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.

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Shani Rose LIVE at Fox N Hounds

Yesterday’s Songwriter Sundays brought us the sweet musical stylings of miss Shani Rose. The LA native was joined by bassist Paul Jones and percussionist Riley Flanagan, both also contributing to the vocal set of the evening.

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The multi-instrumentalist and songstress brought us a wave of comfortable, homey music in her rich alto tones, which brought me back to my days of obsessively listening to Regina Spektor and Meiko. There’s a distinctly indie flavor that Shani brought to the table, and with it, a gentle nostalgia for simpler times. Even in the complexity of her lyrics, Shani spun a melodic story that seemed effortless and natural, making the show an easy ride for listeners to buckle themselves in for.

Shani further enriched her show by bringing two songwriter friends to the stage. First to share the stage was Meg Barrett, an Austin, TX native who recently made the move to LA. Barrett’s clear and crisp vocals were a perfect blend to Shani’s self-described “soulful crunch”. Their song “I Just Woke Up”, which debuted earlier this month on the stage of LA’s Ireland’s 32, oozed catchy melodies and relatable lyrics.

Shani finished her set by inviting a second collaborator to the stage, Alfa Garcia. The two ended the show with a sweet song entitled “Win or Lose”.

From beginning to end, Shani brought us back to the roots of storytelling last night, and what a pleasurable journey it was.

 

 

Next up for Shani: Shani Rose’s live ONLINE 2nd Sundays Concert Series on Dec. 13th.

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.

“Peace Of My Heart” Music Video Release by Molly Moore

Molly Moore just dropped the visual accompaniment to her new single “Peace Of My Heart”. Teasers of the video have been released on social media, tantalizing her thousands of fans across internet platforms, and finally, the video is here.

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Shot and directed by Nik Tizekker of Tizaster
Productions
and co-directed by Moore, the video highlights the narrative of a complicated relationship with the interlacing of images of destruction: flowers falling apart and back together, a TV shattering, once blank walls now covered in swirls of ink and color. The juxtaposition found within these images illuminates the underlying truth of the song, which is that there is no easy answer or simple solution to any relationship – there is always a place for peace and war to grow.

Moore shines in this video, showcasing her acting chops as she casts furtive glances towards the camera. The entire story is simply told in her eyes, as her expression changes from desperate, to submissive, to cold frustration.

Real life boyfriend and fellow singer-songwriter-producer Brandyn Burnette makes an appearance as Moore’s love interest, personifying the circle of emotions that swirls throughout the video, perfectly paired with the song’s lyrics.

Between Moore’s presence in front of the camera, the beautiful and unique shots by Tizekker, and the lyrics, co-written by Moore and Burnette, Peace Of My Heart is hereby crowned a great artistic success.

Check out the video here!

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.

Damian Sage LIVE at Room 5 Lounge

In my little blogging world, I am most regularly invited to singer-songwritery events, filled with acoustic guitars or a lone keyboard, mournful relationship lyrics over major chords. But the bluesy sound of Damian Sage broke through the glass ceiling of singer-songwriterdom, proving you can make anything old, new.

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Backed by guitarist Brian Simpson, drummer Jamie Douglass, and bassist Ted Russel Kamp, Sage took the intimate, but enthusiastic audience on a journey back. With classic rock and bluesy sounds so familiar and comforting, yet flavored with Sage’s unique storytelling, his music is like an Old Fashioned laced with something unexpected and exciting.

The night was filled with Sage’s intense and surprising originals, stories pulled from his childhood in New York and past relationships, with the occasional nod to some of his favorite LA bands, The Doors and Guns N’ Roses. With the conclusion of each story, the crowd’s cheers grew louder, ebbing Sage on, begging for more of this rare, soulful sound the commercialized city is starving for.

In his cut up jeans and white t-shirt, Sage owned the crowd with his charming New York accent, pinot noir obsession, and self-deprecating humor, infiltrating a swanky Los Angeles neighborhood with the good time feels of your favorite hometown bar. As Sage brought the audience through relatable scenarios and extreme tempo changes, their emotions soared with their cheers. The roof almost came down with “Suitcase Full of Blues”, a masterfully crafted number about a woman he had known as a child who stood on her own two feet and powerfully cast a bad man out of her life with the words “I got some bad news, and here’s your suitcase full of blues.”

By the end of the too short set, the audience called for an encore, but were left with the bittersweet remnants of a powerful lesson in storytelling and staying true to yourself.

 

 

The video for Sage’s “Caught Between The Rhymes” will air on new reality series The Romance next month.

In the meantime, join 10s of thousands of fans and follow Damian Sage Music across social media:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

And remember to stay bluesy.

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.

“When Stars Collide” Live Music Video Release by Katie Ferrara

This week Los Angeles native and busking artist Katie Ferrara released a live performance music video for her track “When Stars Collide”.

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This behind the scenes look at the life of a busker, or street performer, is a refreshing look at the art of storytelling through music. With guitarist Jesse Cross at her side, Ferrara does a superb job of bringing the audience in, from the passerby’s in the video, to those watching the scene from home. The video, directed by Cody Ebbeler, encapsulates a comforting, familiar feel, with a personal touch and a bit of classic Katie flair.

The video was filmed outside of Sweety’s Candies in downtown Burbank, CA, an area Ferrara frequents on her busking journeys. Not only has she made a name for herself in the Los Angeles area, busking from the 3rd Street Santa Monica Promenade to Melrose Trading Post, but this unique approach to live performance and building a fan base has brought Ferrara around the world. After winning a street performing contest in June, she was invited to play in a global street band with musicians from around the world, and tour in New Zealand.

The indie/folk artist will be releasing her debut EP in fall 2015. Be sure to stay tuned for more videos like this one as part of The Street Sessions collection, catch her live busking the streets of Los Angeles, and read more about her adventures as a street performer in “The Busking Diaries” on her website.

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.

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.

sonia rao 2

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.