to be partying?
Summer plans are to create more bangers and we will be partying in style!
April 1st, 2019
We caught up with the eclectic and honest popstar about life on the road and touring with Miss Taylor Swift…
Introduce yourself in poem form, please!
My name is Lauren
I write songs but not poems
This is a haiku
Your IG bio references a ‘wannabe washed up pop star’ – who would be on your dream shipwrecked-squad?
My boyfriend, my group of best friends, and my family. We’d turn it into a huge party. Oh and probably Bear Grylls just to keep us all alive.
What makes your music stand out from other pop alumni?
My immediate reaction is to say ‘it doesn’t’ haha, but I guess a lot of it is really personal to me and stories I’ve taken directly from my life, which makes it different. My latest single ’Tobacco in My Sheets’is especially personal and about my mum, so I guess I’m the only person who could have written that one.
Highlight of your career to date?
Selling 100,000 EPs as an independent artist is always something I’ll be really proud of, and opening for Taylor Swift at the London date of her 1989 tour!
We read your 2018 retrospect on the ‘gram, and it says you moved into your first apartment – talk us through Lauren Aquilina’s dream décor!
I like quite a minimal but still homely feel. I don’t really have a lot of bright colours in my apartment, it’s mostly blues/whites/greys but with some gold touches too. My favourite thing in my home is a neon light in the shape of a crescent moon that I have on ALL the time, I’m obsessed with it.
What 2019 resolutions have you succeeded and fabulously failed in so far?
I had one ‘stop saying yes just to be polite’ which is really hard for me to keep up but I’ve actually been doing it and feel much better for it! I definitely haven’t been flossing every day though, that’s a complete fail on my part.
Is it daunting to perform live, and how do you psych yourself up?
I get quite psychically nervous before a show but only about 5 minutes before I go on stage. Before my last headline show I genuinely looked in the dressing room mirror as the intro started, pointed at myself in the mirror and said ‘you are a popstar’ like 10 times to mentally prepare myself haha.
What’s it like to see Lauren Aquilina live?
A rollercoaster of emotions! It’s a real half and half between sad songs with just me and piano, and full band bops you can dance too. Oh, and I talk between songs waaaay too much.
If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would this stage be and why?
I’m desperate to perform at Red Rocks in Colorado, it just looks like the most beautiful setting for a concert ever.
Best and worst aspects to being on tour?
Best aspect is meeting people after the shows, worst aspect is sitting in a car for 10-hour drive days…!
A recent single of yours is entitled ‘If Looks Could Kill’ – what’s the story here?
I actually wrote this song for Little Mix – I don’t think I would have ever written something so self-assured if I knew I was writing for myself. But now that I’ve decided to keep it for myself it’s become one of my favourites to perform.
What’s your interpretation of ‘beauty’?
Happiness, and being whoever the hell you want to be!
We loved having you at our London Regent Street flagship – what did you make of the brand, and what clothes did you pick out?
I loved being there! I was really surprised actually, I felt like I had a bit of a pre-conception of what Superdry was, but I really loved the Dark Romance collection and how different it was to what I expected. I basically took home that whole collection!
April 1st, 2019
Your voice has been described by famous peers as ‘a voice never heard before’. So we’re going to set you the challenge of eloquently explaining the impossible!
I have been having singing lessons since I was 7 years old so my voice has been trained. I have been taught how to breathe properly and look after my larynx. My range is very wide and covers deep baritone to high male soprano. I think this is why people find my natural voice extraordinary – especially my high falsetto. However, I have never just been a classical singer, my repertoire even when young, covered pop – I won my school’s X factor competition singing a Michael Jackson track, musical theater, jazz and world music as well as operatic arias. Pop music is the genre I love best – that’s what I sing in the shower!
List some misinterpretations people might have about the classical music genre?
I don’t believe in categorizing things in metaphorical boxes. After all, so-called “classical” music was the popular music of its time. It is not staid, stuffy and static – there is plenty of room for improvisation especially in early 17thcentury countertenor music. Every time a “classical” song is sung it sounds different. “Classical” music has its own different genres as different to each other as bubble gum pop is to grime nowadays. For me, I am also melding the classical feel with a synth electro pop sound so I hope to bring my own stamp in this genre.
What’s it like to see you live?
I have been performing as long as I have been singing. I love performing live and getting to know an audience. I get a huge buzz from performing, can’t stop smiling, and I think the audience feels it as well. I sang in a small backing group for Kylie Minogue in a series of her Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London. She was a total professional, a master of performance and working with the audience. It was an amazing experience and something I will never forget. I still have a lot to learn but I hope the audience has as much fun as I do. I am embarking on a Heather Small Tour soon and I am so excited about those audiences.
You’ve teamed up with the iconic Boy George on a recent track – what’s the most extravagant and then most down to earth characteristic of Boy George?
George is very generous with his time, his experience, and his direction – whether on styling, photography or writing. He is a real dream to work with. There are two sides of George – of course his makeup and styling identify him and there is a very laid back type of George that is practical and shows the human side that is not seen by a lot of people.
ANOTHER fan of yours is only a certain Oscar winning Emma Thompson! What’s the sassiest thing Emma Thompson has said to you?
Just about everything Emma says is sassy! She is such fun to be with and I really value her thoughts on everything. I turned up to her party not long ago in a bright blue denim embossed suit and from across the room I heard her shouting “you pull off patterns better than I do!”She laughingly complained that I had managed to upstage her at her own party.
Sound of My Youth is a song about nostalgia – what would you change from the past if you could?
I wish I had more confidence in myself. I wish others had accepted my idiosyncrasies and me as I was growing up. I am the way I am – dyslexic and very passionate about all music – I was bullied at school for not being “normal”. Now I know who I am, have grown over 6ft tall and work out most days – I don’t get bullied any more. Back then, it hurt and I wish I had more confidence in myself then to not let it hurt as it did.
A lyric in Sound of My Youthgoes “crying out for sunshine” – what are the ingredients for your perfect summer?
Well the main ingredient has to be sunshine, lots of it – then some good friends, a beach, good music and a cocktail or five.
As a proudly gay artist, what does pride mean to you, and who inspires you?
I am proud of who I am and what I am born to be. I believe it’s not a label on life or how I live it. I just am. The proud part is that many have gone before me to path a way forward for me to live as I am and for that this makes me massively proud of being gay. Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus – the list is endless. Sexuality is different to gender, however I would also like to acknowledge Munroe Bergdorf in my answer, as I am continually inspired by her activism creating awareness of the transgender community; pushing for legislative change, greater visibility and inclusion.
We recently invited you to Superdry’s Regent Street flagship, and it was a total delight! What did you pick out, and did it shift any original impression on the brand?
Amazing, I had a terrific time. Thank you for inviting me. I picked out a super cute jumper with the rainbow flag on it. I didn’t realize the store has such an eclectic range. I’ve been pretty much living in your gym kit since then.
How does a classical kid like you dress?
I am just an ordinary guy and shop in the high street like everyone else. I love colours and I love how I can express myself in what I wear and I guess it comes out more when I’m all dressed up with somewhere to go to.
Finally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
On the big stages worldwide, baby! Gotta stay optimistic!Read more