“It was very interesting growing up in an all-girls private school and one of, like, 10 people of color. I’m multi-racial. I’m Puerto Rican and black. So growing up in predominately black schools was hard too, because I didn’t exactly look like other people. I spoke proper, so I was picked on in the all-black community in the public school. And I went to a private school and then I became ‘the black girl.’ So it was interesting not really having like a place where I felt like I could have my own identity. I had to just find myself and get comfortable with who I am. … I just kind of created my own world, really, and that’s what forced me to be creative as an artist.” —Kiya Lacey, via NPR World Cafe
“I have been pushing my writing to new places and have released a ton of new music along the way. ‘Living Now’ came from a place of intense reflection. I was in a writing session and talking about my journey from working in sales to pursuing music. I described a time where I would sit in my car on my lunch break and sing at the top of my lungs and cry. I felt like I was spending the majority of my time at work (which most of us do) and I was missing out on this other life that I was supposed to be living. The producer and I were talking about how a lot of people miss out on living their best lives because of their dedication to a job or maybe even their dedication to the wrong job. All of a sudden ‘Living Now’ started writing itself.” —Whissell, via Galore
“Living Now” was released as a single by Whissell in July of 2017.
“Inspiration can come from many sources and for Toronto-born singer FJØRA, her exposure to music at a young age had a lasting impact. Raised in a house with a music professor father, FJØRA, real name Alexandra Petkovski, began studying music at a young age. With an early interest in jazz and film scoring, FJØRA eventually relocated to Nashville to study music composition. It was in Nashville that FJØRA teamed up with producer Josh Hawkins, with the two crafting FJØRA’s latest single ‘Zodiac.'” —Allison Bowsher for Much
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“[Violents and Monica Martin’s Awake and Pretty Much Sober] takes listeners through the various stages of a relationship — the butterflies-in-the-stomach beginnings, volatile ends, and everything in between. For an album whose focal point is human connection, creative chemistry is vital, and it’s apparent that theirs comes naturally.” —Michelle Geslani for Consequence of Sound
“It took me over 6 years to finish this new Canon Blue album. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how much I changed in parallel to the making of the record. The arc of my life evolved so distinctly that I feel like the person who started this album is almost the exact opposite of the person who finished it.
‘Beholden’ is the first song on the record and is symbolic in the way that it sets the stage of what’s to come. Life only moves in one direction, and you can either accept the reality and truth of your life, or you can live in denial in a futile fight against it. Self acceptance is the great work for us all.” —Canon Blue
“‘Melt’ was the first song that I wrote to tracks. My typical song-writing method is to find the chords/melody on the piano and write the lyrics from there. This song was definitely more of a challenge for me because I wasn’t used to writing to pre-made chords/structures. The producers that I worked with had already placed the lines ‘If love is like fire I can make it burn brighter’ in the intro, so I decided to go with the whole ‘heat’ theme for the rest of the song.” —Natalie Madigan, via Purple Melon
“Melt” was released as a single by Natalie Madigan in April of 2017.
“This song is definitely one of my favorites and by far the most aggressive off the LP. I wanted to write something that was an anthem for the underdogs and just something about the experience of digging deep and pulling out the best we have inside.” —Sam Tinnesz, via No Country For New Nashville
“Legends Are Made” is from Sam Tinnesz’s 2017 Babel LP.
“I’ve always wanted to do music. I practically came out of the womb singing and dancing (never dancing well, might I add) but there was a particular moment when I knew that I had to do this. I was in Haiti right after the earthquake doing some relief work and I was specifically working with orphans, many of which were also amputee victims. You can imagine the feelings of inadequacy I felt. I wasn’t a doctor, I wasn’t a miracle worker who could make all their problems go away. I was very overwhelmed with questions of what to do, how to help them, and then overwhelming questions of what do I do with my life?! (Experiences like that always make me think and question everything.) Well, I then began to sing for them and sing with them and all of a sudden there was no language barrier, there was no miscommunication, there was a transcendent language of music that was doing more than I ever thought I could do.” —Daniella Mason, via Joonbug
“Tell Me It’s Over” was released by Daniella Mason in July of 2017.
“There was this season when a handful of close friends could not catch a break. I mean, it truly was a series of unfortunate events. And I always think how it’s so fascinating that we have these wild, vivid dreams, yet we are not always able to remember them. This phenomenon made a bridge to this time of hardship. It’s like you think you have everything in place, or some type of life plan, and then it all dissipates.” —Amanda Bantug, via Girls Are Awesome
“Sometimes we want something to work so badly that we’re willing to go looking for any one ray of light that’ll hopefully dispel the overwhelming shadows in a relationship. You get to the point where you try to focus so much on that light, that it blinds you, and you disregard all the darkness around you that’s doing the same. It’s about someone realizing that denial, and is trying their best to work through that cognitive dissonance, between what they feel and what they think needs to happen. I’m hoping to highlight that mental state on ‘Close Enough,’ so that you don’t ever have to put yourself through it.” —R.LUM.R, via Billboard
“I have channeled my feelings of severe hopelessness and depression, I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach. I’ve found what I had thought was an unobtainable place of peace. This song is about coming to feel empathy for someone else even if they hurt you or scare you. It’s a song about learning to be proud of the person you are even during low moments when you feel alone. It’s also about hoping everyone, even someone who hurt you, can heal.” —Kesha, via Lenny
“As a producer I like to make around 2-3 tracks a week in order to keep my library full for potential artists. ‘Time Again’ was a track I had started a year ago but it felt a little more unique than some of my other tracks so I decided to keep it for myself. It originally started with the piano intro bit but months later I became obsessed with vocal chops so I wanted to try some on my own. I’m a huge fan of dance music but like to keep the emotional side intact, which is what I wanted to convey with this track.” —Jon Santana, via The 405
“Time Again” was released by Jon Santana in October of 2015.
“Art is about being inspired; if the art inspires others and makes them want to explore the world and be better people, it’s ridiculous to say it’s not as good as something else. Making electronic music is an intricate process that is labor-intensive. Anyone who throws shade on electronic music clearly has never tried to make it.” —REMMI, via East of 8th
The lead track from 2015’s New America EP, “Awake, Asleep” was produced by Dustin Burnett and co-written by Remmi (Rachel Smith) and Burnett. The music video for the track was directed by Casey Pierce.