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Keisha’s still got it

BACK WITH A BANG: Keisha Buchanan and Jasmine

FORMER SUGABABES singer Keisha Buchanan recently invited me to her first solo outing. The event was organised in conjunction with Jacques cider, who took over a beautiful town house mansion in central London to celebrate the opening of a new, super-stylish Jacques townhouse.

After walking in past the paparazzi, who were snapping away at numerous young starlets, we stepped into the main front room where there was a mini beauty spa. In it, girls were having their makeup done, and getting manicures and massages. Filled with excitement, I whooped out loud and proceeded to get my own mini makeover.

Halfway through getting a manicure alongside singing and acting sensation Preeya Kalidas, the D&G ladies Ruth and Chandni and PR maven Jennifer Mills, I spotted a man I knew in amongst this sea of women… it was none other than JLS sensation Oritse, with his vivacious and excited girl group Vida.

The ladies told me that Ortise was a hard boss to please but he was whipping them into chart-topping shape. We had a fun chat before I sprinted into the next room where folks were playing croquet like in the olden days. That wasn’t really my thing so I grabbed a Jacques cocktail from the sea of coloured champagne flutes on offer and dashed upstairs to see what else this fabulous night had in store for me.


ALL SMILES: JLS’s Oritse with his girl group Vida and Jasmine

Soon enough, I was sitting across from MTV VJ Laura Whitmore, making cupcakes and decorating them with sprinkles! After my girl friend Anneliese and I wolfed them down, we swanned off next door, next door where a fun dressing-up room awaited us, with rails of costumes and a surreal set, where a photographer from Japanese Vogue was snapping away.

I stripped and jumped into an old-school, Little House On the Prairie-type outfit, before giggling and posing for the snapper.

Then, we dashed back downstairs for the main event, which was, of course, watching Keisha perform. A packed room full of power players and taste makers, including actress Jamie Winstone (who looked stunning in her dress-up wedding dress), watched as Keisha belted out songs both old and new, and boy did she sound and look hot!

Her vocals were dynamic and the crowd was singing along and clapping as if they were at a festival! Welcome back solo star Keisha!

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EACH ONE, TEACH ONE


THE PANEL: Jasmine with (l-r) Keith Harris, Jules Parker and Posty

IN ANOTHER of my recent jaunts, I was invited to sit on a music panel for Choice FM at Wembley Arena. The Get Known Get Paid event in association with charity partners Catch 22 and V-inspired, was about independent and aspiring performers finding out how to promote themselves, market themselves, make money, get in the media and more.

The audience were aged 16 -25 and most were interested in getting into the music industry, but didn’t have a clear direction as to what avenue they should pursue. The purpose of the panel was to give some practical information/inspirational stories and tips on getting known professionally.

On my panel were representatives from Grime Daily (Posty), the PRS (Jules Parker), the PPL (Keith Harris) and DJ KC who was chairing. The next panel included Wretch 32, songwriters Parker and James, a member of N-Dubz’s management team and Choice FM’s breakfast show hosts Kojo and Max.

It’s always special meeting young, ambitious people, but there’s so much that many of them have to learn. When I was at school, generic things like how to write a formal letter, how to dress for an interview and how to research a company were mandatory. Nowadays, it’s tough as young people are scared to stand out and be seen as an individual, and can often resort lazily to the jeans, trainers and hoodie combo for every event in life.

We talked about how to focus on marketing yourself. Things like professional email addresses can make or break you. I’ve had e-mails come from addresses like ‘murdergangster’. Do you think most serious people would reply to that?

I’ve also been sent to check out websites with porn titles. Again, do you think business people will take things like that seriously? Just this week, I was asked for feedback on a track titled Seed From My Scrotum. Yes, really. Lyrics of songs should be unique but there’s a thin line between unique and unworkable.

Many young acts think they can be amazing in their bedroom studios with a few pressed CDs. But if you don’t perform live at regular and well-known music events like I LUV LIVE, how can you get experience, create a buzz and build a following?

Lots of people also fail to see the power of collaborations? The right musical partnership can open a million doors for you. Shout out British Labrinth, who produced Tinie Tempah’s smash hit Pass Out.

Also, even if your friends say you’re potentially the next Jay-Z, be honest with yourself. Are you truly, amazingly talented, or are your friends gassing you? Honestly, I’ve been told countless times that someone’s “amazing” when, in reality, they don’t sound different to anything that was already rejected years ago!

Also, aspiring music folks should ask themselves how much they know about the business. Events like this are brilliant for immediate question and answer sessions, but really, you have to do a lot of the research yourself.

But this event was a great starting point for many of the attendees, and even I learnt new things whilst being on the panel, and also got into passionate debates about things with my fellow panellists. And as if that wasn’t entertaining enough for the attendees, DJ Maso from De La Soul made an impromptu appearance along with Black Twang. Talk about a brilliant day!

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STAGE STARS ON THE RISE


TALENT: Jas with artistic director, Darren Raymond

NEXT, IT was off to the Intermission Theatre show at St Saviours Church right next door to Harrods in Knightsbridge, where I had been invited by artistic director Darren Raymond (left) to see 10-10-10: 10 mini plays lasting 10 minutes each.

This night gives opportunities to new writers, directors and actors to showcase their talents. The professional theatre and youth theatre there reaches out to young people at risk and nurtures and supports upcoming acting talent.

In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the evening was a pleasant surprise, where I was excited to witness so many new, young talents making waves. The plays were very well-written and directed, with the most basic set and minimal props. The themes were modern and hard-hitting.

I recognised a few actors from their roles in already established urban UK films, so it was nice to see they were as strong in a live setting as they are on screen. I think this production should tour around London and beyond; many of the mini plays would even be great as films for black history month. Young thespians do your thing – you’re about to blow up!

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BAGS OF TALENT


FREEBIE: Jas with gorgeous new bag

FINALLY, I attended a very special fashion event organized by LGN Events. Here, I was introduced to a fabulous new handbag designer called Letizia Morandi (right), who has previously worked with some of the world's top fashion designers, including Jimmy Choo.

I was invited into the VIP celebrity gifting lounge by Gossip Girl PR and received a wonderful new designer handbag, which I adore. Check out Letizia’s new and exclusive designer handbag collection at www.letiziamorandi.com. I’m sure her range is bound to attract many celebrity clients.

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