MY 2018 REFLECTION

First of all, I hope everyone’s had a good Christmas, been enjoying their time off and celebrating the festive season.

As this year draws to an end (happy last day of the year) I thought I would sit down and revisit some of my achievements, memories and learning experiences from the past 12 months.

I usually do a personal reflection but I thought this year I’d do a post because I think it’s really important to look back at how and where you started the year to where you are now and explicitly see your journey. Whether it’s in terms of your personal life, work life or a hobby, reflection is vital because days pass and life happens so fast that you often get so caught up with living that you miss your progression.

Personally I feel that in particular my personal growth was quite significant this year from transitioning into my second year at university, taking more responsibility and moving into my twenties but I also had a hell of a lot of fun this year.

I travelled to three amazing countries, one of which I always wanted to go to but never thought I’d actually visit, I attended some surreal events and had some amazing opportunities. This year was full of surprises from Partying with Giggs to visiting Idris Elba’s own venue before it was even launched and a lot of different shows, this year has been a pretty crazy one.

So what did 2018 teach me?

Put yourself out there

This year I finally come to realise that sometimes you have to say stuff it and just put yourself out there, challenge yourself and just show everyone who you really are and what you can do. It can be nerve wracking, daunting and even at times stressful but it’s the only way that you’re going to get anywhere in life.

The worst that could happen is that you shoot your shot and you miss- if so, get back up, learn from it and try again.

There’s a positive side to every situation

Whether the positivity shines through right away or if it takes week and months to be recognised this year taught me there is positivity in every situation, you just need to find it.

Everything happens for a reason

I may be being naïve and just trying to justify my L’s but no I truly think that in the past 12 months this saying has really meant a lot and proved a real depth in all aspects of my life.

There have been numerous occasions, too many to count on my hand and feet where I can honestly say that things happened for a reason. Whether it was so that I could

You can be your own worst enemy but you should actually be your biggest supporter

You are the only one who is stopping yourself from doing what you want to do or being where you want to be. We can all make up excuses that its because of X, Y, Z but realistically collect yourself and just get on with whatever you want to do. The amount of time we waste making up excuses and thinking about how we aren’t where we want to be isn’t helping your situation; spend that time thinking about/ actually making those steps so you can achieve your goals.

When doing this, do it with your chest, be your own number one fan because if you don’t believe in yourself and that you’ve got what it takes how do you expect anyone else to believe in you.

Stop trying to please others

This is a kind of bittersweet reality I faced this year because I started to do what I wanted to do, for me instead of trying to please others and I can honestly say that this is the first year I feel that I’ve truly excelled and achieved whilst being happy. This did come at a price though and you will most likely lose friends and have people try to dim you because they are intimidated or nervous by your glow up.

Saying that however, the people that I lost/ that you might lose were clearly not my true friends anyway and they did me favour because I was able to make real connections with people who actually care and want me to succeed.

Just live

This is probably the most powerful thing you can do, be present and live in the moment.
The past has happened, it can’t be changed, accept what happened, forget about it, learn from it just do whatever but dwell on it. As for the future whilst you should be mindful and think about it definitely dint try to plan out every day of the next 5 years because it won’t happen and life will do whatever it wants to do so the best thing is to make the most of the current.

 

My 2018 Memories

January

Not that much happened in January it was a pretty slow start to the year but my sister did graduate but let’s not give her too much credit because just last week she thought Theresa May lost to Donald Trump but hey ho on we go.

February

February was also a bit slow but this was the first time I bit the bullet and put myself out there landing my first contributing role for CelebMix which has since allowed me to grow and provided me with some insane memories.

March

At the end of March, me and some of my friends from university took a trip to one of our houses in Wales. I hadn’t been to wales in so many years and it was nice to be by the beach, explore a new place and just make fun memories. We also done cave trampolining which was fun.

April

The start of our, what turned out to be, summer heatwave. What a good month this was having fun in the sun from days out in London to having some drinks outside it was a good month. I also visited one of my best friends in stoke to celebrate her 19th birthday with her- it was messy.

The very end of April was when a huge, significant opportunity happened as I got my first ever celebrity interview and it happened to be with an artist I’d followed since she was starting out. This was such a turning point in the year in me realising what I wanted to do and believing that I could/can do it.

May

Still warm, thank god and I took a step into something I never thought I would- local elections. I covered the local elections In Uxbridge, London, and once again had some more fun in the sun.

My cousins came to visit me at university on the day of the Royal Wedding and I saw Raye and Rita Ora in concert with some amazing people.

June

I went from hot to hotter as I jetted off to Dubai with my girlfriend and her family for a nice break. I had the best time in the water park, drinking snow cones, looking at all the amazing sights and most importantly stuffing my face with DELICIOUS food.

I also saw Camila Cabello headline her first ever solo tour in Brixton and she is a star!! I wrote a review about her show and it was kind of surreal because I logged onto twitter seeing that her fans were quoting what I had said about it and it got around 500 collective retweets and over 1,000 likes which was pretty major for little me.

July

My camera roll has a lot of pictures of my girlfriend’s dogs in July so I guess they made my month. At the end of July, I also went on a once in a lifetime trip to China where I had the most amazing time and shared it with some of the most amazing people.

 

August

My China trip spills into August and it was on a HOT, boiling, scorching, Humid day in August that I climbed The Great Wall of China. I will remember that day forever it was such a surreal moment and even though I nearly died I channelled my inner Jaden Smith and was momentarily a Karate Kid. I won’t go into too much detail there’s a travel post about it coming soon!!

And talking of holidays I also went on a two week trip to Mexico with my family for some relaxation before heading back to uni for my second year.

September

One thing I can say about this month was that it was whirlwind and it flew by. From moving back to university, starting second year, volunteering and just living life September was a mixture of everything- oh and a visit to a really cool ice cream museum.

October

All things spooky for Halloween; as usual I left my costume till last minute and created some kind of scary attempt as the shops were closing.

I went to two really cool events this month too, the first being my first ever big event which was Jonas Blue’s album listening party which was such an unfamiliar yet exciting experience, and the second Olly Murs’ intimate album listening session for ‘You Know I Know” in Idris Elba’s own venue which hadn’t even opened yet- probably the first and last time I will be able to get into there.

November

November was mainly all things music; a lot of shows, reviews, fun and a Hard Rock Café reveal launch. I also started my intern journey at OK! Magazine alongside some amazing and talented journalists.

Two notable moments were partying with Giggs at Swizz Beats album launch and attending Rita Ora’s intimate show in celebration of her incredible sophomore album ‘Phoenix’.

A huge part of November 2018 was that this was the time i finally plucked up the courage to start my blog. After wanting to do it for the past couple of years i took the plunge and just started and i don’t know where this will go but i can say I’m glad i started and I’m glad that i’ve tried.

December

We may still just be in December 2018 but it’s been a good one. I turned the big 20 leaving my teens and becoming a semi responsible adult (this is a lie), there’s been lots of festive fun, quite a few trips to Wingstop and I had some fun times at Winter Wonderland.

If you managed to make it to the end then Thank You for all your support, I hope you enjoyed it and I’d love if you continued reading in 2019.

I wish that 2019 is the best year for all of us and that everyone can be happy, successful and achieve all they could imagine.

See you next year

 

Rita Ora ‘Phoenix’ Review

After 6 long years since the release of Ora’s debut she’s back stronger than ever, refreshed after as she’s rose like a ‘Phoenix’ from the ashes.

Following, at one point what felt like a never ending occurrence of pushback, label difficulties and whatever else stood in her way; Rita Ora made sure to never be defeated as she inspiringly kept herself busy and in the spotlight exploring her other talents.

Ora has done more than enough to prove she can do it all; from topping the charts, acting, modelling, hosting, judging and designing she’s established herself as a true 360 entertainer, however, she’s reinstated her relevance in the music industry with the release of her sophomore album ‘Phoenix’.

The album, released on November 23, boats a respectable 16 tracks including hit singles ‘Your song’, ‘Anywhere’ and her hugely successful Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’.

There’s no denying that Rita has the vocals, the look and the ability to churn out hit after hit and Phoenix charmingly showcases her talent making for a strong return to music.

Opening with one of her, and notably one of 2017’s, standout singles ‘Anywhere’ the introduction offers an upbeat pop-electro hazy dance moment which still sounds so fresh before entering her current single ‘Let You Love Me’. Let you love me, an interesting outpour of about letting your guard down in order to let someone in intertwined into a catchy light EDM edged pop knife.

‘New look’ kicks off the string of new material with an assertive sassy manner. Rita excels in the enticingly pulsating catchiness of the chorus which leaves you wanting to hit the replay button; whilst ‘First Time High’ presents vibrant strings in an effervescent dance pop bubble gum pop number.

Despite the new offerings previously released hits, such as female anthem girls ‘Girls’, ‘Your Song’ and Avicii collaboration ‘Lonely Together’ aren’t forgotten as they receive a new lease of life. Not to mention her Fifty Shades of Grey collaboration with Liam Payne ‘For You’ which led Ora to adopt a cinematic drama into ‘Hell of a life’ whilst heading back to familiar territory with the euphoric, summer penetrated, drum and bass smash ‘Summer Love’.

Although there’s an up tempo, feel good energy infused throughout the album, ‘Phoenix’, intertwines subdued moments with the muted pop ballad ‘Only Want You’ as she opens up about the need for one particular person. Another impressive difference on the album is the sultry ‘Cashmere’ which possess an R and B imbue for the ultimate ‘in your feels’ promiscuous playlist.

Amongst the quintessential pop album, Ora also offers an experimental side in her new material. With the jazzy, feel good rapturous ‘Velvet Rope’ in which she curates an effervescent trumpet laced ballad; along with jubilant, groovy number Julia Michaels assisted ‘Keep Talking’ ‘as they take the high road’ serving all the dreamy high notes against a contrasting bold electronic backing Rita proves she won’t shy away when it comes to exploring.

Finishing the album is ‘Soul Survivor’ in which fans get to see an explicitly honest insight into her truth and the personal struggle of the past few years as she reflects on her turbulent journey to the release of her second album. The powerful track hones in on her vocal aptitude as she bares all behind a beautifully simplistic, graceful piano instrumental unequivocally becoming one of the strongest highlights of her album.

Overall ‘Phoenix’ is cohesive, interesting and diverse curating an impressive follow up to ‘Ora’ where she dives into deep end of the music industry managing to keep her career afloat as she ensures the wait was worthwhile making up for the six-year music drought.

9/10

Let me know what you think of the album over on Twitter and send me over any suggestions of other albums to review.

New Music Friday 2

This week has been a pretty busy week and somehow its already Friday, which as well all know means new music.

This month has been filled with some pretty impressive releases and some stand out projects and today is no different…..

Today is exciting, as the long awaited (to be exact 6 long years) and highly anticipated sophomore album from Rita Ora has finally been released. The pop songstress has released a string of chart toppers in the run up to her release and today is the day to hear the full project. As the biggest album this week of course album tracks can be found at the top of every new music playlist and rightfully so!

‘Only Want You’, features on all the playlists and the laid back R and B infused slow jam offers a subdued moment. With dreamy vocals layered on top of a punchy chorus she continues to impress with yet another banger as she pours out her heart about the desire to experience of one specific individual. Credit where credit is due as Ora has continued to deliver and impress and honestly let’s be honest which other stars could’ve taken 6 years out of music and come back with a bang?

Billie Eilish released a bundle of perfection with her new song ‘Come out and play’. The melancholic emotion fuelled song is powerfully intimate before adopting a cinematic punch as the song progresses. An impressive follow up from her recently released ‘Don’t Smile at Me’ as she sticks to her mysterious roots however still offers a fresh sound.

Next up Kamille dropped her remix of ‘Emotion’ as she calls in Chip and Stefflon Don. The track feels like a Stefflon Don throw away, the start of the track is overwhelming and slightly messy however the chorus kind of salvages the verse. Chip’s verse isn’t anything special and neither gives or takes away from the track but honestly Steff disappoints on this track.

Another feature from Rita Ora, as she lends her vocals to Rudimental’s new single ‘Summer Love’ from their upcoming album ‘Toast To Our Differences’. The track is an ode to the so distant summer fun contextualising that fairy-tale idea of a summer love which all you ever want and more- but only for those summer months. Taking Ora back to her Drum and Bass roots, which originally propelled her to the top of the charts, the track offers an easy listen, with a catchy feel good chorus and subtle drop for an overall nice offering.

A standout track this week comes from pop rising star, Call Me Loop. Her new song ‘Business’ has quite the fitting title as she means business and takes control in this defiant new single. With an interesting sound, elevating vocals and a catchy beat the ex-obsessed track ditches an old love as she battles to look towards the future and move on. The emotive pop piece infuses a groovy guitar heavy instrumental with an assertive and attention grabbing energy.

Lastly British popstar, Jess Gylnne has decided to release an acoustic rendition of her already quite acoustic ‘Thursday’. The stripped back vocals delight on the empowering, self-love track, however, I can’t help but think despite my appreciation for this version and the original track this release was pretty pointless and doesn’t add anything to the song even if it is a pleasant listen.

That’s it for this week, there wasn’t much that excited me this week but there were obviously some stand outs which will I’ll definitely be adding to my playlist and having on repeat.

I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think of this week’s tracks and if there are any songs you know are being released or want me to feature let me know!!!

New Music Friday

Today is Friday and that means that yes it’s the start of the weekend but, even better, it means new music.

This is a new series on my blog that I hope to keep up weekly where I will listen to and round up some of the biggest songs out each week and give you my opinion on them which you can agree or disagree with. The music will be selected from a mixture of Apple Music and Spotify’s new music playlists and my opinions will be based off a first listen so are subject to change!

This week is my first week, and I think I chose a pretty good one to start with as some of the biggest artists have dropped new music today.

I guess this is the part where I start with the music talk….

I feel that I couldn’t write this post and not include a track from Little Mix. They are one of the biggest girl groups in the world and today marks the release of their 5th studio album ‘LM5’. Of course they are seen at the top of Apple’s and Spotify’s promo charts along with various other album material. On Apple Music ‘The Cure’ is already a ‘hot song’ and I feel that this song is a little bit of pop perfection with a sorrowful and mellow verse leading into an explosive cinematic sounding chorus. With its uplifting and important message of pulling yourself out of a bad state I find that it does however have a very Taylor Swift familiarity too it- which in this case isn’t a bad thing. I gave the album a listen and for a pop audience I feel it’s a unique offering showing off their personality and adding a level of maturity and excitement.

There were some early releases this week and the first track that I’m going to start off with is Zayn’s new song featuring Nicki Minaj ‘No Candle No Love’. After his debut solo album left me pleasantly surprised however, I’ve found his recent return to music has been somewhat lack lustre. NCNL, was an unexpected duet rather than the typical one verse feature and whilst I don’t necessarily think it’s bad I also don’t think it’s particularly great. I feel like it sounds like a Major Lazer track rather than Zayn but I wouldn’t skip it if it came on in shuffle.

Next up is Normani, she released her new 6lack assisted ‘Waves’. After hearing her on Khalid’s ‘love lies’ I’ve had the highest hopes for her and since she has released music to show different sides to her artistry but I’m still left wanting that R and b vibe. Waves is a laid back slow jam with a variety of synths mixed with a booming bass for quite the harmonic duet. Again, I’m not overwhelmed with love for this one but I think it could be a grower.

Quite a few songs were dropped this week and ready for her new album ‘Pheonix’ next week Rita Ora dropped a buzz track called ‘Velvet Rope’. I quite like this soulful love song. After a stream of hits with her recent promo singles ‘Anywhere’ and ‘Let You Love Me’ this jess Gylnne-esque R and b slow jam provides a stripped back simplistic listen for a feel good and quite festive energy.

All over social media this week I’ve seen a lot of hype over the new Stefflon Don ‘Senseless Remix’ featuring Tory Lanez. Bringing all the tropical vibes I can’t help but think this song would’ve had better projections towards the end of summer rather than the start of winter; it’s quite a good listen, especially if you want to cling on to summer what seems like a distant memory. Tory Lanez neither adds a whole lot or takes anything away from the track but Stefflon Don’s energy on this track is infectious so give it a listen.

B Young, the one behind Jumanji and 079 me, released his follow up ‘Juice’ and honestly he can keep it. The repetitive lyrics sounds like a recycled beat from the vault with nothing new or interesting and it could’ve been from any of these sound cloud rappers.

19-year-old British singer/songwriter, Liv Dawson, offers a pleasant, easy listen with her new release ‘I Like You’. The moody, vocally intricate track laces her clean vocals with an acoustic, up tempo yet washed out electronic vibe. Overall an impressive offering which I feel could be a big hit.

Lastly, Lennon Stella, alongside her new EP ‘Love, me’ and following her mysteriously genius ‘Fortress’ and Smash hit featuring on Jonas blue’s ‘Polaroid’ alongside Liam Payne we now have ‘La Di Da’. The breakthrough star intrigues me with her unique, impressive vocal ability which is so distinctive. The fresh sounding drum heavy beat with periodic beat drops is accessorised with a rhythmic lyricism occasionally featuring airy harmonies. This is definitely one of my favourite songs of the week and I’m excited for her career.

That’s the end of week one, I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think of this weeks tracks and if there are any songs you know are being released or want me to feature let me know!!!

Arun