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Music News

drivers license // Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo drops her song, drivers license and that’s all we can talk about…

I’ve been a huge stan of HSMTMTS since it came out. And with all spinoffs, I was so skeptical, but this show had just the right amount of teenage drama and love triangles and enough homage to the O.G. High School Musical series that I couldn’t help but watch. But, what really caught my attention was the music. 

The music truly is top tier and that reflects well on the cast as the two main leads are all anyone can talk about nowadays. Majority of it being, singer-songwriter & actress, Olivia Rodrigo, who gained some buzz on Tik Tok from her first HSMTMTS-related and self-written release, All I Want, the sad anthem for sad teenage girls, but now she proves to be more than just a product of Disney, with her latest explicit song (only one cuss word but still counts), drivers license

On January 8th, 2021, Olivia was said to have ‘saved 2021’ as superfans called it. 

Here are some worthy tweets since the release: 

  • @chartdata – ‘‘@Olivia_Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ earns the biggest weekly streaming debut for any song in US Spotify chart history (30.433 million).’’ – 10:53 AM – 1/15/21
  • @amazonmusic – ‘‘Congrats to @Olivia_Rodrigo! ‘drivers license’ broke the record for the most requested song ever in one day on Alexa globally + the biggest first week streaming debut ever globally on Amazon music.’’ – 2:47 PM CST – 1/14/21
  •  @spotify – ‘‘@Olivia_Rodrigo’s ‘drivers license’ now has the most record for most streams for a song in a week on Spotify’’ – 3:04 PM CST – 1/15/21
  • @billboard – ‘‘We’ve never seen anything like this’’: @Spotify reacts to @Olivia_Rodrigo’s recording -breaking ‘Drivers License’.’’
  • Olivia also became the first Asian American Woman to reach #1 on Apple Music Charts and U.S. iTunes – according to @womenpowhermusic on instagram.

But the moment we all knew she won was when the one person she looks up to the most, acknowledged it. 

Now what makes the song so special? 

It pulls from experience. And, we can all relate to that. The song has been said to hint at a possible relationship between her and HSMTMTS castmate, Joshua Bassett, and all the theories come from – none other than, Tik Tok. From clues that I’ve gathered prior to the release or have to recently come to discover, I would believe the theories are true. In one example, Olivia’s original demo that she posted on instagram originally had the lyrics:

‘And you’re probably with that brunette girl’

Which in the official lyric was changed to:

‘And you’re probably with that blonde girl’ 

Who people believe to be Joshua’s potential new girlfriend, Sabrina Carpenter. 

I’d suggest to do some more research and come up with your own interpretation, then we can discuss! While we have no real confirmation that any of this is true, we can still appreciate the song that holds true to Olivia’s musical inspirations, Taylor Swift, and Lorde. I mean, this song is literally the love child of the two. And respect that she is killing it in the music industry at only 17 years old.

Anyways, stream drivers license and let us know what you think about the theories, the song, or if you’re crying in your car too!

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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.

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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!

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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
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

Album Review: The Vamps “Cherry Blossom”

As a longtime listener of The Vamps, I was very eager to get an advance of their 5th studio album Cherry Blossom. I’ve been listening nonstop for a few weeks now, and I can confirm that it’s an all-out bop, with catchy hooks, solid vocals, and an all-around feel good album. Here’s some of our favorite songs on The Vamps new album Cherry Blossom.

The opening song on Cherry Blossom is Glory Days, and the first time I heard it, I was definitely in my feels. It has a super catchy hook: “I just wanna lie back in your room / While I’m getting high off of your fumes / And I’m thinking these are our glory days.” It’s a perfect song to start the album, because it’s a mix of a classic The Vamps sound, but with a more mature tone. They’ve gotten even better since Night & Day.

Next is Better, which has a throwback vibe to it, and you can’t really listen to it without moving along to the beat. It’s about getting complacent in a relationship and realizing that you can do better. “We should be lovers if there’s a spark / We should recover all that we lost”

Married in Vegas is one of the singles from the album, and for good reason. The piano dances around the song and adds a playful melody to the storyline of surrendering to your whims and getting married in Vegas.

Chemicals is sexy from the moment it starts. It’s about that dreamy feeling when you’re so into someone else. This song is catchy to the max, and there’s a rock sound mixed with growling vocals. “Sweet like caramel / The way that you get me high / Is something like chemicals”

Would You focuses on a lover second guessing their partner. “If I walked out the door would you even notice I’m gone / Would you even miss me at all?”

Bitter is one of those songs that has a super fun beat and tells the tale of a love that you just can’t get away from. The line, “You turn cold, and I turn bitter” will be stuck in your head all week.

The album rounds out with Part of Me, Protocol, and Nothing But You, which balance the album with some more serious themes about love lost and broken hearts.

Nothing But You is one of my personal favorites and picks up the tempo. I love the line, “Over and over doing over emotions / I know it’s hopeless so can we skip to the moment / Nothing I would lose if I know I’d / Wake up wearing nothing but you”

The last track on the album, Treading Water, starts with an acoustic guitar and solemn vocals. “This lonely heart of mine / Grows colder every night.” It ends, “I just wanna feel understood / Patiently I waited patiently to share all of my insecurities / First I really gotta work on me”

You can feel the growth in this album for The Vamps, who have continued to build their songwriting and musicianship in maturity and style. Cherry Blossom is a quality album that’s catchy in sound and relatable in lyrics. We can guarantee that you’ll be streaming this album for the rest of the year.

You can check out Cherry Blossom right here and follow The Vamps on Instagram here. Comment below with what your favorite song off the album is!

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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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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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Concert Photography Music News

Deanna Wheeler Kicks Off Hometown Heroes Show in Austin

Deanna Wheeler had a special birthday yesterday. She kicked off the Hometown Heroes music festival in Austin, Texas, and hosted the show, held at Brushy Creek Amphitheater. This event is the first large scale social distancing live music festival to be held since Covid-19 began closing music festivals in March.

Dressed in all black and showcasing her signature classic country sound, Deanna and her band got the crowd warmed up for the weekend’s festivities in style.

You can check out the backstage pictures and all the photos from the concert below. Head over to Deanna’s website to learn more about her and her music, and follow her on Instagram here.