I’ve just about recovered from the Grammys, (hopefully you were following our coverage on Sunday/Monday), which was one of the better ceremonies I’ve seen over the years.
One of the most poignant moments (for me, anyway) was Demi Lovato performing her new song “Anyone” – that’s now been added to this week’s playlist, along with a bunch of other great new tracks.
I’m very much here for the return of extrovert, disco ball-spinning pop in 2020. Dua Lipa’s new song, “Physical”, isn’t as good as “Don’t Start Now” but it’s still the kind of motivational bop that we need as Britain throws itself face-first into an uncertain future.
For more new pop, try Taylor Swift’s empowering “Only the Young”, released after being included in the Netflix documentary Miss Americana (review here). If you’ve read this column before you’ve probably seen I’m an unabashed country music fan, so yes, I am enjoying Carly Pearce’s ballad “You Kissed Me First”, and also the brilliant Ashley McBryde’s “Hang in there Girl”.
If a darker kind of pop is more your thing, there’s “Ladders to the Sun”, the title track from Stereo Honey’s new EP, and Madison Beer’s kiss-off “Good in Goodbye”. Ghostpoet is back with the menacing, Waits-esque “Concrete Pony” – the first single from his forthcoming album I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep – as is North Carolina producer Porter Robinson, who tussles with his depression on “Get Your Wish”.
I found myself quite captivated by Andreya Triana’s R&B slow-jam “Girl”, and the enchanting “Hold On” by Swedish electro-pop band Little Dragon. “It started out as a slick house track but transformed once Fred [Wallin] played the bass through it and we all worked it together,” the band explain.
“It became something raw and soulful. It's a simple groove that makes us dance. We can't wait to play it live because once we play it live it most certainly will change again.“
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My spotlight artist this week is Didirii, an Australian artist whose name is derived from the indigenous practice Dadirri, meaning “deep, quiet, listening”. His new song, “Raw Stuff”, is just that – a stripped-down piano ballad over which Didi sings in a resonant kind of drawl.
Check out the video for “Raw Stuff”, which was filmed in Johanna, Victoria, and read my Q&A with Didi below:
Hey Didi, how's your 2020 so far?
Strange to say the least. Australia has been a pretty emotional zone over the last month. Conflicting feelings releasing a song that I really care about in amongst all of what’s going on. It’s nice to be putting something, hopefully healing, out into the world.
Tell me a bit about "Raw Stuff"
This particular song I'd almost given up on two years ago. I couldn’t open up to a dear person in my life when I really needed to. I found myself paralysed by fear of letting them down. I gave up and then two years later found myself in the studio on the phone to that very same person. They had said they felt identical and mirroring feelings at the very same time. I wrote the second half of Raw Stuff there and then at the piano. It felt like placing the final flower in a bouquet and leaving it not to touch it again. It cuts close to the heart for me.
What music are you listening to right now?
Back to the classics. John Mayer's Continuum. If you ever want to find a better-engineered album you are gonna be on a quest for a long time.
What else do you have lined up for this year?
Getting ready to release more music, stoked to be joining the line up at SXSW in Austin, and planning to be back in Europe for a few shows and I guess just generally ready to play these new songs for you all x