Laura Welsh - A host of female celebrities including Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, BAFTA nominated actress Anne-Marie Duff, pop star Rachel Stevens, musician and radio DJ Cerys Matthews and actress Caroline Quentin have joined forces to pose for a set of powerful portraits raising awareness of the millions of mothers around the world who lose their babies to infections caused by a lack of safe water, in support of WaterAid's Deliver Life appeal. They were joined by designer and entrepreneur Kelly Hoppen MBE, Kelly's daughter and health food blogger Natasha Corrett, Mumsnet co-founder and CEO Justine Roberts, Net-a-Porter Editor-in-Chief Lucy Yeomans, Olympian Sharron Davis who was captured with her daughter Grace, Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry, musician Laura Welsh, and actresses MyAnna Buring, Manjinder Virk and Adele Silva. Tragically, one in five newborn baby deaths are due to infections caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment; every single minute a mother loses a newborn baby to these infections. Without basic water and sanitation, it is impossible for hospitals in some of the world's poorest communities to provide a hygienic place to give birth, leaving mothers and newborn babies highly vulnerable to life-threatening infections. The stunning photographs raise awareness of the shocking statistics around these preventable deaths, and urge the public to support the Deliver Life appeal to bring mums, newborns and their families a brighter start and a better future - simply through clean, safe water, proper toilets and better hygiene. Talking about their motivations for supporting the appeal, Nadiya Hussain said: "I'm supporting WaterAid's Deliver Life appeal because I have three children myself and I can't imagine going into a hospital and giving birth where there's no clean water. No mother should have to face that". Anne-Marie Duff added: "As a mum myself, the thought of having to go through labour, to give - - Thursday 10th December 2015
A thrillingly diverse music line-up, brough to you by SXSW 2015's Hype Hotel.
The line-up for one of SXSW's most anticipated showcases, Hype Hotel Presented by Feed the Beat, has now been announced - and it looks like 2015 is setting up for some up and coming talent of epic proportions come March 17th. As if the Austin festival wasn't getting hot enough!
Line-up addition Natalie Prass is not to be missed
Selected by a variety of top music blogs via Hype Machine, Hype Hotel presents the best in new talent from every genre in a spectacular showcase at SXSW which this year takes place between March 17th and 21st 2015. On the pop spectrum, we have everything from BBC Sound of 2015 winners Years And Years to Nashville singer Natalie Prass, whose classic songwriting calls to mind the likes of Beth Orton and a little Springfield. More on the electronic side of things is Michigan's own Daniel Wilson and Autre Ne Veut whose 2013 single 'Play By Play' was a definite fan favourite, and who bear some musical resemblance to Brit duo Hurts. Also worth a watch are US Heatseekers chart topper Ryn Weaver, Nashville indie quartet Coin and the very alternative Raury from Atlanta.
After flirting with a number of outfits, from Laura and the Tears to Hey Laura, 2015 sees the arrival of Laura Welsh proper with her debut album 'Soft Control'. Awash with smooth, soulful vocals float-ing over slick electro-pop production, it's easy to draw comparisons between Laura Welsh and her contemporaries, most notably Jessie Ware. Yet while similarities exist, the quality of songwriting on 'Soft Control' renders such a comparison more of a compliment than a criticism.
If 'Soft Control' is a mission statement then it's a strong one. Welsh might have operated under a number of guises prior to the release of her solo debut, but from the first swelling chorus of album opener 'Soft Control', it's abundantly clear that Welsh has now found a strong and clear identity. What's most impressive across the album as a whole is the consummate control Welsh exercises over her vocal, easily morphing from mournful and brooding tones into delicate falsetto.
On latest single 'Ghosts', pared back verse gives way to commanding chorus with Welsh's vocal exercising total control as she cries, "I need you to help me through / I can't lay these ghosts to rest". It's a formula which reoccurs across the album, slowly building verses punctuated by impassioned, impacting choruses. It's a trick that provides some of the album's best moments. The dark and tense 'Break The Fall' is a masterful display of just how well it can work as Welsh seethes, "I want to love you but I'm just too cynical" over a sinister marriage of dark synths and trembling strings. Likewise, 'Cold Front' proved the best example of how the technique allows Welsh to showcase her vocal ability, switching in an effortless instant from an edgy uncertainty into a flourishing falsetto.
Continue reading: Laura Welsh - Soft Control Album Review