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Is There Anything Cassa Jackson Can’t Do? – Essentially Pop

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Bristolian Cassa Jackson is quite the impressive young woman. A trilingual student, Cassa’s love of language is often apparent in the wordplay she uses for her lyrics, writing songs for everyone and everything in her life which brings her joy. Previous track ‘Dear Mum’ ended up on several official Spotify playlists, but it’s new single ‘Learning How To Love’ which has caught our attention.

Detailing the messy and imperfect experiences which come from making a long-term relationship work, Cassa employs her impressive vocal pipes to give us a beautiful rendition of this truly unique love song. The production is luscious, with deep synths undercutting Jackson’s vocals in a gorgeously arranged display. The lyrics are a personal story of learning how to communicate and compromise in order to work on a relationship together and continue making it work. 

The video, just released, shows Cassa wandering through a sun-speckled wood singing along to the lyrics we just saw her write in her diary. It’s an intimate video, illustrating this artist’s ability to draw us into her private world, sharing her innermost thoughts and emotions to those who are willing to listen. In many ways, Jackson is more a storyteller than a popstar.

It’s a mature and graceful take on the love song, and one which stands Cassa Jackson in good stead to be one of the underground pop icons to keep your eyes and ears on this year.



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‘Progress’ Is The New Album From Genre-Fluid Project MASS!VE DYNAM!C – Essentially Pop

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No matter what style of music you’re into, ‘Progress’, the new album from UK artist MASS!VE DYNAM!C has something for you.

The brainchild of progressive rock multi-instrumentalist Benedict Harris-Hayes, the 13 tracks on ‘Progress’ will take you from gentle pop rhythms to hip hop (‘Let Me Sing For You’, featuring JK), funk and R&B (‘Giving Your All’, with Ro, and ‘Flowers’), pure instrumentals (‘Falling’), ethereal pop (‘No Such Thing As Perfect’, ‘Applause’, ‘Liquidity’) reggae (‘Proper Tings’), and a retro, Wurlitzer organ style synth track, which will take you back to the late 60s-early 70s, in ‘The Devil Is In The Details’. It’s a massive undertaking, but of course this isn’t Ben’s first rodeo, having shown he’s got the goods with his previous releases, ‘OCEANICA’, and ‘ENOCHIAN THEORY’, among others.

Benedict wrote most of the album over a 2 year plus journey, which saw him travel throughout Asia before settling in New Zealand. The Covid-19 Pandemic struck, and so he decided it was time to return to the UK. It put an end to his travels but it nonetheless fired up something else in Ben, which was to finally get the album finished.

“I feel that writing ‘Progress’ is quite an achievement, considering I wrote and arranged most of the album on the road while traveling throughout Asia in late 2019/2020. Equally, what I am proud of is that this all came together during a pandemic. The guests I have on the record are from all across the globe. That’s a heck of a thing to do in these strange times…and I feel this community of artists helped me grow as a songwriter and producer. It’s a true worldwide affair and just shows how small the World is when it unites for art.”

“I cannot underestimate what traveling throughout other parts of the World has done for me over the years. Embracing all those different styles of music really sparked a different approach to writing things on this record. It’s not immediately obvious, but this album is as much influenced by western genres and artists, as it is by styles such Gamelan, Nurthi, and hearing tons of music I’d never usually come across at home. The different rhythms, the non-western melodies, and the different instrumentation just swept away my cobwebs of musical inactivity and allowed me to freely write what is effectively my ‘pop record’, without restraint!”

“It really is a musical tribute to all the music and creatives that have brought me such joy over the years…and I can only hope people enjoy this my attempt at returning that joy.”

‘Progress’ was released on September 6 via Ben’s ‘Prog On!’ label, and it’s available via Bandcamp for donations, along with all major streaming media platforms. Watch the video for ‘Let Me Sing For You’, featuring JK, below. Stream and download here. You can find out more about Benedict Harris-Hayes on Facebook.



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Elton John And Charlie Puth Unveil ‘After All’ – Essentially Pop

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Elton John and Charlie Puth have unveiled ‘After All’, the latest song to be taken from the forthcoming album ‘The Lockdown Sessions.’ Listen Here. A collection of collaborations recorded remotely over the last 18 months, ‘The Lockdown Sessions’ is a dazzlingly diverse array of 16 tracks that celebrate togetherness and sees Elton collaborating with an unparalleled range of artists only he could draw together. It will be released on October 22nd via Interscope Records and is available to pre-order here.

While the first single from ‘The Lockdown Sessions’ – the dancefloor filling anthem ‘Cold Heart with Dua Lipa (PNAU Remix)’ – continues to grow and grow into a bonafide global smash, ‘After All’ showcases a very different side to this multifaceted album. Built around a gently swaying electric piano and swelling strings, Elton and Charlie’s vocals combine with a subtlety and power that create a classic soulful ballad that stands as a worthy addition to Elton’s canon of great songs.

Elton and Charlie met by a chance encounter in an LA restaurant at the very start of March 2020. Having previously supported Puth’s records on the Apple Music Rocket Hour show, the two struck up a conversation and discovered they lived near each other. As the pandemic began to take hold, Charlie invited Elton over and the results of the session are the achingly gorgeous ‘After All’, the first work either of them completed during lockdown.

Discussing the collaboration Elton says:

“Charlie is an amazing musician; we just hit it off. He’s become a friend and a friend of the family. Our children love him and he loves them. Everyone we’ve worked with on The Lockdown Sessions I’ve really gotten closer to them, it’s quite amazing. With ‘After All’ Charlie and I were in the studio, just the two of us. He’s got a little home set up with his keyboards, synths, and Pro Tools. I played electric piano and actually wrote the song all the way through and then Charlie wrote the lyrics pretty quickly. He’s incredibly quick, Charlie. We just had an amazing chemistry in the studio.”

Charlie Puth says:

“As a songwriter, I have admired and looked up to Elton John my entire life. It is truly incredible how the melodies and chords seem to come to him instantly whenever he sits down at the piano. I got to witness that first-hand when we wrote this song together. He is world class and the true definition of a musical genius. Being a part of his musical journey is a dream come true.”

Elton and Charlie will also both be appearing on stage at the Global Citizen event in Paris on Thursday, 25th September. This global charitable 24-hour event sees some of the world’s biggest artists and global leaders come together to defend the planet and defeat poverty. This is a part of Global Citizens campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World, which focuses on COVID-19, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet; and advancing equity for all.

The pair will be going LIVE on their TikTok channels at 7pm UK time on Sunday, September 26th. Fans will get a chance to find out from both Elton and Charlie about collaborating on ‘After All’ and also hear more about ‘The Lockdown Sessions’.

In further Lockdown Sessions activity this week, a new remix of Elton’s collaboration with Dua Lipa, ‘Cold Heart’, by PS1 has also been made available and adds to the ever growing fervour around this global hit. Listen here. Last week, ‘Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)’ became Elton’s first Top 5 UK Singles Chart track since 2003s, ‘Are You Ready For Love’, topping the Shazam Chart and the iTunes chart in the process.

Follow Elton John online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.





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Pitch Perfect Finds New Life On Peacock, But Is The Gang Getting Back Together?

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The Pitch Perfect franchise has found new life on the small screen thanks to streaming service Peacock. The series of films will be continued as a streaming show, with star Adam Levine headlining and Elizabeth Banks producing.

Unlike the movies, the new TV show won’t follow an all-female a capella group. Instead, the plot will see Levine’s character head to Germany to revive his music career after an old song of his becomes a hit overseas.

Devine will help run the show behind the scenes, serving as one of three showrunners alongside Megan Amram and Scott Neimeyer.

Susan Rover, chairman of entertainment content and NBCUniversal Television and Streaming beamed, “When we saw the opportunity to create a series for Pitch Perfect with Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman and Paul Brooks plus more earworm classics for super fans to enjoy, we jumped at it. And to top it off, we are so fortunate that Adam Devine is headlining the series and bringing fans the quirky, laugh-out-loud sensibility they loved in the film franchise.”





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