Sunday, March 26, 2006

Emilia - Playing It By Heart

Emilia Rydberg was born in Sweden on January 25 1978 and was discovered in 1996 by Lars Anderson, son of ABBA manager Stig Anderson. In 1998 she had a massive hit all ovger Europe and the Far East with her debiut single, the cute ballad "Big Big World", including the UK, where it peaked at #5 in December 1998, and reached the top spot in Sweden. Her follow up single "Good Sign" failed to capatilise on that success and failed to kake the top 40 in early 1999. Still, her debut album "Big Big World" was released, and a few other singles ("Twist Of Fate" and "Like Chocolate") were released across Europe, including her native Sweden and Spain.

In 2000, Emilia returned with her sophomore album "Emilia" and she was also back with a new sound. Gone was her cute style of pop, and in was the typical pop sound of the day - and her hits included "Sorry I'm In Love" and "Kiss By Kiss".

After the release of this album, things went quiet for Emilia until she appeared on a German reality TV show, similar to "Baby Hit Me One More Time" - she didn't win but lasted a few weeks.

"Playin' It By Heart" is taken from Emilia's second album, and I first heard this on a compilation tape in my work! Weird eh? It's a really nice summery style pop track that makes me feel good when I hear it! Hope you feel the same!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

No Angels - Forever Yours

No Angels were a product of the world famous Popstars show, which originated in New Zealand and has provided the world with such acts as Bardot, Hear'say, Bellepop and of course Girls Aloud. No Angels were the band from the first series in Germany, and the lucky 5 who made the band were Jessica Wahls (Jess), Ludmilla Diakovska (Lucy) (born in Bulgaria) , Nadja Benaissa, Sandy Mölling and Vanessa Petruo (Vany).

The band had instant success with their debut single "Daylight In Your Eyes" which reached #1 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. This was then followed by many other hits including "Rivers Of Joy", "Something About Us", "Still In Love With You", "Someday" and "Feelgood Lies" over a three year period. Three albums were also released in various versions - "Ellements", "Now...Us!" and "Pure" - the latter of which was released after the departure of Jessica from the band who became pregnant and decided to look after her baby. Jessica wasn't replaced, and the 4 others carried on to produce their strongest album yet.

The girls decided to call it a day in 2003, and went their seperate ways on a high with the release of their Greatest Hits, containing all of their 13 hit singles in their short but impressive career.

Most of the girls' material was very strong, and it's a shame they could not make it over in the UK - "Daylight In Your Eyes" sadly failed to set the charts on fire.

Since then, all 5 girls have released solo material in Germany, and most have met with success. So now fans of No Angels have 5 acts to follow instead of 1!

"Forever Yours" is taken from the girls third and final album "Pure". It's my favourite track on thw album, and it was recently covered by Swedish Pop Idol winner Agnes Carlsson on her debut album. If you haven't listened to any of the girls' material, then give it a go, as I think you will be pleasantly surprised...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vanilla Ninja - Heartless

Any fan of the Eurovision Song Contest will know this band, as they represented Switzerland in the 2005 contest, coming a respectable 8th - despite hailing from Estonia!

The original line-up of the band was Maarja Kivi, Lenna Kuurmaa, Katrin Siska and Piret Järvis, and their first forage into music was when they appeared in Eurolaul 2003, the contest to choose Estonia's entry in the Eurovision. Despite gaining the most televotes for their song "Club King-Fu", the song was chosen by an international jury, and the song finished 9th out of 10 in the contest. Undeterred, the girls released their debut album "Vanilla Ninja" in Estonia with a mixture of Estonian and English language songs.

The girls' second album "Traces Of Sadness" was recorded in 2004 completely in English, and the girls began releasing music all over Europe - with particular success in the German speaking countries, where their first single "Tough Enough" became a huge hit. This was followed by "Club Kung-Fu", "Don't Go Too Fast", "Liar" and "When Indians Cry". Just before the release of the last single of their album, Maarja left the band due to falling pregnant, and she was quickly replaced by Triinu Kivilaan - who bore an uncanny resemblance to her!

The girls' third album was released in early 2005. Entitled "Blue Tattoo", the singles released included the title track, and "I Know", as well as their Eurovision song "Cool Vibes". At the Eurovision itself, the girls managed to get Switzerland's best result in the contest for 12 years!

After the contest, things went rather quiet from the band, with only a release of a Best Of at the end of the year. Around this time Triinu left the band, leaving the band as a three-piece, who have vowed to continue as a band. We'll see if 2006 can bring the band any more success, but they will forever be remembered as one of the more contemporary acts of Eurovision 2005...

"Heartless" was taken from "Traces Of Sadness" and is typical of their pop-rock style. An extended version appeared on the album as a bonus track, so maybe the track was touted as a single release at some point, but sadly, this never materialised...

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Alex Cartañá - Out Of My Shell

Brighton born Alex Cartañá was brought up on the Spanish island of Majorca and appeared on the British music scene in 2004 when she appeared on the Lee Cabrera dance hit "Shake It (Move A Little Closer) which reached #16 in September 2003. She then released her debut single "Hey Papi" - a track about her father, the following year. The song was a minor hit, reaching #34 in May 2004, but many thought that Alex was capable of more. A few months later, a second single was promoed - "Lost Ur Mind?" was more poppy than the previous release, but all was not well in the Alex camp as the single was pulled from release despite the video being aired on the usual music TV channels.

A different song was due to be released, but to this date, nothing else has been released from Alex, and it looks as if "Hey Papi" will be the only single she will get to release...

"Out Of My Shell" is a track which appeared on a 5 track promo of her album, and is a soulful ballad - I could easily see someone like Beverley Knight singing this, and shows off Alex's songwriting skills. Maybe the track will turn up on someone else's album like many forgotten classics do...