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”
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Stay tuned for artist interviews… and catch me on my Instagram @music_stylist for more updates on new music.
Well, I have been on a bit of a hiatus but am back now so this was the last interview I did before taking some time off. This is a band that should be part of your everyday playlist because of their feel good sound and hopefully after you learn a little bit about them, you will be adding & sharing their music with others. Here is Great Good Fine Ok…..
Q: So the band consists of Luke Moellman and Jon Sondler…now is it true that you met one night & you already had written a song together by the next morning? You must really have some great chemistry together… How did you guys end up meeting in the first place?
A: Most of a song! Luke and I met and became friends about 9 years ago when he was living around the corner from me in Brooklyn with my close friend and piano player. One night after not seeing each other for months, we ran into each other on the street of Manhattan and decided to write a song together. He sent me a track that night and i was instantly inspired to write the lyrics and melody, “You’re The One For Me” was born.
Q: Was it easy to think of the name for the band? What are some of the other names that you considered?
A: Great Good Fine Ok was a name I’d thought of years earlier. I have no clue what inspired it. I kept in my mental bank of cool band names and when it was time to put a name to our project, I unveiled it to Luke. His response was, “I don’t hate it.” So it stuck.
Synth-pop (short for synthesizer pop; also called techno-pop ) is a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s and features the synthesizer as the dominant musical instrument.
Q: Synthpop is how most people have described your music so what do you think of the controversy surrounding the difference between synthpop and synthwave? Some people take issue with the two being lumped together. (Synthopop emerging from 70s-80s New Wave & Synthwave emerging from 00s EDM/electro)
A: For the first few years, our music was more ethereal, dreamy…. and yeah synthy. Synthpop felt like our genre. Over the past 8 years, we’ve evolved and expanded our palate a ton — i think indie pop or just pop feels more accurate at this point. We still absolutely use synths, pulling inspiration from both the 80’s and newer electric sounds. I didn’t know there was controversy about it!
Q: Not only does the band write their own songs but you also do a lot of remixing for other artists’ music… who are the some of the bands that you’ve worked with in the past & some remixes you really had some fun with?
A: Luke is the producer/mixer/engineer behind the remixes. He’s done some absolutely incredible ones throughout the years. Most recently he did one for the TwinXL song “Slow Heart”. Some of my faves were remixes he did for Foxes, X Ambassadors, Morgxn, Le Youth and one for St Lucia that I contributed to with some vocals.
Q: In 8 years, you’ve teamed up for 5 EP’s: Body Diamond, Remixes Vol I, Easy (Remixes), GG Four and the latest Great Good Fine Ok… how long does it usually take to create songs? and do you guys make anytime for yourself?
A: Some songs take longer than others but we are usually working on something….we love making music! We are also extremely meticulous and picky about what sees the light of day. That said, we absolutely make time for other things. We both have hobbies, families etc. It ultimately helps the art to focus on other passions.
Q: I want to bring your attention to your single, Progress, released in 2020. This is the song that brought me to the discovery of your band. Why this isn’t on more playlists is beyond me? I am campaigning to get this in rotation somewhere!! Absolutely one of my faves…Is this about a relationship going through some issues?? Tell me more..
A: Thank you! We really love this one too! “Progress” is about realizing that it’s okay to make mistakes, evolve and figure out how to make things right. We relased it during a time in this country when many people were revaluating priorities and figuring out better ways to move forward — it felt timely..
Q: Since you have done so many collaborations with other artists, do you already have an artist in mind before you get set to write the song?
A: We love collaborating and feel so grateful to have worked with some of our favorite artists over the past year and there are still a couple more coming! Sometimes we’ll start a song with another artist with a collaboration as a goal. Sometimes we’ll reach out to an artist later who we think could add something amazing. We’ve done it all sorts of ways!
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Fans can find our music everywhere music is found!
When I first reached out to Jack about an interview I assumed he was in a couple of bands but it’s actually like 6+ bands and he’s probably joined more since I spoke to him in early June. So lets find out what drives him to want more..
Q: At what age did you first pickup an instrument? And how many can you play?
A: In 5th grade, I started playing the viola, but that wasmainly because I had to play an instrument of some sort as a school requirement. I began writing and teaching myself to sing in 5th/6th grade, but I began playing guitar in 7thgrade. After a few years of that, I quickly learned bass guitar, out of a lack of bass playersand in the past few years, I’ve been teaching myself drums. Most recently I took a piano class at school, so I now know a little about that too.
Q: You grew up in Hingham, MA…what are some of your favorite places you and your friends like to hang out at & where do you guys usually get together to play music?
A: Some of my favorite places to hang out with friends are Cronin Field in Hingham, which is a recreational area behind the town hall; Turkey Hill, a very scenic hill by Weir River Farm; and downtown Hingham. The Shipyard was also somewhere I went with my friends a lot because there was a movie theater there. As for playing music in Hingham, there really aren’t a lot of venues besides the South Shore Conservatory, so the only places I’ve played music in Hingham are at my house with my band mates or at Hingham High School’s Annual Singer Songwriter Showcase.
Q: Jack, you are in a multitude of bands…you also produce, write the lyrics and promote your music as well. Name all the bands and projects you are currently involved in.
Friday Life: my longest lasting project. It’s an indie rock/post punk band with a lot of 80’s influence. I sing and play guitarin this band. We’re playing a bunch of shows this summer and beyond.
Wave Goodbye: my solo project. It’s a lofi bedroom pop project that I’ve released music under since 2018. This is where I go to write very emotional, honest music without the stylistic frills of my other bands. Since it’s a solo project, I play all the instruments and sing as well.
Sun Mask: This is a shoe gaze/noise rock duo formed with my brother Brendan during the pandemic. As with Friday Life (which Brendan is also in), I sing and play guitar. Things have slowed down a bit with this band having so many things on both our plates but we still have some tricks up our sleeves, so stay tuned.
The Dream Thieves: I play drums in this band, which I joined in November 2020 after meeting the frontman, J, in August of that year. We’ve been working on some demos which will hopefully be put this summer if all goes well.
Suburban Windows: This is a beats project I have on the side for fun. It’s more a hobby than anything, but it does help me hone my production skills.
Keegan Turner: I don’t believe this is a long term gig but I currently play bass in Keegan’s backing band. I took up that role after he reached out in June of this year.
I am also working on another side project, which is more of a surf pop based, but it’s still in its infancy so there is not much to say about it at the moment. I also have a single in the works that I recorded with Jack McLaughlin, Friday Life’s bassist. That projectis called Shipwrights. I also played bass in The Understatementsreunion show on August 6th..
I write most of the lyrics for the bands in which I sing and play as well..As for production, it depends on the project, but I am working on being able to do that.
Q: You do some DJ’ing as well… where can we find you regularly spinning? What is your equipment of choice when you DJ?
A: I actually only DJ on WDOM PC Radioon campus. I have a show called Tune Raider, which is derived from Tune Raider, a booking company that I run (which is starting to get up and running again now that shows are coming back). I mainly play a mix of underground songs from the past as well as local music that deserves more recognition. Currently, the show is on hiatus due to school being out, but once I go back in the Fall, I cannot wait to get back on air.
Q: Now that you are a full time student at Providence College… how are you able to balance all these bands and courses during the full time school year?
A: I am really only able to balance all these projects with school because they are not all active at the same time. Friday Life often goes on a bit of a hiatus during the school year due to three of the members going to different colleges. Sun Mask also shuts down a little, meaning when I am at school. I only have Dream Thieves and my solo projects toconcentrate on. However, I am aware once that I finish school, I am going to have to make some hard decides about what stays and what goes.
Q: How many EPs & albums do you have recorded? Which one are you most proud of?
Here is a list of my recorded works:
Friday Life: – Demos [EP], hello. [EP], Each Passing Summer (acoustic) [Single], Every Time (Ultrasound Sessions) [Single], Where Are We Going? [Album].. There are a few covers/demos on SoundCloud, as well as a joke song called BEANOS on Bandcamp, but those don’t really count in my book.
Wave Goodbye: split ep with sadwaves, exhuming what we were [EP], I have no idea what this is [EP], there is a light that never goes out (the Smiths cover) [Single], nothing ever goes as planned [EP], California friends [Single], oh no [EP], two blue songs [Single], now you’re gone feat the mudskippers [Single], the graduate [EP], drag me down [Single], back to square one [Single], youth songs [EP], no more heroes [Single], tell me it’s alright (even if it’s a lie) [Single], summer [EP]
Sun Mask: Shimmering Heat [Demo] [Single], Into The Sea [Demo] [Single], The City [Demo] [Single]
Suburban Windows: Beat Tape 2020 [EP], cinema [Single], phantom frequency [Single], really nice day [Single]
I have contributed drums to two Puddlejumper songs (an indie rock duo from UChicago). New Lies & For Remo Muse
I also used to release work under the name Above Suburbia during my early high school years. That was my first ever musical project. Shallow (Just Another Wallflower) [Single], Growing Up Staying Young [EP], Fear [Single], Above Suburbia [Album], Shallow (Just Another Wallflower re-recording [Single], Shallow (Junkyard dog remix) [Single], Fake Flowers: B-Sides, Demos and Rarities [Album], Echoes From Some Fictional Landscape: The Lost Album [EP], Don’t Ask (Single with the Toxic 70’s), Best Above Suburbia [Album], Someone Out There [Single]
I am most proud of, Where Are We Going album by Friday Life. It was our second time going to a studio (the first time did not go well) and to truly hear the songs come together was amazing. I fully intend to improve upon this album on the next album but I am still really proud of it.
Q: Will we be seeing you perform this summer anywhere? Where can fans find your music?
A: Friday Life have performed a lot this summeractually but we’re going to focus more on writing but we’ll still play a few shows here and there. Friday Life, Wave Goodbye, Puddlejumper and Keegan Turner have music on all streaming services but the best band sites to use are Bandcamp and SoundCloud. There’s more material there. Friday Life and Wave Goodbye also have websites. Wave Goodbye & Friday Lifeand these have several links to other sites.
Wow! I have to say that is a lot of material you have out there. Even some national acts that have been around for a few years, I do not think they have a catalog as extensive as yours. Hoping to catch a show of yours in the near future.
Thanks again Jack for a great interview.. The summer has been flying by so fast and I’m trying to fit all the interviews in a timely manner..
I have interviews with Great Good Fine Ok, Of Tik Tok fame Bear Bailey, Roanoke, Gentle Temper and many more..
I have a giveaway coming up on my Instagram coming up in celebration of my 50th Interview, which was 2 interviews ago.. stay tuned to music_stylist on IG.
If you’ve never heard of the website, Corite, this is place where you can actually help an artist fund their music by starting campaigns for the artist/band. Then if that song becomes a hit, you feel like you were a part of something special.. this is where I discovered the band, Isle of You.. I really like them and I hope you will too..
Q: The band consists of besties Ida & Elina Danielsson & you’re straight outta Sweden. So how long have you actually been friends? And how did you guys meet?
A: Short answer: We’ve been best friends since we were 10 years old and Elina lured me into eating a handful of chili flakes! But I survived and decided that I liked her anyway!
A: Long answer: We both grew up on a very small island in Sweden, called Oland. So we went to the same school and the same culture school but we didn’t know each other for many years. Then, when we were about 10 years old, I asked Elina to take these guitar classes together with me, and then we became best friends almost immediately…but still after the chili incident. That happened the first time ever when I went to Elina’s parents’ house. We’re supposed to kill some time before guitar class at Elina’s home, load up with noodles and Oboy ( a chocolate drink mix powder). I’d never seen chili flakes before but after that I learned that if a stranger ever gives you a handful of them and tells you to eat them, it’s pure best friend material.
Q: I love the stories when I interview artists of how people come together, realize they can sing, sound amazing together and form a band. it’s sort of like a cosmic energy flowing… Do you believe in those types of things? When you met, did you realize you were destined for greater things? Positive energies connecting?
A: Agree! It’s almost like an unreal experience! We’ll never forget the first time we sang in harmonies, at our first singing class. Our vocal coach showed us that she got goosebumps and we, who were 10 years old and had never sung together before, we’re completely blown away. We’ll never forget that sight of that arm haha…And I think, looking back, that we started Isle of You right then and there. I mean we never stopped after that! And it feels kind of destined that we are doing this?
A: I think we believe in that sort of thing a little! Cause it feels like there is some kind of magic happening when we’re singing together, like we’re creating something more that can’t come from just the two of us…like a third band member haha. And writing music is also something that makes us believe…in something. Because it feels like those ideas are not always coming from ourselves…it’s from somewhere else and our job is to capture the melodies and words.
Q: So Sia took notice of your single, “Bodyguard”, and added it to one of her playlists on Spotify in 2018….that must’ve freaked you out, what was that like for both of you to be acknowledged by a highly successful music artist?
A: Yeah we definitely freaked out. I remember hiding in the bathroom at the coffee shop where I was working at the time so I could stare at myself in the mirror and just try to take it. And then I told every customer what had happened!!
A: We owe Sia and her team a lot! First of all, Swedish national radio started to play our music almost immediately after that. I don’t know if they would have found our music without her. And it has given us a lot of inspiration, self esteem as songwriters and artists!
Q: Let’s talk about recent releases… you’ve released 2 singles so far… Fallback in April & Ears Ringing this month…. Fallback kind of makes me think of a person who doesn’t want to be left behind in a relationship, wants to move forward to the future….and Ears Ringing… connecting with someone on a deeper level.. Am I close?? Tell me about these 2 songs.
A: That’s true! You’re right! We love to write about love and relationships because there’s so many different angles to take on themes. Nothing is as complex and emotional like these things.
A: We wrote these songs when we were in totally different places in life. Fallback is our most recent song.. it’s about being in love and all the doubts that come with that, when everything just feels a little too good.
A: Ears Ringing, on the other side, is a song that we wrote when we weren’t in a good place in life. We had both had a rough time finding out what we wanted to do in life and how we wanted to live relationship-wise. So that is a song that came out of anxiety and doubts. That’s probably why they are totally different.
Q: What are the last 3 songs that each of you played on your Spotify? (Or whatever streaming music service you have)
Q: Growing up in Sweden, there are some major music idols to look up to like ABBA, Roxette, The Cardigans, Robyn and Lykke Li… did you look up to any artists in particular? Who would you say is your biggest influencer in the world of music?
A: First of all: yes, I think the music dream doesn’t feel so far away thanks to these amazing acts. We are super inspired by many artists, especially cool girls that have come out of Sweden and entered the international music scene.
A: We love Tove Lo and have listened to her music music for many years. I’m quite sure that you could hear that when listening to our songs. Other than that, we listen and get inspired by Robyn, Lykke Li, Icona Pop, ABBA, Say Lou Lou, Tove Styrke, yeah just to mention some of them.
Q: How would you best describe your sound? It says on your webpage, “Swedish pop duet” but I’m hearing bands that don’t fit into that one niche, very versatile in their sound.
A: It’s always tricky to categorize music, just as you say. The easy answer is that we’re making pop music, but we love the sounds of synthesizers, so often our music ends up more electronic than the generic pop music sound, we would say.
A: Also, we love to mix different styles. To have some songs that are more electronic and others that are niches into acoustic sounds like guitars. We love guitars and everything about them. I guess you could say that guitar was the instrument that put us together. We wanted to play all Taylor Swift songs on our acoustic guitars or actually we wanted to be Taylor Swift, both of us.
Q: Do you think you will release an album or EP this year?
A: That is the plan, yes. We are constantly creating music, but we have got a lot more time for that this year when we haven’t had the opportunity to go out on tour.
A: But we are also very spontaneous. You never know how everything turns out to be, even though we would like to be more planned and organized. But we have many songs that we want to share, so absolutely, more music will come very soon.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Everywhere, we would say! We release our music on all platforms but most people listen to Spotify here in the North!
Thank you Ida and Elina for the interview. I feel great things for you are coming up on the horizon.. in case you want to check out their music, look for them on Instagram at isle_of_you.
Summer is very busy for me but I will have some interviews coming up with Great Good Fine Ok, Jack Downey, Roanoke and many more..
Long story short, I heard Martis’ song, Keep it Low one day while I was at work and I pretty much hummed along to the song all day much to the dismay of my coworkers.. However, they were also humming it by the end of the day as well. It’s very catchy… so I asked him for a chat..
Q: So Martis, you are from Cologne, Germany?
A: I live close to Cologne and always say Cologne because this is the city that is most known beside Munich and Berlin.
Q: When did you first start creating music?
A: I’ve been making music since I was little and as long as I can remember. I wrote tunes and at the very beginning, I wouldn’t call them songs because I was too young to understand how song structures work.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a musician?
A: To be honest….100% YES!!! As a kid, I was a huge Michael Jackson fan and always wanted to become a musician since then. I’ve dreamed about performing in front of a big audience. But the funny part is, that I was a instrumentalist who didn’t know that I will become a singer one day.
Q: How did youfeel when Universal Musicoffered you a contract? Was it a dream come true?
A: This was a magical moment! All the hard work, all the effort I put into it, gets paid off with a major international contract with Universal! I remember how strange it was, because a lot of record companies wanted me to sign me because of the song, “Keep it Low”.
Q: Let’s talk pre 2021…About a year before Keep It Low was released, your single, Superhero, came out…the lyrics, “You’re like a superhero, always ahead of me, you taught me many lessons, you don’t even see.” Is this song about someone close to you? Tell me more about the story behind the song.
A: I wrote this song with two other people in a Sony ATV song session. The lyrics relate to someone close to me. The line you picked is a really strong one to me! It means, that the person never gave up, no matter how bad the situation was and this person never complained about it. That’s how I got shown how to handle a bad situation and I finally became a better “me”.
Q: Fast forward to now…Keep it Low is such a catchy song…(when it was playing in the office, everyone was whistling along). Is this a breakup song or more of a love song?
A: Haha, you cannot imagine, how you made my day with that sentence!! I looove when people whistle or wag to this song! When they post little vids in their stories! This always makes me smile! I’d call it more if a motivation song!!
Q: Will you be playing any festivals this summer? Touring Europe or the US?
A: Because of the pandemic, everything was canceled for me! Currently, we’re in talks about a few shows this year but the slots are very rare. The US have only just started the promotion for Keep it Low..I guess the “play live” will come back in 2022. If it’s 2021, you can see it on my Instagram.
Q: When can fans expect to see an EP or album released?
A: Currently I’m working on a single.. After the next single, we plan to release an album.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Besides Spotify, Deezer and Apple Music, you can listen to them onAmazon Music, Napster and close to every known digital platform that streams music… to make it easy, fly by on my webpage at http://www.martismusic.comand click one of the many icons to find my songs.
Awesome, thanks so much for the great interview!! You can also follow Martis on Instagram at martismusic.
I just want to give all the artists that have agreed to be interviewed by me a shout out to being so accommodating & all of you are so incredibly talented.. you will always have my support..
Stay tuned for interviews with Jack Downey, Roanoke and many more..
I first heard the cover of this on Spotify, where I generally find all my new music but I was struck by how different it sounded to the last time I had heard a version of this song in the film, A Star Is Born (2017) sung by Lady Gaga. I had to find more about this bright 20 year old singer named Emily Watts.
Q: Have you always had a strong passion for songwriting? Can you remember the first song you wrote? Age? What was the song about?
A: I have always loved poetry and songwriting. My first song ever was about eating spaghetti with my family!! Which makes me giggle! I was about 7 years old when I wrote that!!
Q: You are from Arizona…if I were to visit for the first time and you were my tour guide, what would you suggest for me to do, eat, stay, sleep?
A: I am actually from California! I was born there and lived there until I was 11! I would suggest staying in Gilbert, Arizona.. Grab some Raising Cane’s or if you like brunch First Watch! And there are all sorts of places to visit!
Q: You actually released a cover of La Vie En Rose in 2019, which now I believe has been streamed over 6M times…were you hesitant about performing such a classic song considering not too long ago, Lady Gaga, just released this for A Star is Born. Have you always loved this song?
A: I actually originally performed this song a few times before Lady Gaga. And when I heard her version I was definitely intimidated because LG is sooo talented and I grew up listening to her! I do love classics though, and my vocal coach believed it would be a perfect song for my voice. I loved performing this song and the simplicity of it.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
A: Easy! Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish and Adele.
Q: Now that COVID restrictions have been easing across the country, do you have any plans on doing a small US club tour? Or more touring locally?
A: My manager is working on planning a concert in Arizona sometime in the future! I have many projects in the works!
Q: What does your family mean to you in terms of supporting you and your music?
A: My family is my rock. I love them so much. They have supported me through it all and are so proud of me and my decision to pursue my career.
Q: If there was a regulation that was introduced into the US that you had to choose 1 social media platform that you could keep and the rest you had to stop using? What would it be and why?
A: It would be Instagram because its more personal and I can keep up with my fans! I answer everyone’s DM’s! I try to!
Q: Do you have plans to release any more music this year & where can fans find your music?
A: I am releasing an EP this year and before that a new cover will drop the same day as my music video for La Vie En Rose.
Well, I’ll be looking forward to that EP and the video.. you can find more of Emily Watts on emailywattsmusic.com and can follow her on Instagram: emwatts101.
Be sure to follow my blog at yourmusicstylist.org and stayed tuned for more interviews with incredibly talented Jack Downey, Roanoke, MARTIS and much more.
When you think of Canadian singers, some come to mind like Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne, Drake, Shawn Mendes, Sarah McLachlan… I could go on and on… but have you heard of Nova Rose? Well, I’m betting you will soon.. let me introduce you to her.
Q: How have you been coping through the pandemic? Family and friends doing ok?
A: I’ve been good and so glad to have my family & friends (I’m super thankful). I’ve really been putting a lot of time and energy into music – I can’t complain.
Q: So you are a classically trained violinist.. is your first love, an instrumentalist or would you rather stick to singing?
A: I love the violin, it is a beautiful instrument, but my true passion is definitely singing.
Q: I have never been to Canada but I really want to go and visit Montreal where you are from. If I were to visit, what would you suggest to do for a day & where would I get the best meal?
A: Ouuu! You should definitely come visit. I think your ideal day would be grabbing as many bagels as you can, go thrift shopping and then climb up Mount Royal to watch the sunset! Best meal is tough, I love pizza and Montreal has some really amazing places, one of my favourite places is called Violet Angel in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
****This interview was done in March & since then Nova has released 2 more singles since then****
Q: You have a new single, Need Me and when I first heard it, it felt like a self empowerment/self love anthem. What happened in your life that inspired you to write this song?
A: A lot of different things inspired the song. I find myself constantly finding inspirations when listening to other people talk about their emotions and experiences. I find we sometimes forget that emotions are normal and being so desperate for their attention that it turned into this constant feeling of loneliness and anxiety. Need Me is the opposite, in a way a follow up to that song. It’s about realizing that it’s okay not to be okay and knowing that sometimes loving yourself without needing anybody else is enough.
Q: International Women’s Day was the other day & you gave a shoutout to some fellow women artists.. How would you describe each of these women in 1 word?
A: Bad ass.
Q: Seems like there’s a new social media platform every month. How would you rate the following for self promotion? Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter Spaces, Clubhouse and Caffeine.
A: It’s super hard, there are sooooo many. I think they are great & can help people in their career but it’s still important to stick to the music and not get too caught up in those apps.
Q: Do you remember the first song you ever wrote? How old were you? What was it about?
A: I do! I was 7 or 8, my parents left me with a babysitter and I was not happy about it. So consequently, I wrote a song about how I felt, hahaha.
Q: What are your plans for touring this summer? Hopefully, most people will be vaccinated & things will get back to some normalcy.
A: No plans yet, trying to see what happens with everything before booking!
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: Everywhere that plays music! Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, YouTube, Topsify etc..
Since this interview was conducted, Nova Rose released two more singles, Someone Else & G.L.I.T.R. Make sure you go listen to her music. She also was just named by IHeart Radio, the Future Star for the Month of May on Rouge FM for her song, Somebody Else. Congrats Nova Rose, well deserved!
Make sure you stay tuned for more interviews, concert announcements, new music alerts and much more.
Being a huge fan of swing, jazz and big band music, I was happy to find this man roaming around on social media, who happens to be the son of one of my favorite entertainers of all time, Louis Prima. Let me introduce you to Louis Prima, Jr.
Q: Growing up with a father, who happens to be a legendary New Orleans jazz & big band swing musician, did you feel any pressure to follow in his footsteps as a young child?
A: No actually.. We were taught music, piano and such, but there was no pressure put upon us to pursue music as a career.. I didn’t pick up trumpet until 8th grade & when I finally graduated high school, my college schedule was geared towards business. A music career happened kind of by accident.
Q: Did picking up an instrument come naturally to you or did you have to work at it? How many instruments can you actually play?
A: Well, my mom put drum sticks in my hands at age 5 and piano followed by the 1st grade. I’ve played or tried to play just about everything; guitar, bass, sax, clarinet, most brass…. Was it easy? No, not at all. Matter of fact, the reason I didn’t immediately go into the music biz, well.. I am pretty severely dyslexic. I was tested entering college and didn’t know it until then. It posed a lot of struggles especially when it came to improvise or playing solos. I worked really hard at it and had some AMAZING instructors but my fingers would never do what my brain was telling it. Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty good and people do compliment me but I just never felt as if I was going to be the “Eddie Van Halen” of any instruments I touched. And when I do something, I want to be the best. (I know, sounds kind of bad) but it wasn’t until I had a microphone in my hand and was the “front man” that I felt comfortable and able to excel.
Q: You’ve lived in New Orleans and Vegas while growing up…How do the two cities differ in your eyes, in terms of the music scene, then and now?
A: I’m back in New Orleans mostly because Vegas changed. and not for the good. New Orleans is brilliant when it comes to music. Better than any other city. The music scene is diverse and plentiful. There is something going on every day, all day…musically speaking. There are no shortage of festivals. And there is no shortage of TALENTED musicians, performers, bands, people willing to teach. Music is this city’s soul and the entertainment community rallies around each other and embrace its history. Vegas.. not so much.. it all started to change in the 90’s maybe before when the musicians’ union lost the fight against canned music. There is a group of people and bands that work all the time, for years, the same people. They make no room for new bands or original ideas. Locals don’t support live music AT ALL. “Sorry I didn’t make your gig” is the most commonly heard phrase in the music community. If the crowd can’t get wasted and dance topless while paying $50 for a glass of water, you won’t work. And people won’t come to see you. Local music and bands are relegated to dive bars. And headliners now… I mean it’s like $300 plus for many of the shows. Out of control.. Look, I know that sounds bitter, but we are talking about a town that was RICH in entertainment.. it was The Hollywood playground where people launched careers, made names for themselves and worked every day. Now musicians have to take 5 gigs a DAY just to make it. But every piece of history in Vegas gets torn down. There is no history left and there is no effort to sustain or honor its past. It is sad, but I’ve been trying to leave for years. It has always surprised people when I say that I never work in Vegas. I have a 10 piece band that tours the world non stop for over 14 years (before COVID) but Vegas wants to pay $1000 or less. Now let’s split that up between agents, managers, travel, rooms and 12 people….
Q: There was a time in your life when you quit music and went into business management but was short lived. Why did you eventually get back into the music business?
A: I quit and went into management because I became very frustrated with the music business, and at the time was starting a family. I had to step away and raise my children. And that became the focus..I never really quit the business.. I did a gig here and there and knew that one day I’d step back in. I raised two boys by myself and I at least wanted them to be able to care for each other before I decided to hit the road again. Timing is everything.. At about the time I was souring on my work place, an opportunity arose in Vegas to put a “Louis Prima” style act in a MAJOR lounge. Although it never came to be, it started me rolling again.
Q: Here you are now, with your current band, Louis Prima Jr & The Witnesses.. you released your debut album in 2012, in the style of big band swing and even included some of your father’s classics like, “I Wanna Be Like You”…but I really enjoyed the music of “Oh Babe”. What was it like to finally release this album?
Q: You know, my father wrote Oh Babe! Certain musicians are content on doing their gig, reading their charts and collecting their pay. And there is nothing wrong with that. BUT I am NOT that guy. My goal has always to be able to create music that people could love. The goal in starting this band was to use my father’s music as a jumping point to create anew in his style, which to me is Rock n Roll with horns.. The goal was was always to relate to music and tour, it was never to be a tribute act. And the goal since day one way back in the 80’s, was to have a record label believe in you and put you in the studio. You know, not release my stuff and see it out of my garage… Anyway, once I found musicians with a like mind, we had to have a starting point and at the risk of sounding bad here; get the “Prima Sr” stuff out of the way. We actually found funding and recorded the first album ourselves but isn’t he process met Jim Ervin from Warrior Records who took a liking to us and took over the distribution etc. who would’ve thought that I’d be in my 40’s when I got that elusive deal! It’s been an amazing journey to get there, and an even better once since!
Q: Blow was released in 2014 & this is just another great album., Tell me more about your band The Witnesses… watching some of your video performances, it really looks like the band is having a great time onstage.
A: BLOW is step two in the process of getting our vision out there. I feel like we are doing with horns, what no one else is doing, it’s uptempo, brash, boisterous, loud and makes you want to dance. And for me, that is golden. Warrior put us in Capitol Records to record this, in the same room my father created most of his mid 50’s era gems. So it was magical for me AND the band. Finding this band was a labor of love and came kind of easy actually. I knew that I wanted Stars, Performers, Brilliant musicians all rolled into one. ALL of them fans of Prima and STUDIED fans of Prima. They know what it is to play and perform to the standard that I set for myself, and they do it every single show. The music is written by myself, Marco Palos (sax), Ryan McKay (guitar) and AD Adams (drums). Together we have over 200 years of musical experience, likes and dislikes. And when you put them altogether, I think we end up with a sound that is uniquely ours…it’s a Prima…but it’s primarily Prima Jr. There have been personnel changes along the way as is expected. The road isn’t for everyone and sometimes changes need to be made. But each and every person I share a stage with and HAVE shared a stage with give it all EVERY time they hit the stage, and it has been nothing but 100% friendship and love on the sidelines..
Q: Flash forward to the past year, 2020, and it has been a nightmare especially for the music industry… artists have had to change the way they bring music back to their fans, whether it was IG Live, Bandcamp, YouTube or other means of live-streaming… What are some ways you and the band have been keeping up with your fans?
A: Nightmare is an understatement. We had just finished recording album number 3 and were at early stages of a 120 date supporting tour when it all crashed. Album on the shelf; and haven’t worked for 13 months and counting.. I’ve been doing my best to stay connected with our fans though posts on social media etc…But we have not entered the world of show streaming or doing online events. Without going into the many reasons why we haven’t, I will merely say that these “live events” are going to be detrimental in the long run. It’s the consensus of everyone involved in my organization so we have shied away from it. The other side is that we are a 10 piece band with many working parts behind the scenes. We all live in 9 different cities. The coordination and cost involved in putting something together would have by FAR sped past the potential income. And let’s be honest, we don’t this for free, And quite frankly, no matter what we do, on tape or video, we can NEVER fully capture the live experience of one of our shows. You can ask any of our fans and they will tell you the same thing. So it’s been a waiting game.
Q: I see you have some shows scheduled this year, first one on May 12th, at The Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland, OH. Is this a definite?
A: Music Box has already been moved to September. And it looks like July, August, September before we are able to play. The world is starting to open up, but unfortunately, the powers that be have deemed “enjoying a live show” as STILL the big spreader. So we wait.. We are all very anxious to get back on the road. We miss it, we miss performing and we miss out fans.
I really want people to think about the power of positivity. If you think it’s a myth or some bull crap that people say to make others feel better, then I want you to read this interview & understand it’s a state of being that can actually heal the mind and body. So I want to introduce you to someone who literally lives and preaches this because she has to.. meet Carrigan Nelson.
Q: When did you realize that you were a good singer? And who do you admire as an artist?
A: When I was 12 years old, I sang with local music legendJimmy Winters and I realized I was an entertainer. I also used to try and imitate pop stars so I had the ability to come in on key. I really admire Adele & Lauren Daigle. Both have such powerful voices.
Q: If your story was a song, what would the title be & if you had to choose someone to sing it besides yourself, who would it be?
A: My story, if it were a song, would be entitled, “My Fight”. I would want Miley Cyrusto sing it because she sings my go to song – The Climb and she and I have similar vocal ranges.
Q: So let’s switch to your journey in the past few years…your life changed forever when you were diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer usually found in teens and young adults. You’ve had such tremendous support from your family, friends and the local community, how do you take that all in? What do your friendships mean to you & how have they shaped your life?
A: It’s hard to comprehend all of the help my family and I have received. All the financial help has afforded us the gift of time together. It has eased the financial burden of the loss of income and paying medical related expenses. People are so generous, thoughtful and kind. I have received so many comfort items, gifts, cards, care packages and prayers. My friendships have gotten though my darkest days. I am so grateful that my friends have stuck by me. They are such an amazing support system as is my family; especially my brother, his girlfriend and her family and my Aunt Bonnie, grandmother and cousins near and far. My community, our local musicians and other cancer families have been so supportive. We have been very lucky to never fight alone.
Q: As a songwriter, you certainly have a lot of material from personal and painful experiences. What was the first song you ever wrote? And what is your creative process like?
A: The first song I ever wrote was a love song. Very typical young love kind of stuff. I still like writing love songs. When I’m writing music, I usually head down to Ocean Drive or the beach near my house. There is something peaceful about looking out at the ocean and writing music.
Q: I’m going to name a few musicians and you describe them in 1 word: a) Machine Gun Kelly b) Taylor Swift c) Madison Beer d) Demi Lovato e) Zach Sobiech f) Blackbear g) Panic at the Disco!
A: a) Machine Gun Kelly – universal, b) Taylor Swift – heartbreak c) Madison Beer – a Queen d) Demi Lovato – soulful e) Zach Sobiech – inspirational f) Blackbear– funny g) Panic at the Disco! – talented
Q: Besides being an outstanding singer, you were also named RI’s Outstanding Teen in 2020. That was a complete surprise to you. What was that feeling like when they announced your name?
A: I was so shocked. I had competed twice for the MOAT & was named Miss Congeniality both times. I love the Miss RI organization. They have become my family and are so incredibly supportive of all of the candidates who compete. I have become very close with many of my pageant sisters and was so excited when I was invited to help re-crown Molly Andrade, Miss RI, and Caroline Parente, 2019’s MOAT. I was told they were being re-crowned because there wasn’t a 2020 pageant due to COVID. I couldn’t believe it when they crowned me Honorary Miss Outstanding Teen2020 instead. It has been very meaningful to me. I look forward to competing in the coming years. I want to inspire and show that physical limitations don’t define you. We all have abilities. We all shine in our own way.
Q: Giving back and being kind is something that you apparently do on a daily basis, whether it’s being a mentor for young kids, giveaways on your Instagram or supporting the pediatric cancer patients at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Name some of your favorite charities that are dear to your heart.
A: I have spent years singing for many social services agencies on the islandwhether to entertain or raise funds. They are all dear to me because they provide services for those in need. I am part of the Housing Hotline Board so I’m partial to causes related to emergency housing. Mentoring and Pediatric Cancer are close to my heart as well. I sit on the Glimmer of Hope Foundation Boardand I care deeply about their mission and that of the Izzy Foundationand the Tomorrow Fundat Hasbro Children’s Hospital & The Jimmy Fundat Dana-Farber in Boston. All of these foundations have helped my family and I during my two year cancer fight. I am currently the recipient of a Life List Grant through the Dear Jack Foundation. The Riverstock Music Festival Charitable Giving patrons, Rosemary‘s Wish Kids, Be Great 4 Nate, The Aquidneck Island Charity Golf Tournament, The Portsmouth Santa Tour, Rise Up For Carrigan, Hillside Charities, Lilly Lights The Way, the local police and fire departments, Melissa Mulligan Voice studios, Liam Edwards & Friends and the Three Angels Fundand so many others have been incredibly supportive. I hope to give back to them and the many agencies which have helped me and so many Aquidneck Islanders. We have such a giving community.
Q: Name some of your favorite places you’ve performed at (could be events, fundraisers, restaurants) and do you have any virtual events scheduled in the near future?
A: This is so hard for me to answer. I have been performing for 8 years now. I have been honored to sing at many heartfelt events and for many wonderful causes. I performed at two fundraisers for my guardian angel, Hannah Wertens, who was also a singer. She and I sang together at the first fundraiser and I will cherish that moment always. I loved singing at the Newport Elk’s kid parties and at the RI Veterans Home. I also loved singing with musician TimmyMay on the Newport Dinner Train, Thrive Coffee House, the MLK Birthday celebrations, hosting my own Cabaret Christmas show, singing in the North End of Newport, the Singing for Shelter concerts, the Riverstock and NIMFEST Music Festivals. I have always been honored to sing the National Anthem at local events. As far as virtual events, Iwill be performing with Jonathan Perry at the NewportPlayhouse & with Riverstock Founder Steve Rodrigues at the Riverstock Musicfest in Massachusetts. I am singing a few tunes with Steve locally on Easter. My friend Thomas Harrington is fighting Ewing’s Sarcoma for the third time. He is an amazing drummer and I look forward to collaborating with him again. My parents and I are also writing songs together. My mom plays the ukulele and keys & my dad plays drums and guitar.
Q: This seems like an obvious question but it’s a new year, what are your wishes for 2021?
A: I am hoping 2021 brings me good health and that I beat cancer. I will continue to spread awareness of childhood cancer and continue my mentoring work. Helping and supporting my fellow pediatric cancer warriors is a priority for me. I have deferred college twice due to my leg amputation and chemotherapy so I am looking forward to attending in the Fall. I hope to reach 10K followers on my YouTube Channeland to release and perform my own music. Walking proficiently on my prosthetic leg is a key goal of mine. My life expectancy may be short but my dreams are big!
Carrigan is probably the most courageous and resilient person I know. Her constant positive attitude and gift of kindness to all she comes in contact with is not only amazing considering what she has been through the past two years, is quite amazing.
You can find Carrigan on several social media platforms. To follow her her, go to https://linkt.ree/Carriganmccorrie. She also created the group @sarcomafighters on Instagram. Carrigan is from Portsmouth, RI.
Stay tuned for more interviews with Boston band Air Traffic Controller, Nova Rose, Louis Prima Jr plus many more..
There are so many talented singers out there & I have discovered that if I look right in my very own backyard here in Rhode Island, there are plenty of them waiting to be discovered….and I’ve been lucky enough to see her perform… this is Lainey Dionne.
Q: I’m not going to brag too much here but I could tell right away how talented you were when I saw you perform as the opening artist for a NewportFILM event about 2 yrs ago at The Eisenhower House….you have that “it” sound that makes you stand out among other artists. When did you realize you could actually sing? Did your family encourage you to pursue music?
A: Wow. Thank you so much, what a nice compliment! I was always singing from as far as I could remember. I remember singing Charlotte Church and Disney in the bathtub when I was really little because I liked the way it echoed. My parents had me take piano lessons at 6 years old and always encouraged me to pursue music. My dad taught me my first 90’s song on guitar when I was 10. They supported my first year at Berklee and I will be forever grateful for everything they’ve done for me. I wouldn’t be where I am, pursuing what I love without them.
Q: It’s been hard for musicians especially local artists here in RI because of all the COVID restrictions…have you been able to maintain any means of profiting from music maybe it’s live stream donations or an online music platform like Bandcamp?
A: After a couple of months with no gigs, I was finally able to play outdoors in the summer while social distancing. I am extremely immune compromised so I had to bring a barrier fence with me wherever I played – what strange times! It was such a relief to be able to play again, but then the colder months came and it would be too much of a risk to play indoors with my condition, so I had to jump into the livestream world. So many people are struggling financially right now, so I perform live for free and am grateful for any donations or gratuities.
Q: Who do you consider a great songwriter & who do you compare yourself with in terms of your songwriting style?
A: Oh such a hard question! I would say Lorde, Taylor Swift and Coldplay are amazing writers because their lyrics are unlike anything you hear on a regular basis. Who mentions “Nike’s”, “homemade dynamite” or “science” in a song and make it work so effortlessly. They have unexpected clever lyrics. I would compare myself to Gabrielle Aplin – she is a huge inspiration of mine. I feel like our voices are really similar and our writing is more straight forward with the occasional spontaneous phrase.
Q: Choose 3 musicians: Who would you sing a duet with, go on tour with and go to the after party with?
A: I would sing a duet with EDEN, go on tour with Lorde and go to the after party with Sigrid. EDEN has a voice that makes you feel his pain with instrumentals that make you feel like you’re floating in the stars. I’d LOVE to be on tour with Lorde because she is a huge inspiration and her concerts look incredible and creative. And I’d go to the after party with Sigrid because she is quirky, hilarious and super chill.
Q: Besides all the chaos in 2020, you were able to release 2 singles… Hey London and Skin…tell me about what both of these songs mean to you & the story behind each one.
A: Hey London is an empowering bop written about dumping dudes that aren’t giving you the attention you deserve. I personify London throughout the song. The city is filled with people and beautiful to the eye, but there isn’t enough room for me there – just like how the relationship may look good to other people on the surface but deep down you know he’s not making the time for you. You deserve better so you’re “over it”! This song is a great feel good song after a breakup.
Skin was inspired by a low time in my life. It touches on depression and denial while being in a toxic relationship. You get so used to the abuse cycle that you become numb to it and are a stranger to yourself pretending that everything’s okay. It’s tough to get out of that cycle or to even realize you’re in that cycle. This song is a wake up call that you are becoming a similar version of yourself due to the actions of someone else and that’s not what love is.
Q: What does a typical day for Lainey look like?
A: Well now, it’s Zoom calls in pajama pants hahaha. Mostly it’s coming up for new songs for my set list, teaching piano, guitar & voice to my students, walking my dogs, doing some work on the business end of the music industry, maybe doing a co-write, playing some video games or watching the next trending show on Netflix and then doing some yoga before bed. It’s not as exciting as pre pandemic Lainey. I used to travel A LOT for tour and out of the country on adventures.
Q: What do you consider some of your biggest accomplishments in 2020 both in your personal and professional music career?
A: I love my new sound and it was incredible to be able to release that to the world this last year and to have people welcome it with open arms. I was ready to add the pop element to my folk roots and I’m excited to show everyone more of that! In 2020, I won the AC Award in the Unsigned Only Competition, which was amazing, along with placing in a few other competitions including the semi-finals of the International Songwriting Competition. Personally, this year was more difficult than I could imagine and I’m proud that I’m still pushing through.
Q: Where can fans find your music?
A: You can find my music on every single music service out there! My favorites are Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, Youtube, Amazon and Pandora. All links can be found at http://laineydionne.com and I would love it if you subscribe and check it out!
Thank you Lainey… and good luck in the ISC competition. And make sure to follow her on Instagram at laineysmusic.
Stay tuned for more interviews coming soon… and if you, your band would like an interview or have a new release coming or even have a suggestion on who you’d like to see me interview, send me a DM on IG at music_stylist.
I happen to have been scrolling through Instagram looking for artists to reach out to and was lucky enough to find Dillon.. Amazingly talented singer and songwriter… yay me!
Q: You live in Nashville….it has such a rich culture in music history….was that a place you have always aspired to immerse yourself in?
A: There was a long stretch of time when I couldn’t imagine much more than immersing myself in whatever green room I was in, but when things slowed down, Nashville was on my mind. It’s kind of like a goldfish at the County Fair. They keep them in those little bags, and some kid popped 5 balloons or made it through the ring of death without puking will bring it home and keep it in a cup on the mantle or something. The goldfish spends two weeks staying cup sized and then it dies. What people don’t know about responsible goldfish care is that if you put it in a proper good sized tank, it’ll grow bigger and more gold. I think Nashville lets you grow as big as you want. At the very least, I had to give it a shot. I didn’t want to be found floating cup sized and belly up.
Q: Do you consider yourself a songwriter first & then a singer or does that go hand in hand? Because you really are a great storyteller with your lyrics.
A: I think they’re hand in hand. Anytime I start thinking I’m more of a writer that just means I’m taking it too seriously. I wrote the songs to sing them. In the end, it’s entertainment and I want to be entertaining. Usually how I know if I like something or not is if it makes me laugh. That doesn’t always mean it’s supposed to be funny. But if I’m laughing, I’m doing my job right, whatever the hell my job is.
Q: You have a new song out, Now That It’s All Over, on Bandcamp that will be on an upcoming album releasing on March 26….and Margo Price , who is phenomenal, sings with you on vocals. Did you write the 2nd vocal track with her in mind? Tell me more about the story behind this song.
A: I didn’t necessarily write it with her in mind, but her whole band backs me up on the record and her and I kept talking about having her in and singing on a song. I was wondering what song would be best and I think Drew Carroll (the engineer of all my stuff and most trusted musical confidant) suggested she sing on the song. A lightbulb went off in my head and it was just the perfect choice. Margo has lived a thousand lives and she knew exactly what to do with that song. Now I don’t even like playing it without her singing on it.
Q: You also play guitar in Courtney Marie Andrews’ band. I saw her a couple of years ago at The Newport Folk Festival & Deer Tick & Friends After Show…so I’m thinking I probably saw you as well? Are there any festivals, once this pandemic settles down, that you’d love to play as a solo artist?
A: I was there one of those years, but I had just tagged along. If you saw me, I was probably double fisting tequila while security checked my badge for the thousandth time wondering how the hell I got in. I think at this point I’m just excited to play anywhere, you don’t realize how much you miss something until it’s gone.
Q: And speaking of Deer Tick, I believe I told you, your voice really reminds me of John McCauley a lot…. Who are some singer/songwriters that you look up to & would love to perform with?
A: There are certainly more singers and writers who have influenced me than I could count but I know Margo and Courtney are there right at the top. Jeremy Ivey is up there as well. If I had to make a Mt Rushmore, it would probably have Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Tom Waits, Randy Newman and Warren Zevon. How many faces are on Mt Rushmore? I’d probably have to find a bigger mountain. If I could perform with anybody, I’d probably want to play piano for Paul Robeson as he sang any song he wanted to sing.
Q: What is your favorite go to, kick back and relax beverage after a night of playing a great show?
A: Tequila, the great betrayer.
Q: Who were your Top 5 Artists on Spotify for 2020? Songs?
A: My Spotify is all out of wack. Probably, “Wat Da Hook Gon Be” by Murphy Lee & “Low Rider” by War. All the names I mentioned above. I’ll listen to the same song 30 times in a row. People around me can’t stand it when I’m in charge of the music.
Q: Where can fans find your music and buy your merch?
A: Right now just at my Bandcamp. I’ve been laying the tracks as the train runs. I didn’t expect people to respond to it so now I’m scrambling. I couldn’t think of a better problem.
You can also find Dillon on Instagram at dillonwarnek. And don’t forget March 26th, his new album drops on Bandcamp.
Stay tuned for more interviews coming your way.. If you would like to promote new music or would like an interview, please contact me at my IG at music_stylist or email firstname.lastname@example.org.