Taylor Olson’s Birthday Concert at Bar Lubitsch feat. Taylor Jamison

Last night’s show was easily the most fun I’ve had at a show in a long time. Some of that has to do with the genre and the cool West Hollywood bar, but the majority of my enjoyment came from the energy of the two very powerful performances that commanded the night.

taylor jamisonTaylor Jamison opened the show with four of his original tracks from his upcoming EP. Partnering with his guitarist and background vocalist Manuel, Jamison took the stage like a pro. It was obvious that this was not just a hobby for Jamison, but that he had very specific, and very large goals in mind as he performed.

Jamison’s songs brought an honesty to the floor that is sometimes lost in pop music. In the acoustic setting, the strength and intimacy of his songwriting had the opportunity to truly shine. His voice brought me back to the days of beloved boy bands like Backstreet Boys, ‘NSync, and even Plus One. Mixing this nostalgia with an undeniable confidence and stage presence made this opening act impossible to forget.

Taylor Jamison’s memorably upbeat choruses and raw content were the perfect primer for
taylor olsonTaylor Olson
‘s main set. The singer/songwriter/producer matched Jamison’s fearless and commanding persona, and added an extra feeling of prowess as he brought everyone into the fold of his musical world. Olson’s set, backed by original production, ranged from remixes of popular songs to original songs and raps, as well as songs he’s written for other artists.

With his heart-pounding beats and movingly relatable lyrics, Olson skillfully brought the audience from cheers and dancing to focused silence, as he lyrically navigated the waters of his life for us. From the losses he’s suffered deeply to the pride and defiance he feels in who he is and how people react to him, Olson’s music was relatable and elusive at the same time: something to hold on to, but also something one couldn’t hope to recreate themselves.

Between the two, these Taylors gave the audience brilliant and passionate performances, certainly a night for the books. We wish them both the best, and Taylor Olson a very happy birthday!

 

Drea Dorman is a singer-songwriter and music blogger living in Los Angeles, CA.

Advertisements

“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.

mckailseely

“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.

villains in love

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.

Alexa LIVE at Station Unplugged (The W Hollywood)

The singer from rock band Oversoul hit the stage in an acoustic set last night to promote her upcoming solo EP at Station Unplugged, courtesy of the W hotel in Hollywood.

alexavilla

Based in San Diego, Alexa Villa, known on the music scene as “Alexa”, is a singer-songwriter, talented pianist, and model. The young artist spends her time between San Diego, where her band Oversoul is based, and LA where she ventures for meetings, shows, and model calls (LA Fashion Week and the spread of Women’s Wear Daily, to name a few).

Last night, Alexa left her band at home, calling only on the guitar and background vocal talents of her brother, Ryan, also a member of Oversoul, to accompany her in her first solo show in Los Angeles in a while.

Promoting her upcoming EP (release date TBA), Alexa appeared behind a full weighted keyboard, armed with black leather and spidery fish-netted legs that mean business.

Her rock background was apparent, but if the audience thought her looks were stunning, they soon found that there is more to Alexa than meets the eye. The moment Alexa starts singing, the world stops to listen. The 20 year old’s wailing, powerhouse vocals, perfect for the rock scene, are surprisingly well-suited for her own compositions, which detail the power struggle in relationships and the sometimes difficult task of accepting things the way they are. Alexa’s chant sections bring the listener to the party, while her chromatic melodies catch us off-guard, showcasing her musical expertise.

Alexa highlighted the show with the leaked track from her upcoming EP, “Do What You Do To Me” – a playful number, if not somewhat masochistic, as love almost always is. Joining the ranks of popular rock voices Amy Lee (Evanescence) and Hayley Williams (Paramore), Alexa’s vocals soared from rock party song to the intense solo ballad, “Hope”, which was recently recorded at the legendary Jungle Room studios in LA.

With a voice built to fill out larger venues, it is no wonder Alexa is finding success in the rock world as front woman of Oversoul, but she also has the important ability to stand alone, without the support of a rock band behind her. As her vocals brought people pouring into the popular night spot from the train station and the street, catching mere musical phrases and wanting more,  it became clear that Alexa’s solo venture has just as much promise as her rock career, if not more.

This young lady has it all – the look, the voice, the writing ability, the musical talent. The only way to describe Alexa: simply stunning.

Alexa’s new track “Picture Perfect” has gained critical acclaim and airplay in San Diego. You can catch Alexa at a free show at The House of Blues – San Diego on August 5th, at 8pm. 

For more on Alexa, and to stay up to date on her solo EP release and shows in Los Angeles, follow her on instagram and twitter @thealexavilla, find her on Facebookand listen to her music on soundcloud.

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.

“Ecliptic” EP Release by SIKORA

sikora

This morning I bought the recently released EP by the male-female duo SIKORA, and I have had their catchy hooks happily stuck in my head all day. SIKORA launched their debut EP “Ecliptic” last week, hitting the digital world with four original tracks loaded with bluesy guitar riffs and sultry vocal harmonies.

Self-described as a “pop/alt rock outfit”, the Los Angeles based duo of Matthew Sikora (vocals, guitar, bass) and Liz Forde (vocals, percussion, keyboard) have been collaborating since 2011, and have recently released their newest music under the guidance of LA producer Dean Dichoso.

Their single “Halo”, the second track on the EP, was released as a teaser in March, and boasts the duo’s love for the California rock sound. Liz Forde’s vocals shine with breathtaking precision as she takes on the harmonies and verses of this track.

Another song from the EP, “Comic Book Hero”, brings intense energy through Matthew Sikora’s enthusiastic guitar riffs, layered vocals, and sing-a-long lyrics. The song has been chosen to appear in the USC Thesis Film “O-Star”, directed by Dima Otvertchenko. 

Both “West Coast” and the final track of the EP, “Souldier Boy (Soldier Boy)”, bring a delightful, playful blues sound to the table, which invites the audience to join in with the talented duo until the end. On the whole, I find “Ecliptic” to be a wonderfully relatable, and also diverse album in the four tracks included on the release. From rock, to blues, to pop, SIKORA brings a little something for everyone.

For more on SIKORA and to listen to/purchase “Ecliptic”, visit www.sikoraband.com.
For more on producer Dean Dichoso, visit www.deandichoso.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.