Alumni Tracks of the Year 2017

By Kath Hartley

Posted

As 2017 draws to a close, we look back at some of this year’s musical highlights from amongst our incredible alumni community.

The 2017 Tracks of the Year playlist is real cracker - here we catch up with the artists behind the music to get their take on what makes each track so special…

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Heir (Tom Hammond, Harry Vernon, Ste Fisher, Samuel Newham + Sam Luca, 2016)

I’ll Pick You Up

The birth of I'll Pick You Up will always be a particularly special moment for us. It is the song that stood up and took responsibility for moving us into the sound where Heir belongs. It was the product of day four of our first writing retreat together. When we sat down and listened back to everything we had written in those first few days, all the songs felt great but I'll Pick You Up did have a particular charm.

This song has always been one to get people moving, smiling and singing - there aren't many better feelings than being able to create an atmosphere filled with those emotions.

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Malaika Shaw (2013)

I Don’t Feel the Same

I love the production and the meaning behind I Don’t Feel The Same – it’s about not wanting to be in a tired relationship and the emotions that come with leaving. The song has been received really well, even gaining airplay in retails stores and venues across the UK, which include Co-Op, TK Maxx and Mama & Papas.

The song was recorded at a studio called 'The Firm' in Leeds and was produced by John Beck (a Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer known for his No.1 hit - Put Your Records On with Corinne Bailey Rae).

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Loux (Chris Milnes, 2015, Jordan Hodson, 2015, Ali Wells, 2014)

Meet Me Halfway

Meet Me Halfway is about being in a relationship that you're not entirely happy with, and it hints at the process of giving an ultimatum in order for things to change. The track was largely recorded by our guitarist Chis Milnes, who works as a producer.

Our favourite thing about the track is the structure, and the way it flows into sections that aren't necessarily what you'd expect from a pop song. We like the end section too though, and the vocal melody that leads into the swung, heavier section.

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Mali Hayes (2015)

Momma (ft. Jermaine)

It’s quite an easy guess, but my lovely Mum inspired this track! She actually wrote the backing track along with Myke Wilson (a drummer who plays with Corinne Bailey Rae, Kid British and Texas). They form the duo RKW and they wrote this track a long time ago. I heard it growing up and always loved it, so about two years ago I decided to write to it and then Momma was born!

I can’t help but love that this song is about my Mum - I don’t think a lot of people can say their mum is a well-known, genius of a producer and they got to work with them on a track!

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Jacob Alder (2013)

Chasin’ Time (feat. LKA)

Chasin' Time was inspired when I stumbled across LKA via SoundCloud - I fell in love with her voice and style. I decided to write and produce a song to pitch to her and I was fortunate enough that she liked the track and agreed to track her top-line from Finland, where she is based.

It was premiered on Popjustice and the following week made it onto Spotify's ‘Fresh Finds’ playlist, and from there, it has been played in retail stores in America and the UK. I love the fact that I was able to get away with playing a guitar solo in Chasin' Time, although it being an electronic track. Don't be afraid to be you!

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Lucy Whittaker (2017)

I’m Not Ever Coming Back Again

I’m Not Ever Coming Back Again is about the moment where you decide to take control of a situation and stop letting someone walk all over you. I wrote the track with Kieran Williams (BA Popular Music 2017, keys player) and worked closely with my producer Frankie Harper (BA Music Production). The track was recorded in studio 116b at LCoM. 

The reception of I’m Not Ever Coming Back Again has been incredible. It was chosen as BBC Radio 1’s Introducing Track of the Week, hit #12 in the UK Spotify Viral Chart, and has received international radio play. 

I’m Not Ever Coming Back Again signifies a time when things really started moving forwards for me. I was free from my old management, able to make my own decisions, and have creative control - it felt amazing! Going from writing and recording a track with my friends, to hearing it on BBC Radio 1 for the first time is a feeling I will never ever forget, and I’m going to keep trying my hardest to make it happen again.

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Hannah Slavin (2017)

Daydream

Daydream was produced by George Platt who is also an LCoM Alumni. He created the track and needed a singer to help him with the top-line, so he asked me if I wanted work with him on it.

It was so exciting to work on a new project that was so different to the style that I usually go for, and to work with someone who was just as invested in the song as I was. I’ve worked with people before where our ideas just didn’t work together, but with Daydream, our ideas just merged perfectly and we both had very similar visions to how the song should be. 

What I love about this track is that it sounds and feels like you’re in a daydream. It’s the most honest song I’ve written - it’s all the things you would say if you ever got the chance. Considering it’s the first song I’ve ever released I’m incredibly surprised as to how well it’s been received - I’m definitely excited to release more music next year! 

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Milo Tain (2016)

Redbone

Hearing this song performed live on Jimmy Fallon by Childish Gambino really inspired me to do my own version. I love the music and the funk retro feel, and I wanted to put my own vocal spin on the track and my own production.

It has been positively received – I think people like how I stuck to the original formula of the track, whilst adding my own flavour to it. Prominent R&B blog ThisisRNB shared the track on their SoundCloud page which helped garner some more plays. 

I love the retro vintage sound of the track and the tribute to classic 70's funk. The influences are clear yet the simplicity of the song and the interesting vocal effects show Childish Gambino is still pushing the genre forward.

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MYK. (Michael Hodgson - 2016)

Ends This Way

I was asked to make a track for a compilation by a label called Equinox, aiming to raise money for mental health awareness charity Mind. I started by having a dig around some old classical pieces and downloaded a tune called Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland. I was messing around with it in Logic and decided to stretch out the strings, which created a unique vibe.

The track and the compilation as a whole has been well received, with support from many Youtube channels and bloggers. This helped raise more money for Mind which is great.

My favourite thing about the track is probably the vocals - which I sampled from an old song my girlfriend wrote. She is also an LCoM graduate from the Popular Music course, which is handy! Her vocals help set the tone and add extra emotion.

 

 


If you’re a graduate of Leeds College of Music, join our alumni networking portal at www.lcomalumni.co.uk

By Kath Hartley

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