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INsiders Guide: Malachiii, TFD, Syd Carter West, Me Like Bees, Emei, Magixx, RENAO, Madison Galloway, Mia Gladstone…

Malachiii knows joy. Over the last few years, the singer, songwriter, and producer from Southern California has demonstrated an affection for elastic flows, buoyant rhythms, and melodies lit by a magic-hour glow. This ecstatic energy has made his take on pop, hip-hop, and R&B infectious, but what makes it most special is his willingness to engage in heavy themes with a maturity and grace that belies his age, delivering grinning verses while pondering big questions. He’s come to understand that while his ultimate goal is to emit love, light, positivity, and good vibes, it’s most important to stay true to the real depths of his experience, even if it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. Malachiii grew up with the urge to perform, but it was after going on tour with GRAMMY® Award-winning composer AR Rahman at the age of 14 that he felt inspired to write and produce his own music. His ability to translate relatable emotions into hooks earned him a publishing deal with Electric Feel (Post Malone, Iann Dior, 24KGoldn), which only bolstered his writing and producing efforts. Now, Malachiii is stepping into the spotlight in his own right with the recent release of his debut EP, The Ascension [Motown Records]. The EP’s breakout track “Hold Me” and his new single “How To Be A Star” are both featured in the Madden NFL 23 video game, only proving that he’s here to create a lasting impact within music and culture.

TFD are Torquil Campbell (Stars) and Stephen Ramsay (Young Galaxy).

The true offering of late 80s British pop – Pet Shop Boys, New Order, & co – was that yes even under Thatcherism, yes even amidst dying empires in crumbling brick council houses, yes you could still, still look across a cigarette-cloudy room and be met with eyes of love. Yes, love would shine through coal smoke and refract through alleyways. Yes, loneliness was a temporary state and, armed with dented mopeds and cheap synthesizers, we could build our own and better world.

Yes. But actually, no. Death to fascists…death to love, death to the revolution. No one has blue eyes or green eyes; the eyes you meet across the room are cameras, owned by vast machines. A huge grey panopticon in place of love. We get older, but the drum machines stay the same.

From hushed intimacy to audacious authority: Syd Carter West possesses an extraordinary voice. Her artistry maps a fertile musical crossroads where Southern roadhouse blues and rustic country/Americana ignite with the bravado of Seventies arena rock. Finely tuned narratives and expansive melodies match the fierce and soulful vocals of the Vancouver, British Columbia based singer-songwriter.

By age 12, Syd was following a musical path as an opera student with vocal training and music theory studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music. Conveying words that audiences may not understand in multiple languages taught her to translate drama through eye contact and body language, techniques that she now employs on stage and in videos.

She has always been a storyteller. It was this poetic imagination that illuminated her path from young opera diva to an accomplished lyricist. The songs are brought to vivid life in the studio. “One Home,” inspired by the wave of activism encompassing the struggles of Black Lives Matter, the indigenous people of Canada, and the LGBTQ community, is a poignant invocation of inclusion.

A provocateur, a magnificently expressive vocalist and a deeply evocative songwriter, Syd Carter West arrives as a new artist with commanding courage and disarming authenticity. “I’m still discovering myself,” she concludes “Genuine, and a little quirky — I am an open book.”

“They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the Lord I cut them off!” Psalm 118:12

No, this isn’t a Sam Jackson quote from the latest grindhouse inspired Tarantino film; it’s the impetus behind the Joplin, MO band Me Like Bees.

Formed on the heels of the 2000s indie rock scene, the band was started by college dropout, Pete Burton and former gas station clerk, Luke Sheafer in 2009.

The pair met while playing high school football together in Kansas; only to lose touch and serendipitously end up at the same college town in southwest Missouri several years later.

The duo shared a mutual affinity for the music of the aughts. Bands like The Strokes, Modest Mouse, The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand, would serve as the catalyst to the danceable, guitar-driven rock that Me Like Bees would become known for.

“I remember the way I felt when I first heard Ball and a Biscuit by the White Stripes” Sheafer says, “That’s the moment I decided that yeah, this music thing is what I want to do with my life. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.”

Throughout its history, Me Like Bees has undergone several member changes, with Burton and Sheafer serving as the bands only constants.

In 2017, the pair were joined by current bass player, Jake Bennett.

Bennett was already familiar to the band, having served as the group’s touring merch manager for several years prior:

“You know it’s funny because he was our merch guy and didn’t even really know how to play the bass,” states Burton. “Our former bass player had suddenly quit, and we had a whole string of shows coming up and needed someone immediately. Jake locked himself in a room for three weeks straight and came out a monster bass player on the other side.”

The most recent addition to the band is drummer Ben Davis. Davis had been working as an elementary school counselor when he, through an unlikely series of events, heard that Me Like Bees was looking for a drummer. In true Kurt Warner fashion, Davis left his position at the school to pursue his lifelong passion of playing music. And yes, Me Like Bees is the NFL in this analogy.

Notably, the band released their first full length album The Ides through Loveway records in 2013.

In 2014, they won first prize at the Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands in Hollywood California, beating out 20,000 other bands and securing a coveted spot on the Vans Warped Tour.

They worked alongside Goldfinger frontman and well known producer, John Feldmann for their EP There Will Be Time released in 2016.

In 2018, they partnered with Image Comics and artist Jeremy Haun for the release of their graphic novel inspired EP, The Realm.

Their single “Radio” details wanting to escape the unpleasant realities we often find ourselves in, but ultimately learning how to cope with such hardships. “Radio” is released in partnership with Honey Pit Music.

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 Earmilk, Ones to Watch, Early Rising, and Lyrical Lemonade. Emei’s single, “Late to the Party”, hit 4.4M streams after videos of her performing the song live hit a collective 9.5M views on Tiktok and Instagram Reels. Emei has been featured on the cover of Salt and Fresh Finds Pop. Her music has been playlisted on New Music Friday, Big on the Internet, Pop Sauce, Young & Free and more. Her most recent single, That Girl reached 13K presaves with 3M views on Tiktok and Instagram Reels.

Looking to leave an unforgettable imprint on the Afrobeats scene, the Mavin Records artist Magixx releases Shaye taken from his brand new Atom EP

Lagos born Magixx describes his sound as Afro-fusion and his Atom EP, highlights his versatility as an artist. Following on from the singer’s self-titled extended play release last year, Magixx EP, which presented a different Magixx at every turn. Whereas on his Atom EP you can really hear the development of Magixx, where he’s begun to settle into his own style with his distinct charisma.

Lead single Shaye comes with a party vibe, it has Amapiano undertones leading into a strong hook with an overall afropop feel good sound throughout, which really highlights the afrofusion description that Magixx gives himself.

Atom is heavily laden with Yoruba and Pidgin whilst fusing in the English language too, showcasing his sublime silky vocals along with smooth melodies which sets him apart from his peers in the industry.

Magixx swears by the legends that have come before him, yet he is not shy in his ambition to also leave a legacy for those that are coming after. In his words; ‘I want to make music that speaks for itself and create a sound that will always remind the coming generation that Magixx was here. 

Only a year into his journey, Magixx is already consistently hitting those high streaming numbers with over half a million monthly listeners and previous releases such as Love Don’t Cost A Dime well into the millions.

Magixx is here to stake his claim as one to watch, amidst the vanguard of Afrobeats new school of next generation superstars.

Renao is an artist who is already making you feel somethingBBC RADIO 1…

An artist on the rise – WONDERLAND…

Indian born, London based artist Renao makes his return with the reveal of summer ready new cut, Moonwalking. Produced by Starsmith and written with Cleo, the track is an infectious synth driven alt cut showcasing Renao’s dreamy vocals over glistening disco-inspired production. The first track to be released following his acclaimed debut EP, From The South,  ‘Moonwalking’ represents the next steps from an artist set for a busy second half of 2022. Speaking on the release, he states:

 I made moonwalking on my first session with  Finn and Cleo, I was listening to silk sonic and wondered how I heard myself in that world and Finn played me this funky beat he made super bare bones and we built it from there. Kinda gave me oceans eleven visuals from the get go and that’s why there’s casino and money references in the song. And I was thinking of that visually I thought it would be really cool if I was moonwalking through this casino and that’s basically the inspiration for the whole song. Me seamlessly gliding thru a casino was what I felt my girlfriend doing to my brain and so I wrote a song about it !

Madison Galloway is an emerging voice in Canadian roots music. With her signature blend of rock, folk, and blues, she takes the stage with guitar, harmonica, and a driving band, charming audiences with her catchy original tunes and soulful voice in a high-energy show. Born and raised in small town Fergus, Ontario, 22-year-old Madison infuses her music with rustic, earthy tones, reaching back to pay homage to the great artists of the past while forging a sound all her own; at times gritty and groovy, and others sweet and sunny.

Madison began pursuing her passion for music from a young age. Growing up in rural Ontario, she discovered a love of nature, community, and roots music, which continues to inspire her art today. At age six, she began classical piano training, however, it wasn’t until she picked up a guitar at age twelve that she discovered her true calling and began pouring out original songs. Drawing inspiration from her upbringing, current issues, and environmental concerns, she started to shape her signature sound and identity as an artist.

Mia Gladstone has a new self-produced single for “TALKING ONLINE ft. Belis and is available everywhere via PINK BOX STUDIOS, and she’s bringing her world-renowned expertise on positive affirmations right to your screen! 

Over a punchy pop beat, the New Jersey riser reflects on the frustratingly relatable experiences of social media interaction as a woman – such as censorship, being oversexualized, and receiving outrageous DMs from random people (if you pause throughout the video, you’ll see actual screenshots of DMs she’s received. It’s wild AF!). Mia is no stranger to random internet banter – check out how ecstatic she gets to discover that Howard Stern roasted her music! 

Internationally acclaimed Jazz/R&B/Pop Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Eric Darius releases his newest album Unleashedfeatured on Wonderland Magazine.
 
The American saxophonist, songwriter, producer, and performer shines in a vibrant new light as he reinvents himself through Unleashed, an expansive and ambitious genre-spanning album brimming with passion, purpose, soul and sweat, charisma and charm.
 
Unleashed is a long time coming for Eric Darius, and without a doubt his proudest work to date. He credits part of that achievement to the creative freedom he’s gained as an independent artist as Unleashed is Darius’ second album released through his own label, SagiDarius Music, following 2018’s hit album, Breakin’ Thru.

“Grasp of me is a very angry song, based on a true story! Even the part where someone pulled on my emergency car brakes while I was driving, It scarred me for life to the point where I had to write about it” – Dayan Marquina 

“I wrote the primary riffs for “Grasp of Me” back in summer 2020 and, musically, the verse/chorus dichotomy reflected how chaotic my life was at the time. I was in the middle of a 4-month stretch of nightly visits to see my hospitalized, pregnant wife (monoamniotic twins!) while working and solo-parenting our other daughter during the day. Balancing between the extreme anxiety of a high-risk pregnancy and the eery tranquility of both the hospital and COVID isolation was really the unconscious influence that expressed itself in this heavy vs soft pattern throughout the track. 

All the pent-up energy definitely comes out in it being much more of an aggressive song for us. I remember showing this idea to Dayan, and initially, she thought it was maybe too far in that direction for TG — and so we sat on the idea for a bit, and I actually began re-working it for my other band Brigades. But after we started incorprorating more and more of our older emo and post-hardcore influences on songs like “LoveLove” we came back to the idea which matched perfectly with this angsty lyrical idea she had been working on, and ended up turning into this super cathartic song for both of us that we are excited to put out!” – Eric Morgan

Florida-based melodic rapper Daniel Fard, musically known as CimplyDan, will release his confident single “Ride the Wave,” the first track from the rapper’s anticipated EP, Waves, scheduled to be released on September 30, 2022.

Inspired by his carefree attitude towards what others might have thought of him, CimplyDan welcomes those that admonished him to ride the wave of all his success.

Co-signed by the multi-platinum and Grammy Award-winning artist, T-Pain, CimplyDan has achieved a considerable deal within his brief musical career. Born in Miami and raised in Orlando, the Persian-American rapper aims to fuse the multicultural sounds and elements of his diverse upbringing. Blending hip-hop, pop, rap, R&B, EDM, with a touch of Latin influence into his music, CimplyDan creates a distinct sound all his own. With his R&B track, “Through The Night,” peaking at #7 on the iTunes UK R&B Chart, the rapper is here to make his mark in the music industry.

Be sure to check out “Ride the Wave,” the new single by rising hip-hop star CimplyDan, out Friday, August 26th. Look out for the accompanying music video and more releases – all coming soon!

Lily Lane was undoubtedly born to entertain. Originally from Boston, the now Los Angeles based pop artist stems from a family of musicians, with her older brother being 1/2 of the multi-Grammy nominated duo, Sofi Tukker. Having spent most of her adult years living in New York, Lane studied at the renowned Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU and after graduating with honors she went on to sign with Wilhelmina Models, becoming a champion for body positivity, female & LGBTQ representation. Making a bright entrance to the music scene, her musical endeavors shine, proving there are truly no limits when it comes to both her musical capability and likening soundscape. She claims, “There was never a plan B, modeling was a means to an end…Popstardom was always the endgame for me, since I could make sound.”

Feeding introspection, metaphorical bliss and soulful vocal energy into her repertoire, she unveils her latest single “Bad.” Written with producer Taylor Sparks (Kelsea Ballerini, Azealia Banks), “Bad” is the perfect song to listen to if you’re feeling naughty, having a bad day or you wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Helping to reclaim your power, the track is about owning your villain moments, as Lane confides, “The day I wrote this song I was feeling frustrated over the leaked SCOTUS draft overturning Roe v Wade and I realized that sometimes even if you get the right guys in office, you campaign, you donate the world isn’t fair. I walked into this first session with Taylor, eyes puffy from crying- I looked a mess and literally said, ‘sorry I look like this, usually I’m a baddie but today I’m just bad’ and that became the tag for this song.” 

With lyrical luster, bulging basslines and tantalizing vocals, she creates a cinematic symphony that soars to new heights. Lane explains, “I want to help women realize their lives don’t have to be Cinderella movies, they can literally be Maleficent and it can be just as beautiful and inspiring and dope. Sometimes the loves of our lives are our friends or our pets or ourselves.” Delivering a soul-infused pop anthem with an IDGAF attitude, Lane’s voice calls to mind the grit of Amy Winehouse, the range of Demi Lovato, and the soul of Alicia Keys. The pop artist has performed to a sold-out audience at the House of Blues in Boston along with Big Time Rush, sung for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, as well as having played at some of New York’s most prestigious venues including Irving Plaza and Gramercy Theater. Lane has had a lot of success in the sync space landing placements with the likes of Pretty Little Liars,Netflix and numerous makeup advertisements. Racking up streaming numbers in the millions and garnering rave reviews from the likes of NYLON, Just Jared JR and Perez Hilton, Lily Lane is set to absolutely skyrocket in success this year, with her forthcoming Sophomore EP due out early September 2022.

Email: neill@outloudculture.com

Socials: @neillfrazer

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Written by Neill Frazer

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