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

Five Favourites: Sami Nathan

Having showcased her impressive vocal talent on ITV’s The Voice, being a favourite of the legendary Tom Jones, London based pop-soul artist Sami Nathan has now shared the first of her own solo material. Oozing a stirring, heartfelt emotion, ‘Older With You‘ showcases Nathan’s rich, crystalline vocals and a sweeping soulful splendour.

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 Sami Nathan to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have shaped her as a musician. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch the recent video for ‘Older With You’ at the end of the feature.

Barbara Streisand – ‘What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?’
My first introduction to music was through my mum’s record player. She played mostly soul power ballads and some big band stuff. One of my favourite songs of all time is ‘What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?’ by Barbra Streisand. The moment I fell in love with this song was seeing Fantasia Barrino on American Idol 2004. I remember watching her on the show and my mind being completely blown. Her performance on the show was vocally immaculate and full of emotion. I love the classic timeless sound of the music, lyrics and the melody is delicious.

Jazmine Sullivan – ‘Masterpiece’
When I was young and I went to Centre Stage School on the weekends, I was introduced to my best friend – the microphone! It changed me being able to hear myself through the speakers. My go-to songs were always the big belters of Whitney and Mariah. I’m in love with these songs because while they are wonderfully written pieces of work, the melodies are made for a strong vocal. These songs really allowed me to challenge myself and to practice as a developing vocalist. One of my favourite modern artists is Jazmine Sullivan. She really captures this essence in her song ‘Masterpiece’. The development through the song musically and in the melodies are magic. I never waste an opportunity for switching is up in the bridge and this song is a perfect example of that, it’s one of my favourite parts!

Christina Aguilera – ‘Beautiful’
I had to put an Xtina song on this list because she was my absolute everything growing up. I would sing her Stripped album constantly and remember once going to one of her concerts and crying all the way through! I could have picked so many of the songs on this album but ‘Beautiful’ is a fantastically written song. I used to play this one (and ‘Impossible’) on the piano at school when I was supposed to be in lessons. I remember seeing an interview where Christina mentioned that she was inspired to use a one-take vocal on this song with all of the vulnerable imperfections that came with it. The sentiment of this has taken me years to fully appreciate. After many years of song writing for other people I had found the industry standard of perfect vocals that can be stripped of personality with effects, I find that taking things back to basics and allowing that natural vocal character to shine through really works for me.

Stevie Wonder – ‘Love’s In Need Of Love Today’
I used to carry my ginormous CD collection around with me at all times. One of my staples was Stevie’s Songs In The Key Of Life.  My chosen song is ‘Love’s In Need Of Love Today’ because I feel like it encompasses his signature style in all its key modulations and lyrical sentiment. Each song on this album feels so personal and timeless and it’s one of few albums I want to listen to from start to end. I remember standing outside the park to be able to hear him play at a festival and it was so special.

Janelle Monae – ‘Smile’
As far as covers go this is a really poignant rendition. I love Janelle’s vocals in general, but she really shines in this song. So much emotion and eerie in its depth! I love how her style and variation over her albums push boundaries. Her second album The ArchAndroid has orchestral transitions between some of the song and features riffs from upcoming sections and melodies of other songs on the album. I would absolutely love to be able to do this one day.

Big thanks to Sami Nathan for sharing her Five Favourites with us!

Produced by Samuel T. Lowen, ‘Older With You’ is out now. Watch the new video below: