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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)

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Music News

The Women of the 2020 Grammy Awards

Controversy over Grammy nominees have been swirling around since the situations involving the Recording Academy’s recently appointed CEO, Deborah Dugan, who had opened up conversation about misconduct, discrimination, and even voter rigging that could’ve potentially resulted in the rescheduling of the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards Show. As the day continued on, incidents following the tragic news of the passing of athlete, Kobe Bryant and other passengers during a fatal helicopter crash left the world somber and mournful. However, as the night was also for celebration of achievements, we wanted to recognize the winners that took home the trophy and also played a role as advocates for women in the music industry.

If you haven’t heard yet, Billie Eillish took home five Grammy awards in major categories from, ​Best New Artist,​ ​Best​ ​Pop Vocal Album,​ to ​Best; Record, Song, Album of the Year​ awards, making her the youngest person ever to win in Grammy history. Even if you don’t listen to her music, at only eighteen years old, this is something that is incredibly impressive to accomplish for someone this young.

Artist and DJ Tracy Young had just made history being the first ever woman to be even nominated in this category for Best Remixed Recording for her remix of Madonna’s ‘‘I Rise.’’ Young, who had been working in the industry for over twenty five years reflected on her journey in the industry when she was awarded the Grammy in her speech, stated, ‘‘I proudly accept this on behalf of all female producers who have been overlooked.’’

For our folks in the audio world, we know the name Leslie Ann Jones. For those of you who do not, she holds her title as Director of Music Recording and Score at Skywalker Studios along with her previous work experiences at Capitol Records and ABC studios. Jones made a name for herself back then and still continues to be a role model and advocate for women engineers at sixty-nine years old. Jones holds an impressive list of accomplishments and firsts. From being the first woman as assistant engineer ever to be hired at ABC Studios to the first female national officer for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Her legacy continues as she took home her 5th Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Classical in Riley: Sun Rings.

Behind the scenes, Soundgirl member and fellow Women In Audio advocate Loreen Bohannon shared that she was the one mixing monitors for Lizzo during her opening performance at the awards show.

It is the victories like these that create opportunities for women everywhere. We continue to support those in the industry and hope to see more women winning at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards!

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Music News

A Night Of Music At The Best Venue In The US

Photo taken by @aldenbonecutter

Red Rocks Amphitheater located in Morrison, Colorado has been, year by year, named the best outdoor venue in the United States. Every year, new shows and experiences are announced for fans from all over the world to come to Colorado and experience what the locals call “Red Rocks Season.” Mid April through September, with a few shows sprinkled in between, Red Rocks brings the best artists and fans to come together in a beautiful venue located at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

Red Rocks is the world’s only naturally occurring acoustic amphitheater has hosted iconic shows such as The Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Stevie Nicks and more. The venue brings in dozens of artists from every genre, making it easy to find a show that would work for anyone in your crew. 

Along with the concerts at the venue, there are numerous trails for day hikes, incredible views of the foothills and downtown Denver, as well as “the lots” – gravel parking lots that come to be full mid day of a show for the infamous tailgates. If you have extra time, there’s a museum inside that includes tons of local art and posters from years past of your favorite artists who have played the iconic venue. 

After so many announcements of some of the schedule this year – we’re thrilled to share some shows we’re most excited about! I’m a firm believer that no matter what show you go to here, it will be an incredible time – just for experiencing the venue alone. For a full list of events happening in 2020 – head over to the calendar on their official website: https://www.redrocksonline.com/concerts-events/calendar

Wobble Rocks:

Ganja White Night’s first official headlining show on the rocks, and they’re bringing insane talent to back them up. For two nights this year in April (could be a bit chilly!) we’re going to dance the night away with some of our favorite electronic acts such as Boogie T,  Dirt Monkey, The Widdler and of course, GWN. Playing two nights, the first night will be more of their newer sound and music as well as some artists that share a similar sound. Night two is specifically a throwback set, which long time fans are so excited to hear some of their favorites from back as far as 2010. This is one of the first shows of the season and is sure to bring in lots of excitement and dancing for the summer to come.

Rainbow Kitten Surprise:

After a successful show last year, RKS is scheduled to come back to Red Rocks with Mt. Joy. After night 1 sold out so quickly, they added a second date. With their popularity rising, this will be a great show to catch on the rocks. Rainbow Kitten Surprise has also partnered with PLUS1, donating $1 to every ticket towards securing Equality NC. The weather will be warm, the stars will be out and the music will be great (but aside from the weather this goes for any show you’d catch there!)

Reggae on the Rocks:

A local year-to-year favorite, Reggae on the Rocks is bringing a stacked lineup for this year. Bringing in household names to those who love reggae such as Rebelution, Steel Pulse, Innercircle, and newer names that we’re excited to learn about, this show isn’t one to miss. For two nights this year, you can go experience the good vibes of Reggae on the Rocks. 

Of course there are many shows throughout the year we’re excited about, and this doesn’t even cover most of them. We highly recommend checking out the website and seeing who all is coming! There is truly something for everyone, and it’s a night you won’t forget! Local’s tip: if you’re in the area and the show isn’t sold out yet – head to the Denver Coliseum on Saturdays from 11-3 to grab a ticket without the online fees! 

See you on the rocks!

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Music News

2020 GRAMMYs: Music Videos

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards take place on Sunday, January 26. While I’m most certainly excited for all of the other awards, as a visual artist I’m partial to the music video categories. Let’s go through the videos up for Best Music Video, Short Form.

Glad He’s Gone – Tove Lo

Entertaining the whole way through, Tove Lo takes us on a journey to show us how far she’d go to be there for a friend. Her casual walk and nonchalant expression contrast impeccably with the wild scenes behind her, and every expression on her date’s face at the diner is perfection. With scenes as short as a couple seconds, I’d be worried information would get lost, but the timing keeps everything interesting and brings a few chuckles along the way.

We’ve Got to Try – The Chemical Brothers

Starting off dark and moody, you think you’re in for a serious music video. But then it becomes humorous, then wacky, and then back to serious. And somehow it all works. I don’t know how we went from training the dog to drive a racecar to fly a rocket ship, but I’m ok with it. I loved the edits back and forth between the flight and the video game screen, the ride the story took my emotions through, how they used different people to sing the words, and, of course, that it stars a dog. A big round of applause to the credits at the end, too!

This Land – Gary Clark Jr

I loved the shots at the beginning of this video; the arrangement, lighting, and sound effects reeled me in. The use of children is powerful, made even more so by the matching outfits. The part that lost me a bit, though, is the scene with the window, hands, and the galaxy. I feel that section deterred too far from the style of the rest of the video, and the change in editing pace was much more effective at the end than it was there. But I’m so appreciative to see another video with some end credits!

Cellophane – FKA twigs

Well this video certainly did not feel like it was nearly four and a half minutes long. I highly enjoyed the sound effects of her shoes across the floor, and I give all the respect for anyone who can walk in those heels in the first place. Another bit I loved was the women crawling up in the masks and how that moment went from frightening to loving. But the things I did not appreciate include the sped-up motions while she was dancing and the sequence where she was falling. The too fast body movements threw me off and took away from the beauty of pole dance, and the falling scene was so chaotic that I thought it was slightly overdone. I will say I adored the quick second where you could see she was holding onto someone’s hand!

Old Town Road – Lil Nas X

Ok, what isn’t there to love about this? A country western, dance battle, street race, Bingo, and line dancing? What more can you ask for? A perfect balance of comedy and production quality, and with lovely cuts away from the music, this video was pure enjoyment.

So who is going to win? With each of these songs and videos being so different from each other, It’s hard to make a decision. And while I’m a dog lover and Tove Lo fan, my pick to take home the Grammy is Old Town Road.

What do you think? Vote in the poll below to let us know!