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Music

Coachella 2016: This 52-Song Playlist Is Your Guide to Must-See Festival Performers!

April 12, 2016

CoachellaImageWe all know the Empire Polo Fields are a destination we can rely upon yearly to bring music aficionados performances from their favorite artists – big and small.

2016 is no exception, as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off its first of two weekends in Indio, CA, on Friday, April 15 with Calvin Harris as a headliner, along with Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem – who are both coming together (separately) for reunion performances.

My excitement particularly lies in a few of the other highly touted acts (Flume, Miike Snow, The 1975), a handful of my standard under-the-radar go-tos (Goldroom, Tensnake, Miami Horror, Rhye) and a couple of on-the-risers (Zella Day, SOPHIE).

But festival goodness isn’t limited to just the artists listed above. Click the playlist below for 52 songs by acts skyelyfe suggests lending an ear to at the annual event! (And if you’re feeling especially nostalgic for last year’s dance party in the desert, check out my Coachella 2015 playlist.)

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Be sure to check back next week, as I will be hitting the hottest parties in the heat this weekend and giving you the lowdown on everything you need to know about what you may have missed!

Music

The Ups & Downs of Writing a Heartbreak EP, from Someone Who Has Done It

September 1, 2015

josh-stevens-skyelyfeLike many, musician Josh Stevens got out of a relationship that “ended really badly,” and he lived to tell about it.

The Orange County, CA native – who has a long history of working behind the scenes with A-list artists, including Jennifer Lopez, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj and his close homie Warren G. – is finally becoming the face of his own music with the release of his debut EP, The Story of Summer, which explores the ups and downs of having a significant other.

The five-song compilation is slated for official release at the end of September, but in the meantime, he just put out its first single “Hill Top” (featuring Capital Cities‘ Spencer Ludwig – scroll to the bottom to hear), an anthemic pop-rock tune that touches on one of the many sides of being in love.

“This song is like the euphoric, everything is great – and then once you get into the rest of the EP, you’ll find there are some lower points and dark points,” Stevens tells skyelyfe. “This was a few years ago, so it was definitely reflective writing of a time period in my life. I didn’t write it while I was going through it because I didn’t even know I was going through it. When you look back, you’re kind of like, wow, that’s what I was going through. I had to learn and grow from my experience.”

Stevens is fine now – in fact, he and his current girlfriend use the “Hill Top” lyrics as their relationship mantra when they are both traveling separately all over the world for work. But he does recall those previously painful times.

When you get out of a relationship, you can do one of two things that people usually do: They either close up and become secluded or they just wild out,” he says. “I did both. I did crazy partying and had one-night stands. Then at some point, you realize, oh, this isn’t all its cracked up to be. [At first] you’re like, this is amazing, I’m free! But then you realize real quick, ooh, there’s some darkness.”

Because this was Stevens’ first time crafting his own music material, there were things he didn’t expect during the process. But also, some things he found enlightening.

Read about the challenges and surprises he experienced while writing these songs about the ups and downs of falling in love:Josh-stevens-cover-art-skyelyfe

1. Writing about the lessons from these failed relationships was sometimes tough

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t reflect very often,” Stevens says. “It’s not in my nature. I’m not like, ‘Oh, I wish that could have been different.’ I’m more like, ‘What can I learn from that?’ When I went back to kind of see what went on during that time period, I kind of wrote it from that perspective. I can’t deny this is what happened, but what can I learn from it? Not really like, let me go live in it again. It wasn’t hard to go back. The hardest thing was to figure out what I learned from it and what I can tell other people from this experience.”

2. He realized he wasn’t alone in his past emotional state

“I think to sum it all up, there’s a sense of loneliness when you go through this,” Stevens says of breakups. “A feeling of, I’m alone and no one else understands. I think what has developed from this EP is people are not alone. You’re not alone in this feeling. There’s someone else who has gone through this. I hope the listener has that mentality.”

3. He realized how much of an impact his songs have on others

“I didn’t expect so many people to be stoked about [the EP], to be honest,” Stevens admits. “I was like, I’m going to do my own thing and see how it comes out. People have been super receptive to it. There’s a song on there called ‘Call Me Crazy,’ which is about my experience going through Hollywood and dealing with dirt being kicked in your face, and naysayers. Somebody came up to me and told me they go through that all the time and that the song spoke to them and it helps them get through the day. In a way, it’s awesome, but at the same time, it’s kind of creepy. I’m more of a behind-the-scenes dude, so I’m not quite used to that response. I’m very appreciative though. Another person came up to me who heard the song ‘Anna,’ and they said the song is helping them heal. Things like that I never would have expected. I make music as purely as possible. If it resonates, it resonates. It’s kind of out of my control.”

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Music Angelenos

Grammys 2015: Inside the Parties and the Backstage Official Gift Lounge

February 9, 2015

The MusiCares and Clive Davis pre-Grammy parties are annually the events most bustling with stars leading up to music’s biggest night – but that doesn’t mean they are the only fun happenings.

From hearing live performances by The Weeknd and Childish Gambino, to catching a DJ set by HAIM, there was plenty to see, do (and hear) this weekend, before everyone said cheers to last night’s big winner Sam Smith with specialty cocktails by Ciroc, the official toast of the Grammys!

My festivities kicked off on Thursday at the El Rey Theatre in L.A., where Rolling Stone and Google Play joined forces to put on a primarily hip-hop filled night with a killer DJ set by Samantha Ronson (who spun mostly throwback classics, ranging from Aaliyah and Mya, to Nelly and Jermaine Dupri), followed by live performances by The Weeknd and Childish Gambino. As guests – including Emma Roberts, French Montana and Leona Lewis – sipped on cocktails and munched on tray-passed finger foods, they could view some of the magazine’s most iconic covers, which continuously scrolled on the upper walls (including my favorite, which featured Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry and Jason Priestley).

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Photo credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Google

Friday was an evening to remember at downtown L.A.’s picturesque Spanish Mediterranean Hotel Figueroa, where guests, including Calvin Harris, Madeon, Yacht, Local Natives and Twin Shadow hung poolside, taking in the sounds of a live performance by Niia, a DJ set by Alana and Este Haim and a DJ set by Childish Gambino for Opening Ceremony and The dFm‘s pre-Grammy celebration. From the very beginning to the end, the party was packed with some of the city’s most stylish music lovers and industry elite.

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

DFMGrammyView

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

Photo credit: Joel Marasagan

On Saturday, up-and-coming rapper Bryce Vine used his charismatic stage presence, upbeat music style and adorable boyish looks to win over the intimate crowd at Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood during a private show. Guests at the event, which featured additional on-the-rise musical talents, sipped on hosted cocktails made with new soda beverage Caffeinated Club, a mixer with zero calories, no sugars and no artificial sweeteners.

After Sunday’s show, I started off at Create nightclub in Hollywood, where the King of Crunk himself, Lil Jon, took over the turntables for an approximate 90-minute DJ set, playing everything from his own hits to Eminem‘s “Lose Yourself.” Attendess at the party, hosted by Pandora radio and T-Mobile, munched on an endless supply of tray-passed bites, including lobster ceviche and pork belly tacos.

Following that event, I made my way downtown to the Continental Club, a chic loungey spot that featured a lengthy live performance by best R&B album nominee Bernhoft, who hails from Norway. I wasn’t really familiar with his music before, but his sexy soul-pop vibe has me newly smitten. The event, which also celebrated the launch of Keurig 2.0, provided all kinds of coffee-mixed specialty cocktails, a slew of various deserts (donuts and cake pops galore) and lite bites.

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Photo credit: Chris Weeks

Throughout the weekend, in between show rehearsals and other various things going on at Staples Center, where the big event took place, celebrities (including Usher, Common, LL Cool JBastille and Maddie Ziegler) made their way backstage to the official Grammy gift lounge presented by MTG. They snagged all kinds of goodies, ranging from New Era caps and Gibson guitars, to robotic toys by WowWee, crystal pendants from SIS by Simone I. Smith and a plethora of other gadgets and fine items.

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - GRAMMY Gift Lounge - Day 1

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards - GRAMMY Gift Lounge - Day 1

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

Photo credit: Lily Lawrence/WireImage

What was your favorite Grammy event this weekend? And what did you think of the show itself? Shoutout in the comments below!

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Music

Wolfgang Gartner, Midnight Faces, Jasmine V and More! New Music Monday, 11.10.14

November 10, 2014

WolfgangGartnerWe all know Mondays can be brutal, but hearing Wolfgang Gartner and Bobby Saint‘s new track “Unholy” makes me want to jump out of bed and hit the gym, getting my week started off just right! The melodic tune is heavy on the disco and (thankfully) light on the bass – an easy listen for anyone!

Cut Copy put together a nice little treat for their fans. The four-man synthpop group compiled Oceans Apart, a 19-song collection by artists who are currently popular in their hometown Melbourne, but not particularly known in the states. I’m loving Knightlife‘s “Don’t Stop.”

I’m totally impressed with Jasmine V‘s “Walk Away,” from her just-released That’s Me Right There EP. The song is the perfect combo of R&B, dubstep and everything in-between. In other words, definitely not boring.

I’m kind of loving everything this week. Haim lending their voices on Calvin Harris‘s “Pray to God” is golden, as is RAC‘s always-dependable remixing skills on Young & Sick‘s “Ghost of a Chance.” And I have no idea where Pr0files, Huntar and Niia came from, but their music is quite pretty and very fall-y (even if the weather is not!).

Check out the list of 10 new songs below!

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