“1000 Degrees of Separation” Single Release by Brandyn Burnette

You all remember Brandyn Burnette, pop darling of the West Coast, and my first interview at A2D.

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Well, we’ve been keeping up to date on BB, as in the last few months he’s branched off on a new DIY adventure which has reaped fantastic results. He blew us all away with his first self-produced single “I Wanna Be (Free)”, introducing a new song and epic music video to match.

But this new track, “1000 Degrees of Separation” is everything I have been asking for from indie artists trying to break into the mainstream. Under a genre Brandyn titles “progressive soul”, this track offers a new, distinctly “Brandyn” flavor, filled with technical sounds, scorching lyrics, and catchy pop melodies. It is a wonderful blend of the psychedelic, powerful, and popular.

Staying true to this new DIY sound, Brandyn’s vocal lines and effects nod to those in his most recent tracks, but also follow the lyrical hypnosis that brings a connectivity to Brandyn’s music that is instrumental in reaching a young and hungry audience.

Thanks to Brandyn for bringing us an exciting new sound, and allowing us to follow your journey as an indie artist in Los Angeles.

Be sure to check out Brandyn Burnette and singer/songwriter girlfriend Molly Moore as they play joint shows  in favorite venues around Los Angeles this summer.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

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Angela Mukul and Trishes LIVE at Lost Property Bar

As I walked into Lost Property Bar off Hollywood and Vine last night, I was hit with three pleasant “firsts”: my first time at the trendy new whiskey bar in Hollywood, and my first time hearing both Angela Mukul and Trishes live.

The showcase, trending on social media under the hashtag #HwoodSongwriters, was put on by Los Angeles marketing company Alternative Ent, who specializes in indie branding. Tonight, Alternative Ent brought together singer/songwriters Angela Mukul and Trishes for their special showcase.

 angela mukulUp first, Angela Mukul stepped behind her guitar and up to the plate, wearing a favorite wide brimmed hat and an even wider smile. The singer/songwriter from Orange County first gained attention with her thick voice and energetic melodies as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next” vocal competition. From there, she has released her debut EP “Free” and a single “I’d Rather Be Single”.

Last night, however, the audience was treated with several new songs from Mukul. Her soulful, yet hometown country vibes, soared over the simple acoustic accompaniment from chorus to chorus. Despite the loud room and difficult acoustics, Mukul didn’t sacrifice a single emotional dynamic, allowing her songs to ebb and flow as they were meant to. The songwriter further showcased her comfortable stage presence as she made an effort to connect with every member of the audience, drawing them in one by one. Saving her best song for last, “Bomb” left the audience in a rapture of cheers, and the gentleman next to me whistled the melody until Trishes took the stage.

trishesTrish Hosein performs under stage name Trishes, an allusion to her use of loops during her performances. As the artist settled in behind her keyboard in her signature facial war paint, it was clear we were in for a show. The Berklee grad started her set with a quick beatbox into the microphone, threw a loop on it, and continued to layer her first song before adding her full and practiced vocals. Between the layers, melodic choices, and fresh lyrics, Trishes transformed the bar into a one woman theater, showcasing her skills as a musical storyteller.

While the comparison to Imogen Heap could be made, Trishes moves away from the pop world and comes into her own in a theatrical element that is a unique and uncharted territory. From creating a song out of the year and month she was born to covering Sia’s “Elastic Heart”, bringing a new meaning and light to the already powerful lyrics, this young artist is primed for takeover.

Having already gained attention from around the world, I anticipate only great and innovative things from these two Los Angeles singer-songwriters.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

“Grace” Single Release by McKail Seely

A refreshing breeze blew through the internet music hubs in the form of singer-songwriter McKail Seely‘s new single, “Grace”. Released in February in a world filled with half-hearted, twice-edited pop beats, the song brings a frankness and openness to the many online venues that is both refreshing, and a relief.

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“Grace”, in Seely’s words, began as a typical breakup song, but soon became a ballad about so much more. In the song, Seely laments a lost relationship, in a format like a love letter that will never be sent, or a page of a diary that her lost lover will never see. But the song transcends into a hopeful place, as the songstress remembers that there is more to life than the present, that tomorrow is an ever-coming day full of possibilities, if we can have the strength and wisdom to let go of what we cannot control.

As I listened to the song for the first time, I was drawn by Seely’s wailing vocals, full of emotion and vulnerability that is a rare treasure in today’s world of melodine and autotune. Her writing mirrored many of the expressions of my own heart, with an honesty that immediately quieted the world around me and drew me in. The folksy instrumentation makes the song feel like a timeless tradition, that has been sung in a hometown bar or favorite cafe for generations.

The wisdom, vulnerability, and simplicity of “Grace” make it everything a song should be: honest, moving, and the product of a heart’s confessions.

You can purchase “Grace” at iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. If you’re local to LA, you can see the talented Salt Lake City native perform at coffee shops, cafes, and even yoga studios on a regular basis, by keeping up with her on her Facebook page.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

“Dreamers” Single Release by Villains In Love

This Brooklyn, NY based indie synth duo stumbled across me on instagram, and directed me to their new single “Dreamers”. I followed their promptings, and was rewarded with a delightful style of music I haven’t heard since Broadway star Gavin Creel released his pop album Goodtimenation in 2006.

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Villains in Love members Blake Charleton and Renae Adams bring similar theatrics and electronic elements to their new single, “Dreamers”, which will be released on iTunes on February 10th, 2015. The song, bringing romantic lyrics, peppy production, and powerful vocals to a mystifying point, is available for streaming on the duo’s soundcloud.

“Dreamers” is playful, enticing, and a breath of fresh air that deviates from today’s mainstream sounds, while still adhering to enough modern influences to feel relevant.

The fresh production and theatrical elements make the song distinctly NYC, and this indie synth Karmin can be experienced at such Manhattan venues as Rockwood Music Hall and Mercury Lounge.

Follow them on instagram (@villainsinlove) to stay up to date on upcoming shows, their EP release (coming spring 2015), their album release (slated for fall 2015), and of course, head to iTunes and purchase “Dreamers” on February 10th, 2015.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

Suddenly Boy N Girl LIVE at The Mint LA

The Mint served up a special treat on Wednesday night, with the indie pop duo Suddenly Boy N Girl.

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Comprised of Anthony Pepi and Candice Kelly, both graduates of the Berklee College of Music, the duo is an unlikely pair, to say the least. First, there’s Anthony, with his boy next door look and nostalgic vocals, reminiscent of the garage band front men who ruled the airwaves for the better part of the early 2000s. Beside him stands Candice, with her fearless punk rock princess attire and rich, tantalizing vocals. Together, they bring a musical balance so interesting, the audience can’t help but be enthralled.

The duo started their set with an original, “Beautiful Strangers”, which had been penned for a documentary. Anthony stood on keys, with both Anthony and Candice on vocals; an excellent guitarist brought the percussive elements to the acoustic set.

As Suddenly Boy N Girl reeled us in further to their set, it became clear that the two made a powerful songwriting team, with catchy and unique melodies filling the ears and hearts of the show attendees. From the stunning acoustic cover of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” to the performance of their debut single “Something More”, the pair proved they were worth their salt.

The juxtaposition between Anthony’s flawless falsetto and Candice’s irresistible vocal additions made for an intriguing and balanced composition. Anthony brought color where Candice brought class; both brought their own excellent skill set to the table, and revealed their hand to be a royal flush.

The duo has hit the ground running in 2015, with a performance at Hollywood’s Pour Vous, now the Mint LA, and an upcoming performance at House of Blues Anaheim at Downtown Disney on February 22nd.

Keep an eye out for this eccentric and talented indie pop duo, as they continue to pound the pavement in the top Los Angeles venues.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

 

Behind the Scenes with Sonia Rao

I was first introduced to singer-songwriter Sonia Rao at BMI’s Acoustic Lounge at the legendary Genghis Cohen in December. After her emotional performance, I knew there was something special about this young artist. Today, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rao one on one, to discuss her journey, challenges, and goals within the Los Angeles music industry.

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When did this journey start for you? Did you always know you wanted to be a professional musician? 

I definitely didn’t know I wanted to be a professional musician at first. Looking back, I think the journey started when I was very little. My mom had my brothers and I learn three instruments each. I played violin, piano, and flute, so there were lots of lessons, orchestra rehearsals, and practicing, but I never thought of myself as creative because I was just studying what was on the page. The actual songwriting happened after college.

How has your life changed since deciding to pursue a career in music?

Everything is so different. Life changes logistically, of course, in my day to day, but more internally it changes how I interact with the world. I just wrote this song about coming into songwriting: growing up I didn’t really speak out at all, I would never participate in school, etc, and once I started songwriting I started finding that I had all these opinions and ideas of things. It changed my life in that way, and I like that. It changes everything – you’re going after a thing you love, so I think that you have to face yourself, you have to be really honest with yourself, what you want, whether this is worth it, the battles you come up against. You face your family, and expectations. I’ve battled my own inner self – Do I think I can do this? Can I make a living out of it? But for me I feel like those are the good questions to ask in general.

What have been some of your biggest challenges?

I guess one challenge after graduating college was realizing that my parents and family had certain hopes for me that were different from the hopes I had for myself. I surprised myself with this music career, so a big challenge for me is continuing to stay at it when everything and many people close to me were not wanting me to do it because they were worried. Facing doubt in general from others and from myself, and still sticking with it has been a challenge. As you know, LA is kind of a beast of its own, and deciding you’re going to stay here, no many how many inner demons arise, no matter how many doubts you have in yourself. I’ve been in LA 3.5 years, and with each year that passes, I’m so glad I stayed.

What is your inspiration?

Books that I’m reading. Relationships – beginnings, endings, songs follow the arch of a relationship. I’ve written a little bit about my family. The last album is called Los Angeles – so I’ve written about moving here, my experience with reality TV (Rao was a finalist on the 1st season of The Voice), all that. Everything is inspiration, as for me songwriting is a way to process how I think about things.

Can you tell us about your songwriting process?

I think there’s two kinds that happen for me – one is when I really feel like writing, but a lot of the time, I don’t feel like writing, but I decide I’m going to sit here from this time to this time and I’m going to write no matter what. One song comes out first, then a song that makes it to an album comes after that first song. It’s like when you meet up with your girlfriends and you talk about whatever for a minute and then the real stuff comes out – that’s what songwriting is like for me.

You’ve placed a lot of your music on several television networks. What can you tell us about that process?

That is all because of my publisher, he does all that, he’s awesome. I met him when I first came to LA and got very lucky with that. That’s just been so helpful for my music and for having my career here. It’s funny though, because when I write these songs, I’m thinking “this is about my ex boyfriend” and then it’s used with Snookie and someone are making up after a fight, which is totally opposite from what I wrote about. They use my songs mostly for the emotional scenes.

Your website mentions that you’ve spoken and performed at TEDxWomen, can you tell us about that experience?

That was an amazing day. All day you’re listening to these really inspiring speakers. It was so great to perform after all that inspiration, the audience was so hyper-present. I performed four songs and spoke in between about my experience with my family and pursuing music. One song I wrote about patriarchy, so I discussed that and the importance women’s equality in our society.

What are some of your short term goals?

I’m going to Nashville in two weeks to finish my next album – we’re so close! Then I’m looking at artwork and planning the release and the tour.

How do you hope to impact the industry? What would you like to see change?

I’m working on an interview series called “Conversations”, where I speak with artists more about their inner experience -how they experience jealousy, what was the hardest thing for them about their career that they didn’t expect, when have they experienced contentedness… questions like this. I feel like a lot of the video interviews out there are more promo based, and while there’s a place for that and it serves artists, I do think that there is a desire for people to hear more than promotional material from artists. I really want to make sure that I stay in that same space when I’m writing, in the self-expression mode instead of thinking about what the product is. I’d like to see more of that in the industry. Sometime after this album, I would also like to have an all women’s project, where the writers, producers, engineers, are all women. I realized all the people I’m working with, who I love, have been men. I’d like to see what could happen and what would be different when we get a bunch of talented women together to work on a project.

You just performed in Bali for New Year’s Eve, what can you tell us about that experience?

Bali was beautiful, it was awesome to play the countdown show at Ayana on New Year’s Eve. It’s such a lucky thing to travel and get to travel for work, and then I travelled around afterwards. It was a nice way to end and start a year.

What advice would you give fellow aspiring musicians?

If you ever lose sight of yourself or what you are doing here or why you’re doing it, just come back to what is it you want to say, what is important to you – come back to self-expression, as that will always guide you back to why you wanted to do this in the first place. The other thing is don’t dismiss yourself just because there’s so many people doing what you’re doing. It doesn’t make it less important that you’re doing it.

What’s next for Sonia Rao?

Finishing this album, figuring what the name of it is. Releasing it and touring. We’re thinking Midwest, NY, Nashville, San Fran, and LA.

 

 

To learn more about Sonia Rao and to keep up with the release of her upcoming album, and to follow her on social media, head to www.soniarao.com.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music enthusiast living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.

ASTR Live at The Troubadour

It is always a pleasure to be asked to cover a sold out show: the energy is guaranteed to be high, and in a place like The Troubadour in West Hollywood, the night will undoubtedly be a success. The Troubadour is known as one of the rare venues who truly makes a point to honor the musicians it headlines as well as the audience it draws. Subsequently, loyal music fans from across the metro and even out of state flock to the historic venue to see some of the best shows in LA, set on a small, intimate stage that makes the experience all the more memorable.

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Saturday night’s show was started off by DJ Grant Owens, most  popularly known as the producer and host of We Found New Music, a  radio show on Laguna’s KX 93.5 which tackles the important  task of bringing those new and promising acts to the forefront of  its listeners’ radar. Owens, who also works at major record label  Universal Music Group, began the night playing alternative,  electro-pop favorites from bands like The Knocks, and nodded  to upcoming act ASTR by playing their ever popular cover of  Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home”. The DJ’s debut at Troubadour was a hit, and the perfect primer  to the next act, The Black and The White.

The three man show, made up of frontman and lead guitarist Juilio Tavarez, bassist Mario Gonzalez, and longtime drummer Cliff Sarcona, stormed the stage with their incredibly playful and exuberant presence. Tavarez matched his impossibly tight pants with even tighter vocals, dancing easily between his passionate baritone and a surprisingly powerful falsetto. The band carried the energy of ensembles much larger, and louder, proving that three was all that was needed to bring an already eager audience to their feet. Backed by a psychedelic video display and surrounded by an increasingly enthusiastic audience, The Black and The White doled out a welcome overdose of music that can only be created by those who still remember and respect the art form that is musical expression. Between the three band members and the brilliant addition of backtracks towards the middle of the set, The Black and The White reminded Troubadour goers why they flock to the venue in the first place: to hear unique, powerful, and eclectic music from seasoned performers who are hungry to share their craft and create an experience with their audience.

Up next came the headlining duo from New York City, ASTR. The crowd went wild as stunning redhead and lead vocalist Zoe Silverman and producer, percussionist, and keyboardist Adam Pallin hit the stage. From the bass drop of their first song “Razor”, the crowd was screaming their appreciation and singing along. Silverman kept the crowd moving as she demonstrated her theatrical dance and performance skills, as Pallin kept the show going by captaining his production machines and electronic drum set. A dramatic duo to be sure, ASTR filled the stage with their explosive presence and heart-pumping music that bled lyrical finesse. Their visuals emphasized the retro foundation of their music, which, paired with galactic production, makes for an irresistible and addictive combination. ASTR premiered a new song at Troubadour that night, which could easily catapult the duo into mainstream success. With its catchy lyrics, use of pop and hip hop beats, and something that is undeniably ASTR, the song has all the makings of a hit. The band finished their set with their lead single “Operate”, off their debut 2014 EP “Varsity”. The crowd, already whistling and screaming at the end of every song, including a performance of the Drake cover already teased by DJ Grant Owens earlier that night, offered an uproar of applause when the duo closed on “Operate”. As DJ Pleasure Principle ascended the stairs to bring the night to a close, there was no doubt the audience had witnessed performance greatness that night.

From DJs Grant Owen and Pleasure Principle, to three-man band The Black and The White, to powerhouse duo ASTR, this night at the Troubadour proved that it doesn’t take large numbers to make a wave: a few can accomplish much when they have the passion and vision to do what the majority would never dare to do. Here’s to the few, with big dreams and bigger voices, and to the venues and organizations like Troubadour and We Found New Music who support them along their way.

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music enthusiast living in Los Angeles, CA. Learn more about Drea and her music at www.dreaofficialmusic.com.