Who To Watch: 2018

At the beginning of last year, I told you Who To Watch for 2017, and I listed acts such as Oh Wonder, LANY, Dua Lipa, Jon Bellion and many more that have made quite a name for themselves within the past year. This year, I’ve provided you with five artists that I think you need to watch for in 2018.

 

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Photo by Lloyd Pursall

Billie Eilish – Honestly if you haven’t heard her name already, then what are you doing? With singles such as COPYCAT, Ocean Eyes and idontwannabeyouanymore, Billie Eilish is an up and coming artist with a vast range of musicality and has the aesthetic to match. Though she may only be 16, she’s already collaborated with Vince Staples, is about to embark on a sold out world tour, and is set to perform at festivals such as Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, Bonnaroo,  and The Governor’s Ball. Listen to her, you won’t regret it.

 

RAT BOY – While the name may be a little less than complimentary, I can guarantee you that the sound of RAT BOY, also known as Jordan Cardy, is great. I first heard RAT BOY on my Discover Weekly on Spotify and I was instantly drawn to the sound. The music is fun, it’s upbeat and can’t help but make you think of a British coming-of-age film. Having been sampled by Kendrick Lamar, been considered “Best New Artist” by NME and is now set to support  Liam Gallagher on his upcoming tour, RAT BOY has nowhere to go but up.

 

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Photo by Joji

Joji – Though he was first brought to the public eye as his persona(s), Filthy Frank and Pink Guy, Joji has done an amazing job of separating himself from the brand that was Filthy Frank. Continuing off the success of his single, “i don’t wanna waste my time”, he released an EP late last year entitled, “Tongues” that showcased just how talented he is as an artist. He’s got a beautiful, but unique voice that is backed by music that really showcases his artistry, as well as versatility. Give him a listen, you’ll like what you hear.

 

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Photo by Ashlan Grey

Brockhampton – If you don’t know who Brockhampton is, you will by the end of this year. This group released not only one, not only two, but three albums within the last year alone. Brockhampton is a group that has found a way to combine soulful layering with catching musicality and have been drawing eyes and ears since the release of their first album Saturation. This is a group that’s dominating the festival circuit, not only on the line up of Coachella,  but also Boston Calling and  Governor’s Ball. They’re also about to embark on their mostly sold out tour, ” Love Your Parents” tour, so grab your tickets while you can, you don’t want to miss these guys.

 

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Photo by Kali Uchis

Kali Uchis – With a beautiful voice and aesthetic to match, Kali Uchis will be a name you’ll definitely know by the end of the year. Having already worked with artists such as Tyler, the Creator, Daniel Caesar, Steve Lacy and The Gorillaz, Kali Uchis has been able to show not only a vast range of style, but also musicality. She’s also been able to appeal to the Latin community with singles such as Tirano and Nuestro Planeta. She embarked on a headlining tour late last year and now she’s set to support Lana Del Rey on her “Lust for Life” your. I personally can’t wait to see where she goes from here.

 

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Local Love: Solomon

 This week on ThisIsHowYouMusic, I’m happy to introduce the second installation of our series, “Local Love”, highlighting the work of Solomon. I was able to speak with him personally to get to know more about him.
While most may know you as Broderick, I have to ask, why Solomon as your stage name?
The name Solomon actually was chosen simply because that’s one of my middle names. I hold that middle name close to heart because, of course, it originated from Solomon the wise king heir of David.
I guess that brings me to my next question, who is Solomon? What is your brand, what makes you stand out?
Solomon is a representation of myself, a simple musical “attaché” who desires to provide good content quality art to the music industry. My brand is authenticity, embracement of one’s true self, and the dispersion of acceptance and positivity. My sounds involved in my music is one thing I would definitely say makes me “stand out”.
When did you know you wanted to get into performing, and have you always wanted to do neo soul? 
I always wanted to perform. Ever since I was a youngin, I’ve been always trying to be the center of attention. It’s funny though, cause when I get it, I get shy and nervous. Neo-Soul is just one of the musical avenues I decided to follow because I loved bringing that contemporary RnB feel to my music.
Who would you say are some of your inspirations?
Some of my direct inspirations would be my boy Zer0speaks (big shout out to him) because he got me into music, also Right Brain (shout out) because he got me into producing, Kanye West because he just works with the voice in so many different ways to create beauty in music, Kid Cudi because he influenced the game a lot and the power of good vocals and transferable energy, and Pharrell Williams because of his impact on the music game in general and his consistency yet diversification in his music.

Photo by zer0speaks

One thing I would like to touch on is the event you held earlier this year. You held something entitled, the High Note music competition. What was that exactly, and what inspired you to create it?
High Note (shoutout to Alex S. and Royland L. on that). Yes, High Note was a music competition I helped organize and operate, it was a philanthropic way (winner of the competition gets to donate $1,005.00 to their selected charity) to recognize the talent we have in the university system.
There doesn’t seem to be encouragement for the talented singer-songwriters to pursue their dreams and fulfill potential, while also pursuing a continued education.
It’s difficult and Royland, Alex, and I wanted to innovate the way of how we encourage recognizing local artists in a crowd-drawing way of making it into a competition. I can’t speak for the creator (Royland), but as Co-Creator I was inspired to reach out to the community and also showcase the beautiful talent that might continue that residual in encouraging others to pursue music.
High Note can be found on Facebook and at  www.finallynoticed.com
You can find more of Solomon at the links below:
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Local Love: Raps Moran

Here on ThisIsHowYouMusic, I wanted to start a new series to highlight the music acts from my local area and this week I was been able to speak with Elizabeth Raps, the woman behind the act Raps Moran.

I guess I should start with the most obvious question; who is Raps Moran?

Raps Moran is a two fold project. Raps is the character that I am, the Moran is each and every person that becomes a part. It’s like I’m doing it for myself, but at the same time it’s like it’s a completely person.

When did you know you wanted to pursue music?

When I saw My Morning Jacket. I was 14, and up until that point, I had always liked music but it wasn’t something I saw as a career, at that time. I was an ambitious kid, I actually wanted to be a professor. I had just been accepted into the magnet school for math and science school at Kennesaw Mountain. Then December 11th, 2011, I saw My Morning Jacket in Orlando, the night before a biology exam, Jim James pointed at me and  I felt totally transcended.

So you would consider My Morning Jacket and influence on your music? 

Most definitely. [My Morning Jacket] is one of the few modern bands that I became obsessed with, them and Foster the People. The vocal ranges of both bands were so unique and I stated covering their song on guitars. After a while though, I decided to start writing my own songs.

I know you also like Amy Winehouse, would you list her with some of your musical influences? 

Definitely influential, and I would even say inspirational. She changed everything that I thought about music and I still haven’t heard anything like her. Not just her musicianship, but her personality and her ambiance. I like to consider her somewhat of a role model, which, I know people will question, she’s amazing. With everything she had went through, and still being able to create such great art is amazing to me.

What would you say are some things that influence your writing? 

For me I feel it’s a bit different. I never sit down, and think this person just broke my heart, let me write down what I’m thinking. When I sit there, I can tell that’s something heavy on my chest and that’s what I find inspiring. Often times I’ll write and it’ll take me weeks to realize how heavy hitting it is.

I know you previously went by Betty Raps, what’s the story behind that? 

Betty Raps was the stage name for when I was a solo act. It lasted for almost a year, my  sister was manager, and the experience helped me learned the business side of it something that I need to know to make this career happen. The name stems from my grandmother, with whom I share a namesake with. I grew up thinking everyone called her Elizabeth, but then I learned she was often called Betty, and to me the name just fit.

An element of it was me stepping into character, but at the same time the character didn’t fit. I just wasn’t a “Betty” – it was hard to introduce myself as that. Plus around that time everyone I knew and worked with had started calling me Raps, which I took too well.

Now I know your latest single is Rabbit, could you expand a little more on what that song is and what it was like writing it. 

Rabbit is an interesting song, it’s the first song that I wrote like the way I did.  Most songs I had written had been on the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and sometimes keyboard. However, with Rabbit, I needed a single, but we didn’t have anyway to record as a band, so I though maybe I can figure out a way to do it by myself. I ended up writing it on a keyboard synthesizer, layered my voice over it ,and I ended up really liking it. It was like  song was alive before the words were.

Thank you so much to Raps Moran for being our first Local Love feature and you can find her at the following social media links below:

Instagram

Soundcloud

Facebook 

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Hating Pop Music Does Not Make You Holier Than Thou

I’m driving 70 down I-75, contemplating if I want to reach for the radio dial, but I ultimately decide that I don’t, for you see I’m left with a choice. Do I want to purposely subject myself to the pointless dribble that the mainstream wants to call “music” or do I want to continue to sit on my high horse, listening to the same 5 indie pop songs because I have this idea of complex superiority that the average pop music listener will never understand.

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Photo by Samuel Burress Johnson

The year is 2013 and I can’t be bothered by anything that isn’t Arctic Monkeys, The 1975, or The Neighbourhood. Yeah, I may only know songs such as Sweather Weather, Do I Wanna Know, or Chocolate, but that doesn’t matter; because I listen what I like to call, “Pop music with substance.” I may only know their singles, but I’m going to act as if I’ve been a fan of this band since their first EP, despite the fact I really don’t know a single word being said in Chocolate.

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Photo by Bring Me The Horizon

The year is  now 2014 and I’ve decided to give into my angsty teen years at 18, basically had a membership at Hot Topic and you couldn’t scroll through my Instagram without seeing me in a black T Shirt that had a band name in a font that looked like an unorganized cluster of dead branches. Okay, so I may not be able to understand exactly what the frontman is screaming at me, but I’m sure it has meaning and it’s not just about cheesy lyrics and unrequited love.

I don’t know about you, but for me, that’s all I had associated with pop music. Cheesy lyrics and unrequited love.
Pop music, as it is defined, is “a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form in the United States and United Kingdom during the mid-1950s​.” It is a genre of music that has had many artists become the face of it. In the 1950’s, we had the likes of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee and many more representing the face of what is now, traditional pop.

We then went through different eras of music, the 60’s was filled with what we now called Classic Rock, though it was just Rock to them. The 70’s had a hyperactive craze surrounding disco and big afros and bell bottom jeans.

Then came that of the 80’s and those that are now considered “Synthpop”, reigned over the genre. You had acts such Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, and a-ha; and yes, even though Take On Me was the only successful hit of a-ha, you can’t deny that you enjoy singing along.

The 90’s was a fast paced time filled with alternative rock music that most punk bands now try to resurrect, and a type of hip hop/rap that most of us can only wish we could hear once again on the radio.

However, what most pop music haters don’t seem to realize is that, at one point, most of the songs we know were in fact, popular. They may not be considered what the industry now considers “pop music” but it was popular nonetheless and we don’t feel the need to invalidate that artistry, so why do we do so today?

The year is now 2017 and I’m actually heartbroken I didn’t buy tickets to see The Vamps when they came to my town. I now happily belt out the words to “That’s My Girl” by Fifth Harmony, I’m not afraid to say that I love “Purpose” by Justin Bieber, and I’m not afraid to say that I’m more than excited to see Harry Styles next year. Pop music does not mean you have a manufactured taste in music, it simply means you enjoy what’s popular; and what’s wrong with that?

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Photo by Fifth Harmony

I Love This Band And You Should Too: Sons of An Illustrious Father

This past April, a friend of mine and I traveled almost four hours to see a band that goes by the name, Sons of An Illustrious Father; and this names only scratches the surface of the depth of creativity this band possesses.

Sons of an Illustrious Father are a three pieced band based out of Brooklyn, New York. The three members; Lilah Larson, Josh Aubin and Ezra Miller all bring a personal flair to the collective, but also remained unanimous in their powerful sound.

I was introduced to Sons of an Illustrious Father sometime late 2016, and the first song I listened to was a song entitled, “Very Few Dancers” and wow, what an introduction it was. The song consisted of quick paced lyrics with a driving instrumentation force behind them and I can happily say this is a band that mirrors that same energy when performing.

What I really love about this band, and what I feel makes them stand out from most bands today, is that they aren’t afraid to get political and speak up about social injustice. They’re not afraid to discuss the overwhelming tension of current race relations, about our the lack of structure in our current political climate. The middle of the performance was graced with a beautiful rendition of “Ella’s Song” originally performed by Sweet Honey and it made me realize just how much I love this band.

Being an avid concert goer, I’m used to hearing the same speech about how “music can bring us together” and “despite what’s happening in the world we can always rely on music to provide solidarity”, which I agree with, but it’s nice to see people with a platform and a following not sugarcoat what’s happening to the world right now and want to act as ally and take a stand against injustice.

I love this band because they are a band that refuses to be quiet. In an industry that can seem so manufactured and corporate, they aren’t afraid to use their platform for what they believe in and what they believe in, is justice.

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Give this band a listen, I can guarantee you that you won’t regret it.

Recommended Song of the Day: The Opposite of Love by Sons of An Illustrious Father

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An Interview with Jenna Holiday

Earlier this year, I came across a song on Spotify entitled “21” and it was written by an artist by the name of Jenna Holiday. For today’s blog post, I decided to reach out to Jenna herself and ask her more about her upcoming music and what our readers can expect from her. Enjoy!

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Photo by mobrangii

Hello! Do you think you could tell our readers a little bit about yourself? 

Hi! My name is Jenna Holiday. I’m a 16 year old singer and songwriter from the Boston area and best known for my debut single “21”!

Wow, only 16 and already so much talent!  How long have you been interested in writing and performing music?

I’ve been writing pretty much for as long as I could hold a pencil or navigate a keyboard, although it wasn’t until last year that I decided to release any material. Since then I’ve been writing absolutely none stop while balancing school and music programs when I can fit them in!

This summer, I attended the Grammy Recording Academy’s summer camp held on the USC campus in LA and it was absolutely insane. I met so many incredible musicians and fell in love with LA even more, if possible.

What could current and future listeners expect from this album? 

My debut album, which I’ve been working relentlessly on for the past year or so, shows the narrative of an original character. You may already be familiar with  said character from “21”, which like the rest of the album, is from his perspective. The album will tell you his backstory and detail his rise to fame and his inevitable fall, all resolving with “21” as the last track.

The music you’ll be hearing from me in the (not so distant) future mirrors the theatrics of Lorde and Allie X, and captures the dynamics of Thomston and Melanie Martinez. I consider myself to be what only can be best described as a concept artist. I approach my craft like that of a storyteller, and see myself as more of the author of a story told through my music, rather than being the face of it all.

So it sounds like we should be expecting this album soon.

As of now, my debut album is completely written and in the production process, although that hasn’t stopped me from continuing writing! I’ve been working even further into the future, bringing on board one of my best friends and cowriter Emma Cobalt to help create the storylines and music of future albums.

What is something you hope to convey to those that listen to your debut  album?

I hope to redefine the way people think of concept albums and musical storytelling, and I’ll be telling you a wild and twisting tale featuring a handful of original characters all littered throughout my music. I’m so so insanely excited to bring this vision to life through music, visuals, videos, and by any means possible! My next single will be out in the very near future, and I’m beyond excited for everything to come!

You can find Jenna at her social media links below: 

Twitter: @jennaholiday

Facebook: Jenna Holiday

Instagram: jenna.holiday

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10 Acts You Need To See At Music Midtown 2017

Earlier this month, Music Midtown released the longly awaited line up for this year and I think this line up is simply amazing. Not only does it include some of my personal favorites such as Two Door Cinema Club and Oh Wonder, but there’s also a lot of great acts I’ve seen personally like, Dua Lipa, COIN and Young the Giant. This week I’ve dedicated a post to who I think everyone should see at Music Midtown. Let’s get started.

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Photo by John Gentile

Weezer  – Last year, Weezer went on tour with Panic! at the Disco and I had never been more excited for a joint tour. While many fans were there to enjoy the music and newly released album from Panic! at the Disco, and honestly I was too, I was even more excited for Weezer. Their varying discography is sure to keep you entertained the whole time you’re watching. With hits such as, “Beverly Hills”, “Say It Ain’t So”, “Island in the Sun”, and “Buddy Holly”, you’ll never be bored at a Weezer show.

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Photo by David Vincent Wolf

Young the Giant – I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Young the Giant not once, but twice in the last two years. When I saw them on their Mind Over Matter Tour, I was floored, when I saw them at Shaky Knees last year, I instantly wanted to see them again. There are very few artists who can sound better live, than in the studio and Young the Giant is definitely one of those artists. They released their third album last year, which featured the indie hit, “Silvertongue” which is sure to be a crowd favorite.

 

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Photo by Poppy Marriott 

Bastille – Earlier this year, Bastille was featured on the 7 Shows to Attend list, and for a good reason. As I said in that blog post, I’ve been a fan for a couple of years, after hearing their album Bad Blood, and after watching their set at Live at T in the Park, I knew I had to see this amazing band live. They provide electric energy, show a ridiculous amount of talent and love to have the crowd involved. Definitely a show you don’t want to miss.

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Photo by Press

Two Door Cinema Club – I’ve been lucky enough to see this band already, and I’ve actually written a post on it before. Two Door Cinema Club is an act I would recommend to anyone that enjoys the indie rock sound, and an overall good time. They’re a band that has amazing stage performance, interacts with the crowd and really gets you involved and you’ll never want the live show to end. Whether you know their hit, “What You Know” or are able to sing every lyric from their latest album, “Gameshow”, there’s no doubt, you’ll have fun and want to dance along.

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Photo by Laura Harvey Photography

Oh Wonder – Okay, if you’ve been keeping up with this blog for a little while, you know that Oh Wonder is an act I love to talk about. Featured on not only my Who To Watch but also on 5 Tours To Attend , Oh Wonder is an act that brings a great live show. Having had multiple sold out dates on their first tour, and this tour sure to follow, this is a group I will always recommend seeing live. They also just released their sophomore album, Ultralife, which I would also recommend giving a listen.

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Photo by Tom Griffiths

Dua Lipa – I saw Dua Lipa late last year when she was opening for Troye Sivan on his Suburbia Tour and earlier this year on her headlining tour, and this is an artist that puts on a show. Not only is her music fun and lively, but her live show mirrors that perfectly. She’s a singer with a unique voice and an amazing stage presence. She released her debut album earlier this year and with it’s track list, it’s sure to be a great live performance. Definitely an act you should catch.

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Photo by Eliot Lee Hazel

PVRISSo I’ve seen PVRIS about four times now, and I can guarantee you I’ll be seeing them a fifth time. PVRIS is a band that brings a great amount of energy no matter what demographic their performing to. I’ve watched them open for Pierce the Veil, MUSE Fall Out Boy, and headline their own show, and they bring a great live show every time. Do yourself a favor and catch their set this year.

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Photo by Kristy Smolcic

Circa Waves– I’ve liked the sound of Circa Waves ever since I heard their song, “T Shirt Weather” about two years ago. When I first heard they were opening for Two Door Cinema club on their upcoming tour, I was ecstatic. Circa Waves is a group that provides an unstoppable amount of energy and ensures that every crowd member has a great time while listening to them. Check out their set this year, you won’t regret it.

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Photo by Zachary Gray

COIN – I’ve actually talked about COIN before on this site, and I’m happy to be seeing them on such a great line up. I was able to see COIN early last year when they performed mid day at Shaky Knees and they were an absolute treat that provided upbeat rhythms, catchy lyrics and an overall good time. They released an album earlier this year titled, “How Will You Know If You Never Try” featuring songs such as “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and “Talk Too Much” so this is a show that’s sure to have you dancing.

 

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Photo by Jim Metzger

AJR –  A trio that I’ve recently fallen in love with the sound of; AJR is a trio of brothers based out of NYC and are an act that conveys an insane amount of energy. You might know their song “I’m Ready” or one of their more recent songs “Weak” from their latest album, The Click, which was released earlier this year. If they can perform at even half the energy they exhibit in their songs, this is sure to be a fun show.

Hopefully this gave you some insight on what to expect at this year’s Music Midtown and you’ve added a couple of must sees to your list. Tickets for Music Midtown are now on a sale and you can find them at the provided link below.

https://www.musicmidtown.com/tickets/