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Lucy Chan Interview on A&R Factory: Mr Apologetic and letting us into her vulnerable new release

The A&R Factory Team recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the ultra-talented 19-year-old singer-songwriter and actress, Lucy Chan. Showing us deeply into her young music career so far, her debut album, and her love of film, we find a truly focused creative who is ready for world domination.

Hello there Lucy Chan. We truly appreciate you taking the time to speak with us. How are you doing today and please let us know where you are in the world as we speak?

Lucy: Hi!! Thank you so much for having me! I’m currently based in Sydney, Australia. I’m doing alright, hope you are too!

Mr Apologetic is your latest single and this is an absolute anthem. What does this song mean to you and what should listeners take from this experience?

Lucy: Thank you so much! This song is super close to my heart. I wrote this song about a person that meant a lot to me. It’s definitely my most vulnerable and honest song that I’ve released so far. I truly believe that everyone has a person in their love life that floats in and out, but it never really is the end of your story with them. It’s often that same person that you constantly forgive, even after everything that’s happened. So, I wrote this for that person in my life. This song is the second single from a project that I’ve been working on for a while – my debut album. I’m super excited to put it out there sometime this year, I feel like it’s definitely a lot more mature than my EP. The rest of the album also comes from a very honest place, which isn’t something that I really explored on my EP. It’s a scary thing to face your true emotions, but it’s also super important.

Songwriting is the one place where I can truly be myself, and completely face what I’m feeling and dealing with. Every song off my album comes from either a place of heartbreak or true happiness. As for what listeners should take from this experience, I really hope that everyone can relate to it on some level. I know everyone has that person in their life, so hopefully, this song can remind them of that person. If it provides some sort of escapism for listeners, then I’d be very content.

What is it like being the niece of the legendary band manager Leslie Chan? Does it add extra pressure on you or has it helped with your career instead?

Lucy: Honestly, coming from such a musical family, and being the niece of Leslie Chan has definitely helped with my career and goals a lot. My uncle is a very helpful and honest person when it comes to me and my career. Because of this, I am able to constantly improve my songwriting, and performing. I’m super grateful to have been guided by his advice so far in my career. It allows me to have greater expectations of myself as an artist so I’m definitely very grateful.

My mum has been a super helpful person in my life as well. She’s a Chinese classical musician, so her guidance has always been very appreciated. I am also classically trained – I began piano lessons at the age of 4, so having that kind of background has been a really great influence on my pop music. I definitely do acknowledge my privilege, and I’m super grateful for it. But I also feel that without hard work, nothing will work out. So even though there is that connection, there is a lot of hard work that comes after it.

Besides music, what else are you most passionate about at the moment?

Lucy: I’ve always been very passionate about film and acting, along with my music! During the pandemic, my dad managed to write a few short films, that are currently in the making. I got to be a part of it, so I’m super grateful for that. I’m currently on my uni break, so I’ve been working on a lot of my own scriptwriting and acting on the side as well. Fingers crossed that one day they’ll take off and become real films!

Please tell us more about your experiences at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and how the studies advanced your songwriting process and skillset in general.

Lucy: The con (which is the nickname for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music) is an incredible place. I just finished up my second year there, so I’m going into my third year this year! I study musicology at the con, which is so different from what I’m doing with my career, but it’s definitely helped a lot. Studying classical music, alongside theory subjects and music history has definitely shaped the way I compose my pop songs. When you study classical music, you’re essentially studying the basis for all music. It’s fundamental to any musician.

For example, when I sit down at my piano in my room to write songs, I always consider adding classical elements to my pop songs, even if it is a small factor. Most of the time, it’ll be a chord progression. Studying at the con is an amazing experience. You’re surrounded by the most talented musicians in the country, which gives you a lot of motivation to constantly improve your art. On the other hand, it gives you chances to work with other incredibly talented musicians.

What advice would you give to young artists trying to make it in this fickle business?

Lucy: I think that if you truly want to succeed in this industry, you have got to have a strong mindset, and the ability to deal with pressure and constant failure. You’ve got to focus on yourself and career, and not get distracted by anything that comes your way. In this industry, you’ll constantly be put down again and again, but if you’re able to grow and learn from those failures, and still keep trying, then you’re on the right road. It’s also important to remember that not everyone will like you, so if you’re ready to put up with all of that, and spend most of your time on your craft, then you’ll get somewhere.

Last question. What are your long-term goals in music and where do you see everything headed creative-wise?

Lucy: I’ve had the same goals in music for as long as I can remember. I’ve always wanted to sing and write songs and perform them. I just want to keep making music and keep doing what I love and see where that takes me. I have so many dreams and goals – I’d love to move to Los Angeles after graduation. I have got a lot of improvement to do in my art, and a lot to learn, so I’m keen for that. As an artist, it’s crucial to constantly set new goals and try to improve yourself. There’s a lot of space for improvement in my music. Hopefully, in the next 10 years, I’ll be able to achieve my goals and aspirations for my career!

Listen up to this fine song on Spotify. View more news on her IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Agaaze interview on A&R Factory: Making music For You

Showing us how powerful optimism and hard work combine rather beautifully, Agaaze kindly sat down with us recently to chat about his classical upbringing, tasty berries and how grateful he is to do what he loves on For You.

Hello there Agaaze. Thanks so much for chatting with us here at A&R Factory. Please let us know where in the world you are today and what do you usually have for breakfast?
Agathya: Hey A&R, thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I’m truly grateful 🙂 My name is Agathya Visveswaran, and I work under the artist name “Agaaze” (Instagram: @agaaze). I am 20 years old and was born in Rochester, New York. I currently attend the University of Michigan, so right now I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. For breakfast each morning I usually have a protein shake- 2 cups almond milk, 2 scoops vanilla whey protein, and a couple of handfuls of berries (gains!)

Please tell us how the creative process worked while making your new project, For You?
Agathya: “For You” actually started based on a real-life experience. In early 2022, I went on a date with a girl, and she just so happened to be wearing a red dress that night. The night was calm, and nothing really came of it afterwards, however, the vivid imagery of ‘the pretty girl in the red dress’ really struck a chord with me. A couple days later I was working with a simple 4-bar loop of music that I made, and, in basically one-sitting, I wrote the entirety of “Cinnamon Paradise” over that loop. I had always wanted to write a love album, and in that moment, I knew I was ready. I expanded upon the theme and setting of “Cinnamon Paradise” and, like a kid in a sandbox, I basically just let my imagination run free. I thought about my past experiences, what my future might be, and really dove deep into thinking about everything in my life that I loved. I went on to conceptualize the full story and write down almost all the lyrics to the entire album, before I made the rest of the music. “Cinnamon Paradise” was released as the only single off “For You”, and I still find it really cool how I was able to take just a couple hours of my life and turn it into an entire album.

What kind of music/which artists did you listen to while growing up?
Agathya: I listened to all kinds of music growing up- my mom used to play an Indian guitar-like instrument called the ‘veena’, and my dad was a jazz drummer. I started learning classical guitar at the age of six, and because of my guitar teacher’s unique music taste, I was exposed to a lot of Flamenco and Brazilian guitar pieces. As I got older, I started listening to a ton of rap. Besides Kendrick Lamar, I mostly listened to old-school hip-hop/90s rap, as I was drawn to the lyricism and poetry over anything else. The biggest shift in my music taste came when I discovered Tame Impala right before my senior year of high school (in 2019). I was blown away by the intricacy and attention to detail that he brought to electronic music. This opened me up to a whole new world of digitized and production-based music, and I started enjoying artists such as Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky and Tyler, the Creator. Now, I truly enjoy everything. I started a new routine at the beginning of 2022 where I try to listen to at least one album that I haven’t heard before every single day, and I’ve been fairly consistent with that so far.

How did you get started in music and have you been involved in other projects before?
Agathya: As previously mentioned, I started learning classical guitar at the age of six. I would go on to take lessons in jazz guitar, the trumpet, and even in South Indian Carnatic vocals. I have performed guitar at various venues in Rochester, such as the Rochester Jazz Festival and Rochester Lilac Festival, and even played live on WXXI radio in my junior year of high school. I didn’t start making my own music until my freshman year of college. I started releasing music under “Agaaze” in early 2021, and released my debut 7-song EP, “A Portal Inside” in December of 2021. I haven’t looked back since. Agaaze is a solo project, as I
take care of writing, recording, producing, and mixing all on my own (with the help of my friend Zach, @zachwallismusic, for my final master’s)

How do you approach everything needed to be successful in life and in your chosen career?
Agathya: In terms of my approach to life, honestly, it’s just trial and error. I do my best to always pursue what I love, give it my 200%, and then use my mistakes to learn and grow as a person. In terms of success as an artist, it’s a little tougher because success is very subjective. Some may say that I’m unsuccessful because of how many streams my music gets, or how much money I’ve made from my music. Others might say that I’m successful simply by having the courage to release my own music. I guess I try to find a happy medium between the two, to where I’m proud of myself for releasing music, but also maintain my drive to hustle and promote it. At the end of the day, I will never let a thirst for material success influence my art. I plan on graduating from the University of Michigan with a degree that is not music related, so I can support myself financially until, hopefully one day, I can make music for a living.

If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be and why?
Agathya: In an ideal world, creativity and uniqueness would result in more success in the music industry. Unfortunately, I don’t think that will ever be the case because, money is the name of the game in business. Apps such as TikTok are cool for helping some independent artists, but they drive many others to use a formulaic approach, just for a shot at 15 seconds of fame. This results in the oversaturation of the same type of music, which sucks. If I can maybe inspire just a couple other young artists out there to create art that’s true to them, instead of making music for money and clout, that would be amazing.

Last, what advice do you have for new musicians just starting out in this fickle game?
Agathya: My advice to other artists is to make music from a place of love. As the great Rick Rubin emphasizes, ‘you are the audience’. Create art that you resonate with, enjoy, and love, so that when you look back, you can be proud of yourself for all you have accomplished. Doubt and fear live rent free in my head. I try not to think of what other people might say, or whether I will ever be able to make a comfortable living off my music. It’s an impossible task. Yet, when it’s 5 AM- the birds are quiet, the world is still, and I’m all alone in my room, listening back to what I have been working on all night… a gentle smile comes across my face. Hell, sometimes even tears, because I just fucking made that. For a couple seconds, all my worries wash away. Make music For You.

Hear this fine single on Spotify. See more on IG.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Nathan Maurice drops stunning new instrumental single Amore Mio

With a love theme to remember fondly forever and a day, Nathan Maurice shall take all apprehensions away in an instant with the fine new single called Amore Mio.

Nathan Maurice is a Birmingham, UK-based indie classical music composer and producer who seems to effortlessly drift in with class and grace on each track.

He has been writing and recording music for over 10 years, working in a range of genres; from Hardcore and Experimental Punk bands to Dubstep and house music, as well as Classical and Ambient music.” ~ Nathan Maurice

Sizzling with tranquility and elegance within, Nathan Maurice reveals to us the way to brushing away all worries with a quite tremendous performance from the UK native. Drenched in kindness and filled with love, this is a track to play loud when the world gets a bit too much sometimes.

Amore Mio from Birmingham, UK-based indie classical music composer and producer Nathan Maurice is a lovely experience which shall take many breaths for a calming flight. Soaked in so much goodness and imagination, we find an anthem for anyone who needs some peace and quiet.

Listen up to this song on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

A Superb Tribute: Morris Northcutt shows much respect to the late great Chet Baker on Here’s That Rainy Day

With a terrific song that shows so much love and appreciation for the sadly departed American jazz trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, Morris Northcutt has dropped a fine release that will get your foot tapping all day on Here’s That Rainy Day.

Morris Northcutt is an award-winning instrumental jazz trumpet and cornet player who has performed all over the world and was born in Lakewood, Washington.

The son of a Korean immigrant, he brings a global perspective to his music, which ranges from classical and Latin American music to his latest project, a beautiful tribute the great Chet Baker.” ~ Morris Northcutt giving us further insight into his inspiration to this incredible project

Bringing us so much joy with an intricate sound that has clearly been made with love, Morris Northcutt is a classy musician who shows us his worldly view with an instrumental song for the ages.

Here’s That Rainy Day from Lakewood, Washington-born instrumental jazz trumpet and cornet player Morris Northcutt is a rather special effort that shall instill a sense of calmness that has been lacking from our busy world. Packed with a rare skill that can’t be explained unless you listen on full volume, this is a rather excellent release that will surely make you smile.

Hear this fine new single on Spotify and see more via his Facebook.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Cellist extraordinaire Brianna Tam is quite exquisite on her memorable new release Eris

With her 4th single from the upcoming album called I AM, Brianna Tam is at her brilliant barefoot best with a toe-curling single of hypnotic proportions on her scintillating release, Eris.

Brianna Tam is a one-woman electric/classical cellist/looper who writes and records from her portable home studio with her loyal tabby kitty cat, Mr Gnocchi.

With a love for travel and adventure, Brianna now ventures throughout the Southeast, sharing her electric cello set with a wide variety of venues.” ~ Brianna Tam sharing more in-depth detail about her genuine passions

Brimming with mystique and flowing rather sensationally into our transformed earlobes with a world class soundscape that is Game of Thrones-like, Brianna Tam is at her skillful best with a dynamic display for the ages. Technically superior and sending our hearts pounding beyond previous levels of comprehension to revive all of our curious senses.

Inspired by the Greek goddess who shares the same name, is an all cello epic composition that begins as a depiction of controlled chaos, and then gradually transforms into a ruthless illustration of overwhelming discord.” ~ Brianna Tam describing the vision for her latest single

Eris from the magnificent Greensboro, North Carolina-based electric/classical cellist/loop artist Brianna Tam is an outstanding anthem for those who love meaningful instrumental music. She builds up the tension which will cause your whole body to be lifted into her world, only for us to be jolted awake by a rising great.

This is a rather special experience that might change your entire perspective, as we are taken into a fascinating universe by a remarkable artist who hasn’t even touched her prime yet.

Hear this gorgeous piece of work on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Alexander Kyd drifts our minds into a more placid state with ‘Of Time and the River’

With a mellow ambience that takes your mind away to a more tranquil place to heal inside, Alexander Kyd takes us all into a better world that is filled with so much peace and love, ‘Of Time and the River‘.

Alexander Kyd is a Sofia, Bulgaria-based composer/guitarist who makes that peaceful classical music you can just swim into and let your soul soak inside.

I use the stage name Alexander Kyd to pay homage to the great English playwright Thomas Kyd and, by extension, to all the great masters of literature written in English.” ~ Alexander Kyd

Showing us a tranquil blend of true skill and wonderful quality, Alexander Kyd guides us to exactly where we need to be on this timeless single of wonder.

‘I teach music in the prison Wormwood Scrubs and I work with the unique social enterprise/record label InHouse Records, contributing to their monthly magazine AUX and supporting their aspiring artists.” ~ Alexander Kyd

Of Time and the River‘ from Sofia, Bulgaria-based classical composer/guitarist Alexander Kyd is one of the most relaxed singles you are likely to hear today. With class personified at every corner, this is a stunning release that will bring you into a better world that has no carnage, only smiles and good energy to lather all over our souls.

Sometimes you hear a song that shall take your breath away, and remind you that life can be so simple if you can find that quiet place to reflect.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify and see more on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Ernesto Nobili Melancholically Etched the Sweetest Ambient Neo-Classic Guitar Serenade with ‘Roma’

Ernesto Nobili

25 years as a composer, producer, and session musician, condensed into a poignantly ambient classical guitar score; Ernesto Nobili’s single, Roma, allows gentle tenacity to give way to intricately etched cinematic magnetism.

While I never thought I would hear a melancholia rival to Glen Hansard’s soundtrack to Once, the Italian composer took influence from the 60s and 70s Italian film to timelessly celebrate the style and soul of the breathtakingly romantic mise en scenes.

Throughout the entire duration, I found myself torn between the micro-expressions of ennui and the profound beauty within the instrumental piece. Nobili professes not to be a virtuoso, but I haven’t heard many guitarists out there with the same ability to pull emotion out of acoustic timbre quite so intuitively.

Check out Ernesto Nobili on SoundCloud, Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

An-Ting 安婷 keyed into the plaintive slips of optimism in our first pandemic summer in her classical composition, LAST JUNE

Taiwan-born, London-based pianist-composer, An-Ting 安婷 is set to release her first original LP, Songs from My Room, a compositional narration of the complex emotions that manifested during the pandemic times, featuring the standout single, LAST JUNE.

Not another lockdown release, I hear you cry – but this instrumental score operates far beyond the power of the written word by keying into those striking plaintive slips of optimism as the powerlessness in the situation conflates the ennui. LAST JUNE also takes the mixed feelings that transpired from the BlackLivesMatter movement with an overarching sense of uncertainty that amassed around the state of our polarised society.

An-Ting has performed as a concert pianist at Southbank Centre, LSO St Luke’s, King’s Place, Newbury Spring Festival, Deal Festival, Cheltenham Town Hall, and the Akademie der Künste Berlin (Academy of Arts). She also has a broad background which includes a unique mix of science and art with a degree in Chemistry from National Taiwan University and an MMus and PhD in performance from the Royal Academy of Music.

Songs from My Room will be available to stream on all platforms from July 13th, 2022. Last June will be due for release on June 15th. Check out the video via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Hua-Hsuan Tseng shows us what true serenity sounds like with the exceptional instrumental, ‘Dreaming’

With her glorious elegance on full display and we find a marvellous visionary who is headed for the top, Hua-Hsuan Tseng might have your whole body in happy raptures with her new gem, ‘Dreaming‘.

Hua-Hsuan Tseng is a Taiwan-born, Los Angeles-based composer and sound designer who makes remarkable soundscapes for film and visual media.

Her music blends a wide range of genres, including classical, electronic, Chinese, and pop. A dedicated collaborator, Hua strives to create a unique soundscape for each project by blurring the line between music and sound design to make a cohesive score.​” ~ Hua-Hsuan Tseng

After gaining respect from her graduation awards at the National Taiwanese University of Arts and Columbia College Chicago, Hua-Hsuan Tseng presents us with something rather dynamic and wrapped with intricate goodness that has taken her years to form in her incredibly innovative mind.

Owing to her diverse musical background, Hua’s compositions cover a variety of genres, from orchestral scores to hybrid compositions.” ~ Hua-Hsuan Tseng

Dreaming‘ from Taiwan-born, Los Angeles-based composer and sound designer Hua-Hsuan Tseng is a slice of peace that has been missing from the world for too long. Urging us to open up our minds and to never give up from where we want to go in life, this is a a brilliant single that might have you smiling rather broadly.

Delightful music like this is exactly what the world needs more of.

Hear this lovely single on Spotify and see more vibes on the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Italian classical pianist STEFANO FREDDI shows the world his unquestionable skill that is within his ‘Deep Soul’

After gracing us with ‘Five Notes Symphony the Murderer’s Tale‘ from April 2021, STEFANO FREDDI calms down everything like a true master of his craft to make sure we know where that ‘Deep Soul‘ has been hiding all this time.

STEFANO FREDDI is a Verona, Italy-based classical pianist who makes the kind of cinematic experience that certainly belongs in the movies when true emotion is needed.

A pianist since he was six years old, the Italian composer describes composing music as fulfilling an intrinsic need for self-expression and is an essential part of his life.” ~ STEFANO FREDDI

With a tremendously cultivated effort that sends you into a tranquil state of affairs, STEFANO FREDDI takes our hand and guides us to that island of freedom that is miles away from anything that can damage your priceless mood. Each note has been carefully crafted with rare dignity, that should warm your intestines and get you breathing properly again.

Always pushing himself to delve into different genres, Stefano Freddi has also composed soul music and he dabbled in house production.” ~ STEFANO FREDDI

Deep Soul‘ from the renowned Italy-based classical pianist STEFANO FREDDI is such a peaceful experience that you might get shivers pulsating down your spine to set you free again. This is an instrumental effort that contains so much beauty and skill, to bring you back to a place where you aren’t worrying about everything.

Great music heals you deeply if you listen intently enough.

Listen up to this fine new single on Spotify and check out more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen