Category: singer/songwriters

New Video: Staten Island’s Elaine Kristal Teams up with Produkt and Herve Alexandre on an Earnest and Soulful new Bop

Elaine Kristal is an emerging Staten Island-born and-based singer/songwriter, who can trace the origins of her music career to her childhood: a young music-loving Elaine Kristal took part in school plays at her elementary school — and she sung in the hallways of her school, wearing a bandana and hoop earrings, inspired by Alicia Keys.

She started performing her own music with one of her best friends, Mikey Fuego at a local open mic. The young, Staten Island-born and-based singer/songwriter quickly began to realize that people were coming to see her perform — and were learning the lyrics to her songs. When the entire place started singing along, Kristal realized she needed to seriously pursue music. “It’s a high I will never forget, and one I want to have for the rest of my life,” she says.

Last year, R&B singer Tank launched the “Can We Talk Challenge” on Tik Tok. The challenge required participants to sing the hook to Tevin Campbell‘s 1993 hit single. Kristal, refused to sit on the sidelines, knowing she could contribute to the challenge while making one of her favorite vocalists proud. Her contribution quickly amassed over 40,000 views with the video being favorited over 400 times.

Naturally, the Staten Island-born and-based vocalist was ecstatic by the positive response she received. Then a Tik Tok user questioned the young, emerging artist’s talent and ability in the comments. She responded swiftly, singing the hook to “Can We Talk” a cappella while pounding her fist on a stage platform. “When I saw the comment my first reaction was “Oh word”, he really went there?” explained Elaine. “I take this VERY serious and my pride couldn’t let it go so I just walked over to this stage located in the studio complex I record in and just started pounding my fist while I sang a cappella.” Kristal continues, “Here I am with limited hours in a day trying to divide my time between recording new music, promoting recently released tracks, and preparing for the release of my new new single ‘Nasty In The Morning’ and now I’m replying to thousands of comments on my page.”

In the past year, the #CanWeTalkChallenge has become a viral sensation with thousands of entries across the world and over 20 million views of the hashtag. The Staten Island-based artist has 250,000 of those views, with over 3,000 comments, 48,000 likes — and has seen a 500% growth in followers on the platform. In fact, she’s in the Top 10 of the challenge, alongside X Factor USA season one winner Melanie Amaro and rapper Joyner Lucas while surpassing established artists like Lil Mama, Anthony Hamilton, 112‘s Q and Bobby Valentino. “2021 was hard for so many people including myself, but there were also many developments that made it tough to see last year end” Kristal says.

Elaine Kristal hopes to build upon the momentum of the #CanWeTalkChallenge. Her latest single “Love Over Living” is a slickly produced, radio and club friendly bop that features a soulful saxophone by Herve Alexandre, looping acoustic guitar and skittering, tweeter and woofer rocking trap beats. The Staten Island-based artist’s easy-going vocals effortlessly glide over a production that nods at Mary J. Blige and Alicia Keys-like hip-hop soul, contemporary pop and trap. Interestingly, underneath the contemporary production is a sweet, old-school love song in which the narrator expresses the age old “us against the world, baby” sentiment. Local emcee and labelmate Produkt contributes a couple of lovestruck verses describes how he feels about his “round-the-way girl,” who keeps it real — and is ride or die. It’s honestly, the sort of earnest love song that you don’t hear that you don’t hear too often these days.

As the emerging artist explains the song offers a simple yet profound message of how the power of love can get us through the darkest moments of our lives.

The recently released video for “Love Over Living” portrays the young Staten Island artist as a down-to-earth, round the way girl. We follow the two artists as they drive around town in a gorgeous, turquoise speedster — notably on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the FDR Drive and the West Side Highway. We also see them stop by a neighborhood bodega.

New Video: Jenny Stevens and The Empty Mirrors Share a Trippy and Nostalgia-Inducing Visual for “No, I Wouldn’t Call It Love”

Jenny Stevens, a.k.a. The Ukelele Girl is a Welsh-born, Finnish-based singer/songwriter and musician, and the creative mastermind behind Jenny Stevens and The Empty Mirrors, a songwriting project that finds the Welsh-born, Finnish-based artist pairing dark alt-pop with quirky visuals.

Last year, Stevens released the The Distance Between Us EP, an effort that featured “The River Rolls On,” which paired Stevens’ yearning vocals with a slow-burning and atmospheric arrangement that seemed indebted to Siouxsie and the BansheesThe Cure, Cocteau Twins.

The Welsh-born, Finnish-based artist begins 2022 with the more uptempo “No, I Wouldn’t Call It Love.” Centered around glistening synths and shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, “No, I Wouldn’t Call It Love” features a decidedly 4AD Records-like sound paired with Stevens’ achingly yearning vocals singing lyrics about a perfect moment through the lens of nostalgia and longing.

The recently released video emphasizes the longing and nostalgia at the core of the song: The video focuses on the passing of time, the changing of the seasons, and the song narrator’s loneliness and regret.

Live Footage: Laufey Performs “Like The Movies” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Laufey Lin is a rapidly rising, 21 year-old Chinese-Icelandic singer/songwriter, cellist and pianist, best known as Laufey. Spending much of her childhood in Reykjavik, Lin grew up influenced by classical music and jazz, and by the time she was 15, she performed with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. Interestingly, despite her deep and abiding love of the music that has served as musical foundation, she yearned to express herself by creating music that blended her classical and jazz background with more modern and contemporary influences.

While attending Berklee College of Music, Lin began collaborating with some of her peers and recording her debut single “Street By Street,” a blend of jazz melodies with slow-burning R&B grooves. Making the best of the unexpected downtime as a result of the pandemic, Lin decided to release “Street By Street” through social media. The song, along with a collection of covers and originals quickly went viral. Eventually, “Street By Street” hit #1 on the Icelandic charts — and she began to amass a massive following that includes Billie EilishWillow Smithdodie, and others.

Adding to a breakthrough year, the Reykjavik-born artist landed her own music series on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Sounds. She won Best New Artist at the Icelandic Music Awards. Amazingly, those accomplishments took place before the release her acclaimed debut EP Typical of Me, which has amassed over 10 million streams across all digital streaming platforms.

Last week, the rising, young Icelandic artist made her late night, Stateside TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where she performed Typical of Me track “Like The Movies.” The old-timey, jazz-standard-inspired song — and it’s gorgeous arrangement — continues a run of classic Hollywood-inspired ballads with modern sentiment: in the case of “Like The Movies,” the song’s narrator recognizes that the old movies she loves has distorted her ideas of what love is and can be. Besides that, the song reveals a songwriter and vocalist, who displays a maturity and sensibility beyond her relative youth.

New Video: Montreal’s Thaïs Shares a Trippy and Cinematic Visual for “Arrête de danser”

Thaïs is an emerging Montreal-based singer/songwriter, who specializes in an atmospheric and delicate pop centered around the French Canadian singer/songwriter’s ethereal vocals. Thematically her work focuses on melancholy, loneliness and dysfunctional and confusing love.

Last year, the French Canadian artist released the Paradis Artificiels EP, which featured “Boreal,” a track inspired by a trip she took to Iceland that evoked the awe-inspiring sense of being in a gorgeous, natural beauty and taking it all in deeply — and “Sushi Solitude,” an atmospheric and delicate bit of synth pop that brought Washed Out to mind.

Since the release of Paradis Artificiels, the emerging Montreal-based artist signed to Bravo Musique, who released Thaïs’ latest single, “Arrête de danser.” Continuing a run of slickly produced pop centered around glistening and atmospheric synth arpeggios and traplike beats, “Arrête de danser” sees the French Canadian artist seamlessly meshing electro pop and trap; in fact, the song alternating between a syncopated trap-inspired flow for the verses and her ethereal cooing for the song’s hook.

While being club friendly, the song is actually a bitter tell-off to an unhealthy and dysfunctional lover that the song’s narrator knows is wrong for her and yet, she can’t quite get over. Despite her relative youth, the rising Montreal-based artist captures the push-and-pull of fucked up relationships with fucked up people.

Directed by Bobby Leon, the recently released, cinematically shot video for “Arrête de danser” follows an incredibly fashionable Thaïs as she goes to a local mall complex, where she’s haunted by memories of this lover at almost every turn, including a movie theater, that shows a movie that’s suspiciously close to her own life.

Lyric Video: Maggie Gently Shares Anthemic and Earnest “Worried”

Maggie Gently is a San Francisco-based singer/songwriter and queer woman, whose identity is very important to her and to the community she creates and participates in. And with the release of her debut EP, 2020’s Good Cry and singles like “Where My Time Went” and “Bitter Pills,” Gently’s work explored heartbreak, attempts at healing, learning things the hard way, establishing boundaries and protecting your heart. Sonically, her work is generally inspired by Snail Mail, Lala Lala, Tancred and Clairo, as well as Meg Hayertz’s “Make It Mean It” tarot-focused. guided meditations, lesbian romance novels and the Enneagram of Personality. As a result, her work is often melody-driven and heartfelt.

The San Francisco-based artist’s full-length debut, the Eva Treadway-produced Peppermint is slated for a March 18, 2022 release through Refresh Records. Recorded at San Francisco’s El Studio the album features a backing band that includes Treadway (lead guitar), Gently’s brother Joey Grabmeier (drums) and Sinclair Riley (bass). Peppermint‘s nine songs focus on the personal yet deeply universal questions of commitment and love, the terrifying possibility of being vulnerable and known, and ultimately trusting something enough to let yourself get swept away in it.

Peppermint‘s latest single “Worried” is an anthemic bit of 90s alt rock-inspired pop featuring chugging guitars and thunderous drumming paired with earnest and lived-in songwriting, Gently’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, sing-along worthy hook. The song is written from the perspective of an uneasy and anxious person desperately trying to hold on to the things and people who she believes she can’t afford to lose.

Peppermint‘s latest single “Worried” is an anthemic bit of 90s alt rock-inspired pop featuring chugging guitars and thunderous drumming paired with earnest and lived-in songwriting, Gently’s plaintive vocals and an enormous, sing-along worthy hook. The song is written from the perspective of an uneasy and anxious person desperately trying to hold on to the things and people who she believes she can’t afford to lose; but ironically she may lose anyway.

The lyric video follows the rising San Francisco-based artist on what may arguably be the longest Uber ride ever taken.

New Video: the bird and the bee Share a Gorgeous, Animated Visual for Expansive “Lifetimes”

Acclaimed Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee — singer/songwriter Inara George and eight-time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin — can trace their origins back to when they met while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise.

Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue collaborating together in a jazz-influenced electro pop-leaning project. With the release of 2006’s Again and Again and Again and Again EP and 2007’s self-titled, full-length debut, George and Kurstin quickly established a reputation for crafting pop songs with a breezy elegance.

Since the debut album, the bird and the bee have released three albums, as well as two volumes in their Interpreting the Masters series, in which they re-arranged and re-imagined the music of Hall & Oates and Van Halen in their playful and breezy style.

2020’s Christmas album Put Up the Lights was written and recorded remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Lifetimes,” is the first bit of new material since the release Put Up the Lights — and interestingly enough the song marks two big occasions for the the duo:

  • the first time they were able to work together at Kurstin’s Hollywood-based No Expectations Studio in years
  • and the duo celebrating the 15th anniversary of their self-titled debut, released through Blue Note Records

“It was really nice to be back in each other’s company and working on music together. No matter who you are, there’s always something unique that happens when you are able to collaborate with someone in the same space,” the bird and bee’s Inara George says in press notes. “Since the beginning of the bird and the bee, Greg and I have always had a very easy and fun time collaborating. I think it’s what keeps us playing music together. We have a kind of unspoken understanding and such a creative ease. Being back together inspired this song about our first musical collaboration.”

“Lifetimes” is centered around an expansive and elegant arrangement that starts with angular post-punk guitar that slowly builds up to include blown out beats, twinkling keys, fluttering synths, a dreamy Bossa nova and jazz-like bridge, and an anthemic coda. While telling the tale of the duo’s first collaboration together, the song is also a meditation on the passing of time, and a celebration of a deep and abiding friendship rooted in an unusual understanding of the other.

Directed by Simona Mehandzhieva and Norbert Garab, the recently released animated video for “Lifetimes” follows the song’s story as a swooning platonic love story and a sort of Vulcan mind-meld between two very different yet oddly similar people.

New Video: Stimmerman Shares a Trippy and Unsettling Visual for New Ripper “Geek”

Eva Lawitts is a New York-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, grizzled local scene veteran and JOVM mainstay: Lawitts began her varied and interesting career with a 14 year run with local, prog rock shredders Sister Helen. She has simultaneously developed a reputation as a go-to session and touring musician, working with Vagabon, and Princess Nokia.

Lawitts also co-runs Brooklyn-based recording studio, Wonderpark Studios, where she’s a producer and engineer. Adding to a busy schedule, the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer played bass on Oceanator‘s Things I Never Said.

Her recording project Stimmerman — which is simultaneously a band and a solo project — was founded back in 2017 after her previous band Sister Helen split up. “I wanted a project that was all mine and so I picked a family name long-changed for the purposes of assimilating into American Society (what a concept)- Stimmerman,” Lawitts explains in press notes.

Lawitts’ Stimmerman debut, 2019’s Goofballs was ” . . . more or less about loss and survivor’s guilt: it’s a meditation on a friend’s fatal overdose at a young age through that lens.” And if you were following JOVM back then, you might recall that Goofballs featured the Bleach-era Nirvana meets PJ Harvey-like “It Shows” and the expansive math rock meets shoegaze meets acid rock-like “Dentist vs. Pharmacist.

“Geek” is the first bit of original material from Lawitts since Goofballs. Clocking in at about 65 seconds, the new Stimmernan single manages to simultaneously be an expansive and yet breakneck ripper, featuring grungy power chords, thunderous drumming and fluttering synths and feedback paried with Stimmerman’s surrealistic yet visceral lyrics.

Directed and animated by Elenor Kopka, the recently released video features a series of amoeba-like humanoid faces that morph, bend, and melt throughout the video. Interestingly, each face seems marked by some unspoken fear or worry.

“Geek” will appear on Stimmerman’s sophomore album, which is slated for release later this year.

New Video: Lucky Lo Releases a Swooning and Euphoric Anthem to Queer Love

Lo Ersare is a Umeå, Sweden-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter, musician, and the creative mastermind behind the emerging indie pop project Lucky Lo. Ersare relocated to Copenhagen in 2014 and quickly made a name for herself as a busker and as an integral part of the city’s underground music scene, performing everything from folk to experimental jazz to improvisational vocal music. Along the way, her love for Japan and its music brought her to the island nation, where she has performed, grown a devoted fanbase and gathered inspiration, which has seeped into her music in various ways.

Ersare’s full-length debut, Supercarry is slated for a March 25, 2022 release through Tambourhinoceros Records. The album will feature previously released single “Heart Rhythm Synchronize,” which was about synching heartbreaks through love and song and album title track “Supercarry,” a sleek and seamless synthesis of Annie Lennox and Peter Gabriel, that thematically finds Ersare quickly establishing a major thematic concern in her work — the transformational power of radical love.

Supercarry’s latest single, “Ever” is a swooning and infectiously optimistic pop song centered around glistening synth arpeggios, a strutting disco-inspired bass line, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a rousingly anthemic hook and Ersare’s plaintive pop belter vocals. Arguably, the most dance floor friendly of the album’s released singles, “Ever!” brings Talking Heads, and Annie Lennox to mind paired with the euphoria of Sylvester‘s queer anthem “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).

Lyrically, the song’s narrator has found a way to transform the hardships of living in a cruel and judgmental world that won’t allow them to be themselves into a deep, sustaining hope and confidence; the sort of quiet confidence to be self-assured in whatever your truth may be. As Ersare explains the song is an anthem for queer love.

The inspiration for the song began deep inside a YouTube rabbit hole. Ersara was binging on Freddie Mercury videos one night. That eventually lead to her researching the AIDS epidemic of the 80s, and the blacklash of homophobia the gay community felt back then.

She came across a video of a gay man, who bravely announced to a reporter that no amount of homophobia could keep gay people from loving each other that struck her as timeless. Since the dawn of society, gay people have been — and will keep on — loving in secret, despite antagonism, until the world eventually accepts them.

This video resonated with the Umeå-born, Copenhagen-based artist, who was then inspired to make a song for “anybody, who feels they are living a truth in secret can listen to, dance to, and feel that they will be accepted. By repeating the motion, it’s going to change the world,” she says.

Animated by Isabelle Friberg, the recently released video is a life affirming love song: We follow the video’s protagonists, who have a meet cute at local bowling alley and fall madly in love. They represent the love that man in the 80s video clip talked about. And while we get a glimpse into their lives and their love, we see Ersare and her band performing the song, while looking like characters straight out of Jem. The video manages to be brightly colored, overwhelmingly positive and a sweet visual that emphasizes the song’s swooning euphoria.