14 year-old pop starlet Hitha talks about her latest single ‘Special’ and the challenges of self-doubt that young people face

After the success of her debut single Standing Up With Pride, Hitha has an aim to give young people a voice with her latest single Special. The song is an original take on modern Western pop whereby Hitha draws on her Indian heritage by lacing the pureness of the flute through the rich sound of the saxophone and rhythmic pop beats.

Although given the ballad’s title you might think this is strictly a boyfriend/girlfriend message it is in fact to dedicate to anyone special in your life, from friends to relatives to those who sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve – a tribute of recognition to anyone of any age.

Hitha hopes to inspire young teens and to encourage older generations to take time to listen to them and to understand that their thoughts and feelings are just as important – a topical subject for the nation currently. Her latest single release enforces this message as she says that the song is one that many people can relate to – not just teenagers like herself – because it touches on themes that are true for all ages. With young artists like Shawn Mendes, Madison Beer and Billie Eilish taking the pop scene by storm, Hitha joins them in the representation that young artists have the capability to inspire and achieve and that age is just a number.

Youtube: https://youtu.be/0M4zbLWx3Q4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hitha2018/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ByHitha

 

 

A conversation with: Neethusa

1

Unsigned Interviews have been having a chat with Indian singer- songwriter (and computer science graduate) Neethusha about her origins in music and where she is now with her new single ‘Why Did I Lose You’.

 

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I started writing songs in English and Hindi when I was 14 years old. At that point I didn’t know that I would be taking up music as a full time profession at a later point in my life although I was always fascinated by the idea of being a music artist. After I moved to Bangalore from my home state for work, I found opportunities to record my songs, start singing at coffee shops and restro-bars. It began from there, around 7 years ago. I started performing with bands around 4 years ago.

Celine Dion and Savage Garden songs were the first ones that really caught my attention- my God, their voices! Darren Hayes voice was so magical! I wanted to sing like them, emote the same way through my voice too. Bathroom singing started just around then! Other artists who influenced me are Shania Twain, Phil Collins and Roxette.

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Again, Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Bryan Adams, Backstreet Boys, Ronan Ketaing, Phil Collins, Abba, Roxette- I grew up listening to them and they have had tremendous influence on my singing styles and my songwriting.

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

I have been writing songs for over a decade now. Both in English and Hindi; although singing and writing in English is my forte. I have taken to it much more seriously in the last 4 years after quitting my job as a consultant with Deloitte.

 

How often do you play live?

I play at restrobars and coffee shops around town Wednesdays through Sundays. I play at 1522 and Gillys on New BEL Road, Bangalore on Wednesdays and Thursdays respectively( both great venues!), at the Shangri-La on Friday/Saturday; Marriot Courtyard for Sunday Brunches & The Big Pitcher, Domlur on Sunday evenings ( another great pub).  Apart from this I do trio/fully live band gigs for corporate, private and wedding functions 5-6 times a month.

What has been your favourite moment in music?

There have been several times that I have played my original music for public gigs and people have hummed to the song and requested for it to be played again. Those were the first times they were listening to it; I had this sense of accomplishment then; a beautiful feeling!

Where is the best place to find you online?

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/neethusha

My YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/neethushavc

In conversation with: Music Theory

DownTheAisle_cover1

Unsigned Interviews were lucky enough to get in conversation with emerging Egyptian artist, Music Theory, before the release of his latest single ‘Down The Aisle’.

When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I started writing music when I was about 9 years old. My first song was about 7 lines. It was about a ball rolling down the street 🙂 I was a very shy person growing up. Writing music put me up when I was feeling down. It helped me release my thoughts and dreams, that I usually couldn’t share. I could be whoever I want in this make-believe world that I create whilst writing.  As I grew up, I also wrote about my experiences and emotions.

My inspiration was all those singers that I grew up listening to. Their ability to make me cry, feel loved or pumped up through their songs was amazing. I wanted to have that effect on people. My dream is to touch people’s hearts.

 

Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

I grew up in the eighties and the nineties. I listened to mainstream music. Michael Jackson, REO speedwagon, Sublime, REM, Oasis, NKTOB, Boys 2 Men, Phil Collins, Bon Jovi, Stock Aitken Waterman, Pet Shop Boys, etc.

I could write an endless list. It was always about the song, not the artist. I always listen to mix tapes, never albums.

I believe that everything I hear influences me.

 

How long have you been playing/writing?

About 30 years. However, my song “Down The Aisle” is my first professional release.

 

How often do you play live?

I never played professionally, yet. I plan to do that in the near future, at a certain point.

 

What has been your favourite moment in music?

Band Aid. USA for Africa. It was inspiring and extraordinary. Music can heal and connect the world.

 

Where is the best place to find you online?

https://soundcloud.com/musictheory2016

https://www.facebook.com/musictheory2016/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNHe1k5TPYkM8EHLiaDkL_w

http://www.musictheory.zone/

http://mtmusictheory.blogspot.co.uk/ 

An interview with protest song writer Beldon Haigh

We managed to have a few words with modern day protest song writer, Beldon Haigh, whose latest track ‘Land of Hope’ addresses the current refugee crisis. Make sure to check out the new video below too!

 

Beldon, why write a song about refugees?

People seeking asylum, fleeing the dangers of war, having suffered the terrifying effects of war – deserve our support and compassion. I have been disturbed to see how refugees have been treated over the last 18 months. Their story is not told frequently enough with compassion, they are treated as political footballs and they have been ruthlessly misrepresented and exploited by right wing political groups in order to further an isolationist political agenda.  And sadly that strategy has been effective. The level of fake news about refugees is off the charts and as a society we don’t seem to be too concerned about that. What we are seeing today is a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions but the response of many is to frame these very desperate people as modern day pariahs and lepers.  It’s a total disgrace.  More artists need to sing about this kind of thing, it is far more important than for example, singing about getting wasted.

 

Why do you think bands and artists stay away from protest songs?

Within the main music industry, the act is often completely controlled by their label and management.  In practical terms that means they sing what they get told to sing or they are told what they can sing about.  Quite often they aren’t even allowed to write the songs or all of the songs themselves.  Also the system of talent scouting using A&R has been to a large extent replaced by song/popularity contests and public votes. So its not a commercial environment which is going to back anything that could be too controversial.  You can’t really blame the industry. Like any industry, they are in it to make money,  they are in it to get TV ratings,  they never claimed any social purpose or agenda.  Doing political or controversial things is polarising, it splits the audience, it prevents an artist from being a brand (like soap powder) that everyone can buy.   So automatically that means politics is a risk – and industry of any type hates risk. In my humble opinion the music industry tries to create the perception that it is cool and edgy and it enjoys risk. But selling songs using sex and swearing is actually commercially a very safe thing to do. They know what they will get a return on. They invest in stuff they know will sell and avoid the stuff that they think is risky. Its always been that way really. That’s why EMI sacked the sex pistols shortly after signing them. Too risky.   But what that means for the music consumer is that today there is in fact less choice because the more investment there is behind an act, the less likely they will do anything that is genuinely different, risky, controversial – there is a lot of control in place from label and management and the bigger they are, the more points of risk to consider.

 

Talk some more about Land of Hope – who are indiGO and what is their involvement.

I’ve known Ben and Holly at IndiGO for a few years now. They are truly inspirational and selfless people who are incredibly committed to indiGO’s mission and truly embody everything you’d love to believe the leaders of a charity embody. They are very hands on and involved in providing support to refugees in places like Lesbos and Thessaloniki.  They don’t just prove support and help, they have been appointed by Help Refugees (another amazing charity) to coordinate the work of aid agencies on the ground in Greece.  When I wrote and recorded the song I sent it to Ben and Holly and asked them if they’d be ok with indigo Volunteers being the beneficiary of the proceeds and they were very happy about that. indiGO has a really interesting approach because they don’t just raise funds and provide support, they also organise volunteering – so for people really interested in helping and can spare the time – IndiGO Volunteers is a great place to go.

 

What sort of reaction have you had to Land of Hope so far.

It’s early days but so far very very supportive. People like the song, they love the video, they get the message and they see it as important to keep this issue front of mind. Of course there are detractors too, those who like to believe the fake news, but that’s life. One day soon hopefully there will be a realisation that we are all in this together.

 

What is next for Beldon Haigh

Something very different is coming in eight weeks…please watch this space. In the meantime please enjoy Land of Hope, buy the single, share the song and video, like our Facebook page and connect on Twitter!

Links:

https://twitter.com/beldonhaigh

https://www.facebook.com/Beldon-Haigh-Freedom-An-Anti-Trump-Protest-Song-1270990246327550/?fref=ts

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/freedom/id1195525999?i=1195526008

Get To Know: Pimlican

pimlican-image-headed-no-links
Unsigned Interviews got an insight into the world of collaborative artist and producer, Pimlican.
When did you first get into music? Who or what inspired you?
I have always been into music and loved listening to the radio especially Radio 1 for great pop music. More recently I feel that Harris and Ford would be one of my greatest influences as they know how to produce great pop / dance music, play live and create a party atmosphere. They also produce brilliant videos for their hits. Klankarussell were also one of the inspirations that got me writing tracks and in particular, the tracks ‘Sonnentanz’ and ‘Netzwerk’, again great videos. Other influences include Chris Brown and tracks that feature Rich Gang and assorted rappers such as Tyga and Young Thug, just great street music.
Who did you grow up listening to and does that impact on what you create now?
I grew up listening to the all of types of music and styles from The Rolling Stones to Dance and Pop music, plus some classical composers like Beethoven. I believe all of these have had some form of influence on my writing/production nowadays.
How long have you been playing/writing?
Seriously about two years now, but it has moved up a gear or two in the last twelve months which has been reflected in radio plays.
How often do you play live?
It can be a struggle getting gigs for acts that are not traditionally guitar based but we finally have a line-up that works and have 2 or 3 in the pipeline, these include playing in a record shop which is I feel the purest way to get the music heard! Our first gig at the Riverside in Leeds went down very well.
What has been your favourite moment in music?
Being invited to London to have my music heard by a top A&R dept. That will always stay with me even though they decided not to sign at that time.
Where is the best place to find you online?
Links:
https://www.facebook.com/belgraveroadrecords
http://www.belgraveroadrecords.com/
https://pimlican.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/pimlican-97234536
https://twitter.com/belgraveroadrec
https://soundcloud.com/belgrave-road-records
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puczuTIE4nA

Andrea Di Giovanni-Interview

 When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
I first got into music at the age of 4 attending my first piano lesson. From there on I got into classical studies for a bit then left them ’cause I wasn’t enjoying them much. Around the age of 8 I started singing because they told me I had nodules on my vocal folds and they said that singing the therapy to heal them. Around the age of 18 music took the lead in my life and it started to be everything I ever wanted to do. My inspiration in music is my soul and my feelings; whenever there’s something bothering me; I know it’s time to sit at the piano and let my heart speak.
 
2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
Growing up I listened to a lot of Motown, Soul and Funk music; my Dad always loved Michael Jackson, Seal, James Brown, Stevie Wonder but also rocky stuff like Queen, Sting & The Police and Depeche Mode. Then in my teenage years definitely Britney Spears had a huge impact on me, I used to dance and sing to her tracks all day long! I guess they are all into what I create now, music is like a travel bad that’s never full; I believe that who we are today as artists is the result of all our influences mixed up with modern sounds.
3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
I’ve been playing piano since the age of 4 and I’ve been song writing since the age of 16.
4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
It depends on what I am focusing on to be honest. At the moment I am not gigging too much as I’ve been very busy producing the EP; I am currently finishing the last track, so once that is finished, I will focus on getting live shows.
5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
Playing a venue such as the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire twice; it’s been only uni showcases but that stage gives you a rush of adrenaline that only few stages give.
6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
 You can hear more of me on my website (www.andreadigiovanni.it/en), my youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/andreadigiovannioff
You can hear more of me on my website , my youtube channel and my facebook page.

Challan-Interview

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I started out dancing and first performed as a dancer. This then lead into me doing a little bit of tour managing for other artists. I would learn a lot form watching them perform and also get some experience from the managing side of the business from a bookings and tourings perspective. Then as I started to take singing more seriously I started  to look for producers to work with and I think my first real effort at producing what I considered complete song was with producer Blaze Billions, on a track called BreaK A Beat (this was never commercially released, just sold on the street as a CD). This was a very good development experience for me, and helped me to understand more of the process that is involved in producing a song and getting it mixed and mastered.

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Growing up I listened to Michael Jackson, I loved his passion, singing and powerful performances and aspire to learn from his examples in performance, energy and positive messages. I also enjoyed listening to Whitney Houston some R Kelly, and older artist like The Temptations.I enjoy a broad range of musical styles and often their might be just one track like from one or another artist. The music I have enjoyed listening to has had a positive impact on the lyrical content and message I hope my music conveys. I love good wholesome uplifting music and this is what I try to capture when I create songs.

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

I have been writing my own music for over 10 years on and off, but really only started seriously in the last 3 to 4 years. I wrote my first song when I was about 17. I remember being quite pleased with myself that I had managed to pen down something. But since then, I have written all my songs, sometimes with a little bit of help and direction from some other talented writers and performers. My writing has developed through this time and my 1st major project (Step By Step and the full album ” A Peculiar People”) has come to fruition.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

At the moment I am performing at 150 schools across the UK as part of my Step By Step positive music schools tour. And taking bookings to perform at venues across the UK.

The events page on my website has the upcoming events:

http://challancarmichael.co.uk/live-events

And you can check out some of the tour so far through the promo video slide show below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OdyGRKyl3B0

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

I will always remember watching Michael Jackson in the MTV 1995 music awards. This was a really cool performance and one that stands out very clearly in my memory as one of my favourites.

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

Pre-order now: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/step-by-step-single/id1093444648?ls=1
www.challancarmichael.co.uk
https://soundcloud.com/challancarmichael
https://www.facebook.com/challancarmichaelmusic/
https://twitter.com/ChallanC
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCexVQanNA09bzBSj6P4T9ig
https://www.instagram.com/challancarmichael/

Pop Starlet – Olivia Shafique – Interview

OLIVIA MY MUSIC COVER 500pix

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?

I’ve always been massively into music. Not just singing but music in general. I grew up always having music around me as my parents are big music lovers, there was always music playing in the house. I realised I loved to sing when I joined Stage Coach in junior school, I then went on to perform in school plays and local theaters. Realising it was a massive passion and the direction in which I wanted to take my life I started singing lessons in senior school and took my grades. I studied drama for GCSE and A Level and as I still loved it I went on to Italia Conti. That’s when I learnt to write music so I guess I have my parents to thank for my love of music, the genres they listened to were so wide I was inspired by artists such as Mariah Carey, Cece Peniston and Ella Fitzgerald.

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?

Growing up I listened to such a wide variety of music. I was really into Whitney Houston as a young girl it was definitely Whitney that gave me my passion for singing. My parents were really into dance music so that has always been around me, I’ve grown up listening to all of the club classics some of my favourite artists being Luther Vandross, Black Box, Jocelyn Brown and Chaka Chan. To this day am a huge fan of more modern house/dance music. Eventually I would love to feature on a big dance track, definitely a dream to have thousands of people raving to one of my songs at a festival! In terms of what I create I think my inspiration comes from listening to RnB and the UK music scene. I’ve always been a big fan of grime music

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?

I took up piano lessons in School along with singing lessons. It wasn’t until I started college at Italia Conti that I gained a passion for song writing. That was when I was 19 and haven’t stopped since.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?

I haven’t been playing live as often as I’d like to recently as I’ve been so busy in the studio and working on music videos ect but hopefully soon I will start performing live again. I have been offered a live acoustic session at the Bixou Lounge in Esher the last Thursday of every month so watch this space, I will be there soon!

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?

My favourite moment in music so far was probably doing my first music video. It was the first time I had ever done anything like this and it was such a big learning curve. It was just a really exciting day and I love watching the end result after taking endless shots. I’m definitely looking forward to my next one, it’s going to be bigger and better. I can’t wait to do it!

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?

You can find me on Facebook for anything music related on my fan page. I also have Instagram and Twitter which will give people a more personal insight into my life as well as all things music. And of course any performances/songs and videos I do will be posted on YouTube. Also check out my website www.oliviashafique.com.

Shannon K

1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
When I was young, I used to listen my Dad’s songs on Radio, TV, Movies etc. So Music was always in my mind.

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
I’ve grown up listening Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand and my Dad Mr Kumar Sanu of course. Celine Dion has a deep impact on my singing though I used to listen to Whitney Huston Rihanna and Adele too. I’ve learnt expressions in singing from my Dad.

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
I’ve been singing for 4 years but only in school and Church.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
As you know this is my debut single. I’ve never been in live singing since my parents thought that I’m quite young to make it a profession.
I will sing live soon.

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
Roll Back The Years has been my favourite moment in Music. I never have to sing to prove myself and I just got a chance while humming casually. Even I wasn’t aware of that I’ll make a debut at the age of 12! That’s why I think I’m blessed by God.

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
Youtube video and My Facebook page is, where anyone can find me online . My song is available on ITunes for download. CDs are available at Amazon and Ebay.

Ankit Love

ankit3b&w1 – When did you first get into music? What or who Inspired you?
Well, music got into me first, there was not much I could do, the piper’s sound captivated me and before I knew it, I was consumed in this mad art of sound and time!

2 – Who did you grow up listening to, and does that impact on what you create now?
Nobody, I never listened to people, teachers, grown ups, not because I was being rebel or something, but I was always floating in a day dream. I try and listen a lot more now to make up for lost inspiration.

3 – How long have you been playing/writing?
From the moment of conception, I was plotting my creations in the womb.

4 – How often do you play live (include details and links for any upcoming gigs)?
After I complete my second album then the Love will go live.

5 – What has been your favourite moment in music?
Inspiring a young girl in Canada, to make a shot by shot remake of my first music vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cqy2EBV48aI

6 – Where is the best place to find you online?
Everywhere, I am omniwebsent! But hey, might as well start with my website: www.ankitlove.com