Calogero is from Échirolles (near Grenoble) in southeast France. In the 90s, he formed a band with his brother called Les Charts before launching a solo career in Y2K. Calogero is a big deal scoring diamond and multiplatinum albums. He has not yet landed a #1 hit but has placed several in the French Top 10. His latest song “Je joue de la musique”, a pop-rock charmer with nice retro currents has made the Top 3. It heralds Calogero’s upcoming album Liberté Chérie. We embed a live performance below.
Turkish teen singer Aleyna Tilki slayed as a featured artist in Emrah Karaduman’s “Cevapsız Çınlama”, the music video of which has surpassed 300 million views. Aleyna now returns to the top of the charts with her brand-new song “Sen Olsan Bari”. MV embedded below.
Juliette Armanet grew up in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, a medium sized city in northeastern France, before moving to the Parisian suburbs when she was 16. She studied theater and literature, and as a journalist made some documentaries. Juliette has returned to the songwriting she enjoyed as a teenager and has released her debut album, Petite Amie. The opening track “L’amour en solitaire” is both melancholy (few capture such a mood in music as well as the French) and merry. Armanet has been compared to Véronique Sanson.
British band Coldplay dropped EP Kaleidoscope which is currently a best-seller around the globe. In Y2K, Coldplay, a new band, broke into the British Top 40 with “Shiver” from debut album Parachutes, while “Yellow” and piano ballad “Trouble”, making the Top 10, exported the group’s success into the land down under. Canada reacted strongly to “In My Place” (#2) off second album A Rush of Blood to the Head. The United States took forever to warm up to the band; “Clocks” finally did it in the Republic, though only making the Top 30. “Speed of Sound” from third album X&Y became Coldplay’s first Top 10 in the U.S.
New EP Kaleidoscope opens with “All I Can Think About Is You” which presents a euphoric wall of sound that is completely mesmerizing. The group falters a bit on “Miracles”. The funky track starts off well, but when featured artist Big Sean begins rapping, the song is ruined. It would do British artists credit if they refused to succumb to American thinking that everything needs to be urbanized. Things improve on atmospheric “Aliens”. The live version of “Something Just Like This” from Tokyo betters the original. Kaleidoscope ends with the very nicely done “Hypnotised”. The EP is a welcome complement to previous LP A Head Full of Dreams. It is estimated that Coldplay has sold more than 80 million records worldwide.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Henry Lau learned piano to level 10 and won the gold medal for violin from the Royal Conservatory of Music. He also studied various forms of dance. South Korea’s SM Entertainment held auditions in Toronto in 2006, and Henry was one of only two people of 3,000 chosen. Relocating to Korea, he became a member of popular singing group Super Junior-M. In addition to Mandarin Chinese and his native English, he became fluent in Korean. And now, with 3.3 million Twitter followers, he is championing the K-pop genre as a soloist. He is as talented as they come. Henry recently released new song “I’m Good”. We embed the MV below.
Mondo Grosso is Italian for big world and is the stage name of Japanese DJ and record producer Shinichi Osawa. Crafting a variety of EDM flavours over the years – acid jazz, house, etc. – the sound on his newly released album, Reborn Again and Always Starting New, is an excursion off the beaten path to more creative concoctions. Grosso is regarded as one of the country’s best DJs. The new album, his first under the Mondo Grosso moniker, is selling well in the land of the red sun, in the iTunes Top 5, with a couple of tracks that are particularly popular: “Labyrinth” featuring the vocal talents of Hikari Mitsushima and “Planet Tantra” featuring Aska (Asuka) Saito of girl group Nogizaka46. We have embedded the MV for the former below.
It’s time to talk J-Pop. The world’s second largest music market is seeing a number of new artists release some delicious tracks. Akina (California), Anna (New Zealand), Lil’ Fang (Tokyo), and Mikako (Fukuoka) are all-girl group FAKY. Around since only 2013 and releasing a debut album the following year, the girls recently dropped a smoking hot EDM track called “Someday We’ll Know” off new EP Unwrapped. The MV, embedded below, is interesting as it starts off at night and bright daytime hits halfway through. FAKY is good at incorporating international styles of music into J-Pop making for a culturally rich sound.
Marija is a new singer from Serbia who gained fame from beauty, fashion, and lifestyle tips and videos posted on her YouTube channel which gained 280,000+ followers. Her Instagram has 430,000+. “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching” is her formal debut single and in only two days has racked up over 700,000 views. The song is upbeat and fun and will get you dancing in no time. Have a look and listen below.
Dutch DJ/producer Bakermat is best known for 2013’s “One Day” a huge hit across Europe. The track featured audio clips of speeches by U.S. activist Martin Luther King Jr. Bakermat dabbles in dance pop with his new single “Don’t Want You Back” which features Canadian singer Kiesza. The latter scored a #1 hit in the UK, Netherlands, and Belgium with “Hideaway”. The new track has quite a nice music video. We embed it below.
The last couple of years have seen the French charts dominated by Anglo pop songs and Franco autotuned rap; good Franco pop songs are harder to come by. One artist who has saved 2017 is newcomer Alma from Lyon. She represented France in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Requiem” which became a Top 5 hit in her homeland. Apparently, she is tetralingual speaking French, English, Italian, and Portuguese. She has lived in Brazil, Italy, and Belgium. Alma’s debut album Ma peau aime was released on May 5, 2017. Enjoy the music video for “Requiem” below.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Gangnam Style horsie dancer Psy, but he’s back. If there was ever anyone in the world who could put a big smile on your face, the South Korean rapper is the man. Psy has released brand new album Psy 8th 4×2=8 and treated us with two super fun music videos, for tracks “I Luv It” (find a cameo by the pen pineapple guy) and “New Face”. Musically, “I Luv It” is a little more of a retro dance, while “New Face” is unmistakably Psy. The music video for the latter is beautifully shot and a pure blast. We embed both videos below.
Danish soft rock group Michael Learns to Rock which performs in English has had a dramatic career filled with many ups and downs. Of all the places in the world, the band became massive superstars in a most unexpected but most populated region—eastern Asia. The band came up with the name in keeping with phrases common at the time (1988), Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Johnny Hates Jazz, etc. MLTR is considered the most popular international act of all time in China. The group recently reworked a song from a Korean TV drama called Healer and featured Chinese singer Phoebe Yang. The song is bilingual, sung in English and Chinese, and MLTR has released a gorgeous music video (shot in China) which we embed below. The song is called “Eternal Love”. Enjoy.
United States band Paramore has shed its punk proclivities for a funkier sound on “Hard Times” lead single off upcoming fifth studio album After Laughter. The music video is a nifty one, and we’ve embedded it below. Paramore scored a Top 10 hit in its homeland thanks to “Ain’t It Fun” from the last album. The band comes from the U.S. State of Tennessee.
Recently released The Far Field is proving to be a hit album for United States’ new wave band Future Islands. According to iTunes, it is Top 20 in both the US and UK and Top 10 in Canada! New wave has often done better in Canada than the United States with songs like “Let’s Go” by The Cars and “Rock Lobster” by the B’52s, both American bands, charting much better in the land of the maple leaf. Future Islands’ ability to capture the new wave sound is not just in the instrumentation but the singing style which masters the measured theatrics and pitch down bending techniques used by such acts as Simple Minds (UK), Sniff ‘n’ the Tears (UK), The Cars (US), and The Spoons (Canada). While millennials and boomers may be able to get into this, the Future Islands band is considered a breath of fresh air for Gen X-ers, and it helps too that Blondie’s Debbie Harry is featured on a track. Below is video for track “Ran”.
Canada recently held its flagship music awards gala, the JUNOs. Of all the big Canadian names in music recently, The Weeknd, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara, it was folk-pop group The Strumbellas who won the Single of the Year award for hit “Spirits”. The song charted internationally, most notably in a number of European nations. In Canada itself, it was certified platinum. The “Spirits” music video, filled with colourful costumes, has amassed an impressive 40 million views. We embed it below but be forewarned, it is so catchy it just might get stuck in your head. But maybe that’s a good thing.