Inside Abbey Road Studios with the winners of DHL’s FAST-TRACK Sessions initiative
DHL has announced the three artists for the FAST-TRACK sessions seeking talent from Abbey Road Studios.
Following hundreds of entries, Rosie Charles, Mo Othman and Kohzee were selected by the jury composed of record producer Hannah V and Thomas Smith, NME Editor-in-chief (new music). Entrants were asked to send in a one-minute clip of them performing an original piece of music for review.
The initiative aims to discover and support grassroots musical talent by providing access to professional recording experience and music industry experts. All three entrants were selected to record at the iconic Abbey Road Studios in London, where the Beatles, Amy Winehouse, Frank Ocean and more have all recorded some of their best work.
All three traveled to Abbey Road Studios to work with Hannah V on a diverse selection of tracks and gained crucial industry experiences during their one-on-one two-day sessions.
Talk to NME, Manchester singer-songwriter Rosie Charles said going to the iconic Abbey Road Studios was a big moment for her. “I felt total euphoria when I walked in,” she said. NME. “There is so much history within these walls and I felt honored to have been chosen to make music there. The best moment for me was when Noel Gallagher walked into my studio session and listened to my song. He’s a big inspiration to me and he was so sweet. He said he really liked the song and I’m still talking about it!
With Hannah V, Charles worked on a song called “Bus Stop Lover”, a song about a “beautiful boy she saw at the bus stop” which she wrote when she was 16. “I had tried to produce the song myself many times but it never felt right and I knew it could be better,” she says. “Hannah helped elevate the track in a way that I could never have imagined and I am very grateful to him. She really pushed my vocal ability and helped me create something that I’m really proud of. It’s very inspiring for me to see such an amazing producer doing her thing.
South Manchester pianist and singer Mo Othman also praised Hannah V’s production approach on two of her tracks: ‘Tears’ and ‘Giant’. “Hannah V brought the songs I wrote back home to life,” he says. “I saw her use her slot machines on the piano and I couldn’t believe it. She has taught me so much in such a short time: from perfecting adlibs to properly structuring my lyrics to improving the quality of my music. She inspired me to do so many things in music.
Getting into the studio and meeting music industry professionals was a huge success for Othman. “When I arrived at Abbey Road Studios I was overwhelmed. But talking to Hannah V and Jay Picasso [Artist Relationship Manager at ARS] in the canteen just calmed me down. He is such a legend with a beautiful soul; Jay threw so many gems at me and taught me things about the industry that I never knew. The DHL FAST-TRACK initiative allowed me to live and breathe the life of an artist and I loved it.
For Kohzee, the London trio of Zirak Khan, Charlie Higgins and Oscar Black, taking their “local organic beets” to a studio raised the bar for their music: the band worked on “Sand” in the studio, one of their first completed composition “This quality ceiling has been multiplied by a thousand”, they say NME. “Oscar was about to record his voice in the cabin for the first time when he saw through the soundproof glass that we were all screaming and laughing at something Hannah had just said. He looked confused and asked what was going on Hannah pressed the reply function and we told him the mic he was about to sing into was the same one used on ‘Abbey Road’ of the Beatles. His face was absolutely priceless: just shock and utter disbelief.
According to them, being part of the DHL FAST-TRACK Sessions initiative has helped them reassess the way they work as a collective. “Hannah showed us that the process can be methodical without being rigid: don’t be so protective about every idea,” they say. “She listened to each of us and took her time to understand our vision and the picture we were trying to paint with this song. And then she magically brought it to life. She really brought out the best in us and made us feel comfortable.”
Learn more about inmotion.dhl/sessions