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Music

This Is the Only Playlist You’ll Need During Spring 2021

March 22, 2021

The last time I made a playlist that was only expected to extend through spring, I ended up calling it the Quarantine Turn-Up, and it spanned from March through September (wow!), adding and subtracting songs as I go. Only a lengthy, months-long soundtrack could really encompass such a definitive era we all experienced at the hands of COVID-19. While sitting at the same desk exactly a year later and crafting a playlist all over again (this time featuring the best new music of spring 2021), a flurry of memories and feelings buzz through my brain.

Quarantine (like, when we were in actual lockdown) was such a moment. I think I speak for everyone when I say we learned so much about ourselves and really honed in on our goals, hidden skills, relationships and future. That said, as we slowly but surely get vaccinated and move ahead with our post-pandemic lives, it definitely calls for some light, new tunes and happy, scenic drives.

palm trees in beverly hills on a sunny clear blue sky day

Scroll below for a playlist of the best new music of spring 2021. Like before, I’ll be adding and subtracting as the season progresses (but I’ll stop at summer this time!).

While springtime is about getting out of the house, HERE‘s the playlist to listen to if you still feel like cozying up with hot chocolate on a cold day.

Music

I Just Charged My 2012 iPod—Here’s a Playlist of Completely Forgotten Gems I Now Have on Repeat

March 14, 2021

Who says social media’s good for nothing? Thanks to a TikTok someone posted last week, featuring a clip from “We Run the Night” by Havana Brown and Pitbull, I was inspired to dig up forgotten songs from the early 2010s (and, naturally, I made my own TikTok to document the experience).

@dgidahvz

if you’re seeing this rn, it’s your sign to go charge your ##ipod 🎶 ##2010s ##2010smusic ##nostalgicmusic ##weho ##losangeles ##fyp

♬ CRAFT – OFEKNIV

I’d been saying forever that I wanted to charge my coveted cracked iPod from yesteryear, but I just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. That is, of course, until I saw this video clip online. In fact, someone else reposted it after, and it was then that I jumped out of bed and headed straight to the Apple store. There are definitely some kinks (the iPod has to be on the charger at all times for it to work, and if you try to tamper with settings—ie. taking it off airplane mode—it restarts). But, it works!

ipod recharged with throwback music from the early 2010s

And just like that, my Friday night was turned up in a major way. I went through all the hundreds of songs, desperately seeking out the most obscure rarities that were synonymous with that era alone. I found some true gems—some so rare that you can’t find any version of them on Spotify (hence why I made a second playlist with tracks that I could only find on YouTube HERE).

I found a handful of songs that I really haven’t heard or thought about in any regard since literally 2012. Some of the artists have even been entirely absent from music since then! Music hit so differently at that time. Even though these songs obviously sound dated, they’re truly a breath of fresh air—something we can use during the trying times our world has faced over the last few years. They evoke happiness, and what’s better than that?

Now, with that, the moment you’ve been waiting for: my playlist of completely forgotten songs from the early 2010s, thanks to my 2012 iPod!

Need more music to keep you entertained? HERE‘s the ultimate summer 2019 playlist if you want to relive that eventful time!

Music

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with 28 New Songs You’re Going to Love

February 8, 2019

Aside from the fact that I had to drive an hour in a torrential downpour this morning, I’ve gotta say, my Valentine’s Day gift is rain in L.A. It’s pretty relaxing and I simply just love a drizzly (and windy!) day.

In addition to my new brakes, the other thing that helped me make it through my stormy little ride is new music! Bag Raiders teamed up with The Kite String Tangle to bring you the infectiously catchy “Lightning,” which is the debut single off their album Horizons, coming out later this year.

While the vibe outside may keep you indoors this holiday, the playlist below will have you feeling otherwise, with additional dance-worthy tracks by Cassian, R3HAB, Icona Pop, Peking Duk, Alison Wonderland and a handful of other upbeat artists.

Whether you’re celebrating V-Day with a significant other or only with Ben & Jerry’s, at least you’ve got a slew of new songs to keep you occupied tonight, and all through the three-day weekend!

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Music

Elohim & Gryffin Bring Dance Party Vibes to Packed Crowd at El Rey Theatre

May 10, 2016

Gryffin-el-rey-skyelyfe-2There wasn’t a stationery body in the building on Saturday night, as electronic artists Elohim and Gryffin respectively took the stage at L.A.’s El Rey Theatre to a jam-packed crowd.

Elohim – celebrating the upcoming May 20 release of her self-titled debut EP, along with the recent release of her new single “Sensations,” which I featured on yesterday’s New Music Monday playlist – brought not only her melodic, synth-pop sound, but hit the stage in her signature oversized white coat. The Israeli beauty played a live set of a handful of her catchy tracks, including “She Talks Too Much,” “Xanax” and “Bridge and the Wall,” with colorful videos as a backdrop. Show-goers (myself included) were loving every minute, as this was the perfect lead-up to Gryffin’s set, which went until midnight.

Gryffin had no problem keeping the dance party going, closing out the evening with his high-energy, melodic remixes of a slew of popular songs, including “Desire” and “King” by Years & Years, “Youth” by Troye Sivan, “The Middle,” by DJ Snake and “Roses” by The Chainsmokers. As part of his Coming Home tour, the DJ actively went back and forth between the drums, the electric guitar and other instruments during his set to give the head-bobbing crowd a captivating performance!

Music

Ariana Grande, Maduk, Elohim and 21 More Artists: New Music Monday!

May 9, 2016


ariana-grande-into-you-skyelyfeAriana Grande
 is a beautiful, confident young lady with an incredible voice, but I’ve never been too hugely into her music. Well, her latest song “Into You” is every bit cut out for a hit.

The track starts out super slow and sexy and then dives into a dance party. With the sunniest season right around the corner, this song has “hot summer romance” written all over it!

Grande is just one of 24 artists featured in this week’s New Music Monday playlist, which also includes melodic drum and bass by Maduk and a new track by Elohim, who I had the pleasure of seeing perform live over the weekend (more on that later this week, but she is amazing).

Tensnake, George Maple, Monogem, Salt Ashes, Fitz and the Tantrums, AlunaGeorge and Astrid S are also among the artists on the list. See below to give yourself a listen!

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Music

Happy Birthday Breezy! Celebrate Chris Brown’s Big 2-7 with a Playlist of His 27 Best Tracks!

May 5, 2016

RoyaltyWe poppin’ like aaaayo because it’s Breezy’s birthday, and it gives us an excuse to listen to his music on repeat all day today!

The incredibly controversial (yet oh-so-talented) multi-hyphenate turns 27 today, with lots in store.

Aside from celebrating his birth on Cinco de Mayo, Chris Brown just released the first single off his new album, which is reportedly titled Heartbreak on a Full Moon. The new jam is called “Grass Ain’t Greener,” and my guess is there’s a chance he’ll perform it tonight during his scheduled appearance at Sutra night club in Orange County, CA. Scroll to the very bottom of this post to hear it.

Although there is much negativity associated with Royalty Brown’s dad, today is strictly about the music. So, lets celebrate one of the most gifted artists in history with the playlist below of his 27 best songs (in no particular order):

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Music

Lucas Nord, PHASES, HONNE, Kaskade & 15 More Artists: New Music Monday!

April 25, 2016

lucas-nord-skyelyfeIt’s official, Coachella is over!

While some may weep (time to retire the flower crowns ’til next year!) and some may cheer (all of the Coachella pressure is finally off!), one thing holds true: We can now revert back to our regular music routines.

As much fun as it was putting together my annual playlist devoted to the two-week festival, it certainly took away from time I could have spent finding new music.

So with that, skyelyfe’s New Music Monday is back with 19 new songs. Lucas Nord, HONNE, PHASES, White Sea and Kygo are each among artists who made the cut, along with 2016 Coachella act RL Grime. Additional festival act ZHU made the list as well with “In the Morning,” featuring Kaskade, which was on repeat for me all throughout weekend one of the festival (so pretty!).

Check out the playlist, which also includes Mako, Sizzy Rocket and Selah Sue f./Childish Gambino, below!

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Music

Cloud Cult’s Craig Minowa Talks Unique ‘Philosophical Orchestral Indie Rock’ Sound & Connecting with ‘Higher Forces’

April 13, 2016

Cloud_Cult_skyelyfeCloud Cult‘s multi-member indie rock band is making its way to the City of Angels (a far cry from their chilly Duluth, MN, dwellings!) on April 19th.

A few days ahead of their Teragram Ballroom show in DTLA, the group’s lead singer Craig Minowa took a few moments to chat with skyelyfe about his group’s special sound (scroll to the very bottom to check out their latest album The Seeker), using music to connect with a higher power and why it’s “empowering” to visit L.A.

skyelyfe: You’ve been described as everything from “cinematic,” to “environmental art rockers.” How would you try to describe your sound and image/message? How did your unique signature sound come to be? 

Cloud Cult
: We are philosophical orchestral indie rock. I had a classical upbringing, so I’ve always enjoyed adding orchestration to the music. As for the lyrics, I’m a firm believer in the power of music as a tool for connecting to higher forces, so that has always been our approach to not only the songwriting but also the performance – a sort of ritual for getting in touch with those mysterious invisible things both on the inside and on the outside of the self.

SL: When it comes to the music you listen to for fun, who, collectively, do you guys particularly enjoy? Anyone who would come as a surprise?

CC: I listen to big band, ’20s, ’30s and ’40s music for most of my leisure choices. It’s so far removed from what we do, it helps me relax and just enjoy the music for what it is, rather than overanalyzing it, which is what I do when I listen to music in our genre.

SL: Gearing up for your performance at Teragram Ballroom, what is your take on Los Angeles? What are your favorite places to hang out/eat/shop when given the opportunity? How does it feel to visit LA, being from Minnesota, which is obviously a lot different?  

CC: Every time we’ve come to L.A., our schedule has been booked solid, so we’ve never had a chance to just go out and enjoy the area. If there’s a chance to get to a beach, that would always be my first choice. Being from the Midwest, which has now been frozen for the better part of six months, it’s absolutely empowering to come to L.A. and suck up that sun. Given how much entertainment is in that city, we always feel honored when folks choose to attend our show over all of the other incredible things going on at that same time.

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Music

Tegan and Sara, The Chainsmokers, Galantis, LIGHTS & 14 More Artists: New Music Monday!

April 11, 2016

Tegan-and-sara-boyfriend-skyelyfeIf you’re based in L.A., then yes – I get it – your only focus this week is weekend one of Coachella, which kicks off with festivities on Thursday.

Rest assured, there will be a fitting playlist to come for your listening pleasure, but for today, I encourage you to lend your ears to an amusing selection of 18 new songs, ranging from pure poppy fun in Tegan and Sara‘s “Boyfriend,” to acoustic beauty by LIGHTS with “Same Sea.”

Scroll through the playlist below for this week’s New Music Monday, which also includes tracks by Midi Matilda, MadukThe ChainsmokersGalantis, Erik Hassle, Benny Benassi f./Chris Brown and Skizzy Mars f./JoJo (yes, that JoJo!).

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Music Featured

Season One ‘X Factor’ Winner Melanie Amaro: ‘I Would Do a Lot of Things Differently’ If I Could Start My Career Over Again

April 8, 2016

Melanie-Amaro-skyelyfeIt’s been a moment since the public’s heard from Melanie Amaro, the British Virgin Islands-bred singer, who skyrocketed to popularity on the U.S. version of The X Factor.

Everything happened so fast for Amaro, who ended up winning season one of the Simon Cowell-hyped show in 2011. Following her thrilling feat, she was awarded a $5 million recording contract with Sony Music’s Epic Records and began working alongside L.A. Reid.

But as the music mogul addresses in his 2016 memoir, Sing to Me: My Story of Making Music, Finding Magic, and Searching for Who’s Next, the pair experienced creative differences – which didn’t fare well for the aspiring star, who ended up falling off the map after 2014’s failed scheduled album release.

Fast-forward to now, though, Amaro is back and more sure of herself than ever before. Working independently, the empowering female has an EP coming out this season, and she released her new single “The One” last month (scroll to the very bottom to listen).

Skyelyfe caught up with the former reality TV contestant, who talked about how she’s changed and grown since her days on FOX’s hit show, and why she would do “a lot of things differently” if she could go back in time. Keep scrolling to read what Amaro had to say:

skyelyfe: How have you changed personally and musically since your winning season? What would surprise fans most about you from then to now?

Melanie Amaro: I have changed because I have grown as a woman and all around as an artist. I’ve learned so much. What I think would surprise fans most would be the fact that I am doing most of this musical journey on my own without the help of a label, my own money and just people around me who care to help me with what they can and I just work hard and let the music keep me going. 

SL: What have you been up to personally and professionally since your previous time in the spotlight?

MA: I have been working on being a better, stronger woman and I have explored dating a little bit [laughs]. Professionally I have never stopped working on the music. I remained in the studio and continued to work on my writing, and I even got my hands wet with a little acting.

SL: If you could do things all over again from the start of The X Factor to now, what would you do differently?

MA: I would do things a lot differently knowing what it is that I know now, I wouldn’t be so naive to the business and the people in it. I would reevaluate everything and question everything, and I would’ve stuck to my gut.

SL: Whose career do you especially admire or want to emulate? 

MA: I love the longevity of Whitney Houston‘s career, as well as Beyonce‘s. They both had a plan and stuck to it. They worked hard and got everything they wanted in the time span they wanted it. I’d love to have a career as full and prosperous as theirs.

SL: What can fans currently expect from you? 

MA: They can expect to hear music from me that is 100 percent me – the music I should’ve been making from the jump. The EP is so exciting and I can’t wait for all my fans to hear it! 

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Music

San Francisco’s Upbeat Indie Rockers HEARTWATCH (FKA The Tropics) Dish on ‘Fantastic’ Rebrand Decision and the One Thing S.F. Is Majorly Lacking vs L.A. (Hint – It’s Not the Weather!)

March 30, 2016

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

Energizing indie-pop rockers HEARTWATCH (Claire George, Eric Silverman, Rowan Peter, Nate Skelton and Kern Sigala) have been on a high over the last few months.

Following a successful run at Outside Lands music festival in their hometown last summer – and rebranding from what was originally The Tropics — the quintet released their six-song, self-titled, Damien Lewis-produced debut album (scroll to the very bottom to listen!) under the new moniker at the end of February to positive feedback.

The band, who recently performed alongside The Flavr Blue at L.A.’s The Echo, took a moment out of their touring duties to answer a few questions for skyelyfe. Read on to learn about their fans’ reaction to the rebrand, what the Bay Area is lacking vs L.A. and why the Eastside is the place to be in the City of Angels.

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

skyelyfe: Why did you choose to rebrand and how did the name HEARTWATCH come to be?

HEARTWATCH: There was some confusion with another artist with a similar name. After announcing festival appearances last summer, the confusion reached a point where both our teams ended up speaking and we decided it would be easier to change our name and rebrand. It was an interesting time for us and a big summer of festival shows, and we had just finished recording a new album, so we dove head first into it and picked a new name. We all got together and made lots of list of potential names and HEARTWATCH was on all of ours. It’s actually an old B-side from our first record that we never released so it already had some personal meaning for us and was already part of identity.

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

SL: What has been the overall fan response to the rebrand?

HW: It’s been fantastic! I think our fans came along with us easily and were really engaged in the whole process. We announced the name change at a show in San Francisco and people were definitely surprised, but were into it. SF Weekly ran a big piece on it which helped as well. The most fun thing we did was make a “conversion kit video” to help people convert their old vinyl to HEARTWATCH vinyl. That was a blast to make. 

SL: What did you enjoy most about The Echo?

HW: We’d never played The Echo before but we’d heard so much about it! We couldn’t wait to get there and play!  

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

Photo credit: Mallory Turner

SL: What are your thoughts on S.F. vs L.A.?

HW: They are pretty different cities, musically, visually and vibe. We love playing L.A. and have always had a great time there, but S.F. is definitely home. Los Angeles has the most incredible breakfast tacos. We don’t have those in S.F. — yet.

SL: Favorite places to eat, sip, shop and hangout in L.A.?

HW: When we were playing The Wiltern with MS MR, we spent about four hours combing through records at Amoeba, so we were excited to pop in there again. We like to hang out in Los Feliz/Silverlake with some friends and hit up Good Luck Bar.

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Music Featured

Three Rising Indie-Pop Artists You Need to Listen to Right Now!

March 29, 2016

allie-x-chelsea-lankes-party-nails-skyelyfeWhen it comes to pop music, I feel like we are in dire need of some fresh talent.

There’s only so much I can take on the radio currently (missing you immensely 2010, 2011 [ie. Loud, AnimalPink Friday, Teenage DreamFemme Fatale]).

That said, I have not lost complete hope in the state of pop. Besides, the realms of Top 40 rotation aren’t where I should be looking in the first place (obviously).

So, I bring you a list (and playlist at the very bottom) of three incredible up-and-coming independently signed artists with beautiful voices, powerful lyrics and catchy melodies that don’t make me want to drill my head into a wall.

Ok then! Keep scrolling to learn about Chelsea Lankes, Allie X and Party Nails:

  • Chelsea Lankes – Don’t be fooled by this singer’s Fort Worth, Texas, upbringing. She is anything but country! The edgy sometimes-brunette has already racked up an impressive selection of tracks about love and heartbreak in her short career, with vibrant melodies to accompany her strong lyrics. For those who still have energy after Coachella week one, check out Lankes live at The Satellite in Silverlake on Monday, April 18!
  • Allie X – The 30-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter (aka Alexandra Hughes) is on the brink of making it big. Not only does she have a handful of solid synth-pop releases, but she has also notably penned multiple tracks for previous tour mate Troye Sivan, while receiving a nod of acknowledgement from Katy Perry in regards to her biggest single “Catch,” which the “Roar” singer Tweeted is a “spring jam.”
  • Party Nails – The name says it all! Fresh on the music scene with two energetic singles, New York native Elana Belle Carroll wastes no time posting manicures and other such happenings around town on her social media pages. By the electro-pop sound of the 20-something’s songs and her vibe in Cyberspace, there’s no doubt we should all want to party with Party Nails — or at least hear her songs at parties. Get one step closer to that goal by checking her out at The Satellite on Friday, April 8.

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Music

Bearson, Mystery Skulls, Cosmic Gate, Gorgon City & 14 More Artists: New Music

March 28, 2016

It’s been a little slow (IMHO) with new music releases I’m smitten over lately, so I am especially appreciative for this week’s crop of fresh tracks.

From Norwegian electronic artist Bearson‘s melodic delight “Want You,” to Mystery Skulls‘ fun little disco-inspired number “Believe,” among others, there is a solid selection of dance-friendly songs to choice from as part of this week’s New Music Monday.

Let’s also not forget Gorgon City and Vaults‘ “All Four Walls” or old-school trance pioneers Cosmic Gate‘s “Round We Go” with Myon & Shane.

If you’re looking to take things a little slower, perk open your ears to the sounds of The War on Drugs‘ “Touch of Grey,” Frenship‘s “Carpet,” HANA‘s “White,” Astronautica‘s “Falling for You,” or Amason‘s cover of Foreigner‘s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Click below for the playlist of 20 new tunes, also including selections by Fitz & the Tantrums, Ty Dolla $ign, Logistics, Kraak & Smaak and LISTENBEE.

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Music

Bryce Vine, Peter Bjorn and John, She Is We, Cardiknox & 33 More Artists: New Music Monday!

March 21, 2016

bryce_vine_public_school_night_circus_skyelyfeSpring is officially in the air – and so is the sound of new music!

Let’s start with Bryce Vine. The style-savvy indie-hip-hop heartthrob just released his Night Circus album, and I’m particularly digging “Private School.”

That’s just one of 37 fresh tracks that are part of this week’s New Music Monday.

I’ve also got “What You Talking About?” by Peter Bjorn and John and “War,” by She Is We, whose fantastic singer Rachel Taylor I recently interviewed (more on that in days to come).

And per usual, I’ve got some new Cardiknox on here. I never miss a chance to include the indie-pop act on one of these playlists.

Click below for the full selection of songs, which also includes artists REYNA, LANY, Cedric Gervais, White Sea, Mt. Si, Tourist and Sneaky Sound System:

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Music

#TBT!: 1OAK LA’s Resident DJ ESKAE Shares a Throwback Playlist with Skyelyfe of Hip-Hop & R&B You May Have Forgotten

March 17, 2016

DJ_ESKAE_main_pic_skyelyfeIf there’s an area of expertise for 1OAK‘s resident DJ StevenESKAEKanemoto it’s ’90s hip-hop.

He’s wowed me out and about with some incredible throwbacks (Tha Dogg Pound‘s “Let’s Play House” and Da Brat & Notorious B.I.G.‘s “Da B Side,” to name a couple), so this is something I know firsthand.

That said, it only made sense that I enlisted the 36-year-old Hawaii native to come up with the #throwbackthursday playlist of his choice specially for skyelyfe this week.

Check out the q+a below to learn more about Kanemoto’s life in L.A. and behind the ones and twos, and scroll to the very bottom to get 12 of his old-school picks for the week, which include hits by Monifah, Donell Jones, Joe and more!

DJ_Eskae_secondary_skyelyfeskyelyfe: What are your all-time favorite type(s) of music and who are your all-time favorite artists?

Steven Kanemoto: New York Underground music from ’90s is where everything started for me: Gang Starr, Nas, Jay-Z, DITC, KRS-One, Mary J. Blige, Masters At Work and Armand Van Helden, as well bands like Sonic Youth and Portishead.  Also I grew up on a hefty serving of AM radio stations that played Stevie Wonder, Motown Records, and all the pop disco tunes.

 SL: How did you get into deejaying? Which places can we catch you spinning?

SK: A friend in high school had a DJ setup and worked as a wedding DJ on the weekends.  During the week, he’d let me come over and give me some lessons.  Eventually he got bored of deejaying and sold me his turntables. I still have that same pair to this day.  

I’m a resident DJ at 1OAK LA which I do every Thursday or Saturday. Aside from that, I’m regularly working at every major club and little watering hole between La Cienega and Cahuenga.

SL: What do you do when you’re not deejaying?

SK: I’m fortunate to have a great group of friends working in fashion, the arts, food as well as music.  Normally I spend my downtime checking in with them and getting inspiration from them.

SL: When it comes to L.A., where are your favorite places to eat, drink, shop, hang out?

SK: I’m sworn to secrecy on my favorite places in LA but of the few I can mention, The Dime is my Cheers.  It’s the first bar that let me DJ when I moved to the city four years ago and has continually held me down.

The Pacific Dining Car is a favorite because of the absurdity of getting a proper Steak and Lobster at 5:00 a.m. on a weekday.

I have an obsession with furniture and rad things for my apartment.  If I do shop for myself, it’ll probably be a flea market in the city – either Rose Bowl or Fairfax High.

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To learn even more about Kanemoto, check out his recent GeekNation podcast and follow his moves in cyberspace!

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Music

Carly Rae Jepsen, The Knocks, Tinashe, Way Out West & More: New Music Monday!

February 29, 2016

Carly_rae_jepsen_the_knocks_skyelyfeIf you need more than just a large cup of black coffee to get you going on this rainy-turned-disappointingly-sunny Monday, I’ve got just the fix!

My 18-song selection for this week’s New Music Monday is totally upbeat and perfect for putting you in the mood for a positive work week.

Carly Rae Jepsen teamed up with one of my favorite acts The Knocks on “Love Me Like That,” Tinashe and her consistently sexy vocals shine on “Ride of Your Life,” Don Diablo‘s remix of Birdy‘s “Keeping Your Head Up” will have you on your feet and Me & My Toothbrush impresses yet again with their signature disco-infused sound on “Living for the Moment.”

Click the playlist below for the full list, which also includes Autograf, Fifth HarmonyRameses B, Tritonal, Way Out West, Pr0files and – blast from the past – Mya!

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Music

Rising Soul-Pop Artist Rachel B Shares Advice from John Mayer, Dishes on Heartbreak-Inspired Songs and Talks Admiration for Sia

February 23, 2016
Rachel_B_solo_skyelyfe

Pittsburgh-based, Michigan-bred musician Rachel B may be a name you are currently unfamiliar with, but with her self-coined “soul empowerment pop” genre, it’s only a matter of time before the multitalented singer stands out for her forward-thinking sounds.

The vegan-friendly 25-year-old, who formerly lived in L.A.’s Los Feliz neighborhood, recently chatted with skyelyfe and shared everything from excellent industry advice she received (thank you, John Mayer!), to writing about heartbreak and aspiring to shine in her career like Sia.

Keep reading to learn more about Rachel, and scroll to the very bottom to hear “So Good,” and watch the video for “I’m the Boss,” the first single from her debut album of the same title, which will be available March 1. 

 1) Tell me a bit about your background and how you got into music

At an early age, I found myself trying to make sense of life and for some unknown reason, I turned to writing songs. I had a lot of anxiety and worries as a kid, and music was and still is my release. I would go to the library to find music and was drawn to voices like Billie Holiday, Minnie Riperton and Ella Fitzgerald. My background is in jazz and Motown, which has now evolved into my own style of what I like to call Soul Empowerment Pop.  

2) Have you received any firsthand guidance about the industry from anyone the general public would be familiar with?

I met John Mayer and he had some inspirational messages that have stuck with me. He said that for a while he thought one person would come along and make him successful, but that that was a fallacy. It’s not some other person who is going to make or break your career, it’s you. That has definitely been the case for my own journey.

3) How would you describe your music and who would you say has influenced your music style?

I often get described as a sassier Norah Jones meets a softer Amy Winehouse. Some contemporary artists I love are: Adele, Robyn, Alicia Keys, Jessie Ware and Sia. I really adore female voices with nuances, color, and strong messages. [In terms of just listening], I love Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson and James Brown. I could listen to Motown all day. I have to admit I’m loving Justin Bieber‘s new album!

4) Tell me about the story behind “My Tomorrows”

I wrote “My Tomorrows” after my first real heartbreak. I was processing the breakup and searching for closure that I couldn’t seem to find. I remember sitting in my apartment in Boston and thinking, “I guess the answer’s that there’s no answer”. Once I accepted that he didn’t belong in my life, the song just sort of wrote itself.

Photo credit: Maranie Rae

Photo credit: Maranie Rae

5) What’s been the biggest career challenge for you thus far and what’s been the biggest accomplishment?

I would have to say that my greatest challenge has been managing all of the different aspects of a music career with limited resources and hardly any guidance. I’ve had to learn a lot of what I know from trial and error. I don’t come from a musical family and in fact, many people tried to discourage me from pursuing a career in music because they had heard how difficult the industry was. Fortunately, many of those people now tell me they are inspired by what I do, and that’s exactly my goal! I’m really proud of what I’ve been creating and all that I’ve overcome in the process. I feel like my biggest accomplishment has been making my living as a full time artist. I’ll never forget the day I quit my day job to become my own boss, which is why the album is called “I’m The Boss”. I was terrified, but sometimes you’ve just gotta take that leap and fight for what you want.

6) If you could emulate the career of anyone who has “made it,” who would it be?

I think Sia is one of a kind. She has managed to create the career that she wants, performing her own music and writing for other artists. She can sell out some of the biggest venues in the world and still walk around the grocery store without being noticed. She’s an amazing writer and singer – one note and you know it’s her.

7) Describe your off-stage persona

Oh, I make no sense. I’m really intense, but I’m super chill. I’m a workaholic, but I can be quite lazy at times. I love being around people, but treasure my solitude. On a good night I’m in bed by midnight and up early to work out, so I can have dessert that day [laughs].

8) Why did you leave L.A.?

I think a lot of aspiring artists move to big cities like N.Y.C. or L.A. to be “discovered,” and I realized that I wasn’t interested in waiting around to be discovered, I wanted to pave my own way. I had a lot of friends who were signed to management companies and in “development,” but the progress seemed too slow and the process felt a little contrived. I was eager to get out there and connect with people, tour the country and be on stage inspiring and others and finding inspiration for myself. I decided to take things into my own hands as an independent artist and leave Los Angeles to continue growing in Pittsburgh. It’s been an amazing decision.  I did meet some incredibly inspiring people in Los Angeles that I miss and keep in touch with. I’m sure I’ll be back for visits and performances soon!

9) Anything else you’d like your fans to know?

That I’m grateful. I’m able to do what I love because of the incredible support I receive from friends, family and fans. I hope that sharing positive and genuine messages through my music will help inspire others to create the lives they want for themselves. I want my music to help people fight through the things that might be holding them back from achieving their goals. That’s what music has done for me and that’s what it means to be a “Boss.” Take your life into your own hands.

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Music

The 1975, Florrie, Midi Matilda & More: 34 Fresh Tracks!

February 22, 2016

The_1975_Somebody_Else_skyelyfeI usually can’t put the words “happy” and “Monday” in the same sentence, but when I can start my week with 34 brand new songs that I’m actually fond of, I can’t complain, right?

This week’s New Music Monday brings you fresh material from The 1975 (absolutely loving “Somebody Else”), Florrie, Midi Matilda, Satin Jackets, Miike Snow, Gypsy & the Cat and so many more!

There are not many full-length albums in this week’s roundup, but Wild Nothing just released their 11-track “Life of Pause,” which is every bit their signature dream-pop sound. We also have Foxes‘ 12-track “All I Need,” which includes the perfect blend of emotional ballads and sexy uplifting tracks.

Click the playlist below for all of the new music, which also includes HEARTWATCH, Cardiknox, FKA Twigs and more!

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Music

Timeflies, Eric Prydz, Allie X & More: 22 New Songs!

February 8, 2016

timeflies-once-in-a-while-skyelyfeYes, Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, but before it comes time to blast Miguel on repeat, I have some new music to send your way that’s fitting for any occasion!

On most days, I long for it to be overcast, but after hearing Timeflies‘ “Once In a While” earlier today, I actually felt like embracing the heat and sunshine. The upbeat track is every bit of positive energy we can all use on a post-Super Bowl Monday.

And then there’s Eric Prydz‘ signature dark trance-y sound that I can’t get enough of. He just released his latest album Opus and I am particularly loving “Last Dragon.”

If the mellow electronic vibe of Prydz is what you dig, you will assuredly love Above & Beyond‘s “Black Water.” And while not in the same genre, some other chill tracks of choice this week are Niki & the Dove‘s “So Much It Hurts,” Hamilton & Hedvig‘s “Ocean,” High Highs‘ “Sun,” Summer Heart‘s “Pretty Haze,” Allie X‘s “Old Habits Die Hard” and Mt. Si‘s “Baby You’re the Best.”

Click the playlist below for 22 fabulous new songs, also including ones by Solidisco, Paperwhite, Satchmode, Autograf and Louis La Roche!

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Music

Fire Up Your February with 15 New Tracks: St. Lucia, Mt. Si, Betablock3r & More!

February 1, 2016

St_Lucia_skyelyfeHappy February, everyone!

It’s the month of the Grammy Awards, so an especially good time for music lovers to celebrate their passion!

St. Lucia just launched their latest album Matter, which has received glowing reviews. My favorite song from their new selection is “The Winds of Change,” so I’ve included that on this week’s New Music Monday playlist. I am also totally enamored with W. Darling‘s “Dizzy.” You may most recognize her name from being featured on Bassnectar‘s “You and Me.” And if you are a fan of Classixx, Superhumanoids and/or Kisses, you are sure to enjoy “Either/Or,” the marvelously melodic track from Mt. Si, a joint effort from the aforementioned groups’ members Michael David, Sarah Chernoff and Jesse Kivel (respectively).

Click on the playlist below for 15 new songs, which also include a little disco dance from Me & My Toothbrush, some major melodic chill from Wet (who just released their debut full-length album Don’t You) and some upbeat electro from Amtrac:

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Music

Cardiknox, Chairlift, AlunaGeorge & More: 40 New Songs!

January 25, 2016

Cardiknox_into_the_night_skyelyfeKick that case of the Monday blues with some new tunes!

I have 40 fresh tracks for you today from a slew of fun favorites, including The Knocks, Flume, Adventure Club, The 1975, Tep No and Lincoln Jesser.

But what I am loving most right now is Cardinox‘s “Into the Night,” Chairlift‘s “Moth to a Flame” and AlunaGeorge‘s “I’m In Control.”

And if you’re a disco house lover like myself, you will be obsessed with Louis La Roche‘s “Don’t Break My Heart.” So good!

Click on the playlist below for the full selection of new music, which also includes Cheat Codes, Weekender, Tourist and Destructo.

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Music Angelenos

PHOTOS: Sofar Sounds Celebrates Five-Year L.A. Anniversary with Extra Special Show in Chinatown Warehouse

January 19, 2016

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Since launching sessions in Los Angeles, Sofar Sounds‘ waiting list, donation-only experiences have boasted some of the first live performances by once-unknown radio acts including Saint Motel, Family of the Year and Meg Myers – along with a couple of personal favorites Gardens & Villa and Pompeya.

Just last week, the music organization (which stands for Songs from a Room, and originally launched in London in 2009) embarked on its five-year L.A. anniversary with an extra special four-act celebratory show in a spacious, colorful warehouse in Downtown’s Chinatown, where photographer Elli Lauren was on hand to capture the magic of the intimate evening.

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

With walls covered in colorful promotional posters from shows past, beer and wine-sipping guests took in the diverse sounds of four different acts: Eagle Rock Gospel Singers, Lime Orchard, Pell, (whose voice resembles John Legend) and Jake McMullen (whose melody resembles that of Bon Iver‘s music).

To learn more about Sofar Sounds and to sign up for a hopeful shot at attending one of their exclusive sessions, click here!

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren

Photo credit: Elli Lauren