Showing posts with label adele. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adele. Show all posts

Thursday 9 January 2014

The NEW female Piano singer songwriters

Back in the 70s there were so many wonderful piano singer songwriters. There is something quite special about piano melodies as opposed to guitar composed songs.
There was Paul Simon's Bridge over Troubled Water (while he composed mostly on guitar), McCartney's Long and Winding Road, Elton John's Your Song, Carole King's Tomorrow and of course Joni Mitchell's songs.
But today, while there are many top guitar carrying singer songwriters I struggle to find any quality piano singer songwriters ... where are they? 
The only high quality younger piano singer songwriters I can think of are all female - Adele, who had to fight to have ONLY piano on her massive hit Someone Like You; Emeli Sande and her lovely Clown and River songs; and Canadian singer songwriter the irrepressible Sarah McLachlan and her very moving piano song Answer (new album next year).  She sings songs of understanding that are haunting and questioning. 

The only guy I can think of is Chris Martin's piano songs with his Coldplay band (Fix You).
Here's the irrepressible piano singer songwriter Sarah McLachlan. I listened to her Afterglow album quite often a few years back and I went to check on her and she has a great YouTube clip with a great band too here -    

Sarah McLachlan, is a Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter. Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of 2009, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards (out of four nominations) and four Juno Awards.

The Right Arrangements
I watched Lana del Ray’s 'National Anthem' video trailer with its' strong black and whites and it moves at just the right pace. I also watched Lana's gig at Hackney weekend where the crowd was singing along and clearly into the music. This was very good and touching too her joy of the crowd and lovely to see after the poor reviews for her Saturday Night Live performance - when the rock band backing her didn't work with the style of her music and I posted that she needed simply 'strings and piano.' So why do label people always think 'to be cool' the artists needs a rock band when it all depends on the type of music.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Woman and Art

I read recently about Beverly Martyn (or Bev Kutner) who had worked with Paul Simon, Nick Drake and Jimmy Page before she met John. I was surprised to hear of their song writing collaborations, her being a partnership with John Martyn and then her being left at home with the children, a home on top of a hill. A home she didn't even choose. Apparently John Martyn wrote his best songs with Beverly Kutner, his wife, which she gets little credit for.  Beverly and Martyn recorded three albums together  - Stormbringer, Road to Ruin and Bless the Weather - before John was persuaded by the record label to go solo. She played piano while they wrote songs together for the album Solid Air.  John said that he would credit her 'on the next song.' Beverly was then left on the house on the hill to raise their children while John toured. When John turned to drink he became abusive towards her and after one threatening scene Bev decided to leave him after ten years of marriage.
....and yet John wrote the deeply caring song 'May You Never', all very poignant really.  
Beverly and John Martyn

I also used to wonder about the artist Margaret Macintosh, the wife of the better known Glasgow artist Rennie Macintosh. She was first a collaborator with her sister, and later with her husband, the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Macdonald was celebrated in her time by many of her peers, including her husband who wrote, "Remember, you are half if not four-quarters of all my architectural...Margaret has genius, I have only talent." It is not known exactly which of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's works Margaret was involved with but she is credited with being an important part of her husband's figurative, symbolic interior designs.  These include the Rose Boudoir at the International Exhibition at Turin, the designs for House for an Art Lover and the Willow Tea Rooms. Her best known works include the panel The May Queen, which was made to partner Mackintosh's panel The Wassail for Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Tearooms, and Oh ye, all ye that walk in Willowood, which formed part of the decorative scheme for the Room de Luxe in the Willow Tearooms. Together with her husband, her sister, and Herbert MacNair, she was one of the most influential members of the collective known as the Glasgow Four. She exhibited with Mackintosh at the 1900 Vienna Secession, where she was arguably an influence on the Secessionists Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann.
Panel by Margaret Macintosh

There have been some outstanding women photographers.  
Great Women Photographers include Eve Arnold and Dorothea Lange (Migrant Mother).
Migrant worker by Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange 1895 – 1965 was an American photo journalist, best known for her Depression Era work for the Farm Security Administration ( FSA).  Her photographs drew attention to the plight of migrant farm workers, rural poverty and exploitation of share croppers. Her husband, economist Paul Taylor, interviewed and took economic data over the plight of migrant workers while she photographed and they documented rural poverty and the exploitation of share croppers and migrant labourers.  Her photos led aid being sent to the camps. Eve Arnold, 1912 - 2012 was an American photojournalist. She joined Magnum Photos agency in 1951 and became a full member in 1957. Her interest in photography began in 1946 while working in a photo-finishing plant and she learned photographic skills from at the New School for Social Research; She went on to photograph many iconic figures – including Marilyn Monroe. She left the United States and moved permanently to England in the early 1960s. While working for the London Sunday Times, she began to make serious use of colour photography. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Photographers. She did a series of portraits of American First Ladies. She received an OBE in 2003.
Photographer Eve Arnold
There are many great women writers -  Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte, George Eliot, more. I attend the Edinburgh International Book festival (EIBF) each year and in the book world there is a true equality - its' all about the craft and substance. 
In music in recent years there has been a rise in woman musicians gaining attention, as opposed to decorative woman singers. In the UK in particular there has been new strong solo women who play, write and perform – Adele and Emeli Sande.   
Emeli Sande

I have read of many out standing woman artists down the years – the question is how many of them have been able to break thorough and most have been left in the shadows of their better known partners. The women have been left with the day to day chores of raising children and keeping the home going. Of course being a mother is and should be the most rewarding  job of all - and it is. I have raised three children and it is also very demanding (!) on a woman's time and energies. In the UK in particular, the role of homemaker as it is known in the States, is undervalued and not treated with the respect the role deserves. In America mothers are given more respect as they are after all the bedrock of society. I don't know why.

Even in today's world of equality were many women are the main wage earners it falls to their lot to also be the main homemakers too. So this is a few words here to the forgotten woman artists and writers.. and a special few to those woman who are breaking free.
Perhaps women need to feel they can be equals in the creative arts - particularly in art and music. 
To name but a few of the great women behind the men. I am certain there are many many more. 

Marilyn Munroe by Eve Arnold

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Emeli Sande heads back up the UK Album Charts

Scottish singer songwriter, Emeli Sande heads back up the UK Album Charts - After performing at the Olympic closing ceremony Emeli Sande heads back up the UK album charts with her debut album Our Version of Events. I have followed Emeli’s (she was known as Adele oddly back in 2007) music career since she attended medical school here in Glasgow and I took photos of her ep launch gig Oran Mor in 2007.  She hails from Aberdeenshire. I have a selection of images from her gigs here in Glasgow at King Tuts, Oran Mor and Old Fruitmarket the past 5 years here -
Emeli sang Lennon's Imagine at the Olympic Closing ceremony.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

The BRITS 2012 – Some great British music while mostly mainstream and not for everyone

Coldplay, the biggest band worldwide, opened the BRITS show with their brand of colourful fun ‘Paradise’ rhythms. I am proud of British music with artists who sell well worldwide – Coldplay, Adele, Florence and the Machine, Jessie J, Laura Marling, Plan B, more.
Adele, the biggest selling British artist of the 21st century with 17m sales, just swept the American Grammies last week with her ‘coming of age’ album 21. Back home in London Adele again won the categories Best Album and Best Female. Newcomer singer songwriter Ed Sheeran won Best Male and Best Breakthrough act. Best Band; Coldplay (50m sales worldwide); Emeli Sande won Critics Choice award.
International Female; Rhianna (20m albums), International Male; Bruno Mars (500m hits youTube), International Groupl Foo Fighters; International Breakthrough; Lana Del Rey. 
The show closed with 90s band Blur. While performers Olly Murs, Bruno Mars and Rhianna, prove this show is mostly about the mainstream.

It is not all about good vibes on the ground these days, but more importantly attention in the online stratospheres – and all about that Online Buzz now via YouTube hits, Facebook friends and Twitter friends,

The Brits may not have the extravagance and glitz of the Grammies but thank goodness, music should not be all about theatricals! Florence and the Machine put on a beautifully artistic choreographed performance. The presenter James Corden, took to the floor where some audience members walked in front of him… 
Plus quite oddly he felt it was more important the show kept to its allotted time than that Adele was given time for her acceptance speech after winning best album!  I’m all for professionalism but this seemed to be carrying things a bit too far!   

PS As respected songwriter Richard Thompson puts it, 'People in large numbers don't always have the best taste!'  Also I was reading that when Adele recorded Someone Like You simply backed with piano her label wanted the song re-recorded with a full band backing, but Adele stuck to her guns and said no! mmmm It never fails to amaze me the over-production that goes on. Surely it’s about the song and voice in the end? 

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Adele - Someone Like You (on 'Later Live with Jools Holland') - Nov 2010

I saw Adele sing this on Jools Holland last year - it gave me the chills. Give me beautiful simple piano and voice any day. Her new album '21' is predicted to be massive this year.

Also you can now pre-order RADIOHEAD's new album 'King of limbs'direct from their website! Looks like 2011 is another good year for music.

QUOTE Radiohead: What have twitter and facebook ever done for us?
Obviously, keeping in touch with everyone but I have to say I have become increasingly excited over the last 3 months about the possibilities of this form of communication. Yes I am very slow out of the blocks. It's in the arena of public protest that it seems twitter and facebook are increasingly the means by which popular movements throughout the world are able to come together and mobilise.
I have been so moved by the peaceful Jasmine revolution in Tunisia; The anti-Government demonstrations centred on Tahrir Square in Cairo.. Social networking has helped facilitate the freedom to assemble peacefully and express oneself. Equally in Britain it seems to be having a similar effect in helping essential protests being organised by students and groups such as UK Uncut against the Government's ill thought out cuts ... Well done those people!