J.Ele – Will You Be Mine [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

My sound is
A. uplifting B. soulful C. honest.

Tell us a few things about your new work “Will You Be Mine”.

“Will you be mine” is a story of love and how it gets deeper and richer with time. But don’t take yourself too seriously, you need to have fun and laugh!!!

What is the story behind your name?

My Name is Juan Luis and my family calls me JL because there were so many Juan’s is the family. Which during the time I sang salsa, folks called me Juanele. So with this project I made a hybrid of the two names, thus J. Ele.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

Donny Hathaway, James Brown, D’ Angelo, J. Dilla, Oscar de Leon, Alain Perez, Carlos Santana, Mana, Pink Floyd, Credence Clearwater revival, Nirvana, and Gospel music are among many of my musical influences/inspirations

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

Balancing family and artistic inspiration and the blending of the two. Children inspire but keep you humble. You have to keep you ear to the pavement because inspiration doesn’t always come during your office hours!

When not writing music, how do you spend your time?

Hanging with the family, jamming with my wife and my kids!

When was the last time you danced?

We have regular dance parties and let me tell you the rugs get cut out here!!!

Thank you!

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Rubber – Synth Pop Idol [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Bouncy
Emotional
Groovy

Tell us a few things about your new song “Synth Pop Idol”. What is the story behind it?

‘Synth Pop Idol’ is a song about identity, “don’t wanna be a synth pop idol, don’t wanna have the hips or smile” deals directly with the pressures I face as the front-person of the band to be skinny, bubbly, consumable. This song is a statement. I am an imperfect narrator, a jester, a musician, an artist, but in no way an idol. It is one of 2 singles being released in October that felt like they needed to come out before we dug in and started serious work on the debut album.

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

“Peace offer get smarter, I’m a highwayman. Case closer blind robber taking everything I can”

Favourite album of the past year?

Fishmonger by underscores

Your also have lovely grooves. Tell us a song with a groove you wish you had composed yourself.

“Liquor Store” by Remi Wolf

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

Late night drive with a romantic interest

When was the last time you danced?

Sunday at a house show in Philly!

Thank you!

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Akso Heart – Trust Me [Interview]

Tell us a few things about “Trust Me”. What is the main idea behind it?

Life brings peaks and troughs. As we see people come in and out of our lives, it can feel quite uncomfortable and isolating. Venturing into music I was going through a tough time both during the lockdown and whilst entering a new industry. It’s in these moments you feel you’re giving people all you’ve got but the exchange of frequencies and energies is not the same. I took the time to do some self-reflection and learning to grow in my own power. Ironically, this slow rebirth of myself and my music saw a reconnection with those who don’t have the time or right intentions previously. So this song is a message to anyone who is in this situation. Done with playing nice and ready to fly up to their own planet.

Tell us a few things about your creative process.

When I started this music project, this song came around track 4/So I’d be hopping in and out of sessions and finally getting used to recording music. For “Trust Me”, I was really proud of the chorus harmonies. It was a nice moment while recording. The ideas and execution stage in the booth was a lot of fun! And when I received the vocal track on its own it was one of the first times I listen back and felt proud of a session I did without being self-critical.

For which lyric you are most proud of?

“If something I’m doing, comes in your view and- remember nothing will stand in my way”. I remember the lyrics at the end felt like a bunch of convoluted words flowing out of my mouth and they genuinely were haha. But what it sounds like, to me, was a mantra and a reminder to not let anyone or anything stand in my way. I won’t and nothing will.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

It’s a range of artists, to be honest, and it changes constantly. MJ to Frank Ocean. Eurythmics to Daft Punk. But RnB music is something I bring up all the time, because of the emotive style of singing, the fun and creative vocal ideas and the fresh style of the 90s. It was the pop music of my era growing up. But I also have been inspired by modern music blending of sounds as seen like talents like Janelle Monae. It would be a dream to do a project emulating the genre mix she has explored.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

If I’m honest it’s the mental challenges. You are constantly wrapped in the idea of not thinking you’re good enough. Being nervous at every release. Finding networking is a challenge when you feel you’re on a back foot. Managing music (and everything that comes with it like marketing, videos, promotions) and your daily life. It can all feel exhausting BUT when you take healthy breaks, put yourself as a priority and keep enjoying the music is can feel so magical.

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

All my songs, unintentionally incorporate the idea of change in some form. So when you feel ready to leave the past behind and embrace a new YOU, put the song on, forget the haters, and get ready to fly up to your planet where you’re living out your dreams and not where the dreams stay as fantasy.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

During my school years, I went from super quiet to class clown, and I’m not sure what I should share now hahaha. Ironically I got the most in trouble at school when I really stood up for myself. I remember getting picked on at school and there was one day I just enough. So I stood up for myself but ended up getting in trouble. Although being older, I understood that there are better ways to deal with situations, I was proud that at that moment I didn’t let them get the best of me

Thank you!

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Fair Phantom – Favorite Sin [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Fresh, powerful, and heartfelt

Tell us a few things about your new song “Favorite Sin”. What is the main idea behind it?

Favorite Sin follows the perspective of “the other woman” who is involved in an affair. It subverts expectations of the cliche of a heartbroken lover and instead of focuses on the addictive power of a toxic relationship. I came up with the idea while listening to love ballads about infidelity and betrayal and wondering what would happen if I wrote about the other side of the story.

What is the main topic of your lyrics?

The main topic is a toxic relationship. The lyrics talk about how fragile this secret affair is and center on this feeling of knowing that something is bad for you but wanting it anyway. It’s open to interpretation whether the song is about lust or love. When I was writing the song, I really just wanted to invoke this feeling that the narrator is walking on a tightrope and aware that any second she might fall but staying on the same path anyway. I think that’s a very common feeling — feeling stuck and frustrated but still clinging on to someone you love.

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

I enjoy both, but I prefer to write music. Ever since I was a kid, I enjoyed scribbling story ideas and coming up with characters and plot lines. I love the feeling of putting emotions and vague ideas to paper and watching the melodies, lyrics, and rhythm come together. Performing live is a completely different experience. You really have to put yourself out there and focus on your role as an entertainer over your role as a storyteller. I love both for vastly different reasons, but I started off as a lyricist.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

The biggest challenge in the music industry is believing in yourself and your music when it feels like the whole world doesn’t. There’s always going to be someone more talented, more successful. You have to remind yourself that everyone has a different path and focus on making music that you feel proud of. It’s easy to fall into self-doubt or chase trends. It’s harder to back yourself no matter what.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to cherish the small victories and focus on doing what makes you happy. I was constantly chasing these numeric metrics of what I thought success meant, that I never stopped to appreciate how much I accomplished. At the end of the day, it’s about making music that you love. Keep doing that, and you’ll be happy.

Future plans?

I plan on releasing another single by the end of the year. Whereas Favorite Sin is more trap/electronic, my next song will be RnB. I’m really excited to explore all my different influences and work on different sounds. I am so excited to continue learning and improving. Who knows what my EP next year will sound like, I’m excited to see where my musical journey takes me!

Thank you!

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MEANO BROWN – TOXIC/CRITICAL MASS [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

melodic, moody, conscious

Tell us a few things about your new song TOXIC/CRITICAL MASS. What is the story behind it?

The Toxic/Critical Mass music video is actually two singles on the upcoming project. They were recorded on the same day. Toxic was recorded first. Critical Mass was recorded second. The mood for both songs address the real life issues of being emotionally intelligent and finding ways to cope. Two things that I am advocate for. #MentalHealth

Which is your most personal and honest lyric?

“Pop a seal then put a pill in kuz thugs don’t cry, ni**a this is how we deal with it. I ain’t saying that its right. I’m just saying that I feel em”

Do you think there is a true underground hip hop sound today?

Not really. I feel like there is a lot of emphasis on being trendy more than anything in music these days. When I think of underground hip hop I think of the mixtape days when artist were trying to really prove that they can rap. Even when they were jacking for beats back then there was still a lot of content that had meaning. I feel like artist these days just release a lot of fillers to stay relevant instead of actually putting out something that would matter. I don’t really blame them whole heartedly though. I also blame the listeners. The artist understand that the listeners attention span is getting shorter and shorter these days.

What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?

Hip-Hop is a lifestyle. It’s a culture. It doesn’t have to represent one group of people either. Anybody can be apart of that culture if they truly love it and understand it. I love Hip-Hop so I take a lot of offense when anyone treat it like its a joke. Like you can’t just dress up in Kilt and call yourself Scottish. You can’t pick up a bowling ball and call yourself a bowler. Have more respect for the culture than that.

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

In a mood to hear substance. I feel like that there are a lot of cheese and crackers for the listeners to eat. I’m giving them something to stick to their ribs, MEAT AND POTATOES. So when a people listen to me they are ready to have something to think about.

Should we expect an album in the near future?

I have older released projects and singles on all streaming outlets If anyone wants to catch up before my music is released. Also, there is a new album done already. The project is a double album titled “Gemstones and Birthrights”. The project features two producers that I have been working with, their names are Benjamin Adam (@iambenjaminadam) and Ice Cold Aka Neena Snow (@iceeeeeecold). You can follow me on IG @meano_compadre to keep up with all new content that will be released in the future.

Thank you!

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CHAR – Walk Without Fear [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

A. Soulful B. Passionate C. Dark-Pop

Tell us a few things about your new song. What is the main idea behind it?

‘Walk without Fear’ tells the story of women’s experience and darker moments that they come across, covering issues of empowerment and gender that seem to be a subject to firmly stand behind in the current climate. The new single can see tones of warm R&B and contemporary pop influence. I thought it was important with this release to really shine a light on the conversation that has been ongoing about how you can feel as a woman just going about your daily life. I hope that this release brings awareness and a message to those who might not be so familiar with these same feelings.

For which lyric you are most proud of?

“I could wear clothes three times bigger, just to hide my distracting figure” is one we’re all really proud of. It’s really impactful and it makes people listen because of the descriptive nature of it. It sounds and is delivered in a light hearted way but there is a dark undertone and meaning to it, it’s also pretty sad.

You have an upcoming gig in Camden Assembly. What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

I do! I am SO excited. The prep for the gigs can take a lot out of me physically and mentally but it’s definitely the most rewarding and so worth it. There is honestly not a feeling like it. That being said, I really want to lean into the writing sessions and collaborate as much as possible next year because creating something for the first time with other musicians is such a magical moment.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

Exposure is something that becomes essential to an artist’s career, yet is something really difficult to build (organically anyway). I think being my own manager as well as being unsigned means that I have to think of the ‘business’ side of thing a lot more than I’d like so it can sometimes feel like you are working harder but not seeing the results which can be tough but perseverance is needed for sure!

What advice would you give to your younger self?

A lot. The main thing would be to really get into my head that how I was feeling at a given time, where everything felt like the end of the world, in 5 days, weeks, months, years wouldn’t matter. Things change all the time ‘this too shall pass’. I would also give myself the biggest hug and say, you’re going to have a few really difficult years but you will come through stronger.

What do you love/hate about Ldn?

I love the buzz, the adrenaline and the different cultures expressed. However, I find it hard to really feel part of a community, I went to University in Liverpool and I think that city knows how to take you under its wing. London can be lonely at times.

Thank you!

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Instagram

REYA – Heat [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Dreamy, seductive and layered

Tell us a few things about your new song “Heat”. What is the main idea behind it?

I wrote Heat with wonderful producer Jack Arentz at his studio in Melbourne, Australia. We took influence from bands like The Internet in an attempt to create a r&b/pop song with elements of trip hop and lofi. Heat centres around the idea of wanting someone so much physically and emotionally that it becomes frustrating and you can barely contain your feelings. We tried to create that sense of frustration building with the gradual layering of harmonies throughout the song 🙂

For which lyric you are most proud of?

I think the line “smoke clouds are rolling in, and I can’t see past the haze” is probably the one I’m most proud of just because I like the visualisation it gives me.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

The Internet as I stated previously, Erykah Badu, Frank Ocean, Solange to name a few. I’m also a huge fan of jazz such as Miles Davis, snarky puppy. And also shout out to Melbourne singer Angela Librandi who has been inspiring my singing for many years.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

Self doubt. I’m sure every artist goes through it. It’s a tough industry and people can be …not so nice sometimes, so I think finding belief in myself and perseverance when things haven’t gone to plan or when other people have doubted me has been the most challenging.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Sing because you love it, don’t worry about how much money you make or what other people think. If you do what you love people will hear that passion in your music.

What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

The most trouble? Very interesting question… those are secrets I will have to take to the grave with me haha

Thank you!

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Ashley Tamar Davis – My Name Is Ashley [Full Album]

Ashley Támar Davis is Grammy-Nominated Composer/Vocalist, Music Supervisor, Broadway Vocalist, Author. Ms. Davis new album My Name is Ashley, is an 8-song funk/rock project featuring Mononeon, Jason Moran, Mark Kelley, Eric Harland, Jellybean Johnson and more.

Ashley’s story spans from being a member in the original female group Girls Tyme (Destiny’s Child) to performing in acclaimed Broadway shows and headlining a tour with Prince. Despite struggles with her journey an independent artist, overcoming opposition at nearly every turn, she continues to thrive. The release of her latest project has had to survive the vortex of legal wrangling over the Prince estate, entrapping projects she and her mentor developed together. Her latest achievement is securing the music supervision position for the highly anticipated, “That Damn Michael Che” show for NBCUniversal on HBO MAX and creating her own production company, Syren Entertainment+Media Group (SEMG): a multi-dimensional production and creative development company synthesizing entertainment, arts, business, edutainment and technology address the historical lack of diversity in the capitalization and development of creative and cultural arts, whereas her first contractual event will produced for the City of Houston.

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Iris Bonet – What It’s Like [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Old-school, experimental, unique

Tell us a few things about your new song “What It’s Like”. What is the story behind it?

I wrote What It’s Like because I was feeling very heavy with the current state of the world. Everything I saw looked like “doom & gloom” and it felt like the only thing getting me through at the time was looking back at memories. It made me wonder if we’d ever get back to those things. That’s why I got the lyric “do you remember what it’s like.” It seemed like the last couple of years have gone on forever. I also decided to do the production myself on this one because it felt very personal and I knew the feel I wanted.

What first got you into music?

I started music at home. We’re a very musical family so I was born with the ability to sing. I then got into band in middle school where I started with percussion and as I got older got very heavily involved with music in church.

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live?

I definitely enjoy writing music better. I’m a bit of an introvert and get in my head a lot so performing live makes me really nervous. I’m trying to get over that though!

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an artist so far?

My biggest challenge is promoting myself for sure. There’s a part of me that feels like I shouldn’t really talk about what I do, but I know it’s necessary. It’s just really awkward for sure.

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

Most of my music is pretty mellow and chill so I think they’d listen either when they’re relaxing or in their feelings. Most of my heaviest lyrics come from when I’ve gone through something traumatic and I think that resonates with a lot of people.

You’d give up making music for…

Oo that’s tough to think about, but I’d give up making music for my daughter. If me making music stopped her from achieving something or from her happiness, then no question, I would quit.

Thank you!

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DIANA BIDÈA – Lifeline [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

soulful, powerful, genre-bending

Tell us a few things about your new song “Lifeline”. What is the main idea behind it?

Lifeline is a song about temptation and vices. Using your vices to feel a little closer to consciousness. We all have a lifeline, it’s about how you use it and if I have the willpower to avoid it.

For which lyric you are most proud of?

“I never said I needed savin’ I just needed a safe haven”

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

Snoh aalegra was a big inspiration to this track, just based off of her production alone, but vocally I am always influenced by soulful powerful women. Alicia keys, Adele, lady Gaga, are such some of the women that inspire me.

What would you change in the music industry?

I would change the constant need to fit into a mold, because great legendary music doesn’t fit anywhere. The music that stays on the radio, or in people’s minds for decades is the stuff that isn’t going with the grain of the times, it’s a new innovation of sound, and we can’t hear these innovations if we don’t allow them to exist outside of a mold.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

The best advice I have ever gotten was from a teacher who was giving a lesson on auditioning, he said “do not forget, you have a right to be here”, something so simple yet so powerful when repeated to yourself can completely eliminate your imposter syndrome. When you’re in a room with a lot of important people, or people that you might feel are more experienced than you, it’s easy to crawl into a shell and hide yourself, but if you just remember that you have just as much a right as anyone else to be in your position, you’ll be okay and you’ll stand up straight again.

What would you say is your biggest vice?

My biggest vice is probably feeling like I’m never doing enough. It’s a lie that my mind will tell me over and over again even while I am overwhelmed. It causes me to feel paralyzed like I do not want to work on anything and I just want to go out and party.

Thank you!

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