The Weeknd’s surprise album Dawn FM is leading the charts around the globe. Debuting at #1 Apple Music US and in 125 countries, and #1 Spotify US and worldwide. Dawn FM accumulates over 500 million streams to date. Listen to Dawn FM [XO/Republic Records] HERE.
Despite the release of the album coming suddenly, Dawn FM has been a smash hit. Dawn FM may just snatch up the spot as The Weeknd’s best album thus far. The single “Sacrifice” came out at #1 on Spotify US and global, while the collection The Highlights, too, ranks among the Billboard Top 10 at #6. Having two albums rank in the top ten is conventionally unheard of, a resounding accomplishment for The Weeknd.
Playing off the theme of an afterlife-esque radio station network, Dawn FM transforms viewers to a new universe. The abrupt announcement of the album ultimately worked in the favor of The Weeknd, with Dawn FM now ranking as his second global #1 album during the pandemic, following the renowned After Hours was released in March 2020, featuring the #1 All Time Hot 100 hit “Blinding Lights.”
Dawn FM has gained quick critical acclaim, registering The Weeknd’s leading aggregate score on Metacritic at ’88.’ Variety spoke on the album, stating, “After Hours has resonated for nearly two years after its release, and in the face of another phase of a daunting pandemic, it seems that Dawn FM – possibly The Weeknd’s best and most fully realized album to date – will help carry fans through this one as well.” Rolling Stone, too, raved about Dawn FM, rating it “4-out-of-5 stars, The Weeknd focuses those interstellar ambitions to anoint us with the most enchanting music to the portal through purgatory.”
To celebrate their newly launched collaboration, Fai Khadra and Oliver Peoples‘ CEO, Rocco Basilico, hosted an intimate dinner on a helipad in Los Angeles, at 6100 Wilshire Blvd. Designed by Fai Khadra, guests sat under a helium light balloon, on a custom style harkness table.
Oliver Peoples and Fai Khadra collaborated to launch an exclusive range of sunglasses that fuses the design aesthetics of Oliver Peoples with the influential mindset of Fai. Fai Khadra is a multidisciplinary creative who has built a strong profile in the design world, captivating an audience of musicians, luxury brands, and galleries across the globe. His cultural relevance and innovative perspective bring an impactful, avant-garde point of view to the collaboration.
The event was creatively directed by Fai. He conceptualized every element of the evening from the custom-built layout, from the original table and bar set-up to the several course menu. Overall, Fai Khadra’s goal was to create a holistic aesthetic designed for his peers.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Fai Khadra. Fai will become a leader in the creative space of design and brought a clear vision to the collaboration. As a brand, Oliver Peoples has always been defined by vintage-inspired details made for the modern wearer. Fai’s innovative creative direction aligned with our aesthetic seamlessly,” said Rocco Basilico (CEO).
About Oliver Peoples
Oliver Peoples was founded in 1987 with the opening of its first boutique on the iconic Sunset Strip. The frames were inspired by an estate collection of vintage American made eyewear purchased by the Founders of the brand in the late 1980s. This vintage aesthetic, along with the unique culture of Los Angeles, elements of fashion, film, art, music, and the Southern California lifestyle, remains at the core of the brand’s DNA and serves as inspiration for designs with global appeal. Oliver Peoples eyewear is hand-crafted of the finest quality materials, with a focus on exclusive product details and superior lens technology.
Indie pop outfit Clubhouse (Forrest Taylor, Ari Blumer, Zak Blumer, Forrest Taylor, Michael Berthold) recently released Are We Going Too Slow, featuring the song: “Home Videos.” 360 Magazine interviewed the band about their music, fame, and their midwestern upbringings.
You all have been friends for a very long time? How did you meet? What are some of the most important memories you have together outside of the band?
[Max] I met Zak and Ari when we were in middle school, and we started playing together doing covers mostly. We started writing originals and taking things more seriously when we went to college, where we met Mike and Forrest. Some of our favorite memories together are from this big party we have every year for the holidays. All of our families get together to have the most ridiculous white elephant gift exchange.
What, as a band, are you most proud of having accomplished?
[Forrest] We’re really proud of this new EP. It’s the first true body of work we’ve done and we’re so excited to share it with everyone!
What would you say are the core things that inspire and drive the band?
[Zak] I think the biggest thing is that we’re constantly bouncing ideas off each other in the studio. We all co-write and produce, so being able to explore with everyone’s different styles is what drives the creative inspiration.
What was the inspiration behind the name Clubhouse?
[Ari] When we were younger, there was this separate little office/studio space in my backyard. In high school we hung out there all the time, so when we were thinking of a name, ‘Clubhouse’ just kind of felt right.
What are your favorite memories of being from the Midwest? What do you think the Midwest should be proud of/known for?
[Mike] I’m from Cleveland so some of my favorite Midwest memories are getting together with friends and family in the fall to watch the Browns! My favorite part about the Midwest is that time of year, with the leaves changing color and the temperature getting a little cooler.
What is the best fan interaction you’ve had?
[Max] We had a fan reach out to us a while ago asking me to write out a lyric from The Weeknd in my handwriting and send it to her so she could get it tattooed on her!
What would you like to accomplish as a band? Are there any awards you’d like to win or a venue you’d love to play at?
[Mike] A venue I’ve always wanted to play at is Red Rocks. That would be so incredible!
How has the band adjusted or repositioned while dealing with Max Reichert’s cancer diagnosis? How has it made you closer or strong?
[Zak] Going through something like that together was the hardest thing imaginable. But through all of that I think we really found ourselves. We stopped caring so much about how we were going to define our music and just started creating for fun again. We bonded for life going through that.
What are you the most proud of when you look back at the creation of Are We Going Too Slow?
[Forrest] We were really able to bring in all of the different sounds and styles we love on this project. We didn’t force ourselves into any box, just made the music we love.
Global supergroup Swedish House Mafia have teamed with iconic superstar The Weeknd for a new single and video “Moth to a Flame,” available now via Republic Records (listen/watch here). The new song, initially teased during the trio’s landmark performance at the MTV VMAs pre-show, marks the band’s first new music since announcing their reunion this past July with a pair of new singles “It Gets Better” and “Lifetime (feat. Ty Dolla $ign & 070 Shake)” that arrived alongside a cover story for Billboard Magazine and a special performance of both songs on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The trio of songs continue to build anticipation toward the band’s forthcoming full length Paradise Again, slated for release early next year with a Special Tour Edition CD pre-order available now that unlocks exclusive pre-sale tour tickets.
In conjunction with the new single, Swedish House Mafia have announced an international tour for 2022 produced by Live Nation, their first proper run since 2012. Long revered by fans for their bombastic live performances, the band’s previous outing, “One Last Tour,” sold over 1,000,000 tickets. The 2022 jaunt will follow the trio’s just announced performance at Coachella 2022 and includes arenas across the United States and Europe – full dates below.
Tickets go on sale to the general public next Friday, October 29th at swedishhousemafia.com, with the Special Tour Edition CD pre-order pre-sale beginning on Wednesday, October 27.
The band have also just been nominated for awards in both the Best Electronic and Best Nordic Act categories for this year’s MTV EMAs, being held in Budapest on Sunday, November 14th. They celebrated the momentous week with a special takeover episode of The Weeknd’s Apple Music show Memento Mori show last night, listen here.
SWEDISH HOUSE MAFIA 2022 TOUR DATES
Fri Jul 29 – Miami, FL – FTX Arena Sun Jul 31 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center Wed Aug 3 – East Rutherford, NJ – MetLife Stadium Fri Aug 5 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena Sun Aug 7 – Montreal, QC – îleSoniq Festival Tue Aug 9 – Boston, MA – TD Garden Wed Aug 10 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center Thu Aug 11 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena Sat Aug 13 – Chicago, IL – United Center Wed Aug 17 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena Fri Aug 19 – Minneapolis, MN – Xcel Energy Center Sun Aug 21 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena Thu Aug 25 – Austin, TX – Moody Center Fri Aug 26 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center Sat Aug 27 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center Tue Aug 30 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center Fri Sep 2 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena Sun Sep 4 – San Diego, CA – Pechanga Arena Tue Sep 13 – Vancouver, BC – Rogers Arena Wed Sep 14 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena Fri Sep 16 – San Francisco, CA – Chase Center
Thu Sep 29 – Manchester, UK – AO Arena Fri Sep 30 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro Arena Sun Oct 2 – London, UK – The O2 Thu Oct 6 – Dublin, Ireland – 3Arena Sat Oct 8 – Birmingham, UK – Utilita Arena Birmingham Mon Oct 10 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena Fri Oct 14 – Madrid, Spain – IFEMA Madrid Live Sat Oct 15 – Lisbon, Portugal – Altice Arena Tue Oct 18 – Milan, Italy – Mediolanum Forum Wed Oct 19 – Zurich, Switzerland – Hallenstadion Fri Oct 21 – Krakow, Poland – Tauron Arena Sat Oct 22 – Prague, Czech Republic – O2 Arena Tue Oct 25 – Cologne, Germany – Lanxess Arena Thu Oct 27 – Munich, Germany – Olympiahalle Sat Oct 29 – Antwerp, Belgium – Sportpaleis Mon Oct 31 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome Thu Nov 3 – Vienna, Austria – Stadthalle Sat Nov 5 – Frankfurt, Germany – Festhalle Sun Nov 6 – Berlin, Germany – Mercedes-Benz Arena Tue Nov 8 – Hamburg, Germany – Barclaycard Arena Wed Nov 9 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Royal Arena Fri Nov 11 – Oslo, Norway – Telenor Arena Sun Nov 13 – Tampere, Finland – Uros Arena
Today, Gold-certified pop phenom AJ Mitchell is pleased to announce that his highly anticipated debut album, SKYVIEW, will be released on September 10, 2021, via Epic Records/Vol 1 Records. Along with the announcement, AJ has shared the official artwork for the album.
In addition to revealing the album release date, AJ also announces dates for his official SKYVIEW 2021 Tour this fall. The 21-date US tour will kick off on September 13, 2021, with a homecoming of sorts in St. Louis, MO, right outside his hometown of Bellville, IL where he used to see shows growing up. The tour will also bring AJ to cities like Toronto, New York and Nashville before wrapping in Phoenix on October 17th. A special early bird on sale launches on Thursday, July 29 at 10 AM local time, while the tour will go on sale to the general public on Friday, July 30 at 10 AM local time. Tickets can be purchased at the Drive In Makeout website, while the full tour itinerary can be found below.
On the album, AJ Mitchell shares, “SKYVIEW is the final chapter of the first era of my artist journey. In 2016, I released my first single “Used To Be”, a song I had written at 13 years old. That song set me into a year journey traveling the world; learning, writing, collaborating, performing and constantly evolving. In that time, I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with so many talented artists, writers, producers, photographers, and directors around the world. Those collaborations and experiences have sculpted who I am today. I dove into this industry at 15 years old, only knowing two things: I wanted to write songs and sing them as my career. SKYVIEW is the summary of my artist journey up until now. As a kid, the Skyview Drive-In theater was a place in my small town of Belleville, Illinois that had the power to transport me into a world of endless possibilities. Today, SKYVIEW is proof that anything can happen if you are willing to take the risk and do the work necessary to make any dream come true.”
John-Robert releases a new remix to stand out track “Move It To The Side” by Alice Longyu Gao, today via Warner Records. You can listen to the new remix HERE. You can watch the visualizer HERE.
A fan favorite, “Move It To The Side” was originally released earlier this year on John-Robert’s ‘Healthy Baby Boy, Pt 1’ EP. Alice’s “Softboy Dancing In the Klurb Flip” integrates elements of John-Robert’s alluring melancholy-melody with a jacked up tempo and her recognizable, exaggerated pop lyricism. The result is a track unique to Alice’s own personal and flamboyant style, as she serves up her second remixer credit to date. Alice’s new take on the track demonstrates her manifestation of a confident and care-free persona that doesn’t get wound up with anxieties and pressures of the modern dating scene and sees her flip the script on John-Robert’s original.
About the remix, John-Robert says, “As a musician it’s inspiring when you subconsciously have a formula for your writing process and then an artist comes along and breaks every one of those rules in a fresh and exciting way. I admire Alice because she’s a smart, self-assured badass, unapologetic with her production, lyrics, visuals, thoughts and art. I’m eternally grateful that she has blessed me with this version of ‘Move It To The Side.’”
Alice Longyu Gao adds, “I am usually the dumb bitch. It takes me a second to fancy someone and it takes me forever to stop trying to get them to like me. So I was really visioning myself being a bad gal in this remix—calling him the ‘emotional one,’ cuz I met a lot of heterosexual white bros who love to gaslight and guilt trip women, when in fact they are just too insecure to care. I am balling with my cash, having fun and ghost his text, visioning him being all upset. This remix is my revenge. I chopped John-Robert’s original vocals in a hard-core way so the remix shares a new perspective. Also, it won’t be an ‘Alice Longyu Gao’ piece of music if the beat doesn’t switch like 100 times. So yeah, this remix will drive you crazy on the dance floor.”
At age 16, John-Robert was invited out to Los Angeles by mega-producer Ricky Reed who’s described him as “a transcendent, once-in-a-generation singer and songwriter.” The now 20-year-old from Edinburg, VA who is signed to Reed’s Nice Life Recording Company and Warner Records continues to build-upon his budding musical career, most recently releasing his Healthy Baby Boy, Pt. 1 earlier this year. The songs on the EP illustrate real life coming of age stories and detail the challenges that come from leaving your support system in small town behind to chase your dreams. He’s collaborated with the likes of Alessia Cara, Zack Sekoff, Kathleen and Nate Merceau, and attracted industry praise from SPIN, American Songwriter, Ones To Watch, Idolator, EARMILK and more.
As the only child from a conservative family, coming to America alone at the age of 17 was her chance, Alice Longyu Gao is a boundary pushing pop artist with a knack for making positive social change through her work. With co-signs from industry heavyweights like Lady Gaga, The Weeknd and Selena Gomez, as well as features in NME i-D, PAPER Magazine, Billboard, The FADER and V Magazine, Longyu Gao has gained recognition for her ability to blend hyper-energetic, avant-garde pop beats with interpretive, kaleidoscopic visuals. Beyond the music, Longyu Gao is a passionate activist for human rights with a longstanding track record of work supporting issues focusing on LGBTQ+ justice, eating disorder recovery, sustainability in fashion and food, and public-funded art education for underprivileged minority groups.
“She’s got an attack in her flow, juxtaposed with a finesse in her lyricism and a hunger in her vocal tone. Her family gave her traditions, Toronto shaped her, and California helped form her sound.” – Toronto Guardian
Toronto-based queer alt-hip hop artist, Lex Leosis, shares her EP, Terracotta, today– just in time for peak summer vibes. The now Tiktok rap battle champ is also debuting a brand new video for “That Feel,” which shows an easy, breezy afternoon of skating in the sunshine. Leosis’ signature attitude is in full force in video with her lioness hair, long nails and high energy.
“That Feel” feels like a celebration, and this new release deserves exactly that. The video was shot in both Los Angeles and Toronto. Director, Yohalmo, who is embedded into longboard communities in LA, shot all the California scenes. He brought together the cast and both main characters Shannen Soriano and Laura Paragano. Director, Sharleen Meinke, who also directed the “Wanted” official video, shot Leosis’ parts in Toronto.
The previously released single and outlaw anthem, “Wanted,” arrived with an icon Thelma and Louise-inspired video. The debut single from the project was the sunny, tropical-beat infused, “Won’t Wait,” which showcased a breezy, bouncy beat under Leosis’ vulnerable lyrics and she yearns for real talk and love, but not at the expense of self-worth.
“Won’t Wait” and “Wanted” were produced by Rainer Blanchaer (Drake, The Weeknd, French Montana, The 1975), who is an executive producer on the whole EP. Having met through Leosis’ roommate, Blanchaer became a pandemic pal, and one of the only people she’s seen consistently during lockdown. They’ve used their time making music together in Leosis’ bedroom studio and the result is Terracotta. Describing the new EP, she says:
“In the Terracotta pots process, clay starts by being refined and molded. Through fire, time, and attention to detail…the terracotta pot is complete. I wrote this project through the pandemic. I was coming off releasing “Mythologies” (March 2020) and I was sad that I had to cancel a lot of my roll-out plans. No interviews, shows/tours or celebrations. I put my whole heart into that project and to see that I couldn’t continue my rollout because of the pandemic was a big blow. Instead of letting it defeat me, I decided that it would make me stronger and that I would use this time to rebuild.”
Creating a space to make music in her bedroom, she decided on a re-design for her space to inspire her creatively. She says, “I started looking into color palettes that would inspire the re-design…and there it was Terracotta. The summer had passed and it was getting colder and we were all aware of what was about to happen. Locked down in the cold with little sun. Like a lot of other people, my mental health doesn’t do well in these conditions. My bedroom design had to be warm, it had to be bright and happy. It had to channel summer. The vision of summer 2021 represented a time where this might all be over and things may be better.”
She adds, “So as the pieces of my bedroom start to come together, so does this project. My space is giving me the energy I need to focus every day. I immediately started learning instruments (piano and MPD). The Terracotta bedspread becomes the place I write “Won’t Wait.” I started daily meditation and writing a verse every day. I was lying down on my geometric gray rug when I came up with the hook for “Reality.” I start working out more and envisioning my live show. I was surrounded by plants in terracotta pots when I penned “That Feel.” Then at the end of this writing period, I have a warm, bright home space, at the exact same time as I have this incredible project. One year later and I’m a completely different person.”
Leosis also admits, “The EP definitely had a muse. Someone I really love and has consistently inspired me. This EP details all the feelings I’ve had about them, and consequently, about myself over the last year.” A dedication to the softness that quarantine created in her, a part of herself she didn’t have time to look at before, she also had time to dig through her grandfather’s old jazz records that she loved as a kid. When he passed in 2009, the records were given to her but had been dusty until Covid made her slow way down. The piano, saxophones and live drums on those records inspired the live elements on the new EP and Leosis says, “He had this foresight to leave those to me. We used to sit in his car outside our house and just listen to Jazz and I loved music as a kid.”
Between her quality time with Rainer, her grandfather’s records and her time to be with herself, she found a way to channel summer’s warmth, growth and freedom into 6 tracks. Terracotta is out everywhere now.
Terracotta EP Tracklisting
Hold Yah Down
Known for her dynamic flows, aggressive stage presence and elaborate story-telling, Lex Leosisis a name you will soon remember. With a unique gravely vocal delivery, acrobatic flows, and a mastery of her instrumentation, Lex breathes life into Hip-Hop and mesmerizes with her rapping abilities. Setting herself uniquely apart by holding space for various causes and using her platform to support other women and non-binary artists and creatives, Lex is not afraid to give props where it’s due.
Born in the west end of Toronto, Lex Leosis has dedicated her life to her music and artistry. Juggling her hiphop career, a plant-forward cooking website and catering company, and holding down multiple jobs, Lex prides herself on hard work, discipline and survival, traits she picked up from her mother. It gave Lex the energy to perfect her craft, grow her career and exchange stories with artists from all over the world. Lex is loud, opinionated, constantly fighting for what she believes in and hungry to make something of the Leosis name. She’s got an attack in her flow, juxtaposed with a finesse in her lyricism and a hunger in her vocal tone. Her family gave her traditions, Toronto shaped her, and California helped form her sound.
From humble beginnings, Lex first found a home in hip-hop at rap competitions and cyphers. She met a number of creatives through online rap communities and has up and parted from Toronto multiple times to join her peers in cities all over the U.S. to collaborate, make music and perform. Sharpening her teeth participating in various rap battles, Lex was widely known as a hip-hop force that could outrap anyone. Spending most of her time in the Bay Area of California, Lex has allowed her traveling influences to expand her music sound and capability.
Lex spent 2017-2019 devoting herself to Canadian rap group powerhouse, The Sorority. The group made waves with a 2016 International Women’s Day Cypher, and went on to release a debut album and toured extensively, sharing stages with artist like Miguel, Joey Badass & Snoop Dogg. After the group disbanded in 2019, Lex lead 2020 with her debut full length, Mythologies, a darker trap-heavy project that allowed her to explore her Greek roots and family history. Despite a derailed album release plan due to COVID-19, she followed the project up with summer bop, Pull Up, and the rap/house collaboration, Swerve, with DJ Cazztekand released under Armin Van Buuren’s label, Armada.
Lex found opportunity and inspiration during COVID lockdown establishing a new sound, taking control of her artistry by learning keys, bass and taking vocal lessons. She formed a team of creatives around her and using her tools, experience and community, developed her quintessential Lex Leosis sound with smooth west coast vibey instrumentation under melodious hooks and biting hip hop verses. Searching for an outlet to continue to rap bars, Lex began daily duets on Tiktok and has amassed over a million views on her videos and had drawn the attention of Tiktok Canada and numerous artists from The Arkells to K Flay.
Keep your eyes on this rising star as she continues to blaze her own trail in hip hop.
The Atlanta R&B singer Chiae (formerly known as Malachiae) returns with a lush and lavish new single, “Cash Out,”out today on Motown. The swirling instrumental produced by T-Minus (Drake, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd) is smooth yet vibrant, setting the tone for Chiae’s tales of romantic encounters in the lap of luxury. You can watch the “Cash Out” visual HERE.
“Cash Out”is the sort of low-key ballad that Chiae has made his name on over the last few years. Dizzy synthesizers and neon sub-bass provide the soundtrack for a song full of easy romance and casual flexing. Chiae sets the scene early on: when a love interest slides into his side of town, he’s busy, making moves at the bank. But he makes time because they both appreciate the finer things in life. Sunny-eyed, he expresses his affection, while letting the instrumental breathe. It’s beautiful, light and sensual, like Chiae’s best songs to date.
This new single follows a string of sensitive and colorful tracks from the vocalist. In 2020, he released “Bedroom to the Club,”a luxe R&B song full of light-hearted come-ons, and “Get to the Bag,”a money-minded cut about providing for the one he loves. These tracks follow four years of EPs, singles and steadily building buzz for one of R&B’s rising stars. Last year, Chiaeplayed TRILLERFEST, one of the largest virtual music festivals, alongside Migos, Mario, Pitbull, Marshmello, G Herbo and many more to help raise money for those affected by COVID-19.
Though Chiae’s just getting started, he’s already had huge success working with fellow Atlanta superstars Migos, playing a lead role in the movie Million Dollar Quartet, and securing national radio and TV plays on channels like BET Jams. “Cash Out”is proof that he remains dedicated to the grind, but that he’s also able to take time to enjoy the fruits of his budding fame, too. With songs as charismatic and magnetic as this, he’s sure to have even more success soon.
Global superstar Doja Cat hits #1 at Top 40 radio with “Kiss Me More” ft. SZA. The Platinum-certified track, which has continued to dominate the charts since release, already hit #1 at Rhythm radio and currently sits at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 with over 765 million streams worldwide.
Planet Her (Kemosabe/RCA Records) debuts at #1 on the Billboard Top R&B Albums chart and #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, marking Doja Cat’s career best and highest debut to date with 109K in total activity in the US alone. Spanning a range of genres Planet Her also generated the highest first day Spotify streams for an album by a female rapper, is the top Pop album based on consumption according to MRC data, and marks both the biggest debut for female rapper and the top female R&B debut of 2021.
The press is raving about Planet Her with Vulture saying “Like a runway show where every look clicks, Planet Her makes a case for Doja as our new ice-cool pop-queen supreme,” and Stereogum simply stating, “The new album slaps, everybody.”
NPR declares – “The artist known as Doja Cat is back this week with a vibrant, unapologetic celebration of youth and sex on Planet Her.”
Billboard says “Without missing a single beat, Planet Her is sexy, introspective, reflective, and celebratory.”
Rolling Stone proclaims “If her first two LPs presented Doja as a pop outsider, blissfully living in her own world, this one makes her the coolest girl in school.”
Alongside the release of Planet Her came the highly anticipated video for “You Right” – Doja Cat & The Weeknd. Which followed the much celebrated futuristic video for “Need To Know“.
About Doja Cat:
3-time GRAMMY nominee Doja Cat made her first upload to Soundcloud in 2013 at just 16-years-old. Having grown up in and around the LA area, she developed a knack for music by studying piano and dance as a kid and listening to the likes of Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, Nicki Minaj, Drake, and more. Soon, she went from obsessing over Catwoman (the Halle Berry version) to “crate digging” on YouTube. The budding talent taught herself Logic and how to compose on a midi controller. Signed to Kemosabe/RCA in 2014, she released her Purrr! EP and followed that with her debut album Amala in spring 2018, but it was her August 2018 release of “Mooo!” which catapulted her into the mainstream and was met with critical acclaim.
Doja Cat released her sophomore album Hot Pink in November 2019 to mass critical acclaim, the album was a platinum success with over 10.3 billion streams worldwide. Hot Pink features “Juicy” which hit #1 at Rhythm radio, “Say So” her Grammy nominated #1 smash record and “Streets”, the viral sensation that soundtracked the ‘Silhouette Challenge,’ one of the biggest TikTok trends to date.
The success of “Say So” which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has been RIAA certified 4x platinum and streamed over 5.4 billion times catapulted Doja into global superstardom. She has taken home the Best New Artist Award at the MTV VMAs, the MTV EMAs, the AMAs (where she also won the Best Female Soul/R&B Artist Award) and the iHeart Radio Awards. She has been nominated for countless awards including 3 GRAMMY Awards, 5 Billboard Music Awards, 4 American Music Awards, 4 MTV VMA Awards, 2 BET Awards, and 2 People’s Choice Awards.
Doja’s creativity and showmanship as a performer have been praised time and time again, she has delivered unique and show stopping performances on nearly all the major Award Show stages including the GRAMMY Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Awards, the iHeart Radio Awards and the MTV VMA and EMA Awards. Her last tour sold out in 10 minutes and she has played numerous festivals including Rap Caviar Live Miami, Posty Fest, Day n Vegas and Rolling Loud LA.
If you follow popular music at all, you almost certainly are aware of those performers as well as many other big names in the business, such as Post Malone, Lizzo and Ariana Grande.
And when you think of their songs, you likely think of them.
But recorded music is not the work of just one person, no matter how talented and charismatic that person is on stage. Backup musicians, producers, songwriters, engineers and others also play significant if often unheralded roles in coaxing into existence those tunes that, as some have said, become the soundtracks for our lives.
To get an idea of the plethora of people whose efforts go into your cherished songs, take a journey through the credits for country singer Luke Combs’ album “What You See is What You Get.” Roughly 40 people earn a mention, from drummer Jerry Roe to engineer Alex Gilson to mastering assistant Megan Peterson. Luke may be the focus for country music fans who listen to the album’s songs, but it becomes clear pretty quickly that he is not doing it all by himself, as he likely would tell you.
That list of names connected to the album is more than just a formal acknowledgement to those who lend their talents to the final product. In the music industry, credits are part of the resume, so building an accurate record of who contributed to what is crucial for everyone involved. If, for example, you do digital editing, you want to be able to say you worked on Luke Combs’ album – or Drake’s or Taylor Swift’s – and you want to have the credit listed to prove it. That will help pave the way for more job opportunities down the line.
And, of course, there’s the not-so-small matter of the paycheck. Most people are drawn to the music industry because it’s something they enjoy, but they need to pay bills like anyone else. Yet, unless someone is keeping an accurate record of who contributed to the work, that pay might not make its way to the correct and deserving person’s bank account.
So, credits are important on many levels and they are something I take seriously, as you might imagine since my company, VEVA Sound, helps musicians store and organize their projects through our VEVA Collect digital platform.
But I’m also confident that the average music fan doesn’t spend as much time as I do contemplating the many, many people who deserve some credit for popular – or even obscure – songs. In fairness, the tendency to overlook behind-the-scenes people is probably true in a lot of other industries as well.
Books often include an acknowledgements page, or pages, where the author names editors, researchers, literary agents, librarians or anyone else who helped make the book a reality. Many readers, though, just skim the acknowledgments or skip them altogether. Movies end with not just a cast list, but an extensive cataloging of anyone who remotely had a hand in creating the movie, from key grips to gaffers. Unfortunately, moviegoers often mosey toward the exit as the credits begin to roll rather than stick around to check out all the names. That is, they leave unless they suspect the director included a bonus post-credits scene, as the Marvel movies tend to do, and even then they may pay little attention to the names.
Such realities may leave people thinking, “Who cares about credits anyway?”
Plenty of folks, that’s who.
But it was thinking along those lines that got those of us at VEVA Sound to begin wondering if there was something we might be able to do to create more awareness around music credits to make sure they – and the people behind them – don’t get overlooked.
What came out of that was aCredits Are Cool™ campaign that raises money for charity while at the same time emphasizing just how important those people behind the scenes are to the songs that keep music lovers humming, dancing and smiling.
To pull off the Credits Are Cool effort, we collaborated with a number of musical artists to create hoodies, t-shirts and sweatshirts with the name and image of a song on the front. On the back is a list of people who contributed to the song. In a sense, we are trying to create a movement, proclaiming that we should celebrate everyone who was involved in making music – not just the performers whose names are on a marquee.
Artists whose songs appear on the Credits Are Cool clothing includeSam Tinnesz, Wendy Moten, Sonia Leigh, Hailey Steele, Right Said Fred, Ty Herndon, Jamie O’Neal, Shelly Fairchild, Teke Teke, Whiskey Wolves of the West, and Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of Loretta Lynn.
Maybe through this initiative, in some small way, those who listen to music will take a moment to think about the fact that recorded music is a much more collaborative effort than they might ever have imagined. It could even open up career ideas for young people who love music and would like to work in the industry, but didn’t realize that there’s room for people other than the talented vocalist and the guitar hero.
Yes, credits really are cool because they are not just about seeing your name in lights. They are about how you get work in the ever-competitive music industry.
About Deborah Fairchild
Deborah Fairchild, president of VEVA Sound, started her career with the company as an archival engineer in 2004. In the past 16 years she has risen to lead the company in all facets of the business. She has grown VEVA into a global entity servicing major labels in North America and Europe, establishing offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London in addition to the company’s headquarters in Nashville. Fairchild has kept VEVA at the forefront of technology and continues to evolve and adapt VEVA’s services and technology to assist the needs of their extensive client base. She advises many label executives, producers, engineers and artists seeking archival and asset management solutions.
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