dwin Hawkins, the four-time Grammy® Award-winning leader of The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller, “Oh Happy Day,” died January 15th at his home in the Bay area, after a bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 74 years old.
Robin Scott’s recording career spans four decades. He grew up in South London and after leaving school attended Art college where he met and lived with Malcom MacLaren and Vivienne Westwood.
He displayed a talent for writing topical songs which he performed on Radio and TV during this period which led to his first album, ‘Woman From The Warm Grass’ released on the independent label Head Records.
He spent a period playing folk clubs as a solo artist sharing bills with emergent artists such as David Bowie and Ralph McTell. In 1972 he won the EMI ‘Search For A Star’ national talent contest but declined the deal in favour of developing a musical and working together with Malcom and Vivienne developing ideas in the ‘Let It Rock’ boutique which became the spawning ground for the Punk movement.
Scott promoted and managed R&B funk band Roogalator , producing their debut LP ËœPlay It By Ear’ on his independent label Do-It Records as well as Adam & The Ants debut LP ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’ in 1976/7. This led to production opportunities in Paris with Barclay records who would also release the Sex Pistols in France.
Scott’s and McLaren’s paths crossed many times in 1977/8 prompting Scott and film director Julian Temple to record a historic debut of the Slits in a Paris night club for Malcolm who was now overloaded with the Sex Pistols implosion. This event triggered the desire to return to the studio to produce and perform again. Adopting the pseudonym ‘M’ Scott recorded and released ‘Moderne Man’ on his Do-It label in the UK and Barclay records in France.
Production projects in Paris included a band called the Spions who were Hungarian political refugees and a source of inspiration for Scott in the aftermath of the Punk. Now living in Paris with Brigitte Vinchon a circus artist, Scott began to concentrate on delivering the quintessential commercial single with Brigitte as his backing vocalist.
‘Pop Muzik’ was a huge international hit in 1979. The album ‘New York London Paris Munich’ was recorded in Montreux Switzerland and released in the UK at the end of that year. In 1980 M’s follow-up album ‘Official Secrets’ was recorded in the UK and Dublin.
In 1981 Scott co-produced rising star Ruichi Sakamoto who approached Scott after hearing ‘Official Secrets’ and in the same year recorded his third album ‘Famous Last Words’ .
During the 80’s Scott found a new musical direction producing a number of African acts in Kenya which led to the collaborative the album ‘Jive Shikisha’ in 1983/4. Recorded in Kenya and the UK it featured musicians from several different African states but its release was frustrated by legal issues for some years to come despite being Scott’s most rewarding recording experience Management conflict prompted Scott to withdraw from his musical career path in favour exploring other creative avenues, which would lead back to painting and mentoring other musicians.
It would be another decade before Scott returned to the music business to develop an online platform for DJ’s and dance producers. Then some unreleased independent titles appeared on the ‘Life Class’ double album released on Scott’s YUP label in 2003 concurrent with an exhibition of his artwork at the Ensign gallery in London together with other musicians and painters.
This compilation also included some early unreleased solo material.
In 2015 Scott began preparing material for his first studio album ‘ Emotional DNA’ which is out now in all good digital stores.
The single ‘My Rescue Remedy’ has been picked up by world famous DJ Mikey Gallagher ( Snow Patrol, Leona Lewis, Hed Kandi, Ministry of Sound ) who has remixed the track and collaborated with Robin Scott. The single has now charted at No 10 on the official U.K Music Week Pop/Club charts.
The Swirlers intervene with a second universal swing of an audio and visual transmission called “FOREAL”, sent from 864.3 light years away on Planet Playa Playa. These original side steppers birth an unquestionably distinctive sound centred around their fix ethos of “staying loyal to the groove”.
The Afro-Caribbean and English trio join forces with intuitive content providers/directors Myriad Odyssey (@myriadodyssey) for a genuinely vivacious visual experience. The artwork has been labelled by the providers as a “four-cornered collaboration” captured by photographer Lennon Gregory (@lennon_gregory), illustrated by The Engineer (@theeasternone), brought to life by dancer Rosalie Bell (@rpearceb) and styled by FYPM Brixton (@fypmbrixton).
The Swirlers Online:
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time ?
Writing more music.
Where can people buy or stream your music ?
ITunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, Emusic and all the other good music download sites.
Can you recommend any artists from your home country or town that you like or would like to collaborate or work with ? Where are you based ? Tell us about your local music scene.
From the UK there is a musician I rate very highly ‘Frank Tidy’ I am based in Spain on the costa del sol east of Malaga, The local scene is mainly in bars to entertain the tourists, so that means doing lots of covers ! There are very few venues here for bands or artist to perform original music.
What’s your song writing method ?
I see a situation in life around me that emotionally moves me or affects me, I just let it revolve around in my head, the words or lyrics, along with a melody start to form inside my head, usually starting with a verse, followed by the chorus, when I have in my head the lyrics and the melody all fitting together in time, I take a pen and paper and start writing the lyrics down, at this point I go to my Yamaha work station and find the notes and chords to the melody I have in my head, I then make a very quick recording usually onto a CD. At this stage I just let the song go around in my head, sometimes for hours, day, weeks or even months. But usually I am able to finish a song in about a week.
Where did the inspiration for your new release come from ?
As with all my songs they are based on real life experiences, at the time of writing ‘Leaving It All Behind’ I was going through a divorce. The song is about getting away from a bad situation. I use metaphors in the song, just so more people can simply relate in the song to their own situation. I wanted the song to have a slightly up beat feel to it, so as to say, it is possible just to ‘Leave It All Behind’ and ‘Escape’
Singer/songwriter Robian ( a.k.a Robert Ian Pratt ) was born in Hinckley, Leicestershire UK but is now based in Spain’s Costa Del Sol.
Robian started writing songs at the age of 14 and had formed his own band by the age of 16 years being influenced by acts like David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Supertramp , Yes, Cat Stevens, The Who and Mick Jagger and the Stones.
At the age of 19 Robian started racing motorbikes and in the mid 1980’s with the help of sponsorship from Christian Dior and competed in The World Championship 500cc Grands Prix now known as Moto GP. Robian retired from motorbike racing in 1990 and started racing Formula 3 cars in Spain and the UK but then retired from all forms of motorsport in 2006.
Robian began writing songs and in 2006 influenced by his love for country music he recorded 16 songs in a Nashville, Tennessee recording studio located on the famous Music Row in Nashville.
He says “The CEO of the company came down to talk to me and gave me a lot of advice and words of encouragement for my songwriting” and the new material was born.
Robian has originally formed a band called “Robain and the Meerkats” but says “I did have my own band about 10 years ago and that’s when I came up with the name of the band ‘Robian and the Meerkats’ but a couple of years later the TV commercials for ‘comparethemarket.com’ who started using meerkats in their TV adverts started and so I decided to go solo”.
The brand new album ‘Tomorrow Will Be Our Day’ was produced by David Robinson at Paramount studios, Nashville and features the new single ‘Leaving It All Behind’.
George Michael’s boyfriend’s Twitter account was hacked on New Year’s Day (01Jan17), with messages posted alleging the singer had committed suicide.
Fadi Fawaz, who had dated the Careless Whisper star since 2012, found the singer dead in bed at his home in Oxfordshire, England on Christmas Day (25Dec16). Following Michael’s tragic passing, Fawaz used his social media account to speak about the death, tweeting “ITs (sic) a xmas i will never forget finding your partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning”, and hit headlines once again on Sunday with messages which alleged that Michael had taken his own life.
“The only thing George wanted is to die. He tried numbers of times to kill himself many times and finally he managed,” the messages read. “We loved each other very much and were together almost 24 hours a day.”
However, Fawaz has now insisted that he was not responsible for the messages, and they were the work of a hacker.
“I am shocked with what’s going on with the Twitter thing. My Twitter account has been hacked and closed,” he told Britain’s Daily Mirror Online.
“It’s a bit scary to be honest. I did not send those tweets. I woke up at 11.30am to the news. I am not going to worry about these things.”
Michael’s post-mortem was carried out on Friday (30Dec16) but the results were inconclusive, with a statement from Thames Valley Police revealing further tests will now be carried out to determine why the pop icon died.
TX 8pm, Wed 28 Dec, Channel 4
2016 has been an extraordinary year in many respects. Has it been extraordinary in the retail sector?
I think that’s a big word to use. Everything happens organically. I don’t think it’s anything like as dramatic as what’s happened in the political world. It’s not extraordinary, but I think there’s been a greater stability and cohesion, and there’s been a real move towards much better retailing.
Better in what sense?
I think the consumer now has so much choice. Everything is completely and utterly visible, so you can research online, you can buy what you want when you want, you can work out the best value places. So what’s happened on the back of that is that competition’s become much greater, and retailers are having to create really extraordinary experiences, and give really good customer service and great innovation in order to keep customers. And the people who can’t keep up retail-wise won’t be around.
What can you tell about a nation from its shopping habits?
You can tell a lot of things – what we buy says an awful lot about us, because it shows how we live. And what we’re feeling – a mood of a nation can be judged through that. You can see people, on the back of the Olympics, going online and buying fitness gear. There is a very direct correlation. And there’s a real trend towards the understanding of wellbeing, and looking after yourself, not just through exercise but what you eat, and getting a greater balance in life. You can see that coming through – people are buying less stuff, and more experiences that feed the soul. That’s a really big shift from ten years ago.
The Olympic effect you speak of – is that why sales of speedos went through the roof?
Yeah, because of the swimming. Men no aren’t embarrassed by wearing the budgie-smuggler. We might not want it back, but I’m afraid it is.
Has the way we shop, with the advent of the internet, changed what we buy, as well as how we buy it.
Yes. We’re buying more stuff to do with our home, and we’re spending more on food and on eating out, and less on fashion. That’s a big shift.
Rather ambitiously, last year, your show predicted that Brussels Sprouts would be big this year. And they actually have been, haven’t they? Why is that?
They’ve been huge. I think the New Scientist is behind that. The success of Kale was massive – we’re talking about a product that wasn’t even on our shelves three or four years ago. And it became this major superfood. So the New Scientist decided to do some research into superfoods, and found out that of the group of green, leafy vegetables, Brussel s Sprouts are the best superfood. So chefs and health gurus started using them in cooking. So now a Brussels Sprout really is not just for Christmas, it’s for life.
Do you think Brexit has had an effect on what people bought?
Your new single “Shadows” is absolutely beautiful. What is it about and where did the inspiration come from ? What inspired you to start making music ?
We’ve been involved in music from a young age. Paul is a professional drummer and played all over the world with various bands. Paul got into producing about 4 years ago and has never looked back. As well as working together as Mon Frere, Paul has produced albums and songs for many other musicians. I started my music career as a DJ back in the 90’s when the dance music revolution exploded into the mainstream. What a time to be alive!
What are your fave tracks or artists of all time ?
From my perspective, I have always been into dance music, the dirtier the better. I was a techno DJ and so my favourite bands have been those techno cross-over acts like Underworld, Sabres of Paradise & Orbital. My fave track is ‘Mind’ by the Aloof, an underground progressive techno track from the early 90’s. Paul is much more cultured in his music tastes. He gets inspired by people like The Cinematic Orchestra & top level producers like Naughty Boy. Paul is fundamentally a rock drummer though so heavy rock was his upbringing.
Tell us about your creative process. Who writes and produces your material and what instruments or software do you use in creating your warm and unique sound ?
Paul really is the musical talent in Mon Frere. Paul composes a track, sends it to me to create a theme and some lyrical suggestions. It then goes back to Paul who cements the melody and we then thrash out the lyrics over the next month or so. We are very lucky to be based in Brighton where we are connected to a large community of excellent musicians. So, lots of the instruments you here on our tracks are recorded live in our small studio. We love bringing in live strings & horns to give us that authentic flavour. We then decide on a singer to fit the sound of the track, contact them and bring them down for a recording session.
Tell us about who’s singing on “Shadows” ?
Well this is where we have been blessed. Joell Fender sings on Shadows. We were recommended to check out Joell and had a listen to his on-line showreels. We thought he sounded like the next Sam Smith. We called him up and got him in. Then, suddenly Joell’s career has really taken off. He’s been touring with Years and Years and Sigala and working with Wilkinson. His talent is their for everyone to see and we can’t wait to work with him on our next track. Aside from Joell, we’ve been really lucky to work with a range of talented vocalists like Kate Wild, Josh Oliver & Jenna Bennett. These people are all out there – get on line and find them!
Where can we find you online ?
As brothers does that ever involve any feuding like the Gallagher bros ?
Ha Ha! Actually, we are proud to say that we are probably the absolute opposite end of the spectrum to those guys. We get on very well. We had another brother, Anthony, who sadly didn’t make it this far in life so everything we do has him in our thoughts. We have an amazing sister, Katy, and we are not ashamed to say that we all think the world of one another.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time ?
We are progressing nicely at the moment. We know that at some point soon one of our singles will make a big impact. We’ve set ourselves up in preparation for this moment, setting up as a company and making sure we own the rights to our songs. We just want to be able to say being a musician is our life and not have to stress about the cash money side of things!
Where can people buy or stream your music ?
Our music is in all the main on-line stores like iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Deezer. We also have our own YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB09bOV-GYilDXiKq3W_Gow.
“Coming to Australia is such a treat so it’s time we wrote a song specifically for Australia,” Chris Martin told the Sydney audience.
“Well have you ever stopped to wonder,
How they do Christmas Day Down Under,
How do they make Christmas nice,
When they got no snow and ice,
And what about poor Santa’s sleigh,
He has to come from fucking miles away,
And what about poor Mick Dundee,
For he ain’t got no Christmas tree,
Well they say Christmas here is much more fun,
We’ve got surfing, we got sun,
Christmas here is sweet as a peach,
Open presents on the beach,
We’ve got barbies, we’ve got beer,
Santa wishes he lives here,
Loads of laughter, loads of booze,
Christmas with the Kangaroos”
Notorious performance poet and lead singer of Wills and The Willing, Ian Wills has released a touching charity single ‘Mercy’, under the pseudonym of London Country, with all proceeds being donated to Charity.
Wills has been surrounded by controversy throughout his life, being the man who attempted to buy Princess Diana’s letters to her lover James Hewitt, whilst also illegally selling copies of Peter Wright’s ‘Spycatcher’ in 1987.
The song is a powerful ballad that speaks candidly about past sins, reflecting Wills’ own personal journey of man determined to turn his life around. Mercy is the first single off London Country’s new album ‘Three Chords & The Truth’, which is set for release next year.
What inspired you to become a singer/songwriter ?
In 1990 I did national sleep out with Billy Bragg, I had always been a fan of his, we spent the night camped out just down from Victoria station, Billy had admired my work as a poet and said I should pick up a guitar. We spent most of the night talking about Woody Guthrie, in the morning as we said adios, he just looked at me and without saying anything he said everything. Later that year I was part of the SeranAIDS gigs at Brixton Academy, he brought Megan Ochs to see me perform poetry in between sets, she said the same to me as Billy had said earlier in the year, from there the journey began.
Why did you decide to release a single for a charity ?
With The Prebendal School being so open to working with me and involving the chamber choir and Chichester `Cathedral, it just seemed the right thing to do. My mum died 6 years ago from cancer and the Macmillian nurses really were angels.
How old were you when you decided to start a career in music ?
My first commercial recording was in 2004 with Trevor Morais, he was 61 and I was 42 , he produced and got the late Alvin Lee to put the guitar riffs on the track. I put it out as ‘Hundred & 3’ on ‘One Little Indian’.
Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics ?
There is a always some part of me in the songs, the good and bad come out in equal measures, I seem to never forget my failings only my victories as a poet and lyricist. That helps keep me searching and I do write most days, always looking for an answer to a question yet to be asked.
Do you regret any decision you made in your life ?
The one I regret the most was not talking to my younger brother for eight months before he died.
What would you like to achieve in the future ?
To win an Ivor Novello.
With whom would you like to collaborate ?
Liam Gallagher, Johnny Marr &and Darius Rucker.
Why did you attempt to buy Princess Diana’s love letters ?
It was a moment when I was best placed to do so, we all have a mum and getting the letters away from James Hewitt and returning to Kensington Palace seemed the right thing to do.
In what way did you turn your life around ?
In turning my back on violence and crime in my late teens and overcoming my addictions later on in life, I found a strength that was greater than my weaknesses.
Where do you see yourself in the future ?
I know I will always be driven, loving every minute that I can write, perform and knock down walls. My three girls still wanting me not just as their dad, but also their friend, which I can say at this point in their lives I am and long may it continue.
Mercy is a powerful ballad speaking candidly about past sins, whilst the Prebendal School Chamber Choir provides a harmonious backdrop to the poignant composition. The song itself portrays Wills’ personal journey, as a damaged man, clamouring towards the light.
Mercy is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. All proceeds from the single will be going towards Macmillan Cancer Support & Chichester Cathedral Choral Foundation Fund.
Mercy Official Video:
Dolly Parton has been left “heartbroken” as raging wildfires sweep across eastern Tennessee, prompting the evacuation of her Dollywood resort.
The city of Gatlinburg and areas of Pigeon Forge, where Dollywood is located, were engulfed in thick smoke on Monday night (28Nov16), as the fires spread from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, prompting local officials to enforce mandatory evacuations.
The Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins were among the locations cleared under the order, but firefighters have so far been able to keep the blaze from spreading to the park itself.
A press release obtained by America’s NBC News reads in part: “There is no damage at the park at this time. High winds continue to spread the fires around the county as the Dollywood resort staff works to protect the Dollywood DreamMore Resort, Dollywood Smoky Mountain Cabins and other Dollywood property.”
The wildfires have already destroyed more than 250 buildings in the area, and superstar Dolly is praying for all affected by the blaze.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken,” she says in a statement. “I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe.
“It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared.”
Parton filmed a warning video for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just days ago, urging people to avoid burning leaves and starting campfires, and parking cars on dry grass. The 30-second footage, which also featured National Parks mascot Smokey the Bear, was released on Sunday (27Nov16).
Meanwhile, Dollywood bosses have also taken action to rescue a number of bald eagles housed in one of the park’s sanctuaries, run by the American Eagle Foundation.
Staff members helped to remove 50 of the birds of prey on Monday night to save the animals from smoke inhalation, although a few are still to be captured and rehoused. The eagles have been relocated to a nearby convention centre until the air clears up and the park is deemed safe again, reports TMZ.com.
The theme park, previously known as Silver Dollar City Tennessee, was renamed Dollywood in 1986 after the country superstar bought a share in the operating firm. It has since doubled in size and now hosts over three million guests each season, which runs from March to December.