A Quick Chat With Denim Blù

Ever since Toronto-based singer/songwriter, DENIM BLÙ came on my radar with single, ‘I’ll Die’, I was immediately captivated by his breath-taking storytelling along with the dramatic cinematic production. So when he released his debut album, ‘Blue’, I had to catch up him with about his inspiration behind the new eight-track set.

I really love what this guy stands for… and I hope you do too…

NLM: Hey, thank you for taking part in an interview with NEW LEASE MUSIC. How is 2021 treating you so far?

DB: Hey, New Lease Music, thanks for having me! 2021 has been treating me well – I know a lot of people hate 2021 because the pandemic has stopped them from living their life in the way they used to, but hey – because of the pandemic, I got to slow down and experience my life in different perspectives. It made me cherish my life more and I got to taste different flavours of my life. I have no complaints!

NLM: You released your album, ‘Blue’ last Wednesday (10th November), where you unveiled singles ‘Extraordinary Feel’, ‘I’ll Die’ (both featuring Lizzy Clarke) and ‘Burn (ft. Randy) ahead of its release. What is the public perception on the singles so far?

DB: I guess the public perception is good, hehe. My songs were played on the radio, featured on different media platforms, and I made lots of friends in the music industry. I just started my journey, and I was overwhelmed by the support I got from my supporters.

NLM: How would you describe the album’s sound to potential fans?

DB: My music is both compelling and complex, but infectious and accessible. Today’s youth want to get lost in music, but they demand narratives that reflect their experiences in a real way. Sonically I would describe my album’s sound as pure pop fantasy with emotional intrigue – sounds draw from blues, dance, electronica, and R&B elements, all while being unapologetically queer. However, it is the lyrical content making the connection with my audience: it speaks about love, loss, heartbreak, and lament. It gives you a sound that you can get lost in, but if you dive deeper, there’s a powerful story being told.

NLM:  What inspired you to produce the album?

DB: Love – youthful love, volatile love, queer love, and my love for music. The concept for the album is centred around a relationship. It takes the listener on a journey from the exuberance and magic of falling in love (“Extraordinary Feel”), to deep and dark places of lament (“Blue”, “I’ll Die”, “I Miss You”), to coming to terms with love lost (“Young and Foolish”, “Burn”, “Again”). The album is the physical manifestation of my love for music. The whole process of making the album, from song-writing to producing, recording, mixing, and mastering, is me expressing my love for music. The sound of every sound, every foreshadowing, every push, every climax, and every reveal, is about my love of music.

NLM: What is/are your favourite single(s) from the album and why?

DB: My favorite song from the album is the last track – Again. I would describe this song as “an epic love ballad in the galaxy”. The songwriting is classic me – smooth melody, pop but dramatic. I produced the song in a way that reflects the songwriting, a way that corresponds to the development of the song. When listening to the song in the right sonic environment, you would see the galaxy evolving from nothing, to everything, and to nothing again – there is emergence, collapse, collision. It is an experience.

NLM: What message would you like the listeners to take away from your album?

DB: Never be afraid to love, because love is beautiful, love is an experience, love is the meaning of life. No matter where life goes, it always comes down to love.

NLM: If you had to feature one mainstream artist on the album, who would it be and why?

DB: Paloma Faith. She is from the UK, and I have been a fan for almost 1o years! She is not well-known in North America, but she is pretty big in Europe. She is so artistic, I love her visuals, her outfits, her artworks, not to mention her music is extremely amazing. So if I could have her on my album, that would be a dream come true! – Actually, going to her show is one of my dreams too 🙂

NLM: Do you have other project(s) for 2021?

DB: Well, there is only one month left for 2021, and I am not planning to release a Christmas song…but I do have some projects coming next year! I worked with some amazing Toronto artists on the remixes for Blue that I am going to release in 2022. Also the pandemic gave me time to slow down and see my life from different perspectives. I drew inspiration from those perspectives, sat down with my song-writing partner, exchanged our feelings, and we got to finish another album together. I am planning to work on these songs next year and release the album in summer 2023.

NLM: How can potential fans find you?

DB: That is also a question I want to ask – how can potential fans find me?! It is really hard to promote myself as an independent artist, so my next stop is to find an artist manager, A&R, or a record label. Hope that can happen soon!

NLM: Finally, any special thanks to those involved in the production of ‘Blue’?

DB: I have a lot of special thanks – I want to thank my lyricist Nick Ram for sharing his stories with me, and allowing me to tell his stories in my way. I want to thank my friend Lizzy Clarke, Randy Chang, Kristen Antunes, and Marshall Jacklin for being there and being my friend. It was really fun writing music together. I want to thank Jack Hughes, Julian Fatsound, Tyler Novak, and Eugene Hwang for their amazing musical performances on the album. I want to thank Elizabeth Petzold, Keshav Sharma, Eliot Britton, Issac Nemec for their remixes and friendships. I want to thank Francis TQ Hudson for bringing my mixes to life. I want to thank Fernando Nickolas and Jason Tenn for their photography and creation. I want to thank Zetong Liu for his amazing creative design with my album cover. Last but not least, I want to thank my family for believing in me and supporting me along the way. THANK YOU!

Listen to Denim Blù’s album here

Isa Reyes Goes On A Journey Of Self-Growth With Debut EP, ‘Bels’

Led by last autumn’s ‘Whistles’ that helped her reach over half a million streams on Spotify, and her new single ‘Santiago’, which has been met with rave reviews and is being championed by KALTBLUT Magazine, Impose Magazine, IGGY Magazine and Ones To Watch, among others, to build on the recent support she has received from the likes of NPR, SXSW, RFB Magazine, and New York Foundation for the Arts, 22-year old New York City multimedia artist and songwriter ISA REYES unveils her long-awaited debut EP titled BELS.

Written and recorded by Isa Reyes, and co-produced by Gamal Abdu (Nyck Caution, Thutmose, Alex Mali) and Caine Casket, who comes backed by Complex, Office Magazine and Lyrical Lemonade, among others, with Reyes also collaborating with Julian Kaufman and Layla Ku from NYC collective MICHELLE on ‘Black Velvet’, the third song on the project, the 4-track BELS EP is music that connects, heals and empowers, driven by Isa Reyes’ enchanting vocals, atmospheric compositions, compelling songwriting, and alternative R&B / indie-pop sensibilities.

The record opens up with the intimate title track ‘Bels’, which is led by contrasting soft guitar arrangements and samba drums patterns, and sees Isa attempting to make peace with her childhood. The EP then flows into the hip-hop influenced ‘Whistles’, where Isa takes a self-reflective and appreciative look at the struggles on her journey so far, and the sassy sultry R&B ballad ‘Black Velvet’, over which she tries to reclaim her self-worth in a relationship, before culminating in the gripping pop-folk ballad ‘Santiago’, which serves to inspire others to navigate their path freely, and as a reminder to Isa that she still has so much more to offer to the world.

Speaking about the inspiration behind her BELS EP, Isa Reyes says, “Thematically, ‘BELS’ takes you on a journey of vulnerability, nostalgia, love, belonging, grief, depression, heritage, generational trauma, and coming to terms with the past. Each song is like a location and time in my life that I’m reflecting on or paying homage to. It is also an embodiment of processing for me. ‘BELS’ is the culmination of that journey, one that we are all on, one of the processes of self-growth and acceptance. For me, each track is a step into that process”.

Check out Isa’s Soothing EP below…

Ro Bergman’s New EP, ‘Lo-Hi’ Reflects His Mood During The Pandemic

RO BERGMAN‘s latest self-written EP, ‘Hi-Lo’ goes on a venture of unique stylings of the lead indie-rock artist. A shimmering piece of pop embellishment here, meeting gently encouraging lyrics there creates the perfect EP in which one can acknowledge their own flaws and still hold hope for the future. The title track draws us in and sets the tone, balancing light tones with serious topics while keeping listeners hooked with the melodic tones.

Ro Bergman shares the inspiration behind the release “The EP Hi-Lo is a reflection of what I felt over the last 1 1/2 years. It’s full of contrast, desire and truth.”

The Austrian musician has received significant support over the years, with features in CLASH Magazine, Rolling Stone India, Atwood Magazine, Backseat Mafia, XS Noize, Neon Music, Medium’s Pop Off and Last Day Deaf amongst others. In total, the musician has earned nearly half a million plays across streaming platforms.

‘Hi-Lo’ was released on the 17th of September via Bergman Music. Have a listen below…

Rapper S.O. Reconnects With His African Roots With New EP, ‘Larry Ginni Crescent’

Following the success of his last album Augustine’s Legacy, which was dedicated to his late father and his first child and has now accumulated over 16 million streams on Spotify alone, Texas-based international rap artist S.O. releases new EP. ‘Larry Ginni Crescent’, which sees him tracing his footsteps back to his hometown in Nigeria, where he was born and raised. The new project is nostalgically named after the street in Lagos, Nigeria that S.O. lived on as a child called Larry Ginni Crescent.

Written and composed by S.O. and produced by long-time collaborator and Grammy Award nominated producer GP, alongside burgeoning Nigerian producers TBabz (Travis Greene, Faith Child, Aaron Cole) and SteveRawd, the Larry Gini Crescent EP is driven by lead singles ‘Kinda Love’ and the previously released ‘Corner (O Ti De)’ – the former is a summer-ready afropop love song from S.O. dedicated to his wife, where he exudes the virtues of their love, while the latter is an infectious head-bopping track that sees S.O. boasting about who he has in his corner, as he sings “no babalawo in my corner, just God putting things in order”.

Chronologically, the EP opens with the infectious up-tempo ‘Prosper’, which was penned in direct response to S.O. losing his grandmother last December and sees him putting an afrobeats twist to the popular Bible verse “no weapon formed against me shall prosper”. Elsewhere on the EP, S.O. is full of gratitude on the uplifting sing-along number ‘Good To Me’, while the up-tempo dance floor filler ‘That One’ sees S.O. fusing afrobeats, rap and a motivational message together to great effect. The EP then winds down with the sexy R&B driven ‘Want You’ and the afrohouse influenced ‘Wonder’ with its cautionary tale about battling sin and temptation.

Speaking about the inspiration behind his new Larry Ginni Crescent EP, S.O. says: “This is a project that is connected to my African roots – Larry Ginni Crescent is the name of the street I lived on as a child back in Lagos, but it’s also deeply sentimental for me and it is dedicated to my grandmother who passed away from COVID late last year. As a proud Nigerian, I have always loved my heritage, from the food and the language to the music and the culture, and afrobeats is one of the branches on the Nigerian tree that’s rooted in the diaspora.

This project has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while and the lockdown opened the door for that. I got to collaborate with two special Nigerian producers TBabz and SteveRawd, as well as my long-time collaborator GP. Not only am I a Nigerian but I am also a Christian and that comes out in this project. So ‘Larry Ginni Crescent’ can be described as deeply Christian and deeply Nigerian. From the songs about faith, to songs about love, everything connects to this one point – al that we do, all that we experience, can be used for our art. I hope it moves you”.

With over 40 million global streams and sold-out shows across America, Europe and Africa, and having also lived in Lagos, London and now Texas, S.O. is the true definition of an international artist. Since his now classic debut mixtape 5 Solas, S.O. has gone on to chart in the top 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers album chart, in the top 30 on both the Billboard Rap album chart and the Billboard Christian album chart, and in the top 5 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap album chart across his four albums and two EPs. As his new project Larry Ginni Crescent arrives, S.O. is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Check out the blog’s song recommendations below:

Must Listens: Corner (O Ti De), Good To Me, Kinda Love, Want You

Professor Paws Continues To Push Boundaries With New EP, ‘To The Bag’

Since PROFESSOR PAWS arrival onto the scene just 18 months ago, he has quickly become a force to be reckoned with. His first release from his To The Bag EP, ‘Southside Girl’, was undoubtedly well received, obtaining praise from trendsetting magazine Notion. He then followed with the lead single and title track, ‘To The Bag’, amassing over 125,000 views and over 75,000 streams in the process.

With a musical approach that is second to none, Professor Paws creates a unique hybrid between new age R&B and a gritty UK rap sound for his new EP. The opening track ‘To The Bag’ portrays his distinct R&B style, highlighting an instant ensemble of differing melodies whilst delivering punchy lyrical content that we’ve come to expect. This release epitomises his approach this year as he sets his aims on getting ‘straight to the bag’. The next track ‘Southside Girl’ is the perfect blend to stir up the party feeling as the vibrant melodic chorus instantly captures your attention while the hard-hitting rap verses deliver the perfect contrast. This song captures the excitement and flirtations of a relationship blossoming in its early stages. Moving in to ‘Sillionaire’, Professor Paws continues the musical theme of the EP, providing an R&B influenced hook with the raw rap that has become synonymous to his sound. A strong sense of the London artists affluent lifestyle shines through the lyricism, as he proceeds to remind us that ‘he is the man’.

Heading through the tracklist, ‘Gold Touch’ tells the story of the rappers’ similarity with King Midas and his golden touch, with the track delving in to a wittier, personable side of the rapper. With his usual combination of melodies and raw lyrics, this song is destined to be blaring out of car speakers across the UK. The final track is an extended version of ‘To The Bag’, the first version left listeners with a cliff hanger and this version is the clarity to the story. As he continues the go-getter mantra, we get a full understanding of Professor Paws mindset with his latest collection.

Of Ghanian and European heritage, Professor Paws is influenced by his roots and is keen to ensure that diversity always shines through in his music. Being exposed to such a wide range of sounds and styles in a rapidly developing musical climate, has helped shape his sound to one that moves fluidly between varying genres, tones and styles. His endless hours in the studio behind the desk as a producer has seen him work alongside major name rappers, including Giggs, Fekky, Cash and Joe Grind, and has undoubtedly helped to navigate his own personal artistry as he has cherrypicked wisdom from the best and been able to apply it to his own sound as an artist, something which evidently shines through in the EP.

With the release of his debut project ‘To The Bag’, we witness the development and evolution of Professor Paws. As he continues to gather momentum and make strides with his unorthodox hybrid of rap and R&B, we expect to see the experimental musician becoming a pivotal part of the music scene.