INsiders Guide: Crissi Cochrane, Maygen & The Birdwatcher, Dawson Fuss, Jaci Butler, Peter Lake, Givēon, Micky James, TYLA, Emily Henry, Emily Henry, Pyra….

On a sultry summer night in downtown Windsor, a dazzling rock demi-god tossed back his luscious, unkempt mane and declared that the singer-songwriter who’d just succeeded in captivating the ordinarily raucous bar crowd was “a perfect mix of Halifax Nova Scotia and Detroit Michigan.” An apt observation it was: Crissi Cochrane’s sultry, soulful music is an original blend that honours her East Coast folk roots and her abiding love of jazz, retro pop, and classic soul. The end result is a musicality that is delicate, profound, and powerful.

Since going viral on Spotify with more than 13 million plays of her 2014 album Little Sway, recording and performing artist Crissi Cochrane has become a household name in Windsor, Ontario: beloved for her silky vocals, expert songwriting, and fierce musicianship. Her 2020 album Heirloom, funded by the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Windsor, features a small orchestra with mix engineering by Juno-nominated engineer Brandon Unis (Karl Wolf, Nuela Charles). Hailed as the “voice of change” by the Windsor Star, the album is bold and unapologetically modern: from dissecting unfulfilling relationships in “Hungry Love”, to demanding respect in “Like A Lady”, to banishing toxic influences in “Get Out”.

Maygen Lacey is an accomplished, Midwest CMA nominated singer/songwriter with millions of streams on Spotify from listeners around the world. Noah Neumann is a wicked talented guitar virtuoso with a taste for Delta Blues. The combination of the two is Maygen & The Birdwatcher, an indie-folk duo turned genre-bending Americana-Newgrass and Soul experience you need to hear!

In many respects, Maygen and Noah couldn’t be more different. From upbringing and musical taste to the Minneapolis vs Saint Paul debate, there are few things these two agree on. The short list includes: sarcasm, the great outdoors, quality beer, and having a good ‘ol time. Maygen & Noah’s 2018 debut album, “The People We Don’t Choose,” drew on their distinctly different musical influences including Brandi Carlile, Florence + The Machine, and Balmorhea to create a collection of songs that explored family, addiction, loss and navigating the people in their lives. With heartbreak and hope intertwined throughout, it was very well received. Its single, “Comeback” currently spins on local radio, including The Current’s Radio Heartland.

Through the pandemic the two acquired some serious string cred by adding to their line-up: Ethan & Jesse Moravec (formerly of Sawtooth Brothers) on upright bass, mandolin, fiddle and vocal harmonies, as well as Nik Pellinen (of Sawed Off String Band) on banjo and lead guitar. The addition of these three has brought the band a wealth of talent, enhancing their rootsy, americana sound. Maygen & The Birdwatcher just finished recording at the well known Flowers Studio in Minneapolis (The Jayhawks, Mason Jennings, Soul Asylum, Jeremy Messersmith, Lizzo) and will be releasing the first single off the album in June 2021.

Fast-rising indie-pop artist Dawson Fuss has released his most poignant single to date, “Free.” The picturesque pop track showcases his uncanny ability to turn his vulnerability into one of his greatest strengths. “It’s a song about longing to be your 100% true and authentic self and the complete joy when that wish comes to fruition,” Dawson explains. “Free” is now available to stream and download worldwide.

LA-based singer, songwriter and creator, Jaci Butler, releases the first single off her upcoming EP, “Breakup Season,” today. With an accompanying music video, this track is “about starting anew on your own; whether that’s breaking up with a job, relationship; however you see fit for you as a listener. It’s about the changing of time. Realizing it’s time to break off with the old, find yourself, acknowledge that it’s been over for a while, and it’s finally time to let go” Jaci says. She elaborates; “There’s all these things I believe in – whether it be fate, good luck charms, love – and they all play a part in my life. This song is also super special to me because I got to reunite with a fellow American Idol Alum, Avalon Young, who helped me co-write.”

NYC-based alternative, multi-media artist Peter Lake announces the upcoming release of his new song trilogy, entitled Red, out on October 8th. Following the successful release of his Yellow EP, which garnered over 1 million Spotify streams and 97,000 YouTube views, Red consists of three songs by the artist about love. To introduce the EP release, Lake releases his music video, “Whistle,” choreographed by Matthew Pasterisa (Kanye West, Azealia Banks) and filmed by Christopher Soto.

Known for staying behind the scenes, Lake recruited Bronx filmmaker Christopher Soto to bring his vision for Red to life. Soto says, “the inspiration behind ‘Whistle’ was an idea that Peter had in mind. He introduced me to a dope choreographer and he booked a handful of dancers.” 

That choreographer was Matthew Pasterisa (best known for his work on Kanye West’s “Fade” video and Azealia Banks’ “Anna Wintour” video).

GRAMMY Nominated R&B star, Givēon, drops his new heartfelt single, “For Tonight”, the first song off his highly anticipated debut album, which is set to be released later this year. “For Tonight” is produced by Sevn Thomas (Drake, Rihanna, Travis Scott), Jahaan Sweet (Eminem, Kehlani) and Akeel Henry (WizKid, SwaeLee) and is accompanied by a music video directed by Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Sophia Nahli Allison.

Get it HERE via Epic Records/Not So Fast Watch the music video HERE!

When asked about his new release Givēon says, “This is the story of a taboo vice that I just can’t seem to stop indulging in.”

Last week, Givēon announced his “Timeless Tour”! The 14-city tour went on sale September 17thand sold out in a matter of minutes. The tour will kick off on November 28th in Detroit, MI.

He also attended the MET Gala for the first time with Maison Valentino, after snagging a VMA for Best Pop for “Peaches” with Justin Bieber ft. Daniel Ceasar, which is riding its 26th week on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

Heartbreak Anniversary ended up topping at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 list and stayed on the list for an impressive 29 weeks. In addition to “In The Bible” by Drake ft. Givēon & Lil Durk that has reached number seven on the list.

Stay tuned for more new music coming soon from Givēon.

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

Turning up the heat on her international rise, African superstar singer and songwriter TYLA releases her new single “Overdue” [feat. DJ Lag & Kooldrink] today.

Get it HERE via Epic Records.

“Overdue” notably soundtracks the Season 2 trailer for NETFLIX’s Blood and Water, which premieres on Friday September 24.

Her debut single “Getting Late” [feat. Kooldrink] has exploded as a viral phenomenon. The music video has amassed 4.5 million YouTube views, while the song eclipsed 4 million streams. It has also claimed coveted real estate on playlists such as African Heat [733K followers], Amapiano Grooves [97K followers], Hot Hits South Africa [51K followers], and more. Not to mention, the track debuted on Spotify’s Top 50 chart in South Africa, reaching #27, a powerful feat for an artist’s first release. Powered by an Amapiano beat, her voice glides over this distinct international bounce towards a boundary-breaking hook that’s instantly chantable. Making an impact, PAPER featured the song, while ­i-D described it as “her impossibly catchy breakout single. Not to mention, the BBC 1Xtra playlist just added her, speaking to her global impact.

Signed to Epic Records through a venture with Johannesburg/New York based Fax Records and co-managed by We Make Music and Africa Creative Agency, Tyla has positioned herself for international dominance with style, soul, and spirit.

Emily Henry is a DC-based singer-songwriter who performs her own personal brand of elegant electro-infused indie pop. Known for her powerful yet sweet vocals and an authentic musical instinct, she has been compared to artists such as Joni Mitchell and Sylvan Esso.

As a child, she began writing songs as soon as she was old enough to communicate. Enthralled with reading, storytelling, and fantasy, young Emily Henry would write melodies to the poems and lyrics recited by her favorite characters. She performed heavily throughout high school and college, releasing her first body of work shortly thereafter.

 

Her debut EP, Matchsticks, brilliantly showcases Henry’s angelic vocal strength while taking her music down a slightly darker, more mysterious road. The songs of Matchsticks unearth the complex emotions hidden inside stories both fictional and true, the spoken and the unspoken, in the little moments and in the big, transformational turning points — all done with a light folk-infused touch and a razor-sharp pop sensibility.

After a five-year absence, Emily Henry is set to release her highly anticipated sophomore album. Entitled The New World, the album is an eight-track collection of dynamic pop songs oozing with an atmospheric haze. Finding inspiration in “stories about love and magic and what it means to be a person,” the full-length album is “all about vulnerability and connection, feeling your way in the dark toward something new,” confides the songwriter. The result is a brilliant collection of enrapturing tunes that resonate deeply.

 

The first single, “I See the Light,” is a heart-wrenching song about finding a glimmer of hope in the darkness and climbing your way out of tough times. The song’s narrative is a personal reflection for Emily Henry and features dreamy, layered vocals over a fluid melody that offers feelings of comfort, inspiration, and wisdom to those who need it most. The song also draws influence from acclaimed author Naomi Alderman’s novel The Power, which she references in the lyrics, confiding, “You can get there — it might be a hard journey, but the new world is out there if you are determined enough.”

 

“The Sound” is a clever collage of rhythmic and charismatic pop that blends together to form a slinky song about “taking joy where you can find it.” Brimming with hope and passion, “The Sound” combines echoing vocals, snapping beats, and a downtempo atmospheric landscape to create the sweetest escape.

The third single, “Reach Out,” is a tribute to one of her favorite pieces of fiction, “The Adventure Zone,” a Dungeons & Dragons podcast created by the McElroy family. In their first campaign, “The Adventure Zone: Balance,” the McElroys tell a story of “found family, radical compassion, and optimism in times of great darkness and uncertainty.” Greatly affected by their profound message, Henry shares her unique interpretation in finding solace and community through a kaleidoscopic musical experience.

From the highs of three #1 hits, multiple award nominations and critical acclaim to the lows of shattering his leg in the middle of a show and starting over again after the demise of the band and record deal, Jesse Butterworth has learned to embrace all that makes up his life and find the specks of gold in just about anything.Jesse Butterworth’s debut full length solo album, “All The Gold I’ve Struck”, recorded at world famous Abbey Road studio in London, is a breath of fresh air from a weathered troubadour, who has refused to see his journey as a tragedy but rather a mining expedition that has paid off in more ways than he could ever count.And with this new project, Jesse really has struck gold, working with some of the top musical talent on planet earth, from Grammy Award Winner, Andrew Joslyn (Macklemore, Pentatonix, Kesha), Aaron Sternke (Amy Grant, Mercy Me, Mathew West) and Lewis Jones (Harry Potter, Avengers, Black Panther). All the pain and hope of a lifetime has been woven together and somehow reconciled in this stellar project by an artist with a unique and solitary voice.Jesse Butterworth lives in Seattle with his wife Marisa, their three kids, Liam, Finn & Harper, their dog, Maple Syrup and his 1962 Ford Econoline Van, Van Scully.

Building a name for her outspoken social commentary via genre-bending music, Thai pop warrior Pyra returns with her new single “can’t keep running away” – out via Warner Music. The first single following on from her epic EP fkn bad pt.1 – the first of her two-part project – “can’t keep running away” showcases softer sonics, a refreshing contrast to the typically darker side of Pyra’s political pop style. Blending heavenly acoustic guitars with a pop-trap beat, Pyra’s sweet vocals harmoniously merge with the uplifting sounds to deliver a message of hope. Speaking on the track, Pyra shared: This track is the “light at the end of the tunnel” of my “fkn bad” project. You can say it’s the only utopian track among all my dystopian tracks. I believe that humanity runs on “hope”. It’s always hope that gets us across the storm and uncertainties of life. The tangible form of hoping is praying, and in every prayer, we always pray for the better. We can run and hide as long as we want. We can resort to escapism with the help of vacation, alcohol, and drugs. However, if we want to cross this mountain, the only way is to face it head on and make that climb.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

Written By: Neill Frazer

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