INsiders Guide: Eden Hunter, Pyra, KABBA, Fake Shark, Aiyana-Lee, Annalise Azadian, Bahjat….

After holding herself back for years, British songbird Eden Hunter is finally ready to fully immerse herself into the UK music scene with her first official single: “Weightless”, released independently via AWAL. A dreamy, minimal synthpop number, “Weightless” is the first in a trilogy of singles planned for release by the emerging twenty-year-old artist. Merging staccato synth pops with bubbling pads and a snap-driven beat, Hunter’s airy vocals float above the laid-back production for a truly ethereal atmosphere. In the accompanying, independently produced “Weightless” music video, Hunter serves a full ‘00s popstar fantasy by effortlessly delivering slick choreography with a posse of dancers to bring her chill track to life. Speaking about “Weightless”, Eden shared the following: Weightless is the absence of pressure and a feeling of freedom. I wrote it at a vulnerable time in my life; I am
always someone who has had a plan and knows what is coming next, but I felt at a really awkward in-between. I couldn’t seem to find a balance in anything and when I explained it to my friend Tom, he gave me the biggest cuddle and held me and it made me feel safe and weightless I felt like I was looking for clarity in something that I didn’t realise was as simple as a hug. Although on first listen one might assume Hunter is speaking about romance in her songs, Hunter’s music actually explores platonic relationships. Reasoning that as she has never been in love would mean that she can’t create authentic art, all of Hunter’s music is only written from the perspective of when she has personally experienced something: “My songs have really genuine, raw messages. None of my music I write for my own artist project is about being in love. It’s about friendship, hardship, happiness, drive, intuition. I can write about being loved and loving someone, but being in love is something very different.”

Taken from Pyra’s forthcoming EP fkn bad pt. 2, Pyra delivers a powerful yet bleak message about the destructive nature of humanity; the song is further explored in a provocative video, featuring unsettling shots of a menacing CGI cyborg model of the pop-activist with her chest removed to reveal an insight into the hollow and broken nature of humanity – ending with a terminal emulator glitching and fading out to black as the song’s closing electric guitars similarly malfunction into an abyss of nothing.

 Sitting as the creative director for all of her videos and artwork as well as co-writing all of her songs, Pyra’s messages come from the core of this multi-dimensional talent’s psyche; from “suicide spirit”, which shares Pyra’s battles with depression in a country which still holds a major stigma towards mental health struggles, to fiercely speaking up for the people of Thailand and bravely risking jail sentences by incorporating criticisms of the Thai government in videos like “bangkok” and “paper promises”.

 With critical co-signs for her music from NMEPAPER MAG, THE INDEPENDENT, MIXMAG, GQ, L’OFFICIEL and VICE to name a few, Pyra’s status as a cultural icon is being solidified.

Born Aminata Kabba in Sierra Leone to a musical family who moved her and her sister to the UK when she was eight in pursuit of a better life, audiences will instantly recognise KABBA’s distinctive presence via her huge hits like the Grammy nominated “Need U (100%)” with DJ Duke Dumont, “My Love 4 U” with MK, Shift K3Y’s “Entirety” and “White Lies” by M-22.

However, 2019 saw a drop of the stage name ‘A*M*E’ and KABBA’s rebirth, via the well-received body of work KABBA in 2020 – a year which also saw her add KSI’s Gold certified hit “Really Love” (featuring Craig David and Digital Farm Animals) to her envious songwriting catalogue.

Audiences throughout 2021 with stellar singles, one of Canada’s hottest indie exports Fake Shark finally release their highly anticipated 4th studio album Time for the Future – which they share today alongside the music video for “Feel That Way” featuring Madison Olds. Comprised of creative visionary Kevvy alongside Louis Wu, Tony Dallas, Alex Glassford and Jake Fox, in Time for the Future Fake Shark orchestrate an album that defines diversity. From high energy indie-punk tracks to spacey and immersive interludes; there’s a reason why they are simply one of Canada’s best bands.

Time for the Future takes inspiration from every aspect of the music spectrum, while still crafting a sonically unique body of work. Using a mixture of heavy-hitting drums, vintage crate-digging samples and powerful melodic vocals, the collective has built a whole new sound simultaneously transporting audiences to the past and future. Kevvy, the creative mind behind the project, explains “I want the music to feel nostalgic and futuristic at the same time.” With his musical background, producing and writing for world-renowned artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, he’s got an ear for what sounds will connect to a modern audience. He adds “What do they expect to hear, and how much can I play with those expectations to create something fresh and exciting?”

20-year-old London-born, LA-based artist-to-watch Aiyana-Lee debuts the refreshingly candid “Rich Kids” today via HITCO — a song that explores her personal tenacity against materialism and prioritising self-love. “Rich Kids” is the lead single off Aiyana-Lee’s forthcoming project, featuring collaborators including GRAMMY Award-Winning producer Neff-U (Michael Jackson, Doja Cat), Sebastian Kole (Alicia Keys, Alessia Cara), Nathalia Marshall (Kiana Lede, Bebe Rexha) and multi-platinum singer-songwriter Nicole Daciana Anderson (BLUE), who is also Aiyana-Lee’s mother, manager, and creative partner. Sharing her thoughts on “Rich Kids”, Aiyana-Lee shared: “The song really represents being a broke outsider, but having this fire within you that propels you forward. It’s about being rich in your soul, not in your wallet, and being the best version of yourself, because ultimately that’s something money can’t buy. My mum sacrificed everything. We struggled, had financial troubles, including the loss of our home. We lived eating canned foods together and we’d make a good time of walking down the
street and people watching, laughing when we didn’t even have a dime to our name. That’s what the song ‘Rich Kids’ is all about. It’s my story, but I feel like we’re speaking to people who still go through the same thing.”

The multi-faceted 24-year-old NYC talent Annalise Azadian has returned with “Deep Down”, her second single of 2021 – out via The Orchard and Cross the Line Music. “Deep Down” is Annalise on top form and doing what she does best; alternative R&B capturing the full spectrum of human emotions. With a gritty yet soulful vocal delivery in “Deep Down” cutting straight to the heart, the minimalist production is centred around piano and rhodes, surrounded by a slow burning beat to unravel a deeply personal tale of the confusing emotions which come from realizing a relationship is unsalvageable and must end. The lyrics for “Deep Down” are visually illustrated by Annalise’s creative decision to place herself in a flowing river with her piano, characterising the ever-flowing nature of life and love. Annalise’s poignant voice and genuinely heartfelt lyrics gives the feeling of R&B nostalgia, yet intriguingly takes all of these formative sounds somewhere new to add her own personal stamp in the process. Speaking on “Deep Down”, Annalise shared: “Deep Down is a very emotional and personal song for me. It is one of my favorite songs that I’ve written. It was an amazing experience creating it with producer, SwaggRCelious. I started this one on my acoustic guitar expressing from my heart at the time, the emotions of investing myself into a “love”; convincing myself that it was true, but “deep down” I knew something just wasn’t right. It is a song about how through my efforts, trials, and tribulations I put my all into a relationship that wasn’t necessarily meant for me, and how I continued to fight for it not wanting to accept the truth of the matter. Therefore, the tug of war between love and heartbreak left me in the deep end of emotions.”

Born and raised in Libya, Bahjat grew up in Tripoli (the capital of Libya) before fleeing to Malta during the beginning of the Arab Spring in 2011 – an event that changed the course of the young artist’s life forever.

Continuing to inject a newfound sense of modernity and artistic credibility into the A-Pop (Arabic pop music) scene by writing and co-producing all of his songs, as well as blending English lyrics with subtle Arabic flourishes, Bahjat has seen himself rise as the region’s first great hope at achieving worldwide mainstream success. With over 30M streams for his music and 100M+ YouTube views alone for hits like 2020’s “Halba”2019’s “Istanbul” and standout smash “Hometown Smile”, Bahjat has received co-signs from the likes of Max Martin (Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd) as well as Johan Shellback (Taylor Swift, Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen) for his work.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

Written By: Neill Frazer

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