INÉS is composed of singer/lyricist Inés Morassutti-Vitale and producer/composer/mixing engineer Wilko Schmidt-Dannert. This duo are based in the Dutch city of Groningen which is in the North of the country. Their debut song was released on January 21st 2022 with independent record label Metropolis Blue. Metropolis Blue is a record label that has been created and run entirely by students of the London Academic of Contemporary Music. They went on to combine forces with London Metropolis Studios to bring Metropolis Blue Record label.
INÉS brings to you a dreamy sounding summer soundtrack vibe called ‘You’ they describe it as:
“If Brian Burton had produced a Lana Del Ray-EP on cassette tapes in a beach house somewhere in England while feeling severe 90’s nostalgia this is what it would sound like. Maybe…”
You can see their brand new video that has been released on the 4th February 2022 below, where you can enjoy the blissful, romantic and calm song ‘You’.
INÉS goes on to describe the feeling that the song conveys:
“YOU is an embodiment of the classic post-breakup feeling, it is a reminder of an exciting and loving period, which had to be left in the past and now ‘You’ fades into the nostalgia of one ordinary human experience. The lonely voicemail rowing a guitar through a lake of lo-fi drum infused melancholy towards a sunset of a quiet day, when they were happy together”.
INÉS is focused on writing songs to express her own life experiences, they go on to say:
“I hope to open and evoke the listeners emotionally, maybe they might relate to them in one way or another”
Inés’s main influence for her music is her half Italian and half French heritage. Growing up in Italy until the age of 12 and then moving to France, exposed her to many different sounds, music and genres. Her father bought her the love for music by spending countless hours jamming together to the sounds of his guitar. Her first ever CD that she owned was by artist Björk. Other favourites included one of Italy’s most popular singer songwriter Franco Battiato whose main genres concentrated on experimental, new wave and progressive pop. Later on in life she started to listen to artist’s of the likes of Amy Winehouse which opened her to more soulful genres like Jazz and Blues.
An artist’s creative process can be wide and varied between each individual. To understand the mind of INÉS and how they have come up with their songs she goes on to say:
“I write music together with my music partner Wilko Schmidt-Dannert. When I start making music, I am never really sure where it will lead. I just start playing some chords, improvise and then add some vocals on top. We meet about once a week to talk about the songs, show each other what we made and exchange the demos and then go on to work on it. Once they are fully written, we re-record all the vocals and some of the instruments and then go on to finish the songs.”
Future endeavours include the release of their second single and finally releasing the whole EP which is definitely something to watch out for. INÉS can be found on multiple platforms including Instagram, Spotify and Facebook.
WREX are a newly formed band, made up of the perfect duo bringing Posi(tive) Pop-Rock back with their new single ‘Wide eyes’. Mae and George first met at a Rock show in their local town of Brighton. Their mutual love for music brought them together to create WREX at the start of 2020, making the most of the lockdowns we have endured this past year. You will hear Mae on vocals and George on guitar, bass, vocals and drums.
Both Mae and George have been writing independently for various other projects prior to WREX. Their writing process for WREX tends to start with Mae bringing a very basic version of a song into the studio. She goes on to say, “Usually this will only go as far as chord progressions, lyrics, melody, and maybe a few rough ideas for harmonies and hooks, and as if by magic George turns this into a full band set up, playing all the parts in, fully writing the drums, guitar and bass parts – I am yet to find something he can’t do! After that we’ll both put some vocals in and find a synth that makes your lips curl!”
Playing, writing and producing their own stuff makes it easy to respect and appreciate what they do. The lyrics of their new song ‘Wide eyes’ are beautifully written and extremely catchy. From the moment I heard this song it was on replay for the rest of the day in my head. George has freelanced in being a musician, record production, mix engineering, songwriting and specialising in Alternative Rock/Pop and Metal for over 5 years. His works reached No. 1 in the Independent Music Charts along with plays on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, KROQ, Planet Rock, Kerrang Radio and many more. To date, George has contributed to over 5 million Streams across his collective works.
Both coming from a musical background it has made it easy for them to understand what makes good music. They go on to describe how they first got into music.
Mae: “This has definitely got to be my Dad, he was and still is in bands, and I grew up watching him write and perform, and naturally I wanted to follow in his footsteps! I think the first time I started singing, I was really inspired by Amy Lee (Evanescence), I already owned a few of their piano sheet music books already and loved the idea of the delicate piano and her operatic voice being brought to life by rock music.”
George: “My dad ran an indie label as I was growing up, I’ve always wanted to make music for as long as I can remember.”
They both grew up listening to the same style of music including Pop, Rock and Punk/Alt-Rock.
Mae: “It was a mix of pop and rock. Artists that stand out in my memory are The Red Hot Chili Peppers, ABBA, and Dido, and I’m still into all three! As I grew up I steered more towards the rockier end and became pretty obsessed with Evanescence, Papa Roach, and Bullet For My Valentine – which was my first “proper” rock gig my dad took me to when I was 13! I think it’s the energy behind this style of music that kept me wanting more, being a shy child it was almost an escape for me, which hopefully I’m bringing into the music we write now.”
George: “I grew up listening to mainly pop punk/alt rock, but contrasting that, I would also listen to soul and motown. It taught me that great songs can be timeless!”
The message they want to send to their listeners through their music is to “Enjoy life and share that happiness with everyone around you! Be yourself and love yourself!” A great message, for a great band.
They have several tracks lined up to be released over the next coming months, with the plans of creating an album over the next year. You can find them on various platforms including Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok to keep up to date.
The music industry isn’t only glitz and glam, singing and dancing. One of the most important aspects of the music scene is having a good lawyer, knowing your rights as an artist and gaining a great deal. Without a lawyer you could sign your life away without really knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Today, I am introducing Olivia Lewis, a Paralegal at Sony Music and future trainee at Clintons.
Olivia had the music industry in her blood. Her Grandad had been a tour manager for the likes of The Jackson 5 and James Brown. Her Father also followed in his footsteps with a career in artist management. So it was inevitable for Olivia to have a thirst for the entertainment business.
Like many who have gone into this industry, it isn’t always as straightforward as you think. Her journey first started by studying a philosophy degree at university, but soon after realised that her true passion was to study law. During this two year period, she worked for a Prisoners’ advice charity and built up her experience within the Criminal and Media sector of law. She then moved on to Sony a month after graduating with her law degree and has been there ever since. She goes on to say “I was very much raised with the ‘you get your own job mentality’ and the root to my current role was through a recruitment company. I feel proud to be the first women in my family to work in the industry and proud that a woman is carrying on the legacy.” Admirable it is. It takes courage to firstly identify your passion, dedicate your time and put in the hard work to get where you want to be. Olivia is definitely a role model that I would look up to.
Her motivation for going down this rewardable career path started as a child, her ambitions whilst growing up, although very different, were to become either a professional dancer or a lawyer. She goes on to say “I did in fact initially want to be a criminal barrister, and although criminal law is still a strong passion of mine, I know that media and commercial law is right for me. Human rights are and will always be at the foundation of why I have chosen to be a lawyer.”
For those who are in pursuit of a career in music law, I wanted to find out a typical day within it. “Working in Legal within a company, you are essentially the support to all the departments. One team I work with a lot, is the sync department. They may ask me whether we are able to use a certain artist’s song for a certain project. I would then have to refer to the contract and look at ownership, as well as checking if there are any restrictions (it is common practice in the industry to need to check with the artist before placing a song in for example, a violent film). Another big part of my job is drafting remixer agreements. I will go back and forth with management and lawyers, as well as the A&Rs and MDs within Sony in order to get these negotiated. Like every job, there are also the not so exciting admin parts – making sure people get paid, filing contracts and setting up formalities for new artists.”
The sync department within music refers to the process of songs being combined with moving images. For example, the use of songs in your favourite Netflix series, or the intro to your favourite Sunday lunchtime TV show. A remixer agreement entails the creative process to make a remix of a master song with the rights being retained by the artist, with a fee also being paid to the producer for their contribution. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes, in which your standard music streamer bobbing along down the road with their headphones wouldn’t have even thought was a necessity. Which is what makes this side of the industry so interesting, and what makes lawyers so important.
Olivia has worked with some pretty big artists within the industry including the likes of Little Mix and J Hus. She says “I think my most memorable artist would have to be Koffee. I worked on her very first EP and knew as soon as I heard it how amazing she was. Getting to go to her first ever live show is something I will always remember.”
Personally, one of my favourite things about talking to people about music is being introduced to new music. I appreciate talent, culture and skill even if the genre of music might not be my go to. Koffee is 20 year old female Jamaican singer, songwriter, rapper, guitarist, with an obvious talent for creating music. Check her out below.
If you have read some of my previous articles you know that one of my favourite questions to ask in these interviews is about the challenges faced within the music industry as a woman. It’s not only for the benefit of my primary research for my dissertation (haha) but also out of pure interest of what I will have to face after I graduate in May. She goes on to say “I would say that my personal experience in the Music Industry hasn’t been too bad. I think this is largely to do with the fact that there are many female lawyers at Sony. I know unfortunately that this isn’t an experience that everyone shares. One thing I think is which often overlooked, is that there are many women who suffer in indirect ways. For example, not being invited to the football match where they are all discussing business or having to turn down a networking drink because you are not 100% sure of the person’s intentions.” It’s encouraging to hear that not every female within the industry has had a bad experience. Take note ladies and gents, Sony is a diverse workplace.
Which leads me on to the question of what advice would you give to other young female’s aspiring to be where Olivia is today. She says “You have to stay 100% dedicated. I did every extra curricular when I was at university, as well as pro bono work. Even when I had my full time job, I was constantly trying to progress, attending networking events, building contacts and starting projects, all with my career goals in mind. I have had to sacrifice and invest a lot to get where I am. Last year I didn’t even spend Christmas with my family as I had to prepare for my exams. I spent all my savings on going back to university and going to law school (and started a side business to try help). Not everyone’s journey is like this, but I’ve never heard anyone say it was easy! I truly believe you have to be willing to fight for it with everything you’ve got.” Nothing in life comes easy, and nothing in life will just appear for you without you putting in the work. I know that because my dissertation still hasn’t written itself, even after asking the Divine Universe to leave me a copy on my desk.
Olivia’s future endeavours include her moving onto to an actual law firm where she will be able to expand her practice to cases such as defamations (libel), privacy, TV and family. I learnt about music defamation cases within my law module of my music business degree. A defamation refers to a person making a publication of a statement that causes serious harm to someone’s reputation. There have been many famous artists who have sued for defamation in recent years. According to a JMW solicitor defamation cases have risen by almost 90% since 2018, with a lot being linked to social media outbursts. Yeah, you best think closely before typing your angry tweet, Facebook status or Instagram post, because you could get sued. If you’re interested in finding out more, you should definitely give defamation cases a search on google, you’ll be surprised by how many of your favourite artists have had run ins like this.
So what advice should a new and upcoming artist in 2020 take from Olivia before signing a music deal? “I think the best advice I could give is to get advice! Hiring a good lawyer is key. This is your hard work and talent, a lawyer is one of the best investments you can make.” You heard her gang.
Olivia’s projects don’t only consist of a wonderful life of a lawyer, she also runs an instagram page called The Free From Black Book. Here she provides content and works with brands to help those that are gluten, egg, dairy free (as well as plant based). As a vegan myself this page has been a great find, it allows me to explore what’s available for us environmental saviours. You can also find her on Twitter. You should take a read and give her a follow.
Interview with upcoming artist Lula of the unsigned band Lulalong gives an enticing insight into her music, her background and her values.
Lulalong is a London based artist, originally from Barcelona, Catalonia. Known for her signature pink hair and catchy melodies. She has her favourite song of all time ‘How soon is now’ by the Smith’s tattooed on her arm.When she was 18 she bought a one way ticket to London and never looked back. Her music career began from a very young age. She started by playing piano at 4 years old which intrigued her to study classical music until the age of 15. Her teenage years introduced her to music that steered her away from the classical composition that she was used to. Like many of us 90’s babies with an inner rebel ready to come out, she spent her days listening to strong female artists like Avril Lavigne and Blondie. She says “I decided Classical music wasn’t for me, I didn’t want to sit down peacefully, I wanted to play rock and jump around a stage like there was no tomorrow”. This led her to start performing live gigs in the bustling city of Barcelona by the time she was 16.
Lulalong is an active member of the LGBT community identifying herself as queer. A lot of her music is written about women “I want my listeners to be comfortable with who they are and their sexuality”. According the Human Dignity Trust there are still many countries across the world that criminalise same sex couples. The map shows that there are 72 jurisdictions that criminalise male same sex couples, 44 jurisdictions of female same sex couples and 11 jurisdictions that have the death penalty. I think by having bands like Lulalong, who aren’t afraid to release songs on being LGBT, is admirable. It works towards building a world without hate and normalising love for all. Being a part of LGBT community myself I have seen first hand what inbuilt homophobia can do to a person. Quite frankly, life is too short to not embrace who you are. The more love we spread, the better the world will be.
I feel that in this day and age, portraying strong female musicians is vital. The music industry lacks female representation still. Especially the type that go against the norms of society. So many female mainstream artists are confined to a box. Having to dress a certain way, sing a certain way and go against their own values and beliefs in order to achieve success. Therefore, we need to take it upon ourselves to widen this box and give credit to artists that excel at rebelling against the tide of normality.
Lula gives an in-depth answer to her worries and challenges in the music industry as a woman. “I hate how women are seen as too old from a very very young age in the music world. The biggest female pop stars all started from an insanely young age. Only a few start a career when they’re older because the music industry doesn’t see it as commercially viable, whereas when it comes to men, age doesn’t matter that much. I’m only twenty-two years old and already feel like I’m getting too old to be an upcoming musician, which is heartbreaking because it shouldn’t be like that. The only way to overcome this is saying ‘F#!k it!’ and go for it anyway, not caring about the music industry standards.Although it is getting better, women are still seen as a pretty face who don’t know about the music business including behind-the-scenes (producing, engineering, etc). The amount of times I get to a venue and the sound engineer talks to my bandmates (who are men) instead of me is hilarious; the same with contracts and deals. They try and explain everything in a very simple way so I can understand it. I overcome this by politely confronting them, making them aware I understand the music jargon and how the industry works.”
Lula writes all of her own songs, and makes sure to write any little idea that pops into her head down, whether it’s on her phone, an audio recording or a restaurant napkin. Her creative process includes taking these ideas and jamming with the rest of the band to find a badass arrangement. The other members of the band include guitarists Umar Ganai and Calum Lockie. As well as the bassist Kieran Fergusson and drummer Tosh Mihalev.
I asked Lula which are her favourite songs that she’s released so far, she said “I feel a strong connection to all my songs, since they all come from real life experiences. As much as I love to play Goddess live, I think my favourite one is Black Vespa. It’s one of my most personal songs, the lyrics tell the story of someone I dated and it went wrong. The bridge of the song features that girl’s voice. FUN FACT! After releasing the song I sent it to that girl, and she is now my girlfriend! Winning!“ What a love story.
Her musical influences growing up were very vast. “I listened to loads of different music growing up. From Catalan pop like the band Manel, the famous Avril Lavigne (especially her album ‘The Best Damn Thing’), my dad’s rock influences like The Chameleons. I remember going on road trips with my family singing the words to Manu Chao’s album ‘Proxima estacion: esperanza’ to the top of our lungs. As you can see, I had influences from loads of different genres, cultures, languages and eras; and I think this shows in my music, I do rock music but you can easily hear those influences.”
You can hear these cultural music influences in her song ‘I made Mona Lisa smile’, where she sings in Spanish. I lived in Barcelona for a short while, and it’s amongst one of my favourite cities. The lifestyle is chilled, the parties are insane and the alcoholic beverages are mostly alcohol mixed with a tiny amount of soda. There has been an ongoing movement in Barcelona to try to gain independence from Spain to become the country of Catalonia. The first Catalan Independence party was formed back in 1922, but the unrest dates back to the mid 19th century. If you ask a local whether they are Spanish, their instant reaction is no. I love Spanish music, the language itself is sexy and mysterious. . It always adds 10 points for me when an artist can switch languages. It also boosts Lulalong’s appeal to a wider market.
Go check out her EP Lover’s I don’t love and engross yourself in her music. Give her a follow on her social media accounts (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to keep up to date with her new projects and releases planned for the future. Also check out her merchandise shop and help support artists through this pandemic. Because we sure as hell know that Boris isn’t.
Born and bred in Croydon, South East London, this singer/songwriter gives alternative-pop music a new name. I just can’t stop playing her music on repeat, and I bet you will too.
I am constantly on the prowl to discover new music that is actually worth listening to. I first stumbled across Oz’s music a couple months back whilst slumming it in my pj’s and munching on my local shop’s finest 65p bag of popcorn. As I recall, it was like the music heaven’s had opened and shone down a rainbow of delight to my ears. Her voice is unique and identifiable, her melodies are edgy-pop with hints of badass rock elements. Her image is very femme fatale, the type of girl my mum warned me about. Who doesn’t like that?
To gain a better understanding of the wonderful world of Oz, I managed to ask her a few questions. Currently based in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, this 20 something year old artist spends her days writing music for some pretty big names and her nights focusing on writing her own. She has written for the likes of Ella Hendersen, Gabrielle Aplin, Sam Feldt, Sody to name a few. Her talents are not only limited to singing and writing lyrics. In her own words she said “I play guitar, bad piano and even worse clarinet”. This made me chuckle. I play bad guitar, bad piano and a great triangle, we clearly have a winner here.
Her music inspiration came from her Fathers’ love of music, which over time influenced her to go down this path herself. When asked about her music taste in her younger days she said: “I have a very eclectic music taste. I grew up listening to all kinds of music. Nothing was ever genre specific, so I think just having that freedom in my music taste has allowed me to be more experimental perhaps and that is a huge part of the music I make.“
One thing that I can’t wait for after this pandemic passes, is to go to a live gig again. I miss the crowds of people joining together over their mutual love of music. The incredibly loud sound systems, leaving my ears ringing after exiting the venue. I miss the group adrenaline rush and excitement kicking in as soon as the artists step on stage. The act of being just a few meters away from the person that you have been listening to through your phone for months. Something you would never think you took for granted, until 2020 happened.
It’s not only me who misses it, when asked what Oz enjoyed most about performing live she responded with “There’s an energy you can only get when playing live to an audience. When there are people staring up at you singing your lyrics and you’re all having the time of your life. It’s a feeling that can’t be recreated in any other place. That’s what makes it so magical.”
I hope to be able to see Oz live once venues start opening up again. One of my favourite songs that I can’t wait to be performed is Foot Down. It starts off slow and simple, then at 40 seconds in, the drums kick in and this powerhouse voice starts belting the chorus. There I am in lockdown, head banging at my reflection in the mirror singing ‘So foot down, cutting no slack, nothings gonna hold my big time back’. Have you got one of those songs? A song that just fills you with power? Yeah, this one is my current one.
Being new to the music scene myself, my research has led me to constantly hear about the challenges that women are facing within the industry. It’s the problems that female management and female artists are encountering. Is it the lack of female representation? Or the common stereotyping and sexualization of women that holds talented women back in this industry? Is it that women that are significantly underpaid compared with their male counterparts? This topic is an article in itself, but I was interested to know the challenges that Oz has faced and how she was able to overcome them. Her comment on the topic was:
“There are almost too many to pick from. I think it’s the stereotype that people feel. Because you are a woman, you must always be thin, pretty and well dressed before being recognised for your talent, intellect and boldness. So instead, I just started doing what I wanted and felt good in myself, so when others had an opinion on me it didn’t bother me. That’s something that is quite specific to female artists.”
I think it’s so important to have female artists within the industry doing what they love and powering on through even if it goes against the flow of the archaic values of this industry. We need more of you Oz.
Being an aspiring A&R manager myself, I was interested to know what Oz would change about the music industry. She said “I think it’s such an ever changing beast, I wouldn’t even bother choosing something as it would be different in a year anyway ! Haha. I think more A&Rs should take risks. The public is bored of your choices. Do something different!” I think this is common amongst many professional musicians whose wings have been clipped. Now I have my first task as soon as I graduate; to shake sh#t up!
Oz has been ploughing on through the pandemic, working her magic in her home studio setup with the company of her rescue dog, Otto. Spending her down time chilling, watching movies, eating, missing friends and family. Similar to the rest of the world right now. If she could choose any other artist/band that she could collaborate with at this present time it would be Foo Fighters as she has the utmost respect for Dave Grohl’s inspiring creativity and talent. “It’s an obvious answer but he’s a legend so why not, haha.” Obvious it may be, but Foo Fighters were the holy grail of my teenage years, so I get it.
I think one of the best questions you can ever ask anyone, is their favourite all time song. Not that you should ever judge anyone on this. I know my favourite song of all time 6 years ago is very different to what it is now. But you can definitely depict the type of person one is based on their answer. She said “Favourite song of all time. That is so hard because there’s so many. My favourite song of all time today would be Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley.” Having only been introduced to that song today, I’d say that Oz is a pretty cool lady. Would probably put my favourite song of all time ‘A little respect by Erasure’ to shame. But hey, it’s a classic, and I love a bit of cheese.
I asked her what is the one thing that you want your fans to take from your music? She replied “Be bold, be honest and be true to yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you no!” I hear you sister. Can’t wait for the new EP, she also mentioned there are going to be little surprises and extras to come. So make sure to go and follow her to get all the latest!