March 12, 2018
[Image courtesy of The Young Urban Arts Foundation]
The Young Urban Arts Foundation is a London based Charity whose mission is to transform the lives of young people by strengthening their mental well-being through urban arts.
Since 2009, they’ve been helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people fulfil their potential by engaging them with music and other arts.
On the 22nd March, the Charity is running a fundraising function at the Shard called ‘Give to the Beat’. The goal is to raise a minimum of £50k.
We spoke this week with the CEO Kerry O’Brien, to find out more about YUAF and their fundraising event.
The room will be filled with positive energy by our team of trustees, operations, delivery team, young beneficiaries, funders and artists – all there for one reason. To raise awareness of the work that we have been doing for 9 years, we have collaborated with The Grime Violinist to create two original tracks thanks to Saskila and Defender Studios. I will be speaking with our special guest TBC, a silent auction and our young people sharing their journeys with Urban Arts. We hope it’s a night that inspires everyone in the room!
Yes, there are many factors that are adding to these high statistics, starting at school; there is a lack of mental health education in schools alongside the increasing pressure to achieve high academic grades and a reduction in creative subjects. Exam stress is one of the biggest causes of anxiety in young people and 1 in 10 young people self-harm as a coping mechanism. CAMHS (child, adolescent, mental health services) funding has been cut year on year and therefore the lack of support for young people in schools is at the highest it’s ever been and on top on this, some young people are waiting 6 months before they get referred to a counsellor. It’s an epidemic that is from my view, very scary.
Putting schools aside, parents are working harder than ever, leaving less time to focus on their child’s wellbeing, the use of drugs causes psychosis and this does not include young people who come from vulnerable circumstances, broken families, high levels of poverty, young people being groomed into gangs being shown how they can make ‘easy money’, young people whose parents have mental conditions are 60% more likely to have a condition, not because of the DNA just due to the stress of dealing with it. Then we have social media and technology…. the contributing factors are endless.
We as humans are here to create, it’s what we are made of. We use music and arts because that is what I personally am passionate about, as it helped me growing up in a volatile environment immensely but anything creative is healing. It’s about self-expression and with that there is no wrong or right, no judgment, just creation on our perception of what something is or how it feels. Often, especially with boys, society has trained them that they are wrong to express their emotions – it causes all sorts of issues, anger and depression especially. Music is a fantastic meditation, or when we can reflect or speak about how we feel in a way that doesn’t necessarily need words, its accessible and universal.
For young people its current and cool. So, mix all those elements together… yes, it’s a healing process and I personally, I am so privileged to have my creative talents, enough that it pretty much saved my life and now I am able to pay it forward. Not only are we helping young people but it also creates a space for our artist facilitators to explore and expand their talents too. It’s a win win all round and I love what we have all created together.
Not really, but the young people do love grime and rap. If I had my own way they would be making drum and bass all day long!
We found before, that young people didn’t find it cool to go to youth clubs, so having this we are able to take it to their doorsteps. Its makes it accessible to everyone. What’s been most successful about this, is that we are preventing young people from being distracted into going down a path that won’t serve their best good, it brings the community together who see our young people as positive people who have talent, love in their heart and a will do want to do more than just hang around on an estate.
Well, yes, my artist name is Lady MC. I have been involved in it for (omg) 23 years! So, that’s my roots.
I love to just find a mix on Youtube and discover new music that way.
I love 1995 – 2005 of most genres.
No, they usually give me the mic to hype up the party!
Join YUAF for an unforgettable evening at ‘Give to the Beat’ – get your tickets here.
BlueJay let’s music lovers broadcast a playlist of their favourite songs to their friends and followers whilst engaging with them in real time. Download the app and join the fun!
March 9, 2018
From workout playlists to tracks for concentration, music curation is everywhere.
It’s been around for years, from the days of mixtapes that teenagers would give to their crushes. These days, music curation has become even bigger and better.
So, who are the best music curators in the world right now? We’ve taken a look at those responsible for putting together the great playlists that get us through the day.
So, we might have just found the best job in the world.
Starbucks have in-house music curators that handpick songs for customers to listen to over their morning coffee.
These self-proclaimed ‘music nerds’ have one sole mission: to put playlists together. Is there a better day job out there?
It’s more complicated than it sounds! A lot of background research goes into making sure customers’ coffee isn’t ruined by a bad playlist.
Where can we apply to be a Starbucks music nerd?
First things first, we love the name of these music curators. ‘Work hard playlist hard’ is a motto we live by.
Work Hard Playlist Hard mix famous and unknown artists together on their playlists, which are streamed on a variety of platforms.
Their mission? Making sure that the smaller, lesser well-known artists get their chance to shine. Work Hard Playlist Hard’s playlists are dedicated to giving independent musicians and newcomers their time in the spotlight.
But, they still have respect for the old classics. These guys definitely get our seal of approval.
Songpickr curates music with love.
His playlists are all about expressing his passion for music while putting the spotlight on independent artists.
All the playlists are tailored Songpickr’s taste in music, and streamed on multiple platforms. While many of the songs are unheard of, you’ll end up wondering why they’re not mainstream.
Songpickr will certainly educate your taste in music!
We know what you might be thinking. What’s a sportswear brand doing here?
Well, Reebok have a secret talent for music curation. Cleverly linking their brand to their taste in music, Reebok put together a number of workout playlists.
Music curation can help promote a brand, and Reebok haven’t missed this trick.
Is music curation a gift? We certainly think so. As does Indiemono.
From playlists for nights out to showcasing independent artists, Indiemono gives listeners plenty to discover.
You need a playlist for every mood, and Indiemono has got it covered. Whatever your taste in music, from techno to urban, there’s a playlist for you.
With Tropikult, there’s no frills or pretences. They put together playlists and stream them on Soundcloud and Spotify. Simple as that.
Tropikult are an ex- music label who now dedicate all of their time to putting together playlists.
Their fast-growing popularity is largely due to the fact they accept submissions from their listeners.
They’re all about the music, which we can’t help but admire.
Focusing mostly on electronic and dance music, Soundplate are both a record label and a music curator. So, they know their stuff when it comes to playlists.
Listeners can both discover and submit new music.
Soundplate can be credited with bringing unknown music to the forefront, giving a variety of artists their moment of glory.
Tune are a real mixed bag when it comes to music curation. They don’t turn their nose up at anything, featuring a variety of artists, including electronic, techno, indie and house.
No song is unwelcome here!
Whether you’re looking to start the weekend off right, or discover something new, Tune have a playlist for you.
Another bonus? They accept submissions.
Cloudkid have both a Youtube channel and a strong following on Spotify.
Their playlists include plenty of electronic and house. They even remix their own songs!
If you need to get in the mood for a night out, Cloudkid are the curators for you.
Soundrop’s Spotify account has nearly 100,000 followers, and for good reason.
With playlists that feature nearly every era of music, from the 50s to present day, and with all genres getting their own dedicated playlist, Soundrop have something to please every listener.
The number of playlists is overwhelming! So, whatever you’re in the mood for, Soundrop will have curated something to suit your taste.
Ministry of Sound are one of the heavyweights of music curation. They were doing it long before many others were.
So, it’s unsurprising that their Spotify account has such a huge following. Their playlists are a go-to for most night’s out!
Hugo Gloss has half a million followers on Spotify. Enough said, really.
With plenty of carnival and hip-hop songs, Hugo Gloss’ playlists are hugely popular with a large audience.
Is it surprising that this presenter, journalist, voice actor, blogger and YouTuber knows his way around a playlist? Not really.
Triple J has more playlists than is necessary. But, we’re not saying this is a bad thing.
With over a quarter of a million followers on Spotify, clearly, less isn’t always more.
Yes, while this name might be recognised by your teenage self, we know your adult self is cringing. But, we couldn’t really leave them out.
Again, NOW That’s What I Call Music are a household name. You may have received one of their albums every Christmas and birthday for years, but they haven’t lost their title in music curation.
In fact, their Spotify account has nearly a quarter of a million followers. We can’t really argue with that.
Another brand jumping on the music curation wave, PlayStation™Music have their own Spotify account.
If you can’t get enough of the music from Assassin’s Creed, or you enjoy listening to music while you game, PlayStation has a playlist for you.
Who knew PlayStation were the underdogs of music curation?
We had to give an honourable mention to this one.
Featuring playlists such as ‘Holidays with the Obamas’ and ‘The President’s 2016 Summer Playlist’, Obama White House is the next big name in music curation.
Ever wondered what Obama and Joe Biden liked to listen to in the White House? Well, you’re in luck.
We can’t think of a logical reason why a legend of ancient Greek literature shouldn’t curate music. So, it makes sense that Ulysses’ Classical has nearly 200,000 followers on Spotify.
We’re not expecting you to actually listen to their playlists. But, it’s always nice to know that Greek mythology and music curation can mix. Who said millennials don’t read?
Fancy trying your hand at music curation? Maybe you’ll even end up on this list. With BlueJay you can create, host and stream playlists to your audience. Download the app now to start creating your playlist!
March 6, 2018
On the surface, music and skiing may not seem like the most obvious pairing. But, in fact, they go hand in hand! Music curation is extremely important to skiers.
Whether it’s to keep a solo skier company on the mountain, or get a group of snowboarders in the mood for après-ski, a good playlist is a necessity on the slopes. Just like ski gear, headphones are a must-have!
So, now all we need is some skiing experts.
We’re excited to announce that Ski Transfer Finder is going to host a series of BlueJay sessions. There are many different types of skier, so one playlist just isn’t enough for them!
We caught up with Ski Transfer Finder to find out more about why music curation is important to skiers.
All sorts! Variety is the spice of life, after all. We’ve chosen a little bit of everything.
Everything, that is, except ‘Let it Snow’ or anything from Disney’s Frozen. These songs have been blacklisted.
We’ve got something to please middle-aged women on a hen night, and for the stag do having a mid-life crisis on the other side of the bar. From seasonaires to ski bums, we’ve got it covered.
Skiers and snowboarders are a varied bunch, so we’ve tried our best to please everyone (and probably failed). It might be a tough crowd!
Not to brag, but we’re experts in skiing. We’ve seen it all, and we’ve been to the slopes enough times to know what music skiers like to listen to.
Plus, we’ve covered all bases. So, we’re pretty sure there’s something for everyone.
If not, then maybe they’re not the kind of person we’d want to ski with.
Anytime! Our playlists are suitable both on and off the slopes. We’re just that good to our listeners.
We thought we’d give skiers some musical inspiration. Some skiers are still unaware of the joy of hurtling down a run while singing at the top of their lungs.
We’re all about sharing our love of skiing, so why not our love of music too? It’s the perfect chance to combine our two passions in life.
Plus, some skiers simply don’t know what to listen to on the slopes. Imagine being in the moment and then hearing a Nickleback song. No skier deserves this.
So, we thought we’d do our fellow skiers a solid and give them something to listen to.
Skiing might give you the chance to be at one with nature, but, realistically, nobody cares. Music allows skiers to take the slopes to the next level.
A good song will get you down the mountain! With your blood flowing and the adrenaline racing, you don’t want to be let down by a bad track.
Another thing? Music gets skiers pumped for the slopes. Nervous about a black run? Just play Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. It works every time.
Whatever gets you raring to go.
With skiing, you’re living life on the edge, so boring songs are just a no-go. You want to feel exhilarated, not like you’re at a funeral.
Just as long as there’s nothing by Taylor Swift, we don’t really care.
Although, if you’re skiing with a hangover, maybe cut down on the deep house.
Nope. Après-ski might be the best part of the day, but music and skiing are a match made in heaven.
Singing on the slopes beats singing in the shower any day of the week!
Follow Ski Transfer Finder on Twitter to stay up to date with their latest news!
Tune into Ski Transfer Finder’s BlueJay sessions by downloading the app here:
'Soulful, Spiritual, Songstress'…
February 26, 2018
‘Soulful, Spiritual, Songstress’ Sarah Téibo will host a BlueJay session on Friday 9th of March at 7pm. We caught up with Sarah to find out more.
In many cases, life experiences are my biggest motivation for writing. For example, on my debut album ‘Walk With Me’ there is a song (actually one of the main hits), called ‘Steal my Joy’. It’s an uptempo song which I wrote one Monday morning as I was greeted by train delays at the station. It was obvious I was going to be extremely late for work and we all know how that feels! I had to tell myself ‘don’t let this set back get you all ruffled because you really can’t control it. What you can control, is how you respond right now. So don’t let this unpleasant inconvenience steal your joy’. I brought out my phone and started recording the first lines of the song ‘do you know what it feels like, when your train has been delayed…’
and so the song was birthed. I’ve had so many people tell me how it resonates with them and is literally the story of their lives.
My background has had a major influence on my musical style which crosses R&B, Jazz and Soul with an infusion of Gospel. This is primarily down to my late mother’s influence. My earliest memories of music come from listening to Motown classics with my her from the age of three or four.
This was more or less my introduction to music and has, to a great extent, informed my taste and style in music. Also being born in the UK, but growing up in Nigeria (which is heavily influenced by American sounds), has played a major part in my musical choices, in that they are very daring, inclusive and constantly evolving.
The idea and original melody for the song came to me back in 2015, when we were on a family holiday in Cornwall. I was reflecting on how sometimes I needlessly worry so much about stuff that God has already sorted out.
Initially I only had the first three words of the chorus ‘Like a Child’ and the main melody for the song. Because unfortunately I do not play any musical instruments (I’m thinking about picking up guitar), every time I have a song idea, I have to get my phone out and quickly record it so I don’t forget the melody. That’s what I did with ‘Like a Child’. Over the course of a few months I revisited the song and wrote the verses and bridge, then took it to my producer GKID who also gave some melodic input.
As we began recording the song, we thought it might benefit from some features, so I spoke to my friend Jason Nicholson-Porter (who is now competing in The Voice UK 2018) and Tehillah Daniel and that’s how we got them on too.
I wouldn’t say I’ve had issues finding my sound, as I’ve always known that R&B and Soul Music are my thing. I think the challenge I’ve had was the fact that I’m a church girl. Church girls aren’t typically expected to sing Soul music so it was up to me to find a way to blend Soul music and Gospel music. This consequently resulted in the creative challenge of staying true to both genres. I think this is probably where I’ve had the most creative blocks when writing music. I’ve learnt to sometimes take a break from a song and not try to force myself to get it in that moment, but to revisit it after a while. That has been a huge help.
‘Keep Walking’ would be a reintroduction to Sarah Téibo and a journey even deeper into what it means to walk in my shoes – and I really love shoes by the way! And walking! The album is filled with songs that are really close to my heart and have helped me through some tough times – including the recent loss of my mother. It will feature songs in the Soul, Gospel and R&B genre with a special Afrobeat bonus track and will have some great collaborations, including one with my fellow soul sister from America- Lisa McClendon. It is due for release this June, with pre-orders available from May.
I’ve really enjoyed working with all of the artists I’ve collaborated with to date. I have to say though that performing with Lisa McClendon was a treat! We really connected on and off stage and I learned so much from her in such a short space of time. I call her my Soul Sister.
I have had so many ‘favourite’ artists at different stages of my life, but I can say three of my biggest influences have been Whitney Houston for the power in her vocals, Kim Burrell for her vocal dexterity and Fred Hammond for his incomparable writing and production skills.
Live sessions are completely different from recording in the studio and I would choose a live performance over a studio session any day! The energy you get from the fans, the adrenaline you get from the live music, the spontaneity of creative expressions on stage. Those are moments that can only be captured live
A lot of soul, banter and inspirational music.
Download the app and tune in at 7pm on Friday 9th of March!
February 22, 2018
Four piece indie-pop band, Blushes, will host a BlueJay session on Tuesday 27th of March at 7pm and you won’t want to miss it!
“For fans of psychedelic nights in, mad nights out… If Foals were to write a stone-cold pop banger with nearly every song – Blushes’ material might be closest we’ll ever get to it” – NME
We caught up with the four-piece to find out a little more about what they’re about and what we can expect from their BlueJay session.
We are the result of a musical cocktail, combining roots from classic indie rock to RnB, jazz, funk, the lot. Its more of a knickerbocker glory.
So we’ve put together an equal mix from all of us, a smattering of our influences and stuff we’re digging right now. We did 2 tracks each, then 2 of our own. (sneaky plug). Its not a perfectly crafted mix, but it will give an insight into what has an impact on us and hopefully some listeners too!
We’re gonna be playing ‘Honey’, our latest single and ‘To The Bone’ of course.
It’s such a hard one to narrow down without saying 100+ artists but if we had to a few, we’re talking Tame Impala, The Smiths (namely Johnny Marr) and Hiatus Kaiyote.
Well it’s an absolute honour to be compared to such a colossal band as Foals, and it’s safe to say we do take a lot of inspiration from them as a band. This especially comes from some of our heavy breaks in songs to the intricate ‘plinky plonky’ palm muted guitar sound. Indie Pop is such an umbrella term as it includes such a vast spectrum of genres. It goes from pure electronic stuff to all guitars to folk bands, so I think we do fall inside it, but thats probably down to how easily that term can be thrown about. We do want to make pop, but we want to get to the end result in our own way. Whole-grain pop.
Lately it has been a matter of one of us planting a seed, whether that is a small riff on the guitar, chorus melody or some sort of baseline, it then goes to work almost as a free jam at our practice session and then we refine that and chop it into a song, we think it’s the easiest way to write, there’s nothing worse that sitting down and saying let’s write a song, it never produces as well when it’s unnaturally forced. If its not like that then it could be one of us comes up with a nearly-done idea on our own that needs a few elements adding which we work on in Cob’s bedroom.
We’ve got some really neeeeat shows coming up, but we’re reserving March as a kind of off month as we’re recording. Strongroom Bar, Shoreditch, London – 04/04 The Social, Soho, London -25/04 (supporting FOXE) The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes – 28/04 (Headline) Sebright Arms, Bethnal Green – 12/05 (supporting Madeline Kenney)
We have a massive bucket list actually that we all made that includes people we wanna play with, places we wanna go, companies we’d like to work with. In short, the true aspiration is for this to be full time for all of us, making and playing our music and being lucky enough to be able to share it with a loving and wonderful bunch of fans. Right now, we’ve got something special coming in April, and a lot more lined up for the rest of the year. Its a big year. That’s all we’re saying (for now).
Don’t forget tune in at 7pm on Tuesday 27th of March! Download the free app here:
February 21, 2018
Picture the scene.
An 80s teenage boy hands his crush a mixtape of tracks he knows she’ll love. He hopes their shared taste in music will give him a potential shot at romance. Fast-forward 30 years and you’ll be forgiven for thinking this schoolyard tactic is obsolete.
Here’s why music curation can help promote your brand.
Some people are still in the dark about what music curation actually means, let alone how it can promote their brand.
Music curation has been around for years. From mixtapes to Spotify playlists, music curation is simply the selection of music for a particular reason or experience. For the 80s teenage boy mentioned earlier, music would have certainly helped the outcome go in his favour.
Music curation is about creating an experience. So, from a promotion perspective, curating music can be used to involve your audience in your brand.
In the current marketing landscape, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to make an impression on your target audience. Everyone is trying to get ahead of the game. You need to offer something of true value that speaks directly to your consumers.
This is where music comes in.
If you’ve got a strong understanding of your target audience, you’ll understand their core interests, buying habits… and hopefully, music taste.
74% of people who stream music online do so via playlists and brands are seeing music curation as an ever-growing opportunity to build affinity with their consumers.
Keep your audience in mind when putting together your playlist. While choosing the right music will help promote your brand, it should resonate with your audience.
The benefits of music curation are endless. But, we’ll give summarising them a go.
Curating a playlist of tracks which appeal directly to your target audience will help them connect with your brand.
Also, curating music is a highly effective tool to help your brand stand out. Set your brand apart from the competition with a good playlist!
Many brands have forged an identity for themselves through engaging with others’ taste in music.
Not only this, but music curation is a way of interreacting with your audience, entertaining and promoting simultaneously. However, it’s a softer form of promotion that consumers can relate to.
Create a buzz around your brand through music!
So, how to go about using music curation for promotion?
Many brands are now getting to grips with music curation. From McDonalds to Reebok, brands are utilising Spotify to connect with their consumers. Reebok now offers exercise playlists and running tracks to its consumers.
Creating playlists is an effective way to interact with a target audience, while keeping the brand image in their minds.
Sponsoring an event? Events are hugely beneficial for getting your brand noticed and interacting with your target audience. From club nights to product launches, events get people talking.
Build hype in the run-up to your event with a playlist that people can listen to. Grab your audience’s attention before the event even begins!
Build a reputation for your brand through connecting with curators.
Reaching out to either up-coming or popular artists to team up and create a playlist is another way to create a buzz around your brand.
People are always looking to discover new music, so take advantage of this.
Make sure your brand stays interactive by curating a playlist of tracks to appeal to your audience. A BlueJay playlist can help get people talking about your brand. With BlueJay you can create, host and stream playlists that create a buzz and engage your audience.
Download the app now and take your brand identity to the next level!