Next Big Thing - Shawn Mendes / Ryn Weaver / Cloud Boat

Here at blinkbox Music, we love success stories. Indiana, Tove Lo, Royal Blood, Rae Morris, Jungle… We’ve featured them all as part of our on-going Next Big Thing blog series and all have gone on to become regular favourites in both our office and on the airwaves around the country.

With the rest of 2014 still to come, there’s plenty of time for more standout breakthroughs. So, if you get as excited about new music as we do, join us for another roundup of Next Big Thing picks…

Shawn Mendes

Another contender for the title of the ‘next Justin Bieber’, 15-year-old Canadian Shawn Mendes ticks all the right boxes for a future superstar. He’s already broken records over in the States as one of the youngest ever artists to debut in the Billboard Top 100 and you can expect posters of him to be plastered all over girls’ bedroom walls by Christmas. His music stands up to close inspection too – with debut single Life Of The Party serving as an epic, surprisingly mature piano ballad.

Ryn Weaver

Fancy a taste of the future? That’s what you’ll get with Ryn Weaver, the immensely talented American songstress who already feels like a superstar in the making. Her current taster track OctaHate was co-penned with Charli XCX and goes for the same quirky vibe; heavy on both the beats and the sass. This year’s Lorde? She could very well be.

Cloud Boat

Picking up strong support from the likes of BBC 6Music, this tuneful indie duo will go down a treat with fans of Dry The River and White Lies. Their second album – Model of You – has been racking up a host of rave reviews and even has the seal of approval from James Blake, who the band recently supported on tour.

Brand New & Brilliant this week - ZHU / Melissa Steel / Bakermat

After last week’s pop heavy selection of picks, we thought we’d rustle up something a little different for you this time! Dipping into the hottest new releases, we’ve got a classy trio of tracks that we reckon will be massive this summer. If getting that instant fix of all things new and totally awesome in the world of music sounds like your kind of thing, our Brand New & Brilliant station is the place to do it!

 

ZHU – Faded

By far and away this week’s biggest new track; this dark, lushly produced club contender packs a killer bassline amidst washes of synths and a minimalist vocal. Couldn’t get enough of the Disclosure album last year? This’ll more than tide you over to their next effort. 

Melissa Steel – Kisses For Breakfast

Having already guested on Kove drum n bass cut Way We Are earlier this year, vocalist Melissa Steel goes it alone on this cheery R&B cut. With hefty support from 1Xtra, expect to hear a lot more from Melissa throughout the year. Our very own home-grown answer to Ariana Grande.

Bakermat – One Day

Continuing the current trend for big sax riffs in dance music, Dutch DJ Bakermat is re-releasing this largely instrumental house number after it became a massive club smash across Europe. Perfect for partying away into the early hours this summer!

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.