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Hey all-

First, the Childish Gambino album was just as funky and awesome as promised with the first two singles. I will add that in addition to Prince and OutKast, it has an Earth Wind and Fire vibe.

Now on to BBC’s Sound of 2017, which is probably my favorite long list since I’ve started following the showcase for rising singers. I will also say I feel like they were a little late on Anderson Paak, he’s been on my radar for most of 2016 year. Perhaps he just missed last year’s cut off but he’s worth highlighting all the same. I also don’t think I’ve seen a list with so many “urban” British artist.

On a sidenote that is mostly related, at least in my head-this weekend while decorating the tree and starting on some present wrapping we watched “Chewing Gum.” A British comedy set in the estates, government housing-first season available on Netflix. The show pushes lots of boundaries in a British humorous way-I cannot imagine it being green lit for American television. However, taking about sex, especially in the context of a joke is acceptable television in Britain. The show stars a 24 year shop assistant who lives at home with her conservatively christian mother and sister, the mother is an immigrant from an African country but they don’t specify (or I missed that part). While the main character and her family are black the estate includes Brits from all backgrounds including two white sisters, one with a baby and one with a baby on the way-no mention of the fathers. Despite the range of characters, race is not the forefront of the show but subtlety mentioned. For example, the main character is kicked out of her house and moves in with her mixed best friend. The main character’s boyfriend ask why she didn’t move in with him, and says something along the lines of having to live with a mixed person first, she can’t just make the jump to living with a white person-it’s a black thing (said the character, not me). I’m probably doing a horrible job explaining, but it’s interesting to observe how other cultures handle race relations or at least how they portray them on television. I’m feeling rather nostalgic and would love another opportunity to live abroad.

I’m getting off topic here, but the inclusion of so many black Brits who are unapologetically themselves in their lyrics, dress, style of video is refreshing.

On to the music-my favorites in reverse order, and hopeful prediction of the winner!

5. I’m enjoying the sounds of this youthful British indie artist, reminds of the days when I first fell in love with the Arctic Monkeys and The Kooks back in 2006…I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I lived in London!!

4. I’m not usually a fan of British rappers, but Dave, another young Brit, is a brilliant lyricist mixed with a range of melodic tempos.

The final three are going to be on rotation for the rest of the year, love, love, them all!

3. Jorja Smith-again only 19 made waves and got attention with this political song.

2. Ray BLK-BLK stands for “Building Living Knowing”

1. I was conflicted between Ray BLK and Rag’n’Bone Man as my number one. Ryan’s vote goes to Ray BLK but this song is just so powerful from Rag’n’Bone. I wonder if he’s too similar to last year’s Jack Garratt to keep him from being the overall winner…

Will keep you posted when they make the final list!

Nicole

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