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INsiders Guide: Stunna Girl, DJ Blaise, Sgmaniak, Keedo, Jessicka, The Islas, Mark Perry, Medium Love, Warp Trio, Hyzah, I M U R, Zachary Knowles, Fuzzy Sun, LiYON, FIL BO RIVA, Camie…

Coming through with even more heat, buzzing Sacramento, California rapper and #RUNWAYCHALLENGE queen Stunna Girl unveils the music video for “Where You Belong” today. Watch it HERE on VEVO/YouTube. It’s the latest single from her 2021 mixtape, Stunna This Stunna That, out now. Get it HERE via Epic Records.

The visual shows yet another side of the rising star. The cinematic clip directed by Azzie Scott threads together an unpredictable narrative, beginning with Stunna Girl and her man in a city apartment. She sings to the camera, “Come home to me, ‘cause you know where you belong, and those words soon take on a deeper meaning. It seems like her co-star may be up to no good, until a sweet surprise changes the narrative altogether. You’ve got to watch it to find out!

Stunna Girl continues to turn heads. office magazine conducted an in-depth interview and exclusive photo shoot with her. They raved, “You know Stunna Girl when you hear her. Whether it’s from her squeaky, invigorating rap musings, her signature “HAANNNN” tagline, or just the aura of it all—she captures your attention” and called her “savage and raucous, never not sure of herself, and always in-your-face.

She also recently uncovered the music video for “10 Times,” maintaining her incredible momentum.

Right out of the gate, Stunna This Stunna That earned critical acclaim. HotNewHipHop raved, “It’s a 12-track project filled with bangers from top to bottom, and she sat down with Hip Hop Wired for an extensive interview. LA Weekly predicted Stunna This Stunna That “should see Stunna Girl’s already blossoming profile go up another level in 2021.

Get ready for more soon!

Dubai based DJ BLAISE is joined by Azello to deliver a jaw dropping remix of ‘Moments’ featuring Poppy Baskcomb. Whisking the track into a new dimension of piano house, Azello lean on an amped up bassline that crescendos into a deep drop that perfectly complements the beautiful vocals of Poppy Baskcomb that have been so central to the ongoing life of this summer smash.

A favorite with notable Radio 1 and Kiss FM DJ’s, BLAISE’s dancefloor smash ‘Moments’ boasts nearly 300K streams. Having already gifted fans with a beautiful stripped back acoustic version of the track, which was premiered via Wonderland, who praised the single’s depth: “Leaving behind the dance floor-ready Balearic tones on the original, the acoustic version captures the true meaning behind the single, letting us hone in on every powerful lyric and tonal change”, the stage is now set for the booming Azello remix, just in time for the party islands being added to the green list of countries the UK can travel to.

Azello last teamed up with BLAISE on track ‘Get Up’ in 2020, receiving strong backing from dance station KISS FM and also managing to grab the attention of boxing legend Tyson Fury, who chose to add it to his popular workout playlist. Highlighted as one of BLAISE’s personal favourites, the original of ‘Moments’ has previously seen the DJ comment “The words reflect the moment of the current world situation. With Poppy’s soulful voice, catchy vocals and melody, I’m very excited about this release.” Now with the Azello mix adding a whole new flavour, he continues “Absolutely buzzing to have Azello boys back on a remix. Their style of piano stabs & their high energy always shines through on anything they put their mark on. And yet again, they’ve shown this on their remix of ‘Moments’”

Sgmaniak (pronounced S. G. Maniak) is an artist from Gainesville, Florida, currently based in New York City. Known for creating experimental, confessional music, moving effortlessly between college heartache and real world ennui, his self-produced releases have struck a chord with listeners across the globe. 

 Now unveiling a nine-track album, The Global Heart Awakens, the release sees some of Sgmaniak’s most hi-fi work to date. Taking a heavy, musical dietary intake from jazz and neo-soul, the music is reminiscent of Frank Ocean, D’Angelo and Kaytranada. Showcasing an electronic glaze, the musician blends his indie-soul sound with some rockier influences to create something that is both striking and memorable 

 The album follows a rough patch in the songwriter’s life, where he struggled with anxiety from his own life, the world around us and the mass spiritual awakening happening across the planet. From climate change, the death of George Floyd, presidential elections and the Covid-19 pandemic, all these events took its toll on Sgmaniak, turning to meditation and nature to learn to be alive here and now, instead of worrying about things we can’t control, hence the album title. The songs across the album all reflect an undercurrent of anxiety as it feels almost impossible to find the answers for so many things, he shares, “I just want people to feel that the human spirit is the brightest light, and that nothing is impossible. If I can achieve that I’ll feel happy.”

 “Prayers on Ice” kicks off the whole album with stunning waves of synths and a chill beat that takes you to a dreamy escape, the building vocals and synths create a haunting soundscape that sucks you in whilst allowing the lyrics to be crystal clear. “Scared of the dark, can’t fall asleep in a haunted house full of bad memories,” he sings about the breakup of his parents, confiding, “Prayers on Ice was written the week I arrived at my home in Florida when quarantine started. That was the first time I had to split time between my mom and dad’s houses because they got divorced after I moved out.”

 Then there is “Fireworks” – a track written about the injustice and hate in the world, particularly after the news of George Floyd. Not aiming to make a political song, the track is a mirror to the artist’s anger and confusion to the world. With clashing indie-jazz drums, superlunary piano, intricate electro moments and catchy melodies that dance into his soft neo-soul vocals. The piano carries a magical touch of hope and light alongside the echoing keys. His choice of timing for melodies gives off a sleek and cool essence leaving you feeling compelled by his magic.

Accompanied by visuals that premiered on Link Up TV, ‘Respeck Me’ offers up a dark video on a London backdrop. An honest and introspective record, Keedo reflects on personal tales and whilst he touches on hardships and disrespects, it’s his uplifting positivity and strength that sits in the core of the record – something that is further highlighted in the nod to his long-term illness, as he chucks away his crutches at the start of the video. Adamant to be defined by nothing but his music, Keedo uses melodies, versatility, lyricism, metaphors, wit and tough punchlines to build his musical presence.

Mirrorball Midnight is absolute escapism and available now via Light Organ Records.

Stream my new track below on your preferred platform.

https://smarturl.it/MirrorballMidnight

I’m often lamenting how dull my typical workday existence is, and so Mirrorball Midnight is my Cinderella story. A Friday night fantasy based on the glittering allure of the unknown. Your love calls up and says “I’m getting the hell out of here, you in?” and without thinking you drop everything, get in the car and let the wind blow through your hair.

Perfectly suitable for a dance floor, this song is a dream come true. 

  I hope you enjoy getting lost in the euphoria,

Jessicka

The Islas have had the pleasure of supporting Cast, Fickle Friends, Louis Berry, Anteros, The Amazons on their Norwich legs of their respective tours. They have also headlined infamous venues across Norwich including The Waterfront, Norwich Arts Centre, EPIC Studios and the mainstage at Neverworld festival. With Spotify editorial support, as well as Alex Rainbird playlist inclusions and BBC Introducing airplay, The Islas are proving to be ones to watch.

  Norwich has delivered a new breed of Indie in the form of The Islas. With upbeat rhythms, sharp melodies and thoughtful lyricism that hints at influences of The Smiths, Beautiful South, Paul Weller & Sam Fender, their songs are harvested from youth and the experiences British adolescents face throughout their journey into adulthood. The anxiety, happiness, sadness and first loves – and everything in-between. 

Consisting of Nathan Baverstock (Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar), Ross Allen (Lead Guitar), Granger Wittering (Bass, Backing Vocals) and Ed Chalu (Drums), the band found their sound through a mutual desire to put on high energy shows with tight 2 minute tracks that showcased their musical abilities and captivating, storytelling songwriting. 

“The Absence Of You” is the first single to drop in the run up to their upcoming six-track EP, Oblivion. Written throughout the confines of the pandemic, the song arose after the downfall of a long term relationship. Tackling post-break-up emotions and the feelings of insecurities, regret and lack of confidence, Baverstock shares, “The single is not really a love-sick song about wanting someone back, just the sensation of feeling empty and realising that that chapter of your life has gone.” 

 Creating a big, vibrant, dance-worthy anthem, this indie single is the perfect head banger for those fun, sweaty nights. Opening with a warm puff of summer, fluttering riffs and exotic drums, before kicking into The Killers-esque punchiness and excitement, “The Absence Of You” dips in and out of a tropical haze with pure lightning bolt energy. Everything about this single is highly engaging and energising, from the gritty, lyrical guitar melodies and bright drums, to the silky, warm vocals hinting at the pain and loss of a relationship. 

The Islas have had the pleasure of supporting Cast, Fickle Friends, Louis Berry, Anteros, The Amazons on their Norwich legs of their respective tours. They have also headlined infamous venues across Norwich including The Waterfront, Norwich Arts Centre, EPIC Studios and the mainstage at Neverworld festival. With Spotify editorial support, as well as Alex Rainbird playlist inclusions and BBC Introducing airplay, The Islas are proving to be ones to watch.

BC musician Mark Perry grabs inspiration from the past with his new single ‘Fish Boats’ out now on all digital streaming platforms.

Following the release of ‘Golden Spruce’ (released May 21st), ‘Fish Boats’ is the 2nd single from Mark Perry’s new album Northwest, which is set for release later this year. The song involves a bit of time travel, back to a more prosperous time for the fishing industry on the North Coast of BC.

“I tried to capture a little of the energy of the 70s fishing industry in Prince Rupert, its demise and some of the reasons why,” says Mark. “Foreign trollers, ending the sea lions cull, fish farms – it’s a lot of information in 3 minutes.”

Hailing from Smithers, BC, 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. With songs about sinking ferries, rising rivers and NHL dreams – Perry draws the listener in to reflect and laugh as he pays tribute to real characters and events in rural Canada.

Mark Perry’s new single ‘Fish Boats’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, and other digital retailers and streaming services worldwide. For more info, please visit markperry.ca.

Medium Love is the latest incarnation of Californian born, London based KC Underwood. After the demise of his previous project Big Deal, (Mute, Fat Cat) the songwriter took a break from the good life but soon began hearing music in his dreams. Taking it as a sign to start creating music once again, Underwood named the project after a particular dream – one where he was part of an audience that became one super organism, feeling love move through them with the music. 

On his latest single, “Unibummer” Underwood seeks to find some small comfort in the endless waves of change of the current age, an effort to grow when the Universe seems intent on flattening you like a pancake. Partly inspired by fellow hermit turned outsider misfit Ted Kazinsky, Underwood decided instead of blowing people up perhaps a nice melody and kind message can break the spell of modern living. Underwood explains, “He felt like he had to terrorise the USA to get his message heard, which is both insane and relatable.”

Mixed by Nathan Ridley (Gay Girl, Phobophobes) and mastered by Dean Reid (Lana Del Ray), the track gives off a calming, sunny day glow. Soothing backing vocals drift delicately before kicking into a wave of energy, shimmering with singing synths, tight, full drums and impassioned vocals. With a beachy feeling that starts each verse off, the track moves into floating, woozy energy with dancing, romantic guitars. Taking inspiration from an emporium of genres, artists and decades, Medium Love draws on an amalgamation of influences, creating multiple ear pricking moments. Medium Lover is currently at work on a full-length album with Margot Broom (Goat Girl, Big Joanie, Blue Bendy). 

Like musicians all over the World, New York City’s Warp Trio entered the Fall of 2020 with a full instrumental record ready to go, but no tour to play it on. In light of their forced hiatus from road life, and in efforts to make something positive out of these dark days, they decided to get to work on a new record that would not only signify the times, but also one that they would purposefully not be able to feasibly take on the road. Rick threw down some beats and bass, Mikael added his keys and synths, and after Josh & J.Y created a lush Disco-esque orchestra of strings, they reached out to some of their talented and inspiring vocalist, filmmaker, animator, and dancer friends to collaborate on a project that aims to show a small glimpse of the roller-coaster of feelings and experiences lived by folks in this time of tumult.

After many hours of home recording, “Zoom-Jams”, and a few All-Night film shoots, Warp Trio’s Pandemic Disco Fantasy was born. Clocking in at a little over half an hour, P.D.F. is a six-track video concept album that musically posits the Warp Trio alongside several guest vocalists (Likwuid, Mirah, Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, Daniel Henri Emond, and Claire Wellin) as soloists with an orchestra. Each track is accompanied by a video chapter that tells the fantastical stylized story of the narrative. Visually, the movement talents of Emily Houghton, Sophia Qin’s psychedelic animations, and the filmmaking prowess of Andrew Wells Ryder bring the music to life.

Against the campy imaginary backdrop of a “Pandemic Disco”, the record explores some of the very real and serious issues that have been brewing for years, but have come to light within the current climate; police brutality, racial and class equity, mental health, and media distrust, among others, with the overarching theme being a message that even though things are rough, we can (hopefully) all pull through and emerge stronger on the other side.

The record sets out to take the listener on a journey; from the Daft Punk influenced intro track, “Captivity” to the final piece, “Release”, a folk inspired tune that uses the same melody, P.D.F. is a wild ride that comes from over a year of wanting to go out to a dance club, of dreaming of hearing a live chamber orchestra, of having the urge to sing without abandon at a trashy karaoke bar, and of hoping to turn on the news without dreading it. It is unapologetically indulgent, over the top, chock full of guilty pleasures, and simultaneously reminiscent of the good times while looking ahead to the better times and brighter days.

After becoming a viral sensation with his Drake-approved freestyle video, which was filmed on the streets of Lagos, 19-year-old breaking talent Hyzah is now ready to unleash his first official single. Following that unprecedented turn of events, Hyzah’s debut ‘Dan Mi (Pass The Lighter)’ is the start of something brilliant and pioneering, and kickstarts his new deal with Warner Records.

Despite appearing to be an overnight sensation, the young Nigerian has been making music since his early schooldays. It was not easy for the aspiring artist. “We didn’t have actual instruments to make music, but we’d use our hands to make beats” he recalls.

Hyzah’s life took a completely different path when Oak Spotlight Management filmed his impressive rhythmic flow and incredibly rich melodies. They uploaded the freestyle to Twitter, which sparked his viral moment. Additional videos of him began to circulate around social media, and his streetside performances quickly became iconic.


The original video has 790,000 views and has been circulated by many so big social media platforms that its origins are impossible to trace. Eager to build on the growing attention, Hyzah launched an Instagram account. After going to bed with just two followers, he woke up to find out Drake had followed him and gave him a welcoming co-sign. Now with 121,000 followers on Instagram, Hyzah has a crowd waiting for this irresistible debut song.

‘Dan Mi (Pass Me The Lighter)’ shows that Hyzah can be a vital part of the new wave of Afrobeats, but he’s also eager to show his versatility by expressing influences from other genres too.

As soon as the track’s verses hit, Hyzah delivers the unique flows that captured everyone’s imagination in the first place. The finely calibrated chorus then keeps the energy high, making for an endlessly playable anthem. The production is just as strong too, with harmonic piano synths, a danceable Afrobeat drum pattern, and a wide array of instrumentation all contributing to an essential debut track.

I was inspired to make the song after my first viral freestyle,” says Hyzah. “It made me believe in myself because that day I was just doing my thing and people still vibed with it. I love the freestyle song because that moment changed my life!”

A vibrant and expertly stylised music video matches the energy supplied by the song. Its variety of locations capture multiple vibes and reflect the journey that Hyzah has taken to get where he is today. His charismatic performance and striking choreography underline his future star status, which is further supported by his contemporary fashion choices.

‘Dan Mi (Pass The Lighter)’ was based on his viral freestyle breakthrough, but it’s just the start of Hyzah’s story. His whole life changed within a moment, a heart-warming narrative that demonstrates that if you have talent, dedication and a little luck, anything is possible. Now Hyzah takes his undeniable talent global, with a real summer track that’s fresh and authentic to his city. 

I M U R make genre-bending make-out music, weaving alt-R&B and avant-pop into undeniably catchy songs that fit just outside the box. Composed of singer/songwriter Jenny Lea, producer/guitarist Mikey J Blige, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher, I M U R’s sound is a cinematic blend of smooth and sultry, tussled together with texture and bounce. Their lyrics tell a story of self-reflection, strength in vulnerability, and the courage to tackle taboo subjects like addiction/recovery and female sexuality.

I M U R have been active for over five years, with Jenny Lea and Mikey J Blige forming the band in 2015 and releasing their debut EP, Slow Dive (later adding Amine Bouzaher to the band in 2016). Despite an early near death experience, Jenny found strength and resilience in her recovery and channeled that into their music. They found early organic success with single, “Trippin’ On Feet.” They followed up the EP with their next project Little Death, with standout tracks, “FFL,” “Little Death,” and “Breathless” (notably featured in Wynnona Earp Season 2 [Syfy] and Good Trouble Season 1 [Freeform]). One year later, they followed up with their third project, Thirty33, in 2018. Stand out tracks, “Miss You Hate You,” “Should Be” and “Afterglow” received high streaming numbers, and were featured in numerous TV shows, including Netflix’s SnowpiercerPretty Little ThingsWu Assassins & Workin’ Moms.

Rising artist and tender pop creator, Zachary Knowles, recently announced his debut album, tendency to be a loner, due out August 6, 2021 via FADER Label. Today, he shares the second single from the forthcoming release, “stranger to me,” with a lyric video. The new song explores the experience of a best friend or someone who’s deeply loved, turning into a complete stranger after a breakup or a burn that turned the relationship to ash. It evokes that feeling of awkwardness when someone who was once so close is suddenly totally distant, and how life has to go on without that bond but with the inner-knowing that it just wasn’t meant to be.

Describing the new track, Zachary Knowles says, “It’s weird how you can spend every day with someone, get super close, feel like the relationship will last forever, and then drift apart and become strangers to each other like nothing ever happened. I think sometimes relationships aren’t meant to be forever, which is totally fine in my opinion. It just seems like sometimes people are put in your life for a season and then they’re gone. We should enjoy them while they’re here.”

This proclivity to introspective and introverted thinking was introduced in the upcoming album’s title track “tendency to be a loner,” which recently arrived with a lyric video. Ashe co-wrote the track with Knowles, and Alexander 23 helped produce it. An introvert anthem, Knowles sings “I’ve got you / That’s all I need / I got a tendency to be a loner / let’s go be alone together.”

Photo Credit: Matthew Eachus (The Manc Photographer)

Manchester risers Fuzzy Sun today share their brand new video for ‘Fake It’, the band’s first single of 2021 taken from a new EP due later this year.

Marking a new era for the four-piece, ‘Fake It’ finds Fuzzy Sun more confident and clear in their identity than ever before. Self-recorded and produced in Stockport, the ambitious, endlessly catchy guitar-driven anthem sees their sound elevated by soaring melodies and new-found cinematic textures – destined for raucous scenes in any live setting.

Speaking about their new direction, vocalist and guitarist Kyle Ross elaborates, “We wanted to make an impact with the new single, pushing a new creative direction for the band, as I think we have really found a sound that excites us and we feel comfortable with.

The song itself is about feeling rather disenchanted with society and putting on a brave face when in fact you feel the complete opposite, which is something we can all relate to. It was inspired by a dark time, with the hope of things getting better.”

The coinciding video, shot at Manchester’s Antwerp Mansion with producer & director Oscar Bernstein sees the band combining their love of David Lynch style cinema with their reputedly energetic live performance.

“With the video, we wanted something that conveys the energy of the tune, and thought a performance would be the best way to get that across, and it was probably an excuse to feel like we were playing live again…” tells Kyle.

“Stylistically I wanted to reference some of my favourite cinema, give it a feel of an early David Lynch short, also Doodlebug by Christopher Nolan was a big reference point. These kind of films, for me, deal with a similar subject matter to the song so I feel like they married up perfectly”.

Starstruck” is about an overwhelming feeling of lust and love. It captures the feeling of being trapped within someone’s grasp – almost hypnotized by an attraction so perfect at that exact moment in time.

Here’s a deep and melancholic track you can also dance to.

I combined catchy melodies with a hazy tone to send you off into a dream world where your only worry is to wake up.

I have paired “Starstruck” with a gritty and dreamy music video. Guns, drugs and decadence are afoot to create a cinematic metaphor of this song’s themes.
Thanks for spending time with this track!

LiYON

Photo Credit: Arnaud Ele

“Solo” marks Fil Bo Riva’s second release since his debut album Beautiful Sadness that received critical acclaim leading him to perform sold out shows in Paris, London, Milan, Amsterdam and more. Less than a week after its release, “Solo” has over 100K streams, earning placement on official editorial playlists such as Spotify’s New Music Friday (Germany, Switzerland, Italy), Apple’s New Music Daily, and more.  

At the start of the pandemic Fil Bo Riva found himself alone in his Berlin apartment, rediscovering the solitary art of making music with whatever instruments were there. New songs came into fruition quickly: “This phase felt not only lonely but also very powerful and gave me the energy I needed to seize that “Solo” that was in front of me” explains Filippo. Working with producer Robbie Stephenson, Bonamici then fleshed out his homespun recording in the studio. “I wrote the song before the pandemic – it was about a breakup, about feeling alone – but the meaning changed over time. Right now, for me, it’s about the fact that it can be good to be alone, that you can also be happy for yourself and should accept that at some point.”

FIL BO RIVA is an artist who considers himself a true European. Growing up in Rome and spending his school years there, Fil moved to Ireland in his teens, where his musical education formed and developed gradually, before pushing him to move to Berlin in 2012. After some years of studies at the University of Arts, the city finally brought new inspirations and positive distractions which shaped his songwriting and gave him the motivation to start the project in 2015. The Berlin based project started getting attention soon after the release of the first single “Like Eye Did” in 2016 and have opened for multiple artists, including Matt Corby, Milky Chance or Imagine Dragons, as well as playing festivals such as The Great Escape, Eurosonic and Montreux Jazz Festival. With over a 100 million streams under his belt, Filippo Bonamici is currently working on new material out of Berlin.

Toronto-based singer/songwriter and multi-award-winning storyteller Camie has long enchanted audiences with her delicate queer-feminist croonings, rich vocal tones, and lush poetic imagination. After years of playing intimate gigs across southwestern Ontario and parts of the United Kingdom, the now-24-year-old songstress is plunging into unfiltered, unshackled creative expression with the release of her cinematic ambient folk concept EP, troubadour.

troubadour is a thrilling and soul-stirring addition to the contemporary Canadian folk canon. Imbued with soaring synth and string textures, it paints a portrait of a young woman in control, moving through vast physical and emotional landscapes with razor sharp intuition. Forging her own passage through the motions of love and loss, connection and disconnection, memory and presence, troubadour shows the artist at her most raw and vulnerable. The record is a brave expression of queer womanhood, of running away and getting lost in the world, of falling in and out of love with shifting people and places, and of returning home at the end of a long journey.

LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, shares a music video for her latest single “Gimmick,” the debut single from the forthcoming release and sophomore EP, Showgirl, due out on August 27, 2021 via Position Music. The first visual from the upcoming release is absolutely stacked with metaphor, all-star fashion, witchy vibes and an important message about the role media plays with children — especially young women. From puppet to powerhouse, L’FREAQ breaks free of the monotony and shreds through the brainwashed stereotypes, as she literally shreds on a guitar.

Describing the video, L’FREAQ says, “While the song is about my experience on a singing show and the judge who made me doubt myself, I wanted the video to have a bit of a darker message. My director and I, Shepherd Flashman Lowrey, came up with the idea to have a little girl watching me on a growing TV screen, a symbol for how the media consumes and controls us. I came up with the puppet master idea to go along with it, showing that what we see on our screens is not always what is happening in reality.”

The new track embodies the theme of resiliency in a time of self-doubt. “Gimmick” combines heart-pounding beats with passionate lyrics about believing in the power that everyone inherently owns and nobody else can take away, while and emphasizing L’FREAQ’s expansive “robust range (Refinery29).”

Describing the song L’FREAQ says, “After a grueling audition for a singing show in late 2019, I felt incredibly disempowered. One of the judges called me “gimmicky” and I felt as if my career had ended. What I didn’t realize was that this one person, one show, and one opportunity just wasn’t the right fit for me. After months struggling with mental health, I wrote this song as a way for me to empower myself and others, and a tongue in cheek diss to the judge that made me doubt my power.”

marcos g’s upcoming summer EP dives into nostalgia head-first, reminiscing on the past’s “good days” not long forgotten and looks for the answer to the question on every twenty-something’s mind — “What am I doing?”

 

Pulling inspiration from artists such as Omar Apollo, Kali Uchis, and Frank Ocean, Marcos G taps into his Latin roots with Bachata, Reggaeton, and 00’s R&B influences. Being raised in a Christian household in a majority Cuban neighborhood, his left-of-center style reflects his upbringing around a multitude of influences and experiences.

One of the UK’s most captivating voices in R&B Pip Millett follows on from her critically acclaimed recent release “Running” ft. Ghetts with her gospel-soaked new offering “Hard Life”. Pushing her sound in a new, exciting direction the second offering from her new EP Motion Sick coming in August, the layered, melodic Joice instrumental puts Pip’s sun-drenched and dramatic vocals front and centre. Immensely soulful, with catchy drums and sampled backing vocals, the enigmatic talent explores themes of painand change. “Hard Life is about exactly that. It’s about moving through unresolved trauma and understanding that ignoring those things doesn’t mean they go away. It takes learning and listening to yourself and lots of patience.”

Linda Varg is a Swedish pop artist who brings a unique and fresh sound with her empowering and uplifting anthems. With influences ranging from pop and rock to reggae and urban, her music is sprinkled with a punky attitude and a 90’s flavored tinge. Her musical career has been a colorful one – born in a small village in Sweden with a population of only around 25 people, it’s been a wild ride to where she is now. From winning the TV show Popstars and landing multi-platinum status with the group Supernatural, to signing a major label deal with Warner Music, Varg has devoted every second of her life to music. She’s had the pleasure of performing as Annie in the musical Chicago in Copenhagen, living out her childhood dream, and was also one of the finalists of Swedish Idol in 2010. All of this eventually led to Varg deciding to take the plunge into a solo career and she has never looked back since. 

Her latest single “Standing In The Middle Of The Road” was written from Varg’s own experiences with bullying. It’s a personal message giving off a much bigger meaning, with the track applying to those who have gone through emotional hardships and risen up from the ashes, despite the pain and battles. Varg explains, “The message is that you should never let anyone, anything, or any circumstances run you over. What might seem like a failure, broken dreams, or insurmountable obstacles or challenges can instead be the passage or opening to something much greater than you could ever have imagined. So do whatever you want in life and don’t live as a victim of your own bad thoughts.” 

Written alongside platinum-selling artist Ulf Nilsson and mastered by Björn Engelmann (Abba, Backstreet Boys, Zara Larsson), the flow of encouragement and rising above the dark shines bright in the track’s essence. The euphoric alt-pop-folk energy draws on a finger-picked guitar aura, with foot-stomping beats and layered vocals which overflow with a wholesome feeling of togetherness. Reminiscent of the likes of One Republic, Imagine Dragons, Dua Lipa, and Bebe Rexha, “Standing In The Middle Of The Road” is a charming track that provides a modern twist to a timeless building block of analog energy.

Varg’s music has debuted at #1 on iTunes Rock Sweden, received notable airplay across both Sweden and Germany, and has garnered hundreds of thousands of streams to date. Entering into the next chapter of her fascinating journey, “Standing In The Middle Of The Road” is currently available worldwide.

Ægir is an Icelandic songwriter who uses creative outlets to keep his body and mind at peace, maybe inspiring one or two people along the way.

 The cinematic-pop music maestro is unveiling his latest single “I’m At Home”. Demonstrating his profound connection to Icelandic nature, the track opens without a moment’s hesitation — cascading melodic synths, jangly guitars and a pulsing rock groove, propelling the track into the beginning of an emotive sonic escapade. Complete with dynamic peaks and valleys that mirror the Land of Fire And Ice, Ragnar’s ability to transport listeners somewhere else can’t be understated.

Now based in Germany, “I’m At Home” narrates the songwriter’s feeling of being homesick, particularly during the pandemic when travelling was forbidden. For Ragnar, the track serves as a homage to his Icelandic heritage; and embracing that liberating feeling of coming home after long periods overseas. He confides, “Landing at an airport and knowing you have a 5-hour drive to get home isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. But getting to see all these amazing places on the drive back through Iceland is an incredibly refreshing feeling, and gives me and my family a newfound energy and inspiration”. 

At the track’s centre is a strong hook and heartfelt melodies that are felt and appreciated universally. With a subtle euphoria and a sense of rising new energy, the gritty guitar riffs, energised drums and stunning electric riffs all complement the hearty and full vocals. The chorus builds an almost restrained sound, mirroring the mix of emotions felt when returning home. With a mature tone, the subtleties of the excitement from his inner-child rush throughout the song, giving us all a taste and reminder of what it is to be young and carefree exploring your surroundings and appreciating every moment. 

 

The accompanying music video, shot by Icelandic adventure creator Ása Steinars (Mercedes Benz, Mammut, Adobe & Huawei), is flooded with stunning atmospheric shots of Iceland, allowing us to witness the journey in all its glory. Ending up at the quaint, yellow farmhouse (Ragnar’s home prior to moving to Germany), the video is a traveller’s dream, with breathtaking waterfalls, sunsets, vast ocean and huge glaciers, everything about this screams jaw-dropping. The result is a charming, familiar feel, adding to the honest and vulnerable look into Ragnar’s personal journey home.

With hundreds of thousands of streams for his music to date, an ever-growing fanbase, as well as recognition from publications around the world, Ragnar Ægir is quickly becoming an artist to watch. “I’m At Home” is the first single and title track off of the forthcoming debut EP, which will be released on Raun Music at the end of 2021.

Youngn Lipz excels forward with this diverse song ‘Broken Home’, filled with serious emotion which you can hear throughout his pitch perfect performance. A narrative close to his heart that adds a passionate texture but in the form of an expertly written song.

Hot off the back of his recent track ‘Spaceships’ which has taken off, the 22-year-old from the streets of Southwest Sydney is having no problems carving his way to the global stage.

Already an icon on his home turf with 3 tracks placed in the local hype official Spotify playlists; he is not messing around. Youngn Lipz also previously linked up with ‘S1MBA’ on the ‘Rover’ remix which witnessed huge international success with opposite ends of the world collaborating for what went down as a cult tune both in the UK and Australia, reflected by its 17 million streams on Spotify. Representing nearly 800,000 monthly listeners on Spotify alone, Youngn Lipz is beginning his domination and with a distinct sound across his varying music he is only going to grow more.

The texture to his vocals in this track gives off a heartfelt vibe and the sensitive beat compliments this seamlessly. Percussion soaked and teamed with a dreamy melody; the foundations of the track were perfect for what was to come. Young Lipz has a very notable vocal make up and uses it proficiently, varying between dramatic moments and slightly more hypnotic sections. Amongst all the desire in the track, it is also a catchy banger with the chorus being one to sing in full voice.

The video combines both a narrative scene played out and Youngn performing the track on a picturesque backdrop and at the ‘Broken Home’. Meeting the boy in the story towards the climax of the song, the viewer is left with an inviting wholesome warmth. Visually satisfying but deeply tender, Youngn Lipz has showed a sophisticated side to his character.

Youngn Lipz is displaying an infectious growth across the globe and this release provides a new door for new fans to assist him on his way to stardom. There is still much more to come from this Australian pioneer who is paving his own way off his sound and character.

John Driskell Hopkins shares I’ll Take You Home”; an emotive new song from Grammy-winning Zac Brown Band-member which is inspired by a story of extraordinary resilience, tragedy, and a remarkable response.

A story that begins with eleven-year-old Georgian Grace Bunke’s diagnosis with the rare bone cancer osteosarcoma, embodies the spirit of her fight to live an inspirational life before her tragic passing on the eve of her fifteenth birthday, and illustrates the far-reaching legacy she left through her work for the nonprofit Swim Across America.

A story that is set to be aired in the six-part Discovery Network docuseries, WaveMakers. Beginning July 8th at 8pm ET on Discover Life. The series follows the stories behind a number of families taking part in charity swims across America to raise money for cancer research, including Grace Bunke’s.

Hopkins’ involvement with this story is drawn from his family’s personal connection to Grace Bunke. His daughters attended the same elementary school in Marietta, Georgia, and he was greatly moved by Grace’s spirit as her, and her family, undertook their battle against this aggressive strain of cancer. To honor Grace’s legacy, a portion of the song’s proceeds will be donated to Swim Across America.

Yung Pooda gains another hit with DJ Chose on his latest offering “Forever Tippin,” produced by Grammy Award-winning, super-producers Cool/Dre. The two trendsetters join forces with an appealing twist of the Salih William-produced classic, “Still Tippin” by Mike Jones, Paul Wall and Slim Thug. “Forever Tippin” is available today via It’s A 10 Records on all streaming service platforms. The official music video, directed by legendary director Mr. Boomtown (Gucci Mane, Bun B, Yo Gotti), has now reached 1 million + views via YouTube. Watch here

On an unbreakable hot streak, with no signs of ceasing, Yung Pooda has proven to be a force with his magnetic appeal as he makes his way to carry the city as Houston’s next up. The 2021 breakout star was recently featured in his hometown daily paper, The Houston Chronicle where the publication exclaimed that Pooda is well on his way to being Houston’s next hip hop star. “Forever Tippin” comes on the heels of Pooda’s biggest record to date, “Chicken ‘N Grits” featuring Dreamdoll on the original version and Trey Songz and Dreamdoll for the official remix. The track garnered praise from Hot New Hip Hop, Rap Radar, On Smash, Hip Hop N’ More and is currently in the multi-millions with over 3 million + streams and counting on Spotify solely. 

Admittedly, I’m a contrarian. 

When everyone is doing the same thing and likes the same thing, I have a tendency to want the complete opposite. It’s a pain in the ass for a lot of my friends. 

Rakefire explores my unwillingness to accept what’s popular, and whether or not that helps or hurts me.

https://foundation-media.ffm.to/rakefire 

Check out the official visualizer for Rakefire on YouTube.

Join me in the hotline by calling 1-877-350-1732.

This song was the one that brought the Frank Mighty sounds together. In the studio with Matt and Quin, once we got the acoustic guitar strums laid down on the chorus, our mix of Americana, alternative, and electronic influences just HIT. I remember we were all dancing around in excitement.

I want Rakefire to hit you in the feels. Here’s hoping we will belt it out together at a festival soon!

Frank Mighty’s Hotline

Artist/producer Callie Reiff and singer-songwriter Kaeyra have teamed up to deliver a knockout single, “Heart Ain’t Safe.” EDM Identity exclusively premiered the single, describing it as “dark, feminine, and bold.”

The track represents another bold progression for multi-hyphenate act Callie Reiff who has been making waves this year with a string of impressive singles. On “Heart Ain’t Safe,” her soaring soundscapes and hypnotizing beats provide a cinematic base for Kaeyra’s soulful vocals — it’s the perfect example of Callie’s signature ‘indie-club’ sound, which she describes as a fusion of “pop/indie-forward vocals and New York club energy production.”

‘Heart Ain’t Safe’ is about that one person who is always in the back of your mind. Wherever you are at, you know if they were there you would ditch the party to be with them,” Callie says. “I tried to mimic the lyrics with a somewhat dark feeling bassline, intense drums, and an energy that makes you want to be in the middle of a dark rave dancing with all of your friends.”

Driven by a competitive hunger, MOE rhymes with verbal athleticism, undeniable charisma, and fierce individuality. Posting up nearly 10 million streams independently, and landing a high-profile placement in NBA2K20, the Orlando rapper brings an unbreakable work ethic and the spirit of competition from the court to the culture on his 2020 debut for Epic Records.

He battle-rapped among friends throughout middle school and high school before four years of college ball as a shooting guard in Virginia. Upon returning home, he turned his attention to music. Inspired by Meek Mill, Drake, J Cole, Andre 3000, JAY-Z, Future, and 21 Savage, he tirelessly practiced his craft on the mic. Simultaneously, he bounced around between jobs as a referee and at The Boys & Girls Club, Sports Authority, and a gym. In 2016, he uploaded his first song “2 Easy” followed by “Money.” During 2018, he hit his stride with the independent No Regrets project. Around the same time, he met GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Ayo [Lil Wayne, Drake, Cardi B] and hit the studio. He unleashed the Rich Dreamin’ EP powered by the single “Outta There.” Over kinetic production from Ayo, he drops highly quotable rhymes before a hard-hitting hook. Tipped to MOE early on, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon became friends with the rising rapper. Through his friendship with Gordon, Moe connected with the team at 2K, and the track featured in NBA2K20. Within a few months, it generated 4.3 million Spotify streams and 1.4 million YouTube views as he landed a deal with Epic Records. As he prepares more releases, MOE has his sights set on the championship.

Mint Simon has enlisted the help of UK electro pop-star, Bright Light Bright Light to put a new spin on their gender fluid anthem, “Some of Everything.” The celebratory track about the beauty of defying the norms is now ready to hit the clubs with uptempo drums and spacey synths courtesy of Bright Light Bright Light. 

When Mint Simon first heard the original production for the track, they knew it “instantly gave off a big stage festival vibe.” With the disco strings, simulated choirs, and captivating saxophone solo to accompany Mint Simon’s direct and powerful vocals.

“It’s such an empowering song,” says Bright Light Bright Light, “I wanted to make it feel like the first summer you come of age and realise – you know what, this is me and it’s OK to be different! The feeling of breeziness and freedom. Hopefully I’ve done the song justice, I really adore it!”

When creating the track, Mint Simon explained, “I feel like as time goes on, we’re seeing more and more fluidity in gender and sexual expression especially in the younger generation. This song is a celebration of that not only for my queer fluid ass self, but for all the queers and the gays who want to celebrate with me.“ 

Mint Simon is using their new musical project as a vehicle for self-discovery and expression, as they develop their unique musical sound as a solo act while sharing their journey of self acceptance with captivating and effortlessly catchy pop tunes. The “Some of Everything” video is the latest piece joining in on the fun.

While only two singles in, Mint Simon has already garnered support from some of the industry’s best. Following the release of their debut single “Used For Love” Mint was supported by Apple, Amazon, Attitude, Kaltblut, MTV, GLAAD, Out Front Magazine, CBC, Jon Ali’s Queer Necessities, Q Review, Atwood Magazine, SheSources, and more with the Reviews Are In stating “The Caveboy front-person steps into the solo spotlight and goes into some real feelings with a catchy pop presentation. It’s acceptance and openness and free. And it’s a jam.”

With an entirely new and exciting sound from Bright Light Bright Light, it is clear that Mint Simon can excel over any production, their artistic prowess cannot be boxed into any genre.

Toronto-based queer alt-hip hop artist, Lex Leosis, shares her EP, Terracotta, today — just in time for peak summer vibes. The now Tiktok rap battle champ is also debuting a brand new video for “That Feel,” which shows an easy, breezy afternoon of skating in the sunshine. Leosis’ signature attitude is in full force in video with her lioness hair, long nails and high energy.

“That Feel” feels like a celebration, and this new release deserves exactly that. The video was shot in both Los Angeles and Toronto. Director, Yohalmo, who is embedded into longboard communities in LA, shot all the California scenes. He brought together the cast and both main characters Shannen Soriano and Laura Paragano. Director, Sharleen Meinke, who also directed the “Wanted official video, shot Leosis’ parts in Toronto. 

The previously released single and outlaw anthem, “Wanted,” arrived with an icon Thelma and Louise-inspired video. The debut single from the project was the sunny, tropical-beat infused, “Won’t Wait,” which showcased a breezy, bouncy beat under Leosis’ vulnerable lyrics and she yearns for real talk and love, but not at the expense of self-worth.

“Won’t Wait” and “Wanted” were produced by Rainer Blanchaer (Drake, The Weeknd, French Montana, The 1975), who is an executive producer on the whole EP. Having met through Leosis’ roommate, Blanchaer became a pandemic pal, and one of the only people she’s seen consistently during lockdown. They’ve used their time making music together in Leosis’ bedroom studio and the result is Terracotta. Describing the new EP, she says:

In the Terracotta pots process, clay starts by being refined and molded. Through fire, time, and attention to detail…the terracotta pot is complete. I wrote this project through the pandemic. I was coming off releasing “Mythologies” (March 2020) and I was sad that I had to cancel a lot of my roll-out plans. No interviews, shows/tours or celebrations. I put my whole heart into that project and to see that I couldn’t continue my rollout because of the pandemic was a big blow. Instead of letting it defeat me, I decided that it would make me stronger and that I would use this time to rebuild.”

When you talk about hard-hitting rappers in the UK, C Montana has to be mentioned. This London based rapper is quickly solidifying his name next to the greats of the UK scene. His latest single ‘Boss Is Back’ gives us a glimpse into the trials and tribulations of his exciting lifestyle. The energetic drill infused track, produced by world renowned producer ‘Chris Rich’, displays C Montana’s ability to paint a vivid tail of his numerous street escapades.

STREAM/PURCHASE: C MONTANA – BOSS IS BACK

The high intensity drill banger ‘Boss Is Back’, which was premiered by renowned BBC 1Xtra DJ Snoochie Shy, sets the tone for the momentum C Montana is building for the rest of this year. The flashy, compelling visuals, which premiere exclusively on GRM Daily on the 8th July, is directed by ETIM and compliments the rugged delivery of the vocals on this track. With ‘Boss Is Back’ setting the pace, C Montana is set to continue his trend of explosive, well received releases, via his forthcoming mixtape ‘Never Give Up’.

Rising singer-songwriter ROSIE shares her new single, “to get over you,” out today on all streaming platforms via Arista Records. After releasing her viral hit “Never The 1” in 2020, ROSIE has continued to deliver a series of captivating singles as she heads towards the release of her debut EP, slated for release later this year.

“to get over you” opens with a tender piano arrangement and ROSIE’s angelic vocals before bursting into an exhilarating breakup anthem. With brilliant, heart-wrenching lines like, “to get over you, I would hike Mount Everest / to get over you, I’d walk through hell and back again,” ROSIE’s lyrical prowess is on full display. She captures the familiar feelings of heartache with wide-eyed sincerity.

‘to get over you’ is about the ups and downs of healing from heartbreak,” she says. “As the 4th track from my concept E.P. about the 5 stages of grief, this song represents the 3rd stage, bargaining. With the help of my producer, Noah Conrad, we turned a piano ballad into a sad summer bop.”

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

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Written by Neill Frazer

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