Browsing Tag

For You

Interview: Malcolm Duff leads us into the tragic loss of his beloved wife and the love for music on For You

For You by Malcolm Duff & Maristela Da Silva

Gracing us with a massively honest interview which teaches us so much about true love, Normandy’s Malcolm Duff kindly opened up the door and let us all inside his career, heartbreaking loss and new music to help ease the pain, For You.

Where exactly in the world do you live and what constitutes a healthy meal in your home?

Malcolm: I am lucky to live in Normandy, in a house surrounded only by fields and forests, so it’s quiet enough for me to write. And France has turned food into a fine art, so whatever we eat, it’s fresh.

Do you recall the first time you played the guitar?

Malcolm: I started playing the piano at age four (it was the only instrument the family had), moved on to guitar and harmonica at around seventeen, and have always played something or sung whenever I can.

Please tell us more about your new album For You.

Malcolm: When my wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I retired early to take care of her at home, but continued to write songs over the ten years her illness lasted.

The songs on “For You” were recorded during the last three years of her life. It took me that long because I could only go to the recording studio for a few hours on a Friday afternoon (such is the life of a carer), and I played all the instruments on all the tracks, laying one down each week.

At home I nonetheless managed to write a novel, entitled “The Escorts”, based on my experience as a carer and singer-songwriter (it is to be published this year in English, French and Spanish). I was lucky enough to have two love affairs, and while one was tragic (my wife), the other was magic. And each song reflected how I felt, as I explain in the book.

“I wanted to thank my father for everything he had done for me; to tell him that I loved him and that I would always remember him. But I could not say that to him, so I wrote a song instead, and for the first time, I mentioned the woman and love I had found as he had suggested, when I told him of [my wife’s] illness. I showed the lyrics of the song to my father just before he died. We both knew his end was close. To my surprise and great pleasure, he said he liked it, understanding everything.”

The First Time
“I hear the tap of high heels approaching. Maria opens the door to her apartment. Long flowing brown hair, emerald eyes, ruby lips. She scents the bunch of red roses I hold out to her.
“You make me feel like a princess,” she says, and gently laughs. And to my parched throat, her laughter was like water bubbling up from a spring in the desert sand.”

“She had her own life to live and would leave; sometimes for a few days on a photo shoot, sometimes for a week or two on a modelling job, or sometimes for longer to go and see her family. And each time she left, I thought it would be the last. I would be left high and dry, lost and forlorn, surviving from one day to the next, eking out the days and weeks until she came back.”

Green Eyes
“My wife gave me a reason for being; Maria gave me a reason to live. Thus she became synonymous with music. Every time I thought of her, a melody would come to mind. The vision of her smiling, emerald-green eyes conjured up tunes out of nowhere and nothing.”

Goodbye for Now
“She would blow me a kiss before closing her door as I walked down the creaking staircase to the lift. […] The dream would continue until I got home and mentally prepared myself to carry on my own road to Calvary. I would send her a message letting her know I had arrived safely; she thanked me for the time we had together, and I thanked her. So, our love affair slowly grew more painful for both of us.”

Senhorita Suite
“She smiled, despite the pain. I had taken my small portable recorder and played the latest take of the last song we had written. I showed her the hand percussion I wanted to add and sang stupid harmonies to the soundtrack until she laughed and hugged me. Then she fell back exhausted onto the pillows, already half asleep.”

“As [Maria] began to recover and could walk again, on occasion she went to mass. Putting on a scarf which she knotted below her chin, lighting a candle or two, she prayed. The tiny yellow flames danced in the dark of the cathedral, reflecting brief glints of light in the eyes of those on their knees beside her. And like I, some stared with astonishment at the candlelit face of the beautiful girl by the altar, whispering and crossing themselves as if they had seen the Madonna herself.”

Hi There
“I would think of her and a tune would come to me, a haunting melody. I would hear it, and then listen to it, and then hum it out loud, and in doing so, it would take physical shape. […] Do not pray to the gods. Pray to those you once loved who are no more. […] Sometimes those guardian angels hear us, watching over us as they fly by, and let a little gold dust from their wings fall upon our own ears.”

Whisky Waltz
“My brothers did not ask questions. If they were curious, they did not say so. If I needed to talk, they listened. If I needed money and they had any spare, they sent it, and sent it immediately. Generosity was another trait our respective families did not share. And that of courage in the face of adversity; when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I found out that brothers in arms are brothers in deed.”

For You
“Each time I had to leave Maria, my heart ached, beating as hard as when I was on my way to see her. I knew I would meet her again, however, and it made our parting the sweetest of sorrows. But there is no greater pain than to lose someone close to you, and know it is forever. […] I could think of nothing better than to go home and start to write a song for her, in the hope that somewhere she might hear it.”

Singing The Blues
“It was nice to cross paths again with someone at the low end of the music business, playing parties, bar mitzvahs, old-age homes, trying to make ends meet, pay the rent at the end of the month, but still play music. Perhaps it was all the singer could do, but it was all she wanted to do, and so she did it with heart and soul. That was what made her beautiful and happy.”

In the Meantime
“Acceptance became understanding one afternoon a few weeks after I had placed my wife in the nursing home. […] I talked a little to her as she ate little pieces of cake, and she looked at me in surprise each time, not remembering I was there or knowing who I was. I was just someone kind by her side, and as I held her skeletal hand in mine to keep it warm, I saw the small smile stay on my wife’s face as she fell asleep, and dreamt on.”

“A few weeks after she died, to comfort our dog Idaho, who was as lost and lonely as I had been since her disappearance, I took in a little Cocker Spaniel, a refugee, to serve as his escort. I stopped drinking and smoking. I no longer needed either. For Maria, who, out of respect, had refused to come to the house as long as my wife was alive, my lovely, beloved Maria finally came to visit.”

How did you connect with and what is the relationship like with Maristela Da Silva?

Shortly after I retired, a friend who ran a small record company came for lunch one day and told me he wanted to make a record with me. I had considered taking up music professionally, and seized the chance, because it meant I could also join SACEM, the French Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music. I saw an ad on their website from someone looking for a composer, replied, and it was Maristela. We met a few months later. I fell in love with her at first sight – it wasn’t difficult – and we’ve been together ever since, even when we’re apart. She is the muse in music, and continues to inspire every melody I write.

What do you miss most about not living in the UK?

Malcolm: My family.

How has music kept you sane during these tragic times?

Malcolm: In my case, whenever I am sad, I sing. My mother once told me that she had a nurse to help her when I and my twin brother were born (she already had two young boys), a woman who could not have children of her own, and she sang me to sleep. Singing soothes me the same way even now. And the studio where I recorded the album became a second home for me because my sound engineer believed in the songs as much as I did.

Last, what is your hope for humanity and the future?

Malcolm: For humanity, some sanity. For me, making enough money from music to continue making music.

Follow the music on Bandcamp.

Interview by Llewelyn Screen

Maybe Not Just “For You” But for All of Us – Tony Franco

Tony Franco’s latest single “For You” blends a bouncy, country-style melody with a tender and heartfelt performance. From the opening notes, the track immediately evokes feelings of nostalgia and warmth, drawing listeners in with its catchy, foot-tapping rhythm.

Franco’s smooth and emotive vocals are perfectly suited to the song’s blend of country and soul, showcasing his impressive range and emotive power. The instrumentation is a highlight of the track, with lively acoustic guitars and warm, soulful harmonies adding depth and texture to the arrangement.

Despite its upbeat tempo, “For You” manages to maintain a sense of intimacy and sincerity. There’s a genuine sense of vulnerability in Franco’s performance that makes the track all the more endearing.

As someone who loves a good country ballad, I found myself completely charmed by “For You”. It’s the kind of song that gets stuck in your head and leaves you humming along for hours on end.

Tony Franco’s “For You” is a testament to the artist’s exceptional musicianship, songwriting prowess, and emotive vocals. The track presents a powerful message of devotion and commitment through its poetic and evocative lyrics, expertly crafted arrangement, and cinematic sound. Franco’s use of layering and instrumentation is impressive, with each element working together to create a lush and memorable listening experience. “For You” showcases Tony Franco’s immense talent as a musician and songwriter and solidifies his place as a rising star in the industry. With his unwavering passion and dedication to his craft, listeners can look forward to more soulful and heartfelt music from this talented artist.

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

Srujanika is inspired by those who support her busy journey on ‘For You’

Vowing to be great and to show others that anything is actually possible if you have that fire burning bright when others are napping, Srujanika knows exactly why she does this and opens up her bedroom studio door with her latest aesthetic edit called ‘For You‘.

Srujanika is a Kolkata, India-based indie singer-songwriter who currently studying towards a Health Arts & Science degree while also following her music dreams.

From going to school to saving money to pursuing music, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.” ~ Srujanika

Leading us into current times while she waits for her next project to be mastered, Srujanika sings with such emotion and has dropped a reminder of what she is capable of. With serene class and a vocal depth that is such a wonderful listen, this is a raw track that has a genuine message to uplift yourself with if you have been overly stressed lately.

For You‘ from Kolkata, India-based indie solo singer-songwriter Srujanika is a really lovely single from an authentic artist who does this to make others happy. Her lyrics guide us deep inside her life and show us why she is loved throughout the world, as a musician who always keeps it real and relatable. Filled with honesty and packed with her likeable vocals, this is a dynamic single with plenty to remember.

See this delightful new video on YouTube.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

London’s Lys Davidson doesn’t want to be alone tonight on ‘For You’

Working alongside her sister Mathilde and trusted friend Mario Cortese on this wonderfully touching creation, Lys Davidson is quite extraordinary on a beautifully-sung single which is full of reflection about someone who you know you probably shouldn’t be with but stay intertwined nonetheless on ‘For You‘.

Lys Davidson is a multi-skilled Hertfordshire-born, London, UK-based indie singer-songwriter, fashion photographer, and music producer.

After spending 7 years of her childhood in France, you feel her cultured outlook shine through on this emotive single that is all about staying together with a soul who only seems into you when they have a drink in their hand.

I’ve always surrounded myself with various musical genres; from R&B to musical theatre.” ~ Lys Davidson

Sending us a captivating and daydream-filled story that will be so appropriate for many of us who have felt trapped and helpless in a relationship before, Lys Davidson is the type of musician you simply treasure due to her excellent lyrics and endearing voice that is so serene and truly is a highly worthwhile listen.

For You‘ from the London-based singer-songwriter and music producer Lys Davidson, is a stunningly honest soundtrack for anyone who feels ensnared in two places. You wish sometimes that you were in a different location with a lover who was there for you no matter what time it was, however, you don’t want to be alone so end up staying for now. Until your soul knows that it’s time to leave forever.

Hear this excellent new single on her Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Blood On The Carpet: Captivating California-based emo-folk artist Kiera Lyons watches her sad heart break into pieces again on ‘For You’

With a mind-blowing elegance which has the hairs on your arms standing up and a free-flowing style which is mightily sublime, Kiera Lyons sings with so much splendid angelic grace on her new single all about fixing your shattered heart on ‘For You‘.

Kiera Lyons is a prolific eighteen years young Boston, Massachusetts-born, Los Angeles, California-based, self-proclaimed twitchy witchy girl, emo-folk/pop artist, poet, visual artist and multi-genre creative. She loves to make meaningful music that explores her vivid mind, as she takes ideas from her dreams and turns them into reality.

Her lyrics grapple with our youth’s bitter burden: a world of decay, anxiety and depression, of alienation, heartbreak and longing at the core of Gen Z’s struggle. Her raw, unapologetic vocal performances capture the authentic spirit of her peers, while offering a powerful insight into their experience for others.” ~ Kiera Lyons

For You‘ from the wonderfully dreamy and multi-talented Los Angeles-based emo-folk/pop artist Kiera Lyons, is an absolutely outstanding song from a young artist who sings with a real love and stupendous vigor. She is a hard working musician who has been creating so much brilliant content during this horrific pandemic that doesn’t seem to want to go away – and makes a sterling effort here – which is stacked full of an honest story, most of us have felt before. This is class personified.

The heart can take a few breaks but each time it is a bit longer, until you can fully love in unison again.

Hear this expressive new single on Spotify and follow her on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen