New York City-based Pop/R&B artist and songwriter, Hunter Blair Ambrose released her new single, “Alone Together.” The single gives listeners the perfect closing summer bop while they begin preparing for Autumn.
Amid the early days of the coronavirus pandemic and a worldwide lockdown, Hunter Blair Ambrose found solace in songwriting and introspection, using this almost eerily quiet time for creativity and self-reflection.
When creating “Alone Together” she took 1980s bombast and met it with layered synths and soaring melodies after being inspired by The Weeknd’s pandemic era blockbuster album, After Hours. The single came together as a glittering, late summer disco banger with deeply reflective lyrics that a post-pandemic world can certainly relate to.
“ ‘Alone Together’ reflects a universal feeling of isolation, loneliness and melancholia felt around the world during 2020 met with my own reflections of failings in love.”– Hunter Blair Ambrose
Inspired by dark, synth-pop, chilling Toronto R&B, and the melodic hip hop of the 2010s, Hunter has created a sound that has been shaped by the music that has been the soundtrack to her life. Influenced by iconic artists such as Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Ariana Grande, Drake, David Bowie, Prince, and The Weeknd, Hunter creates immersive and well-rounded music along with an image that is equal parts provocative as they are compelling.
Shortly after the inception of her career, she enrolled in Boston’s Berklee College of Music and quickly emerged as one of the school’s many promising, young talents.
Following her departure from Berklee, from 2017 through 2019, Hunter wrote and produced material with her core creative team for her debut EP, Scorpio Rising(April 2020). The project was supported by the singles, “Right Now” and “November” which featured an interpolation of Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.”
Listeners can look forward to more singles and music videos dropping this year to immerse them deeper into the world Scorpio Season created when released in April.
LA-based singer, songwriter, and screenwriter Simona, has released her fierce music video for “Hot Fire.” With multi-platinum selling Producer Dakari on the track; “Hot Fire” is about female empowerment, feeling sexy in your own skin, but also about Simona’s struggles of leaving her life/family behind in Germany and pursuing her dreams in Los Angeles. Simona explains, “I tend to be a bubbly person for the most part but I do have a serious side, and I like to mix these emotions together while writing. The way I used to write was very dark and depressing; instead of being sad I realized I should be more positive about certain things, say what I’m really feeling, and turn it into a positive mood with a more serious message tied into it.”
Raised in Bulgaria and Germany, Simonahas always lived her life with passion and perseverance. “It was interesting growing up between two cultures, my mother comes from a family of Doctors and my father grew up in a village, everyone always knew I was an immigrant. Once he moved into the city, my father ended up working at The Embassy but eventually fled communist Bulgaria to provide a better life for our family, and this pushed me to become the hard worker I am today. I’m so proud of my heritage, but still decided to leave the country, just like my parents, in pursuit of my dreams hoping to repay them for their sacrifices.” she states. Even through her father’s initial disappointment of leaving her valedictorian past and Law School studies behind, Simona packed up her bags, moved to Los Angeles, and started waiting tables to get by. She further explains, “I’m my own boss now, I started writing screenplays and going into productions, and would rather go through the struggles to do this than sit in an office working on something I hate.”
Simona, being fluent in four languages [English, German, Bulgarian, French] has excelled her writing skills; which is how she got the opportunity to co-write an independent feature film while also landing a starring role in the movie, opposite Ray J, Denny Trejo and several social media influencers. While promoting her film during a radio interview, Simona met DJ Nasty who introduced her to multi-platinum selling producer, Dakari. Dakari produced her latest EP Addictive, which dropped May of this year and contains four tracks all written by Simona. The duo got along so well in the studio that they’ve continued working together beyond this EP, and currently have more music in the works that’s expected to drop later this year. In addition to working with Dakari; Simona’s undeniable talent has also captured the attention of Austin Brown, Michael Jackson’s Nephew and producer for artists such as Pharrell and Macy Gray, and Brian London [ZAYNE, JoJo], who will both be part of another track dropping later this year.
Life can throw all the lemons it wants but Karlee Perez is fighting her way up through it all. From developing numerous projects for film and tv to battling the ways of the industry as a woman of colour, she has done it all. Perez is most known for her work as a professional wrestler and actress for WWE and Lucha Underground respectively. Meet the professional wrestler turned producer powerhouse in this interview.
1) If you could use one word/phrase to describe your career as a professional wrestler, what would it be? Parallelly, how would you describe your career and experiences as a creative?
“You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.” I had to work hard to achieve my dreams, and not every path has been smooth. This goes for both of my careers. In both wrestling and working as a creative, it is important to have a balance between the two. This is extremely crucial in order to be healthy physically and mentally. I can’t be so hard on myself all the time too. Once you lose your passion and fun in what you’re doing, both careers can take a toll on you. I have to remind myself all the time why I started doing this in the first
2) While fulfilling the role of a producer/creative, do you find yourself looking back on your time as a wrestler? What is something that has stayed with you from that part of your life?
Yes, I definitely find myself looking back on my wrestling days. It was an incredible and memorable time of my life that I am very proud of, and it was the path I needed to bring me to where I am now. The work ethic and dedication it takes to be a wrestler has stayed with me since I have transitioned into being an actress and producer.
3) Why was it important for you to transition into film/tv. How difficult has it been for you to step into a different sort of role and environment?
Wrestling was all I’ve ever known and I made sacrifices to leave that life behind to focus on film and television. I was not born into this like other people in the entertainment industry. I didn’t have any connections to get me here. That was a different kind of pressure to succeed because I had to depend on myself in order to make it. Stepping into this and expanding myself has shown me how strong and determined I can actually be.
4) Tell us a little bit about the various projects that you are producing for film and tv. What should we expect from them?
I have a handful of projects in production at the moment. I am currently working on Miami River Cops, which is a series I am producing with Power executive producer Mark Canton. There’s also a FUBU series that will be about founder and owner Daymond John and how he made the company into the iconic brand we know it as today. Lastly, I am also working on a series based on the award-winning book Shots On the Bridge, which tells the true story of
horrendous crimes New Orleans police committed during Hurricane Katrina, and how this was later covered up. I am hoping these projects bring light to real, authentic stories that need to be shared with audiences.
5) You have undeniably had to encounter push backs while attempting to carve your niche as a woman producer. What were the hurdles and the rewards of stepping into this challenging role?
There are so many hurdles I face daily as a woman of color. For most of us, we have to fight for a spot in this business. It’s pretty obvious there is still a lot of old-school mentality and obstacles in Hollywood these days. I understand change can be hard for people who have been doing the same thing for 30 plus years, but this pushback specifically should not be swept under the rug. It’ll be rewarding to know that once I push to a certain point it won’t be as difficult, and I hope it will pave the way for aspiring women like me.
6) If you single-handedly had the power to make changes in Hollywood, what are some things you would implement?
If I had true power to make important changes in Hollywood, I would definitely make the effort to have stories told about interesting people with lives who don’t usually get covered. I would also change the dynamic for women in the television and film industry and people of color in the industry so that we can all succeed and reach new heights.
By doing so, I would create more jobs and opportunities in front of and behind the camera.
7) Is there perhaps a dream project that you would like to tackle in the future? Could you tell us a little bit about it?
I would love to do something that would highlight my passion and my goals not only in front of the camera but also behind it. I have a couple of projects on my radar that I am interested in, however, I would like to establish myself more as a producer first so I can have a better opportunity to bring those stories to life in the future.
The transcontinental Pop Star continues to build a massive multi-lingual discography
Mumbai-LA-based pop singer-songwriter, Nikitaa, has released her latest single and accompanying music video, “Boomerang.” After a successful year of releases and a Netflix track feature, Nikitaa continues to build a massive multi-lingual goddess pop discography.
“Boomerang” was written and produced by Nikitaa and is her cathartic release and declaration of freedom from a delusional ex. After trying to make a friendship work with her ex, Nikitaa realized the relationship was more parasitic than mutualistic and it was time to cut ties.
Using guitar samples that reminded her of motion comics and superhero storylines, she parts ways with her usual upbeat pop sound for this single, choosing to lean more towards the hip-hop genre. Nikitaa collaborated with American rap duo, Flyana Boss, on “Boomerang.” The all-women hip-hop track penned by Nikitaa has also been co-written by Flyana Boss.
Opening up on the collaboration, Nikitaa said: “I went to music school with both Bobbi and Yinka and I’ve been watching them put out hit after hit since they’ve come together as Flyana Boss! They write so cleverly, unapologetically, and authentically. I have their music on repeat on my phone all the time. They were the natural first choice for me! So I hit them up, sent them the demo and they loved it!”
Nikitaa, who describes “Boomerang” as her personal “cord-cutting ritual,” wanted her listeners to hear the lyrics as a story and feel as if they were experiencing escaping this shady character she’s singing about firsthand. Continuing on her path to show her listeners a different side of herself, she put the darker-sounding single and music video together all at once, defying her normal songwriting routine and instead let her anger pour out freely and form itself into the perfect mixture of beauty and pain.
Intertwining cinematic sounds with a true orchestral bass instead of synth also helped her create the contrasting sound she had imagined.
“Overall, it’s an aggressive sound, but the vocals are still pretty, with some sparkle. I fell in love with the contrast and it reminded me of Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do,’ but with a sonically darker palette.” -Nikitaa
Born and raised in Mumbai, singer-songwriter Nikitaa, who has spent her recent years in LA mastering her art, is poised to be a breakthrough star on the independent music scene, creating a witty blend of sassy melodies, partnered with powerful lyrics that give added depth to each of her compositions. Nikitaa combines ethereal Pop/RnB with a subtle nod to the South-Asian soundscape to bring a new genre she calls Goddess Pop.
In 2020, the transcontinental pop singer has put out more than 4 singles – “Tum Aur Main”, “Universe,” “Goddess,” and “Clutch” and sang for a Netflix film Masaba Masaba and she promises not to stop.
A born entertainer, with the ability to transcend language, culture, and ethnicity, Nikitaa’s self-proclaimed mission as an artist is to break down barriers, shatter stereotypes and bring people together under the universal language of music.
If you’re a Guns n’ Roses fan, you don’t often get new music to buy from your favorite bad. Albums from the legendary metal band come out at a rate of around one for every three Presidents of the United States of America. The last one was “Chinese Democracy” in 2008, which itself came out almost two decades after its predecessor. There’s allegedly a new album in development at the moment – some of which might even already have been recorded – but based on their past form, we know better than to hold our breath waiting for it.
There are, of course, other ways you could spend money on Guns n’ Roses. They might not record very often, but they do at least tour – and they’re arguably a better live act now than they were a decade ago. Back then, the band performing as Guns’ n Roses was little more than frontman Axl Rose and a gaggle of session musicians performing hits from the band’s back catalogue. Today, most of the original line-up is back together after Rose and guitarist Slash eventually kissed and made up after a long, bitter feud. They’re touring this year despite the difficult problems posed by the seemingly endless pandemic. They might even make it to Australia before the year out, thanks to a bold new proposition in the country for creating “live music bubbles.” You’ll hear more about that idea in other articles on our website.
With the next album some way off and the tour difficult to get to, the band are keen to find other ways to persuade you to spend money on them. That’s why they’re among the best in the world when it comes to merchandising. Profiteering via slapping the band’s name and logo on just about anything that comes to mind might not be the most rock and roll idea in history – in fact, it’s about as capitalist as it gets – but that’s never worried Rose and the gang. They make millions of dollars per year from t-shirts and posters, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Any band or musician can make t-shirts and posters. Guns n’ Roses make just about everything.
There are too many strange pieces of Guns n’ Roses merchandise out there for us to make an exhaustive list, but we can fill you in on some of the highlights. Two years ago, there was a limited-edition Guns n’ Roses cheese. The year before that, the band launched a limited-run whisky collection. In 2020, a special “Guns n’ Roses” pinball machine was built that came in three different styles. The most exclusive and expensive of the three tables would set you back more than ten thousand dollars, but that didn’t put fans off the idea of buying it. You might even find some of the increasingly rare Guns n’ Roses action figures if you’re willing to go digging through eBay far enough to find them. Just as they were trailblazers for thrash metal, they’re also trailblazers for band merchandise.
Arguably the most successful piece of merchandising the band has indulged in within the past twenty years is their incredibly successful online slots game. The idea of creating an online slots game disguised as a musical jukebox is increasingly common for musicians, but it was Guns’ Roses that started the trend. Their slot came out in 2016 and is still comfortably the most popular music-themed online slots game at OnlineSlotsUK.com. Peers like Motorhead, Alice Cooper, and even British rockers Megadeth have since followed suit and had their own licensed online slots published through a range of partners, but none have made as much money for as the Guns n’ Roses slot. It’s likely that the band will eventually release a sequel as the technology behind slot games becomes more advanced, but that still won’t be the weirdest piece of merchandise they’ve ever come up with.
If the online slots game is their most successful merchandising adventure (other than t-shirts) to date, their latest idea must surely be considered the strangest. Aimed at cannabis smokers in states where it’s legal to partake in the habit in the United States of America, Guns n’ Roses have released an official branded bong. The highly unusual move comes as part of a partnership with American company “Famous Brandz” and will also see a range of Guns n’ Roses branded smoking paraphernalia hit the market. As well as the bong, the band (or at least its logo) will appear on hand pipes and grinders. Two different bongs have been made available, one of which is more expensive than the other. The goods are advertised as coming with “exclusive artwork” in six different designs, thus giving collectors an expensive task to complete.
The theme of the smoking goods is the band’s album “Appetite for Destruction,” which features prominently on the artwork. The more expensive of the two bongs is listed at $99, with the cheaper model coming in at $70. From there, you’re paying between $25 and $30 for each item, depending on which design you want. Ironically, the news comes as Slash celebrates the fifteenth anniversary of his decision to go sober and cut himself off from all drink and drugs. It’s therefore to be assumed that he didn’t play any role in the design or testing of any of the new merchandise.
Anybody who’s interested in making a purchase should first check whether it’s legal to purchase or own any cannabis-related items in their home state or country. The same could also be said of the online slots game. The collectables are available for purchase immediately in the United States of America and can theoretically be ordered for delivery abroad, although additional charges would apply in those circumstances. It goes without saying that it’s nothing like having new music to listen to, but if you’re of the mindset that there’s nothing better than listening to a classic Guns n’ Roses album while having a smoke, we can certainly think of worse things to spend money on!
After 20 seasons, Keeping Up with the Kardashians has finally come to a bittersweet end. The reality television series created by Ryan Seacrest centered around the glamourous lives of the Kardashian-Jenner family, predominantly Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kylie, Kendal, and their mother/manager, Kris. The show dove deep into their personal lives featuring all of their day-to-day activities, lovers, career opportunities, plenty of gossip, and everything in between. Keeping Up with the Kardashians was a groundbreaking show for pop culture as it caused reality television to grow in popularity and created a whole new world for social media influencers.
Photograph found on the official @kuwtk Instagram page of sisters having fun.
Since the show began in 2007, the show created a ginormous fan base and the Kardashian and Jenner girls gained millions of social media followers. Along with the show, each member of the family accomplished a lot including marriages, children, business launches, modeling gigs, and more. After the season 20 finale, the cast of Keeping Up with the Kardashians sat down for a televised interview with Andy Cohen to look back at everything they have went through and to answer hard hitting questions from fans. Read on for the highlights.
Karadashian-Jenner girls with Andy Cohen on the day of the interview. Photograph posted on @kuwtk Instagram page.
To start off the interview, Andy Cohen reminded us that there have nine spin offs of the show, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are billionaires, the sisters have had headline relationships, three marriages, and over 800 million google search results. Clearly, Keeping Up the Kardashians put this family on the map. Following the introduction, Cohen began asking the most pressing questions. In 2007 a sex tape of Kim Kardashian was released and addressed in the first episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. This tape was a large scandal and Kim did receive a lot of attention for it. One of Cohen’s first questions was directed to Kim asking her if the show would have been successful without the sex tape. Kim responded by saying that the tape did help the initial success of the show, but it is a mistake that she will have to live with for the rest of her life and a tough conversation that she will have to have with her children someday.
Cohen then went on to ask Kylie Jenner questions about her life. Kylie is a billionaire who created an incredibly successful beauty line, Kylie Cosmetics. Kylie shared in the interview that she grew up being very insecure about her small lips and would outline them with lip liner. This sparked her love for makeup and led her to Kylie Cosmetics. It is a well-known fact that Kendall Jenner has always kept her love life private and refused to include her relationships in Keeping up with the Kardashians. During the interview Kendall Jenner admitted that she is in a relationship with professional basketball player, Devin Booker.
One of the most iconic Kardashian-Jenner relationships would have to be Kourtney Kardashians relationship with Scott Disick. The couple had three children together and dated on and off for nine years. The two split up in 2015, however Scott and Kourtney have remained friends. Scott was a major character on the show and appeared on every season. In the interview, Cohen asked Kourtney why she broke up with Scott and she said the deal breaker was his substance abuse. Kourtney is now dating Travis Barker and Scott gave his blessing and said he wants her to be happy.
Post from @kuwtk Instagram post from interview day.
Another highlight from the interview is when Cohen asked Khloé Kardashian about her relationship with Tristan Thompson. Thompson cheated on Kardashian with Kylie’s best friend at the time, Jordan Woods, when she was pregnant with their child. Thompson and Kardashian broke up because of this and the Kardashian family cut Jordan out of their lives. Khloé and Tristan, however, did get back together and Cohen asked Khloé why she didn’t give Jordan the same pass she gave Tristan. Khloé went on to say that she doesn’t hold any grudge against Jordan and that she forgives her.
This spicy interview was a perfect wrap up for Keeping Up with the Kardashians. To watch for yourself visit Keeping Up with the Kardashians Season 20 Episodes 13 and 14 on Hulu.
On May 21, 2021, eighteen-year-old Disney star Olivia Rodrigo released her first album titled Sour. The album walks us through the truly raw emotions of teenage years. Before releasing the entire album, she released three singles. The first was Driver’s License. This is a truly remarkable song about heartbreak. Although she is singing about recently getting her driver’s license, this song is very mature, relatable, vulnerable, and raw. She sings, “I just can’t imagine how you could be so okay now that I’m gone,” and you can hear the sorrow in her voice when she sings, “cause you said forever now I drive alone past your street”. The song broke so many records and received so many accolades and became an instant classic that will be remembered beyond her years.
Sour album cover. Rodrigo posted this photograph on her Instagram account @oliviarodrigo.
The second single that preceded her album was Déjà vu. This song is more vindictive with a nostalgic and magical sound. She is singing to her ex about all of the lovely things they used to do together and asking him if he gets déjà vu when he does all of the same things with his new lover. This song proved to her fans that she is not just a one hit wonder. Déjà Vu also rose to the top of music charts and left her fans wanting more.
Rodrigo posted this photograph on her Instagram account @oliviarodrigo before releasing Deja Vu.
The third single Rodrigo released before the rest of the album is title Good 4 U. This record resembles Avril Lavigne as it is rock n roll, angsty, and fun. In this song Olivia reached the point of anger. Rodrigo powerfully sings, “I’ve lost my mind I’ve spent my nights crying on the floor of my bathroom and your so unaffected I really don’t get it, I guess good for you”. The song is very sarcastic as she says good for you to her ex-boyfriend for being in such a great place after the breakup while she is still miserable. It is another showcase of her amazing song writing skills and her ability to be versatile. Good 4 U left her fans counting down the days until the release of the album and is currently the number one record on Spotify. https://spotifycharts.com/regional
@oliviarodrigo Instagram post from the Good 4 U music video.
Rodrigo released the rest of Sour on May 21, 2021. The album includes eleven hit songs and each of them are unique and powerful and three of her songs are currently sitting in the top ten of The Hot 100 Billboard charts. https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100
She sings about heartbreak, insecurities, jealousy, and sympathy for others going through hard times as well. She has become the worlds most popular star in such a short amount of time. This year Rodrigo has performed on Saturday Night Live, The BRIT Awards, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to name a few. Rodrigo is so incredibly talented and is bound to continue to create timeless music for the rest of her career.
Having to juggle music and acting, Tisha Custodio’s days are always packed. In one of her more recent projects, she is a series regular on Disney+’s “Big Shot” alongside John Stamos. Despite the busy days, she finds time to replenish herself. This interview is all about Tisha Custodio’s fresh take on creativity.
1) You are a creative individual, in multiple senses of the term, as you act as well as work on music. Does acting and working on music simultaneously spread your creative energy too thin? How do you create enough balance?
Most of the time, music helps me wind down at the end of the day. Writing songs, or even just playing around with my guitar, helps me process my feelings/experiences more. However, there are some instances where I feel creatively drained. I think what helps me through these dips is the knowledge that most artists go through these periods and that I’m not alone. I recently went through a period of burnout, and it made me realize the importance of being gentle with myself and being ok with taking more breaks. Especially with music, it’s so easy to be obsessed with creating and getting better at your craft that it might feel like wasted time to do something else. But minimizing the other things life has to offer will make you feel burnt out more often and limit opportunities for creative inspiration.
2) What was your experience like on the sets of “Big Shot”? Could you give us an insight into the character of Carolyn Smith? How different or similar is she in comparison to you?
My experience on Big Shot was incredible. This is my first TV credit, and I feel so lucky to have this kind, talented cast to show me the ropes.
Carolyn, or Mouse, is the smallest and youngest one on the basketball team. She comes from a military family and is growing into her own throughout the first season. I would say we are similar in the sense that we work really hard to achieve our goals. I think the biggest difference is our age and where we are in life. Mouse is worried about getting straight A’s and receiving approval from adults and teammates. But I’m personally worrying about how to be an adult and not worry about what other people think.
3) How has your work life or your regular workday changed due to the pandemic and its consequences? How do you think the entertainment industry, as a whole, has been impacted by the same?
The beginning of the pandemic was weird because we knew we had this show to come back to but had no idea when we would be back. I had this unexpected hiatus and ended up spending more time with family and falling more in love with music.
I’m amazed at how the entertainment industry figured out all these new protocols to safely open back up. There are more things to worry about: PPE, separating production into zones, and enforcing social distancing. It is a little different than how we’re all used to filming, but it makes the process so safe during these times.
4) How has being an immigrant and a person of color impacted your work and your creative voice?
Being an immigrant has given me the ability to bring in a different perspective in the choices I make with my characters. It has made me want to bring Filipino culture to all my characters, so people that come from a similar background watching could feel seen in the media.
5) You are known to enjoy myriad genres of music. But what is your debut EP going to sound like? Are you done with any of the tracks yet? If so, could you share something about the process?
There are a couple of songs I feel are close to finished. But I am still mostly just writing a bunch of songs. It’s going to be acoustic-driven, indie-folk with a touch of jazz and r&b.
6) What’s next for Tisha Custodio? Do you have something upcoming that you would like to share with us?
Mostly writing songs! Hopefully a season 2 of Big Shot!
Cheri Moon speaks her truth with “Ain’t I A Woman”; a love letter to empowering and triumphant women from around the world. In this interview, she sheds light on the creative process behind the song, what inspired her and the message she wishes to put out into the world.
1) You, Cheri Moon, speak your truth with Ain’t I A Woman. This track comes from a place of inspiration. And hence, you dedicate it to Sojourner Truth. You also dedicate Ain’t I A Woman to your grandmother. I would love to know a little bit more about how your grandmother has been an evident source of inspiration in your life. Do you, in turn, attempt to do for your daughters what she did for you?
Yes, my grandmother, like most grandmothers, was the backbone of my family. She was a very strong woman and a true believer. When I say believer, she was strong in her faith but also, I can’t ever recall her being negative about our goals or aspirations. I mean, she may have had some old-school views, but then that’s what all kids think of parents. She generally leads by example and was beloved by lots of people. I try my best to instill similar values in my kids. Teaching them to be good people and to give. I also like the fact that they can look at their mom and think “Wow, mom just doesn’t give up!” I teach them that hard work is essential if you are ever going to get anywhere in life.
2) While the music video celebrates strong and intelligent women, it also contains stunning visuals and moments of conventionally feminine aesthetic. I love how it reconciles these supposedly separate entities. Why do you think there has always been a tension between embracing one’s femininity and being taken seriously? How do you combat that as an artist?
I believe the femininity struggle stems from oppression from many years ago, just as racial oppression. We as women have made leaps and bounds in progression, but there’s still so much more that needs to happen. When I look at so many achievements women are making nowadays, I know we are going in the right direction. As a female artist, you have to be headstrong and really confident about who you are and what sacrifices YOU want to make. These days you can create your own destiny.
3) Since you revisited a moment of inspiration from your childhood to write this song, what was the creative process like for you?
It was an emotional roller coaster for me with this song simply because I continue to struggle sometimes with my place in the world and my purpose. I know that my life is meant for Greatness and I haven’t quite achieved it yet in my eyes. So, when I have moments of despair I always reflect back to my childhood and my upbringing because that’s what fuels me and makes me feel certain I’m on the right path. I draw strength from moments in my childhood.
4) Recently, especially after the spike in hate crimes against the Black and Asian community, people have been taking notice of the extent to which systemic injustices continue to exist and churn out hate. 2020 and 2021 have seen moments of togetherness as people from all walks of life expressed outrage and protested amongst loss and pain. I would love to know how you have used your platform during these times of unrest.
Injustices will continue to happen unless we are consciously combatting them and creating change. For me, I feel that my best contribution is to motivate and uplift people with my music and art. With “Ain’t I A Women” I felt a huge urge to create something that would hopefully empower and motivate women of all walks of life to stand up and fight for things they want and equality. Even with some of my dance songs and children’s songs, I try as much as I can to put out positive affirmations. Social awareness with my ‘Snooknuk’ project has always been my main focus because the children are where we can really create FUTURE CHANGE!
5) We would love to know what’s next for you. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with us?
I’m releasing more music, some that’s inspirational and some that are just fun and make you want to dance. I’m collaborating and tying into more fashion projects, which is another one of my passions! I’m also doing more acting and voice-overs, so I’m stoked about some projects that are coming out soon. With my ‘Snooknuk’ project, I’m working on shows and animation so, I’m excited about that world!
Cooper Phillip’s “Not Perfect” is an empowering track narrates embracing your true self and knowing your self-worth. Cooper Phillip has garnered acclaim from the likes of Hollywood Life, Earmilk and PopDust to name a few. She is also known as an Instagram influencer and has gone viral on Spotify and YouTube, receiving over 15 million streams to date.
Russian born, Los Angeles based pop soul artist Cooper Phillip succeeds in capturing the undivided attention of listeners across the globe. With her intense drive, soaring vocals and passionate songwriting, Phillip is elevating herself to the top of her genre.
Born in a small town in Russia to a family of accomplished classical musicians, her early years were shaped being raised by her grandmother and aunt while her mother, a master violin player, toured around the world with various symphonies. This separation led Phillip to take comfort in music where she was enamoured by the vocal stylings of Ella Fitzgerald. A young Phillip taught herself Fitzgerald’s songs inside and out, noticing every nuance of phrasing and jazz intonations. Phillip eventually enrolled at the prestigious Moscow State Classical Academy where she studied classical piano, music theory, harp, jazz, blues, ballet and voice. The songstress worked diligently to expand her vocal range and control, taking everything that came in her path and feeding off of the challenge.
Recognizing her daughter’s talent and charisma, Phillip’s mother gave up her flourishing career to accompany a young Cooper on tour throughout Russia. Determined to pursue an international career in music, Phillip moved to New York City at the age of 17. With barely a dollar to her name, the singer worked and hustled, performing in weddings and clubs and sleeping in the storeroom of a restaurant where she sang. It wasn’t easy but she would not be deterred. After a few years in the city, Phillip jumped at an opportunity to sing at an important gig in Los Angeles. She never went back.
Phillip’s music features an underlying theme of strength, grace and empowerment. “I believe we underestimate ourselves often and our fear takes over. My goal is to show people that they are stronger and can do much more than they think they can”, she admits. Using true life stories, hardships and experiences, the songwriter emits authenticity and courage throughout her music.
Cooper Phillip has seen success with her previous single garnering over 10 million listens online. She has also developed an impressive and loyal fanbase, particularly on social media and has performed at some of Los Angeles most prestigious venues.
This interview with actress Dominique Druckman, explores her experience getting discovered filming her new show and what’s she is up to now. Dominique plays one of three influencers in the HBO documentary, Fake Famous, which premiered February 2nd on HBO. First-time director Nick Bilton explores the industry of social media influencers through an innovative experiment, taking an actress, fashion designer, and real estate agent, and demonstrates how easily an online personality can launch to Instagram fame. Dominique studies with the Groundlings in Los Angeles and is originally from Miami, Florida. She graduated from Florida State with a BA in Theater. Thanks to Fake Famous, Dominique now has over 300,000 followers on Instagram.
Q & A with Dominique on Fake Famous
How were you discovered for Fake Famous and can you elaborate on the recruiting process?
– “Somebody actually DM’d me asking if I would be interested in sending in a self-tape! This never happens to me, so after sussing it out and it felt legitimate, I sent in my tape. Turns out she is an intern for the production company, I’m so glad she found me!”
What was it like working with first time director Nick Bilton?
– “Nick is amazing, he is just so intelligent, which is really inspiring when it’s not intimidating. He was always very understanding of our lives outside the social experiment and I couldn’t be luckier that my first big project was with him as our captain!”
What was your favorite and least favorite part of being on Fake Famous?
– “I’d say my favorite part of being on Fake Famous would have to be all the free gifts, coming home every day felt like Christmas! Being around the crew, calling out sick from work to go film definitely wasn’t bad either. My least favorite part would have to be online bullies and trolls.”
Do you look at influencers different now after experiencing the ins & outs of being one?
– “I look at influencers a little differently, and feel like Fake Famous reveals what is behind the curtain for a lot of them. I admire influencers who hustle every day to make this their full-time job. It’s a lot of work to keep up with!”
Tell me about the adjustment of becoming an influencer from working in retail.
– “I still have my day job of working in retail, I’m currently waiting on Steven Spielberg to cast me in his next project so I can quit! I never found my niche that felt believable to an audience, which made it difficult to fully portray an influencer.”
Did participating in this show make you realize you want to be an influencer or is acting still the main goal? – “Acting is still the main goal and I am working at it every day.”
Interview with Dominique on Life After the Show
7. What acting genre do you aspire to be a part of? Are you more interested in TV roles or movies?
– “I love comedy, making people laugh just warms my heart. I’d love the consistency of working on a TV show but at the end of the day I just want to act full-time so will take either TV or Film.”
Are you afraid this show will give you a reality TV/ Instagram model stigma?
– “I was a little worried being perceived as an influencer for Fake Famous would keep me pegged as an influencer. No disrespect to the hard-working people in that industry. However it’s not for me and never want to lose sight of acting as my main priority.”
How has life been after the show?
– “Life has been fun and interesting. Now that the show and my secret is out, I have real engagement on my Instagram. It is weird to wrap my head around. I also have some trolls and internet bullies whose words can be harsh. I wish that if they didn’t have anything nice to say they just wouldn’t say it at all.”
What are your plans for the future and are you currently working on any projects that you wish to share?
– My plans are to be able to get out of having a survival job. I want enough time to work full-time towards becoming an actress this year. I’m manifesting that for the year 2021.”
Meet Toronto-based pop and r&b group rIVerse! Here to be a voice for the underrepresented, rIVerse is all about embracing oneself truly. Through their music and videos, they explore themes such as sexuality, representation, and body positivity. Tackling systemic injustices and self-love, rIVerse is back stronger than ever with new album Poison IV. In the wake of the release, rIVerse’s Khadija, Dizz, Monroe, and Zak chatted with Cliché about their mission, inspirations, and upcoming projects.
1) Poison IV features tracks that are reflective of systemic injustices that have existed for centuries. In that light, what’s your favorite lyric from ‘Poison IV’ and how does it resonate with you?
Khadija: In terms of a favourite lyric from ‘Poison IV,’ that’s a tough question. We ALL have different songs that are our favourites, and those change from day-to-day! Haha. But one line that keeps resonating for me is from the song ‘IV Ever’. It says, “We’re in a broke-down system. We need to find a new way”. It’s just such a really clear, simple summary of ALL the injustices we address on the album, I feel. It’s reflective of the way the world really started to understand in 2020 that the issues we face aren’t case-by-case problems. They are the results of centuries of systemic injustice. Until we fix the entire system, we won’t see any lasting change.
2) Dizz, I cannot imagine the courage it takes to come out as HIV-positive in a world that is still steeped in stigma. What has life been like for you after coming out with the news?
Dizz: Since coming out publicly about living with HIV, my life feels so much more free. I’m not a person who likes feeling like I’m hiding any shameful secrets or anything like that. I didn’t like the weight of having this new part of my life, part of my truth, and feeling like I had to hide it. Now I feel like I can just continue living my life without worrying about people finding out. It’s also been incredible to see the response since I chose to share my truth.
I’ve had many people privately messaging me in my DMs, thanking me for telling my story, coming out to ME about their own HIV statuses that they haven’t even told their friends or family. But seeing me be so open has kind of helped them to realize they don’t need to feel so defeated or wrong about themselves. That really helps me know, everyday, that I made the right choice.
3) The four of you break all kinds of norms that are unfortunately still prevalent. I would love to know what the response to your music and videos has been like.
Monroe: The response we get to our music and videos is honestly overwhelming sometimes. In the best way! There are so many people out there who have NEVER seen anyone in mainstream media that looks like them, or that they feel can relate to their stories in such a close way. They are so grateful to rIVerse for just being who we are and doing what we do. And at the same time, it’s like, WE’RE grateful to THEM for supporting us and listening to our music, watching our videos! We know that we couldn’t continue to rise without their support. It means a lot to us to know that we’re creating something they really enjoy and they even need, in a way. They remind us everyday that we’re on the right path.
4) Who or what do you draw your artistic inspiration from?
Zak: Our artistic inspirations come from such varied places, since we are four very different people with such diverse backgrounds. I think it’s safe to say that across the board, we all love music from earlier decades, especially the 90s & early 2000s. That’s what we grew up on so we often like to rIVerse (haha!) back in time to draw from that music. But the specific inspirations range from the alt-rock & ska that I listened to, the r&b that Dizz grew up on, the acoustic singers Khadija loved, and the great divas Monroe would imitate in her bedroom mirror, singing into a hair brush! And, of course, we all loved our 90s pop stars – Britney, Backstreet Boys, Christina, etc.
5) What gap do you think currently exists in the music industry?
Khadija: The question of what gaps exist in the stories that are told in mainstream media is one that we actually discuss often. The baseline answer we often reach is that there is just a lack of representation, overall! We need a more varied representation of all different kinds of people. If we can see all different types of Black stories, or queer stories, or stories with plus-sized people at the centre, or stories that address all the different ways intersectionality can affect people, then it isn’t such a big deal when any one particular narrative is told.
OR if a particular narrative is left out in one space; we can trust that it’ll be told in another. But because we have such a small scope, even when there are “wins” — like the WAP music video was for female empowerment — it can still feel empty for some. It’s beacuse we’re missing the other elements to those particular stories. More representation is the answer!
6) There has been a lot of talk about misinformation when it comes to the body positivity movement. What misconceptions do you think people have about the movement?
Monroe: There are still a lot of misconceptions about the body positivity movement. I guess it’s still so new to being a mainstream thing. One big misconception is that body positivity means you’re supposed to love everything about your body at all times. Any negative thought is like “No! You aren’t being body positive!” But I go through my days where I struggle with my body image, as we all do. We have so many years of programming we need to work through. There will be times when it’s harder than others. But we have to remember that loving yourself is meant to be a journey, not a destination.
Another big misconception is understanding that while the movement is for everyone who suffers from body image issues… at the same time, the fat community has been specifically marginalized, mistreated, and faced with so much prejudice for a really long time. So that is a very specific issue that needs to be addressed. It should have the space to be talked about. People in that community should have their voices uplifted when it comes to body positivity.
7) Does rIVerse have a motto/mantra?
Zak: There are two statements that are part of the rIVerse brand. The first is our mission statement, “Representing the Underrepresented,” which we make sure is the throughline of everything we create. The second is the declaration that we include in many of our YouTube videos and live fan interactions we have: “I am Beautiful, I am Worthy, I am Valued, and I am Loved.” We ask our fans to say this declaration along with us to remind themselves that, as much as they look up to us, they are just as amazing and powerful and worthy of seeing their dreams come true, no matter who they are or what their story is.
8) Do you have any new projects up your sleeve that you would like to share with us?
Dizz: Yes!!! Coming up next for rIVerse is our full-length Poison IV Virtual Concert! We are working with an incredible team to produce a 60+ minute performance built around the album. This will be streamed to our fans all across the globe. We are so excited for this and feel blessed to be able to share a live performance experience with everyone who has been showing our music so much love. Especially since we had to cancel our very first headlining tour last year due to COVID-19. We are still fundraising for this concert, since we are an independent group and we pay for everything out of our own pockets. If anyone is interested in supporting our goal of putting on this concert, our music, or our message in general, please feel free to make a donation to our GoFundMe campaign!!!