Miguel drifts around on a tiny stage while his band bangs out every note. He gets the crowd to chant “splish splish”. “Righteous” – he says in return. The War & Leisure tour is peak Miguel. If you’re thinking about seeing him, see him NOW.
A set list of 20+ songs will satisfy the old and new Miguel fans while draining the voice right out of your lungs. 2010’s “All I Want Is You” and “Sure Thing” prove the singer has been mastering R&B for quite some time now. While newer fans can sing to the bouncy “Banana Clip”, “Pineapple Skies”, and the crowd favorite: “Sky Walker”. But pretty much everyone can reminisce over “How Many Drinks?” and the saucy “Do You?”.
The California native managed to pack in everyone’s favorites and then some. About halfway through the set, the singer performed a flawless medley of his song with Wale: “Lotus Flower Bomb”, “Power Trip” with J Cole, and his recent collab with Dua Lipa: “Lost In Your Light”. A steady beat stitched them all together without a hitch.
Miguel’s voice cannot be fully appreciated until you hear it live. Effortless runs and endless vibrato make you wonder how he’s managed to keep that voice so pristine for so long… and how he makes it look so damn EASY.
The show itself was enlightening to watch. A shining array of bright lights echoed every rock breakdown Miguel’s band did so well. The energy was more than the room could handle.
My only complaint? The merch was way too expensive. I will never pay $45 for a t-shirt…
The hype surrounding Wonderland has been building over the past year. In late 2017, she was named New Artist of the Year at the Electronic Music Awards. Then later released a stormy single titled, “Happy Place”, a song that puts the spotlight on mental illness and finding one’s happiness. “Place” was the introduction to her second album, titled Awake, coming April 6th.
Her third single, “No” proves to be her strongest in a while. Following a bouncing beat similar to a Diplo masterpiece. She recently talked about the meaning behind the track; “I want to make a track that someone will hear and be like ‘shit, I totally get what she’s feeling, and if she can get out, maybe I can too.’ I don’t want them to be afraid to talk about it.” Working alongside producer/hitmaker Joel Little (Lorde, Sam Smith, Khalid), this album could be the EDM/pop mashup we’ve been waiting for. Keeping raw honesty in a genre that seems to be pigeonholed into one sound, Wonderland makes sure her music has meaning.
With 14 new songs waiting in the wings, I can’t wait to hear what Wonderland will debut live at Coachella.
The words, “I will wait by the river, in the light of the moon,” sound like the beginning of an old poem; something Shakespeare would write to a far-away lover. She’d read it and shed a tear as the realization of his love for her finally became clear.
Lord Huron’s third single of 2018, “Wait by the River” is an enchantingly beautiful love song. Lead singer, Ben Schneider sings about all the things he’ll do to get this love back; “I will cry out to heaven,” “I will beg for forgiveness,” “I will wait by the river.” A slow drum beat keeps “River” at a romantic pace, while Schneider’s vocals itch higher and higher with piercing imagery to follow.
Their third album, Vide Noir, will be released April 20th. Spanning two years in writing and recording (in their Los Angeles studio), Schneider told Northern Transmissions what inspired Noir, “My nighttime drives ranged all over the city—across the twinkling grid of the valley, into the creeping shadows of the foothills, through downtown’s neon canyons and way out to the darksome ocean…” he continues, “I started imagining Vide Noir as an epic odyssey through the city, across dimensions, and out into the cosmos. A journey along the spectrum of human experience. A search for meaning amidst the cold indifference of The Universe.” It’s no surprise, the visual aspect of this album will be just as gorgeous as the mixed sounds on each track.
Alice Gray is one to watch. With one single under her belt and a striking new collab titled “Front Row” just released, 2018 is her year to shine. I spoke with the pop singer about her inspirations, come-up to music, and plans for the rest of the year.
“Front Row” is such a romantic fun song. How did this collab come about? And do you hope to do more EDM/Pop tracks like this in the future?
“I met VALNTN only this past fall when my friend and mixing engineer, Andi Inadomi, asked me to join their session. We had a fun time and wrote a great song so we continued writing together. Val and 5ALVO had produced the instrumental for ‘Front Row’ almost a year ago and had many song writers take a crack at top line, but nothing stuck so he asked me to try my hand at it. I brought in my trustee songwriting collaborator Stephen Conley who co-wrote ‘Pink Cadillac’ to add his magic and the three of us wrote and cut vocals for ‘Front Row’ over the course of one session. It was my first experience recording ‘gang vocals,’ – hysterical.”
Who are you currently listening to a lot? And why?
“I have a fascination with Francis and the Lights. I saw his video for “Friends” when he released his album Farewell, Starlite! and I was immediately drawn to his uninhibited dance moves and mysterious demeanor. He’s even better onstage!
I will forever love my dream pop ladies Lana and Lorde. My new favorite is SZA – she has no filter and writes in a non-formulaic way that is very inspiring to me. It’s easy to get caught up writing a formulaic pop song.”
Has music always been your passion?
“It has. I sang ‘Part of Your World’ from the Little Mermaid constantly as a child. My mom gave me a tape recorder that I’d carry around- singing into it, playing it back, and listening with pure joy. I had a little trio band in elementary school called the GAP Girls (acronym of all our last names and we all wore GAP sweatshirts A LOT) I’d write songs and choreograph these strange little dances to go with them that we’d perform for our teachers on the school lawn at recess.
However, I became very shy in middle school and stopped singing. I’d wait until I knew for sure no one was around to sing. I’d write these angsty little love songs on pads of paper all around the house. I was the go-to playlist girl- I’d spend hours on Limewire downloading bootleg music and burning CD’s for my friends. When I got my first MacBook in High school I started making songs on garage band, but I wouldn’t show anyone. Instead I pursued my other, more introverted love; drawing and painting. It wasn’t until I was about to graduate with a degree in fine arts that I needed to get over my fear and took a songwriting class. That class changed my life.”
Tell me about “Pink Cadillac” and where the inspiration came from
“‘Pink Cadillac’ is a complicated song to explain. I walked into my first session with Stephen Conley and told him I wanted to write a song inspired by Angelyne, the infamous woman that drives around Hollywood in her pink corvette. I’d seen her around my neighborhood a lot so I looked her up and watched a little documentary on her. I found her to be both fascinating and fearless, but also sad and I wanted to use this really unique imagery in a song. We came up with a scenario that reflected what I was going through at the time, but colored it in Angelyne’s world. I ended up having a meeting with Angelyne to discuss her making an appearance in the music video. She loves ‘Pink Cadillac’ and agreed to be in it, but as an independent artist I didn’t have the funds to create the music video I envision for that song. I plan to change that very soon.”
What’re your plans for 2018? Is there an EP or full length album on the way? And if so, how is the process coming along?
“2018 is going to be a big one. I’ve got a bunch of songs lined up, brand collaborations, in pre-production for a music video and starting to play a lot of shows. I have more than 5 songs lined up, enough to make an album, but we are going to give them each their own day in the sun and release them month by month as singles. When I create my first album, I want to go about it very purposefully and craft songs that are meant to be released together as a single piece of art.”