On The TV: Mark Ronson & Miley Cyrus

Musical legend Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus have got together and have made a new song and, Nothing Breaks You Like a Heart, is the result. As an open fan of Ronson but not quite of Cyrus I just found myself liking this song within the first few seconds. Miley’s voice fits the song perfectly and adds just that little bit extra to the music though there is a slight southern-state twang to her voice. Oddly enough it actually works really well. As for Ronson, what can you honestly say about him that’s not already been said? the guy’s a musical genius who just will not let you down. The chorus itself ‘Nothing, nothing, nothing gon’ save us now’ is both catchy and addictive. I’ve a feeling this’ll quickly grow on me. The song is off the album Late Night Feelings.

TV chief Jamie Oliver, actress/singer Hailee Steinfield, actor Matthew McConaughy and wrestler-turned actor John Cena were also on the sofa adding banter and discussing upcoming projects.

On The TV… Take That

Just finished watching Take That performing one of their hit singles Greatest Day and I have to say that even though I was never a fan, both in their 90’s heyday or now, I thoroughly enjoy listening to it. Gary Barlow just lives and breathes front-man material as he just possess an incredible voice as he sang with Mark Owen and Howard Donald. They’re great to, I’m not denying it. I think that for any fan of the band either from their original heyday and/or since their comeback you simply cannot deny that they’re like a good wine; they just seem to get better with age. Also, Greatest Day is just another example of Gary’s talent not only as a singer but also as a song-writer.

This Time Last Year…

This is something I’ve written about, an account of how my life has changed in various ways over the past year and a bit. Some bits of it you may have gone through, be going through now. Either way this is my story and is something that’s happened to me so feel free to have read… Here goes

This time last year my life took what felt like a sudden U-turn, a month ago to this year I found myself leaving a steady job that I had had for over 10 years. I had been working for a very well-known British retail establishment. I had made many new friends during my time, gained new confidence through my many years and learnt about how to deal with various situations and communicate with people especially with many, many people who I did not even know. The job took me through college, university and eventually into post-graduate life. I got to know people who were similar to myself, had similar problems to myself and were generally good people to know. Sadly however, as the saying goes “All good things must come to an end”. My time did eventually come to an end, but not as I imagined it. Like many others in similar positions who wanted to make the leap to another form of employment to another and I always believed that mine would basically go a similar way. Go on to pastures new and everyone wishes you well for wherever the next stage in your journey takes you. Sadly, for me the reality was completely different. With new faces came new attitudes and sadly not all of them pleasant, understanding, caring or willing to listen to what you might want to say. Bitter treatment, false accusations, harsh words, preconceived notions, words and actions taken completely out of context and bullying in disguise brewed-up within the following weeks and months that were to come. What many do fail to realise is that when things like this happen to people it hurts them, upsets them and makes them second-guess themselves. The pain that they carry isn’t physical but is one where it cannot be seen, in your mind, weighing heavily on your emotions and continuously going round in your head. But you disguise it by using your facial expressions and calm voice. You begin to put on a calm outlook so as not to let people know just how hurt you are on the inside and you pace yourself from your peers so as to not let on that your superiors have just come down on you like a ton of bricks. In your mind the warning that your job could very well be on the line if you don’t watch your step plays heavily on you. You reflect back on your time spent with your superiors who seem to spend hours quizzing you in a very gruelling manner, being made to feel like a criminal. A while afterwards you been to reflect on past situations which cause you to reflect on your behaviour, words spoken and you begin to second guess yourself. You also remember the harsh words said by your superiors which basically boil down to “Look, far as I’m concerned this did happen, why don’t you just admit it”. Yet deep down you know that what’s been alleged didn’t happen, anything else didn’t happen in the way it was said and words written in one way are twisted to appear in a different way. Other words directed at you start to weigh on you “Well I’ve got 3 other people all saying the same thing, claiming that this did happen so I’m going to have to go along with it”. You fantasise yourself saying to them that the only reason they are going along with it is so that they don’t have to believe what you’re saying so they can prolong things further. After more time passes and more accusations follow you eventually come to the realisation that your superiors, for whatever reason, just seem to have it in for you and are basically trying to force you off the cliff-edge. The more it goes on you begin to wonder if they are trying to wear you down or gear you into a position so that they can give you the boot. During your grueling meetings with your superiors you mention to your superiors if they’re actually aware of your problems which partially explain your behaviour and why it is the way it is. They look at you in an arrogant manner, almost as though they don’t really believe what you’ve just told them. They ask for proof despite it being on the records for your duration of employment.  Eventually you come to the only conclusion that it left; jump before you can be pushed. You make the decision to leave your job. During a conversation with the parents about recent events and allegations along with yet another situation in which things were taken out of context and exaggerated a decision was reached. A suggestion was made, and I can still remember the words very clearly in my head “Maybe it’s time you thought about moving on”. With those words said by one parent and backed by another I began to look back through all the memories I had of the workplace, colleagues I’d got to know, laughs I had shared, the banter which helped me get through some long and occasionally tedious times. It had all come to a sudden end. Another talk followed and this time with my siblings both of whom backed the decision claiming that was probably for the best and my superiors clearly weren’t nice people. For over ten years I had shown nothing but dedication and loyalty to the work force. In many ways this took a massive weight off my shoulders knowing that I wouldn’t have to put up with accusing eyes from the superiors, all waiting for you to make just one ill-footed move giving them all they needed to strike. A sick note was handed in declaring two weeks off and right there between those two weeks you hand-in your letter that you’re leaving. After two weeks the day had officially come; I was out on my own. I cleverly hid the tears that I had shed just a few days prior, the upset, shame, embarrassment and anger to mask away my pain.
After over ten years in the job I left into the dark world of unemployment, wondering what to do next and how I would manage.
The next two and a half months that follow feel like an eternity. After over a decade in a work-based routine then into the world of joblessness. You decide that you don’t have much option but to sign-on, a decision you thought that you would never have to make but with no income what other choice do you have. You realise that your savings, regardless of the number, won’t last forever. The fateful day comes when you go to the Job Centre and you take a few minutes to look back at where you were that time last year and look at where you are now. The words go around and round in your head “how could it have come to this?”. The saying ‘here today gone tomorrow’ couldn’t ring any truer in your mind. You are now back at the bottom of the ladder, a place you hadn’t seen since you entered the job-world and thought you would never have to see again. And now you’re back and wondering how to get back up again. You recall a light-hearted comment that you were told by a friendly face prior to being there, “once you go in, you’ll never feel clean again”.
In the days that follow you begin the process of looking for work, but this time you begin to look for other jobs that are completely different to what you’ve been doing before. You decide to use your own experiences to help others in their lives. In go the job applications, hoping that someone will take note of what you and of your achievements as well as your own experiences and take a chance on you. What you lack in terms of professional experience you know you can more than make up for it in personal experience. Eventually interviews come in, not jobs but interviews, and whilst they may not be actually offering you any work, you’re filled with hope that you’ll get it. After all, the job is the next stepping-stone after the interview. You go to endless numbers of job interviews till you get the point where you joke with your family that if you could get a job where all you have to do is do continuous interviews, you’d practically get the job hands-down. Sadly, after the first you get your first reply ‘After much consideration we have decided not to pursue your application’, this coming along with ‘Unfortunately you have been unsuccessful with your application’. It turns into what feels like a gushing stream of ‘After much consideration we have decided not to pursue your application’, ‘Unfortunately you have been unsuccessful in your application’ ‘After much consideration we have’, ‘Unfortunately you have not been’, ‘After much consideration’ ‘Unfortunately you have’. Basically, it’s no after no, after no, after no. All those no’s and afterwards you begin to question your employability, how employable you really are, or if you’re even worth employing, or if you really are destined to live on the bottom line. You contemplate whether you might be better just going back to work for your previous employer whom you left before, you shudder at the thought but it slowly dawns on you that you might not have much choice. Thoughts go through your mind that even if you went to another branch the reasons why you left the previous one would be brought up, something you just don’t want to even think about. Another thought that also dawns on you is to return to the same working environment, but to an establishment that rivals the one you used to work in. It’s probably not what you where wanting but it dawns on you that you might have to and you remember the infamous saying “beggars can’t be choosers”. One day, and after seemingly endless days of job-hunts, interviews and rejections you get the offer of two job interviews, both on the same day. You attend them both and you come out with a positive feeling from the two but remembering that your luck could still go either way with either of the two. Your bad luck is confirmed when you get the reply from one saying that despite your good efforts the answer’s no. The blow is made even more depressing is that it came the same day of the interview, just hours after you have it. Days pass and you don’t hear anything from the other one and you begin to wonder if you’re actually going to hear back from them at all. Eventually that day comes, however, there is a twist of fate. You are informed that you weren’t successful in getting the job you originally aimed for but you are offered another one, either way you take it and without a second thought. After all, it’s a job and there are possibilities of progression. You realise this means you don’t have to remain sign-on anymore. Eventually you start the new job, it’s been a long struggle but either way you’re there, you embrace your new job and the possibilities that could follow. In the days that follow you begin to pursue other interests outside of your new job whilst forever grateful that someone took a chance on you and now it’s your time to demonstrate they were right.

So here I am and this is the story of how my life changed in only 14 months, and I couldn’t be any happier.


In The Spotlight: Imagine Dragons – Natural


For this edition for In The Spotlight I have chosen the new song by Imagine Dragons, Natural. Here’s a few reasons; First and foremost, why not? Secondly, it’s a steady progression of how they have evolved as artists in terms of the way their music has changed; thirdly it demonstrates the vocal range of front-man Dan Reynolds abilities as a singer as he hits a higher note than what we’re used to hearing from him normally. And the fourth and final reason? The music video accompanying the video shows much creativity and has Victorian/Gothic tones that just run right the way through.
Natural has both a sombre tone throughout as there are times when the song matter becomes a little bit dark, and it some areas can sound a bit haunting as well. The mood of the song itself turns both somewhat sinister and serious at various moments and the seriousness in Dan vocals adds to that because when you listen closely to his voice there is that element to it.
Lyrically the song itself is somewhat serious, dark and sinister and in actual fact are cleverly written as it deals in somewhat sombre subject matters, both personal and around you. There’s a few lines in the song which stand out “Natural a beating heart of stone, you gotta be so cold, to make it in this world, yeah, you’re a natural, living your life cutthroat, you gotta be so cold, Yeah, you’re a natural
Now this can apply to anyone who attempts to live in a cut-throat environment as refers to how you’ve occasionally got to unleash a brutal, coldest parts of yourself and let it run wild, especially if the odds are against you. If you want to get by you also need to know how to stand your ground, and how nothing is without a cost of some sort.
Natural is an amazing credit to the genius, creativity and pure musical talents of the Imagine Dragons and why they’re still one of the most amazing bands around now.


In The Spotlight: Tom Grennen: What I’ve Been Looking For


In this edition of Spotlight, I am looking at the release of British artist Tom Grennan’s new single What I’ve Been Looking For. First and foremost, it’s completely as compared to his earlier hit single Royal Highness as is a reminder of why he’s a big musical star in the making. His track has even been featured in the FIFA 18 soundtrack and has been used as the theme song for Sky Sports Super Sunday. Not bad for someone who first emerged on the music scene four years ago.
Tom has indeed progressed from his earlier work such as Royal Highness and I’ve been a fan since then and have seen just how he’s developed. His debut single was upbeat and a catchy one to say the least but he hadn’t quite reached his pinnacle whereas What I’ve Been Looking For is a progression. Also, it contains more of an energetic force and uses more vocal range.
The line ‘I keep searching and I can’t seem to find what I’m wanting’ are quite an interesting choice of lyrics in the song, cos firstly you never seem to hear of artists that are wrapped up in some form of soul-searching. Also, in some ways it can be about looking for a sense of own identity.
In every respect of the word Tom Grennan is very much his own man when it comes to his development as an artist. He isn’t polished or told to look a certain way, as far as we know, as just does what he wants which is somewhat of a rarity for male artists these days.
For me, I’m completely enamoured by much of what Tom Grennen actually does and his music just seems to be able to grab your attention. What I’ve been looking for is a perfect reminder of the best of British music and why his new track is definitely one for your playlist.

Michael Buble on The Graham Norton Show

Just finished watching Canadian singer Michael Buble perform his latest song, I Only Have Eyes For You, and I have to admit that even though I’m not a huge fan of his he  does a good version. There’s only a few handful of male artists I can think of who can cover this song and still do it some justice, and he Buble is one of them. He’s just got the actual voice for it. The man’s voice is both melodic and soothing and is a vocal equivalent of lemon tea and honey. Relaxed, slow-paced and jazzy with a bit of swing. In a way it reminds of Harry Connick Jnr when he performed the theme to When Harry Met Sally as it’s in a similar vein. I openly admit that though I’m not a fan of the guy I’ll confess he has got a great singing voice.

Carey Mulligan, Taron Egerton and Sir Ian McKellen provided banter and laughs as well as discussing their own individual upcoming projects

In The Spotlight: Duke Dumont & Gorgon City (ft Naations) Real Life


For this edition of the Spotlight feature I wanted to discuss a former dance hit called Real Life. It was made by three dance artists who are amazing in their own way; Duke Dumont, Gorgon City and Naations. Now each of these three have had hit tracks before disappearing into obscurity so this track gives us all the more reason to celebrate their return, and to be honest, why not?
What reasons do I have for even making this my chosen track? Well first and foremost, why not. It’s simply an amazing song. The chorus, “I just wanna love you, in real life baby” just goes around and round your head. What I find intriguing about that is that you could easily point out about how it directly points out our desire to be loved, liked and appreciated in real life and for who we actually are, not for what we are online.
The video that accompanies the song has two direct cultural references; one being to the infamous horror classic, Carrie, the other to teen flick, Mean Girls. Now what is deeply fascinating is how closely it mirrors real life itself when it comes to everyone’s obsession with the online world, especially social media. Let’s face it, how many of us have ever gone on social media, seen how many ‘likes’, ‘shares’, and ‘followers’ we’ve got and tried to match it to someone else just so as to increase our own feeling of self-worth. Many of us are guilty of that and that’s something that gets poked fun at.
Another cultural reference that pointed out is our usage of emojis every time we seem to go online
As an avid fan of the dance music genre, every time I hear Real Life I always find myself going through the song bit by bit and trying to find something new about it. Another thing that makes the track is the vocals by Naations singer Nat Dunn as there seems to be fewer female singers in the dance genre than there are men


Mumford & Sons on The Graham Norton Show

Currently been watching Indie/folk lads, also known as Mumford & Sons perform their new single Guiding Light on TV right now and all I can say is welcome back guys. The song is terrific and the guys’ vocal talents have not lost any of their touch and their voices are still as soothing as they’ve always been. Marcus Mumford, their lead man doesn’t fail to deliver when it comes to a live show. Ben, Winston and Ted always deliver when it comes to doing the backing vocals. Their new single Guiding Light is available on their new album Delta.

Kurt Russell, Claire Foy, Lee Evans and David Walliams plenty of banter as well as discussing their upcoming projects.

In The Spotlight: Keala Settle


In this post of In The Spotlight I’m going to discuss the song, This Is Me, by American actress and singer Keala Settle and is one of the hit songs from the hit American musical The Greatest Showman. In the film she plays a woman known as Lettie Lutz, who is also known or referred to as The Bearded Lady.
Now for me, I picked this song for a number of specific reasons; it’s incredibly uplifting and has a feel-good factor, it’s one of those songs that you just cannot ignore no matter how much you try. But there is another reason why I chose it; the song is about being an outcast and facing social prejudice and coping with discrimination. During the film her character, along with a handful of others face discrimination, rejection, but also harassment so the song is their retaliation.
Whilst the song itself is very empowering there’s a verse in the lyrics which carry a strong message “But I won’t let them break me down to dust, I know that there is a place for us. For we are glorious”. People who are viewed as outcasts are looked down upon and unfairly judged and this is one of the lines from the song which address that directly.
This song carries a lot of meaning and understanding for anyone who has faced discrimination and that alone is a rarity in itself as there are very few songs in modern-day music that speak out about such issues. And let alone about empowerment.
As an artist Keala Settle has an incredible voice and is a vocal force to be reckoned with and there have been attempts by other artists. None of them however, seem to be able to hit it quite in the way that Keale seems to. The song is one that once you know the words you’d probably be highly tempted to sing to it, and in all fairness, who could even blame you.