The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: February

Blog by Louise Dodgson under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

REAL TERMS - ‘Cacophony’
Not your average alt-pop rock band, REAL TERMS love to tinker, experiment and explore, giving their sound a delicious off-kilter, bizarre twist. Think Tune-Yards, Dirty Projectors and Everything Everything - all purveyors of pop music that strays beyond the usual boundaries.

When it comes to our chosen Spotlight song, their latest single ‘Cacophony’ frontman John reveals the story behind the track; “Lyrically it’s about re-evaluating turning points from my past and realising that actually I wasn’t as determined or as focussed or as unlucky as I thought, I just didn’t work hard enough and I made some bad choices. But ultimately, it tries to be optimistic and defiant, because it’s never too late. One of the working titles for the album was “I Know What I Want But Not How to Get It”, and this song is the one that best sums up that idea. Musically we wanted to go hard, but I think the differing textures in the first half of the song make a satisfying pay-off of the big old riff at the end.”

The Liverpool trio have been playing together, in various guises, for over 10 years now which they herald as a massive achievement in itself, “We love each other and we love playing together, and that keeps us trucking.” Along the way they’ve received support from the likes of PROG Magazine, Radio X’s John Kennedy, Birthday Cake For Breakfast, Dusty Organ and The Progressive Journal, and have played alongside Tricot, Radiant Heart, 55 Deltic, and Chew Magna.

Most notably, their set at Arctangent festival in 2017 stays etched on the band’s brain; “It remains the one, the benchmark, the thing we want more of. We only had demos online at the time and I still have no idea how or why we got the offer. At that point we were still finding our way as Real Terms, and our set was at 11:30am, so too early on a couple of counts, but it was awesome.”

REAL TERMS’ debut album ‘Vantage’ will be released imminently (24th February), on new label Sofa Boy Records, set up by one of their favourite bands, Delta Sleep. They’ll also be playing a string of UK dates in February and March (check socials for more info), and with half of their next album already written, it’s looking hopeful that there’ll be more new material to get stuck into before the year is out.

Website   Bandcamp   Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Spotify

JUNIOR - ‘Connection’

Putting Bedford on the map with his distinguishable hip-hop sound, on his latest single ‘Connection’, JUNIOR is blending rap, soul, R’n’B, Latin harmonies and syncopated hand-clap rhythms to create an offbeat, zesty track which will be reverberating around your head for days after just one listen.

And according to JUNIOR, aka James Watkinson, the song came together as effortlessly as its free, easygoing sound would suggest; “This track was made in about 20 minutes. I flipped a South African vocal sample and the rest is history. I wanted to make something that would be amazing to play live.”

After writing and producing ‘Connection’, the first track from his, so far, unnamed forthcoming EP, JUNIOR was invited to finish recording it at Dean Street Studios in Soho. The track, and his previous single releases ‘‘Long Way Home’ and ‘I Feel It Too’ have pricked the ears of his local BBC Introducing station, as well as GRM DAILY, Soccer AM, and BBC 6Music’s Tom Ravenscroft. Last year he played his first festival, gracing the BBC Introducing stage at the hometown River Festival.

It looks like there’ll be more live performances to look forward to over the next couple of months, so be sure to stay connected (!!) on social media for more news on those, plus that elusive debut EP, which we can’t wait to hear when it drops.

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Natalie Shay - ‘The Edge’

Creating vibrant indie pop gems of the highest order, Natalie Shay’s latest single ‘The Edge’ is a bonafide earworm. Don’t just take our word for it - it premiered on BBC Radio 1 and has been garnering praise ever since.

Priding herself on writing relatable lyrics which touching upon self-discovery, love, the everyday experiences of a twenty-something, and in the case of ‘The Edge’, friendship; “This track is about the fallout between me and my best friend last year. It was the most emotional and difficult thing that’s happened to me in a long time. It occupied my mind for so long and a lot of tracks were written.”

Obviously, airplay on BBC Radio 1 was a huge milestone for Natalie, not to mention appearances at a whole host of summer festivals last year, and a wonderful response to her last EP ‘Milk’ including endorsements from the likes of Billboard, Clash, Atwood Magazine, NOTION, Wonderland Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, and Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist.

But even more landmarks are on the horizon, with a performance at the legendary SXSW in Texas this March, and hopefully another magical summer gracing the festival stages. New material is in the pipeline too, so we wait with baited breath for that. In the meantime, if you’re keen to experience Natalie’s contagious pop sounds live, then make sure you grab tickets for her upcoming headline show at The Omeara in London on 3rd March.

Website   Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Spotify

Jacko Hooper - ‘Getting No Place Fast’

Brighton singer songwriter Jacko Hooper has been honing his craft for quite some time now, and it shows. His accomplished indie-folk sound showcases honest and emotive lyricism with an intrinsic and enchanting pop catchiness.

The song ‘Getting No Place Fast’ was written during the frustration of lockdown, as Jacko elaborates “Feeling like time had all of a sudden become an even higher commodity and the music video was sort of reflecting the surreal and bizarre situation we found ourselves in. Beautiful sunshine but running for cover.”

Over the years Jacko has been lucky enough to support some amazing artists including Chet Faker, Michael Kiwanuka, James Bay, Bastille, Natalie Prass, Kiefer Sutherland, James Blunt, and many more besides. Although a personal highlight for him was playing the Brighton Centre; “I never imagined myself performing these songs I had written in my bedroom on the biggest stage in my hometown.”

On 24th March will release his first album ‘Respair’, a long time in the making which culminates his indispensable experience gathered from many years of writing and releasing music, and playing gigs (including Folklore Sessions at the venue he runs, The Folklore Rooms).

Between now and March, a further two singles from the album will be unveiled, plus there’ll be two album launch shows at The Folklore Rooms. Beyond that, look out for Jacko as he takes off on tour, and be on alert for a limited edition run on vinyl of ‘Respair’ which will come out on his own label, Folklore Sessions.

Website   Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Spotify

Safari Gold - ‘Last Chance Addict’

Crafting “pop music for the deeper thinkers”, Cardiff four-piece Safari Gold have been doing what they do best, being best mates and playing in bands together, for 15 years now.

“We always say that's our biggest achievement - the fact that we're still writing, recording, releasing music. We've come close to signing big label deals, played some amazing festival slots at Reading & Leeds, sold out hometown shows and more, but it all comes back to the good times we have as a four really.”

Their second album, due to be unveiled any day now, called ‘The Years Between Dog and Wolf’ has been in the making for the past 4 years, and it’s clear that the chaps simply love creating together, and seeing their joint endeavours come to fruition.

Upbeat and laden with melodic synth, yet laced with a hint of wistful undertone, on the subject of our chosen Spotlight song ‘Last Chance Addict’, the band tell us, “it plays on general morality and the less glamorous side of thrill seeking. We have a lot of people close to us that have blurred the lines of morality just for a cheap thrill. It's a collation of a few stories and characters.”

Safari Gold are set to announce a string of live shows imminently to celebrate the release of their album, so be sure to keep ears and eyes peeled for updates.

Instagram   Facebook   Twitter   YouTube   Spotify

How do I get featured on the Spotlight blog?

Our Spotlight blog is compiled every month from fresh new music submitted to us by our members. We want to hear from you!

We select 5 of the best tracks from our members to champion on Spotlight. As well as being featured on our new music blog, your track will also be played on our monthly Reform Radio show, get a free release package from CD Baby, plus the 5 tracks are also forwarded onto a select bunch of music industry professionals...including folks from Big Life Management, Club Fandango, Decca Records, Memphis Industries, Rocksound, DIY Magazine, Transgressive Records and The Great Escape. Find out more about Spotlight here.

To be in the running you’ll need to sign up as a member to The Unsigned Guide, then follow the instructions in your Welcome email to submit a track for Spotlight consideration to us.

Members of The Unsigned Guide get access to our huge directory of over 8,000 UK music industry contacts, spanning 50 areas of the music business. Check out our quick video to find out more about the directory & other services we provide to help emerging bands and artists.


Emerging and unsigned bands and artists can submit their song for Spotlight tastemaker new music blog


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