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.
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.
At seventeen, Finn has accomplished more than a lot of recording artists do their whole lives. He independently moved to LA last year and began working right away on original music, the first of which will be released in February. Finn sought guidance from and has been mentored by R&B songwriter and artist Elijah Blake, who penned hits such as Usher’s “Climax” and Rihanna’s “No Love Allowed.” Finn’s career as an artist started when he was 9 years old and happened to accompany his father to a meeting with Blake. As Blake finished up with a recording artist, Finn sang along in the background as he vibed to the music being created. At the end of his session Blake turned to Finn’s father and told him that his son was next. Finn’s music will make waves in the pop sphere with unheard-of blends of soul.
Finn already has a handful of accolades under his belt. He is one of twenty artists to work with Amazon on their exclusive Valentine’s Day Original playlist. He’s also the first unsigned artist to strike a major development deal with Live Nation, who have shown massive support for the potential that they see in him. Finn is ready to go wide with a big soul-tinged voice that has been quietly developing until now.
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.
In 2000, poet STS (aka Sugar Tongue Slim) arrived in Philly for what was to be a short visit. Then known as a Mecca for slam poets, Slim fell for the City of Brotherly Love and never left. He made his rounds on the Slam scene and quickly rose to prominence, earning the praise of legendary poet Black Ice who would become his mentor.
He became a regular at Black Lily, the now legendary series that started in Quest’s living room. At the urging of DJ Jazzy Jeff, Slim began rapping. He went on to co-write Ciara’s massive hit record “Oh” which became her third top-five single and stayed on the Hot 100 for 23 weeks. Before long, Slim had a record deal w/ Def Jam. But just weeks after signing, he was in a near-fatal car accident. Unable to walk let alone record, the deal was over.
After a long recovery, he connected w/ Black Thought and joined his group, the Money Making Jam Boys. The project featured a host of producers including Questlove, Jazzy Jeff, and a young Khari Mateen. STS would go on to appear on The Roots album How I Got Over, including the track “Right On” featuring Joanna Newsom.
Slim has continued to collaborate with artists of all genres. In 2015, he released an LP w/ producer RJD2, titled STS X RJD2. The following year, he released his first solo effort in 8 years, Ladies Night, on Ropeadope.
His current project, Better on a Sunday, is a collaboration w/ producer and multi-instrumentalist, Khari Mateen (also affiliated w/ the Roots). The album is three years in the making and began while the two were on the road w/ RJD2. The record draws upon their parallel childhoods in Atlanta and musical coming of age in Philly. It’s about the American spirit of hard work and enjoying time spent with family and friends. Whether you’re a mechanic, a doctor, a teacher or a rapper, these are the struggles and simple joys that we all share. Better On A Sunday will be released Jan 26, 2018 via Steel Wool / Empire.
Poised for massive year, Eryn Allen Kane topped the lists of MTV, Wonderland Magazine, OkayPlayer, and Global Grind as one of their essential "Artists to Watch in 2016." Upon the April 2015 premiere for her lead single "Have Mercy", the Detroit songstress became an instant favorite among key tastemakers including NPR Music, Complex, Revolt TV, The Fader, Essence, Vibe, and also received radio airplay on multiple BBC Radio platforms. Shortly thereafter, the escalating buzz caught the ear of multi-platinum music icon Prince, who immediately tapped Eryn to provide guest vocals on his protest song, “Baltimore." Also a versatile actress, Eryn and was handpicked by Spike Lee for a role in his highly controversial Chi-raq film and contributed to the soundtrack.
In November 2015, the budding superstar released her eagerly anticipated official solo debut, Aviary: Act I. The stunning 4-track effort featured both of Eryn’s breakout singles "Have Mercy" and "Slipping," as well as new fan favorite "Piano Song" (featured on BET’s Being Mary Jane) which catapulted to #5 on Spotify’s "Global Top 50 Charts.”
Kane kept the momentum going in 2016 by releasing her follow up effort, Aviary: Act II, embarking on a sold out tour run with Gallant, and featuring as a writer/vocalist on two critically acclaimed albums: Noname’s “Telefone,” and Chance the Rapper’s multi-Grammy award winning “Coloring Book” album.
Kane is currently tucked away working on her next music offering (due out later this year 2017) and plans to continue to win over fans with her electrifying performances.
DJ White Shadow is an American music producer and DJ currently based in Chicago, Illinois. He is best known as the producer for Yu-Gi-Oh! and Lady Gaga's Born This Way and Artpop albums. DJ White Shadow has played in numerous cities throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, and New York. In addition he has toured as a headliner as well as with Lady Gaga internationally.
In addition to his writing and producing, he has released three EPs as part of a Trilogy through DECON Records. He was featured in the Anheuser-Busch Pac-Man commercial for Super Bowl XLIX, the song for which he remixed using the original Pac-Man music. His remixes have appeared in other television commercials including for Beats by Dre. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award in 2012 for his work on Gaga's Born This Way album.
Described by Billboard Magazine as a “Rising star” and by TheNext2Shine music blog as a young musical prodigy with “a voice that exceeds any realm of expectation,” Tamir discovered his own unique talent and deeply rooted passion at an early age, which is what brought him to attend and study at the school of art. The schooling in the arts inspired Tamir to begin creating and performing his own music, and eventually led him to form his own eight-piece band while eagerly beginning to learn the creative process of writing, composing, arranging and producing original music. Possessing an old soul and outstandingly distinctive raspy voice, Tamir drew heavy influence from Funk, Blues and Jazz to find his musical inspiration. Tamir harnesses his youthful energy taking an authentic, vintage sound, and creating modern music that connects with today’s modern music scene. With songs such as “I Was Made To Love Her” and “The Only One Who Really Cares,” Tamir showcases his passionate vocal delivery onstage while also exploring his unique songwriting ability that can be described simply as “timeless.”