Strangers Of Necessity – “Abundance” – dripping with jazzy soul!

Every once in a while, there comes a track that arrives out of the left field and takes people by surprise. One that can prematurely declared an instant classic and actually lives up to the title. I love all types of music, but my taste is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that the single, “Abundance” by Midwest duo Strangers Of Necessity, will be considered great years from now. The track speaks to a generation of people struggling to prosper and find harmony, in a confusing, stressful modern environment. The duo bring forth their mindset and experiences, with immaculate flow

The Love Theme – “Hold On” – one mighty swirl of dance-floor groove

“Hold On” is a groovy cauldron of electronic shades and textures. Part dubstep, part soul, part funk, pretty much all breaks; there’s a rhythmic melting pot attitude that runs through the track, which ricochets off the walls with crusty slapping drums and long-dark-tunnel basslines. This is the latest track by The Love Theme – the brainchild of producer Dominic Owen on his Smokersblend record label. The cut is taken off an upcoming album, out later this year. “Hold On” is an absolute monster of a tune with soulful vocal chants, and some funky bluesy guitar throughout. As with a lot

MACKENZIE NICOLE’S TEDX TED TALK ‘MYSTIC: A MENTAL HEALTH ODYSSEY’ IS NOW LIVE

NEW ALBUM MYSTIC OUT NOW VIA STRANGE MAIN/STRANGE MUSIC NEW VIDEO FOR “GOODBYE” With authentic storytelling and varying sounds, Mackenzie Nicole bares her soul and shares her most intimate emotions, thoughts, and struggles throughout the songs on her new album Mystic out now on Strange Main (the pop music division of Strange Music.) “It’s a story I needed to tell,” Mackenzie explains. “I’m not the only person who’s been through this. I’m not the only person who has broken down and felt like the only one in the world.” With a desire to reach others who are struggling and further

Matthew J Van Howe – “Emergent Narrative” – a deluge of his sonic palette!

You could call this ambient, experimental, drone, avant-garde, cinematic or simply electronic music, the fact is “Emergent Narrative”, is so impactful it’s like it’s its own genre. It’s as if some new musical form has been created from retro synthwave sounds, and ultra-modern avant-garde motifs. I was stunned by the textures, and the moods that got stuck in my head, along with the intensity and dynamic depth. This is an album to hear again and again. Loud, raucous, serene, gentle, stretching, insistent, melodic, dissonant. It is a collection of 12 musical pieces with simple one-word titles. Meaning, the Chicago composer,

Andy Pett – “Back Again” turns hurt into art with great results on this song

Experience with adversity builds exemplary character and a spirit of resilience that allows artists to deliver great music. Their personal stories provides them with original ideas and profound insight to rap or sing about, creating a relatable feeling of vulnerability that fans emotionally connect with. Many prominent artists from today’s culture have battled through adversity to become widely accepted and beloved. There is an interesting argument – and quite a lot of statistics lean toward this theory – that adversity is necessary to become successful.  The bottom line seems to be that many artists lack the ambition to succeed because

Onicks – “High” is a deep slow-burn

With its enigmatic beauty, intoxicating depth and intense emotion, the follow-up to “High” is one of the most intriguing records of the year so far. The lyrics are elliptical and fragmented, touching on addiction, identity and eroticism. The track’s mood is druggy, dislocated and tortured – there are frequent metaphoric references to substances and psychedelics – the shape-shifting structure of “High” will capture your attention from top to bottom. Snapshots of elusive love and fleeting lust are scattered throughout – for whom, or for what, is where you need to read between the lines. Born and raised in the San

Midwest Hiphop duo Strangers Of Necessity drop their new single “Abundance”

Strangers Of Necessity are an American hip-hop duo, based in the Midwest, consisting of prolific producer, CoryaYo and veteran lyricist, Fooch the MC. They linked via Twitter and quickly became friends, sparking an immediate chemistry and need to make quality music together; hence the name Strangers Of Necessity. They instantly began recording music and doing shows locally, generating a nice buzz in the area. Their sound is best described as a fresh take on that golden era of hip-hop, blending tasteful jazz and soul samples, crisp snares, boomy kicks on wonky patterns with a soulful delivery, dense schemes and potent

Kilo M.O.E. – ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’ – serves as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism

The Baltimore-based producer, songwriter, rapper, Kilo M.O.E.’s evolution over his past three albums has been inspiring to see. I’ll always admire artists who push themselves creatively, and that’s exactly what, Kilo M.O.E. has done on his fourth studio album, ‘Fly G’z and Palm Treez’, and it pays off in leaps and bounds. Each instrumental is rich and developed, serving as the perfect canvas for the rapper’s elite lyricism. Something that this recording and Kilo M.O.E.’s recent albums have done well is allow him the freedom to rap for the sake of his craft within the confines of the album’s larger

Jim Wyly – “You Took Me” – It’s rhythmically tight, warm and edgy

Texas singer songwriter Jim Wyly is back with another soul-stirring track from his “The Artisan” album. Over 40 years deep into his craft, the Austin troubadour sounds like a home-cooked meal. He deals out comfort food for the head, heart, and soul. All of this serves his finely drawn guitar lines, bourbon-stained-like vocals, and funky acoustic-driven grooves as thick as molasses. A subtle blend of blues, country, folk and southern rock runs right down the middle of “You Took Me”. “Musicians’ musician” is an overused term. Why wouldn’t anyone with two good ears appreciate Jim Wyly? As Jim doesn’t cater

Hanen Release Brand New Video For The Song “Breathe”

It’s never been easier for artists to stay independent. Of course you can get good music producers, good visual directors for videos, good rappers and good singers to feature on your track without a great budget, but you have to search the world over to find deals you can afford, or convince creatives to work with you. Texas born artist, now living in the LA area, Hanen, somehow got it all together on his latest track called “Breathe”. He sings soulfully and raps with an urban edge all by himself, backed by an atmospheric slow-burning, and ear-warming beat made by

Shannon K is a 16 year old singer with pride in her heritage

Shannon K is a 16 year old singer who was born in India and moved to London at the age of 6, but not before initially appearing on stage at just 4. Her father, Kumar Sanu, is one of the most decorated and award winning vocalists in Bollywood history. Shannon has studied music from the Royal School of Music, London. At the age of 6, she had the honor to perform a classical Indian dance, Kathak, that she learned growing up at the Bollywood Awards’ night, US. She released her first solo song in May 2014, as well as a full-length album, “Perpetual”, in 2017. She has since worked with Poo Bear, who has written several songs for Justin Bieber and has also collaborated with A-League producer Kyle Townsend.

  1. When did you start singing and did you have any formal training?

Shannon K: I’ve been into music since what feels like forever but I professionally started singing when I was 12. I received training from the royal music of London while I lived there.

  1. Did you suffer any kind of pressure from your parents or family, or have they been supportive of your endeavors?

Shannon K: My parents are the most supportive people on this planet, they’ve done nothing but lift me up all my life. They’re believers of tough love. They support me and are there for me but want me to work hard and do things on my own so I’d learn to be independent. I don’t feel pressure from them at all. I feel pressured by my dad’s fans who compare to him despite knowing that I don’t sing in the same language, genre, or style as him and that he’s been an artist for longer than my life so it’s a bit upsetting to see someone say that ‘oh your dads a great singer but you’re nothing like him! You should sing like him!’ like yeah I’d love to but I just didn’t grow up in India so I wouldn’t know. Another would be that, there’s super famous artists out there that do things which aren’t so great and I know I can’t do the things they do and people know that to yet I’m still compared to them. People have to understand that I was raised differently, with different values and morals so there’s things that I can’t do and it has nothing to do with religion it’s just my mind set and my beliefs that come from me.

  1. Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?

Shannon K: My dad of course would be the first and strongest musical influence but I grew up listening to artists like Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, and other legendary artists who I could find myself in their music. Now I listen to artists such as all of the mentioned above along with Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and Selena Gomez who I find very inspiring.

  1. What do you feel are the key elements people should be getting out of your music and performances?

Shannon K: I think usually when I perform or when I make music, I strive to be simple yet heart touching so I want people to feel the same emotions I do when I sing my songs or just feel the meaning behind each song that I release.

  1. What do you think separates you from the crowd of young artists and producers emerging right now?

Shannon K: That’s a tough one because obviously there’s artists out there better than me, but I feel like every song of mine is different from the last like there’s variations in melody, production, and lyrics. So I think that would be something that sets me apart.

  1. Tell us something about your songwriting /music producing processes? Who does what?

Shannon K: I write with my sister Annabel, who is a great songwriter, and we just usually pick up different vibrations that surround us. When a producer hops on the project then both my sister and I try to see how we connect and that’s where we find a beginning.

  1. How do you handle criticism and who is your biggest critic?

Shannon K: I’m gonna be honest and say that I am not good with handling criticism. Actually when I was younger and I had just released a song, there were a group of people constantly writing hate comments and sending hateful message to me almost every day and I decided to read them one day. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking but the things they said got to me and I self-harmed. I’d like to add that this story would be one inspiration behind one of my recent works “Give me your hand” which is an Anti-bullying song. So I think I’m better now at handling criticism because I don’t let it get to me. Whenever I see a hateful comment or hear something bad then I just tell myself that there is nothing they can say that will change who I am so I shouldn’t break that. I think the biggest critic in my life is me. I always go back and make notes about things I could’ve done or things I could’ve done better. Which to me is healthy. I think we all should always keep moving forward but also know that we’re the only ones allowed to bring change in our lives.

  1. What would you consider a successful, proud or high point in your career so far?

Shannon K: I think where I am is a big bounce from where I was before so I’d say that my current position would be the highest. But my proudest moment was releasing “give me your hand”. I’m very proud of that because the song itself means a lot to me.

  1. What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your singing, recording or live performances so far?

Shannon K: Well, there’s this one cool story. When I first met Poo Bear, who produced and wrote “A long Time” my single, we talked and he heard my music and he told me to come to the recording studio later that week and so I went there. At first I thought we were going to work on the song but nope! He played the song for me twice and then told me to hop onto the mic and said that he would sing the lines and I would sing them back. So I did and to be very honest I was shaking so hard when I walked up to the mic because I’d never been in a situation like that before but I think it made me stronger in a way so thanks Poo Bear!!

  1. What key ingredients do you always try and infuse into your songs, regardless of style or tempo?

Shannon K: My Indian heritage is visible in my songs, and I like to explore that side. Meaningful lyrics always have to be there. Inspirations taken from my past or from close ones.

  1. What do you feel are you main challenges and goals right now as a sixteen year old female singer?

Shannon K: My main challenges are that I look up to certain artists like Selena Gomez or Beyoncé but the thing is that I don’t get opportunities for me to be in the same category as them. Getting my songs played on a Radio is a challenge for me and sometimes I have to face unnecessary rejection because I’m Indian. I’m told that for certain things they want people of color but not my race and instead the more popular races.

  1. How much free choice do you personally have in the songs you sing or record, the performances you do, and the way you dress and wear make-up?

Shannon K: Being an independent artist right now, I have all the rights to do everything that concerns me. I write what I want, I wear what I feel, and I perform where I want to.

  1. Which aspect of being a singer and indie artist excites you most, and which aspect discourages you most?

Shannon K: What encourages me the most is that as I earlier said, I am free to write what I want and do what I want which means I get to represent me. But what discourages me is that there are closed doors everywhere as I mentioned that my songs don’t get played on the radio as much. People don’t pay much attention to you or consider you important because you’re not signed or with an agency. Also, people keep bringing up age. I’m turned away a lot for my age because I’m “too young”.

  1. What do you think is the best piece of advice anyone has given you about pursuing a career in music so far?

Shannon K: The best advice was given to me by Poo Bear that, “your vocal chords are amazing and you should keep working hard. Your work will get paid off one day. People are not that bad that they would overlook your hard work and talent”.

  1. If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Shannon K: My music is a fusion of young Indian music and pop and there’s meaning to each song.

  1. Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

Shannon K: Social media is important and necessary to reach out to your fans and create an awareness about your music. Sometimes it can be tough when people start being hateful but other than that it’s important.

  1. Tell us something about your latest release and where fans can find it.

Shannon K: My latest release is “Always” written by me and produced by Kyle Townsend. You can check it out on iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube!

  1. What is your relationship with visual media, as far as your music is concerned? Do you think videos are important for your music? Do you have a video you would recommend fans checkout so they can get into what you’re doing?

Shannon K: I think music videos are important because there’s certain things you feel when you make a song that you want your audience to know and so to do that you want to make it easy for them. Visuals only aid that. I’d suggest “A Long Time” and “Give me your hand”, I think they reflect my music a lot.

  1. As a young and upcoming artist, what are your thoughts on talent shows like American Idol, The Voice, or The X Factor, etc.? Is this something you would consider doing?

Shannon K: It’s great that these talent shows exist and it’s easy and fast to get recognition from being a contestant on shows like this but the speed you get famous at and grow popular, you come down just as fast. Right now I don’t have plans to go on talent shows but maybe in the future.

  1. What’s on your ‘must do’ agenda for 2019?

Shannon K: I’m gonna write up a few more emotional songs and try and connect with more people through them. I’ll keep pursuing my goal no matter what.

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