INsiders Guide: courtship., Cassidy Mann, Keegan Powell, MAUD, Queer|Art, Wax on Water, Dana Gavanski, AIR APPARENT, BONES, Sophia Fracassi, Gretchen Klempa….

(Credit- Emily Nava)

 indie-pop duo courtship. have released their brand new single, “Million Dollar Smoothies,” a track which they debuted live last night representing the state of Oregon on the new NBC show, American Song Contest. Listen to the song now here + view the lyric video here. Watch the band’s performance of the song on American Song Contest hereA cheeky commentary on modern-day consumerism and chasing a life of opulence, the earworm track finds courtship. at their best, blending witty lyricism with their signature feel-good take on indie-pop. On the song, the band notes: “We wish we wrote a song criticizing others for buying expensive health drinks and skin care products, but that would be hypocritical because we do it to. Why does it seem to taste better when it costs more? And what is activated charcoal? All this and more, in our new single million dollar smoothies.”The American spin-off of the famed European song competition show EurovisionAmerican Song Contest is hosted by Snoop Dogg and Kelly Clarkson and features 56 states and territories competing for America’s best original song. Notable competitors include Macy GrayAlan Stone, Michael Bolton, Sisqo, The Crystal Method, and Jewel. After last night’s performance, courtship. awaits whether or not they will advance to the semi-finals, decided by public viewer voting. The results will be announced on the April 4 episode.“Million Dollar Smoothies” is the first release from courtship. in 2022 and is the latest taste of the band’s forthcoming sophomore album, due for release later this year. The band began teasing the project in 2021 with a string of singles including “Prom,” “Fuzzy,” “80 in the friend zone,” and a cover of “I Try” by Macy Gray, who coincidentally is now their American Song Contest competitor! 

Photo by Adam Kelly

While I was making my new EP, If It’s Not Forever, I was going through a lot romantically and it bled into the songs. They’re about missing people and telling them how you feel, but ultimately, these songs are trying to find some thread of truth and meaning in a relationship that’s ended. 

If It’s Not Forever features Tropical Sour Candy,” which, to me, has been a kind of container to hold the many memories and little details that I was missing as I went through the process of letting go of a relationship.

View the visualizer for Tropical Sour Candy via YouTube.

Upbeat, sad, and reminiscent, this song is meant to make listeners feel supported. 

I want you to know that you’re not the only one experiencing conflicting, co-existing feelings.

This is my favourite lyric from the song, and I feel like it captures the sentiment of the whole EP. I was going through this breakup that was painful but really trying my best to have healthy boundaries and be okay. That is why I want you to feel like this EP is a safe space to feel your feelings.

To miss someone you might feel like you shouldn’t miss anymore, to sit in memories and feelings of nostalgia without any fear of judgment or a rush to move on. 

Thank you for taking the time to listen, 

Cassidy Mann

Keegan Powell is a Toronto-based songwriter and performing artist combining elements of psychedelic rock, with alternative folk, brit pop, and shoe-gaze, to create something completely his own. Powell’s debut album, Previous Pain, is slated for release on May 11, 2022.

His debut single, The Door (2018), premiered on Stereogum and followed shows in New York, Montreal and Los Angeles. 2019 saw the release of two EPs: Is+Was— featuring the singles, Beginning Of Life, and All The Love, which were featured on CBC Radio 3, and sound-tracked acclaimed director Kazik Radwanski’s Anne at 13,000 ft, respectively— and ‘Headspun’, which ranked in the NACC top 200, securing Powell’s first official charting position. An unprecedented four lead singles off his debut album, Previous Pain, have been in rotation on SiriusXM satellite radio.

Following on from the enigmatic track “Everything I Do”, Norwegian artist and producer Maud returns with latest Rollercoaster form up-coming EP In My Haven.

An uplifting electro-dance track, written and produced by Maud, her raw and revealing lyricism on “Rollercoaster” morphs the paralyzing effects of self-doubt, into a rousing feel-good song to help you overcome the darker days. Featuring Maud’s signature bright, airy vocals, the gradually building production lifts the track from ambient beginnings to an energetic new level as the triumphant synth beat kicks in. Thanks to Maud’s emotional vulnerability, “Rollercoaster” opens the door as an inspirational anthem reminding listeners to feel the ups and downs of life, reassuring them that it’s ok.

Debuting an evolved sound in 2022 after the release of her self-titled debut album, Maud’s forthcoming EP finds a new home for her voice. Determined to preserve her artistic expression in an industry where control can be taken away, she continues to take charge of all elements of her music as the artist, composer, producer, singer, instrumentalist, programmer and mixing engineer – finding liberation in this approach.

Since making waves as one of the brightest new names coming out of the legendary Norwegian music scene, Maud’s undeniable potential secured funding support from the Arts Council Norway and The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Culture – solidifying her status as one of Scandinavia’s most promising musical up-and-comers and nationwide spins on NRK P3

radio and coveted featuring on festival line-ups at the likes of Insomnia, Sørveiv, Trænafestivalen and Bodø Jazz Open.

Rapidly rising on home turf, Maud has also gained blog hype across the UK, US and Australia. Confirming herself as a noteworthy new act she landed the cover of Deezer’s New Electronic playlist, as well as further editorial support from Spotify’s Fresh Finds, Fresh Finds Dance, Poptastic, Electronic Right Meow, and Lovetrap playlists alongside airplay on Amazing Radio in the UK.

Driving forwards as a rising creative talent, there’s no doubt that Maud’s ability to capture universal emotions in her lyrics and production is earning her a reputation for success. Armed with a new sound on this EP, Maud’s accension in dance and mainstream is set for 2022.


To commemorate Transgender Day of Visibility, Queer|Art, NYC’s home for connecting and empowering generations of LGBTQ+ Artists, is pleased to announce the judges for the third annual Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists: interdisciplinary artist Jonathan Lyndon Chase; writer, curator, and activist Kimberly Drew, and model, performer, and fashion illustrator Connie Fleming.

Developed and named in partnership with Mariette Pathy Allen, Aaryn Lang, and Serena Jara, this annual $10,000 grant, awarded to draw attention to an existing body of work, sheds light on the under-recognized contributions of Black trans women visual artists and provides critical support to their continuing work. The first of its kind, the Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists aims to correct the exclusion of Black trans women from the larger art canon and uplift profound lineages of Black trans women artistic practices, mapping avenues for future generations of Black trans women artists.

Queer|Art is pleased to announce that the grant will also provide a $1,250 award to four finalists, in addition to the $10,000 awarded to a winner each year. The winning artist will receive professional development resources, including a studio visit with each participating judge, to bolster their creative development in the field. 

Applications are open March 31 – June 30, 2022, and the grant will be awarded in September 2022. Learn more and apply now here!

Alternative Rock band Wax on Water is fronted by singer, songwriter and producer Maya Damaris and was joined by rock guitarist Steven Blessing back in 2019. The band released the first of the ‘Drip’ series “The Drip- Part 1” EP back in November’ 21. Now they release the follow up: “The Drip – Part ll” on 25th March’ 22 with the full forthcoming complete album “The Drip” landing in June.

Maya Damaris decided to form a band which would evoke the same intense feelings and inspiration that she had growing up when listening to artists like Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, The Cure and Nine Inch Nails. Debut album “Procession was initially released by Damaris in 2017, demonstrating an expert ability to channel diverse influences whilst making a sound that was entirely their own. The resulting album acclaim led to the re-release of “Procession in 2018 and a lucrative worldwide distribution deal with The Orchard/Sony Music, for Damaris’ own label, Howling Tempest Records.

Perhaps it was fate that, in 2019, Damaris encountered like-minded musician, guitarist Steven Blessing and the musical coupling was instantly formidable. The band draw inspiration from the great and good; from bands past and present and from multiple genres:  70s rock, 90s grunge, electronica, and industrial. On “The Drip” album, their sound is taken to the next level with the addition of Blessing’s soaring layers of guitar and Damaris’ unique writing and production style, creating a potent musical brew that is, unquestionably, Wax on Water.

The eagerly awaited forthcoming album “The Drip”, due in June, is a collection of sixteen expertly crafted rock songs. As a prelude to the album, Wax on Water released  “The Drip – Part 1” EP last November –  release the Second EP “The Drip – Part II”  on March 25th : an  eclectic mix of songs that gives fans a tantalising taste of what to expect when the full album of the same name drops in the Summer.


The first track is  the recent single , and electro-rock tome to love; “You Know When You Know”, “Dumb Me” is a heart rending and raw exploration of depression. “In The Shadows” talks about the need for loyalty and consistency in relationships and “All Over Me” describes an all-consuming sense of disintegration.  The focus single, and second track on the EP, is the cleverly playful radio track “The Wrong Way”Damaris explains: ”I love Steve’s guitar playing on this song, it’s so lyrical and gives a tongue in cheek feel to the song. Lyrically, I wanted to have some fun with this track – and the person in question was very vain, so that inspired my lyrics.”

Like the heady musical brew on “The Drip – Part I” EP, the songs on “The Drip – Part II” EP demonstrate that Wax on Water are not just a conduit for classic multi-genre influences, but also a creator of entirely new ones.

There’s something mesmerising about the fingertips of Dana Gavanski. Conducting each note with a light gracefulness, they appear to dance whilst aiding their owner in expressing the stories behind each of her lighter-than-air tones. Stories which, on her new album When It Comes, may never have been heard if not for healing ‘lost’ vocal cords and a lesson in taking the rough with the smooth.

In many ways this record feels like it is my first,” Dana tells. “When I could use my voice, I had to focus so there is an urgency and greater emotional trajectory than before… it’s very connected to vocal presence, which extended into an existential questioning of my connection to music. It felt like a battle at times, which I frequently lost.”

Arriving where introversion and extroversion meet, When It Comes is Dana’s most vulnerable record to date. A Canadian-Serbian artist unafraid of extremes, she seamlessly blends her love of music from the 50s-70s with mythologyLed by instinct in its purest form, Dana’s latest chapter is an ode to the voice as an instrument – its power, and how intricately it can deliver words to tug at, and tie knots in, every heartstring. “Words can be taken quite literally, but to me, a lot of the time, they are pivots. They point in a direction but don’t necessarily stay there,” she says.

Artwork credit: Lauren Lee

Rising San Francisco-based DJ and producer, AIR APPARENT, releases his bouncy new single and accompanying video, “100%” featuring ÊMIA today, out everywhere now. The single will be followed by the optimal poolside soundtrack–a collection of light and bright tracks, culminating in the 12-track LP, Chromatic featuring appearances from vocalists like ConstanceKcdeeyaGESSEllie Jones, and more, coming just in time for summer.

Over a catchy beat, Indian-American dance musician, Neil Sethi (aka AIR APPARENT), explores the nuances of a failed fling that could have been meaningful if only both parties were willing to put in the effort and commit.

“100%,” mixed by Brent Kolatalo (Mark Ronson, One Republic) and mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Emily Lazar (Sia, Maggie Rogers), channels AIR APPARENT’s signature light, airy sound combined with his relatable, raw lyricism, continuing on his streak of releases that one cannot possibly get enough of. Describing “100%,” AIR APPARENT says, “I wrote “100%” with one of my favorite writing partners Teresa Tuan and Anh Le (ÊMIA) in Brooklyn. We were talking about the nearly universal experience of someone we know, may have dated, or may have briefly had a thing with trying to slide back into our messages. We’ve all experienced it – when one person is willing to give everything for someone while that someone has remained unwilling to commit. Weeks, months, or even years later, somehow that someone always comes back around with a change of heart…when it’s far too late.”

If you feel like you can’t keep up with BONES’ massive and ever-growing catalog, you’re not the only one. After releasing five full-length albums in 2021 and a single earlier this year, BONES connects with TeamSESH producer ghost/\/ghoul for “Silverado” – available now via TeamSESH / EMPIRE. In classic BONES fashion, the mysterious head of the underground rap scene starts the track off with a calm, cool, and collected flow before effortlessly unleashing locked-in bars. ghost/\/ghoul backs the Michigan rapper’s vocals with a lush and hypnotic beat that give the single an ambient lo-fi feel. “Silverado” marks the first time BONES and ghost/\/ghoul have teamed up since 2019 and only the third time ever the two have collaborated, as die-hard TeamSESH fans will know ghost/\/ghoul has a “don’t rap on my music” rule. “Silverado” is a glimpse at an upcoming album from BONES, keep an eye out for more soon.

My dynamic new song, I Lied,” was written during a particularly rough patch in my mental health last year. I was slowly unboxing the emotions I had been feeling, and finding the roots of my struggles with anxiety and depression.

This song is like a culmination of the thoughts, feelings, and memories that led up to a personal mental breaking point. I had to stop running around in circles, pretending I was okay, and acknowledge the pain I was feeling to be true. It was really the first step to healing again. 

 Play I Lied below on your streaming platform of choice & watch the official visualizer on YouTube.

It’s almost cathartic, the heartache

Brings me down to my knees almost every time

 Most of all, I want listeners to know that it’s okay not to know what to do next, it’s okay not to be sure who to trust, or if you can even fully trust yourself. This song was written from the centre of the storm, but I got out, and I want every listener to know there is always, always hope, so long as you choose it.

 Sophia Fracassi

Gretchen Klempa is a Los Angeles based musician originally from Boston. Having spent years writing and performing with a band, she always felt she lacked a connection with the music she was collaboratively creating, as it wasn’t fully honest or vulnerable. Deciding to take the leap and go solo, the artist now crafts autobiographical songs which are entirely unfiltered and achingly authentic. 

Her upcoming EP was written during the pandemic, where Klempa was inspired to reveal her most personal work to date. Klempa confides, “If I could die tomorrow in a global pandemic, what would I want to say to the world? What is my voice? This upcoming EP is an ode to my 20’s. Your 20’s are really fucking hard and not many people talk about that.” The new tracks are not highly crafted pop songs, they are snapshots of where she was in time when the world was ending. Covering themes of loss, grief, growing up, questioning religion and letting go, Klempa has concocted a relatable and heartfelt release, oozing with emotion and candidness, featuring dark and sometimes sarcastic lyricism. 

The first single to be released from the EP is the starkly personal “Drunk At Your Funeral.” Described as indie/cathedral rock, Klempa showcases layered orchestral arrangements that add a depth, allowing you to completely immerse yourself in. Accompanied by laid-back, effortless vocals which narrate a painfully honest story and haunting harmonies which continue to build throughout, “Drunk At Your Funeral” sends shivers down your spine as her words echo, “I’m not ready to say goodbye.”

Klempa has toured extensively throughout New England, with her previous band garnering numerous awards, including Jazz Artist of the Year in both the Boston Music Awards, as well as the New England Music Awards. 2022 is set to be a bright year for Gretchen Klempa, as she peels back some layers and proudly presents her true self.

Socials: @neillfrazer

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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