YAMAHA Presents – WAY UP: House of Talents

The phenomenon that is Love Island, whether you love it or hate it, has had most of the nation glued to their TV screens each episode. The blissful summer sun, glistening swimming pools; it certainly more than makes up for the gap that X Factor left behind from it’s heyday, when we were desperate to see which exotic location each group of contestants would get whisked away to. (No one wanted Louis Walsh’s Ireland trip when places like LA and St Tropez were on the cards…) 

So, when the WAY UP project, in collaboration with YAMAHA, decides to create a brand new 3- part documentary that collates the best parts of Love Island and the X Factor’s judge’s houses together, how could that not tickle our ivories? A group of talented, creative and collaborative artists who come together for an exclusive song writing experience, fully equipped with all the instruments they need along with a recording studio, and did we mention this is all set in a villa in Barcelona? I can almost taste the delicious tapas, and hear the calming, silky guitar chords from a YAMAHA FG800 already. So if you’re looking for something a little more soulful, deep, productive and constructive all in a peaceful, inspiring and uplifting visual setting, then this was crafted especially for you.

WAY UP is a project that provides a platform for emerging talents, their sound and their music. Sebastian Krenmayr (Yamaha Music Head of Brand Europe) explains: “With WAY UP: House of Talents, the mission was to empower emerging artists from different parts of the world to come together in a creative environment, where they can collaborate, mix their styles and create music.” 

So let’s take a little delve into the six artists who were hand-picked for this fantastic opportunity. UK singer-songwriter Olivia Dean has been picking up stream through her undeniable talent of song-writing, twinned with a gorgeously soulful voice. Before I came to the House of Talents, I was really struggling to write, I was really holding myself back and while I‘ve been here, I‘ve been writing loads, I‘ve really got over whatever wall I was behind. These couple of days have really refreshed everything for me. I’m really proud of the song me and JNR have made.”

JNR Williams, hailing from Hackney, London, is a very experimental song writer, who begins creative journeys with single chords the morph into melodies, building from the ground up. “It happened really naturally how we (Olivia and I) connected, how we blended as vocalists. We were able to be vulnerable with each other when it came to writing the song.”

If you’re looking for an artist who bursts with charisma and personality, look no further than Ignacio Serrano, from Madrid, Spain who’s songs are proudly full of vulnerable heart. It’s amazing how we have become a family. This incredible experience, I think, is the beginning of something big.” 

German- Canadian pianist and composer for film Rubin Henkel holds a treasure trove of skill to share. “I wish I can work with all these people again. I absolutely loved it.” Along with Marc Mâhfoud a vocalist, lyricist, instrumentalist, composer and producer who as a child, migrated from Syria to Germany with his parents. “It’s been a very interesting roller-coaster, the excitement to be in a new place, that is dedicated to music, is a big part of the enjoyment of music and collaboration.”

Last but not by any means the very least is Sara Cruz, bringing to the table an incredible voice along with amazing guitar skills, who currently lives on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. (Moana who?) “I really needed this to have the energy to do music again. It’s hard to write when you are isolated for months. This just came at a perfect time. As soon as I got the message from Yamaha, my Family and I were screaming and jumping.”

Read more about the project on Yamaha’s website here
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Words: Heather Hogan