Meet Nashville-based Canadian singer/songwriter @JaclynKenyon who straddles pop and country with “Heart Says No”

JACLYN KENYON, “Heart Says No”

25 year old Burlington, Ontario born Jaclyn Kenyon has been performing and writing songs since she was a pre-teen when she received considerable notice in a prominent Toronto talent showcase. After that, she went to the U.S. where she worked and networked with numerous professionals who have too many credits among them to list here. Now based out of Nashville, after playing many local gigs and appearing on CMT, Jaclyn is finding herself straddling pop and country with “Heart Says No”. And that’s not a bad thing at all, witness the recent success of collaborations as diverse Elle King and Miranda Lambert, and Zedd and Maren Morris, and other efforts from singers like Gabby Barrett, Dolly Parton and Kelly Clarkson over the years to fuse pop and country together, like it once was in the long ago era of the 60’s and before. “Heart Says No” is certainly more pop than country with strong lyrics and a confident vocal that sink in after multiple listens and will stand out a crowded playing field. I’m no country music expert, but crossover country is cool when it succeeds and Jaclyn Kenyon is making that happen.

UK singer/songwriter @WaitingforSmith takes us to his church of love with “Skylight Dawn”

WAITING FOR SMITH, “Skylight Dawn”

I’m pleased to bring you another strong effort by Harry Lloyd, aka Amsterdam-based, UK-bred singer/songwriter Waiting For Smith. Although past efforts have highlighted his masterful guitar work, “Skylight Dawn” zeros in on his vocal and songwriting skills. “Skylight Dawn” touches on those moments of quiet epiphany when you notice all of the special things about your lover, and how great it is to be with them. And in the good company of singers like James Bay, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran, Waiting for Smith’s vocal builds and builds and then busts loose in a splendid, memorable climactic moment. “Skylight Dawn” initially requires some close listening but after Harry’s voice soars you’re going to want to quickly press rewind and listen again to how it got there. It’s an unanticipated and delightful treat.

Nashville-based pop singer @DavisMallory feels the pain in a long distance romance in the super-catchy “James Bond”

DAVIS MALLORY, “James Bond”

Nashville-based Davis Mallory is no newcomer to the pop music world, having released two albums to date and a slew of singles, many in the pop/dance genre, that have acquired attention in various countries around the world. His new one, “James Bond”, is a super-catchy pop/dance track with an irresistible hook that you would normally find in a reggae or reggaeton track. It’s a story about a long distance relationship when the protagonist can’t be the “hero” to the one closest to him when they’re gone. Davis’ expressive vocal plays nicely against the island rhythm as the story unfolds. “James Bond” only takes a maximum of two listens before you’re completely drawn in. And Davis not only has the song in common with “James Bond” – of course the real name of “M” in the Daniel Craig films is Gareth Mallory!

“All By Myself” is a pop and dance radio hit in the making for @Alokoficial @Sigalamusic and @EllieGoulding

ALOK, SIGALA and ELLIE GOULDING, “All By Myself”

“All By Myself” is one of those songs that is loaded with elements that should ensure both pop and dance radio airplay, without being too overly familiar or overly reliant on the sample that it uses. The immense talent speaks for itself. Brazilian producer Alok has been popular for years on the club and festival circuit, and just recently scored a dance radio #1 with “Deep Down” with Ella Eyre along with a record deal with Sony. Sigala has also been a significant force through numerous hits in the UK since 2015. Bringing these guys together with Ellie Goulding is an ideal match. Ellie’s recent release with Big Sean, “Easy Lover”, was nothing short of promising but somehow got lost in the pop music shuffle after what looked like a good start out of the gate. “All By Myself” has the dominant hook, aggressive production, and a memorable sample in “Enjoy The Silence” by Depeche Mode, which should keep dance music fans happy in clubs and at festivals. But the song really does belong in the forefront on pop and dance music radio, and could give Ellie her biggest hit in some years.

NYC’s @RobbieRosenlive has another set of solid collabs – “Burning Bridges” with @Saxity and Ali Schwartz, and “Hurricane” with @Blackcode_djs and ASTER

 

SAXITY, ALI SCHWARTZ and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Burning Bridges”

BLACKCODE, ASTER and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Hurricane”

NYC former “American Idol” contestant Robbie Rosen churns out more high-quality music than any other artist that I know of, and also collaborates and mentors other young performers, such as Kacey Fifield, who you’ve also read a lot about in these blog pages. Robbie scores again with two more solid collaborations.

“Burning Bridges” reteams him with German producers Saxity, also much written about by me over the years, and American vocalist Ali Schwartz. Contrary to its title, “Burning Bridges” has a bright, uptempo melody that matches the old school flirty vocals provided by Ali and Robbie. Saxity always puts a lot of zip into their productions which makes “Burning Bridges” go down so easily.

“Hurricane” has Robbie in another fast-paced EDM setting through the combined talents of Italian producer Blackcode and South Korean producer ASTER. The song has a familiar vibe about it but Robbie’s vocal really soars and wrings out every bit of emotion to give “Hurricane” that much more added intensity.

Australia-based singer/songwriter @StHumain is on a roll with the romantic storytelling of “Tastes Like You”

ST. HUMAIN, “Tastes Like You”

Go back to those moments in time where you’ve had a bona fide crush on someone, and feel guilty about it because they’re with someone else, but don’t quite know how to let it go. Sydney-based Singapore-born singer/songwriter St. Humain is back (following up another stellar recent single, “Memento”) to give you some perspective on that scenario with “Tastes Like You”. Yes, you’ll fantasize and no, drinking won’t help that whiff of jealousy go away. It’s an enjoyable, totally on point story graced by one of St. Humain’s best vocals. And you’ll be singing along in no time.

Connecticut-based singer/songwriter @JULSspo returns with delectable alt.pop of “Heartbreaker”

JULS, “Heartbreaker”

With so much music out in the world, it’s hard to come up with a unique angle sometimes when writing songs. Connecticut alt.pop singer/songwriter JULS scores with “Heartbreaker”, which takes a hard look at the cycle of heartbreak and heartbreaking. The song’s about someone who is so heartbroken that they immediately want another relationship, and so ensues the ongoing heartbreaking when she can’t find who she wants. It’s a bit heavier a listen than the recent “Summer Thing” but JULS has an expressive voice that keeps your attention against a versatile electronic backdrop that augments the mystery behind the lyrics.

#BILLCSTop30 #650, October 10/22

Look for a format change from this blog starting next week. While I’ve enjoyed writing about individual songs post-by-post for the last several years, with interjections from my “10/10” feature to feature 10 songs all at once, I’m finding that it’s too time consuming to keep up, given the insurmountable number of releases each week, and not as productive as it can be.

So starting on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, this blog will change to a once a week “newsletter” kind of format. What that looks like exactly I think will develop over the next few months with input from you. And with ONLINE RADIO SHOWS now being a big part of my life, there will be more integration with the radio programming.  My New Music Pick of the Week, which is currently only a radio segment, will be featured in the newsletter.  The focus will still be on new and mainly independent music. Submissions for the blog continue to be welcome!

The other thing I’ve noticed this year is that music people – including artists, producers, managers – are no longer as approachable online as say 10 years ago. A lot of artists use social media as recipients only, don’t look at their timelines, and only post/tweet to promote their music. There are also a lot of artists who prefer one platform over another (and I’m still not and have no plans to be on Tik Tok!) – but we don’t know that till we follow them on that platform, so it’s a guessing game at best at times.

Independent artists, producers and managers who want exposure by my blog – over 13 years in existence with a tie-in to online radio – need to communicate with me. To be honest, there are several songs I’ve written up and had good connections with the artists or their teams, and then with the next releases, nothing!! I will however continue to promote and write about songs/artists I discover on my own. And my personal chart, the BILLCS Top 30, has been online since 1998 – 25 years in January!! – and I’ll continue to write it up and count it down every second Monday.

The best places to communicate with me continue to be Twitter @billcs or Instagram @thebillcs or Facebook @BILLCSMusicProjects. Follow this blog using the “Follow” button at the bottom of the home page.

Toronto singer/songwriter/guitarist Francesco Yates gets his first #1 on my chart with “Jimi”! It knocks Jessie Ware’s “Free Yourself” out of the top spot after a month because it’s simply the song I look forward to hearing the most right now! Francesco is also the first Canadian artist to reach #1 on my chart since Loud Luxury & Frank Walker took “Like Gold” to the top early last year.

There’s a lineup of songs waiting to take over from “Jimi” at #1, but more about that will be known in two weeks.  In the meantime, I’m happy to see Steve Lacy at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Bad Habit”, which rises on my chart 6-4. Watch for a flood of Grammy nominations for Steve at year’s end.

“Turn On The Lights Again” by Fred Again.. and Swedish House Mafia reworking Future’s 2012 release into a trance-y festival anthem climbs 7-5. It’s a song that never fails to draw you in every time. Fred Again.. has a new album coming at the end of the month called Actual Life 3.

NYC’s Robbie Rosen, a former “American Idol” contestant, is ultra-prolific and now has two songs in my Top 10. The sublimely catchy “The Boss” (above), created with French producers Coopex and Charles B, rises 8-6, while “Stained Glass” (below), an arpeggio-loaded big room-flavoured collaboration with Germany’s Severman and India’s Arshan Joel, rises 12-9. They are Robbie’s 6th and 7th Top 10’s on this chart.

Greyson Chance now has two songs on the chart from his album Palladium. The riveting “Athena” (above) moves up 13-10, and becomes Greyson’s third Top 10 on the chart, following “Dancing Next To Me” (#2) and “Hellboy” (#3). But the more provocative winner “My Dying Spirit” (below) also arrives on the chart at #26.  Greyson’s North American tour is now underway, and I look forward to his December 1 show in my city!

The Fastest Riser on the chart is probably the most joyous one too. It’s “Celebrate” (above) by Dutch producer Laurentius and Luxembourg singer/songwriter Oke, which soars 25-15.  Check out “Jaiye”, the title track of their upcoming EP together, below.

“Castles” by Florida’s Tonner has a dreamy, lilting melody and a feel good vibe, and it rises 21-16.

Two Friends and Mod Sun have a real grower with the anthemic “Timebomb” (above), which moves up 22-17. You can check out Two Friends’ new one with Jutes called “Chloe”, below.

Oliver Sim’s pensive “GMT” is off to a great start, climbing 26-19. It’s from his new solo album Hideous Bastard. He has indicated that new music from his band The xx is in the works, but with no ETA as of yet.

The Highest Debut of four songs belongs to Rhode Island’s JVKE with “Golden Hour” at #24. The song is gradually becoming a pop radio hit. It seems like unconventional songs like this that are soaked in influences from the early pop/rock era are striking a chord with younger listeners today. JVKE is only 19 and definitely has a great voice. He also produces and plays multiple instruments. “Golden Hour” is culled from JVKE’s new album This Is What ___ Feels Like Vol 1-4.

Then at #25 we have another 19 year old (soon to be 20), Stephen Sanchez, with “Until I Found You”. The northern California native to me echoes The Everly Brothers on this song, whether or not he’s familiar with the late great duo. It’s a beautiful, ear-pleasing song from his new album Easy On My Eyes.

The fourth debut is the rollicking drum ‘n bass-influenced track by Manila Killa and fknsyd called “Take Me Higher” at #29.  As the title song from his album Dusk wraps up its chart run at #27 (with a #2 peak), and after seeing Manila Killa’s live show last week, it’s timely to revisit this unique and infectious offering from him.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! You can also follow me on Spotify at the following link:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs.

ONLINE RADIO SHOWS

You can hear me and many of my blog choices on this growing list of online radio stations and features! 

Radio GTA

Listen to The Big 20 from 10pm to Midnight EST on Wednesdays as “The Musicman” James Rogers and I bring you the latest in new songs.  The show also repeats on Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. EST and Sunday mornings at 2:00 AM EST. You can hear past episodes of The Big 20 at this link.

On Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6pm EST I bring you “Your Weekend New Music Mix” six hours of commercial-free music from the 2000’s including many song choices from this blog.

Halton Hills Online

“Your Weekend Music Mix” has a second home on Saturday and Sunday evenings from 8pm to Midnight EST! It’s a different mix from Radio GTA’s show, and like that one it is also commercial free. “The Big 20” also airs on this station at 6pm EST Saturdays.

The 3D Variety Show by Planet Radio Canada

I’m featured Tuesdays between 7 and 7:30 pm EST with my New Music Pick of the Week which debuts every week on “The 3D Variety Show” with “The Musicman” James Rogers, and I also join occasionally for looks at music from our past through some live segments.  A repeat of “The 3D Variety Show” airs on Wednesdays at 7pm EST on Radio GTA.  My pick of the week airs 20 times during the week and you can view its schedule by clicking here.  You can hear past episodes of The 3D Variety Show at this link.

Addictive Energy

This is a weekly show hosted by Hunter Wilbur that airs on several online stations but is anchored at Mix88.ca on Sundays beginning at 8pm EST. You can hear past episodes of Addictive Energy at this link.

For other details about the shows, such as dates and times of broadcasts, go to my home page and scroll down to the bottom right side!

 

Progressive electronic producer @NGHTMRE takes you on a sci-fi journey with new video for “Fear + Love” from his recent album “DRMVRSE”

NGHTMRE, “Fear + Love” (video)

Video is the perfect platform for much of the music of Connecticut-born Tyler Marenyi, otherwise known as NGHTMRE. And not long after the release of his powerful and wonderfully melodic album DRMVRSE, he brings us a fanciful sci-fi video by combining two tracks from the album as “Fear + Love”. It’s a captivating visual incorporating live action and digital animation in what might be a story into whose middle we have been thrust. The futuristic setting is unique, and there is both potential romance and peril in store for the lead characters. Ultimately what this video needs is a bit more context and perhaps that is forthcoming if there will be more videos to explain more of the story. It’s definitely ambitious and fascinating to watch. Fans of video games will whole-heartedly approve. I had the pleasure of seeing NGHTMRE perform a show this summer in Las Vegas, which contained a riveting half-hour that left me out of breath. DRMVRSE includes the recent single “Fall Into Me”, with frequent collaborators SLANDER and Dylan Matthew, and if you enjoyed Illenium’s Ascend as much as I did, then DRMVRSE is waiting for you to hear.

Norway’s @Matomaofficial is back with a deep house banger “The Power”

MATOMA, “The Power”

After a series of well-received and thoughtful pop/dance releases like “Never Surrender” with Steve Garrigan and “Heart So Big” with A R I Z O N A, Matoma focuses on deep house with his new track, a crackerjack banger called “The Power”. Unless I’m terribly mistaken, that compelling uncredited vocal is the wonderful Clementine Douglas, who most recently has graced dance radio hits by Sonny Fodera and Dom Dolla. “The Power” is a song that will lift up any deep house set and club DJ’s should not hesitate to jump on it quickly. Matoma continues to be one of the more versatile producers in dance music and “The Power” is one of his best geared especially for clubs and festivals.