38 episodes

Where music stars discuss how they make their music.

Music Life BBC

    • Society & Culture

Where music stars discuss how they make their music.

    'Do my friends like my music?' with Shura and Kim Petras

    'Do my friends like my music?' with Shura and Kim Petras

    A bumper edition of Music Life this week sees alt-pop singer and guitarist Shura host Kim Petras, Mae Muller, and Ego Ella May.

    German pop icon Kim Petras is now based in Los Angeles. She’s worked with everybody from Charli XCX and Fergie to MAX, Sophie, Jojo, and ALMA, and topped the Spotify viral 50 chart in 2017. Mae Muller is a rising pop star, releasing her debut album Chapter 1 last year. Self-taught songwriter, producer and guitarist Ego Ella May has worked with the likes of Oscar Jerome, Joe Armon-Jones (from Ezra Collective), Wu-Lu and Eddie Hick (from Sons of Kemet).

    They discuss how social media affects the ability to create, how to know when a song is done, and whether trying to be commercial affects how songs are written. Plus the greatest names for dogs.

    • 27 min
    'Never plan' with La Roux and Channy Leaneagh

    'Never plan' with La Roux and Channy Leaneagh

    Channy Leaneagh, the lead singer and synth player with the Minnesota band Polica, asks La Roux, Elaha Soroor, and Dana Gavanski what makes them want to write more, if they feel satisfied with the way they release music, and about their issues with the media industry.

    Elly Jackson, also known as La Roux, is a bona fide alt-pop star and Grammy Award-winning singer, who is now back with her first album in five years, Supervision. Dana Gavanski is a folk singer-songwriter born in Vancouver, Canada, to a Serbian family. She’s a newcomer on the music scene, who has made waves with her debut album Yesterday Is Gone. And “protest singer” Elaha Soroor, from Afghanistan, born in Iran, found fame on the TV show Afghan Star – the Afghan equivalent of American Idol. She was forced to flee the country after singing songs critical of the Afghan culture and its oppression of women.

    • 26 min
    Singing in the dark with Dyo and Lady Donli

    Singing in the dark with Dyo and Lady Donli

    This week’s episode of Music Life is an absolute powerhouse of the some of the greatest talent in contemporary music right now.

    Led by Tiguidanké Diallo, AKA Niariu, originally from Guinée, they'll talk about why it’s easier to sing in the dark, why musicians need to be rebels, and finding your own voice in your music.

    Niariu is a multidisciplinary artist and singer with the band Les Amazones d'Afrique. They’re a supergroup with members coming from all over the continent, with the aim of raising awareness of violence against women.

    Joining her is Dyo, an Ivor Novello nominated artist of Nigerian heritage, who’s worked with everybody from Maroon 5, Chip,and Wiley, to Mr Eazi, Iggy Azalea, Adekunle Gold, and Luis Fonsi. The first “pan-African rock star”, Lady Donli, is also here; she grew up in Abuja, Nigeria, and released the Enjoy Your Life album last year, which featured the huge track Cash. And finally, Marla Brown, a dancer and performer, and the daughter of the “crown prince of reggae”, Dennis Brown.

    • 25 min
    Musical identity with Sinkane and Emel Mathlouthi

    Musical identity with Sinkane and Emel Mathlouthi

    This week on Music Life Sinkane (Ahmed Gallab) is joined by Emel Mathlouthi, Laima Leyton, and Shirley Tetteh.

    With such an eclectic mix of musicians it’s only right they talk about straddling multiple cultures, the role spirituality plays in their music, how you turn an idea into a song, and the all-important question of who their biggest fan is. Macaulay Culkin may get mentioned.

    Sinkane returns to host his second show of Music Life. He’s a Sudanese-American musician who blends krautrock, prog rock, electronica, free jazz and funk rock with Sudanese pop. Emel Mathlouthi is a Tunisia-born, New York-based singer-songwriter, who gained popularity after a video of her performing during a Tunisian street protest went viral online during the Arab Spring. As a result, her music was banned from Tunisian radio airwaves, which earned her the title "voice of the Tunisian revolution". Brazilian music producer Laima Leyton has been DJ-ing around the globe as one half of Mixhell, and has played with Igor Cavalera, as well as producing her own music and remixing and collaborating with artists such as Moby, Buraka Som Sistema, Soulwax, and Diplo. And finally, Shirley Tetteh AKA Nardeydey is one of the most exciting guitarists in the UK right now. As part of the band Nerija, they released their debut album Blume last year.

    • 33 min
    Delving into the subconscious with Jon Hopkins and Anna Meredith

    Delving into the subconscious with Jon Hopkins and Anna Meredith

    Four behemoths of the current electronic music scene - Max Cooper, Anna Meredith, Holly Herndon, and Jon Hopkins – join the BBC World Service to talk all about creativity.

    They’ve made some of the most influential music of the 2010s, and that continues into the new decade. Led by Irish composer, producer, and former geneticist Max Cooper, the group discuss how much their subconscious plays a part in their music, their composition likes and dislikes, and – the biggest question of all – the reasons why they became a musician in the first place.

    Answering those questions are: one of the most innovative voices in British music, the contemporary-classical composer Anna Meredith, who released the album Fibs last year; American composer and sound artist Holly Herndon, who developed her sound in Berlin, and released the excellent album PROTO last year; and keyboardist, producer, and 'sonic technician' Jon Hopkins. Fresh from releasing various offshoots of the album Singularity, he’s been touring the world, and has played with everybody from Brian Eno and Coldplay to King Creosote.

    • 33 min
    Playing to people who don't look like you with Sarathy Korwar and Damien Escobar

    Playing to people who don't look like you with Sarathy Korwar and Damien Escobar

    Music Life is led this week by percussionist and producer Sarathy Korwar. He was born in the US and grew up in Ahmedabad and Chennai in India, and began playing tabla at the age of 10. His album More Arriving was released last year; featuring rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, it was described as “an honest reflection of [the] experience of being an Indian in Britain”.

    Joining him is the American violinist, author, and entrepreneur Damien Escobar from New York; Irish, by way of Sierra Leone, future-Afro soul vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Fehdah; and percussionist Osman Gerein, who plays with The Scorpios, of whom several members are originally from Central Sudan but are now based in the UK after fleeing the fundamentalist takeover in that region.

    They’ll be finding common ground in the music they make by discussing relationships with their instruments, how much they need to practice, whether audiences look like them, and what rituals they go through to perform.

    • 27 min

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