About Tracey Dawkins

North-Londoner Tracey Dawkins is a freelance writer and press officer, who specialise in health, youth issues entertainment and music. She’s also a health and fashion correspondent for Exquisite magazine.

Love Her or Hate Her: Lady Sovereign

After her cringing moment on the last ever Celebrity Big Brother, you don’t hear or see much of Lady Sovereign. It’s not the first time the 25-year-old have ‘cringing moments’. Read on, and you’ll discover there’s other ‘moments’ that makes her appearance on Celebrity Big Brother look like a Christmas nativity play.

Lady Sovereign

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLlOzYM8gak

 

Back in 2007, she assaulted and spat (yes you read it right) at a San Francisco- based MC “Jelly Donut” during a rap battle.

During her first visit to Australia in 2009, the I Got You Dancin’ ‘rapper’ was arrested for drunk and disorderly behaviour for spitting after a nightclub bouncer and a getting into fight with a transvestite. All this fiasco occurred within seven hours after she landed.

 

Lady Sovereign

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p48icgIs4sI

 

Last January, The North-West Londoner had the chance to redeem herself on BBC’s political show, This Week. Instead, poor presenter Andrew Neil had to apologise viewers because she decided ‘to do a runner’.

Lady Sovereign or ‘Sov’ later explained in a Guardian interview that she had a panic attack. She added: My hands went stiff and I started hyperventilating. I didn’t want to do it hours before but I went anyway, then I just changed my mind at the last minute, I guess.”

All these catalogue of disasters would well and truly see the back of the ill-mannered artist. Far from it. Sov -whose real name is Louise Harman -- has struck up a deal with EMI to launch her own record label, Midget Records. Immediately follows the first album Jigsaw. It’s definitely not for the faint-heart, as it’s nothing more than you expect from ‘Sov’ herself: honesty, raw, very much in-your-face. It’s that type of rawness that somehow won her thousands upon thousands of fans across the world.

 

Lady Sovereign

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWauowySBn4

 

Now Lady Sov-who gained her nickname by stealing a sovereign ring from her friend’s boyfriend -- set to release her album of more vulgarity at some point this year.

Since Def Jam giant Jay-Z took her under his wing, Lady Sovereign took the world by storm, selling way over million copies of the single Love Me Or Hate Me. Living the dream of a more deserving musician, she toured with the likes of Gwen Stefani and even made music with Pharrell Williams and The Beastie Boys. After six months leaving Def-Jam, she was producing materials under her new empire.

Let’s pray that her new empire keeps her out of disasters.

 

 

Has Katy B got her Lights Switch On about the US?

This is one Brit artist who is not jetting off to LA anytime soon…Dubstep star Kay B is not interested in launching her music career in the US – just yet. The 21 year old – who enjoyed big success with singles, Katy’s On A Mission and, Lights On, featuring Ms Dynamite- feels that there is no need to travel across the Atlantic, as there are plenty of talented artists in the UK to work with.

Katy B

Katy B

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJNXXuAxkfk

The Peckham-born singer added: “Don’t get me wrong, I love American music. A lot of music I listen to is American.

“There are so many talented artists out there but I think at the moment there is a lot of UK talent, so there’s not really much point in me getting on a plane and going all the way to LA, when I could get on a bus or maybe get on my bike.”

Katy B is currently working on her debut album, On the Mission, (which is 95 cent completed) will be released on 28 March 2011. The album promises a mixture of D&B, grime, funky house which is, in her words, bringing the underground to the overground!

Many may think that Katy B is mad not to take up the US opportunity, but this girl is well wise beyond her years and so many UK artists can learn a thing or two from her. She the type of girl who likes to ‘keep it real’ – so there’s no chance of her stumbling out of Chinawhite’s or dating some daft footballer!

Having being offered major record deals in 2009, Katy B – whose real name is Kathleen Katie Brien – musical life really kicked off in 2010. She released her first single, Katy On A Mission with Rinse label (owned by pirate-turn-official radio station Rinse FM). In the same year, Katy B graduated in Popular Music at Goldsmith University of London.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNhPYj-5rIY

Katy On A Mission was released in August 2010 and immediately reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the UK Indie Chart. Her second single, Lights On, was released in December 2010 and stormed in at number 4 on the UK Singles Chart.

Not bad for a South-Londoner. There are so many artists, such as Leona Lewis and Alexander Burke, say they’ll never let stardom go to their heads…give them a couple years! With Katy B you know that she is a mature lady who is true to her word.

A Cut above the Rest – Adele

Today’s music charts are populated with so much disposable pop music. Amongst the cheesiness, there are a few gems to be admired. Adele is one of them.

The first recipient of Brit-Awards Critic Choice began to flourish when she attracted the attention of XL Recordings, who were impressed with her three-song demo on MySpace and offered her a recording contract (the contract later became a joint-venture between XL and Columbia Records).

Adele

The rest was history. The release of the first album 19 (January 2008) brought success beyond belief for the 22 year old Londoner: within the first week of release, the single Chasing Pavements peaked at number two in the UK single charts which has been nominated for two Grammy Awards: Record of the Year and Song of the Year. However Chasing Pavements won a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. The album 19 went straight to number one in the UK album chart.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBmwdlBFs1s

Across the pond, the American audience was a harder nut to crack, as the album was positioned at 56 on Billboard 200 and remained there for many weeks .Eventually, Adele won them over when she performed Chasing Pavements on Saturday Night Live. The following day, 19 rose to 46 and then to 11 a week later. After winning two awards, the album peaked at 10.

19 was (well still is) the perfect introduction to Adele’s first-class bluesy voice which is evidently needed in the pop industry today. This album has led her to become a respected artist of her generation.

Adele now releases her second and much anticipated album, 21 this week (24 January 2011).  Already the album received raving reviews from reputable figures in the music industry. It came to no surprise that 21 is yet another prime example of Adele’s signature style -- the deep bluesy voice that, no doubt, tug the heartstrings. The success of this album is definitely on the cards as it stormed in at no.1 on the German iTunes album chart.

It gets even better as 21 is expected to storm the UK album charts, selling way over 100,000 copies since its release. According to the Official Charts Company, the album is outselling the rest of the top ten albums combined.

Rolling in The Deep, the first in-your-face song from the album sees a different side to Adele as she pushes her vocals to the limit. Written by producer Paul Epworth and Adele, the single was release ten days before the album. Since the release, Rolling in The Deep already received roaring reviews and praises from actress Lindsey Lohan.

Overall, 21 is a pure and honest album, produced to the highest quality. Many of the so-called pop artists need to take a leaf out of her book. Adele sings with such maturity – you forget that she’s only 22. With that level of talent, this artist deserves to be taken very seriously.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYEDA3JcQqw

Cher Lloyd: Strong-Willed Swagger or a Petulant Child?

Apparently the 17-year-old is the next best thing since sliced bread because of her ‘unique swagger’ witnessed by millions throughout X-Factor.  There’s absolutely nothing original about the rapper from Worcestershire – in fact American artists have been working those moves for years. The only original trait the Lloyds have is that she sings and moves like (in the words of much hated tweeters) a stroke patient.

Cher Lloyd

Cher Lloyd

Receiving intense support from her so-called mentor Cheryl Cole, she finished at fourth place in the competition, smiling like an arrogant cat (did anyone noticed that?) That’s because there was a war between Jay-Z and Will-i-am in a bid to sign her to their record label. But Lloyd – who looks more and more like Cheryl Cole – was snapped up by Simon Cowell’s label Syco.

Since the end of X-Factor, Cheryl was whisked off to LA to produce material for her first album (God help us). On return to the UK, she was faced with nearly 500 of fans at Heathrow airport. Reports reveal that the crowd was so fierce that little Cher was rushed into a police van.

Meanwhile across the Atlantic, Lloyd needs to grab all the fans she can get- the Americans have already branded her as ‘trashy and low rent’. Even her style hasn’t gone unnoticed by US showbiz guru, Juliet Izon.

 

The Life and Style news reporter said, “Lord, girlfriend needs a stylist! With her style, Cher would send the American paparazzi running.”

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsYyrIzn14k

“Her clothing choices are low-rent. There’s no chance a US audience will have anything to do with her, unless she gets her teeth fixed, stops wearing her hair like a wannabe Rihanna and gets a stylist to burn her current wardrobe and replace it.”

Cher Lloyd on Stage

Cher Lloyd on Stage

It doesn’t end there as just a few weeks of the taste of stardom, strong-willed Cher is at loggerheads with US stylists.

Cher- who wants to crack America quicker than Leona Lewis – has a long way to go. Yes it’s good that she wants to do her ‘own thing’ but there is a word that the ballsy rapper should live by – compromise. If she wants to crack America so bad may be, just may be, Lloyd can learn to compromise on choice of clothing and music -- otherwise she may not make it to the release of her first album.

Cher Lloyd

Cher Lloyd

However Lloyd- who threatened to walk if Syco does not let her record urban songs– seems to have luck on her side as two most influential musical figures are after her. Following her threat to leave Syco, Jay-Z and Will-i-am approached Simon Cowell about buying the tearaway teenager out of her recording contract. No doubt Lloyd must be very flattered – you can almost see her ego growing by the minute.

Is Cheryl’s Job as US X-Factor Judge in Jeopardy?

Cheryl Cole - X-Factor Judge

Looks like Cheryl Cole’s dream to crack America as an X-Factor judge has been put on hold. TV producers of the US version of the show have doubts that the Girls Aloud star will ‘pull in’ figures.

An X-factor source told the Daily Star, “The American public don’t know who Cheryl is and just ‘being a good friend of Simon’s from some unknown girl band’ isn’t cutting it.”

The decision has led to heated debuts and X-Factor pioneer Simon Cowell has threatened to ‘pull out” on the US show if his side-kick isn’t given a seat on the judging panel.

There’s been speculation that more worthy stars such as Katy Perry, Rihanna, Mariah Carey and Robbie Williams may be selected as judges for the sing competition. Even the most uninterested person will be shocked by the news, that Cole – whose best pals with Will-i-am and Justin Bieber – did not bag the job. Let’s face it, she’s been kissing Cowell’s butt for many years.

So what exactly could Chezza bring the X-Factor table? Let’s look at the evidence: Cole made a fifth of Girls Aloud, producing a string of cheesy pop or guilty pleasures (whichever you prefer). After the band ‘split temporarily’ in 2009, she embarked a solo career, occasionally collaborating with her old pal Will-i-am. She even appears in L’Oreal adverts (because she’s worth it- couldn’t resist.)

Cole became an X-factor judge in 2008, replacing Sharon Osborne. She deserves some credit for her work on X-Factor, recognising Alexander Burke and Rebecca Ferguson as true talent. However, Cole is more noted for mess-ups: remember Gamu?  Say no more.

Cheryl Cole as a judge on X-Factor

It’s laughable that the so-called singer -- whose debut album, Messy Little Raindrops, is nominated for the worst album of the year – could mentor hopefuls who are clearly more creditable singers. Thanks to her poor judgement, most talented hopefuls don’t even make it through the live shows. If there’s any justice in the world, they should pick up a recording deal at a drop of the hat.

There’s no doubt she will somehow be behind the scenes of America X-factor, thanks to Cowell’s hair brained schemes. Reports reveal that Cheryl is set to be the US version of Sinitta, helping her puppet master to mentor up-and-coming contestants.

So what’s the moral of this story? If you kiss Cowell’s behind long enough, you too can crack America.

One to Watch: Electro-Pop Sensation Claire Maguire and Jessie J

Heard of Claire Maguire? You will do by the end of this year. The ex-shop assistant will be releasing her first single Let’s Dance 21 (February) and her album Light After Dark follows eight days after.

Claire Maguire

Armed with a gusty voice (a cross between Alison Moyet and Bonnie Tyler) the 23-year-old from Birmingham was waiting for this moment for an awful long time. Maguire wrote her first songs at the mere age of seven and has performed at family parties. She recalls hopping on the desk and singing at primary school. She adds, ‘The teachers thought I was mad, but it’s how I connect.’ 

Fast forward at the age of 17, Maguire left school to focus on music career. She made an impressive connection with Universal Music (via MySpace) who offered her a recording contract at the age of 20.

This up-and-coming star is determined to find her own route in the music industry despite being offered songs by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and Plan B (which is an achievement in itself.) Instead she hooked up with British producer Fraser T. Smith to record the aforementioned album.

With Plan B, Jarvis Cocker, Rick Rubin and Jay-Z as her biggest fans, Claire Maguire is worth the second look.

Jessie J

Jessie J

This pop diva has barely entered the music scene and has already caused a stir. Jessie J has made plans to do a festive duet with past X-factor winner Leona Lewis.

It seems the Essex-born songstress is contradicting herself as she slams X-Factor for giving contestants an easy ride to stardom. However the 22 year old has a soft spot for Cher Lloyd, wishing her all the success in the future on doing her ‘own thing.’

You’re forgiven if you think that Jessie J is a newcomer to the music industry -- the truth is she no stranger! Just like her pop rival Claire Maguire, the winner of the Brit Awards’ Critics Choice has an impressive track record, as she has written hits for Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus and her debut single Do It like a Dude is ripping up the charts.

But her very first taste of fame was 11 years ago, when she performed in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End show Whistle down the Wind.

With Justin Timberlake hailing her as ‘the best singer in the world’ this girl is worth sitting up and taking notice of – it’s hard not to!

The album Who You Are is out on 28 March and 12 April (US release).

Bieber’s Plans for Boutique Fall at the First Hurdle

Poor Justin Bieber. His plans for world domination didn’t come to fruition. The 16-year-old wanted to open his own boutique in LA selling- wait for it – Justin Bieber memorabilia, so every impressionable teenage girls around the world can have a piece of him. He even called on his celebs friends Kardashians for help to push things forward. However the Justin-themed shop crash at the first hurdle.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber - Too Much Too Young?

Bieber’s publicist, Jennifer Gordon, told the Los Angeles Times newspaper: “I was working with them last year with the possibility of this happening. Towards the end of November, everything had fallen through. It’s not happening.”

It’s not all bad news for the Canadian pop singer, as he has his own nail vanish range, One Less Lonely Girl, which is doing ‘amazing well’, selling out in department stores across America. There’s more – besides joining forces with rapper Dr Dre, to design ‘JustBeats’ headphones, Bieber has a book out called, Sitting Pretty, which somehow found its way on the NY Times Bestsellers list. We have the screaming teenage girls to thank for this.

While thousands would beg (or even pay) him to stay in high school, Justin literally burst on the music scene, giving his female peers worldwide the ‘Bieber Fever’ with his first single, One Time in 2009. The song was certified Platinum in the US and Canada, and Gold in Australia and New Zealand. Since then, Bieber continues the spread the fever with array of hits including, Baby, One Less Lonely Girl, Love Me, Favourite Girl. With such runaway success, Bieber’s mentor, Usher must shed a tear when he sees his little puppet at work.

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

But is it too much too soon for this teenage ‘heart-throb’? He maybe doing swimmingly well selling mechanise to girls in his age group (thinking he has all the answers to what a woman want). At a click of a finger (or just like his boutique) it could all disappear, leaving little Justin on crap heap, a forgotten child star.

It happens all the time, particularly in America. A talented child becomes a big star and the world is at his or her feet. When the hype fades, that child is dropped at a great height. Just look at the life of the late actors Corey Haim and Gary Coleman.

Let’s hope, for Justin’s sake, that the rug is not pulled abruptly underneath his feet. After all, he’s just a boy caught the circus called the music industry.

What Will Become of the X-Factor’s Rebecca Ferguson?

Rebecca Ferguson

If you weren’t blown away by her first audition on X-Factor, then your heart is made of stone. A shy (and extremely nervous) Rebecca Ferguson sang Sam Cooke’s classic, A change Is Gonna Come, possessing a world-class soulful voice that can be easily compared to someone like Etta James. All three judges (Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger) were presently surprise that such a soulful voice, which is somewhat original, came from a petrified girl who was constantly starring at the floor during the entire audition. The Pussycat Doll went as far as saying “Your voice moved me.” Not a bad thing for a first major audition!

With such positive comments, it came to no surprise that the 24 year old from Liverpool sailed through to the live show. We saw the mum-of-two blossomed right before are eyes, putting her stamp on classic songs. Right from the first audition, her fashion style was admired by many- male and female, making her a firm style icon. Even presenter Dermot O’Leary had a sneaky look!

A breath of fresh air to the singing competition, there no doubt that Rebecca will scoop the winning spot. However she marginally missed that prize to fellow contestant Matt Cardle (also a creditable singer). This is not the end of Ms Ferguson.

Once that show was over, she was immediately snapped up by Syco owned by, guess who…Simon Cowell, sealing a 1 million record deal and has performed in countless events – G.A.Y and her at hometown Liverpool Arena.

Dermot O’Leary wasn’t the only one who admires Rebecca. She also caught the attention Hollywood actor Colin Ferrell. He described Rebecca as ‘absolutely stunning’ and would like to ‘hook up’ with her. There are also reports that he asked a little help from his friends to make it happen.

If Rebecca has any sense, she should stay well clear of the Irish womaniser, as has the world at her feet right now – Amy Winehouse begging to write songs for her. So it wouldn’t be a big surprise if she becomes a big success story worldwide, especially America in a year’s time.

The possibility could be endless for Ms Ferguson. Making her mark in the fashion industry, with her flawless style it’s easy to imagine her being the face of a major designer label. Maybe, in the distant future, acting could be on the cards (well if Madonna can do it, so can anyone!).

So whatever direction Ms Ferguson wishes to take – mark my words, you haven’t seen the last of her.

Music Review: Obehi

R&B Pop hopeful Obehi, who simply describe herself as  ‘a shy girl who loves singing’, is all set to release her second single, Bittersweet.

 

Obehi - Could Take R&B By Storm in 2011

The Nigerian-born singer/songwriter moved to Scotland at the tender age of eight, developing a deep-rooted passion for music, hailing artists Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Beyonce, Rihanna and even Britney Spears as her musical influences.

In pursuing her passion, the 23-year-old has gained moderate success with her first single, Everything, in Edinburgh and Glasgow and has already performed in countless of venues across Scotland. With this new single, Obehi is hoping to make her mark in the UK music industry and become a household name along the way.

Bittersweet described as a ‘rollercoaster ride of love and companionship’ comprises of four songs, penned by Obehi herself. The single eases into the track, Oxygen, which is a ‘typical style of the artist: an average soulful voice (similar to Rihanna) coupled with smooth, tranquil melody and a slight presence of the guitar.

Although Oxygen is an adequate song, it doesn’t offer everything original and can be easily labelled as boring.

Love Is A Pain is a beautifully produced song, telling a story of a messy break-up -- something everyone can relate to. With just a guitar is a main feature in this song you can start to appreciate the quality of Obehi’s soulful voice. Love Is A Pain can be easily enjoyed when relaxing on a hot summer day.

 

You’ll get a fright from the third track, as the first two tracks were so tranquil. Fool has an edgier beat, similar to Black Eye Peas hit Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night. Is it a potential chart-topper? I’ll let you decide.

 

The final track, Heartbreaker, brings the single back to tranquillity, which is a plus. The downside is that it is forgettable after five minutes.

 

Not totally convinced that Obehi would generate a huge fan base overnight or knock Rihanna off the R&B Pop throne. At best, her songs are pleasant to the ears. Apart from Love Is A Pain, the production of the songs are not quite there, which is a shame as Obehi has a commercially good voice that would be appreciated in today’s pop music industry.

However, with the perfect song and better production, Obehi just might knock Rihanna off that throne! Despite the songs, the girl has great potential.

Obehi - Bittersweet

Single: Bittersweet

Release date: 21 February 2011

Record label: GNI Records