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Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
June 11, 2021
'Are you proud of your music?' with Billy Nomates
British post-punk newcomer Billy Nomates talks to Simone Marie Butler, Xenia Rubinos and Radie Peat about the pressures of living up to expectations, whether or not they feel proud of their work so far, and songs they write when they think no one else will hear them. Simone Marie Butler is best known as the bassist in rock band Primal Scream. She’s also recorded with Joel Culpepper, the Stooges’ James Williamson, and the Horrors’ Faris Badwan. Xenia Rubinos is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from New York whose sound blends pop, soul, punk, and Latin influences with her jazz training. Radie Peat is a singer and musician best known for her vocals in Irish folk band Lankum, and she is working on her debut solo record.
June 4, 2021
'Songwriting made me who I am' with Ice T, Aurora, Amy Lee and Oli Sykes
Amy Lee, Ice T, Aurora and Oli Sykes discuss how they how they got into music, how music has affected their personal growth, and how they work through creative differences with their collaborators. Amy Lee from Grammy Award-winning US Rock band Evanescence is on hosting duties, and she’s invited some of her favourite artists and collaborators to join her, starting with seminal rapper and producer Ice T. Ice has recently teamed up with Evanescence on the track When I’m Gone, and collaborated with everybody from Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre, to Slayer and Public Enemy. Oli Sykes is the lead singer and songwriter of British rock band Bring Me The Horizon, which formed in Sheffield in 2004 and went on to become one of the biggest bands on the planet. Aurora is a Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer whose music blends folk, electro and art-pop, and she has been cited by Billie Eilish as a major inspiration - as well as being one of our host’s favourite artists.
May 28, 2021
Bullied for making music with Will Joseph Cook, dodie, Boys World and Alfie Templeman
Will Joseph Cook, Olivia and Queenie from Boys World, dodie, and Alfie Templeman discuss whether they share their creative processes on social media, overcoming industry stigma for being an 'internet artist', and finding strength in being who you are. Will Joseph Cook is a singer-songwriter and self-taught producer from Kent, England. He signed with Atlantic Records when he was 17, and released his debut album Sweet Dreamer in 2017. His second record, Something to Feel Good About, came out on his own label, Bad Hotel, earlier this year. Queenie and Olivia are two of the five members of breakthrough girl group Boys World, all of whom were discovered after posting their covers of songs to social media. They have since moved into a house together in LA, where they are getting ready to release their debut EP. Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist dodie launched her career performing piano and ukulele covers online, and has gone on to release 3 EPs and collaborate with former Music Life host Jacob Collier. She recently released her debut album, Build a Problem. Alfie Templeman is a singer-songwriter and producer who released his debut EP, Like an Animal, in 2018. He cites Carlton, the English village where he was raised, as one of his biggest inspirations, and has just released the mini-album Forever Isn't Long Enough.
May 21, 2021
Getting personal with Lila Iké
Jamaican rising stars Lila Iké, Sevana, Jaz Elise and Naomi Cowan discuss whether or not they think about genre when creating, how much they write about their personal lives in their music, and how their experiences as a woman in the music industry are reflected in their songs. Lila Iké is a Jamaican singer-songwriter whose genreless sound fuses contemporary reggae with elements of soul, dancehall and hip-hop. She signed to Protoje's In.Digg.Nation label in 2017 and released her debut EP, The ExPerience. last year. Singer-songwriter, actress and label-mate Sevana's music is rooted in soul and R&B, or, as she describes it, "every sound but with a Jamaican filter". She recently released her second EP, Be Somebody, and is also the star of Jamaican web series Losing Patience. Naomi Cowan was 2018's Breakthrough Act at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Awards, and since then she has toured with Estelle and released several singles, including chart-topping hit Paradise Plum. Jaz Elise has been singing since she was 5 years old and released her debut EP earlier this year, an In.Digg.Nation production titled The Golden Hour. The artists discuss whether or not they think about genre when creating, how much they write about their personal lives in their music, and how their experiences as a woman in the music industry are reflected in their songs.
May 14, 2021
Eurovision! With Conchita Wurst, Duncan Laurence, Daði Freyr and Emmelie de Forest
Emmelie de Forest, Conchita Wurst, Duncan Laurence and Daði Freyr share their experiences of the Eurovision Song Contest, including what makes a winning Eurovision entry, how taking part in the Contest has influenced their music outside of Eurovision, and the personal stories they tell through their songs. Emmelie de Forest won the Eurovision Song Contest for Denmark in 2013 with her song Only Teardrops. She has gone on to release two albums, and in 2017 she co-wrote the UK’s Eurovision entry Never Give Up on You. She’s joined by 2014’s winner, singer and drag artist Conchita Wurst, who represented Austria with power ballad Rise Like A Phoenix and went on to become a global icon for the LGBTQI+ community. The Netherlands' Duncan Laurence is the reigning Eurovision champion, winning in 2019 with his self-penned debut single Arcade. Last year, he released his debut album Small Town Boy. Daði Freyr is a musician and songwriter who will represent Iceland at Eurovision 2021 with the song 10 Years, which he wrote about his wife. He was due to perform at Eurovision last year before the Contest was cancelled due to the pandemic, but his 2020 entry Think About Things became a viral hit on social media and has been streamed more than 75 million times.
May 7, 2021
Music as a tool for self-expression with Biig Piig
Biig Piig, Nayana IZ, Puma Blue and Louis Culture explore the power of community, how social media has affected the way they make music, and what it's like to make music as an introvert. Biig Piig blends soul-tinged melodies over hip-hop and pop beats with lyrics in English and Spanish. After growing up between Ireland and Spain, she moved to London and joined the Nine8 music collective alongside Nayana IZ. Born in India and raised in North London, Nayana was named on BBC Asian Network's 2020 Future Sounds list and last year released her debut EP Smoke & Fly. Puma Blue is a musician and songwriter originally from South London, now based in Atlanta. His first two EPs have built up millions of streams and he recently dropped his debut album In Praise of Shadows to critical acclaim. Also representing South London is rapper and lyricist Louis Culture, who released his debut EP Smile Soundsystem last year and has worked with Frank Ocean producer Vegyn.
April 30, 2021
Influences and identity with Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad
Soul producer and composer Adrian Younge, A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed Muhammad, American harpist Brandee Younger, and Geneva-born, New York-based producer and bassist Alissia go deep on the decade that most inspired them musically, the fight for equality in the music industry, and using their music to show respect for what's come before. Adrian Younge is a musician, broadcaster and DJ who founded the LA-based label Linear Labs. He has scored for film and TV and his production credits include collaborations with Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z. Joining Adrian is his close collaborator and fellow member of The Midnight Hour, Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Ali is an American DJ, producer and hip-hop legend, known for being a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, as well as production collective the Ummah and R&B supergroup Lucy Pearl. Brandee Younger is an American harpist whose sound is a blend of classical, jazz, soul and funk. Her latest album, Force Majeure, is a collaboration with her partner, the bassist Dezron Douglas, which they recorded in lockdown in their New York apartment. Alissia is a producer, songwriter and bass player who is lauded as the future of funk. She has collaborated with the likes of Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, Anderson .Paak and Bootsy Collins, as well as releasing music under her own name.
April 23, 2021
Creative catharsis with Gazelle Twin
Gazelle Twin, Lucrecia Dalt, Cosey Fanni Tutti and Keeley Forsyth, four artists making truly original music outside of the mainstream, discuss how they use electronics to build different themes in their music, working within and breaking out of their sonic comfort zones, and how making music leads to creative catharsis. Composer and producer Gazelle Twin explores industrial and avant-garde sounds through her albums, soundtracks and remixes. Her latest record, Deep England, sees her collaborate with electronic drone choir NYX. Sharing her experiences is Lucrecia Dalt, a sound artist from Columbia now based in Berlin. She draws on influences from her academic background as a civil engineer, encompassing electronics and avant-garde sounds in her compositions. Cosey Fanni Tutti is an English performance artist, author and musician who is known for her ground-breaking band Throbbing Gristle, which she co-founded in 1976. She has released music as a solo artist and as part of the duo Chris & Cosey. Keeley Forsyth is an artist and actress from the north of England, known for starring in many acclaimed film and TV series over the last 20 years. At the start of 2020 she released her atmospheric debut album Debris, in which she explores personal experiences through minimal arrangements and her evocative, intimate vocal.
April 16, 2021
Give it some space with Alex Isley
Alex Isley, Tiffany Gouché, India Shawn and Gwen Bunn discuss the creative foundations of songwriting – how has your sound evolved over time? How do you finish a track that you’ve been working on for ages? And crucially, how do you know if a song is actually good? R&B and soul singer-songwriter Alex Isley grew up surrounded by the musical influences of her father and uncle’s band, the Isley Brothers. Her classical vocal training and jazz background have shaped her three self-written and produced projects, and she has worked with artists including Kendrick Lamar, Moses Sumney, and Brandon Williams. Three-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer Tiffany Gouché's 2015 EP Pillow Talk turned heads across the music industry. She has gone on to collaborate with Terrace Martin, and produced Lalah Hathaway’s acclaimed album Honestly. India Shawn is an LA-based singer-songwriter whose writing credits are as impressive as her vocal performances. She is an in-demand collaborator, having worked with Anderson .Paak, Solange and 6LACK. Gwen Bunn started out as a singer in the church choir in her hometown of Atlanta, going on to set up her label Melody Dungeon Music, and released her debut record Safe Travels in 2017. She has collaborated with the likes of Rapsody, Ty Dolla $ign and Faith Evans.
April 9, 2021
'I was told I was too much' with will.i.am and Lady Leshurr
will.i.am, Static & Ben El, Lioness and Lady Leshurr take a deep dive into beatmaking, how to collaborate with other artists, and the best way of writing a song - from getting ideas down with a pen and paper, to just getting on the mic and seeing what happens. Hip Hop innovator, songwriter and producer will.i.am has released eight records over 22 years with the Black Eyed Peas, which he formed in 1995. He has released four albums as a solo artist and is one of the world’s most in-demand producers, having worked with everyone from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus, to rock legends U2. Joining will.i.am are Static & Ben El, an Israeli pop duo who formed in 2015. They have amassed close to half a billion streams and have worked with the likes of J Balvin, Pitbull and Flipp Dinero. Lioness is a grime MC from south-east London whose mixtapes have gained support from hip-hop legend Rick Ross. She has featured on tracks with Ghetts, Toddla T and fellow guest Lady Leshurr. Born and raised in Birmingham, UK, Lady Leshurr dropped her first mixtape at the age of 14 and turned heads with her Queen’s Speech freestyle series. Her accolades include a MOBO Award in 2016 and a spot on the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, as well as collaborations with the likes of Lethal Bizzle, Krept & Konan, and Labrinth.
April 2, 2021
Muted musicians with Liraz and Bedouine
Liraz, Bedouine, Daniel Smienk and Tolga Boyuk discuss the link between music and heritage, turning the past into the future through music, and how to be creative whilst navigating obstacles. Liraz is an Israeli singer, actress and dancer of Iranian descent, whose latest album, Zan (which translates to "women" in Farsi), features collaborations recorded in secret with Iranian artists. Her music combines the traditional sounds of the Bağlama, a Middle Eastern stringed instrument, with 1970s disco and funk rhythms. Joining Liraz is Bedouine, a folk singer and guitarist born in Syria, who spent time living in Saudi Arabia and across the USA before settling in Los Angeles. Her inspirations range from her childhood to her travels, and the feeling of wanderlust. Tolga Boyuk is a producer and founder of electro-acoustic trio Islandman, whose music combines Turkish psychedelia with African roots. Daniel Smienk is the drummer of Amsterdam-based band Altın Gün. The group’s name translates to ‘Golden Day’, and their music seamlessly blends Turkish psych and traditional folk songs.
March 26, 2021
The disappearing album with Eyedress, Dâm-Funk, Jessica Pratt and Low Leaf
Eyedress, Dâm-Funk, Low Leaf and Jessica Pratt discuss how the toughest times they’ve been through inspired their music, how horror films influence their sounds, and the most special moments in their careers. Eyedress is a musician and producer, born and raised in Manilla in the Philippines, and now based in LA. His sound encompasses everything from synth-pop to R&B and shoegaze. The ‘modern funk’ king Damon Riddick, aka Dâm-Funk, is a musician, vocalist and producer who blends everything from P-Funk to computer-game inspired soundtracks. He’s released a number of critically acclaimed albums, and collaborated with the likes of Tyler the Creator, Snoop Dogg, and Christine & the Queens. Low Leaf is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. Classically trained in piano as a child, her Filipino roots and DIY recordings fuse traditional and digital sounds. She’s a self-taught producer and can play the guitar and harp. And Jessica Pratt is a Folk artist, whose acoustic guitar melodies and voice are a truly special thing. She’s toured the world with artists like Real Estate and Julia Holter, and has released three studio albums thus far.
March 19, 2021
You are what you make with Ibeyi and Kindness
Music Life this week joins the World Service Festival and brings together a truly global gathering. Ibeyi talks to Kindness, Charlotte Day Wilson, and Nai Palm from the band Hiatus Kaiyote about their first emotional dealings with art, why they create, and celebrating culture and ancestors. Ibeyi are French Cuban duo Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz, currently based in Paris. They weave together everything from jazz and gospel to hip-hop and soul, pushed through a modern electronic filter and have released two albums to date: their self-titled debut, and Ash. Joining them is cinematic pop and soul producer and artist Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness. They’ve produced for the likes of Blood Orange, Solange and frequent collaborator Robyn. Charlotte Day Wilson is a Canadian R&B singer-songwriter who’s released three EPs to date and has worked with the likes of Daniel Caesar, River Tiber, and BadBadNotGood. And Nai Palm from the band Haitus Kaiyote is a Grammy-nominated future soul vocalist and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. Only six months after the band formed, they collaborated with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, and their second album Choose Your Weapon took them all over the musical spectrum.
March 12, 2021
'My feet felt like a metronome' with Rostam and Santigold
Rostam, Santigold, Dijon and Samantha Urbani discuss whether melody or lyrics come first, how to avoid the temptation to go back to tracks to make alterations, and how naming an album is the last bit of personality you can sprinkle on a project. Rostam is a Grammy-winning producer, composer, musician, and founding member of the band Vampire Weekend, producing their first three albums. Now a solo artist, he released his debut album Half-Light in 2017, and went on to produce Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III LP, as well as working with the likes of Frank Ocean, Solange, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Joining him is singer, songwriter and producer Santi White, aka Santigold. She’s released three albums to date, and draws influences ranging from 1980s pop and rock to new age hip-hop. Dijon is an artist whose reflective, folk-inspired R&B has drawn comparisons to Frank Ocean and Nick Hakim. He began producing music as part of the duo Abhi//Dijon whilst in college before establishing himself as a solo artist. And finally, Samantha Urbani is an artist, filmmaker, and songwriter who formed the influential DIY indie band Friends. She then moved to LA, where she lent her skills to collaborators including Dev Hynes, Nite Jewel and Zoe Kravitz.
March 5, 2021
Don't run away from pressure with Caroline Polachek, Perfume Genius, Jlin and Oneohtrix Point Never
Caroline Polachek, Perfume Genius, Jlin and Oneohtrix Point Never discuss their links to poetry, and how they find harmony between competing elements in songs. Caroline Polachek is a pop and avant garde musician, record producer, writer and singer, who broke through in 2008 with her band Chairlift. She’s now releasing music under her own name, and counts Lady Gaga, Charli XCX, and Taylor Swift as fans. Mike Hadreas, better known as Perfume Genius, is an art-pop singer who addresses topics such as sexuality, domestic abuse, and his personal battle with Crohn’s disease in his music. Experimental electronic producer Jlin has worked with the likes of previous Music Life host Max Richter, Holly Herndon, St Vincent and Björk, and her latest record deals with issues such as “history, mythology, imprisonment, culture wars, and a clash of civilizations”. Finally, Brooklyn-based musician, soundtrack composer, and producer Daniel Lopatin works under the name Oneohtrix Point Never, and has collaborated with Iggy Pop, Anohni, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, and FKA Twigs.
February 26, 2021
A million ways to make a song with Eliza Shaddad and This Is the Kit
Eliza Shaddad is joined by Oddisee, Gaidaa and This Is the Kit's Kate Stables to discuss working from home, where they now record, and how factors such as politics and heritage feed into the creative system. Eliza Shaddad is a singer songwriter whose debut album Future came out in 2018, which she described as her “sonic journal”. Oddisee is a Sudanese-American rapper and producer based in Brooklyn, originally from Washington DC. His first release was a collaboration with DJ Jazzy Jeff in 2002, and since then he has released a series of acclaimed mixtapes, EPs and albums, as well as founding the rap trio Diamond District. Gaidaa is a Sudanese Dutch artist who grew up between Sudan and Eindhoven in Holland. Her debut EP Overture came out last year, firmly establishing her as a rising star in the spheres of neo-soul and R&B. And Kate Stables is the creative force behind the band This Is The Kit. Their songs are said to “untangle emotional knots and weave remarkable stories”, and the band’s latest album Off Off On came out on Rough Trade last October.
February 19, 2021
Toys in the studio with Tunng’s Mike Lindsay and Hannah Peel
Mike Lindsay of the pioneering folktronica band Tunng is joined by Falle Nioke, Hannah Peel, and JFDR to discuss the power of a concept album, disappearing music, and how it feels getting new gear for your studio. Plus Falle gives us all a lesson in percussion. Falle Nioke is a singer and percussionist from Guinea, West Africa. He was part of the DawoLos crew as a teenager, sings in eight languages, and is a master of the gongoma, a traditional instrument combining percussion and melody that you play with your thumbs. JFDR is an Icelandic songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She studied classical clarinet before releasing music as part of different groups including Pascal Pinon, Gangly and Samaris, catching the attention of Bjork along the way. Hannah Peel is a composer, producer and broadcaster from Northern Ireland. She’s inspired by connections between science and music, and has scored music across television, film and theatre, including the Game of Thrones soundtrack, which earned her an Emmy nomination.
February 12, 2021
Comparison is the thief of joy with Liz Lubega and TINYMAN
Liz Lubega, R-Kay, Intalekt and TINYMAN discuss the importance of community, the love of language and culture, and whether self-doubt has got in the way of creating. R-Kay is a Ugandan producer and multi-instrumentalist from Brixton, South London. His sound blends hip-hop and jazz influences with his classical training, having studied cello from an early age before taking up piano. Last year, he composed the score for the documentary Damilola: The Boy Next Door, and released his debut album Ivory. Intelekt is a South London-based producer, artist, DJ, and mentor. As well as being a solo artist, he makes up half of soulful, jazz-influenced rap duo Billy Dukes. He self-released his debut EP It Is What It Is in 2015, which featured collaborations with Ella Frank and former guests on this show Jacob Banks and Kojey Radical. TINYMAN is an artist, writer and founder of groundbreaking collective Orphgang, which counts R-Kay and Intalekt as members. His boundary-pushing music means he’s been able to work with the likes of Ray BLK, Jaz Karis, and Che Lingo to name just a few. And the host this week is Liz Lubega. Born in East London and raised in Uganda for most of her teenage years, she’s worked and toured with the likes of Childish Gambino, Nicole Scherzinger, Tom Odell, and Stormzy.
February 5, 2021
History in the making with Mickey Guyton and Jimmie Allen
Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton, Abby Anderson and Twinnie discuss issues around the country music industry, how they tell stories in their songs, and the importance of being yourself and speaking your mind. Jimmie Allen is an artist from Southern Delaware, USA, who mixes country, rock, R&B, and pop. He released his debut album Mercury Lane in 2018, a tribute to the street he grew up on, which led him to be labelled “one of the hottest rising stars in country”. His latest EP, Bettie James, is a collaborative projective released last year. On that EP is Mickey Guyton, and she’s also on the show today. She’s a singer-songwriter from Texas described as “the unapologetic voice country music needs right now”. Her debut single, Better Than You Left Me, broke the record for being added to more country radio stations in its first week of release than any other debut single. She also recently made history as the first Black female solo artist to earn a Grammy nomination in a country category. Abby Anderson is also from Texas, where she learned to play the piano from the age of 5. She moved to Nashville at 17 before releasing her debut EP I’m Good in 2018. Since then, she’s collaborated with some of the biggest names in country, and is getting ready to release her debut album. And finally, Twinnie is a singer-songwriter from Yorkshire, England, with strong ties to Nashville. Her career started in acting, and she performed in film, TV and theatre, before releasing her debut album Hollywood Gypsy in April 2020.
January 29, 2021
The courage to be disliked with BŪJIN, Desire Marea, Lynn Daphne Rudolph and Jackie Queens
South African artists BŪJIN, Desire Marea, Lynn Daphne Rudolph and Jackie Queens discuss why the collective experience of creating is better, their biggest failures, and getting into trouble. Cape Town-based artist BŪJIN makes music that blends East African techno with funk, bass and classical orchestrations. Her work incorporates performance, sound installation and research into the realms of sonic theatre. She is joined by Desire Marea, a multi-disciplinary artist born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. They’re one half of the music and performance duo FAKA, along with Fela Gucci, and at the start of 2020 they released their first solo album, Desire, on their label Izimakade Records. Also joining them is one of South Africa’s leading classical violists, Lynn Daphne Rudolph. They switched to viola from the violin in 2014, and won the Mabel Quick prize for Best Instrumentalist in 2015. They studied performance at Nelson Mandela University and are part of the Alternative Orchestra SA. Jackie Queens is a South African songwriter and vocalist born in Zimbabwe. She makes Afro-house and tech and set up her own record label, Bae Electronica, which provides a platform to new and emerging artists through projects such as GIRLS and Women of House.