Where music stars discuss how they make their music.
Give it some space with Alex Isley
Alex Isley, Tiffany Gouché, India Shawn and Gwen Bunn discuss the creative foundations of songwriting – how has your sound evolved over time? How do you finish a track that you’ve been working on for ages? And crucially, how do you know if a song is actually good?
R&B and soul singer-songwriter Alex Isley grew up surrounded by the musical influences of her father and uncle’s band, the Isley Brothers. Her classical vocal training and jazz background have shaped her three self-written and produced projects, and she has worked with artists including Kendrick Lamar, Moses Sumney, and Brandon Williams.
Three-time Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer Tiffany Gouché's 2015 EP Pillow Talk turned heads across the music industry. She has gone on to collaborate with Terrace Martin, and produced Lalah Hathaway’s acclaimed album Honestly. India Shawn is an LA-based singer-songwriter whose writing credits are as impressive as her vocal performances. She is an in-demand collaborator, having worked with Anderson .Paak, Solange and 6LACK. Gwen Bunn started out as a singer in the church choir in her hometown of Atlanta, going on to set up her label Melody Dungeon Music, and released her debut record Safe Travels in 2017. She has collaborated with the likes of Rapsody, Ty Dolla $ign and Faith Evans.
'I was told I was too much' with will.i.am and Lady Leshurr
will.i.am, Static & Ben El, Lioness and Lady Leshurr take a deep dive into beatmaking, how to collaborate with other artists, and the best way of writing a song - from getting ideas down with a pen and paper, to just getting on the mic and seeing what happens.
Hip Hop innovator, songwriter and producer will.i.am has released eight records over 22 years with the Black Eyed Peas, which he formed in 1995. He has released four albums as a solo artist and is one of the world’s most in-demand producers, having worked with everyone from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus, to rock legends U2.
Joining will.i.am are Static & Ben El, an Israeli pop duo who formed in 2015. They have amassed close to half a billion streams and have worked with the likes of J Balvin, Pitbull and Flipp Dinero. Lioness is a grime MC from south-east London whose mixtapes have gained support from hip-hop legend Rick Ross. She has featured on tracks with Ghetts, Toddla T and fellow guest Lady Leshurr. Born and raised in Birmingham, UK, Lady Leshurr dropped her first mixtape at the age of 14 and turned heads with her Queen’s Speech freestyle series. Her accolades include a MOBO Award in 2016 and a spot on the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours list, as well as collaborations with the likes of Lethal Bizzle, Krept & Konan, and Labrinth.
Muted musicians with Liraz and Bedouine
Liraz, Bedouine, Daniel Smienk and Tolga Boyuk discuss the link between music and heritage, turning the past into the future through music, and how to be creative whilst navigating obstacles.
Liraz is an Israeli singer, actress and dancer of Iranian descent, whose latest album, Zan (which translates to "women" in Farsi), features collaborations recorded in secret with Iranian artists. Her music combines the traditional sounds of the Bağlama, a Middle Eastern stringed instrument, with 1970s disco and funk rhythms.
Joining Liraz is Bedouine, a folk singer and guitarist born in Syria, who spent time living in Saudi Arabia and across the USA before settling in Los Angeles. Her inspirations range from her childhood to her travels, and the feeling of wanderlust. Tolga Boyuk is a producer and founder of electro-acoustic trio Islandman, whose music combines Turkish psychedelia with African roots. Daniel Smienk is the drummer of Amsterdam-based band Altın Gün. The group’s name translates to ‘Golden Day’, and their music seamlessly blends Turkish psych and traditional folk songs.
The disappearing album with Eyedress, Dâm-Funk, Jessica Pratt and Low Leaf
Eyedress, Dâm-Funk, Low Leaf and Jessica Pratt discuss how the toughest times they’ve been through inspired their music, how horror films influence their sounds, and the most special moments in their careers.
Eyedress is a musician and producer, born and raised in Manilla in the Philippines, and now based in LA. His sound encompasses everything from synth-pop to R&B and shoegaze.
The ‘modern funk’ king Damon Riddick, aka Dâm-Funk, is a musician, vocalist and producer who blends everything from P-Funk to computer-game inspired soundtracks. He’s released a number of critically acclaimed albums, and collaborated with the likes of Tyler the Creator, Snoop Dogg, and Christine & the Queens.
Low Leaf is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and producer. Classically trained in piano as a child, her Filipino roots and DIY recordings fuse traditional and digital sounds. She’s a self-taught producer and can play the guitar and harp.
And Jessica Pratt is a Folk artist, whose acoustic guitar melodies and voice are a truly special thing. She’s toured the world with artists like Real Estate and Julia Holter, and has released three studio albums thus far.
You are what you make with Ibeyi and Kindness
Music Life this week joins the World Service Festival and brings together a truly global gathering. Ibeyi talks to Kindness, Charlotte Day Wilson, and Nai Palm from the band Hiatus Kaiyote about their first emotional dealings with art, why they create, and celebrating culture and ancestors.
Ibeyi are French Cuban duo Naomi and Lisa-Kaindé Díaz, currently based in Paris. They weave together everything from jazz and gospel to hip-hop and soul, pushed through a modern electronic filter and have released two albums to date: their self-titled debut, and Ash.
Joining them is cinematic pop and soul producer and artist Adam Bainbridge, aka Kindness. They’ve produced for the likes of Blood Orange, Solange and frequent collaborator Robyn. Charlotte Day Wilson is a Canadian R&B singer-songwriter who’s released three EPs to date and has worked with the likes of Daniel Caesar, River Tiber, and BadBadNotGood. And Nai Palm from the band Haitus Kaiyote is a Grammy-nominated future soul vocalist and guitarist from Melbourne, Australia. Only six months after the band formed, they collaborated with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest, and their second album Choose Your Weapon took them all over the musical spectrum.
'My feet felt like a metronome' with Rostam and Santigold
Rostam, Santigold, Dijon and Samantha Urbani discuss whether melody or lyrics come first, how to avoid the temptation to go back to tracks to make alterations, and how naming an album is the last bit of personality you can sprinkle on a project.
Rostam is a Grammy-winning producer, composer, musician, and founding member of the band Vampire Weekend, producing their first three albums. Now a solo artist, he released his debut album Half-Light in 2017, and went on to produce Haim’s Women in Music Pt. III LP, as well as working with the likes of Frank Ocean, Solange, and Carly Rae Jepsen.
Joining him is singer, songwriter and producer Santi White, aka Santigold. She’s released three albums to date, and draws influences ranging from 1980s pop and rock to new age hip-hop.
Dijon is an artist whose reflective, folk-inspired R&B has drawn comparisons to Frank Ocean and Nick Hakim. He began producing music as part of the duo Abhi//Dijon whilst in college before establishing himself as a solo artist.
And finally, Samantha Urbani is an artist, filmmaker, and songwriter who formed the influential DIY indie band Friends. She then moved to LA, where she lent her skills to collaborators including Dev Hynes, Nite Jewel and Zoe Kravitz.