For people outside of France who may not have heard of you, how did you become such a well known French pop star?
It all happened by coincidence as I got applied to the Nouvelle Star (French Idol) in 2005 and it developed quickly from there.
Did you anticipate the success that came with your debut album?
To be honest – not at all, I was at that time at university, joined the show, did win and boom my life changed and sold almost 1 million copies of the debut album, went on my first tour etc. All came so quickly and by surprise.
How do you feel you have evolved musically since your debut album?
Always changing, I was always more influenced by international music than by french variety, every album I try something new and the next one – who knows. I love to change.
I featured South Finesse not too long ago, and they continue to be gaining a lot of buzz. So it seemed a bit silly to pass up on the chance of throwing some quickfire questions over to them. And while they may seem a bit coy about their future, I’m pretty certain they will be snapped up by a major label soon. So get to know these kids…
How did you all get together?
Lynx: Well Slick is my baby brother, and I have known Emmie for years.
O’Slick: And I went to school with Melodee.
Emmie Jay:We are all childhood friends, we are more like a family than anything else.
Melodee: Yeah we’ve all known each other for years, we came together through our love of music, we were a group of close friends, and Lynx put us together as a band.
Where do you draw your sound from?
Emmie Jay: We all have diverse musical tastes, so when we get into the studio, it’s like a big melting pot of genres, we draw our sound from each other’s individual styles, likes and inspirations. We like to keep our sound fresh and original, although you will definitely hear certain musical flavours coming though in our music.
Do you all have very different tastes, or do you share the same love for the same types of music?
Lynx: We all have very different tastes, When we get together our ipod is always shifting through different genres.
Emmie Jay: I like bands like placebo, Lynx loves his dance hall and afro beats.
O’slick: We are all into certain music, like RnB and hip-hop, but we also listen to very different stuff. These lot will tell you that they will listen to anything, but it’s lies! I put on one of my CD’s in the car the other day when we were travelling back from a show, before we even listened to one track, it got dashed outta the window! It is now somewhere on the motorway!
Lynx: It was rubbish though!
You’re starting to gain a lot of momentum from the media at the moment- how does that make you feel?
Emmie Jay: Amazed! We have been doing music for a long time and it is really exciting to see the hype in the media starting to build around us. We still have a long way to go yet, but we are excited for the climb – We are really grateful for each and every person that supports our music. We have our feet firmly on the ground, but I would be lying if I said it isn’t cool to see our names in the spot light. We have worked really hard to get to this point, so it does feel good. It can also be quite surreal to see our names out there in the media, but we are loving every second of it.
What are you listening to that’s on the charts at the moment?
O’Slick: We all really like Labrinth, we love his track with Emilee Sande and the Calvin Harris track with Florence is really good.
Lynx: Emmie LOVES Gangnam style haha!
Melodee: I’m listening to Frank Ocean and The Weeknd a lot right now.
What are you plans for the future? I hear exciting rumours surrounding certain record labels- tell me more!
Lynx: We are releasing our new single early in the new year so we are looking forward to getting out and promoting it, we love to be on the road, there is a lot of exciting things happening for us right now, the future is bright!
Emmie Jay: We are shooting a video for our new single over the next few weeks, which is going to be very cool.
Melodee: As soon as we having something to tell you about certain meetings at certain record labels, you will be the first to know.
Where do you see yourselves one year from now?
O’slick: That’s easy, we want to be successful with our music, riding high in the charts and continuing to do what we love. In one year we also aim to have a Nandos black card!
Lynx: In one year we see ourselves continuing our journey, making more hit sounds, and taking on the charts, watch out for us!
One of the more quirkier bands to come out of Scandinavia, Norway’s Katzenjammer have amassed a global fanbase since the release of their debut album ‘Le Pop’ back in 2009. Now heading to the UK to play several cities (including London on the 31st October), the band have been through one of my quickfire question and answer sessions. Take a read!
So Katzenjammer, you seem to have a worldwide following at the moment, but how would you describe yourselves to people who’ve never heard your sound before?
We´re a genreless band. Meaning that there are no boundaries when it comes to our music, and that´s why it´s so difficult to describe it. It´s a mix of how the four of us sees the world. But if it must be put under a tag, it would probably be under alternative pop/rock/folk music. If you add a bit of craziness and 15 acoustic instruments on top of that, you´re pretty close to Katzenjammer.
What musical styles inspire your songs?
We´re very different when it comes to taste in music. Some are more into classical music and electronica and others are into blues, rock, and folk music. So we´re pretty much inspired by anything. We´ve got a few common references though, like Tom Waits, old Disney music and western folk music.
And thinking aside from music, what else in life inspires you to write songs?
Movies! People! Paintings! The World!
Your albums have all gone top ten in your home country of Norway; what is it about your music that you think connects with the Norwegian music market?
It´s something new and different. And I think since our genre pool is so diverse, almost everyone can relate to at least one Katzenjammer song. And folk music has been generally popular in Norway tfor the past few years.
And this is a question I ask pretty much all Scandinavian artists; what is it about Scandinavia that makes it such an amazing place for creating great music?
I don´t know really, maybe it´s the cold weather and the darkness? A lot of depressive emotions gotta be expressed in some ways I guess. And there´s a lot of great music schools and opportunities for those who want to discover the musician within themselves. In addition to that all the Scandinavian countries are wealthy nations and it´s quite easy to get financial support through scholarships. That means it´s actually possible to live the dream.
Where’s your favourite place to tour?
England of course!
Are you looking forward to playing in London?
Yes! London is one of the highlights of the tour. AND it´s halloween so we have to figure out what to wear…
Find out more about Katzenjammer and the UK tour happening right now here.
Brock Zanrosso was featured on here not long ago but he seems to be pretty popular with some readers, so it made sense to get some quickfire questions answered by the chap himself…
When did you realise that you wanted to get into the world of pop?
I realised at a really young age that i wanted to be a singer, and that I wanted to be in pop music. I always used to watch TV dreaming that one day I could be like those people, and now that I actually have the chance is amazing.
What’s the reaction to your new EP from your fans?
So far the fans love it!!! Everyone that’s bought it has nothing but positive feedback, which I’m so grateful for.
Where do you want to see yourself five years from now?
I want to be in LA doing it big. I want to be selling out arenas, awards shows, world tours, the whole deal. :)
Who inspires your sound?
I’m super inspired by Rihanna‘s hard edge. I’ve always looked to her as a huge inspiration, because she’s always ahead of things. She doesn’t follow trends, she makes them.
What’s coming up in the future?
I just recently moved to Toronto, so in the future I’m really hoping to be able to do some more shows here, and around this area of Canada. I’ve also got the next single Take it Off releasing to radio soon, hopefully I’ll be able to shoot a music video for that song!!!
So there you have it. Thanks for the interview Mr Zanrosso… I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing more from this kid soon!
The up and coming singer-songwriter from North Wales is preparing the release of his new album ‘Battles’, the follow up album to the inaugural Welsh Music Prize nominated ‘In the Wake’, as well as going on a headlining tour. Here’s a few q+a’s from Mr Lewis himself…
So Al Lewis, tell the readers who may not have heard about you a little about who you are, and what you’re music’s all about…
I’m a twenty-something singer/songwriter – moulded in the traditional sense of the genre I suppose – confessional/honest lyricist / a one man and his guitar.
I’m from North Wales where I grew up in a Welsh speaking community and now live in London.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a serious singer?
I moved to live in Toulouse, France for a year as part of my studies and whilst I was out there I did a few acoustic solo shows in the local bars and cafes and it was from then on really that I decided I was going to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter.
Where do you draw your influences and inspirations from?
Family and friends – the passage of time, life’s trials and tribulations and one’s endless search for fulfillment.
The promising pop princess from Vegas, LeeLee’s been making some impact online with her new track, ‘Ugly’, so I figured I would try and get a quickie interview before she (potentially) takes over the pop world.
So Ms LeeLee… What made you want to go down the pop route with your sound?
I love pop. I can add my rock edge to it or anything else I feel like adding it’s very versatile
I’m absolutely involved, what inspires me is my life; what I go through and what I do. With anything at all. and I think that’s what should inspire all songs because that’s what makes it real and that’s what makes people relate to them
You’re latest single ‘Ugly’ has been getting some pretty decent exposure on the blogs, how does that make you feel?
What have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Keep touring, keep sexing up the London stages, and keep showing people who LeeLee is. Also I’ve been working on a tan…
So there you have it. Look forward to hearing more from LeeLee soon!
I’ve been talking about Andreas Moe for quite some time now, so naturally I jumped at the opportunity to throw some questions at the up and coming Swedish pop kid. Read about his influences, why Sweden is a hotbed for dance music and all about his brilliant new EP, Collecting Sunlight.
Talk us through what first inspired you to engage in the world of popular music and what do you feel has been the most important factor in your development as an artist?
Wow – that feels like a long road to take you down! I guess in the early early days it was Michael Jackson -the dance moves, the shows, the vocals – I knew all of it! From there I kind of went through a rock/jazz fusion stage, and then when I was about 16 I found out about John Mayer – bought my first acoustic guitar – and started writing pop songs! As for what was most important, I guess it would be the discovery of acoustic music because that was the first time I’d ever been inspired to write, but having gone through SO many stages I feel like they are all important in their own little way
Stockholm has given rise to a great deal of dance music artists. Talk us through your personal experience of growing up in the city and making your name on home turf and whether it was easy to forge your own musical identity amid the rise of the nation’s club minded assets?
I loved living in Stockholm growing up – I found it a really inspring place to be musically because there was always so much going on. I spent a lot of time at youth centres growing up and played with a lot of different musicians at that time. It was the perfect way to figure out who I was as an artist. It wasn’t til the Fade Into Darkness opportunity came along that I even really payed attention to the whole dance/club scene, and from that feature I realised not only did I enjoy singing it – but I was good at writing it. That was a great lesson for me and opened so many doors career-wise…. so I guess I have a lot to thank dance music for!
Many who are not so familiar with Swedish pop music will ofcourse know you as the voice of John De Sohn’s ‘Long Time’ and of course Avicii’s ‘Fade Into Darkness’. What is it that has kept you so frequently involved in Electronic music and how do you interpret the huge energy and enthusiasm that now surrounds it?
I guess it started off as a way to build my profile and build awareness that I and my music existed. I love electronic music and using that in my own music (as you can tell from the EP) and so when the opportunities arose for Fade Into Darkness and Long Time, I didn’t really have to give it a second thought – I knew that it made sense!
Despite your formative presence in electronic music, your latest Collecting Sunlight EP is as diversely tuned as they come. Talk us through how you approached the records and where you drew your creative stimulus from for this somewhat personal insight into your musical stylings?
You’re right – Collecting Sunlight is a totally different to what people who have heard of me may have expected – but I love that! I mean the whole sound of the EP only really came about last year following the break up of my relationship. Before then I had played with so many different influences and directions but nothing had really ‘stuck’…so I guess you could say the inspiration is essentially from a period of heartache. My approach was just to put all of my feelings and emotions into my music, all my thoughts down on paper – and just see where it took me. With the help of Hiten Bharadia, Maria Marcus and Niclas Lundin (three writers and great friends of mine..) I believe we really nailed that.
It seems fair to say that where your music is concerned, you are not willing to be put into just one box. Between the film soundtrack numbers and evocative Dance anthems, how do you interpret the vast progressions pop music has made over the past few years and where do you hope to see yourself fit within the bigger picture?
I love how ‘Pop’ music can mean so many different things these days. A rock artist can sing on a rap record – and a singer/songwriter artist like me can sing on a dance record and people go ‘yeah – I get that!’ To be honest, I don’t mind being put in different boxes as long as it makes sense and is true to me as an artist – I think it’s great.
What do you feel has been the biggest challenge for you as an artist within your career and what further aspirations do you hold within your career?
That’s a tough question to answer because I am still in the very early days of my career – but I guess the main challenge so far has been putting all of my energy into my music whilst still surviving haha! In terms of my artist career, the biggest challenge I face right now is breaking through and building a career worldwide. I’m lucky that I have an amazing team of people working for me in London to help me get that done, but essentially it’s down to me to create music that not only do my fans love – but I love too. My aspirations are for that to happen and to build a credible and sustainable career!
What can we expect from you in terms of studio work for the remainder of 2012? I’m working on my second release as we speak. Im having plans to do another EP but with other up and coming artist featuring.
Well I am already working hard towards my next EP so that means A LOT of studio time. I have a few things in the pipe line though – some more features, releases of tracks I have written for other artists, sessions with other great writers – it’s a really busy time for me which is great!
You probably know who MNEK is by now, I’ve mentioned him on here a couple of times because he’s pretty awesome. He’s basically like a pop child prodigy. I had the opportunity to shoot some questions at him, and he had the opportunity to shoot some answers back…
Tim Schou, aka the lead singer from one of Denmark’s hottest new bands, A Friend In London, stopped by in London to play a short set of tracks for his biggest UK fans at UCLU. We were lucky enough to catch him for ten minutes and ask him a few questions! You can read what Tim said, or watch the video at the end of the post. There’s also pics from the gig on Flickr, and a of video on our Youtube channel right now.
We’ve got Tim from A Friend In London who were this years Danish entry for Eurovision, you guys came in 5th – was that the result you wanted?
Tim – We definitely went for the number one but it didn’t turn out that way but we’re satisfied and it opened up a really big market for us inEurope so it’s all we can ask.
What did you think of Azerbaijan winning?
Tim – I think it’s a good pop melody and the first time I heard it I thought ‘Ok that’s kinda a little like Timbaland production thing- you can almost hear Timbaland singing in the studio’ so I think it was pretty good and that’s the last thing I could hope when I see that ‘ok we stand no chance of winning this’ then it has to be Azerbaijan.
You’re in London today, doing a gig – what’s the reason for coming here?
Tim – The number one reason is for my fans. After Eurovision I experienced a lot of traffic on my Twitter and I just built my Twitter fourteen days before Eurovision and there’s really heavy traffic there and all these fans from all around Europe, and because I was touring in London two years before and I always loved touring in London.
I could see there was a crowd for me in London, and people were writing me on Twitter saying they would love to fly over to hear me in London so I thought ‘Ok lets do it’, so we’re putting on this free show, giving out free tickets for fans, just a way for me to say thank you for supporting and hope you’re in it for the long haul- because I am!
Where’s the rest of the band now?
Tim – Ash, he’s in New York to scout out a few places, and Sebastian and Esben are writing songs for the new album.
Did you ever think you would end up where you are now after Eurovsion, playing gigs all around Europe?
Tim – I have to say yes, because that’s been the whole idea from the start when we said yes to do the Danish Eurovision, and it’s been the goal for us to tour around the world. It’s so nice to see the gigs in Europe.
What made you want to apply for Eurovision in the first place?
Tim – It came out of the blue- like really out of the blue. We were called by a publisher who had this song; ‘New Tomorrow’ and we’ve always been writing all the songs in the band, in the past six years, from the day we started.
And then we got this opportunity to stand up in front of two million people inDenmarkand play this song. But we were like ‘Hey we can’t play a song that’s not our own,’ but we heard the song and we thought it was good and we could see ourselves playing it most importantly. So we told them that if we were doing this then we would need to arrange the song and we would need to do give it a more ‘A Friend In London feeling’ and they said ‘Ok guys – do it!’
Were you well known in Denmark before you applied for Eurovision?
Tim – We were getting a pretty cool buzz, and we’ve been touring inCanada three or four times now and feeling a good buzz over there too. So things were really looking good for us before Eurovision, but then after we did it we just got even more of a buzz.
Would you ever do Eurovision again?
Tim – This is something you can hold me up to in five years, but I think no. Because the thing about A Friend In London is that we’re a live band, and we started out by being the four of us playing. The first concert we did I was I think after one rehearsal, playing all new material playing live on the stage. And that’s where we belong and being out there with the fans. In Eurovision you can’t get contact with the fans because it’s a TV box – a TV bubble. So I guess it’ll be a no.
Denmark normally does quite well – I guess it’s a big deal in Denmark?
Tim – Yes it’s a proud tradition, it’s a great tradition. At the same time which was also why we had all these thoughts about doing it, there’s a lot of clichés that I guess are there too in England?
Lately we have been trying to take it more seriously, but generally in the UK we don’t really see it as a serious thing.
Tim – Exactly and that’s one of the reasons we chose to do it, because we were like ‘Hey no one can tell us where we can play our music, and what is allowed and what’s not allowed.’ And what happened was we really turned the coin. We slapped their asses man, and people were like ‘Whoa what’s up with this British rock sounding indie band who just turn up to this really commercial thing.’
And I think it puts some thoughts into other bands in our genre who think ‘Ok well there’s two million people watching the Danish Eurovision show,’ and its all about doing it for real and being honest with the music and not caring about what people think.
You’re big in Canada and Denmark. Alfitude.com is all about new music, so is there anything happening in Canada or Denmark that’s worth listening to right now?
Tim – I’m really bad with names but I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Danish singer/ songwriter Mads Langer? He just came out with a new album called ‘Behold’. It’s pretty good. And it’s got four tracks that were on the last album- because it’s his first international released album. He’s an amazing singer. If you don’t know him you should check him out!
What’s next for you guys?
Tim – We’re going to finish our Danish tour – but we have a ‘break’ and I say a ‘break’ because were going to record our debut album in Canada actually. So we’re leaving June 26th and coming back July 15th and then hopefully we’ve got some songs.
Is it a world wide release?
Tim – Yes.
And what sound are you going for?
Tim – I like to say it’s all the way from the universe of Justin Bieber to the universe of Radiohead. I’ve always been really fond with these pop melodies and pop to the bone, and really like the mysterious ways of how you can play the different chords in a very British way. So it’s gonna be a good mixture!
Are you looking forward to tonight?
Tim – I really am! I can’t wait to see if people really are flying out from Holland and Sweden like they said they would!