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GREGORY PORTER – ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH DISNEY AND RELEASES NEW ABUM STILL RISING THIS FRIDAY – Essentially Pop

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Today Gregory Porter joins Disney for the launch of their Magical Christmas Campaign ‘From Our Family to Yours’ in Support of Make-A-Wish® including New Animated Advert.

With family togetherness at its heart, festive short ‘The Stepdad’ follows a family’s journey as they navigate their first Christmas together. The advert celebrates the power of storytelling to inspire imagination and the magic created by reading together. Gregory Porter performs the original advert soundtrack ‘Love Runs Deeper’, available today as a charity single in support of Make-A-Wish® International.  The creation of the advert also enabled Make-A-Wish UK to grant a very special wish for 13-year-old Dylan, whose wish was to be an animator.

The short film will premiere across TV & Digital plus Disney’s own channels in 45 countries. In 2020, Disney’s consumer Christmas campaign amassed over 106 million views. This campaign once again supports long-standing partner, Make-A-Wish, helping the charity to create lifechanging wishes for children with critical illnesses that can be an important part of the healing process. Since 1980, Disney has helped Make-A-Wish grant more than 145,000 life-changing wishes around the world – bringing light, hope and joy to wish children and their families.

‘Love Runs Deeper’ is written by LA-based songwriters PARKWILD, the track also features CHERISE, a member of Tomorrow’s Warriors, an organisation committed to increasing diversity and equality across the arts through jazz music. For every download before 31st December 2021, 100% of the proceeds from the retail price will be donated to Make-A-Wish International.

The advert was developed and produced by Disney EMEA’s in-house creative team, led by Angela Affinita, Director of Brand Marketing and Creative, in partnership with Flux Animation Studios in New Zealand and story consultants, POCC.

Gregory says of ‘Love Runs Deeper’:

“The lyrics of the track are so powerful, and underline that behind everything there is love. When I read the first line of ‘Love Runs Deeper’, “When you open the door, I will be standing there”, I was truly moved by its emotion and storytelling. I knew I needed to be involved with this campaign and support Make-A-Wish.”

TODAY GREGORY ALSO PERFORMS AT THE GQ HEROES EVENT IN OXFORSHIRE

GQ Heroes is a thought focusing leadership summit for top tier business & creative minds to explore and debate the relationship between luxury, media, politics, music, art, television, wellness and mental health.

Out this Friday, 5th November, ‘Still Rising’ is an exquisite selection box of musical delights. The first disc includes five brand-new tracks, two new arrangements and nine of Porter’s most loved global favourites. The second disc features breath-taking covers and duets, boasting songs with Paloma Faith, Moby, Jamie Cullum, Jeff Goldblum, Ella Fitzgerald and many more.

Of the collection, Porter says:

“This is my music up until now, but it’s not a ‘Greatest Hits’. They often come at the end of someone’s career, and I still feel new and young in mine. I have much more to say. There is always something in an artist’s career that people don’t know about; I wanted to bring it to their attention. The album title echoes my last one, All Rise, because I am reiterating something evident in my music and the new songs here – this upward-looking optimism about life and love. It’s an unfinished story for me, both musically and personally. And I’m still learning how to do this. Still rising.”

Over the past decade, Gregory Porter has taken the world by storm, bringing contemporary Jazz to the masses. Collecting numerous accolades and acknowledgements, including two Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He is a well-loved favourite on TV shows such as Graham Norton, Jools Holland, Strictly Come Dancing and was the first celebrity to sing on CBeebies Bedtime Stories!

In 2019 the singer launched and hosted his own podcast, ‘The Hang’, which has amassed two successful series to date and played host to a range of celebrity guests. Earlier this year, Porter released ‘The PorterHouse with Gregory Porter’ Presented by Citi, a six-episode cooking series in which the singer shares recipes inspired by his local community, culinary experiences on tour and his own family cooking traditions.

A seasoned performer, Porter has performed for The Queen on multiple occasions, singing Amazing Grace at the Royal Albert Hall and at the 70th Anniversary VE Day celebrations & the iconic Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. A global phenomenon, he consistently sells out venues worldwide. This year, after a long break due to the covid-19 pandemic, Gregory Porter sold out four stellar performances per across 3 dates at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall. He will be returning to create the magic all over again in May 2022 for a wider UK Tour. Further details below, tickets available here.

Gregory Porter’s ‘Still Rising’ will be released on Friday 5th November, pre-order here.

GREGORY PORTER UK TOUR DATES 2022

LEEDS                                     FIRST DIRECT ARENA                                          7TH MAY 2022

MANCHESTER                      AO ARENA                                                            8TH MAY 2022

BOURNEMOUTH                 INTERNATIONAL CENTRE                                  10TH MAY 2022

BIRMINGHAM                      RESORTS WORLD ARENA                                  11TH MAY 2022

CARDIFF                                 MOTORPOINT ARENA                                        13TH MAY 2022

BRIGHTON                             THE BRIGHTON CENTRE                                     14TH MAY 2022

GLASGOW                             SSE HYDRO                                                           16TH MAY 2022

Visit gregoryporter.com/tour for more info.

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St. Vincent Covers “Funkytown” For Minions: The Rise of Gru

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Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.

For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.

Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.

Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.

The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!



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Parmalee Shares The Music Video For Their Top Five US Hit ‘Take My Name’, A Musical Marriage Proposal.

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Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”

Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners. 

Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!

With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.

Matt says:

“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”

With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video. 

Parmalee - Take My Name (Official Music Video)

Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.

‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.

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Mercedess Releases debut album ‘Casa Fantasia’ along with lead single ‘Summers Already Gone’

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This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.

She says:

“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”

The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak. 

The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.

The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”

The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim  with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial. 

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