Thursday, 12 January 2017

Donovan Blackwood is Number One

Congratulations to UK Soul singer Donovan Blackwood on his single ' Never Gonna Let You Go'' the remastered bonus cut on his new EP 'Break My Back', that is currently #1 in the official UK Soul Chart, the chart goes out every Sunday evening on Starpoint Radio and then repeated through the week, you can find it in print in Blues & Soul Magazine and on Starpoint Radio's web site.

I was shocked reading the credits on his website as through out the promotion he never mentioned he is also an award winning actor! As an actor played The Chief in the series Top Coppers on BBC3, for which he won the Movie Video and Screen Award for Best Comedy Performance the show then transferred to BBC2. He also featured as Drill Sergeant Baxter in The Windsors, as well as an appearance as Roughneck in Miss You Already, his voiceover work includes both Sony & Rubicon.

Break My Back features the love song 'Can You Feel ' plus the visceral title track. Whilst Star is both funky and soulful to the reflective 'We Had Moments', then ending the EP 'Everybody But Me' which was co written with Blackwood's friend Junior Giscombe, (Mama Used To Say), whom he has recently made a guest appearance on The British Collective’s latest album, The Renaissance Begins, on the track Won’t You Come Over which also features Junior Giscombe, Roachford, Lee John (of Imagination), Omar, Don E & Noel McKoy.

He is currently lead vocalist for the band Heatwave who scored top UK hits with, Boogie Nights, Always & Forever & The Groove Line, which he has done for many years in the UK, alongside Keith Wilder.
The UK Soul star sounds in a similar styles and has been compared to the likes of, Seal, Sean Escoffery, Terence Trent D'Arby, in other words UK soul with a bit of an edge. Donovan Blackwood is no newcomer to the UK Soul Scene, he has supported, Aswad & Jocelyn Brown, sung backing vocals with the likes of Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, James Morrison and many others. It's great to see Donovan Blackwood on top of the stack where he belongs!

Stop Press - Donovan Blackwood will be doing a live acoustic set LIVE on Solar Radio Thursday 26th of January on Gary Spence's Afternoon Delight show between 3-6 UK Time.   

Saturday, 7 January 2017

SoulfusionSeven Steppin' Up to Number one

SOULFUSIONSEVEN are soul duo comprising bassist/songwriter John Saltwell and lyricist Paul Baker. We first heard of 'em on a Tom Glide's 2014 'Smooth Winter' compilation on which their 'Steppin' Up My Love' was a highlight. The track went on to hit no. 1 in the Amazon Nu soul chart. Since then not a lot, save a sweet and stately tribute to Luther Vandross, 'Luther'.

Back in 2016 at the time of 'Steppin' Up My Love',  Gary Van den Bussche of DSG commissioned remixes of the song but for whatever reasons the new mixes were never issued. However, over the last month or so Paul Baker allowed some key DJs access to the T-Groove Yuki "T-Groove" Takahashi mix of the cut and the reaction was remarkable with many top modern jocks picking the cut as their "best of 2016"! 

Logically the tweak is now being made available to all and sundry via DSG Records... and was the wait worth it? Well ... yes! The Yuki Takahashi T Groove mix of 'Steppin' Up My Love' is a classic slab of modern soul... you know what I mean – totally contemporary but with just the right amount of retro to fuel the nostalgia freaks. Beats are tight, harmonies sweet, the bass line rock solid and it's all topped off with a soulful sax break. Great stuff and it's backed with the more balladic 'Watching An Angel'.

SoulfusionSeven - Steppin' Up My Love - (Yuki T-Groove remix) is out now on DSG through i Tunes Download here  and Amazon
                                  (Japan's #1 Remix producer Yuki T- Groove)
Review: with thanks to Bill.

The song is currently #1 on the Amazon  R&B Chart in Japan! 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

LUV Sympli Whitney

Whitney Marshall a.k.a. Sympli Whitney was born in Springfield, MA in 1976 and raised in Framingham, MA by her two loving parents Benjamin and Lucy Marshall; both devout Christians and ordained Baptist ministers, Whitney's vocal journey started early as a young gospel alto in various church choirs from middle school through college.

During her college years she became more confident in her performance abilities after landing lead female vocals for an up and coming funk band out of Indiana known as The Big Bang Theory. It was in this period of time Whitney began to really show her first true signs of greatness, performing alongside George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelics at Ball State University was the highlight of this time for Sympli Whitney.

After college Whitney joined the work force which led her to an interest in criminal justice. This eagerness to learn found Whitney enlisting in the US Army in 2002 and living abroad for several years before being honorably discharged after suffering an injury while in S. Korea in 2006. Upon return to her family's home in Framingham, Whitney, again driven by her love for helping people, followed a career path in human services, adolescent healthcare, mental health and healthcare administration in which she holds an MBA. All while actively singing lead/co-lead female vocals in a variety of local bands around the Boston area such as Mystique, Nemisis, E-Water Band and Athene Wilson and Friends; all this in addition to forming her own band, perfectly named Sympli Whitney.

In 2014, Sympli Whitney appeared on BET's APOLLO LIVE season 2 airing on September 26th, where she received accolades from the legendary Gladys Knight, Boston's own Michael Bivins and the incomparable Doug E. Fresh! The Judges, searched for words to explain why they enjoyed her performance and why they were each impressed. Whitney has that effect on people. It’s hard to say who she reminds you of because she has a sound and vocal style of her own, yet she could remind you of such legends as Evelyn King, Patrice Rushen or maybe Cherelle. Whitney was one of the featured artists on the 2014 independent release titled “Indie Soul United 2.” She was featured on “7 Days A Week,” “I’d Rather Say Good Morning” and a remake of the Stevie Wonder classic “Black Man.” “ISU 2” reached the #2 spot on the U.K. Soul Chart. 

Fast forwarding to the present, Sympli Whitney continues to win fans all over around the world with her soulful voice. Landing on several UK charts, such as the UK Top 30 Soul Chart, early January 2016's release of her freshman album 'Ryze of the Phoenix', would spark a fire that would not dim for almost 8 months! With powerful single remixes like 'The Best' by Colin Watson released on UK Soul designer label DSG, to the bouncy French vinyl release of the double a side 'Get Enuff & Fresh Luv which were captivating nostalgic beats pounding you out of your seat and into a dancing frenzy like you were in the 80's, but with enuff feel for today. It's is no wonder Sympli didn't slow on the UK Soul charts for some time and no wonder why Whitney is featured in all the best of chart for 2016, with her album, 'Ryze of the Phoenix' and singles, 'The Best' & 'Get Enuff' / 'Fresh Love'. 

Sympli Whitney has stars in her eyes and with determination will make this her best year yet, with the release of the Colin Watson remix ep of, L.U.V, Get Enuff, and the mid tempo Echoes which has a reggae surprise breakdown init to expanded her yet to another audience of open minded, 80's groovin', 2017 R&B music lovers of the world. Enjoy The Sympli Whitney, Colin Watson remixed' L.U.V ' EP which is released on DSG Friday 20th January 2016.

Gary Spence's Record Of The Week - Echoes CW MIX from the LUV EP 

 Tony Monson of Solar Radio talks at the end about remixes. 

Download here on i Tunes

Soultracks First Listen review

Sympli Whitney reaches #1, #2 & #6 on Amazon UK R&B chart!