We have compiled a list of ways to help support the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Black Lives Matter as well as some anti-racism resources. There are A LOT of resources and different ways to donate, support, and learn during this time. We will continue to add to this post, so check back regularly for updates. Life-long learning is essential for everyone.
Songwriting is truly the art of telling your story through music. Artists and songwriters are the first to imagine the bones of a new song based on personal experiences. Those first elements are near and dear to an artist’s heart and message. When these details of songwriting resonate with a broader audience, they create a feeling of mutual understanding between artist and listener. Today, Nashville country artist J. Antonette shares her story and collaborative insight behind her emotionally raw hit single “Drunk on Me.”
// Introducing J. Antonette //
J. Antonette started her music career as a background singer for the well-known country-rock artist Melissa Etheridge. She then went on to backup Grammy Award Winning Artist Michael Bolton and open for a variety of country artists, including Jordan Davis and Tucker Beathard. Originally from NYC, Antonette has since relocated to pursue country music in Nashville. She currently releases music as well as collaborates with other artists as a songwriter.
We are excited to have the opportunity to speak with J. Antonette about the making of her recent single, “Drunk on Me,” which addresses the difficulty of a relationship that you know may not be good for you.
“He drives my heart like he stole it”
PoetryDansLaRue: I love the rawness of “Drunk on Me.” The clarity of the vocal and ballad-like style paints a clear picture. Can you tell us about the early stages of the song?
J. Antonette: “Thank you so much! While writing a different song with my friend Lyndee, she mentioned that she and another writer, Colleen Francis, had an idea that would be a great fit for me. Lyndee and I spoke about what I was going through in my personal life. When she sent me the work-tape, I immediately knew I had to be a part of this. At the time, I was with a person who displayed addictive tendencies. It felt like I was living the exact idea of the song. I loved it when he was drunk on me. The highs and lows. The thrills and the crash. I think I tend to get in these toxic relationships and cling to the good instead of all of the red flags. Many of us can relate to being love drunk at one point or another.”
“The ladies were so wonderful to let me join in on the creation of it. I took some time sitting at a coffee shop with tears in my eyes. I wrote in some details from my relationship that I was in the process of leaving. This time allowed me to put my spin on it.”
PDLR: I enjoy hearing how multiple perspectives combine to create a song that felt perfect for you at the time. How do you usually go about songwriting? Do you often work with other songwriters?
J. Antonette: “My process ranges from writing alone, in my apartment in the darkest hours of the night to weekly scheduled co-writes. I have about four writing sessions a week with different writers whom I admire or respect. I never want to be the best writer in the room. When I work with others who push me and are extremely talented, it helps make me a better writer.”
“When it comes to how I write or what I write about, I usually pull from experiences that I’m going through at the time. If I feel passionate about a topic, that may inspire me as well. I love collaborating with other artists. It forces you to work harder instead of settling for what you believe is “good enough.”
“Young, reckless, and free”
PDLR: I agree that working with others can only benefit you as an artist. Who else do you work with on your songs as far as instrumentation and production go?
J. Antonette: “For each of my songs thus far, I’ve worked with different producer friends! I’m blessed to be surrounded by incredible talent both in L.A, Nashville, and NYC. “Drunk On Me” was produced by Johnny Dibb with additional instrumentation by Tyler Tomlinson.”
PDLR: Since you moved to Nashville, what opportunities have shaped you as a musician?
J. Antonette: “I think when you move to Nashville, you have to step up your game. Not just as a singer, but as a writer AND performer. You have to work harder than the person next to you. This town is home to the most talented musicians in the nation! I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world performing with musicians and write with new artists whom I admire. I’ve joined the community and performed at some amazing writers rounds in town. It’s been a beautiful experience! My very first gig in Nashville was the well-known showcase, “Whiskey Jam.”
PDLR: Do you have new songs coming out soon?
J. Antonette: “I have been writing my butt off! I do have plans to release new songs in 2020, but right now I have not decided on which to release. I’m trying to push myself to write my best work and then pick from them!”
“I love when he’s drunk on me”
// For the Listener //
“Drunk on Me” is our take on a breakup song before you bid the final goodbye. The listener can feel the pull of the relationship where you know it’s not right, but you stay anyway. There is a bittersweet side to the song when the singer shares the story from her point of view, “He doesn’t look good on paper, I know his record shows, he’s a little rough around the edges, but it’s different when we are alone…”
We can picture this song being played in the car when you are questioning if something feels right or wrong. “Drunk on Me” by J. Antonette can be your next breakup song, comfort song, power song, or even love song. It is up to your interpretation of what the song means to you at a particular moment. The beauty of music begins with the songwriters’ and artists’ personal experiences but transfers wide and deep across endless barriers.
On Wednesday, June 3rd, Los Angeles artist MR. MONACO, formerly of the band MONACO, announced the following message to fans about his new single “Blush”:
The singer also released this detailed statement:
“As many of you know, the new single was already scheduled for release and sent to music stores for June 5th. However, given the tragic murder of George Floyd, it has caused all of us to pause and reflect on our own lives and how we should take time to understand one another better. We must unite against evil. I still believe love is stronger than hate; that good can overcome evil. But not apart. We are better together. We are stronger together. That said, despite the single already being sent out to streaming platforms (which was done months ago), I decided to make it available to download for free as a gift. I hope this can serve as a blessing and bring joy to everyone amid all the suffering and pain people are feeling right now. If you still choose to stream the song, I encourage you to donate to charities of your own choice, to the Floyd family, as well as black business owners and families in need. We all need each other. There is strength in our unity. Perfect love casts out ALL fear. God bless, – Daniel”
“Blush” premieres exclusively on our blog today. It will be available on streaming platforms as a free download to everyone. Listen to the Phantom of the Opera inspired single below and continue reading for more insight on the revamped sound of the newly solo artist.
Introducing MR. MONACO
Since we last spoke with Daniel Davis of MONACO, some major changes have occurred. Davis recently revealed that he is now pursuing a solo career under the moniker MR. MONACO. “Blush” is the first single of this new era and the first glimpse for fans into the newer sound.
The artist elaborates on the concept of “Blush,” “the single is part of an upcoming project inspired by my modern take on The Phantom of the Opera. The protagonist in the song is pursuing the girl and is praising everything he loves about her.” You can hear the musical influence from the iconic play in the production and instrumentation (cue after the chorus). The story centers around the idea of a masquerade ball in a nightclub and substitutes pop music for the classical opera.
Davis explains, “The single is one of many that display my influences growing up. From Michael Jackson, Prince, Charlie Wilson, to Ne-Yo, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5, and Israel Houghton.” “The upcoming project has eclectic influences such as indie-pop, R&B, Gospel, and Hip-Hop.”
We hope that this music brings you joy. Music is something that comforts us and helps us find the words when we cannot. We can all DO better and dig deeper within ourselves to BE better. We should not shy away from the things that help us to become better.
Our most recent interview with Last Vacation has been a long time in the making. Flashback to March 11th, our chats about quarantine were nonexistent but imminent. Fast forward a few days later, and schools closed, tours were canceled, and stay at home orders were upon us. Amid all the chaos, Last Vacation released their anthemic single, “How Could You Hurt Somebody You Love?” on April 17th.
The Boston band has been not so sneaky about their references to The 1975 during the promotion of “How Could You Hurt Somebody You Love.” They even changed their Instagram bio to “A not so good version of The 1975.” We beg to differ, though, and would argue that they are underestimating their unique sound. While fans can surely pinpoint the connections in their work, the distinct vocal and pop-punk feel of the new single does not line up all that much with the Manchester band.
Let’s jump into our interview and dig a bit deeper into the making of “How Could You Hurt Somebody You Love…”
PoetryDansLaRue: Can you take us back to the early days of “HCYHSYL?”
Last Vacation: “This is a song that we wanted to release for a long time. We wrote it about a year ago and now feels like the perfect time to put it out there. “Eternal Romantic” was a slight jump for us, but I think that “HCYHSYL” is more of where we are now.”
PDLR: I’m curious about the process and the backstory of “HCYHSYL” since it is a breakup song…
Last Vacation: “We wrote this one a bit differently. One thing that we were inspired by was something that Blink 182 did on their self-titled album. They each wrote a separate verse and then fit the pieces together. In the case of “HCYHSYL,” Travis Rutzel, the singer, wrote the first half of the song. Then, I (Scott Anderson, drummer) wrote the second half of it, including the choruses. We never wrote a song this way before, Travis was always more of the lyricist.”
“In regards to the lyrics, I was seeing somebody at the time and recently started dating someone else. The relationship fell apart rather quickly, and the feeling of betrayal led me to the phrase “How Could You Hurt Somebody You Love?” I think we were all able to relate to that as a band and realize how it could connect with a broader audience. Everyone has that question for somebody, and you are that question for somebody else. It seems to resonate well with people.”
PDLR: How has “HCYHSYL” translated with a live audience?
Last Vacation: “We noticed over time that it stands out in our set and people seem to respond well to it. We recently did a couple of shows back in early March with PHANGSand Hand Made House, and we were happy with the reaction. We would like to branch out with that song a bit and maybe do a couple of remixes. I was also thinking of doing an acoustic version since we wrote it acoustically. It seems to be THE song. We believe in it, and it’s the most honest track.”
PDLR: How did the video come together for “HCYHSYL?”
Last Vacation: “The video was inspired by how some of The 1975 aesthetic looks very retro, but not really at the same time. It has a lot of neon and high colors. We filmed it in single shots where you see one of us at a time. There’s some splitting and stuff like that. It was kind of a choice to film it that way. It’s been about a year since we released our first video, so this one is pretty big for us.”
There is no doubt that Last Vacation is talented. In this time of self-discovery and reflection, we advise them to continue to define and develop their unique sound.
Check out this former Last Vacation feature on PoetryDansLaRue for more background on the band.
Do you ever try to gauge whether a song speaks to you within the first seconds? If it doesn’t, you may skip it and move on. If it does, however, it’s the best feeling in the world. Music fans and record labels often search for songs that check all the right boxes. “Heroine” by Jotsey flawlessly hits every mark, while eerily leaving you wanting more.
// First Impressions
Manchester, U.K. singer/songwriter Jotsey, released his third single “Heroine” on April 17th. The addictive track radiates inspiration from the likes of Billie Eilish and Bon Iver. Within seconds, listeners enthrall in bouts of mystery, hushed vocals, and blunt lyrics. Furthermore, “Heroine” delivers a remarkable first impression for the critically trained ear.
As we dig deeper into “Heroine,” we encompass ourselves in several emotions. A haunting introduction builds suspense while piquing curiosity. Soft vocals convey a sense of urgency. Lyrics like, “And you can keep saying that your pride’s intact // I overdosed, overdosed on you,” paint an image of love turned tragedy.
// The Perfect Prescription
A listener’s reaction to something new often relates to their prior connections to music. In the case of “Heroine,” be prepared to go down a nostalgic rabbit hole. Trust us when we say that one of these comparisons is bound to spark your attention.
The style of “Heroine” echos Troye Sivan’s vulnerable tracks, “The Good Side” and “Talk You Down.”
Some argue that the eerie production on the song reflects Billie Eilish’s “When The Party’s Over.”
Fans of The Spill Canvas and Manchester Orchestra may hear hints of “Connect the Dots” or “Colly Strings.”
While these references may not be deliberate, “Heroine” undeniably fuses emotion-evoking qualities into the ideal blend. The seductive production, whisper-like vocal, and unfiltered lyrics make it the perfect prescription for today’s music industry.
Stream “Heroine” available on all platforms and keep up with Jotsey below!
Chansons caritatives // Songs for Charity is an Instagram TV festival series on @poetrydanslarue. Each IGTV exclusive video features one artist per day in support of a local charity of their choice. The charities and organizations are linked in Instagram stories as well as the IGTV description. Be sure to tune in from April 18th-27th at 4 PM PT // 7 PM ET to support the artists and their cause. Read below for more information on the lineup, schedule, and how to donate.
Have you ever heard a song that made you feel like it was speaking directly to you? It could be the emotion it gives off, the nostalgia that it might bring about, or the lyrics that pertain to something you are facing at that moment. The debut single “Petals” by New Jersey ambient indie-rock and folk duo, Phavors, is a call upon coming to terms with yourself in the most beautiful way.
Phavors consists of songwriter, producer, and recording artist Phil Marflak alongside the vocals of Kayla DeRosa. The two recently formed to give life to songs that Marflak wrote for his final project at Berklee. Today we have the opportunity to speak with Phil about the new single during this exciting time for the group.
“Love Can Stain Like Flowers Stain an Open Field”
“Petals” quickly draws listeners in to a calming and self-reflecting journey. The song has remnants of Sigur Ros and Bon Iver, both of whom mentioned by Phavors as inspiration for the track. Soothing vocals from Kayla DeRosa cut through with a bit of raspiness à la Billie Eilish. The eerie acoustic genre also sets the tone for the mood of the song.
Marflak recalls the beginning of the songwriting process, “The assignment was to produce a three-song EP of another artist or yourself. I wanted to use it as an opportunity to release my music. “Petals” took about four months to write, record, and mix and was mastered during the fifth month.”
When it came to recording the songs, this is when DeRosa stepped in, and some revamping occurred. Marflak explains, “Petals” didn’t always have an acoustic guitar intro. It started as a different genre altogether.”
“Petals Fall, One by One”
While the meaning of “Petals” is up for interpretation, the theme of the EP relates to honesty and facing hard truths. Marflak admits, “It’s about learning to process what is happening, recognizing the ambiguous nature of life and our emotions. It is about accepting what may be challenging to accept.”
He goes on to add, “Petals” is fitting as the lead single because I feel that it is the best of the three songs. This song means a lot to me, and I think that it is an excellent vessel for the message behind introducing Phavors. We want to welcome honesty and vulnerability, even when things are challenging.”
Going along the lines of the theme of the EP, Marflak gives us some insight, “Petals” is about self-reflection and admitting something that may be difficult to accept about yourself. It’s about the process of self-improvement and understanding your flaws. These things are natural and okay, and there’s always a way to improve.”
“Oh, I Wish the Wind Would Blow These Petals Away
Oh, I’ll Keep Just One and Look at it Some Days”
“Petals” by Phavors is the perfect mix of sonic ingredients, alluring vocals, and thought-provoking lyrics. The debut single suggests that though life is full of ups and downs, there is always a way to move forward.
South London soulful singer-songwriter, FABER, celebrates the release of new single “Time” as PoetryDansLaRue’s On the Rise artist of the month. FABER’s passion for music, embedded from her youth, came to fruition with the release of her first EP ‘I AM’ in 2018. The momentum from the EP shines through in her powerful, yet mournful track “Time” released Wednesday. Today we delve deeper into the track for an exclusive interview with FABER.
PoetryDansLaRue: I saw that you took an interest in music at a very young age. When did you begin writing your songs?
FABER: “I started writing music when I was in my early to mid-teens. I have a graveyard of unused tunes on my laptop that never developed into something more. I remember loving the Jonas Brothers when they first became famous, and that spurred me on to write a lot. Specific moments stick out in my mind from my childhood. I remember when I was about five years old, I made up a silly hook after “bath time” and would sing it all the time. My sister and I still laugh about it to this day. “
Strong Support System
PDLR: Who helped you along the way to achieve your goals in music since then?
FABER: “My friend Tom, who I wrote “Time” with, has significantly helped develop my writing. He’s a fantastic pianist and comes up with incredible harmonies. I feel like we understand each other when we write. We are always on the same wavelength.
My family and friends play a huge role in supporting me, as well. They always come to my gigs and encourage me to do things if I’m too shy or hesitant. They believe that no goal is unreachable.”
“Time Heals the Wounds Love Makes”
PDLR: “Time” is an emotionally raw and transparent single. Can you go deeper into the story and tell us about the background?
FABER: “Time” is about the pain of being endlessly available for someone you love, and the unbearable yearn for them to give you the same attention that you give them. It’s about obedience in love, but also knowing when to call it quits. I wrote the opening verse when someone I was seeing canceled on me for the umpteenth time. I felt weighed down with sadness and self-loathing, but on the other hand, I could not stop myself from pining for their affection.”
PDLR: You mentioned writing the song with Tom Althorpe. Can you talk about that collaboration and the process of how the song came together?
FABER: “I remember walking into my parent’s bedroom after the guy just canceled, and with a heavy sigh, I sang out the first verse without any thought. I already knew how the song went. I felt the pain so deeply I think it just poured out of me straight away. After that, I wrote a few more lyrics and then brought it to Tom to help me mold it. I’m a simpleton when it comes to chords, so he did the goods on this one! We sat in our university rehearsal rooms for a bit and wrote the rest together. I have the video I recorded of us making it on my Instagram.”
“Always thought that you were right for me, you’ve always made me sing from the heart…”
Album on the Horizon
PDLR: Can you reveal any plans for 2020?
FABER: “In 2020, I am dreaming some things into existence! With some luck and a sprinkle of fairy dust, hopefully, we will see my debut album come out, with a few singles leading up to it. I’ve got a few big shows booked and am overall very excited to see where things lead.”
“Time” is a song that immediately draws you in and forces you to feel the heartbreak that FABER recounts. It is a ‘hook you on the first listen’ type of track that will have you widening your eyes and applauding her vocal strength and poise. Stream “Time” available now on all platforms and keep up with FABER below!
The Tampa, Florida alternative-pop duo, The Young Something, inspired a new feature on PoetryDansLaRue with their angsty, and captivating tunes. This month, the group appears on the blog as the first “On the Rise” artist of 2020. The young duo recently released a new dreamlike single, “She” on January 10th. Today we chat with Alex Bonyata and Bella Beyer of The Young Something about their journey as artists, turning points in their career, and “She.”
PoetryDansLaRue: How long have you worked together, and how did you start as artists?
The Young Something: “We started making music together in 2015. We did a summer songwriting program in high school called ‘The Grammy Museum’s Music Revolution Project.’ The program sparked us to write together, and eventually, it grew outside of that. We haven’t stopped writing since. It will be about five years of us working together. For the first two years, we were an acoustic indie-folk duo (under the name AB+). Around the beginning of 2018, we rebranded, changed our name, developed our new sound, and became The Young Something.”
PDLR: What other changes did you make to your band when you changed your name?
TYS: “We played as a duo for the early part of our career. We wanted to be able to rock out on stage, so we brought in a full band. We got a drummer and a bassist. Several different musicians step in. It’s great to be able to expand.”
‘About This’ EP
PDLR: The new EP, ‘About This,’ sounds very indie-pop-punk. What sounds or influences were you thinking of when you developed your introduction EP as The Young Something?
TYS: “Our sound went from indie-folk to more so alternative-pop on this EP. We have always been big fans of Jack Antonoff as a producer and songwriter. We are also fans of Lorde, so when those two collaborated for her album, that played a huge part in inspiring the sound on our EP.”
PDLR: What are some career highlights that you have experienced since you’ve worked together as The Young Something?
TYS: “We have had some pretty incredible opportunities. One of our most notable moments is that we played in support of Ringo Starr! We did SXSW for the first time in 2019, and we recently got confirmation that we will be a part of 2020 SXSW as well.”
“She”-January 10th Anthemic Single
PDLR: How does your new single “She” compare or differ from your other tracks?
TYS: “It is a rather anthemic track to add to our musical repertoire. When we write songs, it feels like such a journey, and I (Bella) feel strongly connected to this song. We were eager to put it out and see the response. “She” has a slightly different vibe from our other tracks.”
“I see you. Got that original style, Lana Del Rey smile, confidence that goes for miles..”
“She” one hundred percent exudes the signature style à la Jack Antonoff that The Young Something mention as inspiration for their songs. The vocal is soft and soothing while the production adds a yearning and urgent call to emotion. The lyrics could be a page torn from Taylor Swift’s diary. The single paints the perfect picture of longing in a dramatic, ‘scream-your-heart-out, driving with the windows down’ pop anthem.
The Young Something has an exciting 2020 ahead and plans to release several singles throughout the beginning of the year. The group is looking forward to SXSW and hopes to build a wider-range tour shortly after. Stream “She” on all music platforms and follow The Young Something on social media below.