Every half decade or so, music is gifted a soul that claims new ground, renders genre timeless and severs boxes so effortlessly that a generation anoints them leader. Madonna, Missy Elliot, Frank Ocean, XXXtentacion make up only a fraction of this holy pantheon. The next inductee appears to be performance artist and music producer Snow LaFlurr. With her flag planted in the uncharted soil of Connecticut, the drippy 23-year-old disrupted the Internet throughout summer ’18, earning cosigns from artists like French Montana.
Snow grew up in a Jamaican household boasting a fruit punch of a childhood soundtrack––credited to a father who was one of CT’s biggest DJs and the son of a former Bob Marley session musician. Big tunes, whether by a new Soca band or vintage Minnie Riperton, had an omnipresence in her New Haven home. Although raised by rhythm, lyricism was her initial calling. An eccentric child that often felt misunderstood, young LaFlurr would articulate her emotions to adults via poetry. Her inner record producer was awakened by her eldest brother (also a DJ) who introduced his little sister to pop acts like Spice Girls and NSYNC to 50 Cent and Dip Set. Snow’s initial music discovery would stretch even farther, eventually falling her in love with the UK’s Drum & Bass and Garage genres. A true Aquarian, she was simultaneously an eclectic introvert and social magnet who out-danced all comers. Realizing her free spirit wasn’t suited for the confines of a DJ booth, the entrepreneur took an adjacent approach to the family biz. She grew a local name by throwing house parties that are currently considered throughout Connecticut both legendary and still in-demand.
Although Snow taught herself to play the ukulele at age 16, it wouldn’t be years later until she learned to produce a track. During a brief stay in Jamaica, she met Ollie Twist––her now UK-born co-producer––who educated her how to operate an MKII. After producing a few dance videos for fun, watching them go viral, and then suffering the death of three supportive friends in less than a month, she realized that becoming a recording artist was her purpose on this planet.
What will set this Girl Wonder apart from peers is that she is more time traveler than musician. Her style is rooted in dancehall, but her production sensibilities belong to the past and future of black music at once. Her biggest viral success, thus far, is “Yank Riddim,” a triple tribute to her deceased friend Zoe, the dance he popularized (The Yank) and Busta Rhymes’s classic “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See.” Fun followups “Soft Drink” and “Flex Lon Don” pay homage to Missy Elliott, Timbaland and The Isley Brothers. And yet, these odes in succession are the rise of a new wave.
In an era where young listeners prefer to consume their music numb, Snow LaFlurr aims to return the feeling. This is the sound of an old soul illuminating their generation’s bright future.
"Love is so much more powerful than hate. Hate is destruction and love is production." Lynval Golding.
The Specials are back with ten songs on a brand new album. Influential, important and exhilarating live, they are a band embedded in this country's DNA. It is impossible to envisage the musical landscape without them, from the startling, angular Gangsters in 1979 to their swan song, the epoch-making Ghost Town in 1981. They infused ska with punk, homegrown political anxiety with wider issues. The Specials' ascendancy was swift. Two years, seven hit singles including two number ones, two hit albums, sell-out tours – the mass stage-invasions and audience energy only adding to the myth. They were everywhere; on Top of the Pops, Radio One, nightclubs and school discos. At the time, the nation could not have seemed more polarised: far right youth cults, violence on the streets, conservative government. Their demise, however, was rapid.April 1981. The Specials spend ten days recording Ghost Town in an 8-track home studio in Leamington Spa. The song spends three weeks at number one in July 1981 culminating in a Top of The Pops appearance 9th July 1981. In the dressing room afterwards the band split. In retrospect, maybe a signifier of how weird those times were is the fact that they are introduced on screen by both Jimmy Savile, and a nervy Adam Ant.This line up of the Specials would never go in the studio again. "We did More Specials, the second album," says Lynval. "And oh God, someone left the band every day, the band would fall apart, then the next day they would rejoin again."In 2009, with Britain in another recession, the Specials reform to play live - without founding member Jerry Dammers who clashes with the others during initial rehearsals. Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, John Bradbury, Neville Staple and Roddy "Radiation" Byers play a sell-out tour and the offers keep coming."There was never a long term plan," says Horace, the Special's extremely grounded, polite bassist. "But before we knew it, it was 2012. Then Neville quit, out of ill health, Roddy quit thank goodness, so four of us were left, all facing in the right direction, all in agreement."Towards the end of 2015 Lynval, Brad and I got together in a little rehearsal room and we recorded some demos on a handheld mic," continues Horace. "Then of course Brad dies [in December 2015, of a heart attack]. It took a year or so to pick ourselves back up again."
But eventually they do, and they record. Ten songs – originals and some covers. Encore.