New Music Friday 7 || 7 song you need to hear this week

With the new year in full swing, it seems as though ‘New Music Friday’ has made a triumphant return following, what felt like, an endless period of weeks with throwaway releases with no punch, replay value or excitement.

Bringing the New Year in with a bang, my playlist will certainty have an abundance of new rotations this week from some of the biggest artists on earth, some of my favourite, even some interesting newbies with a pleasant surprise from some artists I didn’t realise I needed music from.

This week we’re starting with one of with the song that I’ve been anticipating most. Today, vocal powerhouse Sam Smith has collaborated with one of the most remarkable new girls on the block Normani as she continues to peruse her solo career. Dancing with a stranger is a hard-hitting yet dreamy dance inspired pop track with both Sam and Normani sounding seductive, silky smooth on top form. I was intrigued to hear how the duo would work together considering the distinctiveness in both of their voices but to my delight the track oozes a cool imbue curating the perfect slow jam I need on my playlist.

With the first follow up from his dark melancholic EP ‘My Dear Melancholy, The weekend diverts back to his signature sound infusing pop and disco into an R and B ready radio hit. ‘Lost in the Fire ’is an introspective, emotion-fuelled ballad laced with techno infused drums and super smooth vocals. A great track which almost could’ve fit perfectly into ‘Starboy’.

Another track from a former Fifth Harmony has been released this week as Lauren Jauregui gets straight to the point in her new hypnotic R and B banger. ‘More Than That’ lured me into false judgement with its ethereal artwork, and after her first track being an emotional ballad, instead Jauregui let you know she knows her self-worth in this attention grabbing trap edge track showcasing she can really do it all.

An artist I definitely didn’t know I needed new music from, despite her last album being released in 2017, Kehlani, dropped an incredible new track this week called ‘Nights Like This’ featuring Ty Dolla $ign. With silky smooth vocals, an effortlessly progressive structure this R and B number executes a captivating, dreamy and sultry energy as she gets retrospective about missing a past lover. Whilst I don’t think this incredible offering required a featured artist, Ty Dollar $ign was the perfect fit contributing a natural coolness with his soothing impact.

On the other hand, despite my love for the perfectly unconventional moody hit maker Billie Eilish her recent release, ‘WHEN I WAS OLDER’, inspired by the film ‘ROMA’ misses the mark completely. Adopting a mumble auto tune energy, I can see the eyrie creative direction they were trying to achieve but I think it got lost in a techno, horror-like, dystopia and for me it’s a complete pass. I’m disappointed.

An interesting track release this week comes from Italian Rapper Fedez. This week he released a track called ‘Holding Out For You’ which I had initially got really excited to hear – that was before I heard it and before I knew who he was. The track featuring (the great) Zara Larrson is ruined by Fedez’ dire attempt at an R and B rap which intermittently interrupts Zara sounding like an angelic badass. I tried to tolerate the monstrosity of Fedez’ contribution because I think Zara sounds incredible on this track but it couldn’t be done. Sadly, this is a huge flop. No one ever send me anything from Fedez again.

Now onto something that didn’t disappoint me today. Rudimental have enlisted the help of Ray BLK and Stefflon Don on their new track ‘Scared of Love’ taken from their upcoming album ‘Toast to our differences’. Notably both ladies had exceptional years last year and unite for this off beat, quirky up tempo feel good love track. Whilst I don’t think song is a breakthrough hit with a new innovative sound I haven’t heard anything like this for a short time and the bright instrumental is bound to lift your spirit.

Lastly on the roundup of this week’s new music is actually a track released on Monday, yes you heard Monday. Despite the weird release date, the new collaboration from Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara, adding a fresh spin on his pre-released single ‘Let Me Down Slowly’ intertwines flawless, smooth and captivating vocals with a mid- tempo melancholic instrumental. A great track with high replay value and overall an easy listen.

Special mention:

Yes, this isn’t a standard procedure here on New Music Friday but I was sent music from a new artist I hadn’t previously came across this week and I think that people need to hear it!

Phé, an LA based R and B singer/songwriter, has recently released her debut EP ‘Crisis’. On the EP she boasts all the characteristics of an impressive R and B artist showing diversity and creativity with her sound and stories as she rages through an emotional roller coaster of first hand experiences with love, heartbreak, female sexuality and sexual exploration, healing, mental health and self-empowerment.

Her new EP is definitely worth a listen! You can check it out on all streaming platforms and on my ‘New Music Friday’ Spotify playlist below.

Once again thank you for tuning in, reading and supporting. I hope you’ve found some new gems for your playlists and if you liked it don’t forget to follow my blog, like and be sure to share.

https://open.spotify.com/user/1124546142/playlist/3pabjNcE5J3stDi5mlL4iw

See you next week!

9 Things I Want To Do In 2019

New Year, Same Me just elevated. The first week of 2018 2019 is over, the endless chomping and drinking is over for another year and reality has set in that it’s time to get back into the swing of things with work. In one of my recent posts I done a round-up of my memories, achievements and lessons I learnt throughout 2018 which led me to think about what I wanted to try and achieve this year. I guess that’s how I got to writing this post… here are 9 things that I want to do more of this year.

1. Travel more  

Last year I had the opportunity to travel to three amazing places throughout the year and I made some of the best memories of 2018 through those experiences. Because of that this year I want to take the time out to see more of the world, experience different cultures and have fun exploring.

I think travelling is really important, it’s exciting and gives you something to look forward to, it provides you with new experiences and the opportunity to try new things and it’s really good to take time out and just have some fun.

I’m not too sure where I want to go but I’m hoping to hop on a few planes this year and get sight-seeing. If you have any suggestions of great places you’ve heard of/ been to let me know in the comments/ on social media!!

 

 2.Write, write, write!

Whether it’s in the form of blogging or articles I honestly couldn’t really care. All I know is that this year I want to do more writing, from opinion pieces to travel blogs I think 2019 I want to grow my content, start pitching and really put in the work to put out some interesting content.

3. Say no

In 2018 I finally learnt that you can’t please everyone, and that I don’t need to either. I want to carry this into 2019 and say no to things that aren’t good for me, don’t interest me or are just generally draining.

4. Put myself out there

 This year no one can tell me nothing, I want to just be available, build my brand and take risks. I think I’m ready for this year because I know some won’t work out but if I don’t try I will never know.

 

5. Attend or cover an Award show/Festival

 Music is a huge passion of mine and last year I didn’t really go to many shows or festivals and I definitely didn’t attend any award shows but I’m hoping to change this in 2019.

There are so many artists I’ve recently grew to love and I would like to go and see so why not enjoy myself and have some fun by attending some concerts. In particular festivals because you get to see so many different acts some you may know others you may not but it’s always good vibes at a festival.

The reason for wanting to attend an award show is obviously for similar reasons, I love music, award shows are all about celebrating great music and artists and I think it would be an awesome opportunity.

6. Network till i can’t network anymore

Last year I met, made friends with and spoke to so many new people which I usually wouldn’t have by biting the bullet and just putting myself out there. From that I managed to grow contacts, get opportunities and achieve some things I never thought that I would. Sometimes it really isn’t what you know it’s who you know – never forget that.

7. Collect my coins 

2019 is the year to stack that cash! This year I want to be making money moves, be elevating and just be getting money in every possible way – effectively. Here’s to building bank balances.

 

6. less talk and more walk

 Now there’s about a thousand different ways of saying this but they all have the same point. Productivity, action and getting things is done is the energy I want to have in 2019. No more procrastination I want to try and be motivated, be active and just move strategically with life and work this year

 

9. Be present

 My last goal for this year is to live in the moment more, take in as much as I can and get off my phone especially when I’m doing really exciting things or at an interesting place. This is something which I think can improve my mental health and just overall happiness.

 I think the list could go on and on but those are the first 9 things that came to mind when thinking about the year ahead.

Let me know what you’re goals and aspirations for the year ahead in the comment below or on any of my social media channels.

 

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

 

An Evening of Lights

Lights, we have them in our houses, workplaces, cars – lets be honest they’re everywhere. Saying that I’ve never seen lights quite like this; as the walk through experience takes Christmas decorating to a whole new level.

Following the huge success of last year’s festival, the bright showcase returned to Birmingham’s botanical gardens for a second year running. This unique experience incorporates Chinese lanterns with giant character concepts combining to curate a dazzling display.

There really is something for everyone as the Festival boasts an impressive 12-metre-long entrance float, to a variety of creative themes throughout the experience ranging from, traditional Chinese concepts, festive themes, football, animals and flowers. If that wasn’t enough the gardens are also laced with vivid (even some flashing) strip lights in and between different sculptures.

The magical festival celebrating over 2,000 years of lanterns is the perfect unique, memorable and exciting experience for the whole family to enjoy.

This year’s festival is running till the 1st of January, however check out the website below to be ready for next years.

https://www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk/events/magic-lantern/

Hard Rock Cafe Christmas Party 2018

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Christmas may be over and all of the leftovers might have been eaten but before I made my way back to my family home for Christmas, I remembered I missed a post.

If anywhere knows a thing or two about good food and entertainment, it’s the Hard Rock group and they didn’t disappoint at their 2018 Christmas party.

Held at the Back Room Bar, an intimate gem behind Park Lane’s café, the venue which emulates a hearty, warm, traditional London pub transformed into a winter wonderland ready for us to rock the night away.

From great food and drinks to festive traditions and live music the night was in full swing and everyone was in high spirits curating the perfect celebration and the last event in my calendar before leaving London for a few weeks.

Overall it was a great night, in particular the endless supply of chicken wings, chicken strips and brownies- not to mention all of the passionfruit Mai Tai’s (if you haven’t tried these you really need to) The live singer Jem Tyler also kept the good vibes flowing all night.

The Hard Rock Café currently have one venue in London situated on Park Lane which I would definitely recommend if you’re looking for good food,a friendly atmosphere and an overall fun time.

The Hard Rock Café are also launching a brand new and exciting Piccadilly Circus location in 2019 so be sure to look out for that in the new year!

Visit their website to find out about the new location and to find out more about Hard Rock: http://www.hardrock.com

The Skinny Kitchen Islington | Launch Party

A couple of weeks ago I went to the launch for Islington’s newest Healthy food hangout, The Skinny Kitchen.

The brand new London Location marks the launch of The Skinny Kitchen’s second UK restaurant with a third to be opened in Ealing Broadway early 2019.

The Skinny Kitchen started out in Ibiza as they opened Ibiza’s first healthy hangout back in 2014. Since then celebrities from Nicole Scherzinger to Ella Eyre have dined at their restaurant and now they’ve finally taken to London.

With botanical ceilings and contemporary urban décor, consisting of baby pink and teal chairs matched with marble tables, The Skinny Kitchen offers an Instagram worthy New York Diner vibe curating the perfect place to fuel up and simulataneously stunt on the gram.

Whilst at the launch I sampled an array of their delicious food and cocktails. From burgers to Black Mojito’s with protein shakes and all in between TSK has created a fun and flavoursome twist to vegetarian options opposed to the ever so common bland and boring offerings at other restaurants.

Whether you’re in need of Breakfast, a quick lunch or a full blown evening feast, at The Skinny Kitchen you can have nutritious feel good food which actually tastes good, any day of the week.

TSK can be found at Business Design Centre, 52 Upper St, Islington, London, N1 OQH and Opening hours are 8am-11pm Mon-Saturday Sunday 8am-9pm.

For more information head over to their website: https://theskinnykitchen.co.uk

SUMMER 2018: DUBAI/MEXICO

The title of this post might have you slightly confused, you’re probably thinking summer? It’s now November. Yes, I’m a bit late but summer 2018 was fairly busy and full of exciting new things and as the cold winter nights are drawing in I kind of wanted to reflect on the crazy few weeks I spent in some insane countries.

I enjoy travelling but definitely don’t do it enough; every opportunity I get, I like to take and it’s fair to say that this past summer I definitely made the most of my time off.

Back in June I took a week-long trip to Dubai with my girlfriend and her family. My first year at university had just finished and it was time for a well-deserved break, even if I do say so myself.

I was excited to go to Dubai as I’ve always heard people say how good it was. Because of this I had high expectations and I wasn’t left disappointed. As a city it’s associated with luxury, extravagance, shopping and unique architecture and I believe it’s the perfect place to live a lavish lifestyle even if it’s just for a short period.

Whilst I was in Dubai I stayed at the Atlantis: the palm which was the perfect place to relax,

have fun and make exciting memories. From the water park, Lost Chambers aquarium and marine activities to the 5-star luxury spa, gym and private beach it was the perfect place to do anything you desire and get those all-important zzz’s at night.

With this being my first time in Dubai, and due to the short time we had there, we tried to fill our days and make the most of our trip. During my week there we crammed in a wide range of activities from shopping at the Emirates and Dubai mall, watching the musical fountains and seeing all the landmarks of the vibrant city from the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa.

Additionally, I enjoyed exciting days filled with adrenaline at the Atlantis waterpark, where I may or may not have consumed my body weight in snow cones, and a fun day exploring Dubai Parks and Resorts.

Dubai parks and resorts is a great place to visit with different themed areas along with a destination devoted to eateries from around the world. I went to the Motiongate park which revolves around films and had themed rides from unique franchises such as The Hunger Games and Madagascar.

 

Dubai wasn’t the only place I was lucky enough to visit as I went on a two-week family vacation to Mexico at the end of August. The beautiful blue sea and white sand beaches was exactly what I needed before coming back to London and starting my second year of university.

This holiday was definitely more relaxed than Dubai and chilled out as most of our days were spent soaking up the sun by the pool and beach. On one of the days I visited the popular tourist destination 5th Avenue which has everything and anything you could think of including a 7/11 with a slurpee machine so you can supersize that brain freeze.

Overall some of my top highlights of the trips were definitely the food in Dubai, being able to snorkel with the wide variety of tropical fish, sharks and rays in the hotel aquarium and also the experience of the different cultures in both Dubai and Mexico.

I had the best summer this year and i’m excited to travel more in the future and to plan for my 2019 summer break.

Arun