About Essential Pop

Essential Pop is an online music magazine all about the best aspects of popular music and incredible interviews from the best up and coming artists. We're also on twitter, follow us @essentialpop!

MP3: Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross’ “Blacks”

Enigmatic Chicago artist Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is only starting to crawl out of — their? its? — shell. Well, make that his shell. The American blog darling has revealed himself to be just one person, a 24-year-old playing under a completely made-up moniker cribbed from Rosicrucian iconography. How’s that for obscure? (His given name is actually Dexter Tortoriello).

A detail of the cover for Dawn Golden and Rosy’ Cross’ debut EP

But these days, with the way music circulates quickly as data, that was all anyone needed to know to fall in love with his bedroom-produced, electronic indie pop. Well, that’s not an entirely accurate term. In hazy-textured songs like “Blow,” also the title of his debut EP, there are Gen-Y snippets of all kinds of styles. The songs themselves are often downtempo slow, but built on rattling pseudo-hip-hop beats, but overlaid with pop piano and mournful, singer-songwriter style vocals. It’s definitely music of the short-attention-span, iPod generation, but it comes together in a beautifully heartbreaking way.

 

The handful of tracks Tortoriello has allowed to circulate on the Internet have been enough to score a joint record deal with Downtown Records and super-producer Diplo’s own imprint, Mad Decent. It’s due out on April 12 in the States, where Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross just played its first real string of super-public dates, as part of the annual industry-centrix SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

 

Tortoriello’s pulled his Blow EP form his Bandcamp site, which now remains surprisingly blank (http://dawngoldenandrosycross.bandcamp.com/), but you can still legally enjoy the track “Blacks” below until the next record comes out. And check out this promo trailer for Blow, but only if you’ve got a strong stomach — that mystery stain on the bed is probably best left unexplained!

 

 

MP3: Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross -- “Blacks”

http://www.mediafire.com/?v8v5t44z57atpjt

 

 

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

Considering the rabid platform-agnostic content consumption of today’s fans, it may even happen sooner rather than later.

When we talk about music merchandise, the first things that usually come to mind (aside from their albums themselves) are clothing lines, paper ephemera like stickers, and maybe a signature scent or a few action figures. For the true hardcore collector, however, there’s another type of extremely valuable collectible to amass: slot machines.

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

 

While newer artists haven’t really ventured into licensing their likenesses and creative output to slot machine manufacturers and online gaming developers, a number of musical icons have slowly but surely penetrated the realm of real-money gaming.

There are already two Michael Jackson slot machines, for example. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill quick cash-ins, either. The latest, called Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, features a number of the King of Pop’s most famous songs. It even comes with videos, a virtual concert bonus, and a surround-sound chair.

Genre doesn’t seem to be a deterrent to entry, too. Legendary thrash metal band Megadeth, considered one of the “Big Four” in the world of thrash metal, has its own slot machine. It seems like a strange merchandising venture for a metal band, but it does exist, albeit only as an online game.

The choice seems not so strange for merchandise-heavy band Kiss, whose members have lent their likeness to everything from limp balms and Rubik’s cubes to condoms and caskets. It should come as no surprise, then, that the band has also had a slot machine themed after them.

 

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

 

The undisputed king of musician-based slot machines, however, is Elvis Presley. In fact, you could argue that without The King, there wouldn’t be a market for these kinds of slot machines at all. IGT, who basically pioneered the modern era of licensed slot machine cabinets, really started the ball rolling with the first Elvis-themed slot machine in the late 90s.

That particular slot machine was the first to incorporate licensed music tracks and videos into the cabinet, something that has since become a staple not only for current-era artist-themed slots but for pretty much every new slot machine.

It was soon followed by a number of other Elvis-themed cabinets. When IGT eventually moved into the online gaming landscape, it brought Elvis with it. The latest title, Elvis The King, debuted on Betfair during the week of what would have been The King’s 78th birthday.

 

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

Casino slot machines: The next great frontier for pop music merchandise?

 

Licensing has lately become a big enough part of pop music that it wouldn’t come as a surprise if we start to see slot machines featuring today’s crop of artists in the future. Considering the rabid and platform-agnostic content consumption of today’s fans, it may even happen sooner than anyone thinks.

Artist Interview – Krista Papista

Krista Papista is a talented electronic musician who is originally from Cyprus but is now living and working in London. Although Krista is incredibly working towards her next album release in early Autumn 2013 we were delighted that she took the time to be interviewed by Essential Pop. Read on to find out, amongst other things, how Krista became interested in music initially, what she’s currently working on and with whom she would like to collaborate with given the chance.

 

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your musicvand who you are what would it be?

I like to describe my music as “Sordid Pop”. I am an electronic musician / producer based in London.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I started playing guitar and writing lyrics when I was 13. Over the years I took vocal, piano, trumpet and music technology classes. I started performing when I was 14.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

They have been quite interesting. I have been performing constantly at various venues around London (East bloc, 93 feet east, Candy Bar etc), played festivals around Europe ( Women’s International Festival, 2nd Athens Music Festival, Summer Love Fest) and have collaborated with DJ/ producer Jimmy Edgar on a remix of my single “Dirty Boy Dancer” .

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Erik Satie, David Bowie, Chet Baker, Johnny Mercer, Billy Holiday, Elvis, Kate Bush.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

I would love to gig with Peaches, Cocorosie and The Knife.

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

When I am working on my own music I don’t tend to listen to a lot of other music because I just don’t have time or my ears need a brake from music but I have been listening to a Greek singer called ” Annabouboula” recently.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

I work entirely on my own in my home studio, I usually need to spend a few days on a track. I record and mix everything on Logic Pro.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

I think they are both equally important.

 

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

 

Q: Where are you based?

London

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

I was born in Cyprus. Cyprus is a beautiful place to grown up in but I now feel like a Metropolitan kind of person. London has been a formative a formative place for me , contributing dramatically to my self-development and satisfaction of my interests.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on new material for my new album that will be released in Autumn 2013.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

Release an album, more music videos and get signed with a suitable record label.

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Read books, jog and travel.

 

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

Decrease self-doubt and increase your discipline and patience.

 

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

Krista Papista

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

My new single and music video “Pomoiselle” will be officially released in August but you can have a look here: video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGOe0kz4j2Y audio http://krista-papista.bandcamp.com/track/pomoiselle

 

Editor’s Note: Krista Papista has some incredible high energy electronic tracks which convey her personality but also have a distinct commercial edge. We’re looking forward with great interest how Krista’s career develops over the coming months and years!

 

If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Krista Papista just follow the links below:

 

Website: www.kristapapista.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/krista-papista

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/misskristapapista

Bandcamp: http://krista-papista.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristaPapistaMusic?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kristapapista

Tumblr: http://kristapapista.tumblr.com/

Artist Interview – Chrissy

Chrissy is a great upcoming R&B artist from Ottawa, Canada. At Essential Pop we love unearthing talented new artists from all over the globe and were delighted when we came across Chrissy’s creative portfolio and she agreed to be interviewed so we could share everything with you. Read on to discover what Chrissy has recently been doing, what’s it like living in Ottawa and what she’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.

 

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Sweet, smooth and angelic. I want to revamp R&B from the 2000′s.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I started taking piano lessons when I was 6 -- I hated it. I had a hard time reading notes and I would end up coloring the pictures in my book instead. I eventually grew to have an appreciation for it when I started singing at 13. I taught myself how to sing and play and I’m grateful for those lessons; it’s an amazing feeling being able to create your own music.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

The last 12 months have been pretty hectic. Actually, my whole life has been pretty hectic. It’s always hard finding a balance between recording new music, performing, making videos and just having time for friends and family. You always have to be consistent when putting out music or else people forget about you. Our generation has a short attention span thanks to YouTube and all the easy access to entertainment. There’s always something to watch if it’s not you!

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

I love Brandy, Destiny’s Child, and Mariah Carey to name a few. They’re all strong and beautiful women and have kept it classy throughout their career.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Beyoncé is on fire; whether you love her or hate her you can’t deny her talent and her dedication. That’s why I appreciate her as an artist. She’s always delivering and puts everything she has into her music. I want to be just like that.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

I would love to make a song with Drake. He adds so much flavor to anything he touches he has yet to disappoint me. He’s definitely up there on my list.

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

Kat Dahlia – Gangsta on REPEAT

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

Some people like to write first and then create the music around their words, but I like to feel the vibe of a beat first. If I’m feeling the beat, I get inspired to write, and the melody and the words just come.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

I definitely can’t place one higher than the other -- they’re both equally important to me. If you don’t have a good melody, it’s hard to stay focused on the words no matter how good they are. The same goes for an amazing melody; if the words don’t make sense, how can you relate as a listener?

 

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

 

Q: Where are you based?

I’m from Ottawa, Canada.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

It’s definitely a challenge trying to be a singer, yet alone anything in the entertainment industry. Although we are the capital of Canada, we’re only a city population of 1 million, and we all end up working for the government in one way or another. That’s sort of your fate by default living here.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I am currently in the midst of finishing up my single and shooting a music video. I’m really excited to start working on my first official album. I released my first EP in November 2012 and the response has been amazing so far. I can’t wait to share more music with my fans!

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

In January of last year my cover song to Crew Love was featured on WorldStarHipHop. I gained massive exposure and thousands of new fans. I even caught the attention of the producers from The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I was walking on clouds for a while!

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

I want to grow as an artist and create something different. I have a clear vision of what kind of music I want to make and that’s why I’m so excited to make this album. I was experimenting with my first EP; I was trying to figure out what I like, what my sound is, who Chrissy is.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

I’m currently in the midst of negotiating a tour with a special guest appearance. Once everything is settled I’ll be announcing all the details! Fingers crossed.

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

This is going to sound super nerdy, but I play video games in my down time. Xbox, PS3, Wii… I do it all. I blame it on having 2 brothers. My phone is pretty jam packed with games too. If I’m staring at my phone for too long, it’s not a text message.

 

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

Chrissy

 

Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?

Lebanon for me is a must see. The beauty and the culture is one of a kind. My father is Lebanese and British, I feel like I would be learning part of my history by visiting the country.

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

It’s not easy. You have to absolutely love what you do.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster with a lot of highs and lows. There will always be obstacles in the way and people telling you no, but you have to always stay motivated and keep pushing. Ask any great artist, they’ll tell you they received countless no’s before receiving a yes. People will turn you down, people will put you down, people will want you to fail. You have to be consistent, positive, and willing to go against the grain.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

I really love my fans because they appreciate the music I make for them. I wanted my first EP to be a free download so my fans could get a taste of my music. This album is where they are going to have a chance to help me. I’m starting a campaign on Indiegogo.com to raise money for my album. My fans and supporters can donate anything they want to help contribute to the making of my album. The campaign will be launching soon and I need your help!

 

Chrissy

Chrissy

 

Editor’s Note: Chrissy has a great vocal and an incredibly memorable vibe and we’re hoping she’ll achieve a great deal of  musical recognition as her influence develops.

 

If you’d like to check out more of Chrissy’s music, or get in touch, just follow the links below:

Website: www.onlychrissy.com

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/chrissyspratt

YouTube:: www.youtube.com/chrissyonair

Facebook: www.facebook.com/onlychrissy

Twitter: www.twitter.com/chrissyspratt

Artist Interview – Holly Elle

Holly Elle is an upcoming Canadian singer / songwriter who is currently living and working in Nashville, TN. After checking out some of Holly Elle’s latest music videos we were really keen to learn more and were therefore really honoured when she agreed to be interviewed by Essential Pop. Read on to find out about Holly Elle’s musical influences, which modern artists she would like to collaborate with given the chance and what she does to relax when not working.

 

Holly Elle

Holly Elle

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Can I sing 20 words of a song instead? No? Okay hmm let’s see… Canadian Pop/R&B recording artist and songwriter, looking to bring inspiration and fun to listeners, and encourage people to be themselves… this is starting to sound like a Craigslist ad…

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I have been a music lover all my life. It runs in the family. I started by listening to whatever my parents, and later my older brothers, were listening to. I also got the opportunity to go to the opera and the theater, which led to studying those things and becoming classically trained. I started writing my own songs around age 12, and once I knew I wanted to pursue artistry as a career, I began melding and incorporating all those styles and influences into my own work.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

Fantastic! I am so proud of my latest project, Leopardess, it’s getting great feedback. I’ve had some wonderful accomplishments and I make sure to stop and celebrate every one.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

There are many people, but definitely my Dad. He hasn’t had formal training but plays and sings by ear. For some reason he can pick up random instruments and play. Also, The Beatles, Elton John, and Mariah Carey.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

Beyoncé!!! She is killin’ it. She’s demonstrating longevity while at the same time remaining so current. As an entertainer she is an absolute powerhouse. And she’s parlaying it into an enterprise. As her hubby would say, she’s not a businessman; she’s a business, man!

I also look up to Rihanna. She infuses her style so uniquely into these amazing songs and the result is hit after hit after hit. Bam!

I’m also really loving Macklemore & Ryan Lewis so much right now, because they’re awesome, but especially because they’re an indie success story. Us indies need that proof that it can be done.

 

Holly Elle

Holly Elle

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Yes, the list is long. Paul McCartney: that would be the ultimate. Some of the other artists I’ve already mentioned of course. Also Frank Ocean, fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Kanye, I could go on and on…

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

Just downloaded “Beautiful” from Mariah and Miguel -- loving it.

Also like the Miley Cyrus/Snoop Lion (not to be confused with Dog) “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks”.

And my brother just introduced me to “I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)” by the great Stevie Wonder, and I’m obsessed. All these years later and I’m still gettin’ my music from my brothers.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

It really varies. Sometimes I work with a producer who gives me a track and I write the lyrics and vocal melody to that. Sometimes I co-write with people on acoustic instruments and we work together to make it all happen. Sometimes the lyric and melody just come to me suddenly in my head, and the next thing you know, it’s done.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Oh man that’s impossible to answer! Of course they’re both important. I know people who are “melody” people and people who are “lyric” people. But both can bring you to tears. I refuse to choose.

 

Q: Where are you based?

One of the most beautiful cities in the whole wide world: Nashville, TN.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

It’s awesome. I came from a small town right outside a big city, so I had the best of both worlds. I lived on an acreage on the prairies with beautiful snowcapped mountains in the distance. Gorgeous. And ya gotta love Albertans, they’re great people.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I’m securing outlets for the songs from Leopardess. I’m excited to be partnering with various TV networks again, so watch your favorite shows for some Holly Elle! And as always, I’m writing.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

It was pretty damn cool to see one of my songs played on TV for the first time, with my name scrolling across the bottom. And the first time I saw my name in print in a magazine was a big one too.

 

Holly Elle

Holly Elle

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

The important thing is to just focus on doing my best work and trying to reach as many people as possible with the intent to connect and inspire. That’s the real goal and the real gift, and only great things can come from that.

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Watch TV with my dog under our leopard Snuggie.

 

Q: Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?

In a cabin, with family and friends, in the winter. Fire blazing. Soaking in a hot tub with snow all around. Good food, music, and lots of laughter. Why? The four F’s: Family, Friends, Fun and Food!

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

Find your own voice. Literally and metaphorically.  And most importantly: trust it.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

I’d just like to thank you guys for interviewing me and thank the readers for their interest!

 

Editor’s Note: Holly Elle’s intrinsic knowledge of music allows her to express her message in a way that is unique and appealing with a commercial edge.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Holly Elle just follow the links below:

Website: www.hearholly.com

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/hollyelle

Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/hollyelle

YouTube embeds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JywdZyEylmk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Holly-Elle/177891678905141?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hearholly

Any Other Links: http://www.mtv.com/artists/holly-elle-11/

Artist Interview – Keith Jacobs

Keith Jacobs is a talented, upcoming singer and performer who is currently living and working in Dallas, Texas. At Essential Pop when we first checked out some of Keith’s music we were really impressed and were therefore delighted when he took some time out of his hectic schedule to be interviewed by us. Read on to find out about, amongst other things, who he would like to collaborate with given the chance, what he’s recently been working on and what he’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.

 

Keith Jacobs

Keith Jacobs

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

New Age Urban R&B Music

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I’ve been singing since I was three. My entire life I have been involved in music in some way shape or form.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

The last 12 months have been progressive to say the least. I’m optimistic and excited to see what 2013 has in store for. This past year I’ve been fortunate to perform across the US and reach new listeners throughout the world. I’ve had the opportunity not only grow as an artist but as a person; and that growth can be heard through my music.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

I believe that the reason I’m here is to touch and change lives through my music. That’s all the inspiration I need.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

The Dream. Kendrick Lamar. Rihanna. Usher. Kanye West.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Kanye West.

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

Miguel- Candles in the Sun

Kendrick Lamar- Money Trees

Jeremih- Rated R

Rihanna – Loveeeeee Song

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

For me it just depends on the track. Once I get to the studio I find a track that speaks to me and from there I record my reference vocals. Usually there isn’t any writing so I’m making the vocals and melodies at the same time. From there I go back clean up vocals where needed.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Both.

 

Q: Where are you based?

Dallas, TX.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

Currently I am wrapping up my EP to be released later this year.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

The release of my first Album Just Say Go and seeing the support of people really buying my music.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

Growing as an artist and continue to put out music that people can feel and relate to.

 

Keith Jacobs

Keith Jacobs

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

For all my shows and updates you can check out my website at THISISKEITHJACOBS.COM.

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Write Music.

 

Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?

Christmas back home in Houston. Because of schedule I’m always traveling and I never get a chance to go home. When I do, I like to catch up with my friends and family.

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

Love what you do. If you love what you do then you don’t need any validation from anyone but yourself. Be dedicated. Know going into this that anything worth having will require some type of sacrifice. Believe in yourself and just do it!

 

Keith Jacobs

Keith Jacobs

 

Editor’s Note: Keith Jacobs has everything in place, from great vocals to well thought out lyrics and a commercial edge, to enjoy a long and fruitful career in the music industry.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Keith Jacobs just follow the links below:

Website: www.thisiskeithjacobs.com

Twitter: @keifjay https://twitter.com/keifjay

 

Artist Interview – Leah McKendrick

Leah McKendrick is an upcoming solo-performing artist who is currently living and working in LA and is our latest Sonicbids competition winner. After checking out some of Leah’s work we were really impressed at Essential Pop and were delighted, despite her hectic schedule that she agreed to complete an interview. Read on to find out about what Leah McKendrick has recently been working on, what music she enjoys listening to and what she does to relax when not working.

 

Leah McKendrick

Leah McKendrick

 

Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

My music is like the hot sun on a chilly winter’s day.  I don’t know.  I make pop music!  My friends tell me it’s like Britney, but edgier, with more singing.  It’s fun, sexy, girly and at times dark and moody.  That’s more than 20 words, sorry.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I grew up on Madonna and Michael Jackson.  I’d dance around in my room with a hairbrush, singing in the mirror…the whole deal.  Then I started thinking I was a diva because I discovered Celine and Mariah.  Then came Britney and Christina. I always did musical theatre but I love pop music.  Forever and always!

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

Exciting and frustrating…  Story of my life!  This year has been a big year of making my own opportunities as well as a ton of collaboration.   Working with Janice Cooke-Leonard [on the music video for “SICK”] was a huge thrill because I’m a big fan of her work.  I LOVED Dawson’s Creek in high school!  She’s so cool and relaxed yet she’s got such a strong vision and knows what she wants.  I love her.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

She’s more of a creative influence than a musical one, but Lena Dunham is a BIG inspiration for me.  She is the creator/writer/star of the HBO series, “Girls” which is my fave.  We are almost the same age.  She makes me want to do more, achieve more; be better!  She drives me to create my own opportunities instead of sitting on my ass.  Not to mention that girl is ALWAYS naked and I love it.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

I think it’s really cool that some of the new pop singers also rap!  Karmin, Cher Lloyd…  I try to rap, but I’m…not great.  It’s not going to stop me from trying though!

 

Leah McKendrick

Leah McKendrick

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

The producer, MdL.  His stuff is awesome and fresh.  He’s already so well respected and he’s like 21!  It’s ridiculous.

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

I just discovered Sara Bareilles’ album, Kaleidoscope Heart that I’ve been listening to a lot lately.  Her voice is perfection.

 

Q: What is your creative process for writing a song?

It really depends.  Sometimes I compile lyrics I’ve written on scraps of paper or my journals and put it together to make a song.  Sometimes it’ll all just come out on it’s own and be done in twenty minutes.  Has to do with my mood and the song.  Usually the first thing to come is the concept or title.  I have a few titles in my head that I’ll write eventually.  They are filed away in my brain.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

I think every successful songwriter ever would probably say if they had to choose, melody because you can have a successful song with terrible lyrics but usually not the other way around.  Still, I’m ALL about lyrics.  I’ll change my melody for a co-writer or producer, but I think anybody that has worked with me knows I’m not as flexible when it comes to my lyrics.

 

Q: Where are you based?

LA, baby!

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

I’m originally from San Francisco.  Every San Franciscan is proud to be from SF.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I am working on creating a musical web series about two sororities at war. VERY early stages but I’m super excited.  It’s going to be a ton of work that is good because I’m a nightmare when I’m not busy.  I don’t even want to be around me when I’m not busy.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Roy [Hamilton 3] gave me this track when I was first signed to the label Monarch and he was like, “Kells wrote this song for you.”  They gave me this rough of R.Kelly singing.  He was barely even singing words; there was just a melody there and a guitar.  Completely rough.  I was supposed to write the song with his melody and record it.  When I was a kid I used to try to sing “I Believe I Can Fly” over and over and OVER.  Then here I am with this song R.Kelly and Roy have handed over for me to write and sing.  It was a crazy moment because I think it was the first time I felt like a real artist!  Not a pretend artist.

 

Leah McKendrick

Leah McKendrick

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve over the next 12 months?

International fame and fortune, of course.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

I am pretty exclusively working on shooting material at the moment!  So please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I will be doing a ton of web content!  Youtube.com/leahmckendrick

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

I watch a TON of TV!  A TON.  I love TV.  I love American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Revenge, Master Chef, The X Factor, Kitchen Nightmares and of course, Girls.

 

Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?

May favorite holiday is Halloween and I’d like to do it in New Orleans next year!  I’ve never been.  I wanna go see some awesome live music and eat jumbalaya!

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten was from an acting teacher, Cynthia Szigeti, but I think it still applies.  She said; if you want to make it in this industry, get yourself a life.  Friends you like, a relationship you like, a place you like, because you’re going to be here a while.  I think that’s so true.  If you hate your life here, you will burn out.  Have a source of happiness other than your music because the industry can be downright heartbreaking.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Please add me on Facebook and subscribe!

 

Editor’s Note: Leah McKendrick has all of the attributes and keen musicianship to enjoy a fruitful career in the music industry. At Essential Pop we’re looking forward to how Leah’s career progresses over the coming months and years.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with Leah McKendrick please follow the links below:

Website: leahmckendrick.com

Youtube: youtube.com/leahmckendrick

Reverbnation: reverbnation.com/leahmckendrick

Facebook: facebook.com/leahmckendrick

Twitter: twitter.com/leahmckendrick

Artist Interview – NvS

NvS is an upcoming singer and musician who splits her time between Toronto and New York. After checking out her music we really wanted to hear her story. Despite her increasingly hectic schedule we were delighted when she agreed. Read the entire interview below NvS discusses which modern-day artists she looks up to, what she’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months and her creative process for creating a track.

 

NvS

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Q: What is your musical background?

 I was classically trained on the piano and took lessons from age 6-12. I’m also a classically trained vocalist and sang mostly Catholic/Christian material at my Catholic School for the Arts. But despite my training, I say my musical background is ALL feel good music.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

 Life changing. I’ve gone through a personal evolution this passed year, shedding all these layers and understanding who I am as a being and why I’m here. I’ve truly come to understand the purpose of me going after the dream of being a singer/songwriter/performer. It has been very intense to discover all my truths: my deepest, my darkest, my brightest and being able to emerge without worrying what people think about me. It’s been transformative.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

 Prince, Crystal Waters, Dorothy Dandridge, KRS One…musically I love feel good music and music with great messages so anyone who has something meaningful to say and makes music that is just as meaningful.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

 I love me some Kanye West! I love his ability to be uninhibited and not worry what the world has to say. I also love Faith Evans; her vocal ability makes you feel everything that she’s feeling when she sings. I love Sam Sparro because he’s fun and Adele, you hear her pain and truth. I also love Reggae music so to me Bob Marley is always current. he’s a big inspiration.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

 I woke up recently with Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” in my Spirit and heart. I didn’t know why because Outside of what I’ve heard on the radio, I wasn’t too familiar with his music. But when I woke up with this song in my head, I realized that at some point he affected me. So I downloaded all his music and really listened to what he brought lyrically. so I’d love to collaborate with Frank Ocean.

I also love Common and Kanye West. Anyone who has something inspiring to say that will make people think.

 

Q: What songs are you listening to at the moment?

 Of course Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You,” also some Donna Summer, Michael Jackson, Pointer Sisters…Oh and I’ve been listening to WHAM as well, George Michael, he’s the shit! I would love to write a song with George Michael.

 

NvS

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Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

 Everything stems from a personal experience. Right now I’m dealing with this issue, so my new songwriting concept is “he said, she said,” where people twist words. All my music and creative experiences come from my life. I figure why not channel it and shed some light on my experiences.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

 Melody. Depending on the melody you can make somebody cry or have fun. Melody is the vibration of life. If you put lyrics to melody, people can understand what you’re trying to say but if you’re sensitive to vibration and sound you don’t even need lyrics to understand because it comes from a surrendered channel of emotion.

 

Q: Where are you based?

 I split my time between Toronto and New York. I consider NY my stomping grounds.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

 Canadians for the most part are very conservative. Canada is a melting pot. It is very diverse and I love being from there. It’s great, go and visit!

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on my EP, which I plan on releasing before the end of the summer. It will be called “Who Is NvS?” and will be a free download for my fans!

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

 Being able to wake up and do this every day. Being able to transfer my life experiences for people to hear and knowing that people are listening and gravitating to the music. That’s everything to me. That’s what its about.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

 Every day that passes I wake up with a goal. I aim to make sure that I stay true to myself and that I don’t get carried away or get caught up in this business or this world or what society deems to be acceptable. I intend to stay true to myself no matter how big or successful the music becomes in the wider world. I can’t lose myself.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

 Not right now but you can definitely keep up with me on Twitter.com/whoisnvsFacebook.com/whoisnvs and my website www.whoisnvs.com so when I announce some dates you’ll be able to come out and experience!

 

Q: What do you do to relax?

Well right now I’m sitting by the Hudson River looking out at the water, which is pretty relaxing. In general though, I listen to good music, I dance, I ride my bike. I look at every day and take advantage of what life has to offer.

 

Q: Where would your favorite holiday (vacation) be and why?

I can’t say that I have a favorite place to vacation but anywhere where there are beautiful clear blue oceans, a clean beach and a lot of water sports. Preferably where there is high cliff I can jump off, but if I’m water skiing, jet skiing and by the ocean having fun, then I’m happy.

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

Make music that is true to who you are because that’s the only way you’ll be able to connect with your audience.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Go to my website, www.whoisnvs.com where you can download my music for free!

 

NvS -- Between My Thighs


 

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Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

Be focused. Be Bold. Be free.

 

Editor’s Note: NvS has an excellent creative and artistic vibe that exudes itself in everything she does. Definitely one of Essential Pop’s “Ones to Watch”.

 

If you’d like to learn more about or contact NvS just follow the links below:

Website: www.whoisnvs.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/whoisnvs

Twitter: Twitter.com/whoisnvs

Artist Interview – /_\drian Daniel

/_\drian Daniel is a young, upcoming urban artist from Brooklyn, NY and is our latest Sonicbids competition winner.  /_\drian  has recently released his new album “Memoirs of a Stoner” to critical acclaim and is currently working hard on promotion. We were delighted when he took time out of his hectic schedule to complete an interview with Essential Pop. Read on to find out  /_\drian’s musical background, his current career highlights and his musical inspirations.

 

/_\drian Daniel

/_\drian Daniel

 

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Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?

My music speaks truth in serious and not so serious ways that offers my fans a place in time to react to reality.

 

Q: What is your musical background?

I’ve been trained in Jazz and Classical music, but I grew up listening to James Brown, Michael Jackson, Sade, Queen, Journey, Biggie and Tupac. So my musical background is what ever I was exposed to growing up and you can hear it in my music.

 

Q: How have the last 12 months been for you?

These past 12 months have been trippy. I still can’t believe how much people really love my stories. Ever since I dropped my album “Memoirs of a Stoner” in May, my career just took off.

 

Q: Who inspires you musically?

Oh wow there are so many. Kanye West, Sade, MGMT, Coldplay, Jackie Wilson, Michael Jackson, The Eagles, Tupac, Biggie Smalls, John Foster, Prince. I could go on and on.

 

Q: Which modern day artists do you look up to?

There are five artist right now that I am huge fans off. Frank Ocean, MGMT, Cocaine 80′s, Theophilus London, and Santigold.

 

Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?

Coldplay, Prince, MGMT, Theophilus London, and Kendrick Lamar.

 

Q: What music are you listening to at the moment?

I am listening to Cocaine 80′s at this moment.

 

Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?

I dont have one. When I go through something or someone close to me does, I write it down and turn it into a song.

 

Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?

Both. I believe that the story is really important but without the right melody its like having a book with no emotion to make you keep reading.

 

/_\drian Daniel

/_\drian Daniel

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Q: Where are you based?

Brooklyn, NY.

 

Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?

I love where I come from, there is so much inspiration in Brooklyn. Though Brooklyn is a Hip-Hop heavy place I still get inspiration when i’m writing a song. Don’t get me wrong, I love hip-hop. I incorporate it into my music. Its a part of my culture, but it sometimes hard getting recognition as a singer when your from such a hip-hop heavy place.

 

Q: What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on my next album. I want to try and release it by the end of the year.

 

Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?

Grandmothers think I’m sexy now, Lol, Na I had a young girl contact me she was in tears after hearing my song American Love. She said in really touched her.

 

Q: What are you hoping to achieve in over the next 12 months?

I am going to shoot a video for every song off my album “Memoirs of a Stoner,” and go on tour.

 

Q: Do you have any gigs or shows that you’d like to tell us about?

I am performing at the Rhythm-N-Soul Festival in Brooklyn, NY on June 21st then the following day I am performing at the legendary Bitter End in Manhattan NY. Then on July 4th I’m having a big concert in Brooklyn at L4 Black Door with artist Z3ro the Comet, Figgy Frasier and Black Scar.

 

Q: Where would your favourite holiday (vacation) be and why?

Tibet. I would love to go there and meditate with the monks.

 

Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for new or aspiring musicians what would it be?

Be yourself. People respect you when you are true to yourself.

 

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know about?

Yes. I thank you for reading this article, and I thank essential pop for interviewing me. Peace and love to everyone.

 

/_\drian Daniel

/_\drian Daniel

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Editor’s Note:  /_\drian Daniel has a great energetic vibe and uses this to create some individual, memorable yet commercial tracks. One of Essential Pop’s “One’s to Watch”.

If you’d like to learn more about or get in touch with /_\drian Daniel just follow the links below:

 

Twitter link: https://twitter.com/#!/ADthestoner

Facebook link: www.facebook.com/Adrian.Nd1

Web page link: Creativityismyart.com

Soundcloud link: http://soundcloud.com/user9137258/sets

Reverbnation link: http://www.reverbnation.com/LDC4Life

YouTube embeds: http://www.youtube.com/user/LDC4Life?feature=watch

Instagram:@ADtheStoner