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F0r anyone that doesn’t know what VOX is … it’s a unique artist development programme (run by Generator – the friendly bunch behind The Tipping Point) that provides mentoring in production, songwriting and recording to a select bunch of emerging vocalists, MC’s and rappers from some of the best music producers in the North East.

Those selected (between the ages of 16 and 24) receive over 35hrs of fully supported, focused and flexible support from the esteemed producers across a 10 week period. The result being a fresh, polished original industry standard track that the artists unveil at a special showcase. The programme has a proven track record of unearthing and developing great talent with alumni including Lulu James, Cape Cub and Eva Stone so the competition for places is always fierce.

This year saw the 5 selected vocalists team up with successful regional and international producers Wayne McDonald (The ILLionaires), Mark Lowry (Shindig), Smoove (Smoove and Turrell), John Elliott (Trafik) and Oscar Cassidy (Nick Pride & ThePimptones) and the results were something else indeed!

Hailing from Newcastle, rapper Kay Greyson collaborated with the legendary and well-loved Wayne McDonald who has been championing urban music for over 15 years. Having worked with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Usher, The Wanted and Whitney Houston he’s earned the respect of the industry and is used to working with artists of varying styles. And within the first few seconds of ‘Remember That‘ it’s clear to see that they were a match made in heaven.

Kay began rapping at the tender age of 6 and was recording songs, making videos and performing by the age of 11, having gained much respect for her freestyling. Wayne’s smooth, soulful production juxtaposed with her raw flow is a real ear pleaser, as is the infectious hook. Her lyrical style is reminiscent of Eminem and manages to be both old-skool and contemporary. And if her live performances are anything to go by she knows how to pack a punch.

One half of Smoove & Turrell, producer, international DJ, live performer, remixer and label boss, signed by both Acid Jazz Records and Jalapeno Records; Smoove is a highly acclaimed DJ and Producer and worked with vocalist Victoria Muir to produce the track ‘Thinking of You‘.

There’s a real disco vibe to the track which compliments Victoria’s retro voice perfectly and is evocative of a 70’s disco classic in places, especially when the chorus kicks in.

In his work as a producer, Oscar has co-produced numerous albums, sessions and film soundtracks alongside often acting as a co-writer and performer and with his eclectic taste and experience, Oscar is comfortable working across many genres, including hip hop, dance, pop, experimental and punk. Shannon is one half of all female duo YUMA that’s sound has a folk and blues edge. Working with Oscar they’ve created a dreamlike, ethereal sound with a noticeable 80’s sound, with Shannon’s vocal a kin to that of the hotly tipped Shura.

Surpassing two decades of active service as one of the North East’s most successful and notably humble producers, Mark is known for his collaborations and remix projects with the likes of labels such as Sony BMG, Urban Torque and Saw Recordings (Mardel) as well as his longstanding residency at world renowned house night Shindig. This time VOX saw him teamed up with Nathan Todd whose influences include the likes of Ed Sheeran and Labrinth for a contemporary pop banger that’s as chart ready as any of Rudimental’s offerings.

The 5th track by Ditte Elly and producer John Elliott should be very exciting indeed but is being held back for full release in 2016…. watch this space!

Words by Michelle Lloyd

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