Posts by Lydia
I came across this feel-good track the other day by Nic Hanson called “Rain.” It’s got elements of Mayer Hawthorne, Robin Thicke, and Raphael Saadiq with a pop-infused soul vibe.
When I asked Nic Hanson what he had to say about the track, he touched on the track’s inspiration and the benefits of being a creative, independent artist:
“Rain” is like the stuff that plays in my head all the time. I love that vibe and grooviness that came with 90′s R&B but I like the heaviness of today’s music. I like to leave a raw sound – a kind of imperfection – on my songs. I feel that people like me have a tendency to wait too long, THINKING about the right time to do something, wanting everything to line up perfectly. I’m tired of waiting and thinking about creating my art. I just want to create more. I just wanna DO it. That to me is one of the beauties of being an independent artist, having the ability to move at any pace you want.
There’s a huge amount of demand for this type of drive and vibe today, so Nic Hanson may have a bright future ahead of him. He’s worth putting on your radar.
One of the things I find hardest about music blogging is finding a song that at first makes me think “oh shit, this is beautiful,” but then the vocals enter and the song is ruined. It happens far more often than I’m comfortable with, but I will say that it’s overshadowed by the amazing feeling that comes when you hear another song with a beautiful intro that’s accompanied by vocals that give you chills.
Luckily I stumbled across the latter yesterday when I heard this song “Run” by Rebecca Peters. She reminds me quite a bit of Florence + the Machine with her powerful vocals, emotional lyrics and rich instrumentals. If there’s any artist a new indie singer-songwriter wants to be compared to on the market, Florence might be the one; that’s a powerful endorsement that I wouldn’t throw around lightly.
As someone who has loved music and writing since she was a little girl, Rebecca Peters worked up the courage to quit her full-time job in advertising to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter based in Sacramento. She’s won a bunch of small-town awards in Northern California, but she’ll soon be moving to Los Angeles to try to take her career as a musician to the next level. “Run” is her first official single, and if it’s a sign of what’s to come, she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
Gnash continues to prove to me why he’s one of my favorite artists of 2016 with his latest track “Wake Up,” featuring Chelsea Cutler and Goody Grace. What stands out to me the most is the versatility of his sounds and yet consistency of his message. His lyrics are ones that anybody who has ever gone through love and heartbreak can relate to, but his sonic compositions have ranged from electronic, quasi-hip hop, and a pure indie songwriter sound with his recognizably smooth voice, as heard in today’s release. Fact is, no matter the approach, the outcome is always beautiful, which is why I’m incredibly bullish on Gnash.
Hit the jump for the lyrics.
I love the looks I get when people first find out how much I love hip hop. What I love even more than that is convincing hip hop haters that they can like the genre too. One of the artists I’m quick to introduce them to is Seattle rapper Sol. He tends to create very melodic hip-hop music that borders pop music. He just put out two new tracks called “100 Songs” and “Happiness” that I’m sure just about any can get behind. Check for yourself, and listen closely to the lyrics on “Happiness.” So good.
I love it when I hear a song and immediately know that I’ve found something special. Something cool, different.
I’m onto something tonight upon learning of Teddy Sinclair, whose name you may not be familiar with just yet, but whose work you just might be. She co-wrote “Kiss It Better” on Rihanna’s latest album Anti and “Holy Water” on Madonna’s album Rebel Heart. She has recently formed a band with her husband, Willy Moon, called Cruel Youth. In her own words, “Cruel Youth is an intravenous hit of our love and everything I find beautiful.”
Mr. Watson is their debut song together. It’s artful, it’s soulful, it’s mysterious, and for that it’s earning itself multiple plays this Friday evening.
Hit the jump for lyrics to Mr. Watson.
As I’m gearing up to watch The Grammy’s, I figured I’d share a song I’m liking by artists who aren’t Grammy nominees yet, but could someday be. Today’s award goes to Illenium, a Denver-based producer who’s turning heads in the electronic music scene.
He just released his debut album called Ashes, which features a bunch of other talented artists, including one of my own favorites Quinn XCII. Listen to their song “With You” and if you’re a fan, listen to the full album on Spotify or SoundCloud.
If you’ve ever lost somebody, you may be familiar with the connection you feel to a song when it seems to resemble that person you lost. It can happen with love and breakups, and it can happen with the death of a loved one. You start to hear a song in a different way and suddenly the lyrics mean so much more to you.
I’ve always found this to be a really powerful experience in music. I find myself listening to the lyrics much more intently when I’m at my highest or my lowest, searching for similarities and connections to my own life and emotions.
A similar experience happened to Lonely Child, who recorded this cover of Miguel’s song “A Beautiful Exit” after losing a very close friend of his. He was in the midst of a crazy time of his life; he was working too much, building his studio, and was constantly feeling exhausted. He told me the following:
When my friend died, it obviously took a lasting toll. Whenever I was driving, though, this Miguel record would play. It was the first in my iPod’s rotation, so it would come on every time I turned on my car. And it started to reveal itself as being about my friend. It was so weird, but this song became part of my day to day life, every time I’d drive my car. And I realized I wanted to record it as a tribute to my friend. It so perfectly describes him, encapsulates how I feel about him, and was just such a cathartic experience to record. It’s the first thing I recorded entirely in my new studio as well. It’s just a very important, personal recording to me.
Things like that are a big part of why I love music so much. We can find peace in our deepest hours through songs and stories. It hurts like hell to lose somebody, but being able to cling on to a special feeling like this and, for Lonely Child, forever remembering that his first song in his new studio was written in memory of his friend, makes it seem like everything just might be okay.
Hit the jump to listen to the Miguel original and read the lyrics.
Ricky Smith just recently crossed my radar as he was featured on the song “Make You Feel” off Hoodie Allen‘s new album Happy Camper that was released today. And I was put onto him by a friend who also introduced me to Son Little. Nothing like trustworthy word of mouth advertising. So I listened to Ricky’s single “Yesterdays” and realized this is an artist to get familiar with. He’s joining this growing genre of pop-infused R&B that I can’t seem to get enough of. Loving his vibe.
Tonight we’re finally free from our yesterdays, tonight tomorrow’s dreams will take us far away
I have a strong feeling 2016 is going to be a huge year for both Skizzy Mars and Gnash. They’re going on tour together in the first quarter of the year – that’s definitely a show to catch. They released a song together a couple days ago called “Closure” and while it’s short, it embodies the spirit of the two artists perfectly. Skizzy perfects his harmonic verses and Gnash smoothly covers the hook and a verse of his own in his signature clear and relatable style.
Can’t tell you how big I am on both of these guys – they’re on the brink of something really big, and they’re both great characters, which makes it all even more exciting to watch. Hit the jump for the lyrics.
The concept for this playlist was built around the line in the opening track by Chance The Rapper that says “I woke up this morning / I woke up this morning / Gotta smile when I say that shit / I woke up this morning!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that line since I first heard the song. I could go into a long monologue about ‘what a time it is to be alive,’ but honestly I don’t feel like sharing all of that today in my own words. I’ll share a few, but mostly I wanted to put together a playlist of songs old and new that sum up my feelings about the world.
It’s funny – I think I get a certain way at the end of every year as my team is putting together our Best Songs of the Year playlist; I think it makes me pause and think about what music really means to me. It’s weird to be able to connect so deeply to the words and art of people you don’t know at all. But when you do feel that sense of connection, it’s a really beautiful thing.
This is a collection of songs that I feel a connection to. It’s a mix of all-time favorites, recent favorites, and songs by some new artists I’m into. For one reason or another, each song gets me excited to wake up each morning. And I’m thankful to be reminded of what a gift that is.
This is a case where I heard the remix before I heard the original song, and I thought the original song by JR JR might be noticeably slower and darker than the remix, because if you listen to the lyrics, it’s actually a pretty sad song. But upon listening to the original as well, I realized that Nicolas Haelg hopped onto the remix and basically smoothed out and pumped some adrenaline into the original just a bit – it’s a great version, but it doesn’t stray too far from the original version. To me, that’s just evidence that this is a solid song at its core.
For people who ask me for music to add to their workout playlists, I’d suggest you add this one. Great uptempo beat!
I’ve always been a fan of hip-hop. I get excited when I hear a good beat, I appreciate good poetry, and more than anything, I feel a connection with a truthful story. Today we get to premiere a song called “Right Now” by CP and Kyle, two artists we’ve supported since the beginning. It was written when the two lived together in LA in 2014 and it tells the story of pursuing their dreams in the music industry. When asked about the back story, CP told me “we really lived every line of that record. From the front seat of the car to him fighting his brother in the house. It’s all real. That’s what I feel makes this song timeless.”
These are two guys who have been grinding for years and are starting to gain widespread recognition. Kyle recently released his sophomore album and is about to embark on a tour with Hoodie Allen and Blackbear. CP, who was originally a part of One Room, has proven himself with each release of his to be an incredibly talented producer, singer and rapper. They’ve both been featured on countless Tape Tuesdays, we’ve supported most of their releases, and we’ve gotten to know both of them as people and artists as they’ve been growing their careers.
The thing is, as an artist it’s easy to get lost in this world. Especially when you’re trying to prove yourself in a crowded space. But you can either fall into that trap or be different and make a name for yourself. Both CP and Kyle have consistently made unique music and by doing so have achieved the latter. They make music that embodies exactly what I love about hip-hop: it’s intriguing, it’s poetic, and it’s got a real story behind it. This song is a perfect example of that. And that’s the type of art I’ll always support. Get behind these guys; this is still just the beginning.
Stream the song below and hit the jump for full lyrics.