MAHALIA interview – Evening Standard, 5 April 2019

Mahalia asks to meet me in the bar of the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair and I think, well of course, if you were 20 years old and had been signed to a major label record deal since you were 13, you’d hang out in places like this all the time. It must be a home from home, this grand lodging… Read more →

DRAKE, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 2 April 2019

“I’m so happy I finally made it home,” Toronto superstar Drake said from the stage at the first of seven arena shows in London. You might suspect that he says something along these charming lines in every city he visits, but there’s plenty of evidence for a special relationship between Aubrey Graham and the UK.   Midway through this packed… Read more →

DAMON ALBARN/PAUL SIMONON/THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE QUEEN interview – Evening Standard, 29 March 2019

Well here we are. The Union Jack stockings did not need to go on the mantelpiece last night and Father Brexit has delayed his visit down the chimney. Another Brexit Day event has been more reliable, however: tonight, as scheduled, Damon Albarn will open the flaps of a big top in east London and welcome musicians from countries including Mali,… Read more →

LEWIS CAPALDI interview – Evening Standard, 22 March 2019

Lewis Capaldi is on top of the world in the back of a cab, not long off a plane from New York to find that back home his single, Someone You Loved, has held on to the number one spot for a third week and is likely to make it a fourth today. The sudden success of the 22-year-old’s heartbroken… Read more →

EMELI SANDÉ interview – Evening Standard, 15 March 2019

Comfy though her large sofa is, I imagine it would be hard to put your feet up and relax with a bit of Bake Off in Emeli Sandé’s east London living room. There’s a glossy black Feurich upright piano on the other side of the fireplace. Groaning bookshelves include a job lot of the classics with matching spines. In framed… Read more →

THE BLAZE, Roundhouse – Evening Standard, 13 March 2019

As with food, film and romance, so with dance music: the French do it in a way that makes you feel you’re not taking it seriously enough. While the hyperactive live spectacles of so many of the biggest electronic acts have become overstuffed monsters, The Blaze have come up with a concept that values visuals in a different way.  … Read more →

UK FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019 – Evening Standard, 8 March 2019

Thankfully the UK has yet to experience a music festival disaster to rival Fyre’s damp squib in the Bahamas, but our outdoor calendar is still very much in flux. One of the stalwarts, Bestival, is rumoured not to be happening this summer, though its little sister Camp Bestival is still on. V Festival doesn’t seem to have survived its sponsor-free… Read more →

GRACE CARTER interview – Evening Standard, 1 March 2019

“One day I will be at the Brits… I don’t know when. But it will happen.” That’s a tweet Grace Carter posted in February 2015, aged 17. Four years later, there she was, posing on the red carpet in a floor-length peach coat. It may take another year for her to get a nomination, but if the soulful Londoner maintains… Read more →

ANDREYA TRIANA interview – Evening Standard, 22 Feb 2019

I’m watching Andreya Triana make her live comeback beneath the stained glass windows of Soho’s Chapel of St Barnabas. Dressed all in red with hair vaulting upwards, the soul singer doesn’t find it hard to draw attention away from 19th Century architectural flourishes. New songs from her forthcoming third album include Broke, which dismisses material things to announce, “I’m a… Read more →

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS interview – Evening Standard, 15 Feb 2019

There are two things that Chris, the mononymic star of Christine and the Queens, knows about next week’s Brit Awards: what she’s going to wear, and that she isn’t going to win. When the musician born Heloise Letissier in Nantes was first nominated in the International Female category, in 2017, she lost out to Beyonce. This time she’s up against… Read more →