@Adakumusic finds herself “Standing In Love” from her album “PLASMA”

ADAKU, “Standing In Love”

Readers of this blog will recall that I’ve written about U.S.-based Nigeria-born pop/soul singer/songwriter Adaku a few times these past couple of years as she writes songs that suit her beautiful, unique voice, such as “And You Can” (very touching video below) and the evocative, hypnotic “Silent Treatment”.  Last year she released an album called PLASMA, which contains the former songs (including a remixed and tweaked “Silent Treatment” that tones down the original’s mysterious qualities), plus the lulling and thoughtful “Standing In Love” (video above).  So what does one do when we are in the state of said titled song?  We dream of soaring to bliss and sailing down to a safe landing.  And the video captures this by comparing the feeling of love to the specialized plight of the astronaut, both with high ideological states yet wanting the same outcome.  “Standing In Love” continues to present Adaku as a bright and upcoming yet overlooked talent quite deserving of your attention.  You can pick up PLASMA on iTunes.

Published in: on March 21, 2015 at 9:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get Your Groove On to “Ghosts” by @AdakuMusic


ADAKU, “Ghosts”

You’ve got to give Nigerian-born US-based R&B/pop/jazz singer/songwriter Adaku credit for the beginnings of what looks to be a diverse and respectful repertoire as the release date of her album Plasma approaches.  “Ghosts” follows the warm and fuzzy “Or You Can”, the eclectic “Silent Treatment”, and her mashup “Is This Love Song” in a bit of delightful deception.  It starts off in fine pop/jazzy form that allows Adaku to show off her one-of-a-kind voice.  But by the mid 2 minute mark, a reggae-styled Andy Summers/Police-like guitar break starts to shake things up, and the rest of “Ghosts” transforms with more rooty rhythms that could hail from the Caribbean or Africa.  Basically, “Ghosts” is not the slight pop song as it seems at the start – more like the “Ghosts” Adaku sings about want to get their groove on with us.  Adaku is holding a release party for Plasma on April 24 in Washington, DC at 6pm at Ozio Restaurant.  It’s free and she’ll be signing CD’s, so it’s a good chance to meet this rising talent if you’re in the area.  In the meantime, get “Ghosts” on iTunes.  I’ve posted the terrific video for “Or You Can” again below.


“Or You Can” (video):


Published in: on March 31, 2014 at 8:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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morecoolclevercovers: Adaku (@muzikizoxygen), @CaseyStratton, @CleoSol, and Steve (Starchild) aka @SteveGrandMusic

I’ve said it before, but I rarely find a cover version of a song that I like better than the original.  One of the songs I’ve chosen about I DO like better than the original.  With others, I admire creativity and interpretation, and two choices today are smart mashups.


ADAKU, “Is This Love Song”

I’ve introduced you to Nigerian-born American alternative R&B singer Adaku before, with her two classy originals “Or You Can” (and its lovely video) and the provocative “Silent Treatment”.  This time the singer shifts to her sparkling high register for “Is This Love Song” – which is two parts The Cure’s biggest hit “Lovesong” (though youngin’s will know it better as recorded by Adele on 21) and one part Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”.  Set to the melody of the former, the mashup is simply killer, and we get to see Adaku singing as herself this time in the accompanying video.  Expect the unexpected for this well thought out winner.  Watch below and you can download it for free right here.  Adaku’s debut album, titled PLASMA, is anticipated later this year.



Casey Stratton is a wonderful singer/songwriter with a huge, prolific repertoire.  So it was a pleasant surprise for him to dig back into his own archive, from just a few years back, to offer us his rendition of Brandon Flowers’ solo hit “Crossfire” as a free download right here.  Casey pretty much leaves well enough alone and lets the song bask in its own glory (the original got to #1 on my personal chart too in 2010), but he delves into the emotional side, making the chorus and other parts of the song much more affecting than the original.  Be sure to check out what else Casey has to offer in his body of work in his online store right here.  “Crossfire” is a terrific choice – listen below c/o Popservations blog.


CLEO SOL, “Teardrop”

Cleo Sol is a relatively new British singer of Serbian, Spanish, and Jamaican heritage, which makes for a huge jumping off point stylistically for her songs.  She’s had some success in her native country with her fusion of R&B, rap, jazz and funk, so “Teardrop” takes a few steps away from all of that to showcase her singing in a slightly different way.  It’s a slick adaptation of Massive Attack’s classic chilled-out 90’s song that gets interpolated with verses and melody of The Verve’s 1997 worldwide hit “Bittersweet Symphony”.  Hardly what you might expect, but it gels beautifully.  It’s also a free download which you can hear and save below.



The world has recently got to know Steve (Starchild) much better as Country singer Steve Grand with his viral hit “All American Boy”, which essentially was his coming out song/video.  I don’t gravitate very well to country music, so “All American Boy” has not resonated with me, though I’m thrilled that the singer has got some well-deserved new fans, and he seems like a genuinely thankful and earnest guy.  A fellow music buff (and major Steve Grand fan) posted Steve’s video for his cover of Lady GaGa’s “You And I” on a message board where I am an administrator that is just pre-Steve Grand.  All you need to do is watch this explosive performance to hear the oodles of talent that Steve obviously has.  I don’t just like it better than GaGa’s original (not one of her better songs, to me), I LOVE IT and am so glad I get to hear another side of Steve Grand even if it is in the recent past.  Judge for yourself, but “All American Boy” is only Steve Grand’s ticket into the game; now that he’s there I’m gonna watch and see how this talent gets unleashed.  And if he can stay as earthy and true to his fans, there is no limit 🙂

Winter Popervescence #1: Gentlemen Hall, Andreas Moe, Adaku, Chloe Charles, Darin, Bastille, and Max Schneider

Two more of my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13  also have new music for us already  – Gentlemen Hall and Andreas Moe – making it five (the others being River Tiber, Lawson and Baiyu).


Gentlemen Hall, “Sail Into The Sun”

The sharp melody of “Sail Into The Sun” will come at you from all directions, which is probably why Samsung has chosen to feature it in their 30 second ad for their smart camera.  So you’ll be hearing the song for the better part of the year, and thus it’s perfect for pop radio.  Aside from that melodic razzle dazzle, the song is as tight as anything you might expect from the Boston sextet, whose When We All Disappear EP continues to be a free download from their website.  “Sail” and other songs from Gentlemen Hall’s upcoming album should put them all over the international map this year.  “Sail” is also a free download from the band’s Soundcloud page below.

Andreas Moe, “This Year”

Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe continues with the upbeat, melodic, and acoustic-based sound he began with on last year’s Collecting Sunlight EP with “This Year”, also the title of a new EP just released in Scandinavia, with the rest of the world to follow in March.  Andreas has the fantastic ability to create music that anyone can relate to, and make it sound unlike anything out there, with sparkling multi-octave vocals, standing out as a rich effort in a crowded playing field.  Watch “This Year” and listen to three other snippets from songs from the EP below.

Adaku, “Or You Can”

I first wrote about this song by Nigerian-born singer/songwriter Adaku last July, when its unique sounding take on retro R&B styles (and a catchy, singalong chorus) caught my ears.  It’s taken sometime, but a video for the song surfaced last week, and I must say it’s one of the most enjoyable, best-directed videos I’ve seen in quite sometime.  Rather than focus on a story based on the lyrics, the video has a 50s/60s look with an easy-going but engaging storyline that simmers along, making you unsure about what will happen until the last few frames.  Both the song and video are such winners, watch below and spread the word!  Adaku is currently working on a full album release.  Fans of Jill Scott, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Norah Jones will particularly enjoy this.

Chloe Charles, “Business”

Canadian singer Chloe Charles has already established a solid following in eastern Europe, particularly Germany.  Her classical jazz-influenced pop sound will appeal to those of you who enjoy Rufus Wainwright, Regina Spektor, and Kate Bush in “Business”, from her upcoming album Break The Balance (already on release in eastern Europe).  Chloe is also a classically trained guitarist who has already been written up in major press worldwide.  Watch for her to make a splash domestically in March (she’ll also be performing during Canadian Music Week).  A bit of interesting trivia: She’s a step-sister of Julian Lennon, her mother being Cynthia Lennon.


Darin, “Playing with Fire”

There was a bit of a gap between recent single “Nobody Knows” and “Playing With Fire”, but the latter has now been released in Scandinavia in anticipation of the singer’s new album Exit, due on January 30.  Darin Zanyar has been poised for international success since 2008’s Flashback album, but it hasn’t materialized after oodles of hits in Scandinavia and Germany, including “Breathing Your Love” (with Kat DeLuna) and “Lovekiller”.  He’s shifted his style from being Europe’s equivalent to Jesse McCartney to a more dance-oriented pop sound this time around.  Thematically, “Playing With Fire” is nothing new but Darin’s commanding vocal puts it over the top.  I’ll be interested in hearing more from Exit to see if this will be the record to break him outside of Europe.


Bastille, “Pompeii” (Monsieur Adi remix)

Perhaps I’ve missed the initial buzz about this new UK quartet that has apparently signed with Virgin/EMI, but what better way to find out than through an exceptional 90’s sounding house-y Monsieur Adi remix?  “Pompeii” scores big with Dan Smith’s Chris Martin-ish vocal and a verse (“How am I going to be an optimist about this?”) as they parallel being in the crumbling title city to the collapse of a relationship.  Original version and remix are below for you to hear.  Bastille’s album Bad Blood is due in March and they are playing SXSW.


Max Schneider, “Quicksand” and “So Sick” (cover)

Youngins will know New York-born Max as one of the featured cast of Nickelodeon’s now-cancelled “How To Rock” TV show, others will know him from being featured in a prominent Dolce & Gabbana campaign with Madonna a few years back (he also looks a bit like Nick Jonas).  Well young Max has a fine, big, soulful voice that stands alone without special effects thank you, and he’s also a talented songwriter, composing songs for his former show, “Shake It Up”, and the TV movie “RAGS”.  An album is due this year, and if its songs will be of the same calibre of “Quicksand” and his cover of Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” (with Kurt Schneider and Sam Tsui), then you can look for more about Max Schneider in this space.

End Of Summer Pop Blast

BT & Arty featuring Nadia Ali “Must Be The Love”

BT is back and ready to take over dance clubs and radio with “Must Be The Love” in partnership with Arty and featuring the always compelling Nadia Ali on vocals.  It’s a radiant 9:52 that moves by in the blink of an eye.  That’s because its gradual buildup lasts three and a half minutes, but by the four and a half point, you are now hostage with no way out but to revel in it till the end.  This is 2012’s return to Trance the way it should be done, and there’s no one who can take you for a better ride, with all of the glorious details, than BT.

Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield, “Between The Raindrops”

I was so worried when I found out the new single by Lifehouse would include a featured artist.  But it was all for nought when I found out that Natasha Bedingfield was the collaborator on “Between The Raindrops”.  In advance of the band’s sixth album, I find that this might be a little softer pop for Lifehouse outside of its ballads, but Jason Wade’s convincing vocals countered by Natasha’s charm make this way better than what I might have imagined.

Richard Barone “I Belong To Me”

It’s not a new song, but not one that you’re likely to know.  You can change all of that with this free download which precedes the 25th anniversary of Richard’s seminal Cool Blue Halo album, from which the song comes.  I’m a huge fan of the former Bongos singer’s solo albums Primal Dream, Clouds Over Eden, and 2010’s Glow.  At the time, I found Cool Blue Halo to be offbeat for me and I didn’t enjoy its stripped away production.  But after Richard’s impressive body of pop music work, I’m looking to get reacquainted with its songs again.  Watch a recent video of Richard performing “I Belong To Me” below and find out more about the celebration around Cool Blue Halo at Richard’s website.

Adaku “Silent Treatment”

I introduced you a little while ago to Nigeria-born Adaku, with her comfort food for the soul in the form of “Or You Can”.  She continues to dazzle, in a quiet but confident and impressive way with alternative soul in the form of “Silent Treatment”.  The song sits comfortably next to others by Frank Ocean, Jill Scott, Eric Benet, and Alicia Keys.  Download “Silent Treatment”  for free right here, and keep your ears peeled for more Adaku.

Stone Walters “Dancing In The Dark”

UK singer Stone Walters has been a constant in this blog throughout the year, starting with the stunning heart tugger “Home”, and then with the hopeful “World Keeps Turning”.  Now he takes a chilled out approach to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”- and you can’t mess with a song like this unless you can truly sing it.  Listen to the song below, and download it for free by heading over to Stone’s website with your email address.

Nik Miles “Beautiful People” (live snippet)\

Not many pop singers will abandon everything at their fingertips in New York City for Malmo, Sweden.  But as you know from these pages and from those of other bloggers, Sweden could at any point take over the pop world, and not just in a retro Ace Of Base kind of way.  So singer/actor Nik Miles is in good hands if the danceable pop of “Beautiful People” is any indication.  He has a powerful, versatile voice that can transform nicely if given the right kind of song to sing.  But as you’ll see from the live snippet, he’s got the personality, energy, and commitment to make it happen too.  Much is in the works, so look to hear more from Nik Miles before the end of the year.

And don’t forget to check out:

The mind-blowing Skrillex-influenced Birdy Nam Nam remix from left field of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” that blew up last weekend.

The lyric video for “Dreams Are Gold”, the first single and title track of the debut album by DATABOY, which you owe it to yourself to have in your collection.

And one of the best and wildest EP’s you’ll hear all year from the reliable and unpredictable FrankMusik (in disguise as his Vincent Did It moniker) with The SOPA Opera EP, now available to hear via Soundcloud.  Plus, Vince has a daffy and funky instrumental “Grasping At Nothing” available for free download, as well as his remix of “Flesh” by Simon Curtis.

Mid-Summer’s Mix featuring Jeronimo, Carlos Nobrega, Stone Walters, Adaku, Maskerade, Jon McLaughlin, Tone Damli & Eric Saade

There will be more blog posts to come this weekend as I get caught up after a bit of an unintended hiatus.

Jeronimo “Some Other Way”

Jeronimo’s debut album One Kiss is one enjoyable pop ride through thoughtful but generally positive ballads and amazingly infectious dance songs, such as the title track confection currently near the top of my chart.  I didn’t think we’d see another song/video from the album so soon after “One Kiss”, but “Some Other Way” shows the singer in soft pensive mode in a deserted room full of covered objects hiding memories, all sure to acquire more fans in the process.  Jeronimo’s charm is in his unique voice, and his production and songwriting teams knows how to match him up with the words and the flow that makes “Some Other Way” work so well.

Sky Santos featuring Carlos Nóbrega “I Miss You”

It’s only a snippet right now, but “I Miss You” will be released next week by Portuguese DJ Sky Santos, featuring none other than Poptronik artist Carlos Nóbrega, about whose songs “Pitiful” and “Turn It Up” I’ve recently written.  I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the extended mix of “I Miss You”, and being a sucker for Eurodisco and House music of just about any shape and form, I can say that this is a slamming track that would attract attention in the middle of a stomping DJ mix.  Starting with a rather simple percussive beginning and building from there, the song would sound great played outdoors (think Ibiza) and is enhanced by a spoken word break in the middle that allows the song to soar even more right after.

And it wasn’t originally posted when I wrote about it, so I’m posting the full version of Carlos’ “Turn It Up” a second time.  The absolutely contagious positive energy of this song has the potential for a dance smash – I’m waiting for the remixes!!

Stone Walters “World Keeps Turning”

Adaku “Or You Can”

Two new softer R&B songs bring a quiet old school charm to the usual dance-laden proceedings on my stereo.  I can’t get enough of R&B that takes me back to my younger days of the heartfelt sounds of Motown, Stax, Atlantic, and the list goes on.  

You already know UK singer Stone Walters from the beautiful ballad that will turn you into a puddle called “Home”, which flew to #4 on my chart earlier this year.  Stone is in the process of recording his album and has unleashed “World Keeps Turning”, another genuine but slightly more uptempo original which highlights the singer’s classic dulcet tones.  You can help Stone build his album by clicking right here.

Adaku is a new singer based in the US who is originally from Nigeria.  This gal’s got not only got the talent but the brains to go along with it in the form of a Master’s degree in electrical engineering.  Like Stone Walters, I’m really pleased to hear a return to styles of yore, and Adaku takes the best of people like Anita Baker and Janet Jackson (when she sings ballads) to find a happy mid-point.  “Or You Can” is jazzy gentleness incarnate, persuading you to “lay your head on my big ass ‘fro”, but she throws in a few solid high range notes for good measure, and of course makes you want more.

Listen to “World Keeps Turning” (download it with an email subscription) and “Or You Can” below.  

World Keeps Turning:

Or You Can:

Maskerade “Come To Me”

Maskerade is a relatively new R&B singer from California who has released a few acclaimed independent records already.  Literally hot off the presses, “Come To Me” is a sultry mid-tempo love song that will appeal to fans of Usher and Ne-Yo with Maskerade’s colourful vocals.  Consisting of a timeless melody and a familiar theme of longing concocted by songwriter JBreathless, “Come To Me” has punch provided by producer Ray Taylor which makes it instantly memorable.  Listen below.

Jon McLaughlin “Promising Promises” (acoustic video)

I’ve throughly enjoyed “Promising Promises” since I first heard it last Fall on Jon’s album Forever, If Ever.  With a positive reaction to the album’s re-release, you’ll watch the newly christened title track gets a fantastic acoustic workout by this wicked piano man by viewing this video – proof enough that you should get out to see Jon on his next go ’round the country.

Tone Damli featuring Eric Saade “Imagine”

Has it been a hot minute since I wrote about Mr. Saade and the wonderful songs from Saade Volumes 1 & 2 which till recently graced my chart?  In case you haven’t heard, he teamed up with lovely Norwegian singer Tone Damli and promptly went to Spain with her.  At least to shoot the fine, sexy video below, which greatly enhances the song’s appeal.  You can get “Imagine”, already a Top 10 hit in Norway, on iTunes everywhere – still unlike the rest of Eric’s songs, which seem to be mainly limited to Europe.  Hopefully that changes soon.