Tag: pop

New Audio: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Meg Mac Releases an Anthemic Tell-Off

Born Megan Sullivan McInerney, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist and pop artist Meg Mac can trace the origins of her music career to when she was a small girl — as the story goes, she began singing as soon as she could speak and began writing her own songs when she was a teenager.

McInerney began degree studies in Digital Media but quit that after relocating to Perth, where she studied music at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts. After earning her degree, she recorded “Known Better” and submitted the song to Triple J’s Unearthed. Coincidentally, after she submitted her song, McInerney and a car load of friends left on a road trip from Perthto Melbourne, where she would later permanently relocate — and as they were approaching Melbourne, she learned that Triple J had selected her single and were going to play it.

As a result of being named an Unearthed Featured Artist of the Week in 2013 and Unearthed Artist of the Year in 2014, the Sydney, Australia-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and keyboardist emerged into her homeland’s national scene; in fact, “Roll Up Your Sleeves,” reached #80 on the ARIA Singles Chart in August 2014 with “Never Be” landing at #39 the following year — and she went on her first national headlining tour.

She also received nominations for Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artists during the 2015 ARIA Music Awards. And adding to a growing national profile, Marie Claire Australia named her an Artist to Watch in 2015 and Rolling Stone Australia nominated McInerney for a Best New Talent Award. By 2016, “Never Be” landed at #11 on Triple J’s Hottest 100.

“Roll Up Your Sleeves” was featured in a number of American TV series including HBO’s Girls, Grace and Frankie and Astronaut Wives Clubs — and as a result, the MegMac EP became a platinum selling effort. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Mac’s 2017 full-length debut Low Blows entered the ARIA Charts at #2 and received praise internationally from the likes of InStyle, Buzzfeed, Noisey, V Magazine and the New York Times who called her music “rooted in soul with just enough contemporary production.”

Developing a reputation for live show centered around her soulful vocals, Mag has managed to consistently sell out national tours and shows across her native Australia, has opened for Clean Bandit and D’Angelo — and she’s played some of the major festivals’ across the international festival circuit includingGovernor’s Ball and SXSW.

Last October saw the release of the uplifting and powerful “Give Me My Name Back,” off her forthcoming and highly awaited sophomore album. As Mac told Billboard, the song “is a song for those who have suffered emotional and physical abuse; it’s for the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church. For everyone who has lost an important part of themselves and need to reclaim their identity, dignity and self-worth in order to move forward with their lives.”

Mac’s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “I’m Not Coming Back.” Centered around intertwined harmonies, an anthemic drum beat, shimmering synths, a rousing hook and Mac’s effortlessly soulful and self-assured vocals, the song finds its fed up narrator letting someone go, who only seems to be around to use them. And as result, the song bristles with the satisfaction of saying “No, not anymore” to someone who desperately needs to hear it.

Advertisements

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe, and as you may recall, the act which, was founded by primary songwriters Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members and longtime friends Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums), who was with the band for the writing and recording of the band’s sophomore full-length album Future Perfect, Present Tense. 

Written in an East London vacant driving license office, tracked in Oslo, Norway  and finished with producer Luke Smith, Future Perfect, Present Tense thematically is a mediation on everything that has brought them all to the point of their sophomore album, and everything they’ve willingly (and perhaps unwillingly) left behind in actually getting there. Interestingly, the London-based act’s sophomore album is a decided sonic departure from its predecessor, as the material draws from 70s AM rock — in particular, Fleetwood Mac and others, while retaining an uncanny ability to craft slick and rousingly anthemic hooks.

Now, as you may recall the members of the London-based JOVM mainstays are currently finishing up their second headlining North American tour with shows across the West Coast before returning back to Europe for a month long tour across the UK and the European Union. (You can check out the remaining tour dates below.) As the band’s North American tour comes to a close, they released a mostly a cappella cover of TLC‘s smash hit “Waterfalls” that reveals a gorgeous multi-part harmony that ends with a towering instrumental crescendo. 

 

Tour Dates

09-Apr, Los Angeles, CA, Troubadour

11-Apr, San Fran, CA,The Independent

13-Apr, Portland, OR, Doug Fir Lounge

14-Apr, Vancouver, Biltmore Cabaret

15-Apr, Seattle, WA, Barboza

24-Apr, Manchester, UK, Yes (Pink Room)

25-Apr, Edinburgh, UK, Sneaky Pete’s

26-Apr, Newcastle, UK, Think Tank?

27-Apr, Leeds, UK, Headrow House

29-Apr, Nottingham, UK, Rough Trade

30-Apr, Bristol, UK, The Louisiana

01-May, Brighton, UK, The Hope & Ruin

04-May, Paris, FR, Pont FMR

05-May, Antwerp, BE, Trix

07-May, Zurich, CH, Papiersaal

09-May, Vienna, AT, B72

10-May, Prague, CZ, Café vs Lese

11-May, Berlin, DE, Musik & Frieden

13-May, Hamburg, DE, Molotow

14-May, Cologne, DE, Studio 672

16-May, Nijmegen, NL, Merleyn

17-May, Rotterdam, NL, Rotown

18-May, Utrecht, NL, EKKO

19-May, Amsterdam, NL, Bitterzoet

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming British Singer-Songwriter Yola Celebrates the Hard-Working Little Person with Big Dreams

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming London-based singer/songwriter Yola, and as you may recall she’s led a rather remarkable life — the sort that should eventually be made into an inspiring biopic: She grew up extremely poor and as a child was actually banned from making music. As an adult, she has overcome homelessness, being an abusive relationship, stress-induced voice loss and literally being engulfed in flames in a house fire, and all of those things inspired her Dan Auerbach-proudced full-length debut Walk Through Fire, slated for a February 22, 2019 release through Easy Eye Sound. 

So far, the up-and-coming British singer/songwriter has received praise from a number of major media outlets both nationally and internationally including NPR, Rolling Stone, Wall Street Journal, The Tennessean, Refinery 29, Billboard, American Songwriter, BrooklynVegan, Nashville Scene, Paste and Stereogum. But perhaps much more interesting for you reader, listener and viewer, Yola has had a lengthy career as a backing vocalist, songwriter and guest vocalist on a number of pop hits — and she has opened for James Brown and briefly was a member of the renowned trip hop act Massive Attack before traveling to Nashville to work with Auerbach and a backing band that features musicians, who have worked with Elvis and Aretha Franklin.  

Walk Through Fire’s first single “Ride Out in the Country” was a Muscle Shoals-like take on honky tonk country that to my ears recalled Sandra Rhodes’ under-appreciated Where’s Your Love Been. Centered around twangy guitar chords, lap steel guitar, some Rhodes electric organ, a soaring hook and Yola’s easy-going and soulful vocals, the song is an achingly sad breakup song, written from the perspective of someone reeling from a devastating breakup, complete with the recognition that your former lover has moved on and that maybe you should be doing so too — even if it’s profoundly difficult for you. “Faraway Look,Faraway Look,” the album’s second single was a slow-burning and swooning, Phil Spector Wall of Sound, meets classic Motown Records track that was centered around a soulful, old school arrangement and a soaring hook while being roomy enough for Yola’s incredible vocal range to shine in a well-written and well-crafted song. 

Walk Through Fire’s third and latest single “Love All Night (Work All Day)” is a slick and soulful amalgamation of Motown and Muscle Shoals soul, with a dash of Nashville country and 70s AM rock  and it’s a perfect vehicle for Yola’s warm and effortlessly soulful vocals. Much like the preceding singles, “Love All Night (Work All Day)” comes from hard-fought and hard-earned experience, which gives the material a wisdom and honesty that can be so rare in contemporary pop songs. In this case, the song’s narrator details a  life of working multiple jobs to scrape by, having big dreams and at some point taking an enormous risk to achieve them. And what makes the song remarkable, beyond its well-crafted and well-written nature, is the fact that the song is a celebration of the little person, who’s out there busting their ass to get by, trying to maintain their dignity and sanity in the rat race. Keep on dreaming and keep on hustling. 

Directed by Dan Teef, the recently released video for “Love All Night (Work All Day)” was shot in a South London bar and is centered around a beautiful young, working couple with big dreams. “My new video for ‘Love All Night (Work All Day)’ was shot in a stunning pub in Peckham, South London,” Yola says of the video for her latest single. “I’ve lived all over London (including on the streets in East London at one time) but before that I lived in a shared house in South London and I think the area will always feel like my London home. The song celebrates a way of life. It’s a life I used to live, growing up in Bristol and working multiple jobs to get by as I started out in music. I love listening to music from people who’ve not just been on a conveyor belt to the big time and I think it is important to hear more music from the working class again.  People who, at some point, had no choice but to work all day long and maybe take a risk in pursuit of what they love.”

With the release of “Sleep,” and “Strangers,” the Gothenburg, Sweden-based singer/songwriter Sarah Klang began receiving praise across the blogosphere for crafting heartbreakingly sad material that some critics compared favorably to the likes of Roy Orbison and Jeff Buckley, and others — although interestingly enough, Klang has publicly cited Barbra Streisand and ambient electronica as major influences on her work. Building upon a growing national and international profile, Klang released her critically applauded full-length debut Love In The Milky Way last year, which she supported with a tours across the US, Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Adding to a breakthrough year, Klang played a sold-out hometown show at the Gothenburg Concert Hall and three sold-out nights at Stockholm’s Södra Teatern — and she nominated for a Swedish Grammy for Alternative Pop Album and P3 Guld Award for Best Live Act.

Slated for a Fall 2019 release, Klang’s forthcoming (and still untitled) sophomore, Kevin Andersson-produced full-length album was written and recorded during an extremely busy year — and the first single from those recording sessions is the slow-burning and heartbreaking single “Call Me.” Centered around an arrangement featuring twinkling piano, a shimmering string section, a soaring hook and Klang’s aching vocals, the song manages to recall both 70s AM rock and Dolly Parton ballads simultaneously, the song as Klang explains in press notes “is about the love that only happens once. It might not last for long, but you’ll remember it forever. ” And as a result, the song’s narrator expresses a swooning despair and bitter acceptance over the loss of her love, mixed with a bit of hope that she’ll know that feeling once again.

 

New Video: Nana Adjoa Returns with the Mesmerizing and Intimate Sounds and Visuals for “Three”

Over the past few months I’ve written quite a bit about  Nana Adjoa, an up-and-coming Dutch-Ghanian singer/songwriter, who began to receive attention across the European Union and elsewhere with the release of her debut Down at the Root, Part 1, and as you may recall Adjoa was accepted at the prestigious Amsterdam Conservatory, where she would study jazz  — electric bass and double bass; however, she found the experience to not be what she had always imagined it would.  “It was very much like school,” she says in press notes. “We thought we wanted to go to the most difficult department, that we wanted to be the best, but it wasn’t a very fun experience.” Interestingly, around the same time, the Amsterdam-born and-based singer/songwriter began to experience a growing divide between the restrictive and theoretical compositions she was studying and the melodic, free-flowing music she’d play while outside of the school environment. Adjoa quickly began to realize that pursing a solo career was the direction she needed to take, and so she formed a band and record her original songs, which has resulted in the attention grabbing Down At The Root Part 1 and the soon-to-be released Down At The Root Part 2.

“Honestly,” Down at the Root Part 2‘s first single was an effortless and breezy affair that seemed indebted to Simply Bill-era Bill Withers, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and others, driven by an infectious hook and a lush melody. The EP’s second single, “Part Of It,” much like its predecessor was centered around a lush and plaintive melody, a sinuous and propulsive bass line, and arguably the most straightforward and honest lyrics of the entire EP, with the song focusing on the desire to fit in when you’re an outsider. “Three,” the EP’s aptly titled third single is a stripped down and intimate song in which Adjoa’s lovely and tender vocals are accompanied by simply strummed guitar and some fluttering electronics, which will further the Dutch-Ghaniaan singer/songwriter’s reputation for writing mesmerizing and effortlessly soulful, and thoughtful pop. 

New Video: Alice Merton Returns to Inspire Youthful Rebellion in Visuals for Anthemic EP Single “Lash Out”

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Alice Merton, a Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, and as you may recall Merton has lived a rather nomadic life: most of her formative years were spent in Canada but she finished high school in Germany before relocating to England. Unsurprisingly, music managed to be a major part of her life, no matter where she was; in fact, as the story goes, Merton started taking classical piano lessons when she was five, and when she was nine, she was introduced to formal, vocal training. After spending the better part of a decade in classical training, the Frankfurt-am-Main-born, Berlin-based pop artist and singer/songwriter discovered contemporary songwriting during one of her high school courses while in Germany. And from that point onward, Merton went on to study songwriting and began pursuing her dream of becoming a professional singer/songwriter. 

Of course, while studying in school, Merton would wind up working with a number of producers on a variety of producers, and finding the right producer, who can both compliment and challenge a singer/songwriter as a true collaborator in the creative process is an increasing rarity. But when she met Berlin-based producer Nicolas Rebscher, Merton quickly recognized that she found a musical match, and so far their collaboration together has been wildly successful — the duo’s swaggering, hook-driven and attention grabbing smash hit debut single, “No Roots,” which was inspired by her nomadic youth held the #1 spot for 2 weeks on the Alternative Radio Charts in the States and held it for 8 weeks in Canada. The song cracked the Top 30 on the pop charts, the Top 15 on the Hot Adult Contemporary charts and entered Billboard Hot 100. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the song has been synced in a Mini Cooper ad campaign — and earlier this year, she was featured in Rolling Stone‘s “One To Watch” and Billboard‘s “Chartbreaker” section, which has previously featured artists such as Cardi B and Khalid. Also, she’s made the rounds of national, late night TV with appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

And now, building upon the buzz surrounding her since the release of “No Roots,” Merton’s latest single “Lash Out” is an incredibly hook-driven song centered around a young woman narrator, who feels the need to speak up boldly (and loudly!) about what she wants and needs, about what she’s ready to fight for — and perhaps, more important to confidently answer her needs as she felt fit, in her own way. It’s an earnest, empowering feminist anthem that says to its listener, you better go out there, be bold and get what you deserve because no one else is going to be paying attention or care. 

Co-directed by Max Nadolny and Jonas Stark, the recently released video features sequences shot in Berlin and South Africa and focuses on a diverse cast of people, including Merton, who through a series of similar yet very different circumstances have rebelliously broken out against tormentors and social norms. 

 

Arieh Berl is an Oakland, CA-born and raised singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, producer and creative mastermind behind psych pop act Pink Skies. Interestingly, Berl has a lengthy history playing in a number of Bay Area-based punk and indie rock bands and while writing for one of those bands, it became clear to him that the material he had been writing were meant for a completely different project, as he began writing songs that drew from psych rock, pop, R&B, 70s AM rock and chillwave — or as Berl describes his sound in press notes, “Escapism Pop.” Although he initially didn’t intend on releasing his personal, home recordings made in Oakland, Boston and Los Angeles, Berl decided to release the material after attending a creative retreat in the Berkley Hills.

Last year was a big year for Berl as he released his first Pink Skies single “Start.End,” played guitar on BOSCO‘s b and released a re-interpreation of 6LACK‘s “Gettin’ Old.” Adding to a growing profile. Berl signed to Huh What & Where Recordings, the label home of KAYTRANADA, Fwdslxsh, Pomo and others. Building upon his big 2017, Berl’s latest Pink Skies single is the decidedly Tame Impala-like “Just To Get By,” a song that Berl recall was written “when I had been in Silver Lake for a little bit, and was feeling pretty lost. I was kind of in a zone where every time I tried to take a step forward, I fell two steps back. I was feeling like an outsider, being in a new place with no real direction to go.  I just eventually holed away in my room for a couple months, and really isolated myself unintentionally. This song really consumed me in an obsessive and passionate way. Sometimes the pain comes from life, and music is the place to exercise that out of your body. That’s what I did with this song.”

 

Meiko is a Roberta, GA-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who grew up in a rather musical home, as her father, who was a singer/songwriter and guitarist used to sing for the Roberta, GA-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter when she was a baby. When she was 8, Meiko began singing in public; in fact, her first performance was at a local, all black, Southern Baptist church, where she sang “White Christmas” on Christmas Eve. “I just recently realized the humor in that — but luckily at the time, everyone thought it was cute . . .,” Meiko recalls on her Facebook fan page.

Shortly after that, the Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter began singing in local talent shows and sang the National Anthem at the opening day of little league baseball. Around the same time, Meiko took up the guitar, playing her father’s beloved Gibson until he brought her a guitar for a birthday present. “As soon as I learned a new chord, I wrote a new song,” the Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist said on her Facebook fan page.

When she was 18, Meiko left her small Southern town and eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where she began playing at the Hotel Cafe, a venue known for developing up-and-coming, local singer/songwriters. By 2007, she had released her self-titled, full-length debut, an effort that established the Roberta, GA-born singer/songwriter’s reputation for material that managed to mesh indie pop and coffeehouse folk and as a result the album had every single song featured on a number of high-profile TV shows including 
Grey’s Anatomy, which led to the album landing on the digital folk charts.
Meiko’s latest single, the Wally Gagel-produced, Gagel, Erica Driscoll and Mieko co-written song will further cement her reputation for radio friendly, pop leaning folk that pairs her breathy vocals with a production centered around strummed guitar, swirling electronics and stuttering drums and an infectious hook — and in some way, the track reminds me quite a bit of Dido‘s self-titled album.
 
The Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter is on tour to support the new single. Check out the tour dates below.
 
MEIKO ON THE ROAD:
3/22 – Austin, TX – One World Theatre
3/23 – Dallas, TX – Kessler Theater
3/25 – Houston, TX – The Heights Theater
4/7 – Tampa, FL – Safety Harbor Songfest

Camille Trust is an up-and-coming, Tampa, FL-born, New York-based soul/pop artist, who’s influenced by the likes of Janis Joplin, Lauryn Hill and Etta James — although with her energetic and dynamic stage presence and raw, unvarnished honesty, her work seems much more indebted to the likes of Mary J. Blige. Now, as you may recall, I caught the Tampa-born, New York-based soul/pop artist performing an opening set Baby’s All Right that featured sultry covers of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” and Stevie Wonder‘s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered,” and a collection of singles that she’s released over the past few years, as well as material off her recently released EP — including her latest single, “Lose You,” which pairs Trust’s effortlessly soulful vocals with a modern production consisting of stuttering beats, brief horn blasts, twinkling keys and an explosive, radio friendly and rousingly anthemic hook; but underneath the swaggering and thumping production, is a plaintive and urgent plea to a lover, who seems ready to bolt.