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In conversation with Joshua J
1081

In conversation with Joshua J

Music Lovely to speak to you Joshua, how are you doing?   I’m doing quite well. Trying to make the best out of the world’s current situation while making sure my creative juices stay flowing.     How would you describe your music?   My music sounds like that first day of spring on which you realize that you can leave your jacket at home.      What emotions do you wish to make people feel with your sound?   I wanna give people food for thought that contributes to their sanity in a positive and lighthearted way.     Your debut album ‘1998’ is very touching, can you describe how the album came about?   I’ve been in foster care throughout my whole upbringing. Being away from your biological family does a lot to a child subconsciously. When I started living on my own I began reflecting back on all those years. Starting with my birth year ‘1998’.      Now you’ve released the first track of your EP ‘Better Times’. What’s the story behind ‘Call Me’?   I wrote “Call Me” in the spring of 2019. My debut album ‘1998’ had just been released and I was going through my first break up. It was an interesting mix of feeling really good and accomplished versus the bittersweetness of leaving a person you love in the past to make room for something new. That’s why in the chorus I sing: “Call me when you need a hand to hold, I don't believe everything I'm told”. Stating that I will always be there if she needs me but also that part of my trust has faded.       What was the process like in the studio, compiling this EP?   It was refreshing. This EP is a collection of songs that felt fresh to me. It’s showing a side of Joshua J that most people haven’t heard yet and that’s what makes me most excited about this whole journey.     What artists do you look up to?   Stevie Wonder, Cory Henry, Brent Faiyaz, Smino and Gaidaa.      What inspires you?   Learning inspires me in various ways. It could go from learning a new skill on the piano to learning something new about my culture, getting to know new people, learning a new language or a new sport. I’m always trying to apply things I've learned into my music.      What exciting things can we expect from you in 2021?   My sophomore album perhaps? Lovely to speak to you Joshua, how are you doing?   I’m doing quite well. Trying to make the best out of the world’s current situation while making sure my creative juices stay flowing.     How would you describe your music?   My music sounds like that first day of spring on which you realize that you can leave your jacket at home.      What emotions do you wish to make people feel with your sound?   I wanna give people food for thought that contributes to their sanity in a positive and lighthearted way.     Your debut album ‘1998’ is very touching, can you describe how the album came about?   I’ve been in foster care throughout my whole upbringing. Being away from your biological family does a lot to a child subconsciously. When I started living on my own I began reflecting back on all those years. Starting with my birth year ‘1998’.      Now you’ve released the first track of your EP ‘Better Times’. What’s the story behind ‘Call Me’?   I wrote “Call Me” in the spring of 2019. My debut album ‘1998’ had just been released and I was going through my first break up. It was an interesting mix of feeling really good and accomplished versus the bittersweetness of leaving a person you love in the past to make room for something new. That’s why in the chorus I sing: “Call me when you need a hand to hold, I don't believe everything I'm told”. Stating that I will always be there if she needs me but also that part of my trust has faded.       What was the process like in the studio, compiling this EP?   It was refreshing. This EP is a collection of songs that felt fresh to me. It’s showing a side of Joshua J that most people haven’t heard yet and that’s what makes me most excited about this whole journey.     What artists do you look up to?   Stevie Wonder, Cory Henry, Brent Faiyaz, Smino and Gaidaa.      What inspires you?   Learning inspires me in various ways. It could go from learning a new skill on the piano to learning something new about my culture, getting to know new people, learning a new language or a new sport. I’m always trying to apply things I've learned into my music.      What exciting things can we expect from you in 2021?   My sophomore album perhaps?

In conversation with Norma Jean Martine
1091

In conversation with Norma Jean Martine

Music How are you doing, how are you spending your time nowadays? Hey ! I’m great actually. I’m currently living back in my hometown with my family, and it’s been so nice to be close to them again after almost 10 years of living an ocean away in London. Lately I’ve been spending my time writing a LOT of new songs. I know that for every 10 songs you write one is amazing, so I’m just keeping myself open to collaborations and creating space each day to throw song spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. I’ve got a few new ones that I’m really excited about. Besides that I’ve been continuing with my local activist work, and fun sewing projects.      You wrote the global #1 hit ‘Head Shoulders Knees And Toes’, what inspired the track and its lyrics? This is actually a funny story! I was about 20 minutes late to that session, and I remember when my friend Tim (Hight) answered the door to let me in, he was so excited and said, “I think we wrote a hit!” I of course was skeptical because being a songwriter for many years you know that the word “hit” gets thrown around a lot in sessions, and that they rarely materialize! So I walked into the studio and Tim and Josh and Janik from Quarterhead played me their idea, which was the general beat of the song with the melody and lyric as everyone knows,  “I feel it in my head, my shoulders, knees and toes my bones….” At that point, that was all that was written. My initial feeling was, “This is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever and I can’t tell.” Because it was a nursery rhyme, and could be seen as a little cheesy, my approach to the writing on the rest of the song was that it had to be cooler, and from a deep and real place. So I channeled an emotion that I have had in the past of feeling so attracted to someone that it feels almost all encompassing in its body response, and we referenced "Dance Monkey" for the bluesy type of melody in the verses. I grew up going to blues jams so the blues thing comes really naturally to me. It was a great collaboration, and I think the fact that all of us are very different writers on our own, was the key to this song being so unique. This of course was then brought to life with Ofenbach’s undeniably radio friendly pop production which I’ll be forever grateful for.      When writing a new song, what is the first thing you do or process you turn to? I really love writing songs about my own life because I feel I can free-write and get really deep and honest lyrically. Someone once told me that it’s best to “write what you know”, so that’s my general approach to most songs. I struggle writing songs that are vague and sparse lyrically, but I believe that is a big skill in itself and I have massive respect for pop writers who are able to do that consistently. The songwriting process used to be more methodical for me, but lately it’s become much more intuitive. That growth has come through writing a lot for other artists like Girli, and a new artist called Aidan which I’m really excited about, and being a conduit and witness to their creative process. I used to write music thinking, “What does everyone want from me?” and now my approach is much more like, “What do I love, what moves me, and what do I want to make?” It seems like a silly realization from the outside, but when you’ve been in the industry for so long, feeling the pressure of “making it”, finally finding that freedom within yourself to just create for you is really pivotal. I feel that it’s like a creative skeleton key, and has opened doors to some of the best songs I’ve written to date.     Tell us about your new EP ‘Visiting Hours’, how did it come about and what inspired the ‘Visiting Hours’ track? Visiting Hours is a song that I wrote with Rob Harvey (Joel Corry’s Head & Heart) and Jakwob almost 4 years ago. It was a few months after my lifelong friend Brock had passed and his mom had posted a meme on her Facebook about wishing “heaven had visiting hours”. I thought it was a really cool concept and kept it in my back pocket for the right session. Rob and Jakwob created that really safe space I needed to feel the pain of the loss and authentically write this song. Rob is an amazing writer and came up with the line, “I wanna call god up and ask for an appointment,” which I just found so genius. The song has sat for a while because I’ve been in-between record deals, but it’s an older one that has always stuck, and through the years since I wrote it, has brought comfort to me in times of grief and loss. I sang it at my brother's funeral last year, and I’ve had many people come up to me crying after singing it live telling me how it resonated with them and about the losses in their lives. It’s a song that I’ve found really connects people on a base level because loss is something we all experience.  MOTi has done a brilliant remix as well which I’m really grateful for and I'm hoping it will connect with some of the Ofenbach audience.      The EP also features a very personal cover of the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ which you recorded for your father’s late cousin. How does the song relate to the rest of the EP and what message do you want to get across with it? There is indeed a cover of "Hey Jude" on this EP, which I sang for my late cousin Tony who passed this summer. He was a massive Beatles fan, and actually auditioned for Beatlemania back in the day. When I saw him for the last time I was too choked up to sing for him as he was passing, so when I went home that night I immediately started recording this version to send to his sons to play for him remotely. When I was recording it a huge thunderstorm rolled through. I was breaking down while singing the song, which was really difficult, but I decided it was the right thing to keep those moments in the recording. My mom sang some of the harmonies at the end with me, and it felt like a really beautiful way to process the impending loss. I sent a rough version to his sons Vincent and Anthony as soon as it was done. They texted me back an hour later saying he passed during the storm, and that it was so serendipitous that I chose to sing him "Hey Jude" because it was the first song they played to celebrate his life after he passed. It felt like such a spirit moment, and I know even though his physical body never got to hear it, his spirit did. I even like to think that he was there with us jamming out during the recording and that he put that song in as a special request from heaven.     Coping with the loss of a loved one is unfortunately very relevant for many people around the world right now; what do you want to say to people in the same situation, is there anything that really helped you? When Brock died, 10 months later I was at his family home and I borrowed a sharpie from his mom to write a Christmas message to him on a decoration for his grave. I broke down as I was writing it and I’ll never forget when she said to me, “Grief is proof that you loved.” Since then, with all my other losses, every time I break down and get so so sad, I remember that the reason it’s so hard is because the love was so deep. Death ends life on this earth, but it doesn’t end love. Love never dies, and I think the grief is the inability to put that love somewhere. I hope that quote helps whoever is reading this and needs that message at this time.      What does it feel like to have a #1 hit which is streamed all over the world? It feels surreal honestly. None of my songs have ever come close to this level of success and I’ve been working really hard professionaly in this business for almost 10 years. It was unexpected, but I’m very grateful for this moment, and working towards and planning my next steps with this newfound platform.      How do you keep inspired on a creative level now that it’s more difficult to get external inspiration without being able to travel to new places etc? I find inspiration in my head with thoughts I have. I get inspired by movies. I get inspired by memes on instagram. I get inspired by other songs, like “wow they wrote a song about *insert topic*, let me try to write a song about that in my own way.” Inspiration can come from anywhere, you just have to be open to collecting those messages. Other writers really help too… on some days where maybe I don’t have a great idea, 9 times out of 10 someone else in the sessions will have a brilliant idea and we can just run with that.      You’ve collaborated with Ofenbach & Quarterhead, and more recently with MOTi on ‘Visiting Hours’, are there any other DJs/producers you’d like to collaborate with? Or any artists from different genres? In the dance world I’d love to collaborate with Calvin Harris, Kygo, The Chainsmokers, Flume, Mura Masa…. Just to name a few. In other genres, I’m very open and it’s a list I’m still compiling in my head. TBA :)     What can we expect from you in 2021? More dance songs and more me songs. I’m just working to release very consistently. I had a lag time between deals, so some of the songs that will be released soon are actually from a few years ago, but my goal is to be in a much quicker create - release flow... I don’t want things to ever sit this long again. I think consistency is key and honestly as a creative what you pay attention to in the process changes so much that I’d just like what I’m releasing to be more in synch in real time with how I’m growing and changing as a person.      You often speak out online in support of the BLM movement and environmental issues, are there any plans to use your music to spotlight these causes? This is something I think about often. Besides posting information and facts about it all the time to help spread awareness and making it very known publically where I stand in my beliefs,  I do often think, “How can I channel this passion through my music?” I actually recently wrote a song called “Love is the Future”, which was inspired by the movement and marching over the summer. Last year I worked with an artist on a song about his experience as a bi-racial man, and I feel that with an awareness and curiosity about these topics it means that I can be a safe person to explore these emotions with on the writing side for other artists. It’s something I’d really like to do more of, and I’ve found this goes beyond race, as I’ve also collaborated with artists who are from the LGBTQ+ community and have been a conduit for them in writing songs about their very specific experiences as well. When writing for other artists I love to be the listener, or stenographer which I often joke about, who asks questions and just writes down every word they say to get to the heart of their emotion. I feel on these topics the key is listening to others’ experiences, because without listening, there will be no understanding or empathy. I love helping artists turn these emotions and experiences into songs that will resonate with others that have the same experience, but also to shed light on that experience for others who maybe have less of an understanding about it. On environmentalism, I wrote a song a few years ago called "American Beauty" that I hope to release soon that was inspired by the power plant next to my house. That situation has obviously been extremely devastating for my family, as it’s ruined my childhood home and literally has made it unsafe to live there anymore. I’d love to release that song with a music video that’s sort of like a documentary about the plant to bring awareness to the impacts and corruption involved. It’s all a process and I’m really just at the beginning of a new chapter, but it’s certainly something I want to weave in more and more as I move forward, and I see it as very important for my future. Another way that I’ve gotten involved in activism via the music industry is through Lauren Aquilina’s “Girl & Repertoire” which is a  networking and Mentorship non-profit to help up and coming artists and writers build connections, gain knowledge and discover opportunities in the industry. I’m currently a mentor in the program, and it feels really nice to be the role model I needed when I was just starting out, sort of a music biz big sister, to someone now.    Do you have any inspirational words for our readers about what this year has in store for us? I think this year holds a lot of hope for the future, so I guess the most inspiring thing to say would be to hold on, and that we’re nearing the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of Covid…..and that next year at this time we will be at a NJM concert looking back at this time when we were all quarantined in our houses.      Last but not least, what is the first thing you will do when all is ‘back to normal’ again? I really miss traveling. I’m looking forward to coming back to London and sorting my storage unit and visiting some places in Europe that I haven’t had a chance to yet… and seeing all my friends over there. Time away from London has really made me realize how many people I love on the other side of the pond, and how much I love the lifestyle and culture.    How are you doing, how are you spending your time nowadays? Hey ! I’m great actually. I’m currently living back in my hometown with my family, and it’s been so nice to be close to them again after almost 10 years of living an ocean away in London. Lately I’ve been spending my time writing a LOT of new songs. I know that for every 10 songs you write one is amazing, so I’m just keeping myself open to collaborations and creating space each day to throw song spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. I’ve got a few new ones that I’m really excited about. Besides that I’ve been continuing with my local activist work, and fun sewing projects.      You wrote the global #1 hit ‘Head Shoulders Knees And Toes’, what inspired the track and its lyrics? This is actually a funny story! I was about 20 minutes late to that session, and I remember when my friend Tim (Hight) answered the door to let me in, he was so excited and said, “I think we wrote a hit!” I of course was skeptical because being a songwriter for many years you know that the word “hit” gets thrown around a lot in sessions, and that they rarely materialize! So I walked into the studio and Tim and Josh and Janik from Quarterhead played me their idea, which was the general beat of the song with the melody and lyric as everyone knows,  “I feel it in my head, my shoulders, knees and toes my bones….” At that point, that was all that was written. My initial feeling was, “This is either the worst thing ever or the best thing ever and I can’t tell.” Because it was a nursery rhyme, and could be seen as a little cheesy, my approach to the writing on the rest of the song was that it had to be cooler, and from a deep and real place. So I channeled an emotion that I have had in the past of feeling so attracted to someone that it feels almost all encompassing in its body response, and we referenced "Dance Monkey" for the bluesy type of melody in the verses. I grew up going to blues jams so the blues thing comes really naturally to me. It was a great collaboration, and I think the fact that all of us are very different writers on our own, was the key to this song being so unique. This of course was then brought to life with Ofenbach’s undeniably radio friendly pop production which I’ll be forever grateful for.      When writing a new song, what is the first thing you do or process you turn to? I really love writing songs about my own life because I feel I can free-write and get really deep and honest lyrically. Someone once told me that it’s best to “write what you know”, so that’s my general approach to most songs. I struggle writing songs that are vague and sparse lyrically, but I believe that is a big skill in itself and I have massive respect for pop writers who are able to do that consistently. The songwriting process used to be more methodical for me, but lately it’s become much more intuitive. That growth has come through writing a lot for other artists like Girli, and a new artist called Aidan which I’m really excited about, and being a conduit and witness to their creative process. I used to write music thinking, “What does everyone want from me?” and now my approach is much more like, “What do I love, what moves me, and what do I want to make?” It seems like a silly realization from the outside, but when you’ve been in the industry for so long, feeling the pressure of “making it”, finally finding that freedom within yourself to just create for you is really pivotal. I feel that it’s like a creative skeleton key, and has opened doors to some of the best songs I’ve written to date.     Tell us about your new EP ‘Visiting Hours’, how did it come about and what inspired the ‘Visiting Hours’ track? Visiting Hours is a song that I wrote with Rob Harvey (Joel Corry’s Head & Heart) and Jakwob almost 4 years ago. It was a few months after my lifelong friend Brock had passed and his mom had posted a meme on her Facebook about wishing “heaven had visiting hours”. I thought it was a really cool concept and kept it in my back pocket for the right session. Rob and Jakwob created that really safe space I needed to feel the pain of the loss and authentically write this song. Rob is an amazing writer and came up with the line, “I wanna call god up and ask for an appointment,” which I just found so genius. The song has sat for a while because I’ve been in-between record deals, but it’s an older one that has always stuck, and through the years since I wrote it, has brought comfort to me in times of grief and loss. I sang it at my brother's funeral last year, and I’ve had many people come up to me crying after singing it live telling me how it resonated with them and about the losses in their lives. It’s a song that I’ve found really connects people on a base level because loss is something we all experience.  MOTi has done a brilliant remix as well which I’m really grateful for and I'm hoping it will connect with some of the Ofenbach audience.      The EP also features a very personal cover of the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’ which you recorded for your father’s late cousin. How does the song relate to the rest of the EP and what message do you want to get across with it? There is indeed a cover of "Hey Jude" on this EP, which I sang for my late cousin Tony who passed this summer. He was a massive Beatles fan, and actually auditioned for Beatlemania back in the day. When I saw him for the last time I was too choked up to sing for him as he was passing, so when I went home that night I immediately started recording this version to send to his sons to play for him remotely. When I was recording it a huge thunderstorm rolled through. I was breaking down while singing the song, which was really difficult, but I decided it was the right thing to keep those moments in the recording. My mom sang some of the harmonies at the end with me, and it felt like a really beautiful way to process the impending loss. I sent a rough version to his sons Vincent and Anthony as soon as it was done. They texted me back an hour later saying he passed during the storm, and that it was so serendipitous that I chose to sing him "Hey Jude" because it was the first song they played to celebrate his life after he passed. It felt like such a spirit moment, and I know even though his physical body never got to hear it, his spirit did. I even like to think that he was there with us jamming out during the recording and that he put that song in as a special request from heaven.     Coping with the loss of a loved one is unfortunately very relevant for many people around the world right now; what do you want to say to people in the same situation, is there anything that really helped you? When Brock died, 10 months later I was at his family home and I borrowed a sharpie from his mom to write a Christmas message to him on a decoration for his grave. I broke down as I was writing it and I’ll never forget when she said to me, “Grief is proof that you loved.” Since then, with all my other losses, every time I break down and get so so sad, I remember that the reason it’s so hard is because the love was so deep. Death ends life on this earth, but it doesn’t end love. Love never dies, and I think the grief is the inability to put that love somewhere. I hope that quote helps whoever is reading this and needs that message at this time.      What does it feel like to have a #1 hit which is streamed all over the world? It feels surreal honestly. None of my songs have ever come close to this level of success and I’ve been working really hard professionaly in this business for almost 10 years. It was unexpected, but I’m very grateful for this moment, and working towards and planning my next steps with this newfound platform.      How do you keep inspired on a creative level now that it’s more difficult to get external inspiration without being able to travel to new places etc? I find inspiration in my head with thoughts I have. I get inspired by movies. I get inspired by memes on instagram. I get inspired by other songs, like “wow they wrote a song about *insert topic*, let me try to write a song about that in my own way.” Inspiration can come from anywhere, you just have to be open to collecting those messages. Other writers really help too… on some days where maybe I don’t have a great idea, 9 times out of 10 someone else in the sessions will have a brilliant idea and we can just run with that.      You’ve collaborated with Ofenbach & Quarterhead, and more recently with MOTi on ‘Visiting Hours’, are there any other DJs/producers you’d like to collaborate with? Or any artists from different genres? In the dance world I’d love to collaborate with Calvin Harris, Kygo, The Chainsmokers, Flume, Mura Masa…. Just to name a few. In other genres, I’m very open and it’s a list I’m still compiling in my head. TBA :)     What can we expect from you in 2021? More dance songs and more me songs. I’m just working to release very consistently. I had a lag time between deals, so some of the songs that will be released soon are actually from a few years ago, but my goal is to be in a much quicker create - release flow... I don’t want things to ever sit this long again. I think consistency is key and honestly as a creative what you pay attention to in the process changes so much that I’d just like what I’m releasing to be more in synch in real time with how I’m growing and changing as a person.      You often speak out online in support of the BLM movement and environmental issues, are there any plans to use your music to spotlight these causes? This is something I think about often. Besides posting information and facts about it all the time to help spread awareness and making it very known publically where I stand in my beliefs,  I do often think, “How can I channel this passion through my music?” I actually recently wrote a song called “Love is the Future”, which was inspired by the movement and marching over the summer. Last year I worked with an artist on a song about his experience as a bi-racial man, and I feel that with an awareness and curiosity about these topics it means that I can be a safe person to explore these emotions with on the writing side for other artists. It’s something I’d really like to do more of, and I’ve found this goes beyond race, as I’ve also collaborated with artists who are from the LGBTQ+ community and have been a conduit for them in writing songs about their very specific experiences as well. When writing for other artists I love to be the listener, or stenographer which I often joke about, who asks questions and just writes down every word they say to get to the heart of their emotion. I feel on these topics the key is listening to others’ experiences, because without listening, there will be no understanding or empathy. I love helping artists turn these emotions and experiences into songs that will resonate with others that have the same experience, but also to shed light on that experience for others who maybe have less of an understanding about it. On environmentalism, I wrote a song a few years ago called "American Beauty" that I hope to release soon that was inspired by the power plant next to my house. That situation has obviously been extremely devastating for my family, as it’s ruined my childhood home and literally has made it unsafe to live there anymore. I’d love to release that song with a music video that’s sort of like a documentary about the plant to bring awareness to the impacts and corruption involved. It’s all a process and I’m really just at the beginning of a new chapter, but it’s certainly something I want to weave in more and more as I move forward, and I see it as very important for my future. Another way that I’ve gotten involved in activism via the music industry is through Lauren Aquilina’s “Girl & Repertoire” which is a  networking and Mentorship non-profit to help up and coming artists and writers build connections, gain knowledge and discover opportunities in the industry. I’m currently a mentor in the program, and it feels really nice to be the role model I needed when I was just starting out, sort of a music biz big sister, to someone now.    Do you have any inspirational words for our readers about what this year has in store for us? I think this year holds a lot of hope for the future, so I guess the most inspiring thing to say would be to hold on, and that we’re nearing the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of Covid…..and that next year at this time we will be at a NJM concert looking back at this time when we were all quarantined in our houses.      Last but not least, what is the first thing you will do when all is ‘back to normal’ again? I really miss traveling. I’m looking forward to coming back to London and sorting my storage unit and visiting some places in Europe that I haven’t had a chance to yet… and seeing all my friends over there. Time away from London has really made me realize how many people I love on the other side of the pond, and how much I love the lifestyle and culture.   

FOLAMOUR TEASES NEW ALBUM IS ON ITS WAY WITH THE RELEASE OF ‘JUST WANT HAPPINESS’
1083

FOLAMOUR TEASES NEW ALBUM IS ON ITS WAY WITH THE RELEASE OF ‘JUST WANT HAPPINESS’

Music Following on from his release of 'I Miss Having Someone To Talk To', Folamouris back with his first single of 2021, 'Just Want Happiness' - the first of many tracks slated for his upcoming album.     Since his explosion onto the scene with his iconic Boiler Room set which saw the crowd go crazy with his spin of the ABBA classic, 'Gimme Gimme Gimme', Folamour's performance demonstrated him as one of the most promising artists on the circuit.     As well as being able to bring pure sunshine music in his shows -  in which he topped over 130 dates in 2019 alone - Folamour’s own productions have also reached crazy heights with their millions of streams. His first album 'Umani'welcomed his disco grooves to the world, whilst 'Ordinary Drugs' continued to build his loyal fan base back in 2019.     Now teasing his third upcoming album, whose title and release date are yet to be revealed, Folamour drops 'Just Want Happiness'. He explained:  “Just Want Happiness" is my river song. I composed it with the objective of not letting myself be stopped by any difficulty. To me "Just  Want Happiness" speaks as much about birth, departure, and encounters as it does about loneliness, mourning, and abandonment, it is lucidity and hope.”     As well as producing 'Just Want Happiness', Folamour did all his own stunts in its accompanying video clip which can be seen here.      "I wanted to represent the story of the upcoming album through this very special song. I wrote the story of this man who decided to leave the city to find himself and chose to symbolize this pain with fire. We choose not to use any special effects to really bring this to life and demonstrate the weight of the world from which he tries to escape."     Today, he boasts releases on a fine array of labels such as All City, Classic, Church, Glitterbox, as well as his own hotly-tipped FHUO Records. And, has continued to masterfully orchestrate sets, even during a pandemic, on *yet another* popular Boiler Room, a re-visit to Defected’s Virtual House Party, Folamour presents Love To The World Session #1, and not forgetting his New Years Eve performance in the mountains for Polaris x Verbier.     Now joining his own label FHUO, 'Just Want Happiness' is one of Folamour’smore stripped back releases. Featuring gentle guitar rhythms balanced between synth structures, before reaching a crescendo of intricately positioned brass elements, Folamour once again delivers with his most soothing track yet.     Folamour - Just Want Happiness is out now via FHUO Records.   Following on from his release of 'I Miss Having Someone To Talk To', Folamouris back with his first single of 2021, 'Just Want Happiness' - the first of many tracks slated for his upcoming album.     Since his explosion onto the scene with his iconic Boiler Room set which saw the crowd go crazy with his spin of the ABBA classic, 'Gimme Gimme Gimme', Folamour's performance demonstrated him as one of the most promising artists on the circuit.     As well as being able to bring pure sunshine music in his shows -  in which he topped over 130 dates in 2019 alone - Folamour’s own productions have also reached crazy heights with their millions of streams. His first album 'Umani'welcomed his disco grooves to the world, whilst 'Ordinary Drugs' continued to build his loyal fan base back in 2019.     Now teasing his third upcoming album, whose title and release date are yet to be revealed, Folamour drops 'Just Want Happiness'. He explained:  “Just Want Happiness" is my river song. I composed it with the objective of not letting myself be stopped by any difficulty. To me "Just  Want Happiness" speaks as much about birth, departure, and encounters as it does about loneliness, mourning, and abandonment, it is lucidity and hope.”     As well as producing 'Just Want Happiness', Folamour did all his own stunts in its accompanying video clip which can be seen here.      "I wanted to represent the story of the upcoming album through this very special song. I wrote the story of this man who decided to leave the city to find himself and chose to symbolize this pain with fire. We choose not to use any special effects to really bring this to life and demonstrate the weight of the world from which he tries to escape."     Today, he boasts releases on a fine array of labels such as All City, Classic, Church, Glitterbox, as well as his own hotly-tipped FHUO Records. And, has continued to masterfully orchestrate sets, even during a pandemic, on *yet another* popular Boiler Room, a re-visit to Defected’s Virtual House Party, Folamour presents Love To The World Session #1, and not forgetting his New Years Eve performance in the mountains for Polaris x Verbier.     Now joining his own label FHUO, 'Just Want Happiness' is one of Folamour’smore stripped back releases. Featuring gentle guitar rhythms balanced between synth structures, before reaching a crescendo of intricately positioned brass elements, Folamour once again delivers with his most soothing track yet.     Folamour - Just Want Happiness is out now via FHUO Records.  

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Martin Garrix & Tove Lo release 'Pressure'
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Martin Garrix & Tove Lo release 'Pressure'

Music Martin Garrix has kept his fans full of anticipation while waiting for his new single. The time has finally come, and his first release of 2021 goes by the name of ‘Pressure’. ‘Pressure’ sees him team up with Stockholm-born and Los Angeles-based songstress Tove Lo.        With ‘Pressure’ Garrix is heading into a slightly different direction, with fresh, deeper sounds dominating throughout the track. Tove Lo’s edgy vocals and catchy lyrics perfectly complement the groovy track. Always looking for ways to innovate, Garrix has been showcasing his diversity last year as well with deeper releases from his alias Ytram. No stranger to the dance floor or the pop charts, 'Pressure' is a club-ready banger and also Tove Lo’s first release of 2021. Her signature wit and seductive lyrics are the perfect complement to Garrix’s production on the track. Tove elaborates:        ‘’This track hit me in all the right places and I really wanted to be a part of it. It’s cool that it’s a slightly new direction for both me and Garrix! Lyrically it’s all about destructive passion and lack of self-control. Which feels amazing until it drives you crazy. I’m very excited for this to be our first collab, I hope all our fans feel it!’’        The release is accompanied by a music video shot on film, which will be premiered later today on Garrix's YouTube channel. The video takes the viewer on a tense ride of the main character’s blood-curdling search for her vision.        During last year’s lockdown, Garrix has had lots of time to work on new music, with the DJ/producer stating he ‘’can’t wait to share with his fans what he’s been working on’’. This first release, as well as his one billion Spotify streams accolade for ‘In The Name of Love’, sure set the tone for 2021 which is just getting started for him. Martin Garrix has kept his fans full of anticipation while waiting for his new single. The time has finally come, and his first release of 2021 goes by the name of ‘Pressure’. ‘Pressure’ sees him team up with Stockholm-born and Los Angeles-based songstress Tove Lo.        With ‘Pressure’ Garrix is heading into a slightly different direction, with fresh, deeper sounds dominating throughout the track. Tove Lo’s edgy vocals and catchy lyrics perfectly complement the groovy track. Always looking for ways to innovate, Garrix has been showcasing his diversity last year as well with deeper releases from his alias Ytram. No stranger to the dance floor or the pop charts, 'Pressure' is a club-ready banger and also Tove Lo’s first release of 2021. Her signature wit and seductive lyrics are the perfect complement to Garrix’s production on the track. Tove elaborates:        ‘’This track hit me in all the right places and I really wanted to be a part of it. It’s cool that it’s a slightly new direction for both me and Garrix! Lyrically it’s all about destructive passion and lack of self-control. Which feels amazing until it drives you crazy. I’m very excited for this to be our first collab, I hope all our fans feel it!’’        The release is accompanied by a music video shot on film, which will be premiered later today on Garrix's YouTube channel. The video takes the viewer on a tense ride of the main character’s blood-curdling search for her vision.        During last year’s lockdown, Garrix has had lots of time to work on new music, with the DJ/producer stating he ‘’can’t wait to share with his fans what he’s been working on’’. This first release, as well as his one billion Spotify streams accolade for ‘In The Name of Love’, sure set the tone for 2021 which is just getting started for him.

SAWEETIE is our February digital cover star
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SAWEETIE is our February digital cover star

Music SAWEETIE is our new digital cover star, photographerd by Kat Irlin.       TEAM CREDITS: Talent: Saweetie @saweetie Photographer: Kat Irlin @Kat_in_nyc Photo Asst- Roshaknie Hayes @whiteprince  Stylist: Wilford Lenov @wilfordlenov Videographer- Spazz @spazzz.vision Edit @amwfilms Hair- Adrianne Michelle Makeup- Deanna Paley @deelishdeanna Location - @hubblestudios Tunnel Production @tunnelproductioncompany Casting Dir @danielleh_styles Executive producer- Jason King @jasonlking Producer- Danika Murray @danikamurray Director of Film @jeanlondondia Editor-in-Chief Timi Letonja @timiletonja SAWEETIE is our new digital cover star, photographerd by Kat Irlin.       TEAM CREDITS: Talent: Saweetie @saweetie Photographer: Kat Irlin @Kat_in_nyc Photo Asst- Roshaknie Hayes @whiteprince  Stylist: Wilford Lenov @wilfordlenov Videographer- Spazz @spazzz.vision Edit @amwfilms Hair- Adrianne Michelle Makeup- Deanna Paley @deelishdeanna Location - @hubblestudios Tunnel Production @tunnelproductioncompany Casting Dir @danielleh_styles Executive producer- Jason King @jasonlking Producer- Danika Murray @danikamurray Director of Film @jeanlondondia Editor-in-Chief Timi Letonja @timiletonja

THE LAUNCH OF HYDEOUT: THE PRELUDE IS HERE
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THE LAUNCH OF HYDEOUT: THE PRELUDE IS HERE

Music Having already announced episodes with the likes of Alison Wonderland, DJ Snake, Don Diablo, Martin Garrix, Rita Ora, Tinashe and many more, Hydeout: The Prelude continues to raise the bar. Welcoming exclusive content from new additions and global rap icons Wiz Khalifa, G-Eazy and The Kid Laroi, genre-defying producer TOKiMONSTA, as well as Bohan, Dombresky and a Monstercat label takeover featuring the likes of Sullivan King, Habstrakt, Kill The Noise and Pixel Terror, the Hydetribe will bear witness to over 40 enthralling episodes across a variety of genres. With an explosive global episode premiere locked in for January 29th, Dutch superstar DJ Martin Garrix is set to ignite the online sphere, with French viral hitmaker DJ Snake’s episode to follow on January 30th. The ever-evolving music hub promises to keep fans satisfied with a constant flow of exciting content rolling out through 2021.      Hydeout: The Prelude will take fans on a truly unique journey, bridging the virtual and physical realms with secret locations around the world. Stepping through the portal, users will be transported to every corner of the globe with Hydeout’s exclusive on-demand episodes. The digital dimension will span three different worlds, HydeCity, HydeIsland and HydeEscape, encompassing over 20 stages including Aqua Sphere, HydeAlley, Pandemonium, Sanctum, The Arch, The Mirage and many other secret on-location stages in HydeEscape.      It’s safe to say we’ve all been feeling the effects of a year without festivals, and Hydeout: The Prelude is here to fill that void. In order to bring us as close as possible to that festival feeling, the platform encourages self-expression through avatar customisation, avatar dance moves and chat rooms. The Hydetribe will also be invited to test their gaming abilities and link up with fellow users in three different Hyde.Games. Hyde.Hoops offers the chance to shoot some virtual hoops, Hyde.Attack will get hearts racing in an energetic game of dodgeball and Hyde.Chef is set to get mouths watering as users will serve guests traditional Singaporean dishes in a fast-paced memory game. Competing against other users from all corners of the globe, subscribers can win Hydecoins, giving them the opportunity to purchase additional episodes and avatar skins.      Created by Singapore-based HydeNSeek Entertainment, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, Hydeout’s digital empire stays true to its roots, integrating Singaporean landmarks into its environments, as well as showcasing some of the area’s hottest talents. Ready to be explored by those who share an innate desire to connect with likeminded people, and become immersed in a dazzling world of entertainment, the Hydetribe can unlock the full Hydeout experience with a Season Pass for USD $49.90. With multiple new episodes to enjoy every week, users will have unlimited playback views for 5 days upon first play. Fans can also access the platform when they register for a free Pay As You Go Pass on hydeoutworld.com. Season passes are also available on Hydeout’s Official Ticketing Partners sites at Klook and Festicket.      “We are excited to support Hydeout: The Prelude, a fully immersive digital music entertainment platform which will feature music talents while showcasing Singapore’s iconic spots and attractions. Consumer behaviour has changed and it is critical to pivot and adapt to new event formats and business models. Hydeout: The Prelude is a good example of how our industry can innovate and leverage technology to reimagine what music events could look like in the future.” - Ms Jean Ng, Executive Director Attractions, Entertainment & Tourism Concept Development for Singapore Tourism Board.     Are you ready to join the #Hydetribe? Having already announced episodes with the likes of Alison Wonderland, DJ Snake, Don Diablo, Martin Garrix, Rita Ora, Tinashe and many more, Hydeout: The Prelude continues to raise the bar. Welcoming exclusive content from new additions and global rap icons Wiz Khalifa, G-Eazy and The Kid Laroi, genre-defying producer TOKiMONSTA, as well as Bohan, Dombresky and a Monstercat label takeover featuring the likes of Sullivan King, Habstrakt, Kill The Noise and Pixel Terror, the Hydetribe will bear witness to over 40 enthralling episodes across a variety of genres. With an explosive global episode premiere locked in for January 29th, Dutch superstar DJ Martin Garrix is set to ignite the online sphere, with French viral hitmaker DJ Snake’s episode to follow on January 30th. The ever-evolving music hub promises to keep fans satisfied with a constant flow of exciting content rolling out through 2021.      Hydeout: The Prelude will take fans on a truly unique journey, bridging the virtual and physical realms with secret locations around the world. Stepping through the portal, users will be transported to every corner of the globe with Hydeout’s exclusive on-demand episodes. The digital dimension will span three different worlds, HydeCity, HydeIsland and HydeEscape, encompassing over 20 stages including Aqua Sphere, HydeAlley, Pandemonium, Sanctum, The Arch, The Mirage and many other secret on-location stages in HydeEscape.      It’s safe to say we’ve all been feeling the effects of a year without festivals, and Hydeout: The Prelude is here to fill that void. In order to bring us as close as possible to that festival feeling, the platform encourages self-expression through avatar customisation, avatar dance moves and chat rooms. The Hydetribe will also be invited to test their gaming abilities and link up with fellow users in three different Hyde.Games. Hyde.Hoops offers the chance to shoot some virtual hoops, Hyde.Attack will get hearts racing in an energetic game of dodgeball and Hyde.Chef is set to get mouths watering as users will serve guests traditional Singaporean dishes in a fast-paced memory game. Competing against other users from all corners of the globe, subscribers can win Hydecoins, giving them the opportunity to purchase additional episodes and avatar skins.      Created by Singapore-based HydeNSeek Entertainment, supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, Hydeout’s digital empire stays true to its roots, integrating Singaporean landmarks into its environments, as well as showcasing some of the area’s hottest talents. Ready to be explored by those who share an innate desire to connect with likeminded people, and become immersed in a dazzling world of entertainment, the Hydetribe can unlock the full Hydeout experience with a Season Pass for USD $49.90. With multiple new episodes to enjoy every week, users will have unlimited playback views for 5 days upon first play. Fans can also access the platform when they register for a free Pay As You Go Pass on hydeoutworld.com. Season passes are also available on Hydeout’s Official Ticketing Partners sites at Klook and Festicket.      “We are excited to support Hydeout: The Prelude, a fully immersive digital music entertainment platform which will feature music talents while showcasing Singapore’s iconic spots and attractions. Consumer behaviour has changed and it is critical to pivot and adapt to new event formats and business models. Hydeout: The Prelude is a good example of how our industry can innovate and leverage technology to reimagine what music events could look like in the future.” - Ms Jean Ng, Executive Director Attractions, Entertainment & Tourism Concept Development for Singapore Tourism Board.     Are you ready to join the #Hydetribe?

DGTL returns and starts a brand new cycle
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DGTL returns and starts a brand new cycle

Music   The world's first circular dance festival returns to the NDSM Docklands on 11 and 12 September 2021.   DGTL Amsterdam returns, putting 2020 firmly in the rear view mirror but taking lessons and insights from a year that has changed us all. A year of new opportunities, new promises and hope for a better world, 2021 presents a new cycle for everyone,  DGTL included. The festival will return to its celebrated homeland at the NDSM Docklands but for the first time, not as the official opener of the festival season. DGTL 2021 will instead take place on September 11th and 12th 2021, with presale tickets going live on Friday 5 February at 2:00 pm via www.dgtl.nl/2021-tickets.     After a year of reflection, DGTL sees 2021 as the start of A NEW CYCLE, a prescient moment in time where everything DGTL has worked on over the last eight years comes together as a true springboard to the future. That future begins now, writing itself by announcing the first wave of DGTL 2021’s line-up:     Acid Pauli | Adriatique | Afrodeutsche | Ben Böhmer | Blawan | The Blessed Madonna & HAAi | CamelPhat | Colyn | David Vunk | DJ Assault | DJ Python | Egyptian Lover | Eris Drew | Honey Dijon | Ingi Visions | KI/KI | Luke Vibert | Mala | Margaret Dygas | Meetsysteem | MEUTE | Mind Against | Nicola Cruz | Nina Kraviz | Paula Temple & SNTS | Ø [Phase] | Ricardo Villalobos | ROD | Worakls     ‘Let’s rewrite our future. It’s time for a new cycle.’     DGTL Amsterdam may be moving itself to the end of the summer rather than its traditional place as the start of the festival season, but the circular message and identity of the festival stays absolutely central to its wider mission. Maintaining sustainable programming by combining international headliners with local talent, the team behind DGTL match this with their sustainable organisation methods. DGTL is the first electronic music festival to be produced in a fully circular manner, with an above-average focus on the challenges in the fields of energy, water and sanitation, food, raw materials and mobility. After a year in which it has become crystal clear how fragile life is on our planet, these steps have proven more important than ever.     Watch the A NEW CYCLE video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jqyC7p6qQ4     By shifting its focus to September, DGTL can take even bigger and better steps towards a sustainable return to the festival landscape, with production levels that promise to erase the memory of 2020. The presale starts on Friday 5 February at 2:00 pm via www.dgtl.nl/2021-tickets.     The world's first circular dance festival returns to the NDSM Docklands on 11 and 12 September 2021.   DGTL Amsterdam returns, putting 2020 firmly in the rear view mirror but taking lessons and insights from a year that has changed us all. A year of new opportunities, new promises and hope for a better world, 2021 presents a new cycle for everyone,  DGTL included. The festival will return to its celebrated homeland at the NDSM Docklands but for the first time, not as the official opener of the festival season. DGTL 2021 will instead take place on September 11th and 12th 2021, with presale tickets going live on Friday 5 February at 2:00 pm via www.dgtl.nl/2021-tickets.     After a year of reflection, DGTL sees 2021 as the start of A NEW CYCLE, a prescient moment in time where everything DGTL has worked on over the last eight years comes together as a true springboard to the future. That future begins now, writing itself by announcing the first wave of DGTL 2021’s line-up:     Acid Pauli | Adriatique | Afrodeutsche | Ben Böhmer | Blawan | The Blessed Madonna & HAAi | CamelPhat | Colyn | David Vunk | DJ Assault | DJ Python | Egyptian Lover | Eris Drew | Honey Dijon | Ingi Visions | KI/KI | Luke Vibert | Mala | Margaret Dygas | Meetsysteem | MEUTE | Mind Against | Nicola Cruz | Nina Kraviz | Paula Temple & SNTS | Ø [Phase] | Ricardo Villalobos | ROD | Worakls     ‘Let’s rewrite our future. It’s time for a new cycle.’     DGTL Amsterdam may be moving itself to the end of the summer rather than its traditional place as the start of the festival season, but the circular message and identity of the festival stays absolutely central to its wider mission. Maintaining sustainable programming by combining international headliners with local talent, the team behind DGTL match this with their sustainable organisation methods. DGTL is the first electronic music festival to be produced in a fully circular manner, with an above-average focus on the challenges in the fields of energy, water and sanitation, food, raw materials and mobility. After a year in which it has become crystal clear how fragile life is on our planet, these steps have proven more important than ever.     Watch the A NEW CYCLE video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jqyC7p6qQ4     By shifting its focus to September, DGTL can take even bigger and better steps towards a sustainable return to the festival landscape, with production levels that promise to erase the memory of 2020. The presale starts on Friday 5 February at 2:00 pm via www.dgtl.nl/2021-tickets.  

DON DIABLO DELVES ‘INTO THE UNKNOWN’
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DON DIABLO DELVES ‘INTO THE UNKNOWN’

Music Dutch visionary Don Diablo has dropped his brand new single ‘Into The Unknown’. The follow-up single to his recent hits, 'Bad' and 'Kill Me Better' - ‘Into The Unknown’ is out now via his very own Hexagon imprint.     Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/fItOVIPyYRk   With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, the unprecedented situation brought about a period of deep reflection for Don, who unexpectedly found solace in the chaos, a sentiment that is effortlessly encapsulated in ‘Into The Unknown’. Layering a haunting melody and deep bass, Don’s own distorted vocals lead the 3-minute sonic journey and lend the track its profoundly personal edge. Renowned for his phenomenal video treatments, the visual accompaniment to ‘Into The Unknown’ showcases a side to the producer that has never been seen before. Shot in Amsterdam, the video contributes to the track’s dark and sultry soundscape, offering a glimpse inside Don’s mind, with the use of mirrors quite literally emphasising his reflective state. Alternating between a hotel room and an underground club, the video showcases a sensual yet mysterious side of Don, the public has never had the chance to meet.     Speaking about the project, Don said “I wrote and produced “Into The Unknown” after spending countless days alone inside my house, without seeing any daylight, going outside or seeing anyone. Growing up I spent most of my days alone. Inside. Creating sounds. Just me and my music. Not knowing what the future would hold. I have been making and releasing music from the age of thirteen and it will always be the biggest love of my life. This past year brought me back to that period in my life, a period of solitude as well as inner peace, away from all the chaos. Being on my own so much reminded me that I have always been living inside my own head, my own reality, my own zone. Not knowing what your next destination can be scary but it can also make way for new things, it can clear your mind. Creating new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone as a direct result of this pandemic has given me a sense of inner peace. Not knowing what the future will hold is okay, sometimes we have to embrace the unknown.” .     Dutch visionary Don Diablo has dropped his brand new single ‘Into The Unknown’. The follow-up single to his recent hits, 'Bad' and 'Kill Me Better' - ‘Into The Unknown’ is out now via his very own Hexagon imprint.     Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/fItOVIPyYRk   With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, the unprecedented situation brought about a period of deep reflection for Don, who unexpectedly found solace in the chaos, a sentiment that is effortlessly encapsulated in ‘Into The Unknown’. Layering a haunting melody and deep bass, Don’s own distorted vocals lead the 3-minute sonic journey and lend the track its profoundly personal edge. Renowned for his phenomenal video treatments, the visual accompaniment to ‘Into The Unknown’ showcases a side to the producer that has never been seen before. Shot in Amsterdam, the video contributes to the track’s dark and sultry soundscape, offering a glimpse inside Don’s mind, with the use of mirrors quite literally emphasising his reflective state. Alternating between a hotel room and an underground club, the video showcases a sensual yet mysterious side of Don, the public has never had the chance to meet.     Speaking about the project, Don said “I wrote and produced “Into The Unknown” after spending countless days alone inside my house, without seeing any daylight, going outside or seeing anyone. Growing up I spent most of my days alone. Inside. Creating sounds. Just me and my music. Not knowing what the future would hold. I have been making and releasing music from the age of thirteen and it will always be the biggest love of my life. This past year brought me back to that period in my life, a period of solitude as well as inner peace, away from all the chaos. Being on my own so much reminded me that I have always been living inside my own head, my own reality, my own zone. Not knowing what your next destination can be scary but it can also make way for new things, it can clear your mind. Creating new things and stepping outside of my comfort zone as a direct result of this pandemic has given me a sense of inner peace. Not knowing what the future will hold is okay, sometimes we have to embrace the unknown.” .    

BRENT FAIYAZ SHARES NEW SINGLE, “GRAVITY” FEATURING TYLER THE CREATOR
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BRENT FAIYAZ SHARES NEW SINGLE, “GRAVITY” FEATURING TYLER THE CREATOR

Music Brent Faiyaz embodies the new generation of artists who remain attached to creating innovative music. He exudes a quiet grace and welcomes music in grayscale tones, over traditions and innovative production.     “Gravity” showcases the effortless runs and intimate songwriting Brent Faiyaz is known for.  The new cut explores loving against all odds and brings an introspective dimension to R&B. Tyler The Creator further serenades the track exhibiting his rap skill as he moves confidently through the hallmark production graced by Dahi (Kendrick Lemar, Travi$ Scott, Childish Gambino).     At only 25, Brent Faiyaz has garnered over 1 billion streams to date. He boasts over 8 million monthly listeners on Spotifyand 1 Million Instagram followers. Last year, Faiyaz released a prominent project titled “Fuck The World” which peaked at number 20 of the Billboard Top 200 and posted up at 500 million cumulative streams and counting. The rising star has also wrapped up collaborations with the likes of 2 Chainz & Kanye West, Asap Ferg, Too Short and E40 to just name a few.     Praised as one of the important R&B opuses of recent years, “Fuck The World” emerged with sterling critical acclaim. Fader raved, “Brent Faiyaz has established himself as a brutally honest songwriter for the early hours”, and Highsnobiety described it as “delivering an intimate listening experience”. As well as continuous praise from Exclaim, Rolling Stone, Complex, Line Of Best Fit and more. Brent Faiyaz embodies the new generation of artists who remain attached to creating innovative music. He exudes a quiet grace and welcomes music in grayscale tones, over traditions and innovative production.     “Gravity” showcases the effortless runs and intimate songwriting Brent Faiyaz is known for.  The new cut explores loving against all odds and brings an introspective dimension to R&B. Tyler The Creator further serenades the track exhibiting his rap skill as he moves confidently through the hallmark production graced by Dahi (Kendrick Lemar, Travi$ Scott, Childish Gambino).     At only 25, Brent Faiyaz has garnered over 1 billion streams to date. He boasts over 8 million monthly listeners on Spotifyand 1 Million Instagram followers. Last year, Faiyaz released a prominent project titled “Fuck The World” which peaked at number 20 of the Billboard Top 200 and posted up at 500 million cumulative streams and counting. The rising star has also wrapped up collaborations with the likes of 2 Chainz & Kanye West, Asap Ferg, Too Short and E40 to just name a few.     Praised as one of the important R&B opuses of recent years, “Fuck The World” emerged with sterling critical acclaim. Fader raved, “Brent Faiyaz has established himself as a brutally honest songwriter for the early hours”, and Highsnobiety described it as “delivering an intimate listening experience”. As well as continuous praise from Exclaim, Rolling Stone, Complex, Line Of Best Fit and more.

VIC MENSA IS OUR NEXT DIGITAL COVER STAR
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VIC MENSA IS OUR NEXT DIGITAL COVER STAR

Music The African in America is an over the shoulder watcher   a look 4-ways before he cross the street-er   She is a barked command curver   curvy unapologetic hip switcher   He is a long-lost homeland forgetter    amnesiac pain burying law breaker    She is a louisiana gumbo cooker    houseless street walking home maker   The African in America is a stolen jewel, a grave robbed masterwork    beckoning to a past unknown   As we spill our blood in attempts to wash our hands clean of the scars and calluses accumulated from carrying America’s secrets, generation after generation of displaced Africans have radically envisioned Exodus. From Marcus Garvey to Sun Ra to Bob Marley, the innate longing to return has magnetically pulled Black people away from the tainted soil of our Lands of the free, often through the medium of artistic imagination. In our brush strokes, our rhythms and our silhouettes we have retained a cultural identity so intrinsically unbreakable that even we, at times, have been ignorant to its origins. I placed myself in a street scene in Ghana wearing Telfar beneath a sign reading Dignity & Respect as cultural acknowledgement of the synergy between the brand, my identity and the birthplace of my father. Telfar’s impact on the zeitgeist is undeniably African (unsurprising given his Liberian heritage), as well as unapologetically Black, Queer and non-conformist. It is worth noting that a utopian view of Africa eschews reality, and many of the oppressive constructs of American society are also deeply entrenched in the continent; homophobia, misogyny & neocolonialism to name a few. Yet, I believe, visualizing ourselves and our art within the context of our native heritage enables us to inject our ideals and our dreams of freedom into the imperfect present day iteration of the closest thing we know to liberation.    This summer as 47th Street bellowed in flames and Chicago’s Black Belt was once again engulfed in the rage of a caged people, images of Bronzeville’s historic past flashed through my mind like fuzzy white lightning, a beautiful illustration across a tormented sky. Desperation from a world-stopping pandemic, multiplied by traumatizing images of white supremacist terrorism created the conditions of a perfect storm, and widespread looting and rioting ravaged the South Side, where 95% of the population is Black but less than 10% of the business are Black owned. The historical precedent is there, and many of the remnants of the 1968 riots in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination still litter the streets; boarded up, decrepit buildings that look more like a war-torn third world country than America’s third largest city. And yet, things were not always this way. I’ve always marveled over the images of the bustling corners of 47th street, once the epicenter of a community known as the Black Metropolis. One of the most famous images is a black and white photograph of a group of young boys perched on the hood of a 1940’s automobile, dressed impeccably in their Easter best and poised with a regal confidence, if not a haunting dissociation in their eyes, as if they could foresee the troubled times to come. I placed myself at their helm, imagining myself leading a reversed funeral procession to a future where the streets of the Low End clamored not with gunshots and homelessness, but with enterprise and ownership.    Separate but equal; one of America’s many last ditch attempts to maintain her legal stranglehold on the so-called sons of Job in the aftermath of her bitter loss of traditional chattel slavery. Of course we are aware that slavery was never truly abolished, but rather redirected into mass incarceration through the final sentence of the 13th Amendment, however, in the first half of the 20th century the societal chains were far more blatantly visible than they may be now, at least to the naked eye. It is within the very shackles of this social bondage that the predecessors of our current movements learned to thrive, to innovate and to resist. One such figure is Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the lesser known Black musician often credited as the “Godmother of Rock & Roll”, and one of the primary inspirations for my friend Kerby Jean Raymond’s Pyer Moss Collection 3. We imposed an image of me wearing Pyer Moss while drinking from a White Only water fountain to represent both the adversities our forebears overcame to shape the world as we know it, as well as the radical significance of our existence as artists on the highest levels of hierarchies not intended for us.  - VIC MENSA     Team credits: talent: Vic Mensa photography: Ray's Corrupted Mind stylist: Donte Mcguine editor: Timotej Letonja   The African in America is an over the shoulder watcher   a look 4-ways before he cross the street-er   She is a barked command curver   curvy unapologetic hip switcher   He is a long-lost homeland forgetter    amnesiac pain burying law breaker    She is a louisiana gumbo cooker    houseless street walking home maker   The African in America is a stolen jewel, a grave robbed masterwork    beckoning to a past unknown   As we spill our blood in attempts to wash our hands clean of the scars and calluses accumulated from carrying America’s secrets, generation after generation of displaced Africans have radically envisioned Exodus. From Marcus Garvey to Sun Ra to Bob Marley, the innate longing to return has magnetically pulled Black people away from the tainted soil of our Lands of the free, often through the medium of artistic imagination. In our brush strokes, our rhythms and our silhouettes we have retained a cultural identity so intrinsically unbreakable that even we, at times, have been ignorant to its origins. I placed myself in a street scene in Ghana wearing Telfar beneath a sign reading Dignity & Respect as cultural acknowledgement of the synergy between the brand, my identity and the birthplace of my father. Telfar’s impact on the zeitgeist is undeniably African (unsurprising given his Liberian heritage), as well as unapologetically Black, Queer and non-conformist. It is worth noting that a utopian view of Africa eschews reality, and many of the oppressive constructs of American society are also deeply entrenched in the continent; homophobia, misogyny & neocolonialism to name a few. Yet, I believe, visualizing ourselves and our art within the context of our native heritage enables us to inject our ideals and our dreams of freedom into the imperfect present day iteration of the closest thing we know to liberation.    This summer as 47th Street bellowed in flames and Chicago’s Black Belt was once again engulfed in the rage of a caged people, images of Bronzeville’s historic past flashed through my mind like fuzzy white lightning, a beautiful illustration across a tormented sky. Desperation from a world-stopping pandemic, multiplied by traumatizing images of white supremacist terrorism created the conditions of a perfect storm, and widespread looting and rioting ravaged the South Side, where 95% of the population is Black but less than 10% of the business are Black owned. The historical precedent is there, and many of the remnants of the 1968 riots in the wake of Dr. King’s assassination still litter the streets; boarded up, decrepit buildings that look more like a war-torn third world country than America’s third largest city. And yet, things were not always this way. I’ve always marveled over the images of the bustling corners of 47th street, once the epicenter of a community known as the Black Metropolis. One of the most famous images is a black and white photograph of a group of young boys perched on the hood of a 1940’s automobile, dressed impeccably in their Easter best and poised with a regal confidence, if not a haunting dissociation in their eyes, as if they could foresee the troubled times to come. I placed myself at their helm, imagining myself leading a reversed funeral procession to a future where the streets of the Low End clamored not with gunshots and homelessness, but with enterprise and ownership.    Separate but equal; one of America’s many last ditch attempts to maintain her legal stranglehold on the so-called sons of Job in the aftermath of her bitter loss of traditional chattel slavery. Of course we are aware that slavery was never truly abolished, but rather redirected into mass incarceration through the final sentence of the 13th Amendment, however, in the first half of the 20th century the societal chains were far more blatantly visible than they may be now, at least to the naked eye. It is within the very shackles of this social bondage that the predecessors of our current movements learned to thrive, to innovate and to resist. One such figure is Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the lesser known Black musician often credited as the “Godmother of Rock & Roll”, and one of the primary inspirations for my friend Kerby Jean Raymond’s Pyer Moss Collection 3. We imposed an image of me wearing Pyer Moss while drinking from a White Only water fountain to represent both the adversities our forebears overcame to shape the world as we know it, as well as the radical significance of our existence as artists on the highest levels of hierarchies not intended for us.  - VIC MENSA     Team credits: talent: Vic Mensa photography: Ray's Corrupted Mind stylist: Donte Mcguine editor: Timotej Letonja  

Frenna releases huge afrobeat single 'Dragon Roll' and announces new album
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Frenna releases huge afrobeat single 'Dragon Roll' and announces new album

Music As a preview of his brand new upcoming album - of which the release date has yet to be announced - Frenna has released his newest afrobeat single 'Dragon Roll' today. ‘Dragon Roll’follows last week’s release with Dutch wordsmith Lijpe titled ‘Mansory’ which instantly entered the Dutch Spotify charts at #1.     The upcoming album will be the fifth solo album from the Dutch singer and rapper, who won the title for most streamed Dutch artist in 2019. He released his first album ‘Geen Oog Dicht Gedaan’ in 2016 and followed it up with 'We Don't Stop' a collaboration with Diquenza, 'Francis'which has received 4 times platinum certification and has now spent over 100 weeks in the top 100 album charts, and '’t album onderweg naar 'Het Album' which claimed the number 1 spot within 5 days after its release. The title of his new album remains a secret, but with the release of 'Dragon Roll'expectations are running high.     The track is the result of the magical chemistry between Frenna and producers Diquenza and Churchbwoy, a combination which already has several successful collaborations to their name. Frenna and Diquenza previously scored big with their hit 'Cursed' and made the album 'We Don't Stop'which reached platinum status in 2018.     Dragon Roll' is the first of several afrobeat tracks that will be featured on Frenna’s upcoming album. The mix of African pop, R&B, hip-hop and reggae and the use of horns and percussion make for an irresistible sound with great potential.     For the accompanying music video, directed by Caio Silva and Elvira Waterfall, Frenna traveled to the sun-drenched Dubai, a place that perfectly matches the vibe of this release. The single 'Dragon Roll'and its accompanying music video, are available to listen to and watch everywhere starting on Friday, January 15. As a preview of his brand new upcoming album - of which the release date has yet to be announced - Frenna has released his newest afrobeat single 'Dragon Roll' today. ‘Dragon Roll’follows last week’s release with Dutch wordsmith Lijpe titled ‘Mansory’ which instantly entered the Dutch Spotify charts at #1.     The upcoming album will be the fifth solo album from the Dutch singer and rapper, who won the title for most streamed Dutch artist in 2019. He released his first album ‘Geen Oog Dicht Gedaan’ in 2016 and followed it up with 'We Don't Stop' a collaboration with Diquenza, 'Francis'which has received 4 times platinum certification and has now spent over 100 weeks in the top 100 album charts, and '’t album onderweg naar 'Het Album' which claimed the number 1 spot within 5 days after its release. The title of his new album remains a secret, but with the release of 'Dragon Roll'expectations are running high.     The track is the result of the magical chemistry between Frenna and producers Diquenza and Churchbwoy, a combination which already has several successful collaborations to their name. Frenna and Diquenza previously scored big with their hit 'Cursed' and made the album 'We Don't Stop'which reached platinum status in 2018.     Dragon Roll' is the first of several afrobeat tracks that will be featured on Frenna’s upcoming album. The mix of African pop, R&B, hip-hop and reggae and the use of horns and percussion make for an irresistible sound with great potential.     For the accompanying music video, directed by Caio Silva and Elvira Waterfall, Frenna traveled to the sun-drenched Dubai, a place that perfectly matches the vibe of this release. The single 'Dragon Roll'and its accompanying music video, are available to listen to and watch everywhere starting on Friday, January 15.

In conversation with David Puentez
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In conversation with David Puentez

Music Recently we had a pleasure speaking with David Puentez.   How would you describe your work and music across the past, present & future?   I started with electro house went further with future house and lets see what the future brings now.I’m always open to new things and always try to think outside the box and be innovative, that is what i have been doing and will keep on doing!      When making music, what is the first thing you do or process you turn to, when creating a new tune?    Most of the time,lately,I get a vocal topline and from there it’s a bit of trial and error, what fits and what works. I usually start with the groove and basic elements and then top it with a bassline, melodies etc until there is a rough demo. I always try playing and testing the tracks live as well which helps in the finishing process. Of course, right now, there are no shows but as soon as there are, i will continue doing this!     Tell us about your new track ‘Banana’on Warner music, how did that come about and what inspired the single?   I got the vocal before the first lockdown in Germany, around February, and instantly wanted to make a cool tune with timeless sounds. I’m always aiming for something timeless and I like the uniqueness and simplicity of the track. Warner has been following me for a while and I am happy we were able to make this partnership happen!     What has been your favourite release of your career and why?    Definitely ‘Superstar’, this tune went big when the first lockdown in Germany happened, and also on the German and international radios - and it still gets played today. It’s ust crazy to see how some tracks blow up and some not so much;you never know what happens and that is the exciting thing about music.      You also went to #1 on the German Top 100 iTunes charts with ‘Lalalife’ – how did that feel?    Kinda crazy and unreal at the same time when you see your name on top of so many other huge names but also very happy that my community supported LaLaLife so much!     How did you also come to remix Tiesto on his label Musical Freedom? That is an amazing link-up!    I think I have remixed him three times, now. The frst time, it was a remix contest between Splice and Musical Freedom, which I won, and then I remixed ‘Jackie Chan’ with Post Malone and, last but not least, ‘Ritual’ with Rita Ora and Jonas Blue!     Tell us about your studio set up – what is the one piece of equipment (hard wear or software) that you can’t live without?    My own sample library with fancy kicks, snare, fills and more sounds in it, that I am and have been carefully collecting for years.      What can we expect from you in 2021, and how do you plan to make sure it beats 2020?!   A lot of new music for 2021 and some great collabs and featuring other artists. I have so much music here laying around; I always try my best and strive to challenging myself, so lets see if 2021 will start off with a bang!      What is your career highlight so far?    My first gig I had in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on a Thursday night. The main room was completely packed and it was the best night of my life – so intense!But I am working hard every day to make sure I have a lot more highlights in my career.        Recently we had a pleasure speaking with David Puentez.   How would you describe your work and music across the past, present & future?   I started with electro house went further with future house and lets see what the future brings now.I’m always open to new things and always try to think outside the box and be innovative, that is what i have been doing and will keep on doing!      When making music, what is the first thing you do or process you turn to, when creating a new tune?    Most of the time,lately,I get a vocal topline and from there it’s a bit of trial and error, what fits and what works. I usually start with the groove and basic elements and then top it with a bassline, melodies etc until there is a rough demo. I always try playing and testing the tracks live as well which helps in the finishing process. Of course, right now, there are no shows but as soon as there are, i will continue doing this!     Tell us about your new track ‘Banana’on Warner music, how did that come about and what inspired the single?   I got the vocal before the first lockdown in Germany, around February, and instantly wanted to make a cool tune with timeless sounds. I’m always aiming for something timeless and I like the uniqueness and simplicity of the track. Warner has been following me for a while and I am happy we were able to make this partnership happen!     What has been your favourite release of your career and why?    Definitely ‘Superstar’, this tune went big when the first lockdown in Germany happened, and also on the German and international radios - and it still gets played today. It’s ust crazy to see how some tracks blow up and some not so much;you never know what happens and that is the exciting thing about music.      You also went to #1 on the German Top 100 iTunes charts with ‘Lalalife’ – how did that feel?    Kinda crazy and unreal at the same time when you see your name on top of so many other huge names but also very happy that my community supported LaLaLife so much!     How did you also come to remix Tiesto on his label Musical Freedom? That is an amazing link-up!    I think I have remixed him three times, now. The frst time, it was a remix contest between Splice and Musical Freedom, which I won, and then I remixed ‘Jackie Chan’ with Post Malone and, last but not least, ‘Ritual’ with Rita Ora and Jonas Blue!     Tell us about your studio set up – what is the one piece of equipment (hard wear or software) that you can’t live without?    My own sample library with fancy kicks, snare, fills and more sounds in it, that I am and have been carefully collecting for years.      What can we expect from you in 2021, and how do you plan to make sure it beats 2020?!   A lot of new music for 2021 and some great collabs and featuring other artists. I have so much music here laying around; I always try my best and strive to challenging myself, so lets see if 2021 will start off with a bang!      What is your career highlight so far?    My first gig I had in Hollywood, Los Angeles, on a Thursday night. The main room was completely packed and it was the best night of my life – so intense!But I am working hard every day to make sure I have a lot more highlights in my career.       

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