(Photo Credit – Seth Charles)
Orlando-based artist Talii has released the stunning official video for new single, “Good To Be Bad.” Watch the video now here.
Creating a mesmerizing scene of seductive choreography and electric female energy cloaked in a veil of spirituality, the video brings the song to towering new heights. Talii describes:
- “This video really brings the song to life! We wanted to incorporate all aspects of what ‘Good To Be Bad’ means to me. To embrace all the ‘taboo’ aspects of a woman that society has conditioned us to believe to be bad or to be ashamed of. The magical, the sexual and the powerful aspects of feminine energy were all portrayed and celebrated so beautifully in this video. Not to mention, it was so much fun to create! I’ve truly never felt so alive and in my element as I was when this video was being filmed. I’m so happy this is what I get to do for a living.”
The arresting dark pop/R&B track was released this spring alongside a feature with Billboard, who called the track “a dancehall-flecked, bass-heavy production that reflects her Trinidadian roots” and said the track finds Talli “tapping into her inner-vixen.”
This spring, Talii was also named one of SoundCloud’s March 2020 ‘Artists To Watch,’ a prestigious title showcasing her fast rise while gearing up for her debut EP release expected later this year. Check out SoundCloud’s feature here.
rising indie-electronic duo Forester makes their debut on Kygo’s Palm Tree Records with a massive track, “We Found Home” ft. Kwesi.
The new release blends indie and electronic elements, creating an emotionally-charged soundscape with simple, yet powerful, lyrics. It’s about “finding comfort in one’s emotional space,” says Xander Carlson and David Parris of the group. “We Found Home” follows their debut album, Kerosene, which has accumulated over 5 million total streams.
Kerosene, The duoʼs debut concept album, is an exploration of the collision of two worlds. By combining synthetically produced sounds (city) and organically derived elements (nature), the two have crafted a unique sound that integrates indie acoustic folk elements with the energy and structure of modern popular music. By interweaving self-reflective lyrics in this style, they explore themes like lost love, the search for passion, and the healing properties of nature.
In May 2020, Forester landed a major label deal with Palm Tree Records, a Sony Music joint venture co-founded by Kygo. With millions of streams already under their belt and an ethos that calls for an eyes-closed escape, Forester’s future is looking brighter than ever.
Be on the lookout for more from Forester in 2020 ahead of their sophomore album.
I’m an all or nothing kind of person.
Twenty minutes before I was about to leave for the hospital to get an MRI to confirm my brain tumour as benign, I broke up with my boyfriend. I knew we both weren’t happy and felt an innate need to make a decision and end it for the both of us.
“Blue (For Now),” my new single, is about feeling unhappy within a relationship and the relief that comes when it is over.
Listen to “Blue (For Now)” on your preferred platform.
Originally, this song was arranged with a focus on the guilt of leaving my partner. Shortly after it was written, I realized that although it was a hard decision, it was the right one for me. In retrospect, this choice made me happier.
“Blue (For Now)” is a reminder that the self-reflection we experience during difficult moments can make us stronger. Situational sadness is often a temporary feeling – time will heal!
Thanks for listening,
self-taught singer, songwriter, producer and musician from Atlanta, GA, Darius Scott is thrilled to share his new single “BIG BRAVE MAN” that is out now.
He has released the song on Father’s Day (June 21). The song has an awareness factor and it commemorates Fathers who passed away or are not currently within arm’s reach. During this time it’s really important that we celebrate black fatherhood with COVID hitting minority communities the hardest along with the social injustices that’s been occurring.
Darius says, “I originally wrote Big Brave Man as an open letter to my father, almost a year after he died on Father’s Day in 2019. It took me months to write it. I would pick it up and come back to it. I wanted to let him know how much I had grown in the year since he transitioned. Losing him left a gaping hole in my life, and even though I had grown, that empty space hadn’t filled back up, it was merely expanding. I signed my first record deal, got my first major placements, and toured the world, literally right after he died. He for sure had a hand in all that. That’s just what angels do. They go before you, and make sure the path is clear. Big Brave Man puts the different stages of grief on display. I had to be so strong taking care of him in the months leading up to his death. I recognize now that it’s kind of hard to feel brave in the absence of your heroes. I wrote this song for those who’ve lost, and for those who still have heroes to hold on to.”
Darius recently executed the first episode of his IGTV series“BIG BRAVE” Conversations featuring @KevOnStage where they raised $735 for Chance The Rapper’s organization SOCIAL WORKS SocialWorks aims to empower the youth through the arts, education and civic engagement https://www.socialworkschi.org/about-us/
Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation releases and official new call-to-action visual titled “Now, We Transform” – an action and awareness initiative created to continue the fight for liberty, justice and freedom for black lives worldwide. The revolutionizing incentive is promised to evoke thorough race equality reform by harnessing the collective power of supporting voices across the globe. The visual, which pays homage to some of America’s most impactful freedom fighters including Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Malcom X, Angela Davis and Marsha P. Johnson, encourages those who are willing to join the fight to end injustice to text 24365 or visit www.BlackLivesMatter.com for more information on how to get involved. To watch the latest #BlackLivesMatter video, click here.
“Now, people in every state across America are standing up to say: Black Lives Matter. This is our revolution. Transformation is happening. Change is coming” Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation released in an official statement.
“After the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd in close succession, the world has finally said enough is enough. Now we must honor their sacrifice and ensure this never happens again. This moment of collective acceptance of the systemic, institutional, and individual racism Black people face every day around the world, must be galvanized into collective action. Black Lives Matter Global Network is committed to providing tools and resources to people all around the world as we continue to fight in defense of Black people” said Kailee Scales, Managing Director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
Chris Bell has been writing and recording music since the late 90’s. Born in Dunnville, ON, his introduction onto the Canadian music landscape happened via his high school, post hardcore band Chore. They released three full length albums for Sonic Unyon Records and after extensive touring and studio time with Chore, Bell began venturing out into the solo realm releasing his first independent record, Time Between Failures, in 2001. The formation of Alive and Living after Chore disbanded in 2004, was an even further extension of this softer, more folk oriented approach and kept Bell busy writing, recording. Alive and Living released an ep called PLO in 2004 and toured extensively in Eastern Canada. More recently Bell has been touring and recording, as the bassist, with the eastern Canadian rock band Wintersleep. Appearing on the band’s last release, In The Land Of, Bell shifted his role from the bands live sound engineer and tour manager to band member. He has worked with many prominent Canadian acts as a live sound engineer; Broken Social Scene, Stars, Basia Bulat, Arkells and the aforementioned Wintersleep to name a few.
These many projects and varying roles have led Chris to his most recent project, self-produced, Division Street. The album touches on all of Bell’s previous sensibilities while offering the most immediately accessible songwriting and multi-faceted production values to be heard in his already high quality body of work. It is the culmination of his years as a budding and driven musician/producer into a finely balanced song cycle that, while bouncing between folk rock and hard rock, coheres into a listening experience that captivates, soothes and gets the toes tapping throughout the track listing. Having the freedom to work on the album entirely independently and free of any deadlines or technical challenges means that the listener is rewarded with multiple layers of lush vocal harmony, an eclectic range of percussive elements and, as always, Bell’s trademark guitar work making these songs impossible to forget, even after just one listen. Division Street will be released on June 19 with the first single, “Searching in the Dark,” set for early release May 28th.
The UK’s Prince of R&B is back with his subconscious reprogrammed and steely determination as Nathan marks his return to the music scene with his ‘Soon Come’ visuals.
STREAM/PURCHASE: NATHAN – SOON COME
Nathan’s strong work ethic and independent prowess has previously seen him gain UK Top 40 hits, support international tours with JLS, The Wanted and NDubz, appear on reality TV shows and work with chart topping acts such as Wretch 32 and FloRida. His hits include ‘Come Into My Room’ which peaked at No.37 in the UK charts, then followed up with further chart success on releases such as ‘Diamonds’ under the monicker Starboy Nathan. However his career hasn’t come without challenge and his clean cut R&B sweetheart image was stripped from him when he was sentenced to 20 months in prison in 2016.
Opening the door on an exciting catalogue of new music, Nathan has created his new material to be heard void of any expectations and preconceptions. ‘Soon Come’, was premiered on radio by DJ Yasmin Evans at BBC Radio 1Xtra and the visuals dropped via GRM Daily and feature Nathan amongst close friends and family, with his singer/actress Mum, Lorna Gee making an appearance too.
‘Soon Come’ features summer fueled, jumpy RnB production with hints of afro fusion pulsing through its core, and combined with Nathan’s honest, emotive lyricism and soulful, caramel tones that hit to the crux of you.
Speaking on ‘Soon Come’ Nathan says: “I have a deeper connection with this track as the message behind it means so much to me. I’ve had a lot of challenges in my career to date but now I feel like I’m on the right track, I’m creating music and doing things MY way, Organically with a new team. Produced by Grammy nominated P2J who also features heavily on my up and coming project”
Releasing music from a matured, powerful and confident place, Nathan has found a vibe that resonates. From the lyricism and style, through to the beats, the music is not only the vehicle for Nathan’s truth but has a chemistry that hits differently.
Toronto-based artist Erich Mrak is back with a new single ‘Girls’ on June 23rd. Praised for being the ‘melodic Post Malone’ by numerous influential blogs, Erich continues to push the limits of both the alternative pop and hip hop genres. Fusing elements from a variety of styles, he never loses his own unique expression and delivers his sound with infectious rhythm and relatable lines.
‘Girls’ is the first single off his upcoming album ‘Glimpse’. Speaking of the influences behind the single, Erich Mrak said: “The influences behind Girls lie somewhere between Post Malone, Tame Impala, and The 1975. With the guitar heavy production, processed vocals, and content derived from interpersonal relations. While the context of “Girls” centres around a recent heartbreak, the core message of the song lies in the supportive dynamic friendship plays in encouraging someone they can do better.”
With the release of several singles throughout 2019, Erich Mrak has amassed over 400K streams across multiple platforms. He has also been named as ‘one of the standout artists of the year’ by various people in the music industry, encouraging Erich to challenge himself even harder since the start of the quarantine. He has been recording live performances in his living room, intending to release them between single releases over the next few months.
There’s a place that exists somewhere between the past and future, that isn’t now. A kingdom of flamboyance, eccentricity and otherworldly hues and a desire for charm beyond the physical. This is where you will find Katie Wood, music for the electric, songs that permeate the heart, lyrics that reveal your power, and a voice to remember. Welcome to her world.
Following the successful release of “Steve”, Wood is unveiling “Uh huh Yeah”. The self-produced track narrates the singer’s struggle with agoraphobia and the powerless feeling it entails. Wood confides, “I couldn’t face leaving my flat, let alone go to work or see my friends and I just felt so powerless. So the song is about that feeling and in many ways accepting it as a way to move on through it, I do believe that you have to face your fears to overcome them.”
“Uh huh Yeah” depicts everything that comes with agoraphobia – the frustration, anger and resentment, but also hope and self-acceptance. Detailing the journey of finding light at the end of the tunnel, Wood has crafted a poignant song of sincerity and self-discovery. “Uh huh Yeah” features muted tones, 80’s drums and emotional, raspy vocals reminiscent of Haim meets Kate Bush. Drenched in ethereal backing vocals, Wood has established a distinct sound and strong identity that is entirely her own.
Wood’s music is immersed in emotion, using writing as a form of escapism and expression. The musician shares, “All of my music has a kind of sarcastic charm to it, even though I mainly write about my own life experiences I don’t actually take myself ALL that seriously and it’s part of who I am – to use humour alongside somewhat depressing and solemn subjects.”
The London based artist is heavily inspired by the likes of post-punk and new wave bands such as Blondie, The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen, as well as the glam rock days of T. Rex and Bowie. Soaking up the heavy, distorted sounds of these artists, Wood presents it in a beautiful and graceful delivery.
Having garnered acclaim from the likes of Billboard, MTV and the BBC, Wood hopes that her music will continue to enable others to feel powerful and like they’re not alone in this world. She is on a mission to help listeners be as authentic as possible and to overcome their hardships and fears.
A child of Baltimore, Lauren grew to embrace the fatalistic spirit of the city in her work and art. With stunningly raw, haunting tones, Lakis has fashioned her own brand of “delightfully gut-churning shoegaze”. Authentic and honest lyricism, paired with lush, darkly romantic vibes, her songs are “a refreshing change from today’s polite rock…” (Earmilk).
Following the release of her critically acclaimed debut full-length Ferociouswith Cavity Search Records (Elliott Smith, Helio Sequence) in 2018, Lakis delivered audiences the highly anticipated Sad Girl Breakfast. Both records were produced by Billy Burke (REL, Luna Lovebad) with additional engineering by Grammy-winning mixer Chris Kasych (Adele, Deftones, Phantogram, HAIM). Both releases have gone on to garner radio airplay on 40+ stations nationwide, and placement on 65+ Spotify playlists. Lakis has also licensed tracks to Dating Painsand The Drunch.
Her newest LP, Daughter Language, was recorded at Seahorse Sound with Billy Burke producing, and Chris Kasych & Samur Khouja (Devendra Banhart, Deerhunter, Chastity Belt) mixing.
Lakis and her full band have toured the West Coast extensively, and have shared bills with Drowse, Coastlands, and Emmet Palaima of Elizabeth Colour Wheel. Most recently, the band played to a sold-out room at Doug Fir Lounge, as well as The Catalyst Santa Cruz, opening for Flor& Winnetka Bowling League. Lauren also performed a pair of solo shows opening for Grammy-nominated legendary rocker Tracy Bonham. The band was set to play SXSW this year as well.
Recorded and written entirely in the French countryside, during the lockdown, as a response to the global situation Beauty In Stillness deals with themes of the present, silence and stillness. The songs blend acoustic organic sounds with modern and electronic textures.
The project opens with the light and enveloping track “Sunflowers”. The song focuses on the quiet yet beautiful growth of nature, and how these elements compare to human development. Through each change, each relationship, each creation, we too leave a footprint, comparable to the beautiful dance of Sunflowers during springtime. The listener is then introduced to a more melancholic and contemplative side of AVBE on the track “Be.”. The project comes to a close with a minimalist, yet, elegant electronic instrumental piece. Capturing the feeling of a poetic sunset, the song blends tape-machine pianos, lush guitars, and smooth drum textures. The track ends with a Soprano saxophone solo, performed by AVBE‘s father, internationally renowned musician Sylvain Beuf.
Alcoves, the latest project from Canadian singer/songwriter Garrett Olson, establishes its Lo-fi brand of rousing melodies, lush guitar, and warbly synths that leaves audiences in a daze of nostalgia. His conversational lyrics and urgent post-punk energy capture a raw and tangible sense of vulnerability uniquely packaged in warm falsettos and dynamic composition.
Getting his start with two solo EP’s, Little Moments (2013) and Changes (2014), he soon relocated to Toronto to form the Toronto garage rock group, The Fallers. The trio released their debut LP, Get In Loser, in 2017 which saw a steady diet of touring across Canada and the eastern US that honed his craft as an artist and performer.
After a successful run in Toronto he returned to Edmonton to focus on his solo endeavour, ultimately releasing In Time and Credits Roll via Antipole Records.
In the process of self producing a full length album his attention shifted to explore a new direction that sought to blend that spirited energy with the textural landscapes of modern indie pop.
Canadian country-pop artist Mandy McMillan is thrilled to announce the release of the official music video for her newest single, “Dream Catcher”.
Watch the “Dream Catcher” Music Video: https://youtu.be/XI8kwTbjxHs
“After a decade of dreaming, chasing, embracing, and growing, ‘Dream Catcher’ defines my sound and my life. Today – as an artist and as a person – I am exactly where I want to be,” says McMillan.
Co-written in Nashville by McMillan and Andrew Beason and produced by Simon Gugala, “Dream Catcher” was inspired by McMillan’s own love of dream catchers that started when she first made them at a festival. The song is both an honest reflection of her unwavering belief in the cultivation and manifestation of goals, and a compelling snapshot of her own journey towards fulfillment. The music video was directed by Jenny Marvin.
A performer since age 5, the Edmonton-born McMillan gave up her day job in Stony Plain, Alberta to move to Nashville after winning a 2008 Country Music Television Canada contest. This bold choice has led to an array of moments, like opening for the likes of Trisha Yearwood and Blake Shelton, releasing her self-titled debut 2014 EP, appearing on stage as part of Kenny Chesney’s 2014 CMA Awards performance, showcasing at the 2018 Diamonds in the Rough series during Canadian Country Music Week, making the Top 10 of ole’s “Play for Publisher” for her 2018 single “Chasin’ the Ace”, playing in a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, and showcasing at Whiskey Jam.
Now dividing her time between Canada and Nashville, McMillan wants her new music and her journey to empower others to act on their own ambitions.
She says, “Every dream is worth catching and when you can turn them into reality, it is so worth it in the end. I want everyone who discovers ‘Dream Catcher’ to pursue whatever their souls desire. With the right manifestation, we can all be the little dream catchers that our hearts want us to be.”
“Dream Catcher” is Mandy McMillan’s first radio single release in Canada, where it debuted June 1st. She is supporting the single and video with several unique initiatives, including:
- A “30 Days of Dream Catchers” blog series highlighting inspiring people.
- An acoustic video release on July 6th.
- A virtual single release show on her Instagram and Facebook on July 13th.
- An ongoing weekly “Dream Catcher” podcast with co-host Carli Kahl.
Mandy McMillan’s “Dream Catcher” adventure will continue with this fall’s anticipated release of the album of the same name. Until then, she’ll just keep on dreaming – and catching.
For more about Mandy McMillan, please visit MandyMcMillan.com
Follow Mandy McMillan on streaming and social media platforms:
Spotify: smarturl.it/MandyMcMillanSpotify YouTube: @MandyMcMillan
Facebook: @MandyMcMillanMusic Instagram: @MandyMcMillanMusic
Anine, pronounce A9, is a British Nepalese rapper-singer songwriter from the south of England and has already had some major music wins in his career including his feature on ‘Plug Talk’ with ‘Telescope’ alongside Polo G and Swarmz, plus his solo release ‘Rich Forever’. He is now back with his latest visual for ‘Rosetta Stone’.
STREAM/PURCHASE: ANINE – ROSETTA STONE
Released via GRM Daily, the visual directed by James John starts off with a key led instrumental, the beat drops in and Anine jumps in with his smooth flow and catchy lyrics, the first half of the chorus sets the tone of the track, not just with his cadence but with the topic too; the everyday struggles he faces of grinding and turning lessons into blessings. Turning a dark cloud into motivational energy is something of a theme in Anine’s life that he feels is only right to apply that energy within his music and this track is no exception.
With ‘Rosetta Stone’ being only Anine’s third release, the star has been catapulted into conversations that see his name mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Roddy Rich, M Huncho, Lil Baby, Gunna and more. Making his debut with ‘Telescope’ featuring Swarmz and Polo G, the record has accumulated over 2 million streams on Spotify and was featured on one of the most notable releases in 2019, The Plug’s ‘Plug Talk’ album. Standing out from the crowd with his captivating melodic rap-R&B sound, the depth and emotion that he injects in to his music is a clear effect of being brought up in poverty in Nepal and being motivated by his Mum’s struggle to overcome life’s challenges.
Anine is turning his dreams and ambitions into a reality and it’s a journey you should definitely tag along for.
Alternative 808s artist, GARZI, returns with the brooding visual to “HOPELESS”; the second in a trilogy of video releases through June in support of his STUCK IN THE MIDDLE EP. For a track that features GARZI at his most honest and emotionally exposed, the video serves to hype up that intensity and drive home the feelings of isolation and despair that run through the lyrics. The gritty footage backs GARZI’s impassioned vocal delivery against the suitably stark surroundings of the rural pacific northwest.
“HOPELESS” stands as one of the most poignant of GARZI’s young career as it was written in the immediate aftermath of losing a friend to a drug overdose. This news came in the middle of a recording session with Goldfinger’s John Feldmann and the two of them worked together to channel the complex emotions into this piece. While there is no doubting the hurt within the track, it’s also a testament to the ability of the human spirit to make it through periods of pain.
“HOPELESS” is taken from the EP STUCK IN THE MIDDLE (released May 8th via Big Noise) which blends GARZI’s alt-rock influences with trap and hip hop vibes creating a uniquely brooding, energetic fusion. An approach he calls “throwing up my emotions on a track”. A punk spirit tears through the EP with GARZI firing through the five tracks in eleven minutes; vocals and lyrics starkly exposed up-front with instrumental sections kept to a minimum. No doubt the punk attitude gets an injection from the addition of scene veterans John Feldmann (who co-produced/co-wrote the entire record), and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker (who performs on the single “SICK OF ME” and takes co-writing/co-producing credits on three of the albums five tracks).
The L.A.-raised brother duo have carved out a fresh genre of indie-pop that breathes life into today’s music scene. The Lagoons, composed of Ryan and Joey Selan, found music at a young age. Their love for music evolved to writing, producing, and recording all of their own music in their home studio and have become multi-instrumentalists along the way.
The production duo’s unique blend of genres was first heard on their debut single California and was followed up by Gems EP & Escape EP. The Lagoons have been featured in Netflix’s series “Easy,” in a BMW ad with Kate Upton, and played across Bose stores worldwide.
Their most recent singles Milagro, Give It Up For Love, and Love To Love You have received rave reviews from tastemakers and fans. In addition to being added to numerous Spotify playlists including New Music Friday, NPR has included The Lagoons in their Heavy Rotation for ’10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing’ and “Song Of The Day”. The duo will be releasing their upcoming album Spring 2020.
Wyatt C. Louis is a Cree-Métis folk singer-songwriter, based in Moh’kinstsís (Calgary). He has made an impact on the eclectic city with songs built from soaring melodies, railroad-like finger picking and quiet, haunting vocals and lyrical phrasing. Dark, rustic tales meld folk and soulful blues to tell tales of love, loss and the journey home. They’re beautiful, subtle creations that juxtapose emotions, striking imagery and experiences that charm and envelop listeners. The sweet and intimate EP On a Journey for the Long Run (2017), had earned him airplay on CBC, CKUA and campus radio across Canada.
Louis’ upcoming release, “Dancing With Sue,” evokes the feeling of nostalgia, and yearning for the times in our lives where we feel the happiest and most free. Captured effortlessly through warm tones and colourful song writing. The song is dedicated to supportive friends whom he met through various music collectives. “Dancing with Sue” is the first piece of Louis’ new album coming in fall 2020, released via Canadian label, Slow Weather.
Roman Rouge is a R&B pop singer/songwriter from El Paso, Texas. Born with music running through his veins, the musician was exposed to the industry from a young age and never looked back. Despite various struggles which he faced throughout his childhood, including his single mother trying to make ends meet, Roman took every obstacle in his stride, ultimately building his character and making him who he is today. Through every failure came strength and eventually the hardships paid off.
The passionate and driven artist now not afraid of anything that may come his way, is ready for the next step of his journey. Inspired by personal events and poignant moments in life, the singer confides, “The message in my music overall is always relatable, something you’ve been through can and always affect the decisions you make in the future. My songs are linked to each other, I like to convey a story and be as honest and forthcoming as I can”.
Influenced by the likes of Majid Jordan and The Weeknd, Roman is following a similar path to creating music bursting with personality, whilst encouraging others to be their most authentic selves. Roman reveals, “The main theme of my music is to be aware of why you are who you are, and how you can let your past experiences define you, learn from your mistakes, move on and be better”. Roman continues to deliver audiences with his unique and fresh combination of moody and sweet tones, emphasizing the contrast between light and dark.
Austin’s own, The Cuckoos today release their new single and music video “I’ll Be Ur Tramp”. “I’ll Be Ur Tramp” is the second single off of The Cuckoos forthcoming EP Honeymoon Phases which is due out in August 2020.
Channeling legendary artists that came before, such as David Bowie and Prince, “I’ll Be Ur Tramp” blurs the lines between genres, fusing rock n’ roll, funk, and dance music. True to form, The Cuckoos seamlessly blend synthesizers and guitars to create catchy melodies that compliment lead singer Kenneth Frost’s breathy vocals.
The mostly black and white music video features Kenneth singing directly to the viewer while iconic scenes from classic films are interspersed with The Cuckoos’ live performance on a retro television set.
On writing the new single and directing the music video Kenneth says, “‘I’ll Be Ur Tramp’ is a fun little love number and for the video, I wanted to do something a little more simple and easy on the eyes. I’ve been using the quarantine to get a little creative and use what I’ve got at home with me. The live footage in the middle is from our album release show back in January at Cheer Up Charlie’s. It was a great show and I’m really missing those times right now.”
Blasting off blunt bars, singing with seductively soulful spirit, and shining like the jewel in her signature Bindi, Mia Ariannaa actualizes a vibrant, visceral, and vital vision of her own her debut EP for Division 1/Epic Records, I’m a good girl … do you believe me? Growing up Charlotte, NC, she sang in the church choir and belted out the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at middle school basketball games. After years of singing as a hobby, she participated in Monica’s “So Gone” Challenge on social media during 2016. Her video went viral, and she continued to post freestyles, building up a following of almost 50K on Instagram and generating hundreds of thousands of views. She personally financed her career, putting up the money for videos and release parties as she dropped originals “Make You,” “One Hun Done,” and “Nobody.” In the summer of 2019, two-time GRAMMY® Award-winning artist, songwriter, producer, and mogul stumbled on her Instagram. Blown away by her Roddy Ricch freestyle, he reached out. Mia hopped in the car, drove straight to Miami, and they met in person as she signed to Rico’s Division1. Now, she formally introduces herself with “What Was I Thinking.”
Emerging British band MIYA MIYA today share their debut EP Cold Blood, released via Alacran Records.
The EP comes through as a polished, cohesive five-track body of work representing the band’s unique fusion of anthemic stadium sounds with alt-pop vibes which they have been gaining traction for in 2020.
Cold Blood’s two singles – the explosive “Underwater” (WATCH) and cinematic experience “Hometown” (WATCH) – have already racked up over 350K collective streams since launching earlier this year, with acclaim coming in from top-tier tastemakers such as Radio 1 and Clash alongside significant editorial support from Spotify – certifying the band’s reputation as a rising talent to keep tabs on.
The four-piece – Ginnie (vocals), Jordan (vocals / keys), Gio (guitar) and James (drums) – started making music together after they connected at university. They formed a songwriting team to write and produce music for other artists, racking up credits with their unique, powerfully emotive style; most notably “All Night Long” by Jonas Blue & Retrovision, which hit top spots in streaming charts around the world and the No.1 spot on the Billboard Dance Chart.
They grew up listening to classic artists like Fleetwood Mac, Queen and Jeff Buckley, which has heavily influenced their ‘distressed glamour’ style and huge, layered music. This timeless sound, coupled with the inspiration from contemporary artists like Imagine Dragons and The Chainsmokers, has given MIYA MIYA an exciting combination that blends intimate storytelling with an epic stadium sound.
After honing their craft behind the scenes, 2020 marks MIYA MIYA’s first foray onto the scene as a fully-realised band with Cold Blood; a selection of captivating sounds from an undeniably talented collective stepping out into the spotlight who are sure to pick up heat through 2020 and beyond.
Beth Keeping is a singer/songwriter from Surrey, UK. Drawing influences from both traditional country storytelling and modern pop music, Keeping delivers a fresh and modern sound of what she calls “pop stories”. Creating songs that speak about real situations, her honest lyrical approach and emotive vocals have been garnering attention from fans and critics across the globe.
Inspired into the music industry by artists such as Delta Goodrem, John Mayer and Martyn Joseph, Keeping found herself travelling the world, writing and recording in the UK, Singapore, Ireland, Estonia, Andalusia and America. Her debut EP Fool, which was recorded in Nashville, showcased her love for country music and its powerful ability to depict vivid stories through sound. However, her most recent work takes a move towards more mainstream pop, whilst reserving her signature authentic anecdotal lyrics.
Keeping’s latest single “Cool Kids” is a self-empowering anthem for anyone who has experienced bullying. Inspired by the news that a boy who used to bully her at school now listens to her music, she shares, “I heard that he and his friends respect me because I decided to pursue my dreams and do something different instead of following the standard career path. I have to admit, it felt pretty great to hear that!” Despite its feel-good melodies, there is a juxtaposition between the music and lyrics, with a deeper element recognising how serious bullying is and why we do it. Keeping explains, “Whether it’s at school or in the workplace, bullying happens when those who are popular or powerful in some way choose to use that power against others. And usually this behaviour is driven by something deeper such as insecurity, peer pressure, personal trauma or having been bullied themselves.” The song reminds listeners that we all have a choice – we can choose to bully and to retaliate, or we can choose peace, and understand and forgive those who have used their power against us.
Produced by Kaity Rae (The Shires, Lisa Pac) “Cool Kids” sonically blends bass heavy, plucky instrumentation with minimalist production styles inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift and Lauv. Honest, sassy lyrics narrate some of Keeping’s real life experiences, referencing some of her previous singles as a lighthearted hint that the “cool kids” have been listening to them. The fun pop song treads the line between confidence and vulnerability, acting as an infectious, dance worthy track to help others going through a similar experience.
As founder of ‘Write Like A Girl’, an initiative that puts the spotlight back on female songwriters, Keeping is an advocate of championing the rights of women and equality in the music industry. Keeping shares, “It’s an idea I’ve had for years after I woke up to the gender imbalance at networking nights I was going to. In fact, only 18% of songwriters in the UK are women (PRS for Music, 2019)”. Write Like A Girl hosts sell-out writers round shows in London, Newcastle and Bristol, and since lockdown have begun a Q&A series on Instagram called ‘Girl Power Hour’. Keeping has also seen success winning a PRS songwriting prize in a Mayor of London GIGs competition, as well as reaching #3 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart for her debut EP.
Ahead of the release of her debut EP, emerging British talent Josie Proto today releases visuals for “Wales” – a strikingly beautiful acoustic number about running away and embarking on an exciting journey with the love of your life.
Merging tender acoustic strums with heartfelt vocals, “Wales” shows a softer, more vulnerable side to the 19-year old’s typically conversational, occasionally tongue-in-cheek lyrical style and upbeat, care-free pop sounds.
Of “Wales” Josie explains: “After writing Wales, and showing my mother the song, she informed me that I had in fact been to Wales several times and she had photographic evidence to prove it. She showed me photos of me in a yellow rain suit when I was maybe 4 years old in a place called Llandudno in North Wales. I figured that if I was going to release the song, I had to go back to Wales so I had a better memory of it! So, my boyfriend and I packed up his car without really planning anything and went! We climbed Snowdon, slept by lakes and woke up to snow-capped mountains! It was amazing!”
A fascinating young artist forging her own path, Josie’s debut song “BTEC Lily Allen” immediately went viral across Tik Tok with its universally relatable message of not giving in to hateful criticisms and learning to be your own biggest fan. Follow-up tracks “Sliced Bread” and “Burner” have been similarly popular with Josie’s rapidly rising fanbase as she closes in on 1M likes for her Tik Tok videos.
With international support rolling in from top-tier tastemakers like CLASH, EARMILK and BBC Radio 1 amongst significant blog hype and Lily Allen herself, Josie’s sharp, amusing storytelling is resonating widely; she has quickly accumulated 200K+ Spotify streams for her music and reached almost 5M plays across Tik Tok – an incredible start to the career of a definite one-to-watch.
UK R&B has been making a progressive climb to prominence over the last 12 months with its smooth tones and lush vocals. Adding to the bubbling pot of talented names in the genre’s uprise is Lydia Singer who has just released her brand new record ‘Games’.
STREAM/PURCHASE: LYDIA SINGER – GAMES
If you’re not all too familiar with Lydia Singer, she started out as a young hopeful that had a dream of music success since childhood. Finding her voice through competitions from just 9 years old and hitting the stage with determined confidence, Lydia has since blossomed into a performer that has graced the stage at Europe’s vanguard for jazz and blues, Ronnie Scott’s, as well as Dame Cleo Laine’s jazz venue ‘The Stables’.
Delivering her first single of 2020, Lydia Singer releases ‘Games’. With a string of previous releases to her name, Lydia has become a hit on her local circuit, gaining frequent radio support via the BBC and BBC Introducing platforms, including live performance’s with BBC Radio London, as well as TV support via SKY’s ‘Tell Vanessa’ and ‘Britrox’ shows. ‘Games’ is the next level for the rising star as she goes full throttle in to her evolving career. Speaking on the release she explains: “Games is a track about being able to see right through someone’s sugar coated lies and telling them “hell nah”.” A cool, edgy cut, ‘Games’ is stacked with sass, spirited energy and her confident, beautiful character.
Check out GAMES out now across all DSP’s.
“THE FIRST TAKE,” an original series from THE FIRST TAKE YouTube channel dedicated to filming performances by musicians and singers in a single take, will make a special comeback to present a performance by the popular K-POP group, Stray Kids on the 43rd episode. Tune in for a breath-taking one-take performance of “SLUMP” (Japanese Version).
Stray Kids, who made their Japanese debut this year, filmed and recorded this episode remotely in Korea, a very first for “THE FIRST TAKE.” The song performed by Stray Kids, “SLUMP – Japanese ver. – ,” is the ending theme to the animated television series Kami No Tou – Tower Of God. The group has expressed themselves in the song by touching upon the theme of trials and tribulations, which were drawn from Han’s personal experiences.
Stray Kids have been making huge strides worldwide since their debut in 2018; with their debut album, I am NOT skyrocketing to #1 on the iTunes Album Chart in 10 areas around the world [US, Mexico, Peru, Finland, Russia, Singapore, Argentina, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand]. Their first worldwide tour, with 13 dates total, sold out completely and took place only 1 year after the band’s debut. Their impact continues to be highlighted and raved about throughout the U.S, by publications such as MTV News, Forbes, Billboard, Allure, and Refinery29 who stated: “…they write and compose straight from their own experiences, painting a vivid picture of the feelings that young people share all over the world.”
The threads of “Four More Days,” my new single, came together in late 2019 as I thought about how far I was from my family in Wuhan, combined with the sense of distance and longing I feel at all times in my romantic life.
I am plagued by short, intense, whirlwind romances on the road and this song has to do with the feeling of wishing for more time in proximity with someone you feel strongly for in order to build a more substantial relationship.
When the quarantine hit in March, these ideas crystallized very quickly and turned into the song you hear today.
Click here to stream “Four More Days” wherever you get your music.
Alexander Thibault (Gloze) produced this song, adding luscious synths to the Kawai grand piano I recorded during my residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. We adapted the process due to social distancing guidelines, with Alex tracking the live drums and bass remotely, after which I recorded vocals in my Montreal home studio.
Even when we miss someone and are sad about not being around them, that type of love and energy is special. We should feel good about having people to miss when we have to stay at home. I hope that when you listen to “Four More Days,” you are able to access the ways in which desire can be really uplifting.
This song is part of an EP I began late last year and finished writing at the Banff Centre, dedicated to my mother’s hometown of Wuhan. I look forward to sharing more of the EP with you, a collection of songs which illuminate what has long been notable about this beautiful city outside of the current context.
Thank you for listening,
Hua Li 化力 – https://linktr.ee/hualigram
Emerging singer-songwriter and Nashville-native Savannah Conley is releasing her new single, “Never Want To Be In Love.”
Co-written with Andrew Petroff (Sheryl Crow, Devon Gilfillian) and the song’s producer Gabe Simon (Dua Lipa, COIN), Conley emerges from the ashes of heartbreak on “Never Want To Be In Love.” The euphoric, guitar-driven musicality on “Never Want To Be In Love” is augmented by Conley’s undeniable calling card: her rich, crystalline voice, and her vulnerable, somber lyricism.
Raised in Nashville by a background singer mother and session guitarist father, Savannah Conley’s musical education was deeply ingrained from a young age. She started performing at the age of seven and by nineteen she was taking home the John Lennon Songwriting award. Her debut EP, Twenty Twenty, was produced by Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb (Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, John Prine) and released in 2018 to critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, NPR, Ones To Watch, and Refinery29. Rolling Stone praised the EP as an “emotionally rich collection of tracks full of moody instrumentation and whip-smart lines” and named Conley as one of their ‘Artists You Need To Know.’
If you’ve ever wondered what the sonic lovechild of Oasis and Dolly Parton would sound like, look no further than Savannah Conley. Combining nostalgic musicality, unavoidable Southern charm, and a healthy dose of cross-genre inspiration, Conley has carved out a sound that feels both fresh and timeless. Her ability to transcend genre boundaries has led to an impressive resume of gigs supporting Ben Folds, Brandi Carlile, The Head and the Heart, Willie Nelson, and Ruston Kelly, just to name a few. As NKD Magazine once aptly put it, Conley’s music “sounds how a worn-in vintage jacket feels.”
Inspired by artists such as Leonard Cohen, Carole King, Bon Iver, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and James Blake, Delilah is today finding complete power in her own voice as she unashamedly shares her love for her girlfriend online, takes the reins on the creative processes and becomes the driving force in her relationships. And, having battled addiction, heartbreak and shame in the past, Delilah hopes that perhaps her newfound honest vulnerability might help others eradicate their own fears too.
It was during the release of the critically acclaimed In Gold EP last year when Delilah was at her worst; who was she? What was she trying to say? Quite simply, she had lost her voice. “I never really told the truth to anyone”, she sings on Version Of Me, a line that might have been true at the time, but today is defunct, as Delilah emerges more emboldened, self-assured and a more urgent songwriter than ever before.
Where In Gold introduced Delilah with its pensive, soulful rumination on coming-of-age, the new music sees Delilah mature dramatically both as a songwriter and as a person. And, reeling from her recent performance of Drive (a collaboration with Black Coffee, which is the #1 most streamed domestic single on Spotify ever in South Africa) at the online Global Citizen concert, organised by WHO in collaboration with Lady Gaga in response to COVID-19, Delilah’s ambition is unstoppable.
Indie Rockers, The Elwins are thrilled to announce their new album, IV, to be released on September 18th. As a preview The Elwins has released the new single “Weight of the World” that is out now.
The lead singer Matthew says, “This is a story speaking to how everyone has to deal with the weight of the world in one way or another. That kind of brings us together in a sense. just a friendly reminder that everyone has got this shit feeling from time to time, some more than others, but all you can really do is to try and take it easy on yourself.”
The Newmarket four-piece has made a decade-plus long career out of carefully crafting clever and cozy tunes. An Elwins song is just as comfortable in your headphones as you walk as it is being blasted from the sound system at one of their vibrant live shows.
Taking a break from their prolific touring schedule, which most recently has found them playing alongside acts such as Passion Pit, Metric and Born Ruffians, The Elwins took to a handful of studios to record their latest collection of songs. With their fourth LP on the way, Matthew Sweeney, Travis Stokl, Francesco Figliomeni, and Feurd have done it again. Self-produced by the band, with a diverse and detailed sound reflecting influences from 70s AM-radio pop to the mid-2000s alternative that the band was borne out of, the record is a prime showcase for the collective magic of these four talented songwriters.
The future is female, and 4Hunnid Records is acutely aware of that.
Day Sulan, the first signee from the joint venture label between YG’s 4Hunnid and Epic Records, delivers the music video for her boastful new anthem, “BIG,” featuring the hot ticket young rapper Rubi Rose. Directed by Austin Simkins, the clip, which features the two female performers donning matching bathing suits, leaning out of pricey whips and dancing poolside, is a subtle reminder that we will still take as many feel-good summer anthems as we can get this year.
[STREAM “BIG” HERE]
“All that tweet tweet sh*t for the birds,” starts Sulan as her verse ramps up. Not to be misconstrued as condescending energy. This L.A. native is a woman that knows what she wants, and her aura exudes this throughout “BIG.” Day Sulan and Rose take turns showering each other with support and throwing darts at anyone who thinks they aren’t already on top of their games.
Day Sulan’s ascent to one of L.A.’s artists to watch has been an arduous joyride, but a joyride nonetheless. Her almost-Cinderella discovery at a strip club has led to her standout feature on “Her Story” from YG’s 4REAL 4REAL album and her own standout track and visuals from this past March, “Mascara” which is a reminder that there’s much more to her than meets the eye. Watch it HERE.
“BIG,” the follow-up to “Mascara,” is more than a brag, it’s a lifestyle. Don’t play with Day Sulan. She’s coming.
Our newest single, “I Think I Miss You,” is a nostalgic sad song you can party to.
It’s about being in a place where you’re not quite sure what’s next, after leaving behind someone or something that meant a lot to you.
When we wrote this song we were both in a strange place in our lives. A lot had changed all at once for both of us in a matter of months. Every time we thought about those meaningful moments, there was always an element of uncertainty and sadness, yet excitement about moving forward.
It’s the soundtrack for the period after a relationship ends, where you think you want to get back together, but it’s probably not the best idea. You’re torn because you kinda feel like you hate them, but you can’t stop thinking about them, and you don’t even know if you were right for each other. All you know is that you think you miss them.
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ust days after releasing the official remix video for “6locc 6a6y,” featuring NLE Choppa, Lil Loaded unloads the remix to “Gang Unit,” featuring west coast heavyweight, YG.
[Watch the video HERE – via Epic Records]
Loaded has continuously released new music in 2020 while racking up cosigns along the way. Feeding the streets with anthems like “Hit Em Up,” “Shotta Shit” and “Avatar,” ft. King Von, the stage is set for the , the Dallas, Texas phenom to breakout.
With his debut, The 6emon In 6lue on the way, Loaded injects life to the 2019 project, 6LOCC 6A6Y. Earning widespread acclaim, Complex praised his “hard-hitting street anthems” of “Gang Unit,” and named Loaded Best Artist of the Month of April.” Lyrical Lemonade went on to say, “Loaded eviscerates this instrumental and provides another memorable hook that is sure to be stuck in my head all day.” Elevator Magazine summed it up best, “Texas has been producing some great, rising drill artists lately and Lil Loaded is no exception.” Lil Loaded remains primed to explode in 2020.
Aussie independent singer/songwriter, Ziggy Alberts new single “dont get caught up” is out now and featured on American Songwriter.
Ziggy says, “I wrote this song in April 2020. It was my way of expressing what I think is most important right now – to not let fear create distance between each other. I think it’s easy in these times to distance one another for having different views – when really, everyone’s trying to do the right thing. We should encourage each other to be asking questions and supporting one another to have the freedom to do so.”
In true Ziggy Alberts fashion, the songwriter subtly layers subtext upon subtext, with a melodious blues and roots tune and a catchy chorus to match. ‘don’t get caught up’ is an undeniable stuck-in-your-head track.
As a pillar in the self-funded independent Australian artists realm, Ziggy Alberts has taken his talents globally, building a dedicated grassroots following. Ziggy’s uniquely compelling storytelling abilities shine through every one of his tracks with a reflection of what he holds close to him wherever he goes: a passion for the environment and his ocean-side upbringing.
Ziggy’s hugely successful album Laps Around The Sun premiered on Billboard Magazine in 2018, was awarded ‘Feature Album’ on triple j, and has since been streamed over 102 million times on Spotify alone. His single, “Love Me Now”, was nominated for 2019 APRA Song of the Year and to round out 2019, Ziggy was awarded six ARIA Gold accredited singles, two Platinum accredited singles and one Platinum accredited EP.
Johnny Ashby is a British singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Ashby found a love for music through his Dad’s mixtapes. As a teen he played guitar in various bands and after leaving college, stepped into the session world. Deciding to move to California with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes, a guitar he built himself and dreams of playing the legendary Troubadour, the songwriter dove in head first and has not looked back since.
Inspired by the likes of David Bowie, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and Damon Albarn, Ashby aims to create music following a similar path of thinking outside the box. His sound blends the best of his childhood favourites, with the intention of being performance worthy. Ashby explains, “When I write I imagine what the songs would be like live, that’s what’s most important to me. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Ashby’s upcoming five-track EP entitled Born Again is co-written and produced with friends Fredrik Eriksson, Sebastian Fritze and Bill Delia from the band Grizfolk. Grizfolk are hugely successful on the folk-rock circuit opening for artists like Bastille, Haim and X-Ambassadors. The EP highlights Ashby’s infectious Americana tinged sound, featuring radio-ready anthems with lyrics that speak of finding connection, new beginnings and coming together.
Leading single “Born Again”, the title-track off the EP, features ethereal harmonies and vast soundscapes delivering a dreamy, spine-tingling atmosphere which gradually builds into an unforgettable anthemic chorus. The singer’s soulful, raspy vocals narrate failing, getting a second chance and wanting to live forever. Written during the week of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death, Ashby confides, “There’s a lyric in there ‘24 forever in my mind’. I think that line speaks about being gone before your time. The recording process was all done in lockdown and it brought new meaning to the song for me. Like new beginnings and how everything kinda comes in cycles. It’s a moment of clarity in challenging times and holding on to hope when things feel impossibly tough. And I think we all need that moment of clarity right now. The last few months has been a spiral, a domino effect where one thing has led to the other. I think the pandemic has been an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start again. There’s been so much injustice and we’re seeing people stand together against racism. People want to make a change.”
Ashby hopes his music encourages others to take a leap and rediscover yourself. Admitting how during these unprecedented times he managed to find time without limitations and value what is truly important, he shares, “Without this lockdown I don’t think these songs would have happened. I needed this time to stop, sit down and figure it all out. It’s been a valuable lesson and I hope that if there’s anyone that feels at a loss, like I did before pre lockdown, I hope my music speaks to them and inspires a leap of faith.”
Ashby’s first EP Cannonball Days peaked at #9 in the iTunes songwriters chart which led to Huffington Post naming him a “Top 5 Emerging Icon”. Since then, he has releasedtwo well acclaimed EPs and his music has been heard on radio both in the UK and the US, gaining huge support from BBC Introducing and Absolute Radio in London. He’s played the prestigious Troubadour in Los Angeles multiple times and his songs have been featured on primetime television for shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, Elementary, Rise, Baywatch, Teen Mom, Midnight In Texas and NBC’s NHL.
Maintaining momentum with one anthem after another, genre-defying singer, songwriter, and producer Rence uncovers a new single and music video entitled “Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart” today. Get the song HERE via Epic Records and watch the official video HERE.
Regarding the track, Rence commented, “This song is about coming to terms with what is out of your control. I’d been trying so desperately to figure out why one thing or another didn’t go my way, and I was struggling with these big questions of purpose and fulfillment. This song is the remedy—sometimes, things are just gonna fall apart no matter how hard you try, and that is OK.”
“Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart” pairs his delicate delivery with soft solo acoustic guitar. As the strings squeak, his voice slips into a heavenly harmony with the admission, “Sometimes things just fall apart, and you never know, how they’ll go.” Directed by Daniel Jordan K of buzzing music video and media collective Overcast, the accompanying visual opens with Rence in a pool surrounded by Polaroids. Emerging from submersion and into the sunlight, the clip follows his journey to the tip of a mountain and acceptance under gorgeous blue skies. It might just be his most inspiring video yet. The visual premiered earlier today via TMRW Magazine, who said, “The uplifting track with an earworm chorus that won’t get out of your head long after you’ve listened is one of Rence’s best singles yet.”
“Sometimes Things Just Fall Apart” arrives on the heels of his latest single “Tears In December,” which has already racked up close to 800,000 streams. EARMILK described it as “a sincerely reflective song” and claimed, “‘Tears In December seems like it had to be made, and listeners should be glad it was.” Meanwhile, Hollywood Lifehighlighted how “Rence spins a tale of heartbreak and regret.” However, Lyrical Lemonade put it best, calling “Tears In December” “a song you NEED to listen to before the day is over.”
pop singer/songwriter Gillian is releasing “Static,” the second single from her forthcoming debut album, 3AM, slated for release later this year.
“Static” is a bittersweet pop number that chronicles Gillian’s inner-dialogue ahead of a night out. “I actually wrote ‘Static’ minutes before leaving my house to go out with my friends… I didn’t want to go, but I also didn’t want to miss out,” Gillian writes of the relatable concept behind the track. Balancing melancholic, piano-driven verses with synth-soaked pop choruses, “Static” arrives as a track that is lyrically and musically in sync.
Gillian treats her music as a conduit for truth. Whether behind the piano or with a guitar in hand, the Boston-based artist chronicles life’s ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and trials and tribulations with thoughtful clarity, poetic eloquence, and a stirring soulful voice. Documenting the dissolution of a relationship, confronting the pains of addiction, or facing loneliness, she confidently conveys unbridled emotion with wisdom that belies her 16 years of age.
Gillian’s new single, “Static,” follows the release of “High,” a pensive ballad about the pains of addiction, released in late April. Her debut full-length album, 3AM, is slated for release later this year and follows up on last year’s impressive independent EP, Unfiltered.
Listen to “Static” on all streaming platforms today:
Life’s journeys are marked by passages — moments or seasons of transition — often disorienting and vulnerable spaces, yet they offer the greatest opportunity to experience growth, if we are open to the uncertainty.
Learning to embrace the beauty in these liminal states is the theme that runs throughout each track on singer-songwriter Zaac Pick’s long-awaited sophomore album, Passages. The eight-track album is a reflective and raw collection of songs that explore the ambiguities and complexities of desire, masculinity, mental health, disillusionment, and finding strength, with a hopeful and often poetic honesty.
Based in Vancouver, BC, Pick originally moved from his native Medicine Hat, Alberta in the early 2000s, becoming immersed in the region’s burgeoning indie-folk music community as guitar player and songwriting member of the band Doubting Paris. After being dropped from their US record label, Pick ventured out on his own, releasing a string of EPs and an LP that earned him regional songwriting awards and nominations, generous national radio (CBC) support, opening slots for the likes of The Civil Wars, Noah Gundersen, and Bahamas, and numerous features for his songs on major network television shows.
With Passages, Pick builds on the songwriting strengths of his previous work, but leaves behind much of the folk simplicity of his earlier recordings, diving into more diverse musical landscapes — where danceable rhythms, pulsing guitars, sweeping 70s strings, and arpeggiating synthesizers are juxtaposed against heavier subject matter, held together by Pick’s reassuring timbre.
The album’s confessional folk-pop songs showcase a maturity as a songwriter and as a vocalist — his honeyed voice reaching new heights on the soaring chorus of opening track ‘Atmosphere’, about the tension between knowing and mystery in long-term relationships, and on ‘Play, Pause, Rewind’, a danceable reflection on a 30-something life crisis, co-written with Broken Social Scene’s Jason Collett.
Pick’s acute lyricism shines on the introspective and affecting ‘Strong Enough’, a rumination on identity against the backdrop of gender stereotypes, and on cathartic closing track ‘Lighter Side Of Blue’ — a portrait of the singer’s struggle with anxiety and depression, the song’s swelling crescendoes mirroring the lyrics about finding relief in music.
Though most of the songs that appear on Passages were written fairly quickly, the recording process would test Pick’s resolve, when three months of unfruitful recording sessions nearly derailed the project. Pick floundered, and the sessions were ultimately abandoned.
Pick started over with a new producer, Jonathan Anderson (Andy Shauf, Aidan Knight, Jordan Klassen), at his rural studio in Maple Ridge, BC (Protection Island). Returning each song to its essence, Passages was recorded with a newfound confidence in a rush of inspiration over just a few weeks.
The album features contributions from a number of well-regarded Vancouver singer-songwriters and instrumentalists, including Jordan Klassen, Taylor Swindells (The Tourist Company), Bre McDaniel, Skye Brooks (Co-Pilots, Fond Of Tigers), and string arrangements by sibling duo Brian and Caleb Chan (Dear Rouge, Holy Hum).
Passages is slated for release on all major music platforms May 22, 2020.
Bernard and Rachel Chadwick are the husband-and-wife duo that create pop/rock music imbued with love and artisanship. Theirs is an enviable creative relationship built around making more of themselves and the world through collaboration. The band started while Bernard was earning his MFA at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California. It was a way for rock to fuse into art and art to fuse into rock. This became the exact intention of their music going forward. The band’s incorporation of pop sensibilities, ethereal vocals, insightful lyrics and rock undertones give them a sound that is unique, fun and sure to keep you grooving.
Their summer single Heartbreak Away, released in July 2019, was featured on Apple Music’s Breaking Alternative and Alt Pop playlists. They are currently working to release their third full length album, coming soon.
The Holy Knives is composed of brothers Kyle and Kody Valentine, whose music layers baritone vocals over Western soundscapes with downtempo grooves. Born and raised in New Orleans and now residing in San Antonio, The Holy Knives will release their new EP Always Gone as a series of singles in early 2020 and will continue to release at least a song a month for the remainder of the year.
The Holy Knives took their name from a combination of two of their favorite works of art, the film “The Holy Mountain” by Alejandro Jodorowsky and the poetry book The Singing Knives by Frank Stanford. Both of these works, while of different mediums, conjure a flood of beautiful, thought-provoking imagery, as well as share a fearlessness and a quest for truth through the irrational that The Holy Knives strives to capture in their music.
Drawing musical inspiration from acts such as Portishead, Leonard Cohen, The Arctic Monkeys, and Timber Timbre, The Holy Knives could be imagined performing at the Bang Bang Bar from Twin Peaks or playing in a True Detective episode. Their belief is that music is a sacred weapon you can use to ward off the march of reality.
Nashville’s alternative rock band, Blackout Balter is thrilled to share the new single “Wild One” that is out now and featured on Varience Magazine.
Blackout Balter says, “Wild One is a nod to the military ‘Jody’ song format—a call and response song, sung during military marches. I love the way this format lends itself to somewhat of a haunting aesthetic,” says Blackout Balter’s Phil Cohen. “It’s a passionate song, jam-packed with attitude and raw emotion. When we recorded Wild One, I thought we’d just keep it as a demo for the next album, as I wrote this song after the others had already been recorded. But we all really liked the song’s character and grit, and it quickly became one of our favorites.”
“Wild One” is the second single off their new album Animal, to be released on July 24th. The first single “Red Letter” is can be heard HERE.
Blackout Balter’s feverish attitude is evident right out of the gate with Animal fiery opening track and lead single, “Red Letter.” Beginning with a rush of guitar feedback that spills into an onslaught of raw urgency, Cohen and co. paint a portrait of a parallel universe where fame becomes their failing.
Animal is a rush of punk and alternative rock energies, ready to seize the moment and arrest the senses. An unapologetic assertion of love, struggle, and leaving, the band’s aptly-titled Animal speaks to human nature at its most visceral core: When gut instinct supersedes logic, and our inner animal roars. Fourteen tracks of pure adrenaline offer a stinging introduction that inspires, excites, and pushes us to attack our dreams.
Blackout Balter’s first full-length album, produced by Grammy-winner Jeremy Ferguson (Cage the Elephant engineer and producer), and assisted by Grammy-winner Emily Lazar (David Bowie, Cold Play), provides 14 tracks of pure adrenaline that inspires,
Their first EP, Twist And Bend, featured Dave Keuning (The Killers), and received critical acclaim
by the famed Consequence of Sound and Paste Magazine media outlets—two of America’s most important music magazines; and the album charted on CMJ’s “Top 200” and was named an FMQB “Top 25 Album” while being spun on some of America’s most important radio stations, to include KROQ.
With some bands, you know exactly what to expect every time you slide on the headphones. Maybe it’s three power chords driven by pure adrenaline, or pulsing ‘80s-inspired synth pop with hooks for days…
But then there are bands like Jane’s Party – bands that combine colours and textures from various styles into a constantly-evolving sonic tapestry; that can shift shapes from song to song and album to album while staying consistently good, consistently compelling, and consistently true to themselves.
For Jane’s Party – Jeff Giles (keys/guitar/vocals), Tom Ionescu (guitar/vocals), Devon Richardson (bass/vocals), and Zach Sutton (drums) – that’s largely a product of a hard-earned and enviable musical synergy. The talented Toronto-based foursome united amidst their university years in 2006, initially playing one-of-a-kind covers to packed clubs throughout the city before collaborating on some output of their own.
“I think it was a common love of original music and an open-mindedness to try out anything that felt right that brought us together, and we really had no set agenda,” begins Richardson. “But once we started writing and then sharing songs, we realized this meant a lot to us – and other people were getting into it, too.”
Their 2009 debut, The Garage Sessions, introduced Jane’s Party’s hook-heavy brand of organic indie rock and earned its share of attention and acclaim in the talent-rich Toronto music scene. In the decade-plus since, they’ve honed the core of that sound – the simple-but-substantial melodies, rich, multi-part harmonies, and keen sense of dynamics – through a series of constantly-evolving albums, EPs, and singles. “It’s been a really gradual process over the years, finding and establishing our sound and then figuring out where we can branch off to explore new things,” Ionescu puts in. “The more we try, the more we learn, so that constant evolution comes very naturally.”
2013’s Hot Noise, for example, built on The Garage Sessions’ acoustic aesthetic with more electricity and eclecticism, whereas 2016’s Tunnel Visions pushed further into electro-pop territory with vibe-heavy textures that could tempt anyone onto a dancefloor. Their most recent LP, 2019’s Casual Island, is a masterclass in slick, polished pop rock that never loses its soul. It’s also their most collaborative effort to date, with members of Badbadnotgood, Fast Romantics, and turntablist Skratch Bastid lending their talents. “Making music with other people is really fun when you open yourself up and allow it to be,” says Richardson, “and at this point, we’re pretty much open to anything and welcome ideas from everywhere.” That’s the ethos that brought them together in the first place, and is the same one guiding them into their next project. Jane’s Party is currently at work with Carlin Nicholson and Mike O’Brien of fellow Toronto rock outfit Zeus on their next EP, foiling the pop-heavy production of its predecessor with a raw, “back-to-the-garage” approach that captures the essence of their notoriously tight tour-de-force of a live show.
Their onstage prowess has earned them tour slots alongside Tom Odell, Arkells, Lord Huron, Blue Rodeo, and Lights, to name a few, and will soon find them pushing further into the U.S. and Europe on their already-impressive trajectory. Through it all, they’ve engaged their fans and earned new ones thanks to a quirky creative flare manifested in unique covers (both live and on their busy YouTube channel), clever video concepts, and of course, great music – always ambitious, always evolving, and yet always Jane’s Party.
Brit and Ivor Novello award winning Singer Songwriter KT Tunstall released her timely new track – “Wash Ya Hands” – featuring Grace Savage and The Freelance Hellraiser on Friday June 5th. All proceeds going to War Child UK and WaterAid for their Covid-19 appeals. The upbeat pop track, laced with humour and sage advice, and inspired by the Covid-19 crisis in which we all find ourselves, zeros in on the most effective base line advice we have been given to protect ourselves and others – “Wash Ya Hands”! – turning it into a memorable dance floor mantra. This is not the first time KT has involved her fans in a global #KTKollaboration project. In 2010, scores of her fans from all over the world were filmed playing the musical elements from her song “Glamour Puss” – the only original part that remained was KT’s vocal – the stunning video was then shared on KT’s YouTube channel. This time, fans were encouraged to submit videos of themselves dancing, singing or playing along to the song and the final result is revealed today.
As KT puts it: “Lockdown has been strange and challenging for all of us. I haven’t found it easy to sit and make new music. However, “Wash Ya Hands” was a flash of inspiration to write something fun to dance to. The whole thing was done on our laptops during lockdown. The song is about how we move forward from this situation, whilst giving fans, friends and families a chance to involve themselves in making the final video – which I can’t wait to see come together!”
The track features a slick beatbox breakdown from much vaunted electro-pop Singer, Songwriter and 4x UK Beatbox Champion Grace Savage. “I knew Grace was the perfect featured artist for this as soon as I started putting the track together, she’s so badass!” adds KT.
Writing about social issues comes naturally to Raye. “As a woman of color in America, social issues are things you deal with and see every day of your life,” she says. “I write about my experience and oftentimes my existence has been laced with injustice.”
Raye’s debut album, Fight For You (independent, 2017), displays her compassion, dedication to justice and equality for all, and keen eye for the seemingly small daily moments that become our most meaningful memories. About the record, Raye says, “This album is about finding yourself and finding your voice. It’s about maturing and realizing that you can make a difference if you so choose.”
Raye performs her music all over the United States and Europe. Her music has been featured on Billboard, Popmatters, Earmilk, Democracy Now! and on numerous lists of the best modern-day protest songs, including those by Paste Magazine, What Culture, and Overblown. She has also performed live sessions for Paste, Daytrotter, and FNX.
Raye has spoken on panels at Bonnaroo and SXSW on topics ranging from preventing sexual violence to engaging her fanbase as an independent artist. She has toured in support of Dispatch, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Kiefer Sutherland, William Elliott Whitmore, Dar Williams, Donovan Woods, and many more.
“Speaking truth to power, Raye Zaragoza is a voice made for our times.” – PopMatters
Sam Valdez’s immersive indie-rock sensibility reflects her childhood growing up at the edge of the Nevada desert, and her formative musical experiences as a child violinist. The mystery, beauty, and haunting quality of desert life has shaped the LA-based artist’s sense of dreamy textures, and her flair for abstract but emotive lyrics. Classical music’s majesty has informed her imaginative arrangements, and cinematic sense of dynamics.
Sam has melded in an intriguing blend of shoe-gaze, Americana, indie-rock, and pop into a signature aesthetic. Select career highlights thus far include garnering rave reviews in Clash Music, Consequence of Sound, and Earmilk; earning heavy rotation from KCRW for multiple singles; and opening tours for Stella Donnelly, Cayucas, and Giant Rooks.
“I’ve always tried to write from the most genuine place that I can, but, lately, and with this record, I’ve been working on sharing more sides of my views and emotions,” Sam details.
A feeling of 1960s nostalgic balladry courses through many of thesongs on Sam’s debut. She says:” Melancholic, comforting and thought provoking is what I look forin music and what I feel and hope comes across in mine.” The album’s first single, “Toothache,” is a reverb-dipped slow burner glowering with sensual vocals and a twist on a breakup narrative. Here, the feeling is a longing to reconnect with one’s sense of self post romantic rupture.
Waiting For Smith is singer/songwriter Harry Lloyd. Formerly a ski instructor in the French Alps, Lloyd broke his back in two places during avalanche training. Wondering whether he’d survive in the helicopter on the way to the hospital, he had an epiphany that if he was ok that he should dedicate his life to music. After spending a year in bed recuperating and learning to play guitar, he formed Waiting For Smith, named after endlessly waiting for their original drummer Smith, who always failed to show up.
Following the release of the effervescent “Long Life”, Waiting For Smith unveils “Lines of Love”, emphasising that in times of doubt, often all we need is a compassionate ear.
Produced by Andy Wright and Gavin Goldberg (Eurhythmics, Annie Lennox, Massive Attack, Natalie Imbruglia, Jeff Beck), “Lines of Love” was inspired by a long-distance phone call walking around King Cross at night. The song is a plea for someone to hold on through a difficult time in their life, to know you will always be there for them no matter what, and that everything – even the hardest times – will pass eventually.
Glowing tones and mellow melodies emit an almost therapeutic sensation, steadily building into an undeniably catchy chorus. Through organic instrumentation and beautifully soothing vocals, the sun-soaked “Lines of Love” shimmers with authenticity, resulting in the perfect concoction of gentle indie folk. With intricate backing vocals providing a sense of comfort, the songwriter has established a charming and sophisticated sound, ideal for those lazy summer days. Lloyd confides, “I want people to feel hopeful when listening to Lines of Love, to dance carefree and even raise their hands in an almost tribal sense of unity. We can overcome the speed bumps in the road, our lives and our relationships and that is surely where the good stuff comes from – out of the struggle.”
Fascinated by change, Lloyd’s music is inspired by the ability we all have to evolve ourselves for the better. He shares, “I’m also a hopeless romantic, so a lot of my songs focus on the different angles on love.” The musician confides how music is like a free form of therapy and hopes that he can bring a similar liberating feeling of comfort and emotion, to make listeners smile and sometimes cry.
Waiting For Smith has seen success garnering over 327,000 streams on Spotify, 95,000 YouTube views, over 20,000 Facebook followers and almost 15,000 Shazams – as well as landing radio play on over 180 stations around the world, including by Huw Stephens on Radio 1, Dermot O’Leary and Jo Whiley on Radio 2, Tom Robinson on 6 Music, Maz Tappuni on Radio X, Flux FM in Germany, Radio One in India, Radio Doble Nueve in Lima, Peru and KROQ and KISS FM in the USA. He’s received over 2000 syncs internationally. From the US to Finland and Indonesia, WFS tracks have provided the sonics for the Japanese Grand
Prix and a big series in Spain Vis A Vis, to the stand-out soap in Germany and one of the biggest TV commercials in Spain in 2019, the Christmas ad for El Corte Ingles. With features in British GQ, Rolling Stone India, MTV Germany, Clash Magazine, Earmilk and Holland’s JFK Magazine, Waiting For Smith’s mission is to engulf the world with unforgettable melodies spreading a much-needed message of positivity.
“Waiting For Smith taps into that witty, eccentric English spirit.” – Clash Magazine
“Waiting For Smith is the British singer-songwriter you were waiting for.” – GQ Magazine
“What a lovely, fresh, open song. It’s like a walk in the sun. And the video’s great too.” – Brian Eno (on “Long Life”)
“Really talented guy.” – Huw Stephens, BBC Radio 1