Posts Tagged ‘siriusxm’

BY JEENA JOHNSON

Haj was born and raised in Queens, NY to a family of Punjabi descent. This 80’s baby learned the meaning of hard work and loyalty growing up in the streets of NY. He’s always had a strong passion and love for music. His musical inspiration originates from his favorite emcee Nas. Haj’s latest release, the single “Whole World”, is one of those songs that become part of your life’s soundtrack. It’s catchy, uplifting and makes you want to groove along. It inspires warmth and a sense of well-being that can change your perspective in an instant.

HAJ-WORLDThis song appeals to any generation, race or creed. “Whole World” will touch your soul and trigger a visceral reaction in you. We need as much music of this nature as we can get to deal with this crazy world of ours. The music pulsates with regularity of wonderful heartbeats. Musically it kicks into gear with a quirky keyboard of sorts, using a repeating electric piano chord, while a sturdy snapping drum comes in, accompanied by Haj’s smooth sing-song voice declaring: “ I got the whole world in my hand and I know I can change it.”

Throughout the song Haj describes the emotion of brotherly love and making the world a better place – not as a far-fetched theoretical concept, but as a real living entity that has a physical nature, and through which happiness could easily reached. He sings: “Change started from the bottom, just think about it. Pyramids weren’t built from the top.” And then he further explains: “First love yourself, then love another.” And firmly concludes the concept with: “Raise your mind, raise your voice. Change the world like only you can.”

HAJ-PROFILEWhat is most impressive is the nature of this song’s possibly massive cultural impact. While trendy songs have always come and gone in the past, even ones that had a positive message to them, it’s been a very long time since a song that represented pop music in a musically meaningful and sophisticated nature has such a positive source of inspiration. I remember Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, coming from a similar place of peace, but with different connotations.

Mood-enhancing, but with a stripped down musical production, Haj as deliberately created a soundscape which allows the lyrics to be clearly upfront and not lost in a surplus of sound or trapped in a bunch of rambling and ranting rap verses. Haj has kept things simple and uncluttered, allowing the song’s message to arrive in a timely manner.  I think if everyone listened to this song and truly followed its example, one day, all around the world, everything would change in an instant!

OFFICIAL LINKS: YOUTUBE – SPOTIFY – APPLE MUSIC – ITUNES – INSTAGRAM

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This one’s for all you country lovers out there: Vince Gill is back.

Three years after his last album released, the country legend is back with Down To My Last Bad Habit, his 20thfull length album in a storied 32 year career. In the days of Taylor Swift and Luke Bryan, Gill keeps his classic country twang. Listening to this album is nothing if not reminiscent of how country music used to be.

The first track on the album, “Reasons for the Tears I Cry,” brings that honky-tonk sound that makes you want to put on your cowboy boots and start line dancing. Vince’s soulful voice is no different here than it was in “When I Call Your Name,” one of his biggest hits in 1989. If you’re looking for consistency in quality, Down To My Last Bad Habit is the album you’ll want to hear.

The title track strays away from the honky-tonk vibe that we’re introduced to and slows things down a bit with the country crooner singing about giving up all of his bad habits but one: his former love interest. Again, the style of this track greatly resembles the late ‘80s and early ‘90s country that classic country lovers will be very familiar with. Familiarity is key with this album, but none of it is repetitive or derivative in the least.

Finishing off the album, we get a true tear-jerker in “Sad One Comin’ On.” The song delivers that true country cryin’ music and the song hits home, especially for Vince Gill and classic country lovers alike — it was written for his long time friend and country legend George Jones, who passed away in 2013.

This track is the perfect way to close out the album, bringing true emotion and finishing with that soulful voice that all true country music lovers will remember and appreciate.

You can listen to the album in its entirety here, or download it on iTunes.

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?

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  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.

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  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

Bobby Craymer the musician has decided to come out of hiding. A real life story of a playing musician who decided to walk away from music 25 years ago, to pursue a real life, yet in his heart and soul he wondered “Where did the music go…” A few people found him in Los Angeles leading a very different life and slowly with the ease it takes to walk and talk and with patience, showed him a very different music business than the one he walked away from. Bobby Craymer has since dropped a series of singles on his Soundcloud profile, one of which is “She Comes To Me”. Totally outstanding and thoroughly entertaining Craymer is priceless, a true gem in the world of pop-rock. Years after his debut he is back with this new track and it certainly holds up to expectations.

bobby-craymer-350The song has words that ring out about inward struggles, enlightenment and truth. The words emote, and are compelling because they fit so well with the melody and production of sound. The harmony speaks, the singer speaks, the guitar speaks, the song seems to be reaching out… trying to communicate a bigger picture. The beauty is that the bigger picture is never quite defined, yet it’s right there, and if you’ve experienced it, then the song comes home to the heart.

Bobby Craymer has some great ideas fleshed out into strong melodic rock. On top of that, it is obvious that his music is a serious labor of love, no sloppy playing, singing, or messy recording, a completely professional effort. “She Comes To Me” is a bold re-emergence of a songwriting talent after a 25 year hiatus. There is just something different about this guy. I have to say that he is what I would call a true artist. If you know his work, you know that there is no discernable compromise in his art. Whether it is his first record or his most recent, this is a guy who seems to do what he does because he was made that way. His lyrics, arrangements and vocal harmonies all make sense according to his own true calling.

Bobby Craymer’s music is not too difficult to articulate, the purity, and the intimacy of it feels, to me, so close. There are many great artists out there, but at the end of the day, my favorites are the ones that ‘speak to me’. Listening to Craymer’s latest tracks feels like being at an intimate house concert. The words are clear and heartfelt, and the musical arrangements are just enough, while Craymer’svoice is in perfect form. As a result his songs have a sense of familiarity about it while also feeling fresh. Lots of images and feelings arise as you close your eyes and just listen to “She Comes To Me”; very powerful stuff indeed.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE – REVERBNATION – FACEBOOK

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

Randy Ichinose is a 22 year-old Italian musician. He released his first shoegaze E.P. “All Pilots at the Ready” in 2013 and in February 2016 he released his first L.P. “C’Est la Vie”. Randy is from a region of Italy where both Italian and French are official languages so his song are written in both these languages. Randy is a strict vegan and vegan activist since 2012, Randy sings and plays all of the instruments in his songs.

“C’Est la Vie”, contains a rich mixture of styles and emotions, varying from quieter, reflective numbers (such as 055 (feat. Chris Holoyda) and C’Est La Dose Qui Fait Le Poison) to mid-tempo power pop (Jusqu’à ce que Chaque Cage Soit ) to full on rock (Jason GideonIl Cuore (feat. Milouze Gondek) and Esto Gaza). The one constant is that the songwriting and performances are consistently excellent.  There are some rock anthems on here that just blow the doors off of anything that came out since the era of post grunge sound-alike bands.

The album artwork

The songs flow and the structures are cohesive, but you won’t find any pretentiousness in this – just some of the most gorgeous, emotional, dynamics-laden and rocking music ever made. This album sweeps you away with its grand rhythmic crescendos and Randy Ichinosepowerful, echoed and emotive vocals. The best part of this album though, is the songwriting, which is the most difficult thing to appreciate in popular music. No tricks, no slick studio stuff, just good music.

An amazing use of guitar textures and sonic landscaping makes “C’Est la Vie” one of the most interesting rock albums of the year so far. It takes a couple of listens to appreciate all the songs, but some will stand out during the first listen. There are killer riffs and lots of electric guitar mastery, but no masturbatory solos, as Randy does not spend any time being arty, pretentious and showing off. Sudden musical shifts from meandering melodic to flat-out rocking, vivid synthetic properties, soaring choruses, and an overall love for crafting multi-layered guitar music are put on display here.

Few bands can write something as convincingly crossover, vintage, grunge, emo and shoegaze as this, on one album. Randy Ichinose’s voice is so expressive and versatile, alternately tough and tender. He can go from sweetly sensitive to bitterly venomous in two seconds flat. Generally, the guitars churn relentlessly like machinery, but they sometimes flutter around like strange butterflies, once in a while jangling, and occasionally screaming in overload. “C’Est la Vie”represents Randy Ichinose’s pinnacle (thus far), especially in terms of achieving his rocking atmospheric sound as well as writing some of his best songs.

 

OFFICIAL LINKS: BLOG – BANDCAMP – YOUTUBE

BY JEENA JOHNSON

February’s set to get a big surprise. So, what surprise should people expect out of the rest of the month? A surprise for the music community, of course. Top online music production companySongCat will release advice videos so good, even Taylor Swift’s musical director trusts it. Amid the good advice, SongCat received some good news of its own. The company’s recent client satisfaction survey revealed positive results and its growth will approach 50 percent throughout the rest of this year.

MUSICAL ADVICE ANYONE CAN TRUST… EVEN TAYLOR SWIFT’S MUSICAL DIRECTOR

In an age where online resources help get people off the ground, SongCat’s importance shines. SongCat, best known as an online song demo and music production studio, regularly publishes videos about different topics related to music. Back in October, SongCat announced their intentions to publish the series on a monthly basis. The monthly releases make SongCat’s series perfect for those who need advice about, well, anything to do with music.

But that’s not the only reason.

The series provides free video advice to upcoming musicians. Getting such advice for free means everything to newbies. Many of these videos feature advice you usually can’t get free. SongCat’s topics include performing, songwriting and legal matters in the music industry.

January’s edition revealed some essential tips for first timers heading to the recording studio. Within the video, SongCat advised upcoming artists what to expect when they’re planning to record in a studio for the first time. Of course, SongCat also took the opportunity to announce February’s edition.

The topic? Songwriting collaboration agreements.

Top entertainment lawyer Wallace Collins is set to present February’s edition. A regular Billboard Magazine contributor, Collins has also been featured in New York Post, The New York Times and Daily News. He’s also provided legal assistance for Madonna’s, Justin Timberlake’s and, yes, Taylor Swift’s musical directors.

SURE SUCCESS FOR SONGCAT?

So… SongCat’s experiencing exceptional growth. The company’s Client Satisfaction Survey results revealed information about its overall quality and growth.

The recent survey showed all respondents said they ‘would recommend SongCat to their friends and co-workers.’ They’re also pretty happy with SongCat’s overall service quality. Eighty percent of clients also said their SongCat experience was ‘better than their experience at other production companies.’ Twenty percent of the remaining client’s said their services ‘were pretty much the same as what they experienced with competitors.’

SongCat’s CEO Chris Erhardt naturally commented about the results. After presenting the results, Erhardt said:

‘Our Spring 2015 survey showed clients requested more variety for musical genres and vocals. SongCat is a strong production company for Pop projects, but not so much in other genres. Our company’s worked very hard and trained our musicians while recruiting new talent. Thanks to that, we’re more capable of producing music in any commercial genre. But I’m delighted our clients remain happy with our current services, even for Country, Folk and Rock music projects.’

WHAT’S NEXT FOR SONGCAT THIS YEAR?

The company promises a lot for 2016. So, what should people expect from SongCat this year?

Exceptional growth, of course. SongCat’s growth rate hit 48 percent by 2015’s fourth quarter. SongCatalso looks to improve their existing services. The company relaunched their website this month. The update introduced improved performance, web security and user friendliness to their site.

So, to close, here are Chris Erhardt’s comments about his expectations for SongCat in 2016:

‘Clients would like to get more involved in the production process from start to finish. Now, we’re constantly working to make sure it’s possible for those who want to do so. Our clients challenged us to expand our available music genres last May. We succeeded and are now capable of producing anything from Pop to Rock to Country and more. Our new challenge is different—it involves engineering a highly technical web feature. SongCat’s accepted the challenge. We’re confident SongCat users will gain more options for their music projects in the upcoming year.’