Posts Tagged ‘fulltime artist’

BY JEENA JOHNSON

Andi Young is able to play several instruments such as the piano, violin, and more. He is a classically trained violinist, who delicately threads his diverse influences into the combination of modern pop and classical music which can be heard in his releases. Andi released his single, “Time To Say Goodbye”, a few weeks ago and it has now become the #1 in the Top 50 on SoundCloud. The SoundCloud Singer/Songwriter chart is full of successful artists such as Ed Sheeran, James Bay etc, and Andi Young is no doubt a dark horse, and his songs are now available on iTunes, Amazon, Google and other online stores.

Andi Young

  1. When did you decide to take music seriously and how did you go about getting started?

Andi Young: I uploaded a song to SoundCloud, thinking it won’t get noticed, cuz you know, there are countless songs there from everybody in the world, and you normally get a few clicks and that’s it. But after a couple weeks when I checked that song, it got more than a million plays already! I was surprised at how many people around the world are listening to my music, so I decided to make more music for them.

  1. Who were your first musical influences that you can remember?

Andi Young: I started playing the violin since 4, and singing and dancing when I was about 6 or 7.

  1. Which artists are you currently listening to?

Andi Young: Singers? A lot. Tori Amos, Queen, Christina Aguilera, Etta James. Those are the names you would know because they are in the modern music world. But I actually like classic music a lot. I listen to compositions by European composers such as Fritz Seitz. You know him? Haha.

  1. Have you ever had any formal training and do you think it is a necessary requisite for artists today? 

Andi Young: Oh yeah, I was classically trained to play the violin, to dance and to sing. I learned not everything about singing from the anatomy of how we produce sound, how vocal cords work to musical expressions etc. I think they are important knowledge, and I would refer to that knowledge when I need to and that’s just a bonus. I mean, every artist needs to express freely and naturally. Even if you don’t have that knowledge you might still be able to do very well, so it’s important but not necessary.

  1. What are your thoughts on visual media? Do you see video as purely a marketing tool or as a creative extension of your music?

Andi Young: Absolutely the latter. Visual sense is too important to us. We wanna hear the music but if we can also see the music then what’s bad about it?

Andi-Young-ttsg-piano

  1. Which do you ultimately prefer? Entertaining a live audience or creating songs in a studio setting?

Andi Young: I like both and I am a crazy live singer haha, I love singing live so they can see how I express music as a whole and not just through my sound.

  1. Do you write all the lyrics and music to your songs, as well as arrange them, or do you collaborate with other creative writers? 

Andi Young:  I write everything on my own. But I also work with other extremely talented musicians for the instrumental arrangement just to get the deeper part of me out sometimes.

  1. What kind of a songwriter do you consider yourself to be. Someone who is inspired at the spur of the moment, or someone who ‘locks’ himself away, and works at it until the right idea comes along? 

Andi Young: All of them. I started by locking myself away haha, but after I got all those demons out, I started writing for the moment.

  1. Which ingredient do you think makes you special and unique as a performing artist in a business thriving with newcomers and wannabes?

Andi Young: My music is not commercially driven. I mean, lots of songs you hear are perfected in a business way, because labels think that kind of songs will sell because they are on the charts, so they just copy and paste. I write music for music’s sake. I don’t write to suit my audience, rather, I remain true to music, because it is an expression that I cannot ‘make’, I can only get it out and let music write itself, so it is ultimately nature’s work, not my own. And I have strong influences from classical music.

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  1. If you were forced to choose only one, which emotion, more than any other drives you to be a part of this tough and sometimes cruel business? 

Andi Young: All emotions are important, but for me, I think everything is derived from sorrow. That makes me think, it makes me see things through and ultimately become happy.

  1. Which aspect of being an independent artist and the music making process excites you most and which aspect discourages you most?

Andi Young: I get to do the music I love. What discourages me… when there aren’t enough outlets for my music to come through.

  1. Do you personally choose the engineers and producers for your recordings? How do you find them? And who are the most important creative people you have worked with thus far.

Andi Young: I do. Yeah I pick the ones I wanna work with. I try a few engineers and pick the one for the final recording. Yes, it is a long process for me, because I want my audience to hear the best quality. Every producer and engineer that I have worked with has made me grow. I learned from every body.

  1. What is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far, and one you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?

Andi Young: You gotta be strong enough to be yourself. Think about it, it’s too hard to be strong and be yourself, but it is the best advice an artist can follow.

  1. If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Andi Young: Original, classic? And special haha.

Andi-Young-star

  1. Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

Andi Young: Internet is too important now. Every artist needs a platform and the internet provides lots of opportunities to be heard.

  1. What is the title of your upcoming debut release and where and when can fans find it?

Andi Young: I released Time To Say Goodbye, and Star and You Go Left I Go Right, and there will be a few more songs coming up.

  1. Are the songs on your EP predominantly personal and confessional or more in pursuit of the greater world that surrounds us all?

Andi Young: Personal, intimate, confessional and the exploration of the world haha all in one. That’s why we write songs right?

  1. As you work your way through your career, which more than any other fires-up your imagination – A Grammy award, Platinum music sales or some other tangible milestone? 

Andi Young: Music sales are contaminated these days, and Grammy maybe, but these are not very important to me actually. I want to be there for my audience, you know what I mean? Like if one day I hear from someone telling me a story of how any of my song helped him or her go through a difficult time, then you know what, that’ll be the pinnacle of my life, and that is why I wanna do music.

  1. What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career? 

Andi Young: Nothing.

BY JEENA JOHNSON

Valley Of Kings are a very soulful Rock band from the heartland of East Sussex, made up of frontman songwriter and producer Dar.Ra, Aiden Purdey and Rory Purdey, and recently witnessed that music still holds the power to reach people beyond words after creating music workshops in a Dementia care home in East Sussex recently.  It was surprising to see how the residents responded to hearing music and how it triggered off past memories which brought happiness and laughter to the residents.

Dar.Ra has graced the UK national charts and dance charts with two top 40’s and two number one dance records with acts signed to EMI, BMG, Festival Records (Australia) plus remixed legends like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Tears 4 Fears, Urban Harmonix ft Rachel Brown (Faithless, Groove Armada) and many others along the way.  His first solo album Soul Hours released in 2010 made album of the week of Spain’s Heart FM as well as receiving support from BBC Radio, playing to over 1 million people on an air live show.

The Purdey brothers add soul to the unit, and they have a huge amount of musical DNA in their blood being related to the late great John Martyn OBE who had a 40 year career, and worked with some of the greats from Eric Clapton to Dave Gilmore.

Valley Of Kings

The boys got the band together after finding out they loved the same records and began playing shows in the South East. They wrote an album in 6 months, booked into Neil Costello’s (Paul Macartney/Stevie Wonder) studio and recorded the whole thing in 8 hours. The boys wanted to go back to the way records were made back in the days of the one take and release it mode.

They recorded their debut EP Midnight and found something interesting happened when Dar.Ra was doing his music workshop in a Dementia care home.

Music has a natural power to go beyond words, people with dementia hold key memories which can be triggered by certain songs which can stimulate the mind, releasing endorphins which can lift a person’s spirit, when nothing else can.

‘While playing certain songs it’s an amazing thing to see someone go from staring into space to seeing a smile break out on their face, and suddenly they want to move their body and play along to the music, it is like witnessing magic happen’.

After playing a set of tracks one of the staff put on the Midnight Live EP, the response from the residents was to play along to it, while others where tapping their feet, which was the most wonderful experience to see, after all words had failed, but music made the difference.

The music industry has taken some near death blows since the internet and the Pop Idol shows and this has changed the way people respect music and musicians, so to see music being felt by people with no agendas restores any doubt in the power of music. It goes beyond chart success and back to the reason why music is so essential to the human soul.

The Valley of Kings create a hybrid of Rock, Soul, and Reggae, mixed with a high energy that makes the Live show well worth having a look at which you can do by coming down to Printers Playhouse Eastbourne where they will be headlining on the 16th Jan with support from up and coming mod influenced band The Gallery’s from Kent who recently supported Secret Affair.

The EP Midnight Live is out in Jan 2016 on Kusha Deep Recordsor more info contact

For more info contact Andy Purdey – 01323 833989

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House Of Guilty Pleasures

BY JEENA JOHNSON

Tommy Shafer is a 16 year old singer-songwriter from New Jersey who has been singing ever since he was inspired by Justin Bieber when he watched his 2011 Documentary “Never Say Never.” Tommy never got serious until March of 2012 when he picked up his dad’s Martin guitar and learned a few Justin Bieber songs. A few months later he bought his own Epiphone Hummingbird Acoustic guitar and soon enough he started posting YouTube videos and got a few hits. But Tommy didn’t stop there.

tommy-shafer-bt-350Tommy was writing songs and felt he needed to put them into some sort of collective effort. So he set his thoughts on putting together a 5-track EP. The problem was that neither he, nor his family, had the money to throw around into recording expenses, plus Tommy had no record label to invest in his music either. This resulted in him having to find a job to get the necessary funds, and then locating a studio to suit his budget- which is exactly what he did!

Luckily Tommy and his dad were able to handle all the production work by themselves – playing guitars, drums, keyboards and other acoustic instruments. Matthew Maroulakos took care of the engineering work. The result is Tommy Shafer’s debut EP “Breakthrough”.

What this is: a young musician’s first EP and a taste of his songwriting and vocal abilities. What this isn’t: the most complex, technical, perfected album. But it’s a very enjoyable body of work and achieves what it sets out to be- a showcase for Tommy Shafer’s raw talents. The music will make you think of the usual teenage star comparisons – while also making you wonder, hey this guy sounds a little different from those other artists. Tommy is not only a good singer and performer, but he is a great writer and a real musician – a key to being a success in the ‘real’ musical world.

tommy-shafer-bt-coverWhen you’re listening to his music you can’t help but appreciate his voice, because it is riveting and it gets to your core. The tracks here show many examples of Tommy’s fine all-round abilities, but he’s still in the fixing stages, so we will have to hang on a while before he engages the avenue he will eventually follow. While there are some songs I like more than others, there is not one song that I dislike. The strong ones definitely include “In My Eyes”, “I Am Right Here” and “One and Only Girl”. These songs have class and depth, with just a touch of that naïve honesty rarely found in older musicians, yet at the same time he delivers heartfelt performances with a maturity that belies his years.

The music and lyrics mesh well, while Tommy kept his inspirations flowing throughout the EP. His supple voice is light and sweet, but has a depth that indicates that he is growing up. The lyrics are well-written and every part of each song goes together. There are certainly nods to artists that have influenced him but this is no copy-cat EP, as Tommy goes all-out to demonstrate the quality of his music. He performs catchy songs completely devoid of “pimpin’” and “ho’s”. And that’s a tall order in the current music scene. Tommy is working hard to get where he wants to be, and his music is certainly meant for everyone.

Tommy Shafer has the musical abilities that you rarely see in an artist of his age. He feels the songs he sings and makes you feel them too. Personally I think he could go very far and I look forward to watching how he develops and manipulates his career from here on out!

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE – YOUTUBE – FACEBOOK – TWITTER – INSTAGRAM – ITUNES

BY JEENA JOHNSON

One of the youngest up-and-coming artists representing the “New West”, born and raised in San Diego California. Kam Wil has the streets talking, Kam has been in a studio making music since he was in the 10th grade (2008). His debut mixtape “The Great Mixtape” was released on his birthday 4/18/14, he then re-released the mixtape on livemixtapes.com7/31/14 with a lot of extra things added. Kam Wil cites The Notorious B.I.G, Snoop Dogg and 50 cent as the biggest influences in his music.

Kam Wil (photo by @dalelasoul)

“I Want You ft Bryson Tiller [prod by DALETHEEWHVLE]” is undeniably a laidback sofa anthem. Though mellow, this song has heat, so you can ride to it too! There have not been too many rap tracks that have come out over the past few years that are not worth the space it takes up on your drive. A lot of newer rappers seem to have no talent. They can’t rap, the beats sounds like it was thrown together in a few minutes, and every song sound almost the same. Thank heavens that artists like Kam Wilhave got it.

Sure it’s got catchy RnB vocal hooks and mainstream appeal, but the trump card is in Kam Wil’s flow. It is easy going, vital and simple to understand – not the usual preachy in-your-face, braggadocio stuff. He has refined his game to near perfection here.

While the production by DALETHEEWHVLE is sumptuously delicious, Kam Wil displays a controlled sense of urgency, swiftness and acuteness in his flow, as he rolls and rhymes throughout the verses. Finding comfort with a pen and a pad, we get to see a much more reflective and sensitive side to Kam Wil as he serenades his lady and toasts to seduction and love, which to me makes his persona even more interesting.

All-round, Kam Wil lays it down straight. “I Want You ft Bryson Tiller [prod by DALETHEEWHVLE]”is tight with a phat beat and a smooth vocal jam.

Social Media:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KamWilthegreat
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kamwilthegreat1x
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/kam-wil

BY JEENA JOHNSON

The song “Fever” was originally written by Eddie Cooley and Otis Blackwell, who used the pseudonym John Davenport. It was first recorded by Little Willie John in 1956, and has since been covered by numerous artists from various musical genres. Running through the musical annals of time, you will find a Moulin Rouge-type version by French female singer Lorie, a Disco version by Swedish artist, Madleen Kane. You might even bump into a Salsa mix done performed by Cuba’s La Lupe, or more classical styled versions by Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Michael Bubblé or John Farnham. Not to mention those by Madonna, Beyoncé, James Brown and indie-folk artist, Meiko. But this list is almost endless.

onur-selcuk-350aSo with that many varied and influential interpretations already doing the rounds, what would induce a creative mind like Onur Selcuk to piece together his super-clicked YouTube-watchable version – “Fever (Bayrasa Avant-Garde Mix)”? Well certainly not financial gain, as the video footnotes clearly state: This is strictly non-commercial, not to be released, not used for promotion, not monetized, no advertising revenue of any kind or any other financial gain. Under fair use, no copyright infringement intended. Strictly purposed for sharing and commenting with friends.”

So what was the real reason then? Well, WhatsApp, that’s what! Onur says that the whole idea came together after a group chat, while simply making plans for breakfast. Now if you’ve already shot over to watch the video out of sheer curiosity and are wondering from where the typewriter theme originated, or why the visuals have a retro look and feel, and how they fabricated the drum beats out of actual typewriter sounds, you need to know that Onur and friends are not your average videographers!

Onur Selcuk, who was a State Conservatory weekend attendee, has studied Film & Television at UCLA Extension, vocal technique at the prestigious Juilliard School, and has worked on TV commercial sets and Broadway productions. In turn he is now coaching vocalists and teaching voice for actors. On hand to help Onur rebuild “Fever” from the ground up, were music arranger Ozan Bayrasa, screenplay writer Zeliha Sönmez, sound mixer Murat Bulut, and backing vocalists Sibel Gursoy and Tuba Onal Kozanoğlu.

onur-selcuk-350bOnur Selcuk has a singing style that is at once a throwback to the crooner days and then completely new. If you’re looking to hear a male vocalist with that ‘doesn’t sound like he’s been sucking in helium’, or just looking to hear someone who can really sing and doesn’t need to scream at an audience to prove it, you owe it to yourself to check this out. Onur has a more than competent voice, an interesting style and a natural flair when it comes to singing pop classics like “Fever”, or rather “Fever (Bayrasa Avant-Garde Mix)”, the new version title.  I would really love to hear him sing some original music too.

In comparison to modern-day singers in a similar niche, such as Michael Bubblé or Harry Connick Jr., Onur brings a more individual style and sensuality to the music which has nothing to do with body movement or physical attributes, but rather a performing attitude. Onur’s rendition of “Fever” plays with the tempo and adds a few percussive tricks to make this Chillout Lounge version all his own. He sings this with an understated enthusiasm and panache that is practically infectious; no unnecessary breathless whispering, nor any over the top screaming. Onur Selcuk sings it straight, and never misses a beat. Together with an all-round sublime and classy music production, and superbly filmed video clip, “Fever (Bayrasa Avant-Garde Mix)”, ignites an even brighter flame into the burning fire that is “Fever”!

OFFICIAL LINKS: TWITTER – INSTAGRAM – FACEBOOK – YOUTUBE

BY JEENA JOHNSON

Written and produced by Steve Lieberman with the exception of three cover tunes by The Who, Chicago, and the Jim Carroll Band, “Terminator V617F” is Steve’s 25th CD release and features 15-tracks of genuine Gangsta Rabbi-styled industrial metal jazz-rock. The project title made of letters and numbers has a meaning that is as equally important as each song. The (JAK2) V617F is a chromosome mutation causing several types of myeloprolifirative leukemias, including Lieberman’s disease (post Polycythemia Vera Myelofibrosis).

Steve Lieberman who played alongside Weezer and opened for the Misfits, Andrew W.K. and the late Dunn and Vito, completed “Terminator V617F” within 2 months after receiving news that his cancer had become terminal. Brooklyn-born Steve has built a successful career off his unorthodox approach within the industrial rock genre largely due to his signature use of distorted bass, guitars and other instruments such as flutes, saxophones, trombones and melodica.

Steve Lieberman

Some albums are a nexus and a microcosm all their own. This is one of them. This collection of obscure, dissonant tunes will still be kicked around speakers fifty years from now. I have no doubt of it. This album won’t fail to animate and invigorate the souls of those who hear it, it’s a virus in the classic Burroughsian sense, but a virus that fortifies and awakens those who are lucky enough to catch it: This music is passion in its rawest and most vitriolic form.

The first time I listened to “Terminator V617F”, frankly, I didn’t like it. The music was too fast and it was devoid of any melody. Steve’s vocals were screamed so fast and unintelligibly, that it turned me off at first. But there was something infectious about the music that kept me coming back for more. Then I started analyzing the lyrics. They cut with such razor sharp poignancy and heartfelt honesty that the music started to make my stomach churn. I finally got it. This music blew away my old punk and metal records. Steve Lieberman presented his emotions in an honest and beautiful way.

Though often sounding like a casual jam, musically Steve is tighter than 95 percent of the hardcore bands around, and the music stands up. This is revolutionary stuff. I mean who else would blend the diversity of horn instrumentation that Steve does, into a fast-paced, grinding rock raucous like “Terminator V617F”.  All I know is that I can put this record on in my room and roll around like an idiot, get all sweaty, and shout along, and love every second of it. This record transcends punk, hardcore, metal or any B.S. music label that you can think of.

Steve Lieberman is the epitome of musical individualism. Fighting the desire to conform to the assimilating establishment, this album is more of a tribute to ideals than to pervading mediocrity. Granted this is no easy album to listen to. You will need ears of steel, but at least with Steve there isn’t such thing as a dull moment, and this 15-track compilation does much to cement that fact. It’s like being on a rollercoaster ride, going higher and higher, further and further, where the air becomes so thin you can no longer breathe…from sheer excitement and anticipation!

I won’t bother with breaking down song title as they are self-explanatory once you get the album. Suffice to say that every song is an adrenaline rush of therapeutic emotion. By the end, you will discover that “Terminator V617F” is much more melodic than you thought, and much less insane than you believed.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE – SOUNDCLOUD – FACEBOOK