Introducing: Magic!

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Topping the Shazam charts isn’t a bad way to kickstart your UK debut, but for Canadian reggae-fusion troupe MAGIC! it’s all in a day’s work.

Having already stormed to chart success in the US, Australia and their native Canada, their irresistible summer anthem Rude is finally hitting this side of the pond and looks sure to replicate its international triumphs.

With lead singer Nasri Atweh describing the band as a ‘modern-day Police’, we couldn’t wait to find out more… 

Listen to ‘Rude’ in this week’s Brand New & Brilliant station
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Imagine we’ve not heard your music, what’s it like then?

Musically we’ve been compared to The Police, No Doubt and The Wailers.  But truly we are about writing great songs.  If you like well crafted songs that musically are easy to digest and make you shake your tush, you’ll love MAGIC!

What’s on the top of your ambitions list for 2014? 

We’ve just hit #1 on US Billboard charts which is one of those things you don’t even make a goal since it seems so unreachable!  But this year has really been an opportunity to finally play these songs in front of crowds and see their reactions to the show.  So I’d just like us to have a really great tight show by the end of the year that we love playing.

If you could only listen to one artist for the rest of your life, who would you pick and why?

That’s a tough one.  I’d say Stevie Wonder.  His music is so uplifting and positive and always interesting to listen to.  If I had his entire catalogue to listen to and nothing else, it would never get old.  I’d still find new things I hadn’t heard before; whether it’s musically, lyrically, production-wise, etc.  It’s just endless with Stevie.

What would you say is the secret to a great live performance?

The key to a great live performance is understanding your audience.  As long as you can engage your audience and make them feel good and have fun, then as a performer you can’t lose.  The audience is very intelligent.  They can feel if you’re uptight, or unsure of something.  So as long as you’re out there making sure everyone is having a good time, then you’ve got a great live performance.

What’s the most ‘magic’ thing you’ve ever seen?

When I’m at a live concert and that moment comes where you feel the entire room - whether it’s 100 people or 20,000 - suddenly have chills at the same time. That, to me, is magic.  When you can make that many people connect on a level that is indefinable and undeniable, you really have something special.

Next Big Thing - Astronomyy / Becky Hill / Nothing But Thieves

Our motto is that there’s always time for new music, and if you agree then our Next Big Thing station is the one for you! Every week we cherry pick some of the hottest new acts around – artists we think are destined for great things over the coming months. Then we put it all together in one incredible station! Listening in couldn’t by easier, just follow the link below…

Astronomyy

We’re loving the sound of super trendy Worcestershire-based singer Astronomyy – his material is a breezy blend of smooth R&B and delicate guitar lines. Imagine The XX meeting a distinctly British take on The Weeknd and you won’t be far off. Delicately chilled, and perfect for the lazy summer months ahead. 

Becky Hill

Having already established her dancefloor credentials with a string of high profile collabs with the likes of Wilkinson, Rudimental and Oliver Heldens, former The Voice contestant is going it alone on solo effort Caution To The Wind. Expect effortless vocals paired to an on-trend urban backbeat that’ll go down a treat with fans of Disclosure or Clean Bandit.

Nothing But Thieves 

Recently tipped heavily by BBC Introducing, this Southend outfit are freshly signed to Sony imprint RCA Victor and make beautiful, spacious records that build to some properly epic moments. We like to imagine them as the missing link between London Grammar and Kodaline, and we reckon you’ll love them.

#RemoveALetterRuinABand - The Best Trend This Weekend

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It’s always the simple things that are the most fun. This weekend, the hashtag game #RemoveALetterRuinABand sent Twitter into a frenzy - we’ve been laughing for hours! And the best thing is, it’s kept going today so you can still get involved.

It’s a simple enough concept - remove a letter from a band’s name to create a (hilariously awful) new band. 

We’ve picked out some of the funniest entries below, but can you do better? Add your favourites in the comments below or @ us on Twitter using the hashtag #RemoveALetterRuinABand & we’ll retweet the best! 

There are some band names that were seemingly invented for games, like this:

Yet some whose letters are simply ‘irreplaceable’: 

Remember to add your ‘ruined bands’ to the comments below or @ us on Twitter using the hashtag #RemoveALetterRuinABand!

Brand New & Brilliant this week - Cheryl Cole / Cher Lloyd / La Roux

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This week it’s all about the ladies of pop as we serve up some summery delights for your listening pleasure. It’s the season for outdoor parties, after all, and we reckon our Brand New & Brilliant station would make for the perfect accompaniment. Packed full of all the hottest new tunes – including this week’s three picks below – it’s a must listen!

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Cheryl Cole – Crazy Stupid Love

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The nation’s sweetheart is back with a new tune (and a new beau!) in tow. That title all makes perfect sense now, as the love-struck pop princess delivers up a dancehall-influenced groove sure to get toes tapping.

Cher Lloyd – Sirens

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She’s been away concentrating on the States for a while, and it sure shows in this epic new ballad. Coming on like something off a Demi Lovato album, this emotional number is brilliant, and feels like an important, mature step forward from the chirpy good-time vibes of Cher’s first album.

La Roux – Uptight Downtown

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After five years away, La Roux is back, and boy has it been worth the wait. We’ve had a listen to her new album – Trouble In Paradise – and we can say without doubt it’s probably the finest pop album to hit shelves this year. Dripping in 80s synth influences, Uptight Downtown makes for an enticing appetiser.

Next Big Thing – Anna of the North / JUCE! / Naomi Pilgrim / Seinabo Sey

Here we go again! Next Big Thing is blinkbox’s ever-reliable resource of brand new music.

Hotting up on our radar this week are four new acts that you absolutely need to know right now. We’ve got an all-star, all-female cast for you, in the form of Anna of the North, JUCE!, Naomi Pilgrim, and Seinabo Sey.

These lovely ladies are definitely about to become your latest obsessions, so we’ve given you a head start with our essential intro guide.

You can now hear their music (plus so, so much more) on our Next Big Thing station. Trust us, it’s brilliant! 

Anna of the North

Now, we don’t mean up north near Manchester, Newcastle, York or even Edinburgh, because this talented young singer hails all the way from Norway. Anna of the North’s dreamy sound and floating vocals dominate the single “Sway”. She reminds us of fellow Scandinavian MØ, but a really chilled out version of her. Get ready to sway people!

JUCE!

These girls look like they jumped straight out of a 90s Top of the Pops magazine, but that’s not the only reason we love them. This London trio (Georgia, Chalin and Cherish) have won fans over with their self-described “timeless, fresh, soul.” So, if you’re in need of the next alternative girl band, you couldn’t do more right than by listening to JUCE! and their groove-tastic single “Call You Out”.

Naomi Pilgrim

We have simply fallen head-over-heels for Naomi Pilgrim’s wonderful voice! Her music is totally different from anything we’ve heard before, and that’s probably due to her Barbados-meets-Sweden upbringing. She puts those strong vocals to good use in her feel good indie-pop anthem, “House of Dreams”. This is definitely one to have on for those indulgent, lazy days at home.

Seinabo Sey

Here’s one artist who’s rising to the top of the indie-R&B game. Yet another Swedish talent, Senaibo Sey, makes a powerful statement with “Hard Time”. In the part-pop, part-R&B, part-dance single, she makes a stand against anyone that even thinks about messing her around – this is girl power for 2014!

Top 10 will.i.am countdown

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Ten Number ones – ten tracks to confirm will.i.am’s position as one of today’s top hit-makers. Can you name them all? 

To celebrate will’s latest release It’s My Birthday shooting straight to the UK top spot, we’ve compiled a list of all his chart-toppers – both solo and with the Black Eyed Peas – for the ultimate face-off. 

In Will’s own words, which is the dopest of the lot? We’ve scribbled down our ranking below, but be sure to let us know if you reckon you’d switch any of these around! 

#10 - The Time (Dirty Bit)

Only will.i.am could get away with sampling Dirty Dancing, and score a No. 1 single in the process. Fronting up the Black Eyed Peas ‘The Beginning’ album, this number came at a time when expectations of the band were at their highest following the remarkable success of previous record The E.N.D.

#9 - Hall Of Fame (The Script featuring Will.I.Am)

Teaming up with his The Voice pal Danny, Will provided a timely guest vocal here; gifting The Script their first No. 1 single on this empowering rap/rock collab. It’s since gone on to be covered in Glee as well as soundtracking numerous wrestling tournaments.

#8 - It’s My Birthday (featuring Cody Wise)

Will’s current chart-topper – boasting his classic production combo of a rubbery bassline and a hook guaranteed to stick in your head all summer long. And before you ask, Will’s birthday is actually March 15th.

#7 - Boom Boom Pow

Arriving like a bolt from the blue, Boom Boom Pow revitalised the Black Eyed Peas after a fair few years away from the spotlight; showcasing an enticing new electro sound that has gone on to become the sonic template for all will.i.am productions.

#6 - This Is Love (featuring Eva Simons)

The song that kicked off Will’s incredible run of hit singles taken from his #willpower album (gotta love that hashtag) – this team up with vocalist Eva Simons boasts a memorable piano-backed refrain. A proper summer party-starter.

#5 - Meet Me Halfway

Many see this as a Fergie solo single in all but name, but for us it stands as one of the highlights of the ‘Peas super-selling The E.N.D. album. Boosted by a glam X Factor live show performance, this number helped cap off an incredible 2009 for Will and the band.

#4 - Scream & Shout (with Britney Spears)

This wins bonus points just for the fact it features the legend herself; Britney Spears. But let’s not forget it also boasts a killer chorus, fake British accent and went on to sell over three million copies in the US. How’s that for alright?

#3 - Where Is The Love?

Where it all started. For many, this was their introduction to both Will and the Black Eyed Peas as it stormed to No. 1 back in 2003. With a great uncredited vocal spot from Justin Timberlake, this smash gave the ‘Peas the platform to go on to world-conquering success.

#2 - OMG (Usher featuring Will.I.Am)

Gifting Usher his first No. 1 in six years, this sleek electro number pairs the R&B man’s vocals with another classic will.i.am beat and in our opinion ranks as his finest collaboration to date.

#1 - I Gotta Feeling

Anyone who’s ever sung along to this one at a club/arena/wedding will know why I Gotta Feeling is our No. 1 will.i.am track. Building slowly but surely toward an incredible crescendo – this will remain one of the greatest party anthem crowd pleasers of all time. MAZEL TOV!

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