MP3: Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross’ “Blacks”

Enigmatic Chicago artist Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is only starting to crawl out of — their? its? — shell. Well, make that his shell. The American blog darling has revealed himself to be just one person, a 24-year-old playing under a completely made-up moniker cribbed from Rosicrucian iconography. How’s that for obscure? (His given name is actually Dexter Tortoriello).

A detail of the cover for Dawn Golden and Rosy’ Cross’ debut EP

But these days, with the way music circulates quickly as data, that was all anyone needed to know to fall in love with his bedroom-produced, electronic indie pop. Well, that’s not an entirely accurate term. In hazy-textured songs like “Blow,” also the title of his debut EP, there are Gen-Y snippets of all kinds of styles. The songs themselves are often downtempo slow, but built on rattling pseudo-hip-hop beats, but overlaid with pop piano and mournful, singer-songwriter style vocals. It’s definitely music of the short-attention-span, iPod generation, but it comes together in a beautifully heartbreaking way.


The handful of tracks Tortoriello has allowed to circulate on the Internet have been enough to score a joint record deal with Downtown Records and super-producer Diplo’s own imprint, Mad Decent. It’s due out on April 12 in the States, where Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross just played its first real string of super-public dates, as part of the annual industry-centrix SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.


Tortoriello’s pulled his Blow EP form his Bandcamp site, which now remains surprisingly blank (, but you can still legally enjoy the track “Blacks” below until the next record comes out. And check out this promo trailer for Blow, but only if you’ve got a strong stomach — that mystery stain on the bed is probably best left unexplained!



MP3: Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross -- “Blacks”



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).


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.


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.


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).

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