It’s been a fantastic year so far for Adele whose second album 21 has managed to dominate charts worldwide recently. After her stunning performance of Someone Like You at The Brits a few weeks ago, where the singer was clearly holding back tears, she’s been on a roll.
Adele’s latest and greatest appearance was a powerful performance of Rolling In The Deep on Late Show With Letterman in which Adele displays all the traits of her influences like Etta James and Dusty Springfield. Etta James is clearly a big inspiration on her as she gets two renditions in a collection of Adele covers which also sees her tackle Sam Cooke, Cheryl Cole, Bob Dylan and The Cure.
While Adele is one of the lucky ones enjoying worldwide success, it’s much harder for talented musicians at the start of their career. The recently launched Fairtrade Music site, offers independent artists the opportunity to connect directly to potential fans via a donation system if a listener likes what they hear. The main benefit is that 100% of a donation (the total amount is up to to the listener) goes directly into the artist’s pocket, and the listener feels good for having helped out the little guy. There are currently over 1300 artists and over 3300 listeners on the site.
If FairTrade Music isn’t cool enough for you, perhaps you need something more sarky. Try out the Pocket Hipster iPhone app (€0.79 in the app store). The app features an animated cartoon character called Sebastian Fowler who checks out your iTunes library, sneers at it and proceeds to suggest a playlist of songs not present you should be listening to. In-between Sebastian tells you about his ironic facial hair, his eBay buys and espouses the virtue of living in a squat. It’s a great little fun diversion and offers up some genuine musical treats, but it’s probably the only one that’ll make you want to punch the next person you see on a fixed gear bike.
If Pocket Hipster is too ironic for you but you still want to hear some brand new music then check out Red Bull’s Music Academy Radio which exists as a website and a free iPhone app. There are hundreds of hours of live sets, interviews, mixes, and audio documentaries to explore. Like the brand’s admirable Music Academy initiative, which puts on global workshops for promising producers, the main emphasis is on dance and electronic music. The latest shows feature interviews with Chilly Gonzales, The Roots and Hercules And Love Affair along with live recordings from Jamie xx, The Go! Team, Flying Lotus and loads more including radio channels by genre which play music non-stop.