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INsiders Guide: Philip Bowen, KeeZY, Softcult, RA, Armaan Malik, Battlemode, Charlie Gray, DAYTIME TV….

West Virginia native, Philip Bowen, looks on the bright side of life with his new single, “Stella,” due out on January 21, 2022. The singer-songwriter infuses every track with positivity, using his Appalachian roots as inspiration for each song he writes. The dynamic multi-instrumentalist is an award-winning musician who has performed online and offline to over 15 million people and is the reigning winner of TikTok’s Greatest Talent Competition.

The Nashville Songwriter Association International (NSAI) has marked Bowen as “One to Watch,” and with one listen of “Stella,” you know instantly why that’s true. Inspired by his youngest daughter, the song is an ode to looking up when the world tries to bring you down. The warm melody earworms its way into your mind with a mix of hopefulness and uncertainty,  amplified by Bowen’s soft, sweet vocals. As the tender piano pours over each note, he sings, “I’ve been thinking about tomorrow / it’s gonna be a brighter day /it’s gonna be alright.” You can’t help but have hope for a better tomorrow when you hear the final, ringing notes of “Stella.”

Los Angeles based hip Hop meets pop artist KeeZY, also known as “Black Bieber,” is known for his incredible versatility and non-traditional approach to music. Defined by years of fighting for his acceptance, the artist uses innovation and unpredictability to confidently showcase his talents. A natural at singing, rapping, and crafting hooks, KeeZY is very strategic when it comes to songwriting. There are many artists who have tried multiple styles of music to show their versatility, but KeeZY has made it a point to master and embody two completely different genres of music as KeeZY himself and his alter ego, “Black Bieber.”Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, KeeZY took to music at an early age –  writing, producing, mixing and mastering his first song by the age of 12. By learning all aspects of the recording process, the artist learned invaluable skills which eventually led KeeZY to open his own recording studio chain, Pulse Studios.Since 2017, KeeZY has been releasing music, including albums Diary’s (2017), Rain Man (2017, Rain Man 1.5 (2018), Bare With Me (2018), The Hits (2019) and Fallen Angel (2019). His most recent singles “No Escape”, “Smoke”, “Nothin’ Like It” and “Phone Off” showcase his fluidity of sound and ability to craft music that resonates with everyday life.In his forthcoming full-length, the Ec-lec-tic album, over 120 songs were written for consideration with the track list changing over three times before the final songs made the cut. With themes including lust, empowerment, and navigating the industry while reaching for success, the Ec-lec-tic album is a bold fusion of pop, R&B, hip hop and trap.KeeZY’s upcoming singles were recorded in Atlanta, Georgia. Inspired by the kinetic and never ending energy of the city’s nightlife, the artist found himself shifting his sound to encompass the excitement and opulence of club life. In “Still Got It”, KeeZY examines the intense and long standing hustle and self assurance that is required for artists to achieve success. The track features a raw, gritty and fierce flow complete with a catchy hook highlighting the silver lining that is prosperity. With deep electronic-drenched rousing beats and penetrating bass, “Still Got It” is a swagger-filled party anthem. While in “I Miss You”, KeeZY crafts a relatable romantic slow-burned pop meets alt R&B single. The track was “inspired by an overwhelming feeling of a long distance relationship. Building anticipation that you can’t really act on for the time being,” confides KeeZY. With soulful rhythms evoking a heightened sense of yearning and lust, over a colorful kaleidoscope of beats, “I Miss You” thrills with relatability.In a world full of generic artists, KeeZY constantly pushes the envelope with his experimental yet palpable songwriting that connects with listeners around the globe.

Ontario-based Canadian indie-rock duo Softcult kick-off 2022 with the release of their new single and video for “Gaslight”, the 5th single from their forthcoming EP “Year of the Snake”, releasing on February 4, 2022. The new EP is a follow-up to “Year of the Rat”, released in April 2021, which quickly propelled the duo into the spotlight, racking up over 1.25 million streams on Spotify. Quickly become the band inspiring a new Riot Grrrl movement for the digital age, twin sisters Mercedes
Arn-Horn (vocals/guitar) and Phoenix Arn-Horn (vocals/drums) seamlessly combine Alt-Rock, Grunge, Shoegaze, Dreampop, and Punk into their “music with a message”; PRO: feminism, social activism, creative freedom, self-empowerment, gender neutrality. ANTI: sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, patriarchy. Unafraid of using their music as a force for good, the socially-minded Softcult don’t shy away from difficult subjects in their music. On their latest single, the duo raises awareness of the heinous emotional and psychological manipulation technique called “gaslighting” and how it messes with your perception of reality. Most recently, gaslighting has been closely associated with politics, but it’s more frequently and unknowingly used in relationships to control someone. It is used to make victims question their perceptions, memories, motives, and even their sanity.

“Anyone who hears the song will be able to recognize those red flags if they encounter that kind of
behaviour,” says Phoenix. “It’s a tactic that many abusers and groomers will use to tear down the
defences of their victims to make them easier to manipulate”. The video for “Gaslight”, directed by Mercedes, was heavily inspired by the 1960’s French new wave aesthetic and features a 4:3 aspect ratio, heavy film grain, film burns, and hand-held footage.

Brixton’s championed rap veteran RA has gifted supporters with a fired-up EP entitled, ‘Parabellum’; packed from start to finish with vim, the seasoned emcee continues to prove his longevity with this project!STREAM/DOWNLOAD: RA – PARABELLUMFollowing the pre-released singles ‘Rewind 07’ and ‘Fast Life’, RA has shared his highly awaited – first studio – EP named, ‘Parabellum’. Spread across 8 tracks, each of which boast an electric energy and renowned London grit, the emcee takes us on a journey down memory lane with a selection of hard-hitting rap and grime tracks that intertwine elements of the modern-day sound: mixing the old in with the new. Housing guest features from Harris J, and Krept & Konan, RA is on a mission to reclaim his rightful crown. From the self-assured joint ‘Rewind 07’ where he poses the question “Why am I the GOAT?”, we manoeuvre through the slick sounds of ‘Fast Life’ alongside Harris J, to later stumble across the hard-hitting vibrations of ‘Shut Your Mouth’, ’WWF’, not to mention his impeccable story-telling abilities on ‘4 Hammers’, where RA continues to display his refined pen game, punchlines, and cut-throat bars.Following the newly dropped ‘2021 Wrap Up’ single which has accumulated over 320,000 views in under a week and trended at No.5 on YouTube, RA has been gearing up his supporters for this momentous drop. Paired with the visuals for ‘Shut Your Mouth’, RA takes us on a western journey as he poses as a cowboy in the cinematic yet hard-hitting delivery.

International Singer-Songwriter, Armaan Malik, has released his highly anticipated English single, “You,” today. Armaan, who is particularly known for his ballads back home in India, steps into his comfort zone and delivers stunning vocals and visuals for “You.” Watch the video hereCrowned as one of India’s “most talked-about musicians on Twitter” of 2021, Armaan’s release of “You” portrays the warm fuzzy feeling of finding your special person, the one you’re willing to take that leap of faith for. As a listener of the single, the lyrics are meant to define the magic of true, butterfly-inducing, once-in-a-lifetime kind of love; but is also the kind of love that will make you want to fight all odds, and everything life throws at you, as long as you’ve got each other. “You” has been minimally arranged with acoustic guitars and warm lush strings, which beautifully enhance the songwriting and soothing vocals. The vulnerability and self awareness Armaan showcases through his songwriting on “You” emulates a message worth embracing. ​​He elaborates; “My latest single “You” is one of my most favourite songs I’ve released till date. It’s got a certain purity and simplicity that I believe will speak to a lot of people. I’ve always wanted to do a love ballad in English and “You” definitely is a no-brainer in that genre. The song has been in the works for almost two years now which is why I am extremely excited that it’s finally out there in the world for people to hear and make their own. I hope all my fans and the new listeners love the song as much as I do.”

Bostonian electropop duo Battlemode combine powers with fellow 8-bit enthusiast Sam Mulligan to unveil their new single and video, “BFF”. The track is the second Battlemode release and continues the group’s mission to create uplifting songs that push the boundaries of the chiptune genre. “BFF” is a technicolor tribute to the emotional journey of friendship. Battlemode’s Biff explains, “Though “BFF” is written to express upbeat positivity, the song also recognizes the frustrations that can be tied to friendship, sometimes even leading to feelings of hatred.” He continues, “through personal experience, one lesson Battlemode might relay is that sticking together and loyalty, especially in times of struggle, can create the strongest of bonds.”hyperactive and lighthearted visual accompanies the single and plays loving homage to the adolescent early 2000s experience. Replete with Beanie Babies, Mountain Dew and nu metal T-shirts, the video takes the viewer on a Dunkaroo-fueled bicycle ride as the gang relieve their childhoods and get into scrapes at a local comic book store and movie theater as they cruise their local neighborhood

Launched early 2020 – Electronic Solo ArtistA new project from Charlie Gray, a solo artist using every part of their musical self to create something new, different, and true to self.Eye Rolls is a song about lust, making mistakes, knowing someone is playing with you but wanting more of it.Previous support from BBC Intro South, Come Here Floyd, American Pancake, Left Bank Mag, Last Day Deaf, RFRNCE, Alternative Alpaca and Inspot Music, Stream Playlist, RFRNCE.

Before 2021 is out, DAYTIME TV offer us a bespoke new version of “Hush”. Recorded for the ‘Antwerp Sessions’ at a gothic Victorian mansion in Manchester, you can check it out here and now: https://youtu.be/ul38cF5LhJU Giving their latest single a little more of the “Silent Night” treatment befitting of this time of year, the Anglo-Scottish four-piece strip back the effusive pop-rock pomp of “Hush” to reveal its more tender qualities in a naked new light.A song about the most complex of relationships, it finds frontman Will Irvine intrigued by a couple uncovered in a Louis Theroux episode, who somehow found themselves balancing a love-life whilst also working separate jobs in the porn industry and a 9-5 office role respectively. “Stories like that are like gifts from above to us songwriters” says Will, “I tried to put myself in this guy’s shoes and write from his perspective.”

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

 

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Written by Neill Frazer

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