The five stages of first love, as illustrated by 20 minutes of modern music

Posted in Feature Article, Music, Music Videos, Pop with tags , , , , , , on March 20, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Stage 1 – Ecstacy

Stage 2 - Pain

Stage 3 - Anger

Stage 4 - Nostalgia

Stage 5 - Acceptance

I wanna make your heart beat, I love it when it beats for me, yeah – I wanna raise pulses, baby this is explosive

Posted in Artist to Watch, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , on March 18, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

BRAND SPANKING NEW MUSIC! Karmin is prepping for the release of their new studio album Pulses and a couple of hours ago they premiered the music video for the title track and latest single from the project. “Pulses” hit me in the face the first time I heard it just like “Poker Face” and “We Found Love” did the first time I heard them and I have been playing it on repeat for the last couple of hours. The track is Karmin as we know and love with a little bit of extra edge that fans might be familiar with on tracks like “Hello”, “I Told You So” and “Acapella”. “I Want It All” played it fairly safe but this track is definitely one for both pop and urban radio and I think it is catchy as hell for all formats. I am particularly excited to watch how it is going to be doing on radio in the coming weeks and I am even more excited to get my hands on the the album in its entirety when it gets released next week!

In the early hours of this morning South African time Amy and Nick hosted an album listening party online for fans on Youtube, which featured them chatting through a couple of the new tracks and they premiered snippets from the full LP. I really liked what I heard and if you have enjoyed “I Want It All” and now “Pulses” it is definitely worth checking out the album preview hosted by the sexy duo (still available online in full):

Do let me know what you think about the album prospects and the new single by dropping me a tweet to @conradwashere and don’t forget to get the single and album on iTunes as soon as possible if you’re also a fan. More from these guys soon!

I’m gonna swing from the chandelier – I’m gonna live like tomorrow doesn’t exist

Posted in Artist to Watch, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , , , , on March 18, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Long term readers of the blog will know that I am a massive fan of Sia! The Aussie songwriter first got my attention when she had a song called “Breathe Me” on the radio in 2005/2006 and since then she refocused her career toward writing rather than recording, penning a couple of the biggest hits of recent years including Rihanna‘s international smash single “Diamonds”! 2014 is the year she has picked to have another go at a release as an artist and I have to admit I’ve been excited ever since I heard her featuring on the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack with Diplo on a song called “Elastic Heart”. While that particular release didn’t make too many waves it did alert industry tastemakers to the fact that Sia was returning to her roots as an artist and recently I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she is releasing a brand new single called “Chandelier”, which I have the privilege of sharing with you today!

“Chandelier” was produced by industry vet Greg Kurstin and immediate response to the track has been nothing short of phenomenal. The verses build quite nicely to the climactic choruses and I think this one has a great shot at international radio. I heard a first play of this song on 94.7 Highveld Stereo in South Africa yesterday morning and it sounded even better on the radio than it did on the MP3 I heard initially. The “Diamonds” comparisons are going to be there of course and people will always be critical of songwriters in the sense that this could have been given to someone else but to that I say screw it - yes it’s true that a Rihanna or Britney could have given “Chandelier” better earlier traction but as when Lady Gaga first heard “Just Dance” and an executive told her “that one is yours” (and not for anybody else) I think Sia deserves to have her moment now with this song and the forthcoming album release. I’m looking forward to tracking the progress of this one and hope you will support it too by requesting it on your local radio stations and by purchasing the song on iTunes and Amazon. Sia is coming in a big way and we all better get ready!

What do you think about “Chandelier”? Comments are currently closed, but you are more than welcome to tweet me your opinion @conradwashere

When I met you in the summer, to my heartbeat sound – we fell in love, as the leaves turned brown

Posted in Artist to Watch, Dance, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , on March 17, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Calvin Harris is back and prepping for the release of a brand new studio album! The “We Found Love” hitmaker had a string of Top 10 singles from the acclaimed 18 Months and I’ve been excited to hear what he is going to be bringing to the table in 2014. It’s my pleasure to be able to present to you the first single from his upcoming album, a club thumper called “Summer”! Harris is his usual amazing self on the production of this song which is sure to set dancefloors alight around the world and as with some of his best previous work (“You Used To Hold Me”, “Feel So Close”) the track features Calvin himself on vocals once again! I hope he is going to be featuring his own vocals on more tracks from the upcoming album and I’m excited to hear if he experiments a little more with his sound on his new album. “Summer” isn’t much of a departure from his 18 Months sound but it does set the bar quite nicely as a strong lead single choice.

While we may be moving into a colder time here in South Africa (winter is around the corner!) I don’t think it’s going to be slowing this track down too much in terms of airplay, so make sure you keep an eye and an ear out for “Summer” on your favourite radio station very soon. Calvin has also been doing some more production work for other exciting artists and while most of it is still to be announced I can say that it is going to be another year of airplay domination for Mr. Harris, who I’ve been a fan of for many many years. Really looking forward to his new material and hope you are too!

What do you think about “Summer”? Let me know by dropping me a tweet to @conradwashere (post comments are currently closed).

It’s not me that you think you need, it’s not because we have torn apart – I won’t be screwed up in your paper heart

Posted in Electro, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40 with tags on March 9, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Chloe Howl is an exceptional young talent from the UK starting to make some waves ever since her inclusion on the BBC Sound of 2014 poll at the start of the year! I first heard “Paper Heart” – the track I’d like to introduce you to today – when it was submitted to us for airplay at the radio station I used to work for, and while I didn’t initially get into the song, I have recently started playing this one on repeat on my personal playlist. I downloaded the track on iTunes three days ago and I’ve spun it over 100 times because it is just so damn catchy and I think she is a definite talent to look out for in the coming months. While “Paper Heart” has done its rounds on radio internationally already I still felt it was worth sharing with you ahead of her newer single (“Rumour“) which is just as great and is starting to get a lot of rotation on smaller radio stations here in South Africa.

Chloe’s debut album is currently scheduled for release in June and I am very excited to hear what she is going to be bringing to the table for the project as a whole. I caught a listen to a couple of the tracks a little while ago when my boss at the label played a few of the songs as part of an early listen and I must say it sounds incredibly promising. I’m hoping that “Rumour” and “Paper Heart” can still build a bit of momentum for her before the album hits stores and hopefully you’ll enjoy the song as much as I do and not only go and buy it on iTunes, but also go request the track on your local radio station so she can get a bit of extra traction! I believe in her talents and potential as an artist and I think it’s going to be a great album. Get on board!

Download “Paper Heart” here
Download “Rumour” here

What do you think about Chloe? Comments on the blog are closed, but send me a tweet with your opinion to @conradwashere.

Stuck in a 21st century world, can we turn back the hands of time – young kings are the future

Posted in Alternative, Commercial, Dance, Music, Pop, South African, To Look Out For, Top 40 with tags , , , , on February 25, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

The Illustrators are a South African based duo made up of Dominic Neill (vocals) and Will Mono (production) that first burst onto the scene six months ago with the release of their hit debut single “Make Love“. The track received strong support on campus radio in the country and I remember hearing it for quite a while on the MFM 92.6 top 40 over in Stellenbosch when I was still living there towards the end of last year. Signed to Sheer Music, the duo is a collaborative match made in heaven considering Neill’s history on South African Idols and Mono’s production work on tracks like “Jy Ken My Nie” and “Seks vir Plesier” (that did well on radio a couple of years ago and that I am a personal fan of) and I’ve been keeping an eye on this project with keen interest for a little while now.

Yesterday the guys premiered the music video for their new single, which is called “Young Kings” (featuring Dean Risko). The electropop track is geared and ready for radio and showcases Will Mono’s production talent, which – more so than on “Make Love” – compliments the vocal on the song and I think this one is set to also do well on campus (youth) radio around the country. If enough of those stations buy into it it will hopefully be able to make the leap to a commercial platform and I am excited to hear more from this project going forward. There is no doubt in my mind that the sound these guys have going for them is very radio friendly, I just wonder whether they can push the envelope a little more in the sense of fine-tuning their sound to something a little more unique for pop radio (the Jax Panik comparisons are going to be flying if they get broader radio support) but I am in full support of local music and this project and look forward to watching it develop and grow in the coming months. It’s meant to be fun and catchy and they’ve certainly succeeded (given it’s been on repeat on my side today!)

“Young Kings” goes to iTunes next month so keep an eye out and make sure you support local talent by buying your copy of the single when it is released. Let me know what you think about the song by dropping me a tweet @conradwashere and check back soon for some more great local music for you to enjoy.

Tonight I’m running free into the blue, with nothing to lose

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Dance, Electro, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , , , , , , , on February 6, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

It’s hard to believe that Kylie Minogue is 46 years old this year! The Australian megastar is prepping for the release of her twelfth studio album called Kiss Me Once – which is due on the 14th of March – and as far as I’m concerned she looks equally as good as she did way back when her career started. A couple of older popstars are starting to look and sound a little worn but for some reason Kylie seems to bring it every time. That brings me to the first single from the new project that I’d really like to introduce you to; a track called “Into The Blue”. Produced by Mike Del Rio, the song is a quirky electropop track that is going to do well for her on top 40 radio with the right promotion.

I was surprised to find out today that Kylie has in fact moved to be managed by Jay-Z‘s Roc Nation label for this release and while the sound isn’t a departure for her (on the single at least) I am very intrigued by how the rest of the album could potentially shape up in terms of a newer sound for her. Kiss Me Once is her first album since 2010′s Aphrodite so there are some high expectations for her to deliver all these years later and I think she’s in with a good chance. As far as the first single goes I’m happy and while I’m not necessarily her most avid fan, I do like the fact that she can still bring something fresh to the table and compete with a couple of the younger popstars dominating the airwaves and digital sales arena at the moment.

The project is set to feature writing work from PharrellSia and Enrique Iglesias so I think we’re in for some interesting surprises when it comes to her sound and I like the fact that there is room for her to experiment on this project. The 11 track release is due next month as I have mentioned and I’ll be first to check it out if the single starts picking up a little on radio too. Hopefully you like what you hear so far too and if you do, make sure you support the artist by buying the song on iTunes or Amazon in your local territory.

Let me know how you feel about Kylie’s 2014 sound by tweeting me @conradwashere.

But I tend to leave a trail of death while I’m moving ahead, so I’m stepping away – it feels like a coming of age

Posted in Artist to Watch, Electro, Europe, Indie, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, United Kingdom, United States with tags , on February 6, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Foster The People are back with a bang in 2014! Supermodel is the follow-up to their widely successful debut studio album from 2011 which featured the international smash single “Pumped Up Kicks” as well as my personal favourites “Helena Beat” and “Houdini”. The track I want to introduce you to today serves as the lead single from the new project and the music video has just premiered today (a couple of hours ago in fact)! “Coming of Age” is Foster as we know and love and this instantly catchy radio tune is one to look out for in the coming weeks. I’m hoping this one starts picking up a bit on commercial radio here in South Africa as it is starting to gain quite a nice following on campus radio across the country (charting on three key stations already). I’m hoping that the rest of the country and the world follows suit soon!

Supermodel is eleven tracks strong and features more production work from Paul Epworth so you know it’s going to be an album for your collection. I’ve been lucky enough to preview one or two of the tracks ahead of the March 14th release and I must say I am very impressed with what I’ve heard, especially the first track of the album (“Are You What You Want To Be”). Keep an eye and an ear out for this project and make sure you support “Coming of Age” by downloading it on your local iTunes and requesting it on your favourite radio station in your territory. Happy listening!

What do you think about “Coming of Age”? Let me know by dropping me a tweet @conradwashere.

God only knows, how much I need you – I could explode

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , on January 31, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

California based duo MKTO has been making waves in the industry in the last year or so thanks to the commercial success of singles “Thank You” and “Classic” in key areas around the world. Their self-titled debut album was released just yesterday in the United States and other territories are going to be getting a release date very soon as well. While you should definitely go and Youtube the videos to the previous two singles (especially if you haven’t heard of these guys before today) I’d like to draw your attention more to the newest single from the project, which is equally appealing (if not more appealing) to AC and pop radio as we dive headfirst into this year. “God Only Knows” has been out for a while overseas and the video was released towards the end of November but it is only now getting a proper push locally here in South Africa, hence why I have taken notice of it. When I heard this song for the first time I instantly knew it was MKTO as it contains their signature strong radio friendly sound and I am looking forward to seeing how the track does going forward. The track has pretty much been stuck in my head for the past two days so hopefully you’ll enjoy it too on first listen (and after a few extra spins too).

Be sure to support these guys if you like what you hear by buying a copy of the album and/or single on iTunes or Amazon and make sure you request “God Only Knows” on your local radio station(s) too. I’ll be keeping a close eye on these guys going forward and I am really hoping that we’ll see them tour a little more throughout the rest of this year, while they build their following and general artist profile. I saw a couple of clips from their tour with Emblem3 last year and it seems that Malcolm and Tony are two fun guys (as indicated by the music video for the song too!) so I only wish them well with the promotion of this song and the album.

Let me know what you think about the single by dropping me a tweet @conradwashere. Happy Friday!

Cause all of me loves all of you – love your curves and all your edges, all your perfect imperfections

Posted in Artist to Watch, Ballad, Dance, Music, Top 40 with tags , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

John Legend has had a rather incredible run with his latest single “All of Me”, currently topping charts and getting played on radio around the world! The song started fairly slowly and seemed to explode when we moved into a new year and I am particularly impressed with how it has been doing locally here in South Africa (consistently Top 10 on iTunes and getting played on almost every station in the country). While I’m a fan of the original as an emotional ballad (set and ready for Valentines day on February 14th) I do have a bit of a dance streak in my music taste, so I was very excited to hear that DJ powerhouse Tiesto (who I have loved ever since I saw him live in 2007) remixed the track for his 45th birthday last week! The track was played for the first time on South African radio shortly after to an amazing response on 5FM and since then people have been buzzing about the up-tempo version, prompting other stations to get on board with a few spot plays too.

Having never been a big fan of John Legend, I must admit that I am quite keen to get my hands on his latest offering (Love in the Future), which has spawned other strong singles too. From what I’ve seen online, critical response has been overwhelmingly positive for the album, which is always a good sign that it’s worth your money. While it is unlikely for the Tiesto remix to get extensive airplay it is a nice example once again of when an emotional vocal gets coupled to a dance beat and the effect is essentially a big, radio-ready final product. I went on a tangent about this a couple of years ago when Nelly Furtado worked with Timbaland and the combination of a vulnerable vocal with a great bassline lead to international smash hits “Promiscious”, “Maneater”, “Say It Right” and “All Good Things” and I’m still a firm believer that the method works for radio these days as well! Something for young producers and artists to take note of, maybe.

Be sure to support the single if you like what you hear by requesting it (and the remix) on your local radio station and make sure you do like me and get your copy of his latest album, which has been in stores since last August. Get ready to hear the original everywhere as we get closer and closer to Valentines Day – and why not try and embrace it this year? It’s a beautiful track and I am happy to see it do so well.

What do you think about the remix of “All of Me”? Tweet me your opinion at @conradwashere.

I’m slowly drifting away, wave after wave – and it feels like I’m drowning, pulling against the stream

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Dance, Music, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , , , , on January 29, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

Nine months ago Mr Probz released a track called “Waves” and since then the mellow, guitar driven slow jam has generated quite a bit of buzz! 5.5 million hits in on Youtube later and the emotional ballad is fast becoming the talk of the town thanks to it being reworked and remixed by German DJ/producer Robin Schulz. What was originally an R&B directed track now moves perfectly into the dance/top 40 genre and I am absolutely obsessed with the remix at the moment. The song caught my attention on first play and I am looking forward to seeing how it does not only in the European territory, but around the world as well. It’s nice to hear a clean male vocal on a dance track in a time when there is so much female driven dance music and this one is on the same level for me as the Aloe Blacc and Avicii combo (“Wake Me Up”) even though I’m not 100% sure it has the same amount of mass appeal. It is definitely still a major contender for international top 40 radio and I am really looking forward to seeing what it’s going to be doing in the coming months.

“Waves” is currently out on Beatport only and will be hitting iTunes early next week (I’ve already gotten my pre-order in already, you should too). Keep an eye and an ear out and be sure to support Mr Probz and Robin if you like what you hear. I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about both in the coming months as well.

What do you think about “Waves”? Let me know by dropping me a tweet @conradwashere.

Wax Beach – “Circles” (South African)

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Dance, Electro, Music, Pop, South African, To Look Out For with tags , , on January 28, 2014 by Conrad Schwellnus

I often get quite a bit of flack for not promoting more local content on PDE and this year I am definitely focusing and shifting my attention to the local industry in a big way, especially considering the amount of talented up-and-comers there are in and around the South African territory! I am always looking out for rising talent and it’s exciting when something with a lot of promise lands on my desk. Towards the end of last year I was approached by a friend of a friend, who is starting to build a bit of momentum with a new electro-dance project called Wax Beach. I must admit that things have been a little hectic in recent months while I moved from one city to another and kicked off a brand new chapter of my life but that didn’t however stop me from enjoying “Circles” as a great summer (December 2013) party track. It has received quite a few spins from my side since I heard it for the first time and I think it’s a quirky little electro-dance song. I am always excited when a new talent pops up and I put a lot of weight on production in any song and from what I’ve heard (there’s a second track called “French Bass” on Soundcloud too) there is definite potential here if the project is worked on consistently in the coming year.

“Circles” is instrumental only so I can’t help but ask the question of whether the song would be even better with a kick ass (potentially female lead) vocal.. I believe there is something there and I hope that South African artists will start to take notice of young producers like Jamie (project frontman) going forward. There are some definite gaps in the South African market and room for developing artists to put their hands up, pick up the slack and get going! While Wax Beach is still in the beginning stages I am looking forward to keeping an eye on it as we progress through the year. Make sure you check out the project on Youtube and Soundcloud and be sure to support new talent in the country. I’m always up to listening to new material and providing the most honest feedback I can, so if you are a new artist and you are up to some feedback, drop me an e-mail (address in the bar to the right) and I could be posting about you next! Happy listening (and more great local posts soon).

What do you think about Wax Beach? Drop me a tweet with your opinion @conradwashere.

Say someting, I’m giving up on you – I’ll be the one if you want me to

Posted in Acoustic, Artist to Watch, Ballad, Commercial, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40 with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2013 by Conrad Schwellnus

In the early hours of Friday morning (local South African time) I watched the finale of the third season of X-Factor US, where couple Alex & Sierra were crowned as the winners of the $1 000 000 recording contract with Sony Music! Under mentorship of Simon Cowell the duo managed to win the hearts of the American public through their stripped down acoustic performances of hit songs and while I haven’t really been a fan of the US version of the X-Factor I must admit that I am very impressed with this particular act and I do believe that they stand a big chance to be the next big thing in the international industry! What I wanted to share with you quick was their performance of the current #1 single on US iTunes – “Say Something” by A Great Big World. This is certainly the biggest ballad on the airwaves at the moment and the original is so beautiful, especially given the featuring credit from Christina Aguilera, but there is also something very special about this specific cover given that Alex and Sierra are a couple and you can tell that there is real emotion (and an investment in each other) involved in this particular performance.

Now that you’ve been introduced to them I’d like to urge you to go and take a listen too to their performance of Ed Sheeran‘s “Give Me Love”, which they sang during the finale and that has been on my iPod on repeat pretty much ever since. I really do believe in these two and their potential and it’s nice for the X-Factor US to also get a bit of a credibility boost given how the previous winners have been performing. Hopefully we’ll have an official single from Alex & Sierra soon (rumour has it Ryan Tedder has been picked to write the song – very good news in my opinion) but in the meantime enjoy their acoustic performances and show some love for the songs on iTunes if you like what you hear.

What do you think about Alex & Sierra? Tweet me @conradwashere.

Your love is bright as ever, even in the shadows – you love me like XO

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom, United States with tags , , , , , , on December 21, 2013 by Conrad Schwellnus

International superstar Beyonce shocked the world a week ago with the unannounced release of her fifth, self-titled studio album! R.Kelly was set and sure on having the #1 album of the week last week when Sony Music announced the immediate release of the new Beyonce project on iTunes only on Friday and in 72 hours the album broke an iTunes record and took the #1 spot on Billboard, selling over 600 000 digital copies. This is such a unique marketing strategy and once again the singer shows why she is always one step ahead of the game! You can be sure of your pulling power if you are able to release an album with such strong support without any official radio promotion and having listened to the album I can say with surety that the singer deserves her fifth consecutive #1 album. The question on everyone’s mind in the last week though – what will serve as the official radio single? It seems her label is being smart in servicing “Drunk in Love” feat Jay-Z to urban radio (and currently the song is doing very well on iTunes at #6) but the pop single is the one I want to share with you today – it’s called “XO” and it is my favourite on the project.

“XO” was produced by The-Dream (“Umbrella”) and co-written with Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) and it has a very distinct radio sound that will do well with audiences around the world. The track was only officially released in this week and it’s steadily climbing on iTunes at the moment, sitting firmly inside the top 50. The nice thing about the performance of the single is that the ‘job is already done’ essentially in terms of getting her that #1 album – now it’s just important for the label to release strong territorial singles that will allow sales to be stable and consistent across the album era. I’m happy to have signed a contract with Sony Music in the Columbia/Epic division starting next month and I am beyond excited to be a part of the strategy and roll out of her promotion on the African continent for this particular album. Be sure to support the single and album on iTunes if you like what you hear and make sure you keep an eye out for more singles from Beyonce in the coming months. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Let me know what you think of Beyonce’s shock #1 album release by tweeting me @conradwashere.

Maybe something’s wrong with me – but hey, at least I am free

Posted in Artist to Watch, Commercial, Dance, Europe, Music, Pop, To Look Out For, Top 40, United Kingdom with tags , , on December 21, 2013 by Conrad Schwellnus

British electro quartet Rudimental first burst onto the scene and onto my radar in 2012 with the drum and bass smash hits “Feel The Love” and “Not Giving In”! Both of those songs had a lot of rotation on my personal playlist at the time and it allowed their debut album Home to chart at #1 in the UK in April of this year. “Waiting All Night” served as the official first single from the project and I also enjoyed the song but I’d like to draw your attention to the latest single, which for me is a standout on the album. “Free” features the amazingly talented Emeli Sande (go and Youtube “Next To Me” if you haven’t heard of her yet) and while it hasn’t charted as strongly as the previous singles it has been increasing in airplay since its release last month and I’m hoping that people will still pick up on the track going into the new year.

The music video for the song compliments the track and message quite nicely and I’m happy to see that it is getting closer and closer to the 5 000 000 hits mark on Youtube. I am enjoying this song in what is a bit of a free phase for me (I am currently on holiday in between starting a new job at a record label next month) so I can really relate to the message of the song and am keeping this one on high rotation on my iPod as I spend some major beach time on holiday for the next three weeks! If you like what you hear as well, make sure you get your copy of the song on iTunes and Amazon and be sure to consider getting someone Home for Christmas if you’re looking for a solid, radio-friendly album that will easily please the masses.

Tweet me your opinion of “Free” to @conradwashere if you have an opinion on the song. Have a great day!

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