Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Interview with Alanzo

Hey Alonzo! So excited to be chatting with you! Can you tell us a little something about yourself?

Hey! Excited to chat with you as well. Thank you for having me. A little about myself? Hmmm. I’d say I’m just a small-town boy with big dreams and a lot of talent. I come from humble beginnings and I’ve overcome many obstacles however I’ve never stopped chasing my dream. Now I pride myself in inspiring others to fight for their own. 

What inspired you to pursue music? 

 Music has really always been a part of my life. I’d say my biggest inspiration was Michael Jackson and through him discovering the power that music can have. This power inspires me because I know the good that can be done through it. A good that will last far beyond my life. Music is power because music is universal and music is forever. How would you describe your musical style? I’d say I’m a fusion of genres. A little Rock, A lot of soul, and a touch of pop. Rock Pop Soul is what we call it. 

What artists do you look up to right now? 

BeyoncĂ© & Fantasia are my top 2 at the moment. Both at 2 different levels of success but they both possess that power that I speak of. 

What would you say is your most braggable moment

Definitely being the first lead singer approved by the Prince Estate to sing on the 4 U Prince Tour

What has been the greatest lesson you have learned from a mistake? 

My greatest lesson has been not to act out of emotion. Impulsive decision making is dangerous. I now consciously try to work hard not to make permanent decisions from temporary emotions. 

Why do you think social media is so important for artists today?

It’s important because it gives us access to people and our fans without anyone’s permission. It’s the one tool that artist have to become successful on their own. FREE Exposure. 

How has this whole music career experience been? 

My career has been a journey for sure. I’ve had ups and downs. I’ve toured, I’ve been told no, I’ve lost major opportunities when it wasn’t my fault but I have ALWAYS kept fighting and I refuse to give up. I truly can’t see myself doing anything else. Its definitely been the most exciting part of my life. I never know what’s going to happen or what the future brings but it gives me something to work hard for and something to believe in. A life with a reason to wake up is a life worth living. My dream to have a successful music career is the driving force of my life. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring music artists? 

Even when you’re taking baby steps you are still moving forward. DO IT even when you’re afraid. This is a business. If you want to be successful in this business STUDY the business and study your craft. There’s underlining science to people’s success. 

Thank you for your time! 

Thank you! I do not take these opportunities for granted. Sending everyone love and limitless positivity during this trying time. Please follow me on Instagram @StoryOfAlonzo Press: bsquaredmgmt@gmail.com

End of Interview

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Andy Michaels Releases Memorable Single

Surrounded by a vibrant melding of string play organized into a perfect harmony, we find the lead vocal of Andy Michaels ready to seduce anyone it comes into contact with in “Darling It Hurts,” his latest single from the album Incendiary Heart. Like its parent album, “Darling It Hurts” is a product of surrealism without question, but at the same time, it also provides us ample evidence of the complex compositional wit that Andy Michaels possesses when he’s in the studio. 

 This Perth, Australia-based powerhouse has been creating a lot of buzz across the Pacific in the last year, and if you want to know why, I would probably point you to the video for this track before anything else. Despite its grandest feature being the potently emotional soundtrack, the video for this song provokes a reaction made all the more intense by the intimate visual landscape it presents us with (which, I might add, is perfectly synched with the lyrical narrative of this composition). Michaels may not have set out to craft his best song yet when he recorded this single, but nevertheless, I think that’s exactly what he’s done here. 

The equalization of both vocals in this track is very streamlined, but I don’t think I would describe it as being pop-influenced outside of its polished cosmetic front. The instrumental side of “Darling It Hurts” is debatably just as smooth, apart from the raised textures on the rustic string parts shaping the rhythm of the song from the background, but whether it’s the content of the verses or the substance of the harmony that Michaels is leading here, there’s something about the lyrics in this single that feels just a bit more captivating than anything else in the track does. 

I love the way that the strings were arranged as to reduce the tension created by the duet’s melodic ascent, and to some extent, I think that the relationship between these two elements in “Darling It Hurts” actually tells us a vivid story all by itself. There’s no hiding how much talent this Aussie is working with in this track, and in my opinion, its seamless construction alone makes Incendiary Heart worth picking up this spring. 

If you haven’t seen the music video for “Darling It Hurts” or browsed through the tracklist of the album it was cut from, now is the time to get yourself introduced to the latest works of Andy Michaels, who by all accounts is taking the underground world by storm this year. Michaels is facing some of the toughest competition that we’ve seen among indie artists in well over a generation, but if he keeps the attitude that he’s brought to this most recent release, I think he’s going to see his momentum continue to grow both at home and abroad over the course of 2020. 

 As I previously noted, I believe this to be his best work yet, and according to the critical consensus I’m hearing on the international circuit, I’m far from alone. 

Scottie Carlito

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Interview: Joey Stuckey

Hello Joey! Thank you for your time! We would love for you to share with readers who may not know a little about your story of where you started and where you are now. 

Thanks for having me! I started my musical journey when I was around 17 years old with guitar lessons and haven’t looked back. I got started in what I would call the recording sciences when I was around 13 years old and started getting paid to record people and work in sound by the time I was 15 years old. Music has always been an important part of the Stuckey household with both my parents being music fans, but I never really considered having a career in music as a child as I was focused on survival as I am a brain tumor survivor.

The brain tumor took my sight, sense of smell and also left me with a host of other health challenges, like no adrenal function. Despite these challenges I have been able to do all the things I have wanted to do with my life and career. I realized at an early age that music was a beautiful force for positive change and that I would tell my story of overcoming adversity through that vehicle! Over the years, I have done many exciting things and you ain’t seen nothing yet!

 We just finished a great show at the famous Whisky A Go Go and played some great GRAMMY parties in LA and I am about to expand my studio space by around 9,000 square feet. 

For someone just getting into the music business – what is your best one line advice?

Don’t give up. Trust yourself, but be willing to entertain other people’s ideas and opinions. Work hard. In your opinion do you feel like an aspiring musician needs to be in LA to “make it”? You don’t have to live there, but you do need to visit LOL. Of course where you should be depends upon a number of factors including where your fans, or potential fans, are and other things you will need to make your music/brand work. But you will have to go to LA and NYC and Nashville at some point!

Okay so your live show looks like such a good time from the snippets we have seen on IG – tell us what we can expect when we come out to see you. It is about 30% comedy and 70% music—and all heart! We promise to make you think but also to make you groove, and we most certainly will entertain! We love meeting new people and love shaking hands and kissing babies, so come out to a show and we’ll be glad to meet you and spend some time with you! 

Do you have a song that you play every time you do a live show no matter what, if so why that song? 

 We most always do “Take A Walk In The Shadows” which was one of the first songs I ever wrote. It is a great opener with high energy. We also almost always play another original called “Truth Is A Misty Mountain” because it is a band and fan favorite. And we mostly close with the Allman Brothers’ “Whippin’ Post” for the same reason—and our version is cookin’! 

If you could be remembered by only one song, which one are you picking? 

Oh man I don’t know. My answer will most likely change depending upon the mood I am in LOL, but I think my song “Aint It Good To Be In Love”, co-written by my dear friend Charlie Hoskyns, is a good one that folks really have responded to. It is also dear to me because Charlie passed away in 2017 and I like to think I am keeping his musical legacy alive! Tell us where we can catch more of you online and listed to your music! 

End of Interview

Monday, December 9, 2019

The Inoculated Canaries plow into their new single “Donna”

A flurry of drums comes barreling out of the speakers with a violent thrust as The Inoculated Canaries plow into their new single “Donna,” and though the chaotic percussion envelops the initial foray into the song in unapologetic discordance, it isn’t powerful enough to stop a blunt instrumental melody from making its way to the forefront of the mix inside of the first few bars. It becomes quite obvious within only moments of making contact with “Donna” that The Inoculated Canaries mean serious business with their latest release, which caps off a very productive year for the critically acclaimed alternative rock group. Though they’ve been incorporating a lot of pop influences into their sound as of late, this track reestablishes the band as a rock-focused unit able to construct simple verses and calculated hooks without creating a jagged finish for audiences to look past, which is something that many of their competitors in the American underground have failed to accomplish in their most recent studio recordings. 

I really like that the vocal is just as prominent in the master mix here as any of the instrumental elements are, because were it not given as much of a boost in the big picture as its afforded in “Donna,” I don’t know that we would be able to acknowledge (much less enjoy) its emotional depth as much as we can in this version of the song. Production tricks and studio schemes aren’t a crucial component of The Inoculated Canaries’ sound, but I would be lying if I said that they weren’t refining their studio presence in this track. They’re using every inch of sonic space in the mix to yield a tense atmosphere eventually broken up by the vocal’s cutting verses, and instead of making one part of the harmony the center of the song’s climax, it feels as though we’re listening to one epic release staggered out across four minutes of play. Is it a little unconventional? Of course – but this could be the reason why their compositional approach comes across as being the unique gem that it undisputedly is in this single. 

The Inoculated Canaries’ “Donna” finishes us off in a fading haze of harmony and havoc-wreaking percussion that has now become familiar to us thanks to the track’s chest-pounding beat, and much like “Sneakers” and “Who are you?,” it leaves behind an enormous melodic void just begging for us to keep the spirit and play the song all over again. While I won’t say that this is the most grown-up that The Inoculated Canaries have ever sounded, they’ve made a ferocious rock n’ roll juggernaut in this single that should be regarded as a beast of listen this December nevertheless. “Donna” is a rhythmic track with a creative music video worthy of the moniker that it wears, and though I’m fairly certain it won’t be the last song this group releases to the praise of critics and fans alike, it marks a step towards their sleekest sound yet, and perhaps one that will bring them the fame and fortune they’ve been working so hard for.

Scottie Carlito

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Jay Elle releases 5 song Ease Up EP

“My eyes were bigger than my heart / She knew that right from the start” sings a pained Jay Elle in his song “Sickly Sweet,” from the new record Ease Up, and though his words are dripping with discordant emotion, his focus is unmistakably strong and centered. As endearing as it is insightful, Elle’s Ease Up EP and its six songs – “Sickly Sweet” included” – are a collective statement piece conceived with the purpose of relaxing us while also provoking deeper thought about the world, and as anyone who knows this man’s work is already well aware, it’s as slick a sonic collection as you’ll get your hands on right now. 

Though it can be said for “Sickly Sweet,” not all of the songs on Ease Up are constructed around Elle’s lyrical wit and wisdom exclusively; actually, “By the Blade,” the title track and “Take a Holiday” are very guitar-oriented, and “Never Dreamed (I Could Be the One)” is, essentially, a synth pop song adapted for the needs of a folk-rock singer/songwriter. There’s a lot of layers to this record, and even though it contains but six compositions, it has the robust feel of a full-length album and then some. The master mix here does a lot to help define the mood in the music, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a required element in any given Jay Elle performance. Contrarily, soundboard wizard Brent Kolatalo is bringing all of the color in his vocal to the surface rather than inserting new, artificial textures in spots where Elle might have had shortcomings in the past. 

Their studio chemistry is off the charts, but there’s no examples that I could point to in this tracklist where Elle sounds overly-aided or effectively propped-up by his highly respected mixer, whose credits prior to Ease Up include work with heavyweights Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande. “Needs Fixing” is easily one of the most efficiently produced songs that I’ve listened to in the folk genre all year, and in my opinion, it more than justifies getting a copy of Ease Up all by itself. It’s the perfect segue from the country rhythm of “Take a Holiday” into the adult alternative swing of “By the Blade,” but even if it had been pushed up to the start of the record, it would still be one of the most jarringly-arranged and melodically rousing compositions that Elle has attached his moniker to here or on any other recording he’s cut thus far. 

Folk-rock fans aren’t likely to find another extended play out at the moment that is quite like Jay Elle’s Ease Up, and for better or worse, its experimental faceting and multi-interpretive narratives make it one of the more unique records out this season. I can only speak for myself, but I was utterly swept away by the first half of this EP and immersed in the emotional core of the second when I sat down with it this week, and judging from the response that all six of its tracks have been getting lately, I’m definitely not the only critic with these strong sentiments. 

 Scottie Carlito

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Terry Robb releases new Single

The finesse and soul of Terry Robb’s “How a Free Man Feels” is apparent from the first. He doesn’t make any hamfisted efforts to ground his latest single, taken from the new album Confessin’ My Dues, in melodramatic production trickery but, instead, opts for a polished and professional tone that never sacrifices authenticity. It’s a solo performance featuring nothing more than Robb’s voice, lyrics, and his distinctive fingerpicking guitar style – but it doesn’t need any more than that. Robb, with these spartan elements, accomplishes more than many full bands working a similar style even approach. It’s the latest pinnacle in a four decade long musical career that has seen Robb perform and tour with some of the biggest marquee names in the music world and illustrates how passion and talent can deepen rather than fade with the passage of time. 

His voice isn’t the gravel-laden blues yowl of Delta originators or their electrified Chicago offspring, but it is more than well equipped to demand your attention. He has a low-key soulfulness to his singing that helps listeners suspend disbelief and brings them into his world with ease. I like his phrasing a great deal – he makes the climatic line of the traditional three line blues verses mean a great deal without overemphasizing their primacy in the composition and the feeling he puts into his vocal makes the track all the more satisfying for listeners. The writing never overreaches. The song is written from a first person perspective, as most great blues songs are, and Robb creates a convincing voice for the listener without relying on a host of well worn tropes to win the audience’s confidence. 

There is no wasted motion – Robb never uses two or three words when one will do and the same focus defining the song’s music extends to this area of composition as well. Robb’s acoustic guitar playing is the critical piece of the puzzle and drives the song forward. He sets a mid-tempo pace with his fretwork and finger picking that fixes its attention on musicality rather than drawing from a bag of tricks in lieu of genuine substance. He shifts from one passage to the next with the surefooted skill of a long serving musician and, yet, the song has the spontaneity of a first take. It sounds like Robb walked into a recording studio with his guitar, sat down, told the producer to start recording, and cut this song in a single take. 

The video reinforces that impression. It consists of nothing more than Robb positioned in front of an old fashioned looking microphone and the assorted close ups of his face tossed in for good measure underlines how much he gives of himself to the performance. There are no arresting visuals thrown in to spice up the clip – it has the same focus he brings to the song and makes the listening experience even more rewarding. Terry Robb has scored again with this single and it promises that his latest album release Confessin’ My Dues will find its place among the finest recordings of his musical career. 

 Scottie Carlito

“Goodie Two Shoes” is a hot new single from Sayed Sabrina

Goodie Two Shoes” is a hot new single getting attention for its video, from Sayed Sabrina’s album release, Thou Art That, with Bobby Watson (Rufus, Michael Jackson), Sarah Morrow (Dr. John, Ray Charles), Gary Herbig (Elvis, Tower of Power), Carlos De La Paz (Cid, Mandrels) and others. These fantastic players and a voice most can only dream of having, all makes for a winning combo for all lovers of the Blues, Funk, Soul, Jazz and Rock music. That’s a lot to pack into one single, but it’s all to be both heard and seen for the better of what’s out there in the Blues community. 

 The Blues is not exactly all-of what Sayed Sabrina is about, as she goes back to the early L.A. Punk scene and can go anywhere her voice takes here. “Goodie Two Shoes” comes recommended as the play on words and positive message that it is. You can stay in your negative world or you can go out and change your look and change your life in the process and Sabrina’s pushing that dual message and not letting go. It works wonders in every way, once you have heard the song and start getting into the studio performance in the video. Considering herself less of a Blues artist per say, she is self-described as a singer that looks to feel the music, and that gets away from the title of Blues artist by way of feel, but still using inflections of traditional blues in a more modern way. 

This is tricky but nevertheless important to get the right message across, meaning business here but also take the time to treat yourself and you won’t be disappointed all the time. That’s only some of what this song means to me, others may vary but it’s in there no matter how you slice it. Not being sure of which players in her band play on which tracks, I can’t credit exactly who’s playing on “Goodie Two Shoes,” but if you watch the video and know their faces, you get a candid view of them jamming around and it doesn’t seem to matter, at the end of the day it is the work of Sayed Sabrina that put this on the map, so she deserves title but she only works with killer players. They’re in position to make it all magical thanks to her. 

If you look around you’ll find some more great songs by Sayed Sabrina to seal the deal for “Goodie Two Shoes” but in an industry that reminds you that you’re only as good as your last record, be sure and get the best of both her worlds and pick up this new single, you’ll dig it if new music matters to you or not. It has all the classic and modern appeal it takes to get in front of the masses where it belongs. And the video is getting a lot of views so don’t hesitate to invest the time, it’s a blend of seriousness and playfulness that doesn’t disappoint on any level. 

Scottie Carlito