Music

INsiders Guide: Madison Beer, Tessa Violet, Nora Lei, D!XON, Est-Her, Kelvyn Boy, Eltee, Skeamer, Almondmilkhunni, Mabes, The Hempolics, Michael Lanza, Sam Nardella, Bakar, Stash, Thérèse…

Madison Beer releases her latest single “BOYSHIT,” via Epic Records. With the release comes Madison’s Vevo LIFT campaign, which features a performance of the single, along with “Selfish,” her fastest ever US certified gold record, and a short film on the artist titled “Becoming.” “BOYSHIT” is taken from Madison’s forthcoming debut album, Life Support, out February 26th 2021.

Listen to “BOYSHIT” HERE via Epic Records

Watch Madison’s Vevo LIFT Performances HERE

“”BOYSHIT’ is a back-to-my-roots moment on the album; I really wanted to channel the same kind of confidence I carried myself with on songs like ‘Home With You’ and ‘Dead.’ The word ‘boyshit’ is obviously a play on words and a bit tongue in cheek…We had a lot of fun in the studio with this one and didn’t take ourselves too seriously. The line, ‘I don’t speak boyshit’ really just means I don’t have time for petty arguments and childishness, I don’t have time for BS. If you’re not going to change, I’m moving on.”

“BOYSHIT” is the latest single from Madison’s highly anticipated debut album, Life Support, out February 26th. The album is a strong personal and artistic statement that sees Madison where she thrives – commanding creative control through writing her own songs, producing and creating her own visuals. Life Support features previous releases “Good In Goodbye,” “Selfish,” “Stained Glass” and “Baby” which have a combined total stream count of over 442 million. Globally, Madison has nearly 3 billion streams across her catalogue.

(Credit: CJ Sweet)

Artist and songwriter Tessa Violet has released a brand new animated official video for single “Wishful Drinking,” a sleeper track from her debut album that catapulted to viral success on TikTok this fall. Watch the official video now here

Launched as a transition video on TikTok, the “Wishful Drinking” challenge has seen 290K+ unique videos in just a few months, amassing 600M collective views and participation from users like Bella Poarch and Jessica Alba. See a couple uploads from Tessa herself here and here + check out the full challenge here!

Speaking on the song’s viral success, Tessa notes

  • “‘Wishful Drinking’ was always one of my favorites, but it was never released as a focus single. Fast forward 9 months and it’s now my second biggest song! Sometimes all a song needs is a spotlight to allow it to shine. Like a lot of people, I got really into TikTok during quarantine. I was trying to find a way I could use the platform to help shed a light on my music (since cutting through the noise is one of the hardest things for an artist without major label backing). I had this idea to try to make a song of mine go viral by creating an interesting trend around it (without outing myself as the artist of the song) – and it worked! What’s ironic is that now I’m experiencing this strange phenomenon where some people on the street will recognize me from TikTok, but still not know I’m the artist who created the song-Ha! It’s a fun moment when people put it all together.”

A self-described “old-soul, hopeless romantic, and heroine of her own life adventure,” Nora Lei is welcoming listeners into her noir-pop world, one song at as time. Lei is rounding out a year of exciting releases with her newest dreamy pop track, “Together.” Audiofemme exclusively premiered the single, calling it “an ode to unbreakable love.”

On the new single, Lei taps into a more full-bodied, electro-inspired sound while staying true to her dark-pop roots with lyrics that explore the ups and downs of a relationship. “The song is all about fighting for your relationship,” she says. “You remember the good times, hard times, and the times you start to feel crazy…but really you’re just scared. You both know you’re supposed to be together so you keep trying and, in the end, you’re glad you did.” Originally written in her home-studio over a Polar Beats sample she found online, Lei tapped heavy-hitting producers Joe Laporta (Solange, Shawn Mendes, Lolo Zouai) and Harper James (Eighty Ninety, Aaron Taos) to round out the track with their refined pop production. 

Nora Lei is no newcomer to creative pursuits. Despite only being 28 years old, the New York-based singer/songwriter has already had a fruitful career as a designer with her swimwear line, Perfect Peach. From a young age she was encouraged to pursue creativity in all of its forms, playing flute, cheerleading, dancing, singing, and sketching. With an upbringing that was marked by extensive relocation — she’s lived in Pennsylvania, London, the English countryside, Northern California, Los Angeles, and, now, New York — creative pursuits were often her only constant. 

After dabbling in songwriting for a few years, Lei decided to officially begin releasing her own music at the top of this year. Thus far she has released three singles, “Heroine,” “Chemistry,” and “Never Knew Why,” the latter of which amassed over 200K streams – no small feat for an independent artist. 

D!XON is the moniker of Toronto pop R&B artist Sheldon Dixon. With parents of Trinidadian and Guyanese descent, D!XON has advanced as an artist through singing, songwriting, producing, dancing and acting. From the age of six, his home would echo with the sounds of Michael and Janet Jackson, Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey – musicians who have impacted his artistry today. 

It wasn’t always an easy road for D!XON. In high school he would receive daily death threats and criticisms for his gender expression and sexual orientation. His once musical home was silenced by the practice of a strict religion that did not support his love for music and men. He was stripped of his identity and freedom of self-expression down to the places he was able to go and the clothes he was allowed to wear leaving him passionless and down a suicidal road. D!XON spent the latter years of his adolescence not feeling accepted or welcomed in hereronormative urban spaces. 

Deciding to press play on his life and create his own soundtrack, D!XON found the courage to leave home, find comfort in religion and came to terms with the fact that his peers may have used him as an outlet for the projection of their own insecurities. D!XON shares, “When I left home I was able to connect with the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and ballroom scene where I started to build relationships with people I related to and I met my long time collaborator Hollywood Jade.” It wasn’t until D!XON met his now long-time music producer, Verse-Atile, that he found true power infusing music and his religious beliefs. D!XON advocates for the causes of anti-bullying and anti-oppression by amplifying the values of self-acceptance as well as the acceptance of others. 

D!XON’s latest single “Arms Around Me” is an urban-pop tune to get you feeling sexy and inspired. The mantra of the empowering song is the unapologetic confession and expression of love for those around you, no matter who you love, and before it’s too late. The R&B pop-dance beat is dripping in sauce, stunning, layered vocals, riffs and harmonies.

Along with celebrity director Dan Lemoyne, Hollywood Jade (Drag Race Canada resident choreographer) and Marc Andrew Smith (Drag Race resident stylist), this gender non-conforming recording artist seeks to break the mold with the “Arms Around Me” visuals that were made by the 2SLGBTQ+ community, for the community. 

D!XON is also the creator of the City of Toronto’s Drag Masterclass which featured Priyanka, the winner of Drag Race Canada. He has worked closely with Toronto’s very own Drag Legend Sofonda Cox who mentored the at-risk LGBTQ+ youth in the program. This masterclass limited barriers for LGBTQ+ youth in the community who are looking for professional artistic development to increase their chances of employment as a Drag Queen or Drag King at the local Drag Bars. The Masterclass was so successful that it has been renewed annually with the City of Toronto. 

D!XON has made it a point to inspire the world with his music, push his artistic expression through visual media, explosive live performances, and support the next generation of artists. D!XON is currently creating and releasing songs that truly tell a story of his LGBTQ+ experience while still being relatable, entertaining and inspiring to the world.

Est-Her’s career in the arts began when he was accepted into the National Ballet School of Canada. Upon graduating he was selected to dance professionally for The Stuttgart Ballet Company in Germany. As a dancer, with minimal creative control and input into his own performance, he yearned for another artistic outlet – something he could truly make his own.

He was working late into the night writing and recording songs which he would then upload to the internet. A few months thereafter, he was scouted by UK record producers and labels.

After a trip to London, he decided to drop everything and shift his entire focus towards music. Est-Her, his very own artist project, had begun.

Over the course of 2018 and 2019, he would develop his sound and vision, collaborating with Lorde’s producer/writer Joel Little, Illangeleo (The Weeknd), and Craigie Dodds, the album’s executive producer (Amy Winehouse, Gorillaz). In 2018, Est-Her premiered two singles under the popular music blog site “Pigeons and Planes” which caught the attention of the UK’s BBC 1 radio host, Annie Mac, where he was featured as New Sounds to Look Out For. Apple Music Canada also reached out for support, as well as several major labels in the US and UK.

Now in 2020, Est-Her has finally finished recording his complete album project titled, Empty Paradise, and is preparing for its upcoming EP release come April 2021.

Afrobeat singer Kelvyn Boy’s love of music started in church. His father sang in the choir and raised his son (born Kelvyn Brown) on gospel, reggae greats like Lucky Dube and country music, which Kelvyn Boy says shares many of the same chord progressions as church music. By 2010, when he was 19, he started performing genre-spanning covers at local Assin Fosu pubs and noticed how many people would approach him afterward to ask if he had his own music. “That was when I realized what I could do,” he recalls.

Though Kelvyn Boy was eager to pursue a music career, his father encouraged him to finish his education first. “He was like, ‘You’re not going to get money. I did music and got nothing.’ But I knew what I had and where I was going,” he says.

In 2017, Kelvyn Boy signed a record deal with Stonebwoy’s Burniton Music Group and, after releasing a handful of singles, won the Vodafone Ghana Music Award for unsung artiste of the year in 2018. The following summer, he released his debut EP, T.I.M.E., with the agenda of introducing Ghana to his fusion of Afrobeat, Afro-pop, reggae and dancehall. “I was the one campaigning for Afrobeat, so that EP was to give people time for [the genre] to grow on them,” he says. “To give them time to understand that Ghanaians can do Afrobeat really proper. If I was from Nigeria, it wasn’t going to be hard like that.”

Kelvyn Boy doubled down on that mission with his debut full-length, Blackstar, released in November on his new label home, Blakk Arm Entertainment. He recorded it over the last three years while touring Belgium, the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere, always traveling with a mobile studio. The project received attention from Apple Music’s Africa Now Radio and scored him the cover of Spotify’s African Heat playlist, also earning support from Deezer, Boomplay and Audiomack. Now, Kelvyn Boy has a new mission: “I want to take Ghana to the Grammys.”

After receiving rave reviews and sparking a wave of high-profile followers with his debut single ‘Who Do You Love’, East London’s Eltee returns alongside another Chris Rich production (Dig Dat, Aitch, Abracadabra, Unknown T, B and okay) for new single ‘Freak’. Only making his break in to the scene in September with the GRM Daily premiered ‘Who Do You Love’, Eltee has quickly made his impression with some of the scenes MVP’s including Charlie Sloth, Rimzee and Steel Banglez.

By most metrics, Skeamer is a drill artist from London and while that may be true on the surface, it doesn’t come anywhere close to telling his story. Making exceptional gains in his music career over the last 18 months, seeing him rise to the band of artists on the brink of breakthrough to the mainstream and gain millions of streams and views, his striking presence has evolved beyond the confines of music genres.

LISTEN TO ‘STAY REAL’ ON ALL DIGITAL STREAMING PLATFORMS

Broaching subjects with unmistakable honesty, Skeamer documents life in Battersea, south west London. Whether he is lamenting the past, recounting the present, or prophesying the future, Skeamer shines a heavy light on the many challenges he and his peers face on the notorious Winstanley estate in Clapham Junction. Delivered with lyricism that can resonate with even the furthest removed listener from his own environment, he embraces hardship and narrates that this is where the foundations of unbreakable social bonds are forged.

Following a relentless slew of highly praised, hard hitting solo and collaborative music throughout 2020 including Talk To Me, and Money ft Skore Beezy and War Ready  ft Bigga his most recent song Action, featuring Skore Beezy & Clue, Skeamer releases his final nod to the year. ‘Stay Real’ features two of the scenes most exceptional artists, Scorcher (aka Tayo Jarrett who recently starred in the critically acclaimed BBC film series Small Axe) and Rap sensation Snap Capone, a combination that looks unlikely on the surface but emerges as an exemplary recipe that carries undeniable weight. A no filtered, introspective track that conveys personal accounts and experiences from each of the rappers, the drum beat, heavy 808 bass and a minimal piano melody with reverbed vocal sample chops from Buckroll, sets a moving, expressive tone to the track, which amplifies the pain and relentless cycle of life in the streets. With the addition of Skeamers heavy-hitting lyrics, Scorchers punchlines and Snap Capone’s straight real rap approach, ‘Stay Real’ arrives as a true testament to both the evolution of the UK Rap scene and also to Skeamer’s artistry. Watch the video here.

Making an assured send off to a fantastic year for Skeamer as an artist, ‘Stay Real’ is a valiant addition to his surging repertoire. Already receiving the backing of key tastemakers throughout the British Black Music scene, his positioning moving in to 2021 as one of the leading lights in authentic, visionary and engaging music is one to be watched carefully.

“Mean To You” offers a touching, emotional side of the TK-year-old singerits lo-fi video studded with Easter eggs that wink at Almondmilkhunni’s prior relationships for eager fans ready to dissect every scene. The track is intimate, sensual, and mature—“I can be sweet but you like when I’m mean to you,” she sings with a cheeky smile.

Her last single “damnboy”— a dreamy wish-fulfillment of a song that begs for an equal partner and not a savior perfectly represents Almondmilkhunni’s years of hustle and hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears that she put into working in pursuit of making a successful, independent life for herself. Almondmilkhunni and her female partner-in-crime during their Thelma and Louise-style romp through the desert, complete with greaser cars, piles of cash, and seedy motels. Instead of casting a male lead, Almondmilkhunni chose a hot femme fatale- representing her own bisexuality. With support from BillboardFLAUNTHollywoodLife, (& more) and streaming partners’ top playlists, Almondmilkhunni is just getting started and ready for you to buckle up and Enjoy The Ride in 2021.

Singer-songwriter Mabes shares her second extended play of the year, a post coming-of-age story that splendidly showcases the British artist’s poetic prowess. Entitled Too Young To Love and featuring new single “Catch 22” out now via The Other Songs, the 4 track EP is a testament to her ever-evolving folk and pop-forward sound. The new music arrives exactly one year after her debut album Wait & See and follows her Keeping The Noise Down EP, with both EPs amassing critical acclaim from the likes of 1883 Magazine, American Songwriter, Clash, Culture Collide, Earmilk, Euphoria, Ones To Watch, Sounds Like Nashville, and The Independent among others this year. 

Kicking off with the title track, the introduction to the Too Young To Love EP captures the essence of steadfast, adolescent love and all its highs and lows. While Mabes creates an inviting atmosphere for the listener with her warm harmonies and signature string melodies, her lyrics mirror a personal discourse full of uncertainty. She questions, “When is it worth the fight through struggles? And when is it time to walk away? Is it love? Or are we just comfortable and too fearful of the hurt if we said goodbye? What is love? At 24, maybe I’m too inexperienced to know, maybe I’m too young to love…”

Vocalist Nubiya Brandon sojourned to Joshua Tree, California to direct and star in the video with the desert scenes at dusk complementing a dark slant on the end of a relationship. The vintage surroundings of time-frozen Americana are combined with the fresh yet backwards looking sound of The Hempolics to present an audio visual treat.

The album was featured by BBC 6 Music as their ‘Album of The Day’, was included in Rough Trade’s ‘Edit’, and its singles saw support at radio from BBC 1Xtra’s David Rodigan, 6Music’s Steve Lamacq, Don Letts, Chris Hawkins and 6Music Recommends, BBC 6 Music Mix Tape with Tom Robinson and BBC Scotland’s Vic Galloway.

Michael Lanza is a Los Angeles based pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Michael blends his R&B-influenced vocals with colorful pop, future bass and house production to give his original music an intimate and nostalgic aura.

Michael has made several guest appearances as a solo and double act opening for notable artists across the pop and EDM worlds, including Major Lazer and Drake Bell. He has also produced several tracks in collaboration with other Bay Area acts such as Ron Reeser, GhostDragon and KEPIK, and has even received welcome support from The Chainsmokers on his 2017 feature track The Way You Move with EDM-duo BEAUZ.

Sam Nardella has released his newest single, “Feel I Found It.” This is Sam’s third single of 2020, following “Wild Voices” and “Through the Need.” This track is the continued narrative established with the release of “Through the Need.”

While this track still carries the Alt-Rock vibe Sam is known for but with an added Country-esque rhythm. “Feel I Found It” is about the feeling of being confident in life’s plan and allowing oneself to relinquish control. Sam wants listeners to know that life is a journey worth waiting for and hopes they will feel a sense of lucidity when listening to it. The track was inspired by both country legend Keith Urban’s early material and the liberating feeling that comes from communing with nature, specifically the Malibu coast. To achieve this particular sound, Freddy Janney assisted in the song-writing process, while Jay Donaghy helped engineer, mix, and produce the track.

Christened as a rising star by an elite fan club, Bakar asserts and affirms himself as a genre-defiant maverick. He released his debut Badkid in 2018 and followed it in 2019 with the Will You Be My Yellow? EP, with the standout sleeper hit “Hell N Back”, which has been streamed over 100 million times to date and spent most of the year on the US alternative charts. Earlier this summer, the song peaked at #1 on the Adult Alternative radio chart for two week, where  it broke a decade-long record set by Kings of Leon.

 Much of Bakar’s music pays tribute to classic songwriting, full of warmth and wordplay. However, Bakar’s is an undeniably contemporary take, in part informed by his first generation British experience (“I make black music. We’re hip hop kids – everything comes from that place“) and a network of likeminded global collaborators and peers: whether collaborating with Kenny BeatsDominic Fike and BENEE or absorbing knowledge from the likes of SkeptaA$AP Mob or Virgil Abloh. In contrast, he hasn’t had a phone for two years so he can always be focused on songwriting rather than social media, instead spending his time writing songs on the move, whether on the tube or walking the streets. New single “1st Time” is a perfect example of his unique approach: bursting with originality and uninhibited by nostalgia.  Meanwhile, Bakar continues to work on a new album. The follow up to Badkid, his acclaimed 2018 debut album, will be released next year. 

I want the life of freedom, forever the life they never teach us to have or ever know when in reality you are the own creator of your life. This is new music from artist Stash.

multi-faceted French-Asian artist Thérèse starts a powerful call to action with ‘Chinoise?’, the first taste of her upcoming EP set for release in Spring 2021 – STREAM ‘CHINOISE?’ HERE

The genre-blending song sees Thérèse breaking common stereotypes around Asians using pervasive popular cliches, while mixing French-influenced hip-hop, electro-pop and samples of traditional Chinese instruments including Pipa and Rubab, a Central Asian instrument widely used in the Xinjiang province of northwest China. Using six different languages – French, English, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Arabic – to express her often political lyrics, Thérèse says ‘Chinoise?’ is “a powerful call to action to challenge social struggles in France and all over the world to converge, to identify their common roots, to propose mobilization strategies and to reflect together on universalism”.

Part of a new generation of French electronic music artists mixing the power of bass music, the musicality of Hip Hop and the energy of club culture, Thérèse has established herself as figure of empowerment in the French-Asian community. ‘Chinoise?’ is the follow up to her debut single ‘T.O.X.I.C’which has seen the talented artist being selected for the 2021 Société Pernod Ricard France Live Music Prize the prize sets out in search of the very best in the independent French music scene.

As an activist, she has been fighting racism especially towards French Asians through her music and social media platforms, more recently COVID-19 fuelled the flames of anti-Asian sentiment in France with prejudice and racist slurs shocking the country’s Asian community. French Asians have been fighting back using the hashtag #JeNeSuisPasUnVirus (I’m not a virus), through her work with anti-racists associations such as Décolonisons Nous and Stop AsiaphobieThérèse has become one of their most radical voices on national French media, appearing on day time TV shows including ‘Quotidien’ on TMC/TF1 and ‘Info du vrai’ on Canal +.

Born in Paris, Thérèse is half Chinese, a quarter Lao and a quarter Vietnamese. Her parents arrived in France in the late 70’s, met in Paris and lived in different suburbs, Villejuif, Saint-Ouen, Bagnolet, Vitry sur Seine. She started playing piano when she was nine years old and attended the Conservatory before landing a well paid job as Product Manager at Kenzo ParfumsLVMH. One day she decided to switch and draw her own career pathas Missy Elliott recently said as long as you are breathing, it’s never too late… That’s the motto I want to follow”, she enthuses. Now she splits her time between music, styling for other French music artists including Sônge, and brands such as Nuxe and Fête Impériale, as well as modelling for empowering French labels Ysé and Superbe.

Nashville alt-rock quartet The Indigo have announced the upcoming release of their new single, “Even If You Do”, a romantic ballad focusing on the developing, yet blissful, beginning stages of a new relationship. Refusing to conform to a singular sound, The Indigo sought inspiration for this track from a wide range of genres. From country with music legend Glen Campbell, to rock royalty The Beatles, to the reflective tones of Father John Misty, the multitude of influences can be heard all throughout their new track. The Indigo worked closely with producer Toby Hulbert (RCA Studios/Abbey Road), as well studio engineer Colin Lott (East Avalon Sound Recorders) to create their third single, “Even If You Do,” out on all digital platforms on December 6, 2020. 

Originally an acoustic duo, childhood friends Tanner Gray (guitar/piano/vocals) and Colby Wilson (guitar/vocals) expanded The Indigo in late 2019 with the addition of Gray’s college bandmates, bassist Chase Porter and drummer Zach Corder. The band released their first two singles, “The Way You Say No” and “Dizzy,” earlier this year to rave reviews. A Journal of Musical Things says about “Dizzy”: “Dream-pop tinged melodies in the chorus create a delightful contrast and gives this song a dynamic, fun energy.” 

Check out the new single by The Indigo, “Even If You Do”, out December 6th. Can’t wait? Check out their first two singles, “The Way You Say No” and “Dizzy”, available now on all streaming platforms. 

A desperado of modern culture, DEVORA, bridges outlaw country melodies with dark pop hooks drawing you into her surrealist western world.

Raised in the desert of Arizona, DEVORA draws her inspiration from her roots, growing up around desert creatures in a western town, experiencing the sinister lawless side of desert life, and the characters she’s met along the way. In her modern goth-western vignettes she conjures images of ghost towns, dark rodeos, the haunted desert, abandoned motel rooms, skylines on fire, the open road and reckless tales of love and loss in a modern wild west. 

A rebel at heart, DEVORA has always taken the road less traveled and her reputation precedes her. Singing and writing since she was a small child, music comes second nature to her, as she was continuously writing short stories and poetry while growing up in a small desert town. Eventually she began to draw on the stories, encounters, strange themes and adventures occurring in her life by turning them into songs. With favorite pastimes such as hanging out in graveyards, exploring and traveling to bizarre places (she speaks fluent French and is of 100% Russian descent ), studying medical textbooks and philosophy, DEVORA is an eccentric independent spirit who marches to the beat of her own drum. 

Coining the genre, “Outlaw pop”, DEVORA weaves visual soundscapes from a moody surrealist wild-west dream world. Tales of eerie backroad encounters, route 66, neon-laden casinos, Silver City sunsets and midnight bandits are all intricately enmeshed with strong visceral imagery and cinematic scenes straight out of the ‘dark side’ of the American southwest. Owning the road as her home, DEVORA’s fierce femme fatale spirit trailblazers the way for a new frontier in contemporary culture.

DEVORA is not just music, but an immersive multimedia artistic experience of the Wild West, re-imagined in 2020. It’s not her story, but all of our stories, to choose and be immersed in your own adventure; to harness your own inner outlaw. Her latest release ‘Not Dead Yet,’ celebrates life in the fast lane, while marking the beginnings of a wild expedition ahead, and the spiritedness of riding off into a pitch black sunset. 

SLUGS is a 4 piece alt rock outfit out of Los Angeles comprised of singer/songwriter/guitarist Marissa Longstreet, Sarsten Noice (bass/vocals), Josh Beavers (lead guitar) and Dash Hutton (drums). Their influences range from Linda Perhacs with their melodic harmonies and tenderness to Thee Oh Sees with their high energy, spitfire performances. 

Their latest single “Super Sane” features high voltage expression along with a calmer wash, showcasing restrained strums of electric guitar which is both divinely gripping and atmospheric. The delicate lower harmonies are so haunting, while the intimate vocals are gentle and totally skeletal in their honesty. Somewhat warm and somewhat cold, the overall feel is wonderfully juxtaposed with feelings of healing and acceptance. The minimalist sound is also vividly complex in its dynamics and meticulously placed elements. 

Amongst a witty feel with a richly colored palette, there is an ironic air of contrast to the underground meaning of the bittersweet feelings of both mourning and welcoming a person to the world. Longstreet confides, “A friend of ours died in a motorcycle accident on St Patrick’s day. Another friend of mine had just had a baby. At the time, I was celebrating the birth of a new life and mourning the loss of someone who didn’t feel gone yet. I wrote this while processing that conflict—trying to convince myself and others “I feel fine” while unravelling.” The visuals for the track were inspired by conversations over zoom during a not so delightful pandemic. SLUGS shares, “The video idea came to me during the boom of Zoom amidst the pandemic and messing around with different video backgrounds with friends during our hangouts. I liked all the different characters this virtual world indulged and thought it was a goofy coping mechanism we used in our detachment”. The quirky video is a flamboyant collage of different clips of the band cycling around Los Angeles and standing in front of weird and wonderful footage of thunderstorms, fireworks and old warships, delivering a lighthearted feel to a sombre narrative. 

SLUGS have been on tours with LP & The Districts and have opened for Jessica Lea Mayfield, Joywave, Lets Eat Grandma & The Mattson II.

Emerging hyper-pop producer and songwriter Holliday Howe ends 2020 on a high with latest offering “crushed”. Writing and producing the track herself, “crushed” merges sounds from underground UK pop with Howe’s own unique cyber-pop spin. Blending bubbling, glistening synths with hazy, atmospheric bass, “crushed” tells a cautionary tale about finding yourself only thinking about the one person you sought to forget. Based in Sydney, Howe is deeply inspired by London’s club scene whilst honing her own particular melancholic brand of hyper-pop, with influences ranging from A.G. Cook, Easyfun and Mssingno to visual references like Sailor Moon and David LaChapelle. Securing support from Apple Music’s Glitch and Spotify’s Monday Spin editorial playlists, Howe’s unique brand of pop merges the intersection between analogue and hyper-real digital art for a distinctive audio-visual experience. Already amassing a loyal following and over 100K streams for her music, Holliday Howe is a promising act to emerge – expect much more in 2021 from this bright young talent.

Walsall, UK born artist SC.Undercover started creating music as a way of escapism from the darker periods of his early life. The mysterious crossover artist blends influences of indie, dark pop and R&B, offering something distinctly unique and relatable in today’s industry. 

His latest single “Sex Me Like U Want 2” takes a slightly different approach to his previous work. Delving into the pop R&B realm, the artist explores a sound and style that has been playing on his mind. Reminiscent of George Michael meets Justin Timberlake, the song starts off with wild vocals showcasing an unreal range and a bubbly beat full of life, colour and total fun. The flamboyant and confident song changes to pulses of organ/synth toned chords, with emotive vocals totally contrasting the first half of the song. The track narrates the reality that once the party is over and the sober feelings come rushing back in, you may be sat with the past and emotions you hide when you’re out having fun. It’s honest and relatable; sometimes our outer shell protects us from other aspects of our life and that everyone has their own battles they dont always share. SCU shares, “I think you find that a lot of that in this business a lot of us are introverted and have a lot of insecurities including me and our art is our way of being who we want to be”. 

The lighthearted video starts off full of humor – leather jumpsuits, snazzy sunnies, amusing dance moves and facial expressions and pure sunshine melodies, it’s the perfect mix for giggles and bopping. From pink to grey, the video takes a turn, with darker visuals and slower movement, revealing the underlying emotions and truths a person could be battling despite the show of colour and fun the night before. The video ebodies the song’s meaning, and adds to the emotions tied up to the lyrics. 

SCU’s music is a beautiful juxtaposition with upbeat dance/pop melodies complimenting the darker lyrical undertones. Instantly recognisable, SCU has crafted an unmistakable sound, written to encourage others to feel good, dance their worries away or to reflect on the relatable narratives of heartbreak, love and aspirations of success. With influences ranging from Frank Sinatra and Prince, to David Bowie, Usher and Coldplay, SCU shares, “Music is universal to me, regardless of genre, I want to be known as an artist to hold commercial success in a variety of different genres.”

Also hoping to help others overcome their own struggles specifically with mental health, SCU uses his music as the driving force to reach wider audiences. Having performed to sold out audiences across Atlanta and at home in the UK, as well as garnering acclaim from publications, SC. Undercover is labelled as an artist to watch.

Platinum-certified Boston-born and Los Angeles-based rapper BIA drops her highly anticipated For Certain EP today.

Listen HERE via Epic Records.

Executive produced by Aziz the Shake and Lil Rich, the eight-track project places her elite rapping front-and-center. BIA trades rhymes with an A-list roster of special guests. On the opener “BIA BIA” [feat. Lil Jon], she launches into razor sharp verses before Lil Jon crunks up the hook with his instantly recognizable delivery. “WHOLE LOTTA MONEY” flexes downright rich wordplay, while “AUTOMATIC” [feat. Doe Boy 42 Dugg] twists up laidback flows with a chantable chorus. “PLATE” illuminates her range as her voice dips in and out of ominous synths and 808s.

She preceded For Certain with a string of scorching singles. Most recently, “Skate” generated 347K Spotify streams as well as 560K YouTube views on the music video in addition to attracting looks from REVOLT and HotNewHipHopMeanwhileFLAUNT raved, Bia’s time is now! Hailing from Boston, the rising star has been grinding and putting in the work, creating nothing short of bangers for her growing fanbase.” Just prior, “SAME HANDS” [feat. Lil Durk] racked up 3.7 million Spotify streams and 1.3 million YouTube views on the music video. Plus, the project boasts the Nylon and Refinery29 endorsed “COVER GIRL, which is closing in on 10 million total streams. Quite fittingly, she ignited this whole chapter with her very own declaration of independence “FREE BIA (1st Day Out).

West coast rapping sensation, King Lil G, releases highly anticipated album 90’s Kid Vol. 2. The album makes its official premiere following the release of various singles earlier this year that was met with global acclaim and attention. 90s Kid Vol. 2 is now available via all DSPs and streaming services. 

LISTEN TO 90’S KID VOL. 2 HERE  

The album release comes on the heels of King Lil G’s two latest singles  “Unemployed,” which garnered more than 1 million views in less than a month and Hollowtips,” which is featured on Apple Music’s “Hot Tracks” playlist and peaked at #11 on YouTube’s trending videos. 

WATCH “UNEMPLOYED” HERE
WATCH “HOLLOWTIPS” HERE

Praised by the likes of L.A WeeklyXXL, and Vibe, King Lil G’s latest project is an unfiltered memoir of his life. Known for his storytelling approach, G uses his life experiences and surroundings to produce tracks that resonate with his listeners as seen on hits like “Posing” featuring Liife, released earlier this year, and his noteworthy 2019 song “No Face, No Case” which garnered more than 8 million YouTube views and 30 million streams to date. 

Everything sets the stage for her debut EP, I’m a good girl … do you believe mecoming soon.

You’ll be thinking about Mia Ariannaa a lot this year!

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 RecordsI’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 Rico Love 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?”

Alberta-based singer-songwriter Ryland Moranz has always been a firm believer that the old ways are the best ways. So when he set out to create the video for his latest single ‘Where Are My Blue Eyes’, the self-professed ‘analog snob’ decided they should shoot it on 16mm film. 

After the filming the video in Lethbridge and Edmonton with director Evan Uschenko, the film was processed, developed and scanned.  The developed film was then augmented by applying paint, ink, and by scratching with the needle from an old CBGB’s pin.  Each frame was painted by hand, a process that took over 40 hours.  The result is an intriguing piece of art in which all the luck, trial, and mistakes can be seen in earnest.  Not everything in this video is perfect, and that’s exactly the point.

‘Where Are My Blue Eyes’ is the most honest thing I’ve ever written, and the video reflects that,” says Ryland.  “All the imagery; musings on love, the fallacy of humanity and the salvation that is found in the temporary nature of the universe is at the heart of who I am as an artist and as a growing human being.  This song came to me as a revelation, and it revealed that nothing is ever really forgotten and that I am as I am just as you are as you will be.  And if that’s the case then all is right in the universe.”

Following the October release of ‘If I Had Wings’Where Are My Blue Eyes’ is the 2nd single from Ryland’s new album XO, 1945, which will be out on January 15th. A song that Ryland calls his favourite song he’s ever written, ‘Where Are My Blue Eyes’ actually came about by accident.  

“I was on tour with Leeroy Stagger in California and we had a day on in San Rafael,” says Ryland. “I was in a music store and found an amazing banjo that dated back to 1890. It was the real deal from its handcrafted inlay to its ivory tuning pegs; an equally stunning and sinister feature.  It was in a tuning I didn’t recognize, which turned out to be open C, an old timey sort of tuning that evokes the tectonic cultural tone of the instrument.  I became obsessed with the tuning and over the next afternoon developed what became the bones of the song.”  

Ryland Moranz’s new single ‘Where Are My Blue Eyes’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers and streaming services worldwide. His new album XO, 1945 will be released on January 15th, 2021 through Tonic Records

Total Brutal is the new indie pop solo project from Los Angeles based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Emily Moore. Moore is known as a professional touring musician, having shared the stage with the likes of Grammy award-winning band FUN, Børns, Ella Vos, X Ambassadors and many more. With the goal of spreading positivity and self-empowerment, Total Brutal has an ethos of standing up for yourself in order to be heard and seen, facing fears head on and being comfortable in your own skin. 

Inspired by strong female artists, Total Brutal is determined to help other young women make their worth known and their voices heard. She shares, “It took me a really long time to understand that I am allowed to speak up, have opinions and speak directly. I’m starting to realize that I can be myself and be liked and professional all the same. I want to help foster that adventurous spirit and confidence in young women!”

Six-time Juno Award winner Serena Ryder just released a re-imagined version of her new single “Kid Gloves”, remixed by Junia-T.

This remix is Serena Ryder like you’ve never heard her before. The song has been reimagined by Junia-T, shifting it from an upbeat alternative rock track to a more mellow indie/R&B/pop sound — perfect for relaxing with your friends on a sunny Saturday afternoon or late at night with smoke in the air and a strong drink in hand. The production features electronic percussion, a riffing guitar, and soothing sax solo. The only thing Junia didn’t touch was Serena’s voice, giving her room to hit her expansive notes and showcase her incredibly powerful voice in this new style.

Serena and Junia’s relationship came together naturally. Like many in the COVID-era, they first connected online, after Serena saw Junia’s Studio Monk: The Making Of documentary and reached out to congratulate him. She sent him her unreleased album and he immediately fell in love with “Kid Gloves”. Junia-T’s album Studio Monk was shortlisted for the 2020 Polaris Prize. He is well known as Jessie Reyez’s DJ and is signed to the Pirate’s Blend label, home to acts like A Tribe Called Red, Grandtheft, and Bedouin Soundclash.

Stream the new remix on your favorite music platform HERE.

Credit: Gabrielle Bodet

Earlier this year she released “Shiver” which caught the attention of Quadio Records, an independent label based in New York City that champions the next generation of recording artists. Producer Kai Blu explained,“Every so often — it’s rare, actually — you hear a voice that captures emotion with so much rawness, honesty and vulnerability, you feel it viscerally,” he says. “I knew I had to hear more.

Blu clearly remembers the first time he heard music by TALIA. An evocative blend of R&B and bedroom pop, with silvery ribbons of Solange, FKA Twigs, and Clairo woven through, it was, aptly, a song entitled “Shiver.”

Crafting soundscapes comes easy to TALIA. In addition to being a songwriter she is an actress and filmmaker, pulling her creative energy into everything she produces. The Caribbean-American artist grew up listening to a variety of genres ranging from Reggae and Calypso to Rock and R&B. Alongside her brother KAI BLUE, an R&B singer/songwriter, TALIA merged these genres, and her background in classical music, to create a unique blend of bedroom pop.

While only her second release, “Colder” carries an emotional depth that takes artists years to find. With her debut EP, headrush, in the works this heart wrenching multi-dimensionalist is just getting started.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

 

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