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Namaste Y’all – Interview with Country Singer/Songwriter Casi Joy – Essentially Pop

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“She has this electric energy when she’s on stage and has these unique things that she can do vocally. She’s an edgier version of a country artist. She’s old school but has a youthful energy about her. There’s no stopping Casi Joy” – Blake Shelton

For some, the name Casi Joy is synonymous with the 2017 season of The Voice where she had one of the best blind auditions in the history of the show according to Rolling Stone Magazine. A powerhouse of a singer on Team Blake. For her family and friends in Kansas City, as well as her fans, Casi Joy is that hardworking homegrown talent doing what she was meant to do. Casi started singing and performing at the age of 5, and at 10 years old started touring the country Opry circuit. Casi was then picked up by Radio Disney at the age of 14. Shortly after that, she went to Nashville and recorded in the legendary RCA studios, a dream come true for any music fan let alone one that has been singing the music produced in that studio since the age of 5. With the release of her latest single and music video, I got the chance to talk to Casi about her journey so far, her latest single, and what being back on the road means to her.

Listen to “Namaste” here.

Watch the “Namaste” music video below:

You are currently on the road playing shows, describe that feeling to me. How good does it feel to be back on the road after the past year and a bit that we’ve had? Is it exciting? Nerve-racking?

It’s been all of those things. My first show back was in Nashville, and I was pretty terrified the whole day because it had been so long since I had actually stood up and played guitar. You know you get so used to just playing to your camera and a screen, it was definitely nerve-racking getting back to the regular so to speak. Now I feel like we’re back in the full swing of things, muscle memory kicks back in and it just feels awesome to be back.

I’m glad it’s going well. You said you were heading to Oklahoma?

Yes, I play in Hooker Oklahoma this Saturday, next weekend we are in White City Kansas, and then we go to Crockett Texas. We’ve also got some Wisconsin and Minnesota on the books, so we’re just going all over the place this summer. We had just purchased a tour bus right before the pandemic hit, so we couldn’t use it during lockdown. This summer is when we’re finally getting to be on the bus, putting it to good use, and just going wherever the music takes us.

Keep up to date with all of Casi’s live shows here.

That sounds like an awesome way to spend the summer. From what I’ve read it sounds like live music has been a constant in your life since you were 5 touring with the Opry circuit?

Yeah, when I was 5, I did my first performance. My parents let me talk them into letting me do the talent show where I sang. I come from a completely unmusical family so they were all like “Why? What?” (laugh), and we just kind of went from there. When I was 10, I started touring professionally in the Midwest country Opry circuit. Then I got signed to Radio Disney when I was 14 and did that for a couple of years, singing pop music with the headset and the whole thing. Then I got into rock music for a few years and ended up back in country in 2012.

It sounds like you’ve had a pretty wide range of musical inspiration in your career so far.

For sure, there are definitely rock tendencies inspired by Pat Benatar, and then Patsy Cline is one of my biggest inspirations. I feel like my sound is pretty eclectic.

Let’s talk about your latest release “Namaste”. The video is hilarious, and the song has a classic country vibe, mixed with a very current Blake Shelton meets Chris Janson’s “Buy Me A Boat” feel. How did this song come about?

Thank you! Okay, so I have to put this on the record. My husband Brian had the idea of writing a song using the word Namaste as a pun, “Namaste right here”. I, then, brought that idea to my co-writers Zach and Michelle Hord and we just started talking about breakups. Instead of there being a custody battle and the divorce, splitting the house, we wanted to go a little lighter. Who gets the bar? Who gets the dog, and what are you going to do when someone breaks that agreement of going to the bar when it’s your night to be there? We just decided to make it a super funny song and I hadn’t really written any funny songs like that before. So, it was really exciting to change pace. It’s definitely the most country song I’ve ever written.

What kind of response have you been seeing with “Namaste” being a more country song than what you’ve released before?

It’s been going really well. A lot of my audience is very into classic country because I’ve done a lot of classic country covers, so that’s where some of my fans have come from. They’ve been loving this song, especially the video, and I’m just so glad that my director Lucas Cohen let me totally be my weirdo self and do things like challenge the biggest guy at the side of the bar to an arm-wrestling contest. Why? Because it’s me, and it was my favorite part of the video.

It sounds like a very collaborative process with your director.

Absolutely. I kind of gave him the rundown of what I was thinking, and he changed some stuff for the better. He was just so great about letting me put in my ideas like, I went and begged to be part of the backbend scene, and then I asked “can I stand on the chair and do some really crazy pose with the beer?” He was just so awesome for letting me put my weird self in there.

I noticed that aside from the rich history in music, you also have a very dedicated history working with many charities and causes like Northland Animal Welfare, Autism Speaks, and American Cancer Society to mention a few. Can you talk a little bit about some of the organizations, and what the pull was for you to combine your talents with these causes?

I’m a huge dog lover and big rescue advocate so that is one of my main things that I am always fighting for. I feel like I was given this microphone, so to speak, and I feel like it’s part of my duty to use that platform and microphone to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. So, children, cancer patients, especially pediatric cancer patients, and animals.

I’ve done a lot with Noah’s Bandage Project. Noah was a 6 or 7-year-old boy who was in his treatments and was so upset that all these kids were getting these plain-looking Band-Aids. So, he started a charity to collect all of these really cool-looking Band-Aids. Now, they are still collecting Band-Aids and raising funds for Children’s Mercy Hospital and Pediatric Cancer Research.

So, when you are on the road and playing these shows, do you have any pre-show rituals?

I do have a crazy warm-up. I sing through coffee straws and then we have a pump-up playlist which features a lot of Drake, Tupac, and electronic music. So, my pump-up playlist is probably not what you would expect lol.

Gotta get the heart racing. I feel that.

Yeah, gotta get that bass going.

And singing through coffee straws?

Yes, that was something I actually learned on The Voice. They give you actual vocal coaches behind the scenes and I had some pretty bad vocal habits/issues. I couldn’t sing very high in my head voice, and my coach on the show, Tamara Beatty, totally fixed me right up. She showed me this trick of singing through coffee straws to focus and elongate your vocal track. It has been a game-changer. I have bags and bags of coffee straws every place on Earth I could ever put them. My mom’s purse has straws in case I’m around her, all of our cars have them. They are my end all be all, gotta have those straws lol (laugh).

Finally, is there anything your fans can look forward to in the next little bit?

Well, there’s the behind-the-scenes video for “Namaste” coming out soon, and I’ve always got new music around the corner. We’re also adding tour dates like nobody’s business, thankfully, and I’m actually making new merch as we speak, so I’m super excited about that too.

To get updates on all the latest touring and release news from Casi Joy, make sure you check out her website, social media pages, and keep an eye out for that behind-the-scenes video for her latest single “Namaste”. Once again, thank you for the lovely convo Casi and to all of y’all reading this, thanks so much for keeping the spirit of music alive. Much love.

Find out more about Casi Joy and her music online on FacebookInstagram, YouTube, and her official website



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St. Vincent Covers “Funkytown” For Minions: The Rise of Gru

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Some things in life are inevitable. For a while, that inevitably was a new Shrek movie with an updated pop cover like “I’m a Believer” from Smash Mouth. These days it’s a new Despicable Me movie, this time in the form of spinoff Minions The Rise of Gru. And just as we all predicted, the new Steve Carrell led film comes stacked with a loaded soundtrack headlined by St. Vincent.

For her contribution to the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack, St. Vincent covered “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. Her version was produced by Jack Antonoff and continues a run of luck for the musician that earlier this year saw her win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

Antonoff also gave St. Vincent a shout-out for her album Daddy’s Home when he won Producer of the Year at the Grammys.

Announcing the release of her funky cover, St. Vincent took to Twitter and wrote, “Excited to say the @Minions (including @jackantonoff) and I have just released our version of ‘Funkytown’ from #TheRiseofGru soundtrack. Shout out to Gru and them…” Included with the post was a graphic of St. Vincent as a minion.

Joining St. Vincent on the Minions: The Rise of Gru soundtrack are Tame Impala, Kali Uchis, Brittany Howard, Thundercat, Caroline Polachek, Diana Ross, and Weyes Blood, just to name a few.

The album will be released on July 1, coinciding with the film’s theatrical release. You can listen to St. Vincent’s cover of Lipps Inc. “Funkytown” below!



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Parmalee Shares The Music Video For Their Top Five US Hit ‘Take My Name’, A Musical Marriage Proposal.

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Back in October of 2021, Parmalee released ‘Take My Name’ as the second single from their third studio album. It was written with and produced by David Fanning, producer of the massive hit ‘Carolina’ that introduced me to the band back in 2008, Ashley Gorley and Ben Johnson. Robyn Collins of ‘Taste of Country’ described the song as “a musical marriage proposal” and lead singer of the band, Matt Thomas, says it was inspired by the marriage of brother Scott; he says “it made me think about what I would want to say to my future wife.”

Some songs almost become bigger than themselves when they tap into the lives and moods of everyone and this is very much one of those songs. It’s not difficult to see why this song has been adopted by fans all over the world irrespective of their taste in music; its words conjure all the romance and love that you’d hope to feel when you ask someone to marry you. It’s lyrically a shopping list of everything you feel at the moment you realise you’ve met the one, even if that’s after only a short time. I remember proposing to my wife after just 8 weeks and if I try to remember what I was feeling at the point I proposed and tried to put it into words I would hope it was very similar to this song. Now over 31 years later and still happily married I listen to this song and it brings all those feelings back in a rush so why wouldn’t it be the perfect song to overlay a proposal, sing at the wedding or just be part of the moment; it’s how I’d love my sons to feel when they propose to their partners. 

Parmalee are very aware of their fans needs and were quick to record a wedding version for such occasions with a less catchy percussion and a softer piano focussed vibe than the original version. There have even been brilliant occasions where the band has turned up to “crash” a wedding and sing this song to the happy couple reminiscent of Maroon 5 and their song ‘Sugar’. None of those guests will forget that wedding in a hurry!

With all the interest in the song and the brilliant videos and messages the band have received, they felt the time was right to make their own narrative video to accompany the song as an addition to the previously released visualizer. The ‘Wedding Version’ video of the romantic song was filmed in Gallatin, TN and directed by Shane Drake. The heart-warming story follows the journey of the protagonist through middle school and all the way to adulthood featuring kids from a local school, an original 1968 Mustang Shelby GT350 and appearances from the band with the lead being played by frontman Matt Thomas.

Matt says:

“From the jump, the fans have really latched onto this song in such an amazing, life changing way- our fans have been the reason for so many of our own major milestones, so it means that much more to us that folks are using our song for their proposals and weddings and allowing us to be a part of those major moments in their lives. We wanted to pay tribute to the fans who have been on this journey with us since the beginning so in the music video you’ll see a story of love and loyalty unfold across the years-but don’t expect to see any weddings or proposals – the fan created videos far exceed anything we could depict. We love watching them.”

With over 135 million global on demand streams, the song has raced up the Country charts, outpacing the band’s previous single, the multinational Number 1 smash ‘Just The Way’ with Blanco Brown and has been popping up all over TikTok with creators playing the song over proposal and wedding videos and even sparking a trend of using the sound of the song and writing “if your man doesn’t make you feel this way then what are you doing?” over the video. 

Parmalee - Take My Name (Official Music Video)

Coming from their recently released album ‘For You’, an album that has garnered critical acclaim with American Songwriter calling it “authentically real, genuinely inspired” and Billboard saying that “Parmalee find itself in the enviable position of being able to tap into multiple audiences”. What is very clear is that Country music is slowly starting to find a new, younger audience in the UK to stand alongside the existing fans of the genre. Zack Bryan has recently found himself high on the Spotify album charts and UK stars like Ed Sheeran have appeared alongside Country stars like Luke Combs at the Country2Country festival. Even Tom Odell has found himself headlining the British Country Music Festival in the Summer. Parmalee may be the band to really break down the barriers between Country music and the UK Charts with this song as the musical genre of this release is far less important than the honesty and emotion of the lyrics and Romance will always break down all of the barriers, or at least I would hope it would.

‘For You’ is out now and can be streamed and downloaded here. Find out more about Parmalee and their music online on their official website.

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Mercedess Releases debut album ‘Casa Fantasia’ along with lead single ‘Summers Already Gone’

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This Copenhagen DIY pop artist has managed the difficult task of mixing her soulful voice with vibrant dreamy production and lyrics with real streetwise attitude. The result is something that has given her the hit single ‘Obvious’ which Danish radio loved and the internationally acclaimed single ‘Back to Business’. Now she is releasing the excellent lead single ‘Summer’s Already Gone’ which sounds very modern Bond in its lo fi production but tells an unusual love story. Not a story about falling in love with a person, but about the love affair that always ends; the affair with Summer.

She says:

“I wanted to write a song that could represent both the fearlessness of the magical Summer days and the truly blue sadness of the re occuring love story it actually is when Summer eventually comes to an end. I know it’s a heartbreaking, melancholy feeling but it’s also everything I love about Summer.”

The song was written in Mercedess’ living room with Danish indie superstar Goss and the guitarist Søren Breum and is produced by the critically acclaimed artist Vera. It allows the velvet of the artist’s voice to tumble over the muted trumpets, break beats and flirty acoustic guitars and strings bringing to life the seasonal heartbreak. 

The fact that it is about the love and anticipation felt for Summer is almost more poignant this year as we embark upon the first free Summer for a few years. The affair with Summer this year promises to be a torrid passionate affair as we’ve been apart so long but the heartbreak of its end will be felt more keenly. This song will be the soundtrack to the affair for sure.

The single is released on the same day as the debut album from this exciting new talent. Mercedess says of the album: “Casa Fantasia is an album about longing for closeness and honesty. These songs are an escape from reality-a place to feel free and be yourself. Writing it was a personal journey and process to me that hopefully will make space for creativity, art and emotions for others too”

The album promises to do just that with the artist’s melancholy and yet warm and dreamy vocals and marks an exciting new chapter for an artist destined to find international acclaim  with this collection of music. Summer may come and go but I’m sure the appeal of Mercedess will be perennial. 

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