This 24-year-old independent singer, songwriter, and producer resembles an auteur in his assemblage of electronic tones, airy beats, jazz-inspired guitars, and soulful vocalizations. A self-described “hopeless romantic,” his music could be likened to Chris Martin and The Weeknd teaming up to score a movie. Resonating with fans worldwide, that approach yielded over one billion cumulative Spotify streams in under a year’s time, a consistent spot on Spotify’s “Top 100 Most-Listened To Artists in the World,” and a sold-out headline tour as his profile skyrocketed. After logging countless hours in his bedroom writing and producing, Lauv, real name Ari Leff, entered the prestigious Music Technology Program at NYU in 2012. Under the auspices that he’d “make music for other artists,” he passionately maintained the same prolific output until penning “The Other” and “Reforget” during 2014. At that point, he uploaded the tunes under the name “Lauv”—Latvian for “Lion”—nodding to his mother’s roots in Latvia. “The Other” quietly took the internet by storm. Premiered on a friend’s blog, the song virally lit up HypeMachine. Fueling the 2015 Lost in the Light EP, the track eventually generated 100 million-plus Spotify streams and placed on Today’s Top Hits and the Global 100—all from his dorm room. Relocating to Los Angeles and signing a publishing deal with Prescription Songs, he co-wrote the platinum-certified Top 5 smash “No Promises” by Cheat Codes and Demi Lovato as well as the Pitchfork-endorsed “Boys” for Charli XCX, among others. In the meantime, “I Like Me Better” became his second bona fide smash. It vaulted past the 450-million mark on Spotify, soaring to the top of the Global and Viral Charts in addition to going Top 5 on iTunes internationally. By early 2018, “I Like Me Better” had garnered platinum certifications in seven countries, gold certifications in three, and is now certified double platinum in the United States. Extolling the song, Time wrote, “‘I Like Me Better’ is transforming into a proper summer jam without losing its meditative qualities.”
A 23-year-old Londoner, signed by the team behind Birdy and possessed one of those singing voices that stop you in your tracks. Her online releases to date, which include a spine-tingling version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Maps, are stripped-back affairs that commendably resist the temptation to add anything, bar the odd fleck of distant strings or organ, to Riding’s voice-and-piano purity. The recently released Live at St Pancras Old Church and a new song, Lost Without You, captures the intense emotion and heartache her singing can convey. Like Birdy and London Grammar’s Hannah Reid, Ridings combines restraint and urgency to searing effect. Ridings released her debut single, “Blackout”, on May 5th. 2017. She released her second live album, Live at Omeara on 30 March 2018. She released the single “Ultraviolet” on June 15th, 2018.
Flora Cash emerged at such an intersection. As the story goes, Minneapolis native Cole Randall uploaded his music to Soundcloud. Across the Atlantic, Shpresa Lleshaj stumbled upon his account and started leaving comments under the songs. Facebook messages gave way to an introductory phone conversation, which snowballed into marathon Skype sessions. Within months, Shpresa booked a ticket to Minneapolis. The two soulmates met I.R.L., relocated to Sweden, spent three months renting a room in a London flat due to Visa restrictions, and finally married back in the U.S. At the same time, the mystique of the music offset the exuberance of the union between them. The duo stitched together a singular style from threads of personal anxiety, struggle, and ultimately triumph. The mystery quietly intoxicated fans and gatekeepers alike. In 2017, their full-length debut, Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine), attracted widespread tastemaker praise, including a coveted 9-out-of-10 score from Earmilk as well as acclaim from Noisey, Paste, Wonderland Magazine, Elmore Magazine and
The Line of Best Fit, to name a few. The quiet grind paid off as the single “You’re Somebody Else” went viral, clocked 7 million streams, topped HypeMachine, and attracted the attention of RCA Records. Upheld by acoustic guitars and ethereal production, “You’re Somebody Else” hinges on a gorgeously paranoid refrain, “Well you look like yourself, but you’re somebody else—only it ain’t on the surface. Well you talk like yourself. No, I hear someone else though. Now you’re making me nervous.”
Multi-platinum produer Benny Blanco unveils his first ever release as an artist, “Eastside” with Halsey and Khalid, today, out now on his own Friends Keep Secrets/Interscope Records. Watch the Jake Schreier-directed video for the track here. Born and raised in Reston, VA, Benny Blanco is an American record producer, songwriter, musician and recipient of the 2013 Hal David Starlight Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also a five-time BMI Songwriter of the Year award winner, 2017 iHeartRadio Producer of the Year award winner, and four-time Grammy winner.As a producer and songwriter, blanco is responsible for more than 100 million album sales worldwide due to his work with artists including Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Kesha, Sia, The Weeknd, Selena Gomez, Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and many more. He is also the founder of two labels in collaboration with Interscope Records, Mad Love Records and Friends Keep Secrets.
Every once in a while, a woman comes along and flips everything upside down. When it comes to pop music, Zara Larsson is that woman. The 20-year-old Swedish singer and songwriter quietly ascended to the forefront of modern pop with undeniable talent, uncompromising attitude, and unbelievable songcraft. As a result, she made history. Her RIAA gold-certified 2017 full-length, So Good, holds the distinction of being “the second most-streamed debut on Spotify by a female artist ever,” eclipsing 5 billion streams. Among a bevy of smashes, “Ain’t My Fault” went gold, “Lush Life” went platinum and “Never Forget You” with MNEK went triple-platinum. Among numerous accolades, she has won favorite Swedish Star at the Nickelodeon Kid’s choice awards 2016, 2017 and 2018! She also landed best newcomer and worldwide act at the 2016 MTV EMA’s. She notably took the stage at the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Concert to perform “Symphony” alongside Clean Bandit. Meanwhile, she achieved four Swedish Grammi Awards, (2018) namely “Best Song,” “Best Album,” and “Artist of the Year” Snagged spot’s on TIME Magazine’s “30 Most Influential Teens of 2016,” Billboard’s “21 Under 21” of 2017, Maxim’s Hot 100 of 2018. Additionally, she has received nominations at the Teen Choice Awards, MTV VMAs, and more. Click here to hear Ruin My Life by Zara Larsson
Atlantic Records and Big Yellow Dog Music have announced the debut EP release from singer-songwriter Brynn Elliott. “TIME OF OUR LIVES” is available now at all DSPs and streaming services.“TIME OF OUR LIVES” includes the breakout single, “Might Not Like Me,” available for individual streaming and download HERE. Currently ascending the top 25 at Hot AC outlets nationwide in only its second week at radio, the track is joined by a new companion visual, directed by Sarah McColgan (Kelly Clarkson, Charli XCX) and streaming HERE. The video premiered last month via Refinery29, who raved, “For every breakup tune in which the singer laments about love lost, there’s another that spins a split into an empowering life event. Kelly Clarkson has ‘Since U Been Gone.’ Katy Perry has ‘Part of Me.’ But it’s Brynn Elliott, a name not quite as recognizable (at least, not yet) whose breakup anthem ‘Might Not Like Me’ is also an ode to every woman who was made to feel smaller in a relationship for someone else’s benefit.”