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Music News

Mo Pop Just Dropped Their Lineup And We’re Shook

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.

Mo Pop 2020 Lineup Poster
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Interviews Music News

Band Interview: PUBLIC

The day after the Band of Brothers Road Show wrapped, we got to sit down and talk with PUBLIC about the tour, their music, and what’s coming next.

CROWDSURFER: First of all, I loved the show last night!

PUBLIC: Thanks! Thanks for coming out!

CS: It was the final show of the tour. Was it a different energy, or was it bittersweet? How were you feeling?

John: I would say both of those things, as some of the things you didn’t know you cared about on the tour hits you on the last show.

Matt: I think bittersweet because you spent so much time with the same people. And at the same time it’s like, this is the moment to really crank and move on to bigger and better things. Exciting things like writing new music.

John: Saying I was ready to move on sounds negative towards the tour, but it’s not at all. That was a great thing to go through, but now I’m ready for the stuff we have coming up ahead. I feel energized and tired at the same time.

CS: What’s it been like being on tour with American Authors and Magic Giant?

John: We felt very taken care of by the AA guys, they just were always asking how were doing and encouraging us. They are also on Island Records as well, so they were always just encouraging us a new band like “We’ve been through it before, you guys are crushing it.”

Matt: They’re very aware of what we’re going through right now so they give advice if they feel like they can.

CS: I love it, so much support. So you recently released a sequel music video for your hit single Make You Mine. It’s got a different vibe from the original, and I absolutely loved it. How did the idea to follow up the first video come about?

John: So our team that put together the first one, we had a great time with them, we just had a great time and it did so well. And they pitched us an idea for a sequel and at first I was like that seems gratuitous and people are gonna hate that. But when they were pitching it, and also with the zombie route, that’s when we were kind of like –

Matt: That actually sounds fun.

John: Because it starts off the way you’d maybe expect with a romantic proposal, but then stuff goes really wrong.

Matt: And John bites a dude in the face…

John: Yeah, I just get that bloodlust you know? [laughter] I think for me in this one, I was more like, let’s just have fun. We had a blast, we love this production team, let’s make a movie.

CS: There are a few different versions of Make You Mine out. Do you have a favorite?

John: I think mine is the Rino Sambo remix. It’s got kind of a beachy vibe to it, it’s got some MIDI horn stuff going on.

Ben: I like the acoustic version. The acoustic version is really nice.

John: Honestly, my favorite is the original.

Ben: Yeah, as it should be. It’s the way we wanted it and originally imagined.

CS: So, as we said, tour is over. What’s next for you?

John: We’re going to be doing some really exciting writing sessions with some people that we’ve looked up to for a while. I think we have some TV stuff coming up…

Matt: [whispers] We can’t talk about it though.

John: We’re gonna do MTV Cribs.

Ben: But it’s of our van. Pimp My Ride.

[laughter]

John: So those are fictional things, we’re gonna write.

Ben: Because there are more songs to be made that aren’t Make You Mine.

CS: On that note, it’s been a few years since Sweet Lemonade–

John: Thank you, nobody talks about that EP!

Matt: It’s so underrated! We think all of those songs are fantastic songs.

John: We play two of those songs live almost every show. They’re great songs. I think that EP is a very good representation of how our music has evolved. It’s more poppy, there’s disco stuff going on in there, too. It’s just good.

CS: How would you say your sound has changed since then?

John: We’ve got some unreleased stuff that’s really interesting, I think.

Matt: Yeah, and I don’t think we’re scared to go outside of what we would be labeled as. We’ve always kind of geared our sound to whatever we found interesting at the time. I think we write music because we love writing music, and it kind of comes out in different shades sometimes. I think recently it’s been a lot more disco funk, pop disco funk, than anything else. A year from now it could be alt rock, but it’s still gonna be PUBLIC.

John: I think it’s more common for bands and artists to be multi-genre right now. I’m hoping that it’s a little more accepted that we do stuff that’s not – like oh they’re a pop rock band but this song is pretty funky. So I think that’s what we do because that’s what we love.

CS: You’ve been friends since grade school. How have you grown as friends throughout all these years of being a band?

Matt: I think being friends has really helped with the growth of the band. I think specifically, on tour, when things kind of get really stressful we’ve always had a mindset of bringing it to the table. It’s always kept us closer than ever rather than pull us apart.

John: I feel like the enemy of, not just band but anyone doing something intensive for a long time, is repressing stuff. It’s like a relationship. If you keep something inside it’s eventually just going to poison you with resenting that person. People hear why certain bands break up, and like, it gets really hard. But we laugh really really hard still, and I think that keeps us together and keeps us fresh. We see a goal and we wanna get there and we believe in each other.

CS: Well thank you for taking the time to talk! Can’t wait to see you at your next concert.

Matt: Make You Mine 3?

CS: Exactly.

Photos by Lauren Hayes.

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Interviews Music News

Industry Interview: LYRE

Betty Who, Red Velvet, Gabbie Hanna, and Mackenzie Ziegler. Names that are well known in today’s world of modern Pop. But the names you really should know are of the two women behind it all. Alina Smith and Elli Moore, together joined as ​LYRE​, are a powerful duo that make the music we know and love, while breaking down the stigma for women artists in a male-dominated industry.

LYRE​ first met in Nashville, while in pursuit of their initial dreams in Country music until they found clarity within the genre of Pop. As Elli wanted to navigate herself away from Country, Alina wanted to produce Pop music, and their collaboration has achieved much more than a name for them as a powerhouse production team, but also a valuable friendship. Each of their individual skill sets play a vital role within LYRE. Alina’s expertise in producing and engineering, and Elli’s competence of vocal production and artistry earned them their reputation.

When working with a variety of artists, they provide more than just technical services. ‘‘It’s our job as a development team to have conversations, find out what’s going on in their life, listen to what they listen to, and help create art around all of that.’’ Their creative process can vary from artist to artist. ‘‘Sometimes they already have the song and just need help, that’s when we come in. Gabbie Hanna, for example, will have a melody in her head, or wants her song to be named BLANK, and pretty much knows what she wants. We just make it into music. ’’

Hard-work and diligence continues to be a major factor in their success that their gender hasn’t really been an obstacle. ‘‘It was harder in the beginning for us. Someone actually said, ‘You’re so pretty, why are you producing?’ which was belittling, but only made me work harder. I choose not to focus on the negative past experiences or doubts. I just do my work and gender doesn’t have anything to do with it.’’ Alina explained. ‘‘It’s great that we are dissolving the stigma that women can’t compete in this. It’s exhausting to fight but we know we have to keep doing it for women. Sometimes it doesn’t even process to us that we are women, but are engineers, producers, and songwriters. It isn’t until someone brings it up that we are like ‘‘oh wow, we ​are​ women!’’ Elli shared.

LYRE​ inspires others to continue to support and make room for women. They left us with some wise words for aspiring engineers and artists, confidence as a key factor, as well as dedication to one’s craft. As a self-taught engineer, Alina emphasized the importance of using your resources to hone in your skills. ‘‘Use the internet to learn. The traditional path and programs are great, but if that is something that is not available to you, find it online, and keep developing. You can do anything as long as you’re diligent.’’ As an artist, Elli relayed her message of self-confidence, ‘‘Be excited about your work and other people will be too! If you aren’t putting yourself out there or you’re not confident in it, why would other people be? You should be your biggest fan.’’

Be sure to listen to their music, check out the ​LYRE ​Pop​ ​sample pack available on ​Splice​, and mark your calendars for Elli’s new EP, ​Confections​, to be released on ​March 11th, 2020​!

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Music News

Taylor Swift Is The Man

Taylor Swift literally became “The Man” in her new video to highlight scenarios of toxic masculinity and we’re so here for it. Per her typical fashion, there are lots of hidden symbols and scenes to decode, so let’s get to it!

The video starts out with a businessman (Taylor’s male alter ego Tyler Swift) yelling at his employees, who of course all cheer for him, and we get a signature wink to the camera from Taylor-as-the-man. Next we see him in the subway, smoking a cigar and manspreading with no regard for the other people on the train (raise your hand if you’ve experienced this too).

The “omg” moment of the video happens when the man steps out at 13th Street Station (a nod to Taylor’s favorite number, 13) and promptly pees on a wall with graffiti writing of all of Taylor’s albums that Big Machine Records currently holds the rights to.

The two signs really bring home the message, with “Missing: If Found, Return to Taylor Swift on the left and “No scooters” on the right, alluding to her feud with Scooter Braun, who purchased BMR last year–without giving Taylor the option to buy her Masters.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

The camera pans down from one word also written in graffiti: Karma.

Next the man is making business calls on his yacht, which of course is littered with a handful of lounging models in matching yellow bikinis. He yells at the waiter, and then parties with the models (hello champagne!) before heading back to work. This matches with the lyrics of the song, “I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez” nodding to how celebrities like Leo DiCaprio are out on dates and vacationing with models in tow. The difference is they are men, and therefore their conquests are celebrated, whereas in contrast, her relationships have been portrayed in the media in a completely negative context for doing the exact same thing.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

But what really stuck out to me was the second part of the video. The man gets dressed in the morning after presumably having a fling with the half-naked girl asleep in his bed. Instead of having a “walk of shame” like a woman would, he gets a “walk of fame” instead. 19 hands high five him as he runs down the hallway, proud of his accomplishments.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

In the next scene, he’s in the park with his little girl, and all neighborhood is raving over the fact that he’s a great parent, throwing a “World’s Greatest Dad” party for him–another reference to how the double standards exist between women and men when it comes to parenting. So often women are questioned for being career-focused while being a parent, while on the other hand, men get praised for being a parent.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

Then the man is playing in a tennis match (for a women’s charity) and when he isn’t winning, he has a mantrum–a man tantrum–and breaks his tennis racket and throws the tennis ball at the umpire when he doesn’t get his way. Many people think that this might be a nod to the incident in the 2018 US Open, when Serena Williams was fined for having a clash with the umpire. She later stated that it felt like a double standard because men have gotten more upset and said worse things during a game with no repercussion.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

Next it’s 58 years later and the man is finally getting married–to a woman half his age. She proudly displays the massive ring on her hand, before shaking her head and walking away after the cake cutting.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

In my opinion, the best part of the entire video is the end, when the man walks off of the tennis set to the directors chair. Taylor Swift (the real Taylor Swift) is the director, and she gives the man some instruction:

“Could you try to be sexier? Maybe be more likable this time?”

AKA things that the media have all criticized Taylor for in the past. Burn. For her directorial debut, she’s absolutely killing it.

Clip from the music video for The Man by Taylor Swift.

And then it ends with “Directed by Taylor Swift, Wrtitten by Taylor Swift, Owned by Taylor Swift, and Starring Taylor Swift.” She certainly doesn’t need a man, or anyone’s help for that matter. She’s in charge, and that’s an empowering narrative to share with the world.

Taylor Swift literally turns into “The Man” for her new music video.

Swift is singlehandedly fighting the patriarchy and isn’t afraid to speak up about unfair gender biases in the world today. In the video, a man gets away with so many things that if a woman did, would get a very different–and not to mention more negative–reaction. We think she completely nails it.

She might not be a dude, but as far as we’re concerned, Taylor Swift IS the man. You can check out the full video below.

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Concert Photography Music News

Tove Lo at Brooklyn Steel

Tove Lo headlined two sold out nights at Brooklyn Steel and unfortunately fractured her ankle during the first one. But the show must go on, so she gave us an equally stunning performance on February 13, 2020 with a bedazzled boot from a velvet throne. Tove Lo had us all dancing to some sexy beats and then brought tears to our eyes when she slowed down the show to sing “Moments,” accompanied only by the piano. She brought out ALMA to sing “Bad As The Boys” and Sean Paul to sing their new single “Calling On Me,” and showed us all that rocking a concert from a chair is no problem!

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Concert Photography Music News

ALMA at Brooklyn Steel

ALMA opened at Brooklyn Steel on February 13th for the second sold out night in a row and gave us a taste of her upcoming album. And, of course, she came out to sing “Bad As The Boys” with Tove Lo. Take a look at the gallery below for some images from the concert.

Photos by Lauren Hayes

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Music News

Artist Interview: Keep In Touch

We’re big fans of funky throwback pop records and up-and-coming NYC-based musicians, and Keep in Touch is a trio that fits the bill. With their uber-catchy beats and contemporary flare, they’re hoping to be next big thing in music. We caught up with the boys in Ray’s Harlem apartment for some behind-the-scenes shots of their jam session, and asked them a few questions.

How did you guys first meet?

“We met at through the rock climbing community that we’re a part of, we both new of each others musical endeavors and wanted to collab, kinda right away.” -Ray

 “After we jammed a couple of times we really realized our overall vibe and tastes in music were very aligned.” -Nate

How’d you come up with your name?

“I had a song called “Keep in Touch,”  with the last band I was in All Types of Kinds,  and someone from BMG heard the song and thought it was a better band name than the current one the band had, so I’m taking their advice.” -Ray

What would you say is the genre/vibe of the band?

“When we first started making music together, we learned we both share a love for 70’s disco/funk music, as well as what’s happening with modern synth-based pop and R&B. So our goal throughout this whole project has been pretty simple, to make music that people can either dance to or make love to. As long as people are dancing, we know we’re doing something right.” -Nate

Talk about the recording process, what’s it been like?

“We’ve never recorded music at this caliber, we commute up to Connecticut currently from the city to work with this producer Mike Rogers, who’s really developing us into true studio musicians. We now spend hours working on the smallest details on any given track, which has helped us fully realize the concepts of these songs. His studio is in this little restored barn a 30 second walk from the Appalachian trail, which is a stark contrast from NYC and with both of us loving the outdoors its pretty rad. ” -Ray

Challenges getting the band up and running?

“Overall, making this music has been an incredibly seamless process. When it comes to lyrics/arrangement Ray and I have tons of ideas to work with. One major challenge though has been figuring out how to play these songs in a live setting. Because we’ve been working so much in the studio, most of our songs have more parts to play than we can accomplish with a few of us! Luckily we’ve met some fantastic musicians who want to support our sound in a live setting.” -Nate

Favorite song you’ve written/recorded?

“The one we’re currently working on in the studio now, actually! It’s one that has felt special since the first day we started working on it. It’s a bop.” -Nate

When can we expect to hear your first single?

“Sometime in spring 2020.” -Ray

We can confirm their first song is a bop, and we can’t wait to share it with you when it drops. Definitely put these guys on your radar if you haven’t yet! Go check them out on Instagram at @keptintouch. And for more pictures of the boys and tons of other musicians, check out the Crowdsurfer Instagram @crowdsurfermag.

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Music News

Industry Interview: Amisha Sarkar

Written by Sonca Nguyen and Sonnie Nguyen.

Behind all talented artists is a team of managers, executives, songwriters, and much more. In this case, we have a jack of all trades, Amisha Sarkar. Mixing business and friendship with rising star Audrey Mika, she has gained recognition as one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the business, and this is just the start.

Amisha Sarkar may seem like your average kid on the street but her days consist of meetings with major record labels, recording sessions, and all-around music-making alongside her best friend, Audrey Mika, who also happens to be signed to RCA Records with over 1.2 million listeners. Sarkar also reigns her newly introduced title as Artist Manager and Founder of her very own TRST. Records, established 2018.

To Amisha, the idea of creating a record label herself seemed out of reach. “Well, I’ve always wanted to start a record label since I was 12 but thought it was impossible.” So what drove her to make the impossible a reality? A given factor of support is her friend and artist, Audrey Mika. “Until I met Audrey, I was just a fan of her music. Music is a passion of mine. Audrey and I were exactly what we needed for each other. We became very close as we began to live our dream together.”

At a mere 18 years old, Sarkar is earning major recognition already at such a young age, but that comes with its challenges. ‘‘I would say that being 18 is harder than being a woman in my position. We haven’t really run into any issues in gender but definitely with my age. I have had a lot of people that don’t believe I manage Audrey. They don’t take me seriously because of my age. I was at a record label and the doorman wouldn’t let me in because he thought I was some kid off the streets trying to get in. I had to convince him that I was supposed to be there and I had a meeting. I just remind myself that age has nothing to do with my abilities. I know that as long as I do what’s right for my artists and believe in myself and my team, success will come.’’


One of her first moments of success was the release of Fake Heartbreak. ‘‘The song was on my phone and it wasn’t written all the way. Audrey and I came back to it, rewrote it, and just in the first week, it got over 500k streams. Now it has over one million. As a songwriter, seeing the song go from my back pocket to where it is now is so crazy to me. I feel like I have one of these moments every day. We appreciate every small victory that comes our way.’’

Scooter Braun has been a leading talent manager to many of the world’s top artists such as Justin Bieber, Tori Kelly, and Ariana Grande. The two crossed paths in which Sarkar marked a great first impression on him. ‘‘He is my idol and someone I always looked up to. Connecting with him was by far, an amazing personal achievement for me. He even called my mom, telling her that I should drop out of school.’’

As we finished up our conversation, Sarkar talked about what was in store for the new year. ‘‘Audrey and I are preparing to go on tour soon and I am now tour managing too which has definitely been a new experience. We have an EP soon to be released next month, and plan on working on an album maybe at the end of this year or the beginning of next. TRST. Records will also be releasing our first song under the label which is very exciting. Lots of things in the works.’’ The 5 A.M. Tour has already seen sold out shows in major cities and at the rate this past year has been going for them, this year is going to be even better.

We look forward to seeing more of Amisha Sarkar and continue to support her on her journey. You can too by streaming Audrey’s new single, ”Change Your Heart” on all platforms. Lyric video below:

Watch the ”Fake Heartbreak” music video below:

Check out Amisha’s artist, dhruv and his song, ”double take” below:

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Music News

Artist Interview: Molly Lovette

I got to sit down with country pop artist Molly Lovette to catch up on how she got here and where she’s going next!

What made you want to get into music?

Music has always been a part of my life since I was little. I remember my parents would tell me I would literally sit in front of our air vents and sing into them so I could hear myself. But it wasn’t until the past couple of years that I really was like this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.

What brought on that decision?

So I had written a bunch of songs and I decided that I wanted to record a few of them. My guitar player had a little home studio, so we recorded some of my originals in his house. A few months later we had an album release party and I got to play with a full band, and it was such an adrenaline rush and everything I had hoped and wanted.

I was in college at this point and I remember after the show having to go back to school that week. And I did not want to be there. All I wanted was to play music. So I talked to my parents and mentioned this to them. Surprisingly – and not surprisingly because they’re great – they were like “Okay, if this is what you want let’s do this then.”

Who or what inspires you?

My parents inspire me, especially my dad these last few years. He probably doesn’t even know that I think this. . . But he’s a big basketball guy, he loves it. And he started a basketball club with a few of his friends a few years back that’s doing extremely well now. He started with my team, which was nothing, and created this huge thing. I think that was so cool of him to go do what he wanted and loves and start something like that. So seeing that my dad did that inspires me to go do what I’m passionate about.

You were just in a Nashville recording studio for the first time. What was that like?

Oh my gosh it was so cool, I’m still on cloud nine. I was just shocked by how talented everyone was. We walk in and these musicians listened to my song one time and they were like “Ok, let’s go record it.” It was crazy. It was really cool to get to work with such talented and experienced people in the business.

Were you nervous when you first stepped in?

Yes, but I was also excited. I played basketball my whole life, and my pump up song was Eye of the Tiger because I love the Rocky movies. So I was thinking, this is kind of like a basketball game and I gotta get pumped up! So before I went in I did listen to Eye of the Tiger and got myself ready.

Do you have a song you’re most excited to share with us? Why?

One song we just recorded I’m super, super excited about. I love the music I have out right now but this stuff is taken to a whole ‘nother level, especially this first one I’m going to release. It’s upbeat and mysterious almost. . . I’m super excited and think people are gonna be kind of shocked and think that this is the real deal!

What’s coming up for you next?

Really just a lot of playing shows here in St. Louis, but I’m back in Nashville next week playing my first Writers Round. And then I’ll be releasing a single in the spring! I’m preparing for that, and I want to get a music video going. So a lot is going on in the next few months!

I hear you’re moving to Nashville soon. What’s the first thing you want to do when you get there?

[laughs] Honestly, this is so kind of lame, but I just wanna take a really cool picture and tell the world that I’ve moved to Nashville!

Anything else you’d like to add?

I’m looking forward to getting to write with people this year. Co-writing is a big thing, especially in Nashville, and I haven’t done that yet. So I think it will be really cool, and I’m looking forward to getting to write with other songwriters and have people to bounce ideas off of and make some music with!

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Music News

Super Bowl Halftime: Shakira and J. Lo

I’m going to be honest here, I wasn’t really all that excited for this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. I know and enjoy the couple of songs I know by Shakira and J. Lo, but I thought they were strange picks for this performance. But, of course, when halftime rolled around I sat attentively in front of my TV to watch.

And boy, was I astounded. What. A. Show. I couldn’t comprehend how I thought I was going to be unimpressed by their performance! I personally believe this was the best halftime show in years. While I had been stoked for Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and Maroon 5, I can’t say I was enthralled by any of them. But these two ladies? My eyes were glued from start to finish, my head bopped along, and my brain started to consider taking belly dance classes.

Let’s cover some of my favorite parts. We were gifted with Shakira playing both the electric guitar and the drums. J. Lo put to use those pole dance skills she worked so hard to aquire for Hustlers. Some guys played the horns and danced at the same time. We had female empowerment. We had Latin pride. We had two confident women dancing and singing together on stage. The energy never died. And my favorite moment? The very end when both Shakira and J. Lo flipped their heads around and had huge smiles on their faces, like they both just had the time of their lives in that performance. The joy radiated from them and made me smile, too.

Check out the show below, and maybe watch it again (like I did). And if you’re unfamiliar with these artists, maybe also go check out their entire discography (like I’m doing). And lastly, let us know what your favorite part of the show was!

(Featured photo by Kevin Winter)