Tag Archives: American Idol

The Main Squeeze Release New Single

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Chicago-based funk-rock band The Main Squeeze just dropped their brand new single, “Angelus,” from their upcoming sophomore album, Mind Your Head which was produced by former American Idol judge Randy Jackson. You can stream the single below:

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Echosmith To Perform on American Idol Finale, Muppets Cover “Cool Kids”

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Echosmith will be joining an all-star cast to perform live on the American Idol finale next Wednesday, appearing alongside Fall Out Boy, Jamie Foxx, Vance Joy, Nile Rodgers, and many more, as part of the two-hour episode, airing live on Fox, May 13, from 8:00-10:06 p.m. 

Just this past week, Echosmith saw the Certified Platinum “Cool Kids” get an A Cappella makeover by The Muppets and YouTube star Mike Tompkins as part of The Muppets‘ recent residency at YouTube Space LA. Check out the video below!

 

Following American Idol, Echosmith will head to Las Vegas for Rock In Rio USA’s Pop Weekend. They perform Friday, May 15, alongside Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX, Jessie J., and more. Tickets and more information are available here: https://rockinrio.com/usa/.

Upcoming U.S. tour dates:

05/08              93.3 Summer Kick Off Concert – Chula Vista, CA

05/09              Wango Tango at StubHub Center – Carson, CA

05/15               Rock In Rio Festival – Las Vegas, NV

05/16              The Rialto – Tucson, AZ

05/31               Bottle Rock Festival – Napa, CA

06/06             Saratoga Performing Arts Center – Saratoga Springs, NY

06/07              Governors Ball – New York, NY

06/13              106.1 BLI Summer Jam at Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY

06/18              Channel 99.9 Summer Jam at the Rose Music Center – Huber Heights, OH

06/19              Firefly Music Festival – Dover, DE

09/08             Echostage – Washington, DC*

09/09             Echostage – Washington, DC*

09/11               Festival Pier – Philadelphia, PA*

09/12              Blue Hills Bank Pavilion – Boston, MA*

09/13              Sound Academy – Toronto, ON*

09/15              Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, NY*

09/16              Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, NY*

09/18              Schottenstein Center – Columbus, OH*

09/19              Meadow Brook Music Festival – Rochester Hills, MI*

09/20              Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn – Indianapolis, IN*

09/22              Starlight Theatre – Kansas City, MO*

09/23              Sumter Amphitheater – Papillion, NE*

09/26              Saltair – Magna, UT*

09/27              Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, CO*

09/29              Brady Theater – Tulsa, OK*

10/02-10/04   Austin City Limits – Austin, TX

10/06              The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA*

10/07              The Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA*

10/08              House of Blues – Orlando – Lake Buena Vista, FL*

10/09-10/11    Austin City Limits – Austin, TX

10/11                Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK*

10/15               Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA*

10/16               SDSU Open Air Theatre – San Diego, CA*

10/20              Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA*

10/22               Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR*

10/23               Vogue Theatre – Vancouver, BC*

10/25               Revolution Event Center – Boise, ID*

10/28              The District – Sioux Falls, SD*

10/29              The Myth – St. Paul, MN*

* w/ Twenty One Pilots

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Elise Testone Releases New Single, “Time”

Elise Testone

Elise Testone just released her latest single, “Time,” from her upcoming EP. Following her time on season 11 of American Idol (she placed 6th), the funk-rock powerhouse’s second single has critics raving. You can stream it below:

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Pia Toscano and Jared Lee (7EAST) Debut Music Video

Many of us may recall Pia Toscano, a breakout star of Season 10 of American Idol, who shocked the masses when she was voted off. However, the incredibly talented singer didn’t give up, having since performed on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Ellen, The White House, etc., as well as now being known as the “Voice of The LA Kings,” singing the National Anthem at their home games at the Staples Center. Now, Toscano is partnered up with songwriter Jared Lee, collectively known as 7EAST. The duo just debuted their music video for “I Don’t Believe It.” You can view the video below:
Jared Lee is also no stranger to American Idol, his song “It’s Over (Goodbye)” was used as the season 10 sendoff as contentants were sent home. Following the unveiling of his debut EP, Falling Through Holes, in 2011, Lee has developed a strong reputation in the music industry as an artist.
“I Don’t Believe It” is a heart wrenchingly perfect new single from the duo, sure to grace radio waves across the nation.
You can purchase the song on iTunes HERE.
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Stream NONONO’s Debut Album on Hype Machine

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Swedish alt-pop trio NONONO have made their debut album We Are Only What We Feel available to stream on Hype Machine today, one week before its July 1st release.  This past week, the band premiered on Buzzfeed and ELLE.com for “One Wish” and “Fire Without a Flame (Live at Malibu).”

The album follows on last year’s Pumpin Blood EP, which spawned the Top 40 hit of the same name. “Pumpin Blood” was featured in a commercial campaign for Garnier Fructis, Universal Pictures’ film Endless Love, Glee, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, Revenge, Cougar Town and Vampire Diaries, among others.

The band describe We Are Only What We Feel as “dark and beat-oriented.” “There’s something that ties the sound of the songs together but they’re all a little bit of different,” Wappling says. “We never wanted to decide upon a genre or what the NONONO sound was. We just always go with what we felt like and what inspired us that day. You go from being happy to being sad to being shallow to being deep, so whatever mood we’ve been in that’s what song will emerge.” Adds Michel: “We would really like to make an emotional impact on people. All the songs come from the heart.”

NONONO played their first official US shows this past fall in New York City for CMJ, championed by Billboard, who deemed them ‘Best of CMJ 2013,’ Grantland, TIME, Vogue, ELLE, Glamour, Refinery 29, Harper’s Bazaar and NYLON, among others. Watch NONONO perform acoustic versions of “Pumpin Blood,” “Like The Wind,” and “Fire Without A Flame” for All Saints and Perez HiltonThe band just finished touring with Twenty One Pilots, and recently announced that they will tour with Foster the People in August and also perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago.

 

NONONO on Tour

(all shows w/ Foster The People except Lollapalooza)

8/3   Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL

8/4   Myth – Maplewood, MN

8/5   Harrah’s Hotel & Casino,Stir Cove – Council Bluffs, IA

8/6   Red Rocks Amphitheater – Morrison, CO

8/9   Edgefield – Troutdale, OR

We Are Only What We Feel Tracklisting

Jungle

Like The Wind

Pumpin Blood

Echo

One Wish

Hungry Eyes

Down Under

Fire Without a Flame

Johnny

Love

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NONONO To Release Debut Album 7/1 + Foster The People Tour

Swedish alt-pop trio NONONO, comprised of singer-songwriter Stina Wappling and the production duo of Astma & Rocwell, will release their full-length debut album, entitled We Are Only What We Feel, on July 1st on Warner Bros. Records. The album follows on last year’s Pumpin Blood EP, which spawned the Top 40 hit of the same name. “Pumpin Blood” was featured in a commercial campaign for Garnier Fructis, Universal Pictures’ film Endless Love, Glee, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Dancing With The Stars, American Idol, Revenge, Cougar Town, and Vampire Diaries, among others.

 

The band describe We Are Only What We Feel as “dark and beat-oriented.” Songs such as “Down Under” and “Like The Wind” capture various styles, genres, and moods. “There’s something that ties the sound of the songs together but they’re all a little bit of different,” Wappling says. “We never wanted to decide upon a genre or what the NONONO sound was. We just always go with what we felt like and what inspired us that day. You go from being happy to being sad to being shallow to being deep, so whatever mood we’ve been in that’s what song will emerge.”
“We would really like to make an emotional impact on people. All the songs come from the heart,” Michel adds.

The band is currently on the road with Twenty One Pilots through May 16th. They recently announced that they will tour with Foster the People in August and also perform at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 3rd.

  

NONONO On Tour:
w/Twenty One Pilots
 
05/09     The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA
05/10     The Fox Theater – Oakland, CA
05/11     Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
05/13     Knitting Factory – Reno, NV
05/15     In the Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
05/16     Ogden Theatre – Denver, CO
05/17     Power & Light Fest – Kansas City, MO
05/18     Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE 
 
 
 
We Are Only What We Feel Tracklisting
Jungle
Like The Wind
Pumpin Blood
Echo
One Wish
Hungry Eyes
Down Under
Fire Without a Flame
Johnny
Love
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Darius Holbert: A Renaissance Man For The Modern Age

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In today’s digitally-inclined world, people claim to be masters of many a trade following the viewing of a YouTube How To. It would seem that the definition of a Renaissance Man (or woman) is becoming a bit blurred. Enter Darius Holbert, an award-winning composer of music for film, television, and new media. Following his studies at London’s Royal Academy of Music and the University of North Texas, Darius had his music featured on television shows such as American Horror Story, Grey’s Anatomy, and American Idol; he’s composed for award-winning films at Sundance, LA Film Fest, and more, even winning the award for best original film score at the Moondance International Film Festival. Not one to be put in a box, Darius is the man behind the curtain on many records (producing), musical productions (directing), and artist development, rounding out his career, and making him a true Renaissance Man.
“Both of my parents are musicians, so [my working in music] was pretty much a given. Although if the Texas Rangers called me today to be their starting 2nd baseman, I’d drop everything. I’m pretty sure they need a late-30s musician with a bad back, don’t you think?” Darius is quick to joke.
He may have never become a baseball star, but Darius has worked with a plethora of well-known artists, including (but not limited to) The Wu-Tang Clan, Everlast, and even Britney Spears. “I’ve been insanely lucky so far to be able to work with so many killer folks,” he says sincerely. “Most have been life-altering (Dave Brubeck and Everlast spring to mind), but some have been nightmares (not saying who, but her name rhymes with “Schmitney Schpears”).
“Working with Rza and the Wu was just a short thing – an incredible experience, but just a few sessions. Everlast on the other hand, is now one of my close buds and we’ve worked and toured together a ton over the past few years; we’re actually framing out a new project for this year–it’s hush hush for now but it should be great.”
Along with his already crazy schedule, Darius is currently working on a country album with singer Nicole Britton. “I’m from Dallas, so I cut my teeth in honky-tonks all around the Chittlin’ Circuit.  It’s great to get back to one of my first true loves with this record,” he admits. “I never get to do much with [country] in LA or NYC, since I’m mainly scoring film and TV these days, so there’s very little call for a horror film with wall-to-wall pedal steel music…although that could be pretty scary.”
Working as a solo artist, under the name DARIUSTX, Darius has released four albums, which he claims will be a good indication for listeners of where this project with Britton will fall. “Fans can expect similar stuff like I’ve always done, but with a lot more of a country twist. I’m super excited about this project–it’s going to be kind of reminiscent of country duets a la George and Tammy from the ’70s. I can’t wait to get started!” He exclaims. “We’re still in the writing phase and some killer producers have already expressed interest in lending a hand.”
His knowledge and passion for the country genre in itself displays itself the more he speaks, as well as his strive to compare against the best of the best. “The Tin Pan Alley guys like Cole Port and even the Brill Bldg writers went on to write country music in the ’60s and ’70s. To write that kind of wide, epic storytelling and pack it into a 2 and a half minute song takes amazing talent.
“Take a listen to George Jones greatest hits and then try to write something like ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.’ It’s a heroic feat!”

Following his time at university, Darius has garnered plenty of experience to make most artists nervous to be in his presence, and most people’s eyes widen at the thought of his calendar and “to do” list. While it may look like a “heroic feat” to most, for Darius, it’s a challenge to see how much he can accomplish. “I was just telling someone today how lucky I’ve been to have a bunch of disparate stuff going on at all times. In fact, if I’m scoring a feature and that’s all I have on the docket at the current time, I’ll go out and pick up a student film just so I can bounce back and forth. Plus I get to work with a young filmmaker on something cool as well, so it’s pretty win-win for me.  Which is always a win-win.”

While working with these young filmmakers, Darius has quickly developed the film bug, but when asked whether he would ever act or direct, he laughs. “That’s funny you should ask: It’s been my new resolution to make any filmmaker I start working with to put me on camera!  It’s been awesome so far.  It’s just background/extra work, but I can tell that there’s already awards buzz around my performances.  Maybe not a Golden Globe, but at least a Participant ribbon from the local sporting goods store,” he jokes with ease. “As far as getting into directing, hell no! That job is for crazy people!”

Despite admitting that studio and network project typically produce more money, Darius is quick to dispel the romance behind them. “I try to stick to independent feature, [because the studio and network projects] always mean more headaches. There are usually a bunch of tight ass people with business degrees trying to tell you why your music doesn’t work and thereby justifying their ridiculous salaries. I much prefer indie films because it’s usually just you and the director and a handful of producers making all the creative decisions.  There’s a lot more latitude in creative choices when you’re not trying to please the head of a cable network who thinks music stopped when Celine Dion did a pop record.

“[However,] as far as TV shows, Quick Draw has been an absolute blast.”

Speaking of degrees, Darius has done well for himself in post-secondary education. “I have a pretty extensive music theory and practicum background and that has allowed me to jump around so much in my career,” he says, no arrogance to the statement, just pure fact. “But if you’re kick ass at one thing, and that’s the only thing you want to do, I’d say to just get your talented self out there and do it! I think it all depends on the end goal.”

Be on the lookout for a number of new projects from Darius: he just wrapped on the score for a Peter Berg documentary to kick off Berg’s new HBO docfilm series next month.  He’s not only developing a score for his second season on the Hulu exclusive show, Quick Draw, but also for a number of new films including the new horror feature Old 37. The upcoming slate for Holbert also includes works for a NYC modern dance company, a Norwegian documentary series, and a new album from Everlast.

 

BONUS Q&A:

PS: If you had to pick one score that has inspired you the most, which would it be and why?
DH: I should probably pick something really obscure to be a pretentious ass, but I’ll pick two famous ones instead:
“How the West Was Won” – Alfred Newman.  It was the 1st LP I ever owned as a kid and I wore that damn needle to the nub on it.
“Amercian Beauty” – T Newman.  I’m a huge Thomas Newman fan and this score is absolutely iconic.  It redefined drama film scoring for our generation, IMNHO.  And amazingly enough, Alfred is Thomas’ dad.  *Cue “The More You Know” music*

PS: If you could tell your younger self me thing, what would it be, and why?
DH: Don’t sweat the small stuff–do what you love, do it well and everything else will work out. Except for becoming the Rangers’ 2nd baseman, that’s just not happening.

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The Sky’s The Limit: Megan Joy

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Megan Joy released her brand new album, Free To Fly, on January 14th of this year. The season eight American Idol finalist garnered quite the fan-following, funding her debut album in 2012. Now, the singer-songwriter is making a bigger name for herself, and finding the idea balance between being an artist and a family woman.

“Before American Idol, I wasn’t pursuing music in any way. I was a stay-at-home mom who worked full time generating fonts. I sang in the shower and wrote in my journals but that was about it,” Megan admits. “My experience on Idol basically blew my mind, opening and changing every aspect of my life entirely, especially how I work. I didn’t even realize I could pursue a career in music until I was on the AI tour.

“I spent the year after idol traveling and learning how to integrate my writing into songs and how to control my instrument in a vocal booth. I didn’t even know what working in music meant before Idol!”

In 2012, Megan put that knowledge to good use, jumping onto Kickstarter to raise funds for her debut album. “I had absolutely no knowledge of the industry,” she laughs. “The people who run American Idol continually tell the contestants that Idol is ‘Star School,’ and my 5 year crash course up to this point ain’t bad considering how clueless I was at first!

“My first album was fun because the money I raised with Kickstarter went to re-recording songs with my long-time friend and brilliant producer, Matt Winegar AND my husband. We took what I had done in Hollywood with co-writers and made it more my own. I wanted the first album to be a little more indie sounding and have a darker feeling.”

Like many artists before her, Megan is not the type to hide from her past. Instead, she embraced it, putting it to good use to create something wonderful. “[If I could go back in time,] I would tell myself to lay off the sauce. I wasn’t drinking enough for anyone to throw me in rehab, but I was definitely destroying my sensitive heart and adding layer after layer to my already muddled up clarity. I wish I would have had more awareness about how to cope with stress and pain, especially during my experience on American Idol,” Megan admits honestly.  “I instead wound up drinking any chance I could to numb to pain and pass the time until I could be with my son again. I would have found my peace and purpose much much sooner without drinking to darkness BUT I am completely grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the understanding I have gained regarding substance and personal power. I wouldn’t change a thing about the road I’ve walked. It’s been beautiful.”

It would appear that capturing the darkness in her debut album has led to Megan Joy’s desire to document the results of those lessons learned on Free To Fly. “I have my emotional indie album and my happy pop power album,” she says. “With Free To Fly, I didn’t want to re-record the songs because the original outcome was so beautiful I didn’t want to try to recapture the magic that was  already there. So I spent most of my time negotiating with co-writes, which was just as much work, if not more, than re-recording the songs all together but I’m so glad I never gave up.  It feels amazing to have so much to showcase.”

The album is the result of a collaboration with Goldfinger frontman & producer John Feldman (We Are The In Crowd, The Veronicas), Peter Zizzo (Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion), Bleu (Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez), and Scott Simons (Drake Bell, Chris Rene). 

 

(Check out Megan performing her favorite song from the album, “Double Life”)

 

With songs that radiate optimism and lyrics that read like well-timed narrations, Free To Fly is a work of art that has been years in the making for Megan. “[After releasing the album,] I finally feel a HUGE weight off my shoulders. I can do whatever I want now, there’s so many dreams to chase!” she exclaims. “Free To Fly is upbeat, poppy, colorful, and optimistic in comparison to my first album, which was more sad. [This time,] I really wanted to focus on strength and overcoming hardship, while still having fun.” Fans have taken note of the difference in the approach Megan has taken to her sophomore release, and it’s garnering praise across the board. But the busy singer-songwriter has little time to bask in the glory of her success; alongside Free To Fly, Megan and her husband launched their own record label, Loud Meow Music.

“After Idol and writing twenty-three songs, I spent months at a time meeting with almost every major label out there. It was crazy overwhelming and I found myself struggling with how to present myself. Labels don’t want to hear that your career comes second to your family, because touring is where most of the money is made. So I either turned them off or I was turned off by the lack of control I would really have at a label,” Megan explains. “I also became very concerned with finding my own artistry; I didn’t want to be factory made and molded. I don’t care about being famous, but I do care about being an authentic; original. My husband is also a musician and has had many uncomfortable experiences with label. So we launched the label to maintain complete control of any project we’re working on. It just made sense and we are super excited about it!”

The best part about having your own label? Deciding what you do, when you do it. “Touring is tricky for me and has been an enormous factor in my career, because nothing matters more to me than being a present mother. When I went on the Idols Live tour, it was excruciating to be away from my son, so I will never tour in such big blocks of time while he is young. For now, I’m excited to play locally and I look forward to some fun opportunities to play here and there outside of Utah without compromising my motherhood.”
First and foremost a mother and wife, Megan seems to have found a balance that most artists, and parents in general, crave and search out for years. “It’s literally taken these entire past five years to figure out balance between my family and my career,” she admits. “I think the most important aspect is that I have to do both every single day. I have to take care of my family and home DAILY and I have to sing and write DAILY. The key is really self-fulfillment and my own personal definition of success.
“Luckily for me, my experience on Idol gave me a VERY negative perspective of fame. I hated how my pinch of it affected my friends and family, everyone constantly watching me and disregarding my privacy, and the extra judgment that people suddenly felt entitled to. All I want is to be an artist, making a little money doing what I love and to be a super mom. I feel like I finally am just that!”
Unlike many, Megan also has an ace in the hole that gives her the upper-hand in her situation: her husband is an artist too. “Oh man. Living with Quinn is my real dream come true. He is completely inspired and his beautiful mind and heart never cease to amaze me,” she gushes, sounding just like any other woman in love. “The thing that works best for us is that we both allow each other to do and be exactly what we want. We both want to love and create all day every day and we are so so fortunate that we both understand that and are stable enough to give each other that freedom. No expectations is what we thrive on, we are able to remain present and focused together because we grasp how unpredictable life really is. We’re also lucky that our interests in music and art are very complimentary. I could never fully express my admiration, gratitude and love for Quinn.”
Megan Joy is the kind of artist and person that would garner much envy, if it weren’t for the fact that she was so sweet. The soulful mother-of-one has brought style to everything that she does, from American Idol to Free To Fly. With so many different project under her belt and the endless possibilities they bring, exciting things are happening for Megan Joy, and we’re all excited to see how it unfolds.
For more on Megan Joy, please click HERE. You can also purchase Free to Fly on iTunes, by clicking here: http://bit.ly/1ji5j9a.
Also, be sure to check out her AMAZING covers on YouTube, like this one:
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