LISTEN: Megzz – ‘Checkmate’

Following the release of her debut EP Feel My Love in 2019, and acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing for last year’s ‘Tell Me Why‘, unsigned Northamptonshire artist Megzz has now shared her latest single ‘Checkmate’ – a truly soulful treat for the ears. Fans will know of her commitment to using her platform and creativity to speak on self love, mental health and racism. Throughout the last year, Megzz has raised funds for several charities tackling these areas and even created her own movement. It’s a wonder she’s had time to create new music at all, and yet here’s ‘Checkmate’ – a fresh, empowering tune for anyone frustrated after being left on read. She’s a wonder woman!

‘Checkmate’ opens with a tasty pop and R’n’B influenced beat from which Megzz launches her gymnastic ability to deliver bars of crystal clear lyricism while displaying broad vocal range. Soon, the charming, toe-tapping intro takes a satisfying drop into the meaty bite of a more electronic sound (think SBTRKT meets Lapsley) luring us from swaying shoulders to banging heads and back. Meanwhile Megzz’s songwriting is the stuff of Insta caption dreams – “a queen without her king is still a monarch” is my current favourite.

Megzz obviously has a huge amount to say and I can’t wait to hear what this innovative artist does next.

Tutku Barbaros
@tutkubarbaros

LISTEN: Husk – ‘My Innocence’

Having previously treated our ears to uptempo pop gems ‘Heal With Time’ and ‘Below The Neck’, and having received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6Music’s Tom Robinson, BBC Radio Cymru’s Janice Long and Gaydio, Manchester based trans masc, non-binary artist HUSK has now shared a brand new single.

Propelled by glitchy, tribal beats and a fiery, vibrant groove, ‘My Innocence‘ oozes a swirling, empowering energy. With an uplifting passion, HUSK’s distinctive, sweeping vocals flow as a shimmering euphoric splendour glistens with every note. A fiesty pop banger, it’ll leave you feeling energised – ready to hit the dance floor with loved ones and unite in the celebration of queer love and diversity.

Of the track, HUSK reflects: “I just wanted to make a song that you could dance to about new exciting queer love.

They have certainly succeeded in this with ‘My Innocence’! And at a time when it is more important than ever to spread the message of equal rights for all, and love and solidarity within the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. So, press play, turn it up and celebrate queer joy!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LISTEN: Chloe Castro – ‘FUTURE’

Having been tipped as one of BBC Introducing’s ‘Tips for 2021’, and previously charming listeners when she reached the quarter finals of BBC One’s The Voice, British-Brazilian artist Chloe Castro has now shared a powerful new single.

Gliding in with pristinely enunciated vocals, ‘FUTURE‘ mesmerises instantly. Just as our hips start to find an infinity motion to match the alternative R’n’B opener (think Banks meets PARTYNEXTDOOR), Castro switches the beat – suddenly smacking out speedier lyrics borrowing cadences from hip-hop and rap as she goes. 

For Castro, language isn’t just how she describes her emotions, but the conduit through which she makes us really feel them with her. When she belts out “fucking go for it” she hits the guttural “K” with a firmness that makes me gasp and nod my head in agreement like “yes tell him Chloe!”. The track’s refreshing bluntness lands like a high kick to the chest, accompanied by scattered subtle percussion. A perfectly crafted mood.

Although Castro goes in on indecisive boys and their half-baked excuses, this isn’t a heartache song – the opposite in fact. Instead of pleading for clarity and commitment, Castro holds her agency and her boundaries firm: “… you don’t need to tell me why you sad boy”. What a chant. She’s onto something there. The perfect track for a long chaotic Love Island obsessed summer. 

Tutku Barbaros
@tutkubarbaros

LISTEN: Billie Flynn – ‘Hey Stranger’

Debut single ‘Hey Stranger‘ by Cornish artist Billie Flynn is an emotive and ethereal summer treat. Gentle as the winds, crashing as the waves – a track you can almost feel on the surface of your skin. 

Recorded between her home studio and remotely during lockdown – with beautifully pitched production by JMAC – this song  bends time as it conjures thoughts of past relationships. Flynn’s unique vocal style is delicate – breathy, floaty and melodic – but simultaneously packing its own punch. There’s command in her tone as she sings up with refreshingly direct lyrics about that standard scenario we all wonder about: in her own words “It’s about seeing someone again that isn’t in your life anymore and hoping that they’re proud of who you are now.” Deliciously relatable – “Well…are you proud?”, I ask myself before getting swept up in the melody again. 

This is a track which undulates and surprises over and over again as it confidently takes on many instrumental turns and changes in pace, culminating in a textured, echoing climax before being neatly stripped all the way back down again for a final glorious flourish of Flynn’s uniquely elemental voice. An absolute journey of a track, which summons much excitement for future EPs.

‘Hey Stranger’ is out now via Never Fade Records.

Tutku Barbaros
@tutkubarbaros