St. Louis native Paco just released his single “Cold Love” today, and we’re ready to keep this track on repeat.
Paco’s music defies the constraints of genre, so we asked him how he would describe the sound of this single. “Soul and R&B are my home-base,” Paco said, “but ‘Cold Love’ has a lot of pop influence, some rock influence, and a lot of electronica.”
Whatever this mashup of influences is, we’re down for it. We’ve already got “I’ve got secrets and no one to keep them / tell me are you lonely, too” stuck in our heads. In fact, we are surprised to learn that Paco didn’t think this was even a good song when he first wrote it. “For me personally, I thought it was the most pitiful song I ever wrote,” Paco told us, “but then I played it for people, and they found it relatable.” And relatability is what we really need from songs, isn’t it? The smooth vocals, music that make you move, and an irresistible chorus are truly the cherry on top.
”’Cold Love’ is all about a lack of intimacy from a desired relationship and the cold feelings he receives as he fills that void with a casual love affair.” – PaACO
Click here to listen to “Cold Love,” and be sure to keep Paco on your radar for more music this year!
Artist Paco and our music curator Sonca Nguyen are quite the talented pair. Paco is a singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, while Sonca is a songwriter, producer, and engineer. Put the two together and they’re bound to make great music. As we do these days, we all talked together, but separately, through a video call to discuss new music and a new label!
CROWDSURFER: Paco, you have had a couple of exciting announcements recently! The first being your new single, “Cold Love,” which comes out June 5th. How are you feeling?
PACO: I am excited! Not a lot of people know but I’ve had this song for about two years. So it’s been a minute, and I’m ready.
CS: Did the song change much in the last two years?
P: Initially, I was ready to put it out and ready to get started. But Brian Owens, my mentor, was like, “Wait, let’s develop it.” The lyrics, melody, all that didn’t change much; the essence was still there. I had some co-production and arrangement from Sonca, who first was just a friend and collaborator, but now is like my lifeline and partner in music. As well as additional co-production, drum programming, and counter melodies from Courtney (JR) Orlando, a Grammy Award Winning Producer and mentor of mine!
CS: And your other announcement is that you and Sonca created Crush Records as a branch of Life Creative Group. First, congrats! Second, when did you decide you wanted to make your own label?
SONCA: It was kind of random. When we first pitched this idea of Cold Love as a single, we pitched it to Brian Owens, the owner of Life Creative. He said, Let’s do it, but instead, do it as your own label.” So, we didn’t even have the idea to create a label intentionally, it just kind of happened because Brian made us realize we were doing everything a label was doing anyways and pushed us to go for it ourselves.
CS: What does Crush Records mean to you?
S: It puts in perspective what I want to do and makes other people take me seriously. Crush is an outlet for us to start a community where we can develop artists the same way we’ve done for Paco. I love the whole process of it, and I want to do it for other people. So, this means that I get to do this forever. And having this name under me gives me more opportunities.
P: It was kind of always the vision to start a label. To me it was just like, shoot, I can do that. It means that one, we’re business owners and that’s amazing, and two, we get to kind of help develop other people and do what we’ve just done. So as other artists come through the ranks we’ll get to write, produce, develop them as well. So that’s exciting.
S: That’s the best part! Working with people is my favorite part besides all the business stuff. And this is what Brian told us. He said, “I just want you guys to do this thing and then give back, give other people these opportunities.” And we were like, oh, absolutely.
CS: As we said, Crush Records is a subset of Life Creative Group. Paco, you’ve been with Life Arts and Life Creative for a while now. How has working with them impacted you?
P: Working with Brian and a non-profit organization such as Life Arts has legitimately given my life direction. Life Creative Group, the creative extension of Life Arts, was just what I needed musically to get my head in the right place.I was dropping out of college, not sure what to do, and I reached out to Brian on Facebook because a friend advised me to, and that’s how we connected. And eventually, I started working in a therapeutic songwriting program and I would produce the songs that they made in the program. Now I’m working with the non-profit side, still working with the therapeutic songwriting program, still working with kids from the Ferguson/Florissant area… but we’re also building the for-profit side now.
CS: Life Creative sounds like a great place to grow that’s full of support.
P: I’m very much a loner and an introvert, and I don’t feel a sense of family many places at all. But I do with these people. Just because they’ve invested so much in me and vice versa.
CS: Anything else you want us to know?
P: I’m not the only artist under Life Creative, so I want to shine a light on some of my peers. Christopher Daniel, who I produce for, and Malena Smith, who’s like a new Norah Jones. We have a couple artists coming out, and hopefully we’ll have a next generation coming behind me soon!
CS: We’ll keep our eyes out! Thanks for talking with us!
Be ready to listen to Paco’s single “Cold Love” on June 5th, and check out the promo video for a sneak peak at the song in the meantime!
Many industries have been hit hard or wiped out completely during this pandemic, and live music is one of them. Summer in St. Louis usually means hanging out on the lawn of an outdoor venue with friends, drinking a beer, and listening to your favorite songs. Now, that’s been taken away. Or has it?
The first of many drive-in concerts took place on May 21 at the POWERplex. Tickets could be purchased ahead of time or on arrival, and cars were spaced out so that you could have an area next to your vehicle to bring out a lawn chair and sit without compromising social distancing.
The stage was big, giant screens broadcasted the video feed, and you could tune in to a radio station if you didn’t want to get out of your car to hear the music. Staff, all wearing masks, came around as servers to those VIP spots on the turf and served orders of food like hot dogs and popcorn. People were dancing, singing, and honking to show their approval!
With a 450 car limit for this event, 200 tickets were purchased ahead of time. By the time they converted the setup from drive-in concert to drive-in movie, capacity was nearly full! It certainly seems like people are down to come out for this form of entertainment during a time where we’ve been without concerts and movie theaters! And at these events, you get both a movie and music.
The two bands that played are local to Missouri and mostly sang covers, but nonetheless the audience was excited to be there. Could this work for a touring artist? Probably not. But until we can return to shows the way we used to know, we’re glad to see people being safe and enjoying live music at the same time.
You might know electronic duo NOTD from their songs “I Wanna Know” featuring Beat Miller or “So Close” featuring Georgia Ku, which came out in 2018. NOTD continues to prove that they can create hit after hit with their latest single called “I Don’t Know Why.”
The song, released today, features Astrid S. Her ethereal vocals complement the upbeat track, resulting in a mix that will make you want to dance and sing along with her. We dare you to try to not break out any dance moves during the chorus! Catchy from beginning to end, you’ll find this song stuck in your head. Even if you don’t know any other words than “I don’t know why / oh, I don’t know why,” we bet you’ll be humming the tune throughout the day.
Take a listen here, watch the official video here, and be sure to keep your eyes and ears on NOTD! We sure will be!
PUBLIC released a new single today titled “Honey In The Summer,” following up their hit “Make You Mine,” which you’ve most definitely heard on TikTok. And if you’ve been searching for the perfect anthem for this summer, look no further! You might not think that such a song could exist for a season tainted with coronavirus, but PUBLIC succeeded regardless.
“Honey In The Summer” proves that we can do this social distancing thing and still have a great time. “But I don’t have a sweetheart to hold when I’m alone / So I just grab my keys and snag my favorite CD / Cruisin’ and it’s just me in the front seat” sings lead vocalist John Vaughan, reminding us that listening to this song at full blast, windows down, and an open road ahead is all we really need.
But don’t just listen to the song! You should also check out the lyric video. Giving us a lovely mix of live action and graphics, our animated band cruises down the road in a bright yellow SUV. It makes you want to hop in the car with PUBLIC as a cute little animated version of yourself and belt out the lyrics alongside them!
So what are you waiting for? Go listen to “Honey In The Summer,” watch the video, and then head out to your car to welcome the summer season!
Concert photographers Beth Saravo and Maggie Friedman have been spending their quarantine doing a lot more than binge watching Netflix like the rest of us. When all concerts were cancelled for the foreseeable future, they decided to take their industry knowledge and music network and with their combined expertise, they created an online interview-style show for creatives and artists alike.
The new project, titled Real[m] (we’ll tell you why in the interview) is an informal conversation and Q&A with photographers, musicians, creatives and industry professionals, hosted of course by Maggie and Beth. We had a chance to chat with them about their exciting new endeavor and their upcoming guests this week. Check out the interview below.
Crowdsurfer: When did you guys conceptualize the idea to do an interview-style show?
Maggie: When the whole quarantine thing happened, I’m the type of person that needs a project to work on. I just keep myself busy or I go crazy. Beth and I really both agree on the fact that we both love working. So I was thinking, “Oh, what can I do?” So I decided to do an Instagram live every single day with some friends and we’ll just chat about photography. I didn’t really expect to be a project. It just was something that I could do every day to keep me busy.
So I did it for a few episodes. And then I messaged Beth and I was like, “Hey, it would be really cool if you did this with me. And she was like, “Cool, let’s do it next week.” And then I got really sick and I kind of stopped doing it. And then a couple weeks later, when I was feeling better, I texted her and I said, “OK, look, I really want to start this up again.” And she said, “Well, what if we did an interview series together?”
Beth: For me, I didn’t want it to be questions that you always hear. I wanted the questions to be a little bit deeper than, “When was your first show? Who’s your favorite band?” I want someone who’s not even a music photographer to come in and sit down and say, “Hey, this is interesting because her story is so cool or his process is so different or it gives me the tools to be creative.”
And the community base, just because we are reaching out to people in our community, people who literally inspire us and inspire others, and that’s what makes this thing grow. Even last week we had two guests with really large communities come and they’d stay and overflow and maybe they listen to someone that they’ve never even heard about. And that’s kind of the goal in my head.
Crowdsurfer: How’d you come up with the name Real[m]?
Maggie: Anyone who’s ever started any kind of brand or business or anything can relate that naming is probably the hardest thing ever. It has to be catchy enough that people remember it, but it also makes sense to what you’re doing. And it just has to be perfect, essentially. And we were listing our words on a Google doc and Beth said the word “realm.”
And I said, “What if the the ‘M’ is like the manual sign on a camera because we’re both photographers?” And the synonym for realm was human connection. So it has a double meaning of like it’s a realm of creatives, but it’s also about human connection. So somehow we managed to find a word that encompassed everything that we were trying to promote. And I don’t know how we did it, but I’m really proud of it.
Crowdsurfer: The logo is really cool, too. Are there any hidden things or meanings you have in the logo?
Beth: There is one of my photo laminates in there. Also there is a Photoshop screen open which we liked.
Maggie: Beth also uploaded a festival wristband. So if you look on the top right corner, there’s a festival wristband right in the corner and that was kind of a fun Easter egg.
Crowdsurfer: After almost your first month of shows, what’s it been like to hear all the initial feedback and excitement for the show so far?
Maggie: We’ve had such amazing, informative and supportive chats with people and it’s been such an amazing opportunity to connect people with each other and show people that we’re all in this together. The first week we talked to Jake Chams and he was like, “I’m not immune to this either. I had tours get canceled. I’m sitting at home, too, like we’re all experiencing the same thing right now,” which in my opinion showed we are all on the same level right now; we’re all on the same page. It helped to further foster that community and trust.
Crowdsurfer: What is the concept for the show and where do you see Realm going in the future?
Maggie: Our whole concept is we want people to learn in an approachable way. We also want people who aren’t concert photographers to be on it. We want it to be all different types of creatives, all different types of people in the music industry. Honestly, there hasn’t been a week where I haven’t walked away feeling like I learned something, too. And I think the biggest thing we really wanted was for it to feel accessible and interactive, like we wanted the people who were watching to feel like what they were saying and their input and what they had to ask was equally as important as what we were asking. We wanted it to be that if you had a question for that person, here is your opportunity to get that question answered. So we’re thinking about how can we be interviewers that think outside of the box and involve people in a way that not only photographers are going to care about this, but anyone who’s watching this can.
Crowdsurfer: Who do you have on the show this week?
Beth: This week is really good. I’m super stoked. We’re starting with Steve Sweatpants. He is an iconic photographer in New York City. He began back with street photography when going underground and then roof topping was a really big thing. And he he started Street Dreams Magazine, which was a really iconic magazine within that culture. And he’s a Sony partner, and Emmy nominated videographer. So I want to have a professional conversation with him, like I know you’re just a kid with the camera going around, literally shooting the street. tell us about how you made that marketable.
And then second, we have Sam Miller, who was the lead singer for Paradise Fears, and now he has released his second novel, and it is a New York Times best seller. We’re going to talk to him about how he uses music in his writing and all that fun stuff.
Then lastly, we’re talking to Miranda McDonald, who is an amazing female in the industry in Los Angeles, shooting a lot for Shawn Mendes and Julia Michaels.
Crowdsurfer: How can people check it out and get involved?
Maggie: Go to twitch.tv/realmchat for the live shows, and our socials are a really good way to find out who’s gonna be on it. People can also get involved by telling us what you want to hear from us. And give us suggestions of people you want to see on the show. And also just watching it. I think the best way to understand what we’re about and what we’re doing is to tune in when we’re live.
Make sure to follow Maggie and Beth on Instagram and head on over to Twitch on Thursday afternoon to catch their next live episode of Real[m]!
Yoste (rhyming with “lost”) shares his new release, Flaws, produced by Tones and I, (of Dance Monkey fame) member, Konstantin Kersting, along with an authentically driven music video representing raw and real footage of Yoste, as the main focus, being submerged into a pool, that can be interpreted as to how our flaws remain a part of ourselves at our truest forms, like when Yoste submerged.
The video was filmed by Yoste’s father, none other than Anthony Sines, an award winning Australian cinematographer.. The song surrounds the concept of personalities in a relationship in which each person has their own set of flaws that get in the way and hold weight over them.
The lyricism is incredibly real and simple, yet remains complex. Especially at the Chorus section:
I’m not typical lately I’m so difficult when we Go outside, fall apart Kitchen lights, break my heart You were right, it was hard
Going back to the original idea of rawness that our flaws stem from, the part where he confesses his difficult traits as a flaw, speaks a hard truth. The performance is captivating but not so much distracting from the low-key production that supports it. Yoste describes his music and songwriting as the process of navigating life as a young adult, trying to express the highs and lows of relationships and personal struggles.
Yoste earned his credentials gaining attention from success of stand-out singles Arc and Blue from his debut album, try to be okay, released in 2019, amassing over 85 million streams throughout his discography. Touching into the atmosphere of ambience and pop landscape, he is heavily influenced by artists such as Jonsi, Bon Iver, The Cure, and The 1975, in which you can hear the little aspects of each within his music. Check out his music video for Flaws, and let us know what you think in the comments!
Whether you’re social distancing at home or driving to your (essential) job, consider putting on a track or two from Shallou’s newest album, Magical Thinking. It contains thirty-eight minutes of pure emotional joy that deserves to be thoroughly listened to. The first few seconds of the intro track immediately brought me back to a past summer and pushed all worries I had from this difficult time out of the way. Nothing like a nice drive with ‘‘Forget’’ playing in the background to make you feel like the world is back to normal, even if it isn’t.
The album surrounds the concept of memory loss, holding onto those intimate moments before they become out of reach. It shifts from the sadness of memory loss to represent the seasons with all of it’s changes and how that relates to people. The album holds an emotional aspect to it; maybe it’s from the introspective lyrics, or the spacious, light tone of the vocals, but it definitely left me with a heavy heart and a breath of fresh air. The production seems slightly opposite from emotional as it stems from joyous electronic pop but does a magnificent job keeping the allure of ‘‘whimsical sadness’’ that Shallou describes in his music.
The album features collaborators; Ashe, Daya, Zachary Knowles, and many others, that makes it all even more worth listening to as each artist brings their own flair without compromising the overall message in each track.
My favorite track would have to be, Older featuring Daya. It’s everything you need in a song from the combination of Daya’s vocals, Shallou’s production, and the top-notch songwriting putting it at my number one track on-repeat. The lyrics, ‘‘Maybe one day when I am older, I might understand why love doesn’t happen to everyone who wants it’’ is so beautifully written and performed, it is just the heart-breaking, ambient ear candy we were all looking for. Shallou has built a name for himself as one of music’s most organic artists who successfully gained over three million streams thus far. I cannot wait to hear more from Shallou and expect nothing less than something magical from him on the next release.
Crowdsurfer: What has your life been like since the end of Fourth Ave?
Jaden Gray: It has been bittersweet. It’s been bitter only because we departed and went our own ways, and it wasn’t like it was fun to leave. It was just that we all came to a point where we were like it was time to conclude Fourth Ave, but not conclude the friendship of Fourth Ave, and pursue our solo careers. And since then it’s been a great time, I’ve been living my best life. As a solo artist, these past few months have been outstanding.
CS: You just released a new single called “Love Happy.” How does it feel to put out a song as a solo artist?
JG: Whoo! So when the boys and I put our EP out it was mind-blowing. But when it came to my own song, that was only me on the track, a song that I helped produce, helped write, I was blown away. I just never thought that I’d be here and this age. I thought I’d get there eventually, but not at 19. It’s an amazing thing to see all the fans respond and do videos and sing and already know the words and it’s only been out for a week!
CS: Is the vibe of Love Happy what we can expect your sound to be in your future music?
JG: Very much, and then not at all. Let me break that down. The sound that I’m going for is Pop R&B. My voice is the R&B effect, but the music is going to be pop. So for the next few songs I’m gonna experiment, and whichever the fans gravitate to most that’s the sound I’m gonna stick to. My next song is gonna be more along the lines of Pop Latin vibe. But Love Happy really feels good so I really hope the fans stay in that lane because I love making music that makes you wanna dance.
CS: Can you tell us anything about this next song? When are we gonna hear it?
JG: I was shooting to put the song out this month but being that the studios are closed down due to quarantine, I’m going to put it out in May. I’ve been talking to a few people and there will possibly be a feature on there as well, and me singing a little bit of Spanish as well. That’s all I can give. But it’s gonna be a vibe!
CS: Well, now I’m excited about it and sad we have to wait a month! And on the topic of things getting pushed back, I know this year is up in the air, but what are your plans for 2020?
JG: Before all of this happened I was scheduled to do Coachella, I was scheduled to go on the tour with Kanye West, I had four solo shows in a matter of two weeks which I’ve never done on my own… And all of that got pushed back. It didn’t get cancelled, but pushed back. As of right now those are the things that are solidified and I’m planning on this year!
CS: What’s your writing process like?
JG: My writing process is different. I’m not the best writer, that’s just not my strength yet. So usually when I’m in a room writing a song, I usually bring a couple other people in because I can tell people a story and I just need them to put it in a writing format. Once they start doing that, it’s easy for me to say “How about we change this to this?” But songwriting is something I’ve really been working on perfecting probably since Boy Band since we met Justin Trantor. He gave me so many different tips on how to write songs and poems that can turn into songs. I have a passion for good writing and I want to perfect it and get to the point where I can do it.
CS: What have you been doing in quarantine? Anything exciting?
JG: The past two weeks I think I’ve been working out, going to sleep, working out, probably eating, and then going back to sleep. But today is the first day since the beginning of quarantine that I’ve had things to do! I’ve been productive for the whole day and will be for the rest of the weekend. This quarantine has been pretty rough but I’m listening to what they’re saying and I’m staying in!
CS: I’m glad to hear it! And to wrap this up I have a few questions from fans on Twitter! The first is: what’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to? – @kayaxstevens
JG: Oh my! My favorite, favorite place I’ve traveled to is for sure Paris. The first time I went was quick because we had a show that night and had to be in Italy the next day. But the last time I went a couple months ago, I was there for five days. Three days were working with Kanye and the other two days were free. Being able to have two full days in Paris was amazing and beautiful and everything I imagined.
CS: If you weren’t singing, what occupation could you see yourself going to school for? -@victorigiddings
JG: Acting, modeling, and styling! I have a passion for all three of those. And then I love to build, I’d build a whole house if I could. So I’d do that just for fun.
CS: Just build a house for fun?
JG: Why not? And then I’m gonna live in it!
CS: Last question: what is your favorite part of the music making process? -@hello_dreamerr
JG: That’s a good one. My favorite part is literally the last thing in my process which is I’ll listen to the song and then ask everything extra, the runs and harmonies, to be stripped out and just listen to the plain vocal. Then I’ll go back into the room and add everything I loved the most and just go!
As a pretty big festival fan, I became aware of Mo Pop music festival last year in 2019 when their lineup totally knocked it out of the park (Lizzo, Tame Impala, AND Vampire Weekend?! Okay, I’m in.) Since then, I’ve been anxiously waiting for their 2020 lineup to drop to see if they could deliver for a second year in a row, and luckily for me, today was the lucky day!
I woke up and checked Instagram this morning to see a killer lineup that has me wishing it was summer already. Khalid and The 1975 are headlining, with supporting up-and-coming acts Doja Cat, Orville Peck, Still Woozy, Hippo Campus, and many more.
I’m super excited because I love checking out new festivals, and this one looks like it can live up to the hype. The website boasts an area called The Shipyard that offers a variety of local Detroit dishes, an arcade, a craft beer area, food trucks, dance parties, a pop-up flea market, and a bicycle valet. There’s lots of personality and fun at Mo Pop, and I can’t wait to see it for myself!
Mo Pop is in Detroit, Michigan on July 25 + 26, 2020. It was first held in 2015 and focuses on indy-rock, pop, and hip hop music. You can check out the full lineup poster below, and head over to https://mopopfestival.com/ for ticket information and to learn more.