George Watsky, known simply as “WATSKY,” quickly established himself as one of the hottest emerging talents on the hip hop/rap scene with the release of his 2013 album, Cardboard Castles. The album, which dropped March 12, claimed the No. 1 spot on iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Charts, ousting Macklemore’s “The Heist,” 20 week run. His album also claimed the No. 1 spot on iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Charts in the UK, Australia, Sweden & Canada and finished the week at #9 on iTunes overall bestselling Album chart – in addition to debuting at No. 6 on Billboard’s bestselling R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart. Cardboard Castles marked the freshman release from Watsky’s new label imprint, Steel Wool Entertainment (Welk Music Group/EMI), which he formed in late 2012 on the heels of a triumphant 12 month run that was highlighted by the release of his acclaimed free mixtape Nothing Like The First Time and subsequent sell-out first headlining tour of the same name; the 9-episode YouTube web-series Watsky's Making an Album; his critically lauded performances on the iconic Rock The Bells festival; before closing his tour with a standing-room-only performances at the historic Old Vic Tunnels in London during the summer Olympics which came courtesy of a personal invitation from the Old Vic’s creative director, Kevin Spacey.
Since exploding onto the music scene in 2011 with his breakthrough viral track “Pale Kid Raps Fast,” Watsky has continued to carve a massive online footprint that now includes more than 200 million viral views for his music videos and in excess of 570K YouTube subscribers and 212K Facebook likes. 2014 may prove to be the biggest year yet with his sophomore album set to release this summer and will be heading out on his third World tour.
Born in Oxnard, California this Ventura county native has made his way into the now explosive Los Angeles music scene as a drummer/producer/vocalist/singer/songwriter. Credited for his efforts on the title track and starring role on popular Internet show, RUN DMZ. He has current features and production with several notable artists; Shafiq Husayn, Tiron & Ayomari, Wax, Dumbfoundead, and Watsky. With his present release "Cover Art", the debut EP introducing an innovative â€œSoul Rebelâ€ sound. Offers the standout lead cover single "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with a bold treatment of crooning vocals paired with minimal electronic production, allowing the remainder of the voyage to open for the six-track set featuring renditions of popular cuts by a variety of rock, folk and alternative bands. Including the Beatles â€œBlackbirdâ€, and the White Stripes â€œSeven Nation Armyâ€, joined by vocalists Noncado, Milo and Raquel Rodriguez, with all original production and arrangements of music. Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals delivers a finite process in remaking alternative rock classics from beloved bands into compelling, funkier versions by extracting every bit of soul, jazz, hip-hop, electronic funk, and r&b from these great tunes- simultaneous paying homage to some of his all-time favorite songs and bands.
In looking at J.R. Rotem’s accomplishments as a music producer, song writer and record label president, one can’t believe just how much this super music producer has accomplished in the past four years. From 2005 to 2009, artists such as 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, Game, Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo, IYAZ and most of the other top names in the music industry found a new collaborator in producer songwriter J.R. Rotem.
ELIJAH BLAKE discovered music through literal divine intervention.
It’s an origin story that even the most imaginative publicist couldn’t cook up: a single mom from the Dominican Republic takes her mischievous 6-year-old son to her church in Delray Beach, Florida, to pray away the demons.
Instead, Pastor Nickerson makes him sit through choir rehearsal and sing his first notes. Impressed with the boy’s octaves, the Pastor tells him, “I don’t believe anything is by accident. Your voice is special.”
The Pastor later dies in a car accident. The future singer-songwriter has a musical awakening.
“I think what he was supposed to pass down to me was the awareness of my gift and my vocal ability,” says Blake. “Once I fell in love with music, it was a wrap. I was able to release a lot of frustration instead of lashing out.”
Through it all, Blake’s rebellious spirit never left. It snakes through his major-label debut, Shadows and Diamonds, a truthful elixir for all the synths and tough talk that permeates R&B.
Before he ever laid ink for songwriting credits including Usher's "Climax" and Rihanna's "No Love Allowed," Blake envisioned himself as a vessel who'd one day sing classics like Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” or Donnie Hathaway’s “A Song For You.”
Around age 14, Blake worked with his musician stepdad to release an independent project on iTunes that sold 60,000 copies. Elijah was also, at that point, posting YouTube covers of songs like Usher’s “Can U Help Me?” and Chris Brown’s “With You.” “It was very demanding. I felt like a karaoke singer."
Fortunately, his composition skills kicked in. Songwriting served as a graduate school of sorts, allowing Elijah space to self-groom. Through a development deal with SongBook, he co-wrote Trey Songz’s “Jupiter Love," which he says, "took me from a starving artist who had no money, no food to eat, to having enough bread to take some time to find my zone."
Trey told Blake at the time, “You definitely have a gift in singing, but you also have a gift in songwriting. You don’t understand your gift of storytelling, but you’ll get it later.”
Blake's EPs, Bijoux 22 and Free served as set-ups for a second act. Label boss No I.D., whom Blake calls his Morpheus, made the mentee shoot for a higher ambition: Make an album like Usher's testimonial classic, Confessions.
Elijah remembers the legendary producer telling him, "I only want greatness. I don't want another good R&B album. I want this album to be the best album since Confessions. We might not get it the first go round, but if you shoot for the best, you’ll fall somewhere close to it.” It's a moment that reflects Elijah's mission of going all out for the sake of honesty, sincerity and empathy.
The lead single “I Just Wanna” off of Blake’s debut LP went on to enter the Hot 100 with a bullet and to date has done 50+ millions streams online. LP2 tentatively set to release in Q4 of 2016 looks to capitalize on this success and make Elijah a household name.
“I want to be the voice of a gentleman. I want to be that guy that people identify with and say, that’s how I feel. I want to touch their souls and not just their eardrums. I want to touch their hearts and not just visually stimulate the world. I want to really be a form of counsel. And to still have fun."
It has been just over a year since Los Angeles based Jez Dior first hit the indie rap scene. Known for infusing overt grunge with smooth hip-hop, the 21 year old emcee has created a sound all his own. And it hasn’t gone unnoticed. Son of legendary punk-rock guitarist Steve Dior (Sex Pistols), Dior draws much of his musical inspiration from artists like Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Kanye West.
It was Dior’s debut project, Scarlett Sage, which first boosted his reputation, giving him much deserved recognition. His singles "Candles" and "Love Me To Death" both landed #1 spots on The Hype Machine and MTV Iggy hailed him as "The real thing of 2013." No stranger to the stage, he’s opened up for both B.o.B and Chance the Rapper, and recently played SXSW.
Jacquie Lee arrived in extraordinary fashion with her Atlantic Records debut EP, "BROKEN ONES," hitting the Top 10 on the iTunes Pop Chart upon release. The inspiring track has also drawn over 20 million streams on Spotify and major Top 40 airplay. Hailed by Elle as a preternatural belter who blends powerhouse pop with the bluesy, lovelorn vibe of Janis Joplin, "Jacquie has further garnered critical praise from such national outlets as Glamour, Seventeen, MTV.com, and more. Passionately performed and powerfully personal, Jacquie Lee's first single "BROKE ONES" immediately affirmed the 19-year-old New Jersey native as an exceptional singer/songwriter with a singular voice and limitless future.
Singer/songwriter/actress/director Hayley Kiyoko spent the past year quietly instigating the most wonderful sort of pop disruption via her breakthrough independent single “Girls Like Girls” and critically acclaimed This Side of Paradise EP. The music video, written and co-directed by Hayley and Austin S. Winchell, garnered over 40 million YouTube views in just the span of a year and 10 million Spotify streams. Along the way, she’s received praise with Billboard describing her enigmatic style as “Energetic, high-stakes pop music,” and Us Magazine claiming she’s “giving a whole new meaning to pop anthems." This year Hayley makes her major label debut with the highly anticipated EP, Citrine, bringing a fresh, focused, and fiery perspective to pop music.
Boston-bred newcomer johan has quickly picked up attention for his unique brand of left of centre pop. Today he reveals new track 'High In The Woods', co-produced by Robin Hannibal ( RHYE). Emerging at the top of the year with his debut track 'danger_us', johan picked up support from areas such as Noisey, Pigeons & Planes and Disco Naivete, gaining over 100,000 plays on his first effort in the process. A chance meeting with Robin Hannibal led to the duo beginning to work together, the first fruits of that labour being 'High In The Woods'. Speaking on the inspiration for the track, johan states "There's a strange suburban magic that comes out in the rarest of hours, when you sneak around the woods at 1:00 am on a Tuesday with your crew, while everyone's parents are asleep."
Wisconsin native Alice released the Glass Lake’s EP The Evolution in 2013 at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The record was met with crystalline reviews. Pigeons and Planes listed Alice among the 12 female artists everyone should know and Repeat Button predicted her to be “the Cosmic Pop Queen of 2013.” Bonnaroo called the EP “haunting, lush [and] ambient.” Alice’s melodies, inspired by echoes through the trees, speak of life’s infallibly honest reflection in the water while hinting at the surreal. She is currently working on her debut LP with producers Danny Garibay of Atom Factory, DJ Dahi, Twice As Nice and Frequency (producer of Billboard #1 “Monster” by Eminem ft Rihanna.) Recently signed to Paradigm Agency, Alice is poised for an even bigger 2014.
Caleb Shreve began his professional music career at Sony Studios in New York in the early 2000's where he worked mostly as an assistant to mix engineer, Tony Maserati, and many other renowned mixers such as Michael Brauer and Bruce Swedien. At Sony, Caleb worked his way up to become a full-time engineer and joined the Sony Music Special Projects team, a position that allowed him to record albums for all of Sony's biggest artists including Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Jessica Simpson, and Michael Jackson. He was also afforded the opportunity to work closely with several songwriters and producers such as Rodney Jerkins, Walter Afanasieff, and Desmond Child.
In 2004, Caleb left Sony and went freelance as a regular engineer and mixer for Sean “Diddy” Combs, Mario Winans, and Nick Cannon as well as continuing to work with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. It was only a matter of time before Caleb would be met with the perfect opportunity to transition into full-time songwriting and music production, and that moment was soon realized in 2007 when he was tapped to produce two songs: “Be Mine” and “I Need Love” for the Jennifer Lopez album Brave.
While producing and mixing for major pop artists, Caleb also kept himself rooted in indie rock and soon discovered that his years of experience working on such high level projects brought technical skills to mixing and producing that set him apart from his peers. He quickly garnered the attention of such bands as Phantogram, Ra Ra Riot, and Stars. During this time he also wrote and produced the last Northern State album with Ad-Rock from the Beastie Boys. Shortly after he signed a publishing deal with BMG/Chrysalis through writer Billy Mann and has since written with artists such as Tegan and Sara, Ingrid Michaelson, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Santigold.
The Los Angeles based music production team consisting of James Bunton and Corron Cole, came together in 2000 and formed The Movement. The duo’s creative chemistry landed The Movement its first major break in 2004 working with Bad Boy Records rapper Mase on the single "Welcome Back". The pair also fielded projects by Lloyd ("Hey Young Girl") and Chingy ("Can't Hate Her"), among other acts between 2004–2007. In 2007, The Movement was recruited to work with Hollywood Records’ Jesse McCartney. The result — McCartney’s hit song "Leavin'" from his 2008 Departure album, which remains one of McCartney's biggest hit singles in the United States to date, receiving huge radio and mainstream play, reaching number one on the Billboard Top 40 Mainstream and the top-ten on the Billboard Hot 100, selling over 2 million digital downloads, and being certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
The Movement went on to write and produce projects for Lionel Richie ("Good Morning"), Pleasure P ("Birthday Suit"), and Marié Digby ("Love With a Stranger"). In 2009, they had a major hit with Justin Bieber’s mega-hit "One Time" which helped start the young teen idol’s career.
Bad Rabbits made a splash in 2013 with their critically acclaimed debut album American Love and sold-out shows across the country. Bad Rabbits hit the #1 spot on the iTunes R&B Chart and the Top 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart with the release of their debut album American Love. The band appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Arsenio Hall Show and garnered praise from the likes of Pitchfork, USA Today, Interview, MTV Buzzworthy, Spin, Alternative Press, Vice and Vibe. The band is now back in full swing as they gear up for Parahoy! (Paramore Cruise) March 7-11, SXSW March 16th, a special performance at the Warped Tour Kick-Off Party at Club Nokia at LA Live April 1st, UK dates this May, the 7th Annual Roots Picnic on May 31st and the upcoming Warped Tour.
Bad Rabbits’ anticipated sophomore album, produced and co-written by the Grammy-Award winning James Fauntleroy (Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Rihanna, Timbaland), is set for a Summer 2014 release. The band has found a home with brand new label Not For Hire, created by Fauntleroy, Grenco Science CEO and founder of G Pen Chris Folkerts, and Rama Mayo, creative producer at StreetVirus.