Tuesday, 30 June 2015

The SAY Awards 2015

The SAY Awards 2015

Produced by The Scottish Alternative Music Industry Association (SMIA), The SAY Awards is now in its fourth year and has grown to become the most prestigious music prize in Scotland. This year's shortlist included Paolo Nutini, previous winner Young Father and Belle and Sebastian. 
Each Shorlisted album wins the artist behind it a £1,000 prize and a one of a kind quilt from Glasgow School of Art graduate Vanessa Hindshaw. (http://www.sayaward.com/design-commission/)
This year Singer Songwriter Kathryn Joseph became the worthy winner of Scottish Album of the year for her "very special" debut album. The critically acclaimed work, 'Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I've Splilled', had already seen the enigmatic artist names as one to watch 2015, but she saw off  a fiercely competitive shortlist to take home the coveted award at the Scottish Album of the Year Awards 2015. 
The award was presented bu co-hosts Janice Forsyth and Vic Galloway in-front  of an audience of industry insiders, avid music fans and some of Scotland's best and brightest creative talents.
Kathryn celebrates her win at The Scottish Album Of The Year Ceremony.(photo- Herald Scotland)

Stewart Henderson, chair of the SMIA, said "It's been a flagship year for the SAY Award, our biggest yet, so I'm absolutely delighted for Kathryn. 'Bones you Have Thrown Me And Blood I've Spilled' is a beautiful and very special album'. 
To find out more information about Kathyrn and her award winning album please follow this link- http://www.sayaward.com/the-albums/kathryn-joseph-bones-you-have-thrown-me-and-blood-ive-spilled/
Much Love
Nicola x

Article Subject to Copyright @musicspeaksblogger, all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Electric Honey Anuual Showcase

Electric Honey the world famous student run record label now based at the newely merged Glasgow Kelvin College are proud to present the Annual live showcase featuring
Schnarff Schnarff, Harry and The Hendersons, Finn Le Marinel and Apache Sun.
The event will take place at the Oran Mor as part of Glasgow's West End Festival on Friday 26th June. Doors:7pm
Schnarff Schnarff are five friends, from Inverness, who formed the band in 2012.
 Since releasing their debut five-track EP through label Electric Honey back in April, Schnarff Schnarff have headlined an evening at the King Tuts /XFM’s Summer Nights festival, headlined the sold-out Ironworks’ Easter Showcase, were selected and played at both the goNORTH festival in Inverness and on the goNORTH stage at the Wickerman Festival.

Check out their EP here...

Harry & The Henderson's dedication to melodic songwriting has seen them blend their folk and classic pop influences into an honest, harmony driven entity on this debut EP. With the group's roots being founded in childhood friendships while growing up in the Glasgow suburb of Cambuslang it seemed inevitable that their love of music would drive them together as writers and performers.

Listen to them here...
Finn Le Marinel is a 26 year old singer/songwriter based in Glasgow who writes intricate songs using unique guitar techniques intertwined with dark, nuanced lyrics. His latest EP 'Love is Waves', with lead single 'Become' is critically acclaimed by national press. Blogs such as Glasgow Podcart, Goldflake Paint, Peenko, The Anti Manifesto, When You Motor Away, White Tapes and Leeds Music Scene have all showered Finn's music wth overwhelming praise.  The Daily Record printed a review of 'Become', saying that despite his 'sweet fragile voice', the song 'delivers a lyrical blow... like a clever kick to the stomach'. 'Become' has also been played on Roddy Hart's BBC Scotland show where he labelled Finn as a 'guitar virtusio' as well as finding its way onto Jim Gellatly's Amazing Radio and XFM shows. Alongside his recorded work Finn has also gigged extensively across Scotland receive overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Listen to his latest single here...
The Apache Sun are a psychedelic rock band formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 2014, by singer-guitarist Kris Mitchell and bassist Pete Bruce along with drummer David Noble. Initially the band started as a home recording project after meeting at college. They will be releasing their new EP at the showcase on the 26th June
check them out...
Looks set to be a great night!
Much love

Article Subject to copyright @musicspeaksblogger2015 @electrichoneylabel @Glasgowkelin

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

'Let it Shine' Yorkhill Charity Concert 12th June

'Let It Shine' Yorkhill Charity Concert

'Let It Shine' Charity Concert

Jamie Charlton, 17 and Ross Gunning, 20 founders of the organization Let It Shine are proud to present their first charity concert, in aid of Yorkhill Children’s Charity, on the 12th June 2015 at Glasgow’s O2 ABC.

Emily Middlemas
Jai McDowall

Conceptualised by Ross Gunning, the concert will feature incredible young Scottish Talent including Britain’s Got Talent winner 2011, Jai McDowall, X Factor’s Emily Middlemas and The Voice’s Stephen McLaughlin. 

Local songstress Nicola Cassells will also be appearing at the Star Studded Concert. Nicola “The Girl with the Golden Voice” is a talented Classical Crossover Soprano.

Nicola Cassells

Nicola has had the great privilege of performing at many events such as The Grosvenor in London at the Retail Trust Search for a Star Final competition in which she was crowned the winner after a ‘virtuoso’ performance of the Sarah Brightman classic Time to Say Goodbye, in front of a 1200 crowd which included celebrities from TV, music and the leading figures from the retail industry. She then went on to perform in a few interesting and diverse places such as a shop window of The House of Fraser in Oxford St, Heathrow Terminal 5, and even performing on top of a double-decker bus at a fireworks show!
The Let It Shine concert in aid of the Yorkhill Charity proves to be an evening of top class entertainment. 

“I am excited and thankful to be a part of such a great event and I am sure that an incredible total will be raised to help support the boys and girls of Yorkhill”- Nicola Cassells 

The line up will also include up and coming talent including Glasgow based busker Murdo Mitchell, Matthew Gibb and boyband Only Road.
More acts to be announced soon!

Kirsten Sinclair, Director of Fundraising at Yorkhill Children’s Charity says:
We are delighted that these artists are coming together in a special concert to raise money for Yorkhill Children’s Charity, and wish the organisers the very best of luck preparing for this exciting evening of music and fundraising”.

Expecting around 1300 fans of these incredible artists in attendance filling the venue, this concert will be hugely successful for Yorkhill and go on to help those in desperate need. Tickets are priced at £8 for general tickets and £12 for VIP tickets giving our audience an incredible night for an amazing night of music.

'Let It Shine' Charity Concert

Ross Gunning, 20, Young Scot Arts Award Winner and Founder of Let It Shine says:
“It has been an honour and privilege to conceptualise and organise this event in aid of Yorkhill Children’s Charity as well as being able to showcase young Scottish talent whilst doing it. We are really looking forward to the event and we hope the audience do to!”

Jamie Charlton, Owner of an Artist Management Agency and Co-Founder of Let it Shine says:
What an honour it is to organise this event in aid of Yorkhill Children’s Charity. Not only will we be raising money for Yorkhill, but we’ll have some great young talent to showcase. We hope to see you there and help us raise funds for Yorkhill.”

Tickets are on sale from:
General Tickets

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Burns An' A' That Festival 2015

Last weekend I caught up with Scottish Singer/Songwriter Sandi Thom at the Burns and a'That Festival held in Ayr.

Annual 'Burns an' a' that' Festival.

The Burns an' a' that! Festival is an annual tribute to Scotland's internationally acclaimed poet Robert Burns. In this year, 2015, the  festival celebrated its fourteenth anniversary with a free 'Weekend in the Park' celebration on Sat 2 & Sun 3 May at the new location of Rozelle Park, Ayr. There was an amazing line-up of live music & Burns performances. 

There was a wide variety of artists performing at the festival including Dogtooth, Seaside Sons and Big Country. In the acoustic tent there were performance from local singer/songwriters including Sophie Rodgers, Jamie Angus and Chloe Marie. 

Due to other commitments I was only able to make it down to Ayr for Saturday's Headline Act, Sandi Thom. Having seen Sandi perform before I knew that I would be in for a great show, not to be missed and I was glad that I didn't!

Sandi Thom at the 'Burns an' a' that' Festival. Photo by Martin Bone Photography.

For those of you who don't know me, I have previously worked with Sandi Thom when I released an EP through her label, Guardian Angel Records. 
So I was pleased when she spotted me on the crowd and gave me one of her knowing smiles on arrival to the stage!

Nicola Cassells with Sandi Thom

Sandi appeared on stage at Rozelle along with her talented band members, Calum Ingram on the Cello and Scott Cowie on Drums and Percussion, beginning with the gripping number 'Help Me' from her Flesh and Blood Album. 
Other hits with the crowd included 'When Horsepower Meant What it Said' and the Foo Fighters Cover 'Time Like These' which had the crowd singing along. 

To keep the crowd engaged she decided to have a little fun with The song 'Rolling Train' inviting the crowd to sing along and play each half of the room against each another, a great way to involve fans!

Sandi Thom with band members, Calum Ingram and Scott Cowie. Photo by Martin Bone Photography

Next, Sandi performed her breakthrough song, the one which the audience had been waiting for, 'I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker', informing the audience of how it has been 10 years since the song was released in the UK. 

All loved up and recently engaged, Sandi is looking forward to the future and is set to release her new single with Scottish Label, Mita records, due for release in May. I wish her all the best at this exciting time in her life!

To pay tribute to the famous Bard, Robert Burns, Sandi and her band played a mesmerising version of 'Auld Land Syne' and to finish she performed the title track from her recent album 'Flesh and Blood'. This is one of my favourite songs from Sandi and if you check out the video below you will find out why...

It was fantastic to see Sandi perform in my home town and to have a wee catch up with her afterwards, such a talent and an inspiration!

Sandi Thom on Stage in Ayrshire.  Photo by Martin Bone Photography.

"The festival was fantastic, my home crowd never lets me down and on this night they were on form!!" -Sandi Thom

With Love

p.s. thanks Alister Firth!! 
"The Talented Nicola Cassells takes a night off to watch the talented Sandi Thom at Burns an' a' that"- Alister Firth Photography

Article is Subject to copyright @MusicSpeaksBlogger. Photos by Martin Bone Photography www.martinbonephotography.co.uk

Thursday, 30 April 2015

SAMA's Opening Party 2015

Last week I popped along to the Citizen M in Glasgow for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMA's) Opening Party.

It was a great night which featured live acoustic music from Toni Etherson, Finn Le Marinel and Bwani Junction. 
The artists performing were kept hush hush until the night of the Opening Party. It just goes to show the trust and respect which people have for Ritchie and the SAMA's considering that the tickets sold out within two hours without the guests even knowing who would be performing on the night!

 I would highly recommend that you check all the acts out...
Toni Etherson told an inspiring story about her travels and life events which led to her writing and creating her knew album before blowing us away with her captivating voice and lyrics...
Toni Ethersons new single 'Born In The Wrong Generation'. 

Finn Le Marinel I know well as an artist already as he is the artist that we are working with on the Student Run Label Electric Honey at Glasgow Kelvin College. He has a really unique style in the way that he performs his mesmerising music. He really enjoys a closeness with his audience and will always ask the audience to 'come up close to the stage and take a seat', making for a really chilled out and relaxed atmosphere.

Finn's Latest EP is now available following his EP Release Show at The CCA on the 29th April - https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/love-is-waves-ep/id982519275

Here is his 'Noone' video from his 'Violence' Album...
Finn Le Marinel- 'Noone' 

The nights headliners were Bwani Juction. They are an awesome group of guys who have gathered a growing support throughout the UK. Their Afro-beat inspired music, particularly that of their song 'Two Bridges', is instantaneously catchy and gives to the desire to get up and dance along!

Bwani Juction- 'Two Bridges'

Ex- Simple Minds manager Bruce Findlay received a special 'Outstanding Contribution to Music' Award. Speaking from his Edinburgh home of his delight at winning The Outstanding Contribution to Music Award, Bruce Findlay said: "I am thrilled to receive the first Outstanding Contribution to Music Award at this year's Scottish Alternative Music Awards. The SAMA's pleases me because I've always felt alternative to the mainstream and I am genuinely humbled by this award being given by a relatively new and useful organisation to the music industry."

Ritchie Muirhead with Bruce Findlay - Photo from STV Glasgow

I will be keeping my eye out for the details of this years ceremony! If the Opening Party is anything to go by I will be highly recommending that you get yourself tickets for the Award Ceremony!

Much Love

Nicola x

Scottish Alternative Music Awards- https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSAMA?fref=ts

Article Subject to Copyright @ MusicSpeaksBlogger 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The Shires at the Oran Mor Glasgow

Last night I popped along to the Oran Mor In Glasgow's West End to see Country Duo, The Shires. Having never seen them perform live before I was unsure of what to expect. 
I turned up, a little later than I meant to, but thankfully, just in time for the opening act. I was surprised to find that they crowd were electric you could really sense the atmosphere straight away. 

On stage were the energetic country duo John and Jacob who were just radiating energy through their music. The crowd were singing along as they performed 'Be My Girl' a hit currently being played on BBC Radio 2.The duo are published writers in Nashville writing Billboard Hits such as 'Done' with the band Perry. Recently they have had their current single 'Be My Girl', placed in ABC's hit TV show, 'Nashville'- I am just hooked to this show! I would recommend that you check them out! 

Link to 'Be My Girl' by John and Jacob
John and Jacob 'Be My Girl'.

I was lucky enough to meet up with them after they performed, having came all the way for Alabama they were keen to get the party going in Glasgow! 

As The Shires stepped out onto stage they were immediately greeted with a huge cheer from the Glasgow audience. Opening with their first single 'Nashville Grey Skies' they had the Oran Mor crowd in the palm of their hands. I was completely hooked from that first song with their captivating melodies and wholesome personalities. With Chrissie's stunning vocals and Ben's Sultry harmonies, its clear to see why the pair have broken chart records - becoming the first British country artists to reach the Top 10 in the Official UK Album Chart with their Début album 'Brave', available to buy and download now.

Début Album 'Brave' Available to buy now http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Shires/dp/B00KHEUC9S

As they worked their way through the album you could feel that they were enjoying every second, as the crowd were too especially when it came to hits like 'Friday Night', appropriate with it being a Friday Night, of Course!

 "Get a little drunk on a Friday night, night..."

They are a really talented pair. Their harmonies are just memorising. Chrissie has a voice to rival any of the country greats and Ben showed us his great skills as a musician changing between the guitar and piano during the course of the night.
For me, the highlight was when they performed their next planned single 'State Lines', it's such a gripping song which completely captivated me and allowed me just to get lost in the moment. It was utterly charming. They have recently filmed a new video for this song so I will be looking out for that.
Have a listen for yourself and let me know your thoughts!
The Shires 'State Lines'.

Chrissie and Ben were clearly taken aback by the crowd when it came to their final song 'Tonight'. Upon leaving the stage (before coming back out for the encore) the crowd began a chorus of the previous song. It was really heart-warming to see how humbled they were by the reception that they were receiving from the fans at Oran Mor. Ben announced that it 'has been the best night of the tour so far and that they don't see how it could be topped', you could tell that he was being really genuine in his words and couldn't thank the audience enough.
They took to Facebook afterwards with a video which captures that very moment...

"How Glasgow ask for an encore!!! What an amazing night!! Thank y'all so musch."

The encore brought the night to a close on a high with a cover of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rodgers 'Islands in the Stream'.
The Shires 'Islands In The Stream'.

With a a huge applause in appreciation, The Shires took their bows and thanked the crowd with promises of returning to Glasgow soon.

I'm so glad that I was there to witness The Shires live at the Oran Mor, it was a truly unique experience and I would definitely recommend that you take a listen for yourself, as you will not be disappointed!

Much Love 

This article is subject to copyright  11/04/2015

Friday, 10 April 2015

The King Lot

As you may or may not know, I am a Classical Singer (www.nicolacassells.com- shameless plug!), but I don’t restrict myself to just listening to Classical Music, in fact I am open to exploring all genres of music. This includes listening to a bit of Rock every now and then, I‘m often found warming up my vocals to a bit of Queen, Guns & Roses or Bon Jovi so I was very excited to discover a new band, The King Lot, a Scottish band who are influenced by the very same musicians.
The King Lot are a Scottish Melodic Hard Rock Band, formed in 2013 by long-time friends and hugely talented musicians Jason Sweeney, Michael Fairbairn and Chris Gillon. Having been in several bands in previous years, they made the very wise decision to unite their shared passion for rock music and create something bigger than ever before.

Scottish Melodic Hard Rock Band, The King Lot

It is evident that in their songs that they are influenced by artists such as Gun’s and Roses, Bon Jovi, The Wildheart and Dan Reed but rather than just copycatting ideas, they have brought their own Raw energy into the mix and have brought a sound which is bang up to date that could easily compete in the current music market.
Thoughout 2014 the band built up an incredible amount of support from fans. They also gained an incomparable reputation from playing live in shows along the way with US Bands such as Beasto Blanco and Swedish bands such as H.E.A.T & Thundermother. This along with Festival shows all led to the band undertaking their first tour around Scotland which was hugely successful in cementing their place as THE new Scottish Rock Band to watch.
They also released a limited edition single in this time too "Until My Dying Day" to rave reviews nationwide and made a video to accompany it.
Link to YouTube video…

The single was launched at the ever supportive spiritual home of TKL...DreadnoughtRock in Bathgate followed by an in-store appearance and signing at HMV in Livingston Centre. At this point the band were described in reviews as "the lovechild of GNR & Bon Jovi" and "like U2 but better"!
Legendary Scottish rock/metal DJ Tom Russell is a self-confessed fan.
Armed with their best material to date they have now released their début album. I would highly recommend that you give it a listen!
The album's title track 'As They Burn', sets the tone for what's coming next. Its and upbeat rock anthem and has a great catchy vocal and a thunderous bassline that's sure to get your blood pumping. 
The guys are very talented when it comes to songwriting, which is something that shines through the tracks on the album. Whether it's the rockier track of 'One Of These Days, the ballad of 'Ghost Of You' or even the albums acoustic track 'Queen Of Hearts'. The songs lyrics are highly relatable and easy to listen to. 
'Until My Dying Day' and 'All Is Not Lost' in particular were the songs which drew me in an almost hypnotising way to the point where I could get completely lost in the music. There is a real sense of storytelling which is evident throughout the album which adds to the gripping melodies and arrangements of the music. So turn it up and sing-a-long in your best rock voice!!!
The Début Album Released 2nd March 2015

The band has a great deal of support from their sponsors who include Scottish Business Beard Oil Manufacturer 'Braw Beard Oils', Brewer 'Demonbrew' and Biker Jewellery purveyor 'Badboy Jewellery' which has all came in very handy for the famously bearded beer loving biker boys. A TKL beer is in fact being discussed for production in the near future... 'Flying Skull Beer'. Now that will quench the thirst after a marathon sing-a-along!! 

The album is released on Crown Jewels Records and is available in CD Digipack format from www.thekinglot.bigcartel.com or digitally from iTunes & Amazon from 02/03/15.
The King Lot Website Link- http://www.thekinglot.com/

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for TKL and it looks like it’s onwards and upwards. There has been nothing but raving reviews for the band on their début release which are sure to continue throughout their UK Tours over the coming year. I look forward to seeing what comes next for the band and I wish them all the best for the future!!
Much Love
Article subject to copyright www.TheKingLot.co.uk & @MusicSpeaksBlogger2015 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Chloe Marie 'Without You In The Frame' Debut Single'

Today I would like to tell you about a new artist who is making her mark locally in Ayrshire and is set to have a bright future in the Music Business, Chloe Marie. I have had the privilege of seeing/hearing her perform live and I was excited to learn that she is now releasing her debut single 'Without You in the Frame'.

Chloe Simpson AKA Chloe Marie is a young, talented singer/songwriter who has a very distinct sound with her soaring vocals which can be equally Soulful and Majestic and yet at other times be  tender and fragile. She is no ordinary writer, this girl wants to touch the hearts of her listeners through the music she makes. Taking risks and striding ahead she is already enjoying great opportunities coming her way. She recently sang for the ‘Olympic Torch ‘Procession in her hometown which was a wonderful honour. 
Chloe also features on the videos’  Velodrome  ‘and ‘ The Silent Youth’  by singer/songwriter Scott Nicol who has toured in the USA and has music on iTunes. Chloe has played many gigs in and around Ayrshire and further afield in Glasgow and has found the experience to be a fantastic way to mingle with inspirational musicians.

 Her Debut Single 'Without you in the Frame' which was co -written with Scott Nicol and recorded by Samuel Gallagher at EssGee Productions, near Glasgow, has an upbeat feel but has undertones of loss and the need to move on. The track details her own story and is set in beautiful imagery which listeners can get lost in. From the very powerful and dramatic introduction into a moment of silence full of suspense it leaves the listener intrigued to hear what is coming next. This song will be ready to download from  iTunes from the beginning of March. Already thinking ahead, she is putting the finishing touches to the next track called’ Changing’. She is also looking at re workings of earlier compositions such as the live favourite ‘My Ship’! 
The photograph on her bio was taken by a remarkable photographer, Martin Bone,  who uses the slogan  ‘RAW to the Bone’. Martin will be directing the Video for ‘ Without you in the Frame’ which will be on YouTube very soon, Martin will also be working with Chloe on a Photo shoot . Which I am sure these will produce trademark images which will be used in the promotion of her music in the days to come.  Here is a girl ready on the runway to fly into 2015 and beyond. So i hope you can join her on this spectacular journey.

Chloe Marie Debut single 'Without You in the Frame' is available to download now on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id973616189

Chloe Marie Album Official Album Artwork Photography by MartinBonePhotography©

To Find out some more about Chloe Marie please like and share her on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/ChloeMariaMusician?fref=ts

Thanks for checking in!!

Much Love

Nicola xx

(Article subject to copyright-@ C.Simpson..S.W.Nicol  .Jan 2015 & @nicolacassells -music speaks blogger. Images by www.martinbonephotography.co.uk )

Friday, 27 February 2015

Katherine Jenkins 'Home Sweet Home' Tour 2015

Katherine Jenkins took to the stage at Edinburgh's Usher Hall last night in celebration of her 10th anniversary in the Music Industry.
Katherine Jenkins 'Home Sweet Home' Tour 2015 Photo: Matt Thorpe
The Welsh Mezzo Soprano pleased the crowd with performances of her songs from her most recent album, Home Sweet Home, along with some of her favourites from her previous albums.
We were treated to a wonderful rendition of 'The Thieving Magpie' (Rossini's Overture) from The National Symphony Orchestra, who were in the capable hands of  Conductor Anthony Inglis.
She appeared on stage in an angelic fashion wearing a stunning gown complete with ruffles and gold sequins while singing her opening number, Beethoven's 'Ode To Joy'.
Katherine Jenkins looked stunning in her opening number- source: Daily Mail
This was followed up by her heavenly version of 'Hallelujah' and then by a rousing rendition of 'Anthem', from the musical Chess. A song which she said that she has always loved as it was 'anthemic' and reminded her of songs sang at sports grounds and also sang in honour of the country that's in your heart.
Other songs to follow in the first half included 'Land Of My Fathers', 'I Giorni' and her recent single, 'Dreaming Of The Days'.
She closed the first half, with my favourite, 'Time to Say Goodbye' (Con Te Partiro). At the first concert in which I attended of hers she did this song as her encore. All it took was for the orchestra to play the first note and I was in tears, Katherine Jenkins hadn't even stepped back out to the stage yet! (For those who don't know me, 'Time to Say goodbye' is a song which I have been known to sing myself on many occasions! So it has great meaning) -www.NicolaCassells.com
Katherine brought along a guest along on her tour in the form of the magnificent, John Owen Jones. Best know for playing the part of Phantom in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. (I just love him!). He started by giving us a taster of his alter ego persona with' Music of The Night' followed by a dramatic version of Tom Jones' 'Thunderball'. The power in his voice is something else!
The Magnificent John Owen Jones

There was a funny moment between John and Anthony where John pointed out that the kilt which he was sporting was on back to front! Which resulted in a few giggles from the audience and certainly tickled Katherine!

Instagram: @realkathjenkins "That moment when you realise you've done the whole first half with your skirt on back to front!"
The orchestra kicked of the second half with The My Fair Lady Overture featuring 'On The Street Where You Live', 'I Could Have Danced All Night' and 'Wouldn't it be Loverly' before Katherine returned to the stage with the mesmerising  'La Califfa', 'The Prayer' and 'Elgars Nimrod'.
The Welsh singer then took time to tell the audience just how much she enjoyed being in Edinburgh to perform and made reference to the performance at Edinburgh Castle which took place last year. She then read out some messages to the crowd and answered some questions. Upon doing so she congratulated a couple on there engagement after discovering that the proposal had happened only moments before the show began!
Another cheeky elderly fan asked her for 'a snog backstage' to which she politely declined.
Instagram: @realkathjenkins "Do I have comfy slippers on under here?!" (Picture by TallMartin) Proving that she was, in fact, wearing some sparkly heels!
She  was then joined back on stage by John Owen for the rousing 'Barcelona', a very impressive duet!
John then followed this up with his version of the European Song Contest Song, 'Rise Like A Phoenix', pointing out that it was sang by a bearded bloke with a dress and said that he, himself had the beard and that Anthony was wearing the dress (now the correct way round) which certainly amused the crowd! Before he said goodbye to the Scottish audience he sang an emotional version of the Les Miserables song 'Bring Him Home'.
For the finale Katherine came back to the stage to perform The Love Theme from The Godfather 'Parla Piu Piano', and 'World in Union'.
An emotional version of 'In The Arms Of The Angel' brought most of the audience to tears after announcing that she was singing it in the memory of her dear friend Polly Noble, who passed away last year after an 8 year battle with cancer. She finished the song by blowing her a kiss, very touching.
The audience where up on their feet for her encore song, Queen's 'We Are The Champions' followed by a huge applause in appreciation from the audience in the Usher Hall.
Instagram: @realkathjenkins

I then had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Katherine Jenkins after the show!

Welsh Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins with Scottish Soprano Nicola Cassells

After the show I wrote, "With Katherine Jenkins!! What a wonderful woman :) she looked at me and said "are you the singer?" I was certainly taken by surprise! She also told me that she hoped that we can sing together one day! She also took away one of my CD's!! #happygirl @realkathjenkins" www.facebook.com/nicolacassellsmusic

Not many people get the chance to meet their idols and some when they do end up being disappointed. But I certainly wasn't! She was lovely and made me feel really special, what more could I ask for! :)

I hope you enjoyed my review of her show!

Much Love, Nicola xx

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Brit Awards 2015

This is my first ever blog post! So thank you for looking in! 
 I thought that since The Brit Awards are on this week that this would be a great opportunity for me to start!  I will be bringing you a list of the winners along with any gossip and news along the way, so I hope that it will make for a good read!

This years Brit Award were hosted by TV Legends Ant & Dec. I was secretly hoping for a cheeky performance of 'Lets get ready to rumble' but unfortunately it was not meant to be...
Kicking off the 'BRIT' Awards was the not so British singer Taylor Swift... but hey! She was fabulous as always. Even though I personally prefer her earlier  style of country girl blues, even I can't say no to watching the perfect pop performance of 'Blank Space' which was topped off nicely with some raining glitter. The only real problem I had unfortunately was the fact that she never sang live. Surely it should be a prerequisite that if you perform at The Brit Awards you should sing live?
Here is Taylor Swifts Glittering Performance...
(Only video I can find at the moment, will try and replace it with another soon)

How Stunning is the dress on the right??

So the first up was the British Male Solo Artist Award which was announced by Rita Ora and Orlando Bloom (who certainly improves with age!). The nominees included Damien Albarn, Paolo Nutini, George Ezra, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran. The award went to the unstoppable Ed Sheeran!

Second Award of the evening, presented by Jimmy Page went to the awesomely talented group Royal Blood who earlier on in the year were nominated for a Mercury Prize album of the year. I am so pleased that they won this award! Other nominees for this award included Alt J, Clean Bandit and One Direction. From a quick search on twitter I discovered that the One Directioners were less than happy, as you can imagine!

Sam Smith then captivated the audience with his effortless vocal performance of 'Lay Me Down' backed by a stunning white orchestra in an absolutely beautiful setting.

Then Ant & Dec brought out a Bingo Machine...

Louis Hamilton and Ellie Goulding appeared on stage (slightly awkwardly) to present the next award. And without coming across as superficial, I do want to point out that it was very annoying that you could quite obviously see Ellie Gouldings hair extension clips! Anyway, back to the award... which was for Best International Female. The nominees included Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Lana Del Ray and St Vincent. The award went to Taylor Swift, which explains the shows opening performance. I have to say well done to her as it turns out that this was her first ever Brit award. She was very vocal in thanking her British friend, Ed Sheeran and it was very humbling to see just how happy she was to receive the award.

Next to perform was the group of the moment, for me, Royal Blood. It still amazes me that the band only has two members when you consider the huge sound which they make. They smashed it with an electric performance!

(I couldn't find a video from the Brit Awards but here is their Official Video for 'Out Of The Black')

Mark Ronson was up next to present the award for Best British Female. (personally I think that Mark Ronsons Quiff deserved an award of its own!). The nominees were Paloma Faith, FKA Twigs, Lily Allen, Jessie Ware and Ella Henderson. The award went to the Beautiful Paloma Faith who was more than deserving of it, it was great to see her finally getting some recognition. She was overwhelmed to receive the award after so many years of hard work and determination. I just loved her 'gobbing off' speech, brilliant!I know there will be people who will be moaning about the length of her speech, but she did warn us beforehand and it was also her moment, so why the hell not!!

The cutie that is Ed Sheeran was up next to perform. I love that he can grip a crowd with just his voice and a guitar, no gimmicks, showing that he was deserving of his award from the evening. 'Bloodstream' is one of my favourite songs from Ed's recent album.

Fifth award of the night for The artist with the biggest Global Success presented by Kim Kardashian- West was awarded to Sam Smith.

Words cannot describe just how awful the next performance was from Kim's husband Kanye West. It was dreadful, I honestly thought that there was a glitch with the sound to begin with. Every second word was a swear word which had to be muted out and when this happened all we were left with was the dull sound of the crowd. This did not make for good television!!
Even Ant & Dec didn't know how to respond to that 'performance'. "Think this time last week it was double corrie on ITV"- classic awkward moment.

The lovely Cara Delevingne was next up to present the award for best international Male. The nominees for this award included Hozier, Jack White, Beck, John Legend and Pharrell Williams. The award went to Pharrel Williams, while I am sure that he deserved it, I was disappointed that the award didn't go to Hozier. I just cant get enough of his music at the moment and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who cant get 'Take Me To Church' out of my head?

To my surprise, Take That took to the stage! Definitely one of my guilty pleasures... although it was very strange to see them perform with only three members.

Ant & Dec came back out with that bingo wheel again, I still don't get it!

The award for Single of the Year was presented by Lisa Snowdon from Capital FM & Lionel Ritchie.( It was strange to think that just last week I performed in the same venue as him, very surreal!) I'm not going to go through the full list of songs as there are too many, I'm just going to tell you that the award went  to 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars. No Surprises there! There were a lot of tweets which suggested that Mark Ronson should have thanked Fleur East, have they made a valid point?

Here is a video of Fleur East as I do love her version (even though I'm not exactly a fan of xfactor...)

I know that one of my good friends, Aimee, would have been very happy to hear that her favourite band  the Foo Fighters scooped up the award for Best International group! Very well deserving, they thanked everyone through a video message from their home in California. Other nominees in this category included The Black Keys, First Aid Kit, The War on Drugs and 5 Seconds of Summer.

The Lovely George Ezra was next to perform with the song of the moment, 'Budapest', it was obviously a hit with the crowd with shots of them all singing along.

Up next was the award for Best Breakthrough Act, presented by Fearne Cotton (I just love her!) and Charlie CX. It was Sam Smith who was given the honour of winning the award over George Ezra, Chvrches, Royal Blood and FKA Twigs.

Highlight of the show for me was Paloma Faiths performance of 'Only love Can Hurt'. She just sounded and looked stunning! In the background of her performance was some very impressive dancers who performed under a curtain of rain. Paloma herself was then drenched in a downpour towards to the end of the song. She must have been practicing in the shower! I was very impressed that she still managed to put of such a powerful performance despite the British weather making its way into the arena!

One Direction won Video of the Year. They couldn't be there to accept the awards, but Simon Cowell made it along to accept it on their behalf. They didn't even record a thank you video.

The final award of the evening, Best British Album of the year had a list of nominees who were all very deserving of the award. Presented by Russell Crowe, the award went to Ed Sheeran for his album X. What a year it has been for Ed!!!

Before I move on to the final performance of the awards I would like to show appreciation to the critics choice award winner James Bay. A very deserving talent. His performance on the after party show was outstanding, its just a pity we didn't get to see it at the main event although I'm sure his day will come.

Now for the moment everyone was waiting for... Madonna's performance.

Well, what can I say... just in case you missed it...or just want to watch it over and over again...

(short clip as I was unable to find the full performance)

I literally gasped and could barely speak for the rest of her performance. All I can say now is that, as embarrassing as that was, it does go to show just how professional she can be.

Well that's it for another year! What did you think of this years ceremony?

I hope that you enjoyed reading this Blog, as I said before, it is my first and I probably need a little more practice. But thanks for reading all the same!

Love Nicola x