The third studio album, Seasons, from alternative band American Authors brings out some of their old familiar sounds hailing from the days of their first big hit, “Best Day of My Life”, while also exploring new elements and themes making it a perfect balance of honing in on what they do so well and not being afraid to explore the unknown. Their use of different kinds of percussion and choral elements really drives the album and makes all of their songs more like anthems than just regular old songs. With honest lyrics and melodies that are both catchy, interesting, and emotive, the album creates a cohesive work that is like looking at a cross section of someones life and all of the highs and lows, decisions, and consequences.
This collection of songs takes us through all kinds of stages and makes for an enjoyable listen. “I Wanna Go Out” is an ode to those nights where you go out despite knowing you should’ve stayed home but you just want to escape for a little. The chorus is fun and catchy, and the idea of “let’s get wild make a memory” is one most can relate to. A favorite from this album is “Neighborhood” which features Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE. The feeling this song portrays is a special one of both nostalgia and sadness, but also a sense of gratefulness for being in the position to leave and come back to a place, more specifically, your home. The album closes out with “A Real Place”, an honest and raw song, fitting for the title. With lyrics that accept responsibility and that desperately want to right wrongs, this song is a beautiful end to the album.
Strong vocals are featured throughout the album and the emotion behind them help tell the band’s stories. Making use of a wide array of instrumentation from guitar, prominent percussion, synths, piano, bass, and more, each song is distinct in it’s own right while retaining a consistent sound across the album. Where some might struggle to achieve this, American Authors has found a sound that is distinctly theirs and is almost malleable in that they are able to work it into all of their songs without sounding repetitive which keeps it fresh and interesting.
Since her debut EP in 2017 “Don’t Smile at Me”, Billie Eilish has been a pioneer in the music industry. At the age of 17, she’s been taking risks and reinventing the pop music scene. Her hauntingly different sound has everyone wanting more. Friday, March 28, she released her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, and her fans are going crazy for it. Billie Eilish has produced a different type of music than most pop stars, and this album is nothing short of what we would expect.
The album begins with a short 14 second intro titled “!!!!!!!” where she introduces the album by taking out her Invisalign; a short, funny intro to pull in her fans. Then the album dives into her song “bad guy” which has an eerie feel to it, like a horror movie. This song depicts Eilish as the bad guy who’s going to mess around and wreak havoc.
One of the defining qualities of the album is that most of the songs are really bass heavy and have a slower tempo. “Xanny”, which touches on the struggles Eilish has with her anxiety, is a slow, almost ballad type song where Eilish pours out her soul to her listeners. Another slow, yet lighter song is “when the party’s over” which Eilish released before the album itself. The lyrics to this song spell out tale of a relationship. Fans loved this song when Eilish released it and it fits in well with the rest of the album.
The album has some lighter feeling songs including “8”, “i love you”, and “my strange addiction” which has audio clips from the hit show The Office throughout the song.
Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell write all their own songs and Eilish performs them. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? definitely has an eerie, vibey feel to it, like most of Eilish’s music. Her new style of music has fans wanting more, but for now they will be satisfied with this album.
Classically trained cellist turned pop artist, HILDUR, an Icelandic artist with a ton of talent recently released her single, “1993.” Realizing that she was finally was living out her dream from when she was just a kid, the song takes us through her journey so far and her personal life. HILDUR is a natural when it comes to songwriting and has spent years honing in on her craft, even teaching workshops to other songwriters along the way. With new music coming out in the near future and traveling coming up, we can expect a lot of great things from HILDUR.
Cliché: Your latest single, “1993,” was inspired by your realization that you were living out the dreams that you had when you were five years old. What else can you tell me about that song?
HILDUR: This song feels like a fast autobiography, from when I was 5 until today, about the journey from having a dream and my way towards that life. It was not an easy road, so the song talks about the fallbacks and self doubt on the way. I would say it’s one of my most personal songs and the lyrics actually have a bunch of hints about my life. You can find my birthday spelled out there, the sport I used to train is mentioned and then some of my biggest insecurities. But I feel like it’s a very hopeful song too.
You started out as a classical cellist, what got you into the singing and songwriting side of things?
I feel like expression and creating something new has always been a part of me. Whether it was drawing, writing stories, crafts or melodies – it all started at a very early age. My dream to stand on stage and write my own songs, always felt just an inevitable part of it. I remember creating melodies since I was playing the cello but the first actual song I remember writing was from when I was 15 year old and I had taught myself how to play guitar. I have always had fascination for lyrics and stories and I guess I just had the urge to try it out from my point of view.
How does your songwriting process work, you’ve said that you are “fascinated” with what makes a melody catchy, is that usually where you start with your songs?
Most of the time it starts with a melodic idea or a concept or a word. But I’ve realized that often the best ideas come when you’re not trying. So when ideas hit when I’m outside walking or washing the dishes or being somewhere in a completely different place, I always record a voice memo and many songs have started from there.
Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
I love Nao, Emelie Nicolas, Seinabo Sey, Kehlani, Highasakite, Broods – and the list goes on!
You’ve talked about taking the time to really find the sound that you wanted your music to have and not rushing the process. What is it about the style of music that you chose that you feel allows you to express yourself more than any other style would?
This is a tough one, as I feel like you’re always evolving as a human being and thus as an artist too. I always try to write music in the mood I feel like at the time. The good thing though about being a songwriter that writes for others too is that you can use those moments, too.
I see that you’ve taught some songwriting workshops. What advice do you give to people learning how to write or honing in on their craft?
Most important thing is that creativity is a muscle that you need to train. Don’t expect your first song to be great. Even though you’ve been playing an instrument for a long time – songwriting is a different craft and needs repetition. Write the bad songs too, get them out of your system and you learn something about yourself or songwriting new every time you write a song. Write with others and absorb, quickest way of learning is from other great writers.
What are you looking forward to in the near future and what can listeners expect?
I’ve got a bunch of traveling coming up; London, Sierra Leone and Chicago, I love how music takes me places. Listeners can stay tuned for more songs coming very soon, and I would say you’re in for a treat!
Brothers Abner and Harper have been making music almost their whole lives. With their first single, “Three Thirty,” they formed their current project, Eighty Ninety. Receiving a spot on Taylor Swift’s, “Songs Taylor Loves” playlist, with their single, “Your Favorite Song,” the brothers have been on a steady trajectory to success. Writing and producing all of their own songs which have elements across all different genres from pop to indie rock to dance, the duo has crafted their own sound that they self describe as “808s and telecaster.”
Eighty Ninety will be playing a small in-studio show on March 30th at Douglass Recording that will be filmed and live streamed on YouTube / Facebook. You can RSVP here to go in person or RSVP here to watch the live stream.
Listen to “Your Favorite Song” here:
Cliché: How did you get your start creating music together? Was this something you both always knew you wanted to do?
Eighty Ninety: We’re brothers, and have been playing music pretty much our whole lives. We always knew that we eventually wanted to be in a band together. It’s something we talked about growing up. So unofficially, we’ve been playing together for a while now. But Eighty Ninety started when we moved to New York and began working on what would become our first single, “Three Thirty”.
I recently saw you perform at the Ludlow House. It was awesome and the crowd was really engaged! What’s your favorite part about performing live?
Thanks so much for coming to the show, and glad you had a good time! Playing live is great because it’s a chance to just channel the emotions of the songs (rather than perfecting them, which is what the studio is for). It feels great and gives us a new perspective on the music that we can take back to the studio. Because of that, playing in-progress songs live sometimes is the final step before we finish producing them. Also, nothing is more motivating and incredible than meeting the people who come to the shows. We did an east coast tour last fall and saw our first Eighty Ninety tattoo — hard to put that into words.
You’ve been receiving recognition across the industry, including Taylor Swift putting you on her playlist, “Songs Taylor Loves.” What does it all mean to you and for your continuing success?
Taylor Swift adding “Your Favorite Song” to her playlist was a totally surreal moment for us in a lot of ways. We have so much respect, admiration, and unabashed fan-love for her and her music music (Abner once saw her two nights in a row) that it was definitely a pinch-me moment and also so motivating and inspiring to keep going and trust ourselves to keep making the music we want to make. And having “Three Thirty” connect and go viral the way that it did was amazing in a different way — seeing how many people across the world have listened feels like real evidence that writing and making something so personal can resonate in a universal way. That was really moving. It would be an understatement to say we didn’t expect any of this – we’re so grateful every day.
Describing yourselves as “808s and telecasters” is such an interesting and perfect way to describe your sound. Can you tell me a little more about your instrumentation and style?
When we’re in the studio we don’t really think about genre and as a result there are elements of pop, electronic, country, dance, and indie rock in our songs. “808’s and telecasters” felt like a good way to get that across – but also highlights the two things that show up the most frequently. Live, we’re a three piece band (vocals, guitars, drums + samples and tracks) that comes across a little more rock — so that dichotomy is also in there.
You write, produce, and mix all of your songs right out of a small space in NYC. What does that process look like for you? How do your songs come to life?
We usually finish a song before we start to produce it. We think of production as doubling down on a song’s emotional core — so we need to be clear on what that is before we start producing. Once the song is finished we talk about a big-picture vision and how we imagine the song coming across. Then we’ll get down the basic (main guitar part or pad) and do vocals until they feel right. After that we slowly build up around the voice and keep pushing until we feel like it’s finished. That last part of the process sometimes takes an afternoon, and sometimes takes weeks.
Who are your own musical inspirations, and who are you listening to now?
We’re really inspired by the new artists we see around us – so those two things are one in the same. We have a constantly updated playlist called “Our Favorite Songs” (get it!) that right now has artists like FINNEAS, Muna, Phoebe Bridgers, The Band CAMINO, Yoke Lore, lovelytheband, Des Rocs, pronoun, LANY, Queue, Sorcha Richardson, Aaron Taos, Mallrat, Loote, The Japanese House. And of course Taylor Swift.
You’ve said that you love collaborating. Is there anyone specific in mind you want to have the opportunity to collaborate with, and why?
If anyone from that playlist that we just listed wants to collab in any way – our studio door is always open!
What can listeners expect from you coming up in the near future?
We’re in the final stages of finishing a new EP. The plan is to start releasing singles soon – and not to stop.
Smith & Thell, a duo from Sweden, began making music together shortly after meeting at a local event in their hometown. With recognition in the industry as “Best New Artist,” and selling out shows including one in New York City, they are quickly rising up in their pop/folk genre. Their song, “Forgive me Friend,” from their latest EP, Telephone Wires has over 1.5 million hits on Youtube. Smith & Thell took time to answer some questions for Cliché about their origins, including getting to know each other musically; their first tour, which included a sold out show in Berlin; and their creative process.
Listen to “Forgive me Friend” here:
Cliché: I’ve read that you met at a local music event in your home town and started creating music together after that. What was it about each other that drew you to one another to create music collectively?
Smith & Thell: At first when we started rehearsing and writing together we realized that we were very different musically. Today we’re happy that we were curious enough to find our differences interesting rather than seeing our differences as something negative. Instead of thinking the other one was weird we really started introducing each other to the music of the bands we loved, broadening each of our perspectives. We would switch iPods for the day and listen to each other’s influences and that really helped us grow. What wasn’t different was our passion and drive for music and as people we found that we were very similar emotionally. When we started writing songs together instead of separately the songs just became better and better.
What role would you say winning the “Best New Artist” award from Sweden’s Denniz Pop Awards had in launching your success?
It meant a lot to us. We sent in our song “Statue” as a demo before it was released and it was a real shocker that we won. Winning the award was our first real “industry” win and it gave us some extra confidence to continue to be us.
In the past year you had the opportunity to tour Europe. What was that experience like for you? Was there a favorite city on your tour?
It was a real indie tour haha. We carried our gear on trains and airplanes. We played shows at small venues in Berlin, Hamburg and Holland. Our favorite show on that tour was a small gig at Grüner Salon in Berlin where we realized we have fans in Germany that travelled far to come and see us. We also played in a container store in Berlin that was so small it only fit 20 people. It was really intimate and special AND we can also brag about selling out a show in Germany.. haha!
You both have experience writing for other musicians and artists. How would you say this has shaped how you write your own music?
We learn a lot from all artists we write with. Every artist has their own vision and it’s our job to help them find their musical identity in every new song. It broadens our perspective of what we’re capable of creating and that will push us to think outside the box when we write for our own project.
I’ve read that sometimes you create music with very direct lyrics and other times to evoke emotions that you have felt but that you cannot define in words. How would you say you create the music that evokes these emotions? Is there a process to it or does it just naturally happen?
We never force ourselves to write songs for Smith & Thell. The song ideas usually happen when we don’t think about writing. Voice Memos on our phones is our best friend. We can go weeks without writing and then all of a sudden something will bubble up from under the surface and we may write three songs in a day. The process is always different, we don’t have a formula, but we always stay patient and choose not to force it.
What has been your favorite song that you’ve written together so far? Why?
Though “Statue” wasn’t the first song we wrote as Smith & Thell it still feels like it’s the first song we wrote. It was the starting point of how we like to write lyrics and something just clicked after that, we felt very free creatively. “Forgive Me Friend” is our favorite song, melody-wise, written up until this point.
You just had shows in LA and NYC. How was that for you?
It was amazing to see that we have fans on the other side of the planet, knowing the lyrics to even our lesser known songs. Our NYC show was extra special as it was sold out. That was a milestone for us.
What can listeners expect from you in the near future?
They can expect a lot of experimenting with sounds and rhythms. We are working on our second album and we’re in a creative flow at the moment which feels really free and relieving.
With her music featured in multiple television shows and advertisements, songwriter, CAPPA, has been making her mark in the music industry. Writing upbeat pop songs that you can dance to as well as appreciate the lyrics, her music brings something fresh to the pop scene. CAPPA answered some questions for Cliché about her recent move, her songwriting process, new music, and more. She also has her new single, “Sux,” debuting today.
Cliché: You had a relatively recent move from Nashville to Los Angeles. How has that been so far? Would you say the music scenes are similar or very different in the two cities?
It’s been amazing, actually! I’m really happy about the move. I was very skeptical moving because I had heard the music scene in LA was a lot more cut throat, but I love it. Everyone’s been awesome and I feel much more inspired here than I have in a while.
Nashville has a cool pop scene coming about. It’s just a totally different vibe all around. It’s much smaller than LA’s scene which is much more fast paced.
I’ve read that your song, “Waste My time,” released back in 2017, was the first single you had released after over a year of not feeling very musically inspired. Can you talk about how you came back from that? What was it that got you feeling inspired again and wanting to release new music?
I wasn’t sure what style I wanted to do for a little bit. I was uninspired by a lot of pop music at the time and tried some other styles but they felt contrived. “Waste My Time” was the first song that I did that I felt like was cool and different than a lot of what I was hearing. I always want to release new music, so sometimes there is just a lot of pressure to get a good song right away- sometimes it takes a little while to get the right song.
Can you describe your songwriting process? How does it all come together for you?
I typically either start a basic idea on piano or start with a producer in a room, just depending on the song and what I am going for. Every time is a little bit different but it typically always starts with melody because that is my favorite part. Once I have melodies I like, the rest comes pretty naturally.
What is your favorite song to perform live at the moment? Why?
I like performing my most recent single “Tension” just because it is so fun and people seem to really respond to it when I am playing it, so that always makes it 10x better.
I’ve come across a few of your covers, and they all have your distinct style on them. I think it’s great the way you make the songs your own while respecting the original. What’s your favorite cover that you’ve done so far? What is it about the songs that you’ve covered that made you want to record them?
Thank you! I really like the “No Scrubs” cover just because it was and is one of my all time favorite songs. It’s just a good jam; I grew up singing it. I was just really surprised people liked it at the time. I thought it was a little bit cheesy but was just doing it because I loved the song so much.
Your songs have been synched in ads for huge companies such as Victoria’s Secret, Bumble, and Under Armor, and films/television shows like Netflix’s, “Set it Up,” and Freeform’s, “The Bold Type”. How would you say that type of exposure has helped in growing your fan base?
It’s been so awesome. One of my dreams has always been to hear my songs on tv and be caught off guard that it was me. I was napping on a friends couch the other week and heard my song in a commercial and I woke up out of a dead sleep and was like “THAT’S MY SONG.” It’s a great feeling.
You’re new single, “Sux,” coming out November 30th, is such a fun and catchy song with lyrics about something not exactly fun. It’s such a great contrast! What was your inspiration behind it?
Yeah, it’s definitely not the happiest topic. The song was about a recent relationship of mine where I got broken up with my over the phone about a month or two into moving to LA. It was really nice to write honest lyrics about the situation and gave me an outlet to put some of it behind me. Even though it’s about a break up, I wanted it to feel more badass and not sound like it was coming from a weak place but more of an empowering stance.
What else can listeners expect from you in the near future?
There will be a remix of “Sux,” then a few more singles and an EP in the near future 🙂
On August 16th, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul passed away at 76. Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. We can thank her father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, for exposing Aretha to the world of gospel music. She began singing in her father’s Detroit Baptist church, undoubtedly where she began to polish her soulful singing style.
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
Columbia Records was the first to sign the singer in 1960. However, it was not until her contract with Atlantic and the release of her 1967 album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, that Franklin became a household name with a gold album under her belt. Franklin’s single, “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You),” was her first pop hit, scoring a spot in the Top 10 list and number one spot for R&B.
It was neither my intention nor my plan, but some were saying that in my voice they heard the sound of confidence and self-assurance.
Following Aretha Franklin’s Passing, Her Music Sales Have Soared
The Queen of Soul’s passing is a loss of a music legend. Countless artists who followed in Soul, R&B, and Pop were influenced by the songstress. In her lifetime, Franklin had 73 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 and 100 songs on Billboard’s R&B singles list. She released 17 songs that placed on the Top 10 chart, as well as 21 songs that landed the number one spot for R&B singles.
On the day of her death, Aretha’s album sales skyrocketed to an astounding 19,000 copies in a single day. The day prior, her album sales were around 1,000 copies. According to Nielsen Music and The Hollywood Reporter, combined with digital song downloads, August 16th saw 134,000 copies of Franklin’s albums and tracks sold.
“Respect” and Women’s Empowerment
1967 Aretha Franklin studio portrait. Photo Credit: Gilles Petard/Redferns
One of the best ways to honor the music legend is to continue to share her music. Franklin left an indelible mark on the music industry with her talents, as well as on the world with her strong presence and influence in racial issues and women’s rights. Much of her music was geared toward the empowerment of women, most notably her rendition of Otis Redding’s song, “Respect.” Redding’s version from a male perspective was a representation of a man’s world. But when Franklin reimagined the song, she had something else in mind. She took “Respect” and utterly transformed the entire meaning. It was—and continues to be—a woman’s anthem and a reminder that as women, we need to demand respect.
Music Stars’ React to Franklin’s Death: Crafting “the Soundtrack to the Lives of Many”
Many musicians took to Twitter yesterday to express their love and the loss of Aretha. Singers like Elton John, Patti LaBelle, and Diana Ross have truly embodied the impact that Franklin made on the world.
The loss of @ArethaFranklin is a blow for everybody who loves real music: Music from the heart, the soul and the Church. Her voice was unique, her piano playing underrated – she was one of my favourite pianists. pic.twitter.com/ug5oZYywAz
Norwegian songstress/producer Emma Jensen returns with her new single, “Rush,” to kick off the summer of 2018. The track is a follow up to her 2017 breakout debut and tells the tale of a lackluster love. “Rush” was produced by Jensen and fellow Norwegian Henrik the Artist, who is signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent.
Already dubbed “Norway’s latest gem” with only two singles released to date and drawing comparisons to Ellie Goulding and Zara Larrson, Jensen has made waves with “Closer”which she produced, wrote, and sang. “Closer” is inching towards 8 million spins on Spotify.
Delivering an all too relatable, infectious chorus alongside her sultry yet vulnerable vocals, “Rush” is set to follow suit and have listeners hooked.
Listening to Sunset Blush by Philadelphia’s indie darling Kississippi—otherwise known as Zoe Reynolds—feels like sitting shotgun in the summer, windows rolled down halfway, a lukewarm breeze passing by your shoulders. It gives the sonic effect of goosebumps. A fairly big step away from 2016’s EP We Have No Future, We’re All Doomed, this release has pulled the project into a much more pop-influenced direction. This move comes across as extremely natural for Reynolds, who is diving into her own sound following the departure of former bandmate Colin James.
Her vocals are more confident than ever, and her songwriting is tender and sharp all at once. She bares it all on the breakout track “Cut Yr Teeth,” with lyrics that tap into the anxiety of realizing someone may not actually be who they appeared to be (“The person you made yourself out to be / would feel sorry for what you have done to me.”) There’s something about the distance created by the use of the second person—that biting “you”—that makes it even more intimate. It’s almost as if she’s having a conversation with the listener, like they’re tapping into something they shouldn’t be. But then, in a way that only she knows how to, Reynolds brings you back into her world mere minutes later on “Red Lights” with one use of the word “we.” One of the sweeter tracks on the album, “Red Lights” is the unmistakably slow burn of a blush you can’t shake, with simple lyrics that say more than words usually can (“Red lights / Kisses on the nose / Hope we hit traffic on the way home.”)
There’s an energy present on this album that we haven’t seen before from Kississippi—partially thanks to anthemic tracks like “Easier To Love” and “Adrift,” which both drip with synths, while retaining an edge. With saccharine harmonies and upbeat, driving guitar parts, both tracks appeal to her new pop sensibilities. They are also undeniable highlights of the album, giving her vocals a chance to soar. Not only does Reynolds avoid the cheesiness that is often symptomatic of indie rock artists experimenting with pop flirtations, but she does so triumphantly. She creates a novel sound, a possibility which is always questioned in our ever-skeptical-of-pop world.
Sunset Blush is rare and remarkable, unearthing a ferocious femininity that has been there all along. It shows a clear progression for the artist, who is (unsurprisingly) seeing well-deserved success in the wake of its release. It’s already surpassing older releases on streaming platforms and showing no signs of slowing down—especially not after her tour with Dashboard Confessional.
Read more Music Reviews on ClicheMag.com Kississippi Dives Into Pop With ‘Sunset Blush’: Featured image courtesy of Kississippi
It was a fall afternoon; not too cold, not too warm, with sunny skies. Like most people would agree, it’s a good time to use the great weather as some healthy motivation. For upcoming artist Moxiie, it was a good time to go for a walk. While Moxiie enjoys staying active, another major form of motivation for her is, unsurprisingly, music. Alongside rap and reggae artists, she said, “I’ve been listening to a lot of Lauryn Hill lately…I’m sad I didn’t get to one of her shows!” I replied that it wasn’t a goal that was out of reach. She agreed.
Moxiie released her debut EP Jungle Pop in 2011, which contained elements of R&B, Caribbean sound, and electronic pop. In tracks like “Animal,” you can hear the delicate, yet strong elements in her voice, and in the bridge, her Haitian upbringing is spotlighted in the song’s instrumentals. In 2012, she released her first album Savage, which she co-produced alongside various producers like Peter Wade (“Babygirl” by Charli XCX & Uffie and “Feed Me Diamonds” by MNDR), Fredro (Alessia Cara), and REO, to further push the “jungle-pop” sound she was creating.
A strong example of all her jungle-pop vision can be found in “Anyway,” a track she and REO worked on together. In 2017, Moxiie still doesn’t see music as just a job or a way to relax, but one and the same, saying, “When there’s nothing else to do, it’s a task to complete, so I will go to the studio, run a track…[music] keeps up with discipline and exploration of self…so it’s definitely a bit of both.”
Self-exploration is another attainable goal, but it can also be seen as a task for any artist. Writing can be a way to find the mind’s deepest thoughts, and for Moxiie, her songwriting is and doesn’t start off with one thing in mind; otherwise, it defeats the purpose.
“I don’t force anything or try to settle in one direction,” she says. “I just focus on the feeling and my response is the truest response.”
For Moxiie, this is easiest when she’s at home, but overall following her own feelings and not the expectations of anyone else. Then there are the moments where inspiration hits you at unexpected times. I asked if there was any one moment that stood out and pushed her to get on a song right away. Moxiie recalls a time during a parade that led to a songwriting session: “Producer Fredro and I heard a sound during St. Patrick’s Day and we ended up working on my song ‘Anyway,’ just based on that one sound.”
Like many other songwriters, Moxiie was able to multitask and work on various pieces of the track over a period of time. “I can spend maybe one week on a song or even two years. Just because with that, there’s certain things maybe I wasn’t comfortable with or felt like changing.”
Moxiie says aside from personal deadlines on a project, she prefers taking a step back and assessing the song simply because it’s easier spreading her feelings across multiple ideas, remaining honest and fresh in their art.
Moxiie’s recent release, “Complicated” with Swish Allnet, peaked an interest in how her collaborations come about. She says, “It’s a mix of artists reaching out…sometimes someone’s working on a song, or knows someone and suggests we work together.”
Collaborating, Moxiie says, only just started this year, but being able to be neutral and add value to the music produced is important.
Aside from collaborations, there are the moments where Moxiie follows through with a vision from start to finish. Her song “Don’t See You” is a great example. It’s a chill, yet assertive and self-aware confession about someone who isn’t available in the utmost way—emotionally and without deceit. The video for the track is a standout, directed by Melissa Espinosa and with creative direction by the artist herself, oozing with her own cool factor and nostalgia of the 1990s.
“I wanted to translate the feeling of the song visually…I thought of all the references from the ‘90s,” Moxiie explains. “One reference in particular was a Calvin Klein ad. It was a mix of androgyny and freedom but a desirable aloofness. I wanted to show how even though people are standing close to one another, they’re not relating to one another. Kind of like living in NYC.”
Moxiie also explained that she wanted to give “an element of stillness and endlessness in a video,” and referred to the song’s subject as ghost-like.
Moxiie’s newest single, “Complicated,” is another track that immediately showcases her ability to get straight to her feelings, but allows for relatability and interpretation. Moxiie says past experiences inspired the track, particularly about her experience in the music industry.
According to her, there’s a lot of focus on certain values that gets her questioning her place in the thick of it all, but eventually there is acceptance. “One person can’t change the whole industry, but they can color it with their own perspective,” she says. “You also have to realize, that you can’t do anything alone and [sometimes you have to] accept what and how it is.”
She referenced a scene in The Devil Wears Prada where the protagonist slowly realized that even if you live a glamorous life, you eventually become blind to the glamour. Instead, it becomes a job to maintain, sometimes without any happiness at all. Within the music industry, Moxiie perceives those as wanting the idea of the illusion even though it can be a prison.
Growing up, music was a way for Moxiie to process her own feelings even when she couldn’t. “I always wanted to write songs, and as a kid, I struggled with intense and confusing feelings,” she explains. “Music helped me recognize and communicate the feelings that were hard to say aloud.” Now, she hopes her music can do the same thing for her fans.
Looking back on 2017, Moxiie says, “I wondered at times if I was crazy. I asked people, ‘Is [music] something I can do?’ I believed the dream so much, but I wondered if it could actually happen. So for the rest of the year, I just hope to continue releasing music.”
And for 2018? “I’ve learned not to wait for the perfect circumstances to release music and have more fun!” she says. “I want to go into 2018 with more freedom, knowing that I’m on the right path.”
From a young age, rising star Brit Daniels has had a deep passion for music. Before she was born, her mom would put headphones on her pregnant belly because she wanted Daniels to love music like she did. Not much later, Daniels was belting out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in her backyard at the age of 2 and her parents knew she was destined to be a musician. Daniels was recording by the age of 13 and started really getting to know herself as an artist.
Originally from Texas, Daniels stayed local and attended the University of North Texas to study Radio TV and Film. After interning in radio, she moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. There, she started out as a pop country singer and then quickly changed her mind after some experience.
“We were doing more pop country because it was easy to fill up more shows,” she said. However, somewhere along the way, she discovered that country music was not her niche. She began to focus primarily on pop music and had “never been happier.” She is currently working on new music and is excited for her fans to see what she has to offer.
Inspired by artists like Halsey, Selena Gomez, and Zendaya, Daniels is striving for her unique sound. She describes it as “dark pop,” which has a fun, pop aspect to it but with a moody vibe. Daniels loves producing this kind of music because it “hits you in the heart” as opposed to being like “bubblegum pop.” Her new song, “Shadows,” embodies this dark sound.
“I love this song so much,” said Daniels. “It turned out better than I can imagine.”
My goal is to keep cranking out music and to develop more as a person and an artist.
Daniels worked on this song with one of her friends, Jonathan Perkins, and they created something that everyone can relate to.
The song is inspired by one of her friends who had recently gone through a breakup. Since almost everyone has experienced a breakup, Daniels wanted to put the feeling into words, which turned into this relatable, hit single. “Shadows” encompasses how, when you lose someone, you are almost haunted by the memory of them. You “feel them, see them, and hear them.” This is something Daniels is all too familiar with.
When Daniels was in the midst of figuring out her music career, her father, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty. This tragic situation really changed Daniels and she had to learn how to get along without his guidance and support. Daniels started redefining who she was as a person and as an artist, and channeled her emotions through her music.
“My dad constantly inspires me. He is in everything I do,” she said. Her father was always an inspiration to her and was her biggest fan. He always encouraged her to follow her dreams, and that’s what she did.
In addition to the music video for “Shadows,” Daniels is putting out new music and getting her name out there. “My goal is to keep cranking out music and to develop more as a person and an artist,” she said. Touring the world and sharing her music with others has always been a goal of hers and Daniels intends to keep working hard so she can accomplish it. She has overcome many challenges to get where she is today, but she continues to move forward to keep achieving her dreams.
A dynamic trio, Nikki’s Wives is an alternative pop band from Toronto who is ready to set their talents mainstream. Coming together to create engaging, stimulating music, Nikki’s Wives has learned to use their shared interest of music to become a like-minded, unbeatable trio. With Nikki Whitehead as lead singer, Dylan Lauzon on the guitar, and Nate Baylor on the drums, the group reveals a well-orchestrated chemistry performance on stage. Nikki’s Wives has been busy recently with the release of their EP For E-V-E-R, features on Fox News and NBC, an invitation to Victoria’s Secret parties, and starring on OnestoWatch.com and Idobi Radio. Creating music that speaks to our innermost feelings, insecurities, and daily struggles, Nikki’s Wives will become your new favorite group to follow on their path to stardom. Here, they delve deeper into the emotions behind the haunting melody “Ghost,” chat about the complexity of relationships and confidence in “Lonely Being Cool,” and talk going on tour with CeeLo Green.
Cliché: What inspired you three to get together? What is the creative process like with three different voices? Nikki’s Wives: Nikki was doing this solo project and needed someone to play drums for one show. So, Dylan, who was working with Nikki at the time, called up Nate and asked if he could fill in. The show went super well and the three of us felt this insane chemistry playing together on stage. When the show ended, we all kind of concluded that this needed to be a band. The three of us have a great workflow while writing. It’s such an open and collaborative environment that everyone’s ideas always get heard. Since you guys have such great chemistry on stage, what advice do you have for aspiring music groups? I guess the only advice I can offer is to just play as many shows as you can. You can practice cool moves in the rehearsal space all you want, but the real magic comes from playing on stage in front of people. Going out on tour this summer really helped us find who we are on stage. Tell us about your EP For E-V-E-R and the process behind it. The story behind For E-V-E-R is actually kind of a crazy one. We booked the studio time before we had written any songs. So, we literally locked ourselves away for two weeks in Dylan’s basement to hammer out those six songs. I might also add that Dylan’s basement was unheated, and it was the coldest winter Canada had in like 10 years. Needless to say, For E-V-E-R definitely united us as a band. You recently toured with CeeLo Green. What was the experience like going on the road with a famous artist? Any funny stories while on tour? CeeLo was the most amazing person to go on tour with. His whole crew treated us like family and always made sure that we were well taken care of on the road. It was super cool to see this person you’ve grown up watching just being a normal person right in front of you. There were lots of nights where we all had a little too much tequila on that tour. [Laughs] Tell us about your track “Ghost.” After one listen, I was hooked! It is haunting, melodious, and entrancing. “Ghost” was the last song we wrote for For E-V-E-R, so it really encapsulates how we all felt about the writing process coming to an end. The two weeks spent in Dylan’s basement were just this whirlwind of creativity, and when that finally ended, we all felt this sadness about it. “Ghost” was kind of our goodbye song to the end of an amazing experience. I have noticed that you three often coordinate with colors. Do you think the influence of fashion can help artists? I think that fashion and music are very much intertwined. Fashion helps to visually separate groups from one another, and helps give them a unique identity. For example: Lady Gaga with her outrageous outfits or Billy Holly and his signature black frames. We like to keep to the guys wearing all white and Nikki wearing black. It’s a little play on the name “Nikki’s Wives.”
I think that fashion and music are very much intertwined. Fashion helps to visually separate groups from one another, and helps give them a unique identity.
What music are you currently listening to? Any favorite artists/bands? We’ve been all over the place lately. Honestly, in the van we listened to so many classic rock stations that I now feel like I was alive in the ‘70s. But we’re all listening to lots of Tory Lanez, ScHoolboy Q, and 2 Chainz right now. Tell us about the message behind your song “Lonely Being Cool.” The visuals for the music video are amazing and are parallel to the confident, determined vibe of the song. Basically, we just wanted to write a song that described the feeling of being at a party and feeling like you don’t fit in. I think everyone’s had that experience where you know you’re liked and have friends, but you feel like everyone hates you or has forgotten about you. But it’s also about being confident and being you no matter what. As a Canadian group, do you believe that you bring a different sound than other American groups? We just do what we like and make music that the three of us want to listen to. We don’t really spend a lot of time listening to Canadian vs. American music, and how different they are from one another. I think you just gotta do you and make the music you want to hear. What is the best advice you’ve received thus far in the music industry? The best advice I’ve ever received was to “never stop getting better, because as soon as you start thinking you’re hot shit, you become shit.” Can we expect any more music in the near future? Yeah! We already have another full EP waiting in the wings. If you catch us live, you can hear some sneak peaks from that EP.
Read more Music Interviews on ClicheMag.com Music, Touring, and More with Pop Band Nikki’s Wives: Photographed by Rachelle Curtis