Nic Joly’s Miniature War Sculpture Could Raise £150,000 For The Royal British Legion

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 14.08.55Castle Galleries is hoping to raise more than £150,000 for The Royal British Legion in the UK through the sale of miniature limited edition sculptures by one of its leading artists.

‘Never Forgotten’ by Nic Joly is a poignant commemorative piece to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The artist, who is known for his minuscule pieces of sculptural theatre, has created 1,566 bronze pieces, reflecting the number of days that the First World War was fought, and they will be sold through Castle Galleries from August 4, 100 years to the day that Britain declared war on Germany. Joly has also included information on the back of every one to explain what happened on that particular day, making each one unique.

Each piece costs £695 and £100 from each sale will be donated to The Royal British Legion.

The artwork depicts two soldiers raising a red poppy – a direct reference to one of the most iconic images of war: the Joe Rosenthal photograph of US soldiers raising the flag on the island of Iwo Jima during the Second World War.

A spokesperson from The Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted that Nic has chosen The Royal British Legion to receive a share of the income from his fantastic project.

“It is particularly poignant in this, the centenary year of the beginning of World War I, that he has chosen the poppy, the national symbol of remembrance, as the centrepiece of his work.  The Royal British Legion was founded in the aftermath of The Great War and has, since 1921, provided support for the Armed Forces Community.  Nic’s amazing gesture will help us to continue our work with serving personnel, veterans and Armed Forces families who are in need of help.”

Nic, who lives in Alresford, Hampshire, said he was inspired to create the original piece, the idea for which was conceived in 2012, after meeting a 96-year-old war veteran who had flown a glider into Arnhem in the Second World War, just weeks after the D-Day landings.

“He flew a glider with 20 men in it, into the town to take a bridge that was behind enemy lines,” recalls Nic.

“This bridge was thought to be defended by a small group of Germans, but they were so wrong. It was a total massacre with over 2,000 men dying in a week. He was a young man at the time and his story was a truly moving one.  Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 14.08.45

“But what really touched me was the fact that he had talked to his father about the First World War and his father’s experiences.  I suddenly had a direct link to the war that started the era of modern warfare.

“I was struck by the fact that what we all think of the first war is as distant history, a black and white image based view. This meeting made it all so real, and so relevant. All those that fought and died were just like you and me – they were normal people in a terrible situation but doing incredible things.

“In my own small way, I want this piece to remind us that all those who have given their lives in conflicts from The First World War until the present day will be ‘Never Forgotten’.”

When he completed the original ‘Never Forgotten’ piece, he shared a photograph of it on Facebook over the Remembrance Sunday weekend and it received more than 28,000 shares and hundreds of comments from all over the world. It was later sold at a charity auction for veterans for £7,500.

He now wants to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War on August 4 by releasing the limited edition versions of the sculpture.

Ian Weatherby-Blythe, Managing Director of Castle Galleries described Joly’s sculpture as a moving tribute to those who have served their country in the armed forces.

“When Nic told us what he wanted to do with ‘Never Forgotten’, we thought it was fantastic gesture and a superb way to raise a significant amount of money for The Royal British Legion,” he said.

“It is an incredibly emotive piece, so it comes as no surprise that we have already had a lot of interest about the artwork. It would be a huge boost to the charity who are doing excellent work in helping veterans if we could sell every piece.”

For more information visit www.castlegalleries.com/neverforgotten

For more information about the British Legion visit www.britishlegion.org.uk

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After Nyne Meets……..Singer-Songwriter, and Radio 2 Favourite, Nell Bryden

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 16.32.17Brooklyn-born singer/songwriter Nell Bryden is gearing up to release ‘Wayfarer’ on the 4th August, the new single from her forthcoming album of the same title.

Having already received 12 consecutive play listed tracks on Radio 2, Nell is hoping for as much success with this single as she has garnered in the past.

After Nyne is confident this is a dead-cert; we met with Nell this week to talk about the new album, artistic influences and personal highs.

Nell you’ve said that your new release Wayfarer is a complete departure for you. Tell us a little more about this. 

I’ve gotten more into funk and dance influences on the latest album Wayfarer, with the two young East London producers I worked with.  Because my life is so upbeat and happy these days, I wanted to come up with a sound that was less cry-in-your-beer country ballad than I’d done before, and more a drive-your-car-with-the-windows-down summer album that you’d want to move to.

Wayfarer means “someone who wanders.” I’ve been a traveling nomad as a touring musician for many years, and have been privileged to see all different parts of the world and collect friends and colleagues in far-flung places.  So I wanted this album to reflect all the moving around that I’ve done in the past 10 years.

But also, I’ve gone from being a loner, a touring musician on the road married to my career, to quite suddenly having my life change to what I always wanted: I’ve met the man of my dreams, he’s my best friend, and we’ve gotten married and we’re expecting a baby.  I always wanted to be a mom and a wife, but I thought that being a touring musician was mutually exclusive, because unlike most guys I know, I wasn’t into the whole groupie thing and I wanted a permanent partner, which seemed impossible to find when I was always moving around.

Then when I developed alopecia three years ago and lost all my hair from stress, I finally got off the work treadmill and took a good long look at the direction I was headed in, which was a life of loneliness.  So I just kind of opened myself up, and low and behold my husband and I crossed paths and I was finally ready for it.

You were born into an artistic, cerebral environment. How has this fed into your work?

I grew up in Brooklyn in a large loft, big enough to learn to ride a bicycle and roller skate in.  I’m very close with both my parents.  I was raised primarily by my father who is a painter and a sculptor.  He did big paintings of Coney Island scenes, and would take me to the amusement parks there so he could sketch and get ideas.  He also took me to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and would study and copy master paintings there while I played with dolls under his easel.  My mother was a classical soprano; she and my father separated when I was 4 and divorced when I was 5.  She took me on tours with her until I started school.  When I was 6 she moved to Massachusetts and I stayed with my dad in New York.  Life in Brooklyn until the age of 11 was bohemian and fun and I remember it fondly.

Who have been your biggest influences? 

When I was 11 the loft we rented in Brooklyn was sold by the landlord and turned into medical offices, and we were evicted.  I moved to Massachusetts in the country, several states away, to  live with my mother.  It was an unhappy time for me, and I felt like the kids at school were not “my people” and I was unpopular.  I eventually found solace in listening to Janice Joplin and Jimi Hendrix while driving the country roads in my first car.   It wasn’t until then that I really started feeling I could be a singer-songwriter. Janis and Jimi, like they have with so many other angsty teenagers, made me feel like I had friends, I had people that were right in my ear that sounded immediate, and they got what I was going through. ‘Little Wing,’ which I will have played at my funeral, I just had it on repeat one weekend, I couldn’t turn it off.

You’ve toured with some true luminaries. Share some of your memories of these times with us.

Many gigs when I started out, I’d be under a TV screen with the football on, in an empty bar with uninterested strangers in a foreign country.  There were times where I was playing 250 shows a year, setting up all my own tours, selling CDs out of my suitcase and sleeping on strangers’ couches.  So every show now where people know me and my songs feels like a joy.  And yeah, I’ve been lucky to tour with some of the greats, especially Gary Barlow, who invited me onstage every night to sing a duet with him, and Jools Holland, whose band is amazing.  I also loved KT Tunstall, who is totally down to earth, and the Counting Crows, some of whom played on my first album.

I wanted to play the Royal Albert Hall ever since I was a little girl, and then in one week last year I played it twice in the span of 72 hours, once with Gary and once with Jools.  I even went back a few months later and did it again for Bluesfest and then again with the Gipsy Kings.  It was every bit as inspiring as I thought it would be.  Being on that stage will always be one of my best musical memories.

 Back to the new album, what can your fans expect?

With Wayfarer, we recorded a whole uptempo upbeat album that reflected the emotional direction my life was going in, and then when I got to the end the songwriter in me saw that the recording was more about the music, and less about the lyrics.  I missed that intimacy that you get with just an acoustic guitar, voice, maybe a cello or piano here and there.  I decided to do all the songs again, but as stripped-back acoustic versions.  So it’s a double album.

Who would you most like to work with?

I met Nile Rodgers when I was part of a documentary about the healing power of music, filmed while I did a tour in Iraq.  He is such a gentle and kind person, and I’m privileged to know him.  He also has a wicked funk sense, and is the king of rhythm guitar today.  We used a lot of his influence on my new album, and I’d love to do a Daft Punk / Pharrell Williams style collaboration with him.

If we are talking acoustic collaborations though, I’d say Robert Plant seems like a guy who’s lived the crazy rock and roll lifestyle and has come out the other side intact and still loving music and growing artistically. I love his work recently with bluegrass artist Alison Krauss and alt-country singer Nancy Griffith.

What are your plans for the next year?

I will be hosting my own program on Radio 2 on August 25.  It’s called “Nell Bryden’s New York Hour,” and I will play music that has to do with my hometown.  So many singer-songwriters have passed through the streets of Greenwich village where I live (from Bob Dylan to Lou Reed),  and it’s been inspiring to follow in their footsteps in the music haunts they frequented.

And as far as live music… I’m six months pregnant now and still touring!  I have a 21 date headline tour from mid-September to Nov 1, and I’m due Nov 27.  It’s going to be interesting, if nothing else!  How will I hold a guitar at that stage?  I know I’m being ambitious but my mother, a classical soprano, sang at Carnegie Hall when she was 8 months pregnant with me so she says it’s doable.  As long as the baby is safe, and I continue loving what I do, it’s all good.

What has been your highlight of the past year?

It sounds cheesy, but getting married was like a fairytale.  Alistair’s uncle has a beautiful manor house in Wiltshire that dates from the 1000‘s, with an old church attached to it.  My whole family flew over from America (expecting Downton Abbey).  We had 3 amazing bands, fantastic food, perfect weather, and my dad gave a father-of-the-bride speech that had everyone laughing and crying.  It was like a Disney film, and as a life-long Rock n Roller, I didn’t know I wanted it so bad until I got it.

 

Nell Bryden ‘Wayfarer’ 

Album release – July 28th 2014 / single release August 4th 2014

Released via 157 Records NYC/Absolute/Universal

nellbryden.com @nellbryden

http://youtu.be/IkBbM9QJJW8 – Wayfarer Official Video

 

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FNB Joburg Art Fair 2014: FNB Art Prize 2014 & Special Projects Announced 22 – 24 August 2014

 

 TauyaNaye,2013,Oil based printing ink on paper, 115x150cm


TauyaNaye,2013,Oil based printing ink on paper, 115x150cm

 

With three weeks to go, South Africa’s Joburg Art Fair has announced  Portia Zvavahera as the winner of FNB Art Prize 2014 and further details about the Special Projects Programme for 2014.

Taking place between 22-24 August at the Sandton Convention Centre, the FNB Joburg Art Fair brings together and showcases innovative artists, galleries, writers and curators focusing on contemporary art from Africa.

The winner of the fourth edition of the FNB Art Prize is Harare-based artist, Portia Zvavahera. Originally hailing from Juru, Zimbabwe, Zvavahera’s work combines a vivid sense of colour, textile-like printed patterns and almost crude lines with great mastery in her expressionist paintings. Zvavahera, who represented Zimbabwe at the Venice Biennale in 2013, received the Prize for a new body of paintings, which continue her deeply personal concerns with experiences of marriage, childbirth and parental love.

Her imagery is rooted in religious narratives from both the Old Testament and contemporary Pentecostal sects in Zimbabwe, suffusing everyday themes with a heightened sense of otherworldliness. This year’s prize was judged by Simon Njami, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Revue Noire and internationally renowned curator, lecturer and art critic; Gabi Ncgobo, co-founder of the Centre for Historical Re-enactments, independent curator and lecturer at WITS University; and Artlogic.

Zvavahera will receive R100 000 ($9500) as well as a booth dedicated to showcasing the winning body of work. All participating galleries at the Fair were given the opportunity to submit one artist to be considered for the prize.

The FNB Joburg Art Fair was founded in 2008. From the beginning, Artlogic has aimed to bring together the best of contemporary art from Africa and to create a platform for dialogue and exchange between the continent’s artists, curators, collectors, writers and art lovers.

Over the past six years the Fair has also hosted top international curators and directors from institutions such as Tate Modern and the Venice Biennale, all while building a solid base of buyers from South Africa and the continent.

The Fair supports a diverse ‘Joburg Art Week’ with various events happening around the city from open studios, gallery openings, workshops and walkabouts.

The FNB Joburg Art Fair is generously supported by First National Bank, the oldest bank in South Africa.

For more information, please visit: www.joburgartfair.co.za

Graffiti Authority Joe Epstein’s New Book Shines A Light On London’s Street Art Masterpieces

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‘Old school’ graffiti has certainly evolved over the decades. Some of the original aspects – hip hop, style, fashion, culture – have eroded, but at the heart is still a way of life. The days of painting whole trains and watching them roll around the city are lost, in New York and London at least.

Those unique canvases, however illegal, inspire generations of writers and artists to develop a creative style, and engage in an expressive and creative art form’ – Joe Epstein, LDNGraffiti

London has always been a cultural melting pot and, over the decades, the city has become a rich landscape for all forms of graffiti and street art. From famous artists such as Banksy to a constant stream of brilliant new talent, London is a graffiti artist’s paradise.Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 16.03.46

This book is a vibrant insight into the creative output lost and found in and around the capital. Containing glossy photos of some of the most groundbreaking, innovative graffiti in the city today, this is a collection of Joe Epstein’s best images with work from prominent artists including Banksy, Stik, King Robbo and Phlegm, as well as up-and-coming and unknown artists. It covers traditional graffiti (from tags to burners), halls of fame, derelict buildings, illegal interventions, commissioned artworks and more.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 16.03.30As well as detailed photography of the urban masterpeices, there are quotes from leading artists, including Anthony Lister, MadC and Dan Kitchener, and a foreword by Pure Evil.

An authoritative voice in the field, Joe Epstein –photographer, designer and author of LDNGraffiti. co.uk – has been casually observing and painstakingly charting the lifespan of London’s most diverse graffiti and street art.

He has contributed to exhibitions, assisted Channel 4 to produce the documentary Graffiti Wars, collaborated on a four-part documentary series broadcast in South-East Asia and developed the Banksy London Tour iPhone app.

AUTHOR: Joe Epstein, LDNGraffiti.
ISBN / PUBLISHER: 978-0-09195-868-8 / Ebury Press.
PRICE: £9.99 / 200+ photos and 60+ artist quotes

http://www.ldngraffiti.co.uk

@LDNGRAFFITI

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After Nyne Loves…Holland Roden in Haney

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 14.17.13

 

After Nyne HQ is mad on Teen Wolf star Holland Roden in this Haney jumpsuit at Entertainment Weekly’s 2014 Comic-Con Celebration in San Diego.

Holland accessorises with Harry Kotlar 2.0ct Diamond White Gold studs and RODO gold quilted metallic clutch with Swarovski crystal embellishment.

http://www.shophaney.com

www.harrykotlar.com

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Come & Enjoy Seven Deadly Sins At London’s Lucky Seven Diner


Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 14.05.21Notting Hill institution Lucky Seven Diner will be taking a walk on the wild side this August with the introduction of their Seven Deadly Sins menu. Every Monday through to Thursday until 7pm Lucky Seven’s will offer guests a selection of wickedly delicious dishes for a mere seven pounds, allowing you to really indulge in your naughty side.

Lucky Seven’s new sinful menu will include dishes such as Huevos Rancheros, Pulled Pork Sandwich, Green Chilli Cheeseburger and Confetti lentil Melt, a perfect selection of naughty but nice treats.

This boutique neighbourhood East Coast American Diner has a cult following for its authentic 100% Aberdeen Angus Burgers, American Breakfasts and extra thick Milkshakes. Lucky Seven Diner offers the most authentic Diner experience this side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Long Live Counter Culture!

Seven Deadly Sin Menu
Monday-Thursday until 7pm

Lucky Seven Diner
127 Westbourne Park Road
London
W2 5QL
Tel: 0207-727-6771
W: www.lucky7london.co.uk

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‘What is the Female Experience? It’s a Difficult Thing to Define.’ After Nyne Meets….Theatre Producer Darren Lee Murphy

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 16.40.05This week, After Nyne were thrilled to meet Darren Lee Murphy, founder of theatre production company Making Productions, the company behind Park Theatre’s latest production Shutters (running until August 3rd). 
Shutters is a triple bill of unique American plays celebrating the extraordinary journey of women over the last century. Two contemporary plays by up-and-coming Chicago-based playwrights Philip Dawkins and Brooke Allen are accompanied by an iconic early twentieth century feminist work from Pulitzer Prize-winner Susan Glaspell.
We were keen to quiz Darren on what first attracted him to the play, the ‘female experience’ and his future plans for Making Productions.
Darren it’s great to have you on After Nyne Meets…How are things going with Making Productions?

Making Productions is just 2 months old.  It’s going great.  Shutters has been a great opener for me in many ways.  Creatively it’s been wonderful seeing these three plays take shape, from the initial read through to opening night.  It was such a buzz watching the first performance with my family, close friends and the press in the audience.  Scary and exciting.  It’s certainly opened my eyes into how much hard work goes into producing a play.

Shutters is Making Production’s first full-length production….how have you found the experience?

It’s been a great yet often challenging experience.  My background is acting and writing and for a while I worked freelance as a project manager for various companies.  So producing came almost naturally to me.  Where as a producer has to source investment, a project manager is given the money to budget the best ways for the specific campaign.

One of the biggest projects and easily the most exciting project I’ve produce was a short film for the children’s charity Love146. We staged a flashmob with 100 West End performers in Trafalgar Square.  We had the support of Rachel Tucker from Wicked and the Divas from Priscilla doing a rendition of Little Bird by Annie Lennox.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NME1-ZiJPXY

With over 600k YouTube hits, I am very proud of what I have achieved this far.

What was it that first attracted you to Shutters?

I had just formed MP and I was eager to get stuck into something good.  I was approached by Jack, the director, to produce a serious of short American plays.  He told me his ideas which I loved.  I read the scripts and immediately said yes!  I’m a very spontaneous kind of guy and if someone or something inspires me enough, then I’m all for it.  It’s unusual to have a triple bill in theatre.  It’s often associated with dance, especially ballet.  The plays have distinct genres.  Cast of Characters is a quirky comedy.  Trifles is a feminist thriller, that in a very short time does more than many feature length plays can do. And lastly The Deer, a drama.  All three played beautifully by the cast.Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 16.40.25

How has your production of Shutters been received – both critically, and by audiences?

The reviews have been amazing.  4 stars with wonderful write ups.  The Guardian said “Glaspell’s exquisitely understated and poignant drama raises the performance level… performed by a talented all-female ensemble.”  With The Arts Desk saying “Three striking American plays provide insight into female experience.”

The audiences have been very warm and enjoyed the plays. With some people rebooking to see them again.  Having three short plays in one bill means there will be something for everyone.  Some people loved one play more than another.  Some loved all three.  But everyone had something to say about at least one of the plays.   Each of the three plays gives a different perspective to how women are perceived.  And when the male roles are played by women it throws a new angle into how to tell a story. 

Tell us about your decision to work with Jack Thorpe Baker – what did he bring to the project?

Jack is a passionate and inspiring young director.  He knows what he wants and likes to play out his ideas and develop them with the actors.  A very giving director.  His vision is clear when story telling and working on characterisations.  The dancers background (Jack was a soloist at the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago) gives him a different perception of performance in plays, bringing a sense of movement to what could have been a static scenes.
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In your personal opinion, do you think there are enough projects across the artistic spectrum that shine a light on female experience? If not, what do you think can be done to address this?

What is the female experience?  It’s a difficult thing to define.  Do the public want to see more female driven plays?

There are many plays with great female parts, especially by Shakespeare, Chekov and Wilde, naming a few.  More funding would benefit writers, producers and performers to explore more female related issues.  Producers and investors look at mainstream plays to bring in a return, a profit, which is basic business.

But in order to take more risks, there has to be funding coming from elsewhere – like bursaries, and arts funds, great tax credits for loses.  There is plenty of room for more diversity in the theatre.

In choosing your next projects, will you seek to make statements..or just work with material that appeals on any level? 

I want to work on projects that stirs an audience both commercially and artistically.  People go to the theatre to be entertained and I think it’s important that the play has substance, has a point.  A play that can be read at different levels allowing the audience how they choose to interpret the play.  When the actors are enjoying themselves, the audience will do too.

Finally – where do you hope Making Productions will be in five year’s time?

Producing some exciting plays on and off West End performed by wonderfully talented people.  A couple of plays and a musical would be nice.  There is so much I want to do with the company – TV, films, documentaries, live events even a musical.  I have a ever growing list of projects I would love to be involved with.

 

Shutters: Snapshots of Life Behind Closed Doors

By Brooke Allen, Philip Dawkins and Susan Glaspell

Director: Jack Thorpe Baker

Set Designer: Joe Colasanti; Costume Designer: Neil Gordon;

Lighting Designer: Charlie Morgan Jones; Sound Designer: James Nicholson.

 

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London, N4 3JP

BOOKING INFORMATION

By phone: 020 7870 6876

Online: www.parktheatre.co.uk

 

http://parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/shutters

https://www.facebook.com/shuttersplay

www.makingproductions.com

@ShuttersPlay

@MakeProds

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Creatives Team Up With Virtual Reality Expert to Forge New Business & Artistic Concepts, Nottingham Trent University

Harry Sanderson & Ben Medjdoub

Harry Sanderson & Ben Medjdoub

 

Three new artist and designer-in-residence positions have been created by Nottingham Trent University’s Future Factory to explore the full potential of using virtual and augmented reality in art and design.

Professor Benachir Medjdoub, Professor of Digital Architectural Design, who led the establishment of the university’s new Creative and Virtual Technologies Lab, will team up with artists Wolfgang Buttress, Harry Sanderson and designer Adam Grace.

Mr Buttress, a national and international award winning artist who specialises in metal sculptures, said: “This opportunity has come at a really pivotal time for my studio. I’m keen to explore the opportunities that virtual and augmented reality could have on art within public spaces.

“I’m currently working on a number of national and international projects to which this technology could be beneficially-applied. I’m hoping that the facilities available will enhance the way my studio can create and realise sculpture, enabling me to develop the way I work.”

Mr Grace, design manager at sustainable playground developers Proludic, is looking to find out how digital technologies can help his company visualise its designs.

He said: “We’re looking at the consultation side of our business and this project gives us a really good opportunity to discover whether it’s something which will work for us.

“The easier we can make it for people to understand our designs the better, and it may even enable us to win more tenders if we can communicate our plans in virtual reality.”

Mr Sanderson, whose artistic interests lie in art and technology, is keen to pitch a number of ideas and to learn more about industrial design techniques.

Wolfgang Buttress

Wolfgang Buttress

He said: “I am really excited about it. I’ve never really had access to people with technical knowledge, and it will be great to have access to real facilities.

“I have got four or five ideas which I’d like to pitch to the team at the university and discuss which they think they are the most interested in doing.”

Future Factory – which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the university – aims to support SMEs in the East Midlands adopt more environmentally sustainable ways of doing business.

Professor Medjdoub said: “We’re very keen to support SMEs to use smart technologies to help enhance their businesses.

“At the same time, this will feed into our research as well. It can be very interesting to see how technology can be used in different fields, especially in art and design. Sometimes it can be wonderfully surprising.

“In the lab we investigate different technologies including augmented and virtual reality to support more sustainable design of our products meeting the user expectations.”

http://www.ntu.ac.uk 

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‘It’s Been An Incredible Year..': After Nyne Meets……Leah McFall

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.03.46Northern Irish singer-songwriter Leah McFall releases her debut single ‘Home’ on 27th July via Capitol Records.

Produced by and featuring serial collaborator and friend will.i.am, Home’ follows on from Leah’s appearance as a finalist on last year’s series of The Voice UK and recent feature on Will.I.Am’s top 5 hit ‘Bang Bang’.

Unquestionably a classic pop anthem, ‘Home’ is complete with an immense sounding production and a ridiculously infectious chorus. Showcasing Leah’s unique and powerful vocal prowess, ‘Home’ is a statement of intent that sees Leah come into her own as an artist, providing a taste of what to expect from her forthcoming debut album.

After Nyne had the pleasure of meeting with Leah last week to discuss the single. her friendship with ‘genius’ Will.I.Am, and what advice she would give to future The Voice contestants.

 

Leah, a crazy year for you. What’s been the highlight so far?

It’s been insane! There have been so many, I think a really special moment was when Will and I went to Abbey Road studios in London to play the album to the Label. It is such a famous studio, and to see the expression on their faces when they heard our music for the first time, it was so lovely.

Another would have to be performing at the MUSICARES Grammy event with Will in honour of Carole King and to have Tom Hanks come up to congratulate me on my performance. I couldn’t respond much as my mouth was wide open in shock and making strange yawn noises in an aim to vocalise my excitement of meeting him, but nevertheless an incredible moment.

What is the one memory that stands out to you about your time on The Voice?

Probably performing Bang Bang with Will. It was the most fun I have ever had on stage and such an honour to sing with him. We had such a laugh rehearsing, and I am blessed to have gotten to perform with him again many times this year.

Do you keep in touch with the other finalists?

Yes. I’m still very close to Jordan Davies, Matt Henry and Leanne Jarvis. We had such a good time on Team Will. We always seemed to be cackling backstage, forgetting to be nervous.

What’s it like to work with Will.I.Am?

Its amazing. They aren’t messing around when they call him a ‘genius’. He is that and much more. From the first time we wrote together, on ‘No Ordinary Love’, he was able to call on everyone of my influences and combine them within the production to allow me to be free with my vocal. He is so encouraging and always believes I can do it…even when I tell him that note is impossible haha!! This album is special, I’m excited!

Your new single Home is based on your own experiences of being away from home, making it on your own. Has it been difficult to adjust to your new-found fame?

I don’t think I’m famous haha! I’m used to living away from home as I moved away 5 years ago to pursue music. However, I’ve never been so busy that I’ve struggled to find time to go home to Northern Ireland and see my wee family. I’m so blessed to have gotten to travel the world this Year, being in America with Will, and on a Europe/Uk tour with him, but when you travel more you start to realise there really is no place like Home.

Thats were the people you love the most are. So every chance I get, I’m on a plane home to see them. They have been so supportive throughout my career, flying over to every gig. I just came off tour with Jessie J there, and have had at least one of my family members at each gig. It’s so lovely to sing ‘I’ll give everything I can give for you!” I mean it. They are the ones that if I ever do become famous, it wont alter our relationship, I’ll still be their ‘Wee Leah’.Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 10.03.31

How much creative input do you like to have into your music?

I co-write my songs, melody and lyrics. I don’t play an instrument, and the most I can do on my computer is buy ugly shoes and draw stickmen on illustrator. But I like to be in for all sessions, when the players come in to track their parts. I’ve worked with incredible musicians throughout my career, and love to be around them, they are a special kind of people. Its amazing to watch Will instruct and conduct them.

I learn so much from him and the other incredible songwriters I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Their talent amazes me. Will is always very inviting of my ideas and opinions and gives me space to allow me to be creative in my writing. But it is a complete blessing to be surrounded by people that are far more talented than me. I feel like a big sponge, soaking it all up and taking it all in. It has been an incredible year!

Finally, what advice would you have for the next series of contestants on The Voice?

Prepare. Have content up online before you walk on that first stage so that people have more to chew on after your blind audition. Choose a song and change it as much as you can so that people know you write songs. Find out who you are as an artist and express it through every aspect of your performance.

What your voice sounds like, what the music is like, what you wear etc so that there is a cohesive package for people to understand. Be open to advice and absorb as much as you can, so you can grow. And finally, don’t let nerves steal the joy of it from you, I do that so often, but this is one big massive open mic night, a showcase of what you can do, and it really is so much fun….if you let it be

‘Home’ will be released on 27th July via Capitol Records.

 

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Emmy Rossum Rocks STRÖM Brand, LA 26/7

 

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 13.20.41

Emmy Rossum was photographed wearing STRÖM Brand yesterday in LA.

The Shameless star dressed up her Kort Mechanic Shorts with a printed blouse and metallic oxfords for a chic summer look.

Lily Collins was also recently spotted in the same style ($148)

Shop (US only):

http://www.strombrand.com 

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DOLLS

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