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mags Releases Her Wonderful EP ‘Happimess’ Today And We Get To Talk With Her About It. – Essentially Pop

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There is alchemy afoot at the moment in Denmark. Pure pop gold seems to be streaming out of the place and the latest brilliant EP to come out today is ‘Happimess’ from an artist called mags. This five track release simply doesn’t have a moment of weakness. Every song could easily be a single and it’s clear that mags is an artist that doesn’t believe in half measure. The lyrics are brim full of a sincere, honest and relevant take on modern life and the superb pop production provides the best broad stroke background to the detail and beautiful colour that mags lyrical mastery adds in fine detail.

The five songs on the EP span stories about the power and intoxication of love and the feelings of not being able to let go of a broken relationship through to holding on to love even when it creates enemies. Margarethe Tang, artistically known as mags, is fired by the big emotions, by the tidal wave of feelings that you can either ride or be overwhelmed by. The fact that she is able to articulate this tempest and still create pure pop will really resonate with fans everywhere. Frankly, I can’t wait to see her play live in the U.K. but until then I’ll have to make do with being able to pose some questions and recommend you add this brilliant collection to your playlist today.

EP: ‘happimess’ is a great title for an EP about that mix of emotions where big dreams for love and life clash with the doubts and insecurities that we all have. Did you come up with the title and how do you think it sums up the five songs on the release?

mags: Thank you! Yes, I did come up with it. I actually think it was a typo whilst trying to write “happiness” in a text to a friend and that in itself is actually a great metaphor for the word “happiness” and the entire EP. Life moves fast and sometimes I make mistakes, things get messy and with this EP I wanted to touch upon some of the feelings and situations where I have felt awkward, embarrassed or extra emotional in both ends of the spectrum. It’s a word that doesn’t take itself to serious, makes sense but is a little flawed. That’s exactly how I feel as a mid-twenties woman trying to figure it all out.

EP: One of the things I’ve noticed has been an outcome of the pandemic and the subsequent restrictions is that mental health issues and emotional problems have become more normalised in that we are all aware of how prevalent they are in the wider society. Are these five songs a salve, do you think, for a love life at the moment?

mags: I agree! I have made the same mental health observation. And yes, I hope so. If not for love life then at least a salve to some of the big feelings that we all experience.

EP: For me, this is such a strong release. There’s really not a weak song on it. On an initial listen, I was struck by how well constructed the songs are, they are brilliant pop, and I guess that’s a lot to do with excellent production. But, as I listened more and more, I was struck by the honesty and insight of the lyrics, and that’s down to you. The songs span a whole range of life and love. You must feel very proud of your song writing?

mags : Firstly, thank you so much. I’m incredibly proud of this EP. I feel like every song has its own important place and that the productions not only support but lift the storytelling in the song writing. Birk Nevel has produced most of the record and he is just incredible. I am very proud of where I’m at with my song writing and I’m proud of making sure that I’m still and always at the core of the writing process. Putting words to my feelings is something I have been doing for more than 10 years now. I am very confident in the process and also… it serves as a vital surviving mechanism in my emotional life, ha ha.

EP: The EP ends with ‘happimess’, the title track, which feels hugely biographical but could be an empowering anthem for so many young people. Is that how you planned it to feel?

mags :That is exactly how I planned for it to feel. I felt like pointing the narrative inwards more so than ever on that song. Really wanted to open up about where I’m from in the verses and where I’m at in the chorus. Being fully transparent as an invitation for the listener to do the same. If not with people around them, then with themselves.

EP: Whilst all of your songs are melodically upbeat, the issues you deal with in them aren’t always quite so positive, for want of a better word. Was the dichotomy intentional or did you intend for the songs to be multi-layered; appealing on lots of levels. For instance, the intensity, depth and beauty of the words of ‘as long as we’re both breathing’ seems at odds to the pure pop production. As I’ve said before, I love this, after all ABBA perfected heart-breaking honesty with catchy production and they did ok.

mags: It’s something I’ve always leaned towards. The dichotomy of the lyrics/subject of the song and the soundscape. As I tend to write most of my songs acoustically first I get to set the theme there lyrically and melodically and then in the production I set the tone. I love that way of doing it because when I’m writing my lyrics I don’t want any limits to my honesty. I want to create a space of complete openness and I feel like I can do that comfortably knowing that I can make it sound so different in the production if I feel like it. I love a good sad banger. It’s a way of coping with and turning heavy feelings into something more positive and danceable – at least for the 3 minutes the song lasts, ha ha.

EP: Who are your main inspirations for your music? You’ve come a long way from Ry, your Jutland hometown; as it helped to broaden your horizons?

mags: Mainly people I love or the people they love. It usually comes down to that. Relations between humans are ever fascinating to me. I also find inspiration in other art expressions; movies, theatre, dance, contemporary art etc. I am like everyone a product of my upbringing so being from Ry has defiantly shaped me. Being somewhere that felt so big and small at the same time was challenging but amazing at the same time.

EP: Finally, are there any plans to bring your music to the UK? I’d love to see you sing these songs live and they really feel like they would resonate with a UK audience.

mags: Gosh, I’d love to! I love the UK. There are no concrete plans yet! But, there’s nothing I want more than to get out and play for as many people in as many countries as possible. It’s a matter for time before I will get to perform in the UK.

‘Happimess’ is out now and can be streamed on Spotify. You can catch up with mags online on Instagram. Get tickets for mags’ upcoming concerts here.





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Get Back Run Time Defended By Director Peter Jackson

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For as much excitement as the new documentary The Beatles: Get Back has been getting since premiering on Disney+, it has also been getting one specific criticism – it’s too long. Now director Peter Jackson is stepping in to explain why the music doc goes to The Lord of the Rings epic length.

The three-part Beatles epic is a tough watch. Each episode comes in between two and three hours, essentially three movies, making it rough sledding for everyone except die-hards. Still, Jackson says everything had to be included:

“I’d like to say that I didn’t really leave out anything that I thought was important,which is why the duration has crept up to what it is today. I felt acutely – and this is the Beatles fan part of me kicking in – anything I don’t include in this movie might go back in the vault for another 50 years. I was seeing and hearing these amazing moments. I thought: ‘God, people have got to see this. This is great. They have to see this.’”

Have you watched The Beatles: Get Back yet? What are your thoughts on the bloated run time?





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Riva Taylor Releases A Timely Version Of ‘7 O’clock News/Silent Night’ With A Nod To Simon & Garfunkel – Essentially Pop

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Back in 1966, Simon & Garfunkel, the legendary American recording artists and songwriters, recorded their version of the timeless classic ‘Silent Night’. This Christmas Classic sold over ten million copies for Bing Crosby back in 1935 but has its origins back in 1816 when Father Joseph Mohr, an assistant priest in Mariapfarr Austria, wrote his German poem called ‘Stille Nacht’. Two years later as the priest of St.Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village near Salzburg, on Christmas Eve, he asked organist Franz Gruber to compose a melody for his poem and the guitar accompaniment he wrote, because recent flooding had damaged the church organ, is a beautiful, poignant evocation where folk song meets poetry. The purity of the melody and the holy words of the poem combine to give us something of hymn like quality that will forever be the simple peace of Christmas that we all yearn for.

Simon and Garfunkel wanted to take this traditional hymn like song and bring it up to date and so what they did, as they recorded the version for the iconic ‘Parsly, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’ album, was to sing the song in perfect two-part harmony but bleed in the sound of a news announcer bringing news of the day. That news was actually scripted and read by Charlie O’Donnell, a radio DJ who later found fame as host on many US TV game shows, and covered topics which painted the summer of ’66. These included the death of Lenny Bruce in Hollywood, a march in Cicero, Illinois by Martin Luther King Jr., the indictment of Richard Speck for nine murders and allusions to the war in Vietnam. The merging of radical 60’s style with the beautiful hymn like singing of Simon & Garfunkel is haunting and poignant, especially all these years later.

Jump forward to 2019 and indie artist Phoebe Bridgers along with Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger updated the classic ‘7 O’clock News/Silent Night’ only this time the headlines are pulled straight from 2019, with mentions of the abortion debate, sexting and the Trump White House. Apple harmonizes with Bridgers on the ‘Silent Night’ portions, while Berninger plays the role of “the newscaster”.

As with Simon & Garfunkel’s version, the contrast is stark and clear; it’s hard to maintain a still and magical sense of the togetherness of Christmas when the reality of life keeps sticking it’s nose into the proceedings. Or maybe, it’s an ode to the fact that peace and calm can bring us to the light at the end of the tunnel, however traumatic or filled with obstacles the path may be. The way this song is digested is very personal to the listener.

Now in 2021, twenty years after she made her stage debut at a Farm Aid benefit gala at the Royal Albert Hall garnering praise from HRH Prince Charles, Riva Taylor is releasing her version of this iconic take on a Christmas Classic. The acapella rendition of Silent Night will be released today. This time the news headlines come from the year’s top stories and are read by BBC/ITV presenter Yiolander Koppall.

Riva says:

“I’ve waited for the right moment to re-create this concept in my own way. I felt this year was the year with so much news, change globally, and questions being raised about the future of our planet. We wonder what the new normal looks like as we continue to navigate life in the midst of a pandemic.

The festive period and looking into a brand-new year has always felt like a moment for celebration as much as it has, a time for reflection. I hope the song leaves the listener feeling a sense of that, as well as happiness and hope that this time of year brings.”

To accompany the release, Riva will also package up Silent Night as an NFT (non-fungible token).

“I’m fascinated by the evolution of this space. I held my album launch in the metaverse and have already released a few NFT’s in 2021 to accompany my releases, says Riva. “My prediction for 2022 is that we will see more artists exploring creative ways to interact with fans and sell their music through platforms such as Opensea.”

Non Fungible Tokens are very much a thing of the future and to understand them we first have to understand the difference between fungible and non fungible. Fungible means Items or assets that are considered identical. They are directly interchangeable like-for-like, and generally divisible at least to some degree. Whereas non fungible means Items or assets with unique identities. They cannot be interchanged equally or divided. Value and ownership experience of different non-fungible items can vary greatly depending on individual properties. In fact, non-fungible simply means unique. The token acts as a digital certificate of ownership for whatever the creator, in this case a musician, decides to put up for sale. This can be anything from a single traditional album, to a bundle including extras such as gig tickets and exclusive bonus tracks.

Riva Taylor is always exploring new ways to create music and connect with her fans. This is just a step in that direction. Always a huge believer in collaboration, the NFT helps make the music fan the quintessential collaborator as they join their favourite artist on their journey and can directly support their art and creativity. For this I applaud her, and for this beautiful take on a wonderful version of a Christmas Classic I thank her.



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A Musical Instrument Auction To Benefit Music Rising – Essentially Pop

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U2’s The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin, Co-Founders of Music Rising have announced Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising to take place December 11th, 2021, starting at 10:00 a.m. PST. Hosted by Van Eaton Galleries (vegalleries.com) in Los Angeles, the live and online auction will offer a significant collection of guitars and other music memorabilia by some of the world’s most prominent musicians and friends of Music Rising.  The auction will take the charity back to its roots and help support the musicians of the NOLA region after a long period being without income.

Music Rising was co-founded by U2’s the Edge and legendary producer Bob Ezrin, along with a host of music industry partners in 2005 after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Since its inception, Music Rising has provided millions of dollars in aid to musicians and recipients of music education across the country.

Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising includes an exclusive collection of important instruments donated by friends of the charity. All of the instruments have a unique and special story and provenance and together make up an extraordinary example of some of the greatest moments in music history.

Highlights include:

  • The Edge’s 2005 Limited Edition Gibson Les Paul Music Rising guitar, often referred to as the ‘One’ guitar given its use on the Joshua Tree tours of 2017 and 2019 during performances of the hit ‘One’.

The Edge also played this guitar on ‘One’ and ‘American Soul’ during U2’s 2018 Song of Experience shows along with their famous 360 tour back in 2010, and serves as a significant iconic symbol for Music Rising, being one of the first guitars produced to benefit the charity at its inception. Of further significance to the ‘One’ guitar, The Edge also played this guitar at the first reopening of New Orleans Jazz Fest post Katrina in 2006 alongside Dave Matthews and during a performance at the Grammy Awards 2006 alongside Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello.

  • The Edge “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” Custom Signature Fender Stratocaster.

Edge took this guitar on the road with him during the period of 2017-2019 and used it for performances of ‘Bad’ and the beloved chart topping hit single from ‘The Joshua Tree’, ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’.

  • Paul McCartney’s Tour and Studio Played Left-Handed “Wings” Yamaha BB-1200 Electric Bass Guitar.

The Cherry Burst BB-1200 was a principal instrument used during his performances with Wings in the late 1970s. He was frequently photographed playing it on stage, during live performances and in the studio.

  • Lou Reed’s Danny Gatton Fender Stratocaster nicknamed “Goldie.”

Reed’s love of this guitar can be seen in the patina and wear throughout and can be seen in videos of Reed playing his rendition of ‘Jealous Guy’, at Radio City Music Hall, as well as on tour during 2005-2006.

  • Bono’s U2 Tour Played Custom Gibson ES-175 Electric Guitar used extensively on tour.

Bono played this guitar on the 1992-1993 “Zoo TV” tour during performances of the songs ‘The Fly’, and ‘Angel of Harlem’. The guitar was painted to Bono’s precise specifications and Bono also added a decal to the body of the guitar reading “I Feel Good”.

  • Slash’s signed Gibson Custom Shop “Victoria” Les Paul Goldtop Model Electric Guitar created to Slash’s specifications and includes an original drawing by Slash of “Skully” on the top of the guitar.
  • Noel Gallagher’s Tour-Played Nash Telemaster guitar which was played on tour with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. 
  • Legendary Producer Bob Ezrin’s Artist’s Proof Custom Frank Brothers Ezrin Model Electric Guitar.

This is a handmade instrument designed to capture the studio sounds of several of the iconic guitar players he has worked with over the years. Numbered “00” this guitar is one-of-a-kind.

Other exceptional highlights include:

  • Elton John’s Signed and Concert Played Yamaha Motif-8 Keyboard;

This was used by Elton John during live performances and on the road for nearly a decade. He also signed the instrument with black felt pen.

  • RUSH’s Alex Lifeson’s Tour Used Signature Hughes & Kettner RUSH Amp and Cabinet Half Stack;

Used extensively on the 40th Anniversary tour “Vapor Trails” and the “Snakes and Arrows” tour, as well as the “Time Machine” tour.

  • Adam Clayton’s Tour Played Fender Standard Precision Bass;

The U2 bassist played this guitar for performances of the song, ‘A Sort of Homecoming’, on The Joshua Tree tour from May-July, 2017. During the tour the bass was also used for the songs ‘Bullet, The Blue Sky’, ‘Running to Stand Still’, ‘One Tree Hill’ and others.

  • Alice Cooper’s Tournament Used “Big Bertha” Golf Clubs;

The music icon’s personal set of golf clubs in a customized “Alice Cooper” bag.

  • Chris Martin’s Tour Played Painted Fender Telecaster Deluxe guitar;
  • Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder’s Concert Smashed Fender Stratocaster;

The Lake Placid Blue Fender American Special Telecaster was decorated by Vedder with an embroidered red/white Chicago Cubs “C” sticker as a tribute to legendary Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton and used by Vedder during Pearl Jam’s August 20, 2018 tour at Wrigley Field and was smashed by Vedder at the conclusion of a cover of The Who’s, ‘Baba O’Riley’.

  • A collection of extraordinary silkscreened Pearl Jam concert posters signed by the band members;
  • KISS’ Paul Stanley’s one-of-a-kind Tour Played Ibanez Custom Shop guitar;

The collection will also boast additional instruments for auction including:

  • Bruce Springsteen’s signed Americana Original ‘50s Fender Telecaster; Joe Wash’s “Bono” Irish Falcon Gretsch guitar;
  • The Eagles Don Felder’s signed Epiphone G-1275 Double Neck Electric Guitar and Signed Art Print; Vince Gill’s The Eagles Concert Played Duesenberg Bonneville guitar;
  • The Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood’s Signed American Original 50’s Fender Stratocaster;
  • The Kings of Leon band signed Epiphone Dot Studio Guitar;
  • Steve Miller’s Signed Original and Hand Painted Maccaferri guitar;
  • Halestorm Lzzy Hale’s signed Tour Played Prototype Signature Epiphone Explorer guitar;
  • A Julian Lennon signed Martin & Co. Acoustic guitar;
  • A Green Day Band Signed Epiphone Les Paul Special guitar;
  • Ed O’Brien’s Radiohead Tour Played Signature Fender Stratocaster;
  • Flea’s Red Hot Chili Peppers Band Signed Signature Fender Jazz Bass;
  • Joan Jett’s Signature Gibson Worn White Melody Maker; Johnny Marr’s Signed Studio Played Limited Fender Jaguar guitar;
  • A Dave Grohl signed Gibson Explorer guitar;
  • Tom Morello’s Signature “Soul Power” Stratocaster;
  • Win Butler’s signed Prop Bass Guitar from The Arcade Fire music video “Everything Now;”
  • Zac Brown’s Personally Played Signed Natural Gibson ES-335 guitar;
  • Three additional guitars which were played and used by the late Lou Reed.

“The music of New Orleans has influenced various styles of music borrowed from early traditions. It is the birthplace of jazz and represents a musical culture which bears great significance to most every genre today.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to lose my ability to do what I love – making music. Unfortunately there are many musicians and crew members who continue to struggle since the pandemic. If this multigenerational chain is broken, we lose more than just a few concerts we lose an entire culture that stretches back centuries. Some of the world’s greatest musicians and friends of Music Rising have generously donated their personal instruments to raise money for Music Rising. We hope you have a chance to bid on one or more of the beautiful instruments in the auction. The monies raised goes to musicians and crew. Your support continues to be invaluable to Music Rising.” –  U2’s The Edge

“When we launched Music Rising in 2005 we didn’t have any idea how significant a role the organization would play in helping musicians and music educators for as long as it has. Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising will be our biggest fundraising opportunity this year. We are working closely with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation in bringing back the bright sounds of the music of New Orleans. We thank you for your support and hope you are able to bid on one or more of the extraordinary instruments offered in the auction. We are thankful for all of your continued support of Music Rising.” – Co-Founder and producer, Bob Ezrin

Music Rising has also launched a new apparel collection featuring limited edition t-shirts, hoodie, caps and tote. All the new apparel can be purchased at www.musicrising.com and benefits the charity. The iconic logo, which serves as the symbol for Music Rising is featured on each item.

The auction will take place at Van Eaton Galleries located at 13613 Ventura Blvd in Sherman Oaks, California beginning at 10:00 a.m. PDT on Saturday, December 11, 2021. The auction will also stream live and be online via various auction platforms all available through https://vegalleries.com/musicrising.  A public exhibition of the collection will begin Monday, November 22, 2021 at the gallery and can be visited by collectors and fans by appointment. Proceeds from the auction will be administered by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation on behalf of Music Rising.

GUITAR ICONS: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising

Van Eaton Galleries

13613 Ventura Blvd

Sherman Oaks, California 91423

PUBLIC EXHIBITION

Beginning Monday, November 22, 2021 10:00 a.m. PDT – 6 p.m. PDT

To confirm your visit please call Van Eaton Galleries at 818-788-2357 or email auction@vegalleries.com

EXHIBITION HOURS ARE Monday-Saturday, Closed on Sunday and Thanksgiving.

To register to bid or to view the online catalogue for the auction please click here.



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