÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran is Back!

After a three-year break from music, and after his hotly anticipated second studio album became the most streamed album on Spotify and other music services, Ed Sheeran is back with his third studio album, ÷. Shape of You really sets the tone of his latest album, because it has a unique vibe that really sets the mood you want to experience when listening to this album.

As it is the first ever vinyl record I have owned, I feel so honoured to go retro for the first time, because the original vinyl discs initially ceased production many, many years ago, but it’s only been in the last few years that vinyl has made a comeback and I am pleased to say that ÷ is my first ever vinyl record I have purchased.

How many tracks are on ÷?

There are 16 tracks on the Deluxe version of ÷ and here is the official tracklist:

  1. Eraser
  2. Castle on the Hill
  3. Dive
  4. Shape of You
  5. Perfect
  6. Galway Girl
  7. Happier
  8. New Man
  9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
  10. What Do I Know?
  11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
  12. Supermarket Flowers
  13. Barcelona
  14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
  15. Nancy Mulligan
  16. Save Myself

What comes with the Deluxe Boxset?

In the Deluxe Boxset for ÷, these are the items that come with the album:

  • 12” x 12” premium hardcover book with photos, lyrics and artwork
  • 2 x heavyweight blue vinyl, exclusive to this edition of the album
  • Deluxe CD album
  • Silver plated Divide charm and necklace, packaged separately
  • Deluxe digital album sent to you at release
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork © Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran
÷ (Deluxe) / Ed Sheeran / Official Album Artwork
© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran

My Review of ÷ (Deluxe)

This album brings out Ed Sheeran’s unique and interesting side to his music, You can’t quite help but think just how much ÷ gives you life. When he released Shape of You, straightaway, it brought along with it its own vibe where you would remember it, not just for Ed himself singing, but because of the fact it has that eccentric and realistic appeal that you want. With Ed Sheeran’s previous album, X (Multiply), that album brought about love and respect and courage, which is why we love Ed Sheeran, I too love Ed Sheeran, not just because he has tugged at our heart-strings, but because he’s made us realise that there is life and love even in the darkest places, and for me, ÷ carries that message too, but also goes on to add that with love, respect, courage, compassion and support, the world can be a better place.

This album gives me life!

Ed Sheeran is a living legend in my eyes because his music is timeless and will never date, but you begin to appreciate life a whole lot more after you’ve listened to ÷ because you can relate and share the same feelings that he has as a musician. Not only that, but his music is eccentric and brings positivity to the table, which is what this world needs and I take my hat off to Ed Sheeran. ÷ is a masterpiece, in fact, +, X & ÷ are all masterpieces and Ed Sheeran is a legend!

If you haven’t already, I strongly recommend you purchase ÷, you will not be disappointed. ÷ is such a perfectly crafted album and Ed Sheeran has produced another exquisite masterpiece that is worth purchasing.

If you enjoyed my review of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Deluxe) album, please feel free to comment below. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Alex Smithson

© Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran, 2017

© The Divide Album Artwork & Complete Tracklist are all copyright of Asylum Records, Atlantic Records, Elektra Records, Gingerbread Man Records & Ed Sheeran. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

÷ Album Rating: 10/10

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

Following hot on the heels of my previous Artistic Interpretation which was based on the iconic music legend, Prince Rogers Nelson, I started working on Artistic Interpretation #7 which focuses on the Destiny’s Child musician and solo hit-maker, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

I wanted to draw Beyoncé as a way of celebrating the heartwarming news that broke on the 1st February that she was expecting twins.

I decided to take my time to draw her because I wanted to make sure I could shade certain areas of the drawing so that her facial features stand out the same as I would want for her hair to stand out.

For me, drawing Beyoncé was quite a challenge, because I referred to the photograph that was taken of her that announced she would headline the Super Bowl on the 3rd February 2013, which was fantastic, given that Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams performed alongside her for the hit record, Bootylicious, with her most recent Super Bowl appearance being at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show that took place last year, when she performed alongside Bruno Mars and Coldplay.

Below is my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.

Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles
Artistic Interpretation #7 / Beyoncé Giselle Knowles

I am pleased with the overall result, as I had made sure to spend time on drawing Beyoncé, given that I wanted to make sure this drawing would not just celebrate Beyoncé as a musician, but that this drawing would celebrate her music career, given that she has been on the music scene for a long time now.

Again, congratulations to both Beyoncé & Jay Z on the pregnancy and may both your twins be blessed with perfect health, love, compassion, care, respect and support. I love you both.

Please feel free to comment below what you thought of my artistic interpretation of Beyoncé. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

HAPPY NEWS!

After months of rumours and speculation, Cheryl has officially announced she is pregnant! This news has come at the perfect time and it was only a few weeks ago that Beyoncé announced her pregnancy with twins to the world. February is most certainly shaping up to be a fun-filled and heartwarming month.

I am over the moon and absolutely overjoyed at the news of Cheryl’s pregnancy because it has been a long time coming and I am absolutely happy for both Cheryl & Liam Payne! Both of them will most certainly make fantastic parents and to see Cheryl at her happiest makes me and everyone smile. Happiness, love, respect, compassion and care is what matters and I send all of my happiness, love, respect, compassion and care to both Cheryl & Liam Payne.

Congratulations Cheryl & Liam! Both of you will most certainly be wonderful parents and I wish you every ounce of happiness all the way because you are both worth it 🙂

Alex Smithson

© L’Oréal 2017

© The photograph of Cheryl is copyright of L’Oréal. Full photo credit goes to L’Oréal. No Copyright Infringement Intended.

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.

prince-rogers-nelson-drawing-tribute-alex-smithson
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

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?

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)

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

A Time Capsule of Creative Work from 2012

Back in 2012, I did a piece of creative work in my Art & Design class when I was in Year 9, and I had to create a kind of pop-art piece which would consist of two famous faces, which were of Marshall Mathers (a.k.a. Eminem) and the model, Kate Moss. This of course did require the use of different materials which would help me to produce this piece, but aside that, I also used the Colors! 3D app (available on the Nintendo eShop) to produce some pieces of art work, which does shock me to some extent given how my drawing and design skills were then compared to the drawing and design skills I have now.

The pieces of art work I produced in Colors! 3D was inspired on the musicians, which were Jessie J & Madonna, and I also did some fan-based artwork of the Wingcrest from the Nintendo Smash Hit series, The Legend of Zelda. I produced the fan-based artwork of the Wingcrest with inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D game (re-make of the original 1998 version on Nintendo 64), as I played the game through and managed to finish it, despite it taking ages to complete considering it was the first time I had ever played a Zelda game all the way though to the very end.

I also produced some other pieces of work in Colors! 3D, and one of the drawings I also drew way back in 2012 was of the musician, P!NK, and I did do some other drawings based on Nintendo’s Mario Series, for instance, Paper Mario and Bowser. All the drawings I did can be found below, including a free Wingcrest Wallpaper:

If you liked the creative work in this article that I produced back in 2012, then please feel free to feedback your thoughts on my creative work. Your feedback is absolutely appreciated and if you also enjoyed this article, then please feel free to share it with everyone you know :-).

Alex Smithson

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

From Friday 11th March 2016 to Monday 14th March 2016, I worked on my drawing of the Queen of Pop songstress, Madonna, and this drawing that I worked on was inspired on one of the photos that was taken of Madonna during the Ray of Light era. I can be honest with you all, this was my first proper attempt at drawing someone including their face, considering that a few years ago, I couldn’t draw a face properly unless I used a photo to trace over the original.

In this drawing, however, I did use a photo of Madonna from the Ray of Light era, but I didn’t trace her at all. Instead, I did the drawing freehand by looking at my computer screen, and then I drew freehand as I went along. I studied the photo while I was drawing, so that I could create my own interpretation of Madonna during the Ray of Light era.

Because it took some time to complete, I wanted to make sure that I could show my creative side to life in the artistic sense, and because my drawing skills had rapidly improved over the course of last year and the year before, I thought it would be nice to pay homage to Madonna as she has left a positively remarkable impact not just on my life, but on the lives of all of us, and there is no doubt that she is actually one of the most revolutionary musicians around.

I don’t care about the controversy at the end of the day that centres around her, all I care about is that she is putting herself out there for all of us and making sure to stand up and fight for what we all believe in, and it’s about time. I look up to Madonna as she is always there to inspire and make us all believe in ourselves and that we can be the best we can be.

But one thing I can say about her is she is brave at being dangerous at certain things, because I certainly couldn’t take the kind of risks she can take, and I admire Madonna entirely, because she might feel afraid to do something like any of us would, but she is brave because she goes for those risks head-on and it’s been a lot of strength, determination, courage, passion and love that has made Madonna the independent woman she is today.

As yesterday drew Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour to a remarkable close, I thought it would be a good idea to showcase the drawing I’ve done. Please keep in mind that it will of course look different to the original drawing, but I wanted to make sure my artistic interpretation of Madonna was original.

Without further ado, here is my artistic interpretation of the Queen of Pop Songstress, Madonna, in drawing form.

My Artistic Interpretation of Madonna

It’s the first time in almost a year since I last did anything drawing-based, and this is the first time I’ve ever attempted drawing someone famous including their facial features and hair, so as you can imagine it was difficult for me to draw this, but all that hard work and free time drawing Madonna was absolutely worth it. I love how it’s turned out to be honest, and it’s a way of me saying with inspiration from Madonna that we should all be ‘Living for Love’ no matter what, because after all, love really does lift us up even at the most difficult of times. I hope my drawing inspires all of you :-).

If you liked my first ever artistic interpretation of Madonna, please feel free to feedback your thoughts on my first ever artistic drawing. Your feedback is absolutely appreciated.

Alex Smithson