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INsiders Guide: Casii Stephan, Beth Nielsen Chapman, FUTURE, Hamid J, KEVIN GEORGE, Annabel Gutherz, Hd4president, SOUTHSIDE, SOLIS, FE SALOMON….

Casii Stephan is a soul pop/rock artist hailing from Minnesota. Now based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the impassioned songstress evokes subtle vibrato notes and roller-coaster-like melodies, which immediately grab the listener, while her emotional lyrics share intimate stories. She has been compared to the likes of Florence Welch, Fiona Apple and Carole King, as her vocal timbre possesses a full and warm quality. 

Stephan’s voice is fierce and fearless, but this was not always the case. She grew up shy and afraid of her voice until she started writing songs on the family piano in South St. Paul when she was 16. In music, she discovered something extraordinary that allowed her to transcend everyday life and find a deeper sense of self. Stephan moved to Tulsa in 2014 with the intent to give up her pursuit of a music career, however with a little encouragement from a friend, she continued her journey and started releasing music. Her songs were promptly applauded by critics and have since been racking up a number of awards, as well as garnering acclaim from media and fans across the globe.

An underlying theme throughout Stephan’s music is hope, she explains, “Its such a cliche word and yet there are so many layers to it. Hope keeps us alive. It keeps us moving. But it also feels flighty some days like a pixie that does what it wants. But it’s not a pixie. It’s more like the air we breathe. Some days its presence is stronger than we realize and some days we forget in our day-to-day lives that it’s there… keeping us moving forward”. Her music combines her love for the storytelling elements of Disney ballads and the bold, brilliance of The White Stripes, as well as the soul-wrenching R&B melodies of H.E.R. Casii Stephan has seen success both obtaining and being nominated for multiple awards from the likes of Independent Music Awards, Hollywood Music in Media Awards and USA Songwriting Competition to name a few. She also heads a female fronted festival entitled MisFEST in Tulsa, that has gained recognition both locally and nationally. The singer-songwriter performed at the online Sundance Festival and was also recently profiled in Billboard. Continuing to craft real, authentic, soulful music with the intention to help others feel a little less alone.

Grammy-nominated Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee Beth Nielsen Chapman confirms details of ‘With Time’ – another taste of new album ‘CrazyTown’, out 23rd September 2022 via Cooking Vinyl.

Written with best friend Annie Roboff (who also co-wrote Beth’s hit songs This Kiss and Happy Girl) ‘With Time’ is a beautiful lament on the passing of time written over a number of years. 

“We worked on With Time over such a long period and from the moment we started to write it we knew it was an incredibly special song,” says Beth. “The lyric was one of the more difficult lyrics I have ever tried to decode. I was really stumped at certain times and I would put it down for half of a year and then pick it back up and try to get one more syllable or one more phrase. When it was finally finished it was so clear what is had always been wanting to say about wonder and time and love, the magic of life and the breath of our journey through it.

Produced by the celebrated 5-time Grammy Award winner Ray Kennedy (who’s worked with everyone from Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and Shania Twain, to John Mellencamp and Taylor Swift) ‘With Time’ is the second single from ‘CrazyTown’ following the recent ‘Hey Girl (We Can Deal With It). The new album, out this September combines elements of classic rock, blues and pop to great effect. It’s a deeply personal collection, exploring themes of navigating the ups and downs of life and love, but, as with all Beth’s albums – still with plenty of light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s about navigating chaos” says Beth. “How, even despite everything being crazy, on some level one can trust that things are in divine order and that we will be OK. There’s a lot of groove and joy and fun on this album, along with a couple of deep dive ballads.”

Beth Nielsen Chapman is an artist with many accolades to her name: mega-hit ‘This Kiss’, sung by Faith Hill, was ASCAP’s 1999 Song of The Year, garnered a Grammy nomination and Nashville NAMMY’s 1999 Songwriter of the Year. Beth also received a special award by The Alabama Music Hall of Fame and was the recipient of The Distinguished Artist Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2009 and in October of 2016, Beth was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, one she considers to be the highest honour she’s ever received.  In 2019 Beth was invited to become an Ambassador for the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation.

The summer of Future just won’t stop! Today, the GRAMMY® Award-winning Atlanta hip-hop titan unveils a slick and sexy music video for “LOVE YOU BETTER.” Watch it HERE. It graces the track listing of his gold-certified chart-dominating blockbuster #1 album, I NEVER LIKED YOU—available HERE.

“LOVE YOU BETTER” once again continues a tradition of bold visuals for Future. This time around, the clip unfolds with yet another cinematic big screen-worthy narrative. Future exudes charisma on-screen, while the storyline focuses on Shannon Thornton—who also notably plays Miss Mississippi on the hit Starz series P-Valley.

It arrives on the heels of the music video for “HOLY GHOST, which has racked up 5.2 million YouTube views. In addition to plugs from Complex and more, Rolling Stone highlighted how, “There’s also some very endearing attempts on the part of one middle-aged gentleman to dance along with Future.

Hamid J is a Los Angeles-based synth-pop artist and songwriter, who is seeking to reclaim control over the narrative surrounding artists hailing from disenfranchised strata of society, like the LGBTQ community, with his music. With his approaching debut full-length album, cycle of a relationship, Hamid J presents poetic lyricism, covering topics such as heartache, frustration, and pain, found within romantic relationships. The record is co-produced by Matt Cady, who was choreographer for pop legends, such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Ed Sheehan. With stunning vocal production by Charlotte Martin, Hamid J excels as he brings to life pop-electronica in a way that no other artist has in recent memory.

Hamid J’s discography is unique and unapologetically himself; as a proud Iranian-American, LGBTQ artist, Hamid J seeks to break the shackles of oppression and is continuously striving for other avenues to present his authenticity and personality. Inspired by Michael Jackson, Prince, George Michael, and Robyn, Hamid J brings a new twist to the pop classics. As an Iranian-American artist who grew up in Germany, Hamid J has numerous cultural and political perspectives that continue to shape his music into something that is palatable and relatable to all. Seeing himself as a story-teller first, Hamid J aspires to use music to tell his stories. 

 LA based artist Kevin George is continuing his prolific year with the reveal of vibrant new offering, ‘Cash In The Club’. A collaboration with FOXX, the track showcases the independent artist at his razor sharp best. Speaking on the track, Kevin George states:

CITC is inspired by my first private jet & Miami experience.. low lights.. beautiful women & whole lot of cash.

 – Kevin George

A highly rated American football prospect before turning to a music career, Kevin George has quickly built an audience on the back of his genre defying cuts, picking up support from The Fader, Complex, 2Dopeboyz, Pigeons & Planes and more, as well seeing his music playlisted in such Spotify staples as POLLEN and Alt-R&B. Keep a close eye on Kevin George this year.


Follow Kevin George on Tiktok, Instagram and Twitter

Montreal-based singer and songwriter Annabel Gutherz returns with a reimagined version of her latest single, “Retrograde (Epic Remix).”

For the remix, Annabel worked with Los Angeles-based producer Bret “Epic” Mazur to put a lively new spin on the track. While many know Epic from his role in the band Crazy Town, he is also an accomplished producer who has helped develop some of the biggest names in music (Black Eyed Peas, New Edition, BBD).

It was so amazing and humbling getting to work with Bret ‘Epic’ Mazur on this remix,” Annabel says. “I am so grateful for his talents and for the summer spin on he put on the song.”

Turning up the heat yet again, Louisiana-based rapper Hd4president unleashes a new single and music video entitled Rollin. Listen to it HERE, and watch the music video HERE.

The track cruises along on a head-nodding beat laced with skittering percussion and horn samples. HD’s gruff flow cuts through the production as he tells a story, “I met her at the racetrack. She was in the Lexus. I was in my Maybach, before he sings, “She rollin, she rollin, she rollin. The accompanying visual opens on a blue 1979 Cutlass Supreme and a canary yellow Camaro. With seamless edits, the visual showcases HD’s neighborhood friends as he raps directly to camera.

The new single arrives on the heels of his critically acclaimed 2022 album, Find My Way. Right out of the gate, the project earned widespread critical acclaim with BET spotlighting him as a ‘Fresh Faces New Artist.’ HipHopDX raved, “Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s own Hd4president has brought his exuberance and catchy flows to new heights with his latest release Find My Way,” while HipHopSince1987 highlighted his sound as being “prime for international crossover.

Last year, Hd4president shook up the internet with the viral smash, Touch Down 2 Cause Hell (Bow Bow Bow).” It reached the Top 30 at Urban Radio, piled up 20 million-plus streams, and attracted 2 Chainz & Fredo Bang for a high-profile remix. It also exploded on TikTok, inspiring nearly 2 million TikTok creations – including clips by Lizzo, Coi Leray, City Girls, Latto, Niecy Nash, Gabrielle Union, and Jessica Alba – and over 2 billion views on the platform.

Multi-platinum producer Southside, anchor of the influential 808 Mafia production team, releases his latest single and music video today, “Save Me,” featuring longtime collaborator Lil Durk. Following the success of his previous single, “Hold That Heat” featuring Travis Scott and Future, the trap mainstay is charging towards the release of the 808 Mafia compilation album, due later this year.

 Irish singer-songwriter SOLIS releases her opalescent new single “Jungle”, taken from a new EP ‘Open’, also released today. 

LISTEN TO “JUNGLE” + THE ‘OPEN’ EP HERE

Glimmering with balmy rhythms that are as sleek as they are lo-fi-tinged, “Jungle” is a scintillating masterclass in gauzy pop production. 

With alluring, sun-drenched melodies that nod to poignant and melancholic themes but ultimately reach an all-the-more optimistic conclusion, Solis says of the track:

“I wrote this song when I realised there’s always an option, always a way out, the hardest part is realising that. The EP as a whole was written from a place where I didn’t feel I belonged and was dreaming of something else “Jungle” and “Osmosis” in particular are about living in the city and being part of the rat race, the never ending cycle of work and spend and very little time for living.” 

‘Taxicabs’ is a surprise new EP release from FE SALOMON.

STREAM THE EP IN FULL HERE || WATCH VIDEO FOR “TAXICABS” HERE

Showcasing four tracks of Fe’s richly orchestrated and darkly adventurous alternative/pop, the EP arrives in tandem with a suitably cinematic video for its lead-single and title-track: “Taxicabs”. Watch here: https://youtu.be/q8ap5wcgFJc

From the worn taxicab backseats to the rain-spattered backstreets, the ‘Taxicabs’ EP follows a loose narrative of lives lived in the city and the disparate stories of those who course through it day-in and day-out.

Written at a point in her own career in which she was precariously balancing three different jobs to make ends meet, the songs of the ‘Taxicabs’ EP stem from a particularly personal chapter of Salomon’s life and are strewn with potent memories of people and places she encountered during that period.

As Fe explains of the new release:

“The ‘Taxicabs’ EP is a melancholy romance of a city.  A collection of 4 songs about survival, friendships, relationships and loneliness. It’s probably the most intimate piece of work I’ve done… These songs bring back a whirlwind of memories,  good, bad and indifferent, all of which have shaped me into who I am today.”

Provocative LGBT+ electro-pop duo COMANAVAGO (pronounced “come and have a go”) once again bring their genre-bending sound to new single “Leave Him” – out via Ultra Music. 

Following on from their viral cover of Sylvester’s ‘70s disco classic “You Make Me Feel” with Solardo – which saw key support come through for the duo from Attitude Magazine, Kiss FM and HITS Pride Radio – the duo are ready to explore their ‘villain era’ on this latest powerhouse release. Consisting of Ben Dunkerley (they/them) and Gabriel Swarbrick (he/him), “Leave Him” mixes eccentric hyperpop with retro infused disco riffs – further packing out the shimmering track with epic guitars and triumphant, unexpected synth explosions. With a thumping bassline, backed by rockstar attitude, “Leave Him” captures an inescapably bodacious sense of rebellious coolness. 

In a statement about the single, the band say: “We went into a Zoom session with our friend Shane Bauman in the midst of the pandemic. We played with this idea of jealousy, ex-lovers and red flags, but we thought it would be a fun twist to play the villain. It only took a few hours, and we had the track basically done. A few more production tweaks from Ben and “Leave Him” was complete. Sometimes it’s fun to play the villain. Jealousy looks good on us. Slay.”

“We Don’t Wanna Go Home” by rising star-in-the-making Isaac Stuart is a tribute to those nights you never want to end, and are likely to ever forget.  Think of a montage of blinding lights, late-night dancing, and those conversations that foster new friendships deep into the early morning … and you could easily land on Isaac’s incredibly infectious new single as its backdrop.

Here we go; https://open.spotify.com/album/07aQ4ltBMhbogsxCgRWeS7?si=po99jD_BRKWuSqFuQoA3kA

Expanding on the song, Isaac said “We Don’t Wanna Go Home is all about going on a night out and wanting it to last forever. I wanted to write a song celebrating the euphoric energy I share when I’m out with my friends. To me, it’s a coming of age record about being young and feeling like the world is yours for the taking.

Isaac has enjoyed much success despite only releasing his debut single “Do You Like It When We Lay Like This?” just over a year and a half ago.  At press, he’s won the support over at tastemaker titles such as Clash who said it was “truly the start of something special” along with Notion, Wonderland, and Atwood Magazine running features.  On the airwaves, Isaac’s singles are regularly played by BBC Introducing, as well as receiving his first plays on BBC Radio 1 & BBC 6Music. Following two sold-out shows at The Waiting Room last November, Isaac’s already gone on to sell out his first UK headline tour, culminating at the prestigious Omeara in London, and has supported the likes of Snow Patrol at The London Palladium, and performed alongside the likes of Tom Walker and David Gray at the SSE Wembley Arena

Photographer Credits : Beth Cath Key 

HOLNE is an alternative indie/pop artist from Devon, UK. Drawing on influences from the likes of Lauv, The 1975 and John Mayer. HOLNE, F.K.A Richard James, creates lyrically honest and undeniably catchy music, setting him apart from the rest.

His debut single “November Sky” resembles strong conversational themes. In HOLNE’s words, “November Sky is an inner-conversation of regrets, assumptions and a longing to rekindle a past relationship.” Tinged with an 80’s edge, the track shimmers with symbolic synthesisers, harmonious vocals and a toe-tapping, catchy rhythm, all uniting to effortlessly create an indie-pop anthem that is sure to be the soundtrack of your summer. The songwriter shares, “I wrote the beginnings of this whilst on an evening dog walk watching a November sky. Letting go of a perfect day and losing it to the night. That was the inspo behind the chorus!”. Giving audiences a glimpse into the mind of the songwriter, HOLNE admits, “I’d say a lot of my songs are lyrically inner-thoughts that hopefully people can relate to and resonate with.” 

For a debut release, HOLNE is already building a buzz across his networks, forecasting an exciting year for the British singer/songwriter.

Photographer credit: Blackham

Introducing Italian-born, London-based, Alice Pisano, a contemporary pop artist who made a bright entrance to the scene back in 2018. Since then, she has garnered a fantastic name for herself, offering listeners an ecstatic realm of lyrical bliss and contagious musicality. 

Now, Alice Pisano is back with a new single “Boys Like You”, the first single from her upcoming EP Shattered But Still Cool. Written and produced alongside Jez Ashurst (Little Mix, Maisie Peters, Tom Grennan), Pisano has released a single that truly encapsulates her burning desire for true pop-perfection. Complimentary themes of infatuated heartbreak and dating duels pair effortlessly with symbolic synths, dreamy pop beats and rebellious rhythms to create an extraordinary track. 

In Pisano’s words, “Boys Like You is about my experience with dating apps. I finally got around to joining one and decided to put myself out there. Online dating can definitely be fun but also frustrating, and can really shake your self-confidence. The day we wrote the song, I remember feeling pretty disheartened about it. It can be tough to deal with failed dates and behaviours like ghosting, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re not good enough, or pretty or fun enough… talking to my friends though, it became pretty clear they were having the same experience.”
With shining global success, her debut single “Celebrated Life” garnered over four million Spotify streams alone. Following her successful debut, Pisano also had four singles enter the iTunes Pop charts, numerous radio plays on stations including the BBC and over three million views on Tiktok with her single “September”. Her single “Open Up” was even featured as the soundtrack to the summer trailer of the British hit TV series Hollyoaks. This year, Pisano played two shows at The Great Escape Festival and was one of the first 50 artists to be announced. Accumulating numerous Spotify editorial support, including 14 New Music Fridays, as well as critical acclaim from online tastemakers including Clash, Earmilk, Wonderland and Atwood Magazine, Alice Pisano is proving to be a rising star in the contemporary pop scene.

UK R&B talent Charli Taft drops her long-awaited, highly anticipated debut album DLUXLIFE – a contemporary love letter to the R&B albums she grew up listening to, released by DiGiDi / The Orchard in conjunction with Deekay Music on Charli’s own independent record label, DLUXLIFE Records. 

A stunning, star-making introduction to Charli Taft and her artistry, DLUXLIFE successfully fuses modern songwriting and nostalgic late 90s/early 2000s R&B to create a refreshing sonic experience dusted with hip-hop flavours. Paying homage to the classic styles established during the heyday of R&B icons like Brandy, Mariah Carey and Aaliyah, DLUXLIFE brings Charli’s own fierce, confident energy to her debut project to firmly establish herself as a new breed of R&B artist with the right kind of old soul.

Exploring contemporary themes of love and relationships from the perspective of womanhood, the record maintains a gorgeous, soulful vibe from start to end – effortlessly taking the listener on a journey through up-tempo hip-hop bangers, catchy mid-tempos that sound like golden age R&B hits, and shimmering, sensual ballads.

On DLUXLIFE Charli says: “I hope when people hear my album, they will feel like they know me now and understand what I stand for. I’m ready to share my taste, my vision and my experiences with the world so they can come and share my musical universe. Sonically, the album is a collage of my favourite R&B inspirations. It represents a unique time in my life and captures what I set out to achieve when I make music – rich harmony, soulful melodies, heartfelt lyrics and, above all, a tasteful and elevated musical experience. Ultimately, I wanted DLUXLIFE to play like my favourite CDs did back in the day – the kind of album you could play from top to bottom on repeat because every song was a favourite. I love this album to death, and I’ve absolutely poured my heart and soul into the entire process. This is a true passion project born out of a love for music.”

FERBY CEMENTS EARLY BUZZ WITH STUNNING NEW OFFERING, EVERY NIGHT’// LISTEN HERE

Fresh from her well received debut ‘Bad Vibes Stuck In My Teeth’,  rising New Zealand based artist FERBY returns today with the reveal of  stunning new offering, ‘Every Night’. A glitchy cut bordering hip-hop and left pop, the track showcases FERBY’s infectious flow over patchwork beats. Speaking on the track, she states: 

“Every Night is about the appreciation of friendships you have especially in the context of being in a bad relationship. Those friendships can be a lot more dreamlike and romantic than your actual partner.”

LISTEN TO THE TRACK HERE

More on FERBY….

A 22 year old Gemini with a self-admitted split personality, FERBY hails from Lyttelton, a liberal arts hub in New Zealand. A is a sonic cocktail of exciting proportions, FERBY is tough to slap a genre on.  Think Princess Nokia, Ashnikko, and JunglePussy mixed with a bit of Miley Cyrus’ illicit pop-edged and you’re pretty much there. ‘Bad Vibes In My Teeth’ is only step one – look out for more very soon. 

Follow FERBY on Instagram and Twitter

There are certain songs that take you back to an exact place and time. And Vancouver artist Dust Cwaine taps into that feeling with their new single and video ’90’s Darling’ out now on all digital streaming platforms. Listen here

’90’s Darling’ is the lead single from Dust’s upcoming LP Arcana set for release on September 23rd. The track blends 90s sensationalism and pop culture to drive nostalgia, making it feel like a musical time capsule. Dust offers a youthful lyrical viewpoint while producer Josh Eastman gives the song a mature 90s rock inspired sound. Crafted to feel like it belongs in the liminal space between a memory and our immediate reality, ‘90’s Darling’ feels like a song you could have heard in a Zeller’s Diner on a trip with your grandma to pick up a VHS of Disney’s animated movie musical Hercules in 1997.

“This song brings me back to my childhood, the things that distracted me from the world and shaped me,” says Dust. “It has a sense of longing for sillier times. I really wanted the lyrics to acknowledge the present moment uniquely. When I sing it, it feels like I’m singing into a time machine. Sonically it feels both new and familiar, which was a conscious effort by Josh Eastman, who produced this track. This song sits among an album of songs that are navel gazey. It’s one of many little jaunts to the past we take on the journey that is Arcana.

German/Swedish teenage siblings HAVET have unleashed their sleek new single “Toxic” which is brimming with energy and exudes confidence beyond their young years. The band HAVET comprises of sisters Josy (17) and Mimi (19.)  In addition to today’s release, the duo have also announced their debut EP “Muma’s Lullaby” will be released digitally on August 11th, 2022.

Listen to Toxic Now – HERE

“Toxic” is more of a reflective audio potion to bad relationships we face in our lives.  Speaking  about the song, Josy and Mimi explained “Toxic is about getting free from a toxic relationship and finally realizing all the ways the other person treated you wrong

Looking forward to their “Muma’s Lullaby EP” fans will find familiarity in their debut track “Child” featuring on the tracklist along with today’s upload along with three new, unheard tracks. The EP promises to feel both nostalgic yet contemporary, exploring themes of youth, and coping with what the world throws at you whilst also being songs that’ll make you want to dance.

By popular demand, the ‘Aristotle of Bravado,’ Lady London makes her highly anticipated return with the release of her new single “What Is It Giving,” produced by Grammy-nominated producer Kosine [Kelly Rowland, G Herbo, Latto]. The east coast-bred artist makes a swift return on the heels of her indomitably acclaimed debut project Lady Like: The Boss Tape, which arrived at the top of the year. “What Is It Giving” is available on all music-providing platforms HERE

What Is It Giving” is the first taste of the new & next for the rising superstar serving as her official single for 2022. Arriving into acclaim for her revered freestyles, some of which were included on her Lady Like: The Boss Tape project, London has gone on record to state her vow to release more original music with the goal of having audiences grasp a deeper understanding of her artistry and capabilities. Today’s new music offering exemplifies London’s ferocity for wordplay blanketed in her quintessential ladylike manner. The bouncy banger entices listeners with braggadocious punchlines giving listeners rhythmic art at its core.

London shares, “Creating this record, I wanted a chant— one that felt comfortable enough to repeat …. while also being full of caption-worthy rhetoric. The perfect balance.” 

Atlanta rock and roll four-piece The Pinx return with amps cranked and emotional centers recharged on new single + video “Break Your Heart”. It might be futile to attempt to pin down The Pinx to a single sub-genre within rock (they certainly wouldn’t), but “Break Your Heart” finds the group whole-heartedly embracing timeless classic rock, replete with crunching blues licks and belt-along vocals. This new single, with its hook that gets to the heart of what makes the band tick, serves as the perfect reintroduction to this group who embrace life’s ups and down, wrap them in riffs and take them on with a bittersweet swagger. Vocalist and guitarist Adam McIntyre explains the experiences that inspired this new song; “2021 was a scary year for depression for me, and I was eager to release it in my lyrics. This song developed into a feel-good rocker turned on its head when I sang “feelin ‘bout as bad as I can feel” over that sunny riff. I just felt like either all the pain I was feeling could make me numb for months on end, or I could let it break my heart open. I really wanted to feel it all. Otherwise, how do I know I’m alive? That’s how I clawed my way back to the light.” 

Jesse Maxwell isn’t the kind of artist to let the moss grow on previous material before he starts on his next set of tunes. Nor does the 26-year-old, Toronto-based songwriter, producer, and recording artist have any qualms about expanding on his signature brand of moody, neo-soul with each new effort. Nowhere is that more evident than on his independent 2022 album, LP2.

Scheduled for release in August 2022, LP2 finds Maxwell exploring new territory sonically and lyrically with characteristic vigor. “I always try to keep it moving,” Maxwell says. “So, what I put out in 2019 and 2020, in terms of my growth and the evolution of my sound, is very different from what I’m doing now.”

Email: neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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