Las Vegas neo-soul singer/songwriter @Sabrielmusic is back with old school sound of “Fox In The Henhouse”

SABRIEL, “Fox In The Henhouse”

Despite the common imagery of cheating in its title, “Fox In The Henhouse” by Las Vegas singer/songwriter Sabriel (pronounced shä brē el) is anything but ordinary.  I would like to place the music of Sabriel alongside that of Jessie Ware, who has bundled up disco and British R&B into a tightly woven, accessible package in her latest releases.  Sabriel’s music takes queues from the softer side of that genre, as well as the ballads of Janet Jackson, with even older school Nina Simone and Billie Holliday influences very apparent.  Her sultry voice is versatile, never getting tied down in a particular part of that voice within the song to make it seem one-note.  “Fox In The Henhouse” has a strong message about recognizing warning signs in relationships, but it goes down as easily on your stereo as it would in an intimate supper club.  After I enjoyed her previous release “Love Again” immensely, Sabriel continues to prove that she is a talent to watch and grow.

Published in: on May 6, 2021 at 9:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A.-based multi-instrumentalist @iamJMSN returns with carefree and soulful “Rolling Stone”

JMSN, “Rolling Stone”

Ahead of what will be his 13th album in 10 years (including one instrumental release and two “chopped not slopped” reworks) titled Heals Me, it’s great to hear L.A.-based (but Detroit-bred) multi-instrumentalist JMSN (aka Christian Berishaj) back in form with his first studio release in three years called “Rolling Stone”.  It’s also a throwback to his earlier music, to me less complex and more engaging than his more recent work.   “Rolling Stone” at its essence is carefree, compelling and soulful.  Quietly dynamic, JMSN sounds great and I can picture “Rolling Stone” as the opening song on his upcoming tour.  Having seen his live show back in 2013 and written about him many times (hit the search button on my blog page), he’s an engaging and unpredictable performer, so there is no time like the present to join the JMSN train.

Published in: on May 2, 2021 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s 10/10 #17: @NuelaCharles, @Kislawmusic & @wallflowerperry, #Anzano & @RobbieRosenlive, @CrashAdamsmusic, @Prizmofficial, @KenBauersweden, @Febmusic & @Lexie_official, #Dega, @TommyNewport & @EARTHGANG, and @DJChrisDamas

My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17.  I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one.  But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due.  And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.

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. 

  • NUELA CHARLES, “Space”

Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category.  “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.

  • KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”

NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators.  “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds.  And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too.  Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.

  • ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”

Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well).  Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones.  “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”).  It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.

  • CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”

Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right.  It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot.  Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.

  • THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”

“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings.  In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more.  The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on.  The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.

  • KEN BAUER, “Free”

Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016.  Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally.  “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook.  The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.

  • FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”

Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track.  Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart.  Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.

  • DEGA, “Bad Burn”

Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”.  The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results.  “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.

  • TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”

“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook.  At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies.  His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach.  His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.  

  • CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”

Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix!  It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist.  The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited.  My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!

Enjoy the quiet, soulful heartbreak of “Break Me” by @JustinNozuka from his new EP “then, now and again”

JUSTIN NOZUKA, “Break Me”

After leading the way with the gorgeous R&B/pop duet with England’s Mahalia on “No One But You” and the blissful and subtle “summer night 08”, Toronto’s Justin Nozuka arrives with his first EP since 2018’s album Run To Waters called then, now and again.  Also featuring those songs, the EP includes three new ones, “Miami”, “Rains It Pours”, and the standout to me, “Break Me”,  Justin really doesn’t crack any new ground with “Break Me”, but instead offers what he often does best, especially in concert.  “Break Me” is a quiet, expressive song about heartbreak and loss, passionately sung by Justin recalling earlier songs like “Carried You” or “Oh Momma” with its deep-down soulful root.  Fans will love it and “Break Me” is a great place to start for anyone new to the party too.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Save Me” is a hot new R&B-rock song from NYC’s @AndyxSuzuki @AndtheMethod

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, “Save Me”

The last concert I saw before pandemic lockdown included a fun set by NYC’s Andy Suzuki, when he opened for Allen Stone in my city.  The personable singer/songwriter/guitarist and his project The Method return with “Save Me”, their first new music since their third album, 2019’s Alibi.  In “Save Me”, we hear Andy mostly in Prince-ly falsetto mode while the song is anchored in a classic R&B-rock arrangement featuring thundering drums and percussion as well as Andy’s wicked guitar work.  If you enjoy music by Miguel, Anderson.Paak, Allen Stone and others who regularly straddle R&B and rock and turn those genres into one rich melting pot of style, then you can put “Save Me” near the top of your list.  Check out the well-shot supernatural-themed video above which also features The Method’s drummer/percussionist Kozza.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get worked up and worked out with the vibrant “Fever” by American pop/R&B singer/songwriter @officialDuncan

DUNCAN, “Fever”

“Fever” will help shift your Spring into full gear, a vibrant and energetic new song that will  also have you worked up and worked out as recorded by American pop/R&B singer/songwriter Duncan.  Once this “Fever” grabs you, it doesn’t have any intention on letting you go.  Duncan has a slick pop style that is greatly complimented by his love for R&B and hip hop.  Co-written and produced by the amazing L.A.-based trio Giiants (recently atop my personal chart with The Disco Fries on “Give It Back”), the song sizzles in that tough place between wanting someone and needing someone.  While he’s released his own songs, over the past few years, Duncan has been heavily involved in other releases by the likes of Pitbull, Austin Mahone and Afrojack, among many others, including several in the hip hop genre. “Fever” is a clean cut breakaway from all of that to ignite Duncan’s many talents in this fresh setting.

Published in: on April 19, 2021 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #611, April 12/21

The chart is shaken and stirred with a lot more vibrant activity than usual!  The favourites of winter are now moving on and making way for the spring upstarts.  In this chart, we have five debuts and a new #1 song.  At the turn of the last decade, I was charting an awful lot of performers with multiple songs from their albums or EP’s.  That time is returning… and unfortunately radio stays the same ol’ same ol’ – Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” took weeks before it was a #1 radio hit.  In any event, I think you’ll enjoy this chart in particular and be sure to check out the songs!!

L.A.-based electronic dance producer Mahalo obtains his second #1 song on the chart with “Not Watching Anymore” (above).  Mahalo has been a mainstay on my chart for the last five years, and his first #1 occurred in 2017 with “Perfect” featuring Canadian singer/co-writer Cat Lewis.  Mahalo has an even better chart week with his latest single “Got That Love” (below), which is the Highest Debut on the chart at #22.  Both productions are in the deep house vein but still quite different from each other, “Watching” sung by a woman, and “Got” sung by a man (both uncredited).

It doesn’t happen too often, but the Fastest Riser on the chart moves up from 15-3, and it’s the absolutely smoking deep house anthem “No More Looking Back”.  The song is brought to you by the partnership of actor/producer Idris Elba and Kevin Saunderson and his revamped Inner City, with a magnificent vocal by singer Steffanie Christi’an.  

These past few weeks I have needed my regular dose of “Jealous” by French producer Wizzay”, which climbs 7-5 from his EP Who I Am?

While Victor Perry’s collaboration with German producers Cal1 and L’essay, his ballad called “Stories” (above), gets snug in the Top 10 moving up 8-6, his second entry with Italy’s Lordnox races toward the Top 10.  The upbeat house track “Myself In You” (below) soars 24-17.

It’s still more than a week away, but Porter Robinson’s long-awaited Nurture album arrives on April 23, and from it, “Look At The Sky” becomes his second Top 10 on my chart, moving 13-8.

Robbie Rosen is a name you’ve been seeing often in my blog for the last 4 or 5 months, and you’ll have to get used to seeing it even more.  The “American Idol” contestant is a rarity – turning out high quality music in huge quantities so far this year!  So, expecting no less, his recent banger with Norway’s Dunisco called “When I Lost You” (above) glides 19-13, while his work with Canada’s MADA and German newcomer production duo inLU called “Habits” (below) bows at #28.

The return of Sweden’s Eric Saade is eyeing another Top 10 placement for him with the Melodifestivalen finalist “Every Minute” vaulting 21-13.

I’m digging how “American Cliché” by Finneas rocks out, definitely one for which you need to turn up your speakers, and it climbs 26-21.

Karen Harding’s latest with UK producer Shift K3Y, the zippy “Morning”, moves up 27-22.

Another brilliant debut this week is a welcome return of Australia’s Peter Wilson and England’s Sean Smith singing together.  While last time it was on the marvelous original “Verona”, this time it’s on a worthy cover choice of the late Robert Miles’ “One And One”, which arrives at #25.  Currently it appears on Peter’s new album Electricity, but will be available as a single with dance mixes later in the week!

Like Gareth Emery’s “You’ll Be OK” last year, “Shine A Light” by France’s 2 Thunders with L.A. based singer/songwriter OMZ combines a touching story about being close to dying with an upbeat 90’s house-flavoured melody.  It debuts at #26.

The fifth debut is by British Columbia’s Tyler Shaw, following up last year’s “Remember”, which peaked at #9.  Bowing at #27 is the Dzeko remix of “When You’re Home”, which totally suits this darker deep house mix from its original pensive ballad format.

NEW!! Planet Radio Canada has returned to the interwebs with The Musicman James Rogers and his “3D Variety Show” each week for three hours of great music as well as a few features.  Listen to my New Music Pick of the Week (usually featuring a song on the chart) in the second hour of the show.  Tomorrow, the show will also spotlight 1960’s greats Lou Christie and Leslie Gore.  Planet Radio Canada’s “3D Variety Show” is simulcast on http://www.classichits.ca and http://www.radiogta.ca from 6 to 9 pm EST.

The music from this chart and blog are also featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings, also 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 🙂  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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

#TheVoice’s @ChrisBluelive returns with the infectious soul-pop of “Moon”

CHRIS BLUE, “Moon”

Although he hasn’t been away from releasing music since he won “The Voice” with coach Alicia Keys in 2017, his latest single “Moon” is a restart in a sense.  “Moon” returns Knoxville, Tennessee-based Chris Blue to the soul-pop that enticed “The Voice” audience to vote him as the winner of season 12, after performing such diverse songs as Motown classic “The Tracks Of My Tears”, Prince’s “Diamonds and Pearls”, Miguel’s “Adorn”, Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic”, R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts”, and more.  He continued to show his versatility after the show with the top notch, ages-old-soulful but risky “Blue Blood Blues”, as well as a holiday EP.  He’s in excellent form in “Moon”, which is a solid original composition that moves along briskly with a memorable lead up to its infectious chorus.  It may have taken four years, but with songs like “Moon”, it looks like 2021 will be a very good year indeed for Chris Blue.

Published in: on April 8, 2021 at 10:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get to know diverse and unique new British talent @SC_Undercover with “Deeper Love”

SC.UNDERCOVER, “Deeper Love”

I first wrote about British alternative pop singer/songwriter SC.Undercover last year at the time of the release of his infectious and quirky “Morals” and its eye-catching video. He returns to show off his vocal dynamics again with “Deeper Love”.  This time, his song is led by an acoustic guitar melody and an even bigger focus on the soulful side of his voice, deliberately intimate in homage to the kind of music he says that he grew up with.  Several falsetto moments definitely create unexpected chills to help take this tender ballad to the next level. “Deeper Love” is a song that easily carves out its own path and draws listeners with its gentle magnetism.  

Published in: on April 2, 2021 at 10:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #610, March 29/21

The new chart is so chock with fun-filled activity, particularly for people like me who enjoy making and reading charts :D, so in these kinds of situations I feel bad about excluding any words about songs that are deserving for one reason or another.  So where there might be an omission this week, I’ll try and make up for it in two weeks.

Amid all of the activity further down, the top two songs remain the same.  Faithless and Nathan Ball keep control of #1 with the rhythmic and witty “Synthesizer” (above) from the album All Blessed.  And Rina Sawayama’s enduring Lady Gaga-esque “Lucid” (below) holds tight at #2.

Zipping up the chart 9-3 to challenge for the top in two weeks is no stranger to this part of the chart – he’s reached the Top 5 six times now – L.A.-based electronic dance producer Mahalo with his Top 10 national dance radio hit “Not Watching Anymore”.

“Escape” is the awesome, beautifully sung electronic dance single by California producer Jay Bird and singer/songwriter Chrxstal Sarah, which glides into the Top 10, up 11-6.

Also new to the Top 10 is the gentle and knowing “Stories” (above), moving 12-8 for NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry with German producers Cal1 and L’essay.  It’s Victor’s 9th trip to the Top 10 as either solo or featured artist!  Victor doubles the pleasure by debuting at #24 with the dance fest called “Myself In You” (below) in collaboration with Italian producer Lordnox.

The final new entry in the Top 10 has been making leaps and bounds these past few weeks after starting its chart journey at #30.  It’s the huge feel-good R&B/pop of “Arms Around Me” by Toronto artist D!XON.  Do check out its engaging video above.

The Faster Riser on the chart, soaring 25-15, is carried by the smoking house of “No More Looking Back” by actor/producer Idris Elba and house legends Inner City led by the amazing Kevin Saunderson.  Its driven vocal by Steffanie Christi’an is icing on the cake!

“Pressure” by Martin Garrix and Tove Lo is is most distinct and decidedly different offering in quite some time, and it climbs 21-16.

Your pre-summer party treat comes in the form of “Friday” by British producer Riton, reviving The Nightcrawlers’ 90’s house classic “Push The Feeling On”, and featuring the antics of social media stars Mufasa and Hypeman.  It’s just so much fun and moves up 26-17.

Equally fun and bringing the beach party to you wherever you are in the world is “Boys” by Florida’s Lauren Mayhew and NYC dance producer INViDA, which climbs 22-18.

Watch out, there is a new banger in our midst, and it’s “When I Lost You” (above) by Norwegian dance producer Dunisco and NYC singer/songwriter Robbie Rosen, which is making short work of the chart, bounding 27-19.  Ever-prolific, you can also check out this new one featuring Robbie by Italian producer Sotschi called “When No One Is Watching” (below).

The Highest Debut on the chart comes from the song that finished 2nd in the recent Swedish music contest Melodifestivalen.  But as strong as the winner (“Voices” by Tusse) might be, “Every Minute” by Eric Saade has the edge for me, and bows at #21.  It’s Eric’s first chart appearance since 2016’s “Colors” and is his first English-language recording since 2017.  Eric previously topped this chart in 2011/12 with “Popular”, “Hotter Than Fire”, and “Backseat”, and “Every Minute” marks his 12th appearance.

Ireland’s Four Nights is actually a recording name for singer/songwriter Tommy Buckley, whose simple but effective take on 80’s pop will take no time getting stuck in your head.  “Want You Always” climbs 28-22.

The third debut on the chart is the first for multiple Grammy Award winner Finneas (and brother, of course, of Billie Eilish, who herself has yet to find her way onto this chart).  Arriving at #26 is blues-tinged rock of “American Cliché” (above), and you can bet that his duet with California native Ashe called “Till Forever Falls Apart” (below) may indeed follow suit in the next few weeks.

The fourth debut is the third appearance on the chart for both UK singer/songwriter Karen Harding and UK producer/songwriter Shift K3Y.  Quickly following up Karen’s #5 “Let’s Get Together” (now at #29) at #27 is “Morning” (above), which also has been released in a wicked club mix by UK dance producer Eli Brown (below).  Karen also charted last  year with “Undo My Heart”, which was #1 for a month, and Shift K3Y previously appeared with Becky Hill last year at this time with “Better Off Without You” (#16) and in 2015, also at this time, with “I Know” (#7).

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NEW!! Starting in the evenings on Tuesday March 30, Planet Radio Canada returns to the interwebs with The Musicman James Rogers and his “3D Variety Show” each week for three hours of great music as well as a few features.  When Planet Radio Canada was first broadcasting a few years back, I had a new music feature segment which I’m pleased to say is returning.  Listen to my New Music Pick of the Week (usually featuring a song on the chart) in the second hour of the show.  Tomorrow, the show will also spotlight The Rolling Stones through some lifelong fans’ perspectives!

The music from this chart and blog are also featured regularly on the online radio station The New Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings, also 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 🙂  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 🙂