HITS Daily Double
BY NICOLE GHAPGHARAN Mackenzie Nicole, a familiar voice to Strange Music fans, released her long-awaited debut album The Edge today (4/13). The album release party was held at Strange Music on 4/6, coincidentally located just across from HITS, which made it impossible for them to turn us away. She performed four songs from the upcoming album, including “Preview” and “Back to You,” and hinted the latter would be her next single. She also noted pre-saving the album on Spotify would get you a sneak peek at the track's music video, which you can look forward to soon. While The Edge is her first full-length project, Nicole has been featured on numerous Tech N9ne songs since she started her musical career at just nine years old. Her stage presence and confidence is unmatched to any other performance I’ve seen in 2018—an energy that is bound to impress in the shows to come this year. Traditionally a hip hop-heavy independent label, Strange Main is a new arm of Strange Music with a focus on pop. As the first–and lead–signing, Nicole is setting the tone for stand-out pop as a new face of Strange. The duality of having been classically trained as a singer while growing up in Strange's hip hop family is certainly present in her music.Watch the vid for “Preview” here and catch her on tour with Tech N9ne, the dates for which you'll find here. Pictured right before things got strange are (L-R): Strange Music VP Dave Wiener, Push Promotion's Paula Tuggey, Strange Music CEO Travis O' Guin, Nicole, HITS prexy Todd Hensley, Strange Music EVP Pop Brian "Ponch" Hudgens, and Promo Solution's Bob Weil.
Each week Ranya Khoury sifts through the dregs of the Internet to bring you the very best in playlisting. In just a few days, the first weekend of the 19th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will kick off at Indio's Empire Polo Club. Amidst packing and planning, you’ll probably catch yourself dreaming of the revelry to come. And we all know it's best to prepare yourself with a few playlists that highlight the artists you’re eager to see. Lucky for you, Coachella has a set of curated playlists on Spotify, saving you valuable time to apply sunscreen and count your Advil.I got the inside scoop from Sam Schoonover, who dished on the magic that happens behind the scenes. As part of the digital team at Goldenvoice, Schoonover recently took on the role as head playlist curator for Coachella’s Spotify page. His interest in curating playlists, however, started long before his involvement in digital media. As an elementary school kid passing around mix-CDs to friends, Schoonover quickly realized his passion in helping others discover music. “To me, playlists are a really easy and effective gift to give people who love stories. I think about all of the elements that go into creating a playlist—the music, playlist title, description and imagery”; all play a role in how the story is told. “This helps people connect on a deeper level. For Coachella, I based the playlists' themes on experiences that everyone shares [at the festival]; the grass, the shade, day parties, sunsets, bright lights and big sounds.”It wouldn’t be Coachella without the famous multi-genre lineup. “The popularity of [this type of festival] has taught people that it’s okay to love multiple genres of music”, said Schoonover. With such a diverse lineup, Schoonover decided to connect each theme with a certain genre. For example, his Sundown Sounds playlist is rife with hip-hop and dance music, featuring artists such as Vince Staples, BROCKHAMPTON, Petit Biscuit and Kygo.Aside from his work at Goldenvoice, and the time spent managing his own playlist network, Sam surrounds himself with fellow music lovers. In doing so, he’s been able to connect and collaborate with creatives at places like Splash House. Since 2014, he’s been part of the Splash House team in charge of organizing the lineup. To check out his full portfolio of endeavors, visit his website here.As for this year's pilgrimage, put down the body paint and check out the sonic goodies right here.
Aminé dropped new track "Campfire" with an accompanying video today (4/6), marking the first release since 2017's Good For You and the viral 4x-platinum success of "Caroline." Featuring hip hop trio Injury Reserve, the track was released via CLBN/Republic. Meanwhile, the video sees both Aminé and Ritchie with a T sporting new 'dos and includes an honest debate on the pronunciation of "rural." Get hooked on the phonics below.
BY KENZ MEADOWS Mom+Pop's ethereal songstress Alina Baraz dropped her debut solo project, The Color of You, today and showed us, once again, that R&B's new wave is well underway. With two collaborations from pop-breakout Khalid (Right Hand)—on "Floating" and the previously released single, "Electric"—the two cultivate harmonies that strike a balance between the weight of longing and the lightness of being in love. Then there's the collaboration with Jada on "The One," which is steamy to say the least. It's probably about as explicit as Baraz gets, with lyrics like "If you want my love/I could blow your mind/Make you cry/Make you pray for it," cursing her inability to keep cool. A sentiment you'll likely relate to when you hear it. Baraz's music is undeniably sexy, and never more so than on deeply intimate cuts "Tainted" and "Coming To My Senses," which I can't listen to without blushing. The seemingly effortless ability to capture raw intimacy is what makes Baraz's music so captivating. "I Don't Even Know Why Though" (featured on New Music Friday) explores a side of the singer/songwriter that has heretofore not been explicitly exposed. The song, which arguably has a more "mainstream" lean, finds Baraz accompanied by trap beats with an ardent intent to make you dance. She's more widely known for the sultry down-tempo collab with electronic artist Galimatias, Urban Flora—released back in 2015. The album went #2 on U.S. dance charts while single "Fantasy" was certified gold.We hear that Galimatias influence in "Yours," with her quintessential quiet pining and production very much akin to that of Flora's. "Yours" is a prime example of why she exploded on the scene in the first place, but it also demonstrates her growth since. Look below to check out The Color Of You, which serves as the perfect introduction to an artist really coming into herself.
Green-locked indie songstress Liana Banks dropped her latest in sultry R&B offerings with "Bad Manners" last week. The track, which is featured on Tidal's R&B Rising playlist, is certainly worth a listen. While this marks the N.Y.-native's first release since "Ghost," which came out almost a year ago today, she's kept busy working on projects with other artists while finishing her still-to-come apt. 210. Banks has worked with the likes of Lily Allen and notably co-wrote PnB Rock's "Selfish." She's also credited on tracks for Fabolous and Jadakiss.You can check out the rest of her material, including the self-released insubordinate here.
Warner/Chappell Nashville’s Donovan Woods is bringing a fresh take to alternative folk/country, one that’s making political waves. Lead single “Burn That Bridge”—off his anticipated album Both Ways—is the LGBTQ representation mainstream music has been lacking. The music video has garnered just under 48k views since its release, and the song's almost at 265k streams on Spotify. Woods’ boldly open-minded message has received some backlash from alt-right “news” outlets who suggest Woods find a “new line of work." However, Woods’ line of work has been deeply rooted in Country music for some time, despite his move from Nashville to Toronto. The singer/songwriter has penned for Billy Currington, Charles Kelley, Tim McGraw and Charlie Worsham. Woods is repped by Paquin Entertainment Group and his album is expected to drop on 4/20—a day we at HITS like to refer to as Christmas With Better Trees.
UTA threw their annual SXSW party last week (3/16) with all the trappings of a classic backyard BBQ– if you overlook their swank Lambert’s Downtown Barbeque venue and designer beer koozies. Below you can survey the bonding among agents, artists, attorneys, managers and others just before the agency's annual sweet tea-guzzling competition... (l-r): UTA's David Sullivan-Kaplan and UTA-inked band Findlay(l-r): Client Amara La Negra and UTA’s Natalia Nastaskin(l-r): UTA’s Jbeau Lewis, Maverick manager Dan Dymtrow, LaPolt Law attorney Dina LaPolt, UTA’s Natalia Nastaskin and AEG Senior Counsel Jason Bernstein (l-r): UTA’s Ken Fermaglich and Union Entertainment Group managers Bryan Coleman and Alex Seif
BY JASON HASHAWAYL.A. native MURS came to impress when he performed to a sold-out crowd in Hollywood on 3/16. Kicking off St. Patty’s Day Weekend, the gig arrived in tandem with a brand new album, A Strange Journey into the Unimaginable—produced by Michael “Seven” Summers and released via Strange Music. It’s was MURS' bday, but he was the one giving out the gifts at The Roxy, and he did so in true hip-hop fashion (the only way MURS knows how) with masterful lyrics and good vibes. This former Living Legends member is still living up to the name.The powerhouse left it all on the stage and still had the juice to come out for a encore performance of two Living Legends classics. Earlier in the set, he lent the stage to Fashawn, an artist signed by Nas’ label Mass Appeal Records, and Prof, an energetic rapper out of Minnesota signed to Rhymesayers Entertainment who was happy to deliver the pain in celebration of MURS' born day. Luckily, no leprechauns were harmed during the performances, but we definitely started seeing some rainbows after a few rounds.
HITS playlister Ranya Khoury saves you from parsing through the bad eggs of the streaming age with her Playlist of the Week... For those that struggle with where to start when it comes to discovering new music, you can thank the team at Conectd, who meet any genre-discovery need.The curators, who prefer to stay anonymous, started their journey on Spotify about a year ago. With more than 200k followers across playlists, the profile reaches a highly curious audience. Aside from creating a hub where users can discover new music, the inspiration behind the project came with first-hand experiences when working with larger networks. “…Curators [did] not have enough time to hear our records, so we figured that was a problem,” not just for them, but for artists trying to break into the industry. After facing a few roadblocks, the team decided to create a solution, one where “everyone could be part of the marketplace.” With the best interests of the industry's underdogs at heart, the team at Conectd started building long relationships with independents and other creatives in the industry. In doing so, they provided a home for the newest under-the-radar releases. Incorporating a 50/50 blend of user submissions and personal additions, the team gives independent artists a fighting chance to throw their hat in a highly competitive ring. Thanks to their playlists focused around periods of time, older tracks are being re-discovered in the present; a prime example being Classic Country, which highlights the best country acts, encapsulating the whole of the genre in one playlist. Users will be able to immerse themselves in discovering the evolution of country music, thanks to a broad roster of artists that includes Alan Jackson, Tammy Wynette and Hank Williams. Curious? We thought so. Check out the playlist below.
Curators, artists and labels representing artists are all continually facing the challenge of growing on streaming platforms. With thousands of curated playlists to browse through, the task can easily become overwhelming. Finding the right platform to grow your brand is key, and that's where The Drunken Coconut comes in. Ryan Thompson and Ariel Carter, owners of The Drunken Coconut, designed a monetized platform specifically for creatives who want to grow their following on SoundCloud and Spotify. As the only platform that guarantees a 100% conversion rate, Grow With Us promises genuine social interactions that are fast and cost-effective. By creating a campaign, the service directs followers to your profile on various platforms and creates impressions. Per their conversion rate, users are only charged when they obtain followers. However, because each interaction is genuine, followers are not guaranteed to remain on the account. Content is key. The Drunken Coconut’s download gate, The Husk, connects directly to SoundCloud and enables users to offer free downloads in exchange for a social action such as following, reposting or saving a track. Additionally, the sister platform pays its users 10 cents for every download/follower the account gains. That’s $50 for every 500 downloads. A very doable goal thanks to Grow With Us. Then, as you earn, you can throw your money right back into your campaigns for an ever-expanding network.Since its launch in June of last year, Grow With Us has seen substantial growth, amassing 15k+ active users. With campaigns starting as low as five cents, real-time updates and a system that only charges you for every follower you gain, it's quite the opportunity. You can pause your campaign, increase or decrease your bid, and have full control over the money you put towards your ad at any time. In other words, the campaign will only run for as long as you want it to, never charging more than you put in, unlike other advertisement tools.If our endorsement isn’t enough, you can ask their bigger users like Alan Walker, T-Pain and Randy Jackson’s management group. Click here to get started.
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