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December 2021


KVH Studios 2021 Music Review

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As we come to the end of another year, it’s tradition that we take a look back at the music that has graced our airwaves (and our services) over the last 12 months.

It’s been another very different and, at times, difficult year, when even the ‘New Normal’ was replaced by a newer normal but musically it’s been a good year, with some great new tracks released. Our Head of Music, Nick Bewes, looks back at some of our favourites…

2021 started with Wham finally getting to number one with their eighties classic Last Christmas but even that isn’t the strangest number one of the year. Go on, admit it, no-one could predict that a bloke from Airdrie in Scotland (Nathan Evans) would get the top spot with a sea shanty song!

Breakthrough artist of the year must be Olivia Rodrigo. She burst onto the scene in January with driver’s license which topped the charts for 9 weeks followed by another 4 weeks at the top spot with second hit Good 4U later in the year.

From a new artist to the Comeback of the Year. Was it Ed Sheeran? He returned with 3 number one singles – Bad Habits, Shivers, and Merry Christmas with Elton John, who in turn topped the charts for the first time in 20 or so years with Cold Heart featuring Dua Lipa.

Or was it ABBA, returning with new music for the first time in 40 years with the album Voyage? All good contenders, but the Comeback of the Year is of course Adele. Her single Easy on Me spent 7 weeks at number one, while her album 30 sold 261,000 copies in it’s first week and has been at the top of the album chart ever since! It was a massive success in the USA as well, which is where she is heading next year as she takes up a residency at the 4,100-seat Colosseum theatre at the world-famous Caesars Palace.

Live performance of the year belongs to the wonderful Wolf Alice. They appeared on Later with Jools Holland in March with their new single The Last Man on Earth, and it’s a thing of beauty.

Video of the Year comes from February. During Lockdown, Gemma Arterton was able to walk around a deserted London for a short film to accompany the wonderful new single Remember Where You Are from Jessie Ware.

Our Most played track of the year is Black Magic by German DJ Jonasu. Released right at the end of 2020, we added the track in January. However, it wasn’t until it was featured in an episode of ITV’s Love Island in the summer that it finally took off and made it into the Top 10.

And finally, to our tracks of the year.

Starting things off with James Blake with Say What You Will. We have been fans of his music for years and this single was fantastic.

At number two, Bruno Mars & Anderson.Paak created the superb Silk Sonic. Their first single Leave the Door Open is a modern soul track with a classic sound.

The song that we’ve picked as our Single of the Year was released in April. It’s not often that a song comes along and stops us in our tracks, but when Little Simz released Introvert and it landed in our inbox, it did just that. Whether it’s the production, the lyrics or the video, everything about this single is spot on. Amazing and perfect.

There you have it, the KVH Studios Music review of 2021. Here’s to even more amazing music for 2022!

Christmas music


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Let’s set the scene.

Looking outside, the snow is falling, all around me, children playing, having fun. Inside it’s nice and warm with logs on the fire and gifts on the tree. We’ve got chestnuts roasting on the open fire. We’ve hung up a stocking on our wall, because it’s the time of year where Santa has a ball and he’s put a great big smile on somebody’s face! Looking back to last Christmas, I gave you my heart, but the very next day, you gave it away. This year, all I want for Christmas is You!

Classics one and all, I’m sure you will agree. Year in, year out, the same festive favourites take over the airwaves and the charts. However, every year, we get some new Christmas tracks hoping to join the elite. The Premier League. And 2021 is no different.

Here’s a small selection of the new Christmas tracks added to the KVH Studios services this year from our guide, our very own Santa, Head of Music, Saint Nick Bewes.

Without a doubt, the biggest new Christmas track of the year – not including latest sausage roll creation from Ladbaby, and going for a record fourth festive chart-topper, is the pairing of legend Elton John and the heir to his throne Ed Sheeran. They have teamed up for Merry Christmas. The video features recreations of some of the legendary Christmas music videos from years gone by.

While we’re talking about songs battling to be top of the festive chart, Sky have made a film about the battle to the number one spot in the Christmas charts, with new songs written by Guy Chambers. One of them is A Christmas Wish featuring one of the stars of the film, Iwan Rheon and Cerys Matthews.

Now for something that has a more traditional feel, with a cover of a song from 1950. Darren Criss and Adam Lambert have teamed up for a new version of the Man with a Bag. And it’s a belter.

Next up is the return of Kelly Clarkson to the world of Christmas music. She released Wrapped in Red in 2013 and now she’s back with her second collection of festive tunes which includes her partnership with Ariana Grande, who of course released an EP of Christmas tracks in 2014.

And finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Mr. Christmas Music himself, Michael Bublé. His Christmas album was released 10 years ago and has sold 14 million copies around the world. To celebrate its anniversary, he’s recorded some new tracks for a re-release. One of them being Christmas Jumper.

And there you have it for another Christmas. Will any of these become modern day Christmas anthems? Only time will tell.

Merry Christmas!


Our favourite Christmas tunes!

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Well, here we are, just like that Christmas is only 10 days away! This year has absolutely flown by but wow, what a year it’s been for KVH Studios. Lots of developments, new clients, and exciting activity. But more on that soon in our annual review. First, a very important topic – the team’s favourite festive tracks. Let’s take a look…

A big favourite from Account Manager, Steven, and Senior Producer, Toby, is the one and only Shakin’ Stevens – Merry Christmas Everyone. It gives Steven a massive feeling of nostalgia, like he’s a kid again getting excited for the big day and, more recently, reminds him of being drunk on a Christmas night out! It’s the song he instantly thinks of when he thinks of this time of year…and Toby agrees saying, “It’s so Christmassy, it’s ridiculous! Everything is so upbeat and happy!”. We think so too guys…

For Music Profiler Matt, it’s definitely Donny Hathaway ‘This Christmas’. There have been many versions of this song recorded, but for him this one has all the hallmarks of a classic! As soon as it gets played, it puts you in a festive mood.

Our Senior Technical Engineer, Stephen, loves 80’s track ‘(Feed the World) Do they know it’s Christmas time’ – Band Aid 1984 saying “What’s not to love about all the iconic artists under one roof from possibly the best decade of music EVER!”

Cheesy, light-hearted, and fun – that’s how our Commercial Director, Claire, describes her choice for the list which is *NSYNC – Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays. “It always makes me laugh when I hear it on our music services, who doesn’t love a bit of 90’s pop!”

If you want to be put in a festive mood, Technical Engineer Jamie recommends ‘Last Christmas’ from Wham. Plus, he loves the 2019 film of the same name!

Of course, Head of Music Nick chooses something a little different for his favourite track with ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses. It’s a song with a story within the lyrics and it has a bit of edge to music and isn’t too soppy or sentimental.

Ready for a banger? Account Executive Lucy loves ‘Step into Christmas’ from Elton John as it gives her a warm, fuzzy feeling during the festive season…

Head of Client Services Joe loves the Xmas classic Slade – ‘Merry Christmas’ as Noddy Holder’s “It’s Christmaaaaas!” is one of the iconic Christmas sounds, alongside sleigh bells and Santa’s “ho ho ho”. It’s not quite Christmas until you’ve heard him scream it, and then repeated by half-drunk people at parties throughout the month… then performed by yourself.

Account Manager Lynne went with The Darkness – Christmas Time (Don’t let the bells end) for her chosen track as she says it reminds her of so many great parties and nights out where everyone would be singing along and trying to hit the high notes!

And finally, to finish on a sentimental note, Head of Audio Operations, Glenn has chosen Chris Rea ‘Driving home for Christmas’ for a reason that we’re sure will resonate with a lot of people. After working a tough 70-hour week in December many moons ago, he finally got into his car for the drive home and 2 days off with his family when this track came on. Ever since, it has filled him with joy and excitement of spending time with family and friends over the festive period. We couldn’t agree more, so let the festivities begin…

Have a great Christmas everyone!

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