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Pop Music

As the trends in music evolve, as does the definition of pop music. Pop started as an abbreviation for popular; since the mid-20th-century, it has become the go-to term to define the music currently holding the most favour with the public. The evolving nature of pop makes it hard to pinpoint the pioneers; some say it all started when performers needed a catchy and memorable song in the Victorian area, while others say that pop began with the original crooners in the 30s.

The introduction of the pop music charts in 1952 allowed a cultural shift to form around music. It was at this point in history that teenagers became a massive target for the media. Before this new social reconstruction, there had been no in-between for children and adults. Just as it is now in the TikTok age, where teenagers can make an unknown artist go viral in minutes, teenagers effectively ran the music industry in the 50s too!

After Elvis Presley reigned supreme in the late 50s and early 60s, the Beatles dominated the charts for eight years until they disbanded in 1970. Throughout the 80s, synthpop took the pop limelight until the Boy Band era was born in the 90s. The selling power of East 17, Take That, Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync gave Bob and Chris Herbert the idea to manufacture the world’s ultimate girl group; with the Spice Girls, they discernibly succeeded. After the Spice Girls topped the charts, more manufactured pop acts, such as Britney and Mariah Carey, started to surface. Manufacturing is still a massive part of the pop industry, but more and more pop artists are becoming brave enough to break the mould (think Billie Eilish, St. Vincent and Lorde).

Even though the pop charts are more diverse than ever, with Ed Sheeran sitting next to the Weeknd and Dua Lipa next to Tom Grennan, there are still common factors in their pop tracks. Today, most songs that fall into the pop category follow the extensively tried and tested pop formula. Generally speaking, pop tracks are 3 – 5 minutes in duration, use just one key, contains melodically lyrical soundbites that include the title, have a repeating chorus and keep to 4/4 time signatures. Repetition is quite literally key.

Unless it is a ballad or a stripped back acoustic number, pop tracks usually unfold to danceable tempos and rhythms to complement the lyrical hooks. Elements from every genre can be pulled into pop, the main ones being rock, RnB, hip hop, country, Latin and dance. Indie pop was a force to be reckoned with at the start of the millennium, but two decades in, it has lost its foothold to hip hop and RnB, which have become pop genres in of themselves.

International Trap-Pop Queen Reigned Supreme in her A&R Factory Interview

With melodies as infectious as her autonomy-embracing attitude, we caught up with the Trap-Pop queen, Chantae Vetrice following the release of her piercing and polished hit, Wave Check, which affirms that she’s so far ahead of the curve it is scarcely in her rear-view mirror.

Chantae Vetrice, we’re stoked you took time out from your hectic international TrapPop lifestyle to dissect your distinctive sound. Can you tell us about your latest single, Wave Check?

Wave Check is all about riding your own wave! Doing what you do in the way that only you can do it! And sometimes we have other people that may try to ride that wave because it’s just too damn good! It’s all about feeling confident in yourself.

Coming up with a unique sound in an oversaturated industry is a massive achievement. How would you define your sound, and how did you form such an authentic signature sound?

This has been years and years of self-discovery within the music and just experimenting with different approaches that have come naturally to me over time. I would describe my sound as a bit gritty, with a lot of sex appeal and attitude. I’ve loved rock music all my life so, I try to incorporate that into my music as well. Whether it be by using a guitar in the beat production or with how I deliver my lyrics.

As the adage goes, image is everything, and you’ve got your striking look down to a T. Have you always been so aesthetically confident?

Looking back on my life, I have! I’ve always been confident enough to wear what I want even if it’s not trending, and when it comes to my hair, I’ve always pushed the envelope! Honestly, I get bored very easily, so I love being versatile…I hate looking like everyone else.

You have worked with some impressive names since making your debut; which figure has had the biggest impact on your career?

Thank you. I haven’t worked with this person, but they have been a total inspiration for me…Madonna. I’ve always admired how she can easily transform and evolve herself so genuinely. To me, she is the epitome of a pop icon.

Based on your streaming stats, plenty of people are resonating with your music. What do you hope people get from your music?

Life live, and have fun! This journey is short, and we are here to make an impact! Do what you love and be yourself…don’t be afraid to stand out.

Do you write your songs with a particular audience in mind?

I make music, especially for women…I’m a girl’s girl! So, to all my ladies out in the world…stay strong, be bold, and let them know you’re here to stay!

What is it like living between NYC and Montreal as an artist?

I feel like I have the best of both worlds right now because I can live in another country and get inspired by the locals. Montreal has such a dope creative scene, and I’m slowly navigating my way through it. It’s exciting. As a New Yorker, I love a good adventure and can live pretty much anywhere lol.

What are your next moves going to be in the industry?

Outside of consistently dropping heat, performing, and growing my fanbase…I am getting focused on my debut EP for 2023. It’s something that I think the people are ready for, and I’m up for the challenge of creating a story people can resonate with.

Listen to Chantae Vetrice’s latest single, Wave Check, on Spotify.

Follow her on Instagram and check out her website.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

Ninali took us to Tokyo in her synaesthesia-inducing hyper-pop comeback 

Feel the neon glow of Tokyo in Ninali’s synaesthesia-inducing slice of hyper pop, which lit up the airwaves on November 11th. After squeezing inspiration from her trips across the world, Ninali has made a comeback after her wanderlust hiatus. Now residing in Spain to focus on her music career and to study music production, she’s projecting her sultry vocal timbre into her jazzy feats of RnB pop to share the exotic flavours she sampled.
Ninali made her first venture into the music industry aged 18 when she took Belgium by storm with her single, Lovedrunk, which scored her an indie record deal, national airplay and a spot on a compilation album curated by one of the biggest Belgian radio stations. With her sophomore single, she reached number 34 in the Belgian Ultratip charts and secured plenty of live dates. We’re stoked to have her demure soul and uplifting sound vivifying the UK music industry for the first time. She’s certainly not one to sleep on, especially if you are partial to serotonin spilling across your synapses.
Head to Tokyo on Spotify. 
Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lock up your daughters; ORCHAD unveiled their X-RATED pop-hooked alt-rock earworm, SKIN

ORCHAD’s latest single, SKIN, is easily the sexiest alt-rock offering since She Wants Revenge tantalised us with Tear You Apart. Quickly becoming (in all the ways) one of the hottest acts in Montreal, ORCHAD has torn up the rock n roll rule book and is writhing in the confetti of archetypal rock flavours.

Screeching riffs resound around the dark electro beats to create a fervid platform for the dynamic vocal lines that sporadically run through heavy effects to amplify the dark salacious energy of SKIN to the nth degree.

Instead of attempting to appease the insufferable rock snobs by listing only the most revered rock gods in their influences, ORCHAD let us know exactly where their hooky pop proclivities came from by name-dropping everyone from Dua Lipa to LeBrock to Billie Eilish and by owing the heavier parts of their ever-fluid signature to the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and MCR. As someone that was very much in their emo phase in the early 00s, their partially revivalist ingenuity is far from lost on me.

SKIN is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell Interview: A True American hero

https://www.facebook.com/mabellfishingblues/videos/?ref=page_internal

Sometimes in life you meet someone who just wants to sing for the love and nothing more. This is the story of Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell. She is the ultimate underdog and loves making others happy. A selfless soul awaits.

Hello there Ma Bell aka Kathy Bell. How are you doing today and have you found that the music scene is properly back in your local area?
Ma Bell: I have found that this last year has been incredibly busy. I feel the music scene is definitely back.

You’re a DJ and also a songwriter with Bob McGilpin. Please explain how that fusion started and how creating songs makes you feel?
Ma Bell: I began in music at an early age, playing piano in the Church of God where my grandfather preached for 57 years.
I always had a passion for music but never thought I was good enough and had to go through quite a lot before believing in myself. I had written a silly Tobacco Barn song due to seeing a barn smoking with my friend and manager, Ruth Brown. She said write that into a song but I had no idea how that could be a song. A friend said get ahold of Bob McGilpin. I have to say he is the very best and not only is a co-writer but an amazing Friend. We now have 2 songs. America She’s Cryin co-written with Bob McGilpin a Platinum hit but also Freedom Truckers co-written with Bob McGilpin that has hit platinum twice.

Never too old to dream. I love your motto. It’s so true. Do you feel you’re in a dream while on stage and living out your destiny?
Ma Bell: I absolutely feel it is my dream. I have had the dream of performing on the Grand Ole Opry Stage one day since a child. I never give up on that and work hard. I have gone through sickness etc and am chasing my dream late in life, but still believe it can be possible as long as I never give up and keep working hard.

Who do you make music for and where do you call home?
Ma Bell: My home is in a very small town in Indiana called Sheridan. I make music when an inspiration hits. It is usually something from life. It can be funny or it can be serious.

Do you have a favourite song that we should definitely hear you sing live?
Ya all come! I love having fun in character as “Ma Bell” with my audience. The more they sing and tap feet, the more animated I become.

Can we spot you live before 2022 ends or do you have some events slowly cookin’ on the stove for 2023?
Absolutely, that would be awesome!

Find out more on her Facebook page.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Magnus Ferrell put us on the same high with the hazy alt indie RnB pop vibes in ‘Love Drunk”

LA singer-songwriter, Magnus Ferrell, shared the intoxication with his latest single, Love Drunk. As it dropped, a new niche in alt indie-RnB-pop was carved. With Daft Punk-style galvanising highs written into the funky organic grooves, the pink, hazy euphoria comes at you in waves.

Part of Ferrell’s salaciously scintillating authenticity is owed to his jazz piano background. Partly due to his uninhibited boldness when harmonising his uplifting pop harmonies and his determination to make a serious impression on the industry. Given that he’s opening for The Psychedelic Furs in San Diego despite the drastic genre difference, it’s safe to say that he’s well on his way. We couldn’t be more stoked for him.

With the consistently infatuated themes of his singles in his short and sweet discography, you can’t help but get invested in what drops next, like it’s your brand-new binge-worthy Netflix series that you’d happily lose sleep for.

Love Drunk is now available to stream on Spotify. Stay tuned for fresh serenades by following Ferrell on Instagram & TikTok.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Hold On Me: Gary Mictian longs for that rare moment of body-shuddering love on I’ll Wait

Certain of something which could eventually breeze away into the night sky, Gary Mictian sings with conviction and well-loved kindness and hope with his latest single I’ll Wait.

Gary Mictian is a London, UK-based indie singer-songwriter and music producer who connects electronic pop, dystopian sci-fi and cinematic sound all together like he was born to make music.

Sending us into a romantic flurry of emotions, Gary Mictian can truly rocket into our ears with much excitement because of his hugely likeable music vibration that sends pulses into overdrive.

I’ll Wait from London, UK-based indie pop singer-songwriter/music producer Gary Mictian is a supreme effort of monumental magnitudes. Laced in so much beauty and genuine honesty, this is a fine song to take our hearts into what it takes sometimes for true love to happen.

If you have the perseverance and feel the return energy connection, two souls can be together forever.

Listen up on Spotify and see more vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: Pop-Punk’s Fiercest Lyricist, Juliette Irons, Advocated for the Heartbroken in her Latest Anthem, Skydive

After a brush with disorientating heartbreak, the Toronto-born, LA-based artist, producer, and dancer Juliette Irons picked herself up, dusted herself off and released the stormer of a pop-punk anthem, Skydive, as an act of solidarity with anyone feeling the same anxious dejection.

Skydive follows on from her evocative whirlwind, Prisoner of My Mind, which introduced the airwaves to the claustrophobia of anxiety. Still on stellar lyrical form, Skydive ensnaringly traverses the euphoric highs and dark and despondent lows of a situation-ship to prove even if you’re the one broken and bruised, you’re not the loser.

No heartbreak can survive the flood of dopamine that surges from Skydive. The rap verses are the vindicating cherry on the hook-sprinkled pop-punk cake, which tastes like 00s nostalgia, but Juliette Irons always brings her own signature emboldening flavour to the mix.

“Skydive was inspired by the confusion that comes from whirlwind heartbreak. I had just come out of a brief rollercoaster situation-ship that ended abruptly without much explanation. I felt like I had been thrown from a moving plane, woke up on the ground, and I was the only one who jumped.

I had given everything to this person, only to end up a shell of myself as I picked up the pieces during a realisation that everything was over. I hope this song can help other people going through a similar ungrounding shock to the system, and we can be empowered through it together.”

The official music video for Skydive will officially premiere on November 18th. Catch it on YouTube, and stay tuned on Facebook & Instagram, as Skydive is only the first part of the story. The concluding chapter will be told through her follow-up single, The Fear of Flying.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Even in Dust, It’s Still Diamonds

Looking at the striking song artwork on Spotify, I became intrigued. A crouched figure amidst green; it looks like modern photography – the kind you’d see in a New York gallery, all this from a song titled “Liar.”

The track begins with heavily effected guitar, a smooth and simple drumbeat allows the melancholy chord progression to shine. Juan F. Martinez who goes by the moniker “Diamond Dust” has a fantastic sense of melody. The range of emotion shown in his songwriting goes from heartbreaking to romantic elation. The drums continue to evolve into a triplet-driven beat carrying the tension and arc of the song towards a very satisfying climax.

I do feel (and this might very well be my age talking) as though auto-tune has outlived its artistic novelty. I don’t know, maybe it’s become so standardized that the effect is just part of the popular music landscape. But the sense that got from listening, is that Diamond Dust sings from the soul.

Readers should definitely check out Martinez’s Facebook page and see what he’s all about. A compositionally gifted young man with more than a few great songs to offer the world.

Listen To The Track on Spotify

MEVS sent a surge of funk-riding euphoria through the airwaves with his feel-good disco-pop anthem, Groovin’

Carving his own untrodden path back to the 70s, the Puerto Rican trailblazer, MEVS, unleashed the soul-stirring slice of euphoric funk-riding disco-pop, Groovin’.

While artists will tune in with envy of his capacity to release such a blazing debut, fans of funk, alt-RnB and authentic old-school soul will surrender to the danceable electricity in the progressively dynamic release, which paints across the brighter corners of the tonal spectrum.

Starting with the sultry rolling basslines in the smoky prelude before exploding into a riot of flavour with Nile Rodgers guitar chops and a strong brass section, immersing yourself in this intrinsically rhythmic earworm which uses ‘never give up, never give in’ as an enlivening reprise will always send a flood of dopamine through your synapses.

Groovin’ is the first single from MEVS’ debut album, Sentient Beings in the Streets, which is set to release in 2023. Even if you don’t stay tuned, something tells me his enlivening soul will be coming to a dance floor near you anyway.

Groovin’ is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

I’ll Never Leave: Glasgow-based alt-pop band Spiral Cities is bound to the world on Forgotten

Feeling so dazed and confused while not finding the victory line, Spiral Cities passes by into our ears and shows us what true love sounds like on the passionate new release Forgotten.

Spiral Cities is a Glasgow, Scotland-based indie 5-piece alternative pop band who makes those melodic soundtracks which are impossible to ignore.

The band possesses a commercial, melodic sound inspired by everything from rock to EDM, which has earned them their following so far and, of course, their huge support slot for The Native in June 2022.” ~ Spiral Cities

Showing us deep inside the smokes and the drinks, Spiral Cities take our emotions for a spin via their transcendently impressive sound and self-aware lyrics. Wrapped with a world class ingenuity and a clear vision, to leave us all gasping for air inside this exceptional release.

Forgotten from Glasgow, Scotland-based indie 5-piece alternative pop band Spiral Cities is a stunning single for all the right reasons. Soaked in so much honest reflection and with dreamy vocals to hold on to tightly, this is a hugely memorable anthem when that pilled-up pain needs to be released into someone else’s world.

Hear this fine new single on Spotify and see more news on their IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen