Everyone's Favorite Russian Protest Punk Group Has A New Song And It's A Banger

In the years since they were jailed for playing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow church, Pussy Riot — or at least one member, Nadya Tolokonnikova — have transformed from an anonymous protest collective to a real band, among other ventures. Part of that transition involved ditching of the masks that gave them anonymity and splitting to set up separate projects under the Pussy Riot ~brand~.

And the protests have kept coming, even as the music’s appeal has broadened Two years ago, Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina released Pussy Riot’s first English-language song, which dealt with police brutality and the death of Eric Garner. Just a few weeks ago, Alekhina staged a protest inside Trump Tower.

91 Songs That Are Way Better Than Anything The Beatles Ever Did

4. Leighton Meester’s gorgeous solo album, “Heartstrings”

5. Leighton Meester’s masterpiece, “Good Girls Gone Bad”

6. Shania Twain’s “Come On Over” album

7. Underrated ballad, “Nobody Wants To Be Lonely” by Ricky Martin & Christina Aguilera

8. Gayest remix of all-time, “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay (Thunderpuss Mix)” by Whitney Houston

9. “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack

10. Literally just a supercut of Rupaul saying “Bring Back My Girls”

12. “Only Hope” by a dying Mandy Moore

13. The Cellino & Barnes telephone number

14. “Bossy” by Lindsay Lohan

15. “All Or Nothing” by O-Town

16. Just the beginning of “California” by Phantom Planet

17. Anything from the golden era of Sheryl Crow (1993-2001)

18. Anything from the movie Coyote Ugly

23. The Gullah Gullah Island theme song…

24. …but especially Binyah Binyah’s solo

25. “Pump Up The Jam” by Technotronic

26. “Ohh Ahh Just A Little Bit” by Gina G

27. “Get Low” by Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys

28. “Potential Breakup Song” by Aly & Aj

29. “For You I Will” by Teddy Geiger

35. “Hail Holy Queen” by the nuns on Sister Act

36. The Baby Bottle Pop commercial jingle

37. “Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime. When pizza’s on a bagel you can have pizza anytime.”

38. “Smile” by Vitamin C

43. The “Full House” theme song

44. The sound my phone makes when someone Venmos me

45. The Pure Moods soundtrack commercial

46. “Get Over Yourself” by Eden’s Crush

47. “Friends Forever” by the Zack Attack

48. Anything from Jock Jams: Volume 1

51. “Run Away With Me” by Carly Rae Jepsen

52. “E•MO•TION” by Carly Rae Jepsen

53. “I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen

54. “Gimmie Love” by Carly Rae Jepsen

55. “All That” by Carly Rae Jepsen

56. “Boy Problems” by Carly Rae Jepsen

57. “Making The Most of the Night” by Carly Rae Jepsen

58. “Your Type” by Carly Rae Jepsen

59. “Let’s Get Lost” by Carly Rae Jepsen

60. “L.A. Hallucinations” by Carly Rae Jepsen

61. “Warm Blood” by Carly Rae Jepsen

62. “When I Needed You” by Carly Rae Jepsen

68. Jessy from Little Mix saying “Ballegduh”

69. Britney Spears’ Pepsi commercial

70. “Stars Are Blind” by Paris Hilton

71. “Nothing In This World” by Paris Hilton

72. My mom saying dinner is ready

73. The delivery man calling me and telling me he’s downstairs

74. The voice on the subway saying there is a train approaching the station

79. The Kim Possible beeper

80. The Proud Family theme song

81. The Zoey 101 theme song

82. “What Dreams Are Made Of” originally by Isabella but later by Lizzie McGuire

83. Literally just Isabella saying “sing to me Paolo.”

87. When they do the dance to “The Rockafeller Skank” in She’s All That

88. “F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back)” by Frankee

89. “Banging On A Trash Can” from Doug

90. Mr. Hyunh from Hey Arnold singing “The Simple Things”

91. And “Get Busy” by Sean Paul

Tom Fletcher And Matt Willis Play A Wonderfully Relatable Game Of Never Have I Ever: Dad Edition

If you know anything about McFly’s Tom Fletcher, it’s that he’s a very talented individual. Not only has he had well over a decade as part of a hugely successful band, but he’s now also branched out into writing books, stage shows, and even movies. Last year he released his children’s book The Christmasaurus, which is currently being turned into a movie. A stage adaptation is about to open in London and last week Tom even revealed he’s releasing a special musical edition of the novel, complete with a brand new 14-track CD featuring the music from the show. Not bad, right?

He’s also known as a family man, so it seems pretty appropriate that last week he also announced his wife and sister would be appearing with him in the stage show, as well as two of his close friends – McFly bandmate Harry Judd and Busted’s Matt Willis.

So when Tom and Matt popped over to BuzzFeed after making the announcement in London last week, we thought it would be pretty appropriate to grill them about their family lives, and in particular fatherhood. Cue a very funny, honest, and most definitely relatable game of Never Have I Ever: Dad Edition. Here’s what went down…

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

Tom Fletcher: [immediately answers] Oh yeah, I’ve done that.

Matt Willis: I do that daily.

TF: Yeah, that’s the hardest bit, isn’t it?

MW: Yeah, trying to tell them off and not laughing is the hardest thing.

TF: Or if they’re upset about something ridiculous.

MW: [laughs] Oh my god! I’m so pleased you said that.

TF: I feel like such a bad dad when he starts crying about something stupid, like, I don’t know, he’s got a bit of fluff from a towel. [does impression of his son crying] “It was on my shoulder, Daddy!” Yeah but this is really funny. That’s hard.

Matt: No way

Tom: Guilty

TF: Yeah. [looks at Matt] You must have done that.

MW: I don’t think I’ve ever done that.

TF: Oh, well I’ve got two boys.

MW: I’ve got a boy and a girl – and a really little girl – so it’s not as easy, no.

TF: I’ve done that… because you go out and you thought you had spare clothes for that one, and you didn’t, and that one’s had an accident, or fallen over in a puddle or something.

MW: Oh actually, no, I have done that because I put Isabelle’s blazer on Ace all the time. Because they have the same school blazer… Does that count?

TF: Yeah, it totally counts!

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

MW: Have I ever hidden from my child in the bathroom? Yeah!

TF: Yeah.

[both nod and hold up “Guilty” signs]

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

TF: I mean, that is the right of every parent. Guilt-free snackage. I think I finish the kids’ plates all the time.

MW: Plus it looks quite manky as well when they’ve finished.

TF: But it’s good.

MW: But it’s good, it’s good, yeah.

Matt: No way

Tom: No way

[both think, then hold up “No way” paddles]

Matt: No way

Tom: Guilty

TF: Not forgotten, but do you know what’s really weird? When Buzz was first born I kept on calling him Ace, which is Matt’s kid’s name.

MW: That’s so funny because I call Trixie Isabelle all the time.

TF: What is that? It’s just fatigue.

MW: But you call them my kids’ names? That’s weirder.

TF: We kept on doing it. I was like, “That’s really weird!”

MW: It’s just because it’s a little boy that you’re just used to saying his name.

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

MW: Oh my god [puts up “Guilty” paddle immediately, Tom laughs and follows suit]. It doesn’t work! It doesn’t work, though. I just get woken up. I just get kicked by my wife.

TF: Yeah, she’s like, “You were really asleep last night when Buddy woke up.” I’m like, “Oh, was I? I don’t remember that.”

MW: My wife doesn’t believe me for a second. She’s like, “Get up [pretends to be his wife kicking him], it’s your turn.”

Matt: No Way

Tom: No Way

[both burst out laughing]

TF: I’ve not done that, but I saw that as a life hack for if you want to play a video game and your kids want to feel like they’re involved. My kids aren’t quite at that age yet.

MW: It is kind of genius, though.

TF: I will do that.

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

MW: I do it every single day. I’m just a terrible father.

TF: Matt swears in front of my kids.

MW: I swear in front of your kids. I’m so sorry. I can’t help it.

TF: I can’t believe what Buzz said the other day after he popped round. [both laugh]

Matt: Guilty

Tom: No way

TF: Nooo. [notices Matt pausing to think for too long] Have you?! How have you done that? Haven’t you got them tattooed on you?!

MW: I wouldn’t have forgotten it, but maybe if my wife didn’t remind me. But I’m not sure how quickly I’d go “Oh, obviously that’s Ace’s birthday.” I’m really bad with birthdays. For everybody. I forgot my dad’s birthday this year, and my mum’s. That’s pretty bad, right?

TF: Yeah that’s bad, mate.

MW: That’s bad. I don’t know when yours is, mate. September?

TF: No. You give good presents, though.

MW: I do give good presents. That’s why – I make up for it. Whenever I’ve remembered. [turns to Tom] July? [Tom nods] Yesss!

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

TF: Yeah. I mean, yeah, you think your kid’s smarter. Yeah. [jokes] My kids are way smarter than Matt’s kids.

MW: [pulls face] My kids are cool as fuck, though! [both burst out laughing]

Matt: No way

Tom: No way

TF: I don’t get away with that.

MW: No, I can’t. I wish I could.

TF: Not a chance.

MW: My life has to be quite structured. Because I’m away a lot, when I’m home, I’m fucking home. There’s no way I’m going “Can I go and do…” No. Nope.

TF: I maybe take slightly longer toilet breaks. You know, just to check social media.

MW: Trixie walks in on me, though, all the time. She comes in and I’m on my phone. I’m like “Alright?!”

TF: Actually, yeah. Buzz knows how to open all the locks.

Matt: Guilty

Tom: Guilty

MW: Oh my god, I do it all the time. But I’d like to say she does that to me as well! She’ll literally be going out and she’ll go [sniffs] “What’s that smell?” And she’ll leave the house!

TF: Yeah it’s a two-way street, that one.

Matt: No Way

Tom: Guilty

TF: Yeah. Well, we try. We’ve got to that stage where they’re not really into cuddling any more.

MW: I could never stay in my pyjamas all day.

TF: Really?

MW: Not in a million years.

TF: I don’t get dressed if I don’t have to leave the house.

MW: Really? Man, I couldn’t stay in my pyjamas all day. No way. Past 9am. I need to be showered, I need to be ready.

TF: Man, if I don’t have stuff to do I don’t shower, I don’t get dressed. I’m a bit of a slob.

MW: Can’t do that shit.

Thanks for playing along, Tom and Matt!

Laura Gallant/BuzzFeed

The Christmasaurus: The Musical Edition, including a CD and book, is out on 16 November. Check it out!






I Honestly Can't Believe There Are People Who Think Backstreet Boys Are Better Than *NSYNC

Let’s go through each band’s certified bops, starting with Backstreet Boys:

“I Want It That Way”

“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”

“Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”

“Quit Playing Games With My Heart”

I know some people are gonna complain that “Larger Than Life” isn’t on here but that’s because that song is certifiably wack. “That makes you larger than life”? What does that mean? Someone tell me, please.

*NSYNC’s certified bops:

“Tearin’ up My Heart”

“I Just Wanna Be With You”

“Here We Go”

“For The Girl Who Has Everything (Club Mix)”

“(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You”

“You Got It”

“I Need Love”

“I Want You Back (Radio Edit)”

“Everything I Own”

“Thinking of You (I Drive Myself Crazy)”

“Crazy For You”


“Giddy Up”

“Bye Bye Bye”

“It’s Gonna Be Me”

“Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)”

“Just Got Paid”

“It Makes Me Ill”

“This I Promise You”

“No Strings Attached”

“Digital Get Down”

“Bringin’ Da Noise”

“That’s When I’ll Stop Loving You”

“I’ll Be Good For You”

“I Thought She Knew”



“The Game Is Over”


“The Two Of Us”


“Tell Me, Tell Me…Baby”

“Up Against The Wall”

“See Right Through You”


“Just Don’t Tell Me That”

“Something Like You”

“Do Your Thing”

+ all the Christmas songs.

How Many Of These Twenty One Pilots Songs Have You Actually Heard Before?

How Many Of These Twenty One Pilots Songs Have You Actually Heard Before?

‘Scuse me, could you please leave? See, only a true Twenty One Pilots fan would get that reference… which you are not. You’re missing out on so much, man!

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Sure, you don’t know too many of their songs, but at least you have a LITTLE bit of knowledge.

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Nice! Sure, you still have a few songs you need to listen to, but at least we can call you a big fan. Salutations, and keep listening!

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Congratulations — you know your stuff! You’re a true fan, and you deserve to know that we consider you one, too. Stay alive!

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Some Of The UK's Biggest Talents Tell Us What Black British Music Means To Them

Hearing groups of boys go back to back to the soundtrack of Eskimo riddim. Listening to my favourite grime MCs through the fuzzy background of pirate radio. Discussing who spun who on the latest Lord of the Mics – long may the Wiley vs Kano clash live. This was the black British music I grew up with.

Those were the foundations of what we have now. And what we have now is one of the most successful periods black British music has ever seen in the UK. We have artists like Skepta, Stormzy, and Giggs with chart success. Black British artists are making moves in grime, rap, R&B, and everything in between, by being unapologetically themselves.

Black UK music is constantly evolving, and to celebrate this we spoke to eight black British artists and asked them what it means to them.

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Wretch 32 is and has been one of the most important voices in UK music. He has been on the scene since his days as a member of Combination Chain Gang and then The Movement, which included him, Scorcher, Ghetts, and Mercston. “I feel like I have been writing songs longer than I haven’t,” he says. “I used to write in my mum’s front room, and I would not just write raps or bars, I would write a record. It would have a concept – any song that had a 16-bar instrumental I had a song to.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

And it seems these years of writing have paid off. Wretch’s talent when it comes to lyrics cannot be denied; he is a rapper’s rapper. “I write music that is heartfelt, intellectual, and I would say moving. That can mean dancing on the dance floor, or actually feeling an emotion,” he says. “I think my album shows how versatile I am. I am not enclosed with my music. If I feel l like singing, I sing; if I felt like rapping, I rap. I do everything I feel like doing. Because if you’re going to be in this industry you need to be comfortable in your own skin.”

Wretch lists Kano, Swiss (he wishes he’d written “Cry”), Avelino, Ghetts, J Hus, and Krept & Konan among the many artists he is a fan of. “UK music has always been great but the quality is so much better now. Everyone has got better. The music, the sonics, the engineering, the mix-downs, the writing – everything is better. That’s why the light is on us: We are as close to flawless as it gets with our music.”

I ask him what he, as someone who has been in the game for a long time, thinks of the wave of new UK artists. “It’s good to see new artists pick up from where we left off,” he says. “The people who come second get to come first better. They have seen what’s happened before them. It’s good to see younger versions of yourself. They have learnt new things, and now they are able to be fearless. When I started music I made a lot of mistakes out of lack of knowledge. Artists now understand what road they can walk on, and also they know what to do and what not to do.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Fitted black jeans, black tee, and a smile that reveals her gold tooth: Ms Banks has a swag that belongs to black London girls – south London girls, to be exact. “I am from South, and growing up, we were a little rough around the edges. We would come through in kicks, jeans, a bag from H&M, a New Era hat, and a gold tooth. We had a look, and that reflects in my music. It influences my sound.”

Ms Banks, who was introduced to many people through her impressive Fire in the Booth freestyle, has come a long way from the 11-year-old girl who wrote: “T to the Y to the R to the A / When I’m on the mic don’t ram, don’t play / If you don’t like me that’s OK / I’m going to beat you anyway.”

“OMG, my first bar was so wack. I don’t know who I waring at 11,” she jokes after she recites the rap to me.

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

When I ask her what track she thinks best represents the scene, Ms Banks says: “Giggs, ‘Talking the Hardest’ – are you mad? That song is too much. Giggs said: ‘If you’re talking the hardest / Giggs better pop up in your thoughts as an artist (jheeze).’ I wish I wrote that, that track is UK music.

“UK music means so much to me. We have people like Wretch 32, who is lyrically brilliant. The music we are making makes me proud of where I come from. I feel like for a long time we have been left out of the international music scene. But now people are realising how dope we are. We’ve always known how great we are and other people get it now. Everyone wants to work with us, people are inspired by us. I am very proud of the UK music scene. It’s taught me to love who I am and where I am from.”

Ms Banks brings her own unique sound to the scene. “I’m a rapper, I do a little singing, I do hip-hop, grime, Afrobeats. I like to think of myself as a versatile artist. It’s telling my story. I’m a woman in the rap scene and it comes with its pros and cons – being a woman has brought me a lot of attention. When I rap I sound like mandem. It’s a bravado: I deliver my bars strong and deep and par up with the guys, but I am still very feminine. Some people still don’t credit female rappers. But that keeps me going and it means I have someone new to recruit to the Ms Banks fan club.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

There is a certain calm that comes from being around Jacob Banks. It’s a G’d up calm that seems exclusive to him. He is interesting and interested, and leaves you feeling like he could write a song about you. Asked to describe his sound, he says: “I make music, innit. I try not to quantify it, as it’s not exactly genre-specific. It’s storytelling. I am a storyteller. I ain’t shit – none of us are, really. Sometimes as musicians we think we are more than we are. It’s a crazy idea to think I can walk into a room and leave with a song that didn’t exist before me. I can’t be responsible for that. Music triggers memories, something that has happened to me before, a conversation. I want my music to keep people company, like they have a friend in the room.

“I was born in Nigeria and raised in Birmingham, so I have a lot of different influences, and I love Afrobeats. I love Fela Kuti, Lagbaja, and I also love Amy Winehouse. All these things come together and I try to find a home for all of them. There is pride in everything I say and put out. I rep home, I rep the UK, I rep Birmingham, I rep London. Everywhere I go, I take my story with me.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Banks started music after finishing his degree in civil engineering, a nod to his Nigerian heritage. “I started recording music because my friends would hear me sing and they wanted to play this music in their cars. So basically I just wanted to impress my friends, and I am still making music to impress my friends. I am on tour and I think anyone who listens to my songs and connects to them is someone that I can be friends with.”

“For me UK music is the best in the world,” he replies when I ask him what he thinks of homegrown music. “I think it’s the best because as black British people we are not sold the dream that we can achieve anything we want. Americans are sold the dream that they can be whoever they want to be; Americans gas people. In the UK you are not gassed , so you have to be the best. It’s bigger than just the artists. It’s the writers, the producers – everyone is weird and wonderful here because we have to be.

“I would say UK Apache and Shy FX, “Original Nuttah” is the perfect example of what UK music is. It’s a classic, it’s punk, and I think the energy of UK music is punk. The energy of UK music is a big ‘fuck you’.”

Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

Cadet’s tracks are honest. He has a knack for making listeners feel things – a skill that makes you tune out the instrumental and really take in his lyrics. “I’m grime artist, that’s how I came up. I do honest music, passionate music, just lit music. I have always been known as the guy with bars. And I started taking it seriously three years ago and it’s paid off.” His songs are equal parts cheeky and emotive. “I write in my car, I listen to the instrumental and write. If I’m in a cheeky mood, I write cheeky. If I’m on an emotional rant, I write emotional. I just stay true to whatever I am feeling.”

Tim Lane / BuzzFeed

Cadet credits his SBTV Warm Up Session as the moment people really saw his talent. “Platforms like SBTV, Link Up, GRM Daily are essential in the UK scene: They allow you to have a come-up, they break down doors, and introduce people to new artists, and I’m one of them,” he explains. “These platforms aside, the internet is also great for the scene. It’s so big and wide. It means that different music is not weird any more. There are no weirdos no more, because of the internet. Before the only avenue was gangsta rap, and a conscious rapper had to stay underground. But now you can be rapping about anything, now it’s cool. The internet is so wide you can be yourself now. Gangsta grime and road stuff was my introduction to music. That raw essence will always stick with me, but I can rap about other things now.”

When I ask about the British scene, he says: “UK artists are doing bits. You have people like Donae’o and Shakka who have trained musical ears. You have Wretch, who is a crazy lyricist, Ghetts, who is filled with energy, and people like Stormzy and Krept & Konan who are consistent and have mad work rate and drive.

“The music we make is ours – we have a sound that is totally ours. The scene is ours, grime belongs to us. The scene is healthy. We have opportunities to become megastars.”

When asked what song he thinks shows the essence of UK music, he says: “Stormzy, ‘Shut Up’. But I do wish I wrote Kano’s ‘Brown Eyes’ or Swiss’s ‘Cry’ – all bangers.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

One Acen is lively – he walks into the room with a smile planted on his face and you can’t help but smile back. This air of playfulness and banter shows through his music. “It’s not hard to be authentic in this industry,” he says.” I just think people are scared to be who they are. I was scared to be who I was in a way. I used to do grime, and I didn’t dance in my videos, or sing like I do now. But because I thought I wasn’t going to blow, I just thought I would do me. And that’s when things picked up. It turns out people liked me for me.”

His latest track, “Verified”, is the perfect example of his sound: It’s catchy, and a great fusion of R&B and Afrobeats. “I make melodic music. I would say I am doing new-school R&B. We have people like Angel and Shakka who are also doing a form of new-school R&B; it’s not straight R&B but it’s definitely based on it. R&B songs used to have rapping in them anyway, so I am the rapper and the singer now. It’s a new wave.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

One Acen has been making music for 10 years now, but it wasn’t until last year that he got his big break, with the help of Twitter. “Social media is my career. I can put out a 20-sec clip of my video and get thousands of retweets and that could turn into thousands of views. Twitter, Link Up, and GRM Daily changed my life. I put my music there and people that like UK music will see it. It allows me to penetrate the scene.”

Asked about the current state of UK music, he says: “The scene is great at the moment and it’s full of good competition. You have songs like Kojo Funds, “My 9ine”, which I think is one of the best UK tracks, and we have artists like Giggs, J Hus – artists that stay true to themselves.

“The competition is good, I like competition. My music is only as good as it is because I had to get better to stand out. When there was no competition no one was getting better.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Blade Brown is a rapper who commands respect. His impressive catalogue and strong underground releases prove that he is undoubtably one of the top UK rappers. “I make unapologetic trap music,” he says. “That’s my sound: I speak on raw life experiences, I speak on trapping. From the start of my music career to my work on Bags and Boxes my music stays true to my core fans.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Blade has cemented his legacy in UK trap music, and it’s a legacy that is built on authenticity. “I released my first mixtape in 2004, and I got a little name for myself and then I came back in 2007 with Hollow Meets Blade, with Giggs. This made me start taking music seriously.”

He continues, “I have always had a core fan base, and I don’t make music to make money, that’s not what drives me. I make music that I like and it just works out the other people like it too. It’s not about making the biggest pop song. It’s the art of rapping that motivates me.”

He chooses one of his own songs when asked what track he thinks represents black UK trap music. “I know it looks bad, but listen I picked it for a reason,” he laughs. “I picked ‘Break Bread’ because it’s UK music, it’s UK experiences, it’s street rap. For years UK artists have been told to be more commercial and to clean it up in order to make it. But we are seeing raw songs blow, and it makes the scene more healthy. Being forced to be commercial holds music back. Raw street music does sell, as much or even more than pop music. My music does well, and so does my clothing line. I see people in Norwich or Cornwall listening to my music, or wearing my BXB clothes. That reach is still crazy to me.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Born and raised in west London, Shakka perfectly embodies his version of being black and British. “I grew up in Notting Hill and when I was in school the range of cultures and races were like Skittles. I grew up with people from everywhere, and it made me open to every culture and every sound. Growing up like this made me experience growth, progression, and fusion, which shows in my music,” he says. “My sound is a celebration of everything, it stems from hip-hop and R&B, but I celebrate everything that makes me feel good, which is why my influences span from Bob Marley to Daft Punk, Dizzee, and Wiley, with some Gorillaz thrown in for good measure.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

Shakka is from a musical family. His dad was a reggae musician and he has been writing music since he was 15, but his big break came when he featured on the song “Blackout” with Wretch 32. “My come-up was a weird one, because I never had a scene to be a part of. I wasn’t a grime MC. I wasn’t a hip-hop MC. I was singing in my accent when only one or two other people were doing it. I had to do a bunch of collaborations with different artists to be heard. ‘Blackout’, the song I did with Wretch, was a blessing for me. Because it was one of the first times when someone who is a forefather in the music scene thought it would be dope to have someone singing on his track in a British accent.”

The need to keep his accent and stay British is huge for Shakka. “I will always look up to Wiley and Dizzee – they showed me that you don’t have to make music in an American accent. They made music in their own accent, back when it wasn’t profitable or cool. Their stubbornness inspired a whole new generation of musicians.” This explains why Shakka picked Dizzee Rascal’s “I Luv You” as one of his ultimate British tracks.

It’s hard to pinpoint a set genre for Shakka’s music. His top tracks “Say Nada” and “Walking With Elephants” both have R&B influences but he sings in a spitting manner. “I make R&B that caters to the lads,” he says. “I talk to the wingman, to the uni flatmates. It’s about coming of age and chatting to your boys. I think it’s time for UK R&B to be at the fore point. I think that’s why grime is so successful, it has unity. Unity is natural for grime – the natural essence of grime is collaboration and battling. And I think when UK R&B has more collaborations it will get bigger.”

Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed

From his classic anthems like “Devil in a Blue Dress”, “Party Hard”, and “African Warrior” to his most recent tracks like “My Circle” and “Lock Doh”, Donae’o is known for making great music. He is a UK legend and his work as a vocalist, producer, and songwriter has made an unforgettable mark on the music and clubbing scene. He is known for blurring lines between grime, funky, Afrobeats, and dancehall and doesn’t really fit into one genre. “My music is vibes, I am the vibe king – you hear my music and you will vibe to it,” he says. “I am a part of the culture, so I know what music I need to make. I make records that I want to hear when I go raving, records I want to buy, listen to, fall in love to, hang with my friends to, and dance to. I make music I enjoy.”

When I ask him how he has managed to keep making music people want to listen to, he says: “When I started making music, I had no choice but to be authentic and relevant. We didn’t have a 1Xtra or anything – there wasn’t a strong support for young black music. They didn’t know what to do with us. We weren’t making rap, and to outsiders it just sounded like loud music that black boys were shouting over. But to us it was a voice. My come-up was a need to make music in an environment that didn’t support the type of music that I made, or the type of people that looked like me. So I created my own lane out of necessity.”

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Having been in the industry for so long, Donae’o has watched the scene grow. “Do you know what’s great about the industry now?” he asks. “The business side. The business side is so much better now. Channels like GRM Daily are a business now, we have award shows, and the content that is put out is amazing. We’ve always had quality music, but the organisation wasn’t great, and it’s getting better now.

“Everyone is getting really successful now. Lethal B is a millionaire, Giggs is working with Drake. Krept & Konan have been signed now, and they can bring other people in. Kids coming through can look at us and realise that they don’t need to be on road. If they’ve got a a dream they can live it. UK artists are making the best music and being the best versions of themselves.”

Donae’o also names Giggs’ “Talking The Hardest” as one of his favourite UK tracks: “That track has everything in it. It changed the landscape of music to what it is. I’ve always thought he sounds like a basement artist with a British voice, he structures his raps like a grime MC, and his words are of a rapper. I think every song now has elements of that song in it.”

The pictures in this article will be exhibited at Boxpark Croydon from 1 to 29 November 2017 and at Boxpark Shoreditch from 1 December to 5 January 2018.




Where Do You Fall In The Katy Perry Timeline?

You got: Jungle Katy

You’re not great with new technology, but you like cute animals and you would have a million pets if you could. You’re also pretty brave, which causes you to do some pretty dumb stuff from time to time. You have an epic Tarzan yell, and you probably do CrossFit.

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You got: Alien Katy

You think of yourself as being our of the ordinary. You never quite feel comfortable with people around you, and you love exotic foods and makeup, and you dream of the day when aliens will come and take you away. Also, few people can twerk as well as you.

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You got: Ancient Egyptian Queen Katy

You’re the boss, and you know it. Nobody quite meets your standards, and you surround yourself with luxury and fancy stuff. You have great (and expensive) tastes, and almost everyone wants to be close to you.

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You got: Dystopian future Katy

You live in a constant state of anxiety. Everything scares you and you have a contingency plan for every situation. You appreciate science fiction movies and animal-shaped gummies. You love conspiracy theories and you’re probably the only one who’ll survive the apocalypse.

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You got: Diva Katy

You’re someone whose life revolves around performance. You plan all of your ~lewks~ months in advance and you love taking “spontaneous” selfies. You always look great, and you consider yourself an influencer, even though it feels like Instagram is more in control of you than the other way around.

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You got: Sweetheart Katy

You’re the sweetest person in the world, and you live for Valentine’s Day. You love anything that has to do with Disney, and you dream of becoming a princess someday. Of, and you always have room for dessert.

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You got: Goth Katy

You’re addicted to drama, and you can make anything into a scene. You also love being the center of attention, especially if you can play the victim. Most of your clothing is black and you have an archenemy that may or may not be Taylor Swift.

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You got: Nerd Katy

You’re a very intellectual person, and you spend all your free time reading and learning. You still act like you’re in high school, and you still ask your parents for permission before you do anything.

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Touchdowns And Tribulations: The Rise, The Fall And The Rebirth Of Casey Donovan

Don Arnold / WireImage / Anna Mendoza, BuzzFeed

IN 2016, Casey Donovan was working as an Uber driver in Sydney.

It had been more than a decade since she walked into the Australian Idol auditions as a brooding teenager. She left three months later, having captivated the judges and many of the two million Australians who tuned in each week to watch Donovan and her competitors sing.

The fame that follows reality television can be short-lived, brutal and destructive. But when producers for the TV show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! approached Donovan for the 2017 season, the lure of TV (and renewed fame) was too strong to resist.

Uber was not where she wanted to be. Some see reality shows as a launch — or re-launch — pad to fame, but Donovan says it had more to do with staring down her fears: “I was at a point in my life where I thought, ‘Shit, do I do this? Do I put myself back out there? Do I even want to do that?’.

“I thought, ‘Fuck it, just do it, go have some fun’. And what’s the worst that could happen?”

“I had doubts about going on the show. But then I thought, ‘Fuck it, just do it, go have some fun’. And what’s the worst that could happen? The show came into my life at the point I needed it to.”

For Donovan, this was a another chance to work her way back on to Australia’s radar as a singer and musician. One that could be taken seriously.

CASEY Donovan was 16-years-old in 2004 when she made her TV debut on Australian Idol. Wearing Converses, three-quarter jeans, a hoodie and mismatched socks, she was clearly a character of interest.

Then she belted out an a capella rendition of Kasey Chambers’ “A Million Tears”, and it became evident this young woman from Condell Park in Sydney’s southwest had been blessed with a mighty set of pipes.

Dean Lewins / AAPIMAGE

Donovan after she was announced the winner of Australian Idol in 2004.

“Are you genuinely happy?” asked judge Ian “Dicko” Dickson. “Or genuinely unhappy?”

“I’m usually very hypo,” she answered, to judge Mark Holden’s look of disbelief. What he saw was a nonchalant young woman. But it was exactly that no-fucks-to-give attitude, and her voice, that Australians warmed to.

“I’ve got a bit of a cold, so…” she added.

She didn’t beg for the judges to let her in. She stood with a neutral expression as they delivered their verdicts (yes/yes/yes), only breaking into a wide smile after she had left the audition room.

“I’ve questioned myself many times, if I did Australian Idol too young,” Donovan told BuzzFeed. “I still think it happened at the right time. Everything that was thrown my way, I somehow managed to face it.”

Since defeating Anthony Callea to win Idol in 2004, the road has been a rocky one for Donovan.

Former Australian Idol alumni Guy Sebastian and Shannon Noll had paved the way, dominating charts with numerous singles after the show. While Casey’s first single “Listen With Your Heart” debuted at number one, it was quickly knocked off by Callea’s rendition of “The Prayer”.

For anyone who had watched Idol — where she had performed left-of-mainstream songs such as Evanescence’s “Hello” and George’s “Special Ones” (the latter judged a “touchdown” by judge Mark Holden) — the pivot in the studio towards shiny, pre-packaged pop songs seemed unconvincing. This was not the Casey Donovan we had watched on TV.

After Australian Idol she was unable to perform in venues due to her age. “I always had to have a guardian or parent with me at all times,” she said. “I didn’t know how to articulate what I wanted, and how I wanted to do things.”

Donovan’s debut album For You peaked at number two, and the second single “What’s Going On” made it into the top 20. And then everything went quiet.

By 2006 she had been dropped by her label Sony BMG. Other Idol contestants were on the charts, but Donovan’s time seemed to have come and gone. Still in her teens, she was slipping through cracks.

THE peaks and troughs of reality TV played their part in the way Donovan spent the latter half of her teenage years.

In her 2014 book Big, Beautiful & Sexy Donovan admitted to a six-year relationship with a man named “Campbell”, only to discover he never actually existed. She had never met Campbell, only his friend “Olga” who, it later transpired, had orchestrated the fake relationship.

There was an outpouring of public sympathy for her, but people were also left wondering how this could have happened. Donovan opened up about the experience this year on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! citing her lack of relationship experience, and the lonely life of being in the public eye.

“It started at 16; I had never had a boyfriend,” she told her cast mates tearily. “No-one was ever interested in me and this guy was telling me he loved me.

“It started at 16; I had never had a boyfriend,” she told her cast mates tearily. “No-one was ever interested in me and this guy was telling
me he loved me.”

Donovan tells BuzzFeed she opened up on I’m A Celebrity… to warn others.

“There was the Catfish show, but when I wrote about it [in my book], it was really picked up, and I think it brought that conversation forward. It’s a lot more dangerous now with social media. It’s not even just dating sites anymore, now we’ve got Snapchat and Instagram. Kids and parents both need to be educated because there are SO many freaks out there.”

After learning her relationship had been an illusion, Donovan says she “spiralled” and took to hooking up with strangers she had met online as a way of trying to get over “Campbell”.

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Donovan performing at the Deadly Awards Announcement in 2011. The Deadly Awards recognises the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to society.

In her memoir she disclosed she was sleeping with a different guy every two days. “I wanted to stop the vicious cycle of sex and one-night stands, but I didn’t know how to get out.”

While she is able to joke about this now, Donovan becomes introspective when detailing her old coping mechanisms. “I’ve done some pretty bloody stupid things,” she said. “I was trying to get away from that situation, I was just moving through things too fast to get over that part of my life.”

Donovan hasn’t heard from her catfish in years. “I never really got an apology,” she said. “Hopefully one day they can feel a bit of remorse.”

While she’s open about her experiences now, Donovan was reticent when approached by the producers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.

She feared revealing so much of her personal life on another reality TV show. Reality TV, after all, was the catalyst for Donovan’s highly-publicised family drama.

After winning Idol in November 2004, her biological father Merv Donovan, who had been absent for most of her adolescent years, made an attempt to re-enter her life.

In her first press conference after winning Idol, she had to face an estranged family member turning up to question her publicly on why she hadn’t invited her biological father to the Opera House for the finale.

And then a year later Donovan took out an AVO against Merv Donovan after an altercation at one of her gigs, where he allegedly dragged her three metres down a flight of stairs. Merv Donovan has denied the allegations.

“It was heartbreaking,” Donovan said. “It was difficult being so publicly open and going to court and having the paps outside … it was full-on for a teenager. Sometimes I don’t know how I get through things, maybe I just put it in the back of my mind and I’ll have to deal with it when I’m 80.

“I was so wary [of appearing on another reality TV show]. Especially in today’s world. When I was on Idol social media wasn’t as big as what it is now. There’s a lot of negativity out there.”

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Donovan on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! in 2017.

I’m A Celebrity audiences warmed to Donovan and championed her, but while television producers were constructing a false reality for participants, real life outside the jungle rolled on.

Donovan became the first female to win the series, and fans were elated. But she exited the jungle 45 days later to heartbreaking news. “I came back into the world and found out my step dad had pancreatic cancer,” she said. “Then I received Facebook inboxes from my biological father saying, ‘You’re dead to me’, and he was telling me to change my last name.

“I was just like, ‘Right, OK, how do I deal with all of this?!’. You’ve been confined in a jungle with 12 other people and that’s all you knew for 45 days. You come back into reality and everything is different again. Having all that thrown at me, it was like, ‘Oh shit, here we go again, can I just catch a break?’.”

“You come back into reality and everything is different again. Having all that thrown at me, it was like, ‘Oh shit, here we go again, can I just
catch a break?’.”

Donovan refuses to dwell, or play the victim. “I’m A Celeb has definitely given me the boost up in the world where I can release original music again. I had started work on the EP prior to even knowing about the jungle, and then once again my life got fast-tracked.”

Donovan is done with reality TV. For now. “I won’t say no, but for the moment it’s great to be back” she said. “To me it’s great that people got to see an insight into the stupid, silly person I am.

“I spoke with my friends when I got out, and they said, ‘We love you, but now everyone actually knows who you are!’. I’ve recently turned 29, but I feel so much older. I think everything that has been thrown my way has happened for a reason, and it’s led me to where I am today, and given me the ability to reassess things and be like, ‘I can do this’.”

The first single Donovan released this year, “Lonely” , gave audiences another glimpse of the pure magic of Donovan’s voice, recalling the Idol days when it was just her, the stage and a microphone. One thing that has remained with Donovan over the years is the advice — “always stay true to yourself” — from Idol judge Marcia Hines. Recently, that has meant cutting ties with Uber and focusing on music.

I’m A Celeb has given me that boost up in the world where I can release my original music with a bit more of an audience again,” she said.

On “The Villain”, a track from the new EP Off The Grid & Somewhere In Between, Donovan sings about her struggle with anxiety. With its tempo changes, evocative arrangement and swooping, ethereal vocals, it’s vaguely reminiscent of the George songs she used to belt out in 2004.

It’s taken 13 years, but Donovan is finally in charge of her career, and the direction of her music. Now all she needs is for the audience to come along for the ride.