Pink Sunshine: the month in pop

With our Campfire Tales and Dark Hemyspheres columns rounding up their respective genres on a regular basis, we thought it was time to give a little love to the acts that set the charts alight and keep the gossip magazines busy. 'We love pop!' is hardly a radical notion, but you can't listen to Obituary all day and every day, and that's when we turn to the ladies and gentlemen who get our booty shaking and tongues wagging.

Pink Sunshine? Well, we've got a website - and we're gonna use it. This first edition is mostly a news-y affair, but scroll down and find our quick chat with Martyna Wren in support of her new single. We hope to add further features in coming months.

News round-up

Rita Ora returns with a brand new single ‘I Will Never Let You Down’ (11th May), written and produced by Calvin Harris. Rita said ‘This is the perfect song to launch my new album because I wanted to be as personal and honest as possible. I’m in a very good place and I really wanted people see how I felt and how I want other people to feel when the listen to it – happy! I love the fact this is such an uplifting love song.’

Róisín Murphy releases the Mi Senti EP on The Vinyl Factory on 28th May. The EP is a collection of six Italian songs – including five covers of pop hits from Italian singers and songwriters, and one original song by Murphy. Róisín recorded the EP over the last year, at home in North London and in Ibiza, with her partner (and Milanese music producer) Sebastiano Properzi, along with producer Eddy Stevens.

Mi Senti will be released as a digital download, and limited edition gatefold vinyl. The tracklisting is as follows: Ancora Ancora Ancora / Pensiero Stupendo / Acora Tu / In Sintesi / Non Credere / La Gatta

X Factor winner Sam Bailey has announced she will perform two special, ‘up-close-and-personal’ concerts next winter, ahead of her first headline tour. Set to tour the UK with her debut show in winter 2015, Sam will perform two special ‘secret’ pre-tour concerts at the Margate Winter Gardens and the Watford Colosseum on Monday 26 & Tuesday 27 January, 2015.

Staying with Sam, she duets with Michael Bolton on his new album, Ain't No Mountain High Enough due on 5th May. It features his covers of classic Motown hits, including their duet on 'Ain’t Nothin Like the Real Thing' and a version of the title track performed with Leona Lewis. Bolton tours the UK in May.

Hollie Cook (pictured) has trailed her forthcoming album Twice with the release of the title track. She is joined on the album by the likes of Dennis Bovell, Omar, George Dekker and Winston Francis, with additional support from the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and choir. The album was produced by Prince Fatty.

Bookmakers Paddy Power are taking bets on the Spice Girls playing a residency in Las Vegas. Do they know something we don't? 2016 sees the 20th anniversary of 'Wannabe' so if it's going to happen, that seems as good a time as any. Just imagine the VIP Packages: Geri at your wedding maybe?

Birdy releases 'Words As Weapons' as a single on 14 April. Check out the video below. She is also set to become one of the new faces of GAP’s global spring 2014 “Lived-In” advertising campaign where she is joined by the likes of Anna Calvi, RJ Mitte (from Breaking Bad), Julia Garner, Ernest Green and more.

Julio Iglesias releases a new album – 1 The Collection - on 19th May via Sony Music. The tracklisting features 'Begin the Beguine', 'Crazy' and 'When I Need You', plus a duet with Frank Sinatra on 'Summer Wind'. He plays the Royal Albert Hall on 13th and 19th of May.

Emma Garrett releases her a three track, self-titled debut EP on 5th May. The EP includes the previously released 'This Is It', plus ‘Dose Me Up’ and ‘Change Your Bones’. She describes her sound as 'avant-garde pop'. Check the veracity of this statement live when she plays Bingley Music festival, Yorkshire on 29th-31st August alongside the likes of Pet Shops Boys and Example.

Columbia UK have signed LA singer/rapper Brooke Candy. She's currently in the studio working on her debut album. Production duties are being handled by Sia.

The ABCs of Pop

Martyna Wren's debut single, 'Al Capone's Girl' (24th April) is a classy slice of retro pop, albeit one with an eye on authenticity. The all-analogue recording, self-penned by this self-confessed history geek (as a teenager, she was more likely to give you a Cole Porter mix-tape than one featuring B*Witched) is a taster for her debut album, The World Can Wait which follows in the next few months.

Martyna kindly agreed to be the first under the spotlight for our new ABCs of Pop feature.

A is for ... Album. Tell us a little about your forthcoming album 'The World Can Wait'.

Everything about the album was deliberate, from the line-up including vibes and flugelhorn to recording at vintage specialists, The Cowshed Studio in London. I grew up listening to late 50s jazz albums and Bacharach pop records and wanted that classic sound. I hope it's a record that listeners will keep coming back to.

B is for ... Best Friend. Who was your best friend when you were growing up?

I met Claire when I was five and we bonded over our strange hairstyles and love of music. We spent hours making up dances in my living room to performances we’d recorded from Top Of The Pops. We’re still friends now, just with better hair.

C is for ... Crush. Who was your first crush?

When I was 6 years old a boy at school gave me an eraser that he'd drawn a heart on. I had a crush on him for 6 hours until he gave my friend a pencil topper that was even better. I was heartbroken but it's probably when my songwriting began.

Martyna plays at the annual Dusty Day fundraiser show at West 5, Ealing on 13th April. The event raises money in memory of Dusty Springfield.

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