In his book Hit Makers, author Derek Thompson unceremoniously drops this gold nugget of wisdom: “The chaos of life is a chronic condition for which stories are the remedy.” First of all, whoa. Secondly, what, then, are the stories we tell ourselves? For me, the story I tell myself is that the myriad of little, daily decisions I make as a recent LA transplant will pay dividends in the long run. In other words, I convince myself that I’m working towards something, and there’s nothing particularly unique about my story. It is the same one that’s been sold to us by society: hard work pays off. But what if it doesn’t? This tape is about being new to a place, having self doubt, and being a tad bit delusional in the pursuit of your calling.
NOTE: SoundCloud is missing track 15 (“Hurt” by Eyukaliptus).
There’s nothing better than stumbling across a surprise, off-album single from one of your favorite artists. In this particular instance, I heard the smooth sound of SZA‘s Quicksand ring through my TV speakers during the season 2 Finale of Insecure (GREAT show, in case you’re in need of a new one)- and I raced to my phone to Shazam it. SZA’s lyrics are so clearly rooted in personal experience that it’s impossible to not feel a connection to them, and to play them out alongside the heartbreaking love story of Issa and Lawrence!! You can consider me completely hooked.
Check out SZA’s new single below, and if you dig it be sure to check out her debut album, Ctrl, and the Insecure Season 2 Soundtrack.
19-year-old Kylie Odetta’s sophisticated tunes are brimming with cross-over potential, appealing to fans of jazz and top 40 while falling in step with the slow-burning R&B of Alina Baraz and Yuna. With her newest release, Undertow, Odetta has backed away from the indie electro vibes of her previous EP and stepped into a more contemporary pop role that meshes her signature gorgeous vocals with warm brass and mature musical arrangements. Her musical acumen is certainly a sound to behold and she has proven herself consistent in delivering high-quality, emotive songs that evoke some of the greatest songwriters in recent history. The crowning jewel of Undertow is the delicate banger “Stress” which puts off a serious young Alicia Keys vibe, complete with sultry attitude and in-the-pocket finesse.
Undertow is out today and can be purchased via iTunes
I can’t get enough of 19 year old R&B-pop rising star Khalid, who dropped the title track off of his debut album American Teen today. Set for release on March 3rd, Khalid’s debut is poised to be one of the breakthrough albums of 2017. His soulful sound and honest songwriting//storytelling featured in earlier releases like Location, Saved and Coaster, have helped the young artist carve out a space and a platform for himself within the crowded music landscape. His songs tell stories of love, heartbreak and hope- sharing wisdom that extends far beyond the teenage years. The title track, American Teen, is an anthem that sets the tone for the rest of the album- listen below and keep an eye out for the full album release in early March! It’s going to be a good one, trust me.
I recently finished Ashlee Vance’s authorized biography of Elon Musk, CEO/founder of Tesla and SpaceX. The book paints a detailed portrait of an extremely smart and determined man, who cares less about making money and more about impacting the world in a positive way. His driving motivator, the one that causes him to work most hours of the day, is to make humankind a multi-planetary species and to give us the tools to shift our energy consumption to clean energy. The idea of working toward a larger goal, such as Elon’s, is fascinating to me: not working to live, not working to make as much money as possible, but, rather, working to improve the universe. And it is not about winning some make-believe competition of who can be the noblest lad in all the land; there’s a fundamentality to it.
We have “x” number of years to live and reproduce →
Our planet has a laundry list of unresolved problems, and our species is confined to it →
So, let’s improve Earth for future generations, while reducing our dependence on Earth (for future generations).
Ironically, I also learned that, with hard work and proper execution, big money often follows such ambitious purpose. There is not a shortage of big thinkers, there is not a shortage of money, but there is a shortage of people willing to assume large risk for an abstract but basic idea.
NOTE: The SoundCloud mix is missing track 12 (“O&D” by Louis Val). Original image by Spencer Tunick.
Atu, Dpat, and Brent Faiyaz are the team of talented musicians that make up Sonder. “Too Fast” is their latest release and it’s one that’ll take you to another place. As the track starts, there’s a feeling of gloominess that’s shown through a certain type of simplicity. The vocals bring the tenderness and emotion to an already deep vibe which leads to a flawless combination of sounds. There’s something special about this one and you’ll feel it when you turn it on in an empty, dark room (trust us). Take a listen to the r&b track below and keep an eye out for more from Sonder.
There’s nothing guilty about Temptress‘ new single “Guilty Pleasure”, in fact, it’s completely addictive and we’ll scream that on the top of rooftops. The fabulous duo may not be widely known yet, but with catchy tracks like this they’re bound to reel in plenty of new followers. This particular track has r&b vibes with tender pop sounds, a combination that’s irresistible and completely catchy. We promise this chorus will not leave your head anytime soon and that’s only after one listen. Check out the memorable single from Temptress below!
As the track begins, there’s already a feeling of darkness and mystery. “Lovely” isn’t your average pop-infused r&b track that’ll be blasting on the radio, instead it has a rawness that’s impossible to deny. Brent Faiyaz may not be a name you’ve heard, but with this type of emotion, you can’t stay away. His vocals are tender and warm, but the sounds are deep and slightly dark. It’s that track that’ll be on your late night playlist to put you in the zone of thoughts. If you need a little something to put you in that place, check out the beautiful r&b song below.
Reva DeVito is a sassy, r&b songstress from Portland that knows how to keep it real. Last week she released her latest EP The Move, and one of its stand out tracks is “Deeper”. Although DeVito’s sweet, tender vocals feel completely relaxing, the song takes a look into breaking up and cutting ties. “I’ll never forget you. I’ll never forget the man you were, but I can’t stay with you“, DeVito expresses over a chill beat. Breakups may be hard, but somehow they hurt way less with a track like this. Check out the sound of smooth heartbreak below.
It’s autumn and it’s about that time when we all get those tender, deep feelings (goodbye bright summer sun, we loved you). So, how we do bring our souls at ease during these breezy days? A little bit of quiet, chill music usually does the trick. This time around we have a new artist that’ll have you feeling warm and fuzzy inside (you know, in the way that Frank Ocean does). Garrickson is a Dallas-based soulful pop artist that has us hooked with his latest tune “Floating Around”. There are no bells and whistles to this one, it’s just a simple, yet irresistible r&b track. You can get lost and check out the smooth sound below.
You may be currently sipping a cocktail in the backyard and tanning your skin away, but we all know the inevitable is coming — the end of summer. I know, it burns our ears too, but let’s not forget all the good times basking in the sun quite yet. We’ve compiled the perfect playlist for your last minute BBQs and days at the park. There are songs literally about summer (Kate Nash), songs that just make you want to get down at the labor day party (Roy Woods, Mac Miller), and some tracks that are simply light and catchy (Big Baby D.R.A.M., Kali Uchis) for those “windows down” car rides. Before you kiss the sun and warmth goodbye, take this playlist for a spin and just live in the summer moment.