Browsing Category

New RnB Music Blog

Interview with ARCTISKY: Exploring Love, Sound Evolution, and Musical Heritage

This week, ARCTISKY sat down with A&R Factory to discuss his latest single, “Unreal Love,” a narrative about the complexity of chemical romance and the importance of self-awareness in relationships. In this interview, ARCTISKY delves into his creative process, the instrumental choices that evoke euphoria, and the evolution of his music since his debut. He also shares insights into his journey from the Maldives to Melbourne, the influences behind his genre-fluid sound, and his ultimate artistic goals.

ARCTISKY, welcome to A&R Factory! Thanks for sitting down with us to discuss your latest single, Unreal Love. What does the single, which narrates a tale of chemical romance, mean to you personally?

Thank you for having me! ‘Unreal Love’ happens to be a confusing tale about an intense romance being ignited while two people find love in a super-charged ‘situationship’. The message is like, “Make sure you both know there could be other factors driving the whole interaction.” It’s about being aware of yourself and taking time away from other influences before wasting anyone’s time.

How did you manage to capture the euphoria of love in the instrumentals and production? 

This track is one of those tracks that stayed in the cocoon stage until I was ready skill-wise to bring it up to speed. Ever since my last release, I really took the time to come up with a sound that truly captures all of my core musical influences. With this one, I believe the live upright piano sounds did the final bit of work in bringing this song to the finish line. Initially, I had a very thin-sounding piano sound, which was fine when I was just writing other instrumentation around it, but it still didn’t give that fuller feel I was looking for. So, later on, I decided to record an upright piano with a pair of AKG c414s, with the help of a couple of my peers. That was the final ingredient to this sound I’d say.

I had written the synth parts years ago, in the early stages of the song, so those spacey-arpeggiator sounds at the back were another factor in capturing that euphoric feeling. I tried to stay true to the sounds that evoked euphoria in me as well. It’s still got that core element of rock & roll, but then those influences from other areas weave through. So this song evolved through quite a few stages to achieve the sounds I was after. I’d say it also had a lot to do with being surrounded by the right people who helped nurture my craft.

How do you want your fans to feel when they hear the single and what do you want them to take away from the lyrics? 

Well, the song is kind of like an unspoken conversation between you and that person you found some sort of crazy love with in the heat of a moment. It doesn’t have to be anyone specific either. It’s just one of those tracks that will help people come to terms with the fact that it’s better to let go by connecting to a song, rather than trying to reach out to an old flame. Never a good idea!

It’s been a while since you made your debut with Losing My Control in 2022; how has the break influenced your music? 

I think I realised I had a bit of work to do to bring my writing to something I was happy with. So, for me, it was more about going back to the sounds that felt most natural to me. That’s actually the main reason why I named this album ‘Roots Vol. 1’ – due to it paying homage to my musical heritage, being the classic rock & roll I grew up with. Unreal Love is the first track from this album and showcases this new sound I’ve been working with the best.

All the songs that will be on this album are what I call “journal songs” – they’re songs that hold more to the lyrical content, and have something listeners can take away and project onto their own experiences. It’s nothing more than a bit of art you may or may not be able to relate to. This stuff is written for the introverted side of people. I know I’ve heard those songs, where I listened to it and the music just helped me come to terms with things I had no idea was bugging me in the first place. Music does such a good job of healing people. I wanted to write some music that could help my audience shed light on some of the things they may be dealing with.

This new sound, with the foundation of rock & roll and the blend of fresh sub-genres, is what I got out of my creative break. This project just feels very fun for me! I’m not taking myself too seriously I’d say. I put a lot of trust into giving this another go, knowing I’m writing and releasing music that I loved writing and enjoy listening to.

You gained a fair amount of notoriety in the Maldives, has establishing yourself in Melbourne been a daunting experience?

I’ve been very lucky to learn and work with some extremely cool people since moving to Melbourne in 2019. I got here and realised I had neglected a lot of important theory, growing up as a drummer, so I had a lot to catch up on. I wanted to make sure I understood music to a certain level before trying to enter the live scene here. I’ve certainly had a bit of work to do to polish my craft before starting live gigs. Melbourne’s already got such a vibrant live music scene, so I want to make sure that what I’m bringing to the table here is going to be something a bit different and adds value. I needed to know that if I were to do live gigs, there were no loose ends in the songs. I want my live performances to bring a high level of energy to the venues here, and I needed time to develop my live-act. Live gigs are something I’ve really had to physically and mentally prepare myself for.

How did your genre-fluid sonic signature come about? 

I grew up with brothers who loved rock music, so it was playing around the house most of the time as a kid. I always heard a lot of Bob Dylan, Santana, Bon Jovi, Bob Marley and all that. Then I discovered Pink Floyd around the age of 18. They have the kind of music that helps you open doors in the back of your mind. Around the time I started this project, I was listening to a lot of Bob Dylan and the ‘Exodus’ record by Bob Marley & the Wailers. They inspired me to get my own messages of love, peace and freedom out with my music – to the individual and to societies. Especially ever since the wars have become a lot more frequent on the news, I wanted to get my message out with these songs. It turned out that when I was writing these “journal songs”, I always wrote music that I felt reflected love, peace and togetherness – “Lead with love and respect,” being the core message. It’s come with trying to strike that chord which resonates with our innate instinct to come together, and to work together and learn from each other.

What is your ultimate goal as an artist? 

My ultimate goal as an artist is to bring my work and artistry to a stage where I can start collaborating with more artists, and to just keep writing and recording music I’m proud of. I want to have songs that my audience can listen to and connect deeply to. I feel like a lot of what I’m hoping to get out of this ‘Roots Vol. 1’ record is to find a true audience that I can take on a new musical journey away from my current sonic blend. Music is such a subjective experience just like any art form. I feel like creating the best art you can do with your abilities and putting it out there is necessary if you have a message that’s greater than what you want to achieve sound-wise. I feel like I’ve been fiddling around with this sound for a while now, but I’m happy knowing this blend was authentic to who I was throughout the writing and recording process. My goal is to story-tell and share some of my crazy experiences with my listeners so that they too can feel and experience those moments. I feel like all my music will have that unique element of ‘me’ in it.

My message is to stay true to yourself no matter what kind of inner demons you may be battling. If you’re still in the thick of that period of your life, I hope some of these tracks I’m putting out can lend a hand.

Listen to Unreal Love now on SoundCloud; find more ways to connect with ARCTISKY via his official website.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

December Fades reached the pinnacle of synthwave seduction in his latest single, With You

December Fades

LA singer-songwriter & multi-instrumentalist, December Fades, has delivered what will undoubtedly be revered as the most seductive synthwave sound of the summer with his latest single, With You.

The moody reverberations beneath the transcendent tones emulating from the glassy synths which echo the neon-lit euphoria of the Weeknd create a scintillating contrast while simultaneously injecting profound depth into the unfiltered passion in the love song that invites you to witness the darkness beyond the light of connection.

With all the makings of a radio-ready perennial pop earworm and the sincerity of a soul-bleeding candour in its rawest form, With You broke the summer pop mould. The single stands as a testament to December Fades’ affecting approach to rendering romanticism into his productions which may drift between styles but they always arrive on the airwaves with cinematic flair, infectious melodies, and lyrics sharp enough to tear their way through the coldest of souls.

Stream With You on all major platforms, including Spotify, from June 14.

For more ways to listen and connect with the artist, check out December Fades’ official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Nicole Leaskk unveiled RnB’s most authenticated modern love story with ‘Want You’ ft Strizzy Strauss

Nicole Leaskk’s latest Afrobeat-heated single, Want You, is a subversive symbol of defiance in the face of RnB tropes. If you’re tired of the lyrical fawning and mourning old flames as their light dims, tune into the 90s RnB-inspired summer pop anthem that captures the passion of tragically relatable conflict. Tempers run as hot as the tones in RnB’s most authenticated modern love story.

The reprising lyric “I don’t even want you, I just want to prove you’re mine” testifies to the inevitability of becoming an unwilling pawn in mind games if you dare to delve into the dating pool as Latin flavours ooze through the guitars and percussion and bring the rhythmically kinetic groove in the Afrobeat-tinted production.

Strizzy Strauss’ grime-y rap bars work in dynamic contrast to Nicole Leaskk’s firebranded vocals as he delivers the other side of a cat-and-mouse vignette of tormenting prey before casting aside and moving onto the next chase.

The flawless execution of Want You will undoubtedly leave the UK singer-songwriter open to more critical acclaim. If you’re still sleeping on her, you may as well be in a coma.

Want You was officially released on May 31; stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: ELZON broadened the alt-RnB hip-hop horizon with his psychedelic trip of a hit, ‘expensive dreams’

ELZON redefined the boundaries of alt-RnB and hip-hop with his latest single, expensive dreams. The London-based artist, known for his rich cultural background and boundary-pushing music, delivered a scintillatingly serene installation of hypnotic innovation which begins with a visionary overture that lures listeners into transcendence, where dreamy 8-bit tones meld seamlessly with cloud rap influences.

The track is a kaleidoscope of cultivation, opening a portal to unrestrained artistic expression. As the song progresses, it builds towards a mesmerising mid-section, characterised by ethereal falsettos reminiscent of The Weeknd’s early work. This shift in tone, akin to a record player hitting play on a fresh LP, elevates the track into a crescendo that injects subtle intensity and speaks of ELZON’s status as a revered pioneer who is well on his way to becoming a viral sensation.

Produced between London and Manchester, with the signature touches of Elliot Taylor and Blamebrazy, expensive dreams is a testament to ELZON’s relentless pursuit of pushing leftfield sounds into the mainstream.

ELZON describes the track as a “psychedelically experimental rap/RnB track inspired by Frank Ocean and Lucki, featuring cloud rap-influenced instrumentals and Blond-esque pitched vocals”. This fusion creates a lush soundscape of surreal serenity that speaks to the senses louder with every listen.

ELZON’s journey from his early days making music in his bedroom to collaborating with Grammy-nominated producers attests to his talent and dedication, which the airwaves will see more of later this year when he unleashes his art PUNK mixtape.

Stream expensive dreams on Spotify, and follow ELZON on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NYC’s MG & the Orbs delivered a remedy for self-pity with their timelessly swanky jazz blues alchemy in HELP is What You’re Needin’

With Maria Giorgio at the helm, MG & the Orbs is a peerless ensemble, revered throughout the Big Apple and beyond for their soul-imbued brand of jazz blues. Their latest single, HELP is What You’re Needin’ is enough to make you want to turn back time to add them to your radar earlier.

The resolute rejection of an invitation to a pity party is the ultimate remedy for anyone who finds themselves perpetually employed to do other people’s emotional labour. The soulful defiance in the blues shuffle which Giorgio penned after a writer on a movie set she was working on started to sing his own relationship blues. After instantly finding the inspiration in the exchange, Giorgio enlisted her cultivated collective to breathe life into the upliftingly unreckonable single that proves just how dangerous it can be to bring out the hellcat in a conduit of soul.

MG & the Orbs don’t just believe in music as a healing force, they deliver the cure in their timelessly swanky jazz blues alchemy.

HELP is What You’re Needin’ was officially released on May 24; stream the single on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Remmorii became the king of cross-over appeal in ‘Radio Silence’

Radio Silence by Remmorii epitomises genre fluidity, offering a flood of slick and smooth grooves that easily do the lyrical gravity justice. The melody master’s focus on flow over genre fit is enriched with tinges of Afrobeat flavours within a pop framework. This, combined with RnB hip-hop vocals that spill soul, grants the track substantial commercial crossover appeal.

Raised in Brampton and influenced by Hamilton, Remmorii, a Canadian alternative hip-hop artist, emphasises authenticity and melody in his music. With a name derived from the Latin “Memento Mori,” he reminds listeners of life’s fleeting nature, encouraging them to embrace every moment. His music, characterised by organic sounds, skilfully blends rich basses, crisp mid-tones, and smooth trebles, creating a polished edge that is distinctly his own.

In Radio Silence, Remmorii’s lyrics resonate with a soul ready to scream about an era plagued with alienating confusion. The track’s rhythmic intricacies and emotive delivery reflect his commitment to merging substance with irresistible appeal. If this single is any indication of what’s to come, Remmorii is poised to lead the future of the music industry with his unique voice and poetic lyricism.

For fans of pop and beyond, Radio Silence is a must-listen. Keep Remmorii’s name on your radar; his ability to inspire and uplift through artistic expression is as rare as it is remarkable.

Radio Silence is now available to stream on all major platforms, including Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NYC’s Summer Fling put the soul in funk-rock with ‘Blissful Haze’

NYC’s Summer Fling broke their two-year spell of silence by conjuring an elemental force of feel-good furore in their single, Blissful Haze, which delivers exactly what it says on the titular tin.

Using high-energy funk-rock as the stylistic bedrock of the release and finding room to inject soul, blues, pop, and jazz, the seven-piece powerhouse ensured Blissful Haze transcends sound to visualise a state of mind you can enter simply by hitting play on the single which filters nostalgia through a modern indie pop lens.

Few vocalists could match the electrifying energy of the dynamic instrumental arrangement that layers shimmering organs over funk rhythms and hard-hitting horns, but Eddie Kam, an indomitable emissary of charisma, went supernova on the infectiously zealous soul.

With each member of Summer Fling a recently graduated jazz musician, you can rest assured that you’re in rhythmically safe hands as you get taken through the helter-skelter ride of rapture.

Blissful Haze was officially released on May 10th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The UK’s hottest RnB trio, Y.Q.S, Harmonised Through An Interplay of Light and Dark Duality in Their Latest Single, No Angel

Y.Q.S’s latest harmonised-to-the-nines contemporary RnB single, No Angel, is a sublime equilibrium that delicately balances shadow and light, embodying the complexity of feminine energy and autonomy. This track emerges from the depths of personal scars and speaks volumes of universal archetypes, presenting itself as a bold declaration of independence against the backdrop of love’s darker, often unexplored side.

Y.Q.S, a supergroup hailing from the urban melting pots of London and Manchester, channels their rich RnB heritage into a modern narrative that will ensnare fans of iconic ensembles like 3LW and Destiny’s Child. No Angel is steeped in the trio’s signature style of lush, interwoven harmonies, elegantly layered over a trappy, contemporary beat that amplifies the track’s luxe feel.

The production, handled by Klaudia Keziah and Jojo Farinella at Southampton’s Red Room Studios, further refines the single’s polished fiery signature that carries the potent with empowerment lyrics, which create a resonant anthem for those who navigate the tightrope walk of self-sacrifice in relationships.

As Y.Q.S stands poised on the brink of further acclaim, having already graced platforms at London Fashion Week and received nods from BBC Introducing, No Angel promises to elevate their artistic trajectory even higher.

The release, scheduled for streaming on all major platforms, including Spotify, from May 24th, will coincide with the release of the official music video for No Angel.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

New Jersey Heavyweight SirC.A.P delivered raw RnB emotion with his standout single, Toxic Love

SirC.A.P served an authentically fresh RnB flavour in his standout single, Toxic Love, from his stylistically dynamic sophomore LP, What We Became.

The New Jersey-hailing 18-year-old independent artist’s dreamy, cinematically luxe iteration of Afrobeat RnB is definitive proof of how deep trauma bonds dig into the soul. His vocal lines wrap around the wounds inflicted by a relationship which veered from adoration into masochism as the wavy instrumentals depict a mind out of sync with sensibility. Everything about the soul-piercing production signifies a flawless execution; SirC.A.P’s vision came to life and pulsates with its own heartbeat of confessional visceral pain.

The artist formerly known as C.A.P The Rapper adopted his new moniker after sensing a shift in the tides of his creativity and no longer wanting to be confined by the expectations his former creative alias imposed. Together with his producer and co-CEO of 5 Star Records, 22cali, SirC.A.P dawned a new era of expressionism with his hotly anticipated LP, What We Became, which went live on the airwaves on May 10th.

Toxic Love is now available to stream with SirC.A.P’s second album, What We Became, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ride the waves of neo-soul transcendence in Livvy Clarke’s artfully arcane release, Love Letter

Livvy Clarke

What Radiohead is to art rock, Livvy Clarke is to neo-soul; the dreamy zeal within the artfully composed complex time signatures in her latest single, Love Letter, allows the release to defy gravity as it transcends through installations of endlessly ascending cultivation, guided by her arcane vocal range.

With this single, the singer-songwriter who has been likened to her heroines, Angie Stone, India Arie and Tracy Chapman, proved that the most powerful love letter you can ever write is a love letter to yourself after overcoming adversity with enough gratitude and tenacity that you can celebrate still being here.

Love Letter is by no means an affecting exception. Livvy Clarke’s evocative repertoire cages swathes of singles which evoke emotion and bare her soul. By always using personal events as thematic underpinnings in her releases, authenticity and sincerity are always guaranteed.

Her sophomore single, Enough, covered the tragedy of saying goodbye to her mother; watching her daughter become disabled to the point of nearly saying another heart-wrenching goodbye convinced Livvy Clarke of the necessity of writing for catharsis.

Her latest single, co-written with renowned songwriter, arranger and producer, Julian Hinton, (Stormzy, Seal, Rod Stewart) captures Clarke in her free spirit era, unshackled by the weight of monumental grief and strife; it is a testament to the fortitude of the human spirit which lies within us all.

Love Letter will be available to stream on all major platforms from May 16th.

Find your preferred way to listen on Livvy Clarke’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast