INsiders Guide: Anne-Marie & Niall Horan, Aibai, Jesse Royal, Jessicka, Yndling, Voodoo Bloo, Foolproof, Sean Hassard, vaultboy, Bailey Coats, Rob Late, BIA, Gina Baez, Lucid Express, Mekka Don, Sean Watson Graham…
Anne-Marie & Niall Horan team up for nostalgic new single “Our Song”– listen HERE. Directed by Michael Holyk, the video is loosely inspired by Bonnie & Clyde as it trails friends, Anne-Marie and Niall, as they hastily flee their town in search for new beginnings – watch it HERE. Additionally, Anne-Marie has announced her highly-anticipated new album Therapy, which will be released on July 23rd – pre-order HERE.
Therapy is the follow-up to her multi-platinum 2018 debut, Speak Your Mind, which was the UK’s biggest-selling debut release of that year and spawned two global anthems – “2002,” written by Ed Sheeran, and the Marshmello collaboration “FRIENDS,” which reached #2 on the U.S. Top 40 Radio Charts. Therapy is a collection of songs that embody Anne-Marie’s characterful artistry, self-effacing attitude, and beautiful honesty. Anne-Marie wrote Therapy with Max Martin (Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift), Kamille (Little Mix, Mabel), TMS (Dua Lipa, Lewis Capaldi), Blake Slatkin (The Kid Laroi, 24kGoldn), Plested (Lewis Capaldi), MNEK, Raye, Nathan Dawe and Ed Sheeran. The album will include “Our Song” along with previous released tracks “Don’t Play” with KSI and Digital Farm Animals and the Nathan Dawe and MoStack collaboration “Way Too Long.” The final tracklisting will be revealed soon.
Of the album, Anne-Marie explains, “Ugh, it feels SO GOOD to announce my new album, Therapy! Music is a source of healing for everyone and music is therapy itself, right?! I hadn’t realised until we were hit by the pandemic just how much I NEEDED music. I need to perform. I need to write. My lyrics are my open diary to you all and writing this album has helped me focus and understand my feelings. I needed this album! As well as seeking therapy from writing and music in general, I’ve also been on a journey of seeing a psychiatrist this past year and it has changed my life. I’ve always tried to be as open as I can with my fans about my own journey and through seeing a professional, I’ve been able to start combatting and understand the anxieties my brain has dealt me over the years. I am learning, and I am progressing. This album helped me get to that place too and it encapsulates lots of feelings and emotions, whether it’s tracks that focus on my own ride, or the ones that I just loved making, and I hope you can lose yourself in it. I made this for you and me.”
Anne-Marie has become one of the globe’s most successful pop stars since her breakthrough in 2016. She has over 5 billion streams to her name, a platinum debut album alongside five Top 10 UK singles and two Billboard Hot 100 hits. She has garnered dozens of award nominations, sold out her global headline tour and supported Ed Sheeran in stadiums everywhere. In 2020, alongside charitable work and recording, Anne-Marie released her first-ever documentary titled ‘How To Be Anne-Marie’ exclusively with YouTube. She hasn’t slowed down in 2021, her January release “Don’t Play” with KSI and Digital Farm Animals spent twelve weeks inside the Top 10 of the UK’s Official Singles Chart and is the biggest UK song of 2021 so far by a female artist, she collaborated with Nathan Dawe and MoStack on the feel-good “Way Too Long” and made her debut as the new, and winning, judge on The Voice UK.
Aibai is a 23-year-old producer based in Minneapolis. Her songs are filled with ambient, cinematic soundscapes that create a daydream-like atmosphere. Originally focusing on making electronic music, the young musician has started to diversify her sound in her recent releases, exploring more of the alternative, indie and R&B realm. Inspired by electronic artists like Odesza and Flume, as well as indie/alt greats such as Clairo, Rex Orange County and Goth Babe, Aibai combines these two worlds, while giving it a unique flair of her own.
“Aura” featuring Colby Hansen is the ultimate masterpiece of dreamy, romantic, summer warmth. The track enters with mirrored rolling waves of synths, oscillating and gently pulsing over harmonic chords glazed in an undeniable uplifting aura. Lyrically the song is a whirlpool of excitement, narrating a queer relationship and the emotions of seeing a cute girl in a crowd at a concert and wanting to dance with her. The song exemplifies the feelings of nervousness and excitement of meeting someone new and wanting to connect on a deeper level. Aibai shares, “I feel like with the pandemic, live music has really taken a toll and this song just makes me want to get out, play a show, dance, enjoy the company of friends and live to the fullest”. Aibai describes the track as a means of bringing hope to the future of live performances and life getting moving again.
“All Night” speaks about being in a relationship that you may have to sacrifice due to moving somewhere to chase your dreams and potentially losing the relationship forever due to that. Aibai shares, “I wanted to make a dark song that someone might dance to in a club or something. The song is pretty sad I would say, but has a strong beat and is very climatic so it is a good one to dance to. I had Colby add some live drums to this one which definitely added a nice touch to it!”
Aibai has garnered hundreds of thousands of streams for her music, as well as features on prestigious publications such as The Line of Best Fit, Earmilk, EDM.com, Live Nation’s Ones to Watch and Rolling Stone.
Jesse Royal teams up with Ghanaian Afrobeat/Dancehall star Stonebwoy for “Dirty Money,” where a lilting African-influenced rhythm track propels the lyrics’ unrelenting condemnation of political greed: “If education is key, why you can’t make it free for we? Or is it because you profit from poverty? When you look at me do you see a man or do you see another vote for your party? Not even holy water can clean your dirty money.”
The track is the latest single and fourth release from Royal’s upcoming sophomore album, Royal, due to come out June 11 via Easy Star Records. The single follows “Rich Forever” which had an accompanying video premiered by The FADER this week. The new song “Dirty Money” features a cross-cultural beat, co-produced by Grammy-award winning producer Sean Alaric (responsible for Koffee’s “Throne” and Teyana Taylor’s “Bad”) and Jesse himself and captures the sounds of Jamaica and Africa.
The album title Royal describes the quality of music he’s making but also offers a succinct definition of Jamaica’s signature beat. “Reggae is a different tone, a different feeling, a different mood. It speaks to you in different ways, it is definitely royal music,” says Jesse. Jesse adopted a new approach for creating the songs on Royal, collaborating with like-minded colleagues and just letting the creativity flow. The result is 11 tracks that incorporate live instrumentation and programmed riffs, experimental and traditional sounds, all of which contribute to Jesse’s most impressive body of work to date. The messages delivered throughout Royal are militant yet divinely inspired, profoundly moving and politically provocative, while the album’s multi-textured sonics are rooted in reggae but also incorporate a 21st century burnished palette of influences.
Gold, disco balls, a dark room with hints of glitter in the corner. That’s what I want you to envision as you listen to my new single, “Gold Jacket,” available now via Light Organ Records.
You’re in a wild situation that you weren’t expecting, but you know it’s going to be a fun adventure. It’s the soundtrack for one of those nights that takes you by surprise and never lets go.
The title was inspired by the outfit my friend was wearing on a great night out in Vancouver, her gold jacket shining as she danced like crazy to the live band at The Imperial. It was amazing.
I’m motivated to make music that makes you want to move, and this song ushers in my new era of dance-based pop. I look forward to the day I can perform “Gold Jacket“ on stage.
Thank you for your time,
Yndling is the dream pop project of Norwegian artist Silje Espevik. This musical endeavour is the result of wanting to take complete creative control over her music. Through delicate soundscapes and oscillating synths, Yndling invites listeners into her own world, offering a place of escapism and resonance through her lyricism.
Following the release of her debut single “Childish Fear,” Yndling is unveiling the sweet and euphoric “Cotton Candy Skies.” After feeling sad and a bit heartbroken for a while, Yndling found herself in a state of self pity she couldn’t pull herself out of, almost taking comfort in the familiar feeling of being down. She confides, “The idea for the song came as I was walking home one evening and the sky was really brilliant with pink clouds all over. Normally I’m quite good at making small moments like that lift my mood and feel better, and it kind of struck me that I hadn’t really been doing that well on being present in my life lately.”
The first lyrics of the song goes, “Cotton Candy Skies, my life is floating by, and with the fear of no surprises, my mind it’s in the thinnest of slices”, touching on her feelings at that moment in time and how life seemed to be slipping through her fingers. The song acts as a reminder to shake yourself out of the funk, and to recognise your emotions without being overwhelmed with them. Through whimsical synths, an intoxicating groove and deliciously breathy vocals, Yndling draws us into her dreamy, pastel-coloured paradise.
Yndling takes influences from artists and bands such as Beach House, Tops, Crumb, Hatchie and Mazzy Star. When it comes to songwriting, the Norweigan artist often allows her feelings or experiences to engross her for a while in order to fully submerge herself in the reality of the emotions. She explains, “I think there is so much power in letting a feeling or experience be all-consuming, just for a little while, and I really need that to write music.” Along with always trying to be as honest and vulnerable as possible, Yndling has an understanding that when writing, it is important to “throw away the fear of being too honest or maybe telling a truth that’s not recognized by everyone else and that may feel a little too close for comfort.” Yndling offers a kaleidoscope of imagination and feeling throughout her music and ensures her lyrics are just as positively affecting.
Alternative punk rock band Voodoo Bloo release their second UK single ‘MMA’ on 14th May via PlasticGroove Records. The single is the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut ‘Her Name Was Human’ released in February. Described as “a fiery ball of big riffs, juicy drum beats and snappy vocals with deep meaning leave you in awe”
Singer / songwriter Rory McDonald says: “MMA was also originally going to be called ‘moshpit martial arts’, and is all about those drunken idiots who in an effort to make themselves look cool end up making regretful decisions that don’t mean much until they wake up the next morning. I feel everyone has let something fall through the cracks that shouldn’t have when intoxicated”
MMA has been worked on by Greg Haver (Manic Street Preachers / Super Furry Animals / Bullet for My Valentine) as mix production adviser. The track was mixed by Scott Seabright (Mumford and Sons/ Broods/Passenger/Neil Finn).
Rory, originally from Sheffield, now resides in Wellington, New Zealand. Their sound is influenced by acts such as Arctic Monkeys and System of a Down, as well as some singer-songwriters such as Car Seat Headrest and Neutral Milk Hotel. This combination brings a great blend of emotional and conceptual song-writing with a very catchy and frequently danceable distorted mess.
Before starting Voodoo Bloo, Rory was the frontman of Lucifer Gunne, who gained a large fan base from touring, releasing singles & EP’s. He started the new band so he could have creative freedom and because the forthcoming debut album ‘Jacobus’ is a conceptual and very personal record.
“Last July, a close friend of mine for many years, took his own life while I was away overseas. This was obviously a massive shock to myself and the people around me but being isolated from my friends while in a different country led me to writing a lot of lyrics during one of the strangest and scariest points in my life. The writing of “Jacobus” was a very cathartic process at a time when I didn’t have many people around me to talk to.”
New Zealand currently has one of the highest teen suicide rates in the world and recently the band played multiple charity shows for Lifeline Aotearoa (an organisation focused on suicide prevention and mental health treatment).
Hailing from all parts of Niagara, Ontario, Foolproof is a three-piece grunge-rock band founded by lead vocalist and guitarist, Paige Kopp, in the early 2010’s. After many years of playing live and a handful of member changes, Nate Moore (bass) and Jesse Boulay (drums) officially joined in late 2018. Since then, the band has been writing new material and playing many live shows with acts such as The Forgotten Rebels, The Mahones, Moneen, The Dirty Nil, The Creepshow, The Anti-Queens, Die Mannequin, The Brains, The Lucky Ones and many more. In 2020, Foolproof were crowned winners of 97.7 HTZ FM’s Rocksearch contest, gaining them daily radio play on the station for their first single, “VIOLET”. The band is currently set to release their debut EP in early 2021. This will be the bands first official release.
Foolproof is known for their high energy performances, catchy-as-fuck melodies, and bone-crushing volume.
My brand new single, “Lemonade,” is about unrequited love.
The emotional weight of falling for someone, who despite admitting feeling deeply about you, purposefully distances themself out of fear of heartbreak.
Click here to stream “Lemonade” now wherever you listen to music.
You’re always supposed to give things your all, but be careful about putting your energy into people or things that won’t give any energy back. I sing about the slow-burning nature of the pain, a memory of naked skin, burns me from within like a fire on the western plain.
This song itself is “Lemonade.”
For what is it to create, if not an attempt to keep living?
First, vaultboy is a singer-songwriter turned popular TikToker who has amassed over 700k followers on the app and also recently helped co-write Sarah Barrios collaboration, “Have We Met Before ” featuring well known Korean-American pop icon, Eric Nam. After posting a 30 second TikTok video of a demo titled, “everything sucks”, it has gone on to have over 15 million views, over 105k user generated videos from other popular TikTok influencers and fans, and thousands of fan requests for the official single to be released.
Bailey Coats oozes with star potential, yet maintains a down to earth and kind reputation that allows her to easily relate to her fans. After striking gold with her single “Stranger Things”, which has amassed over 100k streams on Spotify, Bailey has started collaborating with veteran producer Khris Riddick-Tynes of The Rascals (Ariana Grande, Kehlani, Jessie Reyez, and more) on her upcoming single titled, “Something in the water”. The story behind the song involves Bailey unexpectedly witnessing an Instagram influencer she knew cheating on his girlfriend at a popular LA hotspot. At that moment, Bailey was shaken after seeing this, but also had her first session with Kris, who found this to be the perfect narrative for a song and commented that there must be something in the water.
Rob Late is a British electronic pop songwriter & music producer raised in SW London, currently based in Twickenham, London. Growing up obsessed with keyboards and computers he spent his youth recreating music from video games and imitating old school guitar legends.
Fascinated by formulaic hook-ridden pop and the emergence of mainstream electronic music, Rob broke away from years of piano bars and pop-rock bands to produce electronic music in 2016. With an eclectic sound drawing inspiration from pop, EDM, future bass and electro house, Rob has written, produced and remixed music for a range of upcoming artists and is now writing and producing his own music in collaboration with various artists around the world.
Rob’s current plethora of releases include “Heartbeat” with Dawty Music (Hugel, Janelle Monae, French Montana, Boyz II Men, Ne-Yo, Snoop), “Bump” featuring Georgia Box (viral singing sensation), “Closer” featuring Sam Way (model & singer/songwriter) and “Habit” featuring ili (formally Emily Middlemas, X-Factor UK). In 2021, Rob is currently writing and producing for Flawes (band, Redbull Records) on their latest record, Dylan Hartman (musician and social media influencer) and has just signed his latest single “Nothing But Love” featuring Canadian singer/songwriter Tianda with Soave Records in Europe, making it Rob’s first official label release. With many more releases & collaborations marked for 2021 and beyond, this year is set to be Rob’s breakthrough into mainstream pop culture
Platinum-certified Boston-born and Los Angeles-based rapper BIA accelerates her takeover with “Whole Lotta Money.” The breakout single continues to climb the charts, ascending to #12 on the US Spotify Viral 50 Chart, #18 on Global Viral Spotify Charts and picking up 17 million total US streams to date. In the past week alone, it amassed 3.7 million streams, making for a 38% increase since the previous week. The video has achieved equally astounding success with 358K views in the last seven days, achieving a 51% difference from the last week. Speaking to the visual’s impact, PAPER Magazine dubbed BIA“an absolute financial fatale” for her flossy performance.
Not to mention, “Whole Lotta Money” has generated viral buzz on Tik Tok, where mega-popular celebrities from Cardi B and Lizzo to Kendall Jenner, Chelsea Handler, and Shay Mitchell have produced content featuring the song. The overall Tik Tok stats remain equally impressive, with an average of 8,000-10,000 videos per day and 206,000 videos and counting thus far.
As a result, her For Certain EP has notably reached #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers Album Charts.
Gina Naomi Baez is an actress, singer/songwriter, YouTuber and influencer from New York City. With a flourishing acting career having landed roles in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It, Orange is the New Black and numerous Off-Broadway and Regional theatrical productions, Baez has been a name on everyone’s radar. However her love and passion for songwriting and music has always been the true driving force behind her creativity, with the artist using her platform to spread messages of positivity. Pushing boundaries and defying genres, Baez’s music beautifully blends pop, country and folk, creating a sound reminiscent of Sia meets Taylor Swift.
Her latest single “UNIQUEorn” is a feel-good, uplifting, sugary sweet track certain to pull you out of any funk. Inspired by the movie Funny Girl, the single is about embracing your uniqueness, aimed to erase any self-doubt or insecurities. The songwriter shares, “Funny Girl reminded me of that innocent little girl with big, bright dreams. As you get older and reality sets in, it’s hard to keep those dreams bright and alive. You start doubting yourself, your talent, the way you look, are you too different? Are you too Unique? I wanted the music to feel like you were flying through a glittery sky, bouncing cloud to cloud, without a care in the world, sippin’ pink champagne!”
Oozing positive vibes and reminding you that you’re amazing the way you are, the glittery pop song is reminiscent of Charli XCX meets Meghan Trainor. Shimmering with colorful melodies, sparkling synths and metaphorical lyrics, “UNIQUEorn” allows you to reconnect with your carefree, inner-child.
Baez has also seen great success with her YouTube channel which has built an impressive following. Her infamous “Lizzo’s Truth Hurts x Hocus Pocus” parody music video went viral after LIZZO herself reposted it, as well as Bette Midler. The channel features creative, unique original music videos, covers and parodies of popular songs and has garnered worldwide recognition from the likes of PEOPLE, Entertainment Weekly, Access Hollywood, The Huffington Post, MTV, Perez Hilton, FOX, E! ONLINE, Ryan Seacrest, Yahoo News!, Stylist and much more! Propelling in all areas of the industry, Baez is clearly a force to be reckoned with.
Lucid Express today return with “Hollowers”, a nod to doomed infatuation that sees the band exploring some of the darkest corners of their shimmering, bright dream pop sound. Amongst “Hollowers” arpeggiated synth lines, and crashing chords, singer Kim Ho details the gnawing realization that even if two people have all of the passion in the world, a lack of deeper understanding leaves a relationship with finite time on the clock.
The song is also notable for its chorus featuring Adam Honingford of San Franciscan group The Bilinda Butchers, making it the one collaborative track on the Lucid Express album. The band first met Honingford when they shared a bill on the Hong Kong stop of a Bilinda Butchers tour and have remained mutual fans since. As Kim says, “from the first time we heard Adam on stage in Hong Kong, we always wanted to ask him to sing on one of our songs.” During the Lucid Express writing sessions, “Hollowers” began to take shape as a song that might offer the perfect opportunity to join forces. The result is a track that delivers some of the most brooding and dramatic passages on the entire album; Honingford’s distant baritone at stark play with Kim’s airy delivery.
Mekka Don makes his highly anticipated return to music today with “Still Dope,” an anthem of unity and upliftment highlighting the brilliance of Black lives. Listen/ share “Still Dope” HERE.
Produced by Tha Audio Unit, Mekka Don captures a message of unapologetic self-love and a call-to-action of perseverance amid oppression and discrimination; racist systemic forces made to deter Black people from the light, love, and happiness that everyone has a human right to enjoy. Serving a music comeback filled with purpose and passion, Mekka Don cites the murder of George Floyd and other incidents as the watershed moments that sparked the creation of this exceptional anthem of Black excellence and exuberance.
On the inspiration behind penning “Still Dope,” Mekka Don says, “Having to sit down for the last couple years because of a serious foot surgery, and then Covid, made me reflect on all that’s going on and what I thought my purpose should be in it – particularly in music. I realized that if I was going to make a comeback, so to speak, I needed to do so with purpose and speak to the people, and particularly, to Black people. I don’t think I have seen as many people I know cry as I have in the past year – pure pain, rage, hopelessness, and fear.”
“I wrote “Still Dope” because I wanted everyone to remember that no matter what happens to us, we are Still Dope, still standing – and there’s nothing that can stop that from being true. I wanted to uplift and create an anthem that could stand the test of time.”
Guitar and storytelling is what brought me to music in the first place, but by 2013 I had all but abandoned my folky roots for synths, dance beats and pop one-liners. One night while out at the movies with my family, we saw Coen Brothers classic, Inside Llewyn Davis. It inspired me to pick up the guitar and dive back into writing my own story-driven folk songs, including the original draft of “Nice Night To Get Lost.“
After years of the song existing only in my mind, I decided to hit the studio with my good friend, Sam Arion of Mute Choir, hand over the control and let him fully produce it. It was the first track to really define the sonic sound of my new project and solidify Sam as the producer of my forthcoming EP.
“Nice Night To Get Lost” is now streaming on all music platforms. Much like my debut “Your Life Is a Story,” Sam, Keegan Powell (Teenage Kicks, Chastity) and Jesse Klein (Phaze) all perform on the track.
Coming from the indie rock world, this song felt like a brand new start to a style of music I had wanted to do for a long time but never fully explored. It has been in my back pocket for some time, yet the recording process has breathed new life into it. I look forward to sharing more folk and acoustic-focused songs with you!
Sean Watson Graham
Since emerging in 2018, AJ Mitchell has consistently asserted himself as pop’s most dynamic new leading man. Averaging over 7 million monthly listeners on Spotify, he impressively leaped past the 1-billion stream mark within three years. In addition to being named a Vevo LIFT artist and MTV Push artist, Variety championed him on its “Young Hollywood” 2020 list. Beyond acclaim from Billboard, Idolator, Highsnobiety, and Seventeen, he delivered show-stopping performances at the MTV VMAs and on The Today Show and Good Day New York. In 2019, his Slow Dance EP yielded the gold-selling title track “Slow Dance” [feat. Ava Max]. Including the latter, he has logged four songs on the Top 40 at Pop Radio thus far. He’s also become a trusted collaborator, recently joining forces with Cheat Codes for “Hate You + Love You.” Throughout 2020 he also collaborated with names like Elle Henderson, Steve Aoki, Captain Cuts, and more. Over the past year, he assembled his full-length debut Skyview with the legendary Mike Dean as Executive Producer. Now, the cameras are on, and AJ Mitchell is ready to shine in 2021.
“Logic Is Lost” was a song BEVERLEE wrote on Wurlitzer in frequent collaborator and film composer Matt Mariano’s studio. “I had been listening to Comedy Bang Bang and someone said ‘LA looks like a hooker in the rain,’ and I thought wow that’s an amazing line.”
BEVERLEE began playing chords and the song took shape around the idea of her shifting identity on the west coast: LA looks like a hooker in the rain, I don’t know why the moon makes me insane, I went woo woo in the west .. but the zodiac says I tried my best. BEVERLEE felt also at that time, two years before the pandemic, that the world wasn’t making sense, and the prescient chorus and second verse hauntingly harken to riots on cobblestone New York city streets.
Mariano’s self-described “spaceship studio” of analog synthesizers emphasize this alien feeling, vocoders churn Beverleee’s voice to match the chorus lyrics the world is a piece of meat that we eat to the bone. B movie samples from the 60s pepper the song. “The only new element we added from two years ago was the final woman saying we have to find a vaccine.”
“For me this video was an exploration of duality. The multiple identities we hold within our selves. The push and pull between light and darkness. Finding the spaces where these opposing forces interact and merge.” – Director, Raechel Zarzynski
Brother Valiant was founded by singer-songwriter Alex Amsterdam in the spring of 2013. During that time, he and his friends would track demos huddled inside a small suburban basement in northern New Jersey. What started with simple folk songs paying homage to artists like Paul Simon and Conor Oberst, the project began to take a shape all its own. It wasn’t long before Brother Valiant began playing around the New York Tri-state area, brandishing a unique sound to create a jubilant display of musicianship. Themes of navigating feelings of anxiety, love, and fear through an adventurous spirit remain a hallmark of Brother Valiant’s writing, which bleed through the compositions with an authentic wit. A byproduct of growing up in a small town immersed in cultivating local artists, the music casts a truly distinct reflection of suburban life on the East Coast. Complete with big sing-along choruses, visceral lyricism, rambunctious brass melodies, Brother Valiant creates an atmosphere that both celebrates and distorts the sounds of Americana and folk rock, where all are invited to sing out.
The artist’s latest body of work, two upcoming singles “Lady Daisy” and “Wander” reflects on “misadventures that emotional extremes take you on”. Amsterdam further confides his upcoming music details “ideas about self-sabotage, and trying to rectify mistakes and behaviors that cause them. Waking up on a new day and trying to be a bit better of a person.” Featuring wistful acoustic guitars, warm echoing vocals and infectious layered melodies, “Lady Daisy” is a triumphant return for Brother Valiant who hasn’t released new music in over three years (released EP on bandcamp December 2018). While on the upcoming “Wander”, his penchant for emotive storytelling shines through with folk infused foot-stomping soundscapes and a rousing anthemic chorus. “Writing as brutally honest as I can helps me make sense of moments lived, and how to grow from them” Amsterdam states. “It can be very cathartic. That was certainly the case with this song.”
Brother Valiant continues to bring his stunning mix of Americana, rock, folk pop to the masses with “Lady Daisy” and “Wander” are out now.
Melbourne sister duo, Charm of Finches, sing haunted folk tunes about love, grief and whispering trees with their signature tight sibling harmonies and chamber folk sound. Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes emerge from an eclectic musical childhood of Celtic strings and busking old-time tunes.
Their debut album “Staring at the Starry Ceiling”, produced by Nick Huggins of Little Lake Records and featuring the duo’s signature angelic vocal harmonies and captivating chamber folk sound, was praised for its candour and originality and named one of the best releases of 2016 by ABC Radio National. Their sophomore album “Your Company” in November 2019 on their independent label Conversations With Trees, they toured Australia widely. This album was Melbourne’s PBS Radio Album of the Week and winner of the Best Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album in the Independent Music Awards (IMA).
The duo has won many awards nationally and internationally and their music has featured on Australian TV. Their influences include Sufjan Stevens , Gillian Welch, Danish songstress Agnes Obel and First Aid Kit as well as the incredible homegrown talent in their local Victorian folk scene.
producer and rapper Littlecigarette shares ‘Fur Coat’, the first single taken from his upcoming debut album ‘Omega’, set for release via Goldie’s label Fallen Tree 1Hundred, established by the DJ and producer to develop artists that fall outside the world of Drum & Bass. Alongside the single, Littlecigarette unveils the realistic visuals of the song, Listen to ‘Fur Coat’ here – Watch the video for ‘Fur Coat’ here
With ‘Fur Coat’ Littlecigarette offers a voice to marginalised, disaffected young youth. His story starts in a small-town in the UK, in which the only form of escape is getting high, his lyrics depict his lonely experience with addiction and the painfully subjective trawl for intensity and euphoria as the end in itself. The self-taught producer created the track in his bedroom armed only with Logic and a SM58 microphone. Not connected to any rap scene, his isolation from the rest of the world and a real passion for music have been the driving forces behind his music and storytelling.
Talking about the track, Littlecigarette says; “If there was ever any true, flamboyant self-assurance in the spell of dark tragedy that I found myself in, ‘Fur Coat’ captures it. I like the frankness about it too, as well as the confidence. There’s still no better feeling than having a tenner’s worth of weed in the pocket of your flash coat.” On the origin of his Littlecigarette moniker the rapper explains; “take me, taste me, discard me, tell your mother you know nothing when you smell of me —I’m burning, smoking; I’m little.”
The visuals for ‘Fur Coat’ pull the audience into Littlecigarette’s world of addiction, capturing precisely the rapper’s insolent nihilism, but the exhilarating rush of the highs can’t drown out the subsequent, devastating lows – these are two sides of the same desperation he lives in. His fur coat represents the power of invincibility he feels enveloped in, even when feeling a million bucks — he remains the black sheep, out alone once again in his small provincial town, getting sideways glances from the locals as he drinks to oblivion. Stridently British in sound and vision, there are Punk elements to the track and video: bold and excessive punching up like a pitch-black comedy turned into tragedy.
Talking about his new signing Goldie says; “Littlecigarette is a young kid who has dealt with a lot of demons and trauma. I can sympathise and engage with him and his music because I was exactly the same, using music as catharsis. He has a very clever way of dealing with and processing his emotion into this alter ego. Also a lot like me his music is different, it’s challenging and a little bit Marmite – people are going to respond to his music in different ways – but he’s speaking his own truth.”
The upcoming self-produced album ‘Omega’ is an audacious body of work, ten tracks of sparse, dark, raw beats, telling the story of a lovelorn young man yearning for connection and romance. Tales of doomed relationships, despair and failure are punctuated by manic bursts of fantasy and creativity, and a superhuman self-belief as addiction takes hold of him.
Soaring off the back of March’s stirring “Blindside”, “Can’t Work You Out” explores the complexities of the mind’s self-deprecating, darker moments and the confusion caused by inward emotional battles. Echoing his love for the ocean, the cinematic buildup of instrumentation paired with Nathan Ball’s growing melodic intensity is reminiscent of rolling waves and crashing tides.
Heavily influenced by nature and exploring various themes in his music, Nathan’s thought-provoking, concise songwriting has also pricked the ears of tastemakers THE INDEPENDENT, GQ, and CLASH. The British artist is also a rising force in the dance scene, working closely with dance legends Faithless for two tracks on their latest album All Blessed, including their latest single “I Need Someone”.
Nathan will release Under the Mackerel Sky in August, supported by his headline tour across the UK in September.
Von Boyáge is a Los Angeles based music duo, consisting of frontman and founder, Christopher Hocker and drummer Stevie Noah. The name “Von Boyáge” translates to mean “a boy’s journey through life” and was spelt in reverse for two reasons – to help SEO searches and because Christopher seems to do a lot of things backwards.
After posting flyers and ads on Craigslist for over a year, Christopher finally found Noah and they have since been writing music which blends colorful synths, 1980’s inspired beats and relatable lyrics. This is what makes Von Boyáge’s sound original, yet familiar to the listeners. Von Boyáge has used music’s progressive movement to complete a full sonic spectrum of old and new styles. The music challenges its listeners to look into the past while discovering their own direction for the future.
Their latest single “Laissez Faire” speaks of letting go after a long-term relationship started to struggle once becoming long-distance. Christopher shares, “Sometimes in life it is best to adopt a “Laissez Faire” approach and stop trying to control everything. Letting nature take its course is sometimes the best policy.” The nostalgic single oozes charming, light electric tones washed in a glaze of soothing acoustic guitars. The drums provide a steady heartbeat and tropical atmosphere, accompanying the exotic synths and bringing a vibrancy to the track. Reminiscent of Foals, the vocals carry a cool, echoing sound which will run through your mind on repeat.
The sleek video is a compilation of fresh city skylines, cinematic scenes and performance shots. Built upon bright colors and fluid movements, the video portrays a totally polished and captivating story. “Laissez Faire” is currently available worldwide.
James Alphonse has toured Ontario, Canada with different groups, winning awards at various universities and opening for bands like The Trews. His music has often been described as diverse pop with a touch of guitar and r&b melodies. Ranging from electro pop, pop rock and chill r&b, it’s tough to pin him down. Moreover, he has been nominated for and won awards at the Hamilton Music Awards in the Best New Artist or Group of the Year category. All of this has been aided by his mentors Nick Blagona (The Police, Deep Purple, Beegees) and Mark Daum (inventor of the piantar). His newest mentors are Andre Kaden Black (Fefe Dobson, Francesco Yates) and Tal Vaisman (working in a variety of capacities with groups like 21 Pilots and Imagine Dragons), who have produced James’ debut EP as a solo artist. More recently, James Alphonse has been a finalist in the Unsigned Only competition and a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition.
“YSB” (Young, Sick, Broke), my new track in collaboration with ASCXNSION, produced by Darren Metz of Snotty Nose Rez Kids, is about the need for healing, freedom, and to be heard.
Are you listening? Do you hear me? Am I screaming out into nothing?
This song is about feeling like you can’t get ahead, and specific issues that we as Indigenous women work through on a daily basis. Our generation has been left to deal with trauma and we are continually fighting for equity. It can feel exhausting to constantly try to be truly heard.
I wanted to go deeper on this project and write about real shit. What we have created is anthemic, resilient, and confrontational, despite the vulnerability that it took to write about our lived experiences.
This release is about showcasing Indigenous excellence and the need to amplify our voices. Our time is now – the future is Indigenous.
Thanks for listening
I use my phone a lot of the time as a form of escapism since it’s its own digital cosmos. Getting cut off from that world is quite scary to me, and I don’t think I’m the only one. My new song, “3%,” is all about the feeling that comes when we see a low percentage notification and the chaos that ensues. With this track, I focused on the intimacy of the emotions we feel due to the impact of technology. The lyrical repetition I use in this song communicates the experience of dwelling under anxiety and stress from being cut off and alone from the world.
All the songs on my upcoming EP centre around the theme of self-reflection, something we have experienced to an extreme during this pandemic. Phones are no exception to this. I actually find myself escaping on my phone, meeting new friends online, getting inspired all at the touch of my fingertips. There’s a whole world unto itself!
Here’s to staying connected,
Sia Shells 🐚
Taken from his joint-collaborative ‘Die 4 Respect’ EP with super-producer OG Parker, DDG levels up with the official video for ‘Impatient’ featuring Coi Leray.
With hazy, hypnotic visuals, the video is an awe inspiring mood that has already taken the internet by storm. Racking up over 2 million views in its first 72 hours of being online, the Reel Goats directed video is a masterclass of contemporary videography as the audio and visual creatives unite on the roller skating rink for over 4 minutes of smooth gliding and fun, seeing DDG and Coi Leray test their skating skills.
There is strength in being honest with yourself and speaking your truth. The last two years for me have been super difficult. I think drinking during the hard times was an escape for me to stop thinking about the reality of everything going on.
“Drinkin Alone” is hopeful and uplifting, a song that would have helped me when I needed to make a change for the better.
By acknowledging that drinking wasn’t a healthy way for me to cope, I turned to healthier outlets such as songwriting, working out, and cooking. Looking back now at a darker point in my life has made me realize that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
Sonically, “Drinkin Alone” definitely feels the most authentic to where I am right now in my life & it sets the foundation for what’s to come next. *wink wink*
Cooper Bloom 🏳️🌈
New Zealand modern soul master Louis Baker returns with new soul-stirring and deeply personal single and video ‘Brighter Day’ feat. The KTNA sisters on backing vocals. ‘Brighter Day’ is taken from the upcoming EP, ‘Love Levitates’, set for release on June 18th. Listen to ‘Brighter Day’ here – Watch ‘Brighter Day’ video here.
The brand new single draws on the experiences of Louis grandfather Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Baker who served in the 28th Māori Battalion. Paying tribute to the triumphs and adversities faced by his grandfather, ‘Brighter Day‘ is equal parts uplifting and heart-tugging with sparkling rhodes keys, Motown-styled guitar stabs, and punchy bass lines. The result is a warm, soulful groove, with Baker’s distinctive vocals delivering his message of family pride and hope for future generations.
Talking about the song, Louis says; “I wrote ‘Brighter Day’ for my grandfather who I never met. The song is inspired by a letter he wrote to his cousin during World War II, and of the many harrowing experiences he went through. During the war he was shot through the mouth at El Alamein, 1942. After returning home and having surgery on his face, he would spend time repeating the words “today is a beautiful day” in front of the mirror, to train his mouth and muscles to speak again. He was incredibly determined and courageous. No matter what happened, he kept a positive mind-set and looked for brighter days ahead. This is my letter to him.”
The heartfelt track is accompanied by an emotive video, directed by Anahera Parata (2020 AMA Artisan Awards Winner), which opens with the Māori Battalion marching song and black-and-white archive footage. These are depicted as prominent and at times, all-consuming, reflections of memories for Lt. Col Frederick Baker who is portrayed by NZ actor Calvin Tuteao (Top of The Lake, Underbelly, Once Were Warriors). A poignant moment shows Tuteao looking at a photo of ‘himself’ which is in fact a photo of Frederick Baker and his fellow servicemen.
‘Brighter Day’ is the second single to come from Baker this year, following his summer banger ‘‘Overdrive’’ featuring NZ rapper/producer Kings which shot to No. 1 in NZ upon release in February and has clocked over 350k Spotify streams. Both tracks have been produced by New Zealand producer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Devin Abrams, known for working with New Zealand’s most exciting artists, most notably Drax Project. He produced their No. 1 single ‘Woke Up Late’ featuring Hailee Steinfeld.
With over 25 million Spotify streams and a loyal global following, Louis Baker is undoubtedly one of the most compelling voices to emerge from New Zealand’s fertile musical landscape in recent years. After the release of his debut EP, which debuted at #3 on the New Zealand Top 40 Albums Chart, Louis teamed up with New Zealand-born, UK-based Ninja Tune signing Jordan Rakei on the track, ‘Just Want to Thank You’. The Red Bull Music Academy alumni debut album ‘Open’ was released in 2019 to international critical acclaim, with support coming from BBC 6 Music, Clash Magazine and Earmilk, among others. While back home, Louis has received prestigious nominations for Best Soul Artist and Best Māori Artist. Previous singles ‘Back On My Feet’ (2014), ‘Rainbow’ (2016), and ‘Black Crow’ (2018) have been recognised with APRA Silver Scroll nominations, the award recognises songwriting skills, sales and airplay performance by New Zealand artists.
“What You Really Want” is about losing one’s inhibitions to gain the freedom of being your true self.
I was bullied in high school for my music and songwriting addiction, and later encountered haters when I first started to advertise my music online.
I was feeling discouraged until I started talking with friends who I’d met through music with similar experiences. They were still doing what they loved and were successful at it! I began to feel like an idiot because I was focusing on the one or two people who said cruel things, while forgetting about the people who I really value.
I had to ask myself, what is it that I really want? My answer? To write. Keep going and focus on the fans, they’re what matters. You can hear “What You Really Want” on your favourite streaming platform.
With this song, I wanted to characterize and point out how ridiculous it is to change the way you are for someone who just wants to tear you down. Those aren’t the people who will build you up – they’re trying to make you adhere to the norm. In truth, it’s the quirky and weird people that I find wonderful in this world. If we were all the same, we wouldn’t have so many of the miraculous bands who evolved from breaking the mold.
Enjoy the music and stay true to your art,
After inciting excitement with millions of streams and critical acclaim this month, ace Atlanta singer/songwriter Teddy Swims releases his debut Unlearning EP today via Warner Records. Listen to Unlearning HERE.
To celebrate the EP’s arrival, he just shared the music video for the opening track “L.I.F.E.” The visual shows yet another side of the vocal dynamo on this standout song, co-written by mega-songwriters Poo Bear (Justin Bieber, Usher) and John Ryan (Maroon 5, John Legend). Speaking to the tranquility of the airy production, he sings alone in the desert as if channeling his surroundings into waves of emotion in every hook. Two women dance against a cool blue sky as his voice rings out with the affirmation, “That’s just life…nobody said it would be easy.” Watch the video HERE.
Teddy paved the way for the EP last month with “Bed On Fire” and the incendiary music video that stars Leila George from TNT’s Animal Kingdom.” Meanwhile, American Songwriter described the visual as “arresting” and crowned Teddy a “soulful powerhouse.” Unlearning also includes recent fan favorites “Broke” (feat. Thomas Rhett) and “Til I Change Your Mind.” Full tracklisting below.
About the project, Teddy commented, “I wanted to enter into the world with my first body of work knowing the songs were the best they could be. I felt like everything fit together in terms of what I wanted to say. The title perfectly encapsulates 2020! We’ve all had to do a little introspection, break some bad habits, and
figure out who we are again. There are some things we took for granted that, thanks to this Pandemic, we had to really open our eyes and do some unlearning!”
SaintAhmad is a Brooklyn-based rapper, singer, dancer, and songwriter who creates soulful, innovative R&B songs mixed with throwback hip-hop aesthetics. Being somewhat of a hopeless romantic, his music has undertone themes of love and sex, where he explores the fantasies that ruminate in his head.
A natural at singing, rapping, and crafting hooks, SaintAhmad is a versatile artist who can do it all. He radiates natural charisma and infectious energy, busting out dance moves and flashing a big smile while commanding the spotlight. Born in Tashikawahi-shi, Tokyo, Japan, Ahmad first discovered his love for singing and performing while at church and holds a BFA in Dance from Florida State University. As an out-and-proud gay man, his music reflects the confidence and empowerment that comes from being his true and authentic self.
SaintAhmad’s new single “It’s Just Me” is a svelte-smooth record that leaves the listener hanging on every word and note. “I really wanted to highlight myself with this record, feel good being myself, and just enjoy life. It’s a feel-good record that is about young love, being free, and enjoying your time together with that person. This record is meant to show the confidence in myself to ‘Just Be Me’ and nothing else.”
The track drips with swagger, funk-fueled R&B soundscapes, and earnest lyricism. Acclaimed jazz/funk artist Aidan Paul adds his touch on this undeniably catchy and vivacious record. Ahmad’s powerful, soulful vocals stand out in the mix, providing movement and rhythmic flow that play off the old school inspired hip-hop beat. His youthful exuberance draws the listener into his world, and this, combined with the versatile, innovative production makes you feel like not only are you going on a journey, but it’s a trip worth taking.
SaintAhmad’s musical influences include Tyler the Creator and Frank Ocean, and he has genre fluidity that definitely puts him in the same lineage as these experimental thinkers.
An intergalactic pop song inspired by the production style of the Paul Brothers (Jai Paul and A. K. Paul) along with Prince’s late 80’s “Lovesexy” era, “Bad Pin” is also one of the first songs that features live guitar parts played by TEMPOREX. The visualizer tells the story of ‘Bad Pin’, an evil bowling pin character TEMPOREX created that represents self-hatred. Modelled by the artist in Blender, the visuals were inspired by the primitive CG in early 3D tests for the movie Toy Story.
“Bad Pin” follows the release of two previous singles – “U Open Up A Window” and “Delayed.”
Crafting a uniquely vibrant and immersive world in new album Bowling, TEMPOREX wrote, recorded and produced almost the entirety of the album on his own in his bedroom. The definition of a new generation DIY artist, TEMPOREX masterminds the entire spectrum of his world, from production to art direction to the CGI in his videos; he has been championed by PAPER MAG and HYPEBEAST with over 70M streams across Spotify alone.
Manchester outfit Sea Fever teases more new music with ‘De Facto’, the latest single to be taken from the band’s upcoming debut album ‘Folding Lines’ set for release on August 13th. Stream//Buy ‘De Facto’ here – Pre-order the album ‘Folding Lines’ here To support the release of the album the band will play two special gigs that will take place in London at Rough Trade East on August 12 and in Manchester at Night & Day Cafe on August 13. Tickets for the London show available here. Tickets for the Manchester show are available here.
The driving indie electronic track follows previous singles ‘Folding Lines’ – Listen to ‘Folding Lines’ here – and ‘Crossed Wires’, released alongside its dystopian video –Watch the video here and gives another taste of the band’s upcoming debut album. It’s an hypnotic cut that effortlessly blends together sounds that helped define the electronica genre with innovative songwriting.
Talking about the self-produced song, the band says; “It’s Sea Fever experimenting with song structures and sounds. We wrote the song with a thumping back beat and pulsating analog synth”. “The song is about not being afraid to speak up, voicing your opinion and opening this void,” adds frontman Iwan Gronow.
ver is a five piece collective fronted by Iwan Gronow (Haven, Johnny Marr) on vocals and guitars, alongside singer Beth Cassidy (Section 25), the collective also features New Order’s Tom Chapman and Phil Cunningham – with Tom on bass, guitars, synths and programming and Phil on guitars, while powering the band’s pulsing beats is Elliot Barlow.
Sea Fever explains that their coming together as a unit felt inevitable: “We’d wanted to work with each other for ages, so when we finally sat down in the studio, the band just seemed to come together naturally. It felt like we were really free to explore the kinds of music that have always inspired us, we dug right through the record crates of our minds to shape the sound of Sea Fever.”
The result is a debut ten-track album that represents the sound of a band instinctively working together; effortlessly exciting and equally timeless. Including recent singles ‘De Facto’. ‘Crossed Wires’ and ‘Folding Lines’, the full-length will also feature upcoming singles ‘Under Duress’ and ‘Built To Last’.
Fusing intelligent electronics and clanging guitars, underpinned by soaring and hypnotic strings, the band has already picked up early support from the likes of Chris Hawkins on BBC 6 Music.
The first single from Lucia Cifarelli’s forthcoming solo album, ‘Girls Like Me’ is an ode to female empowerment; the track celebrates the divine mystery that lives within all women. Inspired by the diverse sisterhood Lucia has come to know on tour and through her engagement on social media, the song is a celebration of all that is feminine, dark, joyous and wild.
‘This song is a love letter to my sisters all over the world, dedicated to their unique magic, intrinsically connected to who we are’ Lucia Cifarelli
Infused with hot electro/house and EDM energy, ‘Girls Like Me’ was mixed by the internationally acclaimed mix master Veronica Ferraro, best known for her work on the Grammy-nominated hit ‘When Love Takes Over’ by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland, written by Lucia, Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM and Dan Connor of Rational Front, and recorded and produced in Hamburg by Lucia and Sascha.
Lucia invited women round the world to send her videos of themselves which she has cut together with her own, sharing this message of love, solidarity, and women celebrating each other in all their messy, glorious diversity.
Since founding the band Drill, Lucia Cifarelli has proved herself a force to be reckoned with; her dynamic performance style coupled with an incendiary vocal range was unlike anything else in the late 90’s alternative scene, but it was with her addition to the lineup of Sascha Konietzko’s MDFMK in 2000 that her star power began to truly assert itself. She is now one of the primary creative forces behind The Ultra Heavy Beat, known for her vocals but also for her songwriting skills, moving effortlessly from sweetly sung melody to acerbic’ riot grrl’ fury to bold political outrage.
Born and raised in Long Island, Lucia developed her love of singing, songwriting and performing as a child; ‘Girls Like Me’ is the first single from her forthcoming album “I Am Eye’.
Swedish newcomer MTLDA releases her brooding R&B laced debut single ‘We Got History’ via empowering independent label 3tone Records. Stream ‘We Got History’ here. The single will undergo the remix treatment thanks to London-based producer Joe Hertz, known for fusing earworm R&B melodies with hyper-textural production. Listen to ‘We Got History’ here.
Opening up about the inspiration behind the track, MTLDA explains; “It’s a self reflection on how I get blinded by love and how hard it is for me to let go of someone, even when I know I should. Sentimental people like me, keep holding onto the memories they shared with that person. Our judgement is clouded, we can only see the positives, even when the relationship’s toxic and we know we keep rewinding the wrong version of the story.” Written and recorded during lockdown, ‘We Got History’, sees MTLDA taking control over the writing and production of her music with the help of her sixteen year old brother Jonathan. MTLDA wrote the demo over a basic melody loop and drum beat before sending it to her brother who worked on the final production. The result is a brooding cut built on bouncy trap-influenced beats, with MTLDA’s commanding vocals showing a talent for introspective songwriting, laced with both vulnerability and strength.
“He is extremely talented and he was particularly influenced by Lil Uzi Vert!”, she says of her brother; “It’s a very special song. I have been in so many writing sessions with amazing producers and writers before, but it never felt that natural. The challenge of being in lockdown and not being able to use a recording studio pushed me to write and record on my own, and this sibling creative process has helped me to create something positive.”
Born and raised in Gothenburg, MTLDA has always been surrounded by music – both of her parents were in a band together and they encouraged her to express herself and explore music freely through regular family jam sessions – whilst her love for soul and jazz comes from her grandfather who was a professional pianist. It was this natural predisposition that drove MTLDA to study music for her masters degree, and inspired by powerful singers like Christina Aguilera, as well as contemporary R&B artists including Kehlani, SZA and Miguel, she started writing songs with the idea to combine her R&B laced vocal melodies with production influenced by genre-hopping hip-hop artists such as Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert.
Rising London R&B star Kwaku Asante offers up his first release of the year with “Angel” – the first offering from his forthcoming EP ODE, out June 25th. The track emerges as a throwback to classic musicianship; beautifully lithe guitar instrumentation giving an airy bed for Kwaku’s trademark baritone, and complex, dark lyricism to play across. An ambitious, seemingly gorgeous love song with enough invention to make it a real moment – sonically it’s a track to mark the moments of life.
“Angel is about how selfish I am leading to neglecting a partner, not because I don’t care about them but because I want to be successful in music. The toxicity in the song is that I hoped that she would stay around, regardless of my actions and carry on being my shoulder to cry on, the person I vent to. It’s ironic, given the song sounds positive.”
One of the most enigmatic voices in contemporary UK R&B, Kwaku’s ascendence in the scene since the release of his eye-catching singles “Worth” and “Fantasy” in 2018 has brought critical attention both sides of the Atlantic, with COMPLEX naming him in their R&B Ones To Watch 2021 list, alongside the likes of AFROPUNK and TRENCH MAGAZINE united in proclaiming a significant new talent.
Already having supported the likes of Jay Prince, Amber Mark and Grace Carter before the Pandemic, 2021 looks to be a milestone year for the talented homegrown artist as he completes his sold-out residency at Servant Jazz Quarters and sets the tone for a bold new EP on the horizon. Kwaku looks set to receive his flowers.
Johnny Ashby is a British singer/songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. Ashby found a love for music through his Dad’s mixtapes. As a teen he played guitar in various bands and after leaving college, stepped into the session world. Deciding to move to California with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes, a guitar he built himself and dreams of playing the legendary Troubadour, the songwriter dove in head first and has not looked back since.
His latest single “Wild” resides in a sonic magical forest of tenderness, with thoughtful moments surrounding the echoing pallet of warm tones. Compared to Ashby’s previous songs, “Wild” has a far more emotional and haunting taste. The strings emit a soul-stirring effect, while the upbeat drums and indie glow shines bright amongst the folk flares. Acting as follow up to his track “SOS”, Ashby shares, “I’ve always written these songs about running away like I’m trying to escape from something and in a sense SOS was a part of that. Wild is written in the aftermath. Every time I’ve travelled to a new place I’ve noticed how it’s changed me and pushed me to grow spiritually in some way. When I write “Follow me into the wild” it’s like I’m back home after that adventure and I’m saying “Now what?”. That feeling after an adventure when you just want to go back out and find another one!”
Ashby sings, “I got your message to keep my head up, I won’t give up on you, I won’t give up on us”. There’s this realisation of not being alone anymore. He explains, “I think that’s pretty relatable to my own life right now. It feels like I’m exactly where I need to be.”
Written and co-produced with Sebastian Fritze, Fredrik Eriksson and Bill Delia from the band Grizfolk, “Wild” has a range of influences, including Chet Faker and Kodaline, with a hint of Death Cab for Cutie.
Ashby’s music has garnered acclaim from numerous publications and playlists, as well as support on radio both in the UK and the US. He’s played the prestigious Troubadour in Los Angeles multiple times and his songs have been featured on primetime television for shows including Grey’s Anatomy, Shameless, Pretty Little Liars, Elementary, Rise, Baywatch, ITV’s Finding Alice, Teen Mom and Midnight In Texas.
“Wild” is one of a slew of singles to be released this year, on the run up to a full length album due Summer 2021.
Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez is a singer/composer based in Brooklyn, New York. Born into a family of musicians, music was Raina’s first language and it runs deep within her veins. Rooted in Jazz and R&B, the songwriter invites us into her unique sonic world with harmonic nuance and lyrical poetry. Raina’s cross-genre style is built from the bottom up. With improvisation as a starting point for her songs, Raina draws on her emotionality and leans into her perception of the world around, uncovering hidden depths within daily life and articulating personal truth with vulnerability and bravery. Songwriting is her way of processing and understanding life in all its complexity.
If They’re Mine is a cross-section of Raina’s internal landscape, the questions and dynamics that inhabited her for a long period of time. The songwriter shares, “I have formative tensions around desire and deception, around dissociation and attachment. Written in 2017 and 2018, these songs are of a young woman grappling with internal and intimate conflict, searching for truth, embodiment, and resolution.”
Produced with her brother, Jake Sokolov-Gonzalez, the two built these arrangements together over the span of two years. The seven-track release was mixed by Grammy winning engineer Jon Rosenberg and mastered by Ryan Schwabe (Nick Hakim, REI AMI). Opening with “Better Half” we encounter a split self and the toxicity of tension left untended; “Something I won’t admit to myself/I’m sick of myself/Something I won’t admit to myself/I’m bad for my health.” As we move through the album, we uncover softer sides and nuanced edges. From the intimate “40 Days,” a subtly complex story about a struggle to let go, to the experiences of being objectified in the hypnotic “Better For You.” Concluding with the title-track “If They’re Mine,” the album resolves with an echo of healing, calling forward the potential to bring together all of these disparate parts into a cohesive healthy body, mind and spirit.
The album has a wide musical palette, woven with a strong thread. Raina confides, “My intention is to honor the music as it comes, to craft it to the best of my ability and to be true to my creative voice.” With over 600k streams on Spotify and a budding global audience, RSG has packed rooms at prestigious venues such as Brooklyn Bowl, SOB’s, Rockwood Music Hall, MoMA PS1 and many others. Opening for artists such as Starchild and the New Romantic, Raina has a deep connection to the New York City music scene.
PinkFiz is an 18 year old punk pop artist from Cambridgeshire. Having previously performed as part of other bands, the musician started her solo project during lockdown 2.0, as a way to continue writing and creating while stuck in isolation. PinkFiz represents female empowerment and the songwriters pride in being an independent female artist and producer.
Her upcoming EP The World Of Pinkfiz, features four pop-punk tracks all giving a glimpse into the emotions and life experiences of PinkFiz. The musician explains, “The World Of PinkFiz is an insight into my life and I want the listener to feel like they’re stepping into my shoes for 11 minutes.” Produced, recorded and written all by the artist herself, the EP is a passion project and an outlet to release her inner-frustrations and feelings. The EP has a delicate glaze over the electric, powerful punk infusion, creating a picture of both vulnerable emotions and angsty frustration. She confides, “I wrote the songs about different eras of my life so far and it’s based on a lot of bottled up anger. I felt this was the right way to release that emotion and honestly the easiest way for me to talk about things that have bothered me for a long time.”
“Pleaser” has a zesty rhythm and a quirky, muffled electric guitar that carries the tension and emotion through it’s changing melody. The single takes a turn at the end with a darker, prowling array of riffs and pounding, clashes of electrifying drums. Written about the pressures of being liked and the feeling of pretending to be someone else for other people’s satisfaction, the track covers a range of sub-topics. The latter of the single touches on the representation of hiding behind a fabricated person to avoid dealing with issues such as mental health.
“The Sequel” is a continuation of chords from “Pleaser”, hence the deliberately apt title. The single speaks about a bad friendship, as PinkFiz explains, “I let this person overtake my life, I cared about them more than they cared about me. I would always be their number one advocate but they weren’t that for me.” The track has a slower, more intense feeling to the previous track, with the verses slinking around the drums in a gritty, dark tone before the energetic drums bring in a swirling pool of haunting harmonies and raw vocals.
Following the March release of Bigger Than Me / Readymade (Duology One), Melbourne singer-songwriter Gretta Ray today unveils the second double A-side single to be lifted from the debut album, Human and Passion (Duology Two), the second pair of songs in her Duology series: songs drawn from the same thematic heart to find their own unique places in her expanding catalogue of deeply felt, lushly produced pop.
“Human and Passion are both very much songs about an intimate relationship,” the 22-year-old says. “It’s been so interesting to write about this concept, one that I’ve unpacked in every possible way since I was much younger, and to feel as though my feelings surrounding it have grown up with me over the past few years.”
Today Gretta also announces her debut album, BEGIN TO LOOK AROUND which will be released on August 27th and available to pre-order now. A wondrous and empowering coming of age record, BEGIN TO LOOK AROUND chronicles the journey of a young artist navigating the winding lanes of womanhood, romance, heartbreak, travel, and friendship.
“Human” and “Passion” are available for streaming HERE.
Revered artist and performer, AJA (they/them) releases their new album, CROWN, today. AJA incorporates themes of Black spirituality and elevation throughout CROWN – as well as fame, race, class, gender, and sexuality. CROWN is ultimately about AJA standing tall and proud while overcoming various hardships and coming to terms with their vulnerability. Instrumentation, singing and chanting throughout the album is directly tied to the Lukumi Faith; which stems from Nigeria – with every interlude having the name of the Orisha (or deity) being sung for in the title.
Of the album, AJA shares: “Esú Elegba guarded the crossroads for me while Oggun fought my battles. Ochosi kept divine justice by my side while Obalouaye kept me healthy and alive. Shango kept me full of life and virility as Obatala taught me to speak my truth with wisdom. Obba taught me to allow myself to be loved while Oya unmasked all the artificiality in my life. Yemoja reminded me why I woke up every day and what I was fighting for while Oshun protected my crown and turned every bitter moment into something sweet. This project is about how my faith and my art intersected and I’m presenting it to the world ultimately as a labor of love but also a labor of truth. Spiritual or not, it was truly the influence of the energies and lessons these names represent that kept me going because I almost gave up. I’m glad I didn’t. I am happy to still be wearing my crown. I’ve never felt more happy and more abundant.”
AJA brought non-binary visibility into the music industry with their critically acclaimed debut album, Box Office (2019). They have performed epic live shows around the world, dedicated to uplifting their fans – through fashion, an inspiring perspective, brilliant songwriting and outspoken activism – and empowering them to be in front of their own destiny. Born and raised in the heart of Brooklyn, AJA has become an international role model for people of all backgrounds and has become largely impactful within the LGBTQ+ community. AJA is of Puerto Rican, Nigerian and Egyptian background, and raised by a Puerto Rican and Trinidadian family as they were adopted. Being Afro-Latino from New York City, they put that influence into all of their music. Since the summer of 2018, AJA has performed over 180 live shows, selling out venues in the US, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Australia, Lebanon, and the UK. AJA has also toured throughout Asia and the Pacific Islands.
AJA’s music has received praise from Rolling Stone, Forbes, them, Vibe, GQ, V Magazine, Seventeen, Paper, Billboard, New York Magazine’s Bedford + Bowery, and Wussy Magazine amongst myriad other outlets.
Born in Ottignies, Belgium, Can Guru? (a.k.a Colin Crichton) was brought up in a classical music environment. With music running through his veins, it was always a huge part of his life, from as young as he can remember. In the late nineties, he moved to Manchester to study Sound Engineering at Salford University and since then has been involved with many bands as a performer, sound engineer and blossoming music producer. His love for electronic music was nurtured in the rich and eclectic Manchester party music scene.
Witnessing live bands such as The Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twins and 808 State, to name but a few, played a role in shaping his own sound, encouraging him to experiment with samples and create his own electronic songs. Throughout his development, Crichton drew on many influences ranging from alt hip-hop to electro-pop, indie dance, electronica and trip-hop. His production style stems from bands such as Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers and Hot Chip.
His latest single “Winner Today” was inspired by a moment of strength and talks of his resilience to failure and pain. Crichton shares, “The song is about the ups and downs of winning one day and maybe losing it all the next, but never to give up on your dreams and ambitions. Always getting back up after you fall over.”
Written on a stormy day in the woodlands in Berlin, this is reflected in the tracks’ darker tones. Crichton sings, “I am braving the storm and the mighty heavy weathers.” With an outpour of energy throughout the subtle sombre, electric landscape, “Winner Today” emits a metallic sheen and haunting tribal backing vocals that pack a punch. Pulling on themes of reality, the pounding drums and mighty horn melodies mark their territory.
LA-based indie pop singer, songwriter and Wurlitzer enthusiast, STACEY, is sharing her retro-celestial, debut album, Saturn Return, today. Cruising from 60s psychedelic day trips to glossy 70s daydreams, STACEY crystallizes the nostalgic longing of golden age pop records into lyrical refractions for the modern era. With previous singles “Strange (But I Like It),” “The Songwriter,” “One Woman,” “D.M.T” and “Far Away,” the energy of “That 70s show chic (LADYGUNN) and “Psychedelic pop with a modern twist (Wonderland Magazine) has been illuminated in full technicolour already and tmrw Magazine says, “If the goal was to enchant us all into anticipating the upcoming album, it has certainly worked.”
On the album, STACEY says:
“A Saturn Return is when the planet Saturn returns to its original position from when you were born. Astrologically speaking, it is a rebirth in many ways, by way of rapid turmoil, a forceful learning of lessons to emerge as an elevated and truer version of yourself. This album was written and recorded during mine.
Every day, I wrap myself in 60s and 70s music, fashion, and design; I feel at home there, and made it my mission to reflect that in the music, but with 2021 mixes. Modern vintage. I tried to swirl colour, nostalgia, playfulness and raw emotion into a kaleidoscopic world, with both grandiose and intimate moments. I’ve never been more at the helm of my own work than with Saturn Return. It feels like a cosmic caterpillars-to-butterflies moment, both sonically and as a milestone.
My Taurus brought a few pretty things. She stayed the course. My Cancer cried at every turn and loved everyone along the way. Even when it got in the way. My Aquarius stayed true to herself even when the path was lonely. She demanded unique creation in the name of the greater good.”
The album starts with “Hello,” a welcome to everyone that’s a reversed introduction. STACEY says, “Some Beatles shit! A note to the purists: I’m not sorry, the kids need to learn.” It is a reversed piece of the final track of the album.
Australian expatriate singer-songwriter Larissa Tandy now calls Vancouver home and after moving to the city 6 years ago, she tuned in to the sounds of her new neighbourhood to write her new single ‘Sirens’, which is out today on all digital streaming platforms.
“I wrote ‘Sirens’ while living on the Downtown Eastside during the opioid crisis with sirens constantly blaring around me,” says Larissa. “It’s in the key of E, which kinda works for most sirens in Vancouver and makes them a kind of background harmony. I started writing a lot about emergencies, drawing on my experiences with them back in my hometown in Australia. It has a population of 600 or so, a rural environment, so there’s a lot of what I think of as ‘natural drama’. As in, nobody seems to die peacefully in their sleep. It’s always some tragic, violent accident, or people just head out to work one day and don’t come home at night.”
On the heels of “Cry” and the viral resurgence of her “Bambola” mega-debut, Betta Lemme is undoubtedly carving out her own signature of electronic-tinged pop music. Today, the international sensation delivers another hit with witty love song “Ce Soir” out now via Ultra Music—a sneak peak to a larger body of work to come later this year.
There’s something about the way Betta Lemme effortlessly layers introspective lyricism over beats you can dance and cry to that has critics raving around the globe, from Cosmopolitan (Italy) and ELLE (France) to NYLON, PAPER, among others in the US. Tenaciously diving into the industry despite a music school rejection, the trilingual singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has never backed down. Since co-writing and lending vocals on Sofi Tukker’s “Awoo” and releasing her first track in 2018, the rising star has cemented herself as a visionary with no bounds—blending genres and pulling from classical composition to Europop and creating club-friendly bangers that examine the human condition and our most intimate thoughts.
On her new single “Ce Soir”—co-written and co-produced with STOLAR (Aloe Blacc, Trevor Daniel, Selena Gomez)—the Canadian act does not disappoint. In just two minutes, Betta Lemme invites you into her daydreams about a distant partner as she longs for connection. In this time alone, she’s reminded that the real luxury is being wrapped in the arms of a loved one. Zoom calls and retail therapy just can’t compete. “What’s love if you’re not here with me, ce soir?” she wistfully croons, facing the facts of her reality.
With a mainstream breakthrough on the horizon, TiZ East is circulating in a talented class of artists that are destined for big things. Keeping a consistent work rate, we meet TiZ East on his third single release ’Trappy‘ which was premiered by Reece Parkinson on BBC 1Xtra and the track has also landed support on Clash. On brand with his timeless sound and inherent versatility as an artist he showcases his slick wordplay and details the contrast between where he is now, and where he is heading, as he contrasts the two different lifestyles – ‘I’ll get rich one day but right now I’m trappyy, Up and down flats in my Nike air trackyy’.
Gaining recognition with tastemakers on a global scale, TiZ East has been recognised by Complex as ‘One of The Top 21 Rappers To Watch For 2021’ and on Audiomack, where he was featured on their ‘Best of Britain’ list for 2020, he also earned support on platforms such as World Star Hip Hop. The strong support via press has also been reflected on the airwaves, gaining fans across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, KISS Fresh and Capital Xtra.
Born in Nigeria and raised in Newham, East London, Tiz East has a rich archive of music, which includes ’24/7’, ‘Be Mine’, ’T-House’ and ‘Bad Habits’, which also had a massive remix featuring Moelogo and Nadia Rose and has gained over 100,000 views on YouTube. In 2020 TiZ East released three mixtapes including ’T-Rapping’, which was created in a collaboration with producer Bayoz Muzik, as well as ‘Heat Map’ and ’T-House’, all within the space of a year. Last year also marked his cold freestyle on Westwood Crib Session, alongside Armor, Rocco and Stretch.
A talent for the 2021 generation and beyond, Tiz East weighs in heavy on the expectations of him being a rapper of the year.
We’ve been anonymous since 2018 when we teased new music, which we’ve defined as alien-pop. No members, no images, no shows, no location given… just the promise of singles, and later our self-titled debut EP. Now, we’re preparing to unveil our debut album…
Our vulnerable and haunting new song “Grace” is the first from the upcoming album, and our last anonymous release as we look to further connect with our fanbase, revealing who we are and what we look like. “Grace” is our most personal song to date and it’s out everywhere now.
Each of us from the band has a grandmother who is battling dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. It’s tragic to witness someone disappear and become just a shell of a person. You can’t explain it, or ever go through it and understand it yourself… watching someone’s brain be taken over, totally distorting their reality, is so wicked and twisted.
Sometimes music and art is part of the healing. We are all in this universe together.
Follow us on social media as we enter our next era.
4 Minutes Later
Growing up in suburbia just north of Toronto, Canada, Julian always wanted more than the white picket fences he was surrounded by. Looking up to music legends such as Kurt Cobain, Bowie, Shania Twain and Dolly Parton, he began writing music at the age of seventeen. After releasing his debut EP, his songs appeared on Spotify’s New Music Friday, New Music Friday Canada, Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds: Pop, and It’s A Bop. “I was really excited that people connected with the music, but I wasn’t sure that it felt 100% authentic to who I am,” says Julian. When the pandemic hit, Julian Daniel decided to go off the grid and focus on himself. “This song is about my own experience with anxiety and feels personal. I hope others can relate to it and not feel alone if they too are struggling with mental health.” Anxiety is the forthcoming track from Julian, “I actually wrote it after an attack” he states. The 21 year old is expecting to release his new single, ‘Anxiety’ on May 21, 2021. “21,21,21 here I come.”
Having amassed success spanning over three decades for his pioneering milestones and culturally-shaping achievements in the space of Dancehall, Reggae, Hip Hop, and more, Cham (p.k.a Baby Cham) has crafted an undisputable legacy that remains peerless to the greatest in class. Today the multi Grammy Award-nominated, internationally acclaimed artist unleashes the highly anticipated visual to his fiery single “Lock Down.” Lock Down takes on its masterful flare from the Clockwork Riddim, which is produced by eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Bolt, in a few short years, has shown that there is nothing off the table for him, and that success follows in every endeavor as long as passion is upheld.
“Lock Down” find the dancehall legend in his element, spitting fiery, conscious-rooted lyrics over iconic bass-knocking beats made to uplift and rejoice. Cham encapsulates what life has been like in Jamaica for almost two years in a cinematically emotive way, using the extraordinary natives of Jamacia as leading stars for his genius real & raw storytelling.
17-year-old budding star Melvoni releases video for his new song “Call,” directed by Elliot Barbernell. The video is the latest release from EP Return to Sender, out now. Watch HERE
The four-track EP highlights the dynamics of Melvoni’s inimitable signature sound. Clean guitar bristles up against on melodic rhymes on “Million Dollar Peasant” as his voice echoes on the chantable chorus. Meanwhile, he pulls up over trap piano on “Call” with slick storytelling as he urges, “If you ever feel alone, just give me a call.” For the explosive finale “Blaze of Glory,” he bodies a skittering beat with commanding and confident bars.
Melvoni transmits his message right to the heart on Return To Sender. Stay tuned for more very soon.
multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and composer Perdurabo shares ‘The Time Traveller’, the collaborative album created with !K7 artist Davide Tomat, due for release on May 21st – Stream ‘The Time Traveller’ here
‘The Time Traveller’ is a record born by a collaboration between Perdurabo and Tomat (!K7), nine tracks written in 2014 and rediscovered on a hard drive during last year’s lockdown. The album focuses on the idea of OOBE – out-of-body experience, a phenomenon in which a person perceives the world from a location outside their physical body. The inspiration comes from reworking the same music compositions at different periods in the artist’s life; each track represents a personal journey and singular OOBE. Music becomes the binder, capable of taking us far during a year of loneliness and immobility.
Perdurabo is the moniker of classically trained multi-instrumentalist, electronic music producer and composer Davide Arneodo. Living between Berlin and Turin, Italy, Davide has worked both in the studio and live with some of the biggest names in electronic and rock music, including members of Einstürzende Neubauten, Apparat, Placebo, Howie B and Skin, playing and releasing records across the world on both major and independent record labels. As the 5th member of seminal italian alt-rock band Marlene Kuntz; he contributed to the tremendous impact the band had on the Italian independent music scene, while as Perdurabo his most recent release was with Apparat’s drummer Jörg Wähner, releasing the collaborative EP ‘Komponent’, featuring Roman Rappak from Miro Shot and recorded at the iconic Funkhaus Studio in Berlin. Early singles, ‘Leads Me Outside’ and ‘Miss You More’, released on Bad Panda Records caught the attention of innovative London-based Kowloon Records, who went on to release ‘Mad’ featuring Chloe Charles. His most recent release comes in the form of ‘The Answer’, a piano composition chosen by Nils Frahm for his Piano Day 2021 Playlist .
Davide’s experimental work doesn’t limit to music, he has explored the world of contemporary art working with the video collective Masbedo, exhibiting at Art Basel and at the Venice’s Biennale. He has composed the original score for theatre plays commissioned by Turin’s Teatro Stabile di Torino, Volksbühne in Berlin, Teatro di Roma and Theatre de la Ville de Paris, performing both as an actor and a musician in shows all over Europe.
With ‘The Time Traveller’ Perdurabo and Tomat have collided their two musical worlds into a universal journey rich in otherworldly atmospheres and textured compositions difficult to classify.
British artist and rapper from Old Trafford, Manchester is back again with her next single ‘No ID’ Lady Ice has collaborated with big industry producers Heavytrackerz for a very hard-hitting street banger. The single also sees a feature from SN1 rapper Kyze, creating the perfect setting for a great display of UK rap culture.
The Heavytrackerz, the East London duo have been prominent in the scene for quite some time, previously working with the likes of Stormzy, Wiley, Skepta and Giggs. They are no strangers to an expert beat and that is exactly what they offer to ‘No ID’ with their unique producing styles.
Kyze delivers a perfect verse echoing Ice’s message and complimenting her style. Recently he featured on Gigg’s latest project, similarly to Tiny Boost who featured in a previous single of Lady Ice’s called ‘The Way Things Go’. Tiny Boost brought the fire then and it’s now time for Kyze to bring his in his own way.
This Manchester X London link up has produced a high-end sonic experience. The beat is centred around a reversed melody, which really demonstrates the unique styles Heavytrackerz have to offer. A sparse drum pattern leaves space for Ice and Kyze to write their own unique flows across the track with their rap. ‘I’m from the hood where you never ever go’ is elucidated in the chorus, an honest insight into the life of Lady Ice and her experiences.
Lady Ice’s second single in 2021, tees her up for a very successful summer with an effortless demonstration of her ability in the UK rap industry. We all knew her undeniable talent as a rapper following her TV appearance ‘Rap Game UK’ with Krept, Konan and DJ Target. We now know her capability of making fire tracks!
Cash Money Records and NCREDIBLE is readying the She Ball Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The music will be inspired by or featured in the forthcoming film She Ball produced by Cash Money Films and NCREDIBLE, arriving on-demand and in theaters Summer 2021.
The first single from the movie, “STUNNAMAN” with Birdman, Roddy Ricch, and Lil Wayne drops today with a cinematic music video. The song will also be immediately serviced to radio. “STUNNAMAN” fuses a jagged beat to a signature melodic flow from Roddy Ricch. Meanwhile, Birdman and Lil Wayne pull up with old-school Like Father, Like Son-style interplay. Three generations of rap shine on this bold and bright banger.
Praised by Notion on his previous release ‘Southside Girl’, Professor Paws keeps his finger on the accelerate button as he shares ‘To The Bag’. There is no confine when it comes to his musical expression and he has a diverse sound that glides between melodic R&B to a raw rap sound. In his latest release we find a myriad of both of his signature sounds as he blends melodic hooks with his refined yet punchy bars. His latest release outlines an eagled eyed Professor Paws as he has his sights set on getting ‘straight to the bag’ and he ‘gotta get straight to the money.’
Produced by Michelin Shin ‘To The Bag’ marks Professor Paws’ sophomore release of 2021. In just over a month his previous single ‘Southside Girl’ is sitting on over 70,000 single streams and the music video has been viewed over 150,000 times. With the recent backing of Notion, he has also recently featured on DMC World, as part of their ‘Back To Mine’ feature.
Theo Tams is rediscovering his identity as an artist. With his upcoming EP, the Canadian singer/songwriter demonstrates a remarkable command of R&B-laced pop music, his silky tenor the unwavering guiding light. As evidenced on lead single, “Therapy,” a sticky mid-tempo jam, Tams slides across the melody with an enrapturing charm, and his vulnerability is as much on display.
Two years since his last record, 2018’s Call the Doctor, what is most evident is his fearlessness to cannonball right into fresh sonic waves. “I knew that I really wanted to just dive into this evolution and a different sound. All the new music was an exercise in the spirit of saying yes to new things,” he says. “There’s so many times that I feel the industry or public perception put me in a box. Going into this project, I realized regardless of whether they put me in a box, it was my job to burst out of it.”
Dreamy melancholic shoegaze meets alt-pop singer/songwriter Catbells engages her listeners with soft hypnotic vocals, lush soundscapes, and moody melodies that capture her deep, heartfelt emotions in the most intimate of ways. Gifted with a voice like an angel, Catbells gently immerses her listeners into a world of sweet nostalgia and velvety sentiments.
The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was introduced to the piano at age five, and by the 7thgrade she was playing the guitar and writing songs about her middle school heartbreaks. After performing in several bands throughout her early music career, Catbells recently decided to focus on her own solo project.
Catbells is a somewhat enigmatic, shy wallflower type, with her name itself being an alter-ego. Named after the popular hiking spot recited in the famous children’s book The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter, Catbells’ cinematic music is influenced by the vast natural wild. Raised in New England, Catbells often revisits the times of her childhood in her music, where she reflects on fond memories of the seasons changing, swimming in the eastern lakes, canoeing down the river, and working on the family farm.
Her deeply personal and introspective single “Fade – Rainy Day Demo” is an intimate and open-hearted reflection of lost love. “The song really wrote itself and the music needed to match the feeling of how the words felt. There are few people who are lucky enough to escape the feeling of a completely broken heart, and feeling like the person you loved so much just moved on like it was nothing, leaving you left there with a hole where your heart once was” confides Catbells. This emotionally raw and poignant narrative and accompanying music video features innovative illustrations of a sad cat saying farewell in a starry evening background.
With influences ranging from 60’s folk like Nico and Donovan to 90’s shoegaze artists including Mazzy Star, Catbells has combined the best of these genres into a potent fusion of lofi “sad girl” indie rock beloved by many.
The pride of Northern BC, singer-songwriter Mark Perry has been writing songs about living in his hometown of Smithers and rural northwestern BC since he recorded his first album with Roy Forbes and Shari Ulrich back in the mid-90s. His 13th album, Northwest, is set for release later this year and the first single ‘Golden Spruce’ is out today on all digital streaming platforms.
‘Golden Spruce’ is about the legendary story of Grant Hadwin, who felled Kiidk’yaas (also known as “the Golden Spruce”), a Sitka Spruce tree located on the Haida Gwaii archipelago and considered sacred by the Haida people.
“In January 1997, Grant Hadwin, a Canadian forester, fell a 300 year old tree on Haida Gwaii,” says Perry. “It’s unique colour, appearance, and size made it a celebrated and valued tree, and was considered sacred by many Haida people. Grant did it to bring attention to the decimation of the massive old-growth forests. It provoked a lot of mixed emotions, far and wide. On February 13th of that same year, he left from Prince Rupert in his kayak, headed towards Masset for his court appearance. During the 100 km trip over, he disappeared. In the early 2000’s, Alaskan coast patrol still considered him a missing person of interest.”
Perry is hoping his new single will shine some light on the importance of preserving old-growth forests in BC. He explains: “Some of the trees being harvested on Vancouver Island are over 1000 years old. They are irreplaceable. I think we have to ask ourselves as British Columbians, are we so desperate for timber supply?
A dozen albums strong, Mark Perry is deeply loved in Canada for his good-humoured and thought-provoking performances that get festival audiences up on their feet and make theatre crowds feel like they’re in his living room. He sweeps you up in emotional and animated tales of sinking ferries, rising rivers, NHL dreams, or buying a car for “two cords of wood and 24 beer”. Towns dying, towns being born, small planes going down – Perry draws us in to reflect and laugh as he pays tribute to real characters and events in rural Canada.
Mark Perry’s new single ‘Golden Spruce’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers and streaming services worldwide.
dmonton alt-pop artist Robin Cisek is excited to announce the release of her debut album Delicate Minds on June 18th. The lead single from the album is the dark electro-pop track ‘Speak To Me’, out today on all digital platforms. Watch the lyric video here.
Full of powerful vocals and catchy, dynamic melodies, ’Speak To Me’ is a song with an important message.
“I wrote ‘Speak To Me’ online with my producers during the COVID lockdown,” says Robin. “The song was written to encourage people to talk about their mental health and it aims to break the stigma behind mental illness while allowing me to have lots of fun with my vocal range.”
Robin’s inspiration comes from her own experiences and her Indigenous heritage (Métis), which takes form in music through her alternative beats and lyrics. Her previous singles received critical praise, in addition to being played on radio in Canada and internationally. Her 2019 single, ‘Waiting on You’ claimed the #1 spot on XRP radio countdown and the Indigenous Music countdown and remained for 24 weeks.
On her debut album Delicate Minds, Robin is pushing the boundaries by challenging the idea that pop songs can’t be evocative. Robin shows her dedication to creating music that has a profound meaning while being melodic, catchy and listenable. Through her new music she discusses the deep meanings and emotional aspects of mental health while infusing her lyrics and sound with hopefulness, and a positive outlook on the future. Her album is an ode to those dealing with mental illness and a celebration of their strength and resiliency. The 6-song album deals with issues around speaking about mental health, anxiety, addiction, perception of mental illness in society, gaslighting, and trauma.
Robin Cisek’s new single ‘Speak To Me’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers and streaming services worldwide. Her debut album Delicate Minds will be released on June 18th.
Talia stars alongside Loretta Devine as Tia Mowry-Hardict’s character’s oldest daughter, ‘Jade McKellan,’ in Netflix’s multi-camera comedy “Family Reunion” from veteran showrunner Meg DeLoatch (“Family Matters”). Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Talia moved to Santa Barbara at the age of seven to begin pursuing her twin passions of acting and singing. When she’s not in front of the camera or in the studio recording new music, Talia loves songwriting with her brother actor/singer/songwriter Armani Jackson (Netflix’s Little Boxes/TBS CHAD) and lending her voice to mental illness awareness and Global Lyme Alliance.