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INsiders Guide: Chloe Lilac, Gallipoli, Vince Staples, R. Flex, Maddie Poppe, GATLIN, JNR Choi, BSÍ, Addison Grace, Natalie Saint-Martin, ABISHA….

(Credit: Emma Marie Jenkinson, IG @emmamariej_)

artist and songwriter Chloe Lilac has released her new mixtape titled you were good to me. The project is released alongside a brand new single, “lily’s backyard.” Listen to the mixtape in full hereWatch the video for “lily’s backyard” hereA project derived from Chloe’s personal, nuanced experience with loss, the mixtape is a journey through the delicate layers of what it means to face loss and its lasting, formative effects. A masterclass in forward-thinking indie-pop, the mixtape glides seamlessly among pop-punk stylings, bedroom pop instrumentals, and razor-sharp lyricism that has come to define Chloe’s writing from day 1. Speaking on the mixtape, Chloe notes, “This mixtape is all about losing the people you love most. Whether that’s losing a best friend, losing a romantic partner, or losing yourself. It can be hard to let go when people come in and out of your life, you could feel betrayed, you could feel heartbreak, you could feel anger, but at the end of the day, it all comes back to love.” 

Gallipoli is an indie/alternative duo based in Los Angeles. Consisting of Aman Sheriff and Lucas McCone, the duo bring their multicultural background to the forefront of their music, with their roots spreading across India, Turkey, New Zealand, Belgium and Dubai. As an homage to their family history, the duo are named after the famous WW1 ‘Battle of Gallipoli’. 

Their debut EP, On Vondo, was written during the 2020 lockdown, where the two lived in North Macedonia for six months. Mixed by Peter Katis (The National), On Vondo received its title from the name of the mountain they lived on during this time. Inspired by a variety of different experiences, thoughts and concepts, the release includes tracks such as “Blurry Mess” which talks about an aspect of a relationship that isn’t normally talked about in music. The lyrics illustrate a couple who are out of sync and the doubts that come with it. “Poets” is a song about generation and war and was written about Wilfred Owens’ ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ poem about WW1.

Gallipoli composed On Vondo with the desire to create a movie-like feel to their sound. Reminiscent of Bon Iver, La Femma and Sigur Ros, the EP emits a wintery and isolated atmosphere, emphasizing the “music for film” approach. Soft, echoing melodies lay the foundations to their laid-back, hypnotic tones, as velvet vocals shimmer delicately throughout.

Gallipoli have performed numerous shows across Los Angeles including Hotel Cafe and Sofar Sounds. With their music almost reaching one million streams on Spotify, as well as placements on editorial Spotify playlists such as Folk & Friends, the duo are set for an exciting 2022.

WHAT: 

The LA Clippers teamed up with Long Beach artist and longtime Clippers fan, Vince Staples, to thank Clipper Nation for their relentless support by releasing a video looking back at the team’s 2021-22 season. The thank you film is set to tracks from Staples’ new critically acclaimed album, Ramona Park Broke My Heart, which debuted as the #1 album on Spotify.

 WHERE/WHEN:

The four-minute feature was released via the Clippers’ and Staples’ social media accounts at 9 a.m. PT this morning, April 28, 2022, and is available here.

 MORE:

The video collaboration tells the story of the Clippers’ season through a 3D re-creation of the team’s Instagram feed, with Staples’ music driving the energy and story forward. The video begins at Media Day and moves through the year, stopping at significant moments including Paul George’s hot start and epic return, career highlights from the supporting cast, and team milestones. Empty space between posts becomes highways that travel through time and the great city of Los Angeles. The video ends thanking Clipper Nation for another year of their loyal support and looks ahead to a bright future. 

Staples’ tracks “The Beach,” “Magic,” “Lemonade,” and “East Point Prayer” from Ramona Park Broke My Heart provide the soundtrack for the film.

WHO:

Vince Staples grew up in Long Beach attending Clippers games with his family. He named Ramona Park Broke My Heart for the Ramona Park neighborhood he frequented as a child, often playing basketball.

Get to know the future of R&B: R. Flex. Named as Now Toronto’s Artist to Watch in 2022, R. Flex is scrupulously revealing their vision for 2022. Having already released the titillating R&B cut “La La Land” featuring Tafari Anthony, R. Flex is gearing up to release their incredible second EP FLEX WITH BENEFITS. Featuring production from Zlender (assistant mixing engineer on “Hotline Bling”), Def Starz (producer on Cupcakke’s “Ephorize”), Sofia Fly (Toronto rapper/DJ phenom), Driftnote (produced for Witch Prophet & Shad), & Tantu Beats (Netherlands’ platinum producer), R. Flex is ready to release one of the best pop/R&B EPs out of Toronto this year.

FLEX WITH BENEFITS takes inspiration from the early 2000’s and was written with the ultimate goal of creating music to make people feel good. R. Flex shares, “I wanted to share that feeling with my fans, especially my queer ones, so they can come to my show and feel it’s okay for them to have queer desire. The deeper I got into creating FLEX WITH BENEFITS, the more I wanted to exploit that feeling of queerness from the music to the visuals. I wanted traces of queerness all over the record. I wanted my queertopia.”

Reminiscent of the likes of Janet Jackson, Craig David, Daniel Bedingfield and Mariah Carey, the six-track release features an amalgam of UK garage sounds to more triumphant, futuristic elements, all doused with R. Flex’s bubbly personality. Covering an underlying theme of innocence, it nods back to the artist’s adolescence and their intimate fantasies.

R. Flex is an underground star in the making. Their debut EP In & Out received over 30K streams and their song “Thursday” was a Top 20 finalist at Imsta Festa Toronto. Their arresting live performances also helped them build a name in Canada’s music scenes opening for the likes of Above Top Secret, Silla & Rise, & Le1f. 

“For a long time, I simply thought of myself as the singer-songwriter, hometown girl from Iowa. But along the way I learned to spread my wings and branch out. I truly feel I’ve become the artist I was meant to be.” – Maddie Poppe

Maddie Poppe is thrilled to share her new single “One that Got Away.” The new song marks the first new music since her debut album Whirlwind

Unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, there’s no way to understand just how dramatically instant fame can mess with your head. Maddie went through all kinds of emotions — from elation to self-doubt — after winning American Idol in 2018, releasing her debut album Whirlwind the following year, and then ultimately watching in amazement as many of the people in her creative orbit dropped away. 

“There were so many times I felt I had the rug pulled out from under me. Like the minute any momentum had built up, it came crumbling back down. From losing team members to seeing crucial opportunities fall through, I found myself feeling so helpless and thinking, ‘How am I going to do this on my own?’ It felt like I was standing at the bottom of a mountain I was too afraid to climb,” Maddie says. “It took some time, but I finally realized I didn’t have a choice, my fate was in my own hands. I had to face my fears, rise above.”

GATLINMasterclass• “‘Masterclass’ is a song about wanting full control and wanting to be desired. I actually dreamt the main guitar part and woke up in the middle of the night and voice-recorded it. The next day I started working on the song and building it around the three-note guitar riff. I was in a time of my life where I was pretty fed up with being heartbroken and wanted to feel powerful – looking at love and relationships like a game where there are winners and losers.” – Gatlin• This is Gatlin’s second single of 2022 following “2000 Miles”. The dichotomy of the two tracks highlights the range of her talent with “Masterclass” showing a raw edgier side.• This summer Gatlin will be out on tour with Sarah Kinsley in LA, San Francisco, Chicago, and more.

On the heels of his upcoming latest (Drill Remix) ft Fivio Foreign, G Herbo, Russ Millions & M24 releasing tomorrow, Jnr Choi’s viral “To The Moon” mega-hit continues to stand as the feel good celebration anthem of the year…and it seems King James himself agrees. In Lebron James first ever reel made on Instagram, he chooses to post “To The Moon” to accompany his reel while on vacation, which was shared to his 119 MILLION followers and garnered over 5.5M views in just 2 hours!

“TO THE MOON” lit TikTok on fire with 2 million creations. It stands out as one of the platform’s “Top 10 Sounds Globally” and kicked off 2022 at #3 on the TikTok U.S. Chart. It has now overtaken streaming platforms as well. It toppled the Spotify Viral Hits Chart at #1 and graces coveted playlists such as Today’s Top Hits. Its success led to his signing with Epic Records and Sony Music UK Black Butter Records last month as chronicled by Billboard.

Photo credit: Julie Sjöfn Gasiglia
Icelandic duo – BSÍ – are back with the new release: ‘Relax, blabla’; which comprises two contrasting and compelling new tracks: “Jelly Belly” and “New Moon”.

 STREAM ON ALL SERVICES HERE || WATCH THE VIDEO FOR “JELLY BELLY” HERE 

With soft and gauzy atmospherics countered by anxiety-inducing sprawls of melodic mastery, ‘Relax, blabla’ is another paradoxical release that comes in two parts. Arriving just in time for the heady nostalgia of a sun-baked summer, the two-sided release consists of two enticing new tracks: one bristling and upbeat, and the other more supine and slowed.
 
Recorded and mixed by Árni Hjörvar (The Vaccines), the first and fastest of the two new cuts, “Jelly Belly”, plays out like a heartwarming group therapy session, with past pains and trudged up traumas meeting a 157 bpm outburst of agitation and infectious joy. With a sense of urgency driven by a fast-paced guitar line that threatens to run away with itself, overflowing background chatter mixed with injections of fuzzy feedback and a lucid approach to vocal delivery, the track evokes the intense bodily sensation that is triggered by deep-rooted and unshakeable memories of toxic relationships. 
With playful rhythms masking a more sombre subject matter, the track comes complete with a prismatic official music video created by Icelandic filmmaker and TV director Ugla Hauksdóttir (The Power, Hanna, Snowfall, Trapped). Touching on the numbness that comes with covering up your own feelings in shame and the heavy burden of grappling with rigid gender roles and unhealthy peer pressure, the video sees its mishmash of characters search for, find and reinvent themselves in a warped wallpaper utopia. Of the video, Ugla explains:

 “The music video for “Jelly Belly” is a playful ode to childhood, celebrating the freedom of self expression. It is a reminder for us not to take ourselves too seriously and instead remember to have fun.” 

Salt Lake City-based musician and TikTok star, Addison Grace, announces his eagerly-awaited debut EP, Immaturing, along with his third, raw single, “Getting Used To,” out everywhere now. The five-track EP–a project that sincerely documents Grace’s challenging experiences growing up–is due out May 6 and available for pre-save now.

“Getting Used To,” the EP’s final track, holds the signature essence of Addison Grace–journal entry-like confessional songwriting and delicate vocals that reach profound emotional depths. The track chronicles Grace as they are face-to-face with the realization that they are getting older. Against a clean drum beat, Grace sings with distinct honesty, “It sucks to grow up / ‘Cause I’m stuck in my head, 19, / I’m getting used to / I’ve been kinda stressed / I’m a bit depressed / My life’s a fucking mess / But you know I’ll get used to it.” It is within this unflinching rawness, complete with all the anxieties and confusion that come with growing up, that listeners can freely and comfortably find themselves.

Explaining the thought behind the song, Grace notes, “Getting Used To is about that awkward in-between stage of growing up, for me it was specifically being 19. You don’t feel ready to be an adult but you feel too old to be a kid anymore. It’s scary, confusing, and awful, but you learn to cherish your memories and find the good in your current experiences.”

Natalie Saint-Martin – the Los Angeles-based, alternative pop star – is excited to share her new single “2nd Place”.

Recorded with producer David Holman at his studio in Laurel Canyon, “2nd Place” is part pep-talk, part narration of a decade living in Los Angeles. After making ends meet by working three jobs, Natalie Saint-Martin felt burnt out by life. Envisioning her musical aspirations as more and more of a fleeting dream, Saint-Martin decided to utilize these feelings of hopelessness and self-doubt and put them wholly into her craft. Inspired by the lyrical storytelling she witnessed in Atlanta’s hip-hop and country music scenes whilst growing up in the city, Natalie Saint-Martin aimed to focus primarily on one narrative during the writing process: no matter how many times you’ve felt like you’re meant to stay the runner up in life, you are always allowed to be 1st Place in your heart.

Speaking on the new track, Saint-Martin writes: “2nd Place was written about being doubted by everyone in my life at the time. Feeling runner up at my job, in my music career, more particularly when I was alone in my dormant thoughts. After endless months of self-doubt and fear, it forced me down two terrifying, tornado filled roads. Believe the people that know nothing about you, or believe in the person you have always dreamt of being. Fear will always coexist. The orchestra is our resilient hearts, our creative minds and our hard work. Yes, fear exists but it is not the conductor. 2nd Place is a reminder to myself, and hopefully to you that despite what anyone else says. You’re allowed to be in 1st Place.”

Photo Credit: Edward Cooke

ABISHA returns with a new reimagined version of “Home To You” by fellow London artist Champion, which was premiered exclusively by Jaguar on BBC Radio One show. The original track has already garnered support from various tastemakers including Spotify’s New Dance Revolution playlist where she was featured as the cover artist. Upbeat and explosive, the remix offers a new dynamic twist with its dense, high-energy production making it a reinvigorating trip.

I’m Reeny Smith, a Nova Scotian R&B singer/songwriter. My songwriting is influenced by my background. I grew up in a family of gospel musicians and I played piano and sang in church choirs.

The inspiration for my sultry new song, “Goodbye” came from a story about a family member. They were in a long term relationship and their partner wanted to take things to the next level. There was an ultimatum given, and in the end, they said goodbye to the relationship.

You asked me to choose, now here we are

Originally, this song was left unfinished for a long time and wasn’t intended for anything in particular. Eventually, an opportunity came up that led to it being featured in both season 1 and 2 of the CBC Gem series, Diggstown.

I want listeners to be empowered; to feel like they are a part of the story. We’ve all had to walk away from something or someone in our lives and know how that feels. Hopefully this message will give people courage to say GOODBYE to any negativity in their lives.

Thanks for listening,

Reeny Smith

Emerging East London based singer KAE SERA blends modern day electro-pop with sounds from the 50’s and 60’s to create something which is both unique yet familiar. Originally from Liverpool, the artist grew up in a city rich in musical heritage, exposed to the nostalgic soundscapes of the bands that made the city famous. These sounds subliminally fed her musical appetite, giving her music a vintage haze and maturity. With a fascination for literature and poetry, her songs provide a captivating, storytelling experience, pulling you into her world. 

Known for her dreamy, superlunary atmospheric sound, KAE SERA returns with the cinematic “Close Call”. A lyrical narration of desire, the artist plays with the blurred lines of fantasy and reality, taking inspiration from iconic and scandalous scenes from films and exploring the feelings of temptation and loyalty. The songwriter confides, “This is quite an exposing track, something nobody ever admits or discusses. Desire isn’t something people speak openly about, particularly when they are in a relationship. I purposely left the ending open and unpredictable, just like life itself.” 

 An amalgamation of layered electronic elements and instruments build to create an all-encompassing sound, while the string arrangements further emphasise the movie soundtrack feel, providing a richer quality and momentum. Her spellbinding sound captivates the listener, as her vocals reminiscent of Lana Del Rey plead, “I’m not cheating, I’m not lying”.

Ground-breaking Atlanta creative Raury presents the next dynamic new single “Feel Good” – following his string of homecoming releases, “2020 Vision” and “Channel Zero”.

One of America’s most innovative musical talents, “Feel Good” continues his thrilling return from hiatus. Layering a dreamy mix of experimental electro funk sounds, Raury’s signature musicianship resonates as he layers sleek electric guitars and warm brass on top of the shimmering soundscape. Offering another tantalizing peak into the thought-provoking artists first album since 2017, the chilled-out track is a prominent reminder of Raury’s unique creative mastery of genre and instrumentation that continues to define his work.

The musical prodigy who experienced global recognition (and a co-sign from OutKast) for his past work is now ready to reapproach the main stage with a body of work that clearly articulates his journey of becoming. One of the most celebrated young artist, his global recognition has continued to captivate, receiving top critical attention from the likes of NOISEY, GQ and BRICK MAGAZINE.

Raury has spent the last year honing his already formidable talents as a musician, producer, and vocalist. One of the globe’s most thrilling artists, Raury’s welcome return is sure to break new ground as the visionary talent prepares to drop more music

Indian born, london based Renao today releases his highly anticipated debut EP, From The South.  Led by gorgeous focus track ‘Flares’, the EP is a wonderful showcase of Renao’s stunning vocals and deeply personal writing. The EP also features his viral debut track, Nobody, a track which went viral on Tiktok and picked up over 20,000 pre-saves before release. Since then, the track has picked up over 4 millions streams on Spotify alone.  Dive into From The South below. 

Tracklist:

Nobody

Struck Gold

Flares

Won’t U

Holding My Breath

one of the UK’s brightest new soul stars, Mica Millar returns with her triumphant and empowering new single ‘Heaven Knows’ – the title track from her forthcoming debut album out June 10.

With her sights set firmly on breaking into the UK mainstream, ‘Heaven Knows’ bursts with confidence, showcasing Mica’s immaculate, powerful vocal performance atop a bed of gospel infused musicianship –  a song and performance bursting with the undeniable depth and spirit that has all of the makings of a timeless Soul classic.

 Exploring the complexities of faith and fate and the duality of moving between mindsets – from that “deep-down-in-your-gut” knowing to the over facing fear of failure, ‘Heaven Knows’ sees Mica poetically explore a tightrope of human emotional states, reminding us to “come back down” and root ourselves in the reassuring belief that everything will be ok. Outlining the duality of “heaven knows” as a sentiment, “…the universe knows all vs “who the f***k knows?” – Mica explains why this became the title track:

 “For me, the sentiment of Heaven Knows brings together a lot of the lyrical themes from across the album. The duality of the title is about moving between emotional states – fear and hope, love and loss. On reflection, I think Heaven Knows was about reminding myself of that grounded place in between – finding a sense of peace or acceptance in the balancing act. Sometime I feel like there’s a higher power or a divine destiny and other times, I lose that sense and feel totally lost – and I think that’s OK”.

neillfrazer@hotmail.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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