On the topic of AI (artificial intelligence) in the music industry…
In the coming weeks, there will be a lot of discussion in the music industry about AI and how it is currently being used. Right now there are no boundaries, so some producers are using it as an opportunity to flood streaming platforms with prefab releases by fake artists in their attempts to make big bucks.
I think this will soon all come crashing down, as platforms add in checks and balances. I do wonder about You Tube, because this clearly doesn’t violate their current policies and could soon affect them greater than they imagined. I think if AI is used properly and some governance is established, then it will undoubtedly be amazingly useful. But to take advantage of it like a new toy is not what the better-than-average music listener wants or needs.
I urge the music industry and all of the platforms to move swiftly with those checks and balances, and leave the toying around to those bedroom producers that have the time for it. Humans for the win!
Among the other features in the Report, you can check out my pick of the week, along with one from the host of “Top 40 Timeline”, “Big Daddy” Russ Horton, plus Hunter Wilbur’s “Bop of the Week”. “The Musicman” James Rogers has his Classic Five pop hits feature, which this week runs the gamut through the 1980’s. And you’ll also see what songs debuted on the BILLCS Top 30 from 2018 to 2022 too!
The BILLCS New Music Report is a work-in-progress and I welcome your suggestions so feel free to contact me @billcs on Twitter @thebillcs on Instagram or @BILLCSMusicProjects on Facebook.
REMINDER: Click the photo above the artist’s name and song title to hear the song or watch the video.
JONAS BLUE, RANI, “Finally”
As is becoming more frequent these days, “Finally” is a new original by UK dance producer Jonas Blue that is written around a familiar song excerpt from the past. The original source is from American singer Harvey Mason’s 1979 R&B/dance release “Groovin’ You”, but the dance community and most of the pop world will recognize it as the hook from Gusto’s 1996 smash – except in the US – “Disco’s Revenge”. But as is the case with exceptional production, that hook is just the icing on the cake as the original song beautifully sung by Rani can easily stand on its own. “Finally” should have no problem finding its way up the national dance radio charts and getting it on in clubs for the rest of the year.
SOPHIA HABIB, THE CLOUD ORCHESTRA, “Lifeline” (live)
If you enjoy your contemporary electronic pop mixed with a real orchestra, then lend your ears to Sophia Habib’s original song “Lifeline”. Yes, this is a live recording which you can witness in its video above, and you know when a singer sounds this good that she can pretty well write her own ticket for whatever kind of record she wants to record. Sophia is a Netherlands-based vocalist who studied at the Rotterdam Conservatory of Music. Her off-the-floor vocal here is pristine, and the first song to pop into my head for a comparison was Beyoncé’s “Dangerously In Love” and her ballads from that era. Then along came thoughts of Kelly Clarkson, Tori Kelly and others who have a lot of power in their voices, but can easily switch to softer and sometimes suspenseful singing. “Lifeline” is an unapologetic story about looking for love and not needing anyone’s approval. Its candor is very inviting and Sophia Habib clearly has much more to offer.
MEDUZA, POPPY BASKCOMB, “Upside Down”
Italy’s Grammy-nominated production trio Meduza steers away from their pop-house revelations for “Upside Down” in partnership with UK singer/songwriter Poppy Baskcomb, who has recently worked with Tiësto, Joel Corry, and Jess Bays among others. “Upside Down” is vibrant and fresh techno-house whose sharp and infectious synths will vibrate right through you. Poppy’s vocal basks in the confusion of the moment, and it will all work together marvelously late at night under the bright dance floor lights.
FRANCESCO YATES, “Thunderbomb”
With guitar ablaze again after the immensely enjoyable “Jimi”, one of my 10 faves of 2022, Toronto’s uber-talented Francesco Yates returns with another edgier song than previous releases, the appropriately and ferociously titled “Thunderbomb”. This new one will certainly sound fab in concert as Francesco rips through his impressive guitar work, and fans who enjoy anyone from The Jonas Brothers through to Bryan Adams will get a kick out of it. It’s obviously inspired by the likes of Prince, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and of course Mr. Hendrix, so be sure to crank “Thunderbomb” up to 11.
ALOK, SOLARDO, “Over Again”
Following up his recent high-powered collaboration with James Arthur, “Work With My Love”, Brazil’s Alok continues with a subtler house track, “Over Again”, in collaboration with UK producers Solardo, fresh off of their fan favourite from last year with Tiēsto, “I Can’t Wait”. Although “Over Again” isn’t a long song, I enjoy how it takes its time to get where it needs to go. The uncredited male vocal is supremely showcased in the first part of the song to help momentum build, and in the second part, it provides a much darker edge to “Over Again” which will simply slay club goers in the middle of a set.
BENJAMIN RUSSELL, “Frontier”
Because the video is available, you’re getting an advance taste of Montreal multi-talent Benjamin Russell’s new album Frontier, due on April 26 in the form of the title track. Frontier follows up his first release of 2023, Something In F Minor with fellow producer and musician Rob Stuart. And while electronics form the backdrop of “Frontier”, its fanciful story-telling vocal style will appeal to folk music fans too. “Frontier” actually revisits a song Benjamin released in 1996, and what’s appealing lyrically is the wonder in the protagonist’s “quest” for friendship and love. “Frontier” is ultimately a song that makes you feel good about yourself, and that your hopes, dreams and visions should not be ignored, particularly if eventually you wish to act on them.
MARK LEE, “Love To Be Loved”
Formerly of the Grammy Award winning band Third Day, Georgia’s Mark Lee is back with a gentle new original called “Love To Be Loved”, which might give you all kinds of misplaced déjà vu. I say “misplaced” because if it was released in the early 1980’s, the song would be keeping some great company in similar sounding smashes of the day by the likes of Dan Fogelberg, Paul Davis, or Christopher Cross. And that’s not a bad thing at all because Mark recovers a somewhat lost but successful pop sound and updates it in a solid new song. You’ll appreciate the genuine lyrics in “Love To Be Loved” about never ending love which fit like a glove over a chord progression which Mark says was waiting years for the right lyric.
K3SS, SALLY OH, “Please Don’t Lie”
“Please Don’t Lie” is an atmospheric, often taut mix of deep house and trance, which is the latest release for up-and-coming San Diego producer K3SS. American-Asian singer Sally Oh provides a versatile vocal that starts as a simple request of the title words, but as the song develops the tone becomes more directive – as in “if you keep lying, you’ll lose me”. The arrangement is full of stop and go that totally works, and deep house fans will be mighty happy with all of the big bassy beats.
BILL’S NEW MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK
My New Music Pick of the Week is a 5-7 minute radio segment that airs more than 20 times/week on online radio stations around the world.
Melodifestivalen winner and EuroVision entry “Tattoo” by Sweden’s Loreen
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Big Daddy” Russ Horton is the host of the “Top 40 Timeline” radio program and owner of online stations Radio GTA, Halton Hills Radio Online, & FM108.ca.
Scooby-Doo fans rejoice! San Diego alternative performer Scoobert Doobert with “Gonna Go To Japan”
HUNTER J. WILBUR’S BOP OF THE WEEK
Hunter J. Wilbur is the host of the online radio shows “Modern Hype” and “Addictive Energy” which can be heard on several online stations including Classic Hits Canada.
20 year old Australian-Thai singer/songwriter Gabe Watkins with “choose u everytime”
“THE MUSICMAN” JAMES ROGERS’ CLASSIC FIVE
“The Musicman” James Rogers is the owner and host of The 3D Variety Show heard Tuesdays on Planet Radio Canada. The Classic Five is “pop music 101” of the post-Beatles era – classics you need to know! Each title is linked to a Spotify stream of the song.
George Harrison – I Got My Mind Set On You
Pet Shop Boys – Domino Dancing
The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Glass Tiger – Someday
Duran Duran – The Reflex
BILLCS TOP 30 CHART DEBUTS 2018-2022
27 PUNCHING BAG Victor Perry
28 don’t you wanna know Syence featuring Britt Lari
23 LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN Silk Sonic
25 I WANT LOVE (Cat Dealers remix) Gryffin
27 MOON Chris Blue
16 ALL ON YOU Super Duper
24 SO READY (The Brothers Macklovitch remix) Raphael Saddiq
26 BUMMED Chet Porter & Alison Wonderland
25 RECOGNISE Lost Frequencies featuring Flynn
26 KISS AND TELL Mokita
27 WEEKEND Saxity
28 WILD Final DJs featuring Bright Light Bright Light
22 BUTTERSCOTCH Robotaki featuring Jamie Fine & FALCXNE
25 BETTER WITH YOU Jesse McCartney
26 LOST IN JAPAN Shawn Mendes
27 BE LIKE YOU Whethan featuring Broods
28 HURT YOU The Weeknd featuring Gesaffelstein
29 CAUTIOUS (Famba remix) Tyler Shaw
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