Amir Tripp - "Hardball"


Hailing from Chicago, rapper Amir Tripp just dropped some impressive vibes at the end of January. His newest single co-produced by Zay Rock, combines Drake-style verse rhythms with a strong trombone ringing refreshing infectious staccato notes over a simple 808 hip-hop beat.

Tripp drew his inspiration from the Brian Robbin’s directed movie, “Hardball,” of which the song is named after. This track starts out with a sample from one of the most memorable scenes in the film; Conor O’Neill (Keanu Reeves) sits around a table with his all-inner city kids’ baseball team. They all chant in a sing-song way, “We’re goin’ to the ship! We’re goin’ to the ship” (“ship” here short for championship).

This song demands the audience to sing along with its clear and catchy repetitive melodies in the chorus, “Fake n*ggas I swear I’m allergic, fake n*ggas I swear I’m allergic,” and “Young boy, I was born with the world, young boy I was born taking risks.”

Tripp is releasing a mixtape called PYRO next month, on March 9th. Check out his other releases here on SoundCloud:

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?

It’s inspired by the movie Hardball but also by my actual life. Hardball is more so the theme but in the lyrics I’m reflecting on my real experiences.

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?

I produce the majority of my music under my producer alias MR HEAVY. Zay Rock is my co-producer who also puts his imprint on every track. We work like the neptunes.

Who are your musical influences?

3 Stacks, Ye, CUDI, Curren$y and Drake.

What do you like to do on a day off from music?

Binge watch Game of Thrones, Westworld, Peaky Blinders. Those are some of my current favorites.


Connect with Amir Tripp at:

IG: @amirtripp

Twitter: @amirtripp

Facebook: @AMIRTRIPP6


Written by: Ashley Avicolli

IG: @ashleyavicolli





Vaeda Black - "Face Down"


Released in November, Long Island based singer-songwriter, Vaeda Black’s new single, “Face Down,” hit the market with a mix of sonic trip-hop and deep indie vocals. It’s hard to believe with such a mature sound comparable to Banks, Lana Del Rey, and Georgia Nott, that she’s only sixteen years old.

This track starts right off with a catchy guitar riff paired with block chords on the keys and a strong hip-hop backbeat that keeps the groove moving forward. The tape stop four bars in leaves us in anticipation for what’s to come, and she doesn’t disappoint.

The music video portrays Black alone in a forest with a blurry haze filter in slow-mo. It cuts back and forth between scenes of her wandering through the trees and her figure surrounded by faded lights contemplating the esoteric nature of her subservient conscience. The beginning lyrics, “You stay behind the shadows of my frame, secluded from the light,” evoke a dark mood in the listener.

With “Face Down” being her first single, and an EP coming out soon, she’s bound to catch the ears of an active audience. You can check out her music on SoundCloud here:

What’s the story or inspiration behind Face Down?
When I write, I like to just start singing and writing down whatever the music makes me feel. When I wrote Face Down, I was singing along to the track and the words and melody flowed perfectly with the vibes the music was giving me. I didn’t realize what message I was sending until reading my lyrics after the writing was done. The song is about accepting your deep dark desires and that they’re not something to be ashamed of, because everyone has them. I wanted this song to be directed at the listener like I’m speaking to them. A quiet reassurance that whatever thoughts you’re having or whatever you’re going through mentally isn’t something to hide, but is something to embrace. When I listen to this song it makes me feel at ease. I think it was subconsciously inspired by the things that I’m afraid of and what I need to accept about myself. Writing this song brought me to a place that I’m afraid to go to sometimes, but being able to put out a record that is so real to me set me free. It’s amazing how one song can change a person.

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?
Well, I’m 16 and I’m from Long Island, NY. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember and writing has always been a passion of mine.

I want my listeners to know that any music I put out is a piece of my story. I know how cheesy it sounds, but I mean it. My lyrics are all emotion driven. I feel like being an artist is showing the world all of your colors. Truth, to me, is the most important part of being a creator.

I also want everyone to know that I’m really grateful for every person who supports my music and I can’t wait to share more with everyone!

What does the industry need more of?
I think the industry needs more variety. Of course there are so many genres and different artists all around the world, but I think the way people listen to music has changed. A lot of young people have very little variety in the kind of music they listen to. You can discover literally any type of music on the internet in seconds, yet people gravitate to the biggest and hottest songs on the radio. I think more mainstream radio stations and media outlets need to help broaden people’s exposure to different types of music and I think that big producers should try new unique things instead of putting out songs that sound almost exactly the same. I don’t know about you, but I want to hear something other than trap at the next party I go to.

What is your definition of making it?
For me, making it is growing a fanbase that connects to my music. It would be the greatest accomplishment to know that there's someone out there listening to my songs and feeling something. Just the thought of it inspires me.

Connect with Vaeda Black at:
IG: @vaedablack
Twitter: @vaedablack

Written by: Ashley Avicolli
IG: @AshleyAvicolli

SPELLES - "Light Me on Fire"

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Calling Los Angeles home, SPELLES, a singer/songwriter, recently released an enchanting single boldly titled “Light Me on Fire.” Enrapturing the idea of choosing to stay and support someone rather than leaving, powerhouse vocals and an energy filled track create a unique spark of emotion in the song. She describes her sound as a “spooky tribal blues.” Her debut EP is available on iTunes and Spotify, with songs that each tell an original story in her own spell casting way. We can’t wait to see where SPELLES goes from here!

A conversation with SPELLES.

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?
I’ve been working towards a career in music for a long time. I moved to LA after school and it has been a very challenging yet rewarding journey that has completely shaped who I am today as a person. I have one self-titled EP out and I’m about to release a new EP titled Skeleton Coast I in February. I like to call it “spooky tribal blues,” but you can call it whatever you want.

Who are your musical influences?
I grew up listening to the female alternative musicians on the radio in the 90’s like Alanis Morissette, Fiona Apple, and Sarah McLachlan. In high school, I got really into Nina Simone and Tori Amos. Tori was one of the artists that got me into writing my own songs. I’m also a big fan of artists such as Portishead, Feist, and Radiohead.

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that? 
Tell all of their friends about my project and bring them to my shows!

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
Keep your head down and work on your craft until you’re creating things that make you really excited. Also, try to find a community of musicians whose work you respect, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there (ie. playing shows or asking people for help). 

What does the music industry need more of?
Long-term investment in artists. It’s so hard to find these days.

What is your definition of making it?
Today my answer to that question is to be able to support myself financially long term from music that I create.

Connect with SPELLES

Written by Kaitlyn Walters
IG: @kaitlynalycee

Camden - "Friend"

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Nashville, TN- a place mostly known for country music is seeing a rise of pop and R&B artists coming to create honest music. Camden, our featured artist today, is no different to this trend. His new track, titled “Friend”, is a dive into pop vibes with a touch of signature Nashville songwriting- the honest, storytelling type. With catchy lines such as “hope you want what you got and got what you wanted” that will repeat in your head for days on end, Camden’s music gives off a Chainsmokers vibe (but better!). Listen to “Friend” on Spotify or Apple Music now! Warning: song will get stuck in your head, but we aren’t complaining.

An Interview with Camden

What is the story or inspiration behind this song?
I have a lot of great friends in my life, but I definitely wrote this song from a place of bitterness.  Most people have experienced friendships or relationships that feel one-sided, and the other person moves on but you can’t seem to.  “Friend” is about that.

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?
I’m a big believer in chasing your dreams, regardless of the challenges you face.  The song “Friend” was a year-long process, but the experience I gained along the way has led to more opportunities, and music that grows as I grow. So I guess I want people to know that my music is an expression of where I’m at in the moment, and new stuff to come may sound different than music I released before.

Who are your musical influences?
“Friend” showcases more of my pop/r&b influences, but at home, I’m really inspired by Amy Winehouse, and also European beatmakers like Tom Misch, Jordan Rakei, and FKJ.  I even have a public playlist on Spotify for other people that are into the same kind of thing.  It’s called “Camden’s Top Picks." 

What do you like to do on a day off from music?
Quality hangs with friends in Nashville.  There’s such a great community of people here that literally have become like family to me.

Which books, documentaries, blogs, or podcasts do you share the most with other musicians?
The book “All You Need to Know about the Music Business” by Donald S. Passman is a staple for musicians.  I’ve also been listening to a podcast called “And The Writer Is” with Ross Golan.

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone do to help you with that?
I’m always stoked when people share my music on social media and add “Friend” to their playlists on Spotify. Or get really crazy and purchase the song on iTunes. Haha (I don’t even do that).

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
Definitely, write songs that you know you love before embarking on making any kind of EP.  When I first started, my goal was just releasing an EP, and not necessarily taking time to develop as an artist.  Music is a process, and it’s important to create art that resonates with you and feels believable to the listener.  Producers will gladly take your money, even when you’re not ready to create something that embodies that.

What does the music industry need more of?
It needs more authenticity, not only from a music perspective but also from a human perspective. Often times, people in the industry are trying to do whatever it takes to come across as successful, even if they’re not.  This takes the human element out of the music, which so many times is what listeners connect to.

The Hollywood Vampires - Alice Cooper, Keith Moon from the Who, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees - if you had to put together your version of the Hollywood Vampires to have a night of drinks with, dead or alive, which 5 people would be part of your drinking crew?
Haha, pretty sure I’ve had these nights with my Nashville friends Paul Castillo, Struan Shields, Connor Dwyer, and Kyle Reynolds.  I’m the 5th of course.

What is your definition of making it?
I’ll feel like I’ve made it when I can support myself, and be generous to those around me by doing what I love.

Connect with Camden
IG: @camden_music/
TW: @Camden_Music

Written by Kaitlyn Walters
IG: @kaitlynalycee

Olivia Noelle - "High for Me"


Olivia Noelle, an urban pop singer-songwriter based out of Brooklyn, New York, just released her latest single “High For Me,” featuring Kid Ink. Even though Noelle was raised near Portland, Oregon, she got her start in the industry in Los Angeles collaborating with other musicians and writers, while fiercely networking. She eventually moved back to New York to “cultivate her sound.” This catchy track from the rising star combines some quite compelling vocals, and an addictive melody to keep her fans locked-in on the vivid double meaning behind this song. 

This is not just another typical love song. What’s interesting about this tune is that it is satirically paired with scenes from the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda motion-picture, Reefer Madness. Directed by Louis J. Gasnier and produced by George Hirliman, this flick hinges on the supposed dangers of what happens if and when people are peer-pressured to experiment with marijuana. Consisting of graphic scenes depicting rogue behavior ranging from hallucination to mania to suicide, the film was intended to be used as a device to deter students from dabbling in substance abuse.

While Noelle sings lyrics of, “When I can’t hold the wheel, will you drive for me? When all I feel is low, will you get high for me?” there is a laughable image of a monkey madly steering behind the wheel of a car. There are also quite a few scenes of teenagers loosely dancing through clouds of smoke with their partners, while blunts stick out of their mouths. “High For Me” is a double entendre, and while the video scenes clearly advocate against cannabis, the song is not necessarily in agreement with that attitude. The times are changing, especially now more than ever, seeming as petitions for marijuana to become legal nationwide are on the rise.

You can check out some of her other songs such as “Made of Gold” and “Faking It,” on her SoundCloud link here:

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song? 
This song is about bracing yourself for the crash from a fall and wanting to know that the person you’re falling with would pick you up when you’re down, keep you high when you’re feeling low, and ride all those waves with you - because you would do it for them. 

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you? 
I write all of my own stuff - usually with my close homies. Everything you’re hearing is inspired by true events from my own personal experience. I am probably too honest, but I want to be genuine and real above all else. 

Who are your musical influences? 
Billie Holiday, Mariah, Biggie, OutKast, The Spice Girls. 

What does the music industry need more of? 
Women supporting other women - and opportunities for those women to grow, climb, and build their own companies and have their own power. 

Connect with Olivia Noelle

Written by Ashley Avicolli
IG: @ashleyavicolli

Wild Fire - "Villain"


One of my favorite things is when bands get creative with their music videos. As a longtime fan of comic book heroes, this is right up my alley. I mean, look at the logo for Making It. "Villains" is a hard-hitting song with heavy guitars, melodic riffs, and very in your face drums. The video takes you through a journey in the eyes of a villain in a comic book format, with the lyrics being the storyline. A really creative way of putting together a lyric video. Hailing from Gulfport, MS, Wild Fire's music is full of attitude such as A Day to Remember, combined with moldy and vocals that reminisce of Fall Out Boy. I first met their guitar player, Taylor Roberts, during my days at House of Blues in New Orleans. To this day, the band has always been hustlers, adamant learners of the business, and continue to put out great hard-hitting tunes. 

Speaking of House of Blues New Orleans, they will be performing there on February 16th, 2018

An interview with Taylor Roberts of Wild Fire

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song? 
While I'm not the author of the lyrics for Villain, the song is about well.... being the villain. We all have that side of us, deep down somewhere. That side of you is there whether you want to believe that or not and sometimes its just itching to break out and take control. Another aspect for inspiration, at least on my side of things, would definitely be the Joker. If you watch the lyric video, the main focus of the video is the Joker, the lyrics to me describe the insanity and utter villainy that the Joker exudes.. Theres always been something so fascinating about that character. He's a villain you fall in love with and every now and again, you can find yourself in those same shoes, so his character becomes very relatable. The song also sparked a custom Joker guitar that I use nightly thanks to the team over at Aristides Instruments. It's truly a one of a kind instrument, much like the song. 

Which books, documentaries, blogs, or podcasts do you share the most with other musicians? 
I've actually been listening to your podcast Making it with Chris G. for a little while now and its the one I've found the most helpful. The newsletters have been wonderful and the podcasts are very insightful. So for anyone listening and looking for a place to step up your professional game, I'd highly recommend your podcast to anyone looking to get an edge on their music career. 

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that?
Visit our website at, join the mailing list, visit the merch store, and #spreadthefire. If you dig it, tell people. Word of mouth is such a powerful tool that I don't think a lot of people consider sometimes in today's world. Generally, if someone tells you about something they are excited about, it'll get you excited and God willing, you'll find songs that make you fall in love with the band. Next thing you know, you're a fan. 

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career? 
Don't put out crap. What I mean by that is, I tend to see a bunch of younger bands that record demos at their buddies house in the basement or just in the bedroom and then try to pass it off as a decent demo. Spend time on your craft and spend some money on the recording. Research who you are going to record with and make sure it's going to be a good fit for the sound you're going for. The more you put into your band, the more you get back out of it. But don't rush it, and play it smart. The other thing I would say is to have your band members taking care of themselves and don't just throw on some rags tucked in the back of your dresser. Take pride in your appearance because you're essentially trying to woo your audience in a live application. It's an infomercial to get people to the merch booth after your set. You take it seriously, everyone else will too. It's also a business, I don't care what anyone else tells you, it's a business first. 

The Hollywood Vampires - Alice Cooper, Keith Moon from the Who, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Micky Dolenz of the Monkees - if you had to put together your version of the Hollywood Vampires to have a night of drinks with, dead or alive, which 5 people would be part of your drinking crew?  
Johnny Depp would be one, because who wouldn't want to go drinking with Johnny Depp. Guy plays guitar in Hollywood Vampires, has appeared numerous times with Marilyn Manson, and he's freaking Jack Sparrow! I bet lots of interesting things would happen. I would say  Lemmy from Motorhead, because who else are you gonna drink whiskey with? I'm sure he would teach you a thing or two about rock n roll on a drunken adventure. Vinnie Paul would be another I wouldn't mind going a few rounds of shots with. That dude just makes you smile. I would also say John Campbell from Lamb of God because you could get drunk and slap each other till one of you gives in.  And last but certainly not least, Michael Starr from Steel Panther. That would be trouble and a train wreck waiting to happen but hey, buckle up and let's go! 

Connect with Wild Fire

Ocoenia - "Cozy Mornings"

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Ocoenia, originally known as Hannah Rosenberg, just a young girl from Seattle, Washington with such beautiful talent, gives us "Cozy Mornings" for all of us to enjoy. The song is an Indie track that will have you singing along and trying to hit those high notes that she so beautifully masters. Hannah's voice over the melody on this song goes hand in hand with what a true cozy morning would feel like.

Hannah is an aspiring artist and has a passion and love for her music. If she is not working on her own music then she is trying to work on collaborations with fellow artists. For example, Tetsuo, Chrisfromthedeep, howlight, ilWesto are just a some of the fellow artist she has collaborated with. Her voice is one that can be compared to the famous Alina Baraz, who wouldn't want to have her as a feature on their song?

Her music and collaborations can be found all throughout her SoundCloud page. She also has some of her songs distributed through Bandcamp, apple music, youtube, and spotify.

Interview with Oceania:

Who are your musical influences?
I feel like my musical influences come from all over the place since I don't really dabble in just one genre too much, but when it comes to writing anything acoustic, I really take inspiration from artists like Dodie Clark, mxmtoon, and paper latte.

What do you like to do on a day off from music?
When I'm not doing music, I'm focusing on school, hanging out with friends, or visual arts. Sometimes I lie around and relax when I get the time to. A lot of my time is devoted to music though, as I also do instrumentals outside of vocals and songwriting.

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that?
Publicity and spreading the word about my music is very helpful to every artist. Financial donations are much appreciated too!

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
Advice I'd give is just to keep writing! Find inspiration wherever you can and build off of it, and always write things down that come to mind. Keep working to find your style too. Something I find helpful is to experiment and try working with people on collaborations.

Connect with Ocoenia

Written & Interview by Alex Martin

Najii Person - "Money"

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With a Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, and old Lupe Fiasco, vibe, "Money" is a song that will be playing in your head even after you turn it off. The beat does not have too much bass and is perfect to be able to hear every rhyme and lyric that Najii covers on it. The lyrics are something that everyone can relate to since the song does go deep into the scheme of how money controls most things in our world. It's no wonder that "Money" was featured on DeluxeMagazine!

With 848 followers on SoundCloud, and his songs hitting up to twelve-thousand plays, Najii Person is an artist you need to discover. Not only is this rapper from Saint Louis, Missouri an excellent lyricist, he also produces most of his own music. At the moment he is his own manager, booking agent, stylist, and art director all in one. There are not many artist who can say that they are their own management team and still be able to produce such amazing content. Najii just wants to be able to rise to the top and change lives through his music on that journey. He is focused, driven, and wants to show the world what he can bring to the table. 

You will not be disappointed, check him out!

Interview with Najii Person:

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
I had just finished reading the Gucci mane book and was feeling really inspired to make something that would catch peoples ears just like Gucci did. I had to talk about what was current with me. I had just lost my job and the main source of income. Money was on my mind. Then I began to break the concept down in my mind and think about all the things with humanity money is attached to.

For those that are new to your music, what is something you want them to know about you?
I want people to know that I lay it all on the line when I’m on the beat. I talk about real life things because it’s how I release what I’m dealing with. I hold back nothing I say things that make me uncomfortable because I have to let it go. Rap is how I do it.

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that?
MONEY is what I need. Naw all jokes aside depending on what platform they have access to the biggest thing someone could do is share it with that platform and get people hip on what I’ve been doing musically. Money would help as well because I’m a studio rat so that pretty much keeps me broke but at the same time keeps me happy. Any of those two.

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
Have skin like Colossus from x-men. Take chances. It’s okay to fail. Create constantly. Focus. Protect your energy. Protect your sound.

What’s your definition of making it?
When you’re able to give back on a high level. Being able to share unreachable resources to the gifted on the come up. 

Connect With Najii:

Article by Alex Martin

Miki Fiki - "Stranger"

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For those new to Nashville, planning on moving there, or just regular visitors, there is a really great organization called YEP Nashville. They have a Facebook group where musicians, songwriters, and people on the business side can network and connect. Check it out here. This is where I met Ted Hartog, lead vocalist, and keyboardist of Nashville based Hip/Pop band Miki Fiki. In late 2017, they released the single "Stranger," featured here. When I listen to this song, I hear a very cool funky, soulful, pop vibe. Ted's voice reminds me a little of Jamiroquai. A talented new band that formed in 2017, with a really diverse and fun sound. 

Miki Fiki is a DIY band playing in Nashville, and touring regionally. They are looking to connect with more regional bands to put together great shows. Within only their first year as a band, they've already been playing several shows in Nashville, and have expanded out regionally into Alabama, Virginia, and Ohio. Their goal is to connect with talented and like mineded DIY musicians to pair up with for upcoming shows, and to share their audiences with. Check out "Stranger," and the brief interview with Ted below. 

Go see shows, meet people, make stuff! 

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
It’s a song about the conflicting feeling of being the one to rip the rug out from under yourself. I wanted to be angry for feeling distant from friends I used to be close with, and I spend the whole song trying to convince myself that’s true. But the questioning in the chorus speaks to the deep-down knowing that it’s me, that the responsibility is on me. Defeating, but also hopeful that only I have to adjust to get back to where I want to be. 

Who are your musical influences? 
Ben Folds and The Avett Brothers guide me through the songwriting. Anderson .Paak, Terrace Martin, and BadBadNotGood guide us through some of the musicality. We all bring somewhat diverse musical tastes to the mix, so it’s not always clear right away who influences a song. 

Which books, documentaries, blogs, or podcasts do you share the most with other musicians? 
Logan and I listen to The Daily podcast and can often be found in public saying “have you listened to The Daily today?” to gauge friendships. I also try to share whatever information I glean from the Ted Radio Hour podcast with whoever I can find. Patti Smith’s “Just Kids” has also made the rounds. If you’ve got any good documentaries please let me know. 

If someone wanted to reach out to help and support you and spread your music. What is the biggest thing you need and what could someone to help you with that? 
In terms of spreading our music, just tell your friends about us and like us on Facebook. The biggest thing we need help with right now is touring. We’re sending all the emails and getting decent responses, but we need help finding bands/artists active in their local scene. We’ve found a great group of friends who are passionate about what they do here in Nashville, and we’re desperate to find that elsewhere.

What’s your definition of making it? 
Making it for me is being financially independent playing music, and staying fulfilled by it. The bands I admire not only get to play music for a living, but they bring joy to their art every night. They have longevity, and I want to create and continue to mold something sustainable enough to be enjoyable for a long time. 

Connect with Miki Fiki:

Remedy Drive - "Sunlight on Her Face"

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"Nashville based DIY Alternative Rock group, Remedy Drive releases a new music video for "Sunlight on Her Face" with a dream of freedom. This is the lead single off of their crowdfunded album "The North Star." Over the last four years, lead singer, David Zach spent months of his life undercover in redlight districts and brothels in Southeast Asia and South America finding evidence of human trafficking. Fans of Remedy Drive have raised over $250K for the nonprofit organization, Exodus Road, who are focused on rescue missions to save women from human trafficking, investigate, prosecute and arrest offenders of these crimes. The organization has already rescued 885 survivors and made 369 arrests. 

This album is Remedy Drive's 7th and 4th independent release. They raised over $37k via Kickstarter, completely independent, meaning with no label or management. Remedy Drive is the definition of DIY success in today's music business, and they're doing it with a positive message and a mission. Their goal is to inspire ordinary humans to live with a "dangerous unselfishness" such as Martin Luther King. T-Shirts and apparel for this new album and the upcoming tour have been made by girls who are survivors of human trafficking and have have been rescued. They are made in facilities focused on rehabilitation and restoration. 

We're excited to kick off this "NEW MUSIC DISCOVERY" series with an inspiring DIY artist, bearing a positive message to spread more love and kindness in the world. Watch this video for "Sunlight on Her Face" and share it with your friends. 

An interview with the band. 

What’s the story or inspiration behind this song?
I spend a lot of time volunteering with an abolitionist organization called The Exodus Road.  We do undercover work in brothels and red-light districts around the world to find evidence of sex trafficking.  We use that evidence to partner with local authorities to make raids, arrests and rescues.  I have met so many girls that are stuck in the sex trade.  I wanted to tell their story through melody. 

What advice would you give to a musician or songwriter just getting started in their career?
You have something so unique to offer the world.  Your voice is the only one there is.  No one else has it.  I spend a lot of time finding inspiration for song writing which means listening to a lot of music and reading and paying attention to the way other people phrase things.  But then I phrase things a certain way and I spend a lot of time putting notes together with space between them and I'm going to do that differently than anyone else.  And that's important.  Your artistic contribution to the world is unique so don't withhold it and don't underestimate it.  

What does the music industry need more of?
I love honesty in music.  Honest lyric but also honest melodies.  And honest production.  We need more humanity in the way we arrive at our beats and our synth lines.  I was watching some  Smashing Pumpkins from the 90s last night - the way Billy would just scream those notes out - he wasn't even hitting the note.  Neither did Eddie Vedder and neither does Brandon Flowers at times.  It hovers around the note.  And that's what makes it so compelling.  We need to get the sense from songs that we're reaching for something - not that we've arrived.  We can't strip our art of the longing.  

What’s your definition of making it?
I always thought making it would look a certain way.  What's the metric of success?  Steams, tickets sold, albums sold?  What did we set out do do when we picked up that guitar for the first time and plugged it in?  Was it about arenas and money?  There's a path towards that but it's not for all of us.  If that's how we design "making it" then it will determine what we write, who we write for and why we are making music.  But if the goal of "making it" is simply to put out great music for anyone who will hear it - music that will be part of someone's life - they'll listen to our songs when they've had a hard day or a great day.  They look to our songs for inspiration.  That's making it.  Sometimes that will lead to fame and fortune which should just be the icing on the cake.  Making music that is important and honest and moving - that's making it in my mind.  As a relatively obscure indie rock and roll band that's trying to fight slavery with our music - we've left labels, management and booking - we're able to pay the bills by touring and through the support of some very devoted fans - this is more than I ever dreamed of.  And I'm so thankful for it.  

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