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Music

Secret Lover – Stela Cole – New Release

Sometimes all you need is a fun tune. When you have had enough of the inward looking and earnest indie kids, the cliché riddled rockers and the production line pop, something light, sassy, self-aware and playful is what is called for. Sometimes all you need is Stela Cole.

Balancing the pop infectiousness of Ellie Goulding, the darker undertones of Lana Del Ray and the street smarts of Lily Allen, her “beats from the Bible Belt” are as cool and contemporary as anything currently filling the dance floors, yet they still sounds like nothing else you have heard from any of the competition. Living up to her mantra that “trying to fit in gets you nowhere, standing out is what life’s all about,” Secret Lover is a mercurial and original blend of cartoon theme tunes, wonky, staccato dance grooves and bubble-gum pop beats making the most addictive cat nip for the very coolest of cats.

And the odd thing is that for all its apparent throwaway pop nature, this is throwaway pop that you just can’t stop listening to. How do you even do that?

Instagram: instagram.com/callmestelacole/

Twitter: twitter.com/callmestelacole

Facebook: facebook.com/callmestelacole/

Words: Dave Franklin

Music

A&R Factory Present: Naïka

Naïka is a singer/songwriter born in Miami, Florida, who developed an interest in music from an early age while living and traveling internationally with her family.

Naika was born from a Haitian mother and Malagasy father, and growing up with the influence of European, African and Caribbean cultures has shaped her both musically and individually, and continues to define her artistic perspective and outlook. Her music reflects a blend of pop, soul with a World Music influence.

Naïka currently majors in Performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she is pursuing her creative aspirations full time. Within her first year as a student, she was selected to tour with GRAMMY-winning artist Michael Bolton, and participate on NBC’s The Voice. Her songwriting ability also earned her a second place prize in the BMI John Lennon Foundation Scholarship in 2015.

As her academic chapter is coming to an end, Naïka’s music is beginning to flourish. After the release of her debut single “Call Me Marilyn”, the artists’ next pop banger “Ride” is scheduled to hit streaming platforms on May 6th.

Naïka continues to develop her vocal and songwriting expertise with an exemplary work ethic, that will stand her in good stead throughout her journey as an artist, wherein perseverance, dedication and hard work are essential.

https://www.naikamusic.com/

Music

A&R Factory Present: Kayla Diamond

Toronto solo artist Kayla Diamond has shared first single “Carnival Hearts” off her debut EP Beautiful Chaos due this summer via Cadence Music. Listen to “Carnival Hearts”

At the beginning of her first year in law school in 2015, Kayla entered and won Slaight Music’s It’s Your Shot contest, which landed her a recording contract with Cadence Music. After winning the contest, she put her studies on hold to pursue music and has barely left the studio since.

Beautiful Chaos teams Kayla with noted Toronto based writer/producer Craig McConnell and is a look into Kayla’s life over the last few years with each track inspired by a different person. With a bouncy melody and soaring vocals on “Carnival Hearts” Kayla reflects, “[‘Carnival Hearts’ is]’ inspired by the concept of isolation and being lost in your own world. This is about me creating life within and from emptiness. I started writing when I felt empty. It’s a revival of something presumed to be unusable and abandoned.”

While prepping the EP, she has worked within the EDM community lending vocals for various DJs including Kiso’s cover tracks of Mike Posner’s “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” and Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Want To Live Forever”. She also teamed up with Anveo on the track “Feel Something”, which has hit 3 million+ streams on Spotify since its release in December. Those collaborations have received notable praise from the likes of Tiësto, Gareth Emery, Axwell and more.

http://kayladiamondmusic.com

Music

A&R Factory Present: Chey

Hailing from South Wales Valleys, the independent singer songwriter Chey has released a new studio endeavor, a track entitled ‘She’s Got You.’ The elegantly produced single is an insight into how Chey is infusing modern pop and R&B elements into a rather sophisticated sound unto herself. ‘She’s Got You’ is streaming now on SoundCloud and doing quite well amongst Chey’s fanbase. Is the praise deserved? Let’s delve into the single and find out!

Aside from Chey, the most vital element of ‘She’s Got You’ is the compelling production design. It’s masterfully scored with light synthesizer sections, a reverberated piano, and tactful beats that don’t overpower the music at all. The most unique factor in the soundscape, however, is a male vocal that’s autotuned in a particularly eclectic fashion, essentially offering a beat-like interlude every time he sings. Outside of select experimental hip hop records, this is an unusual occurrence, but it works so well for Chey.

As for Chey’s performance, her voice is terrific. She hits all of her notes with perfect ease, and it’s clear her voice hasn’t been manipulated or augmented. She’s a natural vocalist for this R&B-tinged pop sound, and her having Amy Winehouse amongst her cited influences isn’t surprising at all. Lyrically, she exhibits herself as a strong songwriter, too. ‘She’s Got You,’ while simplistic, is a haunting, melancholy journey through pining for somebody who already has a significant other. It’s a beautiful, but very sad song.

Chey showcases she has quite strong chops for a relatively new indie artist on the scene. She’s even released a more dance-oriented remix of ‘She’s Got You,’ and that’s a well done track, too. If this single is indicative of her larger output to come, she’s an artist worth keeping close tabs on. ‘She’s Got You’ is pop music done right, and I love the creativity that went into the production and execution of the songwriting.


https://www.facebook.com/OfficialCheyMusic/

Music

A&R Factory Present: Roman Road

Despite dominating popular culture in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the ‘boy band’ genre fell into obscurity as the century wore on. Powerhouse acts like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC were household names, usually amongst young girls. Though this music feel dated to some, however, it has lived on in various degrees through contemporary acts such as One Direction and the like. The indie act Roman Road is attempting to capitalize on that potential interest, and they’ve released a new single, ‘Let Me Try.’

If you’ve ever heard a boy band radio single at any point in your life, you’ve heard ‘Let Me Try’ The lyrics muse about a relationship that’s seemed to have fallen off the tracks. “Now I’m lost for words, is there someone new?” the band sings. The song is a plight for a second chance, an opportunity for the songwriter to try again with the woman. It’s unimaginative, though, and doesn’t offer anything in any capacity a thousand boy band pop songs haven’t before.

The production of Roman Road’s new single is technically good, offering clean vocal cuts and bouncy electronic-infused instrumentation. It’s certainly not poorly produced, and that’s worth noting because the immense amount of indie pop music in the scene is. There are even tiny hints of hip hop influence when one of the vocalists pops through in that fashion. That would have been fascinating to explore in greater depth.

While the production is functional on paper, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s worth lauding through and through. It’s steeped in Top 40 tropes that make it entirely indistinguishable from any other bubblegum pop. If the members of Roman Road wanted to convey an emotional performance, this isn’t one. It sounds like an A&R rep copied and pasted several generic elements of boy band pop together without any flair for creativity or thoughtful expression.

At the end of the day, boy bands weren’t often overly creative or thoughtful, so I can’t fully condemn Roman Road for being neither. Their music is cookie-cutter enough to convince the listener they might be a well-known boy band. It doesn’t have any technical faux pas, either. It’s just frustratingly bland and if Roman Road wants longevity as an outfit, they’ll have to outgrow this sound

http://www.romanroadmusic.com/

By Brett David Stewart
Music

A&R Factory Present: Jeff Beadle

Jeff Beadle, a Canadian folk singer-songwriter, was born into a music adoring family that encouraged his love for song writing. He started writing at 12 years old to immediate local recognition. He and a few school friends started playing local fairs, arcades and house parties – all with original song-writing. When in High School, he created multiple bands and attended all possible music classes while continuing to play live shows whenever he could.

Jeff now works alone every day, battling Toronto traffic all the while writing what has become The Huntings End. Over the last four years he has been cleaning and servicing the swimming pools of the elite in the downtown core. The daily solitude provoked the fears, tragedies and heartbreaks of his past. These strong reminiscences weighed heavy on his lonely days, begging for a release.

Jeff would arrange these feeling into rough songs on his cell phone, using voice memos and notes. Covered in grease and with chlorine stained clothes, he’d rush home to unpack the ideas, hashing out the fundamentals into melodies and complete lyrics. There is always rushed excitement to his creation, as is heard in the heartfelt tracks on The Huntings End.

His house is the local hub for all his friends. He makes late night dinners for everyone (Chef Jeff) that eventually turn into a wine infused testing ground for young songs. Based on this close to home feedback, Jeff would then fine tune his tracks at many local venues in Toronto. He plays constantly, at home, a-capella in the car, live shows at bars and backyards all for the love of playing and to fine tune his songs.

After running his songs through the local gauntlet of live venues, Jeff partnered up with his close friend Frank Gairdner to plan a raw and pure recording session. They chose Frank’s parent’s place, a quiet and remote farm house with 20 ft wood beam ceilings located on the rolling country hills of Southern Ontario. The evocative lyrics and catchy melodies reverberated wonderfully.

Jeff has a lot of experience that he draws from. The bands that he has headed cover many genres, have toured Canada multiple times as well as through China. He developed a love for the road while touring every nook and cranny of Canada. The unique towns and people that he met all had their own appreciation and love for music, and all of them had their own stories for having it.

For Jeff, this is one of the most important parts of writing music. Along with telling his own story, he needs to tell others’ as well. His intense empathy for people’s situations and losses motivate a lot of his music. The road was his library, gathering stories and experiences and translating them to music.

https://www.facebook.com/jeffreybeadlemusic/

Music

A&R Factory Present: LANY

Electronic music has soared to great heights over the last decade, but while many have focused their efforts on EDM, others are going back to the roots of digital recording.

From 1975’s “Love Me” to Charli XCX’s “Body of My Own” as shared on The Odyssey, modern pop, indie and alternative musicians are seeking inspiration from the 80s. Some even sound like they’re straight out of the era, composing songs that are quite honestly refreshing in the global music industry that’s currently dominated by The Chainsmokers, and any other producers that match their aesthetic. One of these groups that we’re featuring today is the three-piece outfit hailing from Los Angeles, better known as LANY, short for Los Angeles New York.

An alternative rock/indie pop band that formed back in March 2015, lead vocalist Paul Jason Klein is a former model and solo artist who flew to Nashville to meet up with Jake Clifford Goss and Les Priest. The first two tracks that debuted on Soundcloud were “Hot Lights” and “Walk Away.” Without revealing any of their identities, they released single after single, finally exposing who LANY (pronounced lay-nee) really were.

Even though no one knew or heard of LANY before the big reveal, their songs generated a massive online following, and the reason for this is because of how much of a standout they are in the music industry. Frontman Klein tells Teen Vogue in an interview, “I think the magic of LANY just happened by the three of us bringing our influences and experiences to the table and together we just formed our sound.” They may not have an exact definition of what genre they fall under, but there’s no doubt that they are pretty nostalgic over 80s electronic beats.

When we look back to the 80s, a lot of the images that come to mind are statement shoulder pads, neon lights and big hairstyles. As for 80s music, we even see it honoured in the form of digital titles. Gaming portal Slingo have indicated in their themed game Neon Staxx that the decade was defined by the blaring synthesisers, and with the number of artists listed on The Lala, including LANY, reminiscing and using that synth pop sound, it’s clear that the 80s are back with a vengeance.

Currently in the middle of their worldwide tour, kinda has been extended to the middle of July, with the remaining gigs located in Asia, Europe, Canada and the US. They expect to release their debut studio album on June 30th, with pre-orders available now on their website.

Here is the complete tracklist for their debut album:
1) Dumb Stuff
2) The Breakup
3) Super Far
4) Overtime
5) Flowers On The Floor
6) Parents
7) ILYSB
8) 13
9) Hericane
10) Hurts
11) Good Girls
12) Pancakes
13) Tampa
14) Purple Teeth
15) So, Soo Pretty
16) It Was Love

You can listen to their tracks from previous EPs on SoundCloud or Spotify, or download their songs through Apple Music.

Music

A&R Factory Present: Lost Beach

Hailing from the beaches south of Los Angeles, LOST BEACH combines the sentimentality of sun in your face, while pining for the unknown in what we call indie rock n roll. Native Texan Jonny Perdue came to California to further his pursuit in music, finding guitarist and collaborator Steve Stout via a chance encounter while both playing for siblings of two different bands. During his time on the coast, Jonny met Hermosa-raised drummer Davey Latter and bassist Zacc West, also linking up with keys player Davey Allen after seeing his performance at a soundcheck in LA. “Perdue,” meaning lost in French, and the band’s residence on the coast inspired their moniker LOST BEACH. From Otis Redding to Elliott Smith, the group draws inspiration from the sounds of older records and a DIY mentality of self-production.

Lost Beach will be releasing singles in the coming months in anticipation of their self produced full length LP later this year.

Music

A&R FactoryPresent: From Kid

Following the release of their acclaimed debut album, Swiss duo From Kid return to the fold with their sophomore LP Favourite Storm. Leading the way is the enticing single ‘New Gods’ out 17th February.

‘New Gods’ starts off with a warm, inviting vocal melody, instilling the innate sense of endearing intimacy that is laced throughout From Kid’s previous offerings. The track is restrained yet gripping. An unassuming guitar bounces gently throughout, working in harmony with the coy keyboard and atmospheric synths, painting a vast landscape to match the wondrous nature in which it was recorded. It’s no surprise that the relationship between human and nature marks a key element in the new From Kid, which might also explain the opening lyric “Earth no longer accepts our presence with silence.” Speaking about the track the band have said “In the song it is mother earth speaking to the human race, expressing its displeasure and showing power.”

The haunting visuals were filmed in a stunning forest veiled by a blanket of snow and far removed from the everyday urban chaos. The video juxtaposes the warmth and comfort of the track as the lone character meanders desperately through the chilling landscape before collapsing to his knees before the camera pans away; perhaps to demonstrate just how small we really are in this grandiose world.

The second full-length project ‘Favourite Storm’ saw the band remove themselves from the hectic hustle and bustle of city life and was recorded in the tranquility of the remote Graubünden mountain village Lohn. Dealing with the contrast between a man-made world and a wild natural world, the album ebbs and flows like a stormy night. Sometimes gentle and vulnerable like nature after a violent storm, then loud and melancholy like a hurricane sweeping over the forest; From Kid have created a more personal, bold body of work than that of its predecessor ‘You Can Have All The Wonders’.

Consisting of Andrin Berchtold and Gian Reto Camenisch, From Kid’s debut album saw them race into the top ten of the Swiss album charts in 2015 as well as being nominated for both ‘Best Emerging Act’ at the Swiss Talent Awards and ‘Best Breaking Act’ at the Swiss Music Awards. Their success not only lies in their native country but support from renowned tastemaker sites such as Nothing But Hope And Passion, Pause Musicale and The 405saw them climb to the top of the Hype Machine popular chart, garnering recognition on an international scale.

New Gods’ is the perfect introduction to From Kid’s forthcoming album and is a sincere piece of music that showcases Berchtold’s inherent talent for writing charming songs that bring to mind the meandering, brooding character of Wild Beasts. With the album out later this year we cannot wait to see where the duo’s beguiling journey takes them in 2017.

Find out more here.

Music

A&R Factory Present: Justin Baron

Hear the words “Amish Country” and you’d be hard-pressed not to think of butter churns, windmills and a conspicuous lack of places to plug in your iPhone. So, it might be hard to believe that Justin Baron, a prodigious singer/songwriter and New York City’s best-kept secret, grew up in Lancaster, PA – the widely reputed home of the horse and buggy.

Now, Baron is quickly becoming one of the music industry’s rising stars with his infectious brand of explosive, bluesy pop. In 2013 – a breakout year for Baron – he co-wrote with Kanye West and John Legend, leading to Legend’s “Made to Love,” a single off the certified gold and Grammy-nominated album “Love In The Future.” Though Baron feels most at home on stage, captivating fans with both his mastery of the piano and his undeniably magnetic vocals.

In just a few short years, Baron has gone from playing in small coffee houses to performing on some of the biggest stages in the world, including the IZOD Arena alongside Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez and Calvin Harris and Jones Beach Amphitheatre with Jason Derulo, Justin Bieber and The Weeknd.

Influenced by everyone from The Beatles and The Roots to T. Rex and Elliott Smith, Baron’s eclectic musical taste shows in his ability to seamlessly blend genres into one intoxicating sound.

“There’s this moment when you’re making something, whether it’s a song or just a melody, where this switch flips on all the sudden,” shares Baron. “It’s like a flash of adrenaline and it’s helplessly addicting. It makes you dance around the room like a complete idiot. Getting a chance to bring that same feeling to everyone is the reason I make music.”

Justin says, “I’ve been in love with this girl for a while now, but I’ve never been able to tell her. Every time I tried, my lips went numb and my words turned to gibberish. I’m putting this song out to tell her how I feel”

http://www.justinbaron.com/

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