As a seasoned twenty something (24 in March? Say it ain’t so), I know what I like. A spinach and feta egg white omelet with turkey bacon and rye toast on a Saturday morning, worn library books with creased bindings and coffee-stained pages from past readers, vodka and tonic on the rocks, the space between sleep and consciousness, Christmas decorations, to name a few. As for my dislikes, there are many. The slow and lonely transition from winter to spring, customer service representatives devoid of friendly bones and manners, missing socks, poor grammar—don’t even get me started. I find it most ironic that one of my greatest likes, one of my first and greatest loves, represents one of the very things that I despise most. Love being music, and despise being the radio.
Then again, who doesn’t love music? Is there a person that exists on this Earth who does not find sweet consolation imbedded in the lyrics of their favorite song? And who is the poor soul who doesn’t have a favorite song? Music connects people, through melody, through mechanics, through message. Music is art, and art is one of the only honest forms of expression left in the world. So why then, would a music lover like myself associate it with my list of dislikes? Simple, because I hate the radio.
I’m sure my fellow music lovers will agree with me when I say that radio is not what it used to be. Once upon a long time ago, the radio was an outlet through which listeners transcended to other places by way of song. Today, the radio is an outlet through which listeners transcend to the same place, over and over again, like a terribly catchy Ke$ha song. There is no variation, no real musicality, and no bigger picture attained by a large percentage of the songs being played on the radio. I’m not talking about the Classic Oldies, or Sirius XM 90’s station—I’m talking about the radio stations that play Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, One Direction, and Justin Bieber, in that order and on repeat. However catchy and contagious these songs are (seriously, it’s like a tween pop parade is constantly traveling through my head), I think we can all agree that there isn’t much to them. They lack substance, meaning, and most of all, heart.
So yes, I hate the radio. But more than that, I hate the fact that real musicians are out there making inspiring, soulful music and receiving zero airtime. This is for them. I can’t possibly discover you all on my own (unless I quit my job, pack a suitcase, and become a groupie for unknown talent; which would be awesome), but consider this an ode to all artists. Those who just started in the basement of your parent’s house, or those who have hopped on trains and planes to get to a low-paying gig—this is for you.
Here are five artists with five different sounds and one mutual dream: to make music. Meet them. Watch, listen, observe. Throw a middle finger to the pop Gods of radio and give them a fair shot; it’s the least they deserve.
Who: Fellow Rebel
Where: Los Angeles, CA
When: Angela and I started making music together three years ago when we met on a musical together. That musical, VENICE, is something I wrote and was voted TIME Magazine’s Best Musical of 2010. During our first stop in Kansas City, Angela and I did an impromptu performance that inadvertently became a sound; something NEW that no one had ever seen. The audience’s response told us everything we needed to know. The people were intrigued, so we started creating more music, merging our lives, stories, influences, and bravely exploring the possibilities.
Why: Music is a universal language. We can express our thoughts, ideas, share our stories, and touch lives all over the world. Working together introduced us to new worlds, and was such a bold statement of what ART can be through collaboration, freedom, and creativity. To think that something you write, sing, or rap actually makes a difference in someone’s life is such an honor; something money can’t buy.
Bio: Matt Sax and Angela Wildflower Polk are…FELLOW REBEL. Combining a dope rebellious blend of hip hop, vintage melodies and theater, Fellow Rebel brings that LOVE MUSIC REVOLUTION to the world. Wildflower & Sax met while working on the musical, Venice (Time Magazine’s Best Musical of the Year), and instantly began to collaborate on a new sound. Coming from opposite ends of the spectrum, FELLOW REBEL bridges the divide to prove we are more alike than we think…and that imagination can be universally infectious.
Up-Coming Albums: A full album is the goal for 2013.
Up-Coming Shows: Performances are scheduled in and around the LA-area. Check the website above for more info!
What: Alternative R&B, Rap
Where: Binghamton, NY / Las Vegas, NV
When: Started writing at age 14
Why: Making the toughest things to say easier to hear
Up-Coming Albums: “Colors,” December 2012; “A Beautiful Day Outside the Asylum,” 2013
Who: Tru Def
What: Hip-Hop, Pop
Where: Dallas, TX (Pleasant Grove)
When: I first fell in love with music around the age of six; rocking my head in the car to songs I didn’t understand at the time but knew the words to. That’s how I knew it was love at first sight.
Why: What inspires is being broke and seeing people in the world struggling. If The Lord gives me the ability to make it one day hopefully I will be able to help as many people out as I can. I hate seeing people struggle.
More Songs: http://youtu.be/
Up-Coming Albums: “Critics;” This album represents the underdogs, the people who others always have something to say about. It is about promoting self-confidence and triumph to all those who are out there trying to chase their dreams. “Don’t worry about what they have to say because at the end of the day, they don’t walk in your shoes.” -Tru Def
What: “nu-folk–meets–nineties-R&B” pop
Where: Los Angeles, CA
When: They grew up playing in a rock band with their parents, called Rockinhaim. Their dad is a drummer and Mom plays guitar. All 3 sisters can play both instruments.
Why: Their parents, they grew up with music, and they inspire each other. LA & the beach. Musically: Feetwood Mac, Usher, Drake, Beyonce, and Prince.
Bio: The band is made up of three sisters: Este (bass & vocals), Danielle (lead guitar & vocals), and Alana (keys/guitar/synch & vocals), and their last name is Haim. They released a total of two EPs, “Forever” and “Don’t Save Me.”
-The oldest, Este, met Ke$ha when they were 18 and they’re all close friends.
-A hilarious interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eZvi3F9OgA (video)
-In the past, they’ve toured with: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Ke$ha
-Another good one: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2012/11/27/a-conversation-with-haim-the-band/ (written)
-Fantastic live videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MggWXo2j5o and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtP0dQV0Rlg
Up-Coming Shows: Currently opening for Florence & The Machine in the UK, then playing in Brooklyn on December 15th and Los Angeles on December 19th. For more information on upcoming shows, visit their Facebook Tour page http://www.facebook.com/haimtheband/app_123966167614127
Who: Morgan Page
What: Electronic Dance Music, Electro House
Where: Burlington, VT
When: First started as a college DJ at the University of Vermont while still in high school. Always knew he wanted to do music, having built a studio at 14.
Why: Hearing WRUV in Burlington as a teenager got him into electronic music; The Chemical Brothers and Photek were the first forays into electronic music. But later, it was the sound of Terry Lee Brown Jr. and The Timewriter that changed everything. Also inspired by the youngest influx of DJs like Avicii, Zedd, and Andrew Bayer.
Up-Coming Shows: New Years Eve 12/31/12 10PM Ruby Skype San Francisco, CA. For more information visit http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/76250266/Morgan+Page+PNG.png
**A special thank-you to Fellow Rebel for inspiring this post, friends that have flawless taste in music, and of course, all of the artists who shared their stories with FTS!**