A music executive on LinkedIn discussed how TikTok is only good for producing “One-Hit-Wonders” while specifically naming Lil Nas X as one of them, with his first number 1 hit, Old Town Road.
I couldn’t disagree more, but I kept my trap shut because LinkedIn is for professional connections and I’m not trying to get into a Twitter argument on a professional platform.
TikTok is incredible for artists AND labels alike. It’s a great place for A&Rs, like myself, to discover great new artists…like Lil Nas X.
Not to mention, Lil Nas X is far from a “one-hit-wonder. He has had several hits since Old Town Road. His track Holiday reached number 37 on the Billboard Hot 100. Panini hit number 5, and Rodeo hit number 22.
With all due respect to this music executive…this is one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a long time.
TikTok creators…keep creating. Put yourself out there. You don’t know who’s watching.
Labels and music executives…use TikTok. Discover the unbelievable talent on the platform. You might find your next Lil Nas X.
Here’s Lil Nas X with his next hit, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
The Kid LAROI – Shot For Me
A week after LAROI’s feature on Justin Bieber’s new album, Justice, the 17-year-old Australian rapper dropped a piano version of Drake‘s 2011 hit, Shot For Me. This track comes out as a part of Spotify’s Single Session. The Kid has already blown up in Australia, and Spotify has taken notice.
Here is The Kid LAROI’s cover of Drake’s Shot For Me.
24kGoldn – Love or Lust
Another TikTok star proving my point that some music executives don’t always know what they are talking about, 24kGoldn releases another gem off of his debut album El Dorado.
24kGoldn dropped out of the University of Southern California to pursue his music career. TikTok helped him succeed…and succeed quickly.
If you know him from TikTok, you know the single that blew up on the app, Valentino. If you discovered him with the rest of the world, you know him from his number 1 hit, Mood.
I love this new track. It hits a lot differently than Mood does, and I am into it.
Tate McRae – bad ones
The 17-year-old Canadian singer began her performance career as a dancer on So You Think You Can Dance?
You probably know her from her hit single You Broke Me First. From her new EP, too young to be sad, here is her next hit, bad ones.
These are my four featured tracks for the week. There is some really good new stuff from Rag n’ Bone Man, Evanescence, Demi Lovato, and so much more right here on Spotify’s weekly New Music Friday playlist.
Welcome to another edition of Le Café Music Blog’s Indie ArtistInterview. Today, we’re joined by Jim from a dope-ass rock band, JIP.
Ryan: What’s up Jim? Thanks for joining us today. I understand there are four of you guys in JIP. How about a little introduction?
Jim: Singer / Songwriter / Rhythm Guitar: Jim Gwynn Drums & Percussion: Mike Charbonneau Bass: Bruce Smith Lead Guitar: Spencer Watson We’re all from one of the Chicago Burbs.
Ryan: It’s your 20th anniversary this year, tell us about your plans for the year
Jim: JIP started as a solo project in 2001 by Jim and quickly turned to Spencer for help on the second album. Bruce wasn’t on our last record Last Call and said we should so another studio album. Then Mike said…let’s release a song a week.
That turned into the 52 song weekly release that is happening this year EVERY Monday on YouTube:
Jim: So many awesome opportunities came up including all the celebrity songs that will start to be released next week. Essentially I asked each celebrity what you think JIP sounds like and then wrote a song based on their response. It was silly and so much damn fun. These weekly songs are ALL leading up to our Full Length Studio album due in Summer 2021 which is in process at Million Yen Studios with Andy Gerber in Chicago.
Ryan: That is so f*cking awesome. You guys are just casually hopping on Zoom with Jack Black.
20 Years of Rock
Ryan: 20 years. I’ve wanted to throw a few band members out of a window after working with them for an hour. How have you not killed each other by now?
Jim: We like each other and don’t ask a lot of each other until it’s game time. I’ve been friends with Spencer for 25 years. Mike for over a decade and Bruce for 6 or 7 years. In my mind we are friends first.
Ryan: That’s awesome, man. Nothing better than a band that just gels on and off stage. So you guys are writing and releasing a new song every week? That’s gotta be hectic. What’s your process for that?
Jim: The process is as hectic as an effin’ pandemic. I wrote over 100 thoughts / songs in the past year. We were also pent up since our last record came our nearly 6 years ago. I kept chasing opportunity and things that made me smile. This is how the Kenny Carkeet (Awolnation) & celebrity stuff all happened. I edited down what was going to be on the ACTUAL record in the Summer of 2021 as my favorite and most fun of the bunch. I’m so pumped for this record to see the light of day.
Ryan: What is your favorite track you’ve ever released?
Jim: We’re best known for Rock Hard Soul which is awesome. The fact that Rock Hard Soul opened a comedy special that got almost a million hits, and that Dian Bachar is in our video is the coolest. My best memory is recording the final track of our last record Last Callcalled Unknowns. We played that song live and I really thought that was the end of the best thing I would ever do. Hence the title of this new album called, Thought This Was Over.
Ryan: Who are your biggest musical influences?
Jim: 90’s alt Rock. I’m a Q101 kid and my dad woke me up with AC/DC. I taught myself how to play guitar because I didn’t want to sound like anyone, but you can hear influences in my vocals or structure of songs. Local H, Oasis, Semisonic, Tracy Bonham, PUSA, and Ben Folds come to mind. Being serious does not mean you can’t have fun.
Ryan: Hell yeah, man. I remember hearing Hell’s Bells for the first time when I was like 9. I think I had an out of body experience. Those are some great artists to be influenced by. Give me one artist you would love to collaborate with.
Jim: Scott Lucas is the first and easiest answer. He is Chicago to me.
Life Outside of Music
Ryan: What do you enjoy outside of music?
Jim: Being a dad. Seeing life through new eyes has been amazing and it’s also a full time job. My wife and I are still in the mode of teaching him things we love. Other than that stand up comedy and podcasts occupy the day alongside working my “real” job.
Ryan: Congrats on fatherhood, that’s awesome. Ah, real job. What’s the weirdest day job you’ve ever had?
Jim: I’ve slung pizza at the best of establishments across Illinois
Ryan: What were you like as a kid?
Jim: Playful and inclusive. I still operate as a chameleon just as I did then. I still want people to have a good time together even if we don’t agree on everything.
Ryan: That’s a great attitude. We need more people like you in this world. If you could go on a date with any other musician, who would it be?
Jim:Tracy Bonham. I had my chance once upon a time and stayed true to the one I was with. Tracy was one of the first singers I heard that made my skin tingle. We worked together on a track on our album Year X, but I’d love to spend a week in a studio with her.
Ryan: You’ve got good taste, my friend.
Ryan: Other than the new song every Monday, what are you doing to stay connected to your fans during the pandemic?
Jim: Letting them know we’re still alive and giving away free shit. Every Monday is a new song this year and every Wednesday is a free thing in our Facebook Group
Ryan: Free stuff is the best stuff. Now, obviously, there aren’t many performance opportunities. Hypothetically, If you could do a gig in any city in the world today, where would it be and why?
Jim: I would headline the Metro in Chicago. Playing that stage for the first time was a dream. I’ve been across this country and no other venue has made me feel the way the Metro does. It has a lot to do with memories of being 15 and seeing Stabbing Westward in that place alongside the 100 other shows.
Ryan: Man, I lived in Chicago for a minute when I was young and broke. That’s one spot I just never had a chance to check out. It’s on my list for sure.
Going To The Movies
Ryan: I know you’re into comedy. What’s your favorite comedy film of all time? Not best…favorite.
Jim:Orgazmo. There is no other choice for me. It’s why my best friends Eric & Spencer are linked together. “I am Sancho”
Ryan: Yes! Haha that movie is hilarious. If they made a movie about your band, what actors would portray you guys?
Jim: Me: Tom Everett Scott Spencer: Ben Affleck Mike: David Arquette Bruce: Nicholas Hoult
Ryan: What’s next for you guys? Other than the movie…
Jim: We’re going to lead up all of these Monday releases to our 8th Album in the Summer of 2021. I hope it sees light. I’ve given everything for this to be fun and easy to listen to. This album is everything to me right now.
Ryan: Thanks for joining us today, Jim. I really appreciate it. Anything you’d like to say to our readers before we wrap it up?
Jim: Thanks for giving us the time of day. Please play along and listen to these songs on Mondays on YouTube at youtube.com/JIPOMSH Keep an eye out for our record coming this Summer called Thought This Was Over It’ll place you right back in the sweet spot of 90’s alt rock and make you smile.
Happy New Music Friday, everyone, and welcome to the weekend! It’s a good day for all my Beliebers out there. Justin Bieber dropped his 6th studio album at midnight.
If you’re not a Belieber, it’s cool. We have music for everyone.
Justin Bieber – Peaches ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon
Justin Bieber released his much anticipated studio album, Justice…and there is already legal trouble brewing.
French dance duo, Justice claims Bieber intentionally used the same “cross t” that they use as their logo. There’s a lot going on with that, so you can read about it here at Rolling Stone. In the meantime, I’ll let you be the judge:
What do you guys think? Justified lawsuit? Let me know in the comments!
Now, let’s get to Peaches. I’m not gonna lie…this song is a vibe. Unfortunately, I have a feeling radio stations are going to play this song out until everyone hates it by the end of summer. I don’t even smoke (often), but this song has me considering a trip to the dispensary.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of Justice on all streaming sources.
Lana Del Rey – White Dress
The music video for White Dress from her new album Chemtrails Over the Country Club just dropped, and Lana fans are all standing around in a puddle of tears.
“How do I join in the sobfest?” you ask? Watch the video for White Dress right here.
Nick Jonas – Selfish ft. Jonas Brothers
Nick recently released his Spaceman Deluxe Album which includes a new track where Nick is joined by his brothers…but not all of them. Kevin and Joe are obviously on the track, but I just recently found out there’s a “Bonus Jonas.”
20-year-old Frankie Jonas was too young to be an original Jonas Brother, so he had to rise to fame on TikTok.
For a little nostalgia, if you’re a little younger than I am…here is Nick, Kevin, and Joe with Selfish.
Snoop Dogg – CEO
You guys…Snoop is back!
Snoop is the CEO. The CEO of Indoggo Gin. That’s right. Snoop is officially in the Gin n’ Juice game.
This music video is just a 4 minute advertisement for Indoggo, but the song slaps so hard. When I think hip hop, Snoop is one of the first artists I think of.
Here’s the Dogfather with CEO
New Music Friday Conclusion
Thanks for checking in with Le Café Music Blog for New Music Friday! We’ll be back with some Indie Artist Interviews this week, so hit that follow button on the right >
For the Spotify playlist of this week’s newest tracks, listen here!
Last night’s 2021 Grammy awards finally took place at the Staples Center in Las Angeles after being postponed due to COVID. In case you missed it, we have the full list of winners and the best…and the worst of the live performances.
I have to start by giving props to Trevor Noah. Hosting an awards show is hard enough as it is. He did it with NO audience. Just a few cameras in his face and the nominees sitting at socially distanced tables with masks on. It felt a bit awkward at the beginning, but he found his groove and he did an incredible job.
Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
Harry Styles kicked the show off with his hit, Watermelon Sugar. It was pretty cool to see the performers just performing for each other like a jam session. Here is Harry and his feather boa.
Billie Eilish – Everything I Wanted
Billie took the stage with her bother, Finneas O’Connell to perform Everything I Wanted. I’m not gonna lie…I am a Billie Eilish stan. She’s incredible. Check out a short snippet here.
Haim – Steps
This is my first experience with Haim, and I gotta say…I’m a fan. There’s only a 38 second clip, so here it is!
Black Pumas – Colors
I love the Black Pumas. So soulful, so unique compared to everything that’s currently out there. They were up for 3 Grammys last night, including Record of the Year
DaBaby ft. Roddy Rich – Rockstar
It was a pretty dope performance. It’s a shame there’s only a 38 second clip to this one. I’ll give you an interview with ET Canada, which shows a bit more of the performance, and some 2 of my favorite Tweets from it.
Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez – Dakiti
This performance was pretty awesome. It felt like a music video. I have no idea what they said, but I enjoyed it.
Dua Lipa – Levitating ft. DaBaby/Don’t Stop Now
Dua Lipa is a crazy-good performer. Every movement is choreographed, from her steps to her fingers wrapping around the microphone. Precision at it’s finest. She’s a badass on that stage.
Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – Leave The Door Open
This was probably my favorite performance of the night. That could be my bias showing, as I’m a huge fan of both of these guys. They really go back to the 70’s with this one. I love it.
Taylor Swift – Medley
Taylor Swift was doing Taylor Swift things on stage. Not my cup of whisky, but she is great at what she does and I respect the hell out of her. She looked great, sounded great, and the set was beautiful. Here is 6 minutes of Tay Tay.
Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak – Good Golly, Miss Molly (Little Richard Tribute)
These guys can do no wrong. A great tribute to the late Little Richard.
Lionel Richie – Lady (Kenny Rogers Tribute)
In a beautiful tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, Lionel Richie sings a great rendition of Rogers’ hit, Lady.
Brandi Carlile – I Remember Everything (John Prine Tibute)
There is no video of this performance online yet, so I’ll give you Brandi’s interview about the performance.
Brittany Howard – You’ll Never Walk Alone (Feat. Chris Martin) Tribute to Gerry Mardsen
Brittany Howard is an absolute powerhouse. The Alabama Shakes singer teamed up with Chris Martin on the keys with this beautiful tribute to Gerry Marsden.
Mickey Guyton – Black Like Me
Sending a powerful message at a time we need it most, Guyton has a stunning voice and she really showed it last night.
Maren Morris and John Mayer – The Bones
Morris on vocals and Mayer on guitar…that’s a nice sound. I’m not a huge fan of the song, but Morris does have a beautiful voice and you can never go wrong with John Mayer on guitar.
Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion – WAP
Here’s where things get weird. Look, I respect both of these women and their art, and I congratulate them both on their achievements…but cancel culture has me a bit confused. You want to get rid of Dr Seuss books and Mr. Potato Head…but WAP (Wet Ass P*ssy) is cool to play on primetime television? I’m just confused where that line is for you cancelers out there. Personally, cancel culture is a bunch of bullshit and it’s getting out of hand.
Don’t get me wrong. They performed the shit out of this song. The choreography was on point and the set was dope. It also provided the GIF of the night, thanks to Post Malone. I laughed SO hard at his reaction.
Anyway, here’s WAP.
Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding
I need to know what was in that red solo cup he was drinking out of during WAP. Post put on a great show. He didn’t miss a note and it was an emotional performance.
Lil Baby – The Bigger Picture
In the wake of the trial for the death of George Floyd and the anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s tragic death, this performance was poignant.
Doja Cat – Say So
I’m a fan of Doja Cat and her performance last night was off the hook.
BTS – Dynamite
BTS always puts on a show. K-Pop artists are trained and groomed for years before they even hit a stage. Everything has to be spot-on. There is a dark side to that part of K-Pop, but that’s another story. These guys are dope and seeing K-Pop blow up in the US makes me really miss Korea.
Roddy Rich – Heartless / The Box
The final performance of the night provided great ending to a fun night of live music that I needed.
Record of the Year
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish — Winner
“Black Parade” — Beyoncé
“Colors” — Black Pumas
“Rockstar” — DaBaby featuring Roddy Ricch
“Say So” — Doja Cat
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Circles” — Post Malone
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé
Album of the Year
“Folklore” — Taylor Swift — Winner
“Chilombo” — Jhené Aiko
“Black Pumas” (Deluxe Edition) — Black Pumas
“Everyday Life” — Coldplay
“Djesse Vol. 3” — Jacob Collier
“Women in Music Pt. III” — Haim
“Future Nostalgia” — Dua Lipa
“Hollywood’s Bleeding” — Post Malone
Song of the Year
“I Can’t Breathe” — H.E.R. — Winner
“Black Parade” — Beyoncé
“The Box” — Roddy Ricch
“Cardigan” — Taylor Swift
“Circles” — Post Malone
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish
“If the World Was Ending” — JP Saxe featuring Julia Michaels
“Copland: Symphony No. 3” — Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony)
“Lutosławski: Symphonies No. 2 & 3” — Hannu Lintu, conductor (Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Best Opera Recording
“Gershwin: Porgy and Bess” — David Robertson, conductor; Angel Blue & Eric Owens; David Frost, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus) — Winner
“Dello Joio: The Trial at Rouen” — Gil Rose, conductor; Heather Buck & Stephen Powell; Gil Rose, producer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Odyssey Opera Chorus)
“Floyd, C: Prince of Players” — William Boggs, conductor; Keith Phares & Kate Royal; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; Florentine Opera Chorus)
“Handel: Agrippina” — Maxim Emelyanychev, conductor; Joyce DiDonato; Daniel Zalay, producer (Il Pomo D’Oro)
“Zemlinsky: Der Zwerg” — Donald Runnicles, conductor; David Butt Philip & Elena Tsallagova; Peter Ghirardini & Erwin Stürzer, producers (Orchestra Of The Deutsche Oper Berlin; Chorus Of The Deutsche Oper Berlin)
Best Choral Performance
“Danielpour: The Passion of Yeshua” — JoAnn Falletta, conductor; James K. Bass & Adam Luebke, chorus masters (James K. Bass, J’Nai Bridges, Timothy Fallon, Kenneth Overton, Hila Plitmann & Matthew Worth; Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus & UCLA Chamber Singers) — Winner
“Carthage” — Donald Nally, conductor (The Crossing)
“Kastalski: Requiem” — Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Charles Bruffy, Steven Fox & Benedict Sheehan, chorus masters (Joseph Charles Beutel & Anna Dennis; Orchestra Of St. Luke’s; Cathedral Choral Society, The Clarion Choir, Kansas City Chorale & The Saint Tikhon Choir)
“Moravec: Sanctuary Road” — Kent Tritle, conductor (Joshua Blue, Raehann Bryce-Davis, Dashon Burton, Malcolm J. Merriweather & Laquita Mitchell; Oratorio Society Of New York Orchestra; Oratorio Society Of New York Chorus)
“Once Upon a Time” — Matthew Guard, conductor (Sarah Walker; Skylark Vocal Ensemble)
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance
“Contemporary Voices” — Pacifica Quartet — Winner
“Healing Modes” — Brooklyn Rider
“Hearne, T,: Place” — Ted Hearne, Steven Bradshaw, Sophia Byrd, Josephine Lee, Isaiah Robinson, Sol Ruiz, Ayanna Woods & Place Orchestra
“Hynes: Fields” — Devonté Hynes & Third Coast Percussion
“The Schumann Quartets” — Dover Quartet
Best Classical Instrumental Solo
“Theofanidis: Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra” — Richard O’Neill; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony) — Winner
“Adés: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” — Kirill Gerstein; Thomas Adès, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)
“Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas” — Igor Levit
“Bohemian Tales” — Augustin Hadelich; Jakub Hrůša, conductor (Charles Owen; Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks)
“Destination Rachmaninov – Arrival” — Daniil Trifonov; Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor (The Philadelphia Orchestra)
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
“Smyth: The Prison” — Sarah Brailey & Dashon Burton; James Blachly, conductor (Experiential Chorus; Experiential Orchestra) — Winner
“American Composers at Play – William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lori Laitman, John Musto” — Stephen Powell (Attacca Quartet, William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lori Laitman, John Musto, Charles Neidich & Jason Vieaux)
“Clairières – Songs by Lili & Nadia Boulanger” — Nicholas Phan; Myra Huang, accompanist
“Farinelli” — Cecilia Bartoli; Giovanni Antonini, conductor (Il Giardino Armonico)
“A Lad’s Love” — Brian Giebler; Steven McGhee, accompanist (Katie Hyun, Michael Katz, Jessica Meyer, Reginald Mobley & Ben Russell)
Best Classical Compendium
“Thomas, M.T.: From the Diary of Anne Frank & Meditations on Rilke” — Isabel Leonard; Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Jack Vad, producer — Winner
“Adès Conducts Adès” — Mark Stone & Christianne Stotijn; Thomas Adès, conductor; Nick Squire, producer
“Saariaho: Graal Théâtre; Circle Map, Neiges, Vers Toi Qui Es Si Loin” — Clément Mao-Takacs, conductor; Hans Kipfer, producer
“Serebrier: Symphonic Bach Variations; Laments and Hallelujahs; Flute Concerto” — José Serebrier, conductor; Jens Braun, producer
“Woolf, L.P.: Fire and Blood” — Matt Haimovitz; Julian Wachner, conductor; Blanton Alspaugh, producer
“Adès: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” — Thomas Adès, composer (Kirill Gerstein, Thomas Adès & Boston Symphony Orchestra)
“Danielpour: The Passion of Yeshua” — Richard Danielpour, composer (JoAnn Falletta, James K. Bass, Adam Luebke, UCLA Chamber Singers, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra & Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus)
“Floyd, C.: Prince of Players” — Carlisle Floyd, composer (William Boggs, Kate Royal, Keith Phares, Florentine Opera Chorus & Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra)
“Hearne, T.: Place” — Ted Hearne, composer (Ted Hearne, Steven Bradshaw, Sophia Byrd, Josephine Lee, Isaiah Robinson, Sol Ruiz, Ayanna Woods & Place Orchestra)
Best Music Video
“Brown Skin Girl” — Beyoncé, Saint Jhn & Wizkid Featuring Blue Ivy Carter — Winner
“Life Is Good” — Future Featuring Drake
“Lockdown” — Anderson .Paak
“Adore You” — Harry Styles
“Goliath” — Woodkid
Best Music Film
“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” — Linda Ronstadt — Winner
“Beastie Boys Story” — Beastie Boys
“Black Is King” — Beyoncé
“We Are Freestyle Love Supreme” — Freestyle Love Supreme
“That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” — ZZ Top
Congratulations to Beyonce for breaking the record for most Grammy awards by a female artist. Congrats to The Weeknd, who is a Grammy winner in my eyes. Seriously though…what’s with the snub? Dude’s been in the top 10 all year. Number 1 for a good chunk of the year. Get it together over there.
Happy weekend, buttcakes! It’s New Music Friday! Last week’s NMF is going to be tough to beat. But there is some good stuff this week!
Selena Gomez ft. Myke Towers – Dámelo To’
Selena Gomez officially released her first 7-track EP entirely in Spanish, Revelación. In an interview with Apple Music, Selena said that a project is something she has wanted to do for 10 years because she is proud of her heritage.
Here is Dámelo To’, which means “Give it to me.” This song is about doin’ it.
Nick Jonas – 2Drunk
The most popular Jonas brother just released his studio album Spaceman. This is Jonas’ first solo album since 2016 when he released Last Year Was Complicated. When singing with his brothers, it’s that bubble gum pop for the teenage girls. Solo Nick Jonas is definitely leaning more to the R&B side.
This is definitely a song I can relate to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been waaaay 2Drunk.
Rosé – On The Ground
Blackpink and K-pop fans have been waiting for this album for a long time. Rosé’s first solo album, R dropped today and reactions have been mixed.
We have a little bit of everything from her fans. We’ll let you be the judge.
Here is Korean pop superstar, Rosé with On The Ground
Machine Gun Kelly ft. CORPSE – DAYWALKER!
Now for something completely different.
DAYWALKER! is intense and actually gives me anxiety…but I kind of like it. This song is its own new genre…like “Screamo Whisper Rap.” I know that doesn’t make any sense at all and is an absolute contradiction, but you’ll understand when you hear the song.
AJ Mitchell – Cameras On
AJ Mitchell does not get nearly enough attention. I started listening to him when I randomly heard I Don’t Want You Back and his vocals blew me away. This dude can hit some ball-crushing notes, and I think the 19-year-old deserves a much brighter spotlight.
Check out his new single, Cameras On
We had some highly-anticipated releases this week. None more anticipated than Rosé. There is a lot more to hear, so check out Spotify’s weekly New Music Friday playlist right here!
As announced by New Orleans officials yesterday, indoor live music is officially allowed to return in the Big Easy starting Friday.
There will obviously be some strict guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
No dancing allowed. Understandably so. It’s difficult to keep people 6 ft apart on a crowded dance floor. Makes sense.
Masks are still mandatory, along with proper ventilation, social distancing, and where the trumpet player can and can not empty their spit valve. All musicians must be 6 ft (1.8 meters) apart on stage and wear a mask while not playing their instruments. Bars will only allow 75 people inside, as well.
COVID has shut down the live music scene in the US and most other countries for nearly an entire year. New Orleans was one of the early hotspots in the country and has been dealing with on-and-off closures, making it difficult for bar owners and other small businesses to pay their rent.
Musicians have been out of work. Personally, I was performing with my band in Thailand, which was the first country outside of China to report cases. I, along with many others in the industry, was stranded in a different country with no source of income.
Musicians are hungry to get back to work. I know I am. I know many of our readers are as well.
The question has to be asked…
Is it too soon?
We’re not out of the woods with this virus yet. Do you think we should hold off until Summer and let more people get vaccinated? Should we say “f*ck it” so small businesses and musicians can get back to work right away?
I’m on the fence because I am a musician and I support small businesses. I’ve also felt the effects of this virus. It’s honestly no joke.
What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments!
I woke up to “YG Stop Sabotaging Lisa” trending on Twitter today. The alleged mismanagement of the Blackpink superstar from Thailand has been a topic of controversy for quite a while. Fans are officially tired of it.
Back in 2010, Lisa auditioned for YG Entertainment in Thailand at the age of 13. Out of 4,000 others, she was the only one chosen by the South Korean entertainment company. Yang Hyun-suk, CEO of YG, officially offered young Lisa a position as a trainee.
At 14, Lisa packed her bags and moved to Korea to become YG’s first non-ethnically Korean artist to join the company. Her training lasted 5 years before she officially made her debut as a member of Blackpink in 2016.
On February 2, 2021, #RespectLisa trended all over the internet after anti-fans racially abused Lisa. These comments mainly came from group chats in China and Turkey. They were based on her appearance and the fact that she is from Thailand…which is just plain ignorant. I lived in Thailand. It is a beautiful country and the people are lovely and attractive.
Leaked messages from the group chats called her ugly because she has dark skin, they said she looks like a man and even called her a “ladyboy” which is what Transgender people are labeled as in Thailand.
Real BLINKs came to her rescue with the hashtag, #RespectLisa.
The Korean pop industry is no stranger to scandal and controversy. Everything from sex slavery, prostitution, drug rings, assault, rape, and a string of suicides. Some really disturbing stuff. For some specific examples, watch this video:
YG is now being accused of sabotaging Lisa’s career in a variety of ways. They are making it look like simple mismanagement, but there seems to be a lot more to it.
#YGStopSabotagingLisa started trending on Twitter this morning. BLINKs are DONE with YG. Here are some examples.
Intentionally sabotaging her style. It is well-known that YG and other entertainment companies control everything their artists say, do, and wear.
Intentionally sabotaging her relationships with brands she is affiliated with.
Intentionally not providing security for her while other members are surrounded by bodyguards.
Intentionally leaving her out of Blackpink promotional materials.
In my opinion, it is clear that something fishy is going on with YG. In fact, it couldn’t be more obvious. If you are a Blackpink and Lisa fan, show her some love. #ygstopsabotaginglisa.
Lisa’s first solo album will be released soon and YG has not promoted it at all. Here’s her first single, Say So.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and show your support for Lisa!
Happy weekend, everyone. Welcome to New Music Friday. We’ve got a big week, including 2 out of 3 off of Drake‘s Scary Hours 2, Silk Sonic, Justin Bieber, and more.
Drake – What’s Next
This is probably my favorite track off of the 3-track EP, Scary Hours 2. Drake just doesn’t miss on this one. It’s 3 minutes and 20 seconds of straight fire.
Alright, we got the Twitter hype out of the way. Let’s get to the video!
Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – Leave The Door Open
This…is the definition of baby makin’ music. They put the silky part of Silk Sonic in this one. Anderson .Paak is so underrated as an artist, and Bruno is an absolute legend. The vocals are so smooth. I love the vibe.
I can’t get past the fact that Anderson .Paak looks like a young Dave Chappelle on the drums. Bruno looks like he’s in a 70’s buddy cop movie. I love it.
Justin Bieber – Hold On
Honestly, this sounds like pretty much every other Justin Bieber song to come out in the last year or 2, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His voice gets better with each track. And the lyrics have a great message, especially for the times we are living in right now.
Beliebers are losing their shit on Twitter
Also, I think I’m hearing a little sampling from the synth in Bette Davis Eyes by Kim Carnes, as my buddy P just pointed it out.
Tate McRae – Slower
The Canadian artist of You Broke Me First fame released Slower this week, with the announcement of a new EP too young to be sad, which will be released March 26.
I like the song, but I have a feeling radio stations are going to play it to death and I’ll end up hating it in a few weeks.
Drake ft. Lil Baby – Wants and Needs
There’s a little bit of controversy going around with this track. Twitter has been blowing up since midnight about it.
Some lyrics in Wants and Needs slyly suggest a possible scandal including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West…
Have a listen and tell me your thoughts in the comments.
I’d say it’s a pretty damn good week for new music. Drake, Biebs, Bruno and Paak…good stuff.
Be sure to hit that subscribe button and show me some love (or hate) in the comments!
For more new releases today, here’s Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist.
Welcome to another edition of Le Café Music’s Indie ArtistInterview Series. Today’s guest is dark pop indie artist, ya.
Now that I got that out of my system, let’s get this thing started.
Ryan: What’s up, ya! I’ve been looking forward to having you on! Can you give us a little intro?
ya: I go by the name ya. Eighteen years ago, I was born into a family of business working parents and one older sister, based in Moscow, Russia. Alongside the rest of the family and family friends coming over to our grand house parties hosted strictly every weekend, I grew up in what would be called a “holiday house”, somewhat far from the city, in its own isolated universe.
My music making began then, yes probably from the day I was born. It came to me naturally and noticing that, my parents (not too musical themselves) encouraged me to take vocal, opera and piano lessons at a private Moscow school I was attending. When I was about 11 years old, a lot has changed for me but my music making remained; I moved to the Coast of Spain with my family and got into a British school, changing my first language and the language of my songs which I was already writing at the time. The strange juxtaposition of these two countries heavily influenced my music-making, aesthetics of my life and my character; the cold and cynical Moscovite has fused with the fiesta-summer-time lover.
Ryan: Haha I love that. The “holiday house” sounds dope. Living in Thailand, I have met a lot of cynical Moscovites starting to fuse with island life, so I get it.
CHANGE YOUR BODY
Ryan: When I first started working for Estabrook Road Records, I was listening to unsigned artists on Spotify. When I first heard your voice, I was like “Damn, this girl has a very strange vibe, but I kind of love it.” Jason (Payne) agreed, and you were my first artist signed to the label. You released your album with us in January. Tell us a little bit about it.
ya: My debut album Change Your Body came out on the fifth of January this year and it is the best and the most autobiographical thing I have created in my life so far, I have shared so much of myself with anyone…Change Your Body is a clear representation of my life; my childhood, my internal world, my teen years, my career…But it is not limited at me. In the album I explore ideas of reincarnation, growing up, creative progress, and artistic dehumanization. Change Your Body has endless meanings…
I feel that somehow the album came to represent the future; globalized, genderless, faceless, unified. The revolution of humankind, fusing with technological advancements; the possibility of being able to choose your body or the body of your child, already experienced through the obsessive editing of your representation on social media. I strive to musically represent the one ultimate being and be the voice for those who fear being defined.
Ryan: That’s deep as hell. I love the album and what it represents. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to it since it was released. Here is the title track, Change Your Body
Ryan: What’s your favorite song on the album?
ya: My favourite track on Change Your Body is Vision as it is the ultimate ya song, i wrote it when i just turned 16 and two years later the song still makes me feel the same way. I know I say that I hate being defined but if I had to choose one song to define my style, define my essence, it would be Vision, 100%. I was very lucky to find an amazing producer through SoundBetter, JD Stefan who allowed the song to reach its potential.
Ryan:Vision is an awesome song. You and JD did a great job on it.
Ryan: Your musical style is very interesting. Who are your biggest influences?
ya: I grew up on jazz, blues and funk (being influenced by dad’s taste.) For me any blues artists (that I listen to) are IT. Blues to me feels more right than anything else and has influenced me far beyond just my music but my lifestyle and life views.
If I had to name an artist, it would be a pop star, Miley Cyrus. Her influence also went way beyond my music. Actually, musically I was not so much influenced by her in the actual music style etc, but what she stands for.
“Change is a thing you can count on.” Miley sang, and her encouragement of embracing moments and not tying yourself down to any one identity has been so meaningful to me. Even when she was on Hannah Montana and I was a kid in Russia, she became my first ever idol; from early age, I felt this desire to be ALL, to have no limits and yeah I saw that in Hannah Montana hahah. Since then, I’ve stood by her and expanded these ideas to my own projects, like Change Your Body.
Ryan: Wow. I would have never pegged you as a Hannah Montana kind of person haha. But you’re right, the message is great and one I think every young girl would benefit from.
Ryan: That being said, what artist would you love to collaborate with? I have a feeling I already know the answer to this one.
ya: Goes without saying, Miley Cyrus…besides her, Young Fathers whose music I feel very deeply, and I think they are just next level, their music feels sacred to me and I would be humbled to take part in that.
Ryan:Young Fathers makes so much more sense to me. But I would love to hear a collaboration between you and Miley. That would be interesting. What’s your collab process like?
ya: With collaborations, the process is quite different from my usual songwriting; like in my personal life, I work better when I’m alone and in full control. I get a lot of collaboration requests and usually it consists of someone sending me an instrumental. Sometimes with part of their vocals on it and the only thing I need to do is write melody and lyrics for my voice, keeping in mind the aesthetics of the other artist to so it doesn’t clash.
In these cases, I’m more detached and sometimes will work on a song for weeks, changing the lyrics until the best result is reached whether with fully my own songs the process takes about twenty minutes, plus potential future polishing and producing. I have only had one collaboration so far which in my view matched to the standard and authenticity of my original solo music which is the song Cult on my album in collaboration with a Rhode Island – based rapper, Nerdteck. Maybe this is because I originally wrote the song, my hook and verse with acoustic guitar and later found a perfect instrumental.
Ryan: I totally get being detached, especially when you’re not in the same room together. I do love the fact that technology allows us to collaborate from Spain to Rhode Island.
Outside of Music
Ryan: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not making music?
ya: Limitless. I find myself very grateful to still have so much interest in almost everything from which I can learn something. All forms of art, of course I am very involved in. I write anything from prose, poetry to screenplays and theatre. I am very into film and actually have had filmmakers in my family. It’s another career I’m pursuing.
Fashion is very important to me, architecture, journalism, law and politic; literally anything within the arts and humanities spectrum. And it’s all I do. There’s not a part in my life where what I spend my time doing something that isn’t somehow related to my art-making. From more “fun” hobbies, I do indulge in parties when I feel the time is right, like I mentioned, I grew up in parties so it means a lot to me and it is the only time I can take somewhat of a break.
Ryan: That’s awesome. I’d love to read one of your scripts sometime!
Ryan: Your music is quite dark. You…are quite dark as an artist. What were you like as a kid?
ya: I’ve been “dark” since I was born, and more and more so I become each day. As a kid, I was neurotic and obsessively religious. My psychological issues were the worst at the time of my childhood. I had to fully alone manage more than any person, especially child could, so it made me strong but bitter.
It’s like there’s this lack of connection between me and other people because I know I will never be able to fully open up to anyone, I won’t be able to be fully honest and have these genuine relationships that I see. I don’t know what image you’re getting from my childhood but even though it was dark, I did have a lot of friends and grew up well-off and it was beautiful but painful. Now I thrive in darkness and nothing really scares me, I just try to keep up my interest and lust for life.
Ryan: A childhood like that creates endless possibilities as an artist, and you seem to be using that as much as you can.
Ryan: If you could go on a date with any artist, who would it be and what would you do?
ya: If I could go on a date with any other musician it would be Playboi Carti. We would make vampire love to each other and creep in the night, drinking stranger’s blood.
Ryan: That is a terrifying image.
Ryan: What are you doing to stay connected with your fanbase during the pandemic?
ya: The pandemic hasn’t made changes in my career. I started my music career in the midst of the pandemic. Although I was doing live shows locally in Spain before harsh restrictions, all my fans were online from the beginning; mostly in the US and UK and for them I do regular live shows on social media and keep creating more content.
Ryan: I’ve seen some of your live shows on social media. I recommend you guys follow ya. Her links will be at the bottom of the page.
Live Gigs and Stuff
Ryan: If you could perform in any city in the world today, where would you go?
ya: If I could do a gig in any city, it would be LA because you know…where to promote yourself if not in LA? Plus, it’s one of the cities in which my music is listened to the most and I know people would go hard.
Ryan: That would be an awesome show. Can’t wait to get live music back. If you had to choose a “last meal,” what would it be?
ya: My last meal choice would be Russian pancakes with red caviar and a shot of Vodka.
Ryan: I learned to never drink vodka with Russians. I learned the hard way.
Ryan: What keeps you going?
ya: What keeps me going is restless, obsessive ambition and not in an ego centrical way, but in a way that I genuinely feel and know and have felt and known my whole life that I need to release my art into the world ,as should everyone else who feels that need. Because if you feel it, the universe is in some way asking for it. We are all constantly changing the world and this feeling, in my opinion, means that there is some duty you have. That’s the way I often feel about my music and everything else in my life, actually. I feel it is my duty to make the best out of it. It’s a feeling that moves beyond the temporary, hedonistic wishes and basic human needs.
Ryan: Wow. That’s a great answer.
Ryan: We’re running short on time, so I have 2 more questions for you. What’s next for ya?
ya: Most of the time when I tell people about my plans, they end up not happening… I can tell you, I have big plans. The kind that some people laugh at, but it doesn’t bother me. What I can reveal now is my next biggest project is a music video for my most popular song Movie.
It’s pop track from my album, exploring the subject of identity and fame. My visual ideas for it consist of a surrealist music video in themes of selling the soul fused with the groovy, moody, modern pop sound. This will be my best music video ever, as I will be working with a film company in Moscow to make it as professional and as artistic as possible. For this, I have started a crowdfunding campaign which I hope will allow me to make this video come to life. At this point, it depends on my supporters, but I know I will do my best with the resources I do have.
One for the Fans
Ryan:Movie is the first song I heard from you. That was the one that made me reach out to you for the label. I can’t wait to see the video. One last question. What would you like to say to our readers?
ya: To my fans – Thank you for all your support and for spending time from your world to gain insight into mine. The connections we have are rare and very meaningful to me. And if you want to support me further, please, look into the crowdfunding or help me spread the word. I can guarantee you the most authentic and unique music video, and with it being for Movie, my most famous song and the most mainstream song, I know this project will go far. I’d love for you to take part in that.
To people who haven’t heard my music yet – I will very much appreciate you taking time to listening to my music. With it, I have opened myself up in a way I could never do in real life and have exposed myself in hopes to find a connection with the right person. If the right person is you, if you find something that moves you in my music, I know how valuable that is.
Ryan: Thank you so much for joining us today, ya. Your answers were incredible. I can’t wait for the video and I’ll chat with you soon!
I enjoy taking a look back at the “old days.” I was 12 when these tracks hit the charts. Talk about nostalgia. I’ll give you the videos for the top 10, then list out the next 30.
1. Mariah Carey ft. Boyz II Men – One Sweet Day
Confession. Boyz II Men‘s album II was the first CD I ever purchased. That was my JAM back then. And Mariah is one of those divas who’s legacy will never die. Their voices blended perfectly.
2. Mary J Blige – Not Gon’ Cry
From the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, Mary showed off those smooth vocals. I honestly forgot about this song, so I’m glad I went back and checked the charts!
3. Brandy – Sittin’ Up In My Room
Another song from Waiting To Exhale. That soundtrack was absolute fire. I always had the hots for Brandy. Total babe.
Side note: Donald Faison, also known as Christopher in Scrubs is Brandy’s love interest in the video.
4. The Tony Rich Project – Nobody Knows
Another classic R&B vibe. Pretty sure I sang this song in my bedroom after my “girlfriend” at 13 broke up with me after dating for like 2 days. This is the perfect breakup song.
5. Everything But The Girl – Missing
Someone in the YouTube comments described it perfectly: Prettybrokenspiral 1 year ago : There was once a time, before the internet, when people could vanish from your life forever and you relied on music like this to fill the void they left..
Damn, that’s deep. And so true.
6. La Bouche – Be My Lover
La da da da da da de da da. I need to sample that into. This song is SO 90s and I love it. And that rap break…as 90s as it gets.
7. George Michael – Jesus To A Child
Nobody had a voice like George Michael. He really showed it off in this song. So smooth. Nobody had a goatee like George Michael either. He invented the “flavor saver.”
Whitney Houston – Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
She finally exhaled. This is the 3rd track in the top 10 from the Waiting To Exhale soundtrack. “For every win, someone must fail.” What a great line. And Whitney looked radiant in this video. Goddammit, Bobby Brown.
9. Joan Osborne – One Of Us
What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on a bus?
I am not a religious man, but that’s some solid lyric writing right there. This song is going to be stuck in my head all day now.
10. Gin Blossoms – Till I Hear It From You / Follow You Down
I used to love the Gin Blossoms. Hey Jealousy is such a good song. This one is pretty good too. I have to share the first comment in the comments section on YouTube. It describes this video perfectly.
That does it for the top 10 hits on March 2, 1996. Here is the rest of the top 40.
11. LL Cool J – Hey Lover 12. Oasis – Wonderwall 13. Goo Goo Dolls – Name 14. Monica – Before You Walk Out Of My Life 15. 3T – Anything 16. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979 17. Kriss Kross – Tonight’s The Night 18. Hootie & The Blowfish – Time 19. Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s 20. Collective Soul – The World I Know
21. Natalie Merchent – Wonder 22. R. Kelly Featuring Ronald Isley – Down Low (Nobody Has To Know) 23. Blues Traveler – Hook 24. Melissa Etheridge – I Want To Come Over 25. Coolio – Gangsta’s Paradise 26. Total – No One Else 27. Madonna – You’ll See 28. Bush – Glycerine 29. Joe – All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do 30. Junior M.A.F.I.A. Featuring The Notorious B.I.G. – Get Money
31. Groove Theory – Tell Me 32. Faith Evans – Soon As I Get Home 33. Seal – Don’t Cry 34. Fu-Jee-La – Refugee 35. Planet Soul – Set U Free 36. TLC – Diggin’ On You 37. Mariah Carey – Fantasy 38. Sophie B Hopkins – As I Lay Me Down 39. Seven Mary Three – Cumbersome 40. Deborah Cox – Who Do You Love
That wraps up our Top 40 for the week of March 2, 1996. We’ll be doing this more often. Let me know what year you’d like to see in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe!
The next post will be an interview from Russian dark pop artist, ya.