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In Conversation with Phil Coomer: Unveiling the Healing Power of Love in Songwriting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNRKiL6PZT0

In an insightful interview with A&R Factory, Phil Coomer delved into the creative process behind his latest single, “All the Medicine I Need.” The song, born from a personal moment of realisation, transcends into a universal anthem about love’s healing power. Coomer shares how an injury and his girlfriend’s return sparked the song’s conception, highlighting love as the ultimate panacea. The interview also touches on influences like John Prine, the joy of songwriting, and themes in his upcoming album, offering a glimpse into Coomer’s artistic journey and the profound impact of relationships in his music.

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Can you tell us a little bit about your latest single, All the Medicine I Need?

“I tend to write about how I feel or how others feel and All The Medicine I Need does not vary from that methodology.  Because I had done a good job of injuring my left arm in the fall of 2023, I was looking for some kind of medicine that would help relieve the pain I was having in my arm.  I wasn’t having much luck but about that time my girlfriend came home from an extended trip abroad.  Her attention and caring made me forget all about the pain I was having.  I realized that she was all the medicine I needed.  When I was working on songs again, I thought that because I felt that way maybe others did too.  So, I started working on the song and it turned into being about the normal day in a regular person’s life and the restoration that tends to come when we are with our person our significant other.”

It’s such a great extension of the ‘love is a drug’ adage; was it difficult to transform the lyrics from a personal feeling to a universal sentiment? 

“Very quickly I realized that I could easily change the song from being about her and me to being for everyone.  The song is about any healing or restorative relationship.  He-her, her-her, him-him, parent-child, child-parent it always works no matter who sings to who.  It was as simple as changing “the girl” to “the one.”   I did talk to her about the change, and she said I should definitely change the lyrics so the song could speak to everyone’s feelings.  But she knows it’s her song.”

We love that the song started from a soulful epiphany and built from there; is that usually how your music comes to fruition?

“Yes, and I wish I could have epiphanies more often. I said earlier that I usually write about my feelings or the feelings of others. I don’t know why I’m wired that way.  Maybe others are too.  I was working on a song from a recent trip to NYC to the World Trade Center Memorial and to Strawberry Fields in Central Park the John Lennon Memorial and was just getting nowhere I was writing junk.  Finally, I decided to write from the perspective of a woman who had lost someone and to let her tell the story and It just flew out my mouth and onto the paper. It became, easy and natural yet different, wicked and soulful.  That song is called “Still Lives.”

Were there any particular artists who inspired the sound and style of the single?

“Yes, I think so. Musically to me it is very akin to a John Prine song in simplicity and matter of fact-ness.  There’s even a little Prine humor in the 1st verse line “and I guess elevators too”

What is the most rewarding aspect of the songwriting process for you?

“There is always some euphoria when you’ve framed in a new song and think it’s complete enough to play for someone else.  But I think a few months out when you’ve played the song in front of hundreds of people and it’s actually now part of you and there some sustained affection for the song that’s pretty nice too.”

How has your approach to songwriting evolved over the years, leading up to this release?

“I’d say that I moved more from writing the ballad or story of what occurred to the feeling or the impact the notion had on who is there or who found out and what it did to them.  It seems more endearing to me to show the effect of impact to us.”

You mentioned All the Medicine I Need will feature on your upcoming album; what other themes does the album explore?

“All The Medicine I Need is the first recording of the next project and a couple of the other songs are “Kissing Lessons” – written after seeing a bulletin board ad I came across at college.  Another song is called “Different Ride” which is what occurred to me when I’ve come across people who are still alive yet their fate is already written.”

Watch the official music video for Phil Coomer’s latest single, All the Medicine I Need, on YouTube.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

We Were Blank – Blame: The Emo Antidote to the Influx of Valentine’s Day Sonic Banality

Every Valentine’s Day sees a flood of trite sentiments cloyingly affix themselves to the airwaves; if you’re looking for a scathingly antithetical antidote, look no further than We Were Blank’s latest installation of pop-punk rancour, Blame.

With hints of Tom DeLonge in the vox before they burst into Rise Against-reminiscent outpours of visceralism, Blame ticks all the right vocal emo boxes as We Were Blank throws a barrage of aggravated instrumental curveballs to keep you on the edge of your proverbial seat (or in the middle of the pit if you’re catching them live). And what emo hit would be complete without a slam poetry elucidation that captures the essence of the single towards the outro to make you want to relive the experience and make your heart rise to your throat again?

The Craigslist-born, basement in Buffalo-raised fourpiece banded together with the ethos of writing with their heartstrings and letting their bodies visualise the torment; Blame is the ultimate testament to their vulnerable expressionism. They’ve got the precision, the volition, and the unflinching dedication to raw lyrical candour to hold dominion over the emo domain in 2024.

Blame will be available to stream on all major streaming platforms from February 14th; check it out on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Brian Berggoetz pulled the strings of the soul with his amorous Americana serenade, I Know I Love You

Brian Berggoetz

The Tuscan-hailing poet of the heartstrings, Brian Berggoetz, prepared his most affectingly tender love song to date for his Valentine’s Day release, I Know I Love You.

With hints of Springsteen within the cultivated charm of the folk-infused Americana release, I Know I Love You, which sees the serenader’s vocals coalescing with the duality conjured through female harmonies, is a timelessly captivating love song, which alludes to how Cupid’s arrows cut deep, especially when they bring insecurities and a sense of imperfection to the surface.

The musical arrangement is a masterclass in subtlety and crescendo. The folky strings rise and fall like the tides of emotion, each note becomes a heartbeat in the song’s narrative. The guitar strings ring with an assurance that draws listeners into the very core of this country folk serenade. It’s as if each strum is a call to explore the depths of our own hearts.

Berggoetz’s voice is the guiding light in this exploration of fallible, beautiful romanticism. His vocal delivery, imbued with a sense of both wisdom and wonder, captures the essence of a soul laid bare. I Know I Love You is a musical journey that promises to leave listeners both moved and inspired, eagerly anticipating the future chapters in Berggoetz’s evolving musical saga.

I Know I Love You will debut on Valentine’s Day; stream the single on Spotify.

Get better acquainted with Brian Berggoetz via his official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Buddy John synthesised retro pop aesthetics with contemporary EDM magnetism in his debut release, Don’t You Give Up on Me

Buddy John’s debut single, ‘Don’t You Give Up on Me’, is a vibrant testament to the enduring spirit of retro pop, infused with the pulsating energy of Euro dance beats, and wrapped in the luxurious fabric of contemporary pop production.

Hailing from Nampa, Idaho, Buddy John has crafted a sound that revives the nostalgic pulse of the 90s and 2000s dance clubs, while injecting the bold energy of 80s synth and rock/electronic rhythms. His declaration of romantic resilience bridges the gap between eras, appealing to both devotees of classic pop and the new generation of EDM pop fans.

The track’s snappy grooves and luxe production are a nod to the likes of RuPaul, yet Buddy John carves out his own niche in the pop landscape. His strident vocal lines don’t just complement the instrumentals; they command attention, oozing fervour and proving that passion is the driving force behind his artistry and everything he does.

‘Don’t You Give Up on Me’ is more than a mere homage to the past; it’s a synthesis of retro aesthetics and contemporary commercial appeal. Buddy John understands the power of nostalgia, yet he doesn’t rely on it. Instead, he uses it as a springboard to launch into a soundscape that will speak to your soul as much as much as your rhythmic pulses. We can’t wait for the sophomore release.

Don’t You Give Up on Me is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ana & Gene scribed a modern love story with retro tones in their power-pop hit, Narcissistic You

Ana & Gene, the dynamic duo behind the fresh and invigorating EP, Uh-Oh Who Do You Love, have struck gold with their single Narcissistic You. The earworm is an infectious paradox through its synthesis of sticky-sweet retro power-pop and modern fusionist and lyrical touches.

The song is a masterclass in blending genres, contorting classic rock riffs into pop hooks without losing an ounce of their retro charm. Ana & Gene’s commitment to live elements in their recording process shines through, promising an electric replication of this energy in their live performances.

What sets ‘Narcissistic You’ apart is its playful yet piercing commentary on the modern lexicon and societal shifts. The lyrics cleverly weave in the increasing awareness of narcissism, striking a chord with contemporary listeners. The dual harmonies between Anastacia Bella and Gene Roberts are nothing short of magnetic. Their voices intertwine with a natural chemistry, elevating the song’s playful, tongue-in-cheek nature.

The track is a testament to Ana & Gene’s ability to craft music that appeals across generations. Their aim to reach audiences through radio, TV, commercials, film, and social media is not just ambitious but achievable with such a universally appealing sound.

Stream Narcissistic You with the rest of Ana & Gene’s 4-track EP, Uh-Oh Who Do You Love on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Indie RnB Meets Jazzy Neo-Pop in JOSÉ’s debut single, In Love With You

JOSÉ wore his diehard romantic heart on his indie RnB meets jazzy neo-pop melodies in his debut release, In Love With You, which makes no bones about flooding the melodiously succinct score with the hazy hues of affection and proclamations of unbridled passion.

The hit that boasts swathes of cross-over appeal wouldn’t be out of place on a prom dancefloor, a Hollywood OST score, or your easy-listening playlists. As soon as you hit play, the lush layers of reverb which swell around the seductive instrumentals and hushed-with-luxe-style harmonies envelop you in a dream-like atmosphere, which you’ll want to revisit time after time for the way the head-over-heels aesthetics remind you that there’s no other drug like love.

It’s an incredibly strong debut for the Chicago-born and raised singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. With the promise of more releases in the pipeline, we can’t wait to hear the next installation of soulful candour from JOSÉ.

In Love With You was officially released on February 2nd; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ride the waves in Caleb X’s latest flood of experimentalism, Kick Start ft Zay-OH

Since blasting off his career with his 2019 debut single, Space, the Atlanta-born, Virginia-based rapper Caleb X has honed his sonic signature to become one of the most authentic names in the hip-hop domain. His latest single, Kick Start, featuring Zay-OH takes motivational hip-hop to the next inspirational level while epitomising his ethos to ensure his music is as versatile as his own identity. Sonically spitting in the face of conventional constraints, Kick Start is a declaration of his ability to transplant humanism within catchy distinction.

By grounding the lyrics and bars in realism and the relatability of ennui with the era we’re all enduring and allowing the kaleidoscopically spacy instrumentals to ebb and flow in trippy trap-esque waves, Kick Start is a cohesively convictive juxtaposition that exhibits Caleb X as a promising luminary who has exactly what it takes to become one of the biggest new urban experimentalists.

Kick Start was officially released on January 26th; stream the single on Spotify and follow Caleb X on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sinch magnetised the melodies with soul in their RnB release, My Man

Sinch

This week, we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the forthcoming single, My Man, by the RnB luminary, Sinch, who knows just how to magnetise melodies, heal with harmonies, and paint panoramic vignettes with lyricism.

The track will take you right back to the 00s era of RnB, when Alicia Keys, Blu Cantrell, Black Eyed Peas, and Ashanti dominated the airwaves as Sinch pays an ode to the anticipation of hearing a key fumbling in the lock and welcoming your partner home.

To amplify the emotion in the single, the superlative songwriter and chanteuse singer juxtaposed the cosy and affectionate feelings with a sense of gratitude for sanctity within a soul and the truest definition of the word home, given the conflict that other people endure outside the idyllic four walls. It’s food for thought, a salve for the soul, and will become your rhythmic pulses’ new favourite ignition.

My Man is currently awaiting a release date; to be the first to know when it drops, follow Sinch on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NY’s Cindy Rees turned on the ‘Effervescent Light’ in her latest EDM pop release

Cindy Rees’ standout single, ‘Effervescent Light’, is a vibrant testament to the power of healing in music. Clocking in at just under two minutes, this New York-based singer and dancer turns every second into a pulsating celebration of sound and spirit. Rees, who found her voice in the bustling cityscape of NYC, channelled her passion for dance and songwriting into a track that radiates positivity and energy.

The song is a kaleidoscope of genres, seamlessly blending elements of trance and house with pop sensibilities. It’s a bold move, but Rees navigates this eclectic mix with the ease of a seasoned artist. The beats are snappy, creating a rhythmic pulse that forms the backbone of the track. It’s this foundation that allows the rest of the musical elements to shine.

Rees’ Bollywood-esque vocal range is nothing short of phenomenal as she harmonises over the commanding bass-swathed beats. Her voice doesn’t just traverse different pitches; it explores a spectrum of emotions.

With some honing to her production style, she has some serious promise in the music industry.

Effervescent Light was officially released on January 5th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

I AM Cricchi shared how he became a conduit of hope through his eclectically authentic discography in an exclusive interview with A&R Factory

Born in southern Maryland and now based in Texas, Tyler Cricchi, known as I AM Cricchi, presents a compelling narrative in the music world. His journey, transitioning from a typical suburban childhood to grappling with substance abuse in his teenage years, underscores the stark realities that shape his music.

With his vast, eclectic and always raw discography, Cricchi has independently charted multiple times, showcasing his ability to blend genres from hip-hop to country. His music is characterised by its authentic lyrics and versatile delivery, resonating with a wide audience.  In this interview with A&R Factory, we delve into the world of I AM Cricchi, exploring his journey from personal struggles to musical achievements.

I AM Cricchi, welcome to A&R Factory! We’d love to know a little more about your most recent release, Weighted To Breathe featuring Caskey. What’s the story behind the single?

“Weighted To Breathe was written at a time when I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing chasing my dream in music, most regular people usually call it or consider a dream as such, ‘crazy’. The purpose behind this record was to remind myself and anyone else in a similar spot that if we waited or chose to give up, we’d be right back where we were, at a place where most wouldn’t want to be. Some might say at rock bottom. It quickly became one of the biggest solo songs of my career and shortly after I was blessed with the opportunity of having Caskey feature on it. That really proved my point and made everything come full circle because an artist with a much bigger influence and resume thought it was as dope as I did! NEVER GIVE UP!!”

Your upcoming project, The Road Back, talks about overcoming addiction; can you tell us more about the project and the inspiration behind the release?

“Addiction is a topic I hold close to my heart. I personally have been through the depths of hell while abusing drugs and running through the streets. This was my first project with The Lotto Tribe, and I wanted to make sure it was very special because I recognized that they believed in me, similar to the way I believe in myself. I reached out to a hometown producer Tilli Mack and told him I needed something to spill my pain on and thus this record was birthed. The writing aspect of it for me was just a matter of putting myself in the mindset of not ever wanting to go back to my old life. That’s why I’m so inspired after breaking away from it because I never want to go back to that life I used to be, stuck, in. In other words, I wanted it to be the music I wished I had when I was broken and hopeless

More than anything I wanted to create something that could save someone’s life or make a change for someone in a dark time and for me that’s what all this is about. The road back is never easy, but I hope this record gives someone, anyone, hope. It releases on May 3rd, 2024, worldwide, on the first Friday of National Mental Health Awareness month and is supported by the organization, To Write Love On Her Arms which supports mental health.”

How do your most recent releases compare to your past projects like; No Time, Runnin A Lot, I Gotta Grow, and Say Less Do More?

“I definitely don’t fit in any box. I make a variety of genres and I’m always exploring new sounds. The music I write is always dependent on the moment I’m in. Sometimes I’m happy and sometimes I’m not but that’s life and that’s what I put in my music. I don’t over-exaggerate or attempt to portray anything, I’m just me. If there is one thing that ties every song to the next it’s the authenticity of my story. Every song and every word was lived, meant and felt by me. In the end though, all my music is for everyone and anyone. I just want to bring awareness to my story, and my life and give others hope.”

How did you get into music, and where has your creative journey taken you?

“I got into music before I can even remember. My father is what I would call a “beast” on the guitar and loves to play. My dad worked a 9 to 5 for more years than I had been alive, and I never saw the same happiness he had when he was holding that guitar. That put a spark in me. It made me feel that maybe music was where he belonged, but he never tried or never could take the chance to be truly one with.

The ability to write started with my love for poetry in 2nd grade and continued through middle school. It wasn’t until I was in a juvenile youth center that I started to experiment with trying to rap on beats or write with a specific sound in mind. After that, writing music kept me alive through years and years of addiction and depression, almost daily wondering if I should live. It wasn’t until 5 years ago when I got sober that I started to clearly see the vision. Since then, I have hit the iTunes Charts twice independently. I’ve accumulated over a quarter million streams in 2023. I’ve done songs with legends such as Blind Fury, Caskey, Merkules, and many other amazing artists. Most of all I’ve been finding myself along the way and that’s something special to my heart.”

What role has the indie label The Lotto Tribe played in your career?

“That’s a chapter of my life that is just getting started, but something I’m really looking forward to. So far, it’s been nothing but love and solid continuous guidance from them. They continue to bring me confidence and opportunity. They have helped me align contracts with many industry partners and continue to put my name in the right places for growth. I genuinely appreciate them for their work so far and again, I’m very excited to see what the future holds with The Lotto Tribe!”

Which artists inspire you the most, and is there anything else that inspires you to create?

“Artist-wise, I’d say Caskey, Jelly Roll and LaRussell give me the most inspiration currently. The hustle and the constant innovation are something I respect and appreciate from all of them.

I’m inspired by different people at different times, but I often pull my inspiration from my own life. Whatever I’m feeling or whatever I’m dealing with at that moment is what I write about. Music is a way to cope and a safe space for me, so emotions often drive it. I’ll often base the lyrics, beat cadence and melodies off of just how I feel in the moment. Music is something that makes me feel alive and through it, I’ll continue to try my best to be my best.”

Can you tell us a little about your global distribution deal with Memphis’ Select-O-Hits? and being attached to The Orchard?

“This is another chapter of my journey that’s just getting started! Johnny Phillips has been extremely helpful in getting me set up over there at Select-O-Hits and I genuinely look forward to our future years together. They’re very well known from the days of his father Tom and uncle, Sam who founded Sun Records. They’ve also been influential in distributing Memphis hip-hop legends Three 6 Mafia and Lil Wyte. Even Jellyroll had projects through them in his early career. I’m just happy to be here in the now and be a part of something with such a history!”

What else is in the pipeline for you?

“This year will be my greatest yet. My biggest news so far this year will be the full rollout release for the single project with The Lotto Tribe, “The Road Back”. It’s one of my most meaningful pieces to date and I can’t wait to share it with the world. We also have shows lined up across the country including a SXSW visit here in Austin, Texas. I plan on dropping multiple singles and a possible full album once the vibe and timing feels right! There will also be more collaborations, big features and visuals but you’ll just have to follow me and wait to see what things I have in store! This is just the start for me.”

Stream I AM Cricchi on Spotify and discover more about the artist here.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast