Album Review: English Rose by Connie Constance

At only 24 years old, Connie Constance has already made quite a name for herself and is continuing to leave a lasting impression on people with her music. Originally from Watford, the British artist grew up feeling like the odd one out as a mixed-race child. Her album, English Rose, perfectly  conveys the emotions Constance was struggling with at a young age. Between emotive vocals and a diverse sound of production throughout each song, this album is definitely one you will want to dive into.

The title track takes the listener through her emotional journey of feeling like an outsider. “Constance’s should-be-definitive version takes the historically white privileging term ‘English rose’ and re-figures it as a symbol for the porous, prismatic nature of British identity,” (Owen Meyers, Pitchfork). The track is filled with beautiful vocals and piano arrangements, really conveying the sense of sadness Constance is trying to let the listeners feel.

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Show Review: Emily King Live at the Sinclair

Following the release of her long-awaited album Scenery, Emily King is currently finishing up her 2019 tour, with Boston as her third to last show.

King’s opening artist, Jennah Bell, left the audience speechless with her performance. Bell is a Berklee alumnus, which made the Boston show extra special for many of the audience members. Jennah is a singer-songwriter originally from Oakland, California. Her influences are pulled from genres such as folk, soul, R&B, hip-hop, and bluegrass. Her quirky yet fluent style of writing is both compelling and easy to listen to. Her lyrics will hit you hard, and her melodies will leave you wanting more. Not only is Jennah a monstrous musician, but her presence has a surprisingly unique calmness to it. I had the pleasure of speaking to Jennah after her set, and she shared some encouraging words with me without hesitation.

Considering that I had never seen Emily King perform live, I had no idea what to expect from this show other than the fact that it was going to be great. King opened the show with her song “Remind Me,” the first track on Scenery. The moment King strutted out on stage in a show-stopping two piece black outfit with matching sunglasses, I knew this show was going to be one I would be talking about for a while. Her energy was infectious, and everyone in the audience was jumping and dancing around from the moment the song started. Between the tasteful choreography and the tight connection between the band and background vocals, it was impossible to keep your eyes off of the stage. There was entertainment at every moment, and King did not miss one note, even when she was running and dancing around the stage.

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Featured Article: Who is Nick Hakim?

Get to know singer-songwriter Nick Hakim in advance of his solo performance at birnCORE Live, Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939.

Nick Hakim has made it, or at least he is on his way to making it. The 26-year-old musician and songwriter has had a unique path to get to where he is now. The Berklee graduate has reached millions of SoundCloud and Spotify users and is now signed to ATO records, which is home to the Alabama Shakes, Emily King and David Grey, to name a few. Nick’s success, however, is not by just luck. His upbringing and the struggles he faced as a teen directly lead to his raw talent and a strong drive to succeed.

Hakim’s parents emigrated from Lima, Peru, to New York City in the early ’80s after his father received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at the New School in Manhattan. His family moved to Washington D.C. shortly after, where Hakim was born and raised. “He was surrounded by a diverse array of sounds at home,” said an interviewer from Pitchfork. “There was the Nueva cancion—political folk music—of his mother’s native Chile; ’60s and ’70s touchstones like the Beatles and Al Green; D.C. hardcore bands like Fugazi that were beloved by Hakim’s older brother—though Nick preferred the reggae-infused Bad Brains, especially since one of his teachers performed regularly with the band’s vocalist, HR; and Latino rappers like Big Pun and Fat Joe”(Moreland, assistant editor of Pitchfork).

April 19: birnCORE Live featuring Nick Hakim with Danielle Ponder

ATO recording artist and Berklee alumnus Nick Hakim is the featured artist at the spring 2019 edition of birnCORE Live, a live music series that presents some of the most creative, cutting edge performers working in the industry today. Prior shows have featured Taylor Mcferrin, Kaki King and Margaret Glaspy.

This semester’s birnCORE Live takes place on Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939. Hakim blends experimentation and psychedelia with classic soul, and his solo debut album, Green Twins, was praised by Pitchfork as “full of life and energy, often operating at a fever pitch.”

Hakim is joined by Rochester, New York’s Danielle Ponder, a vocalist and songwriter whose voice ranks with the best working in the industry today.

Student tickets are $15 to this must see show and you can get them here. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Click here to listen to birnCORE!

Show Review: Lily & Madeleine

Following the recent release of their fourth full-length album titled Canterbury Girls, Lily & Madeleine finished up their East Coast tour right here in Boston at Cafe 939 on Saturday, March 9th. The sister duo has been writing and performing together since they were in high school, and started their career by uploading home videos of them singing and playing to YouTube. They were discovered from one of their videos by producer Paul Mahern and invited to record their first album in his studio. They have been developing their sound and growing their fanbase ever since.

At the young ages of only 22 and 24, Lily & Madeleine have already released four full-length albums and wrote and produced their most recent album with Grammy-winning producer Ian Fitchuck. The two took the stage with a four piece all female band. It was empowering to watch, to say the least. The connection between all four women was quite evident, as they were perfectly in sync at every moment.

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Album Review: Scenery by Emily King

Three years since the release of her game-changing album, The Switch, Emily King has finally released her long-awaited follow-up titled Scenery. King has introduced a new wave of sounds in this album, while still sticking to her distinct breathy tones and interesting melodic rhythms. She brings a dose of ’80s pop to both her sound and look on this album, which will definitely attract a wide array of new listeners. Her album art perfectly compliments the 12 songs on this album. Simple, with a pop of ’80s inspired pink in both the background and the rose she holds in her hand.

The album starts with a track titled “Remind Me,” which introduces an upbeat airy vibe. The track is catchy and perfectly combines King’s old and new sounds, making the listener want to hear more. What I love about the album most, is that all of the songs make perfect sense as a collection. There’s nothing more satisfying than listening to an album that makes sense together. All of the tracks display flares of experimental production, while also giving us familiar R&B inspired harmonies. Continue reading “Album Review: Scenery by Emily King”

The BIRN wins big at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System College Media Awards!!

In our first time submitting, The Berklee Internet Radio Network won its first nationwide college radio award at the 79th Annual IBS Media Conference in New York City on March 2, 2019.

The station won the Best Live Music Broadcast award for our October 20, 2018 broadcast: birnCORE Live featuring Margaret Glaspy and Hannah Siglin. The show was engineered at the BIRN by Mark Aguilar.

Thanks to everyone at Café 939 for your continued help and support and for making our live broadcasts possible.

The BIRN was also a finalist this year in the category Best Streaming Only Radio Station (Under 10,000 Students). IBS received submissions from hundreds of stations across the country for the awards.

Congratulations to all of the students who work so hard to make the BIRN the award winning station it is today!

Win Tickets to see Godwin Louis Live at the Red Room

The BIRN wants you to win a pair of tickets to see Berklee and Thelonious Monk Institute alumnus Godwin Louis live at the Red Room at Café 939 on Wednesday, February 13 at 8:00 p.m. Louis will be playing selections from his upcoming debut release, Global, which features some of the hottest young musicians on the New York City jazz scene.

To win tickets, email your name and phone number to GodwinLive@thebirn.com. There are four chances for you to win a pair of tickets to this can’t miss show.

The winners will be chosen at random. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, February 12 at 11:00 p.m.

Featured Interview: Shizuno Furuya, Founder and CEO of EchoKids

Shizuno Furuya is a recent graduate of Berklee and founder of the non-profit music education program EchoKids. Shizuno started the program while attending Berklee, and has grown the program immensely since. There are currently five mentors and 17 students at EchoKids, and it is growing every day.

EchoKids is a private lesson program that teaches kids from the ages of 2-13 various music lessons such as piano, voice, violin, etc. The mentors are all current Berklee students who have a passion for teaching and sharing their craft. Lessons are currently held at Berklee and take place 7 days a week, depending on both the families and the mentor’s schedules. 

Shizuno grew up in Miami, Florida and started taking piano lessons at age three. Looking back on a few of her teachers growing up, Shizuno really understood the importance of making learning music fun when you’re young. Because of her positive lesson experiences, she carried a few specific skills with her into her own teaching. During her sophomore year at Berklee, she listed herself online for teaching opportunities around Boston. She started teaching lessons around the area, and became popular with families because of how qualified yet affordable she was. She realized this was something she was really passionate about, and decided to make it a career.

While she was in her last semester at Berklee, Shizuno crafted the idea for EchoKids in one of her business classes, taught by Joe Miglio. With the help of five other classmates, the idea for EchoKids was created and soon became a real business. Continue reading “Featured Interview: Shizuno Furuya, Founder and CEO of EchoKids”