Five Favourites: RAHH

Having previously provided backing vocals for Liam Gallagher and shared stages with the likes of Nile Rogers, Emili Sande and Beverley Knight, Manchester born London-based artist RAHH has now shared a euphoric new single.

A blissful slice of soul-strewn alt-pop, ‘Overkill’ showcases the impassioned soaring splendour of Rahh’s vocals alongside a house-inspired enraptured groove.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with RAHH to ask about her ‘Five Favourites’– five albums that have inspired her songwriting techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the video for her latest single ‘Overkill at the end of this post.

TLC – Crazy Sexy Cool
This was my first album, bought for me by my big brother. I think it just opened up my eyes to what was possible as a music artist. I was a little mixed-race girl in a white area and the media and charts reflected that massively. All of a sudden I was introduced to TLC, the coolest girls I’d ever seen in my life and they kinda looked like me. It was massive! Plus I adored the music, I loved that Lisa Left-Eye Lopez rapped and that T-Boz sang so incredibly low – it was totally unusual. I remember learning every word of the rap from ‘Waterfalls’, playing it on repeat in my room and having to turn the volume down when she said “my only bleeding hope..” because I thought my Dad would go mad at me for swearing!

Michael Jackson – History
A different big brother moved out to go travelling in Australia and left me with this album and the VHS to go with it. It was pretty life changing for me. I fell head over heels in love with Michael Jackson’s genius, I was completely captivated. I think his influence can be heard in most music that came after him. The way he created a feel, a groove, and the infectious need to dance is magic. It’s something I think we all aspire towards as songwriters.  

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends
I think before I’d heard this album I was big on RnB and soul, I was focused on the sound and technique of the vocal and hadn’t opened up to the possibility of liking artists that didn’t champion the voice in that way. After this album, all of that went out of the window and I fell in love with the lyrics and poetry of artists like Paul Simon and Bob Dylan. Track 2, ‘America’, remains one of my favourite songs of all time. I’ve had incredible bonding experiences with other people who adore the song and who know about that one lyric where he addresses his wife who’s sleeping next to him to tell her he’s empty and aching and doesn’t know why.  It is my favourite lyric ever and the way its placed in this song will forever inspire me as a writer. 

Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Every song and every note just seems like effortless genius. I can’t remember when I first heard this album but it is timeless. It inspired me to be a better musician and to care less about perfecting vocals and more about the depth of the song. ‘Ex-factor’ makes me melt!

Solange – A Seat at the Table
As a huge Destiny Child and Beyonce fan growing up, I think I just never imagined I could possibly get into Beyonce’s sisters music more than Beyonce’s herself until this album. It seemed to come out of nowhere. I listened to it over and over, I love the whole concept of it, the fashion and contemporary dance of the videos and artwork. The interludes, the interviews. The running theme of race and Black beauty. I really think it’s a piece of artwork from start to finish. The depth of the music in its content and musicality is inspiring and I strive to instil that in my own writing.

Massive thanks to RAHH for sharing her Five Favourites with us!

Watch the new video for ‘Overkill’ here and listen on Spotify now:

FIVE FAVOURITES: Francis Of Delirium

Formed of 18 year old songwriter Jana Bahrich and collaborator Chris Hewett, Francis of Delirium create swirling guitar tunes that centre around Bahrich’s personal experiences. The Canadian-American duo recently released their new EP, All Change, via Dalliance Recordings and it’s full of fuzzed up, cathartic guitar sounds.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Jana to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that inspired her song-writing techniques. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to listen to Francis Of Delirium’s new EP at the end of this post.

 

1. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left
I can pinpoint the exact moment I heard ‘River Man’ for the first time. That song is so special, everything about Nick Drake is really special. It legitimately made me feel like my soul was lifting out of my body. His voice, the chord progressions, the string arrangements, everything adds so much. It might’ve affected me so much because it’s this singer-songwriter but it feels presented in a way that is completely new and so grounded in the earth. Both Chris and I have a special love for Nick Drake. We played this kind of brutal show and then came into the studio the next day and watched a Nick Drake documentary so there’s something comforting about him and his music, in particular this whole album.

2. Caroline Polachek – Pang
I think this is just an excellent pop record. The vocal melodies she’s choosing are so angular and unexpected but accompanied with really emotional and lush production. She has such control of her voice. There’s a KEXP session she did that was just her and a piano and I had to keep pausing the video every few seconds because I was so overwhelmed by how insane her voice is. It sounds out of this world.

3. Solange – When I Get Home
As a listener it feels like there’s so much intent with everything Solange does, maybe I’m cheating because there is literally an interlude on the album that says “do nothing without intention”. Both visually and in an auditory sense. She did a performance that was a medley of songs from When I Get Home on Jimmy Fallon and that was really important to me. I love choreography and shows that are big and planned but have a way of maintaining intimacy. I think that’s really hard to pull off. It’s something I think about a lot for our live shows. Obviously venues we play are pretty small, so it feels important to keep a closeness between the performer and the audience but I would like to incorporate something theatrical without alienating the audience so it doesn’t feel like I’m not there with them anymore. To me, Solange achieved that with her performance on Jimmy Fallon and the album is great.

4. The Microphones – The Glow pt.2
Phil Elverum’s music always centres me. It reminds me why I like Chris and I figuring out how to record music on our own and how getting it wrong but it still feeling right and ultimately that being what matters the most is really important. Phil always creates such a wonderful sense of space which makes me feel like I belong in the album he’s making, in particular this one, there’s this sense of home. Whenever I listen to him I want to go and try new recording techniques and try new things, listening to his music is like instant inspiration for me.

5. James Taylor – Greatest Hits
We grew up with a lot of “best of” albums around the house, which I never really realized until a bit recently. We had the R.E.M CD with the hand on it, the Nirvana black album, the wings best of, The Beatles one album so I really grew up on bangers only. Sometimes I want to do these huge ambitious orchestral albums and I still want to make a musical but James Taylor always reminds me, if you have something simple and pure and honest it can be just as arresting as anything else. He makes it seem a lot easier than it is and always reminds me to really check and double check if what I’m adding is serving the song.

Thanks to Jana for sharing her favourites with us! Listen to Francis Of Delirium’s EP below.

Photo Credit: Patricia Marets

FIVE FAVOURITES: Lily & Madeleine

American sister duo Lily & Madeleine are set to release their new album Canterbury Girls on 22nd February via New West. It was recorded in Nashville and produced by the team behind Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour, Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk. Their record takes its name from Canterbury Park, located in the sisters hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana. Despite the album’s poppy veneer, the record boasts some of Lily & Madeline’s most intense lyrics to date – all written or co-written by the sisters – exploring relationships, power imbalances, and the weight of expectation.

We asked Lily & Madeleine to name their “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced their songwriting techniques. Check out their choices below, and make sure you watch their new video for ‘Analog Love’ at the end of this post!

1. Charlotte Day Wilson – Stone Woman 
Madeleine: I started listening to Charlotte Day Wilson this past summer at the suggestion of a boy I had a crush on. Feeling swept up in the giddy anticipation of a summer fling, I immediately fell in love with her music and listened all summer long. Her voice is like velvet and her songs are so mellow and warm, perfect on a summer evening. She could really sing over any backing beat and I’d love it, but I always go back to my favorite song on the record ‘Funeral’ because it’s so cathartic to sing along to.

2. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
Madeleine: This is my #1 album of 2018 and will forever be a favorite because the songs are so fun yet poignant. Produced by the amazing Daniel Tashian and Ian Fitchuk, who we worked with on Canterbury Girls, this record just makes you wanna sing along and cry at the same time. I wasn’t familiar with Kacey until this record and I think Golden Hour changed how I see country music to be more of a spectrum of influences. My favorite song is the first track ‘Slow Burn’. The imagery in that song makes me feel like I’m driving through the country without a real destination, just a sense of freedom and serenity.

3. Solange – A Seat at the Table
Madeleine: This record by Solange is honestly pure artistry. It has catchy hooks and emotional interludes, all wrapped into a soulful pop package. Every song tells a story about being a woman, being black in America, being an artist. I feel like I can see into Solange’s mind with this record and I relate as a young female artist. As Beyonce’s sister, you’d think that Solange might have a difficult time finding her own voice, yet this record is so unique from anything else. I hope she continues to make music this powerful. It inspires me to have a voice in this industry and sing about things that matter to me, like owning your power as a woman.

4. The Killers – Hot Fuss
Lily: Hot Fuss was the first record put out by the Killers in 2004, and although I was only 7 years old when it debuted, it became one of the defining records of my adolescence. The production of the songs is in-your-face with loud bass lines, fast drums, and interesting synths. But to me, the songwriting is the best part of this album. Songs like ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’ and ‘Andy You’re A Star’ unfold themselves in such an unexpected and theatrical way, it reminds me of Queen and Muse mixed together. The Killers have released a ton of awesome and popular songs since 2007, but I think Hot Fuss will always remain my favorite record of theirs: it’s got everything an angsty midwestern teenager needs!

5. JoJo – The High Road
Lily: I had some of my best car sing-along moments driving around in my sister’s rickety 1986 Mercedes and listening to this album by JoJo. The High Road was her sophomore album, and in my opinion it’s one of the best pop/R&B crossover albums there is. JoJo has absolutely amazing vocal performances all over this album and I think the production of it, with steady beats and subtle synths, is surprisingly timeless! Madge and I used to yell along to the title track and her hit ‘Too Little Too Late’ while we drove around running errands, never hitting the notes but having a great time trying! The only unfortunate thing about this album is that it’s not on Spotify!! JoJo released a remake of the album pretty recently but us die hard fans need to hear the original. Help me out, Spotify!

Thanks to Lily & Madeleine for sharing their favourites! Pre-order their new album Canterbury Girls here. Follow the girls on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut