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INsiders Guide: Tessa Kaye, Ina Forsman, Reno McCarthy, Apollo Lovely, Summy, Cassie Marin, APACALDA, Tara MacLean, Pinkfiz…

Tessa Kaye is a Philadelphia born, Los Angeles based pop artist. Armed with vibrant individuality and a fresh approach, the effervescent artist delivers infectious pop soundscapes, with raw and relatable themes. Having grown up in Utah, Kaye struggled with the difficulties that being a black girl in a mostly white community faced. Raised in the Mormon church, she made the decision to leave once she reached early adulthood, moving to the West Coast to pursue her passion. Now, with a plethora of life experiences under her belt, Kaye wants to tell her story. 

Following the successful release of her debut single “Fools Gold,” which was added to numerous Spotify editorial playlists, including New Music Friday U.S., Kaye unveils the intoxicating “You Know Who You Are and I Hate You.” An honest song narrating her lifelong struggles with severe anxiety, the songwriter gets vulnerable. She explains, “although it could be about a romantic relationship as well, I’m personally talking to my anxiety about the ways it has debilitated my life at times.” The song is a reminder that it’s perfectly ok to have days when you’re down, we’re all human and we’re allowed to be soft, feel delicate or just not ok! Kaye confides, “I’ve had a lot of people try to tell me that my anxiety and how much I feel is a weakness. It’s taken a lot of self work for me to realize that there’s a strength in allowing yourself to simply be as weak as you feel in a moment. Black women in particular are always looked at as ‘strong black women’ and while yes, that is true, there are many sides to us.”

Her release “Smile More” “speaks to the double standard of how men and women have been allowed to express themselves in society. It’s a weird, ridiculous expectation people place on women, to look pleasant 100% of the time.” confides Kaye. Featuring colorful warm beats and Kaye’s signature soulful vocals, “Smile” radiates with confidence. 

Her single “Sunshine & Rainbows” is about the frustrations that can come with toxic positivity. Tessa confides, “so many times I’ve found myself in situations where I was trying to mask my authenticity to not come off as “negative.” I’ve swallowed my own hurt in order to keep a happy, positive disposition for others, but that shit’s dead now! Life isn’t always sunshine & rainbows…and I’d say that’s kinda the whole point. Balance baby. Contrast. Bad times just make the good ones feel that much better.”  “Sunshine & Rainbows” featuring sparkling vibrant synths, tropical dipped beats and an attention grabbing chorus. 

Her new summer anthem “Girl, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” is a breezy, feel-good alternative pop single that details her courage and the process of coming out as a queer woman. She confides the track is about, “the sheer excitement that comes with feeling free, open, being true to myself and falling in love.”

Having garnered close to 200,000 streams on Spotify alone, Tessa Kaye is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with. 

Ina Forsman is an award-winning Finnish singer and songwriter based in Helsinki. With a powerful, expressive contralto, she writes and performs songs that intersect blues, jazz, gospel, and R&B. Her phrasing crisscrosses terrain that encompasses the influences of Rickie Lee JonesNina Simone, and Billie Holiday; she can dial into a song with a throaty, dynamic wail or a slippery, wry, subtle croon. After winning 2013’s Finnish Blues Challenge she cut her debut offering, Ina Forsman, and was selected to represent her homeland at the European Blues Challenge in Riga, Latvia. She signed to Ruf Records, which issued her self-titled debut in 2016. It was recorded over a week in Austin, Texas and released globally to widespread acclaim. She co-produced her 2019 sophomore solo offering Been Meaning to Tell You with Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff at Wire Studios in Austin.

The fully self-produced upbeat summer track features soaring choruses and an explosive outro with swirls of synths and rippling percussion. It’s the Montreal producer and artist’s first release since last fall’s Run Up River, his critically acclaimed second LP. “It’s a song about rebirth, acceptance, and just being your damn self” – McCarthy

I was feeling stuck at a point in my life when I met someone who inspired me to write “Runaway.” I found the courage to run away from all the stories and games that others seemed to be pressuring me with, and discovered my renewed desire to follow my dreams.

Runaway” is from my eponymous LP. What I hope listeners can take from my album is that I think love is the most powerful force during our time on earth — not only the love we have for others, the people that move in and out of our lives, but also the love for ourselves and our dreams.

Stream Apollo Lovely via your preferred platform now.

The music video is directed by Stéphanie Biron Weber, and features a class of young gymnasts. What I like about it is that it highlights the freedom and possibility that we have when we are young, the flexibility and opportunities we possess before the constraints of adulthood are imposed on us. As adults we must reconnect with our childhood selves, and use that curiosity and flexibility to guide us towards a creative and rewarding life.

Watch the uplifting music video on YouTube now.

I was trying to elicit the feeling of breaking out of a mold — a mold built from expectations by our peers, parents, society, and most importantly the mold that we construct for ourselves. Achieving the feeling of breaking free from these constraints and to serve out creative light, is to be happy and truly be free.

Thank you for listening,

Kim Ho of Apollo Lovely

Whimsical, imaginative and ethereal are all words to describe Arizona born and bred indie pop artist Summy. Now based in Los Angeles, the young social media influencer and otherworldly songwriter crafts music inspired by her personal experiences and her deepest desire to inspire other women to be strong, embrace growth, and to love themselves for who they are.

 Inspired by a wide array of musical influences including Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Chicago, Elton John, and Lady Gaga, Summy writes music that is genre-defying and introspective. In 2018, Summy debuted her first single “Sus” followed by the three song EP Known Better. Her latest single “Said It After” is about “when the relationship ends, the person comes to say all the things you wanted to hear when you were together but now it’s too late, because they said it after.” Summy’s lush and intimate vocals glide effortlessly over enchanting electronic pop soundscapes culminating into a magnetizing musical release.

Summy has an uncanny ability to tap into the shared human experience and highlight our deepest emotions for music that is cathartic, tender, and emotive. In addition to her music, she embodies an aesthetic that is creative and vibrant, building a fantastical world for her and her fans. “I’ve always been very drawn to an ethereal and colorful energy for the clothes I wear and the makeup looks I do. I think one of the reasons why I’m more attracted to that kind of vibe is because it really helps me cope with my depression and mental struggles. It’s much harder to cry if you’re in fairy wings,” confides the songwriter.

With millions of streams and a dedicated fanbase, Summy has succeeded in creating music with her authentic voice that touches and inspires. 

Los Angeles-based vocalist, producer and multi-instrumentalist Cassie Marin shares her new single, “Floating.” Pairing sparse, bubbling synth-pop beats with Cassie’s signature saccharine vocals, “Floating” is the ultimate dreamy summer pop tune. With her much-anticipated album on the horizon, this new single continues her impressive streak of irresistible electro-pop anthems.

In a statement about “Floating,” Cassie writes: “‘Floating’ is all about coping with isolation and discovering beauty in the mundane. It embraces us when we find it difficult to relate to others, or when we feel like some alien creature that has fallen from the sky. It packs this celestial sense of liberation that, when I wrote it, got me out of questioning who I was and how I was supposed to feel about it. I was reminded that there is never anything wrong with being different. I hope to take my listeners to this place, into the freedom of the sky, floating, above all doubt and fear, embracing fully the present moment and all that we are.

Sometimes, it feels easier to double down than to cut your losses.

When it comes to a dynamic that is quite evident, this is usually a big mistake.

My new release, “SSR” (Superficial Sexual Ritual), calls attention to the naivety we’ve all allowed ourselves to get carried away with when we hold on to the hope of an idealized outcome.

No one likes to feel rejected. You can end up finding yourself in a playful yet harmful dance of doing too much to try to prove why you are worthy and end up disregarding your own dignity in the midst of it all.

Stream “SSR” on your go-to platform, a nostalgic yet catchy song with sadness at its core.

Head to YouTube to watch the official music video.

The cover art for this single is a still from the music video, which features a man feeding a strawberry to a woman. The strawberry is a symbol of intimacy. By having him feed it to her, the action itself is simplified.

This is a distant representation of the situation in which an ex lover and I found ourselves in. He misleadingly made it very easy to be intimate with him but when it came to going deeper, nothing was available. 

And I can’t even hear you speaking to me

All I see is beyond what lies before me

I find these lyrics to be embarrassingly honest but I would like to think that most of us have been there, in too deep and unable to fathom letting go.

It is so critical to remember to read actions louder than words or intentions.

Thank you for spending time with my music,

APACALDA

Canadian singer/songwriter Tara MacLean has been an internationally renowned and award winning recording and touring artist for over 20 years. She’s written and recorded six solo albums and two with her band Shaye (with Kim Stockwood and Damhnait Doyle). Tara has been signed to Nettwerk Music Group, EMI Canada, Capitol US and Asia and is still with Sony Music Publishing Canada. 

An environmental and social justice activist, Tara has recently received the Senate of Canada medal for her work in her community.  In 2020, she received the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year award, as well as Solo Recording of the Year for her album Deeper at the Music PEI awards, and an ECMA nomination for Pop Album of the Year. 

A true definition of fiery feminism, Pinkfiz is a 19-year-old independent alt-rock artist from Cambridgeshire. Representing flourishing female empowerment, her anger of unjust experiences turns it into resilient rock perfection. Using her home studio, she creates euphoria with her songs, empowering others and igniting a spark amongst listeners, making them comfortable enough to scream out all their frustrations. 

Her latest single “ON YOUR KNEES” offers listeners a truly remarkable realm of rockability and lavish lyrical bliss. Captivating her messages and meaningful melodies, the track is nothing short of perfection. Pinkfiz explains, “The story behind this song is about putting myself first, and instead of being the victim to people, I am giving myself the power to become their “villain”. It’s basically a power trip ego song to make people feel the power in themselves and let them know that they shouldn’t let anyone limit them or change themselves for someone else.”

Showcasing themes of resonating resilience and anger like no other, she exemplifies her rebellious rhythms, blaring basslines and gripping guitar riffs to create a track that exasperates her true pop-rock power. She states, “I also think most of my songs are written to empower others. The writing process is similar to therapy, I tend to dwell on a moment or moments of my life that have hurt me and use that emotion and pain and anger to turn it into a song to empower my past self that was going through that.” She hopes listers will get a courageous kick when listening, suggesting, “Whenever you need an extra confidence boost, remind yourself that those people who did you were not worth your time. It’s definitely a hype song.”

ONErpm recording artists, and the iconic powerhouse rap duo The Lobby Boyz known better as, Jim Jones and Maino, team up with VIBE to exclusively premiere their newest music video release for “No Love.”

“No Love,” marks the latest visual and single to drop from The Lobby Boyz self-titled album, available everywhere now, which features some of today’s hottest rap collaborations including Fivio Foreign, Fabolous, Benny The Butcher, Styles P, and Young MA to name a few.  

The video is directed by New York City’s most highly sought-after production crews,StreetHeat’s Will C and Tana.  

Californian garage punk band GRUMPSTER have released a new video for single ‘Vicious’. The video is filmed at legendary punk-rock club 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley and includes interviews with members of the local LGBTQ+ community and touches on how important the punk rock community is to them.

 The band have also announced an exclusive t-shirt that will be on sale for two weeks only with all proceeds going to Oakland LGBTQ CenterPure Noise Records will be matching the final donation number. You can purchase the t-shirt – HERE.

Speaking about the important meaning of the song Donnie Walsh said ‘Vicious is a song about gender dysphoria, and the harder side of coming to terms with being transgender. You’re hurting yourself to hide your body, and it feels like everything is falling apart. You’re afraid of what life has in store for you after realising you’re trans, and it feels like you’re in a spiral. Over and over you’ve tried to convince yourself that you aren’t, but the feelings of dysphoria always come creeping back. It’s a coming to terms song. I wrote this song while I was struggling with my gender identity and I didn’t know what was going on or why I was feeling the way I did. It all makes sense now though, and it does get better.”’

Goodnight Sunrise is a rock band from Toronto, Canada.  Founded in 2011 by Vanessa Vakharia (keytar, vocals) and David Kochberg (guitar, vocals) through a shared love of pop hooks and the raw power of classic rock, they’ve taken their explosive live show to over 300 audiences across Canada, the US, and Europe, opening up for Bon Jovi, Big Wreck, and The Sheepdogs along the way.

International artist, Monsta X, have released the official music video for their English-language track “Whispers in the Dark,” today. In partnership with Lexus, this video was shot during the bands U.S. No Limit Tour that recently wrapped up at their sold out Los Angeles show.

Monsta X and Lexus first joined forces on the music video set for their hit single “You Problem,” which Billboard referred to as a “dance floor charmer.” Prior to that, “One Day” was released, marking the group’s third Top 40 single — and as Forbes reported, makes Monsta X only the second K-pop group in history to appear on the chart more than once. Both of these viral singles lead into the release of Monsta X’s second English-language album The Dreaming; where they once again teamed up with Lexus for a Pop Up event in Los Angeles last December.

Team Envy’s leading Rocket League content creator and budding singer-songwriter Athena has joined forces yet again with Grammy-nominated producer duo smle for their powerful new single, “Moment.” Soundtracking this year’s Rocket League Championship Series Spring Major, the melodic bass tune appears in the event’s official Trailer and in-game for players everywhere today. Athena’s polished vocals and empowering lyricism are taking her career as an artist to new heights, while smle’s hard-hitting anthemic drops bring the adrenaline to the Copper Box Arena.

Athena and smle share, “We got together during the RLCS Winter Major here in LA with the intention of making a definitive theme song for LAN and moreso for the players. Something epic and also hopeful, something that people hear years later and instantly are taken back to LAN. The song is inherently urging you to stay present and focus on what’s in front of you. We as people are usually at our best when it’s just us and the moment. We truly believe esports are going to be a lasting part of history, so as die-hard fans of the game and esports as a whole, we wanted to be a part of it all and leave our stamp on the community.”

Following today’s announcement, “Moment” will be available as a Player Anthem in the Rocket League Item Shop from July 17-18. This won’t be the last batch of music from Athena and smle, as both are working on exciting releases due out this year. Until then, catch smle live at the Lost In Dreams festival this October, where their set will be a “moment” not to be missed.

Forgetmyname, the synth pop project of singer / songwriter Nicole Morales, has released the perfectly bittersweet new single “High”. The track impressively builds upon the synth pop style of Forgetmyname’s debut single “Complex”, blending that more retro-leaning sound with modern indie rock / dream pop elements, displaying her range as an artist while reaffirming her undeniable knack for synth pop with effortlessly catchy hooks.

The song has an undeniable summery vibe to it, but “High” contrasts the immediate satisfaction and uplift of this particular style of pop music with, as she puts it, “a longing for what used to be”.  

Lyrially, the song depicts a failing relationship, with two people struggling with their own insecurities, both using getting high as an escape from the true reality of the relationship that  they are having a hard time just walking away from. You can listen below:

Bajan singer and multi-instrumentalist Ayoni offers another tantalising glimpse into her upcoming EP with the new single “Before I Prosper” – following on from the stunning “You Said I Love You Too Soon.” 

An electro-pop powerhouse with her own unique soundscape, curating her style with a talent for technical production, a series of synths and metallic production elements dance over “Before I Prosper” pushing the boundaries of the genre. A truly dynamic single, the changing paces blend moments of earnest quietness next to those with all the energy of a pop bop, with Ayoni’s shining vocal talent at its core. Acknowledging a lack of clarity, Ayoni delicately enables the anger and frustration of humanity in the track. Diving into disclosure, she finds healing through honouring her growth in the metaphorical darkness that ultimately leads to the light.

Born in Barbados but now splitting her time between LA and London, Ayoni grew up bouncing around Singapore, Indonesia and America – something she frequently draws on to guide her musical journey as both a young, Black woman and an immigrant. Building a fanbase via beautiful singles like “If You Leave” and “The Patriots”, Ayoni’s acclaimed debut project Iridescent saw her break through with a brilliant exploration of the ups and downs of blossoming into her full self. Taking part in the Black Lives Matter movement with the poignant “Unmoved (A Black Woman Truth),” the 2020 single cemented Ayoni’s status as a bold new artist unafraid to confront raw truths in her music.

“Richie Quake is crushing hard, but not hard enough to forget his own worth.” – MTV News

“Richie Quake evokes The Kooks and other icons of indie” – PAPER

“Richie has a unique ability to blend the old with the new, taking aspects of indie, pop, and psychedelic rock to create a sound that is uniquely his own.” – Early Rising

“Richie Quake just might be one of the most versatile producers in the New York scene right now… establishing his ground by nurturing the scene that has nurtured him…”

– EUPHORIA. Magazine

The modern mouthpiece of the New York indie renaissance, singer-songwriter/producer Richie Quake today releases his debut album I Want Some! via Mass Appeal. Deeply ingrained in the creative scene of his Lower East Side neighborhood, this project functions as a portrait of creative collaboration and pulling up your community. I Want Some! is available for streaming today on all DSPs.

Email: neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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