Music

INsiders Guide: Kiiara, Cheat Codes + AJ Mitchell, Kris Angelis, Griff Clawson, Lauren Haze, Sean Watson Graham, SWN, Ebony Buckle, Bomba Estereo, Bakar, Actrese, Dasha, Elle Mitchell, Kristian North, Meia, Zoe Zobrist

Returning in a sparkling pop creation via a proven collaboration, we see multi-platinum singer-songwriter, KIIARA, and platinum producer Felix Cartal defy the usual industry standards and allow their creativity to guide them on their latest single. “Happy Hour” is an uplifting tune paired with wry, personal lyrics that will provide the next anthem for 2021, out now via Physical Presents. Who needs romantic perfection when you have radiant happiness and a drink in your hand?

“Happy Hour” is the first release since KIIARA’s debut album, lil kiwi (here), late last year; which featured a collaboration with rapper blackbear“So Sick,” Entertainment Weekly referred to as “…a bittersweet breakup song that gives the “Gold” singer’s usual blend of electropop and trap a breezy twist. And while blackbear is exactly who you’d want on a track that acts as a playful middle finger to an ex, it takes on a fun new meaning when you realize the two artists briefly dated.” 

Kiiara tells us about the collaboration: ​“Felix and I have been meaning to work together on an original song of our own for years. I’ve always been a fan of his work. I remember him sending me a remix of my song “Feels” a few years back and I was blown away. I’m really excited about our new song “Happy Hour. It’s a melodramatic emo anthem (lol that’s both of our specialities)”.

Joining forces for an event-level collaboration from their forthcoming debut album, Hellraisers Pt. 1, multiplatinum DJ trio Cheat Codes teams up with Gold-certified rising pop maverick AJ Mitchell for a brand new single entitled “Hate You + Love You” today.

 Get it HERE.

 “I think we’ve all had that experience with a friend, family member, girlfriend or boyfriend where you just have that feeling: I hate you but I love you at the same time. AJ Mitchell captures that every and we were so stoked to have him jump on this with us,” said Cheat Codes. “Big love to Bryn Christopher, KODA and Henrik for sharing their magic with us on this. It was a true pleasure to work with them.”

 For the track, Cheat Codes cooked up a glistening soundscape topped off by glitchy 808s and a laidback bass line. This backdrop really allows Mitchell’s voice to soar. Reflecting the song’s thematic push-and-pull, he delivers intimate verses before the high register hook takes hold with heavenly vocal echoes as he admits, “I hate you, love you, the rest of my life.

 As they embark on what is slated to be their biggest year yet fueled by their debut album release, Cheat Codes have already made waves and built momentum through a series of single releases.  Most recently, “No Chill” featuring breakout TikTok star and musician Lil XXEL lead the radio airwaves in January 2021. With three legs leading into the album, each ‘part’ will personify the individual members of the trio and give you a deeper look at each group member. The Los Angeles-based group consisting of KEVI, Trevor Dahl and Matt Russell have skyrocketed to fame since they first came together in 214. Over the course of the last six years, they’ve amassed over 6 billion total streams, with 12 million listeners tuning in each month to their music via Spotify. Pivotal points in their career include collaborations with artists such as Liam Payne, Fetty Wap, Demi Lovato, Little Mix, Wiz Khalifa and more.

Singer-songwriter, Kris Angelis, crafts a dynamic dream world on her new single, “Meet You in Our Dreams,” out February 5th, 2021. The artist builds quiet reflections and impactful emotions into every track, attracting the attention of critics worldwide with each subsequent release. Her recent EP, “THAT SIREN, HOPE,” debuted at #1 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart, was the highest independent release that week on Billboard’s Top Current Albums Chart and charted on Americana Radio. The single, “I Hope I Never Fall in Love Again,” sees consistent radio play on Sirius XM’s “Velvet” and continues to rise up the charts.
Produced by Billy Lefler, Angelis’s newest single, “Meet You in Our Dreams,” brings to life a vision of building a dream world in which to meet the ones you love when you close your eyes at night. The quiet melody builds to a crescendo of layered vocals, featuring co-writer and member of Distant Cousins, Dov Rosenblatt. The two voices emote the yearning one feels when love spans thousands of miles and too many lonely nights. From the patter of the rhythm to the whispering piano, the track encompasses the loneliness within the story, while infusing each chorus with the essence of hope.

Check out Kris Angelis’ new single, “Meet You in Our Dreams,” out February 5th, 2021 and pre-order the forthcoming album krisangelis.com/store   This song will be an instant gratification track when you pre-order the album.

SoCal singer/songwriter Griff Clawson is releasing his sophomore single “2Lovely,” a follow up to his debut pop record “Chasing Highs.”  Clawson made waves in 2020 after exploding onto the scene with vocal features on tracks produced by DJ global-stars such as ARTY, Matoma, Devault, Manilla Killa and Boombox Cartel.

Side-stepping away from big collaborations, Clawson is trailblazing his own path as an alternative force in pop music with the launch of his solo project. His second single “2Lovely” is completely self-produced, written and sung by Clawson.  In the track, Clawson finds himself fearful in the moment that he’s experiencing the peak of his relationship, worrying that “as good as this is right now, I know it won’t last forever.”

photo credit: Sean Deakin

Think of a really seedy hotel filled with secrecy and anonymity. Checking out of a hotel is something that always feels very final to me as if this part is over, I’m moving on.

My brand new single, “Hotel,” is emotional and bittersweet. It’s the recognition that this chapter, this relationship has ended – but you’re taking your power back and remembering who the F you are! Loving yourself enough to leave whatever relationship or situation isn’t serving your highest purpose.

 Listen everywhere and follow for more:

 Spotify 💕 Apple Music 💕 SoundCloud 💕 Facebook 💕 Instagram

It’s definitely a song you’ll want to throw on in your car at midnight, or in your bedroom when you’re alone, deep in your feels. At the same time, It’s also one of those songs to blast when you’re surrounded by your best friends and a couple bottles of wine.

Wherever you choose to listen – thank you.

 Lauren Haze

By: Lauren Spitznagel

SEAN WATSON GRAHAM has seen it all. His musical journey started when his first band, MODERN SPACE bumped into a A&R person while walking along Queen St in his hometown of Toronto, ON. Signed to a major label based on nothing more than their demo, Sean experienced a quick rise to success, songs on the radio, touring the country with bands like Dear Rouge, opening for the Arkells, and performing on the main stages of some of Canada’s leading festivals. But it wasn’t all glitz and glamour. After numerous member changes, and a gruelling writing/demo process, the band had all but called it quits when Sean decided to step away from music in early 2019.

Having always surrounded himself with creative people , it wasn’t long before Sean found himself inspired and drawn back to music. However, this time trading in synths and dance beats of his prior projects, for his first love, the acoustic guitar. That summer he found himself on his balcony many nights with his guitar and a note pad.

“It felt like the months taken off had left me with a lot of thoughts and ideas just building up in the back of my head. When I finally felt ready to start writing, everything seemed easy again and the words just flowed out on to paper.”

SWN(formerly known as SS) brings tonnes of flavour to his new release, which is engulfed smooth and meandering melodies. Teaming up with Goodfellas on the production his new single delicately weaves trumpet and guitar riffs with a catchy drum beat.

Ebony Buckle is a London-based singer/songwriter, originally from her tropical seaside home of Townsville, Australia. Writing and performing with her husband, musician Nick Burns, who also produces her music, Buckle uses captivating stories to hold a mirror up to herself and the world. Reflected in these songs is our humanity – our wants and needs, our struggles to fit in or break out. Throughout all of this is the hope that we can connect, that we can see the magnificent beauty of our universe and that we can grow and learn and evolve without fear.

Her latest single “Wonder” is inspired by the world’s loneliest whale. “52” was first discovered in the 80s, singing at a frequency of 52hz (higher than any species known to humans). It was believed that this whale would not be heard by any of the other whales in the ocean, but now after decades of research there is another theory, that the whale’s song is heard by all other whales, as it stands out with its uniqueness. In awe of this natural wonder, Buckle wanted to give us a different perspective of the whale, turning her into an interdimensional traveller, who has lost contact with her home planet. The whale calls and calls for companionship, as she drifts further away. However, it is not despair she feels, but wonder. Pure, intoxicating wonder at the new worlds she is discovering. The song reminds us to look at the world and ourselves, and see the wonder coming from within.

Produced and co-written by Nick Burns, “Wonder” features a sample of the actual whale’s call, as well as haunting organs. Buckle’s spine-tingling vocals, float delicately atop minimalistic, ethereal melodies, creating an almost hypnotic effect. 

The stunning, other-wordly music video for “Wonder” is created by animator Luke Taylor, with video by Sky Zhou. Featuring breathtaking scenes and far away galaxies, it will truly transport you to another dimension and leave you there.

“Wonder” is the first song from Buckle’s upcoming debut album Disco Lasers. The album is a collection of audio-visual stories celebrating the wonders of our universe and how we as human beings make sense of our existence through folklore legends, science and our imagination. Over the last year Buckle has been building a community of poetry and music lovers around her music, using the platform Patreon. Her patrons have given Buckle the complete freedom to create and share with us a body of work that is entirely independent. The album will be released as separate songs each month, allowing the listener and those who are curious to join the journey and immerse themselves in a different story every time.

For those who are curious to have a sneak peak into Buckle’s world, we recommend her newsletter ‘letters from a strange planet’, which is sent out monthly and is filled with stories and news about the world she is creating. 

Credit: Jhoy Suarez

Colombian stars Bomba Estereo have announced ‘Deja’, their long-awaited first album in 4 years, due for release in Spring. The band has released the album’s first 3 songs to accompany the announcement – ‘Agua’, ‘Deja’ and ‘Soledad’. 

Listen To The First 3 Singles: ‘Agua’, ‘Deja’ and ‘Soledad’ HERE

Watch The The ‘Agua’ Music Video HERE – featuring Colombian Artist Lido Pimienta And Afro Cuban Duo OKAN on Backing Vocals.

The ‘Agua’ music video was directed by Bomba’s singer Liliana “Li” Saumet and Jhoy Suarez, and filmed on Colombia’s Caribbean coast near Li’s home. “The video comes from an idea I had about a ritual, entering into a parallel universe in which we find ourselves in a deeper connection with nature, in a more surreal and feminine way,” Li explains, “I wanted to begin the album with this feminine energy, each woman represents a different element in nature. For me, it was also about the place I live, where the mountains meet the sea”.

Deja’ is divided conceptually into four sections that correspond to the earth’s four elements: Agua, Aire, Tierra, and Fuego. “The album is about the connection and disconnection of human beings—from the planet, from one’s own self,” singer Liliana ‘Li’ Saumet says, “it’s about how we’re disconnected, more connected to electronic devices and virtual things than real things. So we decided to use the four elements, because they’re part of the equilibrium of human beings”.

As 2021 awakens, trying to shrug off the dark cobwebs of a tumultuous year of uncertainty, Bomba Estereo is trying to reassure everyone that it’s going to be okay. In the middle of the pandemic, the Colombian electro-folkloric dance band and a community of collaborators got together in a beach house in Santa Marta. On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, where the Sierra Nevada mountains meet the sea, they let it all go and recorded the album ‘Deja’.

Bomba, whose core members are beatmaster/composer Simon Mejía and vocalist/lyricist Li, have been a major force in the alternative/Caribbeat/dance scene since 2010’s smash hit ‘Fuego’. Subsequent releases like Latin Grammy nominated ‘Elegancia Tropical’ (2013), Grammy nominated ‘Amanecer’ (2015), and Grammy nominated ‘Ayo‘ (2017) have put them at the forefront of influential hybrid-beat bands, as well as blowing up dancehalls from New York to Paris to Tokyo.

 Deja‘ was born on a tour bus in 2018, when, during a long European summer tour, beatmaster/composer Simón started to jell with José, crafting tracks on the fly. “It was our last big tour as a band,” Simon recalled, “we went home thinking our next tour is going to be even bigger!” But then the pandemic came.

For ‘Deja‘, Simón and Li wanted to make the album more of a “community” effort. Simon found increasing chemistry playing live shows with guitarist José Castillo and the folkloric percussion of Efrain ‘Pacho’ Cuadrado. Li recruited her longtime friend Lido Pimienta for the session – the pair’s previous collaboration ‘Nada’ ended up on Barack Obama’s ‘Best of 2020’ playlist.

I wanted to collaborate with Lido to try new sounds with my voice,” Li explains. “She has that underground edge that I like, and she also invited some Cuban collaborators with her, a duo named OKAN. It was super beautiful to have more women with me, I felt more supported, safer and at ease.”

Bakar asserts and affirms himself as a genre-defiant maverick. He released his debut indie album in 2018 and followed it in 2019 with the Will You Be My Yellow? EP and its standout sleeper hit “Hell N Back”, which has been streamed over 100 million times to date and spent most of 2020 on the US alternative charts. 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 in 2021. 

ACTRESE is set to release ‘COSMO’, her new smash single which will be available globally on 5th February. ‘COSMO’ was written by ACTRESE with the help of a rising songwriter and producer – Jamie Amos (his credits include Nilufer Yanya, Tom Grennan and James Morrison) who also produced the track alongside Tom Quigley – a fresh talent in the production world.

London based pop visionary is ready to take on the world with hypnotic and synth – driven electro – pop tune accompanied by her compelling and sultry vocals. ‘COSMO’ features incredibly catchy hooks and beats which are a force to be reckoned with. The candid and somewhat sad lyrics are backed by ‘80s – style electro – pop instrumentals and piano transitions that make for an insistent listen. By blending the experimental pop with the ‘80s – infused dance music, ACTRESE has skillfully crafted a distinctive sound. The track is dynamic and powered by pulsating disco beats which mirror the whirl of intense feelings while she sings ‘When he whispered that he loved / Could he possibly have lied?’. ‘COSMO’ brings you a pure escapism and glitter ball energy which, beware, will make you want to pour a Cosmo into a glass and dance all your blues away!

 ACTRESE is the next generation pop/indie frontwoman who cleverly describes her sound as ‘sexy envisionment of reality’. She’s the living embodiment of a teenage fantasy and has been compared to the sounds of MØ, Lykke Li. She is a breath of fresh air in music today – looking forwards while reaching down to her roots. Her previous single was featured on a variety of Spotify curated playlists (Spotify’s New Music, Fresh Finds). Drawing influence from artists such as The Weeknd, The xx, Dua Lipa, ACTRESE creates atmospheric and daydreamy melodies with sultry vocals. 

     ‘COSMO is about doing your best and being served bitter reality, 

still loving someone and thinking you might actually love someone else again, 

the contrast between what you get and what you thought you deserved.’

DASHA grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, immersed in the world of dance, acting, and music. From the young age of 12, she has been writing and performing her music with help from her older brother and producer, Bardo (Trevor Daniel, Beauty School Dropout). While attending Belmont University and splitting her time between Nashville and LA, DASHA has collaborated with various up and coming artists, including Pink Slip, Inverness, and more. Her most recent single, “Don’t Mean a Thing,” was released through Sony Germany and placed on Spotify’s New Music Friday Nashville playlist. DASHA’s upcoming music is upbeat, vibrant, and honest–perfectly reflecting how she shows up in the world.

If you’re a fan of euphoric, airy, and expressive voices, Elle Mitchell’s new single “Love and War” is for you.

Elle’s track is a beautiful indie-pop about conflict, reconciliation, and uncertainty. The song was born from watching her parents’ relationship be challenged due to needing to stay home for the quarantine of the pandemic. It speaks to the changing nature of people and relationships, and figuring out what is worth holding on to and letting go. 

This is what the director Phil Osbourne said about it:

Kristian brought up the idea of capturing the times we are in. With the curfew in mind, we cooked up a little dystopian sci-fi style intro, a bit of dark humour which quickly transitions to a one man disco party.

On this album, I wanted to write a short set of pop songs. I intended for the songs to stand alone, and put more effort into their unique complexity, lyrically and sonically. I think of Passion Play as a collection of short stories, as opposed to a novel.

This is my most analogue record and was written mostly on piano as a way to challenge the patterns and habits I’ve developed with the guitar. I hope you enjoy the experimentation and subtlety of these tracks.

Thank you for listening,

Kristian North

Born and raised in Cleveland, OH, MEIA knew she wanted music to be part of her life from the beginning. She started singing, writing music and playing instruments ever since she was a little girl. “My mom would tell you I was humming before I was singing and dancing to every beat. My first experience writing a song was when I was 8 years old, lol. It was called “Let it out” and it was about being unafraid to say how you feel. Looking back on the concept and my ability to turn a feeling into art – I am proud of baby MEIA.” Once MEIA turned 18, she moved to Nashville to attend Belmont University where she studied Music Business and pursued her artist project, MEIAMEIA grew up loving alternative pop culture. The 90’s baby listened to various artists such as Britney Spears, Rihanna and Avril Lavigne, which have had a huge influence on the music she loves to create. Now residing in Nashville, she writes from personal experience and is unafraid to be raw, emotional, and real. She empowers her fans by turning dark situations into light, especially with her breakup anthems. MEIA is wildly independent, fiercely in touch with her femininity, and wants her fans to be able to escape the world when listening to her songs. MEIA has shared the stage with Why Don’t We, Spencer Sutherland, Eben, Jake Miller, and more.

Singer-songwriter Zoe Zobrist rounded out last year with the release of her single “Fire.” Today, she presents a video showcasing an intimate performance of the track in its most distilled version, premiering exclusively on Stage Right Secrets.

The sparse, melancholic track lends itself well to the stripped-back performance that features Zobrist relying on just her guitar and vocals. “‘Fire’ is about the uncertainty of loving someone. Life happens and nothing is guaranteed but we choose to love them anyways,” she writes. “It’s about how that doesn’t go away through difficult times. It’s such an incredible thing that we can see someone and be seen in each others entirety and stick through that.”

Hailing from Dallas, Texas and now living in Los Angeles, singer-songwriter Zoe Zobrist crafts songs that are as personal as they are dynamic. Like many of her contemporaries, her love affair with music began at an early age. She was just 5 years old when she learned to play piano and she began writing songs only 2 years later. But her passion was fully ignited when she stumbled upon her father’s 70s-era record collection in the garage of her childhood home and fell in love with the hard-hitting choruses and memorable melodies of classic rock. 

She debuted her first single in 2018 and has since gone on to rack up over 40K monthly listeners and praise from publications like Under The Radar Magazine and Culture Collide. She has also performed and toured across North America, gracing the stages of iconic music venues like The Viper Room, The Troubadour, and Dallas Fort Worth’s Six Flags Amphitheater. In 2019, she was featured in John Mellencamp’s tour documentary that played on-screen during his “John Mellancamp Show” North American Tour.

Zobrist has spent the past few years refining her sound and experimenting with different styles, ultimately leading to her unique blend of classic rock inspired indie music. Her next single, “Fade Away,” is set to release on February 26th and marks another defiant, deliberate, and deeply personal addition to her fast-growing repertoire.

Based in Toronto, the Neighbourhood Watch have spent the last three years riding on beginner’s luck. Whether it was learning to play their instruments while writing their first album “Community Protected”, or stumbling through the production of their second record “Goodbye Childhood”, the Neighbourhood Watch love to grow alongside their music. In their latest record, “Lost in Bloom”, the band pairs melody-driven songwriting with ambitious arrangements to tell a story about abandoning arrogance, resenting the people we loved, and being scared of growing up.

If something good was to come from the pandemic, it is A1 and J1. Meeting on the App Houseparty in 2020, 15-year-old A1 from North West London and now based in Coventry and 17-year-old J1 from Kent started their rapping aspirations together remotely, showcasing a zeitgeist movement from the repercussions of this year.

The track launched as just a 15 second tease, going viral on Tik Tok, with social media comments begging for the song to be released in full. All organically and from 2 young, brand new artists the track now titled ‘Latest Trends’ has grown and grown on social media and is ready for its official release.

Both A1 and J1 bring unique flows throughout the track. J1 with strong standout bars and A1 who brings the idyllic catchy chorus. Rap and R&B vibes are in full flow with the UK stamp placed on the track. Resonating the UK Rap scene, the instrumental is easy to take to and very well sculpted. With guitar taking the lead of the beat the simplicity of the loop along with the tasteful production surrounding, establishes a great platform for the boys to showcase their talent. Melodically the track is warming for all who listen, you cannot help but find these two likeable.

Before they had thought about making a full-length track, the snippet was receiving 2000 organic video creations a day on Tik Tok. In a short space of time the boys had over 100k combined social following. The first week saw 250k views across all platforms. Rippling across media the snippet has taken off, now talking in the millions. With support from the likes of KSI, Deno, Darkoo, and JB Scofield there is no limit to how far this track will go.

It’s an extremely current and wholesome energy to bring to these times. The people have spoken, and the record is here! This is only the first chapter of their story; the potential is limitless!

 Grammy nominated and gold-certified Long Beach singer and songwriter GIVĒON shares a new Acoustic version of “Still Your Best” with a powerful accompanying music video. Watch the music video HERE via YouTube/VEVO.

About this version, he commented, “The inspiration behind this video was to make the listener feel like they’re in the room during a very tense conversation.

In the intimate visual, he sings directly to his lover as the camera circles their heated emotional exchange in a 360-degree rotation. His intense expression accentuates the confessional verses with urgency and raw feeling, telling the story through the lyrics. Meanwhile, his voice coasts over stripped-down guitar as it rises and falls with pure passion. The original “Still Your Best” remains a standout from his critically acclaimed 2020 When It’s All Said And Done EP.

Meanwhile, he recently picked up his first gold plaque for the breakout single “LIKE I WANT YOU” which also is now his first top 10 single on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs chart and just cracked 9 million monthly listeners on Spotify, cementing him as one of the Top 500 Most-Listened To Artists on the platform.

GIVĒON’s debut EP “Take Time” is also nominated for Best R&B Album at 2021 GRAMMY AWARDS. Plus, he just received a nod for “Outstanding New Artist” at the 2021 NCAAP Image Awards.

The EP was released during height of the pandemic in March 2020 and yielded fan favorites such as “LIKE I WANT YOU” as well as “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY, “FAVORITE MISTAKE, and more. He also incited widespread tastemaker applause.  UPROXX and OkayPlayer touted TAKE TIME among “The Best Albums of 2020 So Far.” Not to mention, he joined forces with Drake for “Chicago Freestyle, which generated 231 million Spotify streams and counting.

rIVerse is an independent Canadian pop and R&B group making international waves for their high concept art pop and inclusive messaging. The group is comprised of band members Dizz, Monroe, Khadija and Zak. “Our mission is to represent the underrepresented” says group leader Dizz, “We want to empower our fans to know that everybody is uniquely powerful. Whether you’re gay, straight, white, black, young, old, man, woman, petite or plus size you can do, have and be whatever you want.

The Effens are an explosive young glam grunge group on the rise from Toronto, ON.With Austin Nops fiery vocals and screeching guitar riffs, Paul Theo’s pulsing synth melodies and face melting guitar leads, Hannah Edgerton’s blasting bass lines and haunting harmonies combined with Fabian Kearns calculated hard hitting drumming the four piece form like Voltron to put on a live show you don’t want to miss.

The groups sound has been described as ” Hyper-strange post-grunge and glam pop four piece who seem to take in all the vagaries of the internet age and recycle them into something unique and fantastic.” The acts live performances have been noted by multiple online sources as having high energy and a magnetic stage presence that grabs the listener and is hard to take your eyes off of.

Throughout 2018 and 2019 The Effens have opened for notable acts such as Charly Bliss, Starcrawler, The Lonely Parade, Naked Giants, Twen, Dude York and Lisa Prank. Not only this but they have been listed as 1 of the top 50 best Toronto Indie Bands of 2019 according to Trumpet Smash. To finish off 2019 with a bang they released their self-titled record to a sold out room on December 13th.

Born and raised in the shadows of Philly and NYC, Micky James naturally developed a taste for the theatrical and aspired to become a performer from a young age. In his music and personal style, Micky explores a sound and aesthetic that is nostalgic of a bygone era in rock-n-roll music, while still maintaining a contemporary pop ambition. Micky’s unique vocals are reminiscent of great character voices such as David Bowie and Julian Casablancas, alluding to the dark, mysterious, and romantic qualities that are so distinct to those artists. While Micky’s flamboyant fashions evoke the glamour and swagger of past rock icons, his work is both equal parts style and substance. Inspired by the authentic energy of 60’s and 70’s iconic rock band’s, James is successful in crafting a modern and fresh approach to a timeless genre, “I wanted to take pieces of nostalgia and give it a contemporary twist”, explains James. Successfully taking his vision and turning it into a reality. In July 2020, Micky released his most recent single “Kings”. The song garnered critical acclaim, with one critic calling it  “a defiant uprising of the generationally damned and disgruntled, as well as the most authentic rock n’ roll you’ve heard in years”.

“When we are creating tracks, I’m always trying to paint a visual and feeling of the dream worlds in my head.  This shoegaze rendition of the Everly Brother classic was my way of coping with my own anxiety, loneliness and missing my family during quarantine – even as an immigrant from Taiwan, this was one of my dad’s favorite songs – so my sister and I grew up listening to this because he would play it a lot, along with John Denver and The Carpenters.”  

Polartropica is the music endeavor of Los Angeles based, dreamyspace-pop artist, Ihui (eeway) Cherise Wu. Born in Taiwan yet raised in California, Wu has created a fantastical dreamland, successfully combining quirky pop melodies, futuristic synths and classical string arrangements, resulting in a genre of ethereal fantasy dream rock that you’ve never heard before. 

Polartropica fuses elements of complete opposites together with the outcome resulting in a unique, ethereal sound that defies all sonic worlds. Using both organic and synthetic instruments, Wu conceived a visionary dream world for listeners to escape to. Wu professes, “I wanted to create a healing, inspiring and empowering space with just the right amount of disco-party!”

Her debut album, Dreams Come True, perfectly encapsulates Polartropica’s entire ethos, creating a soundtrack to her very own magical intergalactic space. Wu shares, “I get to play and work with some of the most incredibly wonderful people in the entire universe, and we always try to have as much fun as possible.” Sonically the album is a delicious concoction of dreamy synth rock, fueled by stories of people, animals, world news and Wu’s experiences as a queer Asian-American living in California. 

The single “In Another Life” narrates karmic love and the feeling you get when meeting someone for the first time, but it instantly feels like a lifetime. The track features gliding honey-dipped vocals over laid back beats. Then there is “Can’t Hold Us Back”, which acts as a reminder of the love and power we have within us when faced with oppressive forces. Delightfully eccentric “Crystal Ramen” details the painful process of detaching from a relationship, idea or belief that no longer serves you. “Crystal Ramen” showcases Polartropica’s kaleidoscope of soundscapes, stunningly warm yet sporadic, palpable and experimental. Finally, the empowering “Solidarity” emphasizes the importance of listening and supporting one another. “Don’t let them divide us, we can accomplish incredible things when we fight together and support one another”, expresses the songwriter. 

Written with the intention to allow listeners to let their imagination run wild, Wu hopes her music creates little escapes from reality for anyone that is looking for a mini vacation. Having been crowned LA Weekly’s ‘Best Indie Pop Band of 2019’, as well as landing acclaim from the likes of Billboard and LADYGUNN, among others, Polartropica is an artist to watch.

New Zealand-based pop duo Foley share their new single, “Better Than Love,” the final single from their upcoming EP, ‘Vacation,’ due out on March 15th. 

Grounded by mellow pop grooves and honeyed vocals, “Better Than Love” is a dreamy exploration of the prospect of love versus the reality of love and the way we close off our emotions to protect from future heartbreak. When love is so built up to us as extravagant, dramatic and awe consuming, how can it ever live up to our expectations? (“The thought of you is better than love”). The tight friendship between Foley’s Ash Wallace and Gabriel Everett allows them to write openly and vulnerably with each other and “Better Than Love” is a testament to that. For this single, the duo also brought in their close collaborators and longtime friends Josh Naley (Wells*) and Jonathan Boyle (Julius Black).

Foley is the late night conversations, not-so-existential crises, and the genuinely unbreakable friendship of 20-somethings Ash Wallace and Gabriel Everett. Honest to a fault, Foley have quickly picked up a fanbase of young like-minded listeners for their confessions of love, loss and learning. Their debut EP, ‘On My Conscience,’ was released in 2020 and saw huge success across commercial radio and streaming platforms, hitting #10 on the NZ Album Charts, and plastered the pair across multiple Spotify playlist covers. They rounded out the year with the release of singles “Rendezvous” and “So Personal,” which will join “Better Than Love” on their upcoming sophomore EP, ‘Vacation,’ out on March 15th.

In addition to their streaming success, Foley have graced New Zealand’s largest New Years festival Rhythm & Vines3 times, most recently playing a main-stage slot on New Year’s Eve. The pair have also shared the stage with Two Door Cinema Club, Flight Facilities & Crooked Colours at indie fest Spring City, and opened for Drax Project on their NZ tour and Six60’s stadium show in Hamilton early in 2020.

Scottish singer and songwriter Roseanne Reid unveils ‘Tentsmuir Sky’, the second offering from her upcoming EP Horticulture’, set for release on April 10th, via Last Man – Stream ‘Tentsmuir Sky’ hereWatch ‘Tentsmuir Sky’ video here.


Inspired by Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, Scotland, the track in Rosanne’s own words “tries to capture the magic of a place which has offered me both escape from and reconnection with the world. The Redshank and Roe deer referenced in the opening lines highlight just a fraction of the amazing variety of wildlife that inhabit the forest, at the edge of which the sea meets the sky”.

Entirely written and home-recorded during lockdown by Roseanne herself and mixed by The Who and Manic Street Preacher’s producer Dave Eringa,‘Tentsmuir Sky’ is the follow up to ‘You Underestimate Me’whichpremiered on BBC Scotland’s Another Country with Ricky Ross last December. 

Lockdown and cancelled tours in 2020, saw Roseanne perform series of popular live streams from her garden. Inspired by her interest in horticulture, she enrolled in a degree course whilst also learning music production and recording techniques. These two new skills created the basis for the forthcoming EP ‘Horticulture’, a four-track collection of new songs due for release as a special edition vinyl in April 2021. Last year Roseanne was nominated for Song Of The Year at the UK Americana Awards for ‘Amy’, this yearRoseanne played an exclusive live streamed show during the AmericanaFest UK.

Opening for Teddy Thompson in 2022, Roseanne will support his 12 dates tour starting at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on 21st January 2022, touching London’s Earth Theatre on 28th January, before ending at Manchester’s Band On The Wall on 3rd February – more info and tickets here

Roseanne Reid’s critically acclaimed debut album, ‘Trails’ announced the official arrival of a singular voice in folk-roots and americana music. Produced by Teddy Thompson and featuring Americana legend Steve Earle – has seen the talented troubadour and eldest daughter of The Proclaimers’Craig Reid –been praised for her “authentic country-tinged folk” byThe Sun (****), withapproval from Uncut (8/10) and Sunday Times Culturethe latter also including the album among its “100 best records of the year”. Whilesupport at radio from Jools Holland’s on Radio 2, and live sessions with BBC London’s Robert Elms and Another Country with Ricky Ross at BBC Scotland further enhanced her reputation. 

Gliding off the back of her mesmerising sophomore single “Off the Ground”, South London sweetheart Yas VW unveils her latest slice of dreamscape with “Be the One”. Driven by her delectable vocals and honeyed alt-pop textures, this new-age love song presents the young artist wearing her heart on her sleeve. “Be the One” possesses a fresh yet nostalgic flair, cushioned by ‘80s synths and a hypnotic drum pulse. Accompanied by a stunning music video directed by Reece Selvadorai, the visuals for “Be the One” beautifully encapsulate the early stages of romance and simultaneously provides a taste of early ‘00s reminiscence. Sharing her thoughts on “Be the One”, Yas VW explained: “Be the One is a reminder that true love can be achieved. The guy that I’ve fallen for has lost hope that he’ll ever find that one person that he can experience the thrill of passion with. Searching
but failing to find the one that can do this for him, he doesn’t realise that I’m right there under his nose the whole time, waiting for him to notice me. In this song, I am reminding him that if he takes a chance on me, he’ll experience that real love that he’s been craving. It may not be an easy journey, it may take time to reach a completely smooth ride of love, but once we get there it will be so worth it.”

(credit Rachel Brennecke)

A celebrated chanteuse and songwriter with a signature breathy voice, Donna Lewis releases her new EP, Told You So, today. With the lockdown as a catalyst, Donna felt isolated but fortunate to be able to work from home and get lost in the music. On Told You So, Donna Lewis returns to her roots: writing at the piano. Living in the countryside, nature helped her shut out the sadness that was happening around the world. The heart of Told You So is about missing loved ones, memories and friends supporting one another. These are songs to bring comfort and courage to everyone who is separated from the ones they love.

 Donna Lewis soared to fame in 1996 with the international, dance-pop classic “I Love You Always Forever” off of her acclaimed debut album, Now in a Minute. People around the globe still have boundless love for the smash-hit song — which became the first track ever to receive a million spins on American radio and the third best-selling tune in the history of Atlantic Records — but the multi-dimensional Welsh native is an artist who is as comfortable with catchy pop tunes as she is with jazz, acoustic, electronica and beyond as displayed throughout her illustrious career. She released her second album, Blue Planet, in 1998 which spawned two hits including “Love Him” which topped the Billboard dance charts.

 To date, she’s released five full-length albums and has collaborated with many artists through the years including The Art of Noise, Souled Out, Project 46 and DubVision, David Baron, David Lowe, Delia Derbyshire Appreciation Society as well as her longtime friend and collaborator, David Torn. In 2015, Torn and Lewis joined forces to release Brand New Day. The album redefined her as an artist with its jazz-inflected cover tunes (Neil Young, Damien Rice, Chocolate Genius) and genre-busting original songs as well as a rapturous new version of “I Love You Always Forever.”

Fela Awoke (I Will Miss You)is a song that means everything to me. It tells a deeply personal story and is reaching for something more profound than I’ve ever tried to say through music.  

My people are Yoruba from West Africa and when I grew up in Trinidad, we still spoke some Yoruba words over 150 years later. So, as a grown musician, I always felt connected to Fela Kuti. 

In a year where life has been so fragile, this is my response. The lyrics are real. The hook is light and catchy. It’s uniquely me, but feels universal.

This track features the Yoruba word madele which means “I will find my way home.” 

Stream Fela Awoke (I Will Miss You) now on all platforms.

Watch the official video via YouTube.

The message behind this song is to celebrate your heroes, but let them go so you can become a hero too. That is what I want you to know as you listen. I’ve been travelling for so very long, trying to find some place that feels like home. And there are many things that you can take from me. But what you can’t take away, is the love that is found, in our sweet destiny.

These words sum up the journey of my life and my new memoir, Saga Boy, out now through Penguin Random House. My journey has taken me from the jungles of Trinidad to the blizzards of Canada, the boardrooms of America, and the stages of the world. As Fela Awoke (I Will Miss You) reminds us, no matter where you go, you can still find your way home. Thank you for listening.

JOHN ORPHEUS

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.”

Miesha & The Spanks offer a dynamic mixture of punk, garage and hard rock embellished with straightforward lyrics, gritty production and hard hitting performances. Inspired by proto punk classics like The Runaways, MC5 and The Stooges, and 90s riot grrrl/grunge like L7 and The Gits, M&TS conjure an energy that hits you in the face, throwing you into a world of killer riffs and sweaty gig venues.

Originally a punk rock kid from the East Kootenays, front-woman Miesha Louie started this project a decade ago after moving to big city Calgary, AB. She toured and released like crazy, building momentum and a reputation for her DIY approach, with any drummer up for the challenge. Joined by Sean Hamilton five years ago, he brought big Bonham style that’s intuitive like John Freese, always creating the right feel for the song.

Recorded in Brighton UK, their 2018 release Girls Girls Girls was produced by Danny Farrant of punk legends The Buzzcocks. The album reached #1 on Earshot!’s National Loud charts, and had singles hit #7 on CBC 3’s R3-30, and #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. It received multiple adds on SiriusXM Canada, and was even given attention from Rodney Bingenheimer’s Sirius XM show in the US. At the YYC Music Awards, Girls Girls Girls brought home Rock Recording Of The Year and Single Of The Year (“Summer Love”), as well as securing Miesha as Female Artist Of The Year.

22 yo London based artist Delilah Montagu today releases her brand new single and EP of the same name This Is Not A Love Song. Lauded by critics as one of the most urgent songwriters of a generation, this new EP is autobiographical in nature and inherently honest in stature, as Delilah marries lived experiences of love, addiction and art into one body of work.

Listen to This Is Not A Love Song here.

This Is Not A Love Song delves into the cold reality of a loving relationship simply not working. Pretend sees Delilah write cathartically about her loss of self, whilst Faultline is an explicit piece of storytelling which spotlights two addicts falling in love with one another.  On the EP – which also features three previously released tracks – Delilah explores the relationships she’s held with others and that she holds with herself. It’s a diary of the year gone by, a precursor for the year to come.

Delilah said, “The songs on this EP are about the end of a relationship. They symbolise my inner relationship with myself as well as the experiences I had with my partner.  The rawness and honesty of this EP is very exposing, and it is the most openly I have ever written about my life – which makes the EP very special and close to my heart.”

Playing in your face country rock that incorporates both 70s arena rock and southern fuzz..BlackWater Cobra were formed in Mississauga, Ontario in 2019 by 4 guys who love to work hard and play a hell of a lot harder. Driven by Jack Daniels, strong bud, and American Muscle, Eddie Savage, Jonny Metcalfe, Jordan Stevenson, and Andrew Learner; have hit the ground running with all eyes on the prize!

Casii Stephan is a soul pop/rock artist hailing from Minnesota. Now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the impassioned songstress evokes subtle vibrato notes and roller-coaster-like melodies, which immediately grab the listener, while her emotional lyrics share intimate stories. She has been compared to the likes of Florence Welch, Fiona Apple and Carole King, as her vocal timbre possesses a full and warm quality. 

Stephan’s voice is fierce and fearless, but this was not always the case. She grew up shy and afraid of her voice until she started writing songs on the family piano in South St. Paul when she was 16. In music, she discovered something extraordinary that allowed her to transcend everyday life and find a deeper sense of self. Stephan moved to Tulsa in 2014 with the intent to give up her pursuit of a music career, however with a little encouragement from a friend, she continued her journey and started releasing music. Her songs were promptly applauded by critics and have since been racking up a number of awards, as well as garnering acclaim from media and fans across the globe.

An underlying theme throughout Stephan’s music is hope, she explains, “Its such a cliched word and yet there are so many layers to it. Hope keeps us alive. It keeps us moving. But it also feels flighty some days like a pixie that does what it wants. But it’s not a pixie. It’s more like the air we breathe. Some days it’s presence is stronger than we realize and some days we forget in our day-to-day lives that it’s there… keeping us moving forward”. Her music combines her love for the storytelling elements of Disney ballads and the bold, brilliance of The White Stripes, as well as the soul-wrenching R&B melodies of H.E.R. 

Casii Stephan has seen success both obtaining and being nominated for multiple awards from the likes of Independent Music Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards and USA Songwriting Competition to name a few. She also heads a female fronted festival entitled MisFEST in Tulsa, that has gained recognition both locally and nationally. The singer-songwriter is set to perform at Sundance Festival and was also recently profiled in Billboard. Continuing to craft real, authentic, soulful music with the intention to help others feel a little less alone, Casii Stephan is releasing “Here Comes the Light” is out now.

Lucy & La Mer returns with a catchy indie pop bop that celebrates the fun, playful experience of your first love. Her new single, “Rollercoaster” embodies the delightfulness of a new relationship and the rush of having your first girlfriend. The video stars LGBTQ influencer Haley Faulkner, and includes an easy-to-learn TikTok dance for both Lucy and Haley’s fans.

Lucy LaForge, the artist behind the name “Lucy & La Mer”, is known for the positive messages in her songs, as well as her advocacy within the LGBTQ mental health community. Coming out in an interview in 2018, Billboard stated that the singer is “proud of who and what she is.”

Lucy’s repertoire has been featured by The LA Times, Huffington Post, EARMILK, Billboard Pride, Pride and many more publications. Her music is a blend of pop empowerment with lyrical stylings mirroring her storytelling folk music upbringing.

Often seen wielding a ukulele, Lucy was chosen to feature the new Billie Eilish Ukulele by Fender in Summer 2020. The singer has also collaborated with major brands like IKEA, HP, Guitar Center, and Kala Ukuleles. Her music can be heard on international commercials, with companies such as Disney and Dove using her upbeat tunes in advertisements.

In 2020, Lucy’s fans came together after the initial Stay-At-Home covid order to create a fanmade music video for her song, “Together”. Although touring and shows have halted, her close relationship with her audience continues to grow. She stays in touch with her fans on her weekly “Late Night with Lucy” livestream show and has just launched a monthly online concert series on Patreon.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

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