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What We’re Growing And What Works Best For Us – Essentially Pop

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What’s your best gardening success story? Mine has to be strawberries. I want to say they’re practically foolproof but I have been known to kill some plants!

Saying that, once established, they are the gift that keeps on giving! When I planted my first garden at our house back in 2008 I planted some strawberry plants under my apple trees…and just left them. Every year however, until they were finally crowded out by the apples, and then blackberries, blackcurrants, and gooseberries, they gave as much as their little strawberry hearts could give. I think we got our final strawberry crop from this particular set in 2015.

At the start of the pandemic last year, I bought more strawberry plants, and they’ve been happily spreading across my garden, escaping their planters. I’m currently considering cutting some of the runners and potting them up for sale, there’s just so many of them!

I also love soft fruits, and started growing two different varieties of raspberry last year, the normal red sort, and a beautifully sweet golden type. Prolific growers, the golden ones especially produced fruit well into Autumn, and in fact, I was still picking them in November. Both varieties are back with a vengeance this year, and their location directly outside my office means that very few make it into the house…sad times.

Apples, gooseberries, blackcurrants, and also redcurrants are guaranteed prolific crops in our garden. But on the other hand, I’ve had blueberries for nearly as long, and have yet to get a single fruit from them. I’ve expanded my soft fruit empire this summer to include loganberries, jostaberries, tayberries, mulberries (black, and white), gojiberries…and probably a whole lot more I’ve planted and forgotten the names of already!

Here in South East London we have a mild climate, so I decided to try my hand at growing grapes last summer. My two vines surprised me by producing a very tiny bunch between them, before dying back. I’d given them them up for this year, but I’m grateful I didn’t dig them up, as both have burst into leaf this summer. Will they produce grapes again? That remains to be seen.

No piece about fruit and vegetable gardening can go past the old favourites – tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, and the gift that keeps on giving, courgettes (zucchini). I had a mixed result with tomatoes last year; I grew far too many varieties and way too closely together, resulting in losing a lot of fruit to blight. This year I’m trying to trellis my tomatoes, so although I’m still growing just as many varieties, I’m letting them breathe, and I’m also practising good garden hygiene by cutting off all the lower leaves. Peppers on the other hand cropped continuously until November, as did my courgettes, meaning, if I could manage it, those two ingredients found their way into just about every meal. Like the tomatoes, I had mixed results with my peas and beans, but I think that came down to starting too late in the season. This year I started early and have set up bean teepees and the runners are finding their way to their top.

I’ve tried my hand at some new things this year, including globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and asparagus. I’ve even planted out some sweet potato slips, and I’m hoping that our summer will eventually kick in!

We’ve added some more fruit trees to our existing apples, cherry, damson, medlar, Kentish cobnuts, and pear: a Yuzu lemon, and an Australian citrus variety, the finger (or caviar) lime. Both of these have been planted in half barrels up the back corner of the garden, in order to take advantage of the all day full sun.

I’ve also planted three types of self-fertile fig trees in one of my garden beds, and hope to train them over an arch. Our cherry and damson trees have joined the apples in being heavy croppers; the medlar and Kentish cobnuts also seem to be giving it their very best at producing fruit. Only the pear tree doesn’t seem to be enjoying itself, and if it doesn’t get any bigger, we may have to move it for a year and see how it goes.

Do you grow your own fruit and/or vegetables? What’s been your greatest success, and why do you think that was? On the flipside, what have you grown and never want to grow again?



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Jake Bugg Releases Stunning New Single, ‘Downtown’ – Essentially Pop

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Jake Bugg shows songwriting class in new single, ‘Downtown’. Watch the live performance here.

‘Downtown’ is taken from Jake Bugg’s upcoming brand new album, ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’, set for release August 20th on RCA Records. Pre-order here. The album comes ahead of Jake’s spring 2022 UK and Ireland tour.

Dropping ahead of his long-awaited live return at Tramlines & Standon Calling Festivals, ‘Downtown’, started as an idea by Jamie Hartman (Celeste, Lewis Capaldi, Rag’n’Bone Man), and sees Jake make use of the higher range of his voice, giving it an ethereal, ’60s Bee Gees effect.

“Usually, the initial spark of an idea comes from me. And when it doesn’t, it sometimes loses my attention,” Bugg admits. On ‘Downtown’, however, he relished his role as arranger: “Because there were a lot of moving parts and chords, it was almost like a puzzle,” he says. “I’d never approached a song like that before.”

27-year-old Bugg, with 4 albums and numerous hit singles behind him, brings his live show back on the road in Spring 2022. Tickets on sale now and full dates are as follows:

March:
Mon 14th     Newcastle         O2 City Hall
Tue 15th       Leeds                O2 Academy
Thurs 17th   Hull                   Bonus Arena
Fri 18th        Manchester      O2 Victoria Warehouse
Sat 19th        Sheffield           Octagon Centre
Mon 21st      Edinburgh       Corn Exchange
Wed 23rd     Glasgow           O2 Academy
Thurs 24th   Belfast              Ulster Hall
Fri 25th         Dublin              Olympia Theatre
Sun 27th       Birmingham    O2 Academy
Mon 28th     Norwich            UEA
Wed 30th     Nottingham     Rock City
Thurs 31st    Cardiff               The Great Hall

April:
Fri 1st            Bristol               O2 Academy
Sun 3rd         Oxford              O2 Academy
Mon 4th        Southampton  O2 Guildhall
Tue 5th          London             O2 Academy Brixton

Find out more about Jake Bugg and his music online on his official website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.





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Lungi Naidoo Breaks Hiatus With New Afrobeat Single ‘Feel Good’ And EP Announcement – Essentially Pop

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Lungi Naidoo returns after a long break with her new Afrobeats flavoured single, ‘Feel Good’. The track comes from the South African singer and songwriter’s upcoming new EP, ‘COURAGE’, set for release on September 24, and will be available across all streaming platforms. You can pre-save ‘COURAGE’ here. Stream and download ‘Feel Good’ here.

Lungi Naido has had a 20 year journey in the music industry so far, and it’s her hope for her EP ‘COURAGE’ that it helps those who may have given up. She wants those people to know that they matter as does their story, no matter what the circumstances.

‘Feel Good’ was co-written by Ghanaian producer and artist, GuiltyBeatz, who is best known for his hit ‘AKWAABA’, alongside London- based Zimbabwean artist Donel Mangena, & UK producer and songwriter Dantae Johnson. Speaking about the meaning of the lyrics, Lungi said:

“This song is about me, in every way. Sometimes when you’re down you’ve got to envision your happiness as if you are already in that space. This song is about me giving praise in advance for all the blessings I am going to receive. To own one’s Queendom and feel good about it unapologetically.”

The ‘COURAGE’ EP sees Dantae Johnson return as co-writer; additionally he recorded and produced it at The Woods Studios in London. The EP was mixed & executive produced by Pete ‘Boxsta’ Martin at the Matrix Studio complex.

Support Lungi Naidoo and her music online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Apple Music.





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We Meet Italian Superstar, Osvaldo Supino – Essentially Pop

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One of Italy’s greatest musical exports, Osvaldo Supino is actually the most recognized and awarded independent Italian artist abroad at this moment. He has recently released his new single, ‘Lights Down Low’, the follow on from his best selling album, ‘Sparks’, which came out two years ago. Certified for eight million streams, ‘Sparks’ ensured Osvaldo’s place in history, and making him one of only four Italian artists, along with Laura Pausini, Eros Ramazzotti and Il Volo, to have been interviewed by CNN.

‘Lights Down Low’ is a perfect fusion of dance music and orchestral elements, and will entrance you from the very first note, with Osvaldo’s vocals more sublime than supine. The track, co-written and produced by Osvaldo with Ili and Juancho Gutièrrez, is distributed by Believe Digital.

“Usually, my records are born from what I listen to while I travel the world for promotions or concerts. This time, I had to search inside myself for a new sound,” says Osvaldo. “That’s why this song is a real combination of these elements. I’m dancing unrestrained, provocative, but at the same time I’m always looking for a deep emotion, a refinement, an elegance”.

The single comes ahead of a new musical project for the artist:

“In such a synthetic moment I want to make a change and bring my audience to feel more, to live each song deeply, exactly as I do when I write them. A lot of new songs will be released before the record, one after the other.”

The video for ‘Lights Down Low’gives Osvaldo the opportunity to showcase his talent outside of singing, and is a detailed aesthetic proving his extraordinary ability to reinvent himself and be credible every time.

Osvaldo holds the record as the only Italian nominated three times at the BT Digital Music Awards, Unicef Award, Mei Award, 2 Nickelip awards, 2 LAIFFA Awards, and Renaissance Awards. He represented Italy at Global Pride along with Mel B, Rita Ora, and Elton John, and he was the first Italian male artist interviewed by Univision in the US.

Watch the video for ‘Lights Down Low’ here. You can stream and download ‘Lights Down Low’ here. You can find out more about Osvaldo Supino online on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and his official website.

Read our interview with Osvaldo below:

EP: Hello Osvaldo, thanks for agreeing to talk to us! First of all, let us know what is the Osvaldo Supino story? How long have you been a recording artist, when did you start making music, what inspired you to get into music in the first place?

OS: That’s so cool! I’m so happy to be on Essentially Pop, because I actually read it and it’s so cool!! My passion for music… I really don’t remember exactly the day I started making music, I just remember that it’s something I really wanted to do. That’s probably my parent’s fault, they met in a disco club and they brought me there since i was sooo young… my mom usually went to the club when she was pregnant! So I guess it was my destiny.

EP: Following on from the previous question, who or what do you consider are your inspirations in music? What about your life inspirations?

OS: Jennifer Lopez! Her talent, her discipline, her work ethic, I just love her and I dream of collaborating with her.

Talking about my inspirations…I really feel so blessed to do exactly what I love to do and I’m so glad to be surrounded by a family that loves exactly for who I am. If I can make a wish, it would be to always be satisfied with what I do, helping others and feeling at peace with myself. I know it may sound like a commonplace but I really realized how important it is not to take anything for granted.

EP: Looking back over your career, what, if anything, would you do differently? And if so, why would you do it differently?

OS: I just listened always my heart and my passion. I tried and I try each day to be a better singer, songwriter, performer…I want to know that I did everything, that’s my goal at the end of each day. But looking back I would say to myself to believe more in myself and don’t trust people so easily.

EP: You’ve won a lot of awards outside your native country of Italy. To what do you attribute your international appeal?

OS: I have no idea!!! you should tell me. I guess because even if I’m so Italian I’m so in love with the world, knowing people, learning new languages, traveling and being part of the cultures I discover. So a typical Italian guy with an “international attitude”? XD

EP: Following Italy’s victory in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, if you were asked, would you be up for it? If not, why not?

OS: Absolutely yes, I would love to!

EP: Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?

OS: “Is it true you love unicorns?” “I adore them!”





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