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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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 

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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!

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Gillian Heidi

Singer-songwriter Gillian Hedi is one to keep your eye on as she continues to put out R&B-infused pop music that’s so poetic, you wouldn’t believe she’s only sixteen. “What It Felt Like,” the single off of her first EP Unbridled, has over 250 thousand streams on Spotify, and her music only keeps getting better.

Her latest single “fray” comes out today, and we got to talk with her about her previous single “desperate” and her upcoming album!

CROWDSURFER: Your single “desperate” recently came out! Tell us a little about the inspiration and story of this song.

GILLIAN HEIDI: “desperate” is definitely one of the more fictional songs I’ve written. One of the biggest parts of the writing process was developing the characters who exist in the song. Though the emotions I expressed in the song are authentic to my life, the story is fictionalized in some aspects. “desperate” portrays both the guilt and thrill that comes when you have feelings for someone else while in a relationship.

CS: Do you have a favorite lyric?

GH: My favorite lyric is definitely “but there’s something about your danger that makes me fall for your taboo.”

CS: I hear that “desperate” sets the tone for your upcoming album 3AM. Walk us through how your sound and you yourself have changed since your debut EP Unfiltered.

GH: I think that Unfiltered was an undeveloped version of my current sound. 3AM is definitely darker and more mature than anything on Unfiltered. I think that this development really just came from growing up and changing as a person.

CS: When does 3AM come out?

GH: 3AM should hopefully come out early next year! Until then, I’ll be releasing a bunch of singles from it.

CS: You’re sixteen! And yet your music feels so mature. Where does your inspiration for this sound and these lyrics come from?

GH: I think that my inspiration comes from all of the music I’ve listened to as I’ve grown up. Some of my biggest inspirations are Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, and Ella Mai. I think that listening to other artists can really help spark ideas and inspiration in my own work.

CS: What’s your songwriting process like?

GH: I usually start a song with one line or a few lines that I really like, and build around that. I try to stay inspired by doing writing exercises each day, which has really helped improve my process.

CS: What made you decide to pursue music?

GH: I can remember the first time I heard “Love Story” by Taylor Swift on the radio. I was 6-years-old and at that moment I knew that I wanted to write songs. Cheesy, but true.

CS: If you’re still in school, how are you balancing everything?

GH: I am still in school! I take academics very seriously and it has definitely always been a priority for me. Sometimes it can be difficult to balance everything, but I try to make time for the things I love, like creating music. 

CS: What else do you have in store for us before your album drops?

GH: I’m dropping a new music video very soon and I’ve also got a bunch of new singles lined up. I can’t wait!

CS: Do you have any goals for this year that you’re super excited about? Whether music-related or not?

GH: This year I want to start recording some of my new music. Since recording 3AM, I’ve definitely further developed my style, and I can’t wait to work on my next project.

You can take a listen to “desperate” here, and stay tuned for more from Gillian Heidi!

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Interviews

Artist Interview: Skandra

Alexandra Duparc, known by her stage name Skandra, is a multitalented creator and musician. Her new single Rivers is amassing streams by the thousands, thanks to her husband’s viral TikTok video. We talked with Skandra about her life, career, new music, and upcoming projects. Check out the interview below.

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

Skandra: I wrote my first song when I was twelve. It was after discovering Cat Power’s album You Are Free. It felt like the perfect avenue to express myself as I didn’t feel like facing my journal that day. I lost a loved one and wanted to say goodbye in song. I started my first band that year. I’ve been writing and playing music ever since.

CS: We found you from your husband’s viral TikTok video. How has his support helped you gain traction with your latest release?

S: It’s been quite an adventure. His video changed my life. Skandra has received over 2 million streams across streaming platforms, the music video views keep going up and almost every major label on earth contacted me within 48 hours. I don’t know what any of this means quite yet but I’m beyond joyous and floored to have a real fanbase to release my upcoming music to. It’s been absolutely beautiful. I love Ylane. Not only as my husband but truly the definition of a best friend.

@ylaneduparc

This could change her life… Help me help her 🥺🔥

♬ original sound – ylaneduparc

CS: What was your inspiration behind Rivers?

S: Rivers is about the admission that though something may feel like true love, it’s obviously destined to end. It sorts through thought processes I had throughout that prior relationship. It’s about finding strength in this admission and being okay with it. The chorus lines “Where these rivers go, I fear we’re better off dead and since we don’t know, let’s learn with the current” really hit home to me in this time and place. 

CS: What inspires you musically? Who are some artists or songs you’re loving right now?

S: I get inspired by people, mostly. I’m such a writer that I tend to start with the written before melodic. As for music that I’m listening to right now – I’ve been delving into some older albums for inspiration such as Son Lux, Alice Boman’s first EP and Dawn Golden.

CS: What’s your dream collaboration?

S: I’ve said this before and I think if I say it enough times, it’ll make sense but I’d love to collaborate with Miranda July. She’s such a soul and whether it was sonic or visual, it’d be a dream collaboration.

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CS: What are your favorite songs or lyrics you’ve written?

S: I really love this line in “Ashes” that goes “I’m a girl with all these dreams. So, if you give me a match, you should expect a flame. So, here’s the fire that ends us again” and then I yell, “and I hope the whole world becomes covered in the ashes!” It’s the perfect metaphor for letting go of a toxic past and asserting my desire to become all I’ve ever expected of myself.

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

S: I founded and run an organization in Los Angeles called Treehouse. It’s an art community that has popped-up monthly for over 5 years. We expose underexposed artists. When the pandemic hit, we canceled all our live events planned for the year. I launched the Quarantine Concert on Instagram. We had over 50 thousand musicians partake including Walk The Moon, The Griswolds and Meg Meyers. It was beautiful seeing all this intimate creation. Later, we began interviewing artists on their work through a series called Dialogue. We focused on spotlighting Black voices. I fundraised for families in Guatemala, the LA Food Bank and the NPAP. Now, Skandra has been launched into the world and has gone viral on TikTok and garnering over 2 million streams across streaming services. I just spent an extremely sanitized 10 days in the studio and have some really great new tracks in the works. We’ve got a wonderful road ahead.

CS: What are your plans for the rest of the year and onward?

S: We decided to give back to those who help launch Skandra to over 2 million streams. So, we’re giving out 100 mystery boxes. They consist of inside jokes from the TikTok video, games, gifts, limited merchandise, Nintendo DS, iPhone, polaroid cameras and more. We figure that we can take what Spotify is going to pay out and give back to those who supported it.

Anna Azarov Photography

I’m going to focus on finishing the next release. There’s this rebellious side of me that wants to continue independently and try to accomplish some things that few musicians have. I like paving new roads. A damn the man, save the empire kind of thing.

CS: What do you hope people get from listening to your music?

S: I love it when people tell me that they put on headphones and listen to it with their eyes closed. That says it all. My favorite music makes me do that. To be that for anyone else is a dream.

CS: Where can people find you on social media?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/skand.ra/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCseJgo-gesPvY-qRQifPJjw

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@skand.ra

Website: https://skandra.net/

Categories
Interviews

Artist Interview: Kiira

This week, we caught up with KIIRA, a 23-year-old Swiss-American singer, about her two new singles, “After Hours” and “Porcelain”. Born in Paris and raised in Zurich, KIIRA has spent the past few years working alongside multi Grammy-nominated producer Justin Trugman (Eminem, Wu-Tang, Ice Cube). 

“I remember being so in love with listening to music and singing from a very young age,” KIIRA expressed.  “I live and breathe music”. Some of her all-time favorite artists that she is inspired by are Lorde, Ella Fitzgerald, Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean, Amy Winehouse, Daughter, and Ben Howard. As far as her current top artists, “My top influences are Dominic Fike, Billie Eilish, and Labrinth”, she stated. She’s currently evolving and perfecting her unique sound through her laid-back vocals and catchy melodies. Her two new singles “After Hours” and “Porcelain” redefine her sound, pushing boundaries in the chill-pop space. 

After listening to the new singles, we were interested in her writing process and how exactly she’s finding her own sound. “The writing process is such a magical part of it all,” she explains,  “Whether it is me alone on the piano or in a room with other people, bouncing off ideas… it’s pure magic!”

KIIRA keeps a journal with her throughout the day and takes notes as thoughts and ideas arise. Once she gets home, she will sit at the piano and make sense of it all. “Honestly, I just go with the flow and try to let things come out naturally,” she describes, “I feel like when things are forced, they are never truly authentic.” 

She feels most in her element while recording, just her and the sound engineer making music together and zoning in. “There are absolutely no distractions, just me in my element. I am truly the happiest version of myself when I am in that zone.” 

Since she recently released two new singles, we thought we’d get more details. “Love can be a scary thing because if you fall so deeply, you can become blinded and not see any of the red flags,”  KIIRA explains, “These songs hold a very special place in my heart.” While spending the last few years working on herself as an artist, these two singles showcase how she has evolved to find her sound. Find KIIRA on Spotify and all streaming platforms to listen to her new singles! As far as looking towards the future, she has stripped versions of “After Hours” and “Porcelain” that are coming out this month. “I am constantly writing and will have new music coming out in the near future,” KIIRA says. We’re excited to keep an eye out for what comes next!

You can check out her music on Spotify.

Categories
Interviews Music News

Census on latest single “Sunbeam”

Progressive rock band Census presented us with their second single of the year just a few weeks ago. We got to discuss “Sunbeam,” the music video, and the song’s important story.

CSM: Your new single “Sunbeam” comes out today! How does it feel to follow up “Hydrangea” with this song?

CENSUS: We are more excited about this release than any we’ve done before. “Hydrangea” was a huge milestone for us as a band. In a way, it set the tone for both the sound and video quality fans can expect to see from a Census release. We think “Sunbeam” not only fulfills those expectations, but far exceeds them.

CSM: Both the song and music video are pretty emotionally intense. Only as much as you’d like to, what can you tell us about the inspiration and story of “Sunbeam?

CENSUS: “Sunbeam” is about a girl who deals with sexual abuse and battles depression and mental manipulation from her current partner. Ben wrote this song after having a late-night conversation with a friend who was going through some of the same things. He said it broke his heart, pissed him off, and he had to write about it.

CSM: What does the voiceover in the music video mean to you?

CENSUS: The voiceover sections were the brilliant mind of our videographer Joe Lane of Anointed Media. When we came to him with this song and message, we knew it had to be handled delicately. We wanted the biggest takeaway to be how common sexual assault actually is. In the beginning of the video, you hear a girl explaining to her therapist that not even her own parents were supportive of her sharing her sexual assault story. Many people are completely unaware of how common sexual assault is worldwide because victims are afraid to tell their stories. The video ends with the same girl explaining that she has chosen to overcome her trauma in order to give hope to others who are going through the same thing. We want victims to hear those words, understand that they’re not alone, and hopefully feel inspired to persevere.

CSM: I wanted to say thank you for including a resource for help at the end of the video. Do you wish that was a choice more artists made?

CENSUS: Music made for a good cause is still music made for a good cause. We think the video did a good job portraying how common and cyclical abuse truly is, but we also wanted to go ahead and include some resources that can help victims. It’s good for victims to understand that they’re not alone, but they’re more likely to seek help if they know it’s readily available.

CSM: Was the video for “Sunbeam” shot during the pandemic? If so, was it a challenge for you to decide how you were going to create this video?

CENSUS: It was shot during the pandemic! The biggest problem was just waiting for the right opportunity to come along for Joe to come shoot the video. Joe lives in Texas where COVID cases were particularly high, and the rest of us are in Arkansas. All the actors in the video are close friends and family to us, so once Joe was clear to come shoot, we knew the rest of us were safe as well.

CSM: What have you been doing to keep positivity and creativity flowing during this tough time for the music industry?

CENSUS: We’re just writing as much as we can. We had to cancel all of our tour dates just like every other band, but that’s just the way things have to be for now. We still talk with each other every day and get together as often as possible. We figure rather than moping around and waiting for shows to come back, if we just write as much new music as possible while we have the chance, it can’t be too big of a loss.

CSM: I’m truly, truly loving your music! Do you have anything more in store for us this year?

CENSUS: Thank you so much! We can say with full certainty that there are more new music and videos still to come in 2020.

CSM: Is there anything else you want us to know?

CENSUS: Our new song and video “Sunbeam” is available now on all streaming platforms! We love you guys and hope you are all staying safe out there.

You can listen to “Sunbeam” here!