Xanda Howe
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Xanda Howe

Band Pop Adult Contemporary


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"Luna Kafe (Anna Maria Stjärnell )"

Xanda Howe's an interesting singer who might get a shot at the big time if she's in luck. Some of her material is reminiscent of Dido and other songs are more singer-songwriterly stuff. The song "And How" is lightly fluffy radio pop in the aforementioned Dido's vein. It's well-produced and not cliched though.

The disco of "Driving Me Mad" should get her a big hit if there's any justice. Its throbbing beat and sassy lead vocal are too good to ignore. "My Beautiful Friend" is a faintly exotic sounding track that should get most dancefloors jumping.

A laid-back setting is created for "How Do I Love Thee", an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem set to music. Howe sings it sweetly and reverently and Jimmy Kent adds a nice rap. Oddly, it works. "Midnight Poet" is an impressively cinematic song. A bare live version of Tom Waits' "Time" rounds things off nicely. Howe's girlish tones work well with Waits song.

And How is a stellar debut.

- Full Moon

"Muso's Guide (Marty Drury)"

I consider it my duty to bring Xanda Howe to the attention of Musosguide.com readers. Xanda Howe was discovered while working as a waitress and signed to the Songphonic label. From the first listen onwards, it become difficult for those fortunate enough to hear her debut album to imagine such a talent as Xanda waiting tables, stacking chairs and pottering around with precariously balanced trays of tea and coffee.

Bob Dylan working the customer service desk in Safeway’s is possible. Eric Clapton moonlighting as a somewhat disgruntled bus conductor is possible. But Xanda Howe as a waitress and not a phenomenon? It doesn’t bare thinking about.

This album encompasses an impressive range which drags the listener on a roller coaster of thrills and spins. One minute you are in the province of the ballad, only to be dragged into the thumping rhythm of a 150bpm dance hall hit. Xanda’s voice summons all aspects of the female and presents a genuine artist to both the listener and the world. Britney Spears writhes around in barely any clothes. I couldn’t care less. Christina A sprawls around on the floor of a boxing ring while whinging that: “It’s about time for my arrival” I barely blink. I want to worship at the temple of the female artist who writes lyrics which mean something to her. I want to feel her heart in every beat. My wants are more than satisfied by this release from Xanda Howe.

Sugar’s Running Out is one of the most original songs I have ever heard. My girlfriend Penny won't stop going on about how good Knowing Eyes is as a song and now firmly believes that the song describes my relationship with her. The most inspired track on the album arrives at the station in the form of How Do I Love Thee, based on one of the poems by Victorian England’s favourite cripple, Elizabeth Barret-Browning. The press release notes for this album claim this is the song most live audiences respond to the most. Perhaps I am unkind to throw that quip at Elizabeth Barret- Browning. My last year at University involved being force-fed the poem Aurora by that particular Browning. My own private war on poets has attracted much attention of late from irate college lecturers and their students. However, Xanda Howe appears to have a natural talent for word composition. She manages to side-step the territory of Clintons Cards romance and deliver heartfelt lyrics which would impress boyfriends and girlfriends alike in the same beat.

Members of parliament [as well as indulging in the absurd pantomime which currently stands for the running of this country] must declare their interests and one feels it is within the remit of my journalistic integrity to do the same. Xanda Howe herself sent me her album with a further CD complete with press images. Xanda was also kind enough to allow me to experience her album via an MP3 player. However, with the possible exception of Penny in a new outfit, I am not easily swayed into an opinion. I would love this album if I picked it up on the shelves of Woolworths. I adore this album and it is grown on me every time I listen. A marvel on an MP3 player and a sensation on a CD player. This is the woman to watch.

- Yet More Solutions Ltd

"Phase9 (EDF)"

have to admit, I do love the UK music scene. I don’t mean the sort of music that is featured in the pop charts but the kind of acts that will never grace the charts. You know, real music. You will find with a lot of unsigned acts, they sometimes put a twist to what has come before and Xanda Howe is of no exception. Like something from a Human League song, café waitress Xanda was approached by Osman Kent, a regular diner who also happened to be a record producer, to record some music. Spending the best part of a year, the following songs shows a mature performance from 21 year-old Xanda.

From the first track, KNOWING EYES, with its little musical hint towards Abba, this is a very promising start to the album. AND HOW is a sweet pleasant mid-tempo tune and just when you think you know which direction the album is taking, you will not be prepared for the dance epic DRIVING ME MAD with a kind of Pet Shop Boys epic feel to it. We head off to another direction, as the Mediterranean flavoured MY BEAUTIFUL FRIEND is everything a holiday romance should be.

Not afraid of experimenting, EVENING, a song that will stop you dead in your tracks featuring lyrics from a Turkish poem, showcases Xanda’s vocal talents. WARM POISON first started life as a gospel-rock ballad but then was changed to a basic slowed down song about sexual awakening. In a strange reversal, MIDNIGHT POET started life as a ballad and ends up being a dance track. If SUGAR’S RUNNING OUT is apparently an indication to what the next album will be like. Going by this track, I just cannot wait. Xanda is definitely a talent that should be checked out for those who are tired of hearing the same old pap on the radio.

- Phase9

"Olympic Radio"

Discovered whilst waitressing, singer/songwriter Xanda Howe releases her debut album with twelve sweetly sung, poignant songs. From the recent single "Evening" to the mysterious "Knowing Eyes", the album brings together modern songwriting, chillout and easy listening. If you need something for a sultry summer evening, then look no further.

- Olympic


Xanda Howe's story reads just like a fairytale. Born in South Africa, Xanda moved to the United Kingdom at the age of three. Her family settled in Surrey, where she soon began entertaining audiences by singing, acting, and playing saxophone. Halfway through her degree at Bath University, Xanda got the opportunity of a lifetime. While working at Café Blue in Virginia Water (UK) as a waitress, Xanda's boss gave Osman Kent, a frequent customer, a copy of her demo. Before she knew it, Xanda left Bath University and had a development contract with Songphonic Records.

Xanda's song, "Midnight Poet," is an upbeat pop song about the trials and tribulations of a love affair. Her pristine vocals seem to compare with the likes of a number of world-renown pop divas. This song is truly a treat to listen to.

“A song with breathtaking vocals, filled with heartfelt emotion.”

- Broadjam

"Collected Sounds (Amy)"

With all the folk/jazz/country I've been hearing lately, "And How" is a real refreshing twist.

It's hard to describe the music, as it's not really a specific genre. "Knowing Eyes" sounds almost electronica, then "And How" comes on and it's total pop. Then we have the third song, "Driving Me Mad" which is techno-pop/disco. It would be a hit with the "Queer Eye…" crowd.

She also shows her softer side on "Feel You" and "My Beautiful Friend" (which has a great beat and interesting guitar parts) as well as some other soft ones. She has a gift for being both AAA and disco, which I don't believe I've ever heard before in one artist.

Howe has a sweet voice to go with her sweet looking face…she's cute enough to have been a Spice Girl a few years back (and I don't mean that as an insult. I didn't care for their music, but they sure were cute!)

She closes with a remake of Tom Waits' "Time" which at first seems strange to take a song originally sung by a hardened whiskey voiced man and give it to a lovely, sweet girl voice, but it works. And it works well. She makes this song her own.

Stand Out songs: "My Beautiful Friend", "Evening" and "Warm Poison".

- Collected Sounds

"Live365 Radio"

Twenty-one year-old Xanda co-wrote all but one of the tracks on her debut album And Howe, a collection of mature pop songs with electronic soundscapes in the tradition of Annie Lennox and Ray of Light-era Madonna.

- Live365 Radio

"UK Music Search"

"a truly heart melting performance that leaves you in open mouthed awe, this showcases Xanda as a singer with a voice that can go from subtle introspection to breathtaking climax with ease and effortless cool" - UKmusicsearch.co.uk

"Hi-Fi +"

"Xanda Howe is a sassy and lovely sounding vocalist whose precise and crystalline delivery gives her singing that attractive blend of the fragile and the vulnerable......Inevitably comparisons to Dido will be made but Howe shows that she is a more complex and imaginative performer than her better known peer." - Hi-Fi+


"Polished debut from former waitress turned singer-songwriter. Howe's Emma Bunton looks are deceptive, because she's a markedly more mainstream contender than even the former Baby Spice, co-writing nine of the dozen ultra-smooth tracks. Howe is possessed of a confident and seductive voice" - Mojo


And How - Debut Album
Knowing Eyes - CD Single (airplay and streaming)
Running Away - CD Single (airplay and streaming)


Midnight Poet
My Beautiful Friend
Sugar's Running Out
Knowing Eyes
Feel You


Feeling a bit camera shy


Xanda Howe is probably one of the most lyrical and cinematic singer-songwriters to have emerged in recent years. Often likened to Kate Bush and Jewel, Xanda's music is moving, poetic, dramatic and contemporary in a paradoxically timeless fashion.

Her songs are like soundtracks to films as yet unscripted - listening to her music can be a rewarding visual experience once you allow yourself to be drawn in. Just imagine rolling credits as you listen...

Despite sounding like that Human League song, 21 year-old Xanda was discovered while working as a waitress. Songphonic Records’ boss Osman Kent, was a regular diner at the restuarant where Xanda worked, and was persuaded to hear her demo.

Osman then invited her to record some tracks at his studio and was so impressed that he offered her a development contract on the spot. Xanda was mid-way through her degree at the time but decided the opportunity was too good to miss. So she quit Bath University, signed up to Songphonic and spent a year writing and recording.

These sessions produced a collection of songs that are dramatic in style and her debut album, And How, is probably one of the most moving and evocative releases of 2004. Co-writing all but two of the eleven original songs, she demonstrates an incredible depth and maturity for her 21 years. Her musical influences range from Joni Mitchell to George Michael, Annie Lennox to Damien Rice, but it was her moving rendition of a Tom Waits' classic "Time", that clinched her recording contract. The original audition recording is included as a bonus track on the album.

Born in South Africa, her family moved to the UK when she was 3 and settled in Surrey. Xanda has been entertaining audiences from a very young age, singing, acting and playing sax, and always wanted to be a performer . She is also a trained actress and teaches aerobics.

Earlier this year, Xanda performed at the legendary Ronnie Scotts club in London, and also played at the British Radio Academy Awards. She has been busy promoting her album in Europe with a hectic schedule of TV, radio and press interviews and loving every minute.

Xanda is midway through recording her second album, scheduled for release in 2006.