Exit 22 Music: “Last Goodbye” – one of the finest musical acts in the pop-rock underground

It seems almost impossible that an artist that has been around this long – 20 years in Chris Calamera’s case, can keep making records that stand up among the best that he has ever done. Let’s be clear: “Last Goodbye” is a great song. It’s poppy, with a big melody and an insistent rock rhythm, and it’s catchy as hell. Sounds like authentic Exit 22 Music to me. This is pure Calamera from his pop-rock songwriting style standpoint, and pure Exit 22 Music, considering the breathtaking vocals and high production-value quotient. The perfect, power-pop formula. Exit 22 Music has been keeping

Lake of the Lion embodies embody emotive sounds and textures

Lake of the Lion is the brand name and moniker for Luxembourg music composer and producer, Daniel Kohnen, who is steadily building up his catalog and increasing his fan-base with regular new releases. In recent years, ambient instrumental and soundtrack scores have been following a certain trend. Composers seem to have this motif of creating overblown pieces with harsh lead instruments blasting out from the blue and background strings creating suspense with their melodies. Sure it was fun for a while, but within that little span of time listeners were just begging for it to stop because composers had this

Natalie Jean and Levi Moore: “The Letting Go” speaks the language of the ordinary person

A good duet, in our modern age, is a rare thing. There are plenty of features, guest verses and co-writes, and the cameo drop-in is a dime a dozen. The number of genuine duets, where vocalists share verses and tell a story together in the space of a song, is very small. If your optimism fails you, as you wonder whether there are enough great acts to keep hit radio stocked with worthy pop music duets, it’s reassuring to find that Natalie Jean and Levi Moore have a first-rate single to carry us through the next few months, all by itself. The

MAKI: ‘Waking Up With The World On Fire’ – truly majestic — grandiose, slowly unfolding, and extremely cinematic

The world is a fragmented place, with fear and hate giving rise to isolationist movements around the globe and huge portions of the population turning inward rather than outward towards each other. As such waves of bigotry spread like wildfire, the music scene becomes extremely important, not just because it means more great music, but because it connects us all together on a wavelength that hits the human heart, soul and mind even harder, faster and deeper than anger can. A creative constant in the field of communicative contemporary Instrumental music, is MAKI who focuses his ample talents on a

3 Phase – ready for genre domination!

The names Chirag Shah, Prasham Deliwala and Melvin Saldana may in themselves not ring a familiar bell in your ear right now. Probably, neither will the moniker ‘3 Phase’, nor their 6 track self-titled EP. It’s logical, it’s the law of the industry’s hype machine – cast a light on the big label clones, and leave the independent creatives in the shadows. Luckily the internet has a different set of rules.  On hearing the 3 Phase EP, the lofty ambition, the focus and dedication of this creative collective of producers, songwriters and vocal talent, makes sense – its six tracks

Sy: “Get Out Of My Dreams” – grab this R&B and Soul extravaganza

The singer, songwriter and author, Sy, releases a brand new single produced by Rueben Wood. The track “Get Out Of My Dreams” is the first single release written by the artist in 2018, since writing two self-help books, “A Swan Among Ducks” and “Saying Yes to (No): Learning the Power of (No) before the end of 2017. This track soulfully captures the spirit and feel of the emotional journey of grown womanhood. It is juicy, dynamic, soulful, gorgeous, and it is nourishment for the soul…and mind, as it examines the intricacies of a relationship built on want and lust. As

IJK: “Johnny & June” – sounds invigorated!

Alternative rock artist Imad Jack Karam, known by his initials and stage name IJK, is a Dubai-based, Lebanese singer-songwriter, who has released critically acclaimed songs and recorded with internationally known music producers in prestigious London studios. Both his singles “Space Odyssey” and “Dancing Shadows” garnered a positive reception from fans and critics alike. IJK has a style that can move between edgy modern-day alt-rock and sixties rock n’ roll crooning.  He recently published his latest single and supporting, fully animated video, for the song “Johnny & June”. So, how does this new offering cope? Very well, in truth. “Johnny &

TRVP HIPPI3Z: “On Lock” – no lack of muscular skill-flexing!

TRVP HIPPI3Z is a Canadian rap duo who just dropped their latest single entitled, “On Lock”.  Listeners beware. This product has been known to blow up and cause fires in a variety of stereo systems, due to the super-hot fire provided by this crew. TRVP HIPPI3Z is a team-up that has risen as great exemplars of righteous chaos. Their supersonic sound and hard-nosed imagery gives them a mysterious sheen, but the duo have grounded themselves via booming production, and a sonorous verbal presence, coupled with their willingness to fuck you up. Their chest-beating bravado is explosive on “IDGAF (Prod. THZ)”,

Eddy Mann: “Simple Things” will leave you breathless and in a state of euphoria

At first as a musician, I created music, then as an A&R executive I challenged it, now as a music reviewer, I explore it.  Of the three, the latter is the most difficult. Criticizing or appraising somebody else’s creation is no easy task. Enjoying it is one thing, understanding it another, and translating it is even more arduous. The funny thing is, I’ve always hated describing music. It’s such a volatile and subjective art, that nobody should really have the authority or the presumptuous audacity to judge the level of enjoyment or emotion any one piece of music is capable

Kitson Lau: “Be By Your Side” – an expressive paean to love’s transformative powers

Kitson Lau wears many hats – a musician, songwriter, singer and graphic designer, he is also a medical graduate. Initially without any musical background, Kitson became inspired by Norwegian record producer and DJ, Alan Walker. This passion drove him to learn music and song production. And soon, with dedication and focus Kitson Lau hit the top of the China Kanjian ING 10 Charts with his Mandopop albums. Since signing to Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia, Kitson has been encouraged to record English songs, so now he is making his official debut via Sony, with the song “Be By Your Side”, which

Vanessa Verduga: “Soy Mujer” – a serious contender in the crossover Latino-Pop genre

Vanessa Verduga (a.k.a. La Verduga) released her debut album Soy Mujer (I Am Woman) on May 14, 2017. The production team includes the likes of Grammy® and Billboard® award-winning producers Edward Grullon (a.k.a. DJ Napoles) and Kenny O’Brien, simply translated, that means this Latina songstress means business. Vanessa started acting, singing and dancing at the age four, encouraged by her mother, a trained dancer in Spanish dance. Though her family valued the performing arts the importance of a strong education and practical career path remained an obligatory accomplishment. Hence Vanessa would eventually find her way back to performing only after a lengthy college and law school hiatus.

The result of her dedicated passion and patience is the 10 track “Soy Mujer” album. You have to give Vanessa Verduga credit for displaying quite a vast range of styles and influences within a commercial pop format. This is one of the very reasons why she will no doubt gain worldwide crossover appeal.

She can blend numerous sounds and rhythms and meld them into one captivating experience. Basically, her Latin Pop style is very unmistakable with each track; however, inside each of these songs there are subtle elements from diverse musical sources that will attract a wide demographic.

Almost every artist or band strives to achieve a musical breakthrough in their careers. Releasing an album that sounds different from any previous works in a genre is praiseworthy. But, “breakthrough” is often a strong word: it doesn’t necessarily have to be a revolution; it just has to shake things up a little bit.

When you think of how repetitive and standardized pop music can be at times, then that necessity is even more apparent for the genre. Saying that “Soy Mujer” fills that role for Vanessa Verduga would be the obvious answer, as this album certainly “shakes things up” for the genre.

Her fusion of Latin, Reggaeton, Moombahton and Bachata, into a palatable pop format, sung in both Spanish and English, gives her music such a charming global tone that it doesn’t matter which language she’s singing in, you’ll be twitching your toes and tapping your feet regardless.

Oh, and her vocal performance. It’s one of her signatures. She really takes her voice to levels of beauty – whether she wants to sound romantic, sexy, dark, sassy or sweet, her voice keeps up with it. She is able to carry all the emotions necessary in her songs, with ease.

Contemporary underground pop music doesn’t really have anyone else like Vanessa Verduga. She’s unique, not because of her exotic origins but simply because of her music. The language is irrelevant: she is versatile and, most importantly, talented enough to sound great anyway.

With this album, she establishes herself as a serious contender in the crossover Latino-Pop genre. The brightest moments in the album for me occur when “Owner Of My Heart”, “Vivirla Bien”, “Respeto Tiene Valor” and “Live It Well” are first listened to. In fact, the whole album is worth listening to. It really is hard to beat the rhythmic, melodic and vocal beauty of these songs contain. It shines in all of its facets.

While most of you – like me – likely don’t speak Spanish or are fluent enough to understand what she’s saying, Vanessa’s Spanish singing is powerful, moving, elegant, and nuanced enough to convey her emotions and messages.  She carries a focused confidence in her native tongue, and it’s obvious with the great range of singing she does while using it.

Likewise her transition from Spanish crooning to a commanding English roar is pure vocal bliss. There’s not much else to say about the album. If you like Vanessa Verduga’s voice, you’ll love “Soy Mujer”, it’s an enthralling piece of work, and just on the verge of being all-out spectacular!

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