Browsing Tag

kesha

Music Featured

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of the 2010s, Ranked

December 11, 2019

(via Unsplash)

When it comes to selecting a personal “best” song, there’s so much more that goes into it than how far it charted on the Billboard Top 40. In fact, that doesn’t play a role to me at all.

What matters is how I felt about the song during its prime, if I feel the same way about the song now, if it had a legitimate “moment” in my life and if it brought some kind of unique sound or formula to the table. With each of these factors in mind, I’ve spent literally all of 2019 jotting down all my most monumental songs of the decade in a notebook as I thought of them.

With 10 years to account for, obviously a slew of songs came to mind. And while I’d have to say music basically died after 2014, the earlier years of the decade brought some of the most iconic songs of all time. Keep reading for skyelyfe’s 20 best songs of the 2010s, ranked. *Note: I left out all remixes even though some were absolutely amazing.

20. ‘Wide Awake’ – Katy Perry (2012)

While probably the last single you think of when you look back on Katy Perry’s iconic Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album, “Wide Awake” was not only a powerful ballad from the characteristically gimmicky singer, but also one that came out during a trying time in my personal life when I felt like the world was crashing down on me and I was trying to recover from a rough patch. I found the song to be therapeutic in many ways, and I highly respect that this is a detour from much of the singer’s other work.

19. ‘Ice Tray’ – Quality Control, Quavo, Lil Yachty (2017)

This is simply the quintessential song you want to hear on a night out. I can’t tell you how many times I danced to this after-hours. The dark, pulsating track even managed to make Joe Budden relevant again for a hot sec. Had the song come out earlier in the decade, it would have made an even bigger impact, but it definitely holds a special place as one of the best of the latter years.

(via YouTube)

18. ‘I Met You’ – Anna Lunoe + Flume (2012)

2012 was such a year for electronic music. The genre expanded in so many ways, and I was absolutely obsessed with this track. I remember playing this and No. 17 interchangeably nonstop all throughout my work days that year. I very much miss this musical moment.

17. ‘All My Life’ – Gigamesh f./ Jana Nyberg (2012)

Much like the aforementioned track, this was on my Spotify rotation nonstop in 2012—so much so that the app listed it as my most listened to song of that year (not shocking!). Still when I hear it to this day, I don’t like it any less.

(via YouTube)

16. ‘The North’ – Summer Heart (2011)

Summer Heart seemingly came out of nowhere, and this song is hands down one of the most beautifully melodic tracks I’ve ever heard. Not to be fooled by the artist’s name, this song had every bit of a solemn fall vibe, accompanying the season swimmingly that year.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – The Knocks (2014)

The Knocks stole my heart in 2014, and I’ve seen them live countless times since. Their infectious energy lights up a stage, and I truly can’t think of a livelier duo. “Dreaming” is every bit the upbeat track that got me on my feet in 2014 (even when the year got me down).

(via YouTube)

14. ‘Nocturne’ – Wild Nothing (2012)

Seriously bless Wild Nothing. They were my most listened to act of 2012 on Spotify, and have truly never let me down since. They encapsulate everything I could possibly want in a band, with their light, dreamy alt. rock melodies. I can seriously listen to “Nocturne” (and its album of the same name) forever. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

13. ‘Silhouettes’ – Avicii (2012)

Avicii’s tragic death last year was by far one of the most impactful and saddening. Not only a legendary trendsetter in electronic music, the Swedish DJ didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body (at least from what we know). On top of it all, he created some forever memorable tracks, including what I consider his most underrated, “Silhouettes.” This song takes me back to his then-signature sound when he first hit the scene with “Levels” in 2011. RIP, Avicii.

(via YouTube)

12. ‘Operate’ – ASTR (2013)

Short-lived electronic R&B duo ASTR was an act I found from my old-school favorite indie music blog BitCandy, and I instantly fell in love with them. They disbanded after 2015, but in their time together, Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin released two insanely outstanding EPs that will forever hold a place in my heart. “Operate” was the first single they released, and therefore the most legendary. I got my entire group of friends hooked, and therefore they definitely made a large dent in my musical memories of the decade.

11. ‘L.A. Lights’ – Grum (2010)

There’s no song like this one (or like the album Heartbeats) on this list. In a shocking move, Grum (aka Graeme Shepherd) went from a retro synth sound to joining the Anjunabeats label going full-force trance. Prior to his musical transition, he released “L.A. Lights,” a beautiful melody that felt ever so fitting to my many late nights under the… L.A. lights.

10. ‘I Get the Bag’ – Gucci Mane f./ Migos (2017)

Out of what was one of the most atrocious years in hip-hop (hip-pop?) came “I Get the Bag,” the Metro Boomin-produced track that made me give Migos a fair chance (I wasn’t big on “Bad and Boujee”). As a longtime fan of Gucci, he absolutely delivers here, on what was one of the best rap songs of the latter part of the decade.

9. ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ – Ke$ha (2010)

And this is where we cue the tears! 2010 was such a magical year for music, and Ke$ha (with then-dollar sign) was a huge proponent of that. Her album Animal came out on the very first day of the decade, setting the precedent for what was probably the best year of my life. This song, album, era brings back so many memories. I know the singer’s in a much healthier, better place now, following her horrifying experience with Dr. Luke, but there’s no denying her songs from the early 2010s will never compare to anything present.

(via YouTube)

8. ‘In the Morning’ – ZHU + Kaskade (2016)

This was my No. 1 song of 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind why. I only knew like one song by ZHU at this point, but the collab with Kaskade was perfectly executed into melodic bliss, setting the tone for not just my Coachella vibe that year, but for the year as a whole.

7. ‘Slow Love’ – MØ (2014)

I found MØ on the brink of her No Mythologies to Follow album release, and it was a game changer. The unique style of songs is solid from head to toe, and Slow Love sounds like nothing else I’ve heard from her (or any other artist for that matter). According to Spotify, it was my most listened to song of 2014, and according to my blog, the song and the album were both my No. 1 picks of that year.

6. ‘Skin’ – Rihanna (2010)

Name a sexier song of this decade—I’ll wait. Rihanna took her provocative nature to new heights with this dark, alluring melody and bold lyrics to match. While definitely one of her most underrated songs of all-time, it’s hands down one of the best (especially if you were around to improvise an accompanying music video with my group of friends).

5. ‘Loyal’ – Chris Brown f./ Lil Wayne + Tyga (2013)

This classic came out at the very end of 2013, but definitely made its mark the following year. Between the video and Nic Nac beats’ music production, this trio of artists nailed it on what became the party anthem of 2014, in an otherwise lackluster year of hip-hop.

(via YouTube)

4. ‘What’s My Name?’ – Rihanna f./ Drake (2010)

Whenever these 2010 songs come up, I get super nostalgic. I literally remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the peak of these tracks. Rihanna’s Loud album was a surefire favorite of that year, and this was without question the best song that came from it. Major fall/winter vibes I will absolutely never forget.

3. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj (2011)

Ah, simpler times. “Super Bass” epitomizes the old-school, inspiring, happy-go-lucky vibe Nicki Minaj’s music brought the world when she first stepped on the scene. Her Pink Friday album felt so pure, and to this day, no “love song” in the hip-hop genre has topped “Super Bass.” Every bit upbeat and sweet, even in my crazy year known as 2011, this song helped keep me sane.

(via YouTube)

2. ‘Ayo’ – Chris Brown f./ Tyga (2015)

This song needs no introduction. If you’ve ever been in an Uber with me, at a house party or in my living room, then you’re no stranger to this Nic Nac beats-produced track. As my most-played song of the whole decade, it absolutely deserves this No. 2 ranking.

1. ‘Teenage Dream’ – Katy Perry (2010)

And now, for the ultimate tearjerker… talk about the good ol’ days! “Teenage Dream” epitomizes carefree bliss and everything light that pop represented early in the decade. It’s easy to forget Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums of all-time, and I think I speak for everyone reading this that no pop song (or Katy Perry song, for that matter) will ever compare to this one.

(via YouTube)

Listen to the entire playlist below (and come back next week for my top 20 honorable mentions of the decade):

[divider_flat]

Music

Pompeya, RAC, SomeKindaWonderful, DWNTWN + 23 More Artists: New Music August!

August 3, 2017

I don’t know about you, but musically speaking, to me, August signifies the arrival of Kesha‘s hotly anticipated Aug. 11 comeback album Rainbow.

But while we eagerly await the 14-song selection, let’s get into some recently released tunes, shall we?

Some of my regularly rotating favorites (Foster the People, RAC, DWNTWN) each released new albums within the last couple of weeks and they are so good! I commend FTP for sticking true to their original sound with each new release. Their new album brings so much happiness to my heart—especially the song “Sit Next to Me,” which I’ve included in this month’s new music playlist. In addition, you must check out RAC’s “Unusual” and DWNTWN’s “Love Someone.”

But the song I’m featuring in the forefront this month is indie new wave act Pompeya‘s “Somebody Else,” off their new four-track EP Domino. Anyone who’s been following skyelyfe knows the Moscow natives have been been on my radar for years. I always get excited when they release new material because they’re one of the few acts to never let me down.

I also advise checking out SomeKindaWonderful‘s “Wheels Up,” a bit of a different sounding venture for the alt-rock band, who collabed with Casey Veggies on this mellow hip-hop electro track.

Scroll below to check out the playlist of 27 new tracks worth listening to this month, which also includes Don Diablo, Rhye, Decco, Bryce Vine, Snakehips, Body Language and Grabbitz!

[divider_flat]

Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Reasons Why LA Pride Remains My Favorite Weekend of the Year

June 20, 2017

If you live in West Hollywood like me, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be out and about, wandering the good ol’ streets of Santa Monica Blvd. each year during the second weekend of June.

LA Pride (which just took took place June 9-11) is especially great for a Weho resident for the sake of being able to avoid traffic, but in general, it’s amazing overall and continues to be my favorite happening of the year.

Keep scrolling for 5 reasons why this culturally important, weekend-long event cannot be beat!

1. There Are a Handful of Events Leading Up to the Big Weekend

Obviously all of June is Pride month, so there are Pride-centric occurrences happening all over, during the course of four weeks, but in the week leading up to LA Pride, there’s a handful of local events that go down, including baseball games, charity events and more. Kicking things off the Sunday before Pride week began was GLSEN‘s Sunset Cocktails event, hosted by Lance Bass and Rosario Dawson, among other influential names in the community. I was invited to the Sunset Tower gathering, which raised money to ensure there are LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools across the country. Although the event has passed, you can still donate HERE.

2. The Weho Bars Are More Fun Than Any Other Time of Year

Ok, this is slightly debatable, as everyone who lives in 90069 knows that The Abbey and its neighbors are a complete blast during December, leading up to Christmas and NYE, but I must say they are most bustlin’ during Pride. Each bar has its own vibe, but one thing holds true: They all manage to bring out droves of people and there are always surprises. This year, for example, my fav Kesha put on a surprise performance at Pump. She’s just one of many fun folks you can expect to see roaming through the different spots during this weekend. Let’s just say if you’re a fan of any Bravo TV show, you are sure to get your “star”-studded fix this weekend.

3. The Festival Is an Experience in Itself

LA Pride can be quite the overwhelming experience (in a good way, of course!). The excitement of the bars is just one facet to the whole event. In addition, you have the actual festival, which over the years has booked a slew of memorable music acts. I’d be lying if I said this year’s selection was my favorite, but looking back, one of my favorite memories of all time was being with my closest friends, dancing the night away to Kesha in 2015. They’ve also had Fifth Harmony, Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen, Trina and so many others take the stage in the past. But that’s not all. There’s usually a roller rink, incredible decor, and now, more than ever, a growing number of entertaining booths. I started off my Saturday getting glitter eye makeup and a heart painted on my cheek from the MAC Cosmetics booth (a first for LA Pride!). As expected, their booth was booming with color and vibrant music. There was just so much excitement all around. And as you can see below, Gigi Gorgeous was one of the many familiar faces to make her way through the festival!

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

Photo Credit: Lindsey Best

4. It’s an Excuse to Throw a Party

Celebrating equality and the idea of people coming together for the same reason is definitely an excuse to throw a party. Each year, I throw a Pride brunch for some of my closest friends, and it’s the perfect way to kick off the afternoon before heading down to the Blvd. Everyone is in the best mood and it’s a great feeling everyone just being together and supporting. And an added bonus? It’s a great excuse to put my brightly colored beauty products from NYX, Joico InstaTint, Salon Perfect and more to use by leaving them out for guests to use as touchups!

5. You Run Into Familiar Faces, While Also Encountering New Ones You’ll Stay in Touch With

If there’s one place to spot friends—both old and new—Pride festivities are it! Pride brings out all kinds of people, so whether its an old coworker, long lost pal or even a new person you just started chatting up at the bar, you are definitely bound to exchange hugs and walk away with some new numbers (or Instagram handles)!

Angelenos

6 Favorite Finds at the 2016 Echo Park Craft Fair

December 15, 2016

Nothing says holiday gifts quite like ones from the heart, and the Echo Park Craft Fair was chock-full of soul.

The annual event, founded by artists Rachel Craven and Beatrice Valenzuela, attracted not only a slew of celebs (Sia, Brandon Boyd, Kesha, Devendra Banhart and Marisa Tomei, to name a few) but some of the biggest and brightest in the handmade creation space.

Skyelyfe made its way to Mack Sennett Studios over the weekend, where we checked out and sampled a slew of jewelry, home goods, clothing and whole foods.

craft-fair-scenery-1

While there were so many eye-catching items, we went ahead and picked our six faves. See below and head over next year to swoop up (or sell) some goods of your own!

1. Fav Food Find

Sure, I eat chicken and occasionally red meat, but I am also a huge fan of vegan foods—namely, cashew cheese. This ridiculously delicious “cheese” loaf (pictured) was paired with spices from Tournefortia for quite the concoction.

craft-fair-cashew-cheese-2

2. Fav Drink Find

Let’s be honest. You had me at one word: avocado. Yep, that Cali staple was a main ingredient in one of Todo Verde‘s delicious Guacamaya smoothies, which also included cucumber, orange, chia and maple syrup. If that scrumptious little combo didn’t tickle your fancy, you were also able choose from a Lavanda beverage (Asian pear, lavender, chia and maple syrup), among other options.

craft-fair-verde-drinks

3. Fav Office Find

These bad boys really put the “weight” in “paperweight.” I mean, no joke, I do think I got a workout from lifting each of these nifty little items. That aside, these are pretty darn cool-looking crafts!

craft-fair-paperweights

4. Fav Mind Find

As you may know, I am a huge proponent of healing stones and spiritual energy. So, when I came across renown crystal healer Azalea Lee‘s Place 8 Healing booth, I absolutely had to stop. Not only did this stand have a stone for everyone (even a full-sized glass penis—if that’s what you were looking for), but Lee offered a free crystal reading to guests on the fly, which was done to inspire which stone would work best for them at the moment.

craft-fair-stones

5. Fav Room Find

Creating catchy room decor is as simple as taking a rock, some bright paints and colorful pens, and doodling some words of encouragement. Voila! As demonstrated below, you have some some pretty empowering table adornment with the snap of a finger.

craft-fair-feel-good

6. Fav Beauty Find

There was noone more excited about National Lipstick Day in July than I, so you can probably guess that I was pretty stoked to catch Kosas‘ lipstick booth. I opted for the plum color in the very middle and left with a smile!

craft-fair-kosas-lipstick

Photo Credits: Jackie Gonzalez

Music

Neon Hitch Tells Skyelyfe She Hopes ‘Vulnerable’ New Music Will Shake ‘Party Girl’ Image

July 20, 2016
Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Neon Hitch is back and more raw than ever.

This time around, as she embarks on the July 22 release of her new album Anarchy, the foulmouthed singer, most commonly known for her 2012 dance track “Fuck U Betta,” is ready to show the world she’s more than “just a party girl.”

“You can expect a very honest Neon–from my favorite food (fried chicken at night), to the things I used to get up to when I was a wild child back in London,” she tells skyelyfe. “And you really get to hear the more vulnerable side of me. This album came together very naturally and most of the songs are actually freestyles so they were written by my subliminal mind.”

Given the nature of her past work, the electropop artist–whose birth name is, in fact, Neon Hitch–acknowledges why she may have a certain reputation, but she notes that she’s widely misunderstood.

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

Photo credit: Sequoia Emmanuelle (@sequoiaemmanuelle)

“I actually am a very sensitive and caring person who has been a lone warrior for a long time and my way of survival has been to have this tough emotional armor on that some people misinterpret as unapproachable,” she explains. “That’s something I plan on changing with this album.”

The artist, who collaborates with Liam Horne, Calix and Collie Buddz on this latest compilation of tracks, describes it as “lots more urban than my other work,” adding with a laugh, “My alter ego right now is ‘Tracy Trapman.’ ”

As for what she generally wants to get across in her music, regardless of genre, she says, “My message is always freedom and standing for what you believe in.”

Hitch, who has in the past collaborated with Tyga and written for Kesha, says she would “love to do a song with” the Spice Girls. And hey, now that three of them have decided to reunite (albeit under a different moniker), she may have a shot!

Collabs or not, the British singer, who recently gave a surprise performance at L.A.’s No Name bar, is thrilled about her upcoming 14-track album, and thrives off of having music as a platform “to make a change,” she says. “I would love to hear more lyrics that inspire people instead of singing about how much money they have or how many bitches they fuck.”
[divider_flat]
Lifestyle Angelenos

5 Awesome Things to Know About L.A.! Pride 2016, Straight from the Festival’s President Chris Classen!

June 8, 2016
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

LA! Pride has come a long way since its inception in the year 2000, when it was known as LA/Valley Pride (LAVP).

But even in really recent years, the festival that celebrates the LGBT community has majorly stepped up its game, bringing on top-tier musical acts (can we reminisce about last year with Kesha for a moment?!) and attracting a majorly diverse crowd.

This year (my seventh!), which kicks off this Friday (!), is expected to bring an even bigger crowd, especially by boasting performances by big acts, including Carly Rae JepsenCharli XCXKrewella and dozens of others.

But a musical upgrade isn’t the only big change you can expect this year. Skyelyfe caught up with Chris Classen, president of the festival and also president of Christopher Street West, which produces the three-day event. He dished on everything we all need to know leading up to (at least what I consider) the most fun weekend of the year!

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

Photo Credit: Own Your Pride Campaign

From what went into selecting this year’s artists, to flashier decor and better food options, read below for five things to know about LA! Pride 2016:

1. Keep Your Phone Charged, Because There Will Be Far Too Many Photo Opps!

“World class musical acts, more inclusive programming, and interactive art experiences will be all over the festival,” Classen says. “I mean, wait until you see this thing. There are so many social media moments, you’ll have serious FOMO if you stay home.”

2. Much More Thought Went Into This Year’s Musical Lineup, But the Weekend Is Still Affordable

“This year we sat down and said, ‘Ok, let’s curate a lineup that’s diverse, cool, and broad,” Classen explains. “We wanted a mix of acts we love, but haven’t been ‘discovered’ yet, and some names people already love. We also added acts to the schedule, so it’s a really packed weekend of talent. The best part? It’s only $35 per day.”

3. Each Musical Act Has a Special Tie to the LGBT Community

“All of our acts are allies,” Classen says. “Many are openly LGBTQ, but the coolest change this year isn’t the headliners – it’s the entire lineup. Never before have we had a talent list that is as diverse as our own community.”

4. Classen Loves Being Behind the Scenes of West Hollywood’s Biggest Annual Event 

“Putting together the nations largest, ticketed LGBT event takes a year of preparation with a tight-knit team of dedicated people who become a second family to me,” he says. “But during the event, few of the attendees know who I am, and my favorite part of the weekend is being able to watch the joy and sense of wonder on people’s faces as they experience what we have put together for them.”

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

5. Kesha Left Her Mark on the Festival, Following Last Year’s Incredible Headlining Performance

“Being backstage with Kesha last year was one of my favorite memories of Pride,” Classen says. “She was lovely, and so genuinely excited to be a part of the event.”

[divider_flat]

Music Angelenos

Carly Rae Jepsen & Charli XCX Are Headlining L.A. Pride 2016!

April 26, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride‘s headlining act last year will forever be a tough one to follow (I mean, come on, it was Kesha!) – but – I will say I can’t complain about this year’s selection.

Carly Rae Jepsen will take center stage as the main act during the annual West Hollywood festival (which happens to be my favorite event of the year) from June 10-12, the organization announced on its website today. Charli XCX and Krewella are also among the headlining acts.

A slew of additional talent is slated to perform over the course of the weekend, including, Gavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and two throwback favs: Da Brat and Trina!

L.A. Pride, which celebrates love and equality for the LGBTQ community, has been home to other additional big performers in the past, including Tinashe, Demi Lovato and Jennifer Hudson.

If you’re feeling nostalgic over last year’s festival with the “Your Love Is My Drug” singer, fear not because just two hours south, you can catch my favorite pop star performing her hits at San Diego Pride on Sat., July 16 (you just might see me there!).

Music

Former ‘Rising Star’ Contestant Morgan Higgins Is ‘Confidently Flirtatious;’ Devotes Poppy New Song ‘Hey Boy’ to Her Beau!

April 7, 2016

Morgan-higgins-skyelyfeMorgan Higgins became an overnight celebrity in her small SoCal beach town of San Clemente during her stint on ABC’s former music competition show Rising Star.

The now-18-year-old brunette beauty made it to week six in the one-season, Josh Groban-hosted series (which featured Brad Paisley, Ludacris and Kesha as experts) – but it was Jesse Kinch who took home the title.

Although Higgins – known for her bold song covers – fell short of a win, she hasn’t given up on her passion for music. She updates her YouTube page regularly, and she is just about to release her new song “Hey Boy,” an empowering pop track she associates with her boyfriend and taking control of making their relationship happen.

Keep scrolling to read about what Higgins learned from her star experts, which song she’s covered with regret and why she’s “confidently flirtatious.”

skyelyfe: Are you still based in San Clemente? What have your friends and people you know from home thought of your success?

Morgan Higgins: I am still based in San Clemente, but I spend a lot of time in Los Angeles. The people around me are very excited about my success, but no one knows how hard the music industry and entertainment industry truly is. It takes a lot of work and time to “make it.” Patience is a virtue!

SL: You’re known for some amazing covers. Which cover did you find most challenging to sing and which have you received the most praise for?

MH: The hardest cover for me to sing was “The One That Got Away,” by Katy Perry. I remember wanting to enter it for some competition and then realizing that my voice was not mature enough at all to sing it. I still won’t listen to it to this day, but it still has a decent amount of views, which is nice. My favorite cover and the one people like the most is “Someone Like You,” by Adele. I’ve always loved this song and I still sing it frequently. Adele is one of my favorite artists!

SL: Which Rising Star expert did you connect with best? What was the best piece of advice they gave you?

MH: I don’t think I had a favorite expert on Rising Star. They all gave me different pieces of advice and focused on different parts of my voice/performance. I think the biggest piece of advice they gave me was to be true to yourself no matter how much people around you try to influence you or put you down. That’s been a big thing for me in my music career as well as in my life in general.

SL: If you could collaborate with any three artists, who would they be?

MH: Oh, boy, the three artists I wish I could collaborate with are Taylor Swift, Sara Bareilles or Adele – or Whitney Houston if she was alive. But my favorites change by the day.

SL: Tell me about how “Hey Boy” came to be. Is it about a real person or is it just a fun song?

MH: “Hey Boy” is inspired by a real person – my boyfriend! The idea came about when I was trying to get him to date or notice me. I figured lots of other girls could relate to liking a boy who may like them back, but having them be too shy to make a move. In a way, it’s a song about empowerment. There is this traditional idea that guys have to be the ones to show interest first and make the first move. However, in today’s progressive world, women are becoming much more powerful in every way and this song is partly influenced by the mentality that girls can do anything guys can do, including being confidently flirtatious and forward!

Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: HAIM, Mark Ronson, The Knocks, Miguel and More Party and Perform During Grammy Weekend!

February 16, 2016

Yesterday concluded a four-day Grammy Awards weekend, and as one can expect, Los Angeles had no lack of activity throughout the celebration’s entirety. The prestigious weekend fell not only on Valentine’s Day, but also on Presidents’ Day, so bottle popping among industry elite was at an abundance. Aside from the Oscars, more parties and events are centered around this awards show than any other.

Each year, without question, music’s biggest names flock to the MusiCares and Clive Davis pre-Grammy events (and this year, a surprise Friday night concert by Adele at the Wiltern saw some incredibly famous faces). And record label after parties are where you can expect to spot many award winners. But with each Grammy weekend, there are also slew of more under-the-radar events that don’t fail to draw impressive crowds of celebrities and influencers.

Scroll below to see photos and read about everything from Mark Ronson and Jamie xx‘s intimate V-Day bash, to Miguel‘s first-ever DJ set at a party in Hollywood, and much more!

  • The dFm Presents: A Grammy Celebration at the Hollywood Roosevelt

This event – hosted by dFm founder Jesse Lee, Roc Nation manager Jon Lieberberg, Windish Agency founder Tom Windish and KCRW music director Jason Bentley – had all eyes on Miguel. The crooner treated guests at the Hollywood Roosevelt-held bash to a live, swoon-worthy singing performance and his first-ever DJ set. But that wasn’t to take away from the HAIM sisters, who performed a DJ set as well, for the second consecutive year at this particular party. Kesha and Rashida Jones were among the famous faces who took in tunes by these industry heavyweights.

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

Photo credit: Tibrina Hobson for WireImage

  • Jamie xx and Mark Ronson’s Valentine Special at Club James

What says pre-V-Day quite like a night in the company of some of music’s most handsome heartthrobs? This ultra-exclusive intimate bash, held at the newly opened Club James at the Goldstein Residence, featured a special performance by D.R.A.M, along with DJ sets by the two hosts Jamie xx and Mark Ronson. Guests at the sexy soiree also included Diplo, Florence Welch, Lorde, Danielle and Alana Haim, Rashida Jones, Rita Ora and Lily Allen. MasterCard provided a Priceless Moments photo booth for guests to capture their special date (or friends) night.

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

Photo credit: David Crotty for Patrick McMullan

  • Amplify Your Life Launch Party // The Knocks Wrap Party 

The El Rey Theatre was home to The Knocks‘ highly anticipated show in the earlier portion of Saturday night, but Mack Sennett Studios hosted a much more intimate gathering later in the evening to celebrate the NY-based duo’s performance, with a special DJ set that kicked off with their hit “Dancing with the DJ.” One of my favorite hip-hop producers Nic Nac popped up out of nowhere on stage mid-set, and the trio bopped heads and posed for photos. The night, hosted by Jack Daniels, also had another familiar face in the crowd: Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, who recently interviewed The Knocks for Interview magazine.

Amplify_Your_Life_JPatt_NicNac

Amplify_Your_Life_crowd

Amplify_your_life_decor

  • Colgate Optic White Beauty Bar 2016

Who can’t use a little touching up over the course of a long awards season weekend? Colgate hosted its fourth annual weekend of pampering for celebrities, bloggers and tastemakers on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at the Hudson Loft in Downtown L.A., just minutes from where all of the Grammy rehearsals took place. One of my favorite electronic artists JES was in tow, swooping up some beauty products from Jouve. Guests also received complimentary nail, hair and beauty services from PRIV‘s on-the-go stylists, they noshed on a handful of salad and sandwich options and sipped on specialty cocktails, along with beverages from Lipton Sparking Iced Tea and Essentia alkaline water. And a photo booth is one thing – but this event also had a selfie mirror and an Instagram cut-out photo station.

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Photo credit: Araya Diaz for Getty Images

Music

PHOTOS: Kesha, Sacha Skarbek, Mitch Allan Among Music Industry Elite Who Set Sail for Bliss Songwriting Invitational

November 17, 2015

Bliss_Invitational_Lounge_skyelyfeWhat do you get when you put a group of chart-topping songwriters, producers, and artists from all over the world on a beautiful yacht for several days? Aside from a gorgeous view, delicious food and newfound camaraderie, those who recently attended the second Bliss Songwriting Invitational had a chance to record and collaborate on new music, while sharing it with peers in Antibes, France.

Artists and songwriters including Kesha, Sacha Skarbek (Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball”), Mitch Allan (Jason Derulo‘s “Want to Want Me”), Tushar Apte (Chris Brown‘s “Zero”) and The SaturdaysMollie King set sail aboard a yacht called Bliss to collaborate in exclusive music studios built special for the occasion.

The group was wined and dined by SOCAN (the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) at gourmet restaurant Le Jardin. Los Angeles’ own SOCAN ambassador Chad Richardson also attended to talk about the exciting future collaborations between American, Canadian, and European songwriters.

Post-retreat, Allan and Taylor Parks (Ariana Grande) have continued collaborating on songs for the newest Fifth Harmony record, and King has scheduled sessions right here in L.A. to further work on songs for her new solo material.

So, to sum things up, there was a yacht, French food, and new music? Sounds like pure Bliss to us. And this is just one of the first of many more of these invitationals to come, including in Palm Springs and other places all over the world.

Bliss_Invitational_skyelyfe_1

Bliss_invitational_table_skyelyfe

Bliss_Invitational_recording_skyelyfe

Bliss_Invitational_group_shot_skyelyfe

[divider_flat]

Music Featured

Former Glee Actor-Musician Finneas O’Connell Talks About the Show’s Pop-Culture Legacy, His Adoration for Kesha and Why He Goes to ‘Desperate Measures’ for His Girlfriend

November 11, 2015

Finneas_O'Connell_skyelyfe_3At only 18 years old, actor and musician Finneas O’Connell has already lived out many lifelong dreams.

The Silverlake, Calif.-born teen had the honor of being featured on four episodes of Glee’s final season (he played Alistair), he’s been on Modern Family and in the film Bad Teacher, and his pop-rock music group The Slightlys has won several battle-of-the-bands competitions and performed at the Warped Tour and the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert Series. Not too shabby, right? (and side note: If you want to see him live, he and his fellow band mates Darius Dudley IIDavid Marinelli and Robby Fitzpatrick will be at The Satellite in L.A. on Dec. 3). 

To top things off, O’Connell has been in a committed relationship for four years, and admittedly goes to “desperate measures” for his ladylove, who currently lives on the other side of the country.

Thriving at such a young age, it only made sense that skyelyfe chatted with this young man to hear about everything from Glee’s audition and filming process, to growing up as an aspiring actor in L.A., to more or less worshipping Kesha as an artist.

Keep reading to learn more about this hard-working superstar on-the-rise.

skyelyfe: Tell me about your experience filming Glee.

Finneas O’Connell: It was pretty crazy. I’m 18 now, and I was 11 when Glee started. I remember at a pretty young age that Glee was such a huge show. Everyone was either watching Glee or making pop-culture references to it. It was a topical thing … It was great and super fun. It was kind of a crazy time to start. The show was wrapping up, and it was a great thing to be there and witness all of that. I was only on four episodes and it became my whole life for like two-and-a-half months. It’s such an incredibly intense show to be on. You’re doing like three-hour dance rehearsals in the morning, then you show up for a whole day, then you do a recording session at night. There were huge days and the crew was so professional and good at what they do. As a film nerd, any time I wasn’t on camera, I was standing over in video village, just watching the crew do their jobs because they were so good at it. Being on Glee was the biggest thing I’ve ever gotten to do.

SL: What was the audition process like?

FO: I auditioned for Glee for the first time when I was 16. That was in 2013. I put myself on tape and sang a song. A couple months later, I auditioned again at the casting office. That was just a singing audition. I think I sang a Bruno Mars song. And then a month later, I went back and did an on-camera audition. I didn’t get that either, and then a couple months later I went back in for another little part on the show, and that audition was really fun, but I didn’t get that part either. And the fifth time they called me to audition, I kind of wrote it off. I was just sort of like, “Why are they even calling me?” I remember singing like a Green Day song, and because of the nature of that final season, it went very quickly. I think they called me to tell me I’d gotten the part two days after I’d auditioned. And then the next day I had a wardrobe session, and the next day I started filming.

SL: Who did you especially bond with from the cast?

Finneas_O'Connell_skyelyfe1FO: I was coming on kind of as a loner, and so it was really great to have the [sixth season cast], who I think still think felt kind of new, compared to everyone who had been on the show for years. They still felt kind of like the new kids on the block. So they were sort of my gateway into the cast. Everyone on the show was so welcoming, but I think they had the same vibe that I did, and I think that’s really important.

Noah Guthrie is a really incredible songwriter. We talked about music. We talked about our favorite producers and our favorite mixing engineers and our approach to records. That was really cool. And I think Samuel Larsen is so cool. He’s so talented and he’s such a good drummer. I only got to spend like a day-and-a-half with him, but I talked to him the whole time that day and thought he was so cool. I want to play his brother in a film.

SL: You’ve been quoted saying if you could collaborate with anyone, it would be Kesha. Why is that?

FO: I started listening to Kesha when I was 13, and as a songwriter, I’ve always been really interested in people who say stuff that’s never been said before. It’s hard to do that, but whenever anyone manages to say something differently than I’ve ever heard said before, that always makes me super happy. And Kesha can say anything and make it work in a song. I’ve always been sort of interested in female-fronted pop songs. I love Kesha, Lana Del Rey, Katy Perry. That’s kind of been my M.O. since I was little. I’ve always loved Aly and AJ. Kesha’s super melodic, and her hooks are [amazing]. I love her aesthetic and her glitter-pop. I think it’s so cool.

The song “Past Lives” is all Kesha. No one co-wrote that song with her. It was just her writing, and I think that’s probably my favorite Kesha song ever. I think it’s just a cool song. I haven’t met her, but I’ve met a bunch of people who have met her, and they all confirm the stories that she’s just as interesting and eccentric and fun and nice as she is in interviews, so I hope one day I get to meet her.

The_Slightlys_skyelyfeSL: Tell me about The Slightlys’ new music

FO: We went into the studio in April to record a couple of songs. We made four songs, and they’re all kind of about a relationship set in the city of Los Angeles, and being a young adult and trying to figure out who you are as a person and who other people are. It’s a lot of self-discovery. The song we just put out, “Desperate Measures,” kind of [explores] that feeling where you fall in love with someone and it’s not a super healthy feeling because you’re kind of insane for someone. When you’re in love with someone, what could be better than spending time waiting in line and getting yelled at, at the DMV with them? You want to spend time with that person. It’s about flying across the country to visit that person.

SL: Are you in a relationship?

FO: Yeah, I’m dating a girl who goes to school in New York City, and we’ve been going out for almost four years now.

SL: So, is this song inspired by her?

FO: Oh, totally. Yeah. I remember our drummer calling me one time and he was watching his girlfriend walk down a parade this one time. And he was like, “I understand what ‘Desperate Measures’ is about!” It’s self-examination and being aware that what you’re doing is maybe ridiculous and maybe not the most practical use of time, but it’s all you really want to be doing. You wouldn’t want to be at home doing something else.

SL: Tell me a little about how your experience has been growing up in L.A.

FO: Growing up in L.A. is an interesting phenomenon. I don’t think a lot of people that end up here started here, and I think vice versa. I think a lot of people who start here travel across the country. Growing up in L.A. was helpful in a lot of ways because as an actor, especially, a lot of what being an actor is, is driving to the Westside and trying to find parking for 15 minutes, and going in and waiting for 45 minutes to do a two-page audition, and then coming out with a parking ticket, and then you sit in traffic for an hour to get home. That’s not what the billboards say acting is going to be. I don’t think that’s your idea of, “Oh yeah, I want to be an actor. I want to do that.” And rightfully so. It’s pretty boring.

My parents were both actors, and because I grew up in L.A., when I was little, I’d just go to auditions with my parents. It always seemed like fun to me. I was sort of a dummy about it. I thought even the crappy parts of being an actor seemed like fun. Growing up in L.A., I was always like, “Mom, I want to be an actor,” and she was like, “Do you really want to be an actor?” Being an actor doesn’t mean getting to be on Glee. Being an actor means working really hard and going to hundreds of auditions and not booking anything. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get on four episodes of Glee. I’m super lucky and so grateful.

There’s a lot of opportunity to feel really lonely in L.A. because it’s a car-based city. A lot of the time, I’m just driving around kind of isolated. But it’s also a very communal city in a lot of ways. I’ve been a vegan for a few years, and wow, you can get some really good food out here. There’s a vegan donut place near me [near Eagle Rock] called Donut Friend and there are so many live music venues. As a music nerd, there’s nothing better than being able to go see any band you’ve ever heard of.

Check out “Desperate Measures” below!:

[divider_flat]

Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: Billy Idol, Dave Navarro Among Hard Rock Heavyweights Who Performed for Charity in L.A. at Rhonda’s Kiss

November 4, 2015

Last night was a who’s-who of rock royalty at Rhonda’s Kiss, a benefit held at L.A.’s El Rey Theatre to raise money for cancer patients who can’t afford treatment.

The approximately 3.5-hour extravaganza featured a silent auction, open bar, tray-passed hors d’oeuvres by Wolfgang Puck – and most importantly, live appearances by Billy Idol, Dave Navarro, Juliette Lewis, Kesha, Duff McKagan, Dave Kushner and Mark McGrath, among others, who performed some of the most iconic rock of all time. Prior to the event, I hadn’t seen the majority of these folks live, so this was definitely a monumental treat!

Thanks to generous donors, guests even got to snag goodies from the upstairs gift lounge, which included products from VonZipper  sunglasses, Monster headphones, Ax+Apple jewelry and Arbonne beauty.

All of the proceeds from the energetic evening – which was emceed by actor and comedian Bill Burr – will go to City of Hope.

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

Photo credit: Jonathan Leibson

[divider_flat]

Uncategorized

Now That I’ve Finally Recovered from L.A. Pride (Yes, It Took a Week!), Here Are the Highlights in Photos!

June 22, 2015
Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Unless you’ve done a full weekend of L.A. Pride, you likely don’t realize how much it can take out of you. It’s like the West Hollywood Coachella (ok, with way less music and people, but still….it is a highly anticipated full weekend of non-stop activity and you see so many people you know). So, yeah, I’ve come a long way since last Monday when I was in major Pride recovery mode. I think I’m back to normal now?

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

I say this every year (this was my 6th Pride), but each time really does get better and better. I had almost every single one of my closest friends by my side at some point during the 3-day venture, I got to see my favorite pop star Kesha perform all of her hits (Fifth Harmony, Eden XO, Tinashe and Wilson Phillips were also among the weekend’s musical acts), and I had run-ins with many-a-weho-character (which is always my favorite part of these outings).

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

As usual, The Abbey was bustling with bodies and tended to be where my friends and I spent the majority of the time if we weren’t inside the festival itself. I also came to discover Bar10, a spacious new spot on the Boulevard that plays legit hip-hop music and loungey house. It has a totally different vibe than let’s say Flaming Saddles, for example (ok, well, that’s a given, but seriously, it’s different from anywhere else out that way and the crowd is way more laid-back). I hosted a brunch for my friends on Saturday at my apt, which was the perfect kick-off to our Kesha-filled day. And the Palihouse rooftop was once again the place to be on Sunday afternoon!

Oh, Pride, how I hate to see my favorite weekend of the year go by so fast. But at least there are these photos to commemorate the momentous occasion.

[divider_flat]

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jon Viscott

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

Photo credit: Jeffrey Bertollini

[divider_flat]

Music

New Music Monday: Gardens & Villa, RAC, Keys N Krates & More!

June 15, 2015

gardens-villa-new-album_skyelyfeSeeing my favorite pop star Kesha perform live at L.A. Pride over the weekend was amazing, but for today, it’s time to dig up some new material.

I’m totally loving Gardens & Villa‘s synthpop “Fixation,” Keys N Krates‘ trappy “Save Me,” Coyote Kisses‘ indie-electro “Ferrari” and indie rock by Family of the Year with “Make You Mine.” And of course I always get excited by new RAC tracks, so be sure to give a listen to “Back of the Car.”

Click on the playlist below for 11 fresh tracks as part of this week’s New Music Monday!

[divider_flat]