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Interviews

Artist Interview: Bri Zoli

Artist to watch Bri Zoli is new to your Spotify playlist, but she’s not  new to the stage. She’s a classically trained flutist and vocalist  who has performed across the globe and has finally put out music  she can call her own. She released her first two singles last year,  and her angelic voice and emotional melodies are here to stay.  We were happy to get to talk to her at the start of this new year! 

CROWDSURFER MAG: You put out your first two songs ever in  2020 – 

BRI ZOLI: What a year, what a year. 

CSM: Exactly. But how does it feel to be releasing music? 

BZ: It’s great! I’ve been working on music for years and years. I  just felt like the time was right for me in 2020. I felt like I was able  to finally super focus on my music and it just felt like the right  time to put it out for me, personally. 

CSM: And “Lullaby” is your most recent single. What was the  inspiration for that song? 

BZ: So the vibe of that is definitely different from “Your Eyes  Only,” which is my first single that I put out in June. “Lullaby” is  kind of like a haunting, whisper-type track. It’s a vibe that I feel  like I’ve been wanting to create for so long and I never knew how  to put it into words. I think with “Lullaby” I really wanted to get  out that poetic, melodic, haunting song, and I think we’ve really  kind of hit the nail on the head there. 

CSM: We watched the music video for “Lullaby,” too! You’re also  a model, so how did having that experience play out for you in  your music video? 

BZ: So my boyfriend is actually a photographer and videographer. We met on a shoot a couple of years ago, so we’ve been  collaborating on shoots and videos just for fun throughout the  years. So obviously I was like, this is perfect, we can just do our  thing, but it’d be music video! But the thing no one tells you is it’s  so much work! I did all the post-production myself, so I was like, this takes so much time! But it was an amazing experience.

CSM: We’ve been talking to so many people this last year who  decided to learn how to do everything themselves! 

BZ: You kind of have to these days! We have all the things we  need to be able to do it, so why not just do it all? 

And continuing to speak of skills, you not only have modeling  experience, but you also grew up in music! How has that  influenced your songs today? 

BZ: So I grew up classically trained in flute and voice, and it was  like my whole life. I think growing up in that world – I was in an  orchestra and just playing with the world’s greatest composers  and constantly being around that kind of music – I think it really  

influenced me, and I think that also influenced “Lullaby” in those  beautiful, harmonic big choruses and all the instrumentals that  went into that. I think my personal style is very much emotional in  that way, so I really appreciate all those lessons and just  constantly being around music because I think it really helped  prepare me for being an artist. 

CSM: What’s your writing process like? 

BZ: If I’m just doing something about myself and I’m inspired, I’ll  sit at the piano and just play something and then melodies come  to me. I rarely start with an idea first, it’s kind of like “this sounds  cool” and then I’ll do a melody and then whatever comes to me.  And it’s kind of the same when I work with producers! 

CSM: How did you stage name come about? 

BZ: So this was something that I was literally harping on for years! For me, my stage name has to have a meaning and make sense. I  wanted to keep “Bri” because you know, that’s my my first name,  

but I didn’t want to use my last name. So I’m Hungarian, my  mom’s a hundred percent Hungarian, and she was gonna name  me Zoltana because her father’s name was Zoltan. And I’ve always  loved that name. And I was like, Mom, why didn’t you name me  that, that would have been so cool! And my nickname would have  been Zoli, which is what I decided to be the second half of my name. What could be more perfect to honor who I could have  been and can be?

CSM: Did going through quarantine and lockdown and all of that  help you grow in your music? 

BZ: Absolutely. Being able to collaborate virtually with other  artists has actually been amazing, and having that time I wouldn’t  have had before, I’ve been able to focus so much more. I feel like  this year I probably wrote more songs than the last couple of  years! 

CSM: What can we look forward to from you this year? 

BZ: So I have my third single coming out soon, it’s going to be  called “Faling.” It’s going to be different from the first two, it’ll be  grungier and moodier, I’m really excited about it. And then after  that my EP will probably be coming out in late 2021! 

CSM: I’m excited for that! Did you make a New Year’s  Resolution? 

BZ: I think to be not as hard on myself, to stop overthinking  things, and just go with my creative process. If I write something,  and I like it, it’s better to just put it out in the world than to refine  it millions and millions of times. 

CSM: I think we could all use a little more of that mentality. If  you like it, go for it! I saw you joined the Game of Thrones  bandwagon, even though we’re all off of it? 

BZ: I actually really love it! The funny thing is I watched the finale  first and I was so confused, I was like, why do people like this? But  now I’ve started from the beginning and I totally get it. So that will  be my 2021 guilty pleasure. 

Well, thanks for taking time to talk to us today! 

BZ: Thank you so much! 

Take a listen to “Lullaby,” and keep your eyes out for Bri Zoli’s  next single!

Categories
Music News Reviews

Spencer Sutherland: Indigo

Alt-pop artist Spencer Sutherland released his EP titled Indigo last Friday and gave us a music video for the title track. I really enjoyed the style and direction of his music video for the previous single “Wonder,” so I was excited to watch and get another taste of this EP.

The location of the video is the same as the cover of the EP: a barren desert landscape. The space behind Spencer is colored purple, the sky a bright blue crossed with flashes of lightning, and the corners in the foreground are tinted with pink. Spencer struts down the dirty path in pure white shoes, passing objects of affection along the way. While the concept of the video is simple and is taken in one shot, it never gets boring to watch because Spencer’s performance, movements, and emotions keep you intrigued.

I also want to note the several seconds of black at the end and commend this editorial decision because YouTube’s autoplay can be detrimental to the viewing experience. The black gives you time to absorb and appreciate the artistry that was put into “Indigo.”

Check out the link to the video below, and then continue on to listening to the rest of the EP. And Indigo isn’t the last of the news from Spencer Sutherland. You’ll be able to see him starring in Afterlife of the Party, an upcoming Netflix film slated to come out in 2021.

Categories
Music News Reviews

KiNG MALA introduces herself in GEMiNi

Areli Castro, better known as KiNG MALA, released her debut EP GEMiNi this month. After several singles were put out in the last two years, we finally have a collection from the alternative soul artist!

“I realized that as different as each song is, the whole EP is just 2 sides of the same coin playing out over and over again, 2 versions of the same character. So that is the reason I chose the name gemini, to represent the balance and chaos between two halves of the same thing,” says KiNG MALA. With that as an introduction to the EP, I was more than ready to dive in.

If I had to pick a favorite, it would be “If I Try to Find You,” which was released as a single earlier this year. The song weaves us through mellow verses with a simple beat but overlaid with haunting background vocals, and then erupts into a passion-filled chorus.

We get three songs on the EP that we haven’t heard before: “B4U,” “Give Me,” and “Funeral.” In all of the songs KiNG MALA shows us her badass, confident side, but then flips and shows us someone who wants to stay home or escape the life she’s living. And while both of those sides seem so different, she shows us that in life and in music, they are in balance.

Take a listen and let us know what you think of GEMiNi!

Categories
Uncategorized

Miley Cyrus goes glam rock with “Plastic Hearts”

I’m a few days late to this review, but Miley Cyrus’s new album requires some time to sit with to take in the full effect. Plastic Hearts is one surprise after another: with a ballad taking the #3 slot, absolute icons joining for features, live covers, and a whopping 15 tracks. Buckle up, let’s go!

The first song, “WTF Do I Know,” kicks off the album with an anthemic start. Only a few seconds in I was begging that the rest of the album be exactly the same. Miley has already proven she can remake herself and jump between genres time and time again, but I was hoping one day she would bring more rock influence into her music. And she delivered.

Timeless is a word that comes to mind when listening to this LP, and I can surely see us jamming to some of these tracks for years to come. It’s a rare day when I suggest songs for my dad to listen to, but I know we will both be playing the air drums in the car to “Night Crawling” featuring Billy Idol.

The latter half of the album really slows down though, and that was initially a little disappointing to me. I still like the songs, but I wanted more rock ’n roll, more angst, more songs that feature Miley’s incredible vocals that you can hear in her live cover of The Cranberries’s “Zombie.” Am I the only one who was expecting something a little more exciting out of “Prisoner,” her song with Dua Lipa?

But guess what? Miley does what she wants, and her music is primarily for her. And I applaud that. And I will scream from the mountaintops in support of topics she covers: about sexist double standards, about how being LGBTQ+ is normal, and about being unapologetically herself and loving it.

You’ll find me later learning to play “High” on the guitar and being thankful that Miley was able to salvage the music that was lost in the fire that burned down her home in LA.

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Interviews Music News

Artist Interview: katie MAC

It’s a foggy October day and pop artist katie MAC and I grab a table outside of a coffeeshop in Nashville. While we wait for our teas to cool down to a reasonable temperature, we have plenty of time to discuss her new EP Self Sabotage. It’s been months since either of us have had an in-person interview, and we both laugh about how we aren’t sure how to do this anymore, but we take a stab at it anyway.

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your EP just came out this month! How does it feel to have your second body of work out there?

KATIE MAC: It’s different than the first for sure. To have the songs out felt like a turning point, like a change in the chapter, more personally than musically for me. It felt very cathartic and satisfying to finally have those songs out for other people to listen to.

CSM: What does the EP mean as a whole to you?

KM: It felt like an examination of self. I felt like my first album was very outward looking as far as my relationships with other people, whereas this entire thing felt like a step back and kind of an introspective examination through the lens of the way that I interact with other people.

CSM: Why did you pick “Self Sabotage” as the title track?

KM: I think when I finished that song, I was like, wow this is the phrase that feels most true to me in this phase of life. And then I started putting the project together and realized I had been creating that as a theme in my writing without even knowing it. So it just kind of clicked and made sense for that to be the title track.

CSM: So we know the title track, but do you have a favorite track?

KM: I do this thing where I am most obsessed with a song for a couple of days and then I hate it for a couple of days and then I like it again. So it changes. But currently, my favorite is the last song, which is called “Worried About Me.” I think I like it so much because I made it with my two best friends here.  It’s special to me because it’s not about boys or whatever, it’s about my relationship with myself and with my work and my career.

CSM: Self Sabotage follows up your album Tears Like Glitter. You said the content has changed since the album, but what else has?

KM: Tears Like Glitter felt like coming of age for me. Now, as more of an adult, I feel like there’s a sense of maturity in this one that was missing from the first one. Sonically, it felt like the sounds on Tears Like Glitter are very similar to this one, it’s just that Self Sabotage feels more exploratory. That willingness to try new things as far as production and vocals and is unique and characterizes me as a person

CSM: Tell me a little about your writing process.

KM: For me, it changes depending on the song. But it almost always starts out with an experience that happened to me or someone I’m close to. And then we either start with a title or phrase or melody, and if it’s just me writing, it’s usually a thirty-minute process and then a song just comes out. But when I’m with really talented writers and producers, we take our time and mold the story, and we’ll normally get the track ready the same day we right the song. A lot of times that’s the only day I’ll be in the studio for the song, and it’ll just be done at the end of the day.

CSM: Do you have a preference? Writing by yourself or with producers?

KM: I don’t have a preference! I think there are some stories that come out better when it’s just me because I’m not afraid of anyone’s opinion of what I’m saying. But then being in the studio with people I love and respect is so much fun and we get the most awesome ideas I’d never be able to come up with myself.

CSM: What kind of impact do you hope to have with your music?

KM: What I always come back to is I would like to make people feel less alone in the way that they experience things. If I can make people feel they can express what they’re feeling and that they’re not alone, I think that I’ve done my job.

CSM: So you’re from Kansas, and obviously music brought you here, but why Nashville?

KM: I really wanted to move to California when I was 17, but my parents wanted me to go to college. I hated all the places I visited, and then we visited Belmont University. We got there and I loved the school, I was like, you’re telling me I can spend four years learning to write songs? Sign me up. And I never looked back.

CSM: What’s next for you?

KM: I have some collaborations coming up that I’m really excited about!

CSM: We’ll keep our eyes out for those! And, it’s October. Do you have a favorite Halloween movie?

KM: Ok so apparently Halloween movies is a genre, and I didn’t know this. I think I’ve seen maybe two Halloween movies in my life. My roommate is making me watch Halloweentown tonight, actually.

CSM: A classic!

KM: I’ll let you know how it is!

You can take a listen to Self Sabotage here!

Categories
Interviews

Artist Interview: Barret Turner

Dallas-based musician Barret Turner has been writing music for many years but has only recently begun releasing the tracks. We’re excited to introduce you to his songs! Read on to learn about Barret’s latest single “Always You” and everything he has planned next.

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your latest single “Always You” came out last month. What does this song mean to you?

BARRET TURNER: I made it a long time ago, and it was about my friend’s mom battling cancer. I brought I back with the newer stuff I make, and now I feel like it represents his journey after his mom passed away. I feel like he kind of lost himself and now he’s getting back to who he was.

CSM: We’re fans of Will Jay, so we were excited to see him featured on this song. How did bringing him onto the project happen?

BT: I sent him an email! I sent him six songs, and he said he wanted to work on “Always You.” He was super easy to work with, we’d send each other lyrics and melody ideas back and forth, and that’s how the song came about. Quarantine hit so we had to do everything over email.

CSM: It’s so wild that this all had to go down over email!

BT: Yeah, and I wish it wasn’t like that, but I was like, man I’d love to work with Will Jay, he’s so good. So I feel very lucky that he accepted the offer.

CSM: “Always You” follows up “On Purpose” which came out one month earlier. Can we expect another song this month?

BT: I’m putting a song out every month! October 30th is the next one called “Never Stood.” It’s different than the other ones, it’s more vibey, chill-in-your-car-at-night kind of song.

CSM: “Always You” and “On Purpose” are both very emotional. What’s your writing process like when turning these personal stories into music?

BT: I like to write at night, and I’ll get an idea in my head and start dabbling with that. I normally start with the piano chords, and I’ll start building off of that. I like that epic, kind of sad build up towards the end that’s inspirational.

CSM: We all like sad songs! Who are your biggest inspirations in music?

BT: I always liked Martin Garrix and how his songs are kind of chill but at the end your brain is just mash because you’re so involved with the song. I also really like Hootie and the Blowfish. It’s a totally different type of music but it’s very emotional and real.

CSM: So you’ve got more singles to release, and do you have anything else in store for us?

BT: Yeah when I put this next song out I’ll have the lyric video and another music video for that. And then, next month, same thing. I’d like to play show but obviously that’s not happening right now!

CSM: Whoa, that’s a ton. How are you managing to get all of that out every month?

BT: I usually have someone do the lyric video, but I’ve been making the music videos myself, and It’s hard. It’s a learning curve, and it’s a lot. But it’s kind of fun, too, because it’s rewarding when it’s done!

CSM: What’s one of your goals for 2021?

BT: I’ve been trying to get all of my songs finished and getting them out is really the only goal right now. Just trying to keep going up! There’s no plan B right now, it’s just this, and I’m excited about it. I just don’t want to one day be old and say “damn, I never even tried.”

CSM: Last question, even though holidays are weird this year, do you have any plans for Halloween?

BT: No, I’m sure I’ll do something though! This weekend I’m going to the Chiefs game.

CSM: Wait, you’re in Dallas but going to the Chiefs game?

BT: Oh yeah, my grandpa played for them so it’s a family thing.

CSM: That’s crazy!

BT: Yeah, he played in the first Superbowl. And a lot of the songs I made . . . I lived with my Grandma for a year and a half, and I was making these songs and she would listen. And then she passed away, and the Chiefs went to the Superbowl the next week and won it. We went to the game and it was the best thing I’ve ever been to. It felt like she was there, you know?

CSM: That’s magical and amazing.

Take a listen to “Always You” here!

Categories
Music News Reviews

Sound Of Kalima releases “6789ten”

Here’s a duo to pay attention to. Sound Of Kalima is made of up Pete and Sal, two young musicians from Vancouver. They captured the USA’s attention with their single “Wild Trash,” an urgent commentary on the destruction of our planet. Self-described as having “no respect for the limitations of genre,” Sound Of Kalima is here to give us electronic music that holds a human element. Today, the duo released their latest, “6789ten.”

“6789ten” is a song filled with variety. The electric guitar and percussion make you want to jam, there’s prevalent anger, and yet some element makes you want to dance. The refrain of “6789ten” is easy to get stuck in your head, but my favorite part of this song are the verses. The melodic contrast with the chorus grabs your attention and the lyrics run deep.

In this world I’m not an equal / that’s not heartbreak to you, why should I bother?

“Wild Trash” showed us that SOK isn’t afraid to write about controversial topics, and “6789ten” is no different. The lyrics address prejudice based on skin color, racial injustice, and lack of faith in the system, and the siren that seemed like a fun sound effect on first listen takes on a new meaning as you pay attention to the words.

I’ll be keeping tabs on SOK, eagerly awaiting to see what they have to say next. Until then, take a listen to “6789ten.”

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Music News Reviews

Leo Varella has a “Pocket Full of Change”

Brazilian guitarist, singer, and songwriter Leonardo Varella has a new single out, and it’s going to make you feel good. “Pocket Full of Change” has a retro vibe that makes you wish you were on a beach, grooving to the music. The chorus is easy to learn, and the verses tell you to stop stressing, and don’t worry about all the bad things that happened to you today. And of course, that nearly 30 second guitar solo is something you didn’t realize you wanted, but you’re going to listen to it again!.

Along with “Pocket Full of Change,” Leo Varella has two other singles out for you to take a listen to, and collaborations across the globe. Each of his songs show his influences of jazz, hip hop, rock, and Brazilian music. We’ll be sticking around to hear his guitar-playing!

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Music News Reviews

Nathan Zarowny Releases “You Don’t Play Fair”

Today, alternative pop artist Nathan Zarowny released his second single of the year titled “You Don’t Play Fair.” Following up “Why,” he continues to give us haunting music with emotional lyrics.

“You Don’t Play Fair” is about being somebody’s second choice but not settling for that. The piece opens with harmonic humming, which is one of my favorite aspects of the song. Those hums reappear throughout and become their own instrument. The quiet verses build to the nearly chaotic chorus, leaving you emotionally grasping at something to hold on to. “Now you want me because I don’t want you,” Zarowny sings, with only a piano to accompany him in the bridge, pulling at all of the heartstrings before leading us to the end of the song.

Sound like something you want to listen to? Click here to stream “You Don’t Play Fair.”

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Concert Photography

Freedom Jam 2020

Operation Triage’s first annual Freedom Jam happened on August 29th in St. Louis and we got to be there. The day was stacked with musicians who came from near and far to be there, and all proceeds went to benefit veterans. Walker County closed out the show, and they’re stage presence was undeniable! The sold-out event was packed, so we dipped in and out to safely take a few pictures of the bands and artists. Check out the photos from the night below, and know that Freedom Jam 2021 has already been announced!