It’s “10/10” #16: @tafarianthony @grandson @motez_music @zenthomas8 @smalltowndjs & @bootsy_collins @tonybonline @stevejames @iamgeorgiablack @seolomusic & @josephfeinstein @vallasmusic

 

Back after a month, it’s 10/10 – Edition 16!!

In 10/10,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually, and they are not listed in any particular order.  

Writing 10/10 posts means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

  • TAFARI ANTHONY, “No Good”

“No Good” is Tafari Anthony’s most recent follow up to the beautifully cutting “Centerfold”, which peaked at #10 on my personal chart. His first name is  pronounced ‘Ta-far-eye’, and “No Good” seethes with emotion as the singer recounts being resigned to say goodbye to someone, albeit with some reluctance. Like with “Centerfold”, “No Good” minces no words, and Tafari’s vocal is a passionate mix of contemporary and older school styles and influences that makes his music an easy fit onto any pop or R&B playlist. So brace yourself for a heart-felt story and enjoy those moments when Tafari’s voice really soars.

 

  • grandson, “Dirty”

Canadian-American singer/songwriter grandson has already encountered a modicum of domestic fame which garnered a Juno Awards nomination and a US major label record deal. His distinct, edgy and often witty vocal style sets him apart from others, and he scored brilliantly singing on Whethan’s single from earlier this year called “All In My Head”, a #1 on my personal chart. Like that song, “Dirty” is a playful, danceable slice of alt.rock that should be added immediately to modern rock and college radio station playlists. Check out its energetic, provocative video above. “Dirty” is from his upcoming debut album called Death Of An Optimist, due in December.

  • MOTEZ, “Give Your Heart Away”

Australian producer Motez is hardly a newcomer to the dance music scene, but he has set his foundation in his home country – receiving a gold single award for “The Future” – but while receiving support elsewhere by stars as diverse as Idris Elba. Dance music fans who saw him play in Las Vegas may already be familiar with “Give Your Heart Away”, whose release has been a long time coming. It’s essentially an instrumental that melds European deep house flavours with feel-good 90’s vibes around what sound like powerhouse vocal samples, which instantly make it a festival-worthy banger. Club DJ’s could eventually play this alongside of ODESZA’s “Loyal” and classics like “Show Me Love” or “Love Sensation” and the dance floor would stay packed. So continue to stay tuned to what Motez has in store for you.

  • ZEN THOMAS, “What Can I Say”

There’s not much information available online about L.A.-based singer Zen Thomas (yup, his real name is Zen), but be prepared to be blown away by “What Can I Say”, his most recent single. He’s been releasing songs for about two years, including an EP called Songs About No One earlier this year. “What Can I Say” is classic current pop music – if you like Charlie Puth and Maroon 5, then the songs of Zen Thomas are not far removed. Not only is “What Can I Say” a feverishly passionate song, but Zen’s buttery voice and scorching high notes will completely turn you into a puddle. So now is definitely a good time to discover the music of Zen Thomas.

  • SMALLTOWN DJ’s and BOOTSY COLLINS, “Good Thang”

Canadian electronic dance producers Smalltown DJ’s have a fun and funky treat for you in the form of “Good Thang”.  The guys have created a fantastic rhythm track for the song, which has enticed collaboration from none other than one of the 70’s great funk-masters, Bootsy Collins.  Bootsy adds his kingsize personality to “Good Thang” and so, through electronic dance, P-funk fans of the 70’s get one of the closest things yet to that old school funk.  

  • TONYB., “You Knew What This Was”

Nashville pop/R&B singer/songwriter TONYB. shows a lot of promise with his new single “You Knew What This Was”.  Sporting a gorgeous tenor voice that will have you thinking Seal, D’Angelo and Usher, “You Knew What This Was” is a moody but captivating song that is highly reminiscent of Seal’s own “Crazy”.  In it, he graciously calls out a former lover after their love was no longer to be forever.  With bright songwriting and vocal like these, we’ll certainly be hearing more from TONYB.

  • STEVE JAMES, “Us” (Joey Parki remix)

Earlier this year, Grammy-nominated songwriter Steve James released his first major label EP called +One, featuring a beautiful single “fall for you”.  He then made an usual move – he started up his own indie label, Butter Beats, and released a couple of singles, one of which is “Us”.  The need for fluid creativity often works in strange ways.  Far less lush and polished-sounding than some of his previous work, Steve then had a remix contest for “Us”, kind of an atypical alt.dance track anyway.  The best one of the bunch to me is Joey Parki’s progressive house remix, which adds more dimension to the original without totally reworking it.  Its deliberate pacing pairs well with Steve’s own vocal (which sings one verse repeated) making it an inspired and memorable remix.

  • GEORGIA BLACK, “Invisible Enemy”

“Invisible Enemy” is top notch creative songwriting which uses the pandemic as the basis for its obvious theme, though it can be interpreted otherwise as well.  It’s brought to you by British singer Georgia Black, whose unique vocal fits the musical styles of singers like Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Peggy Lee, and Diana Krall.  It’s a pleasing, intimate hybrid of pop, R&B, jazz and blues that would sound best in a small club setting.  You’d never know from this song that Georgia spent time fronting Agent Provocateur’s Dirty Stop Out with The Clash’s Mick Jones, but undoubtedly that experience has made her solo work sound that much better!

  • SEOLO and JOSEPH FEINSTEIN, “Fake Love”

“Fake Love” is a European-flavoured pop-friendly dance bop that will make you want to bounce.  Seolo is relative newcomer Bálint Csenke, a producer/remixer who hails from Hungary, and who has already scored over 2 million streams with his single “Just Like A Ghost”.  He’s collaborated here with German singer/songwriter Joseph Feinstein, who has quickly acquired more than 10 million streams for his songs over the past few years.  The result is effortless-sounding ear candy for anyone, with Joseph’s immensely appealing and gentle vocal offsetting Seolo’s majestic synth sounds.

  • MIKE VALLAS, “Train”

I’m not sure from where singer/songwriter Mike Vallas hails – I would guess Germany or Austria.  During his time releasing music over the last three years, he has become a well-known presence on Tik Tok.  And while my first taste of his music a few years ago was very hip hop flavoured, his new song “Train” is a more laid back indie singer/songwriter effort about loneliness after leaving a party without any company.  Anyone will relate to Mike’s lyrics, and his down-to-earth vocal against a modest electronic backdrop goes down easily.

 

Published in: on October 28, 2020 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

BILLCS Top 30 #599, October 26/20

It doesn’t happen often, but three out of four debuts on the new chart are by my fellow Canadians, who have all charted multiple times.  I often wonder when the great divide between having success in Canada and elsewhere will end.  Though we have more artists who are international successes than ever, Canadian artists still have to go through needless traditional hoops within our own country to get major label deals which release their music outside of Canada.  Change is needed to introduce more great new music to the world.

At #1 once again, it’s the glorious banger “Undo My Heart” by British artists Karen Harding and Digital Farm Animals.  Watch for her new song “Let’s Get Together” in collaboration with producers Illyus and Barrientos, on Friday October 30!

With eyes on #1 in two weeks is Mr. Stan Sax, the creator of the wondrous and riveting instrumental “House Is Happiness”.  Sure to put some extra enthusiastic zip in your step, “House” climbs 3-2.

She’s a regular in my Top 10, so it’s no surprise that the title track of Jessie Ware’s album What’s Your Pleasure glides 10-6.  In fact, I saw her hypnotic performance in concert six years ago to this very day at The Great Hall in Toronto.

Leading the three new arrivals in the Top 10 is Troye Sivan, who keeps his streak intact, now with 8 songs that have reached my Top 10 (including two #1’s) with the title song from his EP In A Dream, which moves up 12-8.

L.A.-based indie alt.pop trio Fames zips into the Top 10 with their earworm “scared of the dark”, jumping 13-9.

One of the most infectious deep house songs out there right now is “Type Like That” by Sweden’s Pawl & Discrete, and it flies up the chart 16-10.

Three of last week’s debuts land in the Top 20.  The first of these is The Blue Nile redux, “Tinseltown In The Rain” by German producer Matt Mancid with vocals by American producer Color Theory.  Its “Big Rhythm remix” makes waves, climbing 21-14.

Then there’s “Fantasy” (above) by German producers Saxity featuring NYC-based vocalists Victor Perry and Robbie Rosen, which rises 23-16.  One half of Saxity is Mr. Stan Sax, whose “House Is Happiness” now sits at #2.  Victor Perry’s “What I Deserve”, from his EP Rewind, will exit the chart after reaching #2 and the maximum 10 appearances (20 weeks), sitting now at #20.  Check out Victor’s latest release which dives deeper into electronic dance music called “On The Low” (below) with new production duo Dubio.

 

Last but not least, there’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, which soars 25-17, and it’s “Diamonds” by Sam Smith, from his upcoming album Love Goes.

I also can’t go without mentioning that Illenium has already followed up “Nightlight” (26-21, above) with “Paper Thin” (below) which features vocals by Tom De Longe, ex-Blink 182 and Angels & Airwaves.  It’s an interesting mix of talents which may grow on you.

 

I only wrote about the Highest Debut last week, but I am so keen on it and the new music forthcoming by Toronto-based singer/songwriter Justin Nozuka.  He teamed up with British singer/songwriter Mahalia for the romantic R&B of “No One But You”, which bows at #24.  It’s Justin’s first indie release, and first appearance on this chart since 2010.  His debut single “After Tonight” got to #1 in 2008, and I’ve seen his excellent work several times in performance.

As “Bad Decisions” departs after peaking at #5, so arrives “Late Night Love” (#25), the ribald and exciting latest release from Toronto’s Francesco Yates.

British Columbia-based singer/songwriter Tyler Shaw, in partnership with fellow artist FeFe Dobson, was responsible for the top notch recording of “Lean On Me” by an assembly of Canadian performers billed as ArtistsCAN, which was released back in the Spring.  Tyler’s latest release is the percolating pop dance of “Remember” (above), which debuts at #26 and is his third chart entry.  You can also check out its version française below featuring 18 year old French Canadian singer Lili-Ann De Francesco.

 

The fourth debut at #27 is the second recent entry for Austin duo Tritonal with “Electric Kids”.  It follows the enchanting and mystical “Shivohum”, which reached #1 back at the top of the year.  “Electric Kids” features the vocals of L.A.-based singer and co-writer Linney, who also appeared on the chart earlier this year singing “Yesterday” by Gareth Emery, which climbed to #3.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2021 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

Published in: on October 26, 2020 at 9:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Soft, romantic, and ever-so-sweet: “No One But You” is new R&B-pop for your soul by @justinnozuka and @mahalia

JUSTIN NOZUKA & MAHALIA, “No One But You”

I’ve noticed in the past several months, there has been a real absence of romantic songs, probably in keeping somewhat with the current ongoing situation. So bravo to Toronto’s Justin Nozuka for releasing his first new music in over two years in the form of an R&B-pop ballad with UK singer Mahalia that recalls his cover of Sade’s “By My Side” called “No One Like You”. In years past, this would be called a ‘quiet storm’ track, and could easily be played next to classics of that sub-genre. It’s a lusciously simple song about anyone’s special someone, and it’s complimented by its video above, which reminds us of all of the gentle, sensual, romantic, and often basic aspects of a relationship that take place. “No One Like You” is pop music soul food. This collaboration with Mahalia is certainly one-of-a-kind. She has had her own major label album release to show off her Erykah Badu-meets-Lauryn Hill style, and has recorded with Jacob Collier, Ty Dolla $ign, Kranium, Ella-Mai, and more. I’m so glad to hear new music from Justin, who is always unpredictable but creates from the heart. Listen for more coming soon.

Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Wicked Games” is a strong, club-worthy collaboration between Swedish producer B3NTE @benteby and NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry @wallflowerPerry

B3NTE & VICTOR PERRY, “Wicked Games”

Their work together on the recent faithful cover of Modern Talking’s “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” went so smoothly that Sweden’s B3NTE and New York-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry are back with an original follow up this time, called “Wicked Games” (not to be confused with The Weeknd track of the same name). It’s a buoyant progressive electronic dance track this time too carried by Victor’s convincingly-sung story of betrayal. Its catchy, big synth work stands out but does not overpower the prolific Victor’s effortless vocal. “Wicked Games” is another winner – keep ’em coming, guys!

Nashville’s @thisisMokita is back with more straight up slice-of-life songwriting with “Ready Yet”

MOKITA, “Ready Yet”

Mokita is a prolific singer/songwriter from Nashville who has been coming into his own with his releases over the last few years. It culminated in a collaboration with R3HAB called “All Into Nothing”, which has acquired over $25 million streams. His originals “London” and “Inside Out” were two of my faves last year, and several singles have been released since his EP 4201. “Ready Yet” is the latest, which might remind listeners a lot of songs by Lauv, though the two have quite different styles. This one’s about not being ready for a relationship, something we don’t hear about often in songs. It’s solid, breezy pop that goes down easy.

Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based singer/songwriter @HVNNIBVL returns with the happy vibes of “Something Special” from his new EP “Reasonably, Relative”

HVNNIBVL, “Something Special”

After writing about his recent singles “Who’s Gotcha” and “Worth It”, and indicating that I wanted to hear more from Buffalo NY native HVNNIBVL, I didn’t realize there was an EP on its way. Now on release, Reasonably, Relative is the title, and among its six songs you will find those two previous singles. Digging into the EP, another highlight is “Something Special”, and it’s for different reasons than the others. While the main focus is on spreading happy vibes, I found “Something Special” reminding me at times of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”. It’s probably because the song has HVNNIBVL’s best vocal thus far, and the story about wanting to do “Something Special” with your lover or friend is one that’s needed in the world today. And based on what I heard in Reasonably, Relative, if you sat down HVNNIBVL in a room with some established producers, he would have the great songs ready for them, and all they would have to do is add the spit and polish.

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Join the journey with R&B singer/songwriter Niki Darling @NikiDarlin with new single “Take You There”, also in a 90’s favoured @_blacksilence house remix

NIKI DARLING, “Take You There” (original and Black Silence remix)

The last four years have created nothing but once in a lifetime opportunities for American R&B singer Niki Darling. Although you’re likely to hear Tina Turner-meets-Lady Gaga with a dash of Prince (obviously, that name…) in her voice and style, I would also add the diversity of Chaka Khan, Sia, and Kelly Rowland into the mix. Her talents have taken her from leading NYC hip hop group Pants Velour to numerous destinations around the world, including Morocco, Beijing, and Ibiza, working in a full-time career in music. In fact, she was in London when the pandemic struck, and, as was documented by the BBC at the time, she was unable to return to the US for several weeks.

Her new single and video (up top) for “Take You There” document her journey as a message that shows you can overcome struggle and achieve your passion through commitment and lots of hard work – an old ethic, but it works. Her powerful tones resonate throughout “Take You There” and are totally suited for the percolating 90’s flavours that British remixer Black Silence adds to the song to make it highly club-worthy (link below). The well-edited video gives you a sense of something I firmly believe in – when one door closes, another opens. And another door for Niki Darling is set to open when a full album arrives in 2021.

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Life-changing things can happen on “Tuesdays In July” according to Canadian singer/songwriter @Jeymon_me

JEYMON, “Tuesdays In July”

Waiting to put some spunk into your Autumn playlists is British Columbian singer/songwriter Jeymon with his debut single “Tuesdays In July”. It’s got a playful, sometimes linear-sounding melody that will resonate with you with subsequent listens. Not only that, but the song evokes a special time for the singer (previously known as JMON) when he encountered someone special on a Tuesday in July after a club event. So all of a sudden, Tuesdays in July became equally special, and he shares that happiness he found in this song. Fans of the lighter sides of The Weeknd and Miguel will enjoy the crossover pop-R&B-hip hop music of Jeymon, and you can also appreciate some melodic influences from his Punjabi heritage in the mix. Trading in his accounting education for music, you’ve got to appreciate a guy who offers this quote: “All I want to do in life is cheer people up with my music, literally just vibe and eat unlimited amounts of dried mangoes.”

Published in: on October 17, 2020 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #598, October 12, 2020

With blog posts about 22 songs in the past two weeks, and the fact that I never previously had holidays in September or October (other than a day or two at Thanksgiving), retirement from my day job is sinking in and that is a good thing! I’ve been working on a project to supplement this blog and chart – more news about that in the coming weeks! There are five debuts on the chart and a new #1!

After three appearances (six weeks) at the top, Joel Corry & MNEK’s “Head & Heart” slips to #2 in favour of “Undo My Heart”, a glorious banger by British singer/songwriter Karen Harding and fellow Brit, songwriter/producer Digital Farm Animals. This is one song that immediately turns heads, which is why, to me, it ranks as one of the best of the year!

A frantic-sounding saxophone in a dance music track can never be a bad thing, so “House Is Happiness” by Germany’s Stan Sax cuts through the Top 10 to soar 10-3!

While I’m enjoying MAX’s latest album Colour Vision a whole lot, “Naked” by Jonas Blue and the singer/songwriter inches up 5-4.

Not to be outdone, UK indie singer/songwriter Benedict Cork gets his 2nd Top 5 hit on this chart with “One Last Song”, climbing 8-5. It’s from his new EP, Piano Tapes Vol. 2.

The only new Top 10 entry is a very deserving one. The stylish panache of “What’s Your Pleasure” by Jessie Ware moves up 13-10. It’s the second chart entry from the album of the same name, following “Save A Kiss” (#3).

There’s plenty of movement outside of the Top 10 as long-time faves exit the chart. It’s a bit of a transitional release I think, but Troye Sivan’s EP In A Dream is chock full of interesting songs that sit outside of the Top 40 world, and would be more suitable for alternative radio stations if they weren’t so top-heavy with songs in the rock genre. The winning title song moves up 17-12.

L.A. indie trio Fames, on the other hand, has a could-be pop hit with the supremely catchy “scared of the dark”, which zips up the chart 20-13.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to the latest dynamic duo from Sweden, Pawl & Discrete, with the infectious toe-tapper “Type Like That”, soaring 24-16.

It’s hard not to be drawn into the warm lyrics and propulsive beat of “We Are Home” by Florida singer/songwriter Lauren Mayhew and young Moroccan producer Mariline, as it rises 22-17.

Gliding onto the chart at a respectably high #21 is “Tinseltown In The Rain” by German producer Matt Mancid and L.A. man of many talents Color Theory (aka Brian Hazard). It’s a highly reverent cover of a song by Scottish group The Blue Nile from their 1984 album A Walk Across The Rooftops, which sounds oh so great again 36 years later. Matt Mancid and Color Theory both charted previously in 2013/14, when Matt’s remix of Color Theory’s still-amazing “Headphones” reached #1. Although the original of “Tinseltown” is gorgeous, I’m charting the dance club worthy “Big Rhythm Mix”.

After you hear “Fantasy”, you’re going to want another collaboration from German production duo Saxity, NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and NYC’s “American Idol” finalist Robbie Rosen. “Fantasy” arrives at #23, accompanying songs by both Stan Sax (one half of Saxity, at #3) and Victor Perry (at #9) on the chart! The live performance video is above. Also check out the “Saxophone House remix” below.

Sam Smith last graced this chart with his spot-on cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” earlier this year, which reached #6. His vocal could not have been any better in his latest single “Diamonds”, from his upcoming album Love Goes, which debuts at #25. Listen to Joel Corry’s new remix, too, below.

Denver’s Illenium returns to the chart for the first time since he partnered with Ekali for “Hard To Say Goodbye” (#9) earlier this year with the thoughtful and elegant “Nightlight” at #26.

The fifth debut is by Toronto duo Crash Adams who bring a lot of fun and zest back into rock ‘n roll. Their effortless track “Too Hot To Touch” is accompanied by an amusing video where rocking out in an empty office never seemed so good. “Too Hot” bows on the chart at #28.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

Published in: on October 13, 2020 at 9:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Never Knew” is a 90’s flavoured dance hit in-the-making by UK singer/songwriter @SamDickinson from his 2nd album “Off Script”

SAM DICKINSON, “Never Knew”

I’ve been enjoying Sam Dickinson’s songs for the last 7 years, since the release of his debut album The Stories That Occurred. After a few singles and EP’s in the intervening years, Sam’s much-awaited second album has surfaced, called Off Script. It’s a smashing mix of pop, dance and soul music with a particular connection to the early 90’s. One of the best tracks is “Never Knew”, a dance hit in-the-making which will have you hooked from its first bar, and impresses with its well-layered production. In particular, it will please listeners who enjoyed past songs like “Wild Sun”, as well as the album’s lead off single, “Diamond Skin”, which peaked at #5 and #6 on my personal chart respectively. Those looking for more personal and complex stories can dive deeper into the album’s generous and often affecting 14 songs, which also include his previously released take on Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” as well as his rendition of a lovely track by UK soul singer Mica Paris called “Carefree”. Listen to “Never Knew” up top.

Published in: on October 11, 2020 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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