Rene Byrd started her musical career as a singer songwriter by participating in numerous talent contests inter-college competition based in London, which nurtured stars including Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield. Then, aged 14, she joined a band as a backup vocalist.
Rene is third generation West Indian and she comes from a religious and musical background. Her father was a music producer and her uncle is a Gospel singer known as Bishop John Francis who had a gospel TV show broadcasted on Channel 4 called People Get Ready. Francis’ choir sang once for Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Variety Show.
Rene recalls: ‘it was a regular occurrence to see my uncle on TV and he inspired me to sing. His voice is amazing!’ Her most vivid memory as a young child was being side-stage at an open-air concert in London watching Sade, Sting and Tracey Chapman perform which blew her away. So inspired was Rene that she ran on stage, grabbed the mic and spoke to the crowd.
Rene has performed at Elstree Film Studios, at a TG Foundation’s charity event featuring Lady Gaga’s designer Vera Thordardottir, at Paris Fashion Week and on Live at The Forge, Delancey Street in Camden, London. Three special performances include with Tracee Ellis Ross for her popular sitcom Read Between the Lines, an electric set at private club Annabel’s in London’s Mayfair and a performance at the National Art Gallery for the Prime Minister of Lithuania, accompanied by musicians who work with George Michael and Emeli Sandé.
Rene’s performances in both the UK and USA will be produced and promoted by Roy Francis, who works with acts ranging from pop artist Michelle Williams of Destiny Child, American gospel duo Mary Mary and hip hop star Trey Songz. Rene has performed with her brother Tez-lee, who has also written and produced songs on her forthcoming album.
Rene is involved in quite a bit of charity work campaigning for teens and children and raising awareness about ovarian cancer, outside of her music career. She is the Official Ambassador for The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund UK.
Rene Byrd’s single Never Never Never featuring John Holt is released on DreamBoxx Productions.
Never Never Never is played at the end of this Discover Music Show interview
Out now on iTunes:
DJ and artist Jason Fernandes began DJing at the age of 14, started using music software while still a teenager, which led him on to producing his own music, which he first released aged 23.
London-based Jason Fernandes’ music has been released on Carl Cox’s Intec label and Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label and he had a track featured on BBC Radio 1’s Essential mix recorded live from Space in Ibiza with Carl Cox.
In line with many good DJs and producers, Jason’s inspiration comes from many different artists and styles. He has built a substantial following amongst the techno community.
On creating his own music, Jason uses the thoughts and emotions he is experiencing at the time, for example: “Riding The Storm in particular reflects on the storm of life with its ups and downs, which we are all trying to ride.”
After releasing music on Carl Cox’s Intec label, Carl heard and subsequently signed all 7, which lead to two EPs in 2015.
Jason has played DJ sets in Holland, Poland, Malta, France, Norway and the UK, including various headline slots and alongside leading, established techno acts. In 2015, Jason showcased a set of his own music in Holland and he has put on a successful event of his own in London.
Jason Fernandes has collaborated with British pioneering electronic duo The Advent made up of Cisco Ferreira and Colin McBean, who formed in 1993. Jason appreciates how working in the studio with these artists has opened doors and allowed him to learn new ways to approach the creative process. Jason says: “Taking on board their masses of experience and combining it with fresh ideas that you have as a relatively new artist. It is a truly humbling experience.”
The latest self-produced E.P from Jason Fernandes is entitled Riding the Storm and is out on 9 May 2016 on his own label Subfigure.
Hear the EP on Soundcloud:
It all started at the Village Green Festival in Southend-On-Sea in 2014 when Ross met singer Louisa who was being schmoozed by a friend of Jay’s called Ross. Jays says, “Louisa said she was a singer, to which Ross shouted, ‘Jay, you need a singer don’t you? This girl can sing, you two should talk.’”
Jay liked the word lux and attached it to Apache, which he thinks was inspired by seeing the film Empire of the Sun.
Apachelux are inspired by great tunes from across the musical spectrum, as Jay says, “from Nirvana to Girls Aloud, Maya Jane Coles to Smashing Pumpkins, The Police to Madonna, Royal Blood to Chemical Brothers. Radio 1 to Classic FM. 1940’s Jazz to Barber Shop.”
Their debut single This Time was played on 30 radio stations around the globe and their remixes received widespread support by DJs in clubs and on radio in places from Columbia, New York, Ibiza, Singapore to the Ukraine.
Apachelux’s latest single Only When You’re Lonely, mixed and mastered by John Webber at Air Studio, is out now on
The single Only When You’re Lonely includes a house remix from London boys K&K, and a Spaced Out remix from Lost N Spaced, the current handle of USA based character producer Sam Marcos based. Only When You’re Lonely with 3 tracks is available on digital music retail.
Thirteen Being is a collaborative project set up and run by Vincent Kane aka Vin100 bringing together his friends’ musical skills.
Starting out in London 2008 as Being, Vincent brought together friends who were musicians, DJs, producers and nightclub event organisers to craft a style electronica, which flows from dance dream and they call Inner-Space-Age.
The name Being was inspired during a long studio session that ended in drawing symmetrical patterns on white label records. This transformed into Thirteen Being to mark the move away from city life to the West Country in 2013, where they are currently based.
Vincent grew up surrounded by psychedelic rock during and graduated into enjoying Drum and Bass, Acid-House, Techno and Jungle.
In the 1990s as a teenager, Vincent loved DJing and promoting club nights. His Thirteen Being collaborators include soundscape producer Hector Hernandez with stage name Hektagon, instrumental knowledge from David Clark, technological input from Marcus Oaten and Breaks producer, DJ at Fabric, writer and arranger Mark Ford, known as Merka.
Doors were opened for Vincent after meeting Ambient House pioneers The Orb in the late 1990s and their Alex Paterson has continued to be inspiration and support.
This alliance led to Vincent co-writing The Orb’s track 2026, which is on their album Orbsessions Volume 2 with remixes by Vin100 and Being. Tracks have been licensed for compilation CDs and Vincent has performed DJ slots with Alex Paterson on Internet radio and Vincent was the DJ support at many of The Orb’s London gigs, mixing in Being recordings with experimental demo material.
Thirteen Being’s debut album Circadia has taken eight years to piece together the jigsaw puzzle of their story so far.
Circadia is described as an exploration of life on Earth, the spiralling Sun and Moon weaving the threads of time and space, waking dreamers, day walkers and night fliers dancing on the cutting edge of consciousness as we make our own way through the wilderness of modern life.
The 8-track Circadia is an album written by Vincent Kane and Hector Hernandez, produced and mixed by Vincent Kane at Pushin Plastic studio and mastered by Vin100 and Merka.
The record label Pushin Plastic started in 2004 as a partner project for the Pushin Plastic club nights in East London, run by Vincent Kane and featuring the musical works of friends and colleagues. Pushin Plastic are selling a limited (one of 375) run of clear blue plastic vinyl. Click on Discogs link below.
Thirteen Being’s debut album Circadia will be released worldwide on Pushin Plastic on 25 April 2016 with distribution from Universal Music Operations.
Saika is a 24-year-old first generation Haitian-American female singer-songwriter, who conveys the humility of her Haitian roots with the street savvy from her childhood in Brooklyn, New York. Saika now lives in Atlanta, Georgia in the USA.
Saika went to high school with her keyboard player Jonathan Williams who is also her manager. By watching Beyoncé and Michael Jackson she saw how live instrumentation brought songs to life and played live regularly with Jonathan at venues including Brooklyn College.
With siblings called Steven and Alexis, Saika didn’t like her unusual given name until she discovered Saika means a colourful flower. Then, she says, “I just grew into it.”
Saika’s latest single Chemical eX was inspired by an embarrassing moment when she saw an ex-boyfriend at a party a year after splitting up, drank too much and vomited on the dance floor.
Influenced by Disney, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson and she particularly admires Beyoncé. Saika says “I aspire to be an entertainer like Beyoncé. When I write my own songs, I try to channel the honesty and transparency of hip hop artists like Drake and J. Cole”.
Saika’s latest single Chemical eX was co-produced by Darnell “D.McCro” McCrorey and Don “Don V” Van Horn. Chemical eX will be released by McCro Music Group on Concordia Records with distribution via Universal Music Operations on 25th April 2016.
Keep up to date with Saika on her website
You can preview her new single on Soundcloud
Family Ranks is a 7-piece soul, hip-hop, electronica and reggae collective creating lush expansive arrangements, deep grooves and euphoric festival anthems.
To form Family Ranks in 2014, Manchester’s leading songwriters Ruby-Ann Patterson and James Gill joined session musicians in House of Lords, previously the house band for award winning live event All About Good Music, which showcases the UK’s upcoming urban talent.
Through frequent live video releases and stage performances, Family Ranks has become established on the Manchester scene and is attracting the attention of promoters for major live events and venues.
The Family Ranks line-up is Ruby-Ann Patterson and James Gill providing vocals with Tom Barber-Redmore on vocals and acoustic guitar, Liam Morson playing keyboard and synth, Jake Stentiford on electric guitar, Ben Whitfield on bass and Laurie Agnew on Drums.
On how the band met at All About Good Music events, guitarist Jake Stentiford says: “The aim of the night was to provide a platform for soul, R&B and hip hop artists to perform a selection of their music with a live band. It ran for several years and featured a few artists who have since gone on to big things such as Daley and Shakka. Through this night we first met and played with James Gill and also saw Ruby-Ann play for the first time”.
Creating a name for the new band had its fraught moments. Jake says, “I think a couple of members actually left the meeting in exasperation before we finally decided on Family Ranks. We liked the idea of it having family in the name as there’s such a lot of us but we didn’t want to be an orchestra or collective”.
The songwriting takes place, Ruby Ann Patterson says, “collectively in the comfort of someone’s living room, often Ben and Tom’s because we like his cat. I tend to bring stuff I’ve been working on, poetry and verses. Sometimes we will just write completely fresh.”
Family Ranks have played live at many events including Band on The Wall, Oxjam, The Ruby Lounge and at Manchester Art Gallery for Sofar Sounds, organisers of secret gigs and intimate concerts. Influences include Fat Freddy’s Drop, Submotion Orchestra, Hiatus Kaiyote, The Internet, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Disraeli and The Small Gods.
Family Ranks have performed support for Charles Bradley, Candi Staton, Gregory Porter, Foxes, Kano and at the MOBO awards. They have composed and played with The Hallé Youth Orchestra and worked with Robert Harvey, who has toured with The Streets and currently in The Six, working with Clean Bandit and Gorgon City.
Vocalist James Gill says the single Hard to See Her Soul is about a previous girlfriend who was scarred after her night with a celebrity ended up in the papers. Gill says, “She was emotionally scarred from the experience and had confidence issues which she…tried to cover up with make up and clothes. I wanted to help her be free from it all but I was battling my own demons as well at the time”.
Family Ranks announce the EP Speak Up featuring the single Hard to See Her Soul, produced by Mark Lewis at Giant Wafer Studios in Wales. Speak Up will be released worldwide on Matchbox Recordings with distribution from Universal Music Operations on 11 April 2016.
Dutch artist Robby Valentine has signed to Japanese major record label King Records and releases a double album also available on vinyl, all accompanied by a headline show at the Arts Club in Liverpool in March.
Robby’s first self-titled album contained his first single Over and Over Again, a big hit in 1991. That year he received the prestigious Dutch Silver Harp award, which celebrates promising musical talent and was recently awarded to Tiësto and Ferry Corsten. Valentine writes, produces and plays all his own material.
Black Rain will be the new single from Robby’s latest album Bizarro World, which is already getting extensive UK radio play in the lead up to his Liverpool concert on 12 March.
To celebrate twenty-five years making music, Robby launches his latest album Bizarro World on 14th February and the Queen Album, with bonus tracks including his cover of Life on Mars by David Bowie. These are also available on vinyl.
Bizarro World is an eclectic mix of pop and rock, blending influences from Queen, Muse and Adam Lambert.
Valentine has enjoyed success in Japan and subsequently signed to their major record label King Records while he remains popular in his native Holland. The first pressing of Bizarro World sold out in Europe, prompting headline shows to support the extended release.
Prompted by his successful performance at the Rockingham festival in the UK last October, Robby Valentine will bring his The Best of Both Worlds show to the Arts Club in Liverpool on 12 March, which will be 25 years since his first big hit Over and Over Again.
Starting the show will be originals from Robby’s extensive back catalogue, followed by a set of timeless classics from his Tribute to Queen show, which featured at the UK Queen Convention where he has been the first artist to be asked back three times.
The latest album “Bizzaro World” was released in the U.K and worldwide on Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2016 with distribution from Universal Music Operations.
The video promo for Robby’s single Black Rain:
Bizarro World is available now on iTunes: