News — Artist Spotlight

Artist Spotlight: Justin Johnson The Guitarist Who Plays A Shovel

Justin Johnson with shovel guitarThis is home (when he’s not touring the globe) for Justin Johnson, leading emissary and scholar of blues and roots music, also known as ‘The Wizard’ and recognised as International Slide Guitar Champion. Thanks to the wonders of Skype I get a tour of Justin’s house.

It’s the heart of Tennessee… picture the scene: The sun bleached porch with the creaky old rocking chair, the rusty old redundant tractor (now home for the farmyard rooster), chilled beers, an amp and the dilemma of which guitar to play.

Artist Spotlight: Jordan Scannella - World Touring Bass Player, Producer and Em'Cee

Jordan Scannella Performing under his stage name Jorscan, Brooklyn based Jordan Scannella is a professional bass player, composer, producer and Em’Cee who has toured the world spanning the spectrum of music, from house music to jazz and beyond in a host of successful bands. Having backed an all-star cast of musicians, his solo work combines elements of soul, rare groove and hip-hop...

Artist Spotlight: Remco Hendriks - A World's Elite Bass Player

RemcoUntil I actually met Remco Hendriks, I was one of thousands upon thousands of people who have watched him work his funky bass guitar grooves on YouTube, totally mesmerized by his sheer speed, accuracy, dexterity and phrasing on a fretless bass. I’d read all the quotes folk leave at the bottom… “Is this guy for real?” “Nah, can’t be done, it’s been sped up.”

Remco likes his privacy and own space so, as fans of his videos will know, he’s rarely seen full-face on screen. So I’m dragging my camera gear around Musikmesse, the annual trade show in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this year, when I notice familiar blonde dreadlocks. I’m thinking... is it or isn’t?

Witnessing Remco play live at the show, squashed all the rumours I’ve read, none of the videos are sped up and yes, I would say he is probably in the 1% of the world’s elite bass players.

Over a beer, Remco talks in his Dutch dialect about ‘all things bass’ and that until he checked it out, didn’t realise viewing figures for his videos were in the millions.

Artist Spotlight: Stephen (Mojo) Mougin, Nashville Bluegrass Player

MojoWhilst at the Summer NAMM show in Nashville, Tennessee in July 2017, I spotted an unmistakable, distinct green Fusion acoustic guitar gig bag, drifting periscope-like above a sea of heads at this year’s crowded event. Following said gig bag led me to the Fishman stand, arguably one of the world’s leaders within acoustic instrument pickup design, pre- amps and amplification.
It’s here that no other than Stephen Mougin multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, producer, engineer, teacher, label owner and one of the finest bluegrass players, casually perched himself on a stool and played some fine bluegrass acoustic guitar. In typical American style, crowds whooped and cheered as Stephen finished his set and started to pack away his favourite Collings CJ-35 acoustic guitar in his trusty Fusion case.

Artist Spotlight: Victoria Vox - Singer-Songwriter / Ukulele Artist

Victoria Vox

Victoria has the ability to effortlessly rub her tummy and pat her head at the same time. In a musical perspective that means, not only does she have a stunning ukulele playing style, a voice that can effortlessly adapt to any musical genre, operate a pedal board with precision...she still has a secret weapon... the mouth trumpet.

Victoria has perfected a vocal technique that imitates the sound of a trumpet by blowing air through her lips, an incredible effect that at first raises a smile from the audience, often ending up with a standing ovation.

Artist Spotlight: Gil Norton - Respected And Influential Record Producer

Gil NortonAs a highly respected and influential record producer, Gil Norton has worked with some of the biggest names in rock. A large list of Internationally acclaimed artists trust Gil at the controls. These have included Foo Fighters, Counting Crows, Echo &The Bunnymen, Feeder, Pixies, Marmozets, Band Of Skulls, JOANovARC and Jimmy Eat World, to name but a few. He takes up the story…

“I distinctly remember at the age of 12 how I wanted to be a sound engineer or a TV camera man. I felt so strongly about taking this path throughout my school years, that I left the 6th form after a year to take up an Audio Visual youth opportunity scheme that Knowsley Council were offering to promote the borough.

Artist Spotlight: Madonna Mallon - Trombonist at London Metropolitan Brass Band

Madonna Mallon Trombonist at London Metropolitan Brass Band

Cold Play. There’s something about Christmas carols being played live by a brass band, the soothing dreamy purr of a French horn, the wispy liquid slur of a mellow trumpet to the throaty drawl of the trombone, then there’s the joyful thrum-pump parp parp sonic characteristics of the big brass tuba.

A congested London Paddington Station on the Eve of said festive occasion, was indeed looking like a train strike had just been announced as I arrived. My first thoughts were, at least I have relaxing music to listen to while they sort it out.

Artist Spotlight: Shane Ó Fearghail - It's All About The Song

Shane Ó FearghailDefining the word ‘Nomad’ can be partly described as: ‘A person at one roaming about for pasture, pastoral tribe, a member of a community of people who live in different locations, moving from one place to another. Let’s add a sprinkling of: ‘Seriously good singer songwriter, solo artist and musician’ and we have Shane Ó Fearghail.

In an interview from his base in Vienna, Austria, Shane talks to me about performing live and his uncanny ability to write songs with catchy hook lines and melodies that are heavily influenced by his Irish background.

Artist Spotlight: Edgar K. Muzah - Bassist With A Heart Of Gold


Edgar Kaye Muzah BassistThe music scene is getting better in Zimbabwe now, although there wasn’t that much work for musicians when I was there. I used to love listening to rhythmic music especially traditional African sounds which I could relate to and found both innovative and inspiring. I still love the percussive feel and resonating warmth of established instruments like the kalimba and marimba, and the cununo drum played with bamboo sticks.Even now, I’ll regularly get together with friends and we’ll play traditional songs or just improvise, sometimes with just vocalists and with cow bells, but you know... music is music at the end of the day.

As a child I was very lucky, I had the opportunity to study Ethnomusicology at the Zim College of Music. I was mentored by a guru called Chaka Chawasarira who is an amazing mbira player, he also makes these instruments and taught me how to play one to a high level.

Artist Spotlight: Zoë Bestel - Award Winning Artist With Haunting Vocals

Zoë Bestel

For centuries, some of the finest songs, poems and books have been written by authors who have taken to the hills for inspiration as they wander ‘lonely as cloud’ or watch the mist role in from the ‘Mull of Kyntyre’.
Scotland’s Galloway Hills and surrounding coastline is indeed the landscape from where award winning nu-folk singer-songwriter and musician, Zoë Bestel draws motivation and creativity.

“I live on a farm in a pretty remote area with forests and mountain views from my windows”, says Zoë, “So a lot of my songs are themed about nature. I’m also close to the coast here and I’ve written a lot of songs about the sea which features on my new album set for release around the Spring of 2017”.