Posts tagged with "songwriting"

Alex Taylor photo via Alex Taylor for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Spotlight: Alex Taylor

From Arizona, Alex Taylor (22yro) is a self-taught producer and composer. When he was young, music remained a quintessential aspect of his education. Listening to George Strait, Stevie Nicks and Poison, Taylor started analyzing the lyrical content of the songs that filled his home. He says that’s where his passion for songwriting comes from. “Although I don’t write country music, there is no denying the art, imagery, and overall passion that goes into his writing,” said Taylor during a recent interview. Aside from writing songs, Taylor produces all his music and singing. His style is described as “electronic, disorderly, sonic emotions.” He quotes his musical influences as Tove Lo and Nine Inch Nails

Taylor is working towards the release of a new music, with an EP in the coming months. He hopes to release his first record, also produced and written by Taylor. 

Fear is a song written, interpreted and created by Alex Taylor. The title is based on electricity and energy, as evidenced by the instrumental. The track describes the aftermath of a break-up; the desire and despair for someone to fill the vacant place. The best descriptors of the song are “electronic, dark, humming, synthwave.”

pulp EP cover artwork via Kirsten Mikkelson for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Winnetka Bowling League – pulp

Winnetka Bowling League debuted their hot fourth EP pulp via RCA Records on Friday February 4. The EP consists of new track fiimy (fuck it, i misss you) with Demi Lovato, as well as a few separate pre-released tracks. Listen and stream pulp HERE, and catch the full tracklist below.

Both Winnetka Bowling League and Demi Lovato came together when Demi got into touch with head singer Matthew Koma. He posted a short video of the track onto the popular platform of TikTok, where Demi was drawn to the song.

Matthew raves about the inspiration behind fiimy (fuck it, i misss you), saying ““fiimy” is about running into an ex for the first time since a break up and the rush of mixed feelings that ad target you. There’s wondering if you even know that person anymore and there’s reckoning with your own “did i fuck up a good thing”. When Demi heard the lyrics, I think they reminded them of their own version of that experience…so it was really cool to hear them come with a verse framing how that story was told in their world. It takes dismissing a lot of pride to admit to yourself you miss someone.”

Demi spoke on their collaboration on the track, stating, “Winnetka Bowling League has such a unique sound, and I am excited to be on this record with them. If these times taught us anything it’s the power of human connection and missing someone, and I think this song speaks to that in a very honest and relevant way.”

The new EP pulp was written and produced by Matthew, and comes after their accomplished 2020 EP Congratulations.

Matthew talks about pulp, asserting, “Writing songs feels nauseatingly self-important and talking about writing songs is worse than a writer’s camp. But alas, I wrote most of the songs for the new EP in New York and felt panicked for 2 months that I was only capable of pure shit. I grew up in NY but I’ve spent the last 11 years in Los Angeles and sometimes the mentality here makes you forget about doing stuff you actually love. Being back in New York sort of sparked all these memories of being a kid recording terrible demos on ACID (the recording program, not the drug, unfortunately). And that headspace got me thinking about things and people I haven’t thought about for a long time. Usually I’m arm wrestling myself to write something about my current circumstance that’s relatable to more than my three friends who like quarantine as much as I do. But there was this shift in NY and I started writing about people and feelings I hadn’t visited in a while. Time grants you kinder eyes and with songs like ”barcelona” and “fiimy” I got to re-explore those relationships from a helicopter’s view and see it a little differently. “pulp” was about this really odd memory that came back to me one day when I walked by Port Authority and smelled hot pretzels. It made sense to call the EP “pulp” because every song was born from some specific snapshot detail that wasn’t at all the main juice (lol). I usually like my own music for 2-3 months after making it then I’m paralyzingly humiliated. I wrote this on 4/22/21 – use that information accordingly.”

This spring we see Winnetka Bowling League heading out on a series of shows while backing CHVRCHES on their practically sold-out UK Screen Violence Tour. To access more information on the tour and to get your own tickets in Newcastle and Birmingham, visit HERE. See tour dates below.

About Matthew Koma and Winnetka Bowling League

Head artist in charge, Matthew Koma was raised in New Jersey and became a critically acclaimed performer, songwriter and producer who has worked for the likes of Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Keith Urban, Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson. The beginnings of Winnetka Bowling League came in 2018 when Matthew, his brother Kris Mazzarisi and Sam Beresford joined him to release their self-titled EP. They soon released two more Eps, Cloudy with a Chance of Sun in 2019 and Congratulations in 2020, all showcasing impeccable songwriting paired with memorable lyrics. V Magazine proclaimed, “Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Matthew Koma…[as] raw and honest, possessing a dry sense of humor that is reflected in both his songs and his mannerisms…[Winnetka Bowling League is] the perfect pairing of deep lyrical content and alternative rock melodies.”

pulp EP track listing:

1. “pulp” 

2. “fiimy (fuck it, i miss you)” with Demi Lovato

3. “barcelona” with Sasha Alex Sloan 

4. “dandelion”

5. “emotionalporn”

CHVRCHES x Winnetka Bowling League tour dates

March 14th – Edinburgh UK – O2 Academy (SOLD OUT)

March 15th – Newcastle, UK – O2 City Hall

March 16th – London, UK – O2 Academy Brixton (SOLD OUT)

March 18th – Birmingham, UK – O2 Academy 

March 19th – Manchester, UK – O2 Apollo (SOLD OUT)

Bahari group photo via Epic Records Publicity for use by 360 MAGAZINE

BAHARI – “Way of Love” Music Video

Iconic pop duo Bahari released the music video for their coveted single “Ways of Love,” and you’ll want to take a look. The steamy video can be viewed HERE.

The compassionate lyrics captivate all audiences, “You give me these feelings, I don’t understand, Take control of my body, I’m in your hands.”

“‘Ways of Love’ is about that moment and feeling right before you finally give in to falling in love with someone. It’s about that decision to trust someone with your heart and to learn the way that they love,” says Bahari considering the message behind the single.

You can stream “Ways of LoveHERE.

Bahari

A match made in heaven, this alt-pop woman duo consists of singer/keyboarder Ruby Carr and singer/bassist Natalia Panzarella. The two artists came together by random chance one day when they were both at the same songwriting session. They knew they stuck gold from that moment and continued to generate music together.

Their first and perhaps most noteworthy hit came in 2014 with “Wild Ones,” accumulating a total of over 40 million Spotify streams. They continued with their successes in 2016 with the release of their EP Dancing on the Sun and singles “Get Together” and “Fucked Up.” They even hit the stage on tours with Selena Gomez and Birdy and joined forces with Zedd, ILLENIUM and Grey on collabs.

Bahari produced another newsy hit in 2018 with “Savage,” which was later revamped into a remix in 2020 featuring BIA. “Savage” amasses over 100 million streams/views and now serves as promo content for “American Horror Stories.” In 2021, the duo’s “CRASHING” in cooperation with ILLENIUM joined the To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You Original Soundtrack. Follow along as Bahari takes on 2022 with more electrifying projects to come.

"I Wanna Be A Boy" single cover art via Leigh Greaney for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Addison Grace – “I Wanna Be A Boy”

Musician and TikTok phenomenon Addison Grace released their single, “I Wanna Be A Boy,” that discusses their own intimate tour with gender. Throughout writing the song and exploring what gender truly meant to them, Addison was able to discover their pronouns – he/they – and come out as nonbinary. Addison sings, “I guess I wanna be a boy,” coming full terms with this sincere and profound message.

Listen to “I Wanna Be A BoyHERE.

Addison pondered with never releasing the song past his own social media, but after posting it online and observing the feedback, he knew that it deserved an appropriate debut. While speaking with B Drop, Addison states, “I initially started writing it when I was questioning a lot of things about myself. I’m very open with how I identify online and I’ve always openly been a queer creator, queer musician, and at that time I was really not understanding how I identified with my gender and how I felt about it, and so it started off as a song about gender roles and how I was jealous of guys and how they got to have certain things I couldn’t have. With time, I realized it was very much me explaining — in song form — that I wasn’t a girl and that I was nonbinary instead.

“A lot of people ended up relating to the song. I had trans men relating to it saying “I’ve always felt like that.” I’ve had trans women being like “I used to deny I was a woman and I wanted to be a boy; I wanted to be “normal” — quote, unquote. I even had my friends who were born female and identify as female feel that way because they felt they were a tomboy and never fit in with the “girlie girls” so to speak.” He continues, “Even though, for me, it’s a song about gender identity and finding myself in that way, I think really at the core — it becomes a song about not understanding yourself and wishing so desperately that you could and it’s a very vulnerable song for that reason.”

The cover art for the piece showcases several images of Addison while they were growing up, at different time periods. He talks about this, saying, “I feel like a lot of my work recently has been about growing up and about those awkward moments in your life, so for this song, I wanted it to be a collage of my face growing up. I didn’t want it to be something someone had drawn. I wanted it to be realistic so I searched through a bunch of scrapbooks and I found pictures of two-year old me, 10-year old me, 15-year old me and a picture of me from last year and we ended up crafting it all together because I’ve always loved the idea of putting photos together and it makes something else. I wanted to put stickers and all that because when you’re finding yourself, it feels like these weird puzzle that don’t fit quite right, so I wanted it to look slightly off… I really love it and it feels really nostalgic to me.”

The journey of coming out as non-binary for Addison was a difficult road and is something that he aims to inspire others with. They strive to empower individuals with the power to live their own lives as genuinely as possible. Through sharing his own journey, Addison nurtures the idea that gender identity is a voyage that they went on and hope that others can embark on as well.

More about Addison Grace

With an outstanding 3.8 million followers on TikTok, almost 400k followers on Instagram and close to 200k YouTube subscribers, Addison Grace become an online sensation through hard work and dedication. He began his journey online with an iPhone 6 and a dream, often encouraging his own audiences to follow their dreams despite their situations. Addison stands as waterproof that anyone can become an artist if they’re dedicated to the craft, stating, “You’re enough and what you’re doing is enough.”

As an activist for the LGBTQIA+ community, upcoming artists and mental health, Addison is known for disclosing his own individual experiences living with ADHD. He makes sure to communicate to his fanbases that “normal” is a made-up concept, and that the truth is very real. They transmit the importance of the truth with “I Wanna Be A Boy,” which you can stream everywhere now.

George O'Hanlon "How Are You Feeling?" single artwork via Madi Florence Umusic for use by 360 MAGAZINE

George O’Hanlon – How Are You Feeling

Rising UK singer/songwriter George O’Hanlon makes his 2022 debut with his new single “How Are You Feeling?” available now via Harvest Records. Listen to “How Are You Feeling?HERE.

The single finds inspiration from rock icons like Radiohead, Springsteen, Nirvana and Slowdive. Throughout the track, intricate guitar work combined with an uplifting chorus makes it one you’ll want to give a listen to. “How Are You Feeling” also comes as the introduction to George’s full touring band on a single.

As a songwriter, George is able to showcase his true talents in the single. He states, “The song is about how you find your path as a person, especially during your late teens early 20’s, and the ups-and-downs that come with that. To me it’s a really positive song about people finding their way.”

About George O’Hanlon

Gaining practice through performing in the college circuit, George O’Hanlon has been perfecting his craft for quite some time. Working on his music by performing and writing for the past few years, George launched his career in 2021 with his debut EP, The Storm. While his musical inspirations range from artists like Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley and Thom Yorke, George’s music has natural literary soul. He captives his fans by referencing his own life experiences, outlining them in new perceptions.

While rising as a budding talent in the UK music scene, George has gained affirmation from Abi McCarthy at BBC Introducing and Jack Saunders at Radio 1. You can find George typically performing at grassroots venues, while he toured the UK last September with his band. They traveled to small venues around the UK together. Noting the experience, George exclaimed, “We spent hours with four of us crammed in a car with all our gear. The tough bits are service stations at 3 in in the morning and things like that but playing the shows made it all worth it.”

You can catch George performing at his first US show at Austin’s South by Southwest Festival.

Luca Rossetti for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Matteo Bocelli × Close

Singer/songwriter Matteo Bocelli rang in the new year with a brand new single and video of “Close.” Bocelli’s sensitive and passionate nature is encapsulated through “Close,” where he proclaims, “it feels like heaven when I hold ya/so I will never let you go/and when the worlds too much to shoulder/just keep me close close close close.” Listen HERE.

The music video for the new single was shot at the 2000-year-old Arena di Verona in Italy. This iconic Roman amphitheater has seen other noteworthy artists perform there, such as, Paul McCartney, One Direction and Maria Callas. The historic location for the heartfelt song that is “Close” sends off an eternal essence. Throughout the video, Bocelli roams the streets of Italy and plays with his band. Watch the music video HERE.

Matteo Bocelli spoke on the track, stating, “I had the pleasure of writing ‘Close’ with Stuart Crichton and Wrabel this past year. This was such a fun song to write. I love the upbeat tempo and vibrant melody. I hope it brings some happiness and maybe even the urge to let loose and dance a little bit, just as it does for me! After enduring so much time apart from friends and family over the last couple of years, I would love for this song to become a hymn of hope.”

Bocelli will be featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show on this upcoming Thursday, January 20, where he will be performing. Bocelli, the son of opera icon Andrea Bocelli, was a special guest for his fathers U.S. arena tour. The tour has seen two Madison Square Garden shows and returns back on February 20 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

This artist finished out the year of 2021 with a showing of his single “Solo” on December 31 on Good Morning America. Like the music video setting for “Close,” Bocelli also gave a renowned performance of “Solo” from Arena di Verona, watch HERE. Before appearing on GMA, Bocelli gave a series of performances in 2021 while appearing on the PBS special In Performance at the White House: Spirit of the Season, TODAY, and CNN”s New Year’s Eve Special.

About Matteo Bocelli

Matteo Bocelli’s career began at the mere age of six when he first learned how to play the piano. His first stage appearance came when he was 18, while he sang Verdi at the Rome Colosseum. You may even remember him from Andrea Bocelli’s 2018 “Fall on Me,” where his impeccable vocals and piano skills were highlighted. Now graduating from the Conservatory of Lucca in Tuscany, Bocelli tours the world and captivates audiences with his melodic gift.

Mon Laferte for use by 360 MAGAZINE

Mon Laferte × District 13 International Art Fair

Artist Mon Laferte joins in at the District 13 International Art Fair in Paris this week amongst leading artists from the realms of street and pop art. The exhibition opens to the public from January 13 to 16.

Gracias,” the acrylic, mixed media piece of art created by Laferte will be auctioned off on Sunday, January 16 at 4:00 PM. (CET), by Drouot Group. To be eligible to bid on the auction day, make sure to register before Sunday, January 16 HERE.

Mon Laferte places her artwork on exhibit at the District 13 International Art Fair, represented by the Bahía Utópica Art Gallery in Valparaíso, at the Hôtel Drouot. The art fair brings together the edginess but energetic ambiances from galleries of street and pop art. An auction house showcased at the fair elevates the cohabitation of varying media forms to support urban artists.

Spanning from January 13 to 16 Laferte’s paintings will be available for sale, accompanied by a group of six other Chilean artists from Valparaíso, at Stand 10-B located at 9 Rue Drouot Paris. Her painting, “Gracias,” joins the special final auction with 27 other top artists from the world of street and pop art, on January 16. View the catalog HERE.

The piece “Gracias” is an Acrylic and mixed technique piece on canvas with dimensions of 122 x 91 centimeters. Laferte speaks about the piece, stating, “Some of these paintings I did while I was undergoing hormonal treatment to get pregnant. I have never heard anyone talk about the terror they feel, every day is an achievement. These have been the months in which I have felt the most fear in all my life. Never before did I take care of myself as much as I do now. Before I could drink and not sleep for many days and nothing mattered to me, now everything has changed for me. Every decision is critical to the successful end of my pregnancy. Also the hormones have been completely violent. Sometimes I go from happiness to deep depression. Pregnancy is not all tender and rosy. There are days when I feel like a black hole that lives in me is swallowing me.”

About Mon Laferte

Singer, songwriter and visual artist Mon Laferte has a unique artistic point-of-view that spans over a range of creative branches. The Chilean artist generates modern and stylish Latin music that captivates her audiences. Her personal songwriting charm snatched Laferte the Best Singer-Songwriter Album for Seis at the 2021 Latin GRAMMY’s. Recently, the album also received a GRAMMY nomination for “Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Includes Tejano).”

Amidst her career in the music industry, Laferte is a fully fledged artist with artwork notarized in differing countries. Laferte’s work continues to be established in exhibitions throughout numerous cities, including “Gestos” at the Museum of Mexico City. Her unique murals stand out amongst street art in Chile, Mexico and Los Angeles.

Scott Hirsch_windlessDay cover from Jim Merlis, Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

Scott Hirsch shares in-studio performance – Dreamer

Acclaimed singer-songwriter-producer-musician Scott Hirsch has announced today’s premiere of an exclusive new live in-studio acoustic performance video of his mesmerizing new single, “Dreamer.” Directed by musician/photographer Brendan Willing James at Hirsch’s Echo Magic in Ojai, CA, “Dreamer (Live In-Studio Acoustic Performance)” is streaming now via YouTube here. The official single version of “Dreamer” is available now at all DSPs and streaming services here.

“Dreamer” heralds the upcoming release of Hirsch’s eagerly awaited new album, WINDLESS DAY, due via Echo Magic Records with Soundly Music on Friday, October 8; pre-saves and exclusive vinyl pre-orders are available now here. A duet of sorts, “Dreamer” sees Hirsch exploring a deep well of emotion and sound joined by singer-songwriter Kelly McFarling, both accompanied on the new performance video by musicians Daniel Wright and Mikael Jorgensen.

WINDLESS DAY also includes the recently released singles, “Much Too Late” and “Spirit True,” both available now at all digital platforms. The latter track was met by praise from such influential outlets as Raven Sings The Blues, which wrote, “’Spirit True’ sees Hirsch return to the JJ Cale cool that he’s wrangled in the past, shuffling into view on dive bar dancefloor drums, an afternoon sunset of sax, and Scott’s smoke ring sigh in the vocals. This one is a perfect after-work comedown that feels as refreshing as a cold drink on a hot day.”

A founding member of such groundbreaking bands as Hiss Golden Messenger and The Court & Spark, Scott Hirsch has spent much of the past half-decade gradually growing an acclaimed solo canon, staking his own visionary, deeply personal approach towards traditional American studio craft and songwriting. Hailed by the Chicago Reader as “an album of kaleidoscopic range and beauty that encompasses his varied interests,” 2016’s BLUE RIDER SONGS prompted Pitchfork to enthuse, “It’s taken a long time for (Hirsch) to let out his voice – a cool, soulful thing filled with deep reverence for his source material, if some cynicism about the myths it’s spun, on BLUE RIDER SONGS, Hirsch debunks the idea that redemption is ever a cakewalk, and finds something more truthful and lasting in the pursuit of accepting responsibility.”

Hirsch followed up two years later with LOST TIME BEHIND THE MOON, praised by Sungenre as “a genre-defying blend of all things Americana, showcasing Hirsch’s innate songwriting ability, a mixture of country, blues, folk-rock and psychedelic which come together to create something wholly different from the separate parts. It is moving and contemplative, bold and adventurous, whilst also delicate and sensitive.” LOST TIME BEHIND THE MOON “answers the question of what we might have gotten if Lou Reed had headed for Tulsa instead of Long Island when he bolted from the Velvet Underground,” declared MAGNET, while Pitchfork wrote, “There’s a new confidence here; These songs suggest that Hirsch has reached a destination, at least with his music: that he has arrived at a place where he is able to harness these sounds and allusions to convey the particulars of his wanderlust.” “LOST TIME INSIDE THE MOON bristles and broods,” raved Raven Sings The Blues, “and in the end is a salve and solace to lost souls – Hirsch’s vision of country elegance and barbiturate boogie hangs heavy on the diaphragm, groovin’ and singin’ in the same breath.”

Hirsch continues to work closely with Hiss Golden Messenger as a multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer, and most recently, mixer on this year’s acclaimed QUIETLY BLOWING IT. The founder of Ojai, CA-based studio and sound design firm, Echo Magic, Hirsch received a 2015 GRAMMY Award nomination for his work as engineer and mixer on folk music legend Alice Gerrard’s FOLLOW THE MUSIC. Other recent credits include collaborations with like-minded artists including Mikael Jorgensen, Orpheo McCord, Daniel Rossen, and William Tyler, the latter of whom recently wrote of Hirsch’s journey to WINDLESS DAY, “To the wandering soul, the promise of travel, the motion of the road, and necessary transience instills a love of the novel experience and fortifies the restless spirit. But when travel is no longer possible, when ‘the road’ becomes the familiar paths around your town and home, is there the time and space to create a new kind of journey? When else would we go inward, by choice or practice, then when the world shuts down around us and we are left with the thoughts and melodies in our heads?”

Scott Hirsch

WINDLESS DAY

(Echo Magic Records)

Release Date: Friday, October 8

Pre-Order Here

Tracklist

  1. Spirit True
  2. Much Too Late
  3. Dreamer
  4. Big Passenger
  5. Redstone
  6. Night People
  7. The Price of Gold
  8. Wolves
  9. Drummer of Shiloh
  10. Love Is Long
Elena Brody "Rock Steady" image via Jon Bleicher for use by 360 Magazine

Elana Brody Q×A

By: Emily Bunn

Celebrating the beauty of human experience and the universality of dance, Elana Brody enchants fans with her exhilarating dance-pop music. Her most recent single, “Rock Steady,” showcases the singer’s joyous choreography and passionate songwriting ability. The “Rock Steady” music video can be viewed HERE. The bold, emotional ballad was produced by Max Martin protégé, Dominic Fallacaro. Brody spoke with 360 Magazine about the spirituality that courses through her songs, her music production process, and upcoming releases.

Your recent material was written during the pandemic. How did you manage to find inspiration during lockdown?

As a songwriter, lockdown – with all its grief and deep, life-changing themes- was a very fertile time for me. For one, I retreated from NYC to my childhood homestead in Virginia – in one of the most remote places East of the Mississippi. While there in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, with the music world at a stand-still, I found myself with very little to do but be in nature and play music. My then-partner had come with me, and we spent much of our time playing music together. I also felt called to offer musical prayer services online for those who needed inspiration and connection to Spirit. Because of this, I began by writing new prayer music – which felt right for the time. But, after my partner decided to split with me, as you can imagine – the folk songs started pouring out. This break-up, combined with being my original creative habitat, the pandemic, the Black Lives Matter uprising, the political election-year insanity, and a life far from community, took me the deepest I’ve been in my writing for a long time – especially as a lyricist. I think some of the lyrics you will hear on my upcoming EP are possibly my best yet.

What does your songwriting process look like?

It depends on the song. Sometimes snippets of lyrics, with a bit of their melody, come first. Sometimes a really awesome piano hook comes first. Over the last many years, I have found my songwriting process to be mostly a long-winded jam session where I sing out my heart for hours, creating spontaneous free-style lyrics. Many of those lyrics disappear forever, but at least a few of them make the cut! Once I get a sense of the general narrative of the song, I think about phrases that will help move the story along, and then build new lyrics around the original “spontaneous-gems” to flesh it out. Over the pandemic, lyrics were everything – and I found myself caring more about them than the music. The music could have been 3 chords, and I’d be totally okay with that, as long as the lyrics were telling the story. But, in other phases of my life as a writer, I would basically compose a piano concerto! And then, lyrics come in afterwards. I love and live music. And honestly, I don’t have to work hard to have music flow through me. I have found the best music and lyrics that I have written, have written themselves. It’s actually that simple. “Rock Steady” was a bit like that.

Are you still looking to release your EP eventually, or have you decided to shelve it in favor of tracks like “Rock Steady”?

Yes, to the EP! If all works out with piecing it together (because it was recorded in many different settings over the pandemic) then I would really like to release it in the late fall. But! Because “Rock Steady” is such a banger and I want to make more songs like that, I decided to quickly write and record a new song called “Quicksand,” which is another pop-influenced song, to release as a follow up – before I transition into my folk music.

Why did you choose Costa Rica as the location for the “Rock Steady” music video?

It chose me! My friend lives there and she invited me to come out to visit. I said I would, but under the one condition – that we film a music video! She is a great networker and knows so many people to reach out to and work with. She also happens to be an ecstatic dance facilitator and DJ and was planning a dance on the weekend of my visit. So, naturally, we organized to film the dance party at an already scheduled and high-vibe (to use a very Costa Rican term) dance party! It couldn’t have been more perfect. We also did all our beach filming at a beach called Roca Beach – aka Rock (Steady) beach!

How does your spirituality factor into the way you create music?

Once, after I auditioned for the first season of USA’s XFactor, I left the stage (a story for another time!) and was interviewed by a faceless producer speaking to me from behind a black curtain. This producer asked me, “When you sing, it seems as if you are connecting to some higher power. Is this true for you? And what is that higher power?” At the time, I wouldn’t have considered myself a prayer-leader or religious at all, but I knew the answer to that right away. I said, “Yes. God.”

God can bring up a lot for people. And for me too. Growing up in rural Virginia, the idea of “God” sometimes felt like some kind of angry, repressive, overpowering righteousness. But – in my family – and in my own experience – God was gentler than that. The spirit between things. As a youth, I was surrounded by the most beautiful, untouched nature – and witness to the seasons in their full force. With below-zero cold and windy winters, slow-to-pop springs, abundant green summers with my folks’ organic gardens in full bloom, and then the rainbows of colorful Appalachian autumns – I knew what Spirit had to offer us humans. And music had always been my human way to offer Spirit back to Spirit, if that makes sense. It’s a giving and receiving from the big, wild wonders of creation, and then music is my way to return it back. Now that I have dived into my Jewish roots, and studied the traditions, I would say that song is the modern equivalent of sending burnt offerings up to the Creator. Instead of smoke, we let our voices rise. And I don’t see prayer music and pop music as all that different. Different themes, different stories, but ultimately, what we sing or speak is all prayer. And, especially now that I am very involved in prayer-leadership, as I create more songs, I do think about that in my writing.

What do you anticipate the reaction to “Rock Steady” will be like?

A fun one! Hopefully one that makes people dance and dance some more! Because I haven’t released much of my other music yet on the bigger platforms, most people won’t know the difference. Like, how did that happen? All of a sudden, I’m a pop star! The truth is, I’ve always been a pop star. Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion were my first vocal idols, and all of the first music I ever wrote sounded like it could have been in a Disney Channel original movie. Anyhow, I had this thought that I should go about my career in the opposite way of other folk artists, a la Jewel circa “Intuition,” and drop in with the fun and danceable stuff first. I don’t see myself ever being too genre-confined, anyway. Life is too short not to write whatever you feel and whatever is coming through you! I did think, “oh, maybe I should sell this song to Rhianna or another artist who could do it amazingly.” But honestly, this route of self-producing is very fun, and maybe even better. Now I get to be heard singing like a pop star too!

What other artists, musicians, or bands serve as inspirations for your music?

It’s a long list…

Joni Mitchell is my in-utero and post-utero,songwriting teacher. I used to call her my piano teacher, because I learned to play by playing so many of her songs. Several other musicians of my parents’ 60s/70s era also come in close as primary inspirations – including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Carole King, and the Beatles. They have shaped what a well-written song could be for me.

It’s hard to decipher what is an influence now because it’s just one big, long-cooked stew or spicy mole at this point.

I have always liked lyric-forward music, with bands like Of Montreal (his candidness in writing was life-changing for me!) and Death Cab for Cutie (the simple metaphors and speaking-style of his writing) and the Decemberists (storytelling, bard-like songs.) And the orchestral and lyrical artistry of the Fleet Foxes is stellar.

I have also always liked some good classic, chunky, Rock’n’roll and music that gets ya’ dancing, like Led Zeppelin and CCR. And the blues, especially blues piano music, has played a role in my music education since early childhood.

Then, there’s the eternal list of female influences. My most listened to, other than Joni, from the beginning are Ani DiFranco and Sarah McLachlan. Then: Jesca Hoop, My Brightest Diamond, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush. And now: artists like Gillian Welch, Brandi Carlile, Sylvan Esso, and Sarah Jarosz have taken up a lot of my listening time. Sarah Jarosz’s album World on the Ground was really powerful to listen to last year during the pandemic. I hope that I can achieve that level of presence and intelligence in the instrumentation when I go to make my full-length album next year!

I also derive a LOT of influence from pop music. I can’t help it. I definitely fell in love with Ariana Grande’s album positions this year, and right now I am going down a Dua Lipa rabbit hole. I would say Rhianna is my number one, though. And I finally fell in love with Lady Gaga after seeing A Star is Born and listening to Joanne. Her belt has inspired me a lot. And I love vocalists in general. I have spent a lot of time really listening to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Judy Collins, Barbra Streisand. These days, Elvis is my number one!

I will also never not want to listen to albums of bands like Nickel Creek, the [Dixie] Chicks, Bela Fleck, Mandolin Orange/Watchhouse, or the band Solas, to bring me the feeling of my early mountain roots and make me feel good.

I am truly a world music fan. I love to listen to the magic of music across the world. I am really inspired to hear virtuosity, no matter what genre. I love vocal virtuosos and am listening right now to the artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I am curious as to when I’ll be able to imitate him. (I’m really good at imitating!) Bobby McFerrin has also been a teacher in real life. He inspires me to become more accurate in my improvisations.

I also listen to prayer music, but mostly of the Sikh or Kundalini yoga genre. Sometimes you’ll find me jamming out to Jewish artists (many of them friends of mine) or Gospel music. Anita Wilson, a modern gospel singer, has been a vocal inspiration for me because she really sings with the lows of her range.

Musical theater music is also a major influence. That Roger and Hammerstein stuff pours out of me like it were an extension of my soul! Lastly, at this point, after spending time at Berklee College of Music, I have been greatly inspired by jazz and R&B.

Besides “Rock Steady” and the EP, can fans look forward to any other releases to come in 2021-2022?

Yes! I mentioned that I am wanting to get cracking on my full-length album that will be mostly in the Americana, New Orleans blues, Rock-and-Roll, and folk pop styles. I am really, really excited about it. But I’m not sure yet who I will work with on it. An exciting unknown. I imagine it will end up feeling like a magnum opus when it is finished because I’ve been with these songs for so long. Nothing will be more amazing than when they are out in the world surrounded by strings, the right instrumentation and arrangements. I also would like to produce my song “City of Man” in a big vaudevillian, brassy style. [I want to] make a little music-video theater piece out of it. I have also been sitting on this one for a long time. It sort of harkens to the fall of capitalism…that is going on in our world and the post-Trump era– it’s due time that I get that one out. Look out for it all!

Madonna collage via PR NEWSWIRE via SOURCE Warner Music Group Corp. for use by 360 Magazine

Madonna × Warner Music Group

Madonna and Warner Music Group Announce Milestone, Career-Spanning Partnership

Landmark, Multi-Year Catalog Series to Launch Next Year

2022 Will Mark 40th Anniversary of Madonna’s Recording Debut

WMG Will Now Represent Madonna’s Entire Body of Work Across Both Recorded Music & Music Publishing

Madonna and Warner Music Group today announced a milestone, career-spanning global partnership that includes a new agreement for her entire recorded music catalog. With global sales of over 300 million records, Madonna is the best-selling female artist of all time, with countless accolades that include seven Grammy Awards, 24 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, and numerous international trophies, including BRIT, Bravo Otto, Danish Music, Edison, GAFFA, International Dance Music, Ivor Novello, Juno, MTV, and World Music Awards, among many others across the globe. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

This partnership marks the revitalization of a decades-long relationship with Warner that began with the release of Madonna’s debut single in 1982. The deal encompasses her entire Sire/Maverick/Warner catalog, including global smash albums such as MadonnaLike a VirginTrue BlueLike a Prayer, and Ray of Light. It also includes her three most recent studio albums, MDNARebel Heart, and Madame X, which will join the Warner catalog beginning in 2025. All in all, the new pact includes 17 studio albums plus singles, soundtrack recordings, live albums, and compilations.

Warner Chappell Music also globally administers all of Madonna’s songwriting work. This features such top-charting hits as “Like A Prayer,” “Vogue,” “Into the Groove,” “La Isla Bonita,” “Live to Tell,” “True Blue,” “Open Your Heart,” “Who’s That Girl,” “Express Yourself,” “Lucky Star,” “Take A Bow,” and many more.

2022 will mark the  40-year  anniversary of Madonna’s recording debut. This new deal heralds the launch next year of an extensive, multi-year series of catalog releases that will revisit the groundbreaking music that made her an international icon. For the first time, Madonna will personally curate expansive deluxe editions for many of her landmark albums, as well as introduce unique releases for special events, and much more. The series of releases will be overseen by Warner Music’s catalog team, led by Kevin Gore, President of Global Catalog, Recorded Music, with the first release to be announced soon.

This monumental deal was executed by Madonna’s longtime manager Guy Oseary at Maverick, Allen Grubman of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sachs P.C., her business manager Richard Feldstein of NKSFB, and Max Lousada, CEO, Recorded Music, Warner Music Group.

Madonna said: “Since the very beginning, Warner Music Group has helped bring my music and vision to all my fans around the world with the utmost care and consideration. They have been amazing partners, and I am delighted to be embarking on this next chapter with them to celebrate my catalogue from the last 40 years.”

Guy Oseary said: “Over the past 30 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and spend time with many of Madonna’s incredible fans, and this new partnership will bring to fruition what so many of them have been patiently waiting for: a celebration of her groundbreaking catalogue. My partner Sara Zambreno and I are working closely with Warner Music Group to bring new life to these iconic works.”

Max Lousada added: “We’re honored to be forming a dynamic new partnership with an incomparable superstar whose influence on our musical and artistic landscape is immense and immutable. Madonna has changed the course of pop and dance music, while taking live performance to new heights of drama and invention. At the same time, she uses her fame to amplify some of the most important social issues and movements of our time. Constantly and fearlessly challenging convention, her four decades of music are not only an extraordinary body of work, but a playbook for creative and cultural evolution.”

On October 8, Madonna will be releasing her highly anticipated documentary film, MADAME X, exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS, and MTV Entertainment Studios in the U.S., Latin America, Australia, the Nordics, and Canada. Fans outside of these markets can watch the documentary on MTV. Filmed in Lisbon, Portugal, the film captures the pop icon’s rare and rapturous tour performance, hailed by sold-out theatrical audiences worldwide. The unprecedented, intimate streaming experience will take viewers on a journey as compelling and audacious as Madonna’s fearless persona. Madame X is a secret agent traveling around the world, changing identities, fighting for freedom, and bringing light to dark places.

In other news, Madonna has announced her birthday wish for friends and supporters to adopt a bed at the Mercy James Centre hospital in Malawi, built especially for children. There are 50 beds in the hospital’s ward, where children recuperate after surgery or regain strength following intensive care. By adopting a bed, you can ensure that any sick or injured child that comes through the hospital doors has access to world-class specialized care. Madonna has challenged supporters to adopt all 50 beds in honor of her birthday. For more information on how to donate, visit HERE.