INsiders Guide: Julian Lamadrid, Bishop Ivy, The Lagoons, Blanks, Scorcher, Vilda Ray, Violet Whimsey, Baby Cham, Emily Henry, Joyia, Ease The Don, TOR….

Mexican singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julian Lamadrid debuts his new single, “Teenager,” out on Arista Records. Arriving on the heels of recent singles like “15 Minutes” and “One More Trip,” “Teenager” is a glistening indie-pop track that reflects on the transitional period between childhood and adulthood. There are moments in life that signify turning points and pivotal changes that can alter the view of oneself, the world, or even the person you thought you loved,” says Julian. “‘Teenager’ is the reflections of being blindsided by a reality that is veiled by innocent eyes. Adolescence brings heartbreak, growing brings pain, but by riding the wave, you are able to adjust.”

Bishop Ivy introduced himself as an alternative-pop songwriter known for his innovative music which mixed organic instruments with digital sounds, field recordings, electronica influences, and samples. Continuing to sharpen that sound, he now embellishes it with pop hooks, sonically adventurous production and autobiographical lyrics. Ivy’s focus on imaginative sound and sharp songcraft began in Boston, where he kicked off his career as a 14-year-old street busker on the neighbourhood sidewalks of Back Bay. Now based in Pittsburgh, where he studies music, electrical engineering and computer science, and with a number of releases under his belt, Ivy hopes to further his ability to manipulate music. 

Inspired by boundary breakers like Bon Iver, Frank Ocean, James Blake, and Imogen Heap, Ivy has built his career upon attention to detail. He’s responsible for virtually every sound he creates, with his willingness to juxtapose synthesized sounds with raw, organic music being the driving force behind what he does. 

His EP parasocial, is the result of the songwriter realizing he would often write to people, without any expectation of response. Whether it was writing to a partner or writing to himself, it was as if he was writing to ghosts. The word “parasocial” describes a type of one-sided relationship people have with those who aren’t aware of the relationship, like celebrities or even fictional characters. Ivy continues, “I also like the similarity to the word “paranormal” further tying in to the analogy of ghosts, and the ghostly nature of the record in general.” The lowercase songs “parasocial,” “the park” and “tunnel vision” are written about another person and the uppercase tracks “STAND UP” and “CAN’T IMAGINE” are written about himself.

The Lagoons are the DIY musical project of Southern California-raised, jazz-trained, multi-instrumentalist brothers Ryan and Joey Selan. The duo writes, produces, and records their music out of their home studio. They released their debut album Midnight Afternoon in 2020, notching millions of streams alongside praise from fans and critics alike. It came on the heels of years of tastemaker support that found them featured everywhere from Ones To Watch to Paste Magazine’s studio sessions, all the while topping 50 million streams on their breakout single “California.”

On the live circuit, The Lagoons have sold out multiple headline tours with stops everywhere from Los Angeles to New York, supported by a range of artists including Tim Atlas and Future Generations. With the recent release of “Snowy Mountain,” subsequent release of “Daybreak,” and plans for more singles throughout 2021, The Lagoons have a prolific year in store.

Photographer: Jantina Talsma

Though Dutch indie-pop artist and YouTuber Blanks might be known for his signature, upbeat, indie-pop sound, today he returns with a new single that showcases just how versatile this multi-hyphenate is. I’m Sorry is a stripped-back, soft and fragile ballad that puts Blanks’ heartfelt vocal delivery at the forefront. The release arrives ahead of his debut record, Nothings Lasts Forever And That’s OK out October 29th. The video premiered exclusively with Hollywood Life this morning, watch the video and read Blanks’ interview HERE.

Armed with only his voice, a piano, and guitar, the raw and unguarded lyricism of “I’m Sorry” marks a turning point for Blanks. Realizing it’s time to be honest with himself about his relationship, Blanks now has a major choice to make: chase his dreams or risk losing the love of his life. His conclusion: “I can’t afford to spend my life with anybody else”.

Recorded in one take in a cabin in the woods, if you listen carefully you can hear the birds sing along in between the lyrics, giving the song a unique organic and honest feeling,” says Blanks on the production story behind the track. “It sounds like I’m sharing his deepest emotional struggle without a filter, which I  am.” 

As we gear up for the release of his forthcoming album ‘The Drama’, London’s rap veteran Scorcher, has called on fellow emcee D Double E for the release of his latest charged-up cruiser named, ‘Jurgen’.

STREAM/DOWNLOAD: SCORCHER FT D DOUBLE E  – JURGEN

Encapsulating a nostalgic feel from the offset, we are welcomed with a DJ Lyan-produced beat that weave’s an iconic sample throughout; Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre’s hit ‘Still D.R.E.’, a striking contrast that compliments the modern-day sound of drill. Carving an ever-evolving lane of his own that has served him throughout an extensive career, Scorcher kick starts the track with a ferocious flow and punchlines that immediately set the tone for what’s yet to come. Turning up the heat, the London native uses this track to further solidify his lyrical dexterity with his self-assured presence that leaves no room to think otherwise, “It’s real life not virtual / Take my advice bro / Don’t be outside anytime man’s circle”, Scorcher raps. Later joined with an assisted verse from D Double E, his signature adlibs seep through before attacking the beat with a slew of unapologetic bars, adding that extra punch to the track.

VILDA RAY-

Vilda Ray, a stand-out artist and producer whose effervescent  personality is embodied in her bubbly vocal style, has created a fresh wave of songwriting while paying respect to influences such as Prince, N.E.R.D, and Chaka Khan. Originally from the island of Guam, now residing in Los Angeles, Vilda has a unique musical style steeped in R&B, Soul, and Funk. She is an aggressive lyricist but oftentimes delivers her message delicately, and always without shame.

 

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Darien Newton is multi-instrumentalist and music producer living in Los Angeles. Over his three-year career he has made waves in LA’s local R&B scene, producing singles for some of LA’s most promising singer-songwriters. As a product of the church, he has drawn inspiration from the gospel greats: Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, and Israel Houghton. Through their use of lush R&B chords and funky gospel grooves, he has developed a sound reminiscent of classic “feel good” gospel while mixing the hypnotic feel of Neptunes-inspired R&B. His love for gospel has opened doors for him musically — playing drums for Gospel chart-topper “Vashawn Mitchell” and International recording artist Sunny Badu. 

2020 saw Darien expand into new heights. In July he released his own 5-track EP titled “Q Tapes Vol. 1”, co-produced a song for Virginia-legend “Mad Skillz”, and produced the latest single “Truth is” for Bachelor: Listen to Your Heart’s winner, Christopher Watson. As a self-taught drummer and pianist, he has earned his keep in the live music scene, playing drums for the likes of rapper Too Short’s signee Mercy Collazo and opening for G-Funk pioneer, DJ BattleCat. Darien has performed countless shows in Hollywood. He, along with his band, have graced the stages of “The Gold Digger”, “The Pig and Whistle” and most-notably the legendary “Hotel Café”. He has expanded his career to DJing serving as a consistent DJ at West Hollywoods’ EP & LP rooftop bar.

As a producer in LA’s local production scene, Darien continues building his brand and leaving a positive impact on his clients. He continues this journey confident and ready to leave a mark through his music.

  • New Jersey based alt rock group, Violet Whimsey, releases “Come To Me”, the sixth single yet of their much anticipated album release this year, Love, Love, to drop by end of year 2021. Before Violet Whimsey was even on the map as a band, “Come To Me” was the first song that singer, songwriter, Ann Kim had taken to a studio. It all started when she booked an AirBnB for a trip to LA, and the site then recommended a songwriting “Experience”. Having had a few hundred voice memos of drafts but nothing to show for it, she thought – “why not?” After touching every percussion instrument in the room, and layering many many harmonies, she walked out of a small warehouse in Highland Park 6 hours later with a song that felt authentically Californian.

Following this week’s surprise announcement of their new collaboration single “Condensed Milk,” legendary GRAMMY® nominated, multi-platinum selling artist Baby Cham and the Queen of Dancehall Spice unveils the official music video for the song today.  LISTEN/ PURCHASE “CONDENSED MILK” HEREWATCH THE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO HERE Referencing today’s momentous release, Baby Cham shares “Condensed Milk” is a very sexy track by myself and the Dancehall Queen Spice. There’s no flavor in your Coffee without “Condensed Milk,” there’s no flavor in your Milo without “Condensed Milk”, so if you have a playlist without the new single “Condensed Milk,” there will be no flavor [laughs].”

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.

Canadian songstress Joyia unveils her newest body of work, Baptism, an EP that is teeming with raw honesty and self-exploration. “This entire EP is about me finding purity within myself; discovering who I truly am as an individual and an artist, and being vulnerable enough to share that with everyone,” she explains of the project.

 

Baptism tells the story of her life thus far and draws on her early sonic influences of old R&B, soul, jazz, and bossa nova. She considers the project as a return to her roots, opening her heart to the creative process and finding her voice through the music. The release is also accompanied by a music video for heartfelt focus track “Home,” a visual composed of old home videos that tugs on the heartstrings.

 

“There have always been aspects of my life that I haven’t felt vulnerable enough to let into my music. I wrote this project during the height of our lockdown during COVID – I was left with so much time to dwell on emotions and thoughts that I had never really processed before. As I sat to write, I found myself drawn to these thoughts; thoughts of self-doubt, separation from those around me, loss of control, uncertainty. This was the first time I felt like my feelings were truly translated onto paper. Yes, this project is more acoustic than anything I’ve ever done, because it’s raw, and it’s authentic. It is the farthest I’ve ever pushed myself not only musically, but creatively.” – Joyia

Rising West Coast artist Ease The Don delivers an addicting new single for all relentless money-makers, “JOOG.” Representing a hustler’s mentality, the bouncing track serves as motivation for anyone who is attempting to overcome an obstacle or a tough situation.

 

“Earlier this year, I was in an unfortunate situation where I needed money fast to provide for my family. Many people complain about not having enough money, but complaining won’t land you a check. So I took that aggressive energy and carried it over to the studio where I recorded this record. “You ain’t even got a kid are you kidding? How the f*** you be broke, boy you tripping.”  Ease The Don

Canadian producer Tor announces his highly anticipated third album, “ Oasis Sky,” available April 30 via his own imprint, Eleuthera Music. The new sonic offering serves as the artist’s second release of the new decade, following
his remix of Frameworks’ single, “Breaking Down,” from March of 2020. “Oasis Sky” is Tor’s first original body of work since his revered 2016 album, “ Blue Book”. It expands on the latter’s meditative energy with the producer’s signature warmth and beat – driven atmospherics, while digging deeper into the experiences and emotions that have informed the past 4 years of his life. From a hefty touring schedule that saw the Vancouver –
based producer playing his music across the U.S., the E.U., Australia, and Costa Rica, in addition to busy periods of time spent working on remixes for artists including Clozee, Odesza , and Rüfüs Du Sol , the album only began to come into focus after slowing down, establishing roots, finding centre and introspection in a new living space.“

For me, this album is a reflection on my sense of home, ” says Tor. “ It’s a highrise apartment, looking out over rooftops, trees, and mountains. It’s filled with plants and flowers, and to me, it feels like an oasis in the sky.”

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

 

Written By: Neill Frazer

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