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Interview with Dhruv

Trading lectures and lessons for studio recording sessions, singer/songwriter Dhruv elaborates on the life of a college student– who happens to have a single with 500k streams, and all without any industry help. If you know anything about music, you know that it is extremely hard to promote an artist without even a little help, but Dhruv’s talent proves otherwise. His first single, ‘‘double take’’ was released in May 2019 and has since amassed over 500,000 streams alone. As a student, he plans on making his way into the music industry, one way or the other.

Now, we are not here to talk about how well he seems to be doing in
school. We want to know if his music is any good! I was lucky enough to get the chance to hear his unreleased track ‘‘Moonlight’’ which is set to be released today, February 21st. The song depicts the naivety and simplicity of a relationship, and it is so well-written musically and lyrically that you’ll be falling in love with it too.

Growing up queer in Singapore, dhruv spoke
about the difficulties navigating his identity in a place that was not nearly as progressive. ‘‘Lyrically, it is about pining for something that seems as if it only existed in movies. I wanted to write something intoxicating and beautiful like the love we see on the big screen, something I never got to experience in real-life, I only learnt about love as I saw it in pop-culture/movies/books,etc.’’ There are lines in the song that give examples, ‘‘poetry and hand-picked flowers, say you’ll meet me at the altar’’ and ‘‘true love, kinda hoped it would feel like a rom-com’’ that directly represents the movie kind of love that I searched for.

Dhruv sends his love to his fans, and apologizes for the long wait. He made sure to only release what he felt was ready to be heard. Be on the lookout for more of Dhruv and stream Moonlight on all platforms today!

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An Evening I Will Not Forget With Dermot Kennedy

I spent my last two nights with Dermot Kennedy and let me tell you.. I feel as if I’ve gone through 5 years of therapy in a matter of 48 hours. I’ve never come across a musician quite as talented or lyrically creative. The depth of the lyrics combined with his passion set him worlds apart from other artists. His shows are the type you get lost in. Last night, I heard (and felt) every lyric like it was the first time. I’ve seen Dermot several times now, but regardless of seeing the same songs performed multiple times, each show has been its own, unique, experience. The songs have the power to shape-shift into whatever I need them to be, and I think that’s the most beautiful thing about them. I was standing in a sold out venue; shoulder to shoulder with countless strangers and I couldn’t stop wondering how everyone around me was interpreting the words.

For Island Fires and Family is a particularly emotional song for me. It’s a song he sings solo, which means there are lulls in the music and moments of silence. Last night (and the night before), the silence was filled with sniffles — mine and all of the strangers standing around me. Everyone took that song and applied it to their own lives. How beautiful it must be to create something that touches thousands of people so deeply and intimately. It’s not lost on me how special that is and how lucky I am to have experienced it.

Every time I see Dermot perform, I seem to be dealing with some emotionally heavy things. I walked out of the venue last night feeling 1,000 pounds lighter than I did walking in. I wish I could tell him thank you for that. To all my friends (iykyk): if @dermotkennedy is coming to your city, I urge you to buy a ticket asap. Trust me on this one.

The last lyric of For Island Fires and Family is, “even though this life, this love, is brief, I’ve got some people who carry me.” We’ve all got those people who help us get through the day-to-day. Hug your friends. Hug your family. Tell the people who carry you that you appreciate them a little bit more often. 🖤

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Photographer Interview: MsMoonlightArts

She’s taking the EDM photography scene by storm. Based in New York City, Dumarys Espaillat, under her brand name MsMoonlightArts, travels all over the country to shoot shows and music festivals. I had a lot of questions I wanted to dive into, so without further ado, here’s the interview we did with the incredible concert and festival photographer, MsMoonlightArts.

Tell us how long you’ve been shooting and why you started shooting concerts. I have been shooting for around six years. The way I started shooting was maybe a little bit different than most people. I was living in Puerto Rico and I used to work as a Production Assistant Manager for a company that produced events, mostly EDM events. So after a while (since I had no need to worry about getting a press pass) I started bringing my camera into shows, just for fun. As time went by, I got better at it, until one day the band Capital Cities played a show in Puerto Rico. I managed to capture a nice photo of their trumpeter at the time, Spencer Ludwig.

After the show, a friend encouraged me to show him the photo, which I did, and he loved it and posted it on all his socials and that was the moment when it clicked. The thought of “if he liked my photo maybe others will and I can get hired for it and maybe also travel” came to my mind. So from that moment and on I created my brand, Ms Moonlight Arts (after a high school nickname) and started focusing in improving my photos, setting up goals and finding my style.

Photo: elrow NYC at Avant Gardner, February 2019

What are some of your favorite shots you’ve taken at shows and why?

This shot taken at elrow last year opened a lot of doors for me. This photo was featured in Billboard.com in an article of elrow but it also contributed to me getting my current job. While I freelance in photography, I do have a full-time job where we do marketing for festivals and nightlife events. Besides that, I love how colorful it is, the composition and all the confetti. I think it captures what elrow is, something fun, colorful and crazy.

Photo: Galantis at The Brooklyn Mirage, July 2019

Ever since I started taking photos, I always wanted to have a photo of a moment like this, when people light up their cellphones from the crowd. I think it is such a magical moment for the performers, usually a slow song plays, everybody sings, it is just beautiful!

Fireworks! Who doesn’t love them! I am always looking forward to any pyro shots because they impact so much the way a stage and performers are displayed in a photo.

What’s the hardest part about concert photography?

I would say the times you have to work, while festivals mostly end around midnight, a lot of events I have shoot at end around 4am or so, in certain occasions even later and you have to sometimes go home and edit or edit on site. I have worked some crazy hours, overnights, staying up until like 7am editing after a show. When you do this but you also have a full-time job, sometimes it is not so fun the next day. It does requires a lot of energy to be running around with a heavy backpack sometimes 12+ hours and still edit after or during a show.

What do you love about shooting shows?

The energy, the people and the music. There is no way to describe how awesome it feels walking into a stage or a photo pit full of fans screaming and singing their hearts out! There is a magic to it. Also since I’ve worked in the production side, I know how much hard work it takes to put on a good show. This is why I always love when festivals and/or concerts bring onboard new things to amaze the crowd from lasers, Pyro, Drones, different stages, sound quality, new experiences, performers. It’s just awesome when it is all mixed together.

What advice do you have for concert photographers just starting out?

Always follow your dreams even if you don’t feel you made it yet! There is always improvement, re-evaluate your work, plan your next moves, learn from others and improvise. Doesn’t matter what field you are in. I never thought I would be where I am now, even though I still feel like I have tons of things to learn. Photography has taken me to places I never thought I would visit, it sparked even more of my passion for traveling and besides shooting shows, I have had the chance to work with people and brands that I never thought I would work for. From corporate gigs to fashion, food, with brands such as HBO, J.C. Crew and Dunkin’ Donuts among others.

Check out MsMoonlight Arts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and have a look at her portfolio here.

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Cellus Hamilton on Rapping in the Subway

We’re so excited to bring you a behind the scenes look at NYC artist and performer Cellus Hamilton. He moved to New York from Atlanta to pursue his music career, and he spends a few hours every week performing in Subway cars to commuters and tourists. We followed Cellus during one of his shifts and talked to him about the process, why he started rapping on the subway, and where he’s headed in the future.

Watch the video below:

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