It always starts with the music! Bringing you a pick of the month’s best releases, Maria Hanlon and Tiffany Lai present 10 tunes that have hit their decks – and got a reload – in May. Starring Mysie, Mychelle, ENNY, Lizzie Berchie, Kofi Stone, The Mouse Outfit, Koj, Molly Elizabeth, Rina Sawayama, Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Smoko Ono, Kota The Friend, Sudan Archives & Doja Cat…
gin + juice
For fans of… Arlo Parks, Priya Ragu, Josef
Why listen… ‘gin + juice’ is a reflective track that showcases Mysie’s intimate indie soul sound.
South-East London’s Mysie released her new EP ‘joyride’ on May 13th on Grammy award winning songwriter and producer Frazer T. Smith’s label, 70Hz Recordings. ‘gin + juice’ is one of 6 tracks on the new EP and looks back on Mysie’s first encounter with her ex-partner. She said it’s about “that exciting feeling I got before we were together”. The backing beat of ‘gin + juice’ lures you in straight away with Mysie’s smooth vocals and storytelling ability layered on top beautifully. This is set to be a big year for her, making her one to watch in 2022. (MH)
For Fans Of… Pip Millet, Sasha Keable, Solange
Why listen… Rising star Mychelle teams up with ENNY to collaborate on the neo-soul bop you didn’t know you needed.
Hackney-born singer/songwriter Mychelle is making major waves. She first burst onto the scene less than a year ago with her debut EP ‘Closure’, then brought us ‘Younger Self’ in February with her EP ‘Someone Who Knows’, a few months later on May 20th. ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is the fourth track and is about weighing up whether a love interest is worth the leap of faith. Alternative rap queen ENNY features on the track and compliments Mychelle’s velvety vocals perfectly with her signature sound. It’s a big tune from two artists with even bigger futures. (MH)
Lizzie Berchie, Kofi Stone
For fans of… Barney Artist, Loyle Carner, Cleo Sol
Why listen… Soulful newcomer Lizzie Berchie and Kofi Stone team up to create mellow magic with ‘Pass Time’.
Lizzie Berchie’s self empowering track ‘Pass Time’ gives us a first glimpse into her upcoming debut EP ‘Under The Sun’. Speaking on the song Berchie said “I wrote this song about not wanting to be pocketed into one – despite them being nice in the moment.” Her incredible voice places her firmly as one to watch in the UK’s alternative soul scene with this beautiful track. Just when you think the track can’t get any better we hear one of the most talented rappers in the UK right now, Kofi Stone spit some bars and take the track to new levels. This will be on repeat for you as soon as you hear it, trust us. (MH)
The Mouse Outfit, Koj
For fans of… Fliptrix, KinKai, Children Of Zeus
Why listen…The Mouse Outfit have a reputation of finding some of the UK’s best vocal talent, and they didn’t disappoint with bold, bouncy ‘Vulnerable’ featuring Liverpool-based rapper Koj.
The Mouse Outfit (if you don’t know, get to know) are a hip hop production team and band from Manchester. They’ve been releasing a steady stream of singles over the past few years and have promised us one new track every two weeks throughout 2022! Expect collaborations with some of the UK’s best rappers and singers as well as instrumentals from their popular ‘Chillout Vibes’ series. Known for discovering the best upcoming talent, The Mouse Outfit’s latest release ‘Vulnerable’ features Liverpool based rising star rapper Koj and gets you singing along to the chorus instantly. (MH)
Heart Eyes (Messing With You)
For Fans Of… Jorja Smith, Lauren Faith, Celeste
Why Listen… UD’s Molly Elizabeth’s latest release shows off Molly’s incredibly impressive vocals in this catchy new R&B banger.
After a stunning set at The Great Escape, headlining UD’s festival stage, Essex based rising pop artist Molly Elizabeth releases ‘Heart Eyes (Messing With You)’. The 20 year old has already gained support from BBC Introducing, BBC 1Xtra and has been called “Essex’s next pop star in the making”. Female friendship and mentorship remain incredibly important, with EP ‘Cruel Intentions’ produced by soon-to-be-famous female producer and artist Lauren Faith (KAYTRANADA). Since selling out her debut headline show at Camden Assembly last year, Molly’s been busy working on new material including the remarkable ‘Heart Eyes (Messing With You)’. Molly shares the story surrounding the song, “I wrote heart eyes about someone who was working in my local Tesco. We never actually spoke, but I just looked at him and planned our whole fantasy life together – you could say it was love at first sight. But he definitely doesn’t know I even exist. A moment.. That passed. But perhaps he’ll hear the song 😉 x” (MH)
For fans of… Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Shania Twain
Why listen… This upbeat new single teases Sawayama’s upcoming album Hold the Girl.
“Get in line, pass the wine bitch, we’re going straight to hell!” – a call to arms from pop princess Rina Sawayama. ‘This Hell’ opens with a writhing guitar before a sample from country pop legend Shania Twain cuts in (‘let’s go girls!’). It’s a glittery, pink pop tune for the Y2K Depop girlies and anyone who remembers shopping for their makeup at Claire’s Accessories. In a statement released by the artist, Rina says the country pop tune is a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community: “When the world tells us we don’t deserve love and protection, we have no choice but to give love and protection to each other. This Hell is better with you.” (TL)
Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Smoko Ono
Wraith (Writing Exercise #3)
(Chance the Rapper LLC)
For fans of… Isaiah Rashad, Ab-Soul, Jack Harlow
Why listen… Chance lays down some slick verses on this track – the writing exercises are paying off.
Vic Mensa and Chance collaborate on a smooth, breathless track for ‘Wraith’. The Chicago natives previously collaborated on the hit single ‘Cocoa Butter Kisses’ but ‘Wraith’ is a different beast altogether. Tight verses from Chance laid over a sparse beat make up the majority of the track before Mensa takes us out with some soulful vocals. Dubbed Writing Exercise #3, Wraith follows Writing Exercise #2 a lyrical, spoken word piece released on Instagram that falls more in line with Chance’s signature gospel-infused poetry. (TL)
Kota the Friend
For fans of… Chance the Rapper, Lizzo, J Cole
Why listen… Soaring backing vocals from a gospel choir and a reminder to keep your head up.
Kota’s storytelling skills may be better showcased on some of his other tracks but this rousing anthem will still get you going in the morning. The chorus remixes Michelle Obama’s slogan of “going high when they go low” and goes out to all those working on their way up. Kota insists: “Ain’t no lookin’ down we goin’ up, head up in the clouds we goin’ up”. No stranger to a DIY mentality, the track is released on Kota’s own label and apparel store FLTBYS. (TL)
(Stones Throw Records)
For fans of… M.I.A, Solange, Junglepussy
Why listen… Creative instrumentals and a catchy chorus make this a perfect summer tune.
‘Selfish Soul’ is a catchy ode to Black hair and Black joy. Over a thrumming baseline the singer and violinist chants: “I don’t want no struggles, I don’t want no fear… It’s time I feed my Selfish Soul” – a powerful advocation for self love and self care. The music video is worth checking out too – in the two minute clip directed by Trey Lyons, Sudan and a group of friends explode onto a sleepy, suburban landscape, dancing and writhing in a pool of black mud. As usual, there’s an electrifying violin solo which, in the music video, is performed upside down. On a pole. In a diamante harness. It’s epic. She says of the song and music video: “I feel like there’s an American standard of what beautiful hair is, and I wanted to show in this video that’s not what all beauty is; to showcase different hairstyles and different types of women and their hair.” (TL)
For fans of… Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, Princess Nokia
Why listen… Baz Luhrmann and his team have a talent for creating unique soundtracks that span decades of music history, (remember Beyonce’s cover of ‘Back To Black’ for The Great Gatsby?). This time round they’ve roped in Doja Cat to create a hard hitter for the upcoming biopic Elvis starring Austin Butler.
I won’t lie, I was pretty upset when Doja said she was quitting music in March but this new track seems to suggest that she’s gone back on her word. Released as part of the soundtrack for the upcoming Elvis biopic, this song takes Presley’s music back to its roots, sampling Big Mama Thornton’s original rendition of ‘Hound Dog‘. Typical of the rapper’s style, the flows are tight and impatient with flawless music production on the beats. Perfect for hyping yourself up before a big night out. (TL)