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Ariana May - ‘First Love’ Album Review

/ By Doug Phillips
Ariana May - ‘First Love’ Album Review

Ariana May’s first instrumental album is a delicate and stirring collection of piano excellence.  

Ariana May has been a vital Jeeni member for a while now and has developed an incredibly in-depth and fascinating showcase full of art-pop and remarkable talent. Recently, she has uploaded the entirety of her new instrumental album, ‘First Love’ on to Jeeni. Listen now via Ariana’s showcase available here:

As sweet and melodic her voice is, Ariana’s choice of expressing her compositions purely through her piano means that the structures are much more freeing and aren’t constricted to modern pop’s verse, chorus, verse, chorus, chorus forms. Her musicianship flows almost spontaneously; tempo decreases and increases as Ariana sees fit and phrases are fluid in length and timbre. 

The titles are excellent tonal suggestions as they act as a sort of starting point of picturing the imagery that Ariana clearly has in mind during both composing and performing these dramatic and theatrical pieces. Ariana May shows a real knack for cinematographic songwriting as it’s not difficult at all to imagine any one of these pieces as a perfect accompaniment for a location-setting scene in cinema. 

The final track, ‘Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow’ is exceptional, especially considering the tonal balance Ariana creates. A moody left hand mostly mumbles in a depressed, constant rotation of dark notes; meanwhile, the right is desperately trying to sound uplifting and optimistic through bright, ascending melodies and phrases. The two parts feel like two characters that are trying to influence the other to behave more like them at different moments of the piece, showing a vivid internal conflict, hence the ‘Sweet Sorrow’ in the title. The changes between these mindsets are sudden and frantic, a perfect representation of a troubled mind. 

What’s special about these types of projects is that a breakdown or analysis of these compositions could easily be miles from what Ariana had envisioned when writing it, but the freedom given to the listener with a vague title and complete absence of lyrics allows your imagination to fill in gaps and colour in the compositions with meaning and intention that makes most sense to you; it becomes personal. 

Throughout 'First Love', Ariana constantly shows an unprecedented level of emotion and control in her playing through her soft and poignant broken chords and melodies. Check out the entirety of this enchanting record on Jeeni:


Ola Onabulé, British-Nigerian singer/songwriter, Jeeni Pick of the Day

Ola Onabulé, British-Nigerian singer/songwriter has had a career that spans almost two decades. He released much of his music on his own label, Rugged Ram Records, after recording for Elektra and Warner Bros.Onabulé has built an enviably solid music career through a relentless schedule both in the recording studio and as an international touring performer. He has always been interested in crossing cultural and musical boundaries. The emotion and virtuosity in his three-and-a-half octave baritone voice channels his poignant storytelling. Which has given life to previous studio works exploring his Nigerian roots, his Western upbringing, family life, and musical influences ranging from jazz to soul, world, and pop. In an independent career spanning more than 20 years. Ola has performed at many of the most respected international jazz festivals including Montreal, Vancouver, San Sebastian, Istanbul, Washington, and Umbria. As well as at concert halls and Jazz clubs worldwide, building and consolidating a reputation with audiences globally. He has presented music from his albums with his quartet/quintet. As well as with much larger ensembles of big bands and symphonic orchestras, such as the WDR Big Band of Cologne, the SWR Big Band of Stuttgart, and the Danish Radio Big Band, Copenhagen, and the Big Band Jazz Y Mexico in Mexico City. Ola Onabulé’s reach is global, connecting with audiences worldwide through his soulful voice and his elegant appearance. Whether live on stage or on record, he gives a thoughtful interpretation of his experiences and the world around him, with music crafted with meticulous attention to detail in his arrangements and production. With a newly recorded collection of original songs. Meticulous attention to detail in his arrangements and production. Point Less, is a follow-up to Onabulé’s last album, It’s The Peace That Deafens, boldly expressing thoughts on social injustice, reminiscent of Marvin Gaye’s 'What’s Going On'. It is an activist’s call – at once a celebration of life and a cautionary take on the social forces that threaten it. Ola Onabulé is a perfect example of an independent singer songwriter that Team Jeeni can support, by having a showcase on JEENI is a multi-channel platform for original entertainment on demand. We’re a direct service between creatives and the global audience. • We give creatives, independent artists and performers a showcase for their talent and services. And they keep 100% of everything they make.• We empower our audience and reward them every step of the way.• We promise to treat our members ethically, fairly, honestly and with respect. Check out Ola Onabulé’s showcase here: Ola Onabule Showcase along with other showcases to add to your playlist. #olaonabule #singersongwriter #jazz #original #worldmusic #soulmusic #jazzfestival #fusionmusic #vocalists #jazzsinger #soulsinger #liveinconcert #blues #jazzmusic #jazzfest #soulful


Jada Freeman, ‘Vibe With Me’ - Single Review

Last year’s 'Vibe With Me’ is a seductive, inviting and playful single from Jada Freeman. The track has hugely diversified her style and expanded expectations for her work ever since.  Brand new to Jeeni, Jada Freeman is an exhilarating producer, singer and songwriter from East London. Although she thrives in the world of RnB, Jada casts a wide net of styles and approaches to her music that will catch you off-guard in the best possible ways. Jada has contributed all of her singles so far to Jeeni, including her successful track, ‘Illusions’ which has nearly 10,000 listens and is only available on Jeeni and Soundcloud. Check out her Jeeni showcase to listen to all of her music:   The first thing ‘Vibe With Me’ plays you is a creeping, mischievous bass line that darts around the beat and contains a lot of personality for a bass part. Underneath the bass is a warbling synth which acts as a sort of bed of sound and comfort. The flickering low-pass filter on the synth gives the entire track a relaxing, under-water tone which entices the listener in, hence the apt title. The beat is so fitting for this tranquil, yet alluring track. Alternative, new-age percussion is used to provide the beat instead of just kicks, snares and hi-hats. This choice makes the track entirely more interesting and stylistically layered than many other artists in this corner of contemporary music.  The more obviously captivating component of this single is Jada’s vocal talent. Occasionally conversational like her named influence, Lilly Allen and other times soulful and staggering, Jada’s voice is a powerful tool in carrying her creative intentions and in ‘Vibe With Me’, that weapon is in full force. Jada also makes an experimental use of her voice as backing vocals that echo the welcoming title. Pitch-shifted both up and down at the same time and synthesised, Jada makes her voice into an entirely different type of instrument to emphasise the title and sentiment of the track throughout; a genius production device from the upcoming artist.  Check out this brilliant track on Jeeni here:  How can Jeeni support artists like Jada Freeman? JEENI is a multi-channel platform for original entertainment on demand. We’re a direct service between creatives and the global audience.  Album Review album review album review • We give creatives, independent artists and performers a showcase for their talent and services. And they keep 100% of everything they make.  • We empower our audience and reward them every step of the way.  • We promise to treat our members ethically, fairly, honestly and with respect.  • Access to artist liaison and a supportive marketing team. 


Live Virtual Gigs in the Gaming Metaverse

In November last year, a live virtual gig took place in the gaming Metaverse of world platforms. Rapper Lil Nas X took to the stage in Roblox, and performed in a free-to-view event, which broke all previous records to become one of the the most viewed concerts of all time, pulling in a worldwide record-breaking audience of over 35-million visits. Lil Nas X's Virtual Gig - Credit: Still Roblox is a platform of over 50-million user designed video games. The concert was their first, but they have also partnered with music label Monstercat and delivered an album release party for Ava Max. Could this collective gaming audience be the music world's perfect audience of the future? Taking inspiration from Lil Was X's videos and songs, various stages were created for in-game virtual performances using PBR rendering, lighting, shadowing and facial recognition technologies available on the Roblox platfom. Speaking ahead of his performance, Jon Vlassopulos, global head of music at Roblox, said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Columbia Records to bring Lil Nas X fans and the Roblox community together in an entirely new way.“This concert with Lil Nas X will transport players and their friends into the metaverse, and bring to life the future of what immersive, social experiences can look like.” The experience is a long way from the first pixelated forms of performers or being able to control Michael Jackson in the 1990's 'Moonwalker' whilst he rescues children to the sound of his hit 'Smooth Criminal'. However, the online gaming world became a far greater player when Grand Theft Auto realised the potential of licensed music. They allowed players to access perfectly curated radio stations whilst creating chaos and mayhem in the streets of Miami. Michael Jackson in the Moonwalker video game Roblox are not the only gaming platform to take on the music gig. Fortnite allowed Travis Scott to host a gig from a stage in the water off the resort of Sweaty Sands. People attended the concert from wherever they were in the game, as their personally created avatar, whilst they continued to fire at the people around them. Travis Scott's Virtual Gig in Fortnite The following concert was brief, just a 10-minute pop of Scott's hits, with incredible visual pyrotechnics. The world of Fortnite transformed kaleidoscopically around Scott and the artist came right up to the viewers, giving the sense of being able to reach out and touch him. One moment, fire poured from his body; the next, his face melted to reveal a robotic skull. According to developer Epic Games, more than 28m people watched the show. Gaming Metaverse platforms like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite are being chosen for these live virtual gigs because their worlds are moving into something beyond gaming. The platforms are used by kids wanting to hang out with their mates and socialise, a virtual environment which has become so relevant and meaningful to the users during the pandemic lockdowns.