INsiders Guide: MAXINE, Skyler Madison, Salem Ilese, TATYANA, HELLO COSMOS…..

Dutch singer/songwriter MAXINE has established a name for herself having penned songs for other artists which have since accumulated more than two million streams thus far. Studying at Musikmakarna, Sweden’s illustrious music school for songwriters, she was praised by the likes of Max Martin and Zara Larsson, encouraging her to go head first into her own solo career. MAXINE confides, “I always wanted to be a singer in the first place. When I went to high school music, we were also taught how to compose songs. I liked the whole creative process right away. You start with an idea, you record it, and in the end, you have a complete song. I soon knew this is what I wanted to continue with.” 

 Her debut EP, Minor felt Major, narrates the musician’s failed love experiences during her college days. It starts with meeting a new person who you fall for, but it ultimately turns out not to work out and it ends in tears, emphasising the relatable and sticky situation of having feelings for a person, who you know is bad for you, but it feels too good to ignore. MAXINE confides, “You can see the process of young love and the lessons learned from that. It’s really a chapter that I can finally close, since I’ve graduated now.”

The title Minor felt Major is a nod to MAXINE‘s love of songwriting. Introducing the seven-track EP is the infectious “Help Myself” – the fun, playful and upbeat track is an honest portrayal of the songwriter’s love for love. The release also features “DON.T” and “Heart Shaped Bruises” with fellow Dutch artist Haris. “Paint It Red” slows things down a notch. With echoing synths, the minimalist soundscape leaves space for MAXINE’s impressive vocal range, which sends shivers down your spine. The piano led “Strange” brings the EP to a close, showing the artist’s versatility, with simple, organic instrumentation riding against her soulful, emotional vocals. 

Inspired by the likes of Zara Larsson, Astrid S and Julia Michaels, MAXINE’S music can be described as emotional, personal pop, coming from the heart and touching on some of her most vulnerable moments and life experiences. Minor felt Major takes the listener on a cinematic journey, allowing them a glimpse into her own life and enabling them to experience these things with her.

 The fact that MAXINE perfectly senses the ambiance of her audience is noticeable in her recent successes. On TikTok, her songs about pop culture and TV characters gained her over 50k followers and nearly a million likes. Her own songs have been streamed more than one million times on Spotify. MAXINE also wrote songs for several prominent Dutch artists, including Maan and Roxeanne Hazes. She even co-wrote the Korean hit ‘The Only’ (feat. Irene of Red Velvet) by Raiden, which scored millions of streams and views. Besides, as a support act in sold-out shows for RONDÉ and the Swedish ALMA, MAXINE also proved that on a stage is where she belongs.

The introspective single was inspired by Skyler’s own fear that her life was passing her by. The euphoric lyrics are a page out of her inner monologue telling her to slow down, enjoy life, and appreciate getting lost in the moment.

After a successful decade-long career as an open-format DJ, Skyler has started a new chapter in life as a producer. Diving in headfirst, she’s pioneered her signature “future trap” style – an eclectic fusion of future bass, trap, and hip-hop that’s earned her support from industry greats like Flux PavilionKrewella, and Nitti Gritti. With more Monstercat music on the way and upcoming graduation from the prestigious ICON Collective this year, the burgeoning producer is on track to have her biggest year yet.

Pop singer and songwriter Salem Ilese unveils a new single entitled “Hey Siri.” Listen to it HERE via 10K Projects/Homemade Projects. The track helps sets the stage for the arrival of her upcoming Unsponsored Content EP—due out early next year.

On the track, acoustic guitar creaks as she lyrically queries everyone’s favorite virtual assistant for apple pie recipes and how to “say thanks in Japanese. Her voice quivers over the organic instrumentation before a confession on the ponderous refrain, “I can’t shake the feeling that we’re only born to die. Hey Siri, what’s the meaning of life?”

“I’ve always enjoyed incorporating brand names into my music because I find them to be such an integral part of our lives, weaving themselves into pop culture, and the ways in which our generation communicates” Salem explains. “‘Unsponsored Content’ may strike you as an EP of jingles but, in reality, it’s my interpretation of the world through the brands that shape us.”

Electro-pop artist and harpist, TATYANA, is back with new single and video, “Right Places,” that dawns an impressive new era for the dynamic producer, songwriter and performer. The “New & Notable (Bandcamp)” “Rising Artist (Vinyl Me, Please)” is known to make a “Smooth pop gem (Dork).” Cultr calls TATYANA’s music “An astral surprise sculpting her musical dreamland – a vivid wonder that will consume your consciousness” and this new single is no exception with its cheeky, fun and poppy energy that becomes an instant time machine moment to first crushes, pink lollipops and dancing like everybody is watching.

On the freshly released bop, TATYANA sings irreverently over a bouncy, guitar-like synth hook and twinkling harp melodies, winkingly prompting her subject to “love me in the right places.” Co-producer Joseph Mount (Metronomy) helped fine-tune the track, resulting in a careful distillation of TATYANA’s signature sound that fuses her classical training with her keen sense for pop songwriting. “Right Places” is the kind of precisely produced, impossibly catchy pop that takes other artists their entire careers to nail.

TATYANA says, “I wrote ‘Right Places’ in 2019 and it feels good to finally put it out. At my shows, people always ask me if the main hook that underpins the song is an electric guitar, but it’s actually a synth sound I designed in Ableton. Lyrically, it’s quite an in-your-face – sexy song. I love a double entendre – “love me in the right places” could mean different things. To me, the song captures the high you feel when you meet a stranger you have undeniable chemistry with. It’s so pop and punk and fun and goes off every time I play it live.

In the “Right Places” official video, soft pink hues light up TAYANA’s face as she gets ready to go out after a call on her lobster-shaped phone. The video is inspired by the kitschy and witchy film “The Love Witch.” Soft, sultry and sexy cuts from deep eye contact to legs rubbing gently together bring the energy levels up continuously and explodes for a final scene showing TATYANA donning a gorgeous kokoshnik (a traditional Russian crown, that’s part of the national dress), in a neon purple square, where it’s just TATYANA, her harp and her passion.

Video director Kai Marks says, “I am beyond happy we were able to capture the raw energy and emotions of Tatyana‘s track. Working with her alongside an incredible crew made this whole project come together and enabled us to create something memorable.”


With its militaristic, marching drum beat and sonorous, spaced-out instrumentation, new single “Golden Dirt” lands like the estranged lovechild of Brian Jonestown Massacre and Underworld. The final track to be cut from the eponymously-titled ‘Golden Dirt’ mixtape, it seals the deal on 40-minutes of experimental new music from Manchester-based collective – which will be available to hear in full from this Friday (19 November). Pre-order the mixtape here.

“Yeah me and you we’re golden dirt, champions of the hurt”, reiterates frontman Ben Robinson with a mantra-like conviction, his words melding into arrangements that ebb and flow as fluidly as the space-time continuum. Featuring mesmeric guest vocals and horns from Elara, the track “Golden Dirt” sees Robinson searching for silver linings in the darkest of days. As the singer explains:

“”Golden Dirt” is about going through that burnt out, used up and broken hearted state of mind life can put you into pure golden moments. It’s about how coming together with your friends for a weekend out will cure all your emotional ills. It’s about how much I missed that in lockdown and I cry every time I listen to it thinking about how much I missed my friends. Elara’s part is sensational, fits the emotion so well and the sneaky marching brass band outro she put on it closes the track and the mixtape perfectly”

Following in the footsteps of recent singles “Loud Is Beautiful”, “From The Ground Up” and “Hard Enough To Start With”, “Golden Dirt” is the latest cut to emerge from the project. Released on all platforms on 19th November, the mixtape is a new collaboration with San Francisco-based producer The Olchemist and sees the band pulling something of a handbrake turn on the full-throttle psych/punk sound established on their 2021 debut ‘Dream Harder’.

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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