It is #IMDiscovers Roundup time again and, no lie, this month has flown by! We are living through the “be strong and stay positive” era of this millennium so its only natural that songwriters have really broken down what that means. Just like the rules and regulations of quarantine, musicians shut it down this month! Below, we have listed tracks that are absolute moods and reflections of the month of May in the key of FEELS!
1. AIRPORTS – U Feel It 2
Australian taste-maker and entrepreneur, AIRPORTS (Aaron Lee as per birth certificate) is the epitome of the phrase “all the way up!” An advocate of mental health and personal development, Aaron has taken a different approach to creating music, investing in himself, and staying connected with his growing fanbase – Exhibit A: U Feel It 2.
Written with the intention to embrace duality, ‘U Feel It 2‘ can be interpreted as both an ode to feelings of freedom or something of an ode to a vice. Aaron explained, “It started out being written as a song about a haunting relationship with depression in contrast to uplifting music, but when some of the lyrics started to spill out I realised I was also writing about positive romantic feelings for my partner. At that point I was emotionally overwhelmed and realised this song has a great dualism.”
The idea for the visualizer came about the time that the Rona swooped in and cancelled all sorts of outdoor activities such as filming music videos. Aaron reached out to some people with questions about their greatest joys and troubles. This heartfelt contribution is a clear expression of the human condition. Let it serve as a reminder that you are not, never have been and never will be alone through the highs and lows.
After bouncing back from 2 life-threatening illnesses and the challenging nature of being a full-time creative, Aaron has become quite the inspiration. He’s been putting in the work with J-POP groups, award-winning televised projects, brands such as Coca-Cola & Fanta, and has received high praise from radio stations such as Triple J in Australia and George FM in New Zealand. He’s not showing any signs of slowing down so feel free to catch up with him on his socials @AIRPORTSmusic.
2. Qveen Herby – Sugar Daddy
Do you remember that groundbreaking pop duo Karmin? They have re-branded and the lead artist, Amy Renee Noonan now goes by the name Qveen Herby. After ditching a 5-album deal with LA Reid, marrying Nick Noonan (a producer, half of Karmin), and embracing her sound, Qveen Herby decided to rebuild her empire on terms that stay as clear as her skin – AND I STAN!
A few days ago, Queen Herby released the official music video for Sugar Daddy which is right on trend with the style of music that we’re hearing on streaming platforms. The now grown and sexy Qveen Herby dons fur coats and fishnets in this stylized visual representation of living in the lap of luxury.
In an interview with honest on YouTube, she shared her story explaining how she faced many a challenge when it came to music, almost giving up on her dream and life after making hit songs under a label. Although raised in a Christian household, the Nebraskan actress, singer & rapper was inspired by 90’s RnB and rap music.
During a time when radio stations did not want to play female rap music on the radio, it dawned on her that breaking away from what she calls “the disease to please” was the right thing to do. She hopes to inspire healthy personal practices, confidence and promote self-care in her music, dropping EP after EP, being fully invested in the creative process.
3. Plcbo – Bad Trip
Born in LA but raised in Dallas, Plcbo came through with a track called Bad Trip, putting his emotions out there for the world to hear. Giving off some Marc E. Bassy vibes, Plcbo blends alternative sounds with Latin and pop influences, creating a unique sultry sound.
With lyrics that radiate vulnerability and emotional storytelling, Plcbo discusses that rough time after a breakup that feels like a fast-moving downward spiral into rock bottom.
The former punk-rocker has amassed a following of over 18 600 on Instagram and over 2500 streams on Spotify. His future in music looks like it’s going to be a good one! Side Note: The end of this song is low-key powerful.
4. Klaudia Keziah – Little Bit
Singer, Songwriter, and Vocal Engineer Klaudia Keziah has found her sound! In an RnB jam about playing down some emotions (because of pride and other defence mechanisms) Klaudia serenades us with her silky vocals. Falling in love, especially when that was not the intention, is always surprising. Cue quarantine video set in a recording studio.
Klaudia started her audio engineering journey with her own vocals as an active artist. Going through that experience paved the way for her to work with Warner Music Group and several independent artists, understanding their needs whilst having some positive creative input. Her projects have gained support from Radio1, Radio1 Xtra, and Capital. Peep her progress on Instagram @KlaudiaKeziah.
5. Troye Sivan – Take Yourself Home
On the wave of quarantine videos, here’s one by Troye Sivan and his band members Karina DePiano, Kaela Sinclair, Alex Pacino, and A.J Novak. Troye gained popularity on YouTube and entered several Australian talent competitions before signing with EMI Australia in 2013. In the year 2014, he released an EP called ‘TRXYE’ that hit #5 on the US Billboard 200.
This South African born Australian resident is a singer, songwriter, YouTuber and actor who is more well known for playing young Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his lead role in the coming-of-age classic film Spud – adapted from a novel-series written by John van de Ruit.
So why is Troye on this list because he has millions of followers and doesn’t seem like an unheard voice? Well, because in a time of global crisis, it’s important to recognize activists and people who bring awareness to the plaguing nature of existentialism. Troy Sivan is an advocate for queerness and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Not limited by fame, he has a strong hand in philanthropy, raising awareness for collectives in which he believes and pridefully uplifting communities in need of support.
6. Mia Schuster – Always
Mia Schuster’s a singer/songwriter from North Dakota, USA. She moved to the City of Angels on the pursuit of a career in music, which started when she started playing the guitar at the age of 8. She learned to play other instruments over time, influenced by genres such as jazz and pop. Mia’s sound is similar to that of classic indie-pop with some experimental elements – as per Always.
Her crisp voice is quite distinct, making it a perfect fit for the contemporary pop genre. In a song about staying true regardless of where we are, her controlled pitch and glorious harmonies tell the tale quite beautifully.
Mia has also made some mash-up covers that are sure to keep listeners entertained because her choices are ingenious and unexpected. Learn a little more about Mia Schuster on her website, where you can find all of her music and YouTube videos.
7. Nathan Mac – Better Off Without You
Dublin-born indie-pop artist Nathan Mac is a brilliant songwriter. After steeping himself in the world of indie-pop, he’s enjoyed the ride and we have too. Have a listen to Better Off Without You if you need some proof of this. He’s destined to do great things and his unique story sets him apart.
Once a circus performer, he worked on improving is acting, dancing, and writing skills. Since leaving the life of the circus, he dedicated his life to music and hasn’t looked back ever since. Being a musician connects him to people and he has said that nothing makes him happier than people finding themselves in his music.
Nathan Mac keeps an artist’s journal that we, the listeners, have access to documenting his life as an artist, including some lockdown revelations, updates on his music and competitions. He’s worked with Brian D in the production of the song “Better Off Without You” and hopes to continue the journey into the proverbial musical sunset.
He has sold the Smock Alley Theatre out twice with his headline show called “The Boy Who Learned To Fly” and we, like him, have a feeling that the future is going to get brighter and brighter as he flies higher and higher!
8. Ksenia – Only Want You More (ft. Steve Mackey)
Ksenia and Steve Mackey (who is a vocal coach to stars such as Selena Gomez and J-Lo) unite to release an impactful yet uplifting RnB Pop single called ‘Only Want You More‘. Do you have a snorkel for the wave of emotions you’re about to drown in? [laughs in powerful piano progression]
Oh, my heartstrings! I don’t think there has been a collab this good since Zara Larsson and MNEK in Never Forget You. Ksenia and Steve’s vocals blend incredibly well in this heavy track that will have you reminiscing about that one that got away.
Highlighting indifference, pettiness and other issues within a relationship, this song takes our lingering thoughts during self-isolation to another level. Did I mention that it is based on a true story? The effortless power in the vocals perfectly matched by impeccable instrumentation just make me appreciate this song 1000x more!
9. BINNY – Retrograde
BINNY comes through with a seductive lo-fi tune called ‘Retrograde’ and I guarantee that you will wind the scheizer out of those hips when it comes on. I have a motto that says “dance to the beat of your problems” and this is the embodiment of that motto. ‘Retrograde‘ is a song about yearning for somebody so deeply, knowing full well that going back is a bad decision.
Brian Lim, otherwise known as BINNY, was born in Maryland. Having music run through his veins since birth, he’s worked with many artists and producers eventually keeping the torch to himself because – authenticity. Inspired by the likes of Lolo Zouai, Kim Petras, Drake, Celine Dion and a number of RnB heavyweights, he chose to follow the call to his own path.
The astrology enthusiasts know what a retrograde means, but for those who may not get it, here’s a summary: during the period of a planetary retrograde, the planet in said retrograde gives the illusion of moving backward (the most common one being Mercury – which BINNY makes reference to in the song). These illusions are said to affect our lives in accordance with the parts of our astrological charts that those planets are in. Eg. Mercury retrogrades affect our technological devices, internet connection and may lead us into a logical backslide (by texting exes, revisiting troubled pasts, binging on bad habits, etc.)
BINNY hopes that sharing his true emotions with audiences will provide some form of soul medication for the listener as music is, to him, cathartic in some way. He has also shared, “I hope to be a part of that change and be an inspiration for other Asian Americans who want to pursue music.” Good on you BINNY! I can’t wait to hear more!
10. Lila Iké – Solitude
Songbird and spiritualist Alecia Grey, a.k.a Lila Iké is a soulful nu-reggae artist from Manchester, Jamaica is a FORCE! Her free-spirit is evident in her music, serving as an immediate magnet for the listener and her latest mode of attraction is ‘Solitude’.
In accordance with the Merriam-Webster dictionary, solitude is defined as “the state of being alone or remote from society: seclusion” or “a lonely place (such as a desert)”. We often forget what it is like to disconnect, more so in the time of consumerism, and this song is a definite gateway to gaining some peace of mind.
Since music has always been a part of her life, she started writing lyrics from a very young age, describing her music as “ancient-future” and “frold” (fresh and old at the same time) in an interview with OkayAfrica. Timelessness is an effortless feat for this young starlet so open up your Spotify app, download Lila Iké’s latest EP called “The ExPerience” and thank us later.
11. Kateshia Marie – Immune
Teaming up with Xvr Blck on prodution, Kateshia Marie’s 90’s RnB influence resonates through ‘Immune‘. This feel-good modern-nostalgic track puts a fun & flirty twist on finding your inner strength and independence.
Sharing a message of empowerment, this jam sounds like something that would have fit right into an MTV playlist back when pop music was RnB. Kateshia’s cover art for the song is one of the best visual representations of her essence and direction in the music industry.
On the topic of what meaning lies behind the lyrics, she explained “Immune” was written to strengthen and empower anyone who feels bound to the confinement of any relationship they may be in. It expresses the importance of knowing the answer to your problems lies within you.”
Born and raised in East London, Kateshia Marie was exposed to music and it’s inner workings from a young age. Taking a different tone from her soulful song ‘LDLH’, she has since been spending time working on herself, strengthening her abilities, and finding confidence in what it is she brings to the table. She has also been quite active on YouTube and Soundcloud so feel free to hit that follow button when you dig a little deeper, mmkay?
12. Ronnie Lott – Tease
Ronnie Lott is a young rapper living in New York makes a return this month with a Summer jam called ‘Tease‘. The song is directly linked to the artist in that it is a story of a sketch relationship that he was once involved in. “The meaning behind the lyrics is pretty simple,” he says.
“It’s about me chasing this girl who has a boyfriend, but the girl still shows signs of interest in me, so I tell her all these good things in hopes to make her mine, but she just plays games which leads to me calling her a tease.” That bassline though!
Influenced by East-Coast hip-hop, Ronnie Lott brings the old school into the new school. Ronnie Lott has amassed over 1 million streams on Spotify and thousands of views on YouTube. You wouldn’t expect a Texas artist to be making hip-hop music but this is proof that with passion, drive, and a goal, anything is possible.
13. Brooke Alexx – Stole My Heart
Brooke Alexx is not new to the IM family. We’ve enjoyed being a part of her progress since her first appearance on our radar in #IMDiscovers: September Roundup last year. We got to learn a little more about her in an interview about her studies in music, her moving to Nashville and her EP titled ‘Me’.
She has been hard at work, involved in the production process of her music and has released the acoustic version of her latest single Stole My Heart.
Just in case you missed it the first time around, Brooke Alexx is an artist that should be on your playlist. Stole My Heart is a brand new single and this has a new project written all over it. Her infectious melodies and unapologetic wordplay make for a unique combination in the synth-pop genre. Brooke Alexx is taking the world by storm with her vibrant music, supportive fanbase and honest writing.
14. Heather J – Dancing When I Die
Canadian singer/songwriter Heather Janssen a.k.a. Heather J recently released her latest single “Dancing When I Die“. Her haunting ballad speaks of loss and how life can be fleeting.
After facing the tragic loss of a loved one, she realised how fragile life can be and what it means to treasure the ones you love. Discussing the meaning behind the song, Heather J said “If I want listeners to take one thing away, it’s to be reminded to hold those you love close, and hold them forever.“
In 2018, Heather was in a pop duo, trying to find their place in the music industry. After years of giving everything she had, she took the leap to go solo. Since then, Heather has competed on Canadian wide talent competitions, released a remix of Who’s Gonna Love U with Toronto DJ Ryan Shepherd and has gained over 170K organic streams, opened for Ria Mae, and has several collaborations due for release in 2020 with established electronic music artists from Toronto and New York.
Her fast-growing following makes her one to watch as the year progresses. We wish her well on her journey ahead and are very excited to be a part of it. Become a part of the clan by peeping her Instagram and checking out more of her videos on YouTube.
15. NOIR – Down For It
Noir’s first contribution to this majestic year in music is Down For It. The Lagos-born artist is setting the tone this year with colourful visuals and electro-pop beats.
His eclectic vocal range against the modern instrumental really change the face of afro-pop. Influenced by King Sunny Ade, Fela, Daft Punk & Aaliyah, Noir has taken the time to perfect his craft over the years, finding a sound that we may soon fall in love with.
Noir has received praise from Native Magazine and Mixtape Madness, which is a perfect launchpad for his upcoming EP. Judging by his latest single, he intends to put his best foot forward in the next few months to come.
Kaina Songbird – Fire In Me (ft. Dambisa)
With an overall message of empowerment and reigning over your throne, Kaina’s goal is to create music that feels good to listen to as well as challenge the listener to have a look at what truly matters in life. She aspires to spark a fire in the listener’s heart, hence Fire In Me.
Some of those values she believes in include personal growth, overcoming the challenges that many African women in the music/entertainment industry face and encouraging more women to reach their dreams.
After first hearing her song Reign, I kept my eye on her and still believe that it is her best song to date! But, I could be biased. Decide for yourself and let us know in the comments section below.
Otherwise, that concludes our roundup for the month of May! We hope your heart is still intact as getting here has been a journey and a half. Be sure to check out our Spotify to stay updated with the latest music and new artists. Until then, see you again next month, same time, same place. ✌🏽