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Thieves and Lovers Interview

Thieves and Lovers Interview

I  had the amazing privilege of interviewing Stoner lead singer of the band Thieves and Lovers a band based out of Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania. I enjoyed our interview Stoner is a great guy with a great band. I highly recommend you check out their song Long Goodnight it is a beautiful alternative rock song. I can’t wait for their EP of the same name to come out.

Let’s get into the interview

I am new to interviewing so ya’ll don’t judge me to harshly. I can’t wait to do more in the future.

Introduce yourself and your band

My name is Stoner and my band is called Thieves and Lovers we formed sort of by accident.I had been living in Los Angeles and I was playing lead guitar in a band I was actually starting to make some noise in the scene we were doing like House of Blues shows nothing too crazy but I was lead guitar player and the chief song writer. But I’ve been coming up with these songs I felt that didn’t really fit that band but I thought that they were good. I was in college at that point in recording school and I recorded some for a school project. People kinda seem to respond positively to them so I thought I might want to pursue this.

Your new single is Long Goodnight can you tell me about the songwriting process you went through and how you came up with that song?

That song is actually a year or two old. I no longer live in Los Angeles, I live in Pittsburgh now. That song is kind of about my life in LA kind of falling apart all at once and it’s sort of like my goodbyes to a life that I once knew.

What was the best show Thieves and Lovers ever played?

That is actually coming up in a month. When I moved from LA back to Baltimore which is where I’m originally from I recently got engaged so I moved to Pittsburgh I moved around a lot and so I haven’t had the chance to get my feet on solid ground. So we’ve started out doing bars and clubs and we still do that  but now we’re moving into theaters and actually opening for a band called Say We can Fly. That’s going to be in late May here in Pittsburgh and it’s definitely the biggest show we’ve been apart of.

What are the difference between the LA music scene and the Pittsburgh music scene?Advantages and disadvantages of both?

That’s a good question they’re both really vibrant scenes. I would say LA is more about the business and Pittsburgh is more about nurturing artists. That’s not to say that there isn’t a business element in Pittsburgh or you have to make the venue X number of dollars per night to make it worth their while to have you there. But Pittsburgh has a little more understanding giving bands a shot  Obviously it’s a much smaller market but there are a lot of talented people in and around the Pittsburgh area. I’ve only lived here for 3 months so I’ve been very fortunate to meet a lot of people and continue to meet more  artists and bands trying to make it happen. I would honestly say I rather be based in Pittsburgh for the business end and obviously LA for the weather.

What is thieves and lovers working on now?

Right now we are trying to finish up an EP  Long Goodnight and that’s obviously the first single  and two other songs. We kind of hit some budgets snafus that it is paused for just the moment I would say that production is about 80 percent done. We are going to work on releasing that In the next couple of months and we are playing Regional shows Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New York City places like that.

You’re the chief songwriter?

I am I hate to use that term  I know just mention that I am the songwriter I just assembled a band here. For a while the project was just a solo thing but I didn’t want to be one of those artist that just plays under their own name. I always had that  band mentality . So I knew even though I did not have band members I would want them to have their input and stuff like that. It’s really evolving from a solo thing to a band effort.

What do you outside of music that contributes to your music?

I try to do  as much  volunteer work as I can.  Some with animals I’m huge dog lover. The people that I come across,I hear their stories and that is probably the biggest contributor as far inspiration besides my own life experience.

How do you feel about the internet and the music business?

I think that the internet is great. Obviously at a certain point you can’t give away things for free. But at this point I’m a huge proponent of the internet and I have always been of the philosophy that I would rather have somebody that really loves my stuff that stole it then somebody who bought a CD at a show who doesn’t listen to it .I think that it kinda goes both ways personally I’m a huge fan of the internet and streaming, public posting it all that stuff. Credit should be given where credit is due and if credit means dollar signs that’s one thing but personally I’m a huge fan.

Did you go to school for music?

I did I studied media production which is mostly audio recording so I worked with live sounds in recording studios.

You said the songs you wrote did not fit the band you were previously in. How did you come up those songs and that sound that fit Thieves and Lovers?

As I mentioned even though it was a solo project I was always working with musicians even from the very beginning. I had people that I would hit up from school ‘hey do you want to play drums on this track’ so there was always elements of creativity from other people. Basically I was like hey this is my song idea what do you guys think even if they weren’t official members they’dl help me out with the arrangements and melodies. I’ll give credit to the musicians that I was fortunate enough to play with thus far.

What is you favorite part of being apart of Thieves and Lovers?

Honestly I would probably say seeing project grow. Hate to use the super cliche but it’s kind of like watching your child grow up musically like a little baby. You can kind of see the reaction when you play a song for an audience. Whether they love it or they hate it long as they react strongly to it. Then when you shake hands and say hi to people they come up and say hey that one song that one lyric really resonated with me because this is why and then they go into explaining their view. It helps people i guess the music. That sounded super cliche I’m full of cliche’s today I am sorry.

Special thank you to Stoner for being an awesome interviewee 🙂

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Finding My Voice: Voice Lessons The Beginning

Finding My Voice: Voice Lessons The Beginning

 Voice lessons are something that I have always wanted to do. I knew if I never did it I would regret it. That is why I put it on my musical bucket list.I found myself searching far and wide(aka Googling) for a voice instructor. That is how I stumbled upon takelessons.com this is how I found my singing teacher. Takelessons is a website where you can find instructors for all types of things homework help, dancing, languages etc.

 

Now i get to pick the musicAfter endless scrolling on the website I found my wonderful voice instructor. I love her she makes singing in front of her so comfortable. Before taking voice lessons I never sang in front of anyone. Not unless you count singing in my 8th grade choir but I felt more at ease then because I was surrounded by a bunch of other voices. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could sing solo. Singing by myself  is scary because I am quite timid. However with my instructor I have gradually become more relaxed. I love singing and I feel like I am progressing it has been a little over a two months since I began. I can’t wait to see what levels I will achieve with my voice.

Before lessons actually start we do warm up exercises we stretch, massage my jawline and throat. Then we complete singing exercises like lip trills and a little Do Re Mi. The exercises always vary. Next we hop right into singing the song that I chose. Right now I’m learning On & On by Erykah Badu. This is so much better than the piano lessons I took when I was younger. Although I loved my piano teacher I did not get to pick my music and it wasn’t popular music that I know. I pick the music now which makes lessons more exciting. Constant practice is a struggle for me  this article by Noa Kageyama P.H.D about being motivated to practice is helpful. One of his tips is to just start for five minutes to get yourself in the mood to practice. I will be trying this to help with my practice sessions.

Final Thoughts

I may not become Whitney Houston but can you blame me, for wanting to try. Who knows, maybe I will be a street performer singing with my  guitar finally able to cross that off my bucket list. I’m happy to say that I am taking voice lessons and I can finally cross that off the list of things to do before I die. It may be a weird bucket list item but it is my list and I can do what I want to 😛 Thank you to all my loyal readers out there I know I am a bit flaky with this blog but I will be more consistent going forward. What are some lessons you have always wanted to take?

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Flowkey: Fast Track Way to Learning Piano

Flowkey: Fast Track Way to Learning Piano

I have been trying to learn the piano for years now. In fact I even have playing piano for 30 days straight on my musical bucket list. I started taking piano lessons in high school and even though I enjoyed them. I never really dedicated time to practice. Practicing can be tedious sometimes and the songs I practiced although some were  beautiful, they were just not the contemporary songs I enjoyed. Neither were they songs you hear on the radio. Fast forward to present day I am a college graduate who can’t really afford piano lessons. So I have turned to the beautiful world of the internet to help me learn piano. Through my online search for piano instruction I stumbled upon Flowkey which is in a word AMAZING!

What is Flowkey?

Flowkey is a great online app that teaches you how to play songs on the piano and it does so rather quickly. Flowkey is for everyone no matter the skill level. It uses your computer’s microphone to listen to you play the piano and provides feedback. The website has many features, for instance it allows you to focus and loop through any section of a song you like. Flowkey also has a slow motion mode and a fast mode as well as it allows you to play either right or left hand. The website has a robust song selection and has courses if you want to dive a little deeper in your piano learning. If you want to access all of the songs and the courses Flowkey has to offer, you have to purchase the premium version of Flowkey.

Flowkey makes learning to play piano less tedious

What do I think?

Well I have already said I think the app is amazing but that is because I truly think it is. Flowkey is easy use and it has great interface design. I enjoy that fact that it really emphasizes on teaching you songs. I am a returning player so I know how to read notes and some music theory. However Flowkey does have courses on reading sheet music and introduction to piano. I have not checked out those courses but if the main app is any indication the courses should be great. What I like about Flowkey the most, is that it makes learning to play piano feel like I am taking a sneaky little fast track to success. It makes practicing a lot less tedious and boring.  This app will definitely help me in my 30 day challenge of playing piano. I have only been using the free version so far but the premium version is not that expensive. Flowkey’s most popular plan is 12.99 a month for three months. This is a lot cheaper than traditional piano lessons. My mother who paid for my piano lessons in high school can attest to that. Although I do enjoy Flowkey I am not ready to make the investment just yet. I do have a little bit of a problem sticking to things. But I am having good time using the app this so I am sure I will take the leap and pay for it soon.

Flowkey 10/10 would recommend to a friend 🙂

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5 Artist Managers: What they look for in an Artist

5 Artist Managers: What they look for in an Artist

I have always wondered what it took to become a successful artist. In college I took some music industry courses and I learned that a big part of being an artist is the manager. Every artist needs a manager willing to go to bat for them. In order to do that you need to attract a manager. I reached out to some artist managers and asked them “What is it about an artist’s music or musical ability that makes you want to represent them as manager?

What is it about an artist’s music or musical ability that makes you want to represent them as manager?”

 

 

Jake Posner
Manager of A R I Z O N A

More so than finding artists to represent in a business capacity, I’ve always been a music fan first, so this process is exactly the same as discovering a new favorite artist – just follow feeling. For example, when you hear a new song or demo for the first time, if the magic is there, you can feel it – it’s one (or many) of the various feelings you get when you listen to your favorite song – and if you don’t sense it, you keep searching until you find it…Once you do, the next challenge is to distinguish whether that magic exists outside of that one song or demo – it’s that same criteria that answers the question of “but do I actually like that artist?”. The indicators I look for are versatility, depth of sound and unique yet distinct elements that really give an artist their own unique sound…if all those (or traces) truly exist, you’re onto something.  

In my case, A R I Z O N A’s magic swept me off my feet almost instantly as a fan – the most special part about finding A R I Z O N A was the fact that I wasn’t even a manager looking for talent in the first place…at the time, I wasn’t even an manager at all – I was just an advertising wig with a music industry background who had never truly given much thought to the artist management track…but the magic I discovered on Reddit that night was undeniable – and that same gut feeling told me I was not the only person who would appreciate the music. Nearly two years later, and now on the eve of a debut album with our incredible partners at Atlantic Records & Artist Publishing Group, I couldn’t be happier that I followed that feeling.

Geir Luedy
Manager of Aurora

Interesting music makes me wanna wake up early and do my job. I find the vocal instrument the closest to the soul so I tend to sign artists that I think has something in the voice that I haven’t heard before. And of course, let’s not forget the good song. Always looking for that perfect song.

Gravity Studio Consulting & Strategies
Management for Fighter Jets

“We look for true, raw, down-to-earth talent that has vision for the future and doesn’t need to boast about it at every second.” -Gravity Studio Consulting & Strategies, management for Fighter Jets.

Kevin Foo – www.foundationmusic.sg
Manager of Linying

Being based in a small but extremely cosmopolitan Asian country (Singapore), where it is a hodgepodge of cultures and influences from around the world (we are a society made up of 4 main different asian ethnicities but we all speak English as our first language!), artists that we choose to manage need to firstly have a distinct voice and clear identity.

Good music elicits an emotional response, and artists I would work with must be able to comfortably deliver the music they are making to gather that emotional responses from their audience (no matter how big or small their consumer base is, and regardless of whether it is in their recorded material or their live performances)

Lastly, I know this might be pretty obvious but music taste is relative, and as a music manager, I need to be totally convinced about the product (the artist and the music)… so i have to be able to put the music on a playlist, on repeat 24/7 and not wanna pull my hair out… ie. I must love the music inside out!

 

This quote from Jamie Oborne sums up this post perfectly.

 

Jamie Oborne
Manager of the 1975

Some artists want to create and some have to. I find myself naturally drawn towards the later.

 

Thank you to all the managers who agreed to participate in this blog post I appreciate it so much.

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DC Artist Ari Lennox: Pho Review

DC Artist Ari Lennox: Pho Review

I’m always excited for DMV artists on the come up being from Northern Virginia myself. I am very proud if a DC artists is on the rise even if I am not from DC proper I still feel connected to them. Ari Lennox is one of those artists I’m excited for. She has a new EP out and has even provided vocals for J. Cole’s new album 4 your eyez only . Her newest EP Pho is everything I want in an R&B project it has sexy songs and a few songs I can bop my head to.

Pho Review

Pho is an incredible project and I enjoy all of the songs on it. But I do have a top three Backseat, Cold Outside and my ultimate favorite La La La La. What I love most about Lennox music is her distinct voice and it really shines through in La La La La. Her voice is so sultry and sweet throughout the song. It really is a song where you should sit back and take in the song, and let it wash over you.
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Pho overall will have you listening on repeat. I listened from beginning to end thoroughly liking each track. If you enjoy sensual sexy R&B you will delight in listening to Pho. Stop what you are doing right now and go and listen to Pho by Ari Lennox. You will thank me later.

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I hate practice but this App helps: Yousician Review

I hate practice but this App helps: Yousician Review

A little Background

Yousician is an app that teaches Guitar,Ukulele, Bass and Piano. I used Yousician to learn guitar. I had taken guitar class for a few years in high school but I never took it seriously so I did not learn much. But now I want to commit to learning, I even put playing guitar for 30 days on my bucket list. The App has several levels and you need to complete exercises in each level in order to progress. Yousician teaches you tablature to teach you to play the guitar. It provides feedback on whether or not you’re playing notes correctly using your computer’s microphone. It only provides feedback for a certain amount of time for the free version but if you upgrade to premium the app will provide unlimited feedback. In addition to lesson exercises the app also has weekly challenges to compete with others for a high score. I have not done a challenge but they seem like fun.

Yousician Review

So far I think the Yousician App is amazing for the few weeks I’ve been using it .I am person who hates to practice it can be boring and I get easily frustrated.  I just want to be good right away I love the results of hard work just hate the process. That’s why I love Yousician it made practice like a fun game. I was actually consistent using Yousician for a couple weeks I thought I might actually complete my challenge. But I fell off the wagon and have yet to get back on it(I will though). When I first started using Yousician I enjoyed it so much I even wanted to practice longer than the 20 minutes of feedback the free version gives you. I couldn’t believe it, it is so not like me to want to practice longer. I even upgraded to the premium version using the 7 day free trial. It is definitely worth money if you are the type of person that can stick to something if not the free version should suffice. The only complaint is when playing the chord song exercises I wish there was a way it told you which string is mute . I kept  playing a chord wrong and I didn’t know how to fix it. All in all a great app for learning to play guitar and for people who don’t like practice because it can be boring. This app will certainly not leave you bored.

Have you tried Yousician what are your thoughts? What other apps should I use to learn guitar?  Should I be watching to youtube videos or going to certain sites?  Let me know.

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4 AM But Great Any Time

4 AM But Great Any Time

James Frederick, Shaian Mohammadi, Candice Dayoan
James Frederick, Shaian Mohammadi, Candice Dayoan

I am so happy that I have a twitter account because the twittersphere is where I came across the band Fighter Jets. Their single 4am is catchy, though its genre is hard to pin point. I looked at the Fighter Jets Facebook page and their genre is electro grunge/surf music this totally fits the sound of the song. That is what I like about the record the marrying of genres at first I didn’t know what I was listening to is it electronica? is it rock? Either way I definitely like the song.

We’re up all night to change the world

The song’s intro makes me daydream about being at a concert in outer space. The lyrics start out with “We’re up all night to change the world” which perfectly explains the 4 am title to me. Who isn’t up in the wee hours of the morning contemplating life and the world? The production of the song is great and I love the guitar at the bridge. This song is for anyone who needs to upgrade their playlists from basic rock and grunge to cool new levels. I can’t wait to hear more from this band.

Check out the song below tell me what you think.
 Candice Dayoan, Shaian Mohammadi, James Frederick of the Fighter Jets
Candice Dayoan, Shaian Mohammadi, James Frederick
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My First But Certainly Not Last Sofar Sounds Show

My First But Certainly Not Last Sofar Sounds Show

Graphic of sofar sounds event

Sofar Sounds provides intimate music shows for people who enjoy live music without the background noise. It is for people like me who are usually the weird ones at the show actually listening to the music not standing around talking to people. Sofar Actually stands for songs from a room.To be able to attend a Sofar Sounds event you have to sign up on their site and either apply to attend the show or purchase a guaranteed ticket. The difference between the two are guaranteed tickets are not available for all shows and have a set price where as when you apply to attend a show you have the chance to pay as much as you want.

I opted to apply to a few shows and finally got into one in Columbia Heights. The thing with Sofar Sounds is you do not know where exactly the show is or who the artists are until they email you with details the day of the event. I enjoy this element of surprise it allows me to find new artists and be open to new types of music.

The Show

The Venue was Chinese Disco in Georgetown DC. A beautiful venue it gave me modern rustic hipster bar vibe. I loved the place and would go back just to be inside. Most of us sat on the floor which is customary for most Sofar Sound shows. some people sat in the back on chairs and in booths. I had a nice spot right up in front by the artists.

The Sofar Sounds Artists

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Lauren Calve

Lauren Calve was the first artist of the night she is blues rock Americana Singer/Songwriter. The host of the even introduced her as his favorite voice in DC and she definitely deserved that introduction. Her voice is that amazing I’ve never heard someone sing like that live. The best way I can describe it is someone taking you through a  journey with their voice. She played 3 songs my favorite was when she brought a friend her and a Weissenborn and sang Whiskey. I can’t find the song online but I think I remember her saying she just finished recording it.

The Galaxy Electric

photos of galaxy electric

Next we have the Galaxy Electric a cool duo whose music I can’t really describe I think it is psychedelic electronica music. Whatever the music is I love it. The duo consists of Jacqueline Caruso  on Keys, and Vocals  and Augustus Green on Bass, Synth, and Beats. The duo is great I especially love how Jacqueline really grooves and dances while singing and playing the keys. Augustus really nails it on bass and with his mustache. My favorite song of their set was Temporal I don’t have the words to describe it because I am not familiar with that type of music but it makes feel like I am floating. Check it out  here.

The New Schematics

the new schematics photo

The New Schematics is not a band local to the DMV but from Nashville, Tennessee it is ok I still love them. The New Schematics are an alternative Indie rock band similar to that of Kings of Leon and the Killers. I enjoyed the lead singer and the drummer Danny who was killing it on drums. What I like most about them is that for their song Drug they got in the middle of the  audience and made everyone sing along to their song. I am sucker for things like that. My favorite song of their set Born Without Borders.

Final Thoughts

I will be going to many more Sofar Sound shows in the future they know how to pick good and varied artists as well as a nice venue. I especially enjoy that people have to be quiet during the set because ain’t nothing worse than noisy people killing the vibe.

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Straight Chillin Music

Straight Chillin Music

I have met people who feel as though Hip Hop and R&B is strictly for the turn up. Obviously those of us who are true fans know that this is false. Hip Hop and R&B can be quite relaxing music, HeyFranHey is a social media influencer and podcast host who created this beautiful relaxing Hip Hop and R&B music playlist called The Cool Breeze.

This playlist is for chillin’ maybe for a nice bath with candles or for sitting by the window drinking tea. HeyFranHey even takes you through a breathing exercise mid-playlist. This music is great for the soul so sit back relax and let the music take over.

My top three favorite songs from the playlist are:

Earth Girls by Jesse Boykins lll

Cherish the Day by Sade a classic.

Keep you in mind by Gourdan Banks

Check out The Cool Breeze

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Latin Music Time Machine

Latin Music Time Machine

Podcasts are a great way to find out about new music. The podcasts do not even need to focus on music. Another Round is one of those podcasts  the hosts of the podcast discuss topics such as pop culture, gender and race. A while back Another Round talked about Latin Culture and  had on a guest Antonia Cerejidio to talk about Latin Music. Antonia Cerejidio created this incredible playlist that takes you through Latin music through the decades from Selena to Don Omar. The playlist  Round’s Musical Timeline of Latin Migrations and Explosions

I was familiar with some of the music on the playlist. Many of us know who Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin are but I didn’t know who Romeo Santos or who J Balvin  were along with some of the other artists  on this playlist. Some of the songs are completely in Spanish and even though I do not speak Spanish I still enjoy many of those songs because you can feel the music. From top to bottom a great playlist it will make you want to dance and cry.You will learn about latin music artists from the past and present. Even if you don’t listen to Latin music or don’t speak Spanish some of these musicians will become your favorite artists you don’t understand.

Check out the playlist below:

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