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Welcome to my obsession!

One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain!

– Bob Marley

courtesy of: http://www.youtube.com.

(no actual video playing)

My goal is to introduce you to music that doesn’t fit in your “I only like pop/country/rock etc genre”. There are so many songs & artists to explore that are waiting for you to discover them. I am here to help. Let me be “Your Music Stylist”

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Stay tuned for artist interviews… and catch me on my Instagram @music_stylist for more updates on new music.

I Hear A Symphony

Robert Henry: Live at Tourists courtesy of YouTube

The Westerlies are a dream band for me. The secret is out now about how I would dream about conducting an orchestra in my mind while contributing my parts by playing the clarinet & the drums but alas that was only a dream… but this band has no woodwinds or percussion and is comprised of four brass players: Riley Mulherkar, Chloe Rowlands, Andy Clausen and Willem de Koch. This October, I got to speak with them about their music.

L to R: Chloe Rowlands, Riley Mulherkar, Willem de Koch, Andy Clausen

Q: When did the band start performing together as The Westerlies? And where did you come up with the band name?

A: All four of the original members grew up in Seattle, so we’ve known each other since childhood. We then moved to NYC one after the other for college, and formed the band out there. The name comes from the prevailing winds that blow from west to east.

Q: The band has played with some notable contemporary artists including Fleet Foxes and Common. If you were to choose a “dream artist” you could perform with, who would you choose?

A: We always love engaging in new collaborative projects with musicians from across the musical spectrum, so it’s tough to choose one “dream artist”! I’m sure each band member would give you a different answer but we’re all big time Beyoncé fans. If she called, we’d be there!

Q: In March of this year, you released the album, Songbook, Vol 2. Does one person compose the music, both trumpet & trombone parts? How long does it take to put an album like this together?

A: We all compose for the group, but our rehearsal process is very democratic, so often an individual will bring in a piece, and then it’ll go through a few rounds of revision based on feedback from the other band members. Since the pandemic we’ve all been honing our recording skills and producing more of our own recordings, so it’s getting easier and easier to put a body of music together and then get it “on wax”. For a shorter EP like Songbook, Vol 2., we were in the studio for about two days. Longer full-length albums generally require a week of studio time (and that’s not counting all of the hours and hours of rehearsal that happen before we go into the studio).

Times Square, NYC

Q: You just performed a show in Times Square with Carnegie Hall. What was the experience like? That must have been surreal.

A: It was totally surreal. It was actually quite difficult to stay focused on the performance with so many people, sounds, lights, billboards and other distractions around. But it was also very cool to hear our sounds reverberating off the skyscrapers around us.

The Westerlies performing with Haley Heynderickx

Q: The band also just wrapped up a 6 date tour with Haley Heynderickx. She has a great loyal fan base…what did you most enjoy and learn from being on tour with her?

A: Haley is one of our dear friends and one of our musical heroes. It’s a great pleasure to make music with her because her songs have lots of intricate, creative harmonic movement and rhythmic content – – there’s lot to chew on – – but they’re also incredibly catchy and playful. She strikes this amazing balance. Haley’s also very open-minded, so she gave us lots of room to try out different ideas and put our own creative voice into the music.

Illegal Son, Racer Sessions – courtesy of YouTube

Q: I want to mention Denzel Mendoza, fellow trombone player, aka Illegal Son. His story is one of thousands of people across the US right now.. how impressed were you with his passion and creativity for his music & himself as a person?

A: Denzel is one of the most courageous artists we know. He brings incredible passion and energy to every performance he gives, so it was pretty mind blowing to see him do it night after night on tour – – I can only imagine how emotionally exhausting it is for him to go to a place of such catharsis and deep-feeling every night. We have the utmost love and respect for Denzel – – he lands an important voice to the undocumented immigrant experience.

Dublin, Ireland

Q: The band had a 13 date tour over in Europe, did you get to do any sightseeing while you were there? Anything crossed off anyone’s bucket lists?

A: Lots of good sightseeing! The food in Paris was amazing. Amsterdam was incredible. One of the best parts was getting the opportunity to play in so many historic theaters. The whole tour was a privilege, to say the least.

Q: When the band isn’t performing, what type of things do you all do to stay stress free?

A: We have all different interests and hobbies. For some of us, it’s reading, for some it’s cooking, for some of us, it’s playing video games. We all try to get exercise and stay active in various ways.

Q: Will we be seeing some new music headed our way anytime soon?

A: Most definitely! We have several recording projects “ in the can” so to speak – – it’s just a matter of getting the release timing right. Keep your eyes peeled for new releases coming this December and Spring 2023.

Q: Where can fans find your music/merch?

A: https://www.westerliesmusic.com/! The best way to support artists is to buy their music on Bandcamp.

Thank you Willem for answering the questions for the band. I have a feeling we will be seeing more of the band on national stages and events in the very near future.

The Westerlies have released their first ever live album recorded at The Tourists in North Adams, MA. Their first two singles off the album have been released, Saro and Robert Henry. Please make sure to listen to this amazing group of musicians, you will be moved. (If not, you may not be human)

I’m on the lookout for bands/artistswho will be featured next?

Until then…. I’m Your Music Stylist.

The Whole Wide World Is His Stage

Nordista Freeze performs “Fight Song” at the Come Together 2021 – CRC Nashville Benefit courtesy of YouTube

Nordista Freeze is unlike any artist you’ve probably seen or heard before. His unique style of dynamic high stage performances, some might think that you are attending a live theater show, it’s an “anything goes” type of atmosphere. I was lucky enough to catch up with him, here’s what he had to say about his music.

Q: When many people hear, “our band is from Nashville”, they immediately assume its country or folk…However, you have that sound that exudes a fun indie pop psych rock niche. Your vocals sound so different on every song, which to me, just shows what a talented performer you are. When did you decide on wanting to do this for a living? Have you always wanted to be in a band? When did you get that itch?

Nordista: I’ve known my whole life that I’m an artist. I like music the most but I like other stuff too! You’ll see!!

Q: You are the ultimate roadie! You have quite a milestone under your belt as you just completed your 700th show in a span of 6 yrs. ..that’s pretty much 3 shows a week. What creative ways did you find to perform in 2020 when basically everything was at a COVID standstill? Are there any clubs in particular that you favor? Fave club on the road & in Nashville?

Nordista: Thank you! COVID was brutal. Nothing can replace live music. I tried everything but there is no solution. There are lots of great clubs across the country. I’ll make a list of my favorites if you like! My favorite venue in Nashville is The Ryman truly. I look forward to taking that stage when the time is right.

Q: You wrote, “Big Sky Pipe Dream” and released the album in ‘21…and I have to say it’s one of the best albums front to back I have heard in a very long time.. Tell us the process that you went through putting this album together and finally getting it released.

Nordista: Thank you Linda! That means so much to me! I got super into The Beach Boys, NRBQ and merseybeat. I found less is more. Linda, have you heard Jan & Dean’s version of, “Linda”? It’s great!!! Anyway, we tracked it mostly to tape by Johnny Hopson and Bryce DuBray of Future Crib. It’s a return to harmony too. I love voices.

Q: Sometimes I ask bands to play This or That… so 5 questions, you pick one..

  • David Bowie or David Byrne
  • Crowd Surfing or Ocean Surfing
  • Real Name or Stage Name
  • House Show or Club Show
  • East Coast or West Coast

Nordista: 1) Never listened to either 2) Ocean surfing sounds fun 3) the whole wide world is your stage 4) arena show 5) east coast because of the Carolinas

Nordista Freeze on Lightning 100‘s Music City Mayhem 2021

Q: Nashville radio station Lightning 100 Music City Mayhem has a contest showcasing new musical talent & you won in 2021. How has this helped your career and recognition among your Nashville peers and beyond?

Nordista: Lightning 100 rules and playing Live On The Green was my dream come true.

Clockwise L – R: Bob Dylan, Nordista Freeze and Tom Petty

Q: You’ve been called the “cosmic Tom Petty” by fellow Nashville artists.,, How do you interpret that?

Nordista: I had never heard Tom Petty at the time. I think I see myself more as 70’s Bob Dylan.

Jam in the Van set – Nordista Freeze courtesy of YouTube

Q: The band recently recorded a set on Jam in the Van series where you can find here on their website or YouTube. What was that experience like? Some great bands have performed in that van.

Nordista: It was an honor to record where Oberhofer once recorded, and a Nick Jester came out, who runs my favorite Instagram (@nickjester)

Q: Who are some artists that you look up to and who are some you’d love to share a stage with or go on tour with?

Nordista: I would like to open for ABBA’s CGI tour.

Q: Where can fans find your merch and stream your music?

Nordista: everywhere 😀 thank you for a great interview!!!

Please check out Nordista Freeze on all platforms where music can be streamed. Nordista Freeze is still on tour.. you can catch them at the Radio Room in Greenville, SC on 10/30 and Nordista Freeze Space Prom in Nashville on 12/2. Get tix at the links above.

Next up, I have interviews from The Westerlies, 12 Parsecs Band and many more.

Until Then, I’m Your Music Stylist.

How Sweet It Is – Ode to Freedom

Pirate Radio – Sweet Lizzy Project courtesy of YouTube

Sweet Lizzy Project has quickly risen in popularity by opening for legendary acts such as Heart & Joan Jett. Electrifying vocalist, Lisset Diaz, producer and lead guitarist Miguel Comas, keyboardist Wilfredo Gatell, drummer Angel Millet and bassist Alejandro Gonzalez round out the band. The band is currently on a 15 date tour up and down the East Coast & as far as Texas. Their new album dropped on October 7th, Pirate Radio/Radio Pirata and I recently spoke with Lisset about their new album and journey on how they go there.

Q: Now that you have started the tour, what can fans expect to hear from the band, in terms of song selection, from you during the tour?

Lisset: We can’t be more excited to finally go on tour with the new record out. Technicolor, (our previous record), release and tour got frustrated due to the pandemic in the beginning of 2020, so we are now taking all that excitement with us on tour. We are gonna be playing all of the new songs from the new album Pirate Radio and we will include some of the old songs, as well as some covers that we love.

Pirate Radio & Radio Pirata albums

Q: You’ve released 2 albums, Pirate Radio (English) and Radio Pirata (Spanish). It’s not often a rock album is released in two languages at the same time. How proud are you to finally release this album? What does it mean to you and your band?

Lisset: Extremely hard, indeed. There was a lot of “first times” for this album. Even though Spanish is my first language, I’ve always written mainly in English, so writing a full album in Spanish was definitely a challenge for me. Also, the inspiration for this album was quite peculiar. For the first time, I was not talking about a personal love story or life in general. We wanted a concept album inspired by the story and the suffering of our country Cuba that has been under dictatorship for over 60 years. So, for the first time, I wanted to make the message clear and understandable as possible, especially for our Cuban people. This is why we decided to make the album in Spanish as well. However, we also wanted the songs to resonate with everyone, even if they had no idea about Cuba or its history. In terms of song writing, most of the songs were written in English first and then kind of translated into Spanish. This was by far, the hardest task, I’ve ever faced as an artist. During the process of writing a song, I repeat the same melody and the same words over and over again, make changes, find better words etc. until the song sounds perfect to me. To write these songs in Spanish was like forgetting everything I was already happy with and starting all over again. New sounds, rhymes, metrics…everything was different. Things would sound really cool in English were just tacky in Spanish and vice versa. It was a lot of work and quite stressful at times but we can’t be happier or prouder of the final product. The album is something of our own from start to finish, from the conception of the songs and recording them, to mixing and mastering. We did it all ourselves in workshop that we turned into a studio. The themes and emotions are relatable to anyone who has ever been in love, sacred, angry, sad or inspired to change their worlds. Realizing this album is not only our contribution to a cause that we consider fair and necessary which is the freedom of our homeland but it’s also a way to unburden ourselves by putting into songs the personal thoughts that we were never allowed to say them out loud.

Q: The band is based out of Nashville but originally emigrated here from Cuba in 2017. In the early years in your country, Cuban radio had banned anyone perceived to be anti-Castro to have their music played on the airwaves…some of those artists included Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan…this ban was finally lifted in 2012.. When you were performing music there, did you find it difficult to not being able to create a type of record that was true to the band, talk openly about issues that were personal to you? And how does this new record compare to being able to speak freely with no repercussions?

Lisset: There’s a lot you don’t think about when you are in Cuba.. Most of us were born and raised in a country without internet, no chance to travel outside the country, with the official press being the main, if not the only, source of information and the fact that you are not supposed to talk (or even think) about certain things is public knowledge. It takes you a minute to realize that things are wrong and that everything they have been telling you is a lie. And even when you notice that something is off, again, you can’t talk about it cause you can get in trouble. Instead, you keep moving forward as best as you can until you get the opportunity to change things in your life. In my case in particular, I don’t come from a music background. I was at school during my childhood and teenage years, studying to become a scientist. I studied Biochemistry for three years. When I was 15, my mom gave me a guitar that a family member brought from Spain and I learned how to play. I also enjoyed singing as a hobby. It was not until my fourth year at the University when I started writing songs and thought it would be cool to record them just to have them for myself. That’s how I met Miguel Comas, who was a full time musician and producer, and together we recorded a first album with his songs and my songs and put a band together to be able to perform that album. The songs were mostly about love, past relationships and life in general. We were not writing about political stuff, just because our heads were not there. Then the problems started..putting a band together in Cuba and starting performing is not remotely as easy as it is here. All the music venues were somehow connected to the government and for an artist to be able to perform live, you have to go through an audition to get into some sort of management agency (also controlled by the government) that basically allow you to work. You can’t do this independently, it is illegal. It didn’t matter that I was not talking about politics. My songs were written in English and the music genre was not traditional Cuban music. It had a clear foreign influence and they didn’t feel that. There was a lot of red tape involved and the band was banned for a while. In 2017, we got a record deal to come to Nashville and record our second album, Technicolor. That’s when we left Cuba but even while working on this album, I didn’t feel the need to talk about political issues. I was not even thinking about it. My mind was not ready yet. Freedom doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process and it’s different for everyone. November was a very unsettling month for us. The dissident San Isidro Movement had started a hunger strike in Havana as a protest against the Cuban regime’s oppression. I had never seen anything like that. I wasn’t even aware of the existence of such a consolidated dissident group on the island. It was very touching and enlightening for me to realize that there were brave Cubans on the island fighting for basic rights. On top of that, one of the protestors had been my Immunology professor when I studied Biochemistry at the University of Havana. This made it even more personal for me. In that context, I remember when Miguel first talked about a new album, “Pirate Radio”. He came up with the perfect way of putting our next project where our hearts and our minds were at the moment. We wouldn’t only be voicing our solidarity but it would be a way to unburden ourselves by putting into songs the personal thoughts that we never never allowed to say out loud. We turned our house into a recording studio (one of the perks about having the entire band living together) and for the next nine months, the idea and the story of “Pirate Radio”, were my first thought when i woke up in the morning and the last one before I went to bed. That’s how “Pirate Radio” was born, a concept album that describes the story of a fictional character living in Cuba in the 70’s, when foreign music genres such as Rock and Roll were banned by the communist government. Admirers of these unauthorized forms of music created illegal antennas to secretly tune in to radio stations from different parts of the world, which made it possible for them to listen to bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Elvis Presley. If caught at this activity, these music lovers were socially marginalized because they did not conform to the oppressive expectations of the recently triumphant Cuban Revolution. Frequently, they suffered arbitrary arrests, abuse and imprisonment, which ultimately forced thousands of Cubans to emigrate, legally or illegally, from the country. Many of these immigrants never reached the shore in the United States, but instead tragically lost their lives in the deep waters of the Straits of Florida. Pirate Radio is our tribute to this generation of Cubans with whose we are United by respect and love for music. It is an ode to freedom of expression and thought. It is an anthem to those who dream of change and struggle against oppression. It is our cry for, and commitment to, the end of fear, censorship and silence.

Official Trailer for the PBS documentary, Havana Time Machine
courtesy of YouTube

Q: How did your life change after being featured in the PBS documentary, Havana Time Machine?

Lisset: Because of the documentary, we met Raul Malo of The Mavericks, who back then was starting a record label, MonoMundo Recordings. Because of Raul Malo’s Cuban roots and the fact that he loved the music we had already recorded in Cuba under such difficult conditions, he offered us the opportunity to come to Nashville to write and record the next two albums of the band. Our lives changed 360 degrees. It was a huge change professionally and personally. Very challenging. As much as we were enjoying our time at a nice studio recording new music, our tour all over the US and the experience of in a country with resources and infinite opportunities, it was hard to start from zero, far away from our friends, family and everything we knew. Different language, different culture, different life. We have learned so much and we are so grateful.

Q: So the band released a new single this month, “Shake The Walls”. Give us some insight on what this song is about. (Since this interviews, the band has released the single, “Slip Away”)

Lisset: Since “Pirate Radio” is a concept album, we wanted all songs to be connected and kind of telling a story from beginning to end. For the purpose of writing the songs, I created a fictional main character. He is a 17 yr old boy born and raised in Cuba, who wants to put a band together and play rock and roll like the bands he secretly listens to on the pirate radio. His ideas take him to start fighting against the censorship till the point that he has to escape the country to avoid fatal repercussions. “Shake The Walls” is the very last song on the album and completes it with a message of hope and a rallying call to speak out “loud and proud” in the fight for freedom. This song expresses our desire that in the future Cubans will be free, and those who sought freedom all around the world will be able to return to our home country.

SQS Vol 1 album – Sweet Lizzy Project

Q: I love the album of covers released last year, SQS Vol 1, it’s quite a mix of genres. How did you choose the songs for the album? Has Brandi Carlisle heard your cover of The Joke? Will there be a Vol 2?

Lisset: During the pandemic, we started a series of shows at home that we called Sweet Quarantine Sessions. It would go live on Facebook and YouTube from our living room. It was the way we found to entertain our fans during such hard times and also to entertain ourselves. We played a show every night for months and then every weekend for almost a year. We played our songs of course but needed more and more songs to be able to have a different show every night. We learned over 300 songs over the 80 something shows we played. At some point, we were waking up in the morning and spend the day rehearsing learning 5 or 6 new songs to play that same night. Each show was different. We did theme nights like, the 80’s, 70’s, 90’s, acoustic night, British night, classics, jazzy, Latin night….So many!!! It’s all on YouTube (Best of Week 1). At the end of the pandemic, we chose the songs we liked the most from our performances and put them on an album so the fans could have something to remember our nights together during the pandemic. I don’t think Brandi has heard our version hahaha. We had plenty of material to make Vol 2, 3, 4.. but then we started working on the new album and that consumed all our time and energy.

Q: Tell your fans how they can support local record stores and how to purchase your latest album,.

Lisset: The physical product, vinyl and CD, can be purchased directly on our website, Sweet Lizzy Project Merch, on Amazon or at a local record store. And of course, we will have them with us on tour.

All New Rock Playlist on Spotify

Q: Where else can fans find your music online? Where can they buy your merch?

Lisset: everything can be found at https://www.sweetlizzyproject.com

Thank you Lisset and The Sweet Lizzy Project. I really don’t know much about Cuban history except what we read in the media and to hear about the oppression first hand is eye opening. We shouldn’t take our freedoms in the US here for granted.

I have a couple of interviews in a few weeks from Nordista Freeze and The Westerlies… working on some others so stay tuned.

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.

Here come The Foxies!!

I Don’t Wanna Want It – The Foxies (Courtesy of YouTube)

On September 23, The Foxies will release their much anticipated debut album, “Who Are You Now, Who Were You Then”. This pop punk trio from Nashville is ready to show music fans what makes them one of the most exciting energetic bands on the rise.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the band to answer some burning questions I had for them… so here are The Foxies..

L – R: Jake Ohlbaum, Julia Lauren Bullock and Rob Bodley

Q: What I find most interesting about several of your new songs on the album that in a way, it’s somewhat of an unconventional love album….several songs mention relationships or wanting to be with someone. Am I wrong? How would you best describe what the concept of the new album is?

Julia: You are very right! This album is lyrically painting the picture how I dealt with my relationship with a certain human, and how I dealt with the relationship with myself. Listening to the album from top to bottom is a rollercoaster, because that is what goes on in my head constantly when I am romantically involved with someone. But more importantly, this album is a journey of growth and acceptance.

credits for the song Overrated.

Q: Does everyone get in on the writing process… Julia, Jake and Rob? Do you all write lyrics and then kind of work the process putting the album altogether?

Jake: Our process has been really fluid over the years, but these days, the writing starts with Julia and me. We usually have a co-writer or two we enjoy working with, and the song gets pretty fully written and demoed from there. After that, we bring our favorite songs to the band and everyone picks their favorites before we go into the studio to record drums, vocals etc. Every song is different, but generally that’s the sequence of events.

The Foxies

Q: Now there has been 4 singles released so far. 1) Overrated 2) Headsweat 3) If Life Were A Movie and 4) I Don’t Wanna Want It Give is a breakdown of the story behind each song.

Julia: Overrated is a point-the-finger track to myself. I get so caught up in social media and trying to be on everyone’s radar, that creating becomes exhausting. I have to keep myself in check and remember why I do what I do. It’s easy to get lost and to lose yourself in this industry. Headsweat is a tune about sexual frustration. Wanting someone so badly that you’d cross the ocean for them. If Life Were A Movie is the realization track that the person you were so excited about, was really just in your head and their true being is not what you made them out to be. It’s a mean track for sure haha but it is about turning the tables and gaining control over heartbreak. I Don’t Wanna Want It is an honest track about falling back into the cycle of vices. You know someone or something isn’t good for you, and you hate that you want it, but deep down inside…you crave it.

Q: I Don’t Wanna Want It is such a great tune…and you just released the video… how fun was it to work on this? Was it a crazy fun experience?

Rob: I really love working on all of our videos, Julia has such a creative visual mind, and it’s always fun to see it all come to life. Plus our boy Ryan Sheeby is amazing!!!

Overrated – The Foxies (courtesy of YouTube)

Q: Let me congratulate you on the debut album… I love how I felt like I was listening to a soundtrack to a TV series or film….definitely music that one can easily relate to whether it’s about relationships, social media overkill or a state of mind…. Have you ever thought about if your songs were to be used on a TV soundtrack, what shows could you envision them on?

Rob: Well, I’d have to say, I would love for it to be on my favorite shows but they are long since over. As far as shows or movies, I wish or hope some day to be an opening song for a 007 movie. That would be epic!!!!

Nashville

Q: Let’s talk about the Nashville scene…being from such a musical city full of tremendously talented artists around every corner, how would you compare your sound as being unique compared to other pop punk bands from the area? What makes your band stand out?

Jake: We’re so lucky to have come from here. I think we are able to stand out right away in Nashville because our hybrid of punk music and dance music, specifically, wasn’t something you could find anywhere else. I think because we stood out right away, we’ve never had to fight for the validation that what we are doing is original, which I think for a new band is really lucky. I’m not entirely sure these days what makes us stand out, but we keep doing our thing and Nashville has really embraced it the whole time.

Green Day & Gwen Stefani

Q: I can definitely hear a Gwen Stefani/No Doubt influence in your sound. Who are some bands that you would say that have influenced you music through the years?

Julia: No Doubt has definitely helped me find my voice. But I would say that Green Day was the most pivotal band for me. I first saw them when I was ten on their “American Idiot” tour and then everything clicked for me. I thought to myself, “If he can play his music for millions people, then I can too.”

Q: The album’s release date, 9/23, happens to be the first date of your European tour supporting Billy Idol (this makes me so happy for you guys – love him so much)… What was your reaction to hearing you’d be supporting a legendary alternative 80’s icon?

Julia: Awe thank you! I’m happy too! It’s a total dream to support this legend. We got this opportunity to play a few shows with him last summer and it was such an amazing time. We honestly had no idea we would be getting a call offering us to support him in the EU but we are so grateful that we do. Him and his whole team are wonderful people.

picture courtesy of gagadaily.com

Q: What are your plans in October after coming back from Europe? Is there going to be a US club tour scheduled? Hopefully make it to the RI area??

Rob: Yes! I lived in Boston for almost 5 years so we need to get our butts to New England ASAP!!! We’ll do a little bit in the US this fall but 2023 will be when we really hit the road hard. Hope to get to Rhode Island and see you guys out there!!

Q: Where can fans find your music? Where can they purchase your merch?

Rob: Our music can be found on whatever streaming platform you prefer. As far as merch, we have an online store on our website, http://www.TheFoxiesBand.com

You can also find The Foxies on IG @thefoxies

Thanks so much to the band for taking the time to speak with me. I’m telling you guys, this band is going to blow up real quick so get ahead of the game and start listening now!! You can say, you listened to them when…

If you or your band would like an interview, send me an email at mewzickkismylife@gmail.com. Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist!!

Chromatica Ball: A Fan’s Perspective

Fenway Park

Let me start off by saying, I have been waiting for this concert for two loooong years. Damn to COVID because it was originally supposed to be in 2020 & pushed back till now, August 19, 2022. I have been to Fenway Park many many times as I am a diehard Red Sox fan, the last though being in 2018 for their World Series Victory Parade. This was different, it was an “OMG, I can’t believe this is finally here” moment and boy did it not disappoint. So I am going to take you through to what I experienced last night.. PAWS UP EVERYONE, you ready?

Chromatica Ball pre show set

After we arrived in Boston, we decided to make our way down to where our restaurant reservation was, which happened to be part of The Verb Hotel, a cute spot called Hojoko, on Boylston Street, literally right in back of Fenway. They serve Japanese street food in small plates style w/ delicious cocktails. I tried some Izeko Sparking Jelly Sake, which I would highly recommend.. luckily our table was outside… yes it was extremely hot however Lady Gaga was having her sound check during this time. I actually thought it was just them playing her Chromatica record, she sounded that good.

Prelude: Opening Sequence

We were in our seats over an hour till the lights went off and everyone went bananas. This isn’t a full video but it gives you an idea of kind of the several videos that were played before each segment of her show. I interpreted this as an arrival of this creature landing on Chromatica (almost like a rebirth)

This started approximately around 8:20pm… felt like a lifetime, but finally had arrived. It was dark and all of a sudden LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!

Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

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Bad Romance – Lady Gaga

Let me say, I recorded most of my video from the big screen because although our seats were very good, my camera just wasn’t good enough (IPhone 12 Pro).. and also should say her dancers worked hard AF… they were beyond awesome & I wish I knew their names bc I would list them all, they were that good..

Poker Face – Lady Gaga

She literally banged out 3 of her mega hits right in a row without stopping, Bad Romance, Just Dance and Poker Face…. I didn’t sit down once the entire concert and danced, jumped up and down, swinging my arms like a maniac doing my best Little Monster Paws Up claw, knowing I was getting one of the best workouts of my life tonight.

Interesting fact about Poker Face that I just learned within the last 2 days… the lyrics are: P P P Poker Face, F F Fuck her Face.. I just had been singing, Poker Face probably like everyone else. 😳

Another interlude that made feel like I was witnessing some sort of secret experiment that we were allowed in on then we finally arrived at ACT I

Electronic Brain scans montage
Alice – Lady Gaga

Finally, we would see the first of many songs off her Chromatica album…. If you bought a ticket to this concert, you received a free Chromatica CD with your purchase.. I somehow ended up with 2 sets of tix, 2 yrs ago so I had gotten 2 of these albums, never opening them until recently because I had been listening through Spotify… she began with one of my favorites, ALICE.

Replay was up next and didn’t disappoint.. Lady Gaga’s favorite phrase of the night was, “Put your fucking hands up Boston!”…. I think mainly to show off these cool armbands they gave everyone as you entered the park. They lit up to the beat of the music and in the dark they looked awesome.

Monster was the final song of Act I & for the casual fans of LG, they might not know this song that well but for Little Monsters, this song was epic… not often played but certainly a favorite among dedicated Gaga fans.

Monster – Lady Gaga

And so the next video begins…up close of flowers blooming and opening, more like a viscerally charged feeling of an awakening is how to best describe it. I felt like I was on some sort of acid or mushroom trip (not having taken either but how I imagined it would be) feeling very aware of everything around me.

911 – Lady Gaga

ACT II started with one my favorite songs released from Chromatica in 911. If you’ve haven’t seen the music video for this gem, check it out. It’s actually very disturbing to me & sort of makes me uncomfortable watching it but aesthetically, it’s worth the watch. It’s actually more of a short film because of its length. For more in depth reading on this video, you can read the Vogue article here.

She then went into a shortened version of Sour Candy…she basically started in the middle when her part comes in…she actually doesn’t sing a ton in this song anyway since it features the South Korean group, Black Pink, and they sing much of the song. The video screens kept flashing the words, Sour Candy & Take a Bite… and then some Korean word that I only assume said, Sour Candy….

Out of all of LG’s songs, Telephone, is probably the least favorite of mine. It’s definitely a banger & fun to dance to but just one that doesn’t give me the feels (sorry to all who love this song). But here’s a clip, for those of you that do love it.

Telephone – Lady Gaga

Gaga’s The Fame album was released on this day, August 19, 2008 & one of the most iconic songs was LoveGame. The lyrics, “Let’s have some this beat is sick, I want to take a ride on your disco stick” leaves nothing to the imagination & most people can figure out the reference. This song was her 3rd Number one single on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart.

LoveGame – Lady Gaga

As the second act ended, it was time to feature the guitar players doing their hard work on stage.. Ricky Tillo, Jonny Good and Tim Stewart can be seen here, jamming like they always do and have been for Gaga on her tours.

ACT III – The Birth of Freedom

This outfit is iconic… my favorite wardrobe outfit of the night.. this is where Babylon starts… it’s like the golden Alien Princess Queen has arrived…. Love this!!!

Free Woman – Lady Gaga

Chromatica has so many great tracks on the album, it’s so hard to choose, which is my favorite, but Free Woman is definitely right up there. By this time, I was bouncing up and down, my hips were aching.. I didn’t even care if I couldn’t walk the next day (I could) but you would’ve had to drag me out of there kicking & screaming before I took a break to sit down. During this song, Gaga made her way down the middle of the aisles through the crowd surrounded by her bodyguard and dancers, so no one could even reach out & dare touch her. She had now made her way to a smaller stage with just a piano (a piano that looked like a something out of a space aged horror story).

Dancers living their best life

I’m not honestly sure how LG got to this stage for her costume change.. but her dancers were doing their thing at the end of Free Woman so she could make her way for her next few songs at the piano..

And there she appears, I’ll just say, probably from a lift in the hole of the stage.. again, I will apologize for the feed as many people were taking videos and dancing so my shots aren’t as smooth as I’d like them to be.

Born This Way is probably my favorite song of hers. The message this song has for so many people whether you feel like an outcast, don’t think you fit in or just don’t feel comfortable with who you are.. these lyrics are especially,


I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself, and you’re set
I’m on the right track, baby
I was born this way, yeah

Lady Gaga – Born This Way lyrics

This song resonates very closely with the LGBTQ community but it also rings true for others as well. Love Yourself cuz you were Born This Way baby!

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

And then we were on to ACT IV….this concert was going by too quick, I really wanted for her to slow down the pace & just my luck, this is where her 2 slow songs began.

First song of ACT IV was Shallow

This set started off with 2 of her hit songs from her film with Bradley Cooper, Born This Way. Shallow (featured above) and Always Remember Us This Way… her vocal ability really shines through on this one… you know she’s a good singer but here is a song where you listen and think, Wait…she’s an amazing singer.. just a beautiful song.

Edge of Glory was next acoustically on the piano..this is a great song as well but of course this video is too long so I am unable to upload. This is where Lady Gaga took the time to address the issues of what is happening to the rights of women in this country..

Lady Gaga addresses the Fenway crowd on women’s rights to have children or not to have them..

1000 Doves was another song she played acoustically, which apparently she told a story of how she wrote this on her porch and would sit out there all day writing songs… originally this song she intended on being acoustic.

Lady Gaga on the B stage performing 1000 Doves (her piano was on fire)
Fun Tonight – Lady Gaga

At this point, I truly realized that my legs need a lot more toning as I could feel my hips aching just a bit only to get worse with still about 4 songs left to go. Just another great dance song off of Chromatica.. I love watching the shots of the crowd dancing and singing.

Enigma – Lady Gaga

Can you believe it? The show is almost over. I had studied the set list for over a month so I knew the order of songs and when it was going to be towards the end of the show.. right before the Finale, this video was played.. I do not have the entire video.

Finale

The first single off Chromatica was Stupid Love way back in 2020. It seems light years away but Stupid Love is everything we needed in that terrible year and when it came out I remember smiling and laughing at all the parody videos that had begun to emerge. Good times…

Stupid Love – Lady Gaga

The end of Stupid Love….just waiting for next one…

Of all the songs off of Chromatica, none had me singing it everyday in my office as this one did.. Rain on Me is a duet with Ariana Grande & if I had to name any songs of hers, I would say this one and another duet with another fave of mine, Mika. Other than these two songs, I know almost nothing of her music or her…except for personal stories splashed about in the news that I could care less about. But I do care about this song, in fact I LOVE this song. The only thing I find fault in is that it is too short.

And so we arrive at the ENCORE and the very last song was Hold My Hand from the Top Gun 2 Soundtrack… before I forget, the flames that shot up on the stage were so hot and I was sitting at least 50 rows back.. WARNING to those who are sitting close may or may not have eyebrows after the show.

Hold My Hand – Lady Gaga

During this song, Lady Gaga told a story of how the last time she was at Fenway Park in 2017, during her Joanne tour, that the Boston crowd helped her through the show and she wanted to thank them for it. She said, “She’d always be there to hold their hand.” Awwwwww.

So this long 2 year wait is suddenly over and now I feel like there is this void in me wanting more Gaga and her music. I truly believe that Lady Gaga is that special type of person who can always make you feel better about yourself whether it’s through her lyrics, music, spoken words or kind gestures. Her positive outlook on life even when she herself is in pain just goes to show what a strong person she is. We need more Lady Gaga’s in our lives. And always remember, PAWS UP!

And don’t forget to buy some merch… here’s my new Be Free tshirt

Chromatica Tour

This is long I know…but I wanted to really review from beginning to end. More interviews to come in September..

Until then I’m Your Music Stylist…..

Cosmic Girl

Givin’ it Up – Pearl Charles courtesy of YouTube

One day I was listening to playlists compiled for me by Spotify as I was at work and I thought to myself, “I’ve never heard this ABBA song before”… the reason was because it wasn’t ABBA, it was this artist Pearl Charles. So you know I had to reach out and ask for an interview..

Q: I guess I would categorize your music as “everything under the kitchen sink” type of genre. It’s literally a mesh of indie, pop, disco, Americana, alt-country…. If I were a record store owner, what section would I file your album under? How would you personally define your sound?

A: That is a really great question and definitely a tough one to answer! People often ask me how I would describe my own music and I just answer by saying “70’s inspired” because I feel like that covers a HUGE variety of different styles, obviously haha, but implies that it’s very much based in classic songwriting and the use of real instruments. Like you said, my music does sort of dip into a lot of different genres and mixes them together, but at the core, both sonically and stylistically in the writing, there is a through line of sounds that were really developed and honed in the 1970’s. Of course, at the same time, I am an artist living and working in 2022, so while work is very inspired in the past, I still want to make it feel current and relevant to both my audience and myself and I don’t think “70’s inspired” is a section in the record stores which is why i think I can be really hard to define.

Pearl Charles
📸 Angela Izzo – @izzoimages

Q: What is your go to instrument? Are you more of a piano or guitar person? Do you write songs for the piano and then convert to guitar?

A: Though I’ve spent far more of my professional music life on guitar, my first instrument was piano and lately, I’ve really been drawn back to it. Honestly, these days I often write initially without an instrument at all with more of a focus on the melody and lyrics, and then I turn my attention to the chords and instrumentation after, but I have started many songs on both piano and guitar and then gone on to convert them to one or the other depending on the final arrangement we decide on in the recording and then how we want to present that in a live setting.

Deja Vu (audio) – Pearl Charles courtesy of YouTube

Q: Name a song written by you that best describes the place you are in your life right now….then explain the meaning of the song you chose.

A: Although my initial instinct was to talk about my latest single, Givin’ It Up, because it definitely accurately describes a certain place that I am in the moment in terms of my romantic/personal life, I actually think I would have to say Deja Vu, which was the single released prior to Givin’ It Up and the first single since Magic Mirror. Deja Vu is a song about not wanting to constantly repeat the same steps, and missteps, in your life over and over, hoping to change direction in some way that will unlock that next level, all the while trying not to lose hope when things don’t turn out the way you expect them to. I feel like I am in a place in my life where I am hoping to take a big leap into another level and I can’t say with 100% certainty I know exactly how to get there just yet, and there have certainly been many challenges, but I am trying to maintain a positive outlook and try new things in order to grow through it and reach new heights!

📸 Cherokee Presley
https://www.cherokeepresley.com/

Q: Your parents made you go to college instead of your desire to become a musician after high school. Was that the best piece of advice they gave you or do you feel your life would be on a very different path right now?

A: I went to college for music, so I don’t think there was really any other path for me, I just think I would have gone into being a working musician earlier. I was still able to make touring work with both of my college bands, so I was luckily able to find a balance and I did end up learning a lot from music school and making many professional and personal connections.

Magic Mirror album, released January 15, 2021

Q: In 2021, you released the album, “Magic Mirror”, a few of the singles reminded me of 2 of the most iconic bands of the 70’s. Only For Tonight, sounds so much like ABBA, it’s chilling and then “All The Way” and “Don’t Feel Like Myself” was like listening to The Carpenters with the their melodious sounds but the lyrics on “Don’t Feel Like Myself” are anything but. “Some days, you wake up, walking on the wrong side, a face in the mirror, your reflection won’t look you in the eye”. Are you creating a new version of yourself? What were you feeling at the time you wrote this song?

A: The lyric you quoted is actually about not being able to look at yourself because you’re not proud of who you are in that moment, rather than trying to create a new version of yourself, but that song sat for a really long time and I didn’t know how to finish it, because I hadn’t yet embraced my truest identity. Don’t Feel Like Myself is about taking psychedelics to really turn inward, find out who you are and accept that person lovingly, which is in a way creating a new version of yourself, but from my perspective, it’s actually the most authentic version, rather than something “manufactured”. If you listen more closely to the lyrics of Only For Tonight, you’ll hear that there is actually a bit of darkness lurking below the surface of all the glitter and shine of that one too 😉

Pearl Charles w/partner & musician Michael Rault

Michael’s latest single, “Exactly What I Needed” can be found here:
Exactly What I Needed. 📸 @featherfever on IG

Q: Your latest single, “Givin’ It Up”, released this January is reminiscent of a perfect easy going 70’s groove… Love song, I assume? You wrote this with your partner Michael Rault (also a talented musician)… has your relationship helped your creativity in terms of writing songs from different perspectives? Will you and Michael be doing more collabs in the future?

A: Givin’ It Up is definitely a love song in a sense, but it describes the process of “giving in” to a relationship because you’ve been hurt in the past and have to learn to love and trust again, rather than the pure simplicity of just falling in love. I’ve actually been in many bands with romantic partners who were also creative partners so I definitely find that closeness to be key for both my collaborations and my relationships! Michael and I have so many collaborative projects in the works, since we met each other we have been so deeply involved in each other’s musical output, I sang all over his record, he even played a bit on Magic Mirror and has been a part of everything I’ve recorded since then in some capacity, we even have songs for a side project we want to do together already written, we’re just both so busy, it’s just about finding the time to work on that at this point!

Clockwise L – R: Ned Doheny, Heart, Steely Dan and Christine McVie

Q: Who would pop up on your music playlist right now? What artists have been listening to lately? And what albums would you recommend?

A: I’ve got s pretty steady rotation of Heart, Christine McVie, Steely Dan and Ned Doheny on my personal playlist but I have to recommend Michael’s new single, Neither Love Nor Money, it’s a jam! **** Note: at the time of the interview, the above single had just been released***

Only For Tonight – Pearl Charles courtesy of YouTube

Q: You’ve just come off of a nice European tour, how did it feel to be able to get out and travel & be overseas after the past few years of limited traveling and shows?

A: Unfortunately, our European tour ended up being canceled as it was supposed to be happening right at the height of Omicron and we were not able to make it work with all the restrictions, etc. I am really hoping we will be able to get back there ASAP, if not this year, then definitely next.

📸 Leah Kehoe (@Leah.Kehoe IG)

Q: Any EP’s or new albums due to come out this year? What can fans expect?

A: I have a whole new album in the works with a few songs already completed, I just need to figure out how I want to release it, so no official plans at the moment, but definitely keep your eyes peeled for announcements on that front!

https://pearlcharlesmusic.bandcamp.com/

Q: Where can fans find your music?

A: If people are looking to buy music, they can check out my Bandcamp at https://pearlcharlesmusic.bandcamp.com/ but it is also available wherever you stream music and our music videos are on YouTube .

Thanks to Pearl for the interview… if you want to catch her on tour, she will be performing w/Michael Rault at The Airliner in Los Angeles on June 10th.

More interviews coming your way…

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.

Boys Just Want To Have Fun

Sunroof by Nicky Youre feat Dazy courtesy of YouTube

Anyone who has watched Tik Tok videos within the last couple of months will recognize this artist as having one of the Top Songs on the social media platform and over 40M streams on Spotify.. Sunroof is already being viewed as one the #1 viral hits of the year. Let me introduce you to Nicky Youre!

Q: Are you familiar with the term, “earworm”? A catchy song that constantly plays through your mind…Sex and Lemonade w/over 1 million streams and now Sunroof once again fitting into that box. Was that your intent while writing these songs, knowing the addictiveness when adding lyrics like “da da dada da”, will in fact play over and over in one’s head?

A: I grew up listening to pretty much only pop music. I didn’t have a choice in what I listened to because I’m the baby of the family, so I listened to what my sister and brother wanted to play, which was either The Beatles or Justin Bieber or other boy bands. So I always had really catchy pop music playing growing up. Now I love making music that has a catchy chorus and is really fun….probably because that’s what I listened to as a kid! I definitely try to make songs as catchy as possible so that they get stuck in your head, above it all, I just try to have fun with it. That’s how my best stuff has been made so far.

Q: Let’s go back a bit…You’re from So Cal, the OC specifically…you seem like a fun, not so serious type of guy…Did growing up in the area help you relatively have more of a laid back demeanor because of the unique vibe?

A: I think growing up near the beach has had a large impact on my personality. Not that I even go to the beach all that much, but being around people who do, has made me more of a laid back guy (I think at least a lot)

Q: Like a lot of newer artists, they start out with mixtapes, SoundCloud releases, concerts in friend’s backyards, college parties etc. How did you start getting your music heard when you were starting to create and mix your own tunes?

A: I started making music in my buddies room back when I was 17 years old (about 5 years ago now). He would put his stuff on SoundCloud and then eventually on Spotify too. Then he helped me figure out how to do all of that when it was time for my own artist project. Luckily, I had a great support group who posted my song on their stories and told their friends about it. I also posted about it on Tik Tok using a cameo from Johnny Sins, which did really well and sparked some attention to my page.

Q: Let’s talk about Sunroof, released at the end of 2021, it’s one of those songs you hear on Tik Tok constantly, definitely a summer banger.. and this song features the artist Dazy. How did you hook up on this collaboration? And how fun was it to create this video? How many times did you have to shoot the driving scenes?

A: I met Dazy on Instagram after he heard my song, “Sex and Lemonade”. We started messaging each other and eventually met up to make music in person. We quickly became friends and started making lots of music together. He is great to work with, easy to get along with and a very talented musician. The music video was super fun. It was my first one but the Vision Kids Team that shot the video made it super easy and comfortable. We drove around a neighborhood in a circle for a couple of hours to get that video done.

Q: If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing with your life?

A: I don’t know. I was in tech sales before this, but didn’t necessarily love it. I think I’d still be doing it, but I would probably try some new things as well. Hopefully, I won’t have to find out the answer to this question anytime soon 🙂

L to R: Quinn XCII, Tai Verdes, Dominic Fike

Q: If you were a headliner for a major stadium tour, who would you choose as your 3 supporting acts and why?

A: I would love to go on tour with Quinn XCII, Tai Verdes and Dominic Fike. I’m just a fan of their music.

Never Go Wrong by Nicky Youre feat David Hugo courtesy of YouTube

Q: New single, just released 3/25, Never Go Wrong… tell your fans the meaning behind the song..

A: Never Go Wrong is a song about meeting someone and feeling like they walked out of a movie and into your life. This person is someone that would get songs written about them because they are so lovely. They make you feel like nothing could ever go wrong in your newly found relationship with them and you can’t wait to give them a try.

Nicky Youre and David Hugo

Q: All 3 singles are with other artists…are you going to continue to do collabs or release something solo?

A: I love collaborating! I think it leads to my best music because it helps give me different perspectives that I wouldn’t think about on my own. I will definitely continue to do so over my career, whether it’s with producers, writers or other artists.

Q: When can fans expect to see an album or EP release?

A: I am hoping to get an EP out by this year 😉 only time will tell! Definitely new music is coming!!

Q: Where can fans find your music and are there any special events/shows you want to let fans know about?

A: You can find my music on any streaming platform at Nicky Youre. You can also follow me on Instagram Nicky Youre and on Tik Tok Nicky Youre

Thanks again Nicky for the interview.. Can’t wait to hear what catchy tunes you’ll be releasing this summer!! Make sure to stream his songs anywhere you listen to music..

Stay tuned for more talented artists such as Pearl Charles, a fantastic indie singer and The Foxies, you’ll swear you’re hearing Gwen Stefani.

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.

Teenage Dream

Anorak Patch: Clockwise: Drummer Luca Ryland, Guitarist Oscar Ryland, Keyboardist/Vocals Effie Lawrence and Bassist Eleanor Hellwell

These aren’t ordinary teenagers who just jam in your parents’ garage for fun….this group of talented musicians form the group Anorak Patch and are quickly rising in popularity in the UK.. let me introduce you to the band.

Q: The band is from Colchester, Essex and the teen members consist of drummer Luca Ryland, guitarist and brother Oscar Ryland, bassist Eleanor Helliwell and Keyboardist/Vocals Effie Lawrence. Whose idea was it to start the band? And did you already know how to play or did you teach yourselves as you went along?

Effie: My dad does an annual music day at Albion Pub in Rowhedge and he invited us to play there. I knew Oscar and Luca played instruments and that Eleanor was just starting out on bass, so I asked her to join, although she wasn’t too keen at first.

Q: How did you come up with the band name? Was it as simple as someone was wearing an Anorak & you thought, “hey great band name” or is there a story behind the name?

Effie: There really isn’t a story, we were torn between a few names. Milk Cottage was one, thank god we didn’t choose that.

Q: England seemed to have much stricter COVID rules than here in the US including curfews and maximum amount of people allowed in a room together or at gatherings. How did you find the time to practice between lockdowns, restrictions and school?

Effie: During the lockdown, unfortunately we weren’t able to practice or perform but as soon as the restrictions were loosened, we got together again and started writing.

Top L – R: Pitch Perfect Soundtrack, Ravi Shankar and Carly Simon

Q: To all members: What artist/bands would your band mates least expect to be on your music playlist?

Effie: The Pitch Perfect Soundtrack; Eleanor: Carly Simon; Oscar: Ravi Shankar

Black Country New Road

Q: I think I read that Radiohead was one of your musical influences. I happen to love their album, The Bends, myself. What is it about them that you love? Are there any other bands you admire?

Oscar: At the time of those interviews when we were mentioning and referencing Radiohead, it was true that we considered them as an influence but we have moved away from that artistically and listen to a broader amount of music. Eleanor: I also think that we are influenced by their unique sound and how at the time they were upcoming and something new. I think we want to replicate that feeling now. Luca: Black Country New Road are also one of our musical influences at the moment, we really like their new album.

Q: In 2020, you released 2 singles…Beans and 6 Week Party, which was named on the BBC 6 Music Playlist. Were you guys notified ahead of time or were you surprised and heard it live as it was broadcast? How excited were you?

Effie: We were extremely excited and the week that we were on the playlist, it was very positive for us.

Credit to Gigwise

Q: So now 3 more singles in 2021, Blue Jeans, Irate and Delilah.. Is there an upcoming album this year?

Effie: We are very excited about our upcoming EP By Cousin Sam..it’s a change in musical direction for us but we feel positively about this and hope everyone enjoys it.

Courtesy of YouTube

Q: Plans for touring now or in the summer when school is out? If touring now, are there any dates you can share?

Effie: We haven’t gotten any dates announced for the summer but we have some shows in March coming up.

Q: Where can fans find your music and merch?

Effie: All streaming platforms…

** At the time of this interview, Anorak Patch’s latest single Cousin Sam had not been released..****

I’m sure we will be hearing from more this sensational band and maybe we will be able to catch a show if they travel across the Atlantic and hit the states!! Thanks again Anorak Patch!!

We have more interviews coming your way including Nicky Youre and The Foxies.. as always, if you have a suggestion for band you’d like me to interview, shoot me an email at mewzickkismylife@gmail.com

Until then, I’m your Music Stylist.

Electric Youth

Pink Pony Club by Chappell Roan courtesy of YouTube

If you haven’t heard of Chappell Roan, I believe this may be her breakout year and become a household name… in 2020, when everyone was shut in amid the pandemic, she quietly released a dancy gem in Pink Pony Club, when she reaches for those high notes, I swear I am hearing Sarah McLachlan’s howl while others have compared her to Lana Del Rey..

Q: What exactly is the story behind Pink Pony Club? Any relation to The Pink Pony in Georgia?

A: I went to a gay bar in West Hollywood and really was shocked by the amount of acceptance I felt for the first time ever. It truly felt like a very spiritual experience and I had to write a song about it because it just hit me so hard. And no relation to the Pink Pony Club in Atlanta. It’s actually based off of a shut down strip club in my hometown of Springfield, Missouri, called the Pink Pony. It was a hot pink building that I was always obsessed with when I was little. But sadly, it’s shut down, and now it’s painted gray.

Q: You grew up in a very small town in Willard, MO, maybe a little over 6400 people…where did you look to for your musical influences in the area? Did you grow up in a musical household?

A: I didn’t grow up with a musical household. I was mostly raised on Christian rock music. And then when I was 14, I got Pandora for the first time and I became obsessed with Drake and pop music. It was the first time I was introduced to hip hop, really. Where I grew up, there were mainly Christian and Country music, which is not what I sing, so I wasn’t too inspired by my surroundings or my culture that I grew up in. I mainly got inspired by the song Stay by Rihanna. That song made me start writing honestly because I wanted to write a song like that.

Q: You wrote a song, Die Young, when you were 16 and soon thereafter you were signed to Atlantic Records… what advice would you tell your 16 yr old self now about being prepared for the music journey to come?

A: I would say focus on self-care and focus on loving yourself because most of the time, I was in really long relationships and didn’t really get to fully experience myself as a human being. Focus on what makes you feel like you instead of trying to look like anything else, something that truly makes you happy, what you think is pretty and what you think is great over anything else, and trust your gut always. That’s what I want to tell myself.

Q: How did you come up with the name “Chappell Roan”? It’s definitely one to remember.

A: Chappell was my grandfather’s last name and I told him that I would dedicate in his honor. I would be Chappell because he passed away of brain cancer in 2016 right before my music came out so I told him I would be Chappell. His favorite song was called The Strawberry Roan and roan is a type of horse, like a type of horse hair, and it’s an old country song. That was his favorite song.

Naked in Manhattan – Chappell Roan courtesy of YouTube

Q: New music out now, Naked in Manhattan… the lyrics, “Touch me baby, put your lips on mine. Could go to Hell but we’ll probably be fine. I know you want it. Baby, you can have it. Oh, I’ve never done it, let’s make it cinematic”. Is it safe to say this song is about “the first time”? Talk about the new single.

A: Yeah, it’s about what the first time like experimenting queerness and like having a crush on a girl and falling in love and kind of falling in love with your friends. Yeah, it’s about the first time.

Q: You will be opening for Olivia Rodrigo May 27 in San Francisco. Does that blow your mind? What does that mean to you?

A: I guess it blows my mind. I still don’t think it’s even hit me yet fully. I think it will hit me three days before the show or something. It’s such an honor and I’m such a huge fan of hers. She’s such a wonderful person. I’m so excited to do that and experience that. It’s a once in a lifetime situation so I’m so excited.

Clockwise L – R: Kim Petras, Harry Styles, Dona Cat, Charlie XCX,
Caroline Polachek

Q: Besides Olivia, who would be an artist you would like to collab with?

A: Caroline Polachek, or Harry Styles, or Kim Petras, or Charlie XCX, or Doja Cat

Clockwise L – R: Cocteau Twins, Portishead, My Bloody Valentine,
Daniel Johnston

Q: What are some artists that no one would expect to find in your in playlist?

A: Probably Daniel Johnston or Portishead to Kim Petras slut pop. I love like really pop-shit and then I love My Bloody Valentine and The Cocteau Twins.

Q: When not making music, what do you do for fun your off days?

A: I like doing makeup, thrifting and crafts and bedazzling. I like to party, haha, yeah that’s all.

Q: Can fans expect an album in 2022?

A: No but they can expect a lot of singles and a lot more music!

Q: Where can fans find your music?

A: Any streaming platform that they listen to music. They can find it on Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube.

You can also follow Chappell on Instagram at Chappell Roan, Facebook at Chappell Roan and TikTok at Tik Tok

Thanks again Chappell.. I’m pretty sure we will be hearing your music in the clubs, bars, radio and everywhere!

Teen punk band from the UK, Anorak Patch will be one of my next interviews plus many more. Don’t forget to email me with any suggestions on who you think I should interview next at mewzickkismylife@gmail.com

Until next time, I’m Your Music Stylist.

Rising Up: Rissi Palmer

Country Girl – Rissi Palmer Live at Bluebird Cafe (courtesy of YouTube)

I’m really happy that this incredibly talented artist, Rissi Palmer, agreed to do this interview with me. I was definitely lacking in the genre of country when it came to interviewing musical artists but I wouldn’t so much categorize her style or put her in a box & label it “country” per say. But as you read on, you will soon find out that she is a woman of many talents.. so for those who do not know her, let me introduce you to Rissi Palmer.

Q: You have been in the music business for over fifteen years now, what advice would you give your younger self about how to prepare for the struggles, highs and lows of the music industry?

A: The best advice I could give to a younger me or an up and coming artist is to take the time to figure out who you are as an artist. What you stand for. What sounds you gravitate toward. The more you know about yourself and your artistry, the less likely you are to be forced to do and be something you aren’t. You’ll be able to advocate for yourself and your art.

Award winning R&B songwriting & producing team: Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis

Q: So I read that when you were a teenager, you were offered a record deal by big time producers (notably of Janet Jackson fame) Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis but you turned it down because R&B really wasn’t the direction you wanted to go. That’s very admirable that you were able to make that choice at such a young age. I can imagine some people probably thought you might’ve made the wrong decision. Did you have tremendous pressure/ and did you have a lot of support back then?

A: It was definitely a hard decision to make it I felt very strongly about staying on the path we had started down and sticking with what I loved. At that time, while I had managers, I felt more pressure from them than support. My family was extremely supportive but didn’t know a lot about the music business so there was only so much advice they could give. Ironically, I ran into Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis this past June at an event. I went to speak with them a d they remembered me and were gracious and praised me for sticking to my dreams and all that I had accomplished because of that. It was a full circle, reassuring moment.

Seeds – Rissi Palmer (courtesy of YouTube)

Q: You’ve recorded an EP and 2 albums, with the latest, Revival, in 2019. I was listening to Revival at work & from the first song, “Seeds”, I was captivated. With the words and music, it feels like I’m witnessing a powerful movement, a rising up of voices speaking out for an injustice. Can you tell me more about this song & the album? It’s obviously very personal.

Q: Thank you so much! This album was a long time coming for me. The first part of my career, I tended to play it very safe as far as the subject matter of my music. I didn’t stray too far from love and heartbreak. When I wrote “Seeds” with Deanne Walker and Rick Beresford in 2014, I had been glued to my television watching the events surrounding the murder of Michael Brown in my native St Louis, MO. I knew I wanted and needed to say something. From there, I became preoccupied with news and politics and my writing reflected that. This album is a reflection of the times we’re living in and how they reflected me personally….it’s a snapshot of me; a Black woman/wife/mother/daughter/American, in this moment.

Color Me Country Radio hosted by Rissi Palmer on Apple Music
(video courtesy of YouTube)

Q: Color Me Country Radio debuted on August 30, 2020 on Apple Music with you as the host. I love love the concept of this show. You are trying to bring forth voices that are not necessarily being represented on the airwaves and basically saying to people, “Hey there is diversity in country music” by celebrating Black, Indigenous and Latine artists in country music. Did you go to Apple Music with the idea in mind? What have been some of your favorite moments/discussions on the show?

A: I started developing what became Color Me Country in early 2020 when the pandemic started. A dear friend had been pushing me for years to turn my knowledge of country music, specifically artists of color in country music, into something that I never had time for. Suddenly, I found myself with a lot of time during lockdown, so I started conducting interviews with all artists that I personally knew. By June 2020, I had interviewed 24 artists and was ready to launch on my own. Another dear friend and fellow Apple Music Country host, Kelly McCartney, introduced me to Emily Parker and Michael Bryan at Apple Music Country and the rest is history. The name of the show pays homage to Linda Martell, the first Black woman to play the Grand Ole Opry and the first and highest- charting Black female country artist in history. Her first album was named Color Me Country and it only seemed right to name the show that.

Top Clockwise: Yola; The War and Treaty; Amythyst Kiah

Q: It must’ve been a proud moment to see Mickey Guyton, a Black woman country artist, sing The National Anthem at the Super Bowl during Black History Month. I thought it was pretty historic. Hopefully, it will bring more attention to her music. A few of my favorite artists, who are sometimes labeled as country but I feel are more along the lines of folk, are Yola, The War and Treaty and Amythyst Kiah… Is there any distinction in your mind when artists are labeled country but sort of cross over to other genres? How do you feel about artists in general when that happens? ( I personally find it great because I may never have had come across that artist if they hadn’t jumped genres)

A: Mickey has had to fight and advocate for herself for a long time to have this moment so it was really great to see her get the attention and opportunities that her talent deserves. I love all the artists you mentioned and have had the honor of speaking to all of them and calling a few of them friends. I think it’s awesome to see each of them branch out and experiment with their sounds. I think the worst thing you can do to an artist is stifle their creativity. Every artist that I look up to and admire is versatile and brings something to their respective genres. All of the artists you mentioned do that. While I am very inspired by country music, I am also inspired by the blues, soul music and pop and my music is a reflection of that.

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram performs at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA on March 5, 2020…. (Video courtesy of Your Music Stylist)
Buy tix here: Kingfish w/ Rissi Palmer supporting

Q: You are going on tour supporting Christone “Kingfish” Ingram on March 2nd in Ft Lauderdale, FL. I saw him perform in March 2020 in Boston. He is amazing, he can shred and sing. He’s phenomenal to watch perform. What a great tour to be a part of! How excited are you to be going on tour? Are you ready for tour life?

A: I am SO excited to be touring with Kingfish and still can’t believe I was asked to do it. He’s an amazing performer and my band and I are honored to share a stage with him. I’m ready as I can possibly be. I have two little girls, so in addition to getting the band together, picking out outfits, packing and travel logistics, I’ve had to plan out their routines so that life isn’t interrupted while Mommy is on the road. It’s a lot different from when I first started touring 13 years ago!

Top Clockwise: The War and Treaty, Maren Morris, Patty Griffin, Lizzie No and Lizz Wright

Q: Who are you listening to right now on your Apple Music playlists?

A: I make playlists on the regular now so I am always thinking of what works together and what will sound good together. My current favorite playlist is one I made for Valentine’s Day called “Love, Southern Style” and it has music from The War and Treaty, Maren Morris, Lizzie No, Lizz Wright, Patty Griffin and the like. Here’s the link: Love , Southern Style by Rissi Palmer

Q: When you are not prepping material for your show and broadcasting on air, what do you like to do in your down time? Are you a binge watcher, book reader? Fun things to do?

A: Although I feel like I am ALWAYS prepping my show or doing something for my artist grant fund: Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund when I do have a quiet moment, I love to read. I just finished, “The Vanishing Half”, by Brit Bennett and it was great! I also binge watch shows while I’m working sometimes…I’m watching The Gilded Age, Euphoria and Harlem right now.

Q: Are you currently working on any new music? If so, when can fans expect to see an album?

A: I’m working on a new album now, it’s called Survivor’s Joy. I’m in the final stages of writing and plan to get in the studio in April and May. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of the year, fingers crossed!!

Q: When can fans listen to the show? And where can fans find you on social media?

A: Color Me Country airs on Sundays at 7p-9p ET on Apple Music Country. Listeners can click this link and hear the show for free when it airs live: http://apple.co/rissipalmer

I can be found on social media at the following places: Website: Rissi Palmer Music, Color Me Country Twitter: Rissi Palmer Facebook: Rissi Palmer Official Instagram: Rissi Palmer Music

Make sure you listen to Color Me Country Apple Music this Sunday, February 27th at 7pm EST.

What a great interview, thanks again Rissi!

Some people have messaged me with suggestions on who they’d like me to interview next, if you have any suggestions, email me at mewzickkismylife@gmail.com.

Next up, Anorak Patch, the UK teen punk band that has made the BBC’s Radio 1 and 6 Music playlists.

Until then, I’m Your Music Stylist.