Wilmah Release Emotional, Risk-Taking Single “It Will Always Be You”

Wilmah release It Will Always Be You
Photo by Alec Ilstrup

“Chin on wrist adoration from the start,” is not only a beautifully written song lyric but the perfect way to describe listening to the band Wilmah for the first time. The pop duo from NYC creates tracks that evoke infinite heart eye emoji reactions from their fans. In their newest release, “It Will Always Be You,” Wilmah bottles up those feelings and delivers them in a jazz heavy, R&B inspired tune.

“Someone translate what I’m feeling…”

Matt Connolly and William O’Connor (hence Wil+mah), have known each other since grade school and played in the middle school band together. They are the definition of a ‘do-it-yourself’ group when it comes to songwriting, instrumentation, and production. Their songs can either have you dancing like no one’s watching or sobbing on the floor reminiscing on old scars. Wilmah draws their fans in with poppy feel-good tunes such as “Dancing With a Mixed Drink,” and “Forever,” while also incorporating teenage angst soundtrack cuts such as “Nothing to Say,” and “Secretly Sad.”

The band’s release of “It Will Always Be You” combines the best of both worlds for Wilmah fans. The song will have you spinning around the room one minute and crying happy tears the next. Either way, it is one that you will want to spin endlessly into fall.

“It Will Always Be You” // Unlike Any Wilmah Track You’ve Heard Before

My chat with Wilmah was full of laughs and gushing over similar interests in the music industry. It certainly did not take long to realize that these two have what it takes to conquer their bucket list goals as a band. Citing inspiration from The 1975, LANY, and MGMT, they embrace a genreless music era in the creation of their sounds.

“It Will Always Be You” is a surprising and risk-taking track for Wilmah and their fanbase. It is not often that you hear the type of production and instrumentation that the song incorporates. On first listen, you may be wondering who is playing the saxophone and how the sounds all came together. Matt and Will explain that this is their first collaborative type track where they feature another musician. Upon receiving a relatively well laid out demo of the track online, the saxophonist added his original flare to the sections they had chosen for the feature.

The saxophone collaboration is not the only surprise on “It Will Always Be You.” Fans will undoubtedly be drooling over the key changes at the end of the song as well. The band mentions that they enjoy playing around with different formats and crazy ideas when putting songs together. They recount that “It Will Always Be You” is a product of that experimentation.

“And my sweet brain plays tricks on me every day…”

Lyrical Life Lessons

Wilmah is a band of emotion-evoking lyrics. They tend to encapsulate the perfect picture of nostalgia, all-in first love, and naiveté in their songwriting. “It Will Always Be You” features on-brand lines such as “Backwards marathons and pleading payphone calls” and “I apologize for not being sorry.” They elaborate on the lyrical meaning during our interview, “It’s about when you’re young, and you are trying to navigate how you are feeling. You are fearful of losing someone and struggle to see a future without them.” “The song portrays the conflict of learning about yourself while you are simultaneously learning about your partner,” Matt Connolly recounts.

A Taste of What’s to Come

“It Will Always Be You” will also bring a new EP with the same title. EP two will feature six songs, that will include two more singles to follow this release. From the sounds of it, the second EP will follow their signature style along with more differentiation between the tracks. Fans should expect dance anthems, a ballad, jazz influences, and some 2010s throwback style vibes.

“It Will Always Be You” will surely open up doors for the band to accomplish their long list of future goals. They recently played their first Manhattan show alongside the band Drive!Drive! and have hopes of adding more tour dates in the future. As they continue to take inspiration from the artists they come in contact with and collaborate with on tour, they hope to develop an organic live show for fans as well.

“It’s the you, that nothing and no one can ever compare to…”

Wilmah will cross off another bucket list item when they play on October 29th in Brooklyn, NY with the band MILKK. Tickets are available here.

Stream the new release “It Will Always Be You” by Wilmah available now on all music platforms. Follow them on social media to share your thoughts on the new single!

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Last Vacation Premiere New Introspective Single “Started”

Last Vacation Premiere "Started"

It cannot be easy to merge countless influences into one fifty-second introduction, but the indie-pop band, Last Vacation, has done just that with the premiere of “Started.” The new single is the perfect addition to their catalog of ’90s and 2000s inspired tunes. Mixed with the progression of today’s music, they’ve got themselves an easily identifiable hit. If the previously released “Neon Home” is an upbeat dreamy dance song, then “Started” is an ‘in-your-face’ call to action.

The Boston pop band, Last Vacation, features Travis Rutzel on vocals, Scott Anderson on drums, Dan Hennessey on bass, and Stephen MacDonald on guitar. Today we bring you an exclusive premiere of “Started,” the introspective new single from Last Vacation.

“I bet you got it all worked out, I bet you’re doing better on your own…”


A Fresh Start

The band released their reinvented debut single, “Neon Home,” in May of this year. To say making music is new to the four-piece, however, is not the case. They have a history of working together for quite some time. To better convey their message, the band decided to undergo a name change within the last year. The name “Last Vacation,” initially penned as a song title, stuck out to them as a pop band moniker with a bit of darkness to it.

Although Last Vacation has recently switched up their name and sound, their desire to create music remains unchanging. The songwriting process seems innate to the band. They mention that each member adds to the creativity of the group. Rutzel and Anderson are a lyrical and instrumental duo that play off of each other. They ignite the initial flame for each new track. The two frequently bounce ideas for off of Hennessey and MacDonald, who provide a fresh and honest perspective in the development of the music.

If you haven’t already, you will want to check out “Neon Home” and “Moon Lake” to paint the full picture of Last Vacation’s story thus far. In their early stages, these songs were destined for the band’s first EP. Focusing on having their music heard and creating a recognizable brand, led the group to share them as stand-alone singles.

“I wish that I could see you now. Wishing for a better place, a better place…”


The Message of “Started”

Upon listening to the single “Started,” you may do a double-take on the vocals and overall sound. It is unexpectedly unique, nostalgic, and intriguing. You can hear notes of Jimmy Eat World coming through, a band of which they cite as a longtime inspiration. The instrumentation is the underlying force that takes you back to Warped Tour days and early 2000s pop-rock anthems. The band recounts tweaking these sounds many times until they were able to achieve this vibe.

In regards to the message, “Started” is up to personal interpretation and may pull you in different directions emotionally. In our interview, the band recalls the early days of laying down the lyrics, “At first, I think it was a lot about the pressures to fulfill a relationship or your job. As you grow up, people put a lot of emphasis on sticking with something and seeing it through. In reality, this advice is not always healthy in relationships or career choices. It is a very personal song for us. Now we see it as a career-defining song because we want to push ourselves as a band and we have a responsibility to see this through.”

Starting to Leave a Lasting Impression

It is easy to see that “Started” has the qualities of an opening track to a larger project. It is bound to leave a lasting impression on fans and new listeners alike. If the chorus does not circle your brain in the forthcoming days, you’re doing it wrong, and I recommend playing the song again. Not only will “Started” provide you with a catchy weekend soundtrack, but it will also prompt you to reflect on carrying out your endeavors to the fullest extent.

Last Vacation plans to release two more singles to round out to a series of five before the end of the year. The band describes the next two songs as “a little more emo and brooding” which fall in perfect time with Halloween around the corner. You can also catch them live with MILKK in Cambridge, MA on October 28th.

“You got to finish what you started…”


Be the first of listeners to hear the premiere of “Started” from Last Vacation below. Follow them on social media to share your thoughts on the single!

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“1975” // Billy Raffoul

1975 Billy Raffoul

There are moments in certain tracks that pause and come back to hit you with an unexpected punch to the gut. “1975” by Billy Raffoul is one of those tracks. Raffoul is a songwriter that seems wise beyond his years, narrating stories of the past and life lessons. As I listen to this song several times over during this post, I hope to keep it together. I can’t make any promises, though.

Billy Raffoul has been on my watch for some time now. You may recognize his raspy acoustic sound from the TV series, A Million Little Things, hence the tears about to be shed. This song, off of his most recent EP with the same title, is beyond breathtaking.

“1975” takes you back to a time the young artist hasn’t experienced, storytelling from the perspective of a loved one. You’re there with the woman in the song. Even though the context is not clear, you can relate to her lifechanging story. “She said time and time again, I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the summer of 1975.” “Everyone has a moment when it’ll never be the same again.”

The entire EP has back-to-back magnetic songs that pull the listener in from the first chord. I highly recommend you listen to both the track and the EP in its entirety. Let me know your favorite one! Also, while you’re at it, check out his newest single “Easy Tiger.” It’s all heartbreakingly beautiful.

Fair warning: You may need the tissues, but it’s guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings. Listen to the official audio of “1975” by Billy Raffoul below.

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French-Speaking Artists That Will Leave Everyone Screaming “Encore!”

Music sure is one way to learn a language. It can also motivate learners, spark interest, and create memories that last a lifetime. In the foreign language classroom, I have incorporated French-speaking music artists into my lessons almost daily. Myself and other language teachers in the U.S. have created March Music Madness brackets that feature many talented artists from all over the world.

These songs and artists leave a lasting impression on our audience. In this post, I am going to discuss some current French-speaking artists that have not only been successful in their native country but also inside the walls of my classroom.

STROMAE

It would be impossible to start with any other artist. I cannot even begin to describe how much of a lasting impression this artist has had on the French music scene over the past almost 20 years. He has had the same magnetic hold on me as a French music fan. I am also 100% sure that all of my students past and present know who he is.

Stromae is a Belgian musician of many hats. He is a singer, songwriter, rapper, and the overall definition of what it means to be an artist. If you have seen his music videos or live performances you would likely say that he is a dancer and an actor as well. If you haven’t, I’ll start you off with his most requested song about growing up without a father figure, “Papaoutai.”

Other catchy favorites with deeper meanings include: “Carmen,” “Formidable,” “Alors on danse,” and “Tous les mêmes.” Stromae currently has a fashion label, mosaert, which was sound-tracked to “Défiler” upon its release. French-speaking and non-French-speaking music fans alike (im)patiently await his return to the industry.

CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS

Christine and the Queens, or Chris, is one of the most well-known French-speaking artists of today. I discovered her on BBC Radio 1 in 2014 with her single, “Titled.” She is the best of both worlds because she records all of her songs in both French and English! This song is so catchy. I played it so many times.

When I first started listening to her, her style reminded me of the ’80s. Upon learning more about her, I discovered that some of her influences were Michael Jackson and David Bowie. For whatever reason, her music only seems to resonate with a few of my students, but I’ll keep spinning her albums! It was unfortunate she had to miss her weekend 2 performance at Coachella as I have heard from many that she is an outstanding performer. She sets herself apart from the popular music of today. My favorite track off of her current album, Chris, is “Les yeux mouillés,” combining both languages in an emotional ballad.

COEUR DE PIRATE

Coeur de Pirate is another fan favorite in the French-speaking music world. I think I discovered her in college because a professor of mine from Québec played her music video for our class. Which reminds me! I had a moment of déjà vu in France two years ago…I walked into a classroom full of French teachers while the same video was playing in the background. The song was “Francis” and it had me hooked ever since.

My students have always loved her, and she seems to release music pretty often. It has been hard to keep the favorites out of the March Music Madness competitions because of their attachment to specific artists. All-time favorite tracks are “Adieu,” “Comme des enfants,” “C’était salement romantique,” “Drapeau Blanc,” “Crier tout bas,” and “Prémonition.” Check out her catchy new break-up song, “Ne m’appelle pas.”

TAL

Tal has been referred to many times by my students as “French Beyoncé.” While hardcore Bey fans stay true to their queen, they all agree that she has very catchy songs that stick with them for days. Tal’s song “Le sens de la vie” was the first song that I remember memorizing word for word in French. It is hard to believe that it has been six years since its release. I still share this music video with students every year, and it quickly gets stuck in their heads.

As soon as one of her hits gets played on repeat, it seems she’s out with another. Just as catchy but more English-speaker friendly was “Le temps qu’il faut.” It has a Beyoncé vibe with a powerful message about living in today’s technology-filled society. Her most recent single, “Mondial,” released in support of the French National Team in the 2018 World Cup, went on to win our annual competition. She may be the current French Queen of Pop.

POLO & PAN

Polo & Pan are a duo that everyone at Coachella seemed to rave about; however, I was not previously aware of them. I also unknowingly missed their set due to Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals and The 1975 playing at the same time…

Anyway, I gave them a deeper listen after Coachella to see what the hype was all about. I was also super excited to hear that one of the most notable sets of the weekend came from French-speaking artists! “Canopée” sounds like a classic chanson française that you could listen to on an exotic island while sipping a Mai Tai. It’s a perfect summer vibe.

“Coeur croisé” has all of the elements of a perfect French song. Remnants of timeless chanson française artists as well as jazz are noticeable throughout the track. Of course, there is the ever prominent modern-day electronic energy. It sounds blissful. I don’t know how they do it. Their videos, however, will have to remain à la maison as they are for mature audiences only.

BIGFLO & OLI

So it seems I’ve saved the duos for last. Bigflo & Oli are a French hip-hop duo that has risen to the top of the charts in the past couple of years. And they are frères (brothers)!

Their song “Dommage” came out at the perfect time for our March competition and won by a landslide. It has such a great message, and the kids spent so much time dissecting the meaning and music video. It taught many lessons. It’s also clearly understood and so fun to memorize! And, guess who co-wrote and co-produced the song? None other than STROMAE.

I personally also enjoy their songs “Je suis,” “Plus tard,” and “Sur la lune.” They have a great way of telling a story, and that is what I appreciate most in songwriting.

Any new French-speaking artists that I should add to my list? I always appreciate recommendations from my francophone friends. Merci !