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Niko’s New Single, ‘You Used To Have Her’, Leads The Way Ahead Of Upcoming Album ‘Electric Union’ – Essentially Pop

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With an 80s sensibility embodied in industrial synths, alongside a strident backbeat, fuzzy bass, ‘You Used To Have Her’ is the first single from Seattle Washington artist Niko’s upcoming album, ‘Electric Union’. Released on ATIC Records and produced by labelmate and frequent collaborator Aim, Niko manages to all at the same time channel Debbie Harry, Kate Bush, Lene Lovich, and we’re loving it.

The beautifully crafted vocal melodies, alongside complex backing vocal harmonies, support the extremely relatable lyrics, which belie their dark subject matter by being presented in an upbeat pop sound.

Niko’s third long-player, ‘Electric Union’, is produced by Aim, and set for release on ATIC Records over the next few months, and is a combination of heavy dance, synth laden electronica, and neon downtempo.

Niko’s musical journey sounds like that of many others. Born in Seattle, Washington, she grew up watching ‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air’ on TV, singing in a gospel choir, and listening to jazz, and power pop, Born in Seattle WA, Niko spent a chilled-out childhood watching The Fresh Prince, listening to jazz and 90’s power pop and singing in a gospel choir. If the jazz aspect of her musical growth stands out, it’s for good reason. When she completed her secondary education, she was awarded a musical scholarship to study jazz at the prestigious New School of Music and The Thelonius Monk Institute, which entailed a move to New York City, and where she studied with such jazz legends as Herbie Hancock, and Reggie Workman. For the next 10 years, Niko filled her senses with the lights, sights, and sounds of NYC, along the way discovering that she also had a passion for deep house and electronic music.

Niko started writing music, her first original works were created for the soundtrack of a PBS television documentary. A demo copy somehow found its way to Manchester, England, and a contract with Grand Central Records, with whom she released her debut album, ‘Life On Earth’. Leaving the now defunct Grand Central in 2005, Niko formed ATIC Records alongside producer and fellow GC stablemate, Aim (real name Andy Turner), and the pair continued to work together, with Niko lending her vocals to Aim’s albums, ‘Flight 602’, and ‘The Habit Of A Lifetime (And How To Kick It)’. Additionally she fronted Aim’s 10 piece live band on sold out tours across the UK, playing everywhere from Glastonbury to the Shepherds Bush Empire.

‘Electric Union’ will be preceded by two singles, ‘You Used To Have Her’, and ‘The Palace Discotheque’, followed by a 5-track remix EP, set to come out in the new year.

One track from the album, ‘Those From The Heavens Come’, has already seen sync placement on the TV series, ‘Spotless’. It’s hoped that through this, Niko’s sound and songwriting talents will be exposed to a wider audience.

Watch the music video for ‘You Used To Have Her’ below. You can find out more about Niko and her music online on her official website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Check out ATIC Records here.





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Following The Release Of Her Single, ‘Sweet N Sour’ We Catch Up With Jojo Engelbert

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Jojo Engelbert has been on our radar for a while now, and if you’ve not yet caught on, we recommend you do so, starting with her latest release, ‘Sweet N Sour’, because it marks a new turn in her career. Still in her teens, Jojo is nonetheless an entertainment industry veteran, and we caught up with her and asked her a few questions.

We’ve been following your music career for a few years now, and we’ve seen you go from strength to strength. Your new single, ‘Sweet N Sour’ is a different tack for you stylistically, what’s the reasoning behind that and what should fans expect next?

I really found the sound I love with Sweet N Sour. Eli (big brother) shared with me a track he produced and I told him it was perfect for the sound I wanted. I’m not a pop singer. I’m drawn to a darker alternative/punk sound. As much as I liked Grown Up, it just isn’t me. So I really wanted to find my space following that release. You can expect this sound to continue and develop.

You’ve seen your older siblings growing up in the public eye on their tv shows, and you’ve also appeared with them; what has that experience been like, and has there ever been a time where you’ve thought that you would rather not be in entertainment? What would you choose to do if you weren’t a singer?

Their experiences are their own, but I was fortunate to get a sense of what the business is like from a young age. I remember when I was like six or seven years old and they had a concert and were signing autographs afterwards. That looked like a lot of fun to me. I didn’t quite understand why nobody wanted my autograph. That night, Zoey taught me a song and the following day we performed it at their concert. I got to sit at the autograph table. One person asked for it. It was my dad.

I was fortunate to have a couple great roles in regional theatre (Small Alison in Fun Home and Mary Lennox in Secret Garden) which led me to Nancy Carson (Carson Adler Agency) which led to other really cool opportunities. 

My passions are acting and singing. I can’t imagine pursuing any other career.

Who most inspires your musical style? What are the top three songs on your playlist right now, and why are they there?

I draw from inspiration from the likes of Charli XCX, Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande, Hayley Williams and Marina.  

My current top three songs would have to be:

Forever – Charlie XCX, Go Away – Tate McRae and Womanizer – Britney Spears

We’re coming out the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic. How did it affect you, and what lessons have you learned from it that you’ll take with you, returning to normal life?

It was a terrible time for everyone. It certainly impacted opportunities to act and perform. I decided to spend the time really developing my acting skills and vocal technique. I knew I did not want to fall behind. Quite the opposite. I wanted to emerge better and stronger.

Finally, I ask this of everyone I interview: what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?

That’s a tough one. Being a bit of an introvert, I’m OK with fewer questions. But I do want to thank you for this interview!

You can follow Jojo online on Instagram, and TikTok. Watch ‘Sweet N Sour’ below.

Jojo Engelbert and YETIBEAR  - Sweet N Sour (Official Music Video)





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Butterfly GHOSTE Releases ‘Slow Motion’ From Her 5 Track EP As She Emerges From The Chrysalis Of Her Former Musical Self.

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Anyone familiar with the music scene in New York would be aware of the talent of Jenny Bruce, who released her debut album in 1997 and went on to win the Billboard International Songwriting Contest in 2001, accepting her award at Nashville’s iconic Bluebird Cafe. She went on to build a huge following amongst the NYC crowd by appearing in festivals and clubs and appeared on stage with John Oates, Sophie B Hawkins, Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne amongst others. Her songs have been featured far and wide in TV and film and to the musical bystander, things would have appeared to be going from strength to strength but this American singer songwriter was coming to a pinch point in her life that would create the need for a musical rebirth. 

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

In 2015 she released an EP ‘Firefly in a Jar’ which included the single ‘Giving Up the Ghost’ which felt like a heart breaking goodbye to her Mother with lyrics like: “I still come undone when it’s time to say goodbye” and “I hear your voice softer than the breeze, you speak to me, the rustling of leaves, I don’t care why there’s a part of me that will never say goodbye, giving up the ghost” which is backed by a repeated mantra of “I’m not giving up”. This EP marked a return after a self-imposed step away from music of ten years and Jenny was quoted as saying:

“It’s such a long story. To sum it up. I didn’t write for myself for over a decade. I bottled everything up and locked it in a jar. Especially the feelings of loss after my Mother died. That loss broke my heart and hurt so much that I kind of shut down. Thing is, I became a mother around the same time. It was a very confusing period in my life. These songs are little life rafts that I wrote to pull myself up and out of a numbing sea”

It was to be 5 years later that Jenny released album GHOSTE, the name of which may have sprung directly from the thought of giving up the ghost by becoming GHOSTE, the silent e at the end almost suggesting anything but silence. Officially giving up the ghost and adopting GHOSTE meant that Jenny was able to emerge from the critically acclaimed and award winning song writing of the past to become something different but the same, a butterfly from the chrysalis of her song writing past. The eponymous album under the new name came out in 2020 and immediately caught the eye; the powerful song writing was of course still there but there was an ethereal quality in the electro pop style that suggested a musical rebirth.

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

Jenny has been asked about the name and she recalls:

“My late Mom cautioned me that after you turn 50 nobody listens to you and you become invisible, a ghost. Having crossed the 50-yard line, myself, I would tell her that aging doesn’t make you invisible. Trying to be something you are not, does.”

There are so many things we can draw from this simple and yet revealing statement. The nod to the 50-yard line suggests so much more than a number of birthdays and hints that Jenny sees this as a half way mark in her career before she goes on the offensive. There’s a real suggestion that up until now, she was trying to be something she wasn’t. She has garnered huge success from an early contractual agreement to write for TV and film but this comes with certain shackles that musically she seems determined to cast aside. The fact that she has moved away from the possibility of invisibility and being a ghost by becoming something more than a ghost, hence the added e, is a definite statement of intent that she will be heard.

Scroll forward to now and we see music from the artist in the shape of a five track EP show casing last year’s album release. The haunting music, excuse the pun, brings to mind the vocals of Kate Bush or Annie Lennox, artists whose vocal style has inspired so many of today’s singers and producers. Assisted by Matt Anthony, producer and composer, GHOSTE’s new music is the culmination of over a decade of collaboration that has finally found its wings.

The track listing of the teaser EP for the album could be the chapters of a book; ‘slow motion’, ‘deep water’, ‘fix you’, ‘hold on’ and ‘brick by brick’ suggest a progression of a career but all tracks are infused with Jenny’s inimitable style. GHOSTE even manages the almost impossible feat of covering a Coldplay song, often attempted but rarely adding anything. In this instance Jenny brings new nuance to the lyrics within the framework of this musical rebirth.

GHOSTE - Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
GHOSTE – Photo credit: Shervin Lainez

The selection opens with ‘Slow Motion’, an upbeat opener which quickly works its way into your memory before moving to the stunning ‘Deep Water’, which has a cinematic feel to it which builds with a beautiful ‘deep water’ refrain reminiscent of Ennio Morricone before a Kate Bush like climax; it’s a song that is so stunningly layered and the stand out track for me. Next is ‘Fix You’ which GHOSTE covers with real style; I’m sure that Chris Martin would love the almost galactic feel to the production of this wonderful song. The penultimate track, ‘Hold On’ is another wonderfully layered track with very moving lyrics and great production, much in the style of Jack Garratt, the superb UK artist. ‘Brick by Brick’ opens with the line ‘It’s a long way back, I can hear you calling’ and that feels like a direct reference to this musical return and the heartbreaks and life changing episodes that have made up the fabric of Jenny’s life since her self-imposed hiatus. The lyrics are a wonderful reworking of the three little pig’s children’s story and references the rebuilding of a musical vision but in brick this time; a suggestion that this time she will not be “blown down”.

There is so much emotion in this release and so much underlying story telling. Like the production, it will haunt you in stages. Firstly, you will love the wonderful electro pop cinematic quality of the music, then you will fall in love with Jenny’s wonderful voice, reminiscent of artists past but also reminding me of the brilliant Riva Taylor, a UK artist equally inspired by Kate Bush, but finally the thing that will stay with you forever will be the incredible lyrics; the honesty, the baring of a soul and the feeling that this is the start of a new exciting journey built on the lessons of the past. It turns out that the 50 yard line is just the beginning.



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Nya Talks To Us About Her New Single ‘Closer Than Close’, Travel, And What She Would Do If She Couldn’t Do Music

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Nya has been on our radar for a few years now, and with her latest release, ‘Closer Than Close‘, and its accompanying anime style lyric video, we felt it was high time we had a chat with this incredible artist. We hope you enjoy our interview as much as we did!

We’ve been following your musical journey for many years now, and we’ve seen you go from strength to strength. Your latest single, ‘Closer Than Close’, features an anime lyric video. What was your motivation with that choice?

Firstly, thank you! I love any accompanying visual content for my songs to add another perspective or dimension to the story being told lyrically. Ayakashi created a beautiful presentation of multiple interpretations of the love story within closer than close, using an art form and style not usually paired with my work. It felt like a cool way to add a new fresh voice to my work and mix things up a bit!

You’re no stranger to travel, having been born in Florida and then basing yourself in New York, and now Los Angeles. But now you’ve got a long distance relationship that sees you split your time between LA and Uruguay – how has this had an effect on you and your relationship with your partner, and what was it like during the Covid-19 pandemic?

 During about a year and a half of the height of Covid, I didn’t leave Uruguay as I wouldn’t have been able to get back in due to Covid-related border policies. Towards the end of that period, I was a little restless to get back to the states, but it was also lovely in that I got to spend a lot of quality time with my now-husband. For the past year and a half or so, I have split my time about half and half. It can definitely be tough to be separated for 4 to 5 months of the year as I really miss my husband and our dogs while I’m away. Still, as long as we have good communication and FaceTime, our relationship is really solid no matter the distance. It also takes a lot of time to travel from Uruguay to LA, and at certain points, throughout Covid required a lot of paperwork; as a result, it can get a bit tiring. On the plus side, I can keep working on and promoting my music consistently, which I love!

Do you feel that artists really have no choice but to follow their dreams, that it’s a vocation as much as a job? If suddenly overnight music and the arts no longer existed, what would you choose to follow for a career?

 I think certain circumstances can be prohibitive for artists to be able to truly devote the necessary time to their dreams no matter how much they want to. If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, you need to prioritize being able to cover the bare necessities. That being said, I believe that most artists feel the arts are a vocation rather than just a means to an end. I think, in a way, you have to genuinely love music to put up the with the industry’s downsides, or you’ll end up pretty miserable. If I weren’t making music, I would likely have continued studying Global Public Health at NYU and gone into a career somewhere in that field, specifically in a role centered around advocacy for mental health and overall health equity. I recently began taking online college courses in GPH to keep learning and eventually get my degree. It’s a subject I feel very passionate about, and I hope to use a platform in music to advocate for better health equity, especially here in the US. It is a topic that is, unfortunately, more relevant than ever and that has personally touched my life.

What’s next on the horizon for you with regard your music? What can fans expect from you for the remainder of 2022 and beyond into next year?

I have an EP that I will release towards the end of August, and I am finishing up my first album, which will likely be released at the top of next year. Additionally, I am currently working on a cool metaverse-related project involving some of my new music and the creation of a virtual Nya. It’s pretty trippy! The new music coming is, I believe, my best and most vulnerable yet and will be paired with a lot of carefully crafted visuals. I will also have live performances built around the releases. So there are a lot of new and exciting things coming!

Who or what have been your biggest inspirations musically? What about in your day-to-day life?

Musically I am inspired by so many genres and artists, from Frank Sinatra, my first musical love, to the Eagles, my father’s favorite band, to Anderson .Paak or the Internet, exceptional genre-bending artists. Some of my top favorite singers are Sarah Vaughan and Anita Baker. I love the songwriting of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Amy Winehouse, and Sting. As you can see, my musical interests and inspirations are pretty varied. Daily, I am inspired by my family, especially my dad and husband, whose love and constant support mean the world to me. I also find inspiration in any person I meet who is kind and genuine. That is, in my opinion, what makes a person truly beautiful.

Finally, and I ask this question of everyone I speak to, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?

Hmmm, this is an interesting one. I guess I’d have to say, “What is your definition of success?”. I think the concept of success is profoundly subjective and in music is so often thought of in terms of fame and money. My definition of success is living a happy and fulfilling life filled with love. For me, success is being a human that makes the world a little better rather than worse. I genuinely love music, and I want to be proud of the work I create. I want to know that I have given my best within reason in everything I do.

Watch the video for ‘Closer Than Close’ below, and find out more about Nya and her music online on her official website, FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Nya - Closer Than close





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