Browsing Tag

kanye west

Music

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of 2016

December 22, 2016


songs-best-2016
Time to bid adieu to 2016, the year rap and hip-hop officially died.

The genre has been getting increasingly worse over the last few years, but this year really solidified its transition into an auto-tuned genre of its own called hip-pop. Yeah, I hate it. And unlike in 2015, this year we didn’t even have a Nic Nac Beats to swoop in and save the day with his supremely produced Chris Brown tracks. Whether it was rap, pop, electronic or otherwise, there definitely seemed to be more bad than good (in fact, you can check out my worst songs of 2016 list).

But, not all is atrocious. After much thought, I’ve managed to scrounge up a handful of redeeming tracks I genuinely love, and I’m sharing them below (in particular order):

20. “Champions” – Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz

Not a fan of Kanye solo, but I’ve always said that when he collabs, his songs tend to be much better—and this song is no exception. Great track-mates, great hook, great song.

19. “Might Not” – Belly f./The Weeknd

Honestly, this track may have made it higher up on the list if it weren’t for that gawd-awful 2 Chainz remix. Like if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it! Ugh

18. “Into You” – Ariana Grande

This song stands out because it is says OK, I can be sexy and I don’t even have to be trashy to do so! A rarity for this artist. Great track.

17. “Black Beatles” – Rae Sremmurd f./Gucci Mane

Mike WiLL Made-It + Gucci = no-brainer recipe for perfection

16. “Say It (Clean Bandit Mix)” – Flume f./Tove Lo

If you read my Worst Songs of 2016 post, you will see my distaste for nu-school Flume. But this track happens to be great, and might I add that Tove Lo’s Lady Wood album (though this song is not part of it) is the best of the year.

15. “Want You” – Bearson f./Cal

While Bearson definitely identifies with “electronica,” he hasn’t nailed a signature sound, which is great, because I love all of the varying tracks he sends (via airwaves) my way—and this song is no exception.

14. “Either/Or” – Mt. Si

If you dig Classix, you’ll love Mt. Si.—which makes sense, given that 1/3 of this trio is Michael David of the incredible electropop duo. Seriously, it does not get better than this sound.

13. “The Winds of Change” – St. Lucia

Granted, nothing by this artist compares to “Elevate,” but this jam is pretty darn awesome. If you like that sound, you’ll love this, too!

12. “Valley of Dreams” – Cavaliers of Fun

See No. 4

11. “Be the One” – Dua Lupa

Dua Lupa has a beautiful voice/face/hair/sound etc. That is all.

10. “Freeway Lights” – Goldroom

I’ve been listening to Goldroom since he first debuted in 2012—and while it was definitely weird (and a little hard) to see his album featured at the Interscope pop-up shop at Hollywood & Highland alongside Lady Gaga, among others, I refuse to call him a sellout, because while perhaps slightly more produced than before, his sound is overall the same, and this a very light, sweet track that should appeal to everyone.

9. “Bullet” – Chelsea Lankes

How this girl is not a household name is beyond me. Each of her songs are well-produced, well-articulated and relate to everyone. This track is super uplifting and empowering.

8. “Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake f./Justin Bieber

Personal woes aside, Justin Bieber is an incredible artist. Granted, this track goes to DJ Snake, but Bieber’s vocals are definitely an invaluable asset to this recording. This is a genuinely wonderful song from start to finish. It’s pretty, powerful and poignant.

7. “Innerbloom” – RUFUS DU SOL

This is your universally appealing track. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

6. “Into the Night” – Cardiknox

This track is fun and light. Do NYE makeup in your mirror to this! It will get you pumped up–promise!

5. “Goin Up” – Deorro f./DyCy

Let’s be honest—when we think of Deorro, we think “Five More Hours,” right? Welp, he’s got a catchy new little jam called “Goin Up,” and (no pun intended), it’s quite uplifting.

4. “Astral Division” – Cavaliers of Fun

Like their name suggests, these guys (guy?) are quite fun — well, at least judging by their music. Granted, I don’t know what this song means and I don’t know anything about the people (person?) on the track. They’ve done quite the job of maintaining a mysterious presence (we’re talkin’ 249 Twitter followers, folks!), but that’s what makes them all the more fun! Anyway, they are the only act to make this list twice (see No. 12), and I really hope to hear more (maybe learn more?) of them in 2017!

3. “Somebody Else” – The 1975

How this song wasn’t nominated for a Grammy is beyond me. Not only are the lyrics hard-hitting, but the melody is exceptionally beautiful. I will forever stay stumped while blasting on repeat.

2. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

I believe Rihanna was still dating Chris Brown when this song was in production, so it’s your guess as to whether or not he is the subject matter of this incredibly powerful song. But the highly underrated track allows you to feel both her desire and pain.

1. “In the Morning” – Kaskade/ZHU

I love this song from start to finish. I don’t think I’d ever get sick of it. It’s so reminiscent of old-school Kaskade, circa 2004. If all songs were like this, the world would be a much happier place.

**To note: “The Middle” by DJ Snake technically came out last year, so it was no. 3 on last year’s list, even though it didn’t break out until 2016. I feel the need to acknowledge that so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle 😉

[divider_flat]

Music Featured

Indie-Pop Artist Bean Releases Lyric Video for Empowering New Single “Wildfire” and Talks to Skyelyfe About Life As an Inner-Hippie Living in the Heart of Hollywood

May 20, 2015
bean-skyelyfe-second

Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Fresh from a smashing recent Wango Tango  Village pre-show performance and yesterday’s release of catchy new empowering single “Wildfire” (be sure to scroll to the bottom for its lyric video), indie-pop artist Noelle Bean – whose stage name is simply just Bean – is floating on a sound cloud, but she didn’t envision musical stardom in her cards growing up.

Unlike so many other artists who dropped everything to pursue a career in music at a young age, the 23-year-old – who didn’t even pick up a guitar until she was almost 19 – was your average teenage girl, living in the south and going to church.

“I wasn’t planning on any of this happening.” the West Hollywood resident told skyelyfe of her current reality. “I wasn’t meaning to move out to L.A. and have this kind of life or anything, but I fell in love with music and it led me here, you know? It’s awesome.”

Bean-skyelyfe-main

Photo credit: Chase Johnson

After learning how to play different chords, “I eventually started putting all these poems that I had in a big compilation of journals and I was like, maybe I can make songs out of these,” she explained. “And so that’s what I did. I put the words with the chords and I put a melody over it. I put it up on YouTube and I’m signed to an indie label out here in L.A. now.”

Last week I met up with Bean for the first time to discuss the release of her new single, among other things. She greeted me with a big hug and the most engaging “hi!” I knew right away, this would be like catching up with an old friend.

The first thing I noticed were her uniquely manicured gels, popping with this incredible purple shade, adorned with these tiny gold triangles at the cuticles (take a peek at them on my Instagram). She informed me they were done at Tomoka Nails in West Hollywood. After discussing her expert Yelping skills that led her to this gem of a salon, we got to the reaction to that Wango Tango pre-show performance.

“It was amazing!” she said of L.A.’s KIIS-FM radio concert experience. “It’s been one of the biggest performances I’ve done. It was interesting for my set because everybody else was playing a track and was super poppy and then I get up there with my guitar player and my drummer and we did a little acoustic set kind of thing. The response was so much better than I thought it was going to be.”

As Bean pointed out, her vibe doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of most of the concert’s other participants, which included Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Meghan Trainor, Kanye West, Fifth Harmony and Ne-Yo, who were main stage performers.

“As far as my whole take on mainstream music and what’s popular on top 40 radio goes, it’s undeniable that yeah, I jam out to Taylor Swift tunes every now and again,” she said. “But my go-to music is super alternative, like The 1975 meets Foster the People. I listen to a ton of Ed Sheeran – just really alternative, indie band kind of stuff.”

Her true persona and musical influences shine through in “Wildfire,” a song she called “an anthem for all the other crazy, randoms out there.”

The track is a much-welcome change for the pop star-on-the-rise, who laughably rolled her eyes at the thought of last year’s single “Rollercoaster.”

She said excitedly, ” ‘Wildfire’ is really different and I’m so glad about that because ‘Rollercoaster’ was so poppy and I’m just like, thank god I’m past that stage!”

bean-skyelyfe-third

Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Bean describes her new release as “a compilation of all these different people and their opinions of me. It’s everybody in the music business basically saying, like, ‘Are you sure that you know who you are as an artist and do you know what genre you are? And you keep changing your look every week. You’re wearing red lipstick one day, the next day you’re wearing a flower crown and Free People clothes.’ “

Referring to herself as “a wildfire,” Bean goes on to say, “I’m random, spontaneous and I love everything about the 1970s – just the hippie lifestyle movement.”

So, what’s life like as a self-proclaimed inner-hippie living in the heart of Tinseltown? There’s something for everyone out here, she believes, noting that in particular, she’s a huge fan of (first and foremost) her nail salon (see above), Pita Bar and Grill on Fairfax, Fox You boutique and none other than the Starbucks on Robertson and Beverly Blvd.

Check out the lyric video to Bean’s new single “Wildfire” below and download the track FREE on iTunes ALL WEEK LONG!:

[divider_flat]

Music

From Soccer Pro to Sexy, Soulful Pop Sensation On-the-Rise, Meet Devin K

February 26, 2015
Photo credit: Alex Owen aka Zandy Photo

Photo credit: Alex Owen aka Zandy Photo

Soccer and music aren’t known to go hand-in-hand, so when it came down to choosing between his two passions, Devin K (born Devin Kirtz) knew the “transition was inevitable” to move solely in the direction of becoming an artist.

“Everybody would be out partying and stuff after our games and I was just kind of in my hotel room, writing at all times,” the former New York Red Bulls soccer pro tells skyelyfe. “I had to put 100 percent into one or the other, and music wins every time. It’s not even a question.”

So now, with four years of living in Los Angeles under his belt (he originally hails from nearby Long Beach, Calif.), the multitalented musician is ready to make a name for himself in the sound space – and he’s starting to make waves with his latest single “Move” (more on that at the bottom).

The 26-year-old – who already has some minor tracks from years past on his discography – spills on everything from his dating status and musical influences, to his cooking skills and his full sleeve of tattoos!

Photo credit: Darin Rios

Photo credit: Darin Rios

SL: What was the influence behind “Move?”

DK: I was on much more of a poppy path when I first moved to L.A. It was definitely an eye-opener. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was kind of everybody directing me in where they thought I should go as an artist, but I thought what better way to show my [own] style than to just ask people if I make them want to move.

SL: Who are some of your artist influences?

DK: I’d say huge, huge influences of mine aside from all oldies are Robin Thicke and Lauryn Hill.

SL: What’s your plan with releasing new music?

DK: I actually have way too many tracks and we’re just trying to decide what’s going to be next. I think I’m going to start off with an EP, as well probably four or five other tracks. We haven’t decided yet.

SL: Are you going to stay with the sound of “Move?” What can we expect?

DK: I want everybody to expect soul-pop mixed with a hip-hop influence. Almost soul-pop R&B with lyrical meaning. As I release more songs, you’ll see the lyrical context get deeper.

SL: Being from Long Beach, which isn’t far from L.A., but yet still so different, what was the move and adjustment like? 

DK: Everyone out here seems to be from somewhere else. I feel like I’m the exception being from Southern California. But it’s crazy how it’s 45 minutes away and it’s a whole new world. It’s been a crazy transition, but I definitely have not looked back. I love it. I love downtown and the beach. Growing up in Long Beach, I’m always, always at the beach.

SL: Can you talk a little about the inspiration behind your tattoos? Have you always been a tattoo guy?

DK: I got my first tattoo in a garage when I was 15 in Long Beach. My friend did it with a safety pin and India Ink. It was so sketchy [laughs]. I grew up very religious. My first tattoo was of a cross and then after that, the same guy legitimized himself and got his first tattoo machine. Then when I was 17, I got a soccer ball with an Argentina flag. My mom’s from Argentina. And then there are three songs I ended up turning into my whole sleeve. My three favorite songs: “Yesterday” by The Beatles, “Man In the Middle” by Michael [Jackson] and then Stevie Wonder.

SL: A sexy guy like you – single? Taken? What’s the status?

DK: I’m not in a relationship. Music is my girlfriend, wife, everything at the moment.

5 FUN FACTS

Last time I couldn’t stop laughing: “Ok, people didn’t think this movie was funny, but maybe I just watched it at the right time or whatever, but The Interview was so funny. I was dying watching it.”

Last concert I attended: “I just attended the best show I’ve ever seen. It was the day before the Grammy’s. I saw Big Sean at the House of Blues in West Hollywood. On one stage, he brought out Chris Brown, [Justin] Bieber, Meek Mill, Tyga, J. Cole, Kanye West. It was everybody on one stage and I was like, ‘What is going on?’ ”

Last thing I cooked: “I cooked chicken parmesan on Valentine’s Day. The boy can cook! I’m telling you, it turned out really well!”

Last time I was injured: “I just ruined my foot playing flag football. It was because of my manager. I’m running straight at him and he kind of ducked the other way and my foot went right into his shoulder.”

Last present I bought for someone: “My mom and I hike a lot. So I got her some hiking shoes for Christmas.”

Check out the sensual, desert-themed video for Devin’s latest single Move, directed by Rob Witt and Alex Delgado:

[divider_flat]

Music Uncategorized Featured

Electronic Duo Cazzette Dishes to Skyelyfe on the ‘Problem’ with ‘EDM,’ Who They Think Will Be the Next Big Thing in Music and Why They Miss the Old Stuff!

November 4, 2014
cazzette

Photo Credit: Alex Wessely

Cazzette has made 2014 their year! The Swedish duo, consisting of Sebastian Furrer and Alexander Björklund, are fresh off the heels of releasing their new melodic dance track “Blind Heart,” and they feel like they’re in a great place.

The lovely lads, who are under Avicii‘s LE7ELS label and are best known for 2012’s “Beam Me Up” and this year’s “Sleepless,” recently sat down with skyelyfe on the picturesque rooftop of Sixty Beverly Hills to talk about being more in control of their sound now than before, why they refuse to be classified as “EDM” artists, how they are “down to earth guys who don’t do crazy stuff” and why Flume is going to take over the music world.

SL: What do you guys think of L.A.?

Sebastian: We love L.A. It’s a very nice city and obviously the weather is very nice. There are very good vibes here. It’s obviously a big city to music and film and we’ve been meeting people here. It’s so easy to meet people in the music industry. Everybody’s here basically, so it’s nice. I wouldn’t move here because I’m still in love with Sweden and I’m a big New York guy more than a West Coast guy, but I love it here for work and for a short amount of time to hang out.

SL: You guys recently performed at Avalon in Hollywood. What was that experience like?

Alex: Avalon is great. It’s a big venue, which is cool. It has that theatre vibe, which we like. And this time was the most fun we’ve ever had playing there because we’ve changed a lot over this past year. I feel like we’re way more honest to ourselves now and with the music that we make and play. It’s more exciting to play now because we’re playing 100 percent what we like. We slightly try to educate the crowd a bit with playing the music that we grew up on even though it doesn’t sound like the typical Top 40 for music. We play tracks from 2004-2007, like old Axwell, all old stuff.

SL: Going off of that, who are some more artists whose old style of music you miss?

Alex: Laidback Luke. I miss his old stuff.

Sebastian: Yeah, he was great before. I mean I haven’t heard his [newer] stuff that much. I just love his older stuff. Everybody has to evolve in a way, so I get it, but his old stuff was incredible. As producers, we were like, “Whoa, what’s this?” It was so interesting at the time.

SL: What’s your take on this whole “EDM” craze?

Alex: I think there’s a problem with that word “EDM.” I mean, sure, it’s electronic dance music, but I’d rather it be “EM,” electronic music. You can’t compare dubstep and house. They are two completely different things.

Sebastian: I think they misuse the word, and that’s the problem. This became a big term in America. It probably will never be a term in Europe. I’ve never heard anyone use it there. I think when people got educated here, they put it on blogs and they were [labeling] a dubstep act with EDM. I’m not saying not saying it’s the blogs or anyone’s fault, I just think it’s been misused. People think everything is EDM and it’s the same stuff. If you compare rock music, it’s very broad. There are tons of stuff within rock music. There’s indie rock and there’s pop rock, but you can’t put them in the [exact] same category. And that’s the same here. Dubstep is completely different from house music. House music is completely different from electro and techno. Of course they have the same elements, but it’s still different vibes.

SL: Do you guys classify yourself in what’s considered “EDM” or in some kind of sub-genre?

Alex: It’s a problem for us because we’re like so many different kinds of genres, but right now I would say house.

SL: Congratulations on “Blind Heart.” Tell me about the inspiration behind that song

Alex: The inspiration was from just listening to the acapella. That’s usually how we work if we receive an acapella. When we hear something, it’s like, what kind of vibe does this track have? How are we going to capture what we fell for in the acapella?

Sebastian: It was a very long process to make because we were changing our minds all the time about arrangement. We were discussing what the chorus is, but then we decided, fuck it, there’s no chorus. Let’s just go with vibe and people can decide what the chorus is. The song is very specially structured. It’s not the typical verse-chorus.

SL: Aside from people you’ve worked with, who do you admire in the music scene in general?

Alex: Kanye West.

Sebastian: Pharrell Williams, Moby, Justin Timberlake, obviously. From the hip-hop and trap stuff, we like Flume. He’s incredible. There’s a guy from Sweden called Skogsrå. He’s a new guy. There are so many people who inspire us in general. We love rock, we love hip-hop. Sometimes we listen to jazz.

SL: Any predictions on who’s going to be the next big music thing in the states?

Sebastian: I think Flume is just going to get bigger. What he does is incredible and he’s just going to keep growing.

SL: What’s something about you guys that your fans don’t already know?

Sebastian: [laughs] We have no dirty secrets at all. We just want our fans to hear our music. Our personal life is kind of irrelevant because at the end of the day, it’s about the music. Of course it helps if you have  a personality. I wouldn’t say we’re boring, but there’s not too much to know. I think we’re very calm. We’re down to earth guys who don’t do crazy stuff. If there’s something people should know, we work a lot. We always spend time in studios. That’s our crazy life [laughs].

cazzette2

Photo Credit: Alex Wessely

cazzette3