Entries in Soul (61)


Hanging out with the Soulful Cara Hammond

Soulful solo artist Cara Hammond recently caught our attention with the single 'NO'. Spending almost half her life writing and performing, we caught up with the young Welsh singer to chat about sharing the stage with the likes of Gregory Porter, growing up in a house full of music and how the lyrics that come to you while sitting on a train are sometimes the best. Harry Upton writes.

Thanks for your time Cara, can you tell us about how you got into music? 

My mum and dad always used to play music around the house on the weekend which started my love of listening and dancing to music but I got into creating my own music when I went to my first guitar lesson when I was 11. I loved that I could create a song and play it instantly to family and friends.

Your latest single 'NO' has a powerful message, was it difficult to write?

‘No’ was written after I travelled to Prague with my friends for a little holiday and we went to the 5 story club for a night out. Whilst we were there some boys were dancing with us and must have got the wrong message and asked us back to theirs. We said ‘no’ and they didn’t like it and one got quite nasty. So I came home and wrote this song quite quickly because I wanted to stand up for myself and other women.

The video is great, was it fun to make?

Thank you! It was so so much fun! I got to travel to Paris and saw some of the sights, it was amazing! I loved the team we were working with as well, they were so hardworking and talented. It really was a great experience

As an accomplished writer, do you have a method or is it more spontaneous?

It depends. Sometimes I just sit at a piano or guitar and just create a melody first and then the lyrics but this can be quite difficult. My favourite songs are when I’ve just thought of a lovely lyric whilst sitting on a train or having a conversation with a loved one

You recently performed at Love Supreme, tell us about that?

It was such a dream! I still can’t believe I performed there, especially since artists such as Nao, Gregory Porter and Laura Mvula also performed there! I had such a great time and luckily was able to enjoy the rest of the festival too which was really cool.

So what is coming up next from you?

Busy promoting the new single and just continuing with writing more material. I’m due to go to a few songwriting camps too, both in the UK and abroad. I’m performing at the North Leeds Food Festival on 22nd July and I’m supporting the Undercover Hippy at the Hifi Club, Leeds on October 22nd too.

What can we expect from your live shows?

A mixture of pop, soul and folk and a mixture of full band and acoustic performances. I’m also a very honest performer and I like to talk a load of rubbish between songs so I guess if you like that then I’m for you!

Sounds good to us! Finally, what stimulates your soul?

Hanging out with friends and family, travelling with my boyfriend and writing my own music

You can find out more about Cara Hammond and stream her music here


Keeping it real with UK R&B Singer Cherri V

Unafraid and eloquent in her ability to discuss the truths of her life and her battles, London R&B singer Cherri V is back with a brand new track keeping true to her roots. She recently released a playful love song dubbed ‘Without You’ which is a teaser to her upcoming album. The track explores the difficulty with everyday tribal issues. 

We chat to Cherri V about what ‘Without You’ is all about, her secret addiction to watching Big Brother, and her thoughts on not wanting to be boxed in. Margaret Tra writes. 

You just released ‘Without You,’ could you tell us about it?

My single 'Without you' explores the difficulty of dealing with everyday trivial issues that occur with a live in spouse, husband or wife. The main focus of the song is realising in due time that although the issues and habits are highly annoying lol living without the one you love isn't the solution. I think for the first time on a song, I was able to capture my goofy, playful side. The visual also brings that to life. I wrote the song with my brother in spirit Jermaine Riley who I've collaborated with for many years and our writing process is very natural and conversational. To be able to create in a space of authenticity and comfort is priceless.

Last time we remember you were in a duo, so you're back to being a solo artist?

Dora Martin is a separate project/entity to Cherri V. I've always been a solo artist and love to collaborate. I don't like the thought of having to box myself in. Jermaine and I have performed solo before, during and after Dora Martin projects were released. An artist is an artist in true entirety and I believe myself to be just that. There aren't limits to creativity. So yes Cherri V is back but Dora still lives (laughs). 

What was the concept behind the video?

The story board was very befitting to the lyrics. We captured my lead guy burning bread/toast, absolutely destroying the white wash with a pair of red socks and generally being a nuisance at home. The concept was centred around the lyrics in order for them to come to life! I was well pleased with the outcome.

What's next for you?

I'm planning to release a few singles before my album is released. We have just shot the video for my next single "Leave me Be" so I cannot wait to unleash that.

What was it like working with Harmony Samuels?

We have worked together so much when he was in the U.K so we are like family! So much of my growth as an artist and vocalist was experienced with him at the beginning of my journey as 'Cherri V' so it was great to connect with someone who was present from the beginning of my journey.

What is your favourite television show that you are addicted to now, and why?

I actually have a few  mostly U.S shows I watch online or one Netflix - anything juicy (laughs). I’m loving Empire, Scandal and Power! I love the writing and the plot twists and it's a great escape for me while I'm having downtime. I'm trying my hardest not to get sucked into big brother but I'm slowly failing (laughs). 

What stimulates your soul?

Love, loyalty and laughter! 


Expanding the Sound of Philadelphia with Odd Kid Out


Philadelphia-based 21 year old, Odd Kid Out, oozes soulful dexterity. Having played drums since he was six years-old, he embodies all aspects of production to a point of honing his craft with an MPC. With some spectacular projects to back him, Odd Kid Out has hooked up with London artist, 1403, for a stirring new EP 'Full Circle' due to drop 7th of April.

We chat to Odd Kid out about playing music since he was 6 years old, the development and growth of his sound over the years, and what listeners can expect from the new EP Full Circle. Ayla Dhyani writes.

Your EP 'Full Circle' is set to drop 7th of April this year. What can listeners expect from the record?

Well, musically it’s a mix of Philadelphia neo-soul with an electronic, grittier, London vibe. It’s got that mix of acoustic and electronic. There are multiple facets to why it’s called Full Circle, but it’s kind of just a coming together of all of the elements and vibes to make it unique. It’s more of a laid-back, ‘vibey’ type of EP. When we sat down and made it, we went in with a mentality of “let’s just make music that we really enjoy and not worry about what’s mainstream or what’s ‘trending.’ Let’s make stuff that we love.” So that’s really the inspiration and what it kind of sounds like as well.

For sure. That’s how the best music is made. You can feel it when artists loves what they're creating. Tell us about the introduction to 1403 and the writing process behind that.

It was interesting because it was the quickest writing project that I’ve ever been a part of. So I was introduced to the singer, 1403 (his real name is Tom), through the other writer and executive producer on the project, Mitch Beer. Basically, we had a week to get everything together because that’s only how long Tom was visiting from London. The project was made within that short timeframe (of course we cleaned stuff up a bit afterwards), but the core of the project was pretty much made in that timeframe. It was a really organic writing process as far as it was essentially one person starting off a track idea and the rest of us all adding on to it. It was cool to have Tom there because he brought a vocal element that Mitch and I couldn’t. He also played a few instruments on some tracks, so it was a really cohesive unit that we built. That was pretty much it.

What’s the most personal track to you on the EP?

I think for me the most impactful track is ‘30 000 Feet.’ Mostly because I had actually been travelling a little bit before the EP was created and and I love to produce when I fly. I made a little snippet of a song that was about 15 seconds long and that ended up being the core melodic structure of ‘30 000 Feet.’ We took this musical idea from where I’m looking out the window of this airplane at these clouds in a completely different space up in the sky, and then to be grounded and have the song turn into something new. Again, that comes ‘full circle’ with everything coming together. For me, seeing the evolution of that track was really rewarding.


So you’ve worked with some pretty huge artists from a fairly young age. Is there a moment that stands out for you that really blew your mind? Was there ever this ‘rock star’ moment where what you were doing felt almost unbelievable?

There’s been a lot of moments where some pretty crazy things have happened. One of the cooler experiences was being on stage with Freddy Jackson. He’s such an R&B legend. Also, I  can’t necessarily name names because nothing has happened yet, but sometimes I open up my Instagram DMs and it’s shocking to me that these calibre people are reaching out to me. I don’t consider myself successful. I feel like I’m still progressing, but to have these people that I look up to and who I’ve looked up to in my childhood who follow me, and talk to me and want to meet up with me, is really crazy. There’s been a lot of moments, but I never really felt like I could sit back and go “oh, I made it.” I’m young, so I don’t want to get too comfortable.

Having played drums for so many years, what was the significance of incorporating the MPC into your sound?

Well, I started drumming when I was 6 years old and I got my MPC when I was 16. I started producing when I was 15. But the whole reason why I could do the MPC stuff so quickly and precisely was because I spent 10-15 years learning how to play the drums. So I think having the rhythmic element as well as being a drummer and learning how to play the structure of all types of music, I was really able to have a jump start instead of just opening up the computer and having that as my first knowledge of music. I was already getting into it with an acoustic and organic knowledge of music already and had already been on stage for years. I actually didn’t realise that had any skills with the MPC until I got to college and I started doing it in front of people. People were like “Yo, what’s that? That’s super cool.” So it wasn’t until then that I was able to really market it and turn it into something on the artist side. But behind the scenes, you have to dedicate so much time and practice. It’s all a process, but having the experience to play drums beforehand was key in that development.

Your sound has developed so much between projects as well. What are your biggest musical influences?

Initially, what really got me into producing and making music was old-school hip hop. That real 1990’s era with producers like Pete Rock, J Dilla, and Madlib. All these iconic hip hop producers were really what inspired me. Even aside from hip hop, nowadays I get really inspired by all types of music. From people as big as Max Martin to people that make EDM music. I think hip hop was what gave me that breath of life in producing, but now it’s so across the map. Honestly at this point, everything I listen to really inspires me. I see it as I new thing to learn or a new thing to conquer or challenge me. I’m always looking for the next step in my sound and the next group of people that I can touch with my music.

I’m sure you get this all the time, but how do you consider yourself an ‘odd kid out?’

(Laughs), yeah I get this question a lot, but it’s still relevant. I’m pretty much a social butterfly. I love people and have literally never been in any type of fight ever, but I always felt (it sounds a little cheesy) that the way that my soul is and the way that I’ve set up my life, is not that of a normal 21 year old. Since high school, I knew that I wanted to be working on music while all my friends were doing the ‘normal’ route. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I was just on a different wavelength. I was always doing something more artistic. Ii was always looking at something in a different way. In college I was the only kid who wasn’t really giving in to ‘what you’re supposed to do.’ So, what I started realising was I love my life and I love the people around me and I’m happy and I’m not doing what people are telling me to do and I’m not doing what society says in normal. So I was thinking to myself,  “I feel like there’s got to be millions of people who feel the same way that are overwhelmed by that feeling.” Odd Kid Out for me is kind of a representation of who I am; approaching things differently and just feeling a little different from everyone else. However, it’s also a safe-haven for people. I want people to look up to what I do. I would love for people to connect to my name if people are inspired by what I do. I would love for them to feel like “this is someone I look up to and they’re not normal”. I want it to be a house for people to be weird. I think it’s important to be yourself and to do what you love and not worry about what the world really thinks about you. As long as you’re not harming people. It’s very much a global name rather than just a narrative on it being about me. I want it to be about everyone. Music has saved my life so many times, so I want others to feel the same way.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

There are a few candidates that I’m always thinking about. I’m going to give you two. Nas, because he’s just one of my favourites. And then I’d honestly go in the opposite direction and say Justin Bieber.

Why so?

I love Justin Bieber. Recently, I’ve really loved his music. I just think he has a great voice, and I think that I can give him a beat the would reflect a different side of him. That would be an awesome collaboration to see him step out of his comfort zone and try something different. I would love to do that.

You’re from Philadelphia. How do you find the community in Philadelphia in terms of the music scene? Do you feel supported as an artist?

Yeah, the Philly music scene is wonderful. If you look at a lot of big, touring acts, there’s always someone in the backing band that’s from Philly. The way that I see Philly is that it’s a great place to develop character and a thick skin. If you can make it in Philly, you can make it anywhere. It’s cut-throat, but it’s a great place to grow up and learn music. When you’re in the city, there’s always a studio, there’s always a session, there’s always live music somewhere, and always somebody who’s ready to play. It’s very much a stepping stone into the industry in as far as you need an out. There’s not really a big industry presence in the city. There are a lot of big hitters and a lof of big artists that come up from Philly, but they always leave because there’s not as much to offer there. I think to be stagnant in Philly as an artist is a real challenge. There’s something that’s called “The Sound of Philadelphia” that goes back to the ‘70s and ‘80s. A lot of those old soul records came from Philly and a lot of people did the style of Philly back in the day. But I think it’s important to set your view further out rather than being isolated to one area or sound. I think you’d be limiting yourself to just stay in Philadelphia. I love LA and I can’t wait to go to London, but Philly will always be my heart and soul.

On that note, what stimulates your soul?

For me, it’s being in a particular zone with music. It’s not something that I can even really define. There are times when I hear music where it absolutely hits me. It could be any kind of genre. I could be in the studio or the car and I close my eyes and listen and get to a place where I can experience the music visually. I see grids and patterns in my head when I close my eyes and am really feeling a song. That puts me into a completely different universe. It’s so inspirational for me. I can pull so much out of a track, that most people might not really get out of it. Another would be meeting people. I’m not saying intellectual people necessarily, but someone who has an interesting point of view about life or something else. I just love having those life conversations. To wonder what’s out there and why things are the way they are and to challenge some of the normalities of life. It gives me some sort of higher purpose I guess. So it comes down to good people and good music (laughs).

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Full Circle is due to drop April 7th. Stay in the loop to hear the meld of neo-soul and gritty, electro sounds of Odd Kid Out.









The rise of soul singer Zoe K

Rising Melbourne-based soul singer Zoe K is an independent artist renown for her non-traditional interpretation of soul, blues and jazz. 

Her deliciously smooth sultry new single ‘Put It Down’ features Mister Goldfinger. Mister Goldfinger aka Ray Angry. Angry has worked with the best in jazz, R&B, and hip-hop and regularly plays on Jimmy Fallon with The Roots. 

We chat to Zoe K ahead of her album launch about working with Mister Goldfinger, what we can expect from her album, and how she worked multiple jobs to record her album in New Orleans. 

You just dropped a new track, is this an intro of what is to come?

The whole album is diverse in the mix of jazz, soul and blues. With the album being recorded in both Melbourne, Newcastle and then New Orleans, it features a lot of musicians who can bring their own personalities to the album. I chose 'Put It Down' because as the first track to the album it sets a good narrative to the rest of the album, which is mainly me singing about myself haha!

How did you and Mister Goldfinger and you link up? What was he like to work with?

I met Mister Goldfinger aka Ray Angry at the Tuesday night jazz jam at Zinc Bar in New York. When I first met him, I didn't realise how much music credentials he has behind him. I guess that is one of the great qualities he has, he is very humble. After I recorded and got my first mix back I showed him and he said that he wanted to add something to the song, so I acted all coy and said "Yeah that would be dope" but inside I was trying to keep it all together because it was a pretty big compliment that he even dug my song.  

Who is your favourite female vocalists?

Oh this is hard. I love all the greats such as Etta James, Sarah Vaughn, Ella, Billie, Chaka Khan, Bessie Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Ruth Brown, Erykah Badu, Lalah Hathaway, Emily King,  Melody Gardot and Eva Cassidy. I could literally keep on going. 

Who influences you?

First and foremost, my mum. She is beacon for everything that I'm ever unsure of doing. I am very lucky to have her. As much as I am to have a posse of strong, creative and talented female energy in my friendship circle. We always bring each other up. In terms of music, I would have to say the music community that I have experienced in Newcastle, Melbourne and New Orleans. Going to shows and hearing other musicians who are also grinding away to get their music out there.  

What was your favourite thing about New Orleans? 

There are too many! Obviously the music is a big factor, but I love the culture of New Orleans. Culture in the way of the food, music, expression and most importantly, the people who make New Orleans. 

Why did you decide to record your album there? 

I had visited New Orleans as part of this 'music nerd' trip I created. I basically wanted to visit all of the music cities where my favourite music artists came from. New Orleans being the birth place of jazz, I found it appropriate to end my trio there. It was New Orleans that I fell the most in love with. It wasn't until I was back in Australia that I met Mike Bass, who plays bass with Trombone Shorty that I told him how much I loved it there and that I was saving to come back. It was Mike who suggested that I should finish recording my album there, and as an independent artist it meant that I worked 3 jobs and made it happen. I put together my own band, I used the internet as a source of finding the right drummer which is where I saw Terrence Houston who is an absolute machine. It all came together, but like anything, it took a lot of hard work.

What can we expect from your new album?

Well, at one moment you can be expect me to be singing about my hard ships in the love life department and then the next I'll be singing a song I wrote for the ladies. I was actually nervous about this song, the song is called 'Walls (For The Ladies)' and it was written after the frustrations of a females role in the bedroom. It just seemed that any time I heard women singing about sex it was usually in rap music or there had to be a comedic value in it. My friends always are staying with losers because they say that the ‘sex is too good’ so I started asking them ‘Well did you think it was good because you might have contributed to it?’ With all do respect, sometimes we give men too much credit in the bedroom and this song was written for the ladies to own it. So I guess a mix of 'oh woe is me' combined with 'oh no you didn’t.' 

What stimulates your soul?

Adventure, Music, People and my mothers cooking. 


SAT 15TH APRIL // Spotted Mallard // Melbourne

FRI 5TH MAY // Lazy Bones Lounge // Sydney 

SAT 6TH MAY // Small Ballroom // Newcastle 


Official Website



Tickets via Moshtix



Getting to know US R&B singer Gabriel Clarke 

We're always down for panty dropping music, especially when it's comes accompanied by old school beats. Emerging US R&B singer Gabriel Clarke first caught our musical tastebuds when we heard her on Soundcloud. Haling from Washington, the R&B songstress creates riffs in her vocals so raw you almost feel naughty listening to them. She just recently released a killer of a track called Fiona’s song which is a cover of Criminal by Fiona Apple. Whilst Gabriel is relatively new to the scene, she’s definitely our pick for the one to watch this year. 

We chat to Gabriel about how her musical journey started, she gives us a hint of when her next release will be and why she decided to change her name. Margaret Tra writes.  

How did your musical journey start? 

My musical journey started with my Grandma teaching me all the songs to the sound of music. But I started seriously pursuing music as more than a hobby about 2 years ago.

Why the name change? 

I decided that since I’m gonna be 22 this year I wanna transition into more of a grown woman type of artist and I feel as though using my actual name that my parents gave me is a good step towards the authentic direction I’m going for.

You've released Fiona's song, can you tell us about that? 

It’s a cover of Criminal by Fiona Apple, who is an artist I really like. I knew I wanted to cover the song when my friend/fellow producer found the beat I heard it and I just went right through it. 

What's next for you? 

I’m dropping a new project in February so I’m pretty excited. I’m definitely going to be doing more shows as well. 

What's one thing you wish people knew about you?

Just like everybody else on the planet I am very complicated and unique. 

I have a lot of different experiences and I think that’s why I’m able to make music that a lot of people can relate to. 

What's song is on repeat on your phone at the moment?

The Bird by Anderson Paak 

What stimulates your soul?  

What stimulates my soul is love. The love for my family, my friends, my life and my music. 

Follow her on her Facebook.