Pitbull proves he really is Mr. International by discovering Greek DJ/Producer/Songwriter Xenia Ghali. Rather than focus on the obvious – that Xenia Ghali is one of very few female DJ/producers (Reid Speed, Dani Deahl, Nervo, Havana Brown, Maya Jane Coles, Nora en Pure), let’s talk about the song. The progressive house song has a dark yet warm pop feel, with a hint of a ’70s rock vibe giving it a unique edge. The lyrics are subtle but strong, with the empowering story of reclaiming your life by leaving a destructive, controlling partner. Yes, it’s some heavy stuff that feels like something Adele might have written. The song appears to be the English language version of the song “Gennithika Gia Sena” that she released earlier this year with Greek singer Tamta. While I don’t speak Greek, listening to both versions it’s clear that newcomer vocalist Katt Rockell makes the song her own with sheer vocal prowess (be sure to check out her trip pop motivational anthem “Pushin” as well). “Broken” is instantly memorable on first listen, and it’s easy to see why dance radio has embraced it so quickly. Don’t be surprised if it goes all the way and crosses to pop radio as well with further collaborations with Katt Rockell (“Get Right” and “That’s What You Call Love”) continuing the streak.
The mark of a good pop artist is when they take underground sounds and make them accessible to mainstream audiences. With “Ba Bing,” Aussie DJ/singer Havana Brown melds bhangra and hard electro beats as the background of her sexed-up vocal performance. That Luciana cowrote the lyrics doesn’t come as a surprise at all. Though “Ba Bing” was featured on Havana’s 2012 album (still unreleased in the US), it sounds remarkably fresh for 2014. The mixing of Indian/Middle Eastern influences with electro has been done before – Rudenko “Everybody,” R3hab “Pump the Party,” and Diplo “Butter’s Theme” come to mind. The recently released NSFW video is sexually-charged but praiseworthy from a feminist standpoint because Havana is in control with men being just as scantily clad (if not more) than the women. That is never the case in EDM videos, at least not since Ultra Nate’s “Automatic.” Actually, the cinematography seems partially inspired by the previously mentioned “Butter’s Theme.” The video for “Babing” is part of the release of a new single “Better Not Said,” which based on previews sounds like she is trying to put a pop spin on the aggressive EDM tracks that you hear from the Spinnin’ camp. Watch for a favorable review coming soon.
Image sampled from music video. Special thanks to Julio Leonel Bonilla for song suggestion.
Havana Brown is being embraced by clubland as “Flashing Lights” tops the club chart – following both “Big Banana” and “We Run the Night,” which both did the same. The Aussie DJ got her start spinning clubs, and though she was fearful of singing live, once she started she never looked back. Discovered by RedOne, who signed her to his label 2101 after recommendations from Enrique Iglesias, amongst others, her debut artist album is set for release later this year.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: Do you ever feel more like a model than a DJ? Havana Brown: Never