Browsing Tag


Interview: The hugely likeable Lucy Chan drops her much-awaited debut album Music

Telling us all about her debut album Music and so much more, the elegant creative Lucy Chan returns to A&R Factory and we’re so ecstatic to speak with this dynamic rising singer for a 2nd time. After previously chatting with us about Mr Apologetic in January 2023, it feels like we’re speaking to a confident but humble young woman who knows exactly where she’s headed.

Llewelyn: Thanks so much for your time, Lucy. Firstly, how are things with you and how has the reaction been since you released Music? Did you enjoy the process and would you change anything about it? What was the inspiration behind your project?

Lucy: Hey! Thanks so much for having me. I’m doing pretty good, I just finished up a week of study at the Berklee College of Music in the USA, which was truly the coolest experience ever. I got to meet and work with some incredible musicians. The reaction has been so great – I love it when people send me a message and tell me what their favourite part is!! And especially when people tell me it gives them a nostalgic kind of feeling, which is essentially one of the things I want to show through my music. As for inspiration, it’s a project that reflects all aspects of my life. The album is called ‘Music’, because it’s the one thing that can get me through anything. So, every single song I wrote on this album is really personal in that sense.

In regard to the sound, I really wanted this album to sound like the one genre that makes me feel the most excited and ‘at home’. The incredible Aubrey Johnson told me last week, that when you’re searching for your sound, you need to think about the type of music you grew up listening to, as that is what shapes you into you. For me, ever since I was a little kid, I went to rock concerts all the time. Billy Idol, Bon Jovi, Queen, Blondie, and so on; this was the sound that shaped my childhood. I think that being at a live rock concert is unlike anything else in the world – there is no better feeling. So, I hope that after my listeners hear the album, that’s what it feels like for them – that they’ve experienced that kind of Rock N Roll. I’m very grateful that I had an incredible band – Phil, Gabe and Aiden, who also happen to be people that are super close to me, bring my stories and music to life. It was the most beautiful process, and I’m super grateful for everyone that’s helped me and supported me along the way. My parents and my sister are my greatest supporters, and Gordon my mixing guy, Jack my recording guy – I’m so grateful for you all.

Llewelyn: Do you have a particular favourite single from your debut?

Lucy: Oh, that’s a good question. I think for me, the song that encapsulates the album as a whole the best, is ‘Music’, the title track. It’s the kind of sound that I’ve been searching for, for the longest time. Lyrically, it’s about having a special song with someone, and how it brings you back to exactly how you felt the first time you heard it, every time. However, other songs like ‘Over The Summer’ and ‘Compare To You’ mean a lot to me as well – especially ‘Compare To You’, it’s truly such a vulnerable moment for me on the album.

Llewelyn: Lyrically, we really like your storytelling and you really let us into your current mindset. Do you feel that writing is becoming easier for you over time?

Lucy: Thank you so much!! I think that as an artist I’m continuously trying to improve and grow, and it’s a process that comes naturally as you mature and experience new things. With this album, I was able to completely write exactly what I was feeling for each song. I do think that songwriting is something that’ll come more naturally, the more you experience. So, as you grow up, and as you meet people and experience things like heartbreak and love, the songwriting will reflect that. It’s almost impossible to write a song that doesn’t show your current state of mind, as you can’t lie to yourself in your songwriting. At least I can’t. But I’m hoping to continue to improve my storytelling, there’s definitely a lot of room for improvement!

Llewelyn: Please tell us how it’s going at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (The Con). It’s your 3rd year now…are you still relishing it and what has been the highlight so far?

Lucy: Yes!! It’s going great. Obviously, it’s always hard to balance my career with my studies, but I think I’ve kind of found a balance to it all. I only have a year and a half left, and I’ll be finishing up and graduating!! Definitely trying to take in every single moment, as I know it won’t be long until I graduate. It goes so quickly; I can still remember starting my first day here so clearly. I think the highlight of the Con so far has definitely been meeting people and being able to grow into the musician I am today. The Con definitely has a very high standard, and I think that’s a good thing – I’ve pushed myself outside my comfort zone so many times and it’s been so beneficial. The musician that I was when I first auditioned, and the musician that I am now – two entirely different people. It’s been so crazy. Hopefully I can continue to grow leading up to my graduation.

Llewelyn: What’s it like being a 20-year-old singer-songwriter and actress in this rather weird world?

Lucy: Honestly, it’s so great and so weird, as you said, at the same time. It’s great in the sense that I am able to do exactly what I’ve wanted to do my entire life, but also hard in the sense that these dreams aren’t rare, and there are so many talented people out there. I think for me, as long as I keep working towards my goals and trying to achieve these things, I’ll be content, and fingers crossed that I can get to where I want someday (if I’m lucky). I’m willing to work as hard as possible and sacrifice my free time to do these things, because I love music, and it just makes me so happy.

Llewelyn: We see that you’ve been back in Boston lately. How has the vibe been there and what have you been up to?

Lucy: Yes! I’ve just been back in Sydney for around a day. The coolest thing happened to me during my trip…Laufey was on my flight to LA!!! I got to meet her and chat at the airport as we were waiting at the gate, she’s like one of my biggest musical inspirations. She studied at Berklee, so it was like a cool thing that the universe let me experience before I hopped on a plane to go to Berklee. Boston is…the most incredible place!! I was there for around a week, just doing a summer course at the Berklee College of Music, which is insane…it’s been one of my dream colleges for the longest time. Being able to live like a student there, even if it was for a week, was just the most surreal experience ever. The people and teachers that you meet, are the most amazing. The vibe is definitely a highlight – you’re surrounded by the most ambitious, creative people and it inspires you to become a better artist. I had the opportunity to perform my originals there as well. I got to work with an incredible group of people, including a live band, vocal coaches, as well as incredible artists for masterclasses and I loved every minute of it.

Llewelyn: Lastly, what plans do you have for the rest of the summer and can our USA readers catch you live anywhere?

Lucy: Before I start the next uni semester (in August), I’m going into promo mode for my album. Also preparing for concerts and shows, I’m planning a pretty big one before the end of this year. I’m hoping to also use this time to write more, not just songs, but also the screenplay (s) I’ve been working on!! At the end of this year, I’m planning on flying back to LA, and this time I’ll get to actually visit, not just LAX hahaha. LA has always been my dream place to live, so I’ll be exploring the place and I guess preparing myself, for life after graduation (which is pretty soon). As for live shows in the USA, I’m definitely not there yet, but if I’m lucky enough, someday!!! Definitely one of my biggest dreams.

Hear this terrific album on Spotify.

See more on her IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Transcend gravity with Marcus Liuzzi’s spacey 80s synth pop serenade, No One Better Than You

There was no forgetting Marcus Liuzzi after his lasciviously hooky 2022 single, 2 Night Stand. He’s swooned in with the Chris Isaak 80s vibes once more in his proclamation of enduring passion, No One Better Than You. The synthy, spacey pop tones push the single beyond the earth’s atmosphere, transcending gravity and every pop archetype that came before it.

No feeling quite matches the sensation of earnestly upholding someone as the reflection of perfection in your eyes – especially when their own self-image is dimmed with doubt, leaving you compelled to celebrate them to put back the shine in their tear-streaked aplomb.

“you feel as though you’re broken, you’re not the only one, you put your trust in someone else, and look what they’ve done” may just be the most compassionate lyric penned in the last decade.

Listen to No One Better Than You on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Vincent Tesoro processes and accepts the traumas on Too Close For Comfort

Sounding in rejuvenated form and showing such gutsy openness throughout, the A&R Factory Team sat down with the likeable Massachusetts local Vincent Tesoro. He manages to somehow help us through the trauma, telling us where the best underground music is, while also explaining what the latest release Too Close For Comfort is all about.

Too Close For Comfort” is a follow-up EP from my last Album Shooting Stars & Broken Halos.” ~ Vincent Tesoro

Good day Vincent. We truly appreciate your time today. Please let us know which city we find you in as we speak and what is your favourite meal/recipe of all time.

Vincent: Hey, It’s a pleasure! Currently, I reside in the town of Middleboro Massachusetts. When I was a child nothing was better than a plate of my grandmother’s city and homemade meatballs but if you eat 15 plates of it a week you tend to get overweight (which I did). I try my best to take a healthier alternative and it’s a toss-up between 2 appetizer dishes: jalapeno poppers and low-carb buffalo chicken dip (extra spicy).

How is the local underground music scene in your local area doing after the horrific lockdown and which venues would you recommend we check out?

Vincent: There is a bittersweet answer to that question. I think the underground scene is thriving in some respects due to new promoters grabbing the torch for independent artists as others went into early retirement. Also, I have noticed sold-out shows on a large scale with very expensive tickets. That can be good for the venues and artist management but obviously not so much for the fans. I’ve found myself turning down events to watch because it’s difficult to justify the prices even as a serious music consumer and influencer. I try to look at the bright side but the truth is that the scene has taken a significant loss but it’s in a transition period and some of the most creative music is being made.

The middle east in Cambridge has been a staple in the Boston area but it is rumoured to be closing down unfortunately. I personally like The Paradise Rock Club and The House Of Blues in Boston. The Jungle in Somerville Ma is a cool underground spot and The Met, Fete Music Hall and The Alchemy are good choices. On a larger scale, any of the major stadiums that hold sporting events are always incredible.

You have fused many different genres in the upcoming 3-track release Too Close For Comfort. Please lead us into the vision and creative process.

Vincent: 4 Songs: the world hates me, numb, broken hearts and silent treatment. The songs were executed as a solo project except for the opener “ The World Hates Me”. The song features Dying Star, Hate Incarnate, and Natalie Abigail on backing vocals with additional production by Nick Lovn. This song stands out to me because it’s about the stigma of mental health and struggling with self-love. The word “love” is thrown around by friends and family often but without acceptance of your own self worth your only hiding in the shadows of your own ignorance. The energy on this song is thrashing and hardcore but also very nostalgic. It feels like something to play at a party in the early 2000s.

Another heartfelt single that inspired the cover art is “ Broken Hearts”. It talks about having a deep empathy for mankind, a type of love that most lack in this world. Experiencing others’ pain as if it were your own is a burden and a gift. I always feel misunderstood and it’s a terrible feeling so I would hate for others to feel the same. We never know what people are going through and if we remain compassionate through active listening we evolve emotionally and educate ourselves intellectually.

The theme of this record is to simply accept your feelings, work through your trauma and celebrate the gift of life no matter how chaotic and dark it can be sometimes. Too close for comfort was written as I was trying to find myself as an artist and a person. Honestly, I found a greater awareness of who I am where the two intersected. These songs were organized in a state of isolation, reminiscing over all the tears and heartbreak that I’ve allowed to build up overtime. Clocking in under 15 minutes it’s not even a therapy session, closer to a meditation, either way the same results apply. This record is the behind the scenes insider look of how I view my own identity and process my thoughts and emotions. Too Close For Comfort was produced by Balloon Beats and engineered by Don Ziglioni and Loud House Audio.

How would you describe your sound to a novice listener?

Vincent: I would label myself an emo/ alternative/ pop punk and hip-hop artist. My music can be dark & aggressive, melodic and unique and energetic and hyped. When I create art I become multi-dimensional and if you go through my discography you might recognize my wild personality. I structure songs that spill from my heart, real, meaningful and beyond the darkness typically very uplifting. I have a heightened awareness of the world and tend to portray an uplifting message through heartbreaking circumstances. The majority of my music revolves around the cycle of addiction, mental health and damaged relationships.

If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Vincent: I’m sure this answer has changed throughout my career. It used to be Warped Tour (RIP), today it would be the “When We Were Young” festival in Las Vegas Nevada surrounded by my favorite punk bands.

What’s the most valuable advice you’ve ever received before?

Vincent: If you want to stay original be yourself because there will never be another you. Reflect on artists you have always cherished and follow in their footsteps, take it a step further and steal their next generations fans.

Last, do you have any live shows/tours lined up or a new release on the cards later this year?

Vincent: I plan to release new music every 2-3 months this year of variations of the different genres I fall under. One of my main goals is to start a band and show my versatility. I have been on hiatus for the past year but I have 2 shows as of now both hosted by Bars Over Bars. Friday, January 27th 8 PM @ Revibed 15 N Main st Middleboro Ma 02346 ($10 admission) all ages & Friday, February 24th for Demons Disciples headliner show ($10 admission) 18+ @ Selfie In HD 101 Kingston Collection Way Plymouth Ma 02360.

Thank you so much for having me! Hope you enjoy the new record and are anxious to hear more!

Listen up to this fine track on Spotify. Find Vincent on Facebook.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

It Goes “From the Grave” Right to the Heart

Listening to Abby Lokelani’s track “From the Grave” is a mixed bag of being devastated by the beauty of the art – to weepy sentimentality over my own lost-love. Her breathy but pitch-perfect performance gives way to an intimate engagement in this tune. The electronic drums help to offset what would otherwise be a guitar singer-songwriter number – all the while a heartfelt and, dare I say, the genuine sound is present. Then we move to the lyrics, I have to say, as a widower the phrase “I’ll love you better from the grave” hits me in a way that I can’t imagine anyone else on earth feels. This is a beautiful piece of music balanced by instrumentation, deep/naked emotion, and honest sentiment.

Seems as though Abby Lokelani is a Hawaii native and plays more than a few instruments including guitar and keys (and of course, her most important instrument – her voice, she sings beautifully). She was classically trained as a cellist – which might go some way to explaining her ear – and moved to write her own music and lyrics.

In her own words “I write music to make people feel something…” which is an apt summary of my experience with “From the Grave.” I can say, from my experience, that Abby’s music was that therapeutic balm I needed on a Friday night after a hectic week. Maybe it can do the same for you.

Ira Sharma Interview: Soaking our hungry souls on the stunning Shy

Dual majoring it up and showing us her boss mentality, Ira Sharma opens the door and lets us into her music life and more. Talking about her latest single Shy, her love for nature and letting us into her early years singing, we find out what it’s like to be chasing your dreams no matter the challenges.

Hello there Ira Sharma. Thank you for chatting with us. Where can we find you today and what kind of breakfast usually puts you in good spirits?
Ira: Hey Llewelyn, thanks for having me as a guest on your esteemed blog. I am currently in Delhi, India and my all-time favorite breakfast, that not only fuels my body but also puts me in good spirits is dosa, a thin crepe made of lentils served with sambar, a spicy lentil-based vegetable stew. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it.

Please tell us about your mesmerizing new single called Shy. What was the inspiration for your latest creation and how did the process develop with your producer, Palash?
Ira: “Shy” is the name of my latest single that came out November 26th on all streaming platforms. It’s an electrifying dance pop track produced by my incredible friend and producer, Palash. As students of Berklee College of Music, Boston, we had a Writing Bootcamp, in which we had the opportunity to submit our tracks to executives from major record labels like, Warner Music Group, Universal, Capitol, and so on… So, naturally, Palash and I were down for the challenge, and luckily enough, out of hundreds of submissions, “Shy” made it to the chosen list of songs in the Electronic Dance Music category presented to the Vice-President of A&R, Atlantic Records. I was incredibly grateful to have had the honor of top-lining as well as recording vocals for “Shy.” Our intention throughout this process was clear— to create an electronic house banger with infectious melodies and unforgettable hooks.

The legendary Berklee College of Music, Boston, is your current home. What’s it like there and are you enjoying it?
Ira: Everyday I’m grateful to be a student at the Prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was always my dream school growing up and I can’t believe I finally made it here, that too, all the way from India, thanks to my parents for always supporting my dreams. I’ve made it to my fourth year as a Songwriting and Music Production & Engineering double major. If I had to describe what it’s like being a Berklee student in two words, it’ll be “Musical Heaven.” Everyday I get to swim in a sea full of highly gifted musicians from all over the world. I am truly blessed and grateful for being at Berklee.

If you could have any superpower you desire for 24 hours, what would it be and why?
Ira: If I could have any superpower I desired for 24 hours, it would be to communicate with the natural world of plants and animals. That’s because I love spending more and more time in nature and these days, especially, with our obsession with technology, it’s getting harder and harder to find time to disconnect and simply lay oneself in nature’s arms. Besides, I’m super
intrigued to learn about those secrets of nature that are still unknown to mankind.

Your vocals are so crisp and such an ear-soother in this noisy world. Have you always been singing or when did everything fall into place?
Ira: Thank you, that’s so very kind of you to say! I have, as a matter of fact, always been singing, ever since I was a baby, as my mom told me, it started with babbling. Eventually, as I grew up, I naturally took the course of singing: humming melodies, writing poems and singing them as young as 4 years old. Music became an inseparable part of my life so my parents put me into singing lessons at a very early age at Noida School of Rock. There, I received training in Vocal Performance in for over 8 years and also got a diploma from Rockschool London.

What’s the best piece of advice another musician ever gave you?
Ira: The best piece of advice that another musician has ever given me is to make music that serves people. The very fact, that I have the gift of creating music is a blessing. With that blessing, I have the responsibility to serve my listeners with music they can either relate with or celebrate with. Music has the power to move people and make them feel emotions they’ve never even felt before. With that power, comes great responsibility, for me, as an artist to create music that is true, meaningful and serves my listeners well.

Last, do you have anything cookin’ music/tour-wise in 2023 that you can share with us?
Ira: In 2023, I am planning to do several shows in Boston as well as the Greater Boston area. Besides that, I am focusing on finishing my debut EP. After its release, I’d certainly have more tour dates announced on all my socials, so definitely stay tuned for that!

Hear this fine new single on Spotify. See more on the IG page.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Windows Up: Christopher Hurst knows he is the only competition on Picture Me

Blowing smoke to the blues and keeping his motivated attitude, Christopher Hurst is at his gritty best as he steers us through the mentality needed to succeed on Picture Me.

Christopher Hurst is a Phoenix-based Boston-raised indie hip hop artist who keeps things as raw as possible on each of his trailblazing

Thriving with so much intent and guiding us through this cinematic-like story to reminisce with, Christopher Hurst cuts through the past and smiles into the future where all his dreams await. Pulsating throughout and forcing many chills to appear all over our naked spines, we find ourselves meshed inside a proper story stuffed with lessons for us all to learn from.

Picture Me from Phoenix-based Boston-raised indie hip hop artist Christopher Hurst is an introspective track with a heat-filled missile to rocket rather swiftly into. Dusting off the haters and showing us he will survive no matter what, this is an honest song which will strike the heart of many.

Hear this terrific new single on Spotify and check out the IG page for more.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Boston pop duo Blue Doll feels like the time is now to escape this broken love permanently on None The Wiser

Fellow EP by Blue Doll

After keeping their music hidden from the world and only available if you were one of their inner circle of friends, Blue Doll guides us inside a poignant story that will give you goosebumps all over your body on None The Wiser.

Blue Doll is a Boston, Massachusetts-based indie-pop duo who are close friends and have decided that now is the time to show the world their intimate creations.

Kendall and Steve first crossed paths at college orientation in 2007… but the inspiration to collaborate wouldn’t fully strike until they were about to graduate with their degrees in Music Business in 2011.” ~ Blue Doll

Guiding us into an emotional story that shows us a body-shaking moment when you suddenly realized you were alone in keeping a relationship alive, Blue Doll is supremely sincere and embraces our hearts with an affectionately made release that is laden with serene beauty at every corner.

Showing us deeply inside that precise realization when you knew you needed to get out before your soul was crushed forever, this is an honest song that so many shall unfortunately relate to.

None The Wiser from Boston, Massachusetts-based indie-pop duo Blue Doll is a tenderly made story from the heart. With a superb vocal ambience and a lovely production that will strike you deep inside your soul, this is an anthem for anyone who knew that it was time to walk away from something once so joyous, but now so shattered.

When you feel you’re being used for your kindness, it’s time to close the door for good.

Listen up to this new single on Bandcamp and see more via their IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

I’ve Become Lonely Again: Shriya senses that a desolate state of mind is coming on strangers on saturn

With a simply exquisite and articulate intelligence that might cause your whole body to shiver in delight, Shriya just wants to feel safe again from all the scary cauldrons that can burn up your innocence with strangers on saturn.

Shriya is a 14-year-old Boston, USA-born indie alt-dark pop singer-songwriter and music producer who is massively inspired by the legends Billie Eilish and Lorde.

Her lyrics stem from the inspiration of both her personal experiences, as well as her observations of the world around her.” ~ Shriya explaining her inspirations in the music process

Delighting our frayed earlobes with a truly astonishing performance, Shriya is an extraordinarily gifted voice in a seemingly unwelcoming world that can freeze your precious soul if you aren’t too careful.

Her songwriting roots date back to when she was 8 years old and picked up a pencil to write her very first song with her sister.” ~ Shriya opening the door and showing us how she first got started

strangers on saturn from Boston, USA-born indie alt-dark pop singer-songwriter and music producer Shriya is a wonderful track from a young artist who displays maturity way beyond her age. Sung with a gaze up to the stars and knowing that the temptations below can truly break your spirit if you walk down the wrong path, leading us into her mindset at this precise moment.

Sometimes it’s better to dream than be with the wrong people who can lead you astray.

Listen up to this tremendous talent on Spotify and see more news on her IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Dead Of Night: Boston-based rockers Canyons and Locusts shows us inside the Night of the Locust

Roll The Dice by Canyons and Locusts

Steaming through the airwaves with a high-speed release from their recent 10-track album Roll The Dice, Canyons and Locusts return with a raw display to mosh with all evening on their latest single Night of the Locust.

Canyons and Locusts are a Boston, Massachusetts-based alternative noise-rock duo who seem to have rocket fuel simmering inside their veins.

Their recording process took formative conversations between two cities to one studio in Boston where they dug in, found the essence of each song, and then brought it loudly to life.” ~ Canyons and Locusts

Brimming with a confident edge to tell your mates about, Canyons and Locusts are in formidable form and shake our souls awake with an authoritative performance that is quite superb and rather menacing at times.

Night of the Locust from Boston, Massachusetts-based alternative noise-rock duo Canyons and Locusts is a supreme production that is filled with intensity, a real drive, and a hugely desirable output. They are an electric outfit and show us that underground music is certainly where it’s at on this dynamic release. Laced with an ear-tingling vocal effort to turn your head and a delightful energy, this is a track to get excited about.

You will want to turn this one on loud. Neighbors beware.

Listen up to this vibrant tune on Bandcamp and see more via the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Slick Like An Arriviste: Boston rockers Viruette drives us into the little life lost on debut single Viruette

Guiding us through this soul-sucking world that can force your sweet heart to mumble in pain, Viruette impresses on their debut release that might have you clicking repeat on Viruette.

Viruette is a powerful 3-piece Boston, Massachusetts-based indie Anglo-American bro rock band who recently all met on Craigslist.

It’s a story about the loss of youth and how the passage of time coarsens us and makes us ugly.” ~ Harry from Viruette giving us further insight into the vision of this fine track

Bringing us into a place in time that could have scars attached which could be painful to picture again, Viruette are the new kids on the block that everyone should take a listen to. Their sound is made for massive festivals and sold-out arenas, that are packed with energetic rock fans who just want to find new heros to believe in.

Viruette from 3-piece Boston, Massachusetts-based Anglo-American bro rock band Viruette is a rip-roaring display of irresistible vitality that shall get you jumping up and down like it was your birthday. They have a tight bond and show us their electric combination, which is a rather splendid listen. Soaring with passion and intricate lyrics, that might stop and make you think about time and what it actually does to our souls.

Sometimes you just need to look back and wonder if you have actually taken the right path in this game called life.

Turn the fellas up on Spotify and see where they head to next on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen