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!
Ryan: Welcome, Gabby! Thanks for joining us today. Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself.
Gabby: I am an eighteen year old Pop/R&B singer-songwriter from Orange County. I have been performing live for 6+ years. I currently gig at various locations in Southern California including The House of Blues Anaheim, and Copper Blues Live, singing and playing the piano. Right now I work as a hostess at a local restaurant and spend my free time studying to become a certified personal trainer. Rushing to sessions with my producer to work on my original releases, writing songs, and gigging at the venues that are fortunate enough to be open during this difficult time.
Ryan: Yeah, you’re definitely one of the lucky ones. Not a whole lot going on in Pennsylvania. It can be a bit depressing. So, tell me about your music.
Gabby: My artistry is a reflection of how I live my life through what I do. I never compromise the integrity of a song- whether I am writing it, playing it, or singing it. Embarrassing lines, stank faces, I put it all out there because the whole point my art is connection; and the best way I can do that is being honest in every form of the word. That’s what makes co-writing such a special experience for me, having the opportunity to share those vulnerable moments with someone and getting the privilege to help each other process emotions. Similarly, performing gives me the chance to connect with my audience in real time- something so foreign in our virtual world. That is why I gave up hangouts with friends/parties/dances throughout middle + high school to do music.
Ryan: Awesome. Dedicated is good. Not many 18-year-olds have that quality. Stank face is also good. You had a new song come out recently. Tell us a little about that.
Gabby:block u out was created in a post-breakup pandemic world. I was stuck in quarantine with nothing to do but stare at my white walls and overthink every last thing about the relationship and where I was at mentally/emotionally. It was written in a momentary feeling of letting the social media game influence my view of the relationship when it was present, admitting ‘..Feels like you never loved me the way I loved you.’ When something cuts you so deep, it’s hard to not question why it look so easy for someone else to live life like the boat hasn’t been rocked at all. In the end, the rest of the EP will go to show the realization that just because two people love each other doesn’t mean they’re better together. Life is about learning from your losses and moving forward to greater adventures.
Ryan: Lets have a listen to block u out by Gabby Neeley!
Ryan: What I love about the song is that it is SO relatable. I’ve been in that situation too many times.
Influence and Collaboration
Ryan: Who are your biggest influences?
Gabby: My biggest musical influences can differ based on what genre we’re discussing. Or whether it’s my favorite producers as opposed to songwriter opposed to singers..really just depends. My favorite songwriters are Julia Michaels,Violet Skies, Chelsea Lena, and Bruno Major; Whereas my favorites producers are Joji, the Band Camino, and Mike Woods. Favorite singers are definitely Jasmine Sullivan, H.E.R., and Lizzy McAlpine. My binge-artist of the month is Ben Kessler. A voice I could listen to on repeaaattt.
Ryan: Nice. Some solid names on that list. You can choose one artist to collaborate with…who ya taking?
Gabby: I would love to collaborate with Eloise. Her music is timeless, very acoustic and folk yet pop/singer-songwriter and always feels like one big hug no matter what she is singing about.
Ryan: Eloise is great! Good choice.
Life Outside of Music
Ryan: If you’re not making music, what are you doing?
Gabby: Before last year, I honestly didn’t have any hobbies outside of music because I went from being a full time student and partial professional musician to a full-time musician. But, after COVID hit, I saw an opportunity to make one of my other passions into a side hustle since live performing came to halt. I am currently studying up for the big NASM exam to be a certified personal trainer. Now you’ll be able to come to me for all of your music and fitness/nutrition related needs.
Ryan: What is this “fitness” word you speak of? Never heard it before.
Ryan: If music wasn’t an option, what would you be doing with your life?
Gabby: If music wasn’t an option, I would be studying Psychology and be on track to become a therapist just like my mother. It’s really the only other career I could ever picture myself having and being fulfilled. With that being said though, as long as I have the ability to play the piano / sing / songwrite either all together or individually, that’s what I’ll be doing.
Ryan: Hell yeah. It’s always an option. Have you ever had any weird day jobs?
Gabby: Well I’m not sure if this is weird but I am currently hostessing at a restaurant in addition to doing music full time, and the schooling for being certified as a trainer. It started out as being a job to merely cover the bills, but even though I could’ve quite a while ago with music picking back up a bit, I’ve grown to really love the environment and my coworkers.
Ryan: Nothing wrong with that. I have had far too many food industry jobs. When you get to my age, you will have no desire to do it again. haha
Youth & Keeping it Professional
Ryan: What was little Gabby like?
Gabby: I was annoying as hell as a kid! LOL. Singing in the shower, car, living room, school hallways, you name it. I always laugh when friends or colleagues say that my family is ‘so lucky’ to be surrounded by ‘that voice’ all the time. I’m sure there were times before the vocal lessons and knowledge of how to not be sharp or flat with every note that came out of my mouth that they wanted to duck tape it shut. Haha.
Ryan: I’m pretty sure every kid in the world was/is annoying a majority of the time. It’s not just you. haha. Let’s switch it up to present-day Gabby. You can go on a date with one musician…who are you picking?
Gabby: This is a hard one..?? I don’t even know, to be honest. I have always thought of other musicians in such a professional way because I’m constantly in the mindset of wanting to collaborate/work with an artist no matter their small or large scale of fame. Adding anything into the mix that could complicate those accomplishments has never really been in my mind. Especially being a woman in the industry, it’s even more important to keep things professional because of the extreme backlash we face unlike men, so that is why I think my subconscious breeded that mentality.
Ryan: That’s fair. You know what they say, “Don’t shit where you eat.” That’s really gross when I see it written out. Yikes.
Ryan: How are you staying connected to your fans during this difficult time?
Gabby: During the pandemic I started live-streaming way more frequently to try and stay connected with anyone following my social pages. Sometimes I play a set I would’ve been performing at gigs, other times doing Q&A’s about original music, and then simply just talking about random stuff when I was bored and felt like being around people, but couldn’t due to the circumstances.
Ryan: Live-streaming is a great way to do it. It does cure the boredom too. haha. If you could perform live in any city in the world right now, where would it be?
Gabby: If I could gig in any city in the world, I would play the Pantages Theatre in LA. I know you were probably expecting me to say somewhere more grand and ya know, more than 50 miles away haha, but that venue has always been on my wishlist. I’ve seen so many artists play there that inspire me, like Finneas, Todrick, Billie Eilish etc. so the space feels like a hometown scene for me.
Ryan: Hey, nothing wrong with picking your hometown. I’d probably pick AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong. As far away from home as possible. haha.
Ryan: How do you feel about the music industry going digital?
Gabby: If it were up to me, we would turn back time to when people had to purchase songs for $0.99 or watch the video on Youtube. I love the features on apps like Spotify when it comes to helping listeners discover new music and making playlists, but the app practically ROBS the creators of the very music in which it relies on to survive! The minimal rate it pays artists, producers, and most of all songwriters, is ridiculous and is making it mere impossible to support yourself as an indie artist in this day and age. Especially with the absence of live music being an option for revenue.It is a major issue that needs awareness and change!
Ryan: I agree. I love my Spotify as a fan of music…but I also know about the low payouts. Going digital is a great thing…as long as the creatives are being paid fairly for their work. What keeps you going in life?
Gabby: My daily affirmations keep me going. My family keeps me going. My therapist definitely keeps me going. Lol. Although I try to do everything on my own, in the end, you simply can’t as an independent artist. You will indeed drive yourself to madness. Trust me. Even if that means creating all the music (producing, writing, mixing/mastering) yourself, you still have all the post-fun responsibilities to take care of….art work, promo content, release strategy, marketing plan, budgeting plan, playlisting opportunities, press release, interview opportunities, etc to sort out. Reminding myself that although I’m capable to doing each of those things, that doesn’t mean I have to or should do it all myself, was a pivotal moment in my mindset and helped me keep going because I saved energy and time.
Ryan: Therapy is the best haha. And you’re absolutely right. A lot of artists don’t consider the promotional and marketing side of things. They expect their music to just magically be heard by millions of people. Good on you for recognizing that at such a young age.
This Sh** Is Bananas
Ryan: You know you have one day left on this planet. How are you spending that day?
Gabby: If I had one day left to live, I would go for a walk around the lake across the street from my house by myself. Take in the beauty of my surroundings. Go to the beach with my family, eat at our favorite restaurant, head over to Palm Springs to see my grandparents and play cards like we always do. No point in rushing to try and accomplish tasks or try new things I never got the chance to. I’d want to feel at peace, so rightfully so I would do things and see people I know bring me much of that.
Ryan: Sounds like a nice relaxing day! How about if you could only eat one food for the rest of your life?
Gabby: BANANAS! Lol. Always been and always will be my favorite food.
Ryan: You will never have a potassium deficiency.
Ryan: Alright, one last question. What’s next for Gabby Neeley?
Gabby: Lots of exciting things in the works I’m looking forward to.. But for now I’ll just say there is much more to come! I have many co-writes releasing this year, lots of originals from my own catalog that I’ll be releasing, and I’m currently taking on more vocal and piano students if anyone is in the market!
Ryan: Awesome! Looking forward to the new music!
For more on upcoming releases and all of those live streams, follow Gabby Neeley right here:
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!
If you enjoy pop-punk from the 90s and 2000s, bands like Fall Out Boy and Yellowcard…you’ll definitely enjoy these guys.
Introducing: The Fiasco!
Ryan: What’s up, dudes? Welcome to Le Café Music Blog’s Indie Artist Interview Series. Let’s get this thing started. How about a self-introduction?
Adam: We are The Fiasco. Tim is the Lead Singer, Adam is the Lead Guitarist, Jack is on Bass and we have Matt on Drums. We’re from Wakefield, West Yorkshire. Tim & Adam have been best friends and in a band since our teens in high school. Jack and Matt have been part of the band for around 4 years now.
Ryan: Right outside of Leeds, nice. I hear the rhubarb there is the bomb. Tell me a little about your upcoming release.
Adam: Our next single is called Played Me At My Own Game. It’s a high energy Alt-Pop/Rock track. It’s about a young man who is playing the field when it comes to dating, being a bit of a Jack the lad. But then falls in love with someone who then plays him. Hence the title Played Me At My Own Game.
Ryan: “A bit of a Jack the lad” eh? For our American readers, that means he’s a cocky little shit. Played Me At My Own Game drops this Friday on all streaming platforms. A new music video for the single will also drop on YouTube.
Influences and Collaboration
Ryan: I’ve heard you tunes. Takes me back to my angsty teenage years, getting tickets to Warped Tour and being angry at my parents for loving me. Good times. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Adam: Without a doubt, my biggest musical influence was The Offspring. They were the first band I really loved and the entire reason I picked up and started learning guitar. In fact, I’m so excited to hear that they’re releasing a new album in 2021. Nowadays, I’m hugely influenced by artists such as Daughtry, Luke Combs and bands such as All Time Low and You Me At Six.
Ryan: I love The Offspring. Can’t wait for the new album! If you guys could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
Adam: I think it would be really cool to go on a tour with All Time Low. We have been to see so many of their shows, and they are always super high energy, lots of fun and sound incredible! Plus they seem like a fun group of guys to hang out with!
Ryan: I’d buy tickets to that, for sure. What’s your collaboration process like?
Adam: We are open to lots of different ideas. We have collaborated with country singer, Lauren Faye Moss on a single where we wrote a song, and turned it into a duet. She came to the studio, recorded her vocals and we all shot a music video together. That was a really fun project. We’re always open to new ideas, so if you’re interested in linking up on a project – get in touch!
Life Outside of Music
Ryan: What do you guys like to do outside of music?
Adam: I’m a music producer and work with loads of other Alt-Rock and Country artists, helping them get great sounding records and traction with their careers. I also have a 1-year-old Cocker Spaniel puppy who is completely crazy, so spend a lot of time out walking trying to burn some energy from him!
Ryan: Man, I feel that. I rescued a German Shepherd puppy in Thailand at 3-months-old. He’s 18 months now and completely insane. So, if music wasn’t an option for you guys, what would you be doing?
Adam: Both of us are fully qualified teachers…. so that haha! I studied Biochemistry and trained to be a Science teacher, Tim did a Maths degree and became a Maths teacher!
Ryan: Well damn, a couple of smart-ass musicians. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about going back to teaching. You guys have a bright future in music. What’s the weirdest day job you’ve ever had?
Adam: Not so much weird, but I was a bartender in a hotel when I was 18-19. My hours were 7pm – 3am Friday, Saturday and Sunday and I hated it. One day, my P45 came through the post. I don’t really know if they just didn’t need me anymore or I got fired because they didn’t tell me haha. Anyway, I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t have to turn up any more!
Tim: I was a waiter and hated it whilst at University. One day – I had enough, so just decided to never go back. Didn’t even tell my boss I wasn’t coming back, so I’m pretty sure I lost out on some wages…but thats how much I wanted out haha.
Ryan: Oh man, I’ve had jobs like that. The worst. What were you guys like as kids?
Adam: Music mad! We were those kids at parties that would always find the acoustic guitar and be like ‘Anyway, here’s Wonderwall‘ haha!
Ryan: Haha you were that guy, huh? What about you, Tim?
Tim: I was a super annoying as a kid, probably still am very annoying. haha couldn’t sit still.
Ryan: That’s what us singers do. We were born to annoy people. No shame in that. Alright, you get a date with one musician. Who are you taking out?
Adam: I would LOVE to go on a man-date with Jack Black. He is seriously the coolest guy in the world and everything he does has me in stitches! His TikTok is the best thing in the world right now!
Getting Back To Reality
Ryan: What are you guys doing to stay connected to your fans during the pandemic?
Adam: We have been posting every day on our socials, doing a few live streams, and have also created a bunch of new merch for our online store including trucker caps and beanies. It’s currently -2 in the UK right now so the beanies are well appreciated. We are going to be giving away a merch bundle when our new single drops on 19.02.21.
Ryan: Nice! New merch AND a new single this Friday! If you could play that new single in any city in the world today, where would it be?
Adam: Vegas! We spent a week in Vegas for Tim’s stag do! Incredible place, so much to do, loads of energy. I think it’d be incredible!
Ryan: Vegas is dope. I did karaoke with a really bad Elvis impersonator there. I had a little too much to drink that night. Speaking of drinking, what keeps you guys going?
Adam: Passion! You don’t do music unless it’s something you’re deeply passionate about and there’s an innate ‘need’ to write, perform and put yourself out there!
Dominoes and Tiny Horses
Ryan: If you had one day left to live, how would you spend it?
Adam: I’d love to get everyone I know in a huge warehouse, tons of beer, play a bit of a gig and just have the best time ever with all my friends, family and loved ones. That would be the ideal way to see out the end of the world in my opinion.
Ryan: That sounds like fun. I’ll bring my wife. We’ll see you there. How about food? What if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?
Adam: Pizza. Dominoes or ASDA Pizza Counter…I’m not fussy between those – they’re the best pizzas around.
Ryan: Dominoes is on the top of your list? Damn, we are spoiled here in the States. The thought of Dominoes being the best pizza anywhere keeps me awake at night. What keeps you awake?
Adam: Not feeling fulfilled later in life! If I try and fail at something, that’s fine and I can live with that! But I’d hate to get towards the end of my life and wonder ‘what if?’….. yeah that got kinda deep haha!
Ryan: It’s okay to get deep. It’s always better to try and fail than to not try at all. Okay, enough with getting deep. One of you has to fight. Who is it? Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses?
Adam: I’m nominating Tim for this challenge!
Tim: Yeah I’ll give this a go! I’m the kind of ambitious type to say ‘I’ll smash them both’ and then realize I’ve bitten off more than I can chew haha.
Ryan: My god. could you imagine the chaos? One horse-sized duck and a flock of duck-sized horses.
Ryan: What’s next for you guys?
Adam: We have loads more singles ready to release, so we are planning on releasing music every 6-8 weeks moving forwards. As soon as COVID rules allow, we will be out gigging, making music videos, and we also have secured a publishing deal for our music, which we are really excited about!
Ryan: That is great news. Congrats! Before we wrap this up, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?
Adam: To our fans that follow us and listen to our music – we love you and appreciate you so much. You’re the reason that we do what we do and get so much enjoyment out of it. To anyone who hasn’t heard our music yet… if you like high energy Alt-Rock music with good catchy melodies from a group of guys who have below average banter and love Dad jokes, then we are EXACTLY what you have been waiting for!
Ryan: There you have it! Great tunes and dad jokes. Doesn’t get much better than that. Thanks for joining us today and good luck with your release on Friday!
Listen to The Fiasco here, and get ready for their new release on Friday, Played Me At My Own Game.
Thanks again for joining us on Le Café Music Blog’s Indie Artist Interview Sessions. I really need to come up with a shorter name for that. If you’re an indie artist and would like to be featured, Contact Us today!
And you would be absolutely correct. The song was originally released in 2008 under Scott Borchetta’s label, Big Machine Records.
Swift was only 15 when she signed with Big Machine, and 18 when her second album Fearless was released. This is the album that ultimately launched her career, with 5 hit singles, including Love Story.
So why are we posting this song on New Music Friday in 2021?
If you are a Taylor Swift fan, or even a fan of popular music in general, you have probably heard of her fight to own the master recordings of all of her previous songs.
Scott Borchetta and Scooter Braun
In 2019, Taylor’s Tumblr post rocked the music world. She revealed that “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in.”
Taylor declined that offer, as she knew that Borchetta would just sell the label, “thereby selling me and my future.” Borchetta then twisted the knife in her back by selling her master recordings to well-known Taylor Swift bully, Scooter Braun.
“All I could think about was the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.” This bullying was done by Scooter (which is a stupid name) and his clients, Kanye West and Justin Bieber.
She went on to say “This is my worst case scenario. This is what happens when you sign a deal at fifteen to someone for whom the term ‘loyalty’ is clearly just a contractual concept.“
Just to wrap this up, Taylor went on to sign with Universal Music Group and focus on her future, rather than her past.
Later in 2019, Taylor told Billboard that she would deny any requests to license her old music until she is able to rerecord and rerelease it, thus preventing Big Machine and Scooter Braun from profiting off of her work.
Love Story (Taylor’s Version) was released at midnight, along with an announcement that the entirety of Fearless has been recorded and will be re-released, along with never before heard tracks.
Here is Love Story (Taylor’s Version)
Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z – What It Feels Like
The late Nipsey Hussle and the 2021 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominee, Jay-Z, on the same track at last. The anticipated collaboration appears on the soundtrack of the new film Judas and the Black Messiah, in theaters and HBO Max today.
Hussle is originally known for his numerous mixtapes, one of which caught the eye of Jay-Z. The “King of Rap” bought 100 copies of his last mixtape, Crenshaw for $100 each.
On March 31, 2019, Nipsey Hussle was fatally shot outside of his LA clothing store after a confrontation earlier that day. Investigators say he was shot at least 10 times by 29-year-old Eric Holder, who has yet to face trial. We hope Hussle gets the justice he deserves.
Here is Nipsey Hussle and Jay-Z with What It Feels Like.
Dua Lipa – We’re Good
She’s back with The Moonlight Edition of her 2020 album Future Nostalgia. The new edition features 4 new songs, including We’re Good.
Buzzfeed reported on the backlash Dua Lipa has received on social media for all of her pandemic travels. Ironically, the first line of We’re Good is “I’m on an island.” As fans have pointed out, she seems to be on a new island every week.
Check out her new tracks, and be jealous of her travels. I know I am.
Pink Sweat$ – Heaven
There’s not a ton of information out there on 28-year-old David Bowden. The up-and-coming R&B singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, known as Pink Sweat$, just released his debut album Pink Planet with Atlantic Records.
He started gaining traction after the 2018 release of his debut single Honesty, which hit the top 10 on Spotify’s US Viral Charts. He was later nominated for Best New Artist at the 2019 Soul Train Awards.
Bowden released his first two EPs independently, and dammit…I wish I was the A&R to discover him. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.
Here is the first single off of Pink Planet, Heaven.
P!nk and Willow Sage Hart – Cover Me In Sunshine
From Pink Sweat$ to P!nk, there’s a whole lot of pink this week. I’m okay with that.
This mother-daughter duet is exactly the kind of content this world needs right now. P!nk, 41, and Willow, 9 just released the feel-good track of 2021.
In a statement earlier, mom said “Willow and I find comfort in music, so we’re putting this song out for no other reason than that we hope it brings you sweetness, sunshine and comfort, too.”
If this song doesn’t hit you right in the feels, check your pulse…you might be dead.
Robin Thicke – Look Easy
Robin Thicke is officially putting his Blurred Lines days behind him. In a recent interview with Brianne Tracy of People Magazine, Thicke opened up about the death of his father, Alan Thicke.
Alan Thicke sadly passed away in 2016 after a heart attack. Robin says “I wasn’t in a good place when he passed.” He said it all started in 2013 with the success of Blurred Lines.
“My marriage to Paula (Patton) was crumbling,” he says. “I started using painkillers. It was a melting pot of trouble brewing, and I was so arrogant that I thought I could handle it all.”
He said the death of his father was a turning point for him.
“After my father’s death, I remember a friend of his said, ‘A big tree has fallen.’ That’s what my dad was: the big tree. Now here I am, this medium-size tree, and I’ve got to grow my branches and protect everybody. Every day I try to make him proud of me.”
Robin Thicke has some big shoes to fill. His 4 children are his biggest inspiration to fill those shoes.
Off of his new album, On Earth, and in Heaven, here’s his newest single Look Easy.
Greta Van Fleet – Heat Above
Greta Van Fleet does not get the recognition they deserve. The rock band from Michigan has been criticized for “copying” Led Zeppelin’s sound and a “lack of originality.”
Yes, their sound does bear a strong resemblance, but it takes nothing away from the band’s originality. They have brought back Rock & Roll, and as a huge Led Zeppelin fan…I love that.
The band’s second studio album, The Battle at Garden’s Gate, is set to release in April.
Here is Greta Van Fleet’s new single from the album, Heat Above.
That does it for this week’s New Music Friday. For more from Rita Ora, Kings of Leon, A$AP Rocky, and more, have a listen to Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist right here:
We’ll be back tomorrow with an interview with unsigned country artist, Sam Phelps! Don’t forget to subscribe, and let me know what new songs you love this week in the comments!
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!
Every Tuesday, Billboard releases all of their charts. As I am a “citizen of the world,” I will bring you the Billboard Global 200 Top 10 every week. The Global 200 ranks the top songs based on sales and streaming data from 200 territories worldwide. Let’s get to it!
1. Olivia Rodrigo – Drivers License
The former Disney Channel’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series star debuted her first single last week at number 1. That’s where she’ll stay this week. Since Drivers License was released, it has broken the record for most daily streams on Spotify…twice. The song has reached the top of charts in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and here in the US.
2. Ariana Grande – 34+35
Nobody can explain this track the way Lewis Capaldi does, so I’ll leave you with this:
Jumping 9 spots from 11 to 2, here’s 34+35:
3. The Weeknd – Blinding Lights
20 weeks on the chart and this song is still up near the top. From the Canadian star’s fourth studio album After Hours, Blinding Lights moves down just one spot to number 3.
4. Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez – Dákiti
Staying put at number 4 this week, Dákiti reaches its 12th week on the chart. If you don’t speak Spanish, this song is basically about getting drunk, smoking weed, his lady’s butt, and doin’ it.
I can’t believe I fit a Ladies Man reference in here. I’m proud of myself. Anyway, bending the rules of reggaetón, here is Dákiti by the Puerto Rican duo.
5. 24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior – Mood
Staying put at number 5, the 20-year-old TikTok sensation 24kGoldn reaches his 20th week on the chart with Mood. After breaking out on TikTok, he had some sound advice for his fellow TikTokers in an interview with the New York Post “Don’t make anything you wouldn’t want to watch yourself.”
6. BTS – Dynamite (방탄소년단)
The K-Pop boy band slides 3 slots to number 6 this week. This is also their 20th week on the chart after their debut at number 1. Dynamite has over 800 million views on YouTube and over 600 million streams on Spotify.
Those numbers don’t surprise me one bit. After living in South Korea for almost three years, I know how loyal Korean pop fans can be.
7. Dua Lipa ft. DaBaby – Levitating
The British vocalist sits at number 7 once again this week with the hit from her second studio album, Future Nostalgia. Warner Music got a huge win by signing Dua Lipa in 2015.
8. SZA – Good Days
SZA will stay at number 8 this week, her 8th week on the chart with Good Days. The American neo soul vocalist announced yesterday that she wants Frank Ocean on the remix for this track.
I think that’s something we can all get behind.
9. The Weeknd – Save Your Tears
Abel reaches the top-10 again this week after jumping from 13 to 9. This is the fourth single from After Hours, and his second on the chart this week. The Weeknd continues his on-going theme throughout his music videos from After Hours by revealing his botox-injected face of nightmares.
10. Justin Bieber – Anyone
The single released by Def Jam Recordings stays in the top-10 for a third week, dropping from number 6. Bieber’s character seems to be evolving from “idiot kid” to an adult with regrets. He recently reflected on the 7-year anniversary of his DUI arrest in Miami in an Instagram post.
You love to see that he’s learned from his mistakes and is trying to move on with his life. I know the feeling…minus the being famous thing.
I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the Billboard Global 200 Top 10.
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