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ABOUT

"We just turned 18, remember that summer, no-one to boss us 'round, never heard the thunder"

Toby May is a modern musical journeyman.

He produces, he mixes, he manages, he teaches and he plays just about everything. He's toured in the U.K, The U.S, Europe and Japan but for the last thirty years, he has been, most fundamentally, a singer-songwriter and a recording artist.  

 

Making the most of these strange days, he has put together an unlikely super-team from around the world to record a new album in his Geneva studio: Unagi Sound. 

The first single is the powerful "18".

The groove is both hypnotic and dynamic, and you'd expect nothing less, with France's Stef Roul (Anxious Records - Dave Stewart, East 17) on drums and the U.K's Dale Davis (Amy Winehouse, Paul Young) on bass.

Australian folk-rocker Greg Arnold (Things of Stone and Wood) co-wrote the song, and sang some backing vocals (along with a solo, sung through a Beatle-esque spinning Leslie speaker). 

Then the strings swept across the Atlantic from Mark Baechle in New York, before the song finished its last exam and flew off to Portugal to get drunk, and also, to get mixed and mastered by Rui Guerreiro.

 


 

At first glance, "18" is a sunny celebration of "that summer"; the one where we turn 18 and we're free: no more school, no more rules, no serious adult responsibilities. 

But, as with all of Toby' songs, there's far more at play here beneath the surface.

Deep in this lush sonic valley, he is actually singing about a relationship turning 18, and the whole thing is far more nuanced than we might, at first, suspect. 

The second single is the cinematic scope Tough Year.

Toby May is releasing his new single on Black Friday in acknowledgment of what a tough year (or couple of years) it has been for us all.

This deeply personal song (which pre-dates COVID 19) is even more relevant in the current crisis and offers something we can all relate to. 
It's been tough, for us all, and we're all in it together.

Produced and performed by May, with some mighty drums by Stef Roul (Dave Stewart, East 17), some anthemic backing vocals by Aussie Folk-Rocker Greg Arnold and American Singer-Songwriter Sara Wheeler, a couple of subtle piano notes by Joe Baamil and a suitably huge mix by Rui Guerreiro, "Tough Year" is a surprising blend of epic, cinematic scope and conversational intimacy. After an evocative, dark hammond organ driven opening, the lyric breaks through the grey sky ("Let's turn our faces to the sun") and the song offers up some hard-earned and well deserved hope. This complex atmosphere has been beautifully captured by photographer Frank Harscouet and video producers Flying Focus.

 

So, let's welcome "Tough Year" into the world on Black Friday, in the hope that we can all, finally, have a bit of a Sunny Saturday.

"I loved 18 the second I heard it - the chords and the melody; the overall emotion of it. I loved it even more once I got the whole, true meaning. It's been an absolute honour to be involved with this great track, and this incredible squad. It's like being in a sonic heist movie!" 
Arnold, Things Of Stone And Wood, Universal Artist, AUS

"As soon as I heard and met Toby I knew, by experience, I was dealing with a very special & talented singer/songwriter/producer, now a dear friend too!

I feel honored to have been drumming on Toby's album which I consider to be one of the best album I have heard in a long time! 

"18" has the power of a hit single and Toby's voice and vibe are just perfect to ears!

The live band I am part of with Toby and Greg Arnold is pure musical magic and joy!

Stay tune to Toby's news as more songs beauty  is to come!"

 Stephane Roul, Atlantic Records, UK/FR