Manchester singer-songwriter Tom Walker‘s star has ascended extremely fast during 2017. The 25-year-old has rapidly built-up a strong reputation not only for his engaging, heartfelt songwriting, but his live performances have also wowed, with a voice that has a ‘sit-up-and-pay-attention’ affect that is reminiscent of the first time hearing Rag’n’Bone Man live for the first time.
Highlights of this London show included Karma, and latest single Leave a Light On, with the whole audience singing along to both songs and really ramping up the atmosphere. The stripped back Fly Away With Me slowed the pace down a little, uniting the audience in a flow of escapism. This was all perhaps topped by Heartland which, along with Blessings, is arguably among Walker’s signature tunes.
His live performance was a great combination of meaningful lyrics with raw and raspy vocals that accentuate his ability to capture the audience. There are even interesting influences of hip hop which make his sound quite unique.
He told the crowd that he had previously performed in every room in this London establishment, from the tiny back room, to the slightly larger space upstairs, and now the main stage itself. It tells the story of Walker’s growing profile, and suggests the stages he’ll be performing on in 2018 will be larger still.
He’ll be back on the road during March and April 2018 with a tour across the UK and Europe – tickets here.
Review & Photos: Rebecca Cribb
Every now and then, a voice comes along that just grabs the attention. You can’t necessarily put your finger on it, but it just connects on some frequency that manages to stir up emotion and feeling like nothing else.
This support slot for headliner Betsy was the second time we had caught London singer-songwriter Sonia Stein live, and on each occasion, her performance was enough to suggest that she will surely be much more widely known by this time next year.
Although fundamentally pop at heart, hers is a soulful, emotive sound, equally suited to the uptempo funky numbers as it is the hushed instrument-light ballads. Highlights of the set included Sixes & Sevens, Lotta U, and latest single Do You Love Me, although to be fair, the all-round strength of her material is clear for all to see and hear after what has been a busy year of working on and releasing new songs for Stein. Continue reading
New from 22-year-old Brighton-based pop artist IVI, Lay With Me is a sleek pop tune with a light touch and sunny feel that makes you forget the cold weather outside.
Similarly, through a trippy ‘fly on the wall’-style bit of filming, the accompanying video takes you back to hazy, sky-blue summer festival days and the sweet scent of freshly cut grass. What’s more, IVI’s voice is rich, smooth, and mesmerising, making her one we’ll be keeping a watchful eye on!
IVI – Lay With Me
Another artist who has taken the acoustic option for their latest tour is Jake Bugg. The Nottingham musician released his fourth album Hearts that Strain a couple of months back and wowed his Cardiff fans with what was a very relaxed gig in a theatre-style venue. He was super casual too – just him and his guitar singing and talking.
It was a far from a conventional show, and all the better for it. Bugg was very good at interacting with the crowd, even at times entertaining requests from the back of the room persuading him to do a song on the spot without it having been rehearsed or on the setlist – Country Song was added to the list in this impromptu way. Continue reading
A suitably upbeat tune for the onset of the weekend, the latest song from Jerry Williams is Grab Life, a rallying call to make sure life doesn’t pass you by. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter from Portsmouth has an incredible knack for delivering catchy, wonderfully constructed songs, and clearly works with exactly the right people for helping her bring these ideas to the final finished stage – in this instance, the song has been co-written with Nick Atkinson (Gabrielle Aplin) and produced by James Earp (Fickle Friends, Bipolar Sunshine).
2018 is bound to be huge for an artist that Sync has been tracking pretty much since the beginning, with appearances at next year’s SXSW and The Great Escape already in the diary.
Jerry Williams – Grab Life
This super-strong new song from London singer-songwriter Saint Clair is Human Touch, the second track from her forthcoming EP D2, due out early 2018.
Saint Clair – so-called after her mother’s Scottish ancestry – is the recording alias of French-speaking North Londoner, Emma Topolski. She began her musical life as a gigging jazz singer, as she puts it, “playing three or four times a week, getting ignored in the corner of a five-star hotel”. The experience now repays itself in Saint Clair’s easy integration of a love for old standards, soul (Stevie Wonder) and classic rock (The Beatles) with her affinity for the electronica-rooted modern soul of artists like Son Lux and James Blake.
Saint Clair – Human Touch
Supporting Clean Cut Kid on their current UK tour, Callum Beattie has been winning plenty of new fans across all parts of the country of late. We took a few shots of Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter Beattie and his band during the Southampton leg of the tour.
Setlist: Lost Souls / Shine On / Man Behind the Sun / Don’t Cut the Rope / Miracle / We Are Stars / Highlife.
Photos: Phoebe Reeks
A very strong debut tune from Hana Brooks, Leave It is very much a part of our forthcoming brand-spanking-new Sync List, bringing a superb indie-pop vibe to what promises to be one of our best playlists yet.
Brooks has been touring the renowned Sofar Sounds circuit in London all summer and will be playing across the UK in November to promote her release. Leave It is available to download from 6 November, while upcoming live dates include Leicester (2/11), Leamington (4), Northampton (10), and Buckingham (16).
Hana Brooks – Leave It
Nick Mulvey hits the road again next month. He spoke to Sync about latest album Wake Up Now, the pursuit of free expression, and how his new band has enabled him to open up a whole new set of possibilities…
To say it has been a hectic year and a half for singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey would be something of an understatement. As if relocating from London to the countryside and becoming a father for the first time wasn’t enough, this month has seen the release of his second studio album – and a packed schedule of global tour dates in support of that album are about to kick off on 1 October.
But the 32-year-old has been energised by a wholly positive reaction to his latest set of songs. “It’s been really, really lovely,” he said. “On a personal level, I’ve lived with this album for a long time in terms of the writing of it. The build-up to releasing an album is a long one too, in this case all the way through May, June, July and then into August, and so the pressure ramps up a bit. It’s funny, I almost forgot during some of the more intense moments that the whole goal is to release an album.
“For me, it’s been a really lovely and necessary release in more ways than one. These songs are naturally a bit more provocative and maybe even a bit more divisive in terms of the subject matter, so there has been an interesting complexion to the response from people since it’s been out. But people have been letting me know they love it.” Continue reading
You only have to consider his list of collaborations to get the measure of John Legend. The Ohio-born singer’s roll call of team-ups has seen him working with the likes of Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Britney Spears and Magnetic Man over the years – among many others.
His current Darkness and Light tour has seen him take his breathtaking showmanship around the world this year and he was in top form for this Cardiff stop-off. Of course, his well-known hits figured prominently in the set, including Used to Love U, Ordinary People and All of Me. A dazzling backdrop of graphics and illusions accompanied him throughout, sometimes using visuals to emphasise some of the more serious points he wanted to convey, including his support of the Black Lives Matter movement during Wake Up Everybody. Continue reading
Very much liking this from US singer-songwriter Jillette Johnson. Flip A Coin is taken from her album All I Ever See In You Is Me – an intriguing album that is well worth checking out – and the song showcases her considerable talents as a vocalist and pianist.
Jillette Johnson – Flip A Coin
Released today, Painkiller is the latest tune from Liv Dawson and it has a smooth, slick vibe.
The singer from Shepperton, Surrey, has been steadily building up traction over the past year with a string of super-strong songs, including the excellent Searching. The new song comes following a busy schedule of summer dates including appearances at Dot To Dot, Bushstock, Wild Life, and Barn on the Farm festivals.
Liv Dawson – Painkiller
We’re very much liking the groove of this tune from singer-songwriter Elena Ramona. Born in Greece but now based in Guildford, Surrey, Ramona’s smooth vocals are accompanied by some big, bold production on The Neon Lights and the whole thing comes together so well. One to watch.
Elena Ramona – The Neon Lights
British singer/songwriter Tom Forest returns with the second release from his upcoming debut album Hope. Believer has all the soulful, uplifting brilliance of previous song Summer.
It has a simple melody, with a sincere vocal delicately delivered and totally compelling. Of the song, Forest says: “Last year I was in a dark place with music. It felt like life was telling me it was time to stop, even though it was something that had always been second nature. To make an album took a huge amount of support from friends and family – many people contributed to that process and I’m so grateful.
“Sometimes the value of dreams is not in whether you achieve or fail, but in the belief in that it brings out in those around you. If you find yourself fighting a battle, even if you lose, you see who comes to join you.”
Tom Forest – Believer
Heading up our latest Sync List, the new song from Swedish singer-songwriter Skott has all the ethereal beauty of her earlier songs Porcelain and Glitter & Gloss, building delicately to something of altogether epic proportions. There’s a hint of Lana Del Ray to start with, some Kate Bush-esque magic too, but really, Mermaid signifies more of a confirmation in earnest of Skott’s very own distinctive style.
Hearing her live is believing – those high notes really are that flawless when she performs. Shortly heading to the US for a couple of support slots with the mighty Phantogram, her next UK headline show in London on 13 September is sold out but fans can track her down supporting MØ on her autumn tour dates in Bristol (23 October), Glasgow (24), Manchester (25), London (27), Norwich (28), and Birmingham (29).
Skott – Mermaid