Highlights: Isaac Dunbar @ Baby’s All Right

16 year-old emerging pop star Isaac Dunbar headlined Indify’s “Red Flag” showcase on Monday night, and blew the room away. It would have been an impressive showcase for someone who’d already played plenty of shows in his lifetime, let alone as a first-ever live performance. It feels as though this night truly allowed Dunbar to “let it out” on stage, and he took the opportunity and ran with it.

During the show, Isaac’s stage presence really shined – he has a very natural flare and instinct for performance which enhances the music itself by adding more emotion and energy to his already well-written songs. Dunbar’s voice was also strong and equally as good live as his records.

With where pop music is headed, there’s no doubt Dunbar is poised to make a splash as one of the most talented young artists to emerge in the last year. His style lives outside of the “bedroom pop” scene and has real potential in the mainstream, especially given his very little relative experience so far and at his young age. As Dunbar matures, his music will take on new forms as well, which is exciting for the pop world. For fans of the emerging pop scene, Dunbar may remind of a more edgy Conan Gray. He can nail a pop ballad, and each song he creates feels modern at every turn.

Dunbar’s debut EP balloons don’t float here drops this July 12th.

Check out highlights from the show in the gallery below:

Interview: Jake Miller’s Latest EP Reflects “The Best He’s Ever Been”

“YOU’RE REALLY GOING TO FEEL JAKE MILLER IN THESE SONGS, BECAUSE IT’S ONLY ME.”

 

If you saw Jake Miller on the street, chances are you wouldn’t immediately think he’s a singer. The 26 year-old Florida native more closely resembles a a fit professional body builder than he does your average, string-bodied singer/songwriter. But for every ounce that Miller could theoretically pack in a physical punch, he brings as much passion, thought and energy to the musical table, too.

Grinding as a musician since 2011, when he won a national talent competition sponsored by T-Mobile and Samsung, Miller’s been experimenting with his sound, moving from pure rapping in the early days to a pop singer/songwriter approach as of today. In that span, he’s bounced around a few label partners looking to find the right partner that maximized his talents and aspirations, but has ultimately come to find himself at peace most when he’s simply allowed to create music independently and on his own time.

In 2018, Miller’s career began to heat up once again with a handful of single releases, including May 2018’s “Better Me, Better You” with Clara Mae. Despite the song’s catchiness, it wasn’t a song that Miller wrote himself, ultimately leaving him feeling unfulfilled. By August he’d inked a new deal with Sony’s RED Music, which allowed him to take the reigns on his own career and drive his own ship, creatively.

Following a couple more collaborations with Justin Caruso and New Jersey pop-rock outfit The Stolen, Miller released his first single written under the new RED partnership, “WAIT FOR YOU,” in November, and everything’s looked different since. The focus single from his Spring 2019 BASED ON A TRUE STORY. EP reached #35 on Top 40 Radio in April, and continues to pave the way for people to become exposed to the new-look Jake Miller.

Each of the songs on the BASED ON A TRUE STORY. EP were written and co-produced by Miller himself, giving Miller’s audience their most authentic Jake Miller experience to date. I caught up with Miller to talk about his musical journey and what it’s been like regaining full control over his career. Listen to Miller’s EP and check out our interview below the player.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

EB: what made you pick up a microphone when you were young and why’d you decide to begin your career with rapping? 

JM: “I loved rapping early on because of Mac Miller. He was young, just a suburban kid like me and I could just kind of relate to him. So, I started rapping, I did it in a very non-traditional way. I was writing shit about anti-bullying and suicidal awareness – storytelling through my music, but rapping.

I would take all of my poems that I’d written in high school as my senior project, and I would record them and turn them into rap songs. That’s how I started making music. But I’ve always loved music, and I always have been kind of playing it with my dad, but I never really saw it as a possible career till I was 19 or 20 years old.”

 

EB: Now you’ve ditched that for full-blown singing – why the switch? 

JM: “I wanted to try something new. A lot of people were telling me early on in my career that I should convert from rapping to singing, and a lot of label people were telling me that if I wanted to have a radio hit, I’d have to cut out the rapping. Back then, it was pretty hard, because that’s how I started and that’s what my fans knew me for, and loved. Looking back, I think it was a good decision, just because times change, music changes, and I think singing is just what I like to do more, now. If they never told me to stop rapping, I probably would have naturally, anyway.”

 

EB: That transition from rapping to singing – was it difficult to find your voice and your range? Was it natural for you to just start singing? 

JM: “It wasn’t natural at all, and I’m still finding my voice and range. I’m still trying to get better. I’ve only been to a few vocal lessons, and I’m a stubborn learner, so I didn’t really pick up anything I learned in those lessons. one of these days I should probably get more serious and go to a vocal coach, and really try to nail that down, but you know, every day i’m trying to get better. I’m taking care of my voice, discovering new vocal exercises and warmups before shows. It’s all about getting better and becoming a better artists.”

 

THE CREATIVE VISION, THE ARTWORK, THE MUSIC VIDEOS AND THE MUSIC – I’M NEVER GOING TO GIVE THAT FREEDOM UP TO ANYBODY EVER AGAIN.”

 

EB: You said you discovered singing as people pushed you in that direction. After having been with a few different label teams – what was it about the type of environment that you needed, or people you needed to be around, to feel most comfortable to get to where you are?

JM: “I just needed to be alone. I needed to be by myself, and not have anybody whispering in my ear, what kind of music I should make, write about, what I should stay away from – if I should rap, or sing, or yodel – I want to do whatever I want to do. it’s really nice now, being in my room by myself, not having any pressure. If I’m not in the mood to write, I stop, and if I’m in a room and the mood’s right, I’ll sit down at the piano and pick something up.

Walking into these studio sessions, and having an hourly rate, and knowing you have to get out of there by 6 O’Clock, it was way too much pressure, felt like doing homework. So I would much rather do it by myself, no pressure.”

 

EB: Your song “WAIT FOR YOU” is currently getting a lot of radio love – what’s it like hearing your music on the radio? 

JM: “That’s everything to me. When you’re making music and you see the physical CD, that’s one thing, and then seeing a vinyl is one thing – but to hear it on the radio is huge. It’s so much different then just hearing it over your Spotify, or iTunes, or your headphones. Those are classic things. Being able to hear something on the radio is so classic – it’s very official.

When I heard it for the first time, I was in Florida and I was with my parents. We were driving through this zoo where you just drive through and animals pull up to your car. There was a giraffe halfway sticking his head through the window and my song came on, which was crazy and weird – it was unforgettable. 

When you’re able to hear yourself on the radio you say okay, I’m doing something right. I don’t know how far I’m going to be able to take this but it’s on the radio, and that’s something that 99.9% of people won’t be able to say.”

 

EB: What excites you most about the current chapter of your music career? 

JM: “What excites me most is that I think I’m the best I’ve ever been, and I’m only getting better. I think I’m about to put my best music out, and I really hope that the world connects with it as much as I do. There’s a lot of songs in there that mean a lot to me, musically and emotionally. There’s a song called SKINNYDIP, I can listen to it and cry honestly. That rarely happens when I listen to other music, so if that happens when I do it through my own music, then I know I’m doing a great job.

I think “SKINNYDIP” is a really cool intro to the EP, then “NIKES,” “WAIT FOR YOU,” and just a lot of cool uptempo songs, slow songs – something for everybody…Different things that I’ve never tried. I have a saxophone on it, a choir, just cooler sounds and I’m a more experienced producer now so i’m working with better plugins, better sounds, jazzier chords, better melodies, lyrics, I definitely think I’ve taken it a step further with this EP.

 

EB: You’ve been a musician for almost a decade, and even longer unofficially. You’ve performed with worldwide stars and you’ve traveled all over. What’s one lesson that sticks with you as you look over your career so far?

JM: “Never give up the steering wheel of your ship – always be the captain. Never think that anyone’s ever going to step in and work harder toward your dream as you are. Always take things into your own hands – if you want things done, do them yourself. That’s not to say that you can’t have people around you, and a team around you – I have an amazing team, a lot of people who work day and night for me. But, I’m the one that drives it. Once I give that up, that’s all I have as an artist.

The creative vision, the artwork, the music videos and the music – I’m never going to give that freedom up to anybody ever again. When I did that, I didn’t feel like a true artist. I wasn’t connecting with my music, because other people were writing the songs.

When you don’t connect with the music, other people aren’t going to connect with it when they listen to it. I knew it just had to come from my heart, so I took it back, and said I’m going to do it by myself – I’m going to write it, I’m going to produce it… You’re really going to feel Jake Miller in these songs, because it’s only me.”

 

Highlights: Bea Miller @ Bowery Ballroom

New Jersey native Bea Miller has been in the spotlight since 2012, after gaining celebrity-status as the unbelievable 13 year-old who placed 9th in the second ever season of Fox’s X-Factor. Fast-forward six years and two full-length albums later, Miller is finally headlining her first tour across North America, and she’s taking it by storm.

Making her sixth tour stop at Bowery Ballroom in NYC, Miller was greeted by fans, family and familiar faces alike, given that she was only a short train ride away from her hometown of Maplewood, NJ. It was immediately evident from second that Queen Bea got on stage that she was born to perform. Dancing and hair-flipping her way around the entire stage, wireless mic in hand, Miller had no hesitations throughout the entire night as she sang songs from her two albums aurora (2018) and Not An Apology (2015).

Miller also took plenty of time to talk with the crowd – to her point, sometimes even trying to get fans back on track so that she could actually perform – but fans would have stayed there until midnight, as long as Bea was around. At just 20 years old, Bea spoke about relatable topics like boys, independence, self-confidence and self-love, all of which her fans were totally connected to.

She even brought tears to her fans and her own eyes, as she slowed the set down for two songs and got close with the crowd. Miller has a tangible emotional connection to each of her songs, happy or sad, and wears them on her sleeve, making for a concert that felt more like it was in front of a group of close high-school friends, rather than a room full of strangers.

Miller wrapped up her set with a small surprise, bringing out producer Mike Sabath to play drums on her latest single “it’s not u it’s me.” She noted, “I feel like this song really perfectly and appropriately started the new era, and there’s only one person on this planet who could make this song as amazing as it is – his name is Mike Sabath and he produced this record.” Mike is also the brains behind the song’s viral break “I wanna lay under the stars and hear the ocean while I’m tal-kin-bull-shit.”

Following the finale, she returned to stage for her final inevitable encore song, her hit collaboration with NOTD, “I Wanna Know.” Spinning her way around stage, Miller encouraged fans to go “completely apeshit” with her, and they happily danced and screamed along.

Check out the video for “it’s not u it’s me” and a full gallery of photo highlights:

Catch Bea on Tour:

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Highlights: Jack & Jack @ Irving Plaza

Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson, better known as pop duo Jack & Jack, are one of the hottest rising groups in pop. Combining sunny production with relatable lyrics that tell stories of young love, they’ve amassed a die-hard following around the world. “The Jacks,” as many fans refer to them, are so popular in New York that they booked two nights at Irving Plaza, and crowds packed in both nights to play fans a mixed set with new songs from their 2019 debut album, “A Good Friend Is Nice,” and classics from their 2017 EP “GONE.” 

The boys came out on stage and immediately showed off their lifelong chemistry as best friends, dating back to their days growing up in Nebraska together. The crowd of late teens and early 20-somes erupted all night with screams for the boys as they kept the energy up and danced around stage, serenading fans with top songs from their new album like “No One Compares to You,” “Lotta Love” and “Barcelona,” along with long time fan favorites including “Hurt People” and an acoustic arrangement of “Beg.”

They even took a break from their own music and surprised fans with a great cover of Billie Eilish’s “when the party’s over,” of which Jack G was able to hit even the highest notes in his falsetto (to massive cheers from the crowd.) 

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The night climaxed with the song that made them a pop mainstay, their 2018 summer smash hit “Rise,” a collaboration with British producer Jonas Blue which hit the Billboard Top 40 and has amassed close to a billion streams + views worldwide. The crowd went understandably crazy, singing along with the song’s infectious pre-chorus “They think we’re just drop-outs / Living at our mom’s house / Parents must be so proud / They know it all /No, they don’t speak our language / They say we’re too savage, yeah / No, no, we don’t give a… anymore.”

The night was filled with smiles and dancing, and Jack & Jack delivered at every moment along the way. Keep an eye out for these two as they continue to rise among the pop ranks – if you’re not already familiar, get familiar with their music below, along with photo highlights:

Catch Jack & Jack on tour:

Watch: Greyson Chance Performs “shut up” Stripped Down

Remember Greyson Chance? Yeah, the 14 year-old kid who sang Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” on Ellen that went viral is back in 2019 with a brand new album, portraits, which includes his hit lead single “shut up.” Recently Greyson performed the song for Vevo at their studios in a stripped down version using just a guitar, and the song is outstanding – check out the video below.

Listen to Greyson’s new album portraits:

Interview: Introducing Alexander 23 and His Dirty AF1s

As one of the more polished songwriters coming out of the burgeoning bedroom pop movement, Alexander Glantz sets himself apart from a crowded industry full of kids-on-keyboards trying to make hits in their parents houses utilizing lo-fi equipment and sample sounds. Channeling his multi-instrumental talent, he uses everything from drums, bass, guitar, and piano to create music that feels a step above the rest. Written under the moniker of Alexander 23, the resulting music sounds far closer to fully-formed pop than the majority of his bedroom counterparts. Alexander’s first release, “Dirty AF1s,” made an immediate splash hitting Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in mid-March, and the song continues to gain traction across playlisting and the blogosphere.

Signed to Interscope in 2018, Alexander 23’s music also caught the attention of fellow singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin, who’s hit song “Let Me Down Slowly” spurred a sold-out North American “Outrunning Karma Tour” – and he tapped Alexander 23 as his opener. Since then, Alexander 23 has been playing out his new music in front of a rabid Alec Benjamin fanbase of 16-20 year olds, who have immediately accepted the 24-year-old into their circle with open arms.

Intrigued by the song and his energy, I caught up with Alexander before his April 11 show in NYC at Irving Plaza, to learn more about his project. Read our interview below and check out the brand new music video for Dirty AF1s that dropped today:

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

EB: Tell me about how you got into music in the first place. I know you’ve done a lot of touring and you’re a multi-instrumentalist, but where did it start? 

AG: I saw my dad playing guitar when I was 8, and I was like that looks cool, I wanna do that, I think girls will like that. I tried it and I hated it, so I quit. Then the next year, I picked it back up and started a band with my friends. That was kind of it, that was all I really cared about since then. I did other stuff, I played basketball growing up and I loved that. But I was never good enough to make that a career. So I just played in bands my whole life, the most recent one broke up a year and a half ago and I was writing and producing full-time.

Then one day, I just couldn’t really take it anymore and needed to start writing more music again. In August, I stopped doing all that and since then, I’ve just stayed in my house by myself and wrote songs about things that I’ve experienced.

 
EB: You’ve got your first single out, Dirty AF1s, this year. Tell me the story of the person that inspired Dirty AF1s.

AG: Everything in the song is exactly true, and was all written the day after a certain special girl left my house in LA. She actually left her toothbrush hanging in my bathroom, and I just looked at it – and this sounds so corny, but I looked at it and went to my studio setup in my dining room at the time, and just went there and did the song all at once, it just all came out.

I moved from New York to L.A. a year ago today. I actually went back today to the apartment I was living in, which was a crazy experience. I moved away from someone who I really loved and cared about. She came to visit, then went back to New York, and that’s how the song came about.

   
EB: What was it about writing in a band that you didn’t like, compared to having your own solo project?

AG: I am a huge fan of collaboration, but if you’re in a band, you’re equal parts and you don’t have full autonomy over the creative stuff. Which is sometimes a fun challenge and is sometimes incredibly frustrating. So it’s nice to be the final yes/no power on your own.

I haven’t really worked with people on this music so far, but if I were to, to have that final yes/no power is something that I need personally and creatively.

 
EB: Do you feel like when you sit by yourself in a room, you can branch out more than if you were in a band?

AG: Definitely. I think especially with pop today, everyone is so much more open to genre-less blending culture of music. It’s super exciting for me as a pop artist, because pop is finally returning from – it used to be there was the genre pop, and now pop really does mean ‘popular’ again, which is so exciting as an artist because I can do whatever I want because if it’s cool and people like it, that’s pop.

 
EB: Has pop has broadened from the general population idea of every single person knows the music, to having different pockets of fans in this day and age?

AG: Definitely. I think the internet is the biggest reason for that. I’ll stumble upon massive artists with millions of followers that I’ve never heard of. These people have their entire careers built, and are completely going and are a hundred billion times bigger than me and I haven’t heard of them. That’s the coolest thing ever. There really is room for everyone, it’s not how it used to be where there were x number of radio spots and if you didn’t have one you weren’t killing it.

 
EB: Who are some artist whose careers have inspired you over the years?

AG: As a kid growing up in the suburbs playing guitar, John Mayer was always the number one. I learned every song of his and played them. I think I learned consciously and subconsciously about songwriting from doing that. And then, as I got more into production, when I hear something and I like it I ask myself if they produced their record. Kevin Parker from Tame Impala became a huge inspiration, Mark Ronson too. It’s definitely eclectic, I grew up listening to a lot of different music. 

 
EB: I think a lot of  people appreciate good songwriting, but don’t really realize how difficult it is to form a song. For you, where did the inspiration come from to really focus on the songwriting aspect rather than just performing?

AG: I like to say, I think it’s – not “easy” – but I’m going to use it for the sake of this expression – I think it’s easy to write a good song, and I think it’s near impossible to write a great song. I don’t think many other things are like that outside of the creative world. You can do a good book report and a great book report, and maybe it’s not that different. But a good song, okay, what does that do for you? A great song could break your career.

I play guitar, piano, bass, drums – but I’m not a super-savant at any of those instruments – It’s never been my superpower. I consider songwriting my talent. Also to go back to the genre-semantics side, I can make the beat in pretty much any genre, because I know that my personal taste and songwriting will tie it together, and it’ll sound like an Alexander 23 track no matter what. I have some songs with real drums, no drums, 808 drums, no guitar, all guitar… but I think the songwriting of course is what ties it back together.

   
EB: What’s the earliest memory you have of belting a song out in the car? 

AG: I actually have a good one. I was going home from baseball practice one day, and my friend’s dad was playing “Free Bird” in his minivan, and we were driving down this road – you know the automatic doors? – he opened up both the doors on the side and the wind was coming in, we were all just screaming “Free Bird.” That’s definitely the earliest memory of screaming a song that I have. 

 
EB: Scrolling through your Instagram, I can definitely tell that style is a part of your brand. How would you describe your own personal style? 

AG: I would describe it as if you could combine a grandpa with a fifth grader. I like to say that a lot of my style musically is professional DIY, too. I like to make stuff but I like to do it up a little more than the DIY. Cleaned up. I want people to think “That could’ve either taken ten minutes to do, or ten years to do, and I don’t know which one – but it was definitely one or the other.”

 
EB: Where do you stand on artists having outfits for performances versus just going up there in whatever you’d been wearing for the day?

AG: It’s just up to you. Whatever the music calls for. I love style, I love making my own cover art and lyric videos and stuff like that. It’s all solely driven by the music, so whatever the vibe is, matching it is always cool.

 
EB: You’re wearing a necklace with 23 on it, obviously a nod to your artist name. Where did the 23 come from?

AG: I was born on the 23rd, that’s the first reason. I’m from Chicago, and I grew up loving basketball and playing basketball, so that’s the second reason (Editor’s note: Michael Jordan wore the #23 for the Chicago Bulls.) The third reason is I was 23 when I started writing all of these songs. That’s kind of when everything started getting traction, so I decided to commemorate it and combine everything into one.

 
You can catch Alexander 23 on tour with Alec Benjamin across North America at the dates below:
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Interview: Tayla Parx is Writing Her Way Into Music History

“MY CAREER HAS BEEN THE LOVE OF MY LIFE SINCE I WAS TEN YEARS OLD.”

 

If you’re a fan of musical mega-hits, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard some of Tayla Parx’s work over the last year and a half. In 2018 alone, the LA-based singer-songwriter was credited as a co-writer on four top-10 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and all of them were huge; “Love Lies” by Khalid and Normani, “Thank U, Next” and “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande, and “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco.

As an artist and performer in her own right, Parx is also very accomplished: in 2007, she played the part of Little Inez in the film adaptation of Hairspray, and has also appeared in television shows like Gilmore Girls, Victorious (with Ariana Grande), and True Jackson, VP. Truly born-to-entertain, being in the spotlight has always been a part of Parx’s DNA. She’s been on stage since she was little, calls her career the love of her life “since she was ten years old” and is a demonstration that being a triple-threat entertainer is more than a paying job – it’s a vocation.

During her time in LA before for her next tour run supporting Lizzo, Early Bird Music chatted with Tayla to get the story behind her beginnings as a songwriter, actor, and singer, the secret-sauce behind her songwriting style, and motivations behind her own artist project, which now includes her recently-released and highly-anticipated debut album, We Need To Talk. Press play and check out our interview below.

This interview has been lightly-edited and condensed for clarity.

 

EB: Take me all the way back to growing up – how did you get into show business? You’ve done acting, singing and songwriting – what was it like as a kid, going through that process?

TP: Well it first started off while I was in a dance class with Debbie Allen. She had a dance academy, and I decided to go there with a best friend just because I felt like, “Okay I sing, but I gotta know how to dance if i’m gonna be an artist one day” and I didn’t know when that was gonna happen, but of course that it would.

Then one day, Debbie Allen walked in and she saw me and asked if I knew how to sing – I said yes; if I knew how to dance – and I show her I dance. Then she asked if I knew how to act, and I couldn’t even fathom being an actress at the time. She said, ‘Well I think it’s kind of like reading a book, read this as if you were each character.’ Then all of a sudden, I was introduced to this whole new world, of manipulating your voice and being able to see this whole different side of what makes me an artist, in all of its different aspects.

Eventually Debbie convinced my parents to move me to LA – this is already after I’d been performing at The Kennedy Center from 9-11 [years old], so I was on stage from the beginning of my life. From that point, my mom was sneaking me into auditions, reading the boards and blogs online and finding out how I could get my opportunity. The first room that I snuck into was Gilmore Girls, and I ended up booking it, but also getting caught when they realized that I didn’t have an agent. So they called some agents right there on the spot. They said I got the job but I needed an agent, so I sat down with three different people, and I told them, whichever agent could even get me an audition for Hairspray, that I would sign with him – that it didn’t even matter if I got the role, and that I just needed the opportunity.

Fast forward a few months, I was able to audition and book the role, which meant I was an actress, officially. But I missed music, even after Hairspray kind of catapulted my life in to that direction of acting and doing more roles, and Nickelodeon- which where I met Ariana – different things like that. I’ve watched my life make these interesting twists and turns and it all makes sense looking back on it.

 

EB: Now both of your careers have taken off, and you’ve written number one songs with Ariana. How did that friendship develop and how did you stay in touch?

TP: In the beginning, nobody really respected either of us in the music world, they saw us both as child actors. It was before we’d proven ourselves and solidified ourselves as songwriters and music creatives. I met her because I was on her show [Victorious] and I was on another show, True Jackson VP, that filmed on the same lot for a bit.

A few years later, we lost touch, but I met Tommy Brown (TB Hits) and the very first [songwriting] session we ever did was for “My Everything,” but Ariana wasn’t there. It wasn’t till down the road that she even found out that I was the co-writer on the song, because mind you, the last time that we saw each other was on the set – she had no idea I was writing music at that point. That was a nice re-connect, but we lost touch AGAIN and didn’t link up again till this album (Thank U, Next.)

Usually I’m very particular about who I write for. So once I do an artist one time, I don’t usually want to write with them again. Usually I’m like, Ooh that was a really cool experience, now I want something fresh and brand new. But the thing that made me curious about what was going on right now in her life was that I knew that she was going to be approaching music in a different way than she had ever done before. It’s fun to be a part of her evolution as an artist.

 

“EVENTUALLY I REALIZED…THAT I HAD SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO ADD TO THIS EQUATION, AS AN ARTIST.”

 

EB: As far as your evolution as an artist, did you start with songwriting with a full intention to only write for others, or did you always have your own singing career and artist project in mind?

TP: I used to always go back and forth on if I wanted to be an artist, or if it was something that would satisfy me. Because I write A LOT of songs, and artists can’t release that many songs per year. So, I felt like if I was just an artist I would be stunting my writing, right? And if I was just a writer, I would be stunting my artistry. From that moment, I had to make a decision to say hey, first of all, timing is everything – it’s been something my life has taught me over and over and over again again – that I’m not really in control of the plan. If I try to control it, then I would never be where I am now. I think from a very young age, I had the realization that everything that is meant to happen will happen.

At that time, I was concerned with being the best writer that I could be, starting off and mastering one thing, versus being mediocre at a million things. I wanted to be the best songwriter I could be. In order to do that, you have to humble yourself and take yourself out of your own emotions, because as a songwriter, everything is about someone else. All of your emotions, and your feelings, and your history goes out of the door when you’re having that conversation with an artist as a songwriter.

That’s one of those things where I just learned people to have a story, and eventually I realized I’d talked to every type of artist there is to talk to, from the legends to the newer superstars, and that I had something different to add to this equation, as an artist; something that I felt could be a part of taking music where it’s going to be in the future, versus just being a fish, kind of being a part of the stream.

 
EB: You’ve written a ton of songs for other people, so when it comes to your own artist project, what does it take in a song to realize you want to keep it for yourself?

TP: Well I think it always starts with, either – I’ve produced a lot on this album as well, and you can hear that it sounds slightly left of center, because I’m not following the rules that a typical producer would follow. The same way that I don’t follow the same rules that a typical songwriter feels they need to follow.

There’s certain rules like the way you lift a hook, or a way that you structure your song, and it has to be structured a certain way, whether it’s the verse into the pre-hook, into the hook, or starting off with a hook. There’s so many different ways to flip the formula that we’ve created over the years as creatives.

Right now we’re at a time in music where we are able to do that more than ever, and more importantly than that, the fans want it and are excited about it, and want you to do something different. I’m extremely happy to be an artist right now in this day and age, and to be coming out at this perfect time when fans are begging for something new and fresh. I go out of my way to do whatever I want to do, and those things are usually quirky and colorful – things that people might not feel are “radio” at first… Until you realize it’s stuck in your head all day.

 

So I’m taking that artist approach, but also using the top songwriter inside of me to find the middle ground. You’ll never probably hear anything that’s like, a bit too weird, but you’ll also never hear anything that’s just too straightforward, in regards to my artistry, because I found myself having to be placed in those boxes as a songwriter all the time. It’s fun for me to shoot for a target and jump through flaming hoops [as a songwriter for others]. But as an artist, it’s a completely different approach – it’s about being free.

 
EB: One of the songs that sticks out to me of yours is “I Want You.” Tell me about where you were at in your life when you were writing that song.

TP: I was at a point in my life where I just wanted to be free and not having to think of a significant other. I’ve never been the type of person to be in a relationship ever, because my career has been the love of my life since I was ten years old.

I think that during this whole entire process, with this album, it’s been discovering myself. In the beginning of the album, and also at that time in my life, I was very much still focused on me, and it didn’t really matter how it made somebody who might’ve loved me, feel. But I was very honest about that, and that’s what that song is about. Just being like You know, I think I finally got your message, and I’m not going to let me let you down, and it’s okay because it’s not worth me losing my freedom. And then you listen to the album, and you see that change, you see that switch, you see that ending up seeing that maybe I fucked up this time.

 

EB: Along with the album, you’ve got an upcoming tour supporting Lizzo. Are you excited to hit the road again to play the album out live?

TP: I’m so excited to be touring, especially with Lizzo, touring with a female. I just finished up the US and European ABC (Andy’s Beach Club) Tour with Anderson .Paak, and it was a lot of guys on tour. It was so fun, because they’re like my brothers, you know.

But now, this time to have the different change in pace and work with all of these amazing females on the road, travel, and meet so many different kinds of fans, will be icing on the cake. It’s fun to meet the Tayla types and see how your music is affecting them, and I’ve got so many people that found out about me because of this last run that’ll be back at the show again. So it makes me feel good that they liked what they saw the first time.

 

EB: Since you’ve always been in show business, does performing a concert come as naturally as acting or writing?

TP: There’s a little switch that flips after the moment of me freaking out, which usually happens two minutes before I jump on the stage – no more or no less than that. It’s just those two minutes because I have to wait, and I just wanna go now! – I start to get really impatient and antsy. When I get out there is when everything’s okay again, when my heart stops beating as fast. It’s when I’m yeah, okay again.

I didn’t know at the time, before I started, if live performance was something that I would even like. I like the idea of something being perfect, and live performance isn’t about being perfect. So, it’s a complete different approach and something I’m having fun learning. I think that anything I do is because it’s a challenge. I’m naturally good at performing, but I have to take that idea and become great at it, the same way that I did at songwriting – because I always have to take things to the max.

You can catch Tayla Parx on tour supporting Lizzo this Spring. Check out tour dates below, including two Brooklyn Steel dates on 5/12 and 5/13, and Terminal 5 on 5/23:
https://widget.bandsintown.com/main.min.js

Highlights: G Flip @ Baby’s All Right

Multi-instrumentalist pop artist Georgia Flippo, aka G Flip made her way to New York from her hometown in Melbourne, Australia. She was met by a packed room at Baby’s All Right on Monday night.

On top of her two released singles, “Killing My Time” and “About You,” G Flip played plenty of unreleased music for her dedicated fans, and even made her way into the crowd for “Killing My Time” for some good old-fashioned dancing.

Check out the gallery of highlights below:

Interview: EDM Wunderkind Whethan Keeps Getting Better With Age

“I ALMOST FEEL LIKE I CAN’T GO TO SLEEP AT NIGHT UNTIL I’VE DONE SOMETHING SUPER AWESOME THAT DAY, WHETHER IT’S MUSIC OR ART-RELATED.”

On Friday November 9th, Ethan Snoreck, known better as producer/DJ Whethan, will release his first-ever album project when he drops Life of a Wallflower – Vol. 1 EP. The EP falls on the back of his recently completed Life of a Wallflower Tour, which spanned 29 different stops in the US. The L.O.A.W. EP is eight songs long, and includes four new songs for his very dedicated fan base to vibe out to: “Wallflower,” “Top Shelf (feat. Bipolar Sunshine),” “Together,” and “I Miss You.

Having opened shows for close friends Louis The Child on their Last To Leave Europe Tour in the first few months of 2018, followed by a South America trip to Lollapalooza Brazil, that fanbase now truly spans the globe and continues grow. “To go literally all across the world, and not just to look at everything, but to see people react – itʼs still so surreal to me to be able to do it so young, and because of music. It never crossed my mind that it would ever happen, especially this early on,” he said of his first legitimate journey outside of North America.

It’s easy to forget that Whethan’s accomplished all of this – three headline tours, global touring, and over 300M Spotify streams in his catalogue – at an historically young age. At only 20 years old, Whethan’s music has come a long way from its beginnings creating dubstep and alternative rock flips. 

Just because his skill and style has evolved doesn’t mean those roots have been lost, however. On the contrary, Whethan recently made the most of an opportunity to bring back some of his earliest influences in his latest collaboration, “Every Step That I Take,” with Tom Morello and Portugal. The Man.

With his singles like “Be Like You”, “High”, and “Savage”, there’s always been a darker, heavy side of Whethan’s repertoire that he hasn’t been afraid to showcase to supplement his characteristically bouncy, future-bass tunes. 

In his eyes, Whethan suspects that those esoteric stylistic tendencies making up what his “signature” have roots in what he grew up on in his childhood home. “I think weʼre all a giant compilation of our interests and our inspirations. So I think all the music I listened to as a kid, through my parents – a lot of alternative and hip-hop music – I think that probably was what influenced my subconscious into liking the styles of music I like, or the sounds that I like. I love deep, gritty bass and sub, and I think that’s mixed nicely with this pop-ish vocals with a little bit of future-production that it is now.”

There’s no doubt when hearing “Every Step…” those same characteristics shine throughout the new track, and it’s easy to imagine that the rest of his repertoire will show up in the upcoming EP as well. 

Listen to Whethan’s biggest hits and read the rest of our interview below the playlist break:

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

EB: When youʼre finally mastering the tracks to a project like your upcoming EP, and youʼre putting it all together, does that take a lot longer than coming up with the initial ideas for the songs?

ES: “Iʼm usually really quick at getting the initial idea there…When I’m thinking of a song, I feel like a lot of times I can envision in my head where I want to start it off and where itʼs going. But then itʼs that final 10% that takes a little bit longer. 

The really tedious stuff is all the little drums fills, or effects that you add to transition you into the next part of a song. Thatʼs the stuff that takes a little more time because itʼs a lot of trial and error. You kind of have force every part to form into the next part perfectly, or at least to how you hear it.”

EB: Is it ever difficult to shelve a song or project that you thought was really great because you’ve then later come up with something that you think is even better?

ES: “I think it is tough. Iʼm constantly changing and outdoing my own songs. Iʼm starting to see the actual causes of that now, because I’ve had three or four years of producing music non-stop, and thereʼs some songs that Iʼve made a year or two ago, or three years ago, that I have a connection to – but Iʼve definitely outdone them by now. I just keep making music until I outdo it all, and then the stuff that feels really good, I put out.

It is kind of hard to throw the old ones away, but Iʼll never ever throw them away. I think they can and will find new light, to come back and be fresh in their own way.”

EB: Originally you never set out to be a live performer or dj, but now you’ve had three headline tours before the age of 20. as your craft as a DJ and a live performer grown as quickly as your music and production ability?

ES: “I’ve always leaned a little bit more to the production side, so my brainʼs always going to focus on making music rather than playing it out. But, I do play so many shows now that it would be stupid if I didnʼt want to make these shows really good and fun for me and everyone else.”

“Iʼm getting better and better every tour, just trying to put on the coolest show I can, and getting more and more resources as time goes on to be able to put together crazy visual arrangements, stage setup, and really show people this world that Iʼve wanted to bring to them through my music.”

EB: You spend a ton of time in the studio and on the road – youʼre constantly working. How do you keep yourself energized through long sessions?

ES: “It depends, because Iʼm always in different locations and spots. In the early days it was all just in the car, in planes or in the bedroom, on my computer making music. I think itʼs really just the addiction I have to making music, where I just want, Iʼm just looking for that thing that’s going to make me happy. I almost feel like I canʼt go to sleep at night until Iʼve done something super awesome that day, whether itʼs music or art-related.”

Watch: Noah Kahan releases “False Confidence” Music Video

Following a sold-out tour across North America, singer/songwriter Noah Kahan reveals the video for his latest single, “False Confidence,” which premiered earlier today via Billboard.com and on MTV Live and mtvU.

The music video relives the story of Noah’s early days performing at those local Vermont open-mic nights in his hometown of Strafford, where crowds were virtually non-existent and his music was the only thing that would get him noticed – not the outfits, nor makeup, nor personality.

In my February interview with Noah with Noah he mentioned having never performed outside of Vermont and New Hampshire until he was signed to his label, Republic Records, who immediately threw him on tour. This music video aptly and cleverly shows the “before,” as he was still an unknown.

Fun fact: the flannel Noah wears in the music video is the same one he wore during his sold-out Bowery Ballroom show this past October, which Early Bird was fortunate to cover. Check out photos from the show here:

https://earlybirdmusic.blog/2018/10/13/gallery-noah-kahan/

 

 

Music Video: Liily The Band’s “Toro” is What Rock Needs Right Now

You might not know the band Liily just yet, but they’re making music that should put them on every rock-head’s radar. The LA-based five-piece rock group combines elements of thrash, post-punk, grunge and modern hard rock. Rock needs an influx of crossover elements across its many subgenres, and it seems like Liily is positioned right in that epicenter, bringing out a new sound that’s credible, fresh, and emotionally compelling. For fans of Highly Suspect, Royal Blood, Grandson, and Nothing But Thieves, Liily is going to be right up your alley.

Watch the “Toro” music video below, and listen to their latest single “Sold,” which is featured on Spotify’s premiere rock playlist, “Rock This.”

Highlights: Two Feet @ Brooklyn Steel

Despite terrible weather and an MTA system that makes it prohibitively difficult to get to the venue, Two Feet’s crowd showed out on Saturday night to watch the rising star perform. On top playing all of the songs from his recently released EP A 20 Something Fuck, he played his two new singles “I Want It” and “Lost The Game.”

Throughout the show Two Feet played his most familiar tunes as well, and similarly to his previous show at Music Hall of Williamsburg, pleased the crowd by playing his debut single “Go Fuck Yourself” twice in a row. He also played “I Feel Like I’m Drowning” during the middle of the set and as an encore, after a crowd poll suggested that was the song they wanted to hear again above all others.

This show was a big step up from his Feburary MHoW show, and Two Feet showed progression in his live set’s visuals, lights, and his own engagement with the crowd. The venues for Two Feet only get bigger from here, and it’s going to be exciting watching what he does next.

Check out photos from the show, along with video of two full song performances below the gallery.

For full resolution images, scroll down to the bottom right of a picture’s viewing window.

Special thanks to Sophie Dess and Republic Records for getting Early Bird set up with access for the event. 

Video – “Go Fuck Yourself”:
Video – “I Want It”:

WANT MORE TWO FEET? CHECK OUT VIDEO FROM TWO FEET’S FEBRUARY SHOW AT MUSIC HALL OF WILLIAMSBURG, ALONG WITH MY EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:

Early Bird x Two Feet exclusive interview:

https://earlybirdmusic.blog/2018/03/13/two-feet-interview

Listen to Early Bird’s “Two Feet Complete” playlist: