Friday, 26 April 2013

In Profile: Frances Wood

By Emma-Louise Livermore.

Meet Frances Wood, a distinctive singer/songwriter and owner of such unpredictable vocal dexterity.

To note: this kooky nineteen-year-old has wowed her hometown of Leeds from the onset of her career. However, her tender age is not indicative of her considerable talents, for her powerful but misleading vocals are just a small representation of her captivating sound. Although Frances found her voice almost instantly, she has just begun to explore her passion extensively by publicly expressing her own music.
Although she is an unsigned artist, Frances is fearless when faced with a myriad of genres. She holds a unique range of styles and sounds that she can adopt on a whim. Her typical set includes an amalgamation of acoustic pop and RnB as seen above. She organically fuses an assortment of tracks from Example to form this brilliantly simple but unconventional rendition. 
In 2010 we caught a glimpse of her at Live and Unsigned before she progressed in the short space of two years to perform on The Voice. Since then, Frances has featured on many Leeds based radio stations whilst she continues to explore her infinite talent. 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Antonio Lulic, Fiona Bevan, Billie Tweddle and Rhiannon Mair at Jakes Unplugged!

Jakes Unplugged!
By Emma Whitehead

‘I was there.’

Three little words which Thabo Mkwananzi, the compere for the evening, said with simple perfection.

‘I was there.’

These three little words suggest a sense of proudness, a reflective phrase- 'I was there.' And I saw it for myself!

Now I’m not meaning to boast when I say ‘I was there’, but if you speak to anyone who was at Jake’s on Thursday evening; friends, artists, family and music lovers, they will tell you what a fantastic evening it was! (Okay, so maybe a slight boast).

After a platter of delicious tapas courtesy of Jake’s Cafe and Restaurant, plus a drink on the house purchased with a rather snazzy poker chip, everyone was well and truly warmed up and ready for the music to begin.

Rhiannon Mair opened the evening with her original acoustic songs, ranging in emotion from melancholy to foot tapping grooves. This was her first time in Harrogate, and she was stunned to play at a gig where the audience were completely engrossed in every performance. I certainly didn't see anyone having to scowl at the irritating person next to them who wouldn’t be quiet (as is usually the case at gigs). Rhiannon has just released an album funded by her fans, and I can see why she has such firm grounded support!

Billie Tweddle - our Harrogate gem! Billie is somewhat of a veteran (already?) to the Jake‘s Unplugged events, yet each time I see her, her performance hypnotises the audience and each time gives you another experience with her presence and talent. As I have said before, she is only thirteen; Simply wow!

Fiona Bevan was up next, having just written a song with One Direction, she stunned the audience with her voice and lyrical talent. She is always a joy to watch perform and I have to mention the hair. A perfectly coiffed blonde afro... Hair like that, AND a voice like that!

Antonio Lulic has a fantastic voice, imagine a gruff northern/southern mix. He performed with John Parker on bass, who is (I am proud to say I have met) one half of Nizlopi, the pair who gave us the JCB song back in 2005. Antonio and John both provided a fantastic finale to the evening with their up tempo performance and musical genius.

Need I say more about the utter quality of the artists who graced one of Harrogate's more prestigious music events on Thursday evening… you’ve guess it, I am proud to say ‘I was there!’.

I can’t wait for the next Jake’s event next month on the 22nd May. If you want to experience another both professional and fun evening like no other then make sure to get your ticket in advance as they sell like gold dust, so that you too can say ‘I was there!’.

Tickets from

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Session Review - Karima Francis – Crazy

More views for Karima?

(By Scott Quinn - @sq_of_bevington)            

The other night I was plugged into a good Ont’ Sofa marathon when I stumbled across a video that frankly sent shivers down my spine. If I am honest, from the outset I wasn’t very optimistic, the initial view count was low in comparison to some of the other giant successes on the channel and when the song started I was preparing myself for just another generic acoustic act but as soon as Karima Francis opened her mouth I was stunned.

A totally unassuming performance of a beautiful song, Karima has an incredible ability to instantly capture your attention and hold it for the entire 3:32 mins that the video lasts (often then making the most of the replay button!). Her voice is so crisp and controlled it’s a mystery why Karima Francis is still an artist that only few have been privileged to listen to, a reality that I reckon will be soon to change as I believe Francis is on the brink of becoming known by the masses, watch this space.

If you enjoyed this session then I highly recommend checking out Karima’s other videos on Youtube for more stunning performances and equally impressive hair!

Till next time.

Scott x 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Gigging it!- Allen Stone, Extra Curricular and Tower Of Power

Ont' Sofa Let Loose in London
(Written by Emma Whitehead)

We have been to some amazing gigs recently in London! Have a gander at what we have been up to...

Tower of Power ft. Extra Curricular- Shepherd's Bush Empire
Standing in a crowd full of Londoners, staring up at the stage as Extra Curricular took to the floor with all their glinting musical instruments- evidently the coolest cats in town... Extra Curricular at Shepherd’s Bush Empire!!! And to think, the band played at Lure Bar in Harrogate for us only a few weeks before. Wowzers! Excitement cannot begin to describe what we feel; it is more of a strong feeling of pride and connection with this northern band... WE LOVE EXTRA CURRICULAR! And as always they absolutely smashed it, getting everybody to shake their tushes and go down low. I am sure that they will have converted most people there into Extra Curricular-ites!


Tower of Power... were... a tower of power! ('nuff said).

Allen Stone- Cargo
I want to try something, and attempt to describe Ont’ Sofa’s visit to see Allen Stone perform at Cargo, by using each of his song titles in the description. (As you have probably guessed from my previous blogs, I sometimes like to get a tad flamboyant in the posts, and this also means that you have the means to be introduced to every part of his wonder!) 

A caramel tone, like those long flowing golden locks, as limber as it is smooth, Allen Stone will certainly not send you to ‘Sleep’. From ‘What I’ve Seen’, and it certainly is not just us who ‘Say So’, Allen Stone has a spiritualism and presence as felt as ‘The Wind’ by every soul who sees his performances. Having been likened to a modern day Stevie Wonder, Marvyn Gaye or Prince, you have no choice but to ‘Celebrate Tonight’ in the company of him and the band. Ultimate ‘Satisfaction’ from the musical genius of these musicians sends you ‘Contact High’. All that is Allen Stone leaves ‘Nothing to Prove’ as ‘Your Eyes’, your ears and every sense cannot be left ‘Unaware’.

Allen Stone also covered some Bob Marley songs, which was somewhat fitting (to say the least!) seen as we were staying in Bob Marley’s old apartment at Sarm Studios. Allen Stone was a perfect ending to our great week in London!

The fantastic Allen Stone!

We love Extra Curricular!
Ta for now :) team Ont’ Sofa

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gibson Studios London November Sessions

Lights Camera Action
(Written by Emma Whitehead)
The story (blog) begins... 

Once Upon A Time, in a land far, far away (the North), five young music geeks (let’s call them the Ont’ Sofa team) set off along the yellow brick road (the M1 to London) in their magical chariot (the big red Kassius van- not for the faint of heart!) to embark on two days of music production in the enchanted land of Gibson Studios...

...Wait, wait, wait... scratch that... this is not a fairy tale... this is real Ont’ Sofa life!

Over the last four days we have been down in London (what a city!!) in order to record our fantastic November Gibson Sessions line up of artists. From one take wonders, to artists travelling from all corners of the earth and walks of live, each singer/songwriter brought their own individual spark to the sofa. We cannot put it into words how brilliant it is to have such talented people coming to play for us, and you, ont’ sofa.

The artists were ecstatic to be able to choose from a fantastic range of Gibson guitars to play. (some actually squealed!) Of course it is always lovely to see an artist playing their heart out on their own guitar too. We have beautiful vocals, songs to get your feet bouncing, lyrics to melt your heart, a couple of cajons, bass, drums and most likely anything else you can imagine, all in the production line soon to be at your ears and eyes disposal.

The videos will be going up online over the next couple of weeks, believe us when we say you do not want to miss a single one!

Love from a VERY happy Ont’ Sofa team :)