October has been a month full of great music. I always upload my favourite songs onto the Pop Affairs' Picks playlist on Spotify (link at the bottom of the page), however I thought I would narrow down my favourite songs at the minute to just five!
Songs from the soundtrack to the hit movie, A Star Is Born, to Charli XCX's new track inspired by the 90s, the Pop Affairs' Picks playlist has a variety of songs that many pop music fans can enjoy.
Listen below to my top five picks and tweet @Pop_Affairs with what your October favourites are!
Hair Body Face - Lady Gaga
Just Got Paid - Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor ft. French Montana
1999 - Charli XCX & Troye Sivan
High Hopes - Panic! At The Disco
Eastside - benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid
Little Mix are back with the lead single from their fifth album, Woman Like Me. Featuring Nicki Minaj, this track is a brilliant lead single to kick off their new era.
Little Mix have always been about female empowerment and Woman Like Me reiterates that even more. The empowering lyrics and the general girl-power vibes throughout is a great way to make their female fans feel strong and empowered.
Woman Like Me has taken a different tone to what Little Mix usually release, with their deeper vocals and a slight change to their usual style. With that being said, the song is still ridiculously catchy. Ever since I heard it for the first time yesterday, the chorus has been going on over and over in my head (not complaining though)!
I wanted to know what Little Mix fans thought of the new song, so I took to Twitter to run some polls and find out. The first poll simply asked what the fans thought of Woman Like Me and out of 233 votes, 94% voted that they love it! I then asked if Nicki Minaj was a good feature, to which a massive 97% voted yes she was.
Every time I see a song with a feature, I always wonder if it is actually needed and if it brings any substance to the track. Therefore my final poll asked if Woman Like Me needed a feature and the results showed that 81% of people thought it did.
I don't believe Little Mix have ever released a bad single and Woman Like Me is no exception. Having Nicki Minaj on the track is very different to anything Little Mix have done before, but I love it! I wasn't sure if I was going to like Nicki on the song, however the girls' vocals all work brilliantly together and make for a potential big hit!
Overall, Woman Like Me is a really strong lead single and I can't wait to see what the Little Mix girls have in store for the album!
Sam Callahan has just released his third single, Stitches and Scars. Many people may recognise Sam for being a contestant on The X Factor back in 2013, but since then he has been working on his music and even achieved his first chart hit with Burns Like Fire.
Sticthes and Scars is a great track for a number of reasons. The emotional lyrics not only help the listener connect with Sam, but also enables you to relate to him too. However, the lyrics in contrast with the more upbeat tempo of the song gives out a sense of hope, overall giving an uplifting mood to the song.
I caught up with Sam about Stitches and Scars, The X Factor and much more!
Hi Sam, this is your first feature on Pop Affairs, so welcome! Congratulations on your new single Stitches and Scars! Can you tell us a bit about the song and the meaning behind it?
'Stitches and Scars' is a song that I created with 100% real, raw emotion at a time when I was probably in the most vulnerable place I’ve ever been. This song comes from a place so personal that I even feared the idea of releasing it for a long time, but you know what? I think that is what makes the music beautiful.
At the time I wrote this track, I was in a super dark place. I’d made some real, what I saw as, stupid decisions and I was continuously beating myself up about them! So much so I spent whole days starring at my feet hanging my head in an insanely negative head space. Then one day my brother Toby turned around to me and told me to ‘snap out of it!’ He told me, that I have people around me who love me and they don’t love me because I’m perfect, they love me because I am me! He told me, "You could have not made those decisions, you could have not made those mistakes… but then you could also be boring, you could be a stamp collector or a bin man", he said "But you’re not, you’re Sam and as much as it sucks right now, it is partially your ability to make those crazy, rash decisions, mistakes and of course your imperfections that make you, YOU!" This resinated with me so much that evening and that’s where the line comes from, ‘Would I really be me without my stitches and scars?’.
What have you got lined up for the rest of the year? Can fans expect to hear an album any time soon?
I am working on an album right now, but there's no telling when I might decide to release it. I am a perfectionist after all and I won't put it out in a rush or anything. I am in Panto in Bolton at Christmas time playing 'The Huntsman' in SnowWhite and the Seven Dwarfs and other than that I am gigging all over the place like I have been all year! I have loved performing everywhere this year, from all over the UK to places like Canada and Spain, it's been amazing!
Many people may recognise you for being on The X Factor back in 2013, what was that experience like for you?
The X Factor for me was a real whirlwind experience and very much an emotional rollercoaster, the experience altogether and the platform the show can give a young artist to launch their career in incredible, but it can also chip away at your self belief and at your ego and leave you a little lost when you're spat out of The X Factor machine at the other end. Since leaving the show, life’s been a bit crazy! I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve definitely found myself exploring different sounds and types of music a lot along the way too, but this year I can finally say I am fully in love with the music I am creating. I had a wicked start to the year with my single ‘Burns Like Fire’ becoming my first chart hit. I’ve surrounded myself by a wicked team of guys, not forgetting the lads from ‘Mean Recordings’, performed all kinds of shows and festivals globally and I’m now about to release my third single this year, which just happens to be what I’d call my most real and honest creation to date, ‘Stitches and Scars’.
What is your ultimate career goal?
Personally I’ve always had some crazily high expectations and aspirations for myself in my career. Firstly, I’ve always wanted to travel with my music. I am an adventurous person and often you find that adventurous people get to a certain age and take a number of months or even years out to explore, to travel and to see the world! If it wasn’t for having chosen a career that requires giving so much of myself so much of the time, I’d definitely be one of those people who had embarked on some of those things. Instead, I promised myself that if I was going to choose a life in music then one of my key ‘MUST DO’s’ had to be to travel with my music! So far I’ve performed in LA, Miami, Australia, Malia and The Canary Islands among other places! I think the other general goals with my music have always been to tour and to chart!
I don’t have to be the most well known artist in the world and I don’t have to be gigging every day of my life, but I want to do the odd tour, performing to people who love my music and myself for all the positive things that I stand for and that my music has to say! I want to wake up every day doing what I love and I want the people who support me to fall in love with the music I am creating the way that I do.
What advice would you give to someone reading this who wants to become a singer?
Never stop writing. I believe that being an artist means creating art and that art in our case is the music, therefore you cannot let that flame burn out. You don't have to be the best vocalist in the world, you don't have to be everybody's cup of tea, but if you create something honest that comes from deep within your core then no one can judge that, people love whats real in 2018, not just what you think they want to hear!
If you could collaborate with any artist right now, who would it be and why?
I have a couple of different picks for this one! Whenever I go for a session in the studio, I tend to pick between five and ten references for the idea that I have come up with, or the song that I have written just to give my co-writers and producers the best chance of hitting the nail on the head when it comes to getting in the booth with me and trying to create our next masterpiece!
There are always a few names that come up almost every time and these are: Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheern and Maroon 5. I love these artists for their lyrical content, their sound and their overall vibe when it comes to creating new music and I would love to collaborate with any of them! Of course it’s not all just down to the music, I think the overall vibe of an artist in today’s industry is super important!
What has been your highlight in your music career so far?
I have two! The first one would be charting. That was awesome, to see my own music that I wrote in my bedroom about my own experiences in the charts was really something. The second though has to be the arena tour after The X Factor. There is nothing like doing the one thing you love more than life itself and getting to do it in front of 20,000 people a night! That to me, was a dream come true.
Watch the video for Stitches and Scars here:
Recently I discovered American music group Too Many Zooz and their track with KDA, So Real (Warriors) [ft. Jess Glynne]. The single is a really fun track that manages to stay in your head right after the first listen. The catchy lyrics in combination with Jess Glynne's vocals make for a really great single and has a potential to be a big chart hit. Typically any song that has Jess Glynne on does incredibly well in the charts, and I wouldn't be surprised if this track had that success too.
I really hope more people discover this song as it has a lot of potential and it feels like a single that you would never get bored with!
If you haven't heard the song yet, check it out on YouTube below:
In the last hour, the lead single from the new movie A Star Is Born has been released. Shallow features both Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper and gives listeners a first proper glimpse (aside from the trailers) at what the film will be like.
Shallow is the first time fans have heard a new Gaga track in over a year, so the hype around the song has been particularly high. Luckily, fans have no reason to be disappointed. Gaga's vocals are once again incredibly strong and she proves herself to be arguably the best vocalist of this generation . Shallow is unlike anything Gaga has released previously, therefore showing her versatility as an artist.
A massive surprise on this song though is Bradley Cooper. This is the first time Cooper has shown his musical side, yet his voice is gorgeous! In the past no one would have paired Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in a musical way, however just by listening to Shallow you can tell they were destined to work together.
Overall, Shallow is a beautiful song full of unbelievable vocals. The whole soundtrack is out on October 5th and judging by Shallow, it should be a great album.
A Star Is Born is out on October 3rd for many European countries and October 5th for the rest of the world.
Up-and-coming singer Ella Poletti has recently released her new single, Bones. Bones is a really strong single that I can imagine being constantly played on the radio, as the catchy lyrics and brilliant production make for a potential big hit. Ella has already managed to achieve getting over 1.5 million streams on her covers in less than a year and with Bones being a really great song, I can see Ella having a massive career.
I was lucky enough to catch up with Ella about her new single and find out what the future has in store for her!
Hi Ella! Welcome to Pop Affairs! Congratulations on your debut single Bones! What’s the meaning behind the song?
Thanks! The song is about a love which isn’t entirely… fulfilling! It’s based on a mixture of experiences that I’ve had and also things that I’ve witnessed.
You’ve had a really amazing journey so far with the success of your covers, can you tell the Pop Affairs readers how you got to where you are today?
It’s a lot of hard work and patience and just pure determination. And a ton of patience. It can be easy to feel like things aren’t moving along when in the big picture they are - and that’s just about having a good team around you.
How did it feel getting over 1.5 million streams in less than a year?
When I found out it felt amazing honestly! Feeling that all my hard work from the past year really paid off.
What would you ideally like to have accomplished in five years time?
Within the next year I’d love to have over 1.5 million streams on a single song! But really just making sure that my music can reach as many people as possible and it can help people through whatever they are going through… that’s most important.
What’s next for you? Is an album in the works?
There are definitely many more songs on the way… I won’t say any more!
What is your ultimate career goal?
My ultimate goal is to have as many people hear my music as possible. I want that music to be relatable to my audience and help them through their problems. I would also love to be well known in the industry as a role model to others.
Having already appeared on the hit TV show Glee and the theatre productions of Once and Dear Evan Hansen (to name a few successes!), Laura Dreyfuss is making her solo debut under the stage name Loladre.
Her debut single Be Great is exactly that, great! Loladre's voice is truly stunning and definitely something I could listen to all day. The lyrics are also great, as you can't help but listen to what she's singing throughout the whole song. I love how the style of the song is current, yet Loladre has managed to make it unique to her own style at the same time.
Having Jeremy Pope as a feature on this track was a really good decision, as his voice beautifully compliments Loladre's, making the whole song a really gorgeous listen.
Although Be Great seems to be a slower song, the chorus being a bit more uptempo makes the whole track interesting and worth listening to from start to finish.
As a debut single this is really impressive. A song this good is usually a lead single of a second or third album, therefore the fact this is a debut means Loladre's solo career can only go from strength to strength.
I would highly recommend listening to Be Great and I can't wait to hear what Loladre releases in the future!
This weekend Halsey brought her Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour to London's Eventim Apollo. I attended the show on Saturday night and as this was my first Halsey tour, I was very excited.
Before the concert started I had an idea in my head about what the concert would be like. I've seen pictures of Halsey's performances before and seen the incredible visuals that she puts on the big screens, so this was something I was expecting to see. What I wasn't expecting though, was a show. I was under the impression that Halsey would stand on stage, sing the songs, have great visuals and that would be that. I couldn't have been more wrong.
The show started with a curtain covering the stage and a spotlight with Halsey's silhouette. Halsey then started the concert with Eyes Closed (a song from her latest album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom) and with the beat drop at the chorus, the curtain dropped to reveal Halsey. By this point the show had only been on for a few minutes, but I was already shocked. I didn't expect an opening like this and I soon realised the concert would be a lot better than I thought.
The next song on the setlist was Gasoline from Halsey's first album, Badlands. Something that was really great about this show was how both new and old songs were played. Most of Hopeless Fountain Kingdom was performed, as well as seven fan favourites from Badlands and Is There Somewhere from Halsey's first EP, Room 93. I love it when artists don't just perform their new material, because most of the time the old songs are what made people become a fan and it's so lovely to pay tribute to that.
As previously mentioned, I was expecting incredible visuals on the screens and I wasn't disappointed. Having the big screen behind Halsey really added to the songs, as it was as though the images were telling the story along with the track. This makes you feel as though you are watching a proper show with lots of love and thought going into it, rather than a plain stage with nothing much going on.
Halsey's vocals are also worth mentioning! Again, I was really surprised that Halsey sounded pretty much exactly the same to recordings (if not, better!).
I really like Halsey and her music, but after the show on Saturday I couldn't help but feel a bit annoyed. Not only is Halsey a great singer/songwriter, she also knows how to put on a show and how to interact with her fans, yet she definitely doesn't get enough credit. When I told people I was going to see Halsey at her sold out show, most people replied with "who?". Therefore, I really hope that over the next few months more and more people will pay attention to Halsey, giving her much more recognition that she deserves.
The second to last song was Is There Somewhere from the Room 93 EP. During the performance, Halsey had around ten fans come up on stage and sit on the steps to be with her while she performs. I love seeing things like this happen because you can see how happy it makes the fans, and also how happy it makes the performer. During the whole set I felt such a strong connection between Halsey and her fans in the crowd, which felt truly beautiful to be part of.
The concert concluded with my personal favourite, Bad At Love. At which point confetti was released into the crowd (completely covering us, but I LOVE it). The energy was just as strong at the end as it was at the start, and at no point during the performance did Halsey lose her energy or make the crowd lose interest.
The Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour was brilliant from start to finish, and I know that I will definitely be attending all of Halsey's future concerts too!
Lucy Whittaker has recently released her latest single, Who's Gonna Know featuring Yizzy. The whole song is brilliant from start to finish, full of pop vibes and effortlessly great vocals.
After listening to the track a few times, I realised that it doesn't actually need a feature. The lyrics, vocals and production are very strong on their own and therefore a feature isn't needed to try and boost it. However, Yizzy's voice along with Lucy's, work really well together. Although the song didn't need another artist to give it substance, Yizzy's verse makes for a really solid track.
I really love songs that are brilliant in their own right, with a feature just adding to the greatness. There is really nothing worse than a weak song with a random artist thrown in out of desperation to make it a hit.
Overall, Whittaker appears to be going from strength to strength with her music, and I believe with her voice and style, she has the potential to become massive in the charts.
Watch the video for 'Who's Gonna Know' on YouTube here:
If you keep up to date with Pop Affairs, then you'll notice that I sometimes publish blog posts about all the songs that I've been currently loving. I've fallen in love with so many songs recently, so it's been really hard to narrow them down for this post.
My absolute favourite this month however, has to be God is a woman by Ariana Grande. I think God is a woman is potentially my favourite song Ariana has ever released. The song itself is made up of a few different genres, while the lyrics are so strong and empowering. In combination with this, the music video is just as brilliant, and again potentially my favourite video Grande has ever released. It's so incredible to see a song in the charts all about empowering women, yet it's not done in a cringey way. This song deserves so much success, and I just hope it gets the recognition it so desperately deserves!
Check out my top five favourite songs from the past month below:
God is a woman - Ariana Grande
Let Me Live - Rudimental & Major Lazer (feat. Anne-Marie & Mr Eazi)
Barcelona - Max George
Pyro Ting - Rak-Su, Banx & Ranx
Jackie Chan - Tiesto, Dzeko (feat. Preme & Post Malone)