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INsiders Guide: Ayla D’Lyla, Anna Shoemaker, Joe Hicks, Hal Cannon, MELII, Rafi Jag, AG CLUB, McCall, JELEEL!, ERIC DARIUS, IRIS…

NYC-based recording artist Ayla D’Lyla has released a brand new single titled “Anywhere But Here,” out now via Snafu Records. Listen to the song here.

Inciting images of carefree summer evening drives through back roads in a pickup truck, “Anywhere But Here” radiates the vast versatility of Ayla’s songwriting, crafting a lush, sophisticated take on modern alt-pop. Ayla details the song’s inspiration, calling it, “A gentle, light song that captures a journey of escapism. ‘Anywhere But Here’ embodies the feeling of leaving the smoggy city and finding satisfaction in the simplicity of nature.”

The new single comes on the heels of spring 2022 single “MONEY,” a song exploring emotional unfulfillment in a relationship coupled with Ayla’s signature tongue-in-cheek lyrical wit. PAPER covered the release, noting, “D’Lyla continues to build momentum in New York’s underground alt-pop community.”

Following the release of her highly-acclaimed debut album, Everything is Fine (I’m Only on Fire), earlier this year, Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter Anna Shoemaker is making her return with her new single, “I’m Your Guy,” out on all streaming platforms today.

Anna co-wrote “I’m Your Guy” with her longtime friend turned collaborator Richie Quake. “I’m Your Guy” is an intimate alt-rock ballad about unconditional love. Throughout the song Anna subverts traditional gender roles and pronouns with lyrics like, “baby if you’ll be my man / I’m your guy / I will get you through your lonely night.” Rejecting the notion of conventional romance and hetero relationship norms, the song advocates for the type of love — with both lovers and friends — where we all have each other’s backs, no matter what. Anna elaborates: “It’s been made clear over and over again that people in power in our country don’t really give a shit about us, so it’s really up to us to protect and be there for each other.”

Singer-songwriter Joe Hicks presents the luminescent ‘Out of My Mind’, lifted from his first full-length album, The Best I Could Do at the Time, out this September.

Melding together pop and folk influences, sun-soaked offering ‘Out of My Mind’ exhibits yet another side to the artist’s polished songwriting as Hicks dives into a pool of gleaming nostalgia for an electric-paced relationship that went adrift.

This is another song on the album that was born out a guitar riff that, stylistically, I would have never pursued in the past…” Hicks speaks on ‘Out of My Mind’ as a continuation of further excelling his artistry out of his comfort zone, something we’ve witnessed through his previous release ‘Mirror Mirror’.

“There’s a tendency for major key ideas like this to end up too sickly sweet and ultimately ditched, but this time around that didn’t materialise. I think the trick was keeping the production very organic, as well as including some negative aspects of the narrative to contrast with the musical feel. Lyrically it’s about the optimism of finally getting over someone, being able to look back at the arc of the relationship knowing you’ve left it behind and then ride off into the sunset with a brand new outlook on life.”

On September 23rd, Joe Hicks will release the long awaited debut album ‘The Best I Could Do at the Time’, an earnest collection of music that spotlights the singer’s exceptional songwriting with a boldness to wear his heart on his sleeve. Recorded in his home town of Newbury, the album acts as a personal statement that meshes Joe’s influences together to create a record that fully invites you into his world.

‘’The Best I Could Do at the Time’ is a journey through many of the emotional peaks and troughs we go through as humans, and more specifically me as a musician in such uncertain times,” Joe explains. “It’s about acknowledging them, living in those feelings for a while and ultimately finding the hope we all have within us to take control and rise above the worst of them. It’s about doing the best we can with the tools that we have.”

Hal Cannon shares Don’t Look Back, the second single to be taken from his Nothin’ Lastin’ album (which is set for an October 7th release). “Don’t Look Back” features gently-insistent banjo and percussion backing a vocal that reflects on an important lesson learned through Cannon’s career as a folklorist. That it is possible to love the past while still embracing the future. As he notes, “my job has been to celebrate tradition. I love tradition and yet I’ve seen it smother the life out of art, politics and conversation.” For Cannon, there is wonder and excitement in exploring the road ahead. The song encapsulates this outlook in the final verse, which states “It’s the comfort of tradition that can lead us to submission. Just stay true and try to be kind. Truly seek and ye shall find“

Born with the natural gift of entertaining and a love of music, Audrey Ducasse, more commonly known as Melii, has been a star in the making and cross genre shining recording artist since her early years. An artist whose charismatic demeanor, contagious flow and unique voice brought her a ranking as #6 on Billboard’s 2018 Next Big Sound Chart, Melii has been solidifying her position in music as a force to be reckoned with. From performing in her family living room to packed out festivals, the Harlem native continues to make a name for herself and has landed collaborations with Beyonce’s Ivy Park Winter Campaign and Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty Music. With hit collaborations on singles such as “HML” featuring A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie (Peaking at #22 on the Billboard Hot 100 R&B Songs Chart), “You Ain’t Worth It” featuring 6lack, and Tory Lanez’ “Big Tipper” featuring herself and Lil Wayne, the Dominican entertainer has found herself as part of some of the biggest stages in the country including multiple Rolling Loud performances, Made in America, H.E.R.’s Lights On festival, Meek Mill’s Champion Tour, Summer Walker’s The First and Last Tour, and more. She scored her first Billboard Top 10 slot peaking at #10 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Chart as a featured artist on Meek Mill’s “Wit The Shits (WTS) record.

Hello Neill,

“My Love” is a thrilling and sexy piece of music inviting listeners into a feeling of serendipity. Out on all platforms | https://bfan.link/my-love-10

I was inspired by the tones of old funk music and 80’s R&B while wanting to incorporate my own modern take. I knew I wanted a grand piano to be played to initiate how the song would flow and once I heard that, it was easier for me to add my own stylistic choices, like my high falsetto ad-libs contributing to a more climactic ending.

Instagram | Facebook | TikTok | YouTube | Spotify | Apple Music

I’m Filipino Canadian, born in Baguio City, and so it was magical to have the music video shot at the historical location of Vigan Ilocos Sur, Philippines; regarded as one of the 7 Wonder Cities of the world. As well, at the very beautiful Vitalis Sands Beach. Captured by videographer Craig Cole, an internationally renowned artist whose work has graced the magazines of Marie Claire, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar UAE. Coming to YouTube on Friday, July 15th.

I hope you enjoy the single and video!

R A F I  J A G

Blazing a trail to the forefront of the culture, the Bay Area’s fastest rising supergroup AG Club uncover the music video for their new single “KEVIN” today. Watch the music video for “KEVIN” HERE and stream it at all DSPsHERE.

The group, led by Jody Fontaine and Baby Boy, notably conceptualized the video themselves alongside in-house director Ivan Collaco (CAJH) and consistent visual collaborator Neema Sadeghi. It unfolds like two movies conjoined by their airtight lyrical volley. In a cinematic claymation-style clip akin to an old nineties VHS tape, Jody transforms into a city-crushing devilish creature who stomps through the streets like Godzilla in sync with the beat, before crashing in on a board room meeting about the group themselves. Meanwhile, Baby Boy appears accompanied by a gothic choir who eerily nod in unison with Jody, giving you a look inside the belly of the beast and adding another dimension altogether to the video. You must see it to believe it.

“KEVIN” continues to put up numbers on streaming platforms. Around the release, LA Weekly spoke to the guys for an in-depth profile.

LA-based alt-pop singer-songwriter, McCall, shares track “Easy” and self-directed video ahead of the release of her debut LP, …to be a dream… out this Friday and available for pre-order now. In celebration of the release, join McCall live this Friday at Los Angeles’ Baader House, with support from MadisenxoxoMadeline and Mana Garden. Tickets to the official album release show presented by Make Out Music,  are on sale now here where exclusive merch will be available.

Today’s release, “Easy,” details the thick layer of pressure that McCall has placed upon herself throughout her life, and her attempt to navigate it. The message is illustrated in the painful lines, “Felt like if I didn’t suffer, I was worth nothing / I’d pay for it / One way or another / Addicted to the sadness / So desperate, so tragic.” Explaining the track’s origin, McCall says, “Once I took the pressure off of myself and the people I was working with, my music got better and bigger opportunities seemed to flow to me with ease. There’s always been a romanticization of the struggling artist, but sometimes the struggle is what’s holding you back. Not to sound nauseatingly “new-age,” she continues, “but I do strongly believe that the more trust I have in the universe, the more results I get.”

The self-directed visual sees McCall roaming the streets of LA with a suitcase in tow as the sun sets, mixed with footage of herself, friends, family and old home videos. Throughout both the track and the visual, McCall is able to relieve the pressure that seems to endlessly mount upon her–the suitcase symbolizing the baggage and heavy emotional weight she carries. The track swells with twinkling bassline and swelling beats, until the end, when the track slows down and the visual sees McCall sit quietly in her bedroom alone, strumming a guitar. Ultimately, she finds the strength to trust herself, with hope seeping through the following lines, “But I’ve been finding my center / It gets better…”

Buzzing Rhode Island-born and Los Angeles-based rapper JELEEL! releases the official video for his latest single “UNCIVILIZED! (GO!).” Watch it HERE.

Premiering earlier today on The FADER, who said “his electrifying personality, carefree spirit, and tendency to rip off his tank top at a moment’s notice have made him go viral, but more importantly, the music rips too,” the bright visual, directed by Karl Perkins, showcases JELEEL!’s unbeatable energy, bringing the song to life.

Named a Best New Artist by Pigeons & PlanesJELEEL! dropped “UNCIVILIZED! (GO!)”a few weeks ago alongside CLUBHOUSE! feat. Mike Dimes. The two tracks have garnered over a million streams and were featured by HotNewHipHop, Our Generation Music and XXL who interviewed him for ‘The Break.’

Jazz/R&B Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Eric Darius is thrilled to announce his new album Unleashed to be released on August 12th.
 
He most recently released the second single from the album, “That’s My Jam” Feat. Justin Lee Schultz which is currently at #5 on the Billboard Charts and #3 on the Mediabase Charts. “That’s My Jam” is an upbeat, feel good song that captures the exhilarating grooves and high energy of his legendary live show that Darius wrote paying homage to one of his closest friends, Willie Payne, who recently passed. The song features 15-year-old prodigy, Justin Lee Shultz, on the talk box and the dynamic duo completely soar on this action-packed summer anthem with a message of living life to the fullest!
 
In support of his new album, Eric has launched his Unleashed World Tour which continues throughout the rest of the year. See all tour dates below.
 
As for Eric’s upcoming album, this project will be his second release via his own independent label, SagiDarius Music. His most recent album Breakin’ Thru released in 2018 was a huge commercial success, yielding four #1 hits on the Contemporary Jazz charts, however, this upcoming project due this Summer promises to be his best to date!
 
Produced by GRAMMY Ò award-winning musician, Philip Lassiter (Prince, Kirk Franklin, Ariana Grande), this album features collaborations with Eric Roberson, Paul Jackson, Jr., Justin Lee Schultz, Mononeon, Metropole Orkest and many others, seamlessly blurring the lines between Jazz, R&B, Hip-Hop, Funk & Pop! For the first time ever, Darius recorded the whole album live in studio with the full band simultaneously capturing an organic, authentic sound while bottling up the magic and synergy among the musicians in real time! “I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone on this project and truly unleash my full musical potential. This album is an honest reflection of myself and my growth both musically and personally over the past several years and it really takes the listeners on a musical journey from start to finish!”

Singer/songwriter IRIS releases her new single “Back By The Weekend” today – listen to the song on Spotify HERE. Penned by Trey Campbell (Celine Dion, John Legend) and two-time Grammy award-winning producer Malay (Frank Ocean, Lorde, Sam Smith), the upbeat, rhythmic track is embellished with IRIS’s soaring, powerhouse vocals, fluid instrumentation, and steady drum beats. At the helm of the production is Malay and Raul Lopez, who give “Back By The Weekend” a tight and polished sound. 

A storyteller at heart, IRIS brings an edgy pop energy to her music. The vocalist has been compared to Lady Gaga, with their similar “’80s rock rasp,” and rock icon Stevie Nicks. She cites Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and Alicia Keys as inspirations. 

“Back By The Weekend” heads in a new direction for IRIS, as she leans more into a country-pop feel on her new material. Lyrically, she continues to sing songs about the matters of the heart – specifically about heartbreak, and finding your own happiness. Her rich lyricism is something that her fans have come to love and recognize about her songwriting style. IRIS’s vulnerabilities and authenticity draws listeners in and invites them to take a moment to themselves and reflect. 

McKenna Rowe, the band’s frontwoman shares this about “Entropy”:

“‘Entropy’ is a scientific term from thermodynamics, but also can imply moving into disorder or chaos. This song expresses my feelings over the accelerated breakdown of society that I feel I’ve witnessed: Trump’s election and the rise of white supremacy, the pandemic, the shootings. But it’s also a commentary on the breakdown of the self, and how that can be a good thing in many ways…letting one’s self “break down” and letting go of old fears, prejudices and resentments, thinking about building your psyche anew. When you think about it, that’s really the only thing we have “control” over, our attitude and approach to life”

McKenna Rowe, the frontwoman of Nature Loves Courage who provides the lead vocals and plays the keys, is the type of artist consumed by the complexities of sound, driven by a near obsession with the myriad world of loops and beats. A melodic pianist at heart, McKenna’s fascination with the world of industrial trip hop pushed her to combine heady dub-inspired beats with organic themes of nature and pagan magic, balancing arena rock chants with airy string orchestration.

After years spent curating music placements for Netflix’s Dead to Me, Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Southwest Airlines, Aquafresh, and many more under the name Psykick Girl, she is now joined by bassist Jacob Bergman and drummer Garrett Smith as LA-based Nature Loves Courage: the electronic art-rock group bending entire genres to their will.

Rob Phillips says this about the song:

“The inspiration for ‘High Wire’ came from being fed up with the record labels and their industry control. It was written using a lot of metaphor as I like to do in many of my songs. On the surface it is about a clown in love with the High Wire girl, and the great lengths he will go to win her love. The reality is it’s a musician (Clown) who is trying to reach fame with the record labels (High Wire Girl) above, which are out of reach. At the end he succeeds and walks away from the record labels, with the line ‘A Clown without a Tear.’”

Rob Phillips formed the Heavy metal band Siren in the early eighties. As a Songwriter and lead guitarist, the band recorded a 45 vinyl and a couple cassette demos. This led to Siren being signed to a German label, Flametrader, in 1986. The band recorded their first full length album “No Place like Home”, which was released and well received in Europe. However, after a year, Rob left the band due to musical differences, as his style was leaning more progressive than that of the straight Metal sound of the band. Siren did record one more album, and then separated a year later.

Phillips reformed Siren in 2005 along with drummer/engineer Mike Cupino. With a new musical direction. Rob and Mike started recording the first Siren album “Don’t Mind”, which was finished and released in 2007 to critical success.

Three new members were then added to the group; Chris Bonelli on Bass, Chip Gardner on keyboard/organ, and Leo Boland on lead guitar. The new line up soon began writing and recording and released the album “You Never Noticed” in 2009. After a nine year break, the band consisted of the same lineup with the exception of lead guitar. Todd Grubbs replaced Leo Boland as the new lead guitarist and final piece to the puzzle. 

Emei is an alt-pop singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles. Her clearcut lyrics and cheeky tone guarantee listeners to press replay. But even before she started writing, Emei developed incredible stage presence from her experience competing on Chinese Idol at 15. After receiving third place on the show through months of stadium shows, Emei began releasing her own music on Chinese platforms and eventually performing on Dancing with the Stars of China. When Covid hit, Emei started releasing new music on American platforms, gaining media coverage on Ones to Watch, Early Rising, and Lyrical Lemonade. Emei’s single, “Late to the Party”, hit 4.1M streams after videos of her performing the song live hit a collective 9.5M views on Tiktok and Instagram Reels. This landed Emei on the cover of Fresh Finds Pop and her music on Big on the Internet, Pop Sauce, Young & Free and more. Her next single, That Girl has already reached 13K presaves with 3M views on Tiktok and Instagram Reels.

Some of her recent collaborators include Myles Avery, Gnash, Rob Auerbach, KiNG MALA, Jack Laboz, Luka Kloser, Jordan Lewis, LIIV, Pom Pom and others!

Los Angeles-based singer and songwriter Goldie Vargas returns with her next single, “Canyon.” Following previous releases “Strawberry Kisses” and “Moving in Reverse,” “Canyon” arrives as the final tease of Goldie’s forthcoming EP, ‘GOLDEN,’ which will be out July 28th.

Resonant and heartbreakingly honest, “Canyon” was written in the aftermath of a breakup. While writing “Canyon,” Goldie took inspiration from songwriting greats like Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell and Townes Van Zandt and the ways in which they were able to turn life’s darker moments into brilliant and affecting ballads.

Goldie elaborates on her new single: “‘Canyon’ is about the personal conflict of missing the person you were with and the relationship you once had, but also missing the person you were before you met themThe entire song physically feels, to me at least, like you are running in a field towards yourself trying to get back to your roots. I find it incredibly empowering and self loving, despite being a break up song.”

Email: neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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