Tag: pop

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. 

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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.

 

Biig Piig is an up-coming 20 year-old, London-based pop artist, who has lived a rather nomadic life in a wide array of cultures as she was born in Spain, moved to Ireland, where she spent several years before finally settling in London, where she eventually joined the Nine8 Collective, a London-based crew of 27 creatives, who collaborate and support each other through a number of different artistic disciplines. As a solo artist, the British-based singer/songwriter has received attention for material that assimilates the sort of life experiences — she once worked as a poker dealer and as a tequila bar waitress — that gives her work an intriguing blend of maturity and youthful naivete. In fact, her stage name reportedly came about after drunkenly reading the name off a pizza menu and relating it to a sense of self-acceptance. “The more I called myself it, the more it made sense. I’m just a mess really. Still cute tho,” the up-and-coming London-based artist jokes in press notes.

Biig Piig’s latest single, the Dylantheinfamous-produced “Flirt” is the first official single from her forthcoming debut EP, Big Fan Of The Sesh, and it features the up-and-coming pop artist’s coquettish and jazz-inflected vocals over a dusty, soulful yet minimalist J. Dilla, Madlib-like production consisting of twinkling keys and boom bap beats but underneath the surface is a song with a narrator, quietly suffering through the feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and overthinking that typically happens when you’ve started to like someone but don’t quite know what you want to happen — or if you even want it to happen. And while capturing a fairly universal experience, Biig Pigg gives the song subtle yet detailed bits of realistic and intimate psychological detail that makes it seem as though the song was inspired by her own experiences. Interestingly, the EP is conceived as the first of a trilogy of audio-visual stories mixing the deeply personal with the universal, centered around a main character, a young woman named Fran — and the material generally focuses on that first doomed, major relationship, losing yourself in city life but somehow managing to come out o the other side.  “I’d hope,” says Biig Piig, “that anyone that feels they’re in a situation like that would find some solidarity in some of the tracks; understanding that you don’t owe anyone anything, and if you’re in a cycle that makes you unhappy, best believe you can change it compadre.”

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past month or so, you’d recall that New York-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Maura Lynch was a founding member of locally renowned indie rock band Darlings, an act that released three albums and played at the Whitney Museum, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Death by Audio and Shea Stadium — and had a brief stint in blogosphere attention-grabbing act Beverly; but with her latest project, Blush, Lynch was inspired by the her missing the simple act of making and sharing music with friends through a sporadic series of bedroom recorded demos (which she had filed as Blush on her computer). And as Lynch explained in press notes, the material she began writing was inspired by a love of straightforward and simple guitar pop with layered vocals, while lyrically the material reportedly was written as a sort of diary of its creator’s late 20s, with songs that focused on loving people who didn’t deserve it, loving people who did deserve it, of making sense of the monotony of the workday world and perhaps much more important, finding her own unique place in the world.

Last year, Lynch felt ready to finally make those demos into real songs  and she got together with her friends — Pop. 1280‘s Andy Chugg and Pill‘s Nick and Jon Campelo to flesh out the material, which was recorded over a series of nights and weekends at Chugg’s Gilded Audio Studio, and from the album’s first single “Daisy Chain,” Lynch and company specialize in a shimmering guitar pop that seemed influenced by Phil Spector‘s Wall of Sound and Too True-era Dum Dum Girls — but with breakneck conciseness. Building on the attention that the band has received from their first single, their self-titled album’s second and latest single is a jangling, guitar pop cover of Mariah Carey‘s smash hit “Fantasy” that manages to retain the song’s swooning nature while being a unique and coquettish take on a familiar song.

New Video: The Sultry Visuals and Sound of Eliza and Her Latest Single “Wide-Eyed Fool”

With the release of her eponymous debut, the London-born and-based pop artist Eliza Doolittle quickly rose to national attention, as the album went platinum, thanks to the success of  album singles “Skinny Genes” and “Pack Up,”  both of which landed on the UK Top 40 charts. Along with that, her collaboration with internationally renowned electro pop act Disclosure, “You & Me” was one of the duo’s best-selling singles. However, after such tremendous early success spent the past four years attempting to get back to her base and really discover what it was she wanted and needed as a person and as a artist. “When you’re young, you do what you should do, rather than what you really feel. I was always battling between that pull of my gut, and people talking in my ear,” Dolittle explains. 

Now, at the point of her life and career, Doolittle who now writes, records and performs under the mononym Eliza, the London-based pop artist is actively following her own creative instincts; in fact, she recently released the Get In My Head series, which consists of four mixtapes featuring snippets of new music as a way for her fans to get a taste of her change in sonic and creative direction; in fact, her first official single of 2017 “Wide Eyed Fool” is a sultry bit of singer/songwriter pop in which Doolittle reveals the full ranger of her voice, singing deeply personal lyrics paired over piano, soaring strings and swaggering hip-hop-lied beats. While clearly drawing from 90s neo soul, pop and hip-hop soul — What’s the 411?-era Mary J. Blige, in particular — complete with slick, modern production. But at the core of the song is some ambitious songwriting from a woman, who wants to take over the pop world. 

Directed by Charlie Robins, the recently released visuals for Wide Eyed Fool are equally sultry and brooding, while clearly nodding at the vulnerability, pride and strength within the song. 
 

New Video: Soto Voce Returns with a Sensual and Anthemic bit of Industrial Electronica Paired with Feverish Visuals

Late last year, I wrote about the Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Soto Voce. Comprised of Oakland, CA-born, Los Angeles-based vocalist Miguel De Vivo, now known as Mia De Vivo and Colombia-born, Los Angles-based producer Kenny Soto, the electro pop duo can trace its origins to a mutual love of electronic much and industrial music, and to the duo having similar experiences as outsiders — De Vivo, who was born male, grew up gender non-conforming and was relentlessly teased and beaten up “for being like a girl,” and who recently transitioned. Soto on the other hand, fled his native Colombia with his family as a teenager in the 90s, after his port official father refused to collaborate with Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel. When he and his family arrived in the US, they were extremely poor.

Now, as you may recall the duo’s debut single “Better” was quietly released but within a few weeks of is release, the track grabbed the attention of the blogosphere for a brooding, cinematic and difficult to pigeonhole sound that some described with Sade-fronting Radiohead comparison; however, in my opinion that song possessed a deeply personal and aching plea for acceptance both within and without paired with a club-banging yet atmospheric production. And the video specifically focused on the tensions around the Black Lives Matter, Trans Rights Matter and LGBTQ rights movements, how politically and socially things are much more fearful and uncertain for many minority groups across the world.

The duo’s latest single “Pop” will further cement their reputation for crafting propulsive and forceful industrial-leaning electro pop that manages to be sensual yet rousingly anthemic and club-banging. But arguably it may be the darkest, most unhinged and urgent track they’ve released to date.

Directed by Jon Danovic, the recently released music video for “Pop” possesses a surreal, feverish, dream-like logic.