Tag: singer/songwriter

Luna · Fix (Luna Musiq & Effy Lowan)


Luna Musiq is a Manchester, UK-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, whose earliest musical memories were of her folks playing The Supremes, Boney M., Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and 80s pop — all of which were early musical influences. As she got older, New Jack Swing, 90s hip-hop, downtempo electronica, chill-hop and acoustic soul also have influenced the emerging British artist and her work. The Manchester-based artist can trace the origins of her music career to when she was 5: her grandmother had given her a keyboard as a gift — and along with her brother, who had a Casio mini keyboard, they’d create beats, sounds and songs, which they recorded into their beloved tape recorder.

Luna Musiq learned several different instruments during her teens but she stopped playing in her early 20s. Interestingly, Musiq started writing songs in 2017 and went to a a week-0long songwriting trip in the Andalusian Hills, where she met a collection of singers, songwriters and musicians with whom she currently collaborates, as well as  some multi-talented and multi-skilled artists, songwriters, producers, composers and vocalist, who have become mentors.

Since then, the emerging British artist has been writing constantly — both as a solo artist and for other artists, with whom she collaborates with.  Her latest single, “Fix Me,” finds her collaborating with British indie R&B artist Effy Lowan. As Luna Musiq explained to me . Both our music explores topics around hardship to love, trust, betrayal and the difficulties navigating the relationship with yourself as well as others. Having both worked on previous R&B projects, Effy and I came across each other through the same songwriting network. We thought our styles blended well together and decided to collaborate, resulting in Fix being the first release. We’re working on some more joint projects together for the future, but are both solo artists in our own right (I’ve released 6 tracks so far and featured on a few other releases) and often write for other artists too.”

“Fix Me” is an anachronistic R&B/pop song that’s centered around a warm and soulful production featuring twinkling keys, stuttering boom bap beats, Lowan’s effortless vocals  and a swaggering hip-hop verse. And while sounding mischievously anachronistic, with the track sounding as though it could have been released in 1997, 2007, 2017 or just the other day, the track displays earnest songwriting, informed by deeply lived-in personal experience. In this case, the song details the weird mix of co-dependency, need, longing and desire of almost every romantic relationship with a novelist’s attention to detail.




New Video: Up-and-Coming French Artist Aurélie Billetdoux Releases a Trippy Animated Visual for “The Path”

Aurélie Billetdoux is a Paris-born and-based singer/songwriter, composer and multi-disciplinary artist, who also studied classic dance for about 15 years. In her early 20s, Billetdoux relocated to London, where she busked in the Tube while working a local restaurant. The Parisian-born and-based singer/songwriter and multi-disciplinary artist returned to Paris, where she spent three years studying at the Superior National Conservatory of Drama School. And while attending drama school, Billetdoux created a live show covering the work of old-school French vocalists, accompanied with an accordion player. 

After the success of her show covering the old-school vocalists, Billetdoux decided that it was time to focus on her own original material — eventually completing her debut EP which is slated for an October release. In the meantime, “The Path,” the latest single off the EP is a decidedly cinematic track, centered around a Ennio Morricone-like arrangement of shuffling drumming, reverb-drenched guitars and Billetdoux’s sultry vocals. 

While possessing an anachronistic quality, the track sounds as though it could easily have been part of the soundtrack of a Quentin Tarantino film — perhaps The Hateful 8 or Django Unchained? — but with a swooning romanticism and aching longing. After all, the song is a brooding meditation on fate and destiny — that questions when people know if it’s fate or free will. 

The recently released video is an animated visual that features constantly morphing shapes and figures — at one point, a glass of wine turns into a person and so on. But at its core it captures the longing at the heart of the song, 

Blinker the Star · Cairo

Over the past handful of months, I’ve written quite a bit about Jordon Zadorozny, the Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and creative mastermind behind acclaimed indie rock recording project Blinker The Star. Now, as you may recall, Zadorozny initially started the project as a solo recording project that quickly expanded into a full-fledged band for their first two albums 1995’s self-titled debut and 1996’s A Bourgeois Kitten, which were released through A&M Records. And during those first few years, Zadorozny and company built up a national profile through steady touring.

Back in 1997, Zadorozny relocated from Montreal to Los Angeles, where he worked with Courtney Love, helping craft songs for Hole’s acclaimed and commercially successful album Celebrity Skin. While in Los Angeles, Zadorozny began soaking up new influences and became increasingly fascinated with production. Signing with Dreamworks in 1999, the band, which at the time featured Zadorozny, Failure’s Kelli Scott (drums), longtime bassist Pete Frolander and a rotating cast of Southern California-based session musicians recorded and released their critically applauded third album August Everywhere, which they supported with touring across North America with Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Failure and The Flaming Lips. 

Returning back to Pembroke in 2002, Zadorozny built his first commercial recording studio and began working with Sam Roberts, contributing drums and producing Roberts’ breakthrough debut EP The Inhuman Condition. Zadorozny also worked on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Chris Cornell, Lindsey Buckingham and others. During the Winter of 2003, Zadorozny wrote and recorded Blinker The Star’s fourth album Still In Rome as a duo with Kelli Scott. Following a brief tour to support the album, the Pembroke, Ontario-born multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter quickly settled into the production side of the things working with an electric array of artists, including collaborative projects like Digital Noise Academy, SheLoom,  The Angry Moon, and others.

2012’s fourth album, We Draw Lines was the first Blinker The Star album that Zadorozny wrote and recorded as a solo recording project since he started the project over a decade earlier.  And interestingly enough, We Draw Lines began a rather prolific period that included 2013’s Songs from Laniakea Beach, a one-off single “Future Fires,” 2015’s 11235 EP, 2017’s 8 of Hearts and last year’s Careful With Your Magic.

After completing a short run of shows last fall, Zadorozny began working working on new material at his Skylark Park Studio. The solitude of his environment helped inform his forthcoming Blinker The Star album Juvenile Universe, which is slated for release this summer. So far I’ve written about three of the album’s singles: the Station to Station-era David Bowie-like “Way Off Wave,” the jangling, 70s rock-like “Only To Run Wild,” and the 80s New Wave-like “Silent Types.” Juvenile Universe‘s fourth and latest single is the, anthemic  “Cairo.” Centered around jangling power chords, an enormous hook and a shimmering string arrangement and droning “Cairo” continues an incredible run of deliberate crafted yet ambitious material — but while arguably being the most psych leaning song of the Blinker the Star catalog.

Much like the rest of Juvenile Universe‘s material, the basic tracks were completed alone at Skylark Studio before they were sent to string arranger Chris Church. “I asked Chris if he’d ever heard any Egyptian orchestral music, like the kind you might hear in the back of a cab in Montreal at 4am. Quite virtuosic stuff. I was floored with what he came up with,” Zadorozny says in press notes. “‘Also present on the track via home studios are Bob Wilcox and The Posies‘ Ken Stringfellow on backing vocals, SheLoom bandmate Filippo Gaetani on Melotron, and Jarek Leskiewizc contributing ambient done guitar.

Live Footage: Washed Out Performs “Too Late” on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Ernest Greene is a Perry, GA-born, Athens, GA-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed synth pop/chillwave act Washed Out.  Washed Out can trace its origins back to around 2009: After earning an undergraduate degree and a Master of Library and Information Sciences degree from the University of Georgia, Greene was unable to find a job as a librarian. As the story goes, Greene moved back in with his parents and began writing and producing material in his bedroom studio, as well as with local electro pop act Bedroom. 

Shortly after posting Washed Out material on his MySpace page, the Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer was discovered and championed by a number of influential blogs, who compared his sound to Neon Indian and Memory Tapes. Greene released his first two Washed Out EPs in rapid-fie fashion that August and September. And building upon a growing profile, Greene played his New York City debut — which interestingly enough, was only his second live show ever — at the now, long-shuttered Santos Party House.

2010 saw Greene continue the amazing momentum of the previous year: he played that year’s Pitchfork Music Festival and “Feel It All Around” became the opening theme song for the acclaimed TV series Portlanadia.

In early 2011, Greene signed with Sub Pop Records, who released his his full-length debut Within and Without, an album of icy yet plaintive synth pop to critical applause and commercial success: the album peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 and #89 on the UK Albums Chart. He ended a breakthrough 2011 by co-curating that year’s ATP Nightmare Before Christmas in Minehead, UK with Battles. 

Greene’s sophomore Washed Out album 2013’s Paracosm was a decided change in sonic direction, as it featured a warmer, tropical-inspired sound that paired organic instrumentation with electronic production — while retaining the ethereal quality of his previously released material,. The year ended with Life of Leisure EP track “New Theory” being featured as background music in a scene of the rom-com The Spectacular Now.

The Perry-born, Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s third album, 2017’s Cole M.G.N. co-produced Mister Mellow was released through renowned hip-hop label Stones Throw Records, and the album found the acclaimed artist’s work seemingly taking on a bit of a J. Dilla-esque beatmaking feel. 

Since the release of Mister Mellow, Greene released a handful of singles including “Face Up” as part of Adult Swim’s applauded Singles Series. Earlier this year, the Perry-born, Athens-based artist released “Too Late,”  a track that sonically was a return to form: a swooning yet bittersweet bit of synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, Greene’s ethereal and plaintive vocals and a soaring hook — but with a subtly Mediterranean feel.

As it turns out, “Too Late” was unofficially the first single off Greene’s highly-anticipated and long-awaited fourth album Purple Noon. Written, recorded by Greene with mixing handled by frequent collaborator Ben H. Allen, the album’s production followed a brief stint of writing with other artists — most notably writing with Sudan Archives on her debut Athena. Those collaborations allowed Green to explore R&B and modern pop and those sounds have made there way into Purple Noon‘s material. Not only is the material reportedly the brightest and more robust sounds he’s ever worked out; it’s also a decided step forward: unlike his previous released work, the vocals are placed front and center at the mix, with slower tempos, bolder, harder-hitting beats and a more comprehensive dynamic depth.

Deriving its name from Rene Clement’s 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mister Ripley, the album’s material is deeply inspired by the coastlines of the Mediterranean — with Greene paying tribute to region’s island-based culture, elegance and old-world charm. But the surroundings serve as the backdrop to stories of passion love and loss — with a deeper, perhaps more urgent emotional intensity: the album’s first single “Too Late” is a tale of a first meet, with all the confused and swooning emotions that come about. 

Recently Greene was on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he performed “Too Late” with a gorgeous split camera perspective that offered and extreme close up on Greene performing the song: we see his fingers as they tap various functions on his drum machine and synths — and Greene singing through a two microphone set up. Behind him, a gorgeous sunset on the beach. 

Purple Noon is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Sub Pop Records. 

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut album Thick Skin, Mackay, Australia-born, Brisbane, Australia-based singer/songwriter Tia Gostelow exploded into the national and international scenes. Album single “Strangers” received over 10 million Spotify streams — and adding to a breakthrough year, Gostelow opened for the likes of Ball Park Music, Frightened Rabbit, The Rubens and Gomez and played sets across the international festival circuit, including Falls Festival and SXSW. Thick Skin also landed a Triple J album feature, which may have led to her appearing on the station’s covers series Like A Version.

Last year, Gostelow went on her first national headlining tour, which she followed up with tours across the States, the UK and the European Union. During that same period of time, the rising Aussie artist started work on her Oscar Dawson-produced sophomore album, an effort that will reportedly see Gostelow moving away from the guitar-based indie and folk sound of her debut and towards a lush synth pop soundscape. The album’s third single, The Money War-written “Always” sees Gostelow and Dawson collaborating with Dawson’s Holy Holy bandmate Tim Carroll, who contributes vocals to the song.

Centered around atmospheric electronics, shimmering synth arpeggios, a disco inspired bass line, a soaring hook and alternating boy-girl verses sung by Carroll and Gostelow, the song is a swooning and earnest declaration of love and devotion through a difficult and confusing time for both parties. Of all the things we claim to understand about the workings of world, the one we can’t quite grasp is love. Love simply doesn’t make sense. The song manages to capture something that should feel familiar to most — if not, all — of us: that tiny fluttering aches and sighs of a new love/new crush/new situationship and the creeping fear that because of your past relationships and your baggage that you might screw it all up. “I really wanted to have a big 80’s synth-pop, big drums kind of sound that everybody wants to dance to,” Gostelow says. “It kind of reminds me of an 80’s prom in a rom-com movie.”

Adds Gostelow, “I really connected with it lyrically straight away, when I first heard it I had the feeling it was about being in love with someone but not physically being able to be with them and also pushing through all of the hard parts in a relationship because you know the good outweighs the bad. It just fit perfectly within the record as I’ve really highlighted my feelings about being away from my loved ones, feeling lonely and I guess just trying to figure out who I am as a 20-year old woman.”