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Artistic Interpretation #6 / Prince Rogers Nelson (1993)

As it has been almost a year since we lost the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, who passed away on the 21st April 2016, I wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the iconic music legend by drawing for this sixth artistic interpretation.

This is the first Artistic Interpretation for 2017 and I wanted to make sure that Prince Rogers Nelson would be the first musician I would draw this year.

This drawing I’ve produced is inspired on the Greatest Hits album: “The Hits / The B-Sides” that Prince Rogers Nelson released back in 1993, as this Greatest Hits collection spans much of the music he released over the course of his career, given that he was the powerhouse and driving force that defined many generations and helped to inspire so many musicians, also because he was known for releasing so many albums that his back catalogue would be filled to maximum capacity.

Prince’s music defined himself as the iconic music legend he is, and even in death, his music will never grow old, will never become dated but will always remain timeless, as his music is eccentric and changes every time but changes so quickly that you cannot help but appreciate the iconic music legend himself for always being different and not making music that sounds the same.

Below is the completed artistic interpretation I have produced of Prince Rogers Nelson.

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Prince Rogers Nelson

I’m really pleased with the end result of this artistic interpretation, because I wanted to make sure that this drawing would keep true to the iconic music legend himself. Prince left his mark not just on the music world, but on the entire world, as his music is the reason why so many of the musicians we hear of today are still not just releasing music, but are making the best difference and being the positive changes in this world.

His music has also given so many people around the world, including myself so much to be thankful for and his music, from my perspective, is a message of hope, and that hope can mean you can be yourself and be the positive change you want to see in this world and I feel that by drawing him, he has not only been a positive influence on me, but on all of us.

I want to say this as a way of paying tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson:

“Prince. Your music has been the Sign ‘O’ the Times, Purple Rain came down on us and delighted us and When Doves Cry, you were there to give us all hope and to make sure we were the positive changes this world needs. Your Little Red Corvette sits briskly in heaven and heaven gained an angel. Sometimes it Snows in April, then there is Purple Rain, but you gave us all hope and made us all feel okay to be ourselves, so thank you for everything, Prince Rogers Nelson.”

If you want to pay your respects to Prince Rogers Nelson almost a year after the iconic music legend departed from Planet Earth, then please leave a comment below in his memory.

Alex Smithson

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Madness / Can’t Touch Us Now / Saturday 10th December 2016 / Tour Exclusive!

As the legendary 1970s music group, MADNESS, recently released their album, Can’t Touch Us Now, it was safe to say a tour wasn’t far behind, as they would perform live at the O2 in London.

I went with my family to see Madness perform, and considering that it was my first time setting foot in the auditorium of the O2, even though I’ve been to the O2 before when the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition was on in 2011, I was absolutely blown away by how massive the auditorium is in the O2. However, I went to see Madness perform with my family and I was not disappointed at all. I’ve listened to some of their music over the years, and especially their recent hit, Mr. Apples, which is really good, and the whole auditorium was more or less full when they performed.

They performed some of the songs off of their new album, Can’t Touch Us Now, and they even performed classic hits, such as Our House, It Must Be Love, including Baggy Trousers, Blackbird (dedicated to Amy Winehouse) and many other famous hits that they released over the course of their 40-year career in the music business.

Below is a large photo collection that I gathered together, including footage that I gathered whilst I was with my family to see Madness & The Lightning Seeds on Tour.

Overall, I am absolutely glad I went to see Madness live in concert with my family. I loved every second of the tour and I will treasure this night for the rest of my life.

If you enjoyed this large photo and video article, please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

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Bruno Mars / 24K Magic / Bruno is Back!

With it being just 4 years since Unorthodox Jukebox, which spanned the smash hit songs, Locked Out of Heaven & Treasure, Bruno Mars is Back! As 24K Magic marked Bruno Mars’ comeback to the music scene, two years after the smash hit record, Uptown Funk, which he released alongside Mark Ronson just weeks after Fleur East (The X Factor 2014 Runner-Up, 2nd Place to our Croydon lad, Ben Haenow, the winner of the X Factor 2014) performed the record on the X Factor, it was safe to say that it was like Bruno Mars had never been away from the music scene.

Having listened to Bruno Mars’ album, 24K Magic, I knew I was in for a treat, as the record packs a punch in its own right, and with Bruno Mars’ own sound and raw vocals, I just knew the record was going to sound so good. If Doo-Wops & Hooligans and Unorthodox Jukebox were anything to go by, 24K Magic proves that Bruno Mars unique sound will last for many, many years.

One of the songs on the album is dedicated to Gianni Versace, as it’s titled: “Versace on the Floor”, and I won’t lie to you, it’s so good!

The album itself delivers the unique sound that Bruno Mars created for his first two albums, and because of the fact he carried that same unique sound with Mark Ronson’s smash-hit record, Uptown Funk, the album, 24K Magic, carries that unique sound and really shows off the raw vocals of Bruno Mars’ voice.

24K Magic not only marks Bruno Mars’ comeback to the music scene, but it also delivers a promising sound that will really kick off Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour next year.

What do I think of Bruno Mars’ album, 24K Magic? I think it’s such a good album, because he has managed to reinvent his music in a unique way where his style changes every time, but at the same time, because his past albums contain the unique sound, this new album, although it contains that unique sound as well, also carries another new sound with it that really can give you goosebumps.

Overall, I absolutely love Bruno Mars’ album, 24K Magic, and I wholeheartedly recommend his album to all of you.

If you enjoyed my review of Bruno Mars’ album, 24K Magic, please feel free to submit feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Bruno Mars, Elektra Records & Atlantic Records 2016

© Any names / titles / promotional images used, such as the photograph of Bruno Mars (the official photograph used on the final album release of 24K Magic), the 24K Magic album title, including Bruno Mars’ name are all copyright of Bruno Mars, Elektra Records & Atlantic Records. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

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Lady Gaga / Joanne / Out Now!

Following her remarkable comeback to the music scene, which saw Perfect Illusion go straight to Number 1 around the world, with a few other singles that followed shortly after, Lady Gaga’s highly anticipated fifth studio album, JOANNE, is officially out now!

Having listened to and purchased the deluxe edition album today, I can honestly say I love it and in all honesty, this is Lady Gaga‘s return to the music scene, three years after her third studio album, ARTPOP, and two years since her fourth studio album, Cheek to Cheek, which was a collaboration album she did with the music legend, Tony Bennett.

I will be honest, as honesty is the best policy where anything is concerned, but JOANNE is Lady Gaga’s best effort since ARTPOP, as JOANNE has a progressive sound that carries throughout the entire album, and to hear her really sing her heart out through this fifth studio album, I can’t help but get goosebumps just listening to this record.

Contained below is the JOANNE Album Artwork, the tracklist and CD Artwork, as posted by Lady Gaga on her Instagram page.

LADY GAGA / JOANNE NEW ALBUM OCT 21

A post shared by xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) on

LADY GAGA / #JOANNE / OCT 21 DELUXE TRACKLIST

A post shared by xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) on

LADY GAGA / #JOANNE / OCT 21 CD LABEL

A post shared by xoxo, Joanne (@ladygaga) on

It’s such a good record, and as a massive fan of Lady Gaga’s music, I can honestly say she has definitely pulled out all of the stops for this fifth studio album. Perfect Illusion was the record, in my opinion, that gained momentum and popularity within the first 24 hours of its release, with Million Reasons putting Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, JOANNE, to centre stage.

Having worked on and produced the album with Mark Ronson, BloodPop, RedOne, Jeff Bhasker, Emile Haynie, Josh Homme and Kevin Parker, I can honestly say this is her best work, and you cannot fault such a fantastic record like this.

JOANNE Album Rating: 10/10

If you enjoyed my music review of Lady Gaga’s fifth studio album, JOANNE, please feel free to submit your feedback below. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Lady Gaga, Streamline Records & Interscope Records 2016

© Any logos / promotional images used, such as the LADY GAGA & JOANNE logos, the JOANNE album artwork, the album tracklist and the CD artwork are all courtesy of the record labels and the artist itself. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

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Perfect Illusion: Lady Gaga is Back!

After three years, Lady Gaga, best known for her albums, The Fame, The Fame Monster, Born This Way and ARTPOP, is back! Perfect Illusion, which was released on the 9th September 2016, went straight to Number 1 on iTunes and before Perfect Illusion was even released, it was already topping the charts, which was obviously a good sign because it was Lady Gaga’s return to the music scene three years after ARTPOP.

I won’t lie to you, when I first heard Perfect Illusion, I wasn’t sure at first whether I would like it or not, considering I am a fan of Lady Gaga’s music, but after a couple of listens, it has actually grown on me and I love it. Perfect Illusion is Lady Gaga’s way of unleashing her true feelings about love, as well as her deep connections with music. I can honestly say that Perfect Illusion is certainly the perfect comeback for Lady Gaga, as it is guaranteed to give you goosebumps, but most of all, Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion will give you something to shout about. It’s that good that I am constantly listening to the record on repeat.

“It was a perfect illusion…” – Lady Gaga

Below is Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion!

What do I think of Perfect Illusion? At first, I initially wasn’t sure to be honest with you, but after giving Perfect Illusion a couple of listens over and over, I can honestly say it has officially grown on me and I love it. Lady Gaga is officially back with a bang and has certainly done Perfect Illusion justice! As Perfect Illusion is Number 1 on iTunes around the world, and with more than 3,000,000+ streams on Spotify, including over 5,000,000+ views on YouTube, it is safe to say that Lady Gaga is not just back with a bang, but she has returned and exceeded mine and everyone’s expectations with her Perfect Illusion. I’ve also purchased Perfect Illusion and I will continuously have it on repeat. It’s that good!

Overall, I can honestly say that Perfect Illusion is worth listening to and it’s a record that I know for a fact will have a force of its own to be reckoned with. With this song, you cannot go wrong at all with Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion.

Do you own a copy of Lady Gaga’s Perfect Illusion? If so, I would love to hear your review of Perfect Illusion. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Remembering Amy Winehouse - 5 Years On - (1983 - 2011)

Remembering Amy Winehouse 5 Years On (1983 – 2011)

It’s hard to think it was exactly five years ago today that we lost the iconic music legend, Amy Winehouse. The time has flown but it doesn’t really feel like it has when you consider the news of Amy’s death was announced on this day five years ago, it just feels unreal. I was actually heartbroken when I found out she died because it’s like the musician we all came to know and love over the years had gone within a flash.

I wanted to pay tribute to Amy Winehouse by reflecting on her music career, as well as iconic songs that I felt really got to the bottom of what life can be like from anyone’s perspective as well as her own.

Amy Winehouse’s record, Stronger than Me, which came from her first studio album, Frank, had that sensual, yet realistic feeling that I could relate to, as it was based on someone who she may have felt was a lot stronger than her, but really she was the strong one, but I could relate to that song almost instantly, because it’s like the feeling I would feel, such as whether I know someone who is stronger than I am, was creating the bigger picture. It was, to me, like a concept, but except it was like a jigsaw puzzle where even though she sung it, it’s like she wasn’t stronger than she thought, given she may have thought someone else was stronger than her, but really she was stronger than she first thought.

The song, Tears Dry On Their Own, taken from Amy Winehouse’s album, Back to Black, had that instant connection, because although she did that song based around the relationship she was in, I felt that song connected to me completely because it’s like you may feel that sense of hurt, that sense of pain from an experience you want to forget, but as you forget, you get stronger, and you find that those tears will dry themselves and you won’t cry anymore for anything that is now past history, and to me, that’s how I feel every time I listen to Tears Dry On Their Own, because you don’t necessarily have to be in a relationship to know what it feels like, even in friendships or even at certain stages where you may feel like you have been taken for granted, you know what it will feel like if you have experienced a certain period of time in your life where something’s gone horribly wrong, but although you may feel weak inside, really you’re not, you’re actually stronger than you think and you know that you can move on and forget what you shouldn’t care about anymore.

Back to Black brought with it a relatable feeling, because when Amy Winehouse said this line: “We only say goodbye with words, I died a hundred times“, it’s like every time you say goodbye to someone, or even to anyone, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, the same for the other person as well, and it’s like you have died more than once, but really, you’re in the state of mind where everything just appears to be out of control, but also out of your hands, and also at the same time, like as if your whole world has fallen apart just the same as the other person in mind. I sometimes feel like that, which is why this song in general, does make me feel like I have been there, and I have, I have experienced moments of upset recently after going through a seriously bad patch whilst at college, but it was having everyone there, friends and family, and even close friends that kept me going through a seriously bad experience and I feel a lot stronger now than before, because I have got through the pain with everyone by my side. That’s why this song connects me to the overall feeling of what Amy said in this particular song altogether.

Our Day Will Come, which is taken from Amy Winehouse’s posthumous third studio album, is the song I love because it has that positive feeling that goes with it, as it not only has that positive connection to it, but it’s a song I would always listen to everyday and never get tired of. I would never get tired listening to Amy Winehouse and her music, because her music is the kind of music I will listen to.

Although Amy Winehouse is gone, she will never be forgotten. She will always be remembered in mine and everyone’s hearts forever. We miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

Artistic Interpretation #4 - Amy Winehouse (27)

Artistic Interpretation #4: Amy Winehouse (27)

Five years on since her untimely death on the 23rd July 2011, Amy Winehouse, the iconic music legend that made her mark with her unique musical sound, released two of her most iconic albums, which were Frank, and also Back to Black. Her posthumous third studio album, Lioness: Hidden Treasures, consisted of some new songs which were previously unreleased, including different versions of certain tracks that we listened to and grew to love, given that the iconic look for Back to Black and Lioness: Hidden Treasures saw Amy Winehouse with the iconic beehive hairstyle, which has since become the biggest trendsetter for all independent women in fashion.

I took the opportunity to draw Amy Winehouse, as I wanted to pay my full respects and pay homage to the iconic music legend as it has been five years since her passing. She was a talented young musician who was gone too soon. I’ve put her age, 27, in brackets, in the article title, as that number is the age she was when she passed away on the 23rd July 2011.

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Amy Winehouse Tribute Drawing

I also wanted to make Amy Winehouse’s memory and music as colourful as possible by using the same drawing to create a tribute montage, showing her life in music from my perspective, but also yours and everyone else’s perspective.

Amy Tribute Montage
Amy Winehouse Drawing Tribute Montage

Amy Winehouse was and always will be the iconic music legend of our time. She will never be forgotten for the everlasting impact she left on the world and will always remain forever in our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our souls. We will always love and miss you Amy Winehouse xxxxxxxxxx.

Alex Smithson

Ben Haenow - One Night Tour (Final Version)

Ben Haenow / One Night Tour / Special Tour Review! – Tuesday 19th April 2016

As the Croydon-born talented musician, also the winner of The X Factor 2014, Ben Haenow, kicked off his One Night Tour on the 15th April 2016, which ran until the 23rd April 2016, everyone was full of excitement, including myself, as he came back to his hometown, Croydon, on the 19th April 2016, to perform his One Night Tour at Fairfield Halls / The Ashcroft Theatre, which promoted his self-titled debut album, Ben Haenow, which was released on Friday 13th November 2015.

As I waited for this night to arrive since I purchased my pre-sale ticket in November, I knew from the moment I purchased my ticket to see him perform that this night would be the best night I would ever have. The last time I saw him perform was at his homecoming just outside the HMV store in Croydon, connected to the Whitgift Centre, when it was chucking down with rain, and he performed Jealous Guy (originally by John Lennon) and Come Together (originally by The Beatles).

The One Night Tour was out of this world. Ben instantly took the roof off of Fairfield Halls off and everyone in the auditorium stood up, and hearing him perform on tour gave me goosebumps, as I knew that this night was the night I waited for, and not just that, but on the closing song that he performed, which was his X Factor winner’s single: “Something I Need (originally by OneRepublic)”, everyone at the front of the stage got up on the stage to sing with him, and I did too. None of us got into trouble at all because he wanted us to join him on stage, and I won’t lie to you, it’s my first ever time going to see a musician perform on tour.

After the tour ended, I was able to get a photo with Ben’s brother, Alex Haenow, the Opening Act, James Plimmer, including the main man himself, Ben Haenow!!!!! Tuesday night was absolutely worth the wait, and I would do anything to go back to that night. Ben Haenow is such a down-to-earth guy, and it is an absolute honour to have met him.

Below are the best photos I took at Fairfield Halls before, during and after the One Night Tour, including some photos with Ben Haenow, Alex Haenow and James Plimmer. I have also got video footage from the One Night Tour which will also be included as a YouTube video, documenting parts of the tour as it happened.

Opening Act: James Plimmer

Ben Haenow & Alex Haenow!!!!!!!!!!

Below is the video of the 18 video clips I recorded at Fairfield Halls during Ben Haenow’s One Night Tour, featuring James Plimmer and Alex Haenow. These small clips, which are combined into a 12-minute video give you a taster of what Ben performed on his One Night Tour on the 19th April 2016 at Fairfield Halls / The Ashcroft Theatre, in Croydon, opposite Croydon College.

To Ben Haenow, Alex Haenow and James Plimmer, thanks so much for a perfect night, and I hope to see you guys perform again in the future 😉👍👌

Alex Smithson

© Ben Haenow 2016

Music - How Are We Able to Relate Our Lives to Songs (Final Version)

Music: How Are We Able to Relate Our Lives to Songs?

Music. It’s always the first thing we make sure to listen to everyday, whether any of us are travelling to school, to college or even to work, but there is something about music that makes us feel connected.

How does music relate to our own lives? Well music can relate to our own lives in many different ways, as there may be certain events in our life where we may have lost someone close to us, or that we may have gone through a difficult time in our lives, but sometimes, music can relate to the good things as well as the best things that may have happened in our lives.

For instance, with an album like Rebel Heart by Madonna, her album has more of her vulnerable spots to life than that of the rebellious side of her life, as Rebel Heart was based more around how she may have felt about it all, and I felt that with this album, I could relate to it, because it’s like the way Madonna has done it, it’s like she is speaking out language, like as if she knows that we all go through moments of heartbreak in life, but with the album track, Rebel Heart, it’s like she is trying to say in short that it’s time to stand up for what you believe in and it’s time for you to just be you and do whatever makes you feel happy in this world.

Other albums like 19, 21 & 25 by Adele have that appeal to life as those albums create different emotions, but the kind of different emotions that you can relate to. With Adele’s music, she’s has managed to create a mood in that song where you can feel at home, where you can feel like you have something in common but most of all where you can feel a sense of relief knowing that the kind of emotions you have are kind of emotions that other people like Adele may have.

But with music overall, it’s the emotive connections of music that bring us all together, as all of us are able to relate to what certain pieces of music are about, as well as how they impact on us all altogether.

I love listening to music as it’s my way of not just being able to come up with new ideas, but I love music mainly because a lot of the music I’ve heard over the years is music I can relate to, as music has always been a part of my childhood and music altogether will always be a part of my whole life.

Overall, I strongly believe that we can all relate our lives to the songs we hear, including the unlimited supply of music we all hear over the years.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated.

Alex Smithson

Madonna - Artistic Interpretation #2 - The True Blue Era (1986)

Madonna: Artistic Interpretation #2: The True Blue Era (1986)

As I kicked my two-week holiday off with a bang, I took the opportunity to draw the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, again, but this time in her True Blue era, as I saw that a lot of fans had created pieces of artwork inspired by the True Blue photograph that Herb Ritts took of her back in 1986.

This drawing took from Friday 25th March to Tuesday 29th March to complete, and has to be one of the most difficult drawings I’ve produced yet. It’s worth the time drawing, because I can finally set my creativity free after a long while. It’s amazing what a 5B pencil can produce, and I just feel so fortunate that I can draw what I’m good at.

Over the course of the few days I’ve been producing this drawing, I’ve already been asked by one of my friends upon request if I can draw them, and I will, and I recently had some feedback given that I’ve been documenting my progress of this drawing on the photo-sharing service, Instagram, and I was told by one of my Instagram followers that it was so good, and it really brought a smile to my face.

I think with this drawing I wanted it to be based around not just that era, but also around how I artistically interpret Madonna as a musician.

Artistic Interpretation 2 - Madonna - The True Blue Era (Final Version)

The final statistics of the Rebel Heart Tour that Madonna brought to a remarkable close on the 20th March show that the tour has officially grossed $169,804,336, with full attendance (1,045,479 / 1,045,479).

This is a fantastic milestone of its own that marks the end of the Rebel Heart Era on such a positive note. I also feel glad to have done this drawing freehand with the photo reference of Madonna during her True Blue Era, which was all the way back in 1986. Exactly 30 years ago. Wow! Time sure has flown.

To celebrate this milestone, I have officially uploaded and published a video of this drawing whilst it was in progress, and it will show you the progress that I have made in drawing my second artistic interpretation of Madonna, right up to the very end ☺.

If you liked my second artistic interpretation drawing of Madonna, then please feel free to submit feedback. All feedback is much appreciated and I hope you liked the drawing and the video ☺.

Alex Smithson