Gabriels – Love & Hate in A Different Time
Gabriels are the best thing to come out of 2021 for me: Jacob Lusk’s voice, a combination of Nina Simone and Sylvester, gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. The production on this track is incredible, echoing so many great Motown and Northern Soul songs. I’m praying for the day that a promoter will bring them to Ireland.
Little Simz – Introvert
Epic song, epic video, epic album, epic artist. Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is my favourite record of the year; I’m blown away every time I listen it. I hope this album goes down as one of the best in history, at times it reminds me of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, it’s a deeply personal record that really makes you think about the world that we live in.
SAULT – Bitter Streets
There is something otherworldly about this track. Cleo Sol’s beautiful vocal soothes the soul, full of innocence and purity but when you listen closely, the story behind the song is quite dark.
Kameelah Waheed – America the Beautiful (North Street West Vocal Mix)
Born in New Jersey and now living in Philadelphia, Kameelah Waheed sounds like a female version of Gil Scott-Heron. This song is such a jam, full of powerful lyrics with North Street West on remix duties bringing their finesse to the tune.
Jungle – Keep Moving (Dave Lee Remix)
I loved Keep Moving when it came out a few months ago and now Dave Lee has added his magic to the song with this new remix, I expect when we return to dancefloors, we’ll be hearing this a lot.
Fire Island feat. Loleatta Holloway – Shout to The Top (Hifi Sean Mix)
When we were in the severest of lockdowns, I listened to this track every day to cheer myself up. I’ve always loved the original by The Style Council, but Loleatta Holloway’s powerful, soulful vocals add another level to the song and this fabulous remix by Hifi Sean is next level. I think the words really sum up the difficult year we’ve all had and during hardship, if you scream these lyrics at the top of your voice, you may feel better for a time, I know I did.
Joseph Malik feat. Nicole Cassandra Smit – Looking Right Back at You Part 1
Joseph Malik’s Diverse Part 3 is one of the best records of the year, it reminds me of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On or Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. I’ve always loved Joseph’s voice and this duet with Nicole Cassandra Smith is so soulful; full of depth and warmth.
Sam Redmore – Nagu
I remember being sent this for my radio show on The Face Radio and playing it about ten times in a row. It’s a latin dancefloor belter with an addictive sound, I can’t wait to give it a spin when we return to clubs.
Durand Jones and The Indications feat. Aaron Frazer – Witchoo
What a groove this track is, it makes me want to jump on my roller skates and hit the dancefloor. I’ve been a fan of Durand Jones and The Indications from day one, their third album, Private Space, is pure gold.
Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open
A little like Gabriels, I feel Silk Sonic are one the greatest things to come out of 2021. I am obsessed with their new album An Evening with Silk Sonic which takes me back to such a golden era in music when bands like The Temptations, Harold Melvin and The Ojays dominated the charts. This song is so smooth, the chemistry between Anderson Paak and Bruno Mars is off the charts.