No longer does the ‘acoustic singer-songwriter’ or the ‘indie rock band’ have to reside in labels, never branching out to follow where personality or lifestyle change could lead. Newer artists releasing their second or later albums are finding the comfort in developing their sound. It’s a brave move to risk changing what worked before, but it is something admirable. Listeners are appreciating development in artists more and more – finding the opportunities in getting to know the personality behind the songs.
George Ezra – Staying at Tamara’s
An upbeat, inspiring and simply happy album inspired by beautiful places abroad and played while travelling the world on tour. The songwriting is unique because George finds his inspiration by travelling, particularly through visiting European cities. For this recent project, he chose to stay in Barcelona with an Airbnb host named Tamara, hence, the name of the album.
It is easy to see that George has gone from strength to strength with his music, and developed in the sense of confidence and openness in expressing his personality and experiences with his listeners. George is known for having fun with his songwriting and this is something that has not changed this time around. Songs like ‘Paradise’ and ‘Shotgun’ have had huge success thanks to their catchy and light-hearted nature, and the summery connotations are undeniable, making listeners crave that break themselves.
If you wish to share in George's experience of Barcelona and feel it could benefit you creatively or just for a refreshing break, Guestlist can provide the ultimate guide to the city. George paints a beautiful image of Barcelona with his album and reminds us that trips abroad bring us much more benefit than the fun when you’re there. Experience and memories are key to life, and the benefits of a switch up in routine can give you a clear head to become your most productive and focused self.
Years and Years – Palo Santo
Their highly anticipated second album had a hard challenge following the success of the first, but the electro-pop trio lead by frontman Olly Alexander have delivered.
Years and Years are back to their old tricks sound-wise, but their confidence and character has developed and the band are now fully exerting expression and creativity. A similar sound proves their talent in creating and performing great music remains strong, but especially from looking at live performances and music videos of the new songs, a newfound confidence and energy is clear.
Olly has become a big name in his own right, with a successful documentary made on homosexual issues, and one of the most unique things about his new album release is the accompanying short film of the same name. The short is edgy, innovative and proof of their artistic mastery and creative risk.
Tom Grennan – Lighting Matches
Previously Tom Grennan had only released an EP called Something in the Water, featuring a chart-topping song of the same name. He has now released his debut album Lighting Matches in which he has diversified into collaborations with Chase and Status and songs that please the pop audience (‘Found What I’ve Been Looking For’ has been another chart hit but as more of an upbeat and slightly more mainstream tune) as well as ones featuring a full band, opposing his previous downbeat acoustic sound which arguably centred more around his voice.
As a new face, he is being bold by experimenting. But he is making the right moves to compete, especially as his artistry is new and unestablished. There is something for everyone in his album mainly because of a mix of slower tunes and upbeat chart toppers.
Having never released an album, he is in a prime position to be experimenting with collaborations and sound in general, to find the artist he feels he truly is and is proud of. Deciding to change sound and experiment musically is all part of becoming the best musician you can be, and this sentiment can be reflected in anyone. The notion of trying new things to find what you enjoy, what you have talent in and make you money along the way – it's not just for musicians.
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
On a hunt for the artist of the summer, it is easy to stumble across Florence. After the massive release of ‘Hunger’ it was expected that Florence would come through with a cracking album to match.
She is an artist who really seems to have found her feet and proves her talent consistently. Back in 2009, she released her first album Lungs and back then her entire musical persona was quite a risk. She had an unusual voice which sounded strong yet somewhat whispering. She showed off an impressive vocal range and she was bold in everything from her ethereal fashion to the name of her group, naming her band ‘The Machine’.
The bold moves she brought to the music scene have established her as an insanely popular artist, gaining over 10 million monthly Spotify listens. Her albums continue to demonstrate everything she initially impressed the world with and it’s a welcome relief to have more Florence to enjoy.
Ben Howard - Noonday Dream
Howard's album portrays depth, emotion and a change from the lighter, sweet Every Kingdom. He’s taking steps away from his old sound and developing into the artist he is, not who he feels he should be to please the crowds. A review in The Independent says the audience is loving it though, with little to no phones in the air and no cries or disappointment for his old songs.
This proves his fans appreciate the growth his sound has moved through during the past few years, as that is exactly what he has been through. He was a slow burner, working his way into popularity for years before getting mainstream recognition. Considering this, he will have been playing songs like 'Only Love' for many years over and over, its no surprise he is ready for a change. Anyone can appreciate his writing skill and his talent on guitar knows no bounds. Together this almost guarantees him an appreciative reception whenever he releases music, as every song is simply another pleasure to listen to.