Album Review: Nathan Sykes’ “Unfinished Business”

nathan-sykes-reveals-unfinished-business-album-artwork-01I’m so excited to finally write this post! Nathan Sykes has been a favorite of mine since I was thirteen years old and he was a part of my most favorite band at the time, The Wanted. I’ve so enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a solo artist since then.

The Wanted were an Irish-British-pop band formed in 2010 made up of members Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, Max George, and Tom Parker. (I’ve been following this band since my love for them in middle school, so I don’t even need to research any of this information.) After five successful years, the band decided to take a break from making music together and pursue their own careers in various fields. Since then, all the boys have succeeded in one way or another–and for Nathan, his biggest accomplishment so far has been releasing his own, debut record.

Nathan has a unique vocal style that ranges from pop, R&B to soul-sounding. He never sings one song the same way each time, and his incredibly raw, natural talent really comes through in this record–he sounds exactly as he does in his live shows, which showcases rare, amazing talent. (I’ve seen him twice, and met him two different times.) Check out the live version of his single “Famous” below. (And if you want to see videos of Nathan singing live last summer in Portland & me chatting with him, click here.)

This album, “Unfinished Business,” is an incredibly strong debut. With a variety of songs ranging from ballads, electro-pop bangers, to jazzy, trumpet-filled anthems, this record has something for everyone.

img_8317The first track on this album is a great introduction to Nathan’s new style–“Good Things Come To Those Who Wait.” This upbeat, trumpet-and-drum-infused tune features a choir accompanying Nathan, which sounds incredible. (Reminds me a bit of the style The 1975 have been incorporating into their new music–especially with songs like “If I Believe You.”) (Photo on right taken by me.)

A few of the most memorable tracks on this record are: “I’ll Remember You,” “Famous,” “There’s Only One Of You,” (this one is very John Mayer-esque), “Twist,” and “Tears In The Rain.” This new album also features a few familiar faces/voices such as rapper G-Eazy and singer-songwriter Ariana Grande.

nathNathan did a bit of touring last summer in the U.K. and U.S. to promote his upcoming album, and is planning to do another tour (most likely early next year) now that it’s released. I had the pleasure of chatting with him before his show in PDX last summer, and it was a pretty cool experience to discuss this record with him. (Plus, he’s just a funny and very sweet guy.) I tried to coax the title of the new album out of him before it had been announced, but he stubbornly refused, telling me that I “probably already know the name of the record and just don’t realize it.” 😉 Nathan also talked about how much this record means to him–he put his heart and soul into producing it, and has poured his memories and experiences into each and every song. This album is just as good as I hoped it would be. I  highly recommend checking out Nathan’s music if you’re into artists like Charlie Puth, Union J, or Olly Murs. (Picture on the left: me and Nathan!)

Nathan’s album is available on CD, vinyl, and through most streaming sites. Take a listen here!

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HOW TO: Create a Music Time Capsule

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetLike I’ve said so many times before on my blog, music/songs can represent memories. Listening to a specific song can bring back so many good memories from various times in your life!

For this post, I decided to do a something a little different. I’m a very sentimental person, and I also absolutely love time capsules. I have so many hidden around my house–one from kindergarten that I’m supposed to open when I graduate from college, one for when I graduate from high school, and one I’m set to open in just a few weeks. Because I love time capsules so much, I decided to combine my love of memorabilia with my passion for music & its power to spark memories.

In this post, I’m going to show you how to create your very own music time capsule. You can decide to open it whenever you want–during a major life milestone, next year, whatever. When you open this time capsule, it will help you remember the music you loved and the memories that you made because of it. It makes your memories a bit more tangible, and is super fun to hide, then discover later. Read on to find out how you can fossilize your favorite artists and albums.

THE IDEA: If you’ve never made a time capsule before, the idea is to find a box or some sort of container, and fill it with significant objects that will spark memories when you open it years later. Ideally, you are supposed forget what’s in the box until you open it. Decide on a specific date or a certain year that you would like to open it, and mark it on the outside, then HIDE IT. Don’t open it, touch it, or peek until your target date.

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9 ideas of what to put inside:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset1. Tickets from past concerts.

Collect tickets from a few (or one) of the best concerts you’ve attended. On the back, write who went to the concert with you. That way, you can call your friend and reminisce about that perfect night after you open your capsule.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset2. Concert & festival bracelets.

These are so much fun to look at years later. Try to save them instead of throwing them away after the concert/festival you attended. I kept my V.I.P. bracelet from when I met The Wanted.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset3. A lotion or small lip gloss that you wore the night of your favorite concert.

Scent evokes strong memories. One sniff of a perfume that you wore the night you met your favorite band will transport you right back to the moment you finally hugged them.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset4. Pictures, pictures, pictures!

Throw in pictures you snapped of your favorite singer on stage, at meet-and-greets, and of you and your friends after/during concerts. One thing that’s super fun to include: Pictures of your reactions after a concert, or after meeting your favorite band/singer. Make it habit to snap a picture of you and your friends after each concert–you’ll have genuine smiles and you’ll capture the excitement of the night on camera. (In the picture below, on the right, you will see a picture of my friend and me after we met Ed Sheeran. We were a little excited…)

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset5. Buttons, stickers, articles and other mementos.

Cut out an article of an interview or photo shoot with favorite singer, and include it in your time capsule. You’ll love reading it years later, and it will help you remember why you loved that particular artist so much. Stickers, buttons and notes are always fun to look at, too.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset6. Albums, album booklets, or a flash drive.

In 10 years, or whenever you decide to open this time capsule, the world may not be using CDs anymore. Putting your favorite album on a flash drive is probably good idea. If you want, though, go ahead and include a whole CD (if you can fit it inside).

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset7. Fan letters.

Make a point to scan and save letters you write to your favorite band member (before you give them away). Or you still have a letter for your fave that you hope to give them one day, consider putting it in your time capsule. (Obviously if you end up meeting the artist/band, you can still take it out and give it to them.) I scanned the letters I gave to The Wanted when I met them, and it’s fun (if a bit cringe-worthy) to read them now. 🙂

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8. A description of your favorite concert, or concert moment.

Write out your favorite concert moment, then read it out loud to someone who went to the concert with you when you take it out of your time capsule years later. Even if you’re not much of a writer, jot down some bullet points and key moments you want to remember.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset9. Tweets.

You know those embarrassing, adoring tweets you’ve sent to your favorite singers? Print them out! Have you ever gotten a reply? Print it out! You will LOVE seeing them years later when you open your time capsule. Plus, who knows if we will even have Twitter in the future? Your tweets will seem so “retro”!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Tweet me pictures of YOUR music time capsules! (@sophersc)

HOW TO: Meet Your Favorite Bands & Singers (Part 2)

imageMeeting my favorite band, The Wanted, in April

Fake it ‘till you make it. Meeting your favorite band/singer can be a once in a lifetime opportunity. When you meet them, breathe. They’re just people. (That mean a lot to you!) Fake being outgoing if you’re a little shy—smile, ask them questions, (ex: How do you like my city? What did you do today? Etc.) and most importantly: be assertive (but not rude). If you want a selfie, ask for one. If you want a hug, ask for one. Thank them for taking time to meet you, and be happy—because you just met your favorite artist!

When taking a picture with your fave: Although this can be nerve-racking, try to stay calm. Smile, and make sure you take a minute to put your arm around your fave for the picture. Meet & greet pictures where the artist and fan are just standing next to each other are awkward, so you want to avoid that. Not sure what kind of meet and greet picture you want? A normal one of you smiling with the band is always great, but if you’re looking to get creative with your picture, check out the two pictures below for ideas!

heffron driveWhen fans Miranda & Katy met Heffron Drive, they hugged each of the guys in the picture. Too cute!

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Raleigh went for a fun, silly picture when she met American Authors. If you’re brave enough to ask for a picture like this, it is definitely one you will treasure forever!

If things don’t work out the way you wanted when trying to meet your favorite band or singer:

Don’t give up! Whether you didn’t meet the band, or you did, but you were too star-struck to tell them how much you love them, it’s okay. Stay positive and think about the fact that you actually met them. When I met Ed Sheeran, I barely squeaked out a thank you. I was in shock, haha. Afterwards, I was a bit disappointed I hadn’t said more to him, but I remembered how lucky I was to even meet him, and I felt better. There is always a possibility you will meet the artist again, or if you haven’t met them yet, and you’re determined to, you will. Staying positive is key!

 Don’t forget to read Part 1 of this post if you haven’t already!

Tweet me HERE about your meet and greet experiences! I want to hear all of the crazy stories. I will always tweet you back! 🙂