Welcome to today’s edition of Indie Artist Interview. Today’s guest is Australian pop artist, the lovely Cat Thompson.
Ryan: Hey Cat! Thanks for joining us today! How about a little intro for our readers?
Cat: Hey! My name is Cat Thompson. I’m a singer-songwriter. I love singing, dancing, playing instruments and making a lot of noise in my studio. I currently live in the beautiful beachside town of Byron Bay, Australia where the weather is warm and people are friendly.
Ryan: Tell me about your latest/upcoming release:
Cat: My latest single is titled Who You Gonna Call. It’s an anthem for anyone who has had the courage to leave a negative relationship and having the power to say no when a toxic ex comes calling. This narrative is juxtaposed with a lively beat which I hope makes people want to vibe out and dance. I’ve just released the music video which is super exciting! The dance choreography in the music video was created by talented choreographer James Deane. I’m also about to drop a new single titled Be Free with talented House music duo SaxBeatz. The song features American rapper, Kev Hannibal. It’s about hitting the open road, leaving everything behind and just being free! It will be available in music stores and streaming platforms soon!
Influences and Collabs
Ryan: What is your favorite track you’ve ever released?
Cat: That’s a hard one. I don’t think I could choose. I love every song that I’ve released and I have wonderful memories attached to each one.
Ryan: That’s a fair answer. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Cat: Growing up I had so many! As a kid I loved Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Destiny’s Child, Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, the list goes on. I used to play their music over and over again and sing and dance loudly around the house. I’m indebted to all the great artists and musicians who came before me. They inspired me to follow my dream in the arts.
Ryan: That’s a hell of a list right there. What’s one artist you would love to collaborate with?
Cat: There are so many amazing artists I would love to work with. One of my favourite artists today is Sam Smith. I love his voice.
Life Outside of Music
Ryan: What are your hobbies and interests outside of music?
Cat: I love eating. Does that count as a hobby? Hahaha! Aside from that, I love reading books and watching documentaries on history.
Ryan: That absolutely counts as a hobby. As an artist, I’m sure you’ve had some survival jobs to get by. What’s the weirdest day job you’ve ever had?
Cat: When I first started working in the music industry, I moonlighted as a backstage crew member for other artists and bands. I used to think younger audiences were lively until one night we had a more senior crowd. Most grandparents seem quite dignified but when the headline act came on, a few of the elderly ladies in the audience started taking their kit off. Quite a few granny bras were thrown on the stage that night and security had to escort two ladies away after they climbed on to the stage. One of my jobs was to clear the bras off the stage once the show as over haha!
Ryan: Whoa, you might have me beat. haha.
On The Road and Life Before Music
Ryan: What’s the craziest thing to happen to you on stage or on the road?
Cat: I was performing shows in the Solomon Islands. After my show, I snuck out with my back up dancers and we boogied all night with the locals. The locals had set up an open-air party on a jetty overlooking the sea, complete with live music and a makeshift bar. They even had lawn chairs and tables for people to sit on. The jetty didn’t have any protective railing and there were a lot of people drinking and dancing. I asked what would happen if someone were to fall. One of the locals grinned and said, “You end up in the water.”
Ryan: Those are the best kinds of parties. We did that in Hong Kong at least 4 times a year. So much fun. Now, before you were picking up bras and partying on jetties, what were you like as a kid?
Cat: Stubborn haha! My parents didn’t want me to be a musician but I stuck to my guns.
Dating and Movies
Ryan: If you could go on a date with any other musician, who would it be?
Cat: Hmmm, I don’t know. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about. But if you’re going to date someone date a dancer. It’s sexy when your date can move their hips!
Ryan: Hips don’t lie. haha. What’s your favorite comedy movie of all time?
Cat: Monty Python has golden moments and it might be my childhood nostalgia speaking but I really enjoyed Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Even to this day I have a giggle when I hear the We’re Men In Tights song
Ryan: Yes! Men in Tights is so underrated. I directed a production of Robin Hood that I wrote for my students in the Hong Kong Drama Festival. I had them learn that dance for curtain call hahaha.
Ryan: What are you doing to stay connected to your fans during the pandemic?
Cat: I’ve been able to stay in touch with my fans thanks to social media. I know there are both pros and cons to social media but then I think of the generations that came before us, who lived without the internet and I think about how long they had to wait to receive letters and telegrams. It makes me appreciate how much easier it is to stay connected to the people we love during this crazy time.
Ryan: Truth. I remember when cell phones didn’t even have a screen. We have it so much easier. We can talk to anyone, anywhere, at any time. It’s crazy. If you could do a gig in any city in the world today, where would it be and why?
Cat: I’d love to do a gig in Tokyo, Japan. That’s where I grew up and I have many happy memories there. I’d also love to do a gig in Northern Ireland because I’m half Northern Irish. If I did a gig in Belfast, my cousins could come and enjoy the show which would be really sweet.
Ryan: Tokyo is on the top of my list too. I’ve been to Belfast, but not to perform. Just to drink. Speaking of drinking, What keeps you going?
Cat: Food! Did I mention that I like food? Haha! And the of love and support from my fans. They inspire to keep chasing my dreams.
Ryan: That’s awesome. Alright, got time for one more. Anything you’d like to say to our readers before I let you go?
Cat: To my beautiful fans – thank you for all your love and support! To anyone who hasn’t heard my music yet – feel free to pop by my Spotify and YouTube to have a listen and check out my music videos. If you like what you hear, feel free to leave me a message. I always love to hear from you!
Ryan: Thank you so much for joining us today, Cat! Keep us posted on your upcoming releases!
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!
Welcome to another edition of Le Café Music’s Indie Artist Interview 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!
Time to clock out for the weekend because it’s New Music Friday! We’ve got chart-topping stars AND indie/small label artists today!
Ariana Grande – Test Drive
Test Drive comes off of Ariana Grande‘s Positions Deluxe edition. It’s 1 of 5 new tracks on the album, and it stays with that promiscuous theme.
Sex. It is most definitely about sex.
As you could imagine, Ari stans are losing their minds on social media.
Let’s go ahead and listen to what all the chaos is about.
The Fiasco – Played Me At My Own Game
In our latest Indie Artist Interview, I talked to Adam and Tim of The Fiasco ahead of their newest release. The 4-man alt-rock band from England gives off that original Warped Tour vibe, and I am here for it. Influenced by bands like The Offspring and All Time Low, you can understand why.
Played Me At My Own Game will smack you in the face with nostalgia. Be sure to check out the interview and follow these guys before they blow up.
24kGoldn – 3,2,1
Only 20-years-old, Golden Landis Von Jones has himself another hit. Coming off the massive success of his last chart-topping single, Mood, 24kGoldn might be trending on TikTok again soon.
TikTok and Mood gave us this gem from @jrzl: Asian Mood.
The young 24kGoldn has a bright future ahead of him. Here’s his new single, 3,2,1.
This is an interesting collaboration that is blending the genres of hip-hop and rock together. Trippie Redd teamed up with former Blink 182 drummer, Travis Barker, to produce this fusion album, NEON SHARK vs Pegasus.
Redd’s new album features collaborations with Chino Moreno of the Deftones, MGK, blackbear, Scarlrxd, and Zillakami.
This drug-infused love song slaps, and honestly…I’m digging the whole 40-track album so far.
Jane Handcock – Ion Like Dat
Introducing: Estabrook Road Records artist, Jane Handcock. The Oakland-born R&B singer-songwriter is coming in hot and she’s ready to make herself known. She has worked with some big names as a songwriter, including Kelly Rowland (who also has a new track out today,) Dr Dre, Ma$e, and producer Teddy Riley.
Jason Payne, CEO of Estabrook Road Records is putting Jane in the spotlight with her new single, Ion Like Dat.
“We just dropped Jane Handcock’s first single with us and I have to say, there’s a lot of excitement and buzz going on with this track. Jane is definitely a new artist on the rise and we are grateful to be apart of this journey with her.” Payne said.
Ion Like Dat is now available on all streaming platforms, and she will surely be hitting radio stations near you very soon!
That’ll do it for this week’s New Music Friday! For more new music from Chris Brown, Conan Gray, Lil Yachty, Luis Fonsi, and much more, listen to Spotify‘s New Music Friday playlist right here.
Tell me your favorite new track in the comments below!
Yesterday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH released their list of 2021 nominees. Let’s break the list down!
This is the order that the artists currently stand in the voting. If your favorite is at the bottom, get to voting!
The 81-year-old megastar looks like a shoo-in for the Hall this year. Tina Turner is a 12-time Grammy winner and has sold over 100 million records, making her one of the best-selling artists of all-time.
Turner also broke barriers as the first black artist AND the first female to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
She is best known for her singles Proud Mary, What’s Love Got To Do With It, and The Best.
Here is Tina Turner singing Proud Mary live at Wembley in 2000.
Formed in 1994 by former Nirvana drummer, Dave Grohl as a solo project, the Foo Fighters picked up a few more members, and have released hit-after-hit since.
Dave Grohl is a true rockstar and he is someone I have always admired. I am truly excited for this nomination. He is one person I would absolutely love to sit down with and just talk about music.
Here are a couple of my favorite Dave Grohl moments:
Quite possibly the greatest songwriter of our generation, Carole King has either written or co-written 118 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
118. That’s ridiculous. Wow.
King has 4 Grammys and has also been inducted to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. In 2014, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, written by Douglas McGrath, opened on Broadway. The show starred Jessie Mueller as Carole King. You know you made an impact when someone writes a musical about you.
Here is Carole King singing Natural Woman live in Oakland, 1972. Also the highlights from the Broadway production of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
This British heavy-metal band was formed in 1975 by Steve Harris, the band’s bassist.
Iron Maiden has sold well over 100 million records, worldwide…which is crazy considering the minimal air-time they received.
In a 2016 article on Loudersound, Paul Branigan hilariously explains how rock bands, including Iron Maiden, are tools of Satan and must be stopped. US Christian groups labeled the band as “Satanists” and called for people to destroy copies of their album The Number of the Beast…which is just hilarious, in my opinion.
Here is the controversial hit, The Number of the Beast live from The Forum in Las Angeles, 2008.
The LA-based, all female new wave band was formed in 1978. Led by vocalist Belinda Carlisle, The Go-Go’s sold over 7 million albums worldwide.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Jane Wiedlin discussed what it was like for all female bands in their time. She said:
“If you look at a band like the Runaways, they’re all talented people, especially Joan [Jett], whom I consider a genius, and yet they were basically created by a really creepy man [Kim Fowley] who forced them into their image, who wrote their songs for them. I feel like those girls were really degraded. And so I guess I just feel lucky that we came about organically and kind of kept our own power.”
Here is The Go-Go’s hit single, We Got The Beat.
Rage Against The Machine
RATM, the LA-based rock band formed in 1991 is on the nominee list for the third time since 2017.
The band, consisting of Tom Morello, Zack de la Rocha, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk, is known for their leftist anti-authoritarian and revolutionary views in their music.
Rage has won 2 Grammys and is hoping the third time is the charm for the Hall of Fame.
Here is Rage Against The Machine with one of my favorite songs to rock out to, Killing In The Name, live at PinkPop 1993.
The 73-year-old multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer from Philadelphia played a diverse range of styles and genres. Rundgren was responsible for the first interactive television concert in 1978, and the first interactive album, No World Order, in 1994.
Rundgren also produced tracks on Meatloaf’sBat Out Of Hell, Hall and Oates‘ War Babies, and Grand Funk Railroad’sWe’re An American Band, just to name a few.
Here is Todd Rundgren’s 1973 hit, Hello It’s Me.
This Akron, OH rock band was formed in 1973. In 2021, Devo looks to return home to Cleveland and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They are known for their science fiction themes and social satire.
Devo played a heavy hand in the beginning of music videos, creating LazerDisk format clips in their video for Whip It, which was played on MTV at the very beginning of it all.
When MTV played music.
Here is the innovative 1980 video, Whip It.
Now 80-years-old, Warwick is more than deserving of a place in the Hall. Known for her single That’s What Friends Are For, she is one of the most charted female vocalists of all-time with 56 singles reaching the Hot 100.
EW named Warwick the “newly minted queen of social media” last week, as she has been hilariously active on Twitter lately. Have a look at the EW video in her tweet below.
Here is Dionne Warwick with the 1985 hit, That’s What Friends Are For.
67-year-old powerhouse, Chaka Khan, is widely known as the “Queen of Funk.” She has won 10 Grammys and has sold over 70 million records since her career started in 1973.
Khan has been on the ballet for the Rock Hall twice as a solo artist, and 4 times as a member of Rufus featuring Chaka Khan.
Most recently, Chaka Khan appeared on season 3 of The Masked Singer as Miss Monster in 2020…at young age of 79. Have a look at one of her performances here.
Here she is in her prime, singing Ain’t Nobody live from Germany, 1985
New York Dolls
This punk rock/glam rock band formed in New York City in 1971. The band never really received any traction in commercial music, but they did turn out 2 of the most popular cult rock albums and really predated punk music.
The New York Dolls heavily influenced acts like Kiss, the Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and even Guns n Roses.
Here is their 1973 live performance of Personality Crisis.
This 62-year-old singer, songwriter, was the first female artist to claim a UK number 1 with a self-written song at the age of 19 (1978).
Bush signed with EMI Records after Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour helped produce her first demo tape. She has been nominated for 3 Grammy Awards and was first nominated for the Rock Hall in 2018.
Here is Kate Bush with Babooshka.
LL Cool J
Short for “Ladies Love Cool James” which is a fun fact I just learned. The 53-year-old hip-hop artist from Queens, NY has 2 Grammys under his belt, and became the first rapper to receive Kennedy Center Honors.
Aside from his music career, LL appeared in the films Any Given Sunday, S.W.A.T., and Deep Blue Sea. He also stars in NCIS: Las Angeles.
Here is LL Cool J with the hit Doin It.
With a $1 BILLION net worth, it’s safe to say 51-year-old Shawn Cory Carter has made one hell of a career for himself.
The rapper/songwriter/executive/businessman/producer is one of the most influential names in all of hip-hop. This guy started his career in music by founding Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995.
22 Grammy Awards later, Jay Z was the first rapper inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and one of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time according to Rolling Stone.
On the business side, Jay has founded several multi-million dollar corporations, Rocawear and the 40/40 Club. He also founded the entertainment company Roc Nation and took over the streaming source Tidal.
Not to mention the fact that he is married to one of the biggest superstars of all time, Beyoncé.
I want your life, Jay Z.
I listened to a lot of Jay growing up. I actually made a point of it to eat at the McDonald’s on 145th and Broadway that he wrote about in New York State of Mind.
I used to cop in Harlem, all of my Dominicanos right there up on Broadway, brought me back to that McDonalds
Here is one of my favorite Jay Z hits from when I was a kid, 1999 hit Big Pimpin‘.
Mary J. Blige
Signed to Uptown Records in 1991, Mary’s esteemed career began. She has sold over 80 million records worldwide, won 9 Grammys, 12 American Music Awards, and even 3 Golden Globes.
The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul deserves a shot at the Hall. If she doesn’t get it this year, I’d be willing to bet she will in the next couple of years,
Here is Mary J. Blige with her 2009 hit, Family Affair.
Last but not least, we have the Nigerian pioneer of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. He was a superstar in Africa in the 1970s and an outspoken political activist.
As an artist, he was known for his showmanship and his concerts were considered to be quite wild. Fela passed away in 1997.
In 2008, Fela’s music was brought to New York in the off-Broadway production of Fela! a story of the man’s life, which opened on Broadway at the Eugene O’Niell Theatre and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 2009.
Here is Fela Kuti’s live performance of Pansa Pansa in Germany, 1987.
There we have it. All 16 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees.
I was going to do the Billboard Global 200 every week, but it hasn’t changed much since last week, and I want to give you guys some new music to discover.
The Spotify Viral 50 is full of music I’ve never heard, so let’s do it!
1.Issam Alnajjar – Hadal Ahbek اغنية ” حضل أحبك
The number one viral song in the world on Spotify comes all the way from Amman, Jordan. This is an eclectic top 10, for sure. Hadal Ahbek is all over the place, thanks to TikTok.
Number one on Spotify and Shazam, and currently has over 23 million views since the song was uploaded to YouTube last September. You may not understand what he is singing, but Hadal Ahbek in Arabic directly translates to “I Love You.”
Watch out. This song will get stuck in your head.
2. Ez Mil–Panalo (Trap Cariñosa)
The number two song comes to us from the Philippines. The young Filo-American rapper went viral after performing Panalo on Wish USA Bus, with over 16 million views on YouTube since it premiered just three days ago.
After watching this video for the first time…my head nearly exploded. The energy and passion this kid brings is insane. There’s a good reason this song went viral. Watch this video. Crank your headphones up. You won’t regret it.
3. Olivia Rodrigo – Drivers License
Surprised this song made the list? Absolutely not. Olivia Rodrigo has held the number one spot on the major Billboard charts since it premiered three weeks ago. We talked about this one last week, so here it is.
4. SOPHIE – It’s Okay To Cry
Glasgow born trans rights activist, SOPHIE comes in at number four after the tragic news of her death. According to CNN, the 34-year-old Grammy nominee passed in a “terrible accident” at her home in Athens, Greece on Saturday.
SOPHIE’s debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides was nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album at the Grammy Awards in 2018.
5. JESSIA – I’m Not Pretty
With another TikTok hit on the charts, Vancouver pop singer JESSIA released the body-positive song I’m Not Pretty, which was written in just 72 hours.
I’ve said this before on this blog and I’ll say it again. If you are an artist, consistently POST CONTENT! You never know what is going to blow up. Especially on TikTok.
6. Yung Baby Tate, Slade Da Monsta – I Am (ft. Flo Milli)
Tate Sequoya Farris (Yung Baby Tate), the Georgia-born 24-year-old hits number six on the Viral 50 with I Am, along with Flo Milli. Tate won a Grammy in 2020 as a songwriter for Dreamville’sRevenge of the Dreamers III. I Am is a female-empowering anthem, and these two female rappers absolutely kill it together.
7. SOPHIE – Immaterial
This is SOPHIE’s second song in the top 10 this week. Sam Smith took to Twitter on Saturday to pay tribute to the star after she passed. Here’s what he had to say:
“Heartbreaking news. The world has lost an angel. A true visionary and icon of our generation. Your light will continue to inspire so many for generations to come. Thinking of Sophie’s family and friends at this hard time” pic.twitter.com/7qr4aI0DDi— samsmith (@samsmith) January 30, 2021
Here is the 2018 hit, Immaterial.
8.Teto, Matuê – M4
It took me a bit to find any information about Teto, the Brazilian rapper. After reaching 1 million followers on Instagram and nearly 8 million views on YouTube for M4, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing about him a lot more.
9. Masked Wolf – Astronaut in the Ocean
The number nine viral hit comes all the way from Sydney, Australia. With the hip-hop scene growing by the day in Sydney, Masked Wolf is likely going to be a name we hear a lot in the US.
Astronaut in the Ocean was released last year. The official audio video on YouTube has reached 20 million views, and he just dropped the official music video in November, which has nearly 9 million views. Masked Wolf posted this intro on his YouTube:
“I have a lot of people ask me “what made you write Astro … what is it about?” The art of music is that it means one thing to me but so many other things to other people… for me it was about knowing i was on a journey like an astronaut but I wasn’t where I wanted to be… I wanted to be in space… I wanted to do what astronauts do.. me saying im in the ocean means i felt I was somwhere I didn’t belong.. but I knew I was close to finding myself as an artist and getting the recognition I wanted from people about my music.. also “whatchu know about rolling down in the deep actually meant what do you know about being down in life and depressed.. i was kind of saying.. have you been similar to me and my down time.. have you been in the rough and the trenches.. some people also say why is the video not in the ocean.. well because I have found my spot in the world.. i know who I am with my music now.. so i’m not in the ocean.. i’m now in space.. where I belong… 2021 gonna be even bigger 🙂 peace“
10. Jeff Costa, Mc Danny – Xerecard
Xerecard is the second Brazilian hit in the top 10 this week. Released in November of 2020, Xerecard has been going viral on TikTok with fans dancing to the tune. There is no Portuguese to English translation of the word Xerecard, and I’m quite positive Google translate botched the translation of the lyrics, so we can try to figure out its meaning together by listening to the song.
The viral top 10 is pretty diverse, eh? These are some songs I would have never listened to on my own. I really actually enjoyed some of them.
Which one is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!
It’s that time of the week! Breaking down 6 of the newest tracks all in one place so you don’t have to go searching!
We’ve got some interesting stuff today, so let’s get weird, nerds.
IU (아이유)- Celebrity
Let’s start off with one all the way from South Korea, K-Pop star IU (아이유) with Celebrity. This is a preview of what to expect on her 5th studio album, which is in the works right now. The video is already at nearly 12 million views on YouTube. With her bright, beautiful vocals, and upbeat electro-pop sound, I can imagine this track will be blaring out of every shop in Gangnam by this weekend.
2 Chainz – Grey Area
I highly recommend taking a hit of acid or some shrooms before watching this video…not that I know what that’s like or anything…
But seriously. Do it.
2 Chainz switches heads with his dog, Trappy and gets belly rubs from an angel around an entire litter of 2 Chainz-headed Trappy’s. Wild stuff, man.
On the music side of it all, this song is a banger. It’s got a dope beat, a great flow, and lyrics that may or may not offend you. Grey Area is the latest single off of his 2020 album So Help Me God.
Rag n’ Bone Man – All You Ever Wanted
Rory Charles Graham , AKA Rag n’ Bone Man has one of the coolest voices I’ve ever heard. His first album, Human was full of soul and beautifully executed. It didn’t sound like anything else out there. Maybe I need to let it grow on me, but All You Ever Wanted just reminds me too much of an Imagine Dragons song.
Lyrically, its nice…but the song itself just isn’t touching me in all the right places. The new single will be on Graham’s upcoming album, Life of Misdirection, which will drop in April.
Eric Church – Heart on Fire
With the first country song to appear on Le Café Music, Eric Church is giving the “Church Choir” exactly what they were hoping for with Heart on Fire. I was skeptical of this one from the opening line :
Roosevelt Road was too rough for my old truck
I couldn’t help but think “Man, not another country song about a truck.” That’s just a bit too cliche. But my feelings changed shortly after and caught myself actually enjoying it. It’s a fun song, Church is a very talented singer, and the lyrics shy away from the cliches after that first line.
Heart on Fire dropped today with the news that this song will be featured on his upcoming albums. That’s right, I said albums. Plural.
It will be a three volume set, titled Heart & Soul. This track will be on the album called Heart, which will be released April 16th. The second album of the series, Soul, will be released just one week later. & is going to be released as a 6-track vinyl EP and only available to Church Choir members. That’s pretty dope, Mr. Church.
Now, I’m trying to open my mind to the country genre a bit more these days. Country fans, please help me find the good stuff. Comment with your favorite country song below!
Rebecca Black – Girlfriend
Here’s a nice little redemption story for you. Rebecca Black…the internet sensation in 2011 at the age of 13 for releasing what some people say is “the worst music video ever.”
The song is called Friday. You know the one. If you don’t, here it is. Sorry, Rebecca.
Black was destroyed by the media. She was bullied at school. Kids threw food at her in the cafeteria. She suffered from self-esteem issues and depression. At 19, she was told that no producer or songwriter would ever work with her again.
Kids can be really f****** mean.
Honestly, she didn’t deserve any of that ridicule at 13. You know who deserves all of the ridicule?
“Producers” Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson. They had to know that song was trash, yet they released it anyway. Wilson, the writer of Friday and co-founder of ARK Music Factory was also the UNCREDITED featured rapper in the song.
Gee, I wonder why he wouldn’t want his name associated with it…
Wilson later opened another label under the name Pato, called Pato’s Music World...which failed miserably.
Hmm…I wonder why he changed his name…
Enough about those frauds. Let’s talk about Rebecca.
Despite the bullying and the depression…Black continued to make music and work on her craft. Her net worth is now estimated at $1.5 million. Suck on that, bullies.
Today, Rebecca Black is back. And it is Friday, but that’s just a coincidence. Here is her new single, Girlfriend.
benny blanco, Marshmallow, & Vance Joy – You
There are some wild-ass music videos being released this week. Here’s another one.
In our only claymation video of the week, the boys are enjoying a little cookout, when a terrifying tree monster comes out and captures mallo and Joy while blanco is flipping burgers. blanco then finds them tied up inside the tree. Instead of killing the monster…he gives it a hug. Tree monster unties the boys and they all proceed to get drunk and become best friends.
What a day.
The song is nice, and I enjoyed hearing Vance Joy for the first time since Riptide in 2013.
The claymation is pretty badass too!
There we have it. Six of the most talked-about releases of the week. I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of these tracks and their videos.
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