It’s time for “10/10” edition #19! July has been an incredibly busy month for releases and in order not to get overwhelmed or to miss any songs that I think you need to hear, I’ve compiled 10 reviews into one neat blog post package.
For those not familiar with10/10, 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.
- GINA NAOMI BAEZ, “My Time”
There’s a good chance that you’ve seen NYC’s Gina Naomi Baez on “Orange Is The New Black” or Netflix’s “She’s Gotta Have It”, on Off-Broadway, or caught one of her viral You Tube videos that have given her a substantial social media following. However, you may not know Gina the singer/songwriter, and “My Time” is about to change all of that. It’s an immediately inspiring song that challenges you to make the most of your time and strive to new heights for yourself and no one else. Being a cancer survivor as a child, having to challenge herself regularly must be second nature to Gina, and her glorious vocal, which at times recalls the power of Sia, is certainly a knock out. “My Time” is also co-written and produced with extreme precision by Matthew Tryba (Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande).
- MIKE LINDUP, “Time To Let Go”
If you’re a fan of 80’s pop, R&B or jazz, then you already know keyboardist Mike Lindup as one of the principals and vocalists in the amazing British group Level 42 (“Something About You”, “Lessons In Love”). If not, then his new solo effort “Time To Let You”, is as good a song to get to know him and his fluid style as a new Level 42 song – and he and Mark King still head up the band to date, which performs live now and again, mainly in England (I saw them perform live back in the 80’s too). “Time To Let Go” harkens back to earlier fan-favourite Level 42 records such as their self-titled album or The Pursuit of Accidents with its rhythmic jazz-R&B fusion, and will also appeal to fans of jazz masters of that era such as Pat Metheny or Jean-Luc Ponty. Mike’s recognizable tones and falsetto sound marvelous here, and I hope there is more to come!
- FUBU and DANNY DEARDEN, “Under My Skin”
UK singer/songwriter Danny Dearden returns to “10/10” territory this time in collaboration with Scottish producer Fubu for “Under My Skin”. You know a solid partnership has occurred when the producer and singer can elevate a song to be more than the sum of its parts. In other words, Fubu’s no-holds-barred rhythms and Danny’s totally infectious vocal make the most of a song that in other hands could have been… ordinary. Fubu cut his teeth revitalizing songs like Lumidee’s “Never Gonna Leave You”, Blu Cantrell’s “Breathe” and “Freak Like Me” by Adina Howard, so that pedigree speaks for itself. “Under My Skin” is a fine release by a team-up worth repeating.
- RAIN MAN & PETE CHO and REBECCA BRUNNER, “Over It”
“Over It” has designs on transporting you out of pandemic fatigue to either get prepared for or back out into the night life, depending on where you are in the world. Chicago’s Rain Man and Pete Cho along with vocalist/co-writer Rebecca Brunner will make sure that you get there with a brisk rhythm track and zesty synths gliding underneath Rebecca’s world-weary but encouraging vocal. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from either Rain Man or Pete Cho, so “Over It” marks a welcome return for both. Rain Man of course had a huge dance radio hit a few years back with “Bring Back The Summer” (which landed on my personal chart too) and, as its third original member, was also the anchor of Krewella’s initial success with their hit “Alive”. Pete has had sporadic but consistently solid releases over the past few years after being a successful restauranteur for many years. I think club DJ’s will love “Over It” as a part of club goers’ return to nighttime living.
- ROBERT BALL, “I Need A Man”
Toronto-born singer/songwriter Robert Ball is not a new name to performing or to Canadian music, having performed in theatrical productions at Stratford, Ontario, on Royal Caribbean cruises, and opened for or recorded with fellow Canadians such as Shawn Desman, Keshia Chanté, Maestro, and Saukrates. And as a gay man, Robert lays his soul bare with his new single “I Need A Man”. It’s as if someone had transported early 70’s cabaret through the soft and sultry voices of Teddy Pendergrass, Luther Vandross and Jeffrey Osborne into a passionate, expressive song whose vulnerability will reach beyond LGBTQ2S+ audiences, making Robert Ball a vocalist to watch for and remember.
- OSVALDO SUPINO, “Lights Down Low”
It’s been a few minutes since I’ve written about the songs of Italian LGBTQ2S+ singer Osvaldo Supino, who had some memorable moments in the last decade with beauties such as “I Have A Name” and “Goodbye”. While he’s continued to record since that time (sometimes in Italian too), “Lights Down Low” came to my attention recently. The song’s production endows it with a much-needed mystique to support Osvaldo’s soft but enticing vocal. The video above also shows what you can create with a variety of costume changes to enhance his performance. “Lights Down Low” is another solid addition to Osvaldo’s repertoire and I think dance mixes could help send it over the edge at clubs.
- TOMMIE SUNSHINE and THE DISCO FRIES, “Don’t Look Back” (Gerd Janson vocal remix)
When you just see the artists’ names, you know that a track like “Don’t Look Back” simply can’t miss. But what you might not know is that this is a remix of a song that Tommie Sunshine and The Disco Fries originally released in 2011, reviving Avicii-era vibes in a progressive remix by veteran German producer Gerd Janson. Gerd melds the vocal track creatively with layers of synths for intriguing and contemporary results, making this one an easy mixing choice for club DJ’s. Tommie and the Disco Fries guys have both made signature leaps and bounds over the years and “Don’t Look Back” is a cool choice for a revival.
- LINDA VARG, “Standing In The Middle Of The Road”
Currently taking a path that isn’t often pursued these days, Sweden’s Linda Varg has massive music industry pedigree which includes being a finalist in Swedish Idol in 2010 and having a major label deal with the group Supernatural. “Standing In The Middle Of The Road” is a straight-forward, even retro-sounding pop-rock track with synth elements that give it a rich scope, and it will appeal to fans of Bebe Rexha and One Republic. “Standing” has a strong message and imagery – don’t wait for people to run over you and shatter your dreams, and, as Linda says “don’t live as a victim of your own bad thoughts.” Her unique persona and this energetic song (co-written by one of Sweden’s best internationally known talents, Ulf Nilsson, with whom Linda has previously recorded) should help Linda acquire worldwide attention.
- KARAZEY and ESTY RICHARD, “Through My Mind”
“Through My Mind” is a breezy, effervescent pop/dance track brought two you by two artists from Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, producer Karazey and vocalist Esty Richard. With its delightful, pulsating rhythm and a vocal by Esty that could remind you alternately of Halsey or Emily Warren albeit with some gentler tones. Karazey is another producer who is coming to your attention while still a teenager. He knows how to build good momentum and provide focus on the strong vocal while creating a backdrop that’s not flashy while still being memorable. “Through My Mind” is a fine introduction to both artists.
- WIESE, “Hear Me”
The positive post-lockdown songs of the pandemic continue with “Hear Me” by Norwegian producer Wiese. He’s from Bergen – the same place from which hail Kygo and Alan Walker. He’s definitely got a talent for creating a mix influenced by R3HAB and Imanbek in “Hear Me”, an uplifting song about all of the possibilities life still has to offer post-pandemic. Wiese’s mix of deft female vocal and pitched-down male vocal – likely by the same uncredited singer, Erin Jarvis – offers a welcome dynamic, and “Hear Me” works well for the dance floor with radio potential too.