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INsiders Guide: Mad Kelly, Natalie Shay, KIANA, Lights A.M, Papa Khan, TwoTiime, Sandra Hakky, Lisa Wright, Spanish Love Songs, Lorne, Cade Hoppe, T-Shyne…..

Drawing influences from 90s punk rock to scream rap, Mad Kelly is a self-taught musician who uses a broad spectrum of genres to craft his own style. At times, his music feels like a throwback of your emo MySpace profile track whereas at other times it feels like a refreshing modern rock’n’roll anthem. With “Hostage,” Mad Kelly pulls our nostalgia heartstrings as he taps into the haunting and restless sense of being stuck in an unwanted situation. Whether it is losing a relationship, being unable to break away from an addiction, or something else, the track channels the frustrations through its bursting riffs.

Natalie Shay is an indie-pop artist hailing from North London. The multi-award-winning musician has established an ever-growing presence and loyal fanbase through her explosive live performances and unforgettable anthems, recognising her as one of the UK’s hottest emerging talents. Her relatable lyrics touch on love, self-discovery and the everyday experiences of a twenty-something.  

 Combining her youthful and charismatic aura with her classical training and time spent at the prestigious BRIT School, Shay has finessed the ability to produce undeniably catchy music, whilst maintaining musical maturity. Compared to the likes of Haim, Little Comets and Fickle Friends, the Londoner has absorbed similar energy and dynamics within her new music, resulting in a sound that oozes with passion and allure.

 Written in South West London with her longtime friend Joseph Wander, the vibrant new single “Two Sparks” navigates the demise of a long term relationship, realising that the romance and fire has been extinguished. Writing from personal experience Shay admits, “It’s honest and autobiographical, I wanted to write about something a bit deeper and more complex, something more relatable to anyone at any age in any relationship, whether it’s your high school sweetheart or your married partner”.

 Listening to the raw instrumentation and mature vocals on Taylor Swift’s re-released albums throughout the first wave of the pandemic, Shay felt a swirl of inspiration, wanting “Two Sparks” to adopt a similar timeless arrangement, with the track achieving a clean and crisp audio and production. The dynamic pop melodies and poised soundscape gives way to Shay’s divine vocals, making this single the perfect ballad to sing-along to in the car.

 Shay continues to pique the interest of audiences across the globe. Having sold out venues across London, most recently the Camden Assembly, she has garnered attention from notable publications such as Billboard, Clash and The Line of Best Fit, to name a few, as well as landing Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in 12 countries, collectively amassing hundreds of thousands of streams. She has also worked on EDM tracks with the likes of Grum and Kryder, racking up millions of streams to date. If this endless list of successes is anything to go by, it looks like 2022 is set to be an explosive year.

KIANA is a Toronto based R&B artist, known for her moody, soulful and hypnotic soundscapes. Reflecting feelings of heartbreak and melancholy, the songwriter touches on how growth is often painful but beautiful. With a unique Persian and Dutch upbringing, KIANA grew up in constant change. This experience taught her the beauty in letting go and adapting and as a result her lyricism developed into a form of observation of her ever-changing environment. Her music takes its inspiration from both Toronto and European music culture, creating something which is comforting and familiar, yet distinctly her own. 

 

Her new single “chaos” is a moment of realization for the artist. After years of blaming herself for certain situations, she recognizes that self-criticism in situations beyond her control has been a coping mechanism to address questions that she couldn’t get answers to. She shares, “In relationships and especially when we’re in love, we’re so quick to blame ourselves for any pain experienced because we are our biggest critics. It’s important to step outside that narrative because it’s not healthy and it’s self damaging, especially when you honestly know you weren’t the only cause of the effect.”  

 

The slow-paced, intimate R&B tracks shimmers with sensual melodies and feathery vocals featuring two different sides to the song. “Side A” is filled with more energy and emotions of frustration, while “Side B” is less focused on the relationship and reflects more on the songwriter’s personal experiences. She explains, “The way I view it, during moments of conflict or when you get your heart broken, you become defensive in order to protect yourself, and your emotions are extremely heightened. This represents Side A. And after time passes, the way you once felt begins to change and you bring it back to yourself. You acknowledge what you’re willing to accept, the type of lover you are, and that you’re not always to blame for damage caused. This represents Side B.” As the song slowly concludes, the repeated lyric “I’m not to blame for the chaos we made” is what represents the closure you give yourself after the hurt and the self-reflection passes. Encouraging others to make peace with the unsorted chaos, KIANA shows that sometimes there aren’t always answers or solutions. 

 

Her music has gained recognition from multiple radio stations including Toronto’s Flow 93.5 FM and Vibe 105.5 FM and received immense positive reception from her hometown. Today, KIANA has earned over half a million plays globally and has been featured in publications such as Teen Vogue, Lyrical Lemonade, Ones to Watch, Earmilk and Red Bull Music, to name a few, as well as extensive DSP playlist support. She has touched major stages like The Mod Club Theatre and performed at significant Canadian festivals including NXNE and Canadian Music Week.

The Norwegian indie electronic project Lights A.M (the solo project of Erlend Eilertsen of Essence Of Mind) returns with a new double A-side single, “Run Away”.

The single is accompanied by the release of a beautiful video clip for “Run Away” made by Erlend Eilertsen’s long time partner in crime Christian Paulsen (Essence Of Mind, Hell:Sector).

While the previous album offered a soundscape journey, “Run Away” sees the project taking a more dark electronic side while the second track “Clouds” showcases the more indie-electronic pop side of Lights A.M mixed with Erlend’s moody and emotional vocals.

The 2-track single is available now from Bandcamp with other platforms to follow on April 25th.

Indonesian bass prodigy Papa Khan returned to Monstercat today, unveiling his new colour bass single, “Get To U.” Void of his usual darker motifs, the affectionate single conveys his dedication and willingness to go all-in for love. While still maintaining Papa Khan’s angsty edge, the track serves as the antithesis to his previous brooding cut, “Never Cared.” The bright synth stabs, warm chords, and gritty bassline drive the energy forward with his pop-punk-inspired lyrics adding a layer of heartfelt emotion. 

Papa Khan shares, “‘Get To U’ is a song about love. It’s about the willingness to do anything for love. It’s that feeling of going all-in when you fall in love with someone.

After bursting onto the scene in 2018, Papa Khan has become the leading tastemaker in the Indonesian bass community, thanks to his forward-thinking sound design. Earning fans in everyone from Skrillex to Marshmello and Illenium, he’s become one of the most talked-about colour bass artists over the last year, appearing on both DJ Mag and Beatportal’s “Artists To Watch” lists. Marking a career-first, Papa Khan will make his North American live debut as he joins Marauda on tour this spring. With upcoming performances at Echostage in DC, The Observatory in OC, and Marquee Theater in AZ, Papa Khan continues to spread his influence across the globe.

Kicking off a new chapter and continuing to electrify, award-winning Canadian artist TwoTiime unleashes his latest single, “Off Some,” with a boastful accompanying video that premiered earlier today on his YouTube channel HERE.With the CR-produced “Off Some,” TwoTiime is as introspective as ever as he dives deep into his journey towards building a successful career. In the first half of the song, TwoTiime acknowledges that while he hasn’t quite reached his intended destination, he’s well on his way to achieving his goals. In the second half, he speaks on the hard times he’s witnessing a close friend go through, which serves as even more motivation to reach for the stars.When I made this record I wanted to jump out the box and try something different to showcase my versatility. This definitely won’t be the only time you’ll see me switch it up for y’all” TwoTiime further shares referencing the momentous release.At its very core, as TwoTiime puts it, “the single is about letting the haters know I’m here to stay.” 2021 has already proved to be monolithic for TwoTiime, with two big singles hitting the market including (“Did A Lot” and “Juice”). Just recently, his 2020 breakout single, “Hood Cry,” earned him his biggest accolade to date with the SOCAN Foundation presenting him with the prestigious 2021 Young Canadian Songwriters Award. News of the single has brought widespread and feverish excitement among TwoTiime’s growing fanbase, which has reached an impressive size, especially considering he’s only been on the scene for two full years. “Off Some” was directed by SIP Entertainment. The video was shot in a rural setting outside of TwoTiime’s hometown of Ottawa and is available to watch HERE.

Remaining grounded and honouring his roots allows Liverpudlian multi-instrumentalist and vocalist RVHEEM (pronounced ‘Raheem’) to steadily build the foundation of his musical success. Inspired by soulful trailblazers Khalid, H.E.R. and Maverick Sabre as well as the versatility of Scribz Riley, he is both an artist and producer not afraid of bending the boundaries of genre to deliver his message.

Having recently signed with Platoon, RVHEEM is putting equal efforts into his musical evolution, curating a healthier space for his peers and raising awareness of the effect that this industry can have on an artist’s mental health. He’s been recognised by the likes of PRS For Music (2018), BBC Introducing (2019), BBC Future Sounds (2020) and performed at the BBC Big Weekender in 2021.

An artist and an activist, RVHEEM proudly wields his South Asian and East African heritage in his approach to creating refreshing R&B rhythms. With his breakout single ‘Cellular’ in 2019 (now at nearly 250k streams) and a series of subsequent refreshing singles, it’s all been leading up to this moment: an empowered community through music and Liverpool firmly on the musical landscape. RVHEEM is changing the narrative one song and one action at a time.

SANDRA HAKKY

RETURNS WITH HER NEW ALBUM ‘HAKKY THE SYSTEM’

FEATURED SINGLE  ‘WORK IT’  RELEASES 8 APRIL 2022 

The new track from the Danish soul diva plays with the labels we assign each other.

‘Work It’ is Sandra Hakky’s third single from her upcoming album ‘Hakky The System’, out April 8th on all download platforms. The track features a wide electronic soundscape and a heavy, effective dance beat with a hint of funk. Sandra Hakky is on point with her polished vocals, delivering a performance filled with soul and elements of pop. The style can best be described as early Madonna crossed with Dua Lipa, but Sandra has her own style and expression, with this new single showing off her strengths.

Lyrically, the track is focussed on the labels we affix to each other.  ‘We need to view people as people – not groups or stereotypes – and we should accept them as they are, on their own terms,’ Hakky explains. She couldn’t care less about assigning labels to other people. ‘It’s boring, I’d rather be open and risk being positively surprised.’ ‘Work it’ is about identity and having the courage to let go of the filters, about lowering our defence mechanisms and focusing on being present in the now, and is a tribute to the human in motion and to the motion of all things.

At just nineteen years old, Hakky was signed to Universal Music and released the hit song ‘Two Left’. The tour bus was bustling, and the career was on a steep upwards trajectory. Perhaps a bit too steep. Hakky pulled back from the limelight, and spent years learning the crafts of music production and songwriting. With hard work, discipline and a large portion of self control, she is now a singer, songwriter, producer, technician, graphic designer, programmer, stylist and multimedia artist.

Hakky has written, recorded and co-produced the current single as well as the last two singles and the upcoming album. ‘Too many cooks can spoil the broth, and I try to create works that are as personal as possible’, she says.

Saturated in vulnerability, Essex based singer/songwriter Lisa Wright has the exquisite power to captivate an audience from the moment she begins to play. Finding her voice while attending LIPA in 2011, the storyteller pens timeless tracks that are piercingly honest, acting as an emotional release for both herself and her listeners. Taking inspiration from artists such as Carole King, Alison Krauss and Sasha Sloan; it’s clear from your first listen that to Lisa, lyrics mean everything.

Written with songwriter Rachel Furner (Little Mix), the new single “Ready Now” emits a tender and sombre tone, yet with a courageously honest sentiment. Challenging the debilitating fear of baring her soul, the track surrenders to her hesitations of falling in love. Sonically poised and set amongst a backdrop of wistful keys and serene strings, Wright’s mesmerising vocals take focus, with the lyrics carrying a freeing message to truly let yourself love and be loved.  

 Confronting her deepest fears, Wright explains, “It’s the most personal and most vulnerable I’ve ever been in my songwriting and ironically, the most that’s ever sounded like the real ‘me’”. She continues, “I felt like it was this weight that hung around me and writing always allows me to unravel complex thoughts that never seem to make sense at the time. I think that’s why people enjoy journaling or writing in other ways”.

 With huge support from local BBC Introducing, Lisa was announced as one of their emerging ‘Sound of’ and subsequently handpicked by BBC 6 Music to showcase at Latitude Festival. Since then, Lisa’s reputation sky-rocketed, having been invited to support major label artists such as Cam, Ward Thomas and Eric Paslay on their UK tours, as well as being added to the line-up of C2C Festival 2019 at London’s O2 Arena. With credentials like this already on her resume, you can only imagine the heights she will reach this coming year!

LA based quintet Spanish Love Songs have announced “Brave Faces Etc”, due out 15th April 2022.  The album features reimagined & alternative versions of the original 2020 release and today they share the beautiful new version of “Kick”“A lot of this album came about from working at home, and listening to a ton of ambient, loop based music.” says singer Dylan Slocum.  “This version takes that approach and applies it to a song that was always built around a huge hook. If the original song (and album really) was based on a wall of guitars, then this is meant to be the opposite, and is our attempting at making some big without it necessarily having to be loud or aggressive. We definitely weren’t confident enough to try that the first time around, which is probably the case for a lot of the different things we tried to achieve on the reimagined. “

Berkshire-born, London based singer-songwriter Lorne is a classically trained pianist, whose life has been shaped by music. Introduced to piano from just seven years old, his life has been trickled with creativity, enriching his mind and sculpting his future as a musician. After first listening to Peter Gabriel’s music in his teens, Lorne was taken by his sound and notes the musician as a great influence for his music. Also drawn to established songwriters such as Damien Rice, Coldplay and Elbow, his attraction to melodic pop and ambient rock is evident in his ideas.

 Echoing the atmosphere and emotion of Lorne’s debut EP Maze released in 2017, “Bow Out” is an exciting progression that combines poignant vocals, soft piano movements and electronic-pop layers. Inspired by the end of a friendship, the track emits a cloudy haze, with the atmospheric soundscapes, rushing strings and building percussion adding power and weight to Lorne’s melancholic song structures. Lorne shares, “In the lyrics, I looked for ways to describe the need for space and a way out of a difficult situation”.

 Keen to mimic the reflective mood of the track, Video Director Olly Cooper conceived the idea for the artwork, with the moody visuals on West Wittering Beach capturing the pensive sentiment of the track.

 Performing his songs to a welcoming range of audiences, such as BBC Introducing, The Troubadour and Notting Hill Arts Club, featuring on Spotify editorial playlists, as well as garnering support from the likes of Clash and Music Week, his music has reached over three million streams across a range of music platforms, making him one to watch this year.

indie-pop singer and songwriter Cade Hoppe presents the music video for his new single, “Morphine.” Watch the video here.“Morphine” is a tender and stunningly intimate track that meditates on coping with the weight of life’s expectations. For the accompanying music video, which was self-directed, Cade riffs off one of his favorite lyrics from the song: “the coffee’s out so the nurse brought me lemonade / I’m scared to death because they taste the same.” He elaborates: “Somehow that line says everything I wanted to say in the song with such a simple metaphor, and I really wanted to expand on that both visually and thematically in the video by literally making lemonade in a coffee pot.”

T-SHYNEPULLS BACK THE CURTAINS TO NEW PROJECT CONFETTI NIGHTSRELEASES CONFETTI NIGHTS DOCUMENTARY (PART ONE)SHINES LIGHT ON PROJECT CREATION PROCESS WITH EXECUTIVE PRODUCER KEVIN DURANT AND MOR

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Written by Neill Frazer

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