If ever there was a singer that hasn’t achieved the success he deserves yet it’s Mike Hough. The singer-songwriter has been on the rise the past couple of years and has achieved success with singles Hero and Nothing To Lose. Every time he performs live he sells out the venue but for some reason he’s still not got major label backing. That could be set to change in 2013 as Hough has just released a free EP titled Stained.
Stained contains 5 original tracks produced by Swift Knight and a cover of Rihanna’s Diamonds which proved to be a massive hit on his YouTube channel. The EP opens with I Know You, a song that finds Hough putting in an unusually restrained vocal showcasing his control and power rather than the irresistible riffs we’re used to hearing. Musically the song sounds like something Beyonce may have recorded during her I Am…Sasha Fierce album combining gentle melodies with powerful vocals.
The essence of Stained seems to be scaling back the vocal acrobatics allowing Hough to show that he can sing in different and unexpected ways. The feel of the EP overall is more guitar and drum-based than the R&B sound that he started out with. This shows not only growth as an artist but as a singer and a songwriter. The punchy beats of Get To You inject a sense of urgency into a song about doing anything to be with the one you love whilst the rock-tinged Find You explores a new sound for Hough whilst retaining his strong vocals. The slow-building Right Now is based around an acoustic melody and reflects on being tired of waiting for the things you want. Could it be that Hough is venting his frustration at being on the cusp of super-stardom?
The standout on the EP is the title track Stained. The song is the most personal on the record and features Hough’s most passionate and emotive vocal. Lyrically the song talks of trying to move on from a former love but struggling to do so as you can’t erase all the memories you had. Hough effortlessly moves from his lower register to his falsetto all the while retaining the power that he’s become known for.
The final track on the EP is Hough’s version of the Rihanna smash Diamonds. He’s been vocal of his love for the song since the Barbadian songstress released it and his version has had well over 1.6 million views to date. Hough’s version is an atmospheric vocal powerhouse that showcases that he really is one of the finest singers in the UK today.
2013 simply has to be Mike Hough’s year. He can sing the majority of the current chart crop out of the water and his sound will easily translate to the American market. There’s clearly a fanbase for him, and it’s very dedicated, but once the mainstream finally get hold of him there’ll be no stopping him. Stained sounds like a release from an artist established in the industry, not someone who is just about to blow up. Mike Hough we salute you.