Tag Archives: Jones

Isle of Wight: 30 Under 30

From the 1960’s through to the early ‘noughties’, the Isle of Wight was considered something of a production line for successful creatives. This was in part due to the prosperity of Level 42, The Bees, Jeremy Irons, Bear Grills, Anthony Minghella et al. Thereafter, the conveyor belt has been a  little less prolific.

The sweaty scent of resurgence is now in the air though, making it the perfect time to present a list of 30 gifted creatives under the age of 30 that are worth keeping your eyes, ears and nostrils peeled for in late 2017 and beyond. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below the article.

30. Hester Chambers – Singer/Songwriter

With breathy, Karen Carpenter-esque vocals, Hester Chambers has a simple, beautiful tone that is like marshmallow to the ears.

Ostensibly a bag of nerves right up until the moment she utters her first note, thereafter she morphs into a hauntingly captivating melody maker. Has most recently found a niche in collaboration with Summer festival royalty, the Plastic Mermaids.

29. Sam Morris – Musician

The BaDow bass guitarist is the brains behind the catchy riffs that have seen the three-piece rock outfit scoop multiple accolades since the current lineup was established in 2013, including winning a place on the Bestival main stage by beating off fierce, more experienced competition at an event at Northwood House.

As their status has grown, Sam’s own legacy has continued to flourish. Currently on a studio sabbatical to tour Europe, talk of a potential solo project has been rife around his native Cowes in his absence.

28. Carlie McGarity – Illustrator

Understated freelance graphic designer and illustrator who has romped onto the scene following a transition from retail worker to full-time artist.

In the year since that plunge towards uncharted territory, she has produced stunning images for the likes of Nakamarra, Chelsea Theatre and Duveaux amongst others.

Chalkpit Records subsequently snapped her up as an in-house designer, with her images splashed all over their website. Destined for even bigger and better things as her confidence continues to grow.

27. Doris Doolally – Creator

To pigeon hole Doris Doolally would be akin to clipping the wings of a unicorn. Her illustrations and creations have become a regular feature at BoomTown Fair since 2014.

Seemingly on a solo mission to bring the Dodo bird back into public consciousness, her spoken word performances are one of many other strings to her overloaded bow.

26. Dylan Kulmayer – rapper/music producer/video editor.

USA born, Isle of Wight raised Dylan Kulmayer released his debut rap EP, Retroverted Propulsion, via the platform of Soundcloud at the tender age of 18. Not content with that, the next phase of his development saw him produce his own beats and embellish his audio with punchy visuals, as rough edges continued to be levelled.

Currently at University, Dylan can usually be found on a film set or in the recording studio. The hugely aspirational 21 year-old workaholic has lofty sights set, with a much anticipated follow-up album in the works.

25. Laura Watt – TV Producer

Having studied for a career in production at Cheltenham University, Laura’s story is one of perseverance overcoming adversity, with a heavily populated and diluted marketplace resulting in ‘paying her dues’ as a runner.

Eventually she found her stride, selected to work on several reality TV series, most notably Big Brother, as well as a slew of other production pilots.

Ms Watt returned to the Isle as part of the Red Bull TV team that made a short documentary based around the 2016 Bestival.

24. Greg Barnes – Singer/Songwriter

South Coast Jack Johnson soundalike in flip-flops with a shock of red, ringed hair. Greg Barnes is at the forefront of the Ventnor music community, with his monthly events offering a platform for up and coming performers to hone their craft.

With an uninhibited  soulfulness beyond his years, most recent release Early Summer provided further evidence of a young musician with an ever expanding box of tools.

23. Buddy Carson – Spoken Word Artist/Musician.

Buddy Carson has been a trailblazer for the modern interpretation of spoken word on the Isle of Wight, a genre which has since spawned numerous local acts inspired by his emotionally charged delivery.

Now based in Bristol, a productive partnership with Emmy J Mac (of ‘The Voice’ fame) saw the duo become a fixture at events all over the UK, with the pair later focusing predominantly on mentoring youngsters keen to work in one of the creative industries.

22. Liam Burke – Singer/Songwriter

Liam Burke is a product of the Isle of Wight music college, Platform One, who has found himself touted for breakout stardom since he covered Stevie Wonders’ Fingertips aged just 14 at a Christmas show in New Orleans.

He specialises not in a specific genre, preferring instead to mesh dozens of them together to create something entirely original – often with instruments as far-fetched as rusty salad spoons, zeusaphones and stolen road signs.

21. Ivana Popov – Poet/Songwriter

Born in the Bahamas to French and English parents, Ivana somehow navigated a path to the Isle of Wight, before hitch-hiking across the globe by boat in order to escape again.

She didn’t stay away for long thankfully, and upon her return quickly became notorious for her amusing, offbeat poems and quirky ukulele ditties, including an album of animal related tracks that she occasionally dusts off at PETA meetings.

20. Lewis Shepperd – Musician

Lewis Shepperd is a musician from the isle of wight with a degree in commercial music. He has performed at various festivals and venues such as the Isle Of Wight Festival, Bestival, Camp Bestival and the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

He has been compared to Prince, not only for his lavish leopard skin robes and insistence on yellow M&M’s in his dressing room, but also a deeply intoxicating voice and elaborate range of self-penned tracks.

His debut single ‘Me’ has to date received 16,519 views on YouTube… 16,520 now that I’ve watched it. Despite this success he remains the same humble person that he was during his first job as a moonshiner in 2013.

19. Tina Edwards – TV Presenter

Tina Edwards fell into TV Presenting almost by accident. She had gone to London for a separate audition, when she was spotted and placed on a presenting course due to the huge potential those television executives present had seen in her.

Starting out with street interviews (some of those interviewed more articulate than others), she was able to hone her craft and become a producer for Balcony TV in London. Wouldn’t look out of place as the host of Channel Four’s Streetmate.

18. Isabelle L’Amour – Burlesque Performer/Model

Isabelle L’Amour, known to at least half a dozen people as the ‘South Coast Sweetheart’, is a UK based and award-winning international Burlesque & Cabaret performer, teacher and model.

Creator of The Blue Moon Revue, her show has had sell-out residency across the UK and hosted some of the biggest names in Burlesque, with Kitten de Ville, Natsumi Scarlett & Domino Barbeau all gracing her stage at various times.

17. Sarah Murphy – YouTube Fashion Vlogger

Sarah’s classic, old Hollywood beauty and style really shows through on her various social media platforms. She films everything from hauls to ‘look books’ for her viewers to enjoy.

The fashion vlogger, already boasting around 6,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, is also known for benevolent acts of kindness, something borne out in her life philosophy: “I always try to make someone smile every day, it’s so important to be positive in life and to be kind to people”

16. Jazzy Heath – Musician/Music Producer

With the Summer release of new single ‘My Little Island‘ proving her most well received to date, Jazzy Heath shows no signs of reducing the relentless pace that has raised her profile as a musician around the UK.

Performing sporadically with her band, Pretty Censored, the 20 year-old and her entourage have come a long, long way together since the hard times and the good – the good being when she was part of the backing chorus for Fatboy Slim at the Bestival in 2011 (the gag’s a stretch I’ll admit.)

Also a talented beat maker, she has yet to decide which path to focus on post-studies.

15. Kes Eatwell – Recording Artist

Kestrel ‘Kes’ Eatwell is one of the most capricious artists to emerge from Isle of Wight music circles in recent years.

He turned down a set at Bestival in 2016 after winning a local spoken word competition, an incredibly bold act that paved the way for him to head to London in search of greater glory.

A proficient freestyler, Kes has wit and vocal dexterity in equal measure to ensure that it’s surely only a matter of time before he’s forged a successful career within the orbit of hip-hop.

14. Charlotte Tobitt – Journalist

Charlotte (far right) during her Yoppul days.

Charlotte Tobitt is something of a triple-threat creative force, graduating from Kingston University (In London, not Jamaica) with First Class Honours in journalism, having already secured a music qualification from the University of York, as well as becoming one of the UK’s premier cat whisperers in 2015.

Working her way up the ranks of the Surrey Advertiser via the Isle of Wight County Press’s youth offshoot, Yoppul, Charlotte secured the MA journalist of the year gong at Kingston in late 2014.

13. Jack Whitewood – Entrepreneur

The brains behind the Ventnor Fringe Festival, Jack has been a regular champion for the Isle of Wight arts, hosting and funding an abundance of productions from his HQ at Ventnor Exchange.

The festival itself has evolved from humble beginnings in 2010 to a week long explosion of luminosity, sound and general quirkiness that envelops the entirety of the seaside town, temporarily transforming it into a postcard of the French Riviera.

12. Olly Fry – Actor/Playwright

Olly Fry is ostensibly a man who never sleeps – not far beyond his juvenescence, he has written, directed and starred in more than 40 plays already, and could conceivably follow in the thespian footsteps of fellow Isle of Wighter, Jeremy Irons.

His critically acclaimed one man show, I Hooky, an undercard highlight of the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival, served as a brutally candid, anarchic glimpse into the past tribulations of an actor sufficiently bold to blend bleak with blissful.

11. Charlie Jones – Singer/Songwriter

Raised on the Isle of Wight under the guidance of a high profile musician father, Charlie Jones was classically trained but discovered a love of electo whilst studying law in France.

Part of indie-electo quintet, Nakamarra, (a band named after this song by Hiatus Kaiyote) she’s blessed with a full vocal range, and her performances are theatrically expressive. Temptress, the band’s latest single, is an ode to innocence and expectation.

10. Alex Vanblaere – Music Man/Fashionista

Eccentric, wackily maned bassist who is the heartbeat of math-pop starlets Signals. Alex expertly tip-toes along the line between hipster and flower child, without ever coming across as contrived or overly rehearsed.

To fixate on this personality and musk would be to underestimate the prowess of his playing, which has seen him compared to legendary funkster Bootsy Collins.

9. Nye Russell-Thompson – Actor/Playwright

An engaging and charming personality who has performed his shows all across the UK, receiving a nomination for a Filmflare Award for his hugely popular Stammermouth show.

This spirited one man presentation focuses on the difficulty of suffering with a stammer by utilising a brew of dark humour, hopelessness and a concise storyline arch – all exquisitely showcased without ever threatening to cross into melancholy.

8. Annabelle Spencer – Musician

Annabelle Spencer is 17 years old; she plays 7 instruments, writes her own music, teaches and has a voice that sends chills down the stiffest spine… I’m not jealous, I’m honestly not – those are tears of joy.

In addition to a range of her own material (including recent release Feather on the Tide), she covers all genres from bubble gum pop to rock depending on the mood, all of this whilst still studying at Platform One and maintaining follicles that would make Macy Gray envious.

7. Rhain – Musician

The artist formerly known as Babooshka Baba Yaga has come a long way since her initial live piano recitals which began to spread her name along the south coast, thereafter finding her calling as an operatic solo artist and integral member of the Plastic Mermaids.

It is with the latter that she broached the local mainstream, with their rousing Magnum Opus, Beyond the Cosmos After Death, a track which provides an ideal vehicle for Rhain’s extensive vocal dexterity.

6. Sepia – DJ

Sepia, or Theo Bennett to those who know him best, carved his reputation as a blockbusting DJ in Brighton, Bristol and… Brading (as well as other places not starting with ‘br’) and has enjoyed extensive  airplay on Radio One.

Sharing a stage with names as high in profile as James Blake and Joy Orbison, Sepia’s output generally has an uncomplicated veneer, with smooth transitions accompanying beats full of vitality.

5. Lauran Hibberd – Singer/Songwriter

With the afore mentioned Red Bull TV Bestival documentary (see no.25: Laura Watt) issuing a sub-section dedicated to her, Lauran Hibberd’s momentum threatens to elevate her to juggernaut status among fellow poppy-folk music makers.

After recently supporting Clean Cut Kid, and fresh from the Bestival main stage Lauran’s ever-growing Industrial Folk sound hints at a grander live vision, captured eloquently in her recordings to date.

4. Louis Checkley – Jazz singer

An award winning vocalist from Wroxall, Louis has carved out a niche for himself within the Brighton jazz scene with his often witty and elegantly wrought tunes infused by a piquant flavour of soul.

Though steering clear of vocal gymnastics, Louis’s ample range is light in tone, conversational in its approach and, with an effortlessly dulcet lilt, stands out from the crowd enough to earn its place among premier contemporary jazz singers, aptly demonstrated by his reaching the summit of the Balcony TV Worldwide charts in 2014.

3. Dayita – Innovator

A non-conforming human glitter ball who can’t be pigeon-holed by genre, Dayita materialised on festival stages around the Isle of Wight in the summer of 2017, providing a vivid audio/visual experience that invigorated a principally pop-rock landscape.

Her recent single release, Six Seconds, was an explosion of silver glitter, seductive articulation and Pinnochio-falling-down-the-stairs backing beats apt both for nighttime club use and daytime radio play.  Wonderfully kooky.

2. Adam Pacciti – Film Maker/ Online Personality

A master of the viral video, Adam Pacciti first surfaced on a national stage when releasing his Girl of My Dreams video, where he claimed to have been rescued from the zombie apocalypse by a dazzling dame paddling around his pineal, subsequently scrawling a (deliberately indistinguishable) sketch of her and urging viewers to assist in the search.

The publicity of more than half a million views across social media saw Adam featured on a glut of national television programmes, notably ITV News and GMTV.

A second viral endeavour, via a billboard in London pleading for a job, aligned with his increasing clout as a presenter of Whatculture, blazed the spotlight more brightly upon him, before his recent departure from the group led to speculation that he’s set to open his own wrestling company. Watch this space.

1. Sarah Close – YouTuber/Musician

A product of Ryde School’s music choir during her childhood, Sarah Close began posting covers of songs onto YouTube in the late noughties, aged just 14.  Four years later she relocated to London to attend The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, where she studied music and songwriting.

Sarah released her debut single ‘Call Me Out’ in March of this year, which charted at number one on the UK Official Physical Singles Chart, the first Isle of Wight solo artist to achieve the feat. 

Releasing follow-up, Only You last month, her YouTube channel is swiftly hurtling towards a whopping 800,000 subscribers.

Think we missed anyone out of the list? Leave a message in the comment section below and please throw Kureen a like on Facebook!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Review: Navy Knickers and Nicked TVs

Joan Ellis and Donna Jones MBE, aka ‘Them Two‘, shared 90 minutes of stories, poetry and performance pieces for a sell-out audience at the Winter Gardens during this year’s Ventnor Fringe festival on the Isle of Wight.

Donna Jones MBE
Donna Jones MBE

Donna, an accomplished wordsmith who had an illustrious career as a youth worker in the North-West of England, indulged attendees by traipsing around a slew of amusing subjects, including growing up with embarrassing parents (her Dad’s false teeth once scuppering the embryonic stages of a flirtatious liaison with a dishy waiter.)

Donna’s Mother (“the first feminist in Barnsley”) featured prominently in many of her anecdotes, heralded as a woman of great sass who retained the upper hand in her marriage.

Poems such as ‘The Miner’, ‘Blackpool Revisited’ and ’38DD’ were all delivered with requisite gusto from the lips of a bold performer who has been at the forefront of Isle of Wight spoken word and female rights issues for the past several years.

The two ladies intertwined their spirited but very different sets, an effective tool in keeping the show fresh throughout; each segment was kept brief by design, so the audience never had time to get too attached to one person’s material.


Joan Ellis spoke with great passion about her daughter, Sophie, who was present. Much of her material clearly derived from motherhood.

Joan navigated through various highlights of her career and personal life, displaying a penchant for storytelling – retrospectively musing on her time at the top end of the copy writing industry – as the voice of an animated dog amongst other things.

Joan and daughter Sophie
Joan and daughter Sophie

Highlights included an encounter she enjoyed with an aesthetically appealing young man in the 1990’s, whose contact details she was unable to pluck up the courage to take down. The next time she saw him was on television, as he turned out to be Neil Morrissey from Men Behaving Badly!

Switching back and forth again, Donna’s Buckingham Palace related material provided a shift of comedy gears, with every punchline hitting its intended target, most notably a deliciously disgusting description of one youngster as “the kind with hands down his trousers and offering you a crisp!”

Joan concluded the show with a captivating 8 minute monologue based on the death of Marilyn Monroe. It was crisply delivered, but could perhaps have been placed earlier in the afternoon to play out to a fully charged peanut gallery.

A well oiled show from two seasoned speakers, both of whom bounced off each other with great ease and organic chemistry, without it ever feeling overly rehearsed.

In a nutshell

+ A sell-out crowd aged anywhere from 12-72 were left feeling they’d had excellent value for their £6.50 ticket.

Donna Jones MBE’s website is available by clicking here.

Joan Ellis is live on Vectis Radio every Friday and Saturday from 1-2pm, click here for the link!


Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Sound Bite – Isle of Wight ‘Inspirational Women’ group

Is the Isle of Wight’s Inspirational Women group another step towards segregation of the sexes, and are we allowed to ask? DxK and Mark Dickson discuss the pros and cons of a group like this.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Sound Bite: Undecided Arts Collective

DxK is joined by Mark Dickson who discusses being part of a collective.

To take a peek at the Undecided Arts Collective Facebook page click —> HERE

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds. No.14: Samuel Z Jones

Samuel Z Jones is an irrepressible dynamo in late 2015. With a book launch for new fantasy novel, Baron Maruna, set for December 16th (click here for details). The relentless author found a spare half hour to sit with DxK and share his wit and wisdom over a cup of Vegan friendly Chai. 

The Links

Sam on Facebook
Sam on Smashwords 

Blind Guardian (closing track)

Nina Plapp (Accompaniment for reading)

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Sound Bites – free gig tonight!

Isle of Wight residents are in for a treat tonight, with Bendula Bar hosting Sound Bites – a showcase for local spoken word and musical talent. The three-ish hour gig, which kicks off at 7.30pm, is part of Visit Isle of Wight‘s Acoustic Isle event, and the brainchild of Ryde based artist/poet/author/lovely lady Donna Jones MBE (See vid below.)

Who the funk is on the bill?

As well as the afore mentioned Ms Jones, there are a host of young poets from the Red Tie Theatre and Flip The Script, plus some of the local scene’s cutting edge musicians; artists whose arrival centre stage has ushered in new musical genres to define their stylings, stud muffins who make Syd Barrett look like a monk.

The Ventnor Darlings are one such band, they’re definitely from Ventnor, but are they darlings? My lips are sealed.

The Ventnor Darlings: The John and Yoko of the IoW (bed not pictured)
The Ventnor Darlings: The John and Yoko of the IoW (bed not pictured)

Admission is free and food and drink are available, so all of your basic survival needs are covered, and you don’t even have to spend any of your hard earned coin, just sneak off to the toilets and drink water straight from the taps if you get dehydrated, and smuggle in a Fruesli Bar for the interval.

Seriously though, get involved. Nights like this deserve a packed venue, those performing are doing it for the love of their art, and not monetary gain… and you can always catch up with Eastenders on the iPlayer later!

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Interviews with Creative Minds – No.6: Donna Jones MBE

Artist, entrepreneur, poet, fashionista, charitable Tour de Force and dog lover –  Donna Jones MBE is widely recognised as an integral branch of the Isle of Wight’s creative revolution.

That’s all well and good, but facing a grilling from DxK is another matter; how did one of the Isle of Wight’s premier prose practitioners fare in conversation with the gloriously coiffured stud muffin? And, more importantly, did a sweet pooch named Scoot’s snoring scupper the tranquility of the occasion? Listen and find out!


To get in contact with Donna either follow her Twitter, message her on Facebook or send her an email.

*Special thanks to Jodie, Sam and Brad (aka Ba.Dow) for granting permission for Kureen to use the track ‘In The Name’ in the piece.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Featured artist: Donna Jones MBE

I first stumbled upon Donna Jones MBE when I was sent to review a spoken word event on which she was participating, with her gritty, cavalier and colourful vernacular instantly making an impression on all of those in attendance.


It was some time later that I discovered the full extent of Donna’s contributions – here is an extraordinary woman who has enhanced the lives of hundreds of abused and poverty stricken individuals, devoted extensive kindness, time and finance to charitable causes and revealed herself to be a paradigm shifting artist to boot.

Having recently been accepted to join the Ryde Art Collective, Donna enjoys a peaceful existence on the Isle of Wight, whilst remaining keen to continue supporting young people. Donna’s artwork is vibrant and innovative and she has donated pieces to Quarr Abbey, Dimbola Lodge, the MS Society and local charity Friends of the Animals.

St Helens in orange

During 2013 Donna dedicated a huge chunk of her time to a specific charity, commenting that: “I wanted to collaborate with one charity and the Ellen MacArthur Trust, based in East Cowes, was the obvious option”. The charity supports youngsters with life limiting illnesses, allowing them to try sailing, often for the first time. The teamwork and close proximity with other young people gives them the chance to talk freely and acts as a form of therapy in a fun and exciting environment.

Having pledged to support 50 charities throughout 2014, Donna’s paintings and her fundraising events have become a regular feature of the local art scene. Many of the artist’s paintings are already on sale in ‘Three Buoys’ restaurant in Appley and grace the walls of all seven Pittis Estate Agents across the Isle of Wight.

Further details of how to contact the artist are listed below the gallery.






To find out more about Donna take a peek at her Facebook or Twitter. To contact her directly email: jones291@btinternet.com .

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.