German artist Harina brings us a powerful new climate change song for the season titled "Last Christmas". Based on the Carol of the Bells melody over plucked strings and sizzling moody trap production, she delivers her message with fantastic haunting vocals. Driving the message home, a child's voice says in the breakdown: "This year is gonna be Santa Claus' last visit. He always came to bring us presents but my mummy said they had to close down the North Pole. His elves can't breathe underwater. So I guess this is our last." With such a hard hitting and cleverly constructed banger, she's made an impressive splash with her debut. And I think it's one of my favourite songs of the year.
Eddy Calvert has released a sexy new tropical banger called "Naked" featuring rapper Tory Lanez. The track has an airy soundscape punctuated by strong melodic vocals and an afrobeat rhythm. Since 2017, Calvert has released a steady stream of impressive urban pop singles. He is yet to release a full EP or album, something he ascribes to being a perfectionist, but he's planning on releasing lots of new music next year including some cool features. Keep an ear out for Eddy Calvert!
Fun fact on Tory Lanez' stage name: Tory is a nod to Notorious B.I.G. and Lanez comes from his childhood nickname because he was always getting into trouble in the streets and laneways as a kid.
Shalom and salem are Hebrew and Arabic words for "peace" and form the title of Swiss artist daFOO's latest single. The track has a dancey electro pop feel to it with middle eastern influences and features American singer Benjah in the verses. With similar pronunciation and meaning, the titular words "Shalom & Salem" symbolize how although we are each different with different backgrounds and upbringings, we all share much in common. We shouldn't let our differences isolate us and lead us to fear and hate. We should instead see each other as equals and share kindness and inclusiveness. This is the core message behind daFOO's new single. He grew up around religious manipulation, violence and crime and it has shaped who he is today as a youth worker and artist. He wants to help bring peace to people, something he believes has a positive snowball effect in the world. And that's something we can get behind. "Shalom oh shalom & salem aleikum!"
Jamaican-born, North Carolina-raised artist Liion Gamble (pronounced "Lee-on Gam-buhl") has put out a wavy new hip hop single called "Want It" featuring fellow rapper Evan Dupri. With a chilled out tempo and funky synths and bass, Gamble's vocals cruise over the summery soundtrack like a high-flying kite before handing the spotlight to Dupri for a verse. Gamble says of the track: "This song talks about losing friends on the come up and not once does it do anything other than motivate you." Last year he impressed with his debut EP "Grand Re-Opening" and we look forward to hearing more from him in 2020!
Rapper Dax continues to motivate us with the third instalment of his "Self Proclaimed" single series. With his fiery delivery over acoustic guitar and booming bass, Dax tells us not to wait for a crown from society but to work hard for it and crown ourselves instead. He spits some straight up great lines like: "Fuck average, convince yourself you can be the best fucker on the planet" and "What you thought? / That I would pack up and quit? / My mom would slap me in the face say she eint raise no bitch". The track comes on the back of his viral single and video clip "Dear God" where he questions God about the things that make it hard to have faith. Dax kicks off his Canadian tour tonight at The Music Hall in Oshawa, Ontario, and has dates booked through till just before Christmas.
Swiss artist Damian Lynn confronts dissatisfaction on his latest single "What Is It"? With a sound reminiscent of 21 Pilots, he's given the track a cool gritty pop production underneath sharp lyrics and an energetic vocal performance. In addition to writing the track, Lynn produced a big part of it before completing it with co-producer Lars The Music Guy. Damian Lynn will be touring Germany and Switzerland kicking off in January. For more, see his website.
Speaking on Instagram about the track's inspiration, he wrote: "'Why am I so damn hard to satisfy, if I haven't got a thing to complain about?' This line in the chorus of 'What Is It' pretty much sums up what the song is about: That mood when you're not really happy but you don't know why because you're living a good life - asking yourself 'What Is It' that's missing. Maybe sometimes it needs less to be happy but more appreciation. At the moment I'm in Costa Rica and even though it's a relatively rich country in Latin America, people here get along with less - still they seem to be very happy. It seems they have found out that it needs something different to be happy and a simple "Pura Vida" can make a difference: It's how they greet each other, their answer to everything - and it means pure life. A simple but somehow effective attitude to life."
Norwegian artist SA Zeiner brings us a breathtaking ode to her friend who passed away. "It was written, recorded and produced across the street from where he last lived and it's about my last memories with him and how we all miss him. Not romantic." With beautiful melodies and swelling orchestral and subtle electronic elements alongside Zeiner's heartfelt vocals, it's impossible not to be swayed by the track's powerful emotion. She gives us chills in the hook singing: "I want your body, forever, here, like we could live forever." Her talents clearly go beyond electronic pop, with this track conjuring the kind of complexity and emotion you'd expect from a cinematic score. Forever, Here is the sixth and final track on her recent debut EP "The Only Scars I've Got I Got In My Sleep" which she co-produced with Synthomania.
Danish artist and producer KOPS' latest single "Down" is a funky pop banger. The chorus opens with a cool stab hook and slight vocoder effect, then drops the funky beat with a talk box-style lead. Yeah baby! The reason the song is called "Down" is because that's where he feels he's headed after his deeds... see, "Down is about being ashamed about your past and your actions, and this song is to show my family and friends that I regret some things that I have done to them earlier in my life." At least he's apologizing now, and with a great song to boot. Earlier this year, KOPS experienced a special moment performing live at the massive Roskilde Festival in Denmark. "With no instructions whatsoever, everyone was sitting down, down, down, down, down to the music. That moment I knew that this song should be my next single." Keep an ear out for KOPS, he's on the rise!