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PROFESSIONAL DEMO REVIEW - Aug 8, 2005

- “The track has a great commercial hook that drives it straight to the radio.”

- “This song came across as a cliché on top of a cliché.”

- “I love this track - the lo-fi drums, nice string arrangements and bubbling sounds give it a very nice atmosphere.”

picture Three unsigned HitQuarters Artists Of The Week have been reviewed by three successful music industry professionals.

You can read reviews of their vocals, production, composition, visual presentation and overall potential to get a record deal and achieve chart success, as well as advice on how to approach the music industry and improve their tracks.


The three artists are:


HitQuarters ArtistAnne Judith – Norway – Pop/Rock

UK based singer/songwriter Anne Judith, 22 years of age, has sold over 150,000 albums in her home country Norway. She is working with the Blueprint production team, and is currently available for publishing-, management- and record deals.

Listen to Anne Judith – Done With You

HitQuarters ArtistMooli – UK – Pop

Mooli is singer Clea Llewellyn, 23 years of age, and writer/producer Ben Copland, from the UK. Ben has been a writer and producer for a range of artists including Beverley Knight (Top 10 UK), Liberty X (Top 10 UK) and Aaron Carter (Top 10 US).

Listen to Mooli – One Design

HitQuarters Artist TonDalaya – USA – R&B

TonDalaya was a finalist in MTV USA’s “Making The Band 2”, featuring P Diddy. She is presently working with him at Bad Boy Entertainment, writing for artists such as Carl Thomas, Mario Winans, New Edition and Dream, for whom she co-wrote the first single, “Krazy”.

Listen to TonDalaya – Check Yo’ Man


The three industry professionals doing the reviews are:


Michael Puskas – A&R/Manager – Australia

He is the CEO of Astral Records and MPM Management in Australia and has been actively working in the international entertainment industry for 27 years. With a background that stems from youth focus broadcasting and the use of a multitude of unsigned artists’ material in his productions, he has developed the ears to filter through copycats and wannabes to find today’s new hit makers.

Michael is a musician, producer and songwriter and has helped pen hits for many of the artists on his label’s roster, catching the attention of major A&R players in the business and creating many ongoing licensing deals in the market today.

He is sought after for his extensive industry knowledge and speaks frequently at international music seminars, conferences and summits about new means of effectively developing and packaging new artists to labels, publishers and music supervisors across the world in the new music economy.

His latest success story is the signing of 15 year old Samantha Lombardi, whose debut album, “Take Your Pic”, is released during the summer. Her debut 4 track single was signed to Platinum/Universal UK and has been serviced to both major and regional radio to great reviews. www.astralrecords.co.uk

To check out Samantha and the other artists on Astral Records 2005 roster including, Nikki McKibbin (American Idol 1) and Alex Boyd (NBC FAME) among others click here:

Robert Uhlmann – Producer – Sweden

He is a producer/songwriter who has contributed to many millions of records sold in Europe and Asia, including Dr. Bombay, Smile DK, Daze, Günther & The Sunshine Girls, Victoria Silvstedt, Ebi (legendary Persian artist) and recently the German Top 20 artist Arash. www.ga-management.com

O-Jay – Producer – Germany

O-Jay, a.k.a. Olaf Jeglitza, was once an artist in Real McCoy, a hugely successful group in the mid 90’s with hits such as “Another Night” (US Top 3) and “Run Away”. Today he is part of the production house Blue PM, who work with platinum selling artists such as Yvonne Catterfeld, B3, Oli P and more. www.bluepm.de


Reviews on Anne Judith:


Michael Puskas: This song has a good sense of itself, in that it delivers a strong mix of pop/rock with a sassy edge. It is well produced, solidly balanced both vocally and musically, and has a good commercial structure. Anne has a strong sense of delivery and her diction is also well presented, so her storyboard is easy to listen to and is actually quite infectious.

She looks good and has presented herself well here with an edge that has a certain Gwen Stefani vibe to it. The track has a strong identifiable vocal melody with a message and a great commercial hook that drives it straight to the radio. I like the funky nature of the guitar lines and the combination of some nice loops with real time playing makes the song strong in every respect.

Overall, if this song is indicative of this artist’s style then I think A&Rs will have an easy job signing the gal for a single deal alone. I like it, and it works for me in a great commercial and hooky way. Nice work!

Robert Uhlmann: A contemporary rock song that is quite catchy. However, it feels like I’ve heard this too many times before, and there are big similarities to some other artists in this genre. Anne’s vocal performance and attitude are great and she really lifts the track, making it sound better than it really is in a way.

The intro feels a little bit odd and I actually don’t like her moaning at the beginning of the track. It doesn’t present the song in the right way. Otherwise the production is simple, quite clean and very punchy.

It’s a good rock/pop song with some local hit potential. I believe it will get some airplay, since it’s typically radio-friendly. It’s not a world wide hit, but I don’t think there will be any problems getting her signed!

O-Jay: Although Anne Judith’s vocal performance is not giving me an immediate shiver down my spine, her voice is nevertheless a well-tuned instrument. I can hear where the songwriting/production team got their “inspirations” from, but I have to admit that I am not a big fan of “classic” rock music set-ups in regards to the sound.

The song is quite catchy after you’ve listened to it a couple of times, but I’m missing the “never heard it before” element.


Reviews on Mooli:


Michael Puskas: I’ve heard of this artist before, and that made it interesting to hear this new song and give an informed review. There is a certain smooth sensibility here that instantly reminded me of Portishead, and the production feel was similar to that of Dido. Nice accolades to have in one sentence.

Clea’s overt sexiness is apparent here in the way she lays down her lyrical storyboard with ease and purpose. The production is a little bottom heavy for me and perhaps this detracts a little from the crispness of the vocal melody. The song has a well defined structure and while it is not a single, it would make a great album track and also a well placed soundtrack synch on a moody feature that would present a relationship interaction scene well.

While it is not a “set the world on fire” song, it delivers well for the genre that it represents and it’s definitely the haunting nature of the vocal melody that hooks you in. Production is solid with some nice fresh overtones to it which suit the foundation of this song’s arrangement.

Robert Uhlmann: I love this track - its lo-fi drums, nice string arrangements and bubbling sounds give it a very nice atmosphere. Mooli’s vocal sounds good and she has a very nice expression. The whole idea feels great, but it feels like you could get more out of it. I don’t think this is a first single choice, hence it would be interesting to hear some of the other songs.

I believe that it sounds quite unique and the whole concept has very good potential with the right track, but I also think that it would be hard to get a good deal if this is the first single. It is not commercial enough to poke through in the proper way.
O-Jay: As mentioned in the bio, Clea’s voice has been compared to the likes of Janis Joplin, Diana Krall, and Amy Winehouse. I personally was somehow reminded of Sade. The vibe of the songwriting/production pleases my ears but again I miss the smart sound-design that would give Mooli the necessary statement as a group.

I also miss the right kind of formula that would better support Clea’s sensitive vocal performance. Although the playback is already pretty raw, maybe less would be more.


Reviews on TonDalaya:


Michael Puskas: This song just came across to me as a cliché on top of a cliché. Aside from a strong well-balanced production that defines the Urban/R&B style well, the song just didn’t go anywhere and seemed to stay in a very staid bump and grind format that had no real dynamics at all.

The obvious hook in the recurring vocal round of the lyrics will certainly keep this song in the heads of club goers glued to the floor, and that’s where I think it would stay. TonDalaya certainly has vocal ability but nothing special is apparent here that I haven’t heard a 1,000 times before. The track is not a radio hit and not all that memorable, which leaves the song fairly flat, at best, throughout a very typical structure.

Robert Uhlmann: This is really a mainstream R&B track. It doesn’t stick out in any way and it really feels like it has been done before. Nice high class production, but standard. What I miss is some kind of sample making it more personal and giving it some kind of new freshness.

TonDalaya’s perfomance is good but not as good as some of her competitors in this genre. It’s very commercial but I really don’t know how many more of these acts the market can bear. It has hit potential of course, but it’s not so obvious that it wouldn’t be dependent on whether it gets airplay or not. However, I don’t think there will be any problems getting this signed. It is a safe bet for most record companies.

O-Jay: If she’s got the looks (and it looks like she has got them), she could become the next new face of the US R&B music market. Though the production, her vocal performance and the metric of the songwriting is something that does not stick out from the endless products that have been made in this style of music before.

It is a big industry and the unwritten rules are pretty tight, but I wish someone would break out of the massive amount of similar sounding R&B productions. With regards to the lyrics, as a Continental European I can’t make a qualified statement for any of these artists. I simply don’t have the qualification of a native speaker.

On the other hand I do have an understanding of what a song should have for the continental European market in order to position itself within the Top 10, and I don’t think that any of these songs/artists have the right potential. It would need the usual record company activities to promote any of these performers as a “promising new talent”.


Demos on review are chosen from the ones uploaded to the A&R Panel. To upload your songs, click here.

If you are a music industry professional that would like to participate in the demo reviews, please send us a message.




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