Friday, 15 April 2016

What Are Jedward Doing In China??!!

(Originally published here)

Yes that’s right – the Irish duo with the not so sky high hair announced they were off to China yesterday, posting a stage by stage story on their snapchat.

It might seem a bit strange that a pair who are, in the UK at least, best known for their X Factor, Celebrity Big Brother, and back to back Eurovision appearances, but it seems they are also big in the PRC.
Word has it that they’ve been invited to appear on popular Hunan TV daytime show, 天天向上 (Tian Tian Xiang Shang – loosely translated it means ‘Day Day Up’ – the short form of a Chinese phrase, “Good good study, day day up”), as part of their programme on Twins. The show is one of the most popular programmes in China, and many Western celebrities have appeared, including James Bond himself, Daniel Craig.
John and Edward have had moderate success in China, where some of their most recent songs, ‘Make Your Own Luck‘, and ‘Oh Hell No‘, have been featured on China’s version of MTV, with the latter rising to Number 9 on the Overseas Artists chart. They have many Chinese fans, predominantly in Hong Kong but also spread across the country.
Jedward are currently riding the crest pf a viral wave, with their most recent song, ‘Good Vibes’, gaining close to 700,000 views in just 4 weeks. Easter saw the pair perform at Dublin’s famous Button Factory, the O2 in Glasgow, and The Garage, London’s premiere medium sized live music and club venue.

The New Jedward? What’s Wrong with the Old One?

(Originally published here)

No doubt you’ll have seen and heard all the XFactor hoo-ha about “Blonde Electric” being the new Jedward – with the girls going on TV and saying that they’re nothing like the Dublin twins.
This we can agree on.
As anyone who watched John and Edward’s audition way back in 2009 will know, the twins weren’t “eccentric” – they were two 17 year old school boys, wearing suits, wanting to follow their dreams of becoming pop stars. Far from being cocky, they were confident…is that such a bad thing?
Check it out for yourselves:

Blonde Electric have also said that they play instruments and write their own songs, as if to suggest that Jedward don’t do the same. A tiny bit of research will tell you that Jedward learned violin from a young age, and their YouTube channel, JedwardTV, has a lot of videos showing John’s prowess on the guitar.
Their “fly on the wall” series, “Jedward Let Loose” even featured this.
At Essentially Pop we champion those artists who are doing it for themselves – which is only one of the reasons why we love Jedward. We’ve mentioned several times about how they wrote and produced Free Spirit, and how their soon to be released fourth album is made up entirely of songs they’ve written themselves. We don’t like it when programmes such as the XFactor hold them up as objects of ridicule, when we know they’re far from ridiculous, and we don’t like it when other performers use them to promote themselves, and at the same time, deny their own “novelty” label.
Just like other musicians, John and Edward have worked very hard to get to where they are today. They have followed their dreams, and continue to do so. They were on XFactor for only a few weeks – everyone else who has been on that programme has managed to shake off that label…why aren’t they allowed? One Direction, UnionJ, JLS…all these groups started on XFactor, and yet the association is never mentioned. Conversely, Jedward are seemingly not allowed to forget their origins on the programme – their name is brought up every time the show is mentioned.
Isn’t it odd – that in all that time, they’ve only been asked back once? And only then as a novelty act – despite having three number one albums and representing their country not just once, but twice, in the Eurovision Song Contest – and beating the UK both times, it must be said!
So – New Jedward? Nah. We’ll stick with the old one thanks.

Jedward – A Sky Full of Stars

(Originally published here)

 have covered “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay. What do you think? We love it!

Jedward Release Free Spirit Video

(Originally published here)

The music video for Jedward’s latest single, Free Spirit has been released today – but not without a bit of drama first!
Jedward fans woke up to the story that the Dublin twins had been rescued by helicopter in the very early hours of Tuesday morning, when they had become stranded by the tides while on a walk with a relative.
John told Ken Sweeney from the Irish Sun Newspaper:
“What we want to get across is how quickly this all happened. This got out of hand before we even realised. We would urge young people to be very careful around water and the sea. This could have been a tragedy but for the good work of the Coast Guard.”
Essentially Pop is very grateful that John and Edward are safe, and we’re also loving the new music video for their fab tune, “Free Spirit”! Inspired by US Olympic Figure Skater Gracie Gold, the song tells the story of a girl who isn’t afraid to live how she wants, and who doesn’t let other people influence her. Check it out here and let us know if you love Free Spirit as much as we do!

Jedward Think Outside the Box

(Originally published here)

With John and Edward recently tweeting that they’re planning their annual summer holiday with best friend Tara Reid, we at Essentially Pop wonder if the Dublin Duo and their Sharknado 2 pal might have China on their mind?
It’s been reported in today’s Irish Sun newspaper that the pair are making it big in the world’s most populous country, with the video for their latest single, Free Spirit, being screened on music tv channels, including MTV! It’s doing very well over there, getting (so far) as high as Number 3 on the channel’s TianLaiCun western music chart.
A source told The Sun:
“Most of Jedward’s work is going to be in Asia next year.
“They aren’t doing panto this Christmas so they’ll probably come back from China, and go back out there in early 2015.”
We think featuring a stunning Asian girl in the video was a genius move, but almost as much are the gorgeous shots of the Irish countryside. The Sun goes on to quote their source:
“The amazing thing about the video is that they shot it themselves but it’s been seen by more people in China than any Irish tourism ad.”

Jedward & Tara Collaborate Again?

(Originally published here)

Is Tara Reid going to be in BFF Jedward’s next music video?
The Sharknado 2 actress got twitter all aflutter this morning when she tweeted that she’d been talking to the Dublin twins about a possible future collaboration.
Ever the tease, Tara refused to spill the beans:
If it is indeed a music video the trio are talking about, then it won’t be the first time Ms Reid has worked with the twins. Way back in 2011, shortly after they all met on UK Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother, Tara featured in the video for John and Edward’s song, “Wow Oh Wow”. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and watch it!

Jedward – Free Spirit Lyric Video

(Originally published here)

You might wonder why we do so much about Jedward. Well, truth is, we like them. Nay, we love them! The Dublin duo have worked very hard to get where they are, and we at Essentially Pop admire that. So, when we heard they had written all the songs on their forthcoming new album, we decided we should get behind them all the way.
This morning we got especially excited when John and Edward tweeted that they have released the official lyric video. If you don’t already know, the twins make all their own music videos, and each one is better than the last. We weren’t wrong to be excited. It’s lovely. It has an olde-worlde feel about it, a story-book, a fairy-tale. The pages turn and we’re shown lyrics, and drawings move across the page. Our favourites are the butterfly and the dandelion clocks, although the blinking eyes are definitely worthy of a mention.
Have a look for yourself. Tell us what you think. We see this video as going viral, and quite deservedly so. The song itself is getting quite a lot of airplay, and will be available to download on iTunes from May 17.

Jedward – Free Spirit

(Originally published here)

Free Spirit Artwork Full Size

“There’s something about those eyes, that girl’s a free spirit”
Irish pop duo Jedward’s first song from their as-yet unnamed fourth album packs a lot of punch. Written by the twins themselves, “Free Spirit”, we are told, was inspired by figure Skater Gracie Gold, whom they watched on television during this year’s winter Olympics.
The song however could just as easily be about John and Edward, as the pair have faced many challenges in their quest for a musical career, and have met each one with a free spirit, and an attitude of “living outside the box”.
Recorded in LA earlier this year, “Free Spirit” has a really catchy electro-pop sound to it (possibly created using Launchpad) and the chorus at least is guaranteed to be running through your head all day. Rolling Stone magazine says,
“The song’s brooding, mature sound, surprisingly similar to indie-electro bands like Bastille and the Temper Trap, is a massive departure from the kiddie-pop of early Jedward singles like “Bad Behaviour,” “Wow Oh Wow,” and “Girl Like You” “
Rolling Stone likes it. We like it. Have a listen to “Free Spirit” here and judge for yourself – is it a hit or a miss?
Preorder “Free Spirit” on iTunes now.

Jedward to Release New Album

(Originally published here)
Free Spirit Artwork Full Size

Irish Pop Twins, Jedward, have revealed the art work to their new single Free Spirit, which will be released on 17th of May, in the run up to the summer launch of their fourth album, the name of which is as yet to be revealed.
The twins are quoted as saying:
Since October, we have been working on our album, we have had three albums to date, but this is the first album written and produced by us.
Each song reflects a different mood and emotion, which our fans can associate with. Over the last year we have gone through a transition as artists, we have had time to reflect about life and put those thoughts into our songs.
We at Essentially Pop were lucky enough to hear the first play of the Free Spirit on Australian Radio station KIIS 1065 and were very pleasantly surprised.
We feel that Jedward have now stepped into the arena as serious contenders.

Spotify, Social Media & the Modern Musician

(Originally published here)

Prince has deactivated all his social media accounts, including removing much of what he has had on YouTube and SoundCloud. His two most recent albums are still available to stream via Spotify.
The reclusive Purple Rain singer shocked his fans when he suddenly joined Instagram, Facebook and Twitter earlier this year, ahead of a series of concerts, so it’s no real surprise that he’s left as abruptly, especially considering his statement in 2010, that “the internet is completely over.”
It’s just the latest shot by artists to regain control of their intellectual property, which has seen Taylor Swift remove her entire catalogue from Spotify. Conversely, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl told Digital Spy:
“Me personally? I don’t fucking care. That’s just me, because I’m playing two nights at Wembley next summer. I want people to hear our music. I don’t care if you pay $1 or fucking $20 for it; just listen to the fucking song. But I can understand how other people would object to that.”
U2 frontman Bono continues this line of thought, speaking at the Web Summit conference held earlier this month in Dublin,
“The real enemy is not between digital downloads or streaming, the real enemy, the real fight is between opacity and transparency. The music business has historically involved itself in quite considerable deceit.
“But if we change that bit, and people can actually see how many times they’re being played, where they’re being played, get access to information on the people who are listening to them, get paid direct debit… I think those payments will add up to something, as the world gets more transparent.
“When people pick on Spotify: Spotify are giving up 70% of all their revenues to rights owners. It’s just that people don’t know where the money is because the record labels haven’t been transparent.
“That hasn’t been the demand: that will be the demand… That’s the thing to look for: transparency or opacity. For this new model to be successful and to take root, there has to be some kind of fairness… fair models of distribution. And I think when that happens, the music business will be a rising tide that lifts all boats.”
(source: Guardian)
More and more artists are taking control of their music, and leaving big record labels and mega-management in order to return to a grass-roots way of doing things. Multi-Grammy winner Macklemore is just one such artist, who has found success via YouTube. Speaking last year to TechDirt, Macklemore said about his decision not to go to the traditional route of signing with a label:
“…there’s no reason to do it. With the power of the internet and with the real personal relationship that you can have via social media with your fans… I mean everyone talks about MTV and the music industry, and how MTV doesn’t play videos any more — YouTube has obviously completely replaced that. It doesn’t matter that MTV doesn’t play videos. It matters that we have YouTube and that has been our greatest resource in terms of connecting, having our identity, creating a brand, showing the world who we are via YouTube.”
Similarly, Jedward, a favourite here at EP, eschewed record label and management, choosing to take the independent route. The Dublin twins have long maintained control of their music videos, making the majority by themselves, and now are in the process of releasing their fourth album under their own label, Planet Jedward. Currently managed by their mother, they have seen their career change tack from one which, although it made them a lot of money, saw them doing things that they would not choose to do on their own. Nowadays they are free to release the songs they want (which they have also written and produced themselves), rather than those songs chosen for them. They are a major force in social media, seeing it as a very important promotional tool, and their @planetjedward Twitter often finds its way on lists of accounts one “must follow”.
It seems clear that the music industry is on the brink of revolution, with artists wanting to get their fair share. But in this day and age, unless your name alone sells records (like Prince), is it possible to succeed without social media? Is going independent the way to go, even if it means taking on a workload far greater than you’d ever imagined? Is there a wrong or right answer, a perfect formula for success these days?
We live in interesting times, and it remains to be seen what happens next.

Cheerios Childline Concert November 2014

(Originally published here)

John and Edward Childline
Regular readers of EP will know we’re big Jedward fans here. John and Edward Grimes have worked hard to get where they are, and continue to do so, and we’re proud of them. We were in Dublin last weekend to cover some of the music of the Irish capital, so when we heard Jedward were going to be at the Cheerios Childline Concert at Dublin’s 3 Arena, we knew we had to be there!
The twins were the third act of the night, following opener Olly Murs, and Fresh Ré, a five piece band from Celbridge, County Kildare. Olly was very good – singing with a band and backing vocalists, he went through all his classics, “Heart Skips a Beat”, “Wrapped Up”, “Dear Darlin'”, and crowd favourite, “Troublemaker”…giving an energetic and very friendly performance, Olly had the audience singing and clapping along. Asking for water, because he was “a little parched”, he received a bottle from the audience, and after having a quick swig, thought to ask, “You’ve not got germs have you?”. Wiping sweat from his brow Olly responded to calls from the audience to throw it to them with, “If you eBay it, whatever you get you’ve got to give it to Childline”. Olly will be touring from March next year, and said he will be returning to Dublin next April.
Fresh Ré are relatively new, but went viral on YouTube with the 2012 cover of Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, which has, to date, over 4 million hits. The band came on to sing “We Found Love”, and had a very good stage presence, and we were slightly saddened that they only sang the one song. Watch out for Fresh Ré, we suspect they are destined for big things.
Nicky Byrne, the host of the event, himself with a solo album coming out soon, announced what we had been waiting for – “…represented Ireland TWICE in the Eurovision…” Yes! It was John and Edward, but not as the audience knew them. Gone were the quiffs, but they did retain the bling, in the form of spiked sleeves and shoulders on their leather jackets, and sequinned black tank tops.
Edward Ferocious ChildlineIn another departure for the twins, they performed with a live band, which we feel is a very good move towards them being recognised as serious artists. Last year John and Edward performed with legendary Irish band Aslan at the benefit concert for lead singer Christy Dignam, which garnered the duo much praise. We’re hoping the band becomes a regular feature of their shows.
The Twins had said on twitter that they were going to sing only new songs at Childline, and so we were partly prepared for what to expect. What we were not prepared for however, was the song, “Make Your Own Luck”, which they debuted that evening. A Justin Timberlake-style song, “Make Your Own Luck” gave them the chance to show off their incredible vocal range, with Edward’s falsetto on the bridge a particular crowd favourite. “Make Your Own Luck” focuses on moving forward, and making and fulfilling your destiny, and was a nice segue into “Free Spirit”, the song inspired by US figure skater, Gracie Gold. “Free Spirit” is about being your own person and expressing how you feel – wise words and well-placed at the Childline Concert. Last but not least, they finished the set with “Ferocious”, a thumpJohn Ferocious Childlineing dance number which reached number 15 on the Irish singles charts a few weeks ago. “Ferocious” is all about “finding your inner wolf” and standing up for yourself – the perfect song of empowerment for any bullied person.
All three songs were written and produced by the twins themselves. It seems since splitting with their former management over two years ago, they’ve gone from strength to strength – we’re really looking forward to seeing what else they have to offer.
Catch the rest of the Cheerios Childline Concert on TV3 (Ireland) this Saturday from 5pm. Childline needs to raise money to keep their 24 hour phoneline open – any donations are welcome. Ferociousand Free Spirit are now available on iTunes, with Make Your Own Luck expected out in the New Year.

Stars Shine in Blackpool for Massive Pop Party

(Originally posted here)

The stars were out in force in Blackpool at the Massive Pop Party on Saturday night to raise funds for ‘Our Local Heroes‘, a North-West English Charity.

The crowds gathered at Blackpool Opera House on Saturday night for a huge pop party, to raise money for ‘Our local Heroes’, a charity set up to help and assist veterans of the armed forces. The entertainment was provided by a variety of young artists, including Only the Young, Bars and Melody, and headliners, Jedward.
Bailey 2
The first half of the evening set off to a rousing start, with excellent sets from Exposure, Gabz (watch this space for our upcoming interview), Henry Gallagher, Tiger Heart, and Bailey McConnell.
Henry 3
After a short interval, compere Joey Blower asked audience to write their names on a £5, £10 or £20 note, in order to be in the running to win one of three signed tshirts. Joey had Henry Gallagher return to the stage to draw the winner. All proceeds went to ‘Our Local Heroes’.
Only The Young 2
The second half saw the main acts take to the stage. First off was a fun performance from last year’s X Factor stars Only The Young, who wowed the audience with a nice selection of feel good tracks.
Second up were boy rappers Bars And Melody. Straight from celebrating the chart success of their debut album, ‘143’, they performed several of their popular tracks, much to the delight of their fans. The lads also led the audience in a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday for Leo, who is soon to turn 15.
Jedward 9
Last, but by no means least, headliners Jedward played a tremendous 45 minute set, proving once again what brilliant performers they are.
Jedward 8
The twins, who had jetted in from LA to support the event, showed no signs of jetlag as they got the audience up on their feet dancing. They performed eight songs, a mix of old and new, including their Eurovision hits Lipstick and Waterline, and their new, self penned tracks, including Oh Hell No!, written for the movie Sharknado, in which they also appeared. Jedward announced that they are throwing their respective hats in the ring for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The twins have twice represented their native Ireland and now hope to better their success for the UK.
Jedward 5
The evening, as with all good things, ended far too soon, but a fabulous time was had by all.