INsiders Guide: USAIN BOLT, The Prototypes, Palmaria, Aleem, James Gillespie, Tommy Newport, The Velvet Underground, Miles Wesley, M. Byrd, Jeremy Shada, evrYwhr, Talia Jackson….

The Prototypes return with anthemic, weekend-ready energizer ‘Alive’ – a collaboration with genre-merging indie/dance trio NOISY. Listen to ‘Alive’ here
‘Alive’ is a call-to-action to an entire culture that’s been starved of its livelihood over the past 18 months. The duo bring their signature DnB energy up alongside the freneticism of good-time, rave-culture proponents NOISY.
Speaking on the track, The Prototypes say: “working with NOISY to make ‘Alive’ was complete chemistry from start to finish. We had been listening to them for a while and loved their raw style and influences of rave culture from past and future in the music. Creating ‘Alive’ with them was a pleasure as it all happened so naturally for all of us.”
Signed to Island Records, NOISY makes music with no boundaries, a hybrid of hooks, beats and escapism that was formed on the south coast of England in Worthing, just down the road from their collaborators:
“The Prototypes have always been on our list of people to work with. As soon as we got into a room with them we knew we were going to create something special. We love how ‘UK’ this song sounds and have had it on repeat since finishing it. Can’t wait to hear this in clubs, on the radio and spin it in our DJ sets,” says Cody from the band.

Palmaria are an Alt Pop duo from a small town in Italy, currently residing in London. Members Giulia and Francesco have been making a name for their distinctive sound, poetically transporting listeners on a journey of dreamy landscapes and uplifting experiences. Think The xx meets Sylvan Esso, meets Little Dragon on a field trip to the Italian coast.
Their latest single “Ocean” is off of their upcoming EP, Crystallize. Co-written and produced with B-CROMA (Yendry, Fia Moon), the single stays true to their sound of delicate, hypnotizing vocals with a mix of organic sounds and utopian guitars. Taking sonic inspiration from the drums on James Blakes’ “You’re Too Precious”, the duo re-interpreted the sound through Francesco’s classical guitar.
The song is inspired by the legend of Colapesce, the magical story of a man that sacrifices his life on earth, turning into a fish to save his island, but also highlights the problem of the pollution of the ocean. “Ocean” is a call for help. The duo confides, “We wanted to give voice to our frustration; it’s been hurtful to see what is happening, especially growing up in a town almost surrounded by the sea. The ocean has always been such an important element in our lives, inspiring and healing us everytime we were in need, so it’s now our turn, we have to protect it.”
“Ocean” takes you to a surreal, idyllic, safe place, where you can feel free and you can be yourself, inspiring creativity and kindness. In this particular case, kindness towards nature, in a time where it’s pivotal that we stop ignoring the dangers we are already facing and start taking action. The single release sees the duo partnering with OGYRE – an environmental organization that protects oceans and collects plastic waste from the shores, Turning it into products.

Aleem is a Chicago bred indie/alternative pop artist, who draws on his pop background to create a mainstream sound with a bit of an edge. As a Pakistani, he was raised in a traditional household that observed cultural customs. Before he reached the age of 12 the singer/songwriter was penning songs that showed a melodic sensibility well beyond his years. By his late teens, he’d refined his artistry and forged a sound all his own, building off the natural musicality he’d first displayed by arranging pots and pans in a drum-kit formation and banging out songs at age 5.
His music features raw and relatable lyrics which will have you holding his songs deep in your heart. A captivating amalgamation of indie, pop and rock, Aleem blends shimmers of synths, ultra-catchy melodies and intoxicating instrumentation, bringing to mind the likes of John Mayer, Bruno Mars and The Script. Aleem shares, “I wanted to navigate toward a sound that was more true to my roots as a singer/songwriter. I set out to write songs that were not only authentic but reflected the sound that sparked my interest in music from the start.”
His latest single “Bad Habits” touches on relationships and how some of them you just can’t quit. With timeless lyrics, the track comes in with a warm, wholesome guitar and drum pair with smooth and fluid vocals. The track has no time to waste deep-diving into the chorus, instantly sweeping you off your feet with an indie-pop heaven of riffs, pounding drums and lyrical basslines. Having toured with the likes of Fifth Harmony, Little Mix and Madison Beer, in arenas all over the UK, Europe and the US and with over 6 million streams for his music to date, Aleem is quite simply a force to be reckoned with.

Unveiling his latest raw and poetic indie-soul delight, James Gillespie releases new single ‘Foolish Love’. Produced by Eg White (Adele, Tom Grennan, Dua Lipa) and mixed by Charlie Hugall (Celeste, Florence and the Machine) ‘Foolish Love’ marks James’ triumphant return to the new music scene following an appearance on Kygo’s hit single ‘Gone are the Days’.
With a subtle melodic backing of soft piano and delicate bass, James’ achingly deep vocals front the track, building into an explosive chorus that erupts with his haunting cries of frustration at a foolishly failed love. Artfully mirrored in the tracks dark and melancholic video, we see James aimlessly wandering at night, pointing to a blurring confusion induced from heartbreak, and emotional numbness wrought from a broken relationship.

Born in Manchester, England, Tommy Newport relocated to the United States with his family at six years old where he bounced around from Dallas to Seattle before settling down in Wichita, Kansas. After picking up the guitar as a teenager to ease the boredom that comes with the idyllic, but monotonous life in the Midwest, Newport submerged himself into music and hasn’t looked back since. His latest single “Bubblegum” is a rosy pink love song using the metaphor of candy to get the sweet message across. Newport shares, “Bubblegum is a love song about wanting to be wrapped up together like a piece of candy and keep all the sweetness inside. I wanted to end the summer with a lighthearted and upbeat anthem that had pure good vibes. The message on this one is simple: Love is sweet.”
Giving off a Glass Animals aura with restrained, prowling production alongside falsetto vocals and grooving basslines, this track is an understated funky explosion of cool. “Bubblegum” feels dreamy and amorous in the vibrant, balanced wash of calm and uplifting vibes. The high-frequency single circles around strong guitar motifs and muffled tones dropping in and out around Newport’s impressive vocal range. At only 18 years old, Newport released his debut single, “I Forgive You”, which rapidly amassed millions of streams. His astounding live performance of “Movie Screen” on the internationally renowned YouTube series COLORS has led to millions of more streams and the likes of Hypebeast, High Snobiety, Beats 1 and Pigeons & Planes all touting Newport as the next big thing. He has been featured in a variety of television shows, including HBO’s hit TV show Ballers, Netflix’s original series What/If, TBS’ popular TV show Search Party, Amy Schumer’s documentary Expecting Amy, as well as the hit TV show The Sinner. He has also scored the latest ad campaign for Apple’s iPad, as well as recently teaming up with Atlanta natives EARTHGANG, for the release of his single “Stargazer.”

Like the distillation of The Velvet Underground, Blondie and Mazzy Star at their untameable best, Lucigenic own a compelling sound both classic and dynamic. Directly following previous 2021 single “Hope”, but a world away from its dreamy stratospheres; the five-piece return this Summer with an altogether darker, grittier, and feverish affair on: ‘‘Still Breathing”. With Lucy Davies’ distinctive vocal pitch leading the charge, “Still Breathing” tackles the effects of social media and the feelings of disconnect that it can induce. As Lucy explains:
“‘Still Breathing’ was written early last year and reflects how easily life can take people down the wrong track , losing sight of true heroism and measuring success by popularity from the false, virtual world of social media.”

Keeping his foot firmly on the gas, Miles Wesley’s trajectory isn’t stopping anytime soon as he drops his highly anticipated mixtape ‘Here Goes Nothing Demos!’ Seamlessly weaving between genres ‘Here Goes Nothing Demos!’ is a perfect demonstration of artistry not fitting neatly into a box. Amongst acoustic guitar riffs, pop synths and syncopated snares the rising talent showcases his ability to transition between fiery rap and punchy pop hooks. Oozing with personality Miles takes us on a journey as he offers a full range of emotions throughout the 7 tracks.
Roaring onto the scene with his unwavering self-belief and swagger, Miles lives life in the fast lane. Miles is an innovative and enigmatic talent who refuses to be caged in by genre or expectation. Breaking free from his Texan hometown in 2017, the star moved to Los Angeles to fully devote his time to music, taking his raw talent and braggadocious attitude with him.

After his two singles “Mountain” and “Morning Sun”, M. Byrd now releases his first EP titled Orion – four songs full of vastness and warmth, carried by the feeling of passing trees outside a backseat car window and the melancholic homesickness that sometimes goes along with. Just one year ago, the first sign of life appeared with “Mountain” and the interim summary is impressive: M. Byrd has become one of the most exciting newcomers on the European music scene, counts 3.5 million streams on just two songs, was recommended in the French Rolling Stone as well as in American blogs. This summer he plays at tastemaker festivals like Immergut, in September at the Reeperbahn Festival and next year he will support indie dance king Roosevelt on his full European tour. Wafting reverb tails, the casually stoic drums – Byrd’s music sounds like Guadagigno’s “Call me by your name,” at times reminiscents of Tom Petty, Sufjan Stevens or Kurt Vile, while the guitars first sound like Sonic Youth and then fade away like The War on Drugs. In the title single, “Orion” M.Byrd remembers a long-time-nameless turtle that lived with his family for years – without anyone being bothered by the fact that it has no name. In the end, it is named Orion. “It’s living in the past, you held me in your hands and never called me Orion”. In the accompanying video, director Constantin Timm accompanies the artist and turtle on a journey through the desert.
M.Byrd’s timeless songs shine with a feeling of strength and self-understanding that can be rarely found at the beginning of a young musician’s career – they transport the listener to the American west coast, emitting a sense of melancholic future and euphoric youth, urging them to trust their intuition and find their inner-self. “I spent many years soaking up personal and musical experiences and I’ve been learning a lot in different studios and touring situations. The music I make is thus inspired by being on the road, moving on and allowing growth to happen. I realized that the experiences on my path might also inspire other people and I hope that this will continue in the future with the songs we release.”

Bi-coastal Emmy and MTV Award winning actor and musician Jeremy Shada announces his debut album VINTAGE, set for release independently on October 1st. With the assist from producers Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, it’s a collection of autobiographical vignettes fusing pop music’s greatest eras to redefine romance in the modern age. Across 12 tracks, the rising star explores the crooners of the ‘20s to the funk lines of the ‘70s to the catchy hard-hitting pop melodies of the ‘80s through present day. Lifted from the forthcoming album is new single “This Feels Right”—a groovy feel-good bop that will make you dance without a doubt—arriving alongside the official homemade-style video filmed inside the magical world of Disney.
Inspired by greats like Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees, “This Feels Right” details finally finding the right person for you and the euphoric comfort of knowing you’re exactly where you need to be. “‘This Feels Right’ is a love letter to my wife as well as a love letter to upbeat ’70s pop songs!” explains Jeremy Shada. “I wanted the music video to be fun, upbeat, basically just me and Carolynn running around and having fun. Since the song is such a ’70s throwback, I wanted the video to feel almost timeless, and there’s no better place for a magical timeless vibe than Disney World, ha! We had a blast shooting the video. We went to Disney with my brother-in-law Carson (who co-directed and was our main cinematographer) and his fiancé. We just put our weekend getaway on video. Sometimes mixing work and play is the best!”

The Grammy award winning-Michigan native evrYwhr, planted a memorable seed when he released the affirmation-driven single “Positive Vibes” earlier this year. Pulling similar themes of positivity and freedom, evrYwhr is back with his latest single ‘Tie Dye’, produced by Blair Taylor (2 Chainz, G-Eazy). ‘Tie Dye’ is a polished record made of loose, richly textured melodies with airy flute accents that weaves colorful sounds undergirded with a trap-like cadence. The song brings evrYwhr’s eclectic blend of r&b and pop and carries thematic weight which encourages listeners to just BE – free flowing like the colors of Tie Dye pattern.
“In every song I write, I try to keep it real, keep it positive, keep it light,” said evrYwhr, whose love for all things music began at age 5. “I’ve loved the Motown sound my entire life and continue to draw on my roots, even as I work on new songs and ideas.”
Further showcasing his passion for world cultures, evrYwhr also released the first episode of his new Transit Pictures produced show, “Destination evrYwhr”, which premieres exclusively on KevOnStage Studios. The show showcases his travels to Cambodia where he connects with people and their experiences through the medium of music. Look for ‘Tie Dye’ as part of evrYwhr’s awaited debut album set to be released in the summer of 2022 under label Saint & Citizen music.

NAACP award winning actress and singer/songwriter Talia Jackson (Netflix’s “Family Reunion”) releases HIDDEN, her first song entirely written by her about the freedom she feels from being free from a toxic relationship and needing no one but herself. During the pandemic, with filming on hold, Talia began writing all of her own music as a solo songwriter and will be releasing a song each month through the end of the year.
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.

“Feel Better” is about someone close to you going through a tough time.
With mental health struggles, no matter how badly you want to be helpful, sometimes there’s nothing you can do to help the situation. This song came out of that feeling of helplessness, and is my way of saying I’m here for you, even if I can’t fix this.
Growing up, whenever I complained about the rain, my Dad would always say “it’s just a little liquid sunshine.” I used to roll my eyes at it, but now I realize that it represents the importance of perspective, which has been a big theme of the past year for me.
Thank you for listening,

Rich Gang is back! Cash Money Records co-founder and GRAMMY® Award-nominated rap icon Bryan “Baby” Williams a.k.a. Birdman has joined forces with GRAMMY® Award-winning multiplatinum superstar Young Thug on a new single entitled “Blue Emerald” today. The track fuses otherworldly production with a UFO-style buzz as Young Thug slithers through the beat with eerie melodies. It all builds toward a massive and magnetic chant meant to blast off into the fall.
“This is what y’all have been waiting for,” Birdman says. “Me and Thugger are back together, and ‘Blue Emerald’ is just the beginning. This is the next era of Rich Gang. It starts now.”

While the term ‘autopilot’ has connotations of surrendering one’s freedom to a machine or going through the motions, this is far from the truth when it comes to the energy, emotion and stylized excellence of composition put forth by Paragon Cause’s creative core – Jay Bonaparte and Michelle Opthof. The Ottawa group’s third album, Autopilot, is an affirming and resolute benchmark in their career, signalling a profound elevation in their commitment to superlative songwriting, masterful arrangements and exceptionally compelling and memorable production.
In short, it is a tour de force, and emblematic of a pair of creative talents who have found their collective voices and who have shed their youthful uncertainty for a sense of musical destiny and artistic gravitas that will hold them in good stead for years to come.

Ellyn Woods is a multi-disciplinary artist currently based in Montréal. In addition to being a singer and songwriter, Ellyn has a degree in Fine Arts from Concordia and a passion for illustration and tattooing. Her art and music are a direct reflection of her love for nature and all things organic. Ellyn received her first electric guitar when she was 12. She began learning her favorite songs by artists like Feist and Angus & Julia Stone, building her familiarity with the instrument and developing her own song-writing skills.
At age 18, she moved to Toronto. Immersing herself in the city’s diverse music and art scenes, Ellyn began sharing her original material and honing her craft as a performer and artist. Her raw and vulnerable material connected with audiences and fellow artists alike. Her ability to effortlessly weave her personal experiences into her music, combined with her soft voice and songwriting instincts, lead to several collaborative projects and showcases.


To say it’s been a year of change could be considered quite the understatement. But for Vancouver-based musician Jessicka, it’s been the perfect time to truly realize who she wanted to be as an artist.
While her past work has been said to be anchored by heady and dark lyrical content, her new project has taken the artist in a somewhat different direction, evoking a kind of electric energy and exuberance much needed in the current social climate. “I want to get the crowd as pumped to be up and moving as I am when I’m on stage,” she explained. “I just want them to have a more elevated experience. To feel that power and that intensity.”

Ben Heffernan’s third EP, drive in movies, sees the Canadian Folk Music Award nominated singer-songwriter move into new sonic and lyrical territory. drive in movies is a personal, cinematic collection of songs that chronicles key events in the life of a teenager: falling in love for the first time, losing someone for the first time, frustration with the world around you, and the speed in which one’s young life tends to change.
After spending the larger part of the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019 playing over 150 shows across Canada, Ireland and the UK, Heffernan chose to record his by then well road-tested group of new songs at home. While “Drive In Movies” acknowledges Heffernan’s roots in what he describes as “classic singer-songwriter folk-pop”, it also reflects his love for 80s-inspired maximalist pop/rock productions and widescreen, stadium-sized ballads. The songs are neatly tied together through the use of vintage movie samples, which lends the EP a conceptual, unified feel.

There’s really no other songwriter whose work touches the soul like James Taylor’s does. There’s an authenticity, a human connection that’s undeniable. As a six-time Grammy award winner and Rock and Roll inductee, he has sold more than 100 million albums since the release of his debut album in 1968. Today, more than five decades later at the age of 73, James Taylor is still on the road filling concert stadiums and touching the hearts of adoring fans worldwide. His song “That’s Why I’m Here” is a dedication to his fans who “are like summer coming back every year.”
Rebecca Gold is one of those millions of super fans who credits him with turning her life around. As a “latchkey” teen in the 1970s, she was lured into a cult until the music and lyrics of James Taylor spoke to her soul and she felt understood. Her story is not unique. James Taylor has inspired, consoled and has been a friend to so many others who have stories of how his music has been a source of healing throughout their lives. In 2015, Rebecca created a Facebook page, Life With James Taylor, to connect with other fans and share stories. During the long months at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, she began collecting some of her favorite anecdotes from fans around the world and created “That’s Why We’re Here” to share these heartfelt stories.
From seeking solace and healing through songs dealing with death and grief to riding the waves of illness and recovery to experiencing the sheer joy of seeing James Taylor in concert (for the first time or the fiftieth), these stories are full of hope, love, friendship, and connection. It is a tribute and a thank you to James Taylor, as well as an affirmation of our common humanity. Rebecca Gold is an author and the founder of Yogic Writing™, a practice that utilizes the philosophies and disciplines of yoga, meditation and journaling to help writers of all levels to heal, reveal and leave a legacy through writing life stories. She is currently writing her next book, “From Your Mat to Your Memoir: Creating a Yogic Writing Practice to Find and Write Your Life Stories.”

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Written by Neill Frazer

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