Sam Smith | Get Familiar

You've probably heard of Sam Smith by now. This 21-year-old British singer's name has been on everyone's lips of late: the no-brainer of new music; President-elect for pop superstardom in 2014. 

You might've heard his star-making turns on Naughty Boy's "La La La" and Disclosure's "Latch" - the former remains one of the biggest selling singles of the last year whilst the latter is perhaps the best 'dance' song of the last ten. He can count Maxwell as one of his biggest fans, after the soul music titan spent the entire summer gushing about the Brit to his millions of fans online, and he's sold out shows in New York and LA; all without an album or even a proper single release to his name. Read more

Ryan Leslie raps for Sway's Five Fingers of Death [Video]

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and straight-up showoff Ryan Leslie is persisting with this "oh by the way guys, I'm rapping now too" stuff in the run-up to the release of his forthcoming Hip-Hop album Les Is More.

With the album due to drop on October 22nd, Leslie passed through legendary Hip-Hop personality Sway Calloway's Shade 45 breakfast radio show, Sway In The Morning, to take on the Five Fingers of Death. Read more

Leona Lewis performs stripped-down acoustic version of "Trouble" [Video]

My feelings about Leona Lewis are well documented at this point, so like most people, I was pretty relieved to discover that her much-talked-about Emeli Sande penned, Naughty Boy produced and Childish Gambino featuring new single "Trouble" just about added up to the sum of its individually brilliant parts.

Like someone who's been waiting at a bus stop on Kensington High Street for three years when two buses suddenly turn up at the same time, Leona's followed-up this long overdue win with an acoustic version of "Trouble" that's perhaps even better than the original. There's even a video, which, as far as Leona's concerned, can only ever be a good thing. Read more

Daley f/ Jessie J - "Remember Me" | New Music

This has been a long time coming...

Earlier this evening, one of the UK's brightest soul talents finally premiered his official UK debut single, via Mistajam's show on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Following the release of his brilliant ten-track mixtape Those Who Wait over a year ago, fans and the music industry alike have been eagerly awaiting Mancunian singer-songwriter Daley's next move.Read more

Kaleem Taylor - "True Colours" | New Music

Kaleem Taylor
, one of the UK's brightest new soul talents, returns with new track "True Colours" taken from his forthcoming EP Alone. The new project, a follow-up to last year's first EP Smooth, is set to drop in September and will be Kaleem's first release since signing to a new record label earlier this year.Read more

Jessie Ware - Devotion | Album Review

There was never a risk of Jessie Ware falling victim to bridesmaid syndrome. Since her first high-profile turn on producer SBTRKT's skittering banger "Nervous" back in 2010, this Brixton-bred singer-songwriter has been a blog favourite whilst racking up radio spins and support from some of modern music's most influential tastemakers. Read more

Delilah - 'From The Roots Up' | Album Review

Way back in January 2011 (relative eons in pop music terms), 21-year-old singer-songwriter Delilah burst onto the UK music scene, seemingly from nowhere, with a show-stopping vocal performance on Chase & Status' "Time." A powerhouse Drum and Bass track buried at the end of their sophmore album No More Idols (it would eventually become the album's fifth single), "Time" is arguably the best song in Chase & Status's substantial catalogue, in no small part thanks to Delilah and collaborator Plan B's brilliant songwriting.

Having been signed to Atlantic since the tender age of 17, Delilah (real name Paloma Stoecker) followed up her appearance on "Time" by dropping her first single "Go" last summer. With an intelligent interpolation of Rufus & Chaka Khan's classic "Ain't Nobody" (which Khan herself reportedly described as "genius"), Delilah's smoldering, sexually-charged debut caught the attention of BBC Radio 1 and stormed to #17 in the UK Charts -- a significant achievement for a brand new artist on her debut single (which, incidentally, was produced by an outfit with no mainstream previous themselves either).

"Go" set the bar high, both artistically and commercially. It remains the highlight of From The Roots Up and is appropriately positioned as the centrepiece on an album that sees Delilah flit between seductive and vulnerable -- at times, both -- at various points, over production that, for the most part, sounds entirely unlike anything in the mainstream today. Whether on the album's opener "Never Be Another" (which owes debts to Aaliyah's Timbaland-produced "Are You Feeling Me") or the relatively minimalist third single "Breathe" (penned by Delilah when she was just 14), the album is at its best when offering up soundscapes that sound miles apart from pop's modern-day norm.

The rare stumbles come when Delilah flirts with more conventional fare. Even these consecutive so-called failures are relative -- she just about navigates the breezy, upbeat pop of "Only You," whilst the well-written "Shades of Grey" sounds shy and timid in comparison to the singles that preceded it.

Delilah's much-talked-about cover of Minnie Ripperton's seminal soul classic "Inside My Love," the album's most controversial moment, follows the relative calm of the aforementioned two tracks. Miraculously, perhaps encouraged by Mikey J's slinky modern production, the 21-year-old is able to sex up an already infamously suggestive song. It's a brilliant cover, paying tribute to the original without being intimidated by it, and Delilah is one of the few vocalists with the tone to do Ripperton's version justice. As with "Go," the unblushing sexuality is perhaps slightly overwrought, but is balanced throughout with just enough vulnerability to stop the descent into uncomfortable audio porn.

If anything, Delilah perhaps does open and honest better than she does sexy. She's painfully exposed on "Insecure," supported by barely-there production, but it's "21" and "Tabitha, Mummy and Me" that are the most deeply personal; she tears through the latter in particular, bouncing between remarkably controlled and ever-so-slightly unhinged in a stunning vocal performance. There's been some suggestion that she lacks some undefinable soul-like quality, but in reality Delilah emotes on a level far more advanced than some of her more mawkish, show pony peers.

From The Roots Up is a genuinely impressive debut album from a young lady able to write with honesty and vulnerability and blessed with the breathtaking voice to deliver that material sincerely. Whether playing the enticing temptress or singing about loss, pain and regret, Delilah is entirely believable here. Her voice will inevitably receive all the plaudits. Powerful, versatile and unique, it serves as the ultimate vehicle for some outstanding songs on this daring, accomplished body of work. 

It remains to be seen whether she'll stay the distance in a modern-day golden era for British female artists, but by delivering a debut album that actually lives up to all of the hype and promise, Delilah has already done what many of her peers couldn't.

Delilah - From The Roots Up
Released: July 27, 2012
Label: Warner Music
Buy: iTunes UK / Amazon / Amazon UK

Tito Lopez - "The Blues" | Music Video

Gifted Mississippi-repping rapper Tito Lopez follows up recent mixtape The Hunger Game with his debut single for Capital Records entitled "The Blues".Read more

Conor Maynard f/ Ne-Yo - "Turn Around" | New Music

With his highly anticipated debut album Contrast due to drop next week, Conor Maynard's much-pondered-on collaboration with R&B superstar (and the man behind an immeasurable number of smash hits) Ne-Yo has arrived.Read more

Ester Dean - "Invincible" (Solo Version) | New Music

After almost an eternity (or in real terms, a few years) of buzzing around the R&B scene as a highly accomplished songwriter (with credits on some of Rihanna's biggest hits, Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" and new single "Right By My Side," and Beyonce's "Countdown" to name but a handful) on the fringes of a career as a performer, it looks like Ester Dean is finally going to get her shot as an artist in her own right. Read more

Sneakbo f/ Ard Adz & Sho Shallow - "Still Breathing" (Remix) | Music Video

South London rapper Sneakbo hooks up with affiliates Ard Adz & Sho Shallow for this remix to new track "Still Breathing". All three are wandering around the neighborhood in this video, and they all go in with some sincere lyrical content. For me personally Adz takes it, sitting best on the Dancehall-influenced beat and saying and some real stuff.Read more

Conor Maynard covers Drake's "Crew Love" + "Marvin's Room" in Toronto [Video]

The UK's very own Bieber-eqsue pop sensation (and SoulCulture Get Familiar alumni) Conor Maynard continued his dazzling run of form covering Drake songs, in Toronto on Friday night. Read more

Sparkle - 'So Bad' | New Music

Fans of 90s R&B will remember Sparkle best from her 1998 single "Be Careful" -- a classic slow jam which featured then-mentor R. Kelly, who also executive produced her self-titled debut album. It was a relative success, going gold two years after its release in 2000. After parting ways with Kellz, she released her sophomore album on Motown; unsurprisingly, it failed to replicate the success of her debut.

Now, 12 years later, she's back with new self-produced new single "So Bad," a pretty run-of-the-mill piano-led R&B track that's not exactly wack, but has little of the magic of the material which Sparkle released over a decade ago.

The Noisettes return with new single "That Girl" | New Music

After a three year gap since the release of their sophomore album Wild Young Hearts, English indie-rock band the Noisettes are back (minus drummer Jamie Morrison who left the band in 2010) with the debut single from their forthcoming full-length Contact.Read more

Scorcher - 'Rockstar' (Dappy diss) | Music Video

The saga surrounding Dappy's much-talked-about "Tarzan 2" took another turn this morning when North London emcee Scorcher fired back at the former N-Dubz frontman's random and apparently unprovoked shot on the controversial freestyle that dropped last week. Read more

Florence and the Machine - 'Spectrum' (Maya Jane Coles remix) | New Music

This is stunning -- one of the hottest new names in dance music has gotten her highly-touted hands on the latest single from British band Florence and the Machine, transforming the track taken from their sophomore album Ceremonials into an atmospheric house banger. Lead singer Florence Welch's ethereal powerhouse vocals sit perfectly on British/Japanese producer Maya Jane Coles' sparse soundscape. Read more