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Interviews

Artist Interview: LIVVIA

Rising Pop artist LIVVIA is an artist to keep your eye on. You may have heard her previous hits in the last few years – “Damn,” “OXO,” and “Parachute,” or maybe you recently saw her opening for the Jonas Brothers on their Happiness Begins Tour. But if you haven’t, now’s your chance to get on board! The up-and-coming star put out a new single called “Monster” a few months ago, and we finally got to chat with her about it.

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your latest single “Monster” came out back in October, and I loved the music video so much I had to talk about it. When did you decide you wanted to make it more of a film? And would you want to make another like it in the future? 

LIVVIA: I’m so happy you loved it! It’s my favorite creative accomplishment to date. I would absolutely love to do another video of the sort. I’m always involved in the behind-the-scenes aspects of my music videos and visuals, but this was my first time officially directing. It turned out almost exactly — even better — than I hoped and planned. I decided to make it more of a movie when I thought of the murder mystery storyline. The opening scene that sets up the story came to mind instantly. The amazing cast — Chris Pang, Skyler Samuels, Lukas Gage, Michele Selene Ang, Emily Tosta, and Deric Augustine — brought it to life so incredibly. It was an honor to work with them. I’m such a fan of them and their work. 

CSM: Did you help with making the storyline of the murder mystery and how everyone was going to disappear?

L: Yes! I planned the entire storyline and wrote a script that followed the lyrics line-by-line. I went to the location two separate times before our shoot date and filmed reference shots on my phone of camera movement for the scenes. 

CSM: Tell me a little bit about the inspiration for “Monster.”

L: We wrote this song at a writers camp in Nashville last year. It’s about people who try to twist the story to make you look like the bad guy, when the true villain was the wrongful accuser all along. I want this song to encourage people to let the truth speak for itself and not allow someone else’s stories to make them question their own character. Trust your instincts, and if others are determined to fall for the facade, trust that all will be revealed in the end.

CSM: You released another single and an EP in 2020! Which one of those songs is your favorite?

L: “Monster”! My favorite always tends to be my latest release. And I’m always excited about the next thing. 

CSM: And now it’s 2021! Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?

L: A couple years ago, I jumped in the water right after midnight after some convincing and jokingly made a resolution to jump in a body of water whenever the opportunity presented itself. It turned out to be the best resolution and I repeated it the following year. I like resolutions that are fun like that, but also good metaphors. This year, I think we should all be gentle to ourselves. My main resolution is to learn what I need to learn from all situations that arise — and those from the past — so I can move on fully. 

CSM: Can you tell us about any upcoming music you have for us?

L: There is a collaboration in the works! But I can’t reveal my collaborator yet. I’m so excited for you to hear it. 

CSM: What kind of impact do you want to make with your music?

L: I want to inspire and empower as many people as possible with my music, tell stories people can relate and aspire to, and be a part of the soundtrack to people’s lives. 

CSM: I know things are still up in the air because of the pandemic, but what are your goals for this year?

L: I have a secret project I’ve wanted to take action on for a while and I’ve used this time to take significant strides in the direction of that goal. I hope to make as much progress as possible this year. 

CSM: I’m hoping we’ll be able to get back to touring soon… so while we’re thinking about that, do you have a favorite memory on tour?

L: Too many to count! I feel so lucky that the last thing I did before lockdown was open for the Jonas Brothers on their Happiness Begins Tour. I’m so grateful those dates weren’t canceled. Being a part of that tour was beyond a dream come true. I am a huge Jonas fan myself – they’re some of my favorite people, and I absolutely love performing for an audience of Jonas fans because I feel so comfortable. It feels like I’m there with a bunch of friends because we’re all Jonas fans. 

CSM: Anything else you want us to know?

L: Feel free to reach out @livvia! I love hearing from everyone! And I would love it if everyone reading this would go watch the “Monster” music video. I couldn’t love it more.

Photo by Sarah Krick

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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!

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Interviews Videos

PUBLIC is Our Splash of Sun in New Single “Splash”

Comprised of Cincinnati, Ohio natives John Vaugh, Ben Lapps, and Matthew Carter Alvarado,  PUBLIC began their musical careers in 2012 with their first EP Red. They’ve played for major festivals such as Forecastle, CMJ, and SXSW and are recognized for their TikTok famous song “Make You Mine”. 

PUBLIC’s newest single “Splash” features a funky bassline and a strong catchy pre-chorus that according to some listeners can sound like “drown your best friend and eat your parents” but still catchy all the same. 

Though the actual lyrics “charm your best friend and meet your parents” are not nearly as morbid, according to PUBLIC themselves, this upbeat and lively tune came about during a tough time in their lives.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

CROWDSURFER:  What was your inspiration for “Splash”?

Matthew Carter Alvarado, Bass, Synth, and Vocal: The initial idea for “Splash” came about in January 2018. The band had been going through a rough patch – we were wearing ourselves thin grinding on tour, didn’t have a team other than our parents and each other, and we weren’t quite sure how much longer we could maintain our career for.

On the way to the recording studio, I recorded an unintelligible voice memo of what would become the chorus melodies for the song, the only coherent words being “Splash of Sun”.

Fast forward to 2020 and that same idea still seemed both relevant and relatable. Instead of dwelling on the inability to grasp what the future held, we wanted to twist that dark idea into something vibrant and joyful, finding energy and hope in the prospect of someone or something bringing a light to our lives.

CS: What was the process like making this single? Was it one that seemed to write itself or did it seem to take more thought?

Matthew Carter Alvarado: Compared to co-writes we had done in the same room as other songwriters and producers, we had definitely felt some difficulty finding our groove when trying to coordinate across our computer screens. However, when it came time to write with producer and now close friend, Lindgren, we immediately felt like we were on the same page.

As the band boys went about diving into the vocal melodies and themes, Lindgren was on the other end composing the instrumental demo of the track. I think it was the first time we had felt both relieved and excited to have so much chemistry across a platform like Zoom that had once seemed so flat and lifeless. 

It was a giant breath of fresh air having a product come together so quickly and effortlessly and gave us a good kick in the right direction, both mentally and emotionally, for future co-writing opportunities.

CS: How has quarantine been treating you? How has creating music changed during a global pandemic? 

Ben Lapps, Percussion: It feels very strange to be at home for such a long period of time! 

We have practically lived on the road for years, so we’ve definitely had to adjust during the quarantine. Personally, it has been very good to be home spending quality time with my wife, Phoebe. In that way, it feels like a special time. But at the same time, we absolutely miss being able to play live shows and see our fans. 

Creating music has been a very different experience. We are basically writing everything over Zoom. Our newest single, Splash, is actually a song that we wrote over Zoom. It has actually given us more opportunities to work with people all over the world. Never would have guessed that we would be doing so much writing this way, but after a few sessions, I feel like we really started to understand how to make it work.

CS: What is a message you would like to give your fans?

John Vaughn, Guitar and Lead Vocal: First, I want to thank them for being supportive. Pretty typical, I know, but as an artist, it really does mean the world. It’s not something I think you can understand if you haven’t gone through the grind. But our fans really mean the world. We love them and we want to keep giving music that makes them smile.

With that note, be sure to watch PUBLIC’s music video for “Splash”!

And a big thank you to PUBLIC for taking the time out of their day to answer our interview questions!

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Interviews

Whitney Woerz is an Ambassador for Mental Health

The number of artists who are speaking up publicly about mental health awareness is growing by the day. Up-and-coming artist Whitney Woerz wants to be part of that discussion. She’s an ambassador for Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit who’s mission is to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness, and she’s been using her song lyrics to cover a plethora of topics surrounding mental health and wellbeing. We sat down with Whitney this week to talk about music, inspiration and all things mental health.

Crowdsurfer: What inspired you to start writing music?

When I was 13, a friend one day reached out and said that she was planning to kill herself… As a 13 year old, I didn’t even know what that really meant. I didn’t know what to do. She wasn’t responding or anything.So I wrote a poem for her and then put a melody to it. I had never written a song before, or a poem for that matter, but I recorded a video and sent it to her, not even expecting a response. She did respond though! And she said that the song saved her life. And it inspired her to get therapy. Wow. Saying it out loud still shocks me. That literally was the biggest life changing moment, I think, ever, because I realized my lyrics did that.So we sent my song to Bring Change to Mind, which is an organization run by Glenn Close to help end the stigma around mental illness. I’ve been a teen ambassador for them ever since I was 13, and I’m still working alongside them. We start the conversation basically. That’s like, honestly, the most important thing you can do is just start the conversation.

CS: What inspired your latest song Retrograde?

I wrote Retrograde right as Corona kicked off. It was a really weird time obviously and on top of that, a Mercury retrograde was going on. I, and everyone i knew was feeling like their life was upside down. I wrote it with a writer Ayelle and producer Stavros and we were kind of all feeling life was just not good at the moment. So we’re just like, “It’s the retrograde.”But, it also has a positive message too. There’s always the light at the end of a dark tunnel that you can never see at the time. Whenever you’re in a dark space, not even just in retrograde, you feel like you can’t get out of it and like it’s the end of the world. Think back to a time you thought everything was miserable. And then suddenly there’s the light.

CS: How do you find positivity amidst all this chaos happening right now?

WW: Personally, I find happiness within myself when everything externally isn’t amazing. I realized one day that I have control over my thoughts, which was quite a profound realization. And then I was like, wait a second. Anybody can do this, like I feel like we’re all magicians, but we don’t know it. And you can literally just switch. If you want to be positive, just be like, I’m quitting the negative. It’s going to be positive. And then once you start thinking positively, just watch how your life will do a 180 flip, because that’s exactly what happened to me. I started thinking positively, almost to trick myself at first, actually, and then it wasn’t a trick anymore. I was just thinking positively and then manifested basically almost by accident, good things. So it’s very interesting when you, I don’t know, learn that you have control of your thoughts. I like to say that I create my own life now because of that. But I just always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To me, I think Corona happened for a reason. And we’re going to make it out because we always make it on dark places.

CS: What challenges have you gone through personally with dealing with mental health issues?

In high school, everybody around me was just really, really sad. It’s so interesting, though, because I feel like we all put on such a happy face, but really underneath, we’re just sad. And yeah, it was a lot of external factors. My family wasn’t doing that great. And my first boyfriend broke my heart. I feel like so many people can relate to that, especially with a first love. And I, as a junior in high school, was distraught. I didn’t want to live anymore. And so I channeled that into lyrics. Writing lyrics was basically therapy for me. Everybody who I played like the breakup songs for who had been through a hard time was also just like, wow, it’s relatable and it’s hard. It’s really hard sometimes.But looking back at the person that I was, I saw how harshly I treated myself, also how harsh and negative I was. And how sad little Whitney was. But all those were ALL learning lessons. Everything is a learning lesson and everything happens for a reason, too. So now I’m looking back at that stuff and I’m like, wait- that literally shaped me. I am so thankful for all the pain that I’ve experienced because of that. And if anyone’s going through pain right now, one day you’re going to look back and be like, it made me who I am.

CS: What’s your self care routine like, or what are some things that help you to feel better sometimes?

WW: I suggest writing down the thoughts in your head that stand out to you, then they become art in a way. And also like actually pay attention to your thoughts. We’re just on autopilot with our thoughts so much of the time and they just let go speeding. So what I’ve been doing is just trying to, like, really be conscious of my thoughts. And that has changed how I think and how I live.

I also meditate almost every day, even just for ten minutes. Let’s you clear your head and let positive energy come in. I have a bunch of spiritual candles charged with different energies I like to light too to clear my mind. But the biggest thing for me is to try to focus on my thoughts and decide if they are beneficial to me or not. It’s a little bit scary when you first do it, actually trying to be conscious of your thoughts, but very very cool once you achieve the good that comes from it.

CS: What does it mean to you to be an advocate for mental health awareness?

I think my main goal in life and music is to be happy and to make other people happy. That’s Bring Change to Mind’s exact same goal too! Like everyone deserves to be happy and we have such a short time on this planet.I’m just so thankful that I’m able to have a platform where I can share. I am so thankful that I can share my music with a message every day.

CS: What’s next for you?

WW: A lot. I’m actually at a studio right now. We’re working on a very cool song. And so next for me is new music. I’d love to do an album. I would love to just get a Whitney album out there. So hopefully that’s what’s next. But definitely just new music. I’d love to continue singles, if that’s what it’s going to be.

CS: Anything else you’d like to add?

WW: Well, actually, yeah, there’s a mercury retrograde happing right now and it’s last day is the election, so listen to my new single Retrograde to have something to relate to while the energies are off! Oh and one more thing. One thing that has really helped me whenever I’m feeling like a bad thought or anything, I just think about how I am one hundred percent not the only person who’s thinking that thought. So no one is alone in anything that they’re going through. And if you’re thinking something, someone else probably has too. So you’re not alone in anything. 

Learn more about Whitney at her website right here.

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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
Interviews

BANNERS // Artist Interview

You’ve probably heard his voice somewhere on Tik Tok, or maybe even on Spotify’s Global Chart, or I don’t know — maybe even on tv for the trailers of Hulu’s up and coming show, Love, Victor. Familiar yet? Well BANNERS is one artist that you should get well acquainted with. He offers a beautiful mix of haunting yet inspiring anthems that never fails to put a smile on your face. We got to talk to him about music, inspirations, and the huge change he’s had to transition to with the success of his hit single, Someone To You. 

BANNERS: My name is Mike Nelson and I’m from Liverpool. I’m writing this just round the corner from Penny Lane and I’ll probably go up to strawberry fields in a minute because what else is there to do when there’s a pandemic on? I like singing and playing music but mainly I like football. Which is probably the description of everybody born in Liverpool really.

CROWDSURFER MAG: How did you first get into music? 

B: When I was 6 years old I was, for some reason, a singing Ox in a school Christmas play. You’d honestly think more would be made of the fact that there was a singing Ox at the birth of Christ (being dressed like an Ox, put on a stage and made to sing at the age of 6 was the first I’d personally heard of it) but I suppose there was a lot going on with the birth of our Lord and Saviour so the Ox clearly took a bit of a back seat. Still, pretty great. So yeah it turned out I had a lovely little 6 year old voice and I auditioned for the Cathedral Choir in Liverpool. Then did that like every night after school and on weekends while everyone else was doing cool stuff like watching Terminator 2 and having coming of age experiences like in Stand By Me. My Dad is a record producer, so I also spent a lot of time being in recording studios and fell totally in love with them and wanted to be in them with people that do music for the rest of my life.

CSM: Can you talk about your writing and recording process?  

B: Well at the moment, there’s a lot of Zoom in my life. It’s quite nice really. I’m staying with my parents whilst we all figure out this worldwide health emergency the news is always talking about, so I’m genuinely writing a lot of songs in my bedroom. Which is weird. I can’t believe I’m still doing this from a bedroom at my mum’s house. Really thought I’d be further along by now. Man, I hope I’m better at writing songs now than when I was like 10. What if I’m not? What if being 10 was as good as it ever got?! It probably was actually. I really had it figured out then. I’ve got NO IDEA what I’m doing now. So yeah there’s a lot of writing over the internet at the moment but it’s working out pretty well. There’s a lot of writing lyrics with people over email, which considering a lot of them are love songs, it works nicely. Nothing says I love you like a properly formatted email.

CSM: Your Song “Someone to You” has got a lot of attention! Tell us how that changed your life as an artist. 

B: Yes it has. It’s been weird because I can’t play any gigs so my only way of experiencing that has been via emails that say things like “LOTS OF PEOPLE ARE LISTENING TO THAT SONG” or by looking at Spotify. So there’s a huge chance that you’re all playing a joke on me. That this is like The Truman Show, you’ve just hacked into my Spotify, artificially inflated the numbers, and are observing how someone acts when they think people really like their song. I’ll save you the trouble. I’m generally relatively freaked out, feel pretty much like an imposter that will get found out as a charlatan and am hiding in a bedroom in my parents’ house. 

CSM: What inspires you?

B: I really just want to play a small part in making people happy. Just making their day a tiny little bit better. 

CSM: What’s coming up for you next?

B: The forecast is a lot of being in a bedroom in my parents’ house. Worrying about a song that’s already out and also worrying about if songs that are done but aren’t out will do as well as the one that is already out.

CSM: Anything you want your fans to know?

B: That I love them and that I can’t believe how nice they are. That they send me lovely messages all the time and they make me feel better about the world. They’re so much nicer than me. I love loads of bands but it would never occur to me to open up social media and go “Hey The National/Arcade Fire/Elbow/Joanna Newsom/Regina Spektor/London Grammar I really love you so thanks.”  So thanks for being lovely everyone.

We look forward to hearing more music from Banners and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next while we’re all stuck inside. The next time you hear Someone To You (which is highly likely), be sure to remember the wonderful artist behind it.

Categories
Interviews Music News

Georgia Webster releases first single “Tell Your Mom”

“Now I don’t know what to do / I got a call yesterday afternoon from someone I used to know / Summer nights and the way we kissed / Thought I was done, didn’t know I missed it / But when I heard her voice I couldn’t breathe / Tell your mom to stop calling me”

These are the very clever lyrics from 17-year-old Massachusetts native Georgia Webster. Nearly two million people watched her serenade us singing and playing guitar from her bathroom in a TikTok video that went viral last month. I hopped on a Zoom call with Georgia to learn more about her writing process and her new single that drops today.

Georgia started writing songs in fourth grade. “When I was ten or eleven, I started writing songs for school projects. My first song was about Ulysses S. Grant. People in my class kept singing it after because it was catchy. So from there, I wrote songs for other school projects. One was about horses and another was about the Aztecs. Then around sixth grade, I started writing songs about my friends and relationships and it grew from there.”

I asked her what it was like when she found out the video had gone viral. She said, “I was pleasantly surprised. I woke up and it had 100,000 likes and I was like, “What is going on?!” From there, Georgia wanted to get the song recorded and out into the world as quickly as possible. Her dad was a big help with helping her find a recording studio to make the song.

“He has always been really involved in my music. He didn’t have a background in engineering, but he’s figured out all of the sound stuff and helps me set it up for shows. He’s just always helping me.”

After the video went viral, Georgia decided to have the song recorded. “I realized I needed to get the song produced and into a real song.

I asked her what she thought of the song after hearing it recorded, and she said, “This song is definitely–I can hear it being on the radio. I have so many songs and this is the first one that I’ve actually heard it come together as an actual song, which was really cool for me.”

When it comes to writing, Georgia prefers the writing process to performing. “I love writing the songs way more than performing them. I like being in my room and writing songs. Once it comes together, that’s the height of it for me. And my rule is if it takes more than 20-30 minutes, then it’s not a great song.”

“Usually for me, songs start with something that actually happened to me, and then it grows into more of an exaggeration. I’ll write about pretty much anything, but a lot of it is dating and that kind of stuff. If I’m writing about a relationship, it’s not forced.”

Some of the people commenting on her TikToks mentioned that Georgia reminded them of a young Taylor Swift. “That’s the biggest compliment to me. She’s one of my favorite artists and I can see myself being that singer-songwriter vibe but also pop-country. Lennon Stella is also one of my favorites, and I love Chelsea Cutler. They’re such good songwriters.”

Georgia also covers songs on her YouTube, including songs by Mazzy Star, Cage the Elephant, Lennon Stella, and Billie Eilish. You can check out her YouTube page here.

Her plan is to keep building herself as an artist and writing more songs before signing with anyone, but she does have an acoustic version of Tell Your Mom in the works for people that loved the stripped down version. “I want to release an EP soon, and then I also want to do some SoundCloud acoustic covers and stuff that people can listen to.”

She’s a senior in high school now, but she’s thinking of going to Berkley, Belmont, or a music school in California next year. A lover of all types of writing, Georgia has also begun writing a book, but of course today she’s focused on the release of her first single, Tell Your Mom.

“I want people to hear the whole song. Just hearing the little bit of it, you don’t get the whole story line, so I’m excited for it to be out in the world. And I have so many songs that I think people would love.”

Her new single, Tell Your Mom, is out today, and we’re so excited for you to listen to it! Check it out below, and follow Georgia’s SoundCloud here.

Categories
Interviews

Artist Interview: Wolfi

We had a chance to chat with Wolfi about his new music, artists that inspire him and going viral on TikTok. Check out the interview below!

Crowdsurfer: Tell us how you got started writing and recording music.

Wolfi: I really got started after my parents made me quit my high school band. I was at a loss because I couldn’t find anyone serious enough about music to really put in work. Then I discovered Skrillex and learned he made everything on a laptop. I wasn’t confident in my singing at the time so I taught myself how to produce and mix. After a few years of that I started writing songs over my beats and released them so I could build a portfolio for songwriting. Some of the songs ended up doing well online, so I decided to give an honest effort to being my own artist.

C: Who are some artists or songs you’re loving right now?

W: My biggest long-term influences are probably Michael Jackson, Green Day, The Beatles, and Skrillex. Nowadays I’m listening to a lot of ITSOKTOCRY, Denzel Curry, Oliver Francis, and John Mayer. I’m also loving the local music that’s coming out of Indianapolis right now. We have some real stars here (i.e. Sirius Blvck, Joshua Powell, Baby Ebony, Jeremiah Stokes).

C: You went hugely viral with your TikTok “hot girl bummer” video. How did that come about?

W: My buddy sent me the stems to the song totally randomly. It was so odd because I’m a huuuuge blackbear fan and this project just lands in my lap. I knew immediately that I wanted to make a remix with my own verse on it, but I didn’t think it would be very cool to release it. When they first announced that TikTok was getting banned I started scrambling because I wanted to take advantage of all the exposure that was happening there. So I made the video one day at work and posted it thinking it wouldn’t really do anything, but I was wrong. I was really worried that I’d get in trouble. It’s crazy how those 30 minutes of my day did so much. It was like the universe gave me a cheat code.

C: How have you been spending quarantine – writing or recording any new songs?

W: I’m always writing stuff. I started writing an EP during quarantine, but it looks like it’ll turn into a full album. It’s gonna be my darkest, most high energy release yet. I view my music kind of like a diary to my life, and we’re going through some really dark times right now. I’m nervous to show the world because most of my previous work has been pretty light-hearted and these songs are such a sharp contrast to that. 

C: What was the concept with writing “ugly” and the music video?

W: I was just being honest on the song. I like “Ugly” because it was one of those songs where I didn’t have to overthink a single lyric, it all just came out. Those are the best kinds of songs. I was just reflecting on my life and despite everything I’d done, I still felt ugly at the end of the day. My good friend Herb Maximo shot the video with me in Florida. I just told him I wanted something simple that was outside, so he brought me to this grassy place. It was such a great day and the video turned out very pretty.

C: What are your plans for the rest of the year and on?

W: I’m just gonna keep dropping singles until the album is done. I have some cool collaborations coming out too. I’m really focused on getting as many videos out as possible. I’m making some big changes to my sound and I want people to digest that on both an auditory and visual level. 

C: Where can people find you on social media?

W: @akawolfi on everything!

C: Anything else you want to add?

W: Next song is coming out October 30th. It’s called “Cameras” and it’s gonna be my most banging song so far. We’re about to shoot a video for it and I’m very excited. I’m also working on a very cute song with Sara Kays. She’s truly the GOAT.

Photos by @jakewiththeshot and @outherevisuals 

Categories
Interviews

Eves Karydas on when life gets “Complicated”

Eves Karydas is a singer-songwriter who took Australia by storm when her debut album summerskin came out in 2018. Now she’s back, having released her latest single “Complicated” earlier this year. We got to have a long-distance video call with Eves to talk about “Complicated” and what more she has prepared for us!

CROWDSURFER MAG: Your single “Complicated” came out this summer, or well . . . winter for you. Tell me about the inspiration for the song.

EVES KARYDAS: It was written after a series of weird, unfortunate events. I was in Stockholm at the time, and I was overseas for the most of last year. I got to the end of the trip and hadn’t really written anything good in a long time. I was feeling a lot of pressure, feeling homesick, and starting to doubt myself. Then my grandfather passed away, and that hit me harder than I thought. And it all started to manifest in these weird dreams, and I just got to this point where I was like, I have to do something about this. So I took it to the studio and was like, guys, I want to laugh at myself today, I don’t wanna be serious, I just want to confront all of this stuff going on in my mind. So that was how “Complicated” was written.

CSM: Let’s talk about the music video! What’s the concept behind all of the people frozen in the moment?

EK: For me, I really wanted the music video to portray a sense of being stuck in a place where you can’t move forwards. I like how the surreal element of the people in the house being frozen kind of puts you on edge.

CSM: There are a lot of surreal elements in the video, like I love the tub filled with fluff instead of water.

EK: I’ve always had a thing for when film and TV goes down a surreal road. David Lynch is one of my favorite directors so that’s always been an inspiration for me. I just felt like having these people doing mundane scenarios also represents how it can be the simplest things holding you back as well.

CSM: “Complicated” is the first song you’ve released since your previous album summerskin. How has your sound changed? How have you changed?

EK: I’ve changed in that I’ve become a lot more direct. I think the biggest change is that I’ve started confronting my mental health and stopped sort of hiding away parts of myself that made me uncomfortable. And it started to reflect in the music. I wanted my lyrics to be really upfront but with its own version of poetic-ness. And that was reflected in the production style for me. I started writing these lyrics and was like, I don’t want anything crowding them. The storytelling and the vocals, you can’t escape them.

CSM: Will “Complicated” be on a new album?

EK: Yeah! I can feel it in me that I’ve hit that new phase where I’m like, I can write an album now. In the last few months I overcame some serious writer’s block, and I’m really getting back into the swing of things. I’ve got a whole bunch of singles up my sleeve though.

CSM: Speaking of singles, what else do you have in store for the rest of this year?

EK: I just finished up my next single, and we’re planning on putting that out before the end of the year. I’m actually trying to figure out the music video now and wanting to make something that puts you on edge but doesn’t make you feel bad. I think at the moment the world doesn’t need things that make you feel bad.

CSM: You mentioned some writer’s block, what have you been doing to help yourself stay focused on your music during this pandemic?

EK: I moved, actually! I moved down the coast and am living by myself for the first time, and I think that’s maybe helped with the writer’s block because it’s my space. But it’s been really inspiring being somewhere I can just enjoy nature. Living in the city was…I felt so boxed in, especially while everyone was in isolation. I think it’s nice being able to reconnect with myself.

CSM: Since we’re all dreaming of being on tour right now . . . who would you most love to go on tour with?

EK: I would love to tour with…let me think for a second! I mean Harry Styles is one of my absolute favorites and that would be so wild. I reckon it would be pretty cool to tour with someone who is in pop but a little bit of a different flavor like Lewis Capaldi, or like imagine touring with The 1975 that would be pretty epic as well.

CSM: Those all sound awesome, and I will be in the audience if that happens! Thanks for talking with us today!