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INsiders Guide: Willow Kayne, Olivia Khoury, Eric Punzo, Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand, Sweet Megg, noelle, ABISHA….

Over the span of just two singles, London-based, Bristol-born artist Willow Kayne has turbocharged the landscape of pop music within the UK. Her debut single “Two Seater” was a perfect introduction; a rabble-rousing ode to living life on your own terms that has been included on the soundtrack to FIFA 22, while her follow up “I Don’t Wanna Know” was a break-infused middle finger to online trolls that takes cues from her love of rave culture. Her high octane, postmodern touch on pop has already earned critical acclaim with her winning the Ivor Novello Rising Star award for 2021 and being mentored by pop legend Nile Rodgers in the process. Today, Willow Kayne adds another cut to her mighty discography, with the attitude-fueled “Opinion.”

Inspired by the unfuckwithable rebel-pop of 00s icons such as Santigold and M.I.A, the track lands a sucker punch from the outset, breaking out of playground soundscapes with gargantuan bass hits and a pulse-raising hook that takes cues from the aforementioned Santigold. Making way for Willow to spotlight her most dexterous rapping yet, “Opinion” is a full-bodied rapid fire message for the uninitiated to keep their comments to themselves and to simply stand back and watch her blaze her own trail.

On the track, Willow says:

“I wrote ‘Opinion’ last year after receiving childlike comments that people just insisted I had to know! There’s a strong playground theme in this song to remind those of how close to schoolyard drama it all sounds. I’m definitely one for airing out stupid comments I receive in my music, and this was just another opportunity to remind people of how childish it can sound sometimes. I’m fighting fire with fire!”

An unashamedly tenacious example of why Willow Kayne is one of the most exciting emerging artists in the world right now, “Opinion” takes her genre-blurring attitude to creation to the very next level. A perfect example of just how explosive pop can be in the right hands, no one can predict which direction Willow will steer her unwieldy sonics – but one thing we can predict is that it’ll be an unforgettable ride.

Olivia Khoury is a Montreal-born singer-songwriter and interdisciplinary artist, revolving around dance and music. Olivia charms audiences with her poetic lyrics and enthralling vocals. Grounded in equal parts Latin, jazz, and folk influences, Olivia’s sound eschews easy categorization— ethereal, highly produced soundscapes converse with earthy acoustics. Her songs evoke textures inspired by numerous travels around the globe.

Olivia teamed up with producer Jesse Mac Cormack to produce an indie-folk single, Heath. Back from her summer tour, the artist is finishing her album of original music to be released in 2022.

“Heath” came to be in February 2020—walking through misty London. The song describes finding comfort in nature and its brutally honest lyrics and raw performance linger like a cold breath in winter. The song also marks Olivia’s encounter with Montreal indie producer Jesse Mac Cormack. This tasteful collaboration features stunning vocals and its sonic textures will sweep you into pure bliss. The many keys and guitars blend effortlessly into multiple vocal layers. With London being the core inspiration, the song bathes in sampled recordings from Olivia’s walks in the rain there.

I wrote “Nauseous” during the first couple weeks at a new job working at a bank. At the time, I was completely out of touch with myself and felt super anxious about the position I put myself in. This new life direction made me feel sick… 

This track is a reminder that nobody is alone when feeling lost.

Life can be a rollercoaster and sometimes, we can make ourselves sick.

Listen to “Nauseous,” produced by Steve Molella (Finger 11) via:

 Spotify 🤢 Apple Music

Watching people in my life grow and succeed while I felt like I was stuck in the same inescapable circle was all-consuming.

I was left wondering if anything will eventually make sense or if the path that I’ve been crawling along will even lead me anywhere.

The visuals for “Nauseous” represent these confused, dark feelings.

Thank you for listening and checking out the video for “Nauseous.”

Eric Punzo

© BryCox.com, Bry Cox

Following the successful summer release of their 25th Anniversary live album, Live Vol. 2Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand announce the upcoming release of their new holiday EP, In Bethlehem. Produced by Shupe and mixed by two-time Grammy Award winner and multi-platinum album songwriter Silvio RichettoIn Bethlehem consists of four songs, two penned by Shupe. Shupe’s new music video for the track “We Three Kings” is available now on YouTube.The EP is out now on all streaming platforms as an independent release.Having released seven studio albums and two live albums and toured nationwide for each release, Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand have been going strong for the past 25 years. The critically acclaimed band has performed hundreds of live shows in packed concert halls across the US, as well as on Good Morning America, Country Music TV and the Great American Country TV network among numerous other TV and radio appearances. Having written the band’s songs for 25 years (including their Billboard Top 20 single, “Dream Big”), Shupe wrote two original Christmas songs for the new EP: “The Night that Christ was Born” and “In Bethlehem,” an acapella song that the band recorded live at a concert in St. George, UT.Goldmine Magazine says “Shupe defies typecasting — while he leans towards Americana courtesy of the fact his plays fiddle and mandolin, he also boasts an over-arched anthemic style that’s not dissimilar to the blue-collar heroics of Springsteen, Fogerty or Mellencamp.”Americana Highways lauds Shupe’s music as “songs that display imagination, energy & sophistication” performed with “impeccable playing.”  This holiday season, Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand deliver four new tracks for your playlist, on their new holiday EP, In Bethlehem, available now on all streaming platforms. Also check out the new music video for  the track “We Three Kings” premiering on YouTube.

As we enter another holiday season, we hear holiday music around us everywhere. Right after Thanksgiving, NYC jazz and Americana vocalist Sweet Megg will add to the Holiday tapestry her cover of the popular ‘50s Christmas classic, “Santa Baby.” The single makes its debut on November 26th on Turtle Bay Records. “Santa Baby” originated as a song commission for the legendary Earth Kitt in 1953. The prolific American composer Philip Springer teamed up with Joan Javits to write the song for Ms. Kitt, who recorded it with the Henri René Orchestra. Even though the song received negative reviews, the song was later covered by a number of artists over the last 50 years. More recent artists, such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande, revived the song and brought it to its current mainstream popularity.  NYC-bred vocalist Meaghan Farrell, known as Sweet Megg, blends her love of jazz and Americana in her unique rendition of “Santa Baby.” She recorded the song with a group of jazz musicians all on the Turtle Bay Records label, including: Ricky Alexander (saxophone), Mike Davis (trumpet), Justin Pointdexter (guitar), Tal Ronen (bass), Jesse Gelber (piano), Chris Gelb (drums) and Sam Chess (trombone).“We wanted to create something fun and vintage for the holidays,” says Megg. “When it comes to holiday music, I’ve always preferred the earlier music from the 40s, 50s, & 60s.  I thought it would be fun for Turtle Bay to create something authentically vintage but not be constrained only to the 20s/30s.”

Hope You’re Happy” was inspired by a situation that many of us have faced: seeing your ex with someone new. It’s kind of a vengeful song.

Watch the music video for “Hope You’re Happy” on YouTube, which was so fun to shoot. I smash a mirror with a baseball bat to signify betrayal and my broken heart.

I hope you’re happy falling in love, and that your happy is just not enough.

I really wanted to write about the feeling you get when a guy leaves you for someone else. I twist it though, in hopes that his new girl does to him what he did to me so he can feel the same heartache.

Thank you for listening,

noelle

“I wrote ‘Numb’ at a time where I felt exactly that. The pressure of social media alongside superficial friendships and dead-end relationships was really getting to me and I was feeling pretty low. I was also struggling with self-image and my identity, which has always been a battle for me;  I wanted to include all of these things in a song so that anyone else who might feel the same way wouldn’t feel alone,” shares ABISHA.

“Numb” will be the last new music that ABISHA will be sharing before 2021 ends. For 2022, she has a full body of upbeat work that she’ll be unveiling during the first quarter.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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