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INsiders Guide: DDG, Samuel Jack, Danny Zee, Tianda, Blair Lee, Fiona Harte, Jade Hilton, Kadeema, Carrousel, Pyramid Tropic, Borza, Saint Slumber, JANOS, pluko, Eighty Ninety, Chin Injeti, GHOSTE…..

2019 was a huge year for Michigan rapper DDG propelling him to the global stage. After dropping his debut album Valedictorian in October, which was met by critical acclaim, dropping joints such as ‘Push’ and ‘Hold Up’ with Queen Naija, racking up over 125 million YouTube views and taking over Times Square in NYC, he holds on to his position at the forefront of raps new era with latest single ’Toxic’.

STREAM/PURCHASE: DDG – TOXIC

With his signature hybrid of hip-hop and R&B, his casual flow and his sharp bars, ‘Toxic’ recounts the decay and emotion of an unravelling relationship. Having a penchant for dispensing his ups and downs and hard-earned life lessons, DDG is positioned as ‘Hip-Hop’s new renaissance man’ – as quoted by RESPECT MAG – and fans the world over have flocked to his music as they relate to his subjects, style and vibe. In its open honesty and emotion mixed with its soulful bounce, DDG makes ‘Toxic’ raw, real and relatable. 

Born of YouTube, DDG is amongst the new generation of Hip Hop artists to emerge over recent years. Whilst holding it down and graduating at school in his early days, the self-made millionaire’s recognition within the scene has been monumental. Nourishing a loyal fan base soaring over 3.1 million on Instagram, he has built a following that has elevated his career to the next level and led him to become the social and musical phenomenon he is today, resulting in support from major music publications and tastemakers he has been interviewed by the likes of XXLComplex, No Jumper, Sway’s UniverseDJ Vlad and he has featured on Genius where he has broken down the lyrics for previous singles ‘Arguments’ and ‘Givenchy’. 

Continuing his trajectory as a multi-faceted rapper take in DDG’s latest single ‘Toxic’.

Stay up to date with DDG by following his socials for news about upcoming releases & more.

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London born Samuel Jack brings a fresh and distinct sound through his passionate, storytelling lyrics and velvet vocals, resulting in a completely compelling delivery. Growing up in Johannesburg with his film director Father, Jack spent much of his time soaking in the vibrant tones of Blues, Motown, soul and roots music, which to this date play a big role in his songwriting. Combining the music of his childhood, with his new love for hip hop and pop, the soulful artist has established his own unique style which has been piquing the interest of listeners across the globe. 

Jack has now unveiled his highly anticipated debut album, Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart Vol.1. A collection of tracks narrating the emotions and feelings of the singer’s journey thus far. “What I’ve learnt, what I’ve seen, what I’ve felt – the adventure, the romance, the loss, the heartbreak. The honesty. Putting this record out into the world means everything to me, without being melodramatic this isn’t just a bunch of songs – to me it’s so much more than that.” confides Jack. Sonically the release is a beautiful reflection of his personality, representing his diversity of musical influences, from old school soul, to hip hop and blues. 

The five-track release begins with “Trouble”. The big, vivacious track talks about those moments when you feel like things couldn’t get any worse, and then of course they do. Rambunctious guitars, marching percussion and fierce vocals deliver a relentless and passionate release. “Let You Go” sings about a broken relationship and the desire you have to sit down and talk it out when your significant other doesn’t necessarily agree. Jack shares, “Sonically I wanted to inject a conversational tone through the verse, taking from my love for hip hop as influence.” Single “Gonna Be Alright” is a celebration of recovery – a song that stands as a reminder that we have to keep telling ourselves we can overcome anything and that all is going to be alright. Featuring potent lyricism, swirling synth soundscapes and powerful vocals, the track gradually builds into a huge, anthemic chorus, making you want to hit repeat. Then there is “Closer”- a song about the reality of a situation that you so desperately want to work, when the truth is it was never going to. Jack explains, “It’s an ode to the slow jams I used to listen to by those soul greats I’ve so often been inspired by, but with a contemporary twist. That was the idea anyway.” Completing the album is a good old-fashioned love song, “Real Love”. Marrying a gospel-esq feel alongside a story lead narrative, the song emits truly sincere and heartfelt emotions. 

Samuel Jack’s career has found him performing at some of the world’s biggest festivals, landing multiple TV placements on adverts and shows such as Levi’s, Shameless and Nashville, as well as garnering acclaim from significant outlets including the likes of American Songwriter, Clash, Music Week, Live Nation’s Ones To Watch and the BBC. Empty Pockets, Crowded Heart Vol.1 is out now.

Producer and songwriter, Danny Zee, is forging his new artist path by announcing his upcoming debut album, Blue Butterfly, out now on all streaming platforms. Danny Zee is combining his Pakistani with his love of western genres of R&B and Hip-Hop to create a sound uniquely his own. 

Comprised of 8 original tracks, written over a 6-month period, the entirety of the album was written, composed, and produced by Danny in complete isolation and lock-down. The journey of the record was to document his progression from the dark to the light. Each track documents a moment on this path that has led Danny Zee to reach his full artistic expressions, such as heartbreak, abandonment, solitude, and acceptance.

The first single released off the record was “Blue Butterfly” which introduces Danny Zee as a vulnerable lyricist and hypnotic composer. Inspired by artists such as Daniel Caesar, Frank Ocean, and John Mayer, Danny follows the flow of Neo-Soul music, with a slow tempo beat and dreamy vocals that overlay the instrumental. The music video for “Blue Butterfly” was directed by Ash Gupta of 838 Media Group and feature choreographed movement by LA-based Aathira Rajeev (Just DanceThe Mandy Carmichael Show).

Kicking off 2020, Danny Zee released the second single off the album titled “So Long, Goodbye” which captures the essence of modern contemporary R&B and Hip-Hop infused with a surprising addition of a traditional Eastern Qawwali, composed and written by Hassan Badshah. For the music video, Danny worked alongside director Ashar Azmat of 838 Media Group.

Today, Danny Zee is looking to move forward as an artist as he pursues music that feels more authentic to him and brings his culture forward. With his debut album Blue Butterfly, out now, Danny introduces himself to the US audiences as a vulnerable songwriter and new R&B artist. Be sure to check out Danny Zee on social media to get exclusive music updates.

“My God” is a self-portrait.
It’s all of the things I couldn’t say when I was younger because I didn’t understand them yet.

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This song started at my kitchen table, playing my guitar, and reading through some journals from when I was 15. I saw the lines, My God, can I ever get some peace to sit still and not feel guilty? Right then, I realized I was ready to give the old me a voice.

“My God” is personal, so I made an acoustic version.
Watch my performance on YouTube.

For most of my life, I have struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder and insecurities about self-image. Because of this, living with OCD and experiencing ‘micro-stardom’ as a child had a huge impact on me. I think we all have thoughts (like bullies), or trauma, or experiences we can’t let go of that pop up into our minds when we’re lying in bed at night or listening to music alone. The hook of they won’t let me go repeating over and over captures the feeling of being held captive by thoughts you don’t understand and can’t control.

I want this song to reinforce that nobody is too pretty to be sad, nobody is too happy to be hurting. If someone tells you they are struggling, the most important thing you can do is simply believe them.

In Tiandaland, we celebrate progress.
If you don’t clap for you who will? 🙏

Tianda

My newest single, “Less or More,” was inspired by the loss of inspiration – losing sight of a dream, a dampened spirit, and the journey you take to find yourself again.

The desire to reach for this dream, that all the mundane tasks are worth something, that even when I am not here, I still need to move myself towards what I’ve been striving for this whole time.

Otherwise, I’ll self sabotage.

The bridge is a reflection on childhood & growing up, colourful memories that are full of life – laughter and tears and all that feeling. In that moment of reflection, after feeling lost and dull and a little directionless, I speculate that there was more life there (back then) than I have found anywhere.

 

ModMaxx produced “Less or More,” building around my piano riff. This recording experience was particularly cool – it happened in phases and is the first song we’ve ever had professionally mixed.
Despite some sad lyrics, I hope you feel enchanted when you listen to “Less or More” – like you’re skipping alongside a river in your own little fairytale.
Blair Lee

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Fiona Harte releases her new single ‘At The Hotel’ under EMI UK. Fiona Harte is a singer-songwriter from Northern Ireland who has won the hearts of many with her poetic lyrics and ambrosial vocals. After hearing her mother play records such as Dolly Parton and Simon & Garfunkel around the house, Fiona began to develop an interest in the story’s being told behind songs on the radio and started to write her own music at the age of 8. Fiona continued to hone her craft and has since penned hits for a range of Television Library’s as well as artists such as Duke Special and Rachael Sage.
Following on from the release of her widely acclaimed single ‘White Picket Fence’, which currently holds over 1M streams, Fiona has been writing and recording in Nashville preparing new material for 2020. Her influences include legends such as Joni Mitchell, Carole King and Dolly Parton. 

‘At The Hotel’ showcases a raw sound with elements of folk and country music. Fiona shares “the track tells a story of someone trying to take the good from a bad situation, remembering the better times of a relationship instead of focusing on the pain”. 

Fiona was chosen by Pan-arts Northern Ireland as one of their Top Songwriters and as a result has played a number of famous music venues including Nashville’s Bluebird Café. Fiona is set for a European tour in Autumn with dates to be announced soon. 

Photo Credit: Hung Le

My new song – “I Would” – is about every relationship I have ever been in.

It’s now out on all platforms. Please enjoy via SpotifyApple Music or SoundCloud!

Be sure to check out the official “I Would” music video on YouTube, too.

In the past, I have always invested so much of myself emotionally, mentally and physically.

I Would” is about finding the courage to walk away from a relationship that no longer fulfills you.

I hope you can relate to it, in that heartbreak and loss comes with healing and growth.

Thanks for listening!

Instagram / Twitter / Facebook @jadehilton21

www.jadehilton.com

Jade Hilton

Southern Ontario’s Kadeema are charting a new path with their debut eight-song EP, Napoleon Tornapart. Songwriters Jimmy Chauveau (vocals) and Tal Vaisman (guitar/vocals) began collaborating together in their former band, Ascot Royals, choosing to continue their creative partnership in the wake of the group’s dissolution. Taking their name from Vaisman’s hometown, which translates to ‘forward’ in Hebrew, the duo embraced its meaning.

Napoleon Tornapart is a tongue-in-cheek collection of rock songs that range from empowering to reflective, capturing the ups and downs of day-to-day life. “It’s the natural process, standing on top of rooftops one day, and then the next day, you’re down in the gutter,” explains Chauveau. “It’s that back and forth, sort of taking it all in stride.”

Chauveau and Vaisman worked closely with producer and drummer, Isaac Carpenter (AWOLNATION, Duff McKagan, Adam Lambert) to create the EP. “At some point it felt like we started a band with him,” reflects Vaisman. Carpenter served as the group’s de facto third member, developing an environment that allowed Kadeema to write and record with complete freedom.

This is heard in the record’s varied production, including “Beat Up Car,” which pairs triumphant riffs with blunt lyricism, acknowledging and exploring dejection and loss. Elsewhere, “Average Paranoid” harnesses dreamy guitar and pop vocals to poke fun at the ubiquity of daily stresses.

The songs’ honesty extends to the approach that the band took to their production, allowing the tracks to lead them instead of trying to emulate the groups that formed their musical foundations. “A lot of these songs are a fun and upbeat way of dealing with the days in which life sucks,” reflects Vaisman. Lead single, “Gotta Get It,” features an infectious bass groove, juxtaposed by Chauveau’s admission of being “so tired of trying just to survive this.”

Kadeema’s writing questions their actions as individuals too. The introspective verses of “Good Lies” are a contrast from its anthemic chorus, which acknowledges that “the lows make the real highs.”

The title Napoleon Tornapart, like the EP’s lyrics, juxtaposes adversity with humour. “It’s the idea that any human can be brought down by the day,” says Chauveau. “I love the idea of a military-esque man just broken over a table, almost like a Renaissance painting.”

Kadeema have written a body of work that doesn’t shy away from their experiences of personal and professional imprisonment, yet it crucially harnesses the ability to rebuild and live honestly through life’s challenges. “We wrote the songs that felt like the right thing at the time because they really reflected our lives,” acknowledges Vaisman.

At the core of Napoleon Tornapart is a message that resonates, one of finding catharsis and light through one’s darkest moments. The EP affirms that it is okay to be struggling and to want more from one’s life. Through writing these songs, Kadeema have found empowerment and a renewed sense of identity.

Los Angeles-based indie duo Carrousel are revealing their multidimensional 10-track album Magnificent Desolation. Comprising of Joel Piedt (songwriter, vocals, production) and Sharon Piedt (songwriter, vocals), Carrousel’s futurist pop melodies wane toward the prophetic, delineating several genres at once with enigmatic cohesion and surprising grit.

Carrousel kicked off this year with their EP I Wasn’t Well, which they supported with two experimental music videos for “Psychobabble Drama” and “A Solitary Soul,” and a month-long residency at Los Angeles’ famed Hotel Cafe. With each new release, the band has welcomed us further into the Carrousel universe, emerging fully formed in their new 10-track album which examines the fraught dystopia of life and the spiraling process of depression, both within an individual and a nation. In addition to the songs already heard on I Wasn’t WellMagnificent Desolation also introduces 6 new tracks, “Digital Subterfuge,” “Exile in NY,” “My Winter,” “Dust (Hallelujah, Cyber Soma),” “Scream,” and “Feels Like Going Home.”

Magnificent Desolation is one part of a four album project that pays homage to Joel’s hometown of Memphis. Since moving away from the South, the region has become intrinsic to the band’s identity and music: remembering Memphis as childhood, as allegory, as the origins of blues, soul and rock-n-roll and, like folklore, as Eden — a place that will outlast what it is and what it was and become a destination wherein to return: Memphis as beauty, Memphis, even, as Heaven.

To create the new album, the couple paired scraping digital synths with their analog predecessors, tracked biting vocals and guitars with old tube mics and consoles, printed tracks to cassette tape for its imparting warmth, building, ultimately, a sound which conveys the reality of depression and suicide amidst the reality of an alternative route. Thus the clarity of pain is purposefully distorted; it is pain held next to the hope of something else. Composed of neither the present nor past, Magnificent Desolation belongs instead to the illusory future—and the possibilities awaiting us there—including this new momentous ringing of sound.

Jason Cipparrone is a photographer from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Our latest single, “How Long Is Now” is a song about trying to make a moment or a night last longer than it was initially intended.

It’s attempting to hold onto something that’s so good, you don’t want it to end. 

As a result, you want to prevent other things from occurring even though they are both inevitable and beautiful in their own right 

There’s melancholy already in knowing that ‘this too shall pass’ even though you’re fully aware that other moments like this are sure to come along.

How Long Is Now” encapsulates the notion that every beautiful moment in life can and will eventually pass. We possess the ability to embrace this as a positive acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

Enjoy,

Pyramid Tropic

Borza’s main interest & goal with music is to connect with the listener like a friend.
A lot of his songs are about enlightenments he’s had that’s helped him with different situations in life, and he likes to share these moments with the listener, just like he does with his friends & family.

He has helped on releasing many new artists from the music scene in Montreal, Canada throughout the years by either producing, engineering, playing or writing with them, as well as world reknown established artists. He has eternal love for music projects that have a conscious message to send out in the world for encouragement and inspiration to others. Borza believes that music can help to heal people in different ways. However came the moment where he noticed his musical endeavours did not feel complete if he himself didn’t complete and share his own music as well amongst his fellow artist friends and partners.

Borza released a first alternative/folk EP called “playing with time” in December 2016, on October 25th 2019 he released his full length record “Cocoon” that has essences of alternative pop, folk & reggae, that was produced by his dear friend Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop,Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois), and on April 2nd 2020 he released the video of his latest single “Guérir les hommes” directed by Charlotte G Ghomeshi.

New Jersey alt-rock band Saint Slumber have released their new single entitled “it’s okay to be afraid,” in order to raise funds for COVID-19 relief. As the country began to slowly shut down in early March due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, no industry seemed to be impacted sooner, and more definitively, than the music industry. “I found myself returning home from tour only to nearly barricade myself indoors,” says Saint Slumber’s  Joshua Perna. “It was super jarring. I went from flying across the country playing music to seeing every concert in the nation canceled in one fell swoop.”

Choosing to adopt self-isolation early on for the safety of at-risk family, Perna soon found himself locked in-doors with no end in sight, watching the country slowly join him in their respective homes. So, in this time of anxiety, Perna did the only thing he knew to: he wrote. “it’s okay to be afraid” came to me as I was struggling to sleep one night. Within 72 hours I had the song finished in its entirety and ready to release.” Saint Slumber’s other member, guitarist Aaron Brown, even remotely recorded his parts in order to maintain social distancing and so the track could be released quickly.

“it’s okay to be afraid” is an eerie, smooth alt-rock anthem that speaks of the uncertainty that the nation is currently feeling. The track’s relevance, however, does not begin and end with its subject matter: Saint Slumber plans on using it as a vehicle for relief. “We decided that we would use the proceeds from the track to give to those affected by COVID-19,” says Joshua Perna. “We chose MusicCares because it’s an incredible organization that supports musicians in need, and we chose the PHL COVID-19 Relief Fund in order to give back to the incredible city that’s given us so much as a band.”

Click HERE to stream and download “it’s okay to be afraid”

Swedish born artist JANOS spends his time between the streets and pubs of Oslo and London. Fusing beautiful pop melodies, soulful vocals and explosive energy, the pop-punk soul artist delivers listeners with a fresh, contemporary sound. From fragile, heartfelt ballads to funky upbeat anthems, JANOS tells a story relating to the highs and lows of our generation.

JANOS’ message is one of strength and self-empowerment. After years of performing with other bands, the Swedish artist finally took the leap to go it alone, setting him free to create the music that is true to who he is. With the desire to mix organic sounds with elements of R&B, pop and rock, JANOS was able to create an entirely unique sound. Inspired by the likes of Daft Punk, Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak, JANOS has crafted an infectious and dance-worthy sound, rich with colour and oozing with euphoric surges.

The musician starts 2020 off with a new release, incorporating elements of JANOS’ new found love for jazz and soul. The infectious ‘Sicky/Sticky’ which has been a huge crowd pleaser at live performances for it’s uplifting feel good vibe, is the first track to be recorded with a horn section. The big, bold brass sound, along with soulful vocals and funky guitars, creates the ultimate groove-fuelled track. ‘Sicky/Sticky’ narrates trying to hide from your worries with drugs and alcohol, while still hoping it’s not too late to reach your dreams.

JANOS has been applauded by fans and critics across the globe, receiving notoriety from prestigious publications and renowned radio stations including the BBC. 2020 is set to be an exciting year for this artist on the rise.

rising producer pluko is revealing his new single, “used to (with Cassette Tapes).” For the infectious new single, pluko brought in Jackson Stokes (vocals and songwriting) and Parker Livingston (production) — also known as Bay Area indie-pop duo Cassette Tapes — and producer/songwriter Peter Fenn. Building on a demo that pluko had made a few days prior to the session, the collaborative single came together seamlessly over the course of only a few hours. “I’m so happy with how this turned out,” pluko writes, “I still find myself listening to it for fun when I need a mood booster.”

used to (with Cassette Tapes)” is the latest showcase of pluko’s knack for crafting infectious crossover anthems, following on the heels of his recent releases “blessings (ft. Nate Travellers)” and “the lovely one.” pluko’s playful bass-filled tracks glitter with imagination and forward-thinking production techniques. He consistently pushes the boundaries of his own musicality, creating colorful records that feel authentic and fresh.

With merely 2 years of activity, 19-year-old pluko has gone from bedroom producer to main stage act. Hailing from the small town of Hollidaysburg, PA, Sam Martinsen — the mind behind the pluko project — has racked up over 50 million plays across platforms while securing festival slots at major North American festivals like Coachella, Firefly Festival, and HARD Summer. In 2018, pluko released his first full-length album, ‘sixteen,’ via Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective and joined the dance duo at their annual Red Rocks show. Last year saw the independent release of ‘CLASS XIX‘ and the announcement of pluko’s own record label and collective Splendid Society. In addition to his own releases, pluko has also become a go-to producer for official remixes, re-imagining tracks for Tycho, Hayden James, Mansionair, Odesza, and more.

Stream plukos new single “used to (with Cassette Tapes)”:
https://stem.ffm.to/usedto

Photo Credit: Chase Leonard

Eighty Ninety — the musical project of Brooklyn-based brothers Abner (vocals, production) and Harper (guitar, production) James — are sharing their new single, “Know Me.”

On “Know Me“, Abner’s voice floats over Harper’s earthy blend of banjo and acoustic guitar as the track builds to a vibrant pop chorus, complete with 808s and stacked ethereal harmonies. “The song is about loving someone through life’s darker moment and how that kind of love can bring hope, meaning, and maybe even redemption in the face of tragedy,” the brothers explain. “Know Me” stays true to Eighty Ninety’s breezy indie-pop aesthetic while also adding an Americana-inspired flair that feels fresh and new for the band.

Eighty Ninety first catapulted onto the scene in 2016 with their break out single “Three Thirty,” which hit #2 on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts, and was followed by their debut EP Elizabeth. Since then, their music has garnered over 22 million streams, been hand-picked by Taylor Swift for her official Spotify playlist “Songs Taylor Loves”, and been featured in publications like Alternative Press, Billboard, Galore, Ones To Watch and LADYGUNN.

Eighty Ninety’s songs fuse intimate storytelling, sticky melodies, and minimalist pop productions built on acoustic instruments and electronic sounds in a style they call “808s and telecasters” — a shorthand for both their music and their anything-goes mentality in the studio. “We let the emotional arc of the song, rather than any set of genre conventions, lead us to instruments and sounds,” the brothers say of their process.

“Falling”
is a song about how I dealt with my father’s death. It captures something I never expressed to anyone and through doing so accepts that it is okay to fall apart. Producing this song was a labour of love. It was all done in my studio using a mix of digital and analog gear. I wanted to capture both sadness and hope through “Falling.”
It is better to learn to express oneself than to keep your sadness inside. Stream
“Falling” through SOUNDCLOUD
//
SPOTIFY
now

Internationally acclaimed, multiple-award winning singer-songwriter, Jenny Bruce, introduces her new artistic identity, GHOSTE. Today, she releases her new single “Brick by Brick”, a defiant declaration of grit and resilience. The track is from her new album, GHOSTE, produced by Matt Anthony, who has worked with Pat Monahan of Train, Darius Rucker, Shinedown, among other major artists.  GHOSTE  is set to release on October 31, 2020.

For the past 30 years, Jenny Bruce, the artist behind GHOSTE, has had a successful music career as an independent  singer-songwriter. She has released four independent albums and won multiple songwriting awards (Billboard, International Songwriting Competition, John Lennon and dozens more). Her songs have been heard on Dawson’s Creek, Ghost Whisperer, The Today Show, King of the Hill, All My Children, among many other national TV shows and independent films.

Now at age 50, she decided it was time to step out of that box. She says, “I created GHOSTE – ethereal electropop music that embraces who I am and what I believe in. I wanted a more dramatic, cinematic sound to capture my passion for life and music.” She teamed up with producer/composer, Matt Anthony, who helped her develop the pulsating, haunting tracks for her debut album as GHOSTE.

Be sure to check out new single, “Brick by Brick”, by GHOSTE from her new self-titled album, out this Fall. You can listen to the single here. TQAlso look out for her new music video for “Brick by Brick” – coming soon!

MishCatt – alter ego of Michelle González – is the alluring and sultry voice from Costa Rica (now based in Los Angeles) who grew up singing, playing guitar and piano, while using music as a sanctuary for expression and sonic exploration. Born with synesthesia – a perceptual condition of mixed senses – MishCatt credits her condition for her unique take on music allowing her to see colors and shapes in each track she writes.

With The Real Pavo EP – out today April 3, 2020 via Amuse – the artist continues to explore the connection she carries with her inner-self and simultaneously her jazz infused soulful roots bloomed in Costa Rica. Inspired by the complicated emotions involved in relationships, the EP (produced by Pontus Winnberg of Miike Snow notoriety and co-writer for Britney SpearsSky FerreiraKylie Minogueetc.) explores the love story between MishCatt and her intuition. Inviting you into that journey from track 1 to track 5 , both MishCatt and Winnberg exquisitely tap into groovy, synth-pop and psychedelic sounds alongside masterful storytelling.

Prior to the big reveal, MishCatt shared the acoustic rendition of “Fades Away” by Avicii following her touching performance at the Avicii Tribute Concert for Mental Health Awareness in Stockholm, Sweden in December 2019. The live track was the first from the event to officially be released across DSPs via Universal Music and has racked up over 20 million streams. She humbly states “Life is very interesting… Not too long ago I had no idea I would be singing a song from Avicii. I mean… it’s Avicii! But last year ended with an incredible tribute to such an amazing human. As we went into 2020, it seemed it would be giving us a warm welcome, but here we are, going through very weird and dark times… We’re conscious of the vulnerability of life as we know it. It all somehow feels like when we need to cry for a long night, so we can float into bliss the next morning. I never imagined I would have this opportunity, but I always hoped to somehow share all my love through music, and this song is a very special one. I hope its message resonates with all of you as it does with me.”

“Pavo” – the third single to be revealed off the EP – served as a reminder to dance to the beat of your own drum, MishCatt says “This song is about feeling that delicious rebel flow in your veins and going against society. It’s about creating your own movement, your own wave with whoever wants to join.” MishCatt explains. “It’s about giving full power to the vibration in your happiness and freedom.” tmrw Magazine called it “the backdrop to that opening movie scene that sweeps across a vast and otherwise ordinary city on a sunny day, setting the scene for an adventure still untold.”

At the top of 2020 MishCatt also unveiled Midnight Sun along with a video via Ladygunn. While “Midnight Sun” lulls you in with its nostalgic and melancholic vibe, the video directed by Albin Eidhagen invites you into MishCatt’s irresistible world of color. MishCatt elaborates: “This song is about feeling far away from your essence. Really wanting to be in touch with it, but never being as close as you want to be.” She adds “For the video we built this cardboard version of Pontus’ car, and put it in this crazy animated video created by Albin Eidhagen, who directed the video. The car travels on a wild adventure through many environments within the MishCatt world.” The acoustic version of “Midnight Sun” shortly followed which in its raw simplicity allowed the introspective lyrics to shine.

In 2019 MishCatt she dropped “Blue Blood” – her first single to surface worldwide after a three year gap. The track has a dreamy, space pop groove which marries up with EP’s striking blend of psychedelic sounds and synth-pop soul. Both remind us how important it is to re-discover your true colors and never be afraid to embrace them. Earmilk dubbed the visual “comforting in the chaos of it all” while praising MishCatt on her ability to “create singular soundscapes that move freely with unbound emotion.”

Her debut Highlighter EP, which includes “Another Dimension” (All Things GoMILKNYLON) and “Gun to the Head,” amassed over 50 million collective streams. The success of her debut (also produced by Winnberg) marked her as Costa Rica’s most streamed artist and one to watch in the indie electronic pop scene.

Sid Tipton was born and raised in Nashville,Tennessee. She began writing and singing before the age of 3. She would sing and rhyme to anything she would hear, from words on a cereal box to passages in the Bible. Determined to succeed, Sid taught herself acoustic guitar and piano, and at age 17 with over 100 original songs, she began the search for her success.

She has since signed with Timbaland’s publishing company Bluestone. She has had collaborations with artists like Timbaland, JoJo, Hailey Reinhart,Tinashe, Justin Timberlake and more including her contribution as a writer and featured artist on Maluma’s Grammy winning album “FAME,” which features the song “Mi Declaracion” featuring her and Timbaland. 

You can find Sid in both Music City and on the West Coast, where she is busy recording, singing and writing. 

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Cannon is a 21-year-old independent artist from South Carolina who blends strong hip/hop and R&B influences with an organic sound he developed at open mic nights with an old acoustic guitar.

“Conversations” is about ignoring our personal issues for the sake of feeling like we don’t have them. It’s easier to turn to quick tricks to feel better or ignore feeling bad entirely than to really consider and engage with how we feel. There’s a really important difference between talking and having a conversation, whether it’s with ourselves or with others—and this song is emphasizing that difference. It’s easy to talk, but it’s hard to really engage with something enough to actually have a conversation. “Conversations” shows someone not engaging — they tell themselves they’re trying but they’re not really. They’re lying.

Photo Credit: Ruby Singh

‘Mustt Mustt’ (Enrapture) the new single from Vancouver artist Ruby Singh‘s  pan-cultural Sufi Hip-Hop project Jhalaak, is out today on all digital platforms

In a time when Muslims are being persecuted at an alarming rate in India, Jhalaak‘s second single, ‘Mustt Mustt’, turns towards India’s pluralistic roots and celebration of the incredible Sufi culture, which is woven into the very fabric of India.  This song was made popular by the late great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Massive Attack. Here, Jhalaak has created a contemporary version that brings together a Muslim family (Chugge, Salim and Khette Khan); Canadian born Sikh rapper Ruby Singh, who delivers thoughtful rap interpretations/translations of the Urdu lyrics; and Hindu master drummer of the Nagara, Solanki Nathu Lal.

“The song celebrates Sufi saints and the intoxication their poetry and teachings bring to us,” says Ruby Singh. “We shot the video in Rajasthan, India and used the mandalic form to symbolize the interconnectedness between us all.”

Spanning two continents, Jhalaak brings together the powerful sounds of Qawaali (devotional Sufi music from Pakistan and India), Hip-Hop, and EDM. Jhalaak met in Vancouver in 2014 at the Indian Summer Festival when a group of Indian musicians found a kindred spirit in Canadian born Desi Hip-Hop artist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Ruby Singh. And there was also a bit of serendipity involved in the meeting. The Indian musicians are all brothers from the same family, 19th century musicians from a caste called Manganiyars, and are from the same city where Ruby Singh’s ancestors migrated from 300 years ago.

‘Mustt Mustt’ is the second track to be released from Jhalaak‘s self-titled debut album. Their first single ‘Main Naraye Mastana’  was released earlier this year. The album will be released on May 8th through Bandcamp and will be available on all other digital platforms on May 22nd.

“In these times where musician’s revenue has been decimated, we’ve made the decision to release the album on Bandcamp only for the first 2 weeks as a fundraiser for the Khan family in Jaisalmere, Rajasthan, where they support a community of 50+ artists through their performances,” says Singh.  “With India on lockdown, they are trying desperately to raise funds for their community for basic necessities.”

Jhalaak‘s new single ‘Mustt Mustt’ is available NOW on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers and streaming services. For more information, please visit: Jhalaak

(Photo Credit: Mackenzie Breeden)

LA-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Leah Capelle unveils her debut triptych LP – an impressive and  poignant 12-track journey about the human heart and condition – today April 3, 2020 via Little Cabin Entertainment / The Orchard. Capelle is additionally slated as the opener for Colbie Caillet at UnCancelled Music Festival – a virtual benefit concert streaming via Stageit and curated by different venues, promoters, and brands including LA’s The Hotel Cafe, LA’s Spaceland Presents, NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall, and more. Artists include  Waxahatchee, JP Saxe, The Aces, Snail Mail, and more.

In honor of the album release, Leah Capelle shares a personal letter (aka triptych – the story) with American Songwriter and her fans below:

“I don’t remember exactly when it all started – probably months before I truly even realized – but in January of 2018, the pain started to rear its ugly head, to stretch and embed its tentacles into every aspect of my life, to become imminent. I was burnt out. I constantly occupied myself with work, with substances, with a wild social life, so as to never have to actually sit with myself. My partner at the time started coming home from work each night to find me with an empty wine bottle in my lap on the couch. Each weekend I would find some excuse to get fucked up, and then I would shudder and cry at the subtlest provocation. When my friends would ask me how I’d been, I would casually comment about how depressed I was, or how I was becoming an alcoholic – all with a crooked smile on my face, my bright green eyes faded, my freckled face pale. 

But I was at the top of my class in school. I had a great, high-paying (but stressful) job that inspired me creatively. I was working on my third EP. I had just started coming out as bisexual with nothing but acceptance and support. I had a loving, long term, live-in partner, an amazing circle of friends, a tight-knit family, a beautiful and safe place to live. So the deeper down I fell, the harder I would try to convince myself that everything was fine, because everything should have been fine.

Ultimately, my depression-fueled, self-destructive behavior ended my relationship. The loss of my best friend, the person I thought would be my life-partner, knocked me back down harder than I had ever imagined. I spent a long time in complete denial about what had happened. Defensive and accusatory, I was completely unwilling to accept my share of the blame. I spun a victim’s tale of abandonment, perhaps to protect myself, perhaps to hurt myself even more… I’m still not sure. And in brief moments in which I was able to glimpse a more accurate depiction of the past, I spiraled back out of control. The people around me tried to console me at first, to guide me through my suffering – but the longer I mourned, the more inconsolable I became. The less they wanted to talk about it, the less I really listened. 

I withdrew from everyone for about a year writing this record. The songs come from my depressive episodes, drug-induced evenings, broken-heart breakdowns, first dating experiences as an openly bisexual woman, and eventually, beautiful moments of acceptance and healing. ‘triptych,’ to me, is not just a breakup album. It’s the story of how I had to lose myself – to lose everything I held close – to find myself again. Talking about struggles with mental health and substance abuse amidst the context of a breakup is a delicate balance – and it remains difficult to determine if I was just heartbroken, or genuinely performing acts of escapism. But ultimately, I don’t think it really matters. 

This is an album about life – the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. I hope, in listening, it gives you even a fraction of the healing it has given me in creating it.”

Her latest single “i keep her” served as a personal coming out letter to herself and an ode to women exploring their sexuality.she laments “I keep her at a distance, I keep her as a dream… more than nothing, less than something… more, more, more…” over a hypnotic drum beat and what has become her signature alt-rock guitar sound. Capelle, who came out publicly as bisexual in 2019, found inspiration for “i keep her” in her own journey falling in love with a straight female friend. She questioned the fascination and if she wanted to be her or to be with her, eventually coming to terms with the fact that it was the latter. Elaborating on the track, she states “In truth, this song isn’t just for one person – it’s for all the women I’ve loved thus far and for the women still searching, wondering…” BlackBook says “…with the kind of visceral intensity of a Vanessa Carlton or Lykke Li, she conveys longing and vulnerability in equal measure over an opulent, haunting sweep of strings.”

At the top of 2020 the emerging artist released “on accident,” a violently honest song about mistakes and the inevitable aftermath. Balancing the line between alternative-pop and hard rock, Capelle wails over a massive punk-rock stack as she begs, “did I hurt you? You know I didn’t mean it… Did I hurt you on accident?” In their exclusive profile, American Songwriter calls the track “[a] vulnerable look at one’s self-awareness, accepting our faults, flaws, and other selfish behaviors.” Capelle also dropped by the Paste Magazine and iHeart/Z100 studios in NYC to give the world a sneak peak of “on accident” stripped down.

In 2019 Leah Capelle shared her heart-wrenching video for “know me better” following the exclusive premiere via PRIDE. They raved, “Grab a glass of wine, turn up the volume, and try to resist prancing around the room in your underwear.” A story of self-discovery, the cinematic visual is a colorful and alluring production of pain, loss, and healing. With vocals that wistfully dance from one guitar strand to the other, Capelle brings you into her dismal world.

NYLON dubbed the “know me better” single as “the perfect breakup song to dance-cry the pain away” but Capelle describes the single as much more once the layers are peeled back. At its core, the emotionally charged anthem is about coming to terms with the relationship you have with yourself and your identity then growing from it, though ultimately triggered by the loss of someone significant in your life. The song leaps into realms lost, found, broken, and mended as Capelle confronts her pain head-on. Piecing back the puzzles of heart and self, “know me better” is about knowing yourself again.

The young artist recently joined the  Breedlove Guitars family, headlined the Emerging Artists Series at Summerfest, toured across the US and jumped on an opening slot for Knox Hamilton in her hometown of Chicago, all while clocking in endless hours at the studio and racking up over 100K followers across her social media independently. In addition, she’s landed coverage with ATWOOD, Buzzbands.la, Earmilk, GLAAD, Grimy Goods, Guitar Girl Magazine, Parade, PopDust, PopMatters, Spindle Magazine, and penned guest blogs for Betches and The Talkhouse.

One thing remains true as Leah Capelle continues to build her catalogue – “every songwriter is more than just a voice.” In her guest blog on The Talkhouse, the artist questions “What is our responsibility as artists? Is it to provide a much-needed break from the heaviness of the news? Is it to simply provide entertainment, to become one more distraction from the daily responsibilities of life? Is it to be the voice of our whole generation, or to be, just a voice for those who can’t put their feelings into words?”

Since her arrival in 2015, Capelle has proven that she’s got it all – a song for everyone and any human experience in all of its duality.

Indie Rockers, The Elwins are thrilled to release their new single “Take Me All The Way” that is out now along with the music video that is featured on Earmilk.

Francesco the bassist/singer says, ⁃” This song fits in that zone I love where it’s an upbeat sounding song with sad/introspective lyrics. Very excited for this to be the first taste of what people hear from the new album, I feel like this is one of the songs that helped us dial in where we wanted to head vibe wise.”

The Newmarket four-piece has made a decade-plus long career out of carefully crafting clever and cozy tunes. An Elwins song is just as comfortable in your headphones as you walk as it is being blasted from the sound system at one of their vibrant live shows.

Taking a break from their prolific touring schedule, which most recently has found them playing alongside acts such as Passion Pit, Metric and Born Ruffians, The Elwins took to a handful of studios to record their latest collection of songs. With their fourth LP on the way, Matthew Sweeney, Travis Stokl, Francesco Figliomeni, and Feurd have done it again. Self-produced by the band, with a diverse and detailed sound reflecting influences from 70s AM-radio pop to the mid-2000s alternative that the band was borne out of, the record is a prime showcase for the collective magic of these four talented songwriters.

“Take Me All The Way” is out now everywhere at https://ffm.to/elwins

Pop/R&B artist Rayvon Owen new EP, Las Virginia, is out now along with his music video for his single, “Honesty”  and featured on Hollywood Life.

Rayvon says, “ My sophomore EP Las Virginia has been over two years in the making and I’m finally excited to welcome listeners more into my world. There were so many personal memories and experiences that I was previously afraid to sing about when I didn’t fully accept myself. It feels good to create freely and write songs about past loves and relationships that I felt previously ashamed of. In a world where nearly everything seems instant and fleeting, “Honesty” is all about yearning for real, authentic long-lasting love and the music video shows the dichotomy between who I thought I should be vs. who I am becoming. I hope you hear and feel my truth in Las Virginia.”

Las Virginia reflects Owen’s journey of growth, as well as the combination of where he came from with who he is now. Authenticity is a common theme within the native Virginian’s music; past EPs delved deeply into themes of personal authenticity, self-confidence, and love. It took awhile to get there, however.

Owen’s glowing collection of pop gems—layered with textures of soul, R&B, and incandescent synth—have earned attention from the likes of People Magazine , Huffington Post , USA Today , and Billboard. Recent singles have included: “Flexin’ My Vibe,” with a feature appearance from the “Selfie Kid,” Ryan McKenna; “Tonight” with a feature from Matillo; “Like a Storm;” and “X,” which Owen credits for inspiring the vibe of Las Virginia .

Other significant appearances and accolades have included being Elvis Duran’s “Artist of the Month” (Jan/Feb 2018); performing his single “Gold” on the TODAY Show; winning the “Rising Star” award at the 2015 L.A. Music Awards; having “Gold” featured as Nylon Magazine’s “Best Releases of the Week” (Jan 2018); and receiving nearly 3 million YouTube views combined of his covers of “Ignition” and “Don’t Let Me Down” with Postmodern Jukebox

Whether onstage, in the studio, or deep into the songwriting process, Rayvon Owen strives to entertain his listeners, while also creating an immersive and inspirational experience.

Las Virginia Is out everywhere at https://onerpm.lnk.to/lasvirginia

Raynes is a transatlantic trio made up of two Americans and a Brit. Now based in Los Angeles, Mat Charley and Joe Berger, both born and raised in North Dakota, met UK native Mark Race through Instagram after an extensive search for the final piece of this project. The geographically unlikely three combine their unique and complementary strengths to form an artistically authentic band, integrating elements of modern pop with classically Americana instrumentation. Their ability to blend pianos and synths, pounding drums and sophisticated vocals, and string arrangements with acoustic guitars and mandolins results in an impactful, one-of-a-kind style.

Following the release of their debut single ‘Lemon Drop’ the trio are back with yet another banger. “Come My Way” is a simple and straightforward song narrating the desire and feelings you have towards a loved one. The band reveal, “There’s something of an ‘us against the world’ quality to it, naive and young and probably foolish, but motivated by nothing but love.” Sonically, the song draws much of its inspiration from world music – taikos, toms and shakers blended with acoustic folk instruments. “We feel like the production and instrumentation is quintessentially us; from the mandolins and violins to the cinematic synths, harmonies and gang vocals, it basically has all our favorite sounds and sonic flavors packed into three minutes and eighteen seconds.” admit the three-piece. 

Raynes’ sound has been compared to the arena-filling choruses of Coldplay, the Americana instrumentation of Mumford and Sons and the harmonic complexity of the Beach Boys. Raynes call this inimitable fusion “expensive folk”––folk instrumentation which incorporates very obvious elements of pop production, ultimately creating a slicker and shinier sound than straight-down-the-middle folk. “Even with all of the more exotic or unusual components, it’s really just pop music at its core,” reveals the band. 

There are recurring lyrical motifs running through the music of Raynes––heads and hearts, blood and bones, sugar and salt, sun and rain, and wine and water, among many others. There are also a number of musical ideas and elements that repeat in many of their songs, such as atmospheric synth tones, violin and mandolin counterpoints, and world-inspired percussion. But there’s not really one thematic throughline other than “the human condition” and all that comes with it––longing, confusion, cowardice and despair, but also joy, hope, growth, and of course love. Some songs are inspired by Bible stories, Greek myths, or historical events, and some are more personal, direct, and intimate.

With a catalog of songs, ready to unveil one by one, Raynes continues to grace audiences with their robust folky foot-stompers, introspective ballads, and pure pop sugar.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

 

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Written by Neill Frazer

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