Post-“The Voice” success brings us new @NickHagelin music with the affecting “Blue Moon”

NICK HAGELIN, “Blue Moon”

I’ve written about Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Nick Hagelin so much in the last seven years, that it reads like a chronology of growing personal success that brought him, both somewhat logically and with a lot of hard work, to be an amazing Top 10 contestant on season 10 of “The Voice” as part of Christina Aguilera’s team, where his humble personal life also became front and centre, and only enhanced the appeal of all of his modest talents.  

“Blue Moon” is a new independent release from Nick that tells a common story – being in touch with someone you want to know better, but not enough to call it a relationship.  It’s more of a pop song this time that downplays a lot of the R&B influence from his previous releases, though you cannot deny that beautiful, soulful falsetto of his when it surfaces to bring the some home.  Plus, we get to see some of his dance moves in the above video – as you may know, he’s a ballet dancer too.  Nonetheless, like with some of the videos he released before “The Voice”, it’s nice to see Nick front and centre – simply Nick at his best.  

Published in: on March 26, 2017 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #505 – March 20/17

This 505th edition of the BILLCS Top 30 is brought to you once again by The Chainsmokers, except this time they share the #1 spot with Coldplay on “Something Just Like This”.  This is a song that appeals to the good nature of everyone, and gets The Chainsmokers their third number one on this chart, while Coldplay gets their first (both “Talk” and “Clocks” got to #2).  Can’t wait to hear more from The Chainsmokers’ upcoming album Memories…Do Not Open.  These guys have not stopped and 2017 will continue to be huge for them.

Our Top 10 continues to seem like a revolving door as recent favourites depart to the lower parts of the Top 30.

The Rest of the Busy Songs on the Rise

  • In a chart where there were no songs by The Chainsmokers, Germany’s Koni and US vocalist Danelle would be at #1 with the effervescent “Mad About You”, which climbs to #2, bypassing The Chainsmokers’ “Paris” which dips 1-3.  “Mad About You” is one of those songs guaranteed to put a smile on your face, particularly if you happen to be someone crazy over someone else.  With Callum McBride, Koni has also done a great job on a remix edit of Ed Sheeran’s “Galway Girl”, injecting just a tad of tropical flavour – give a listen below and download it for free.
  • Another German producer and American vocalist soar into the Top 5 from outside of the Top 10.  It’s Levi featuring Victor Perry on the timeless and effortless “Sail”, which vaults 13-4 and is the Fastest Riser on the chart for a second time in a row.
  • A song I simply cannot get out of my head is “Be My Love” by Mahalo featuring Cat Lewis, so much so that even in its 8th appearance on the chart it still moves upward, bounding 9-5.  The pair also have a second song taking off further down.  “WTFYWF” climbs 22-15 (both below).
  • Toronto’s Loud Luxury pairs up with Ryan Shepherd on “Something To Say”, the deep house redux-in-disguise of Craig David’s “Fill Me In”, which flies into the Top 10 15-8.
  • If there weren’t as many songs as strong as DNCE’s “Naked” the song would be much higher on the chart but not as high as the #2 placing of “Cake By The Ocean” in late 2015.  Nonetheless, DNCE reach the Top 10 a second time as “Naked” moves up 11-9.

  • The last debut in the Top 10 belongs to the currently-touring Justin Taylor Phillips, aka Crywolf, who I will see in concert on March 25.  The waltz-like epic “Windswept” jumps 14-10.
  • One of the most unique songs of the year is “Manifest”, the progressive soul/hip hop flavoured song by Brandyn Burnette from his third EP Feature Films.  “Manifest” rises 20-13.

5 Debuts (all with featured vocalists)

  • I think young Dutch producer WRLD will become another Tiesto if song choices like “Stranded” keep coming his way.  Paired up with American producers SMLE, the song benefits immensely from an outstanding, soaring vocal by Kiddo AI and bows at #21.  It’s one-of-a-kind dance music for your ears and feet!  It’s also currently available as a free download 🙂

  • Right behind at #22 is “Stay” by Zedd featuring Alessia Cara.  “Stay” is Zedd’s fourth appearance on the chart, but first in three years, and Alessia’s chart debut.  Zedd is a refreshing change of electronic style for Zedd, and Canadian singer Alessia Cara to me gives her best vocal to date (she also is one of the song’s co-writers).  All of Zedd’s three songs to hit the chart have made the Top 5, including a #1 with “Spectrum” (featuring Matthew Koma) in 2012.  Will “Stay” follow suit?  I think there’s a strong possibility!

  • Dutch duo The Him are back after finding their way to #2 last year with “Balance” (featuring Oktavian) and opening on The Chainsmokers’ European tour.  But “I Wonder” is far different from the deep house of “Balance”.  It’s got a bright summery melody in stark contrast to a divine but forlorn vocal by singer LissA – and it all works beautifully.  “I Wonder” arrives at #24.  I will be checking out The Him’s own show on March 31.
  • NYC duo The Knocks make their fifth entry on the chart with “Worship”, featuring UK singer MNEK, about whom I’ve written a number of times, and who first appeared on the chart in 2015 with Zara Larsson on “Never Forget You” (#17).  I saw The Knocks on March 17 in concert and as usual they put on a dance party that you didn’t want to see end.  Their new EP is Testify, and “Worship” is the Gospel-flavoured ear-ringer which debuts at #25.  All of The Knocks’ previous entries have reached the Top 10, including a #1 last year with “Kiss The Sky”, featuring Wyclef Jean.
  • Our final debut is also the third one from The Netherlands (a fourth Dutch entry is at #11, “Light” by San Holo).  Lulleaux makes his song “Sinner” a winner featuring a top notch vocal by SVM, and it premieres at #27, the first entry for Florida’s Tipsy Records.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca on Tuesday evenings (returning on March 28), and with my Pick of the Week segment returning on March 27, aired throughout the week at 2:20 6:20 10:20 AM/PM EST 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluesy jam: “Drinkin'” by @iamJMSN

JMSN, “Drinkin'”

“Drinkin'” is an essential rocking bluesy jam that’s going to sound fabulous in concert by L.A.-based singer JMSN.  He’ll release his fourth album Whatever Makes You Happy on April 28 and is touring in North America to support it.  After a moody pair of albums, It Is and JMSN (aka the Blue Album), and working with folks like Kendrick Lamar, Kaytranada, J. Cole, and Tyga over the past few years, JMSN’s commanding vocal takes control here with a blistering vocal that reminds you of why you got interested in the first place back about five years ago with his solo debut album †Priscilla†.  With JMSN still producing and engineering “Drinkin'”, and self-releasing his records, props here must also go to the bass work by Yuki “Lin” Hayashi which captures a deep groove that helps bring the song home.  The focus now seems to be more on real instruments and musicians than electronics.  Give “Drinkin'” a listen at the link above.

Published in: on March 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Take Me Down” is new from #Toronto powerhouse vocalist @JuliaCarlucci

JULIA CARLUCCI, “Take Me Down”

Following up her 2015 EP For Me is Toronto’s Julia Carlucci with “Take Me Down”.  Regardless of how you find your music – through radio, digital playlists, or online – “Take Me Down” is vocal-driven R&B-inspired pop whose intent is to bring the house down and make you remember who sung it.  And with the video showcase above, Julia has an appeal that could transcend Lady Gaga, Cher, and Céline Dion, even though her most immediate inspirations are the likes of Alicia Keys and Beyoncé.  Set in a classic pop setting with orchestra backing, I’m certain you’ll be hearing more of Julia Carlucci as word gets out about “Take Me Down”, as they already have in other parts of the world (Japan and Indonesia, being two)!

Published in: on March 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Goes down easy: “Irreplaceable” by Philadelphia duo @Nights_official

NIGHTS, “Irreplaceable” (free DL)

Nights is a new male duo out of Philadelphia who’ve just released their debut single “Irreplaceable”.  The style is a smooth mix of EDM, R&B and Hip Hop, more likely to appeal to fans of Chance The Rapper, Bryson Tiller or Anderson.Paak than say The Chainsmokers or Tiësto.  What I like particularly about “Irreplaceable” is the positive message that’s wrapped up in a vibe that will catch your attention when you don’t expect it.  The understated vocal is in a dreamy zone that totally suits the song.  “Irreplaceable” is a great start for Nights – folks who also enjoy RKCB and Opia will be pleased.  Get it for free at the link above.

Published in: on March 18, 2017 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Breathe by #DiamondCafe is a new project by Vancouver’s @TristanTmusic for Michael Jackson and Prince fans

DIAMOND CAFE, Breathe (EP)

I’ve been a big believer in Vancouver singer/songwriter Tristan Thompson since his debut release Here For You in 2014 yielded a soulful piece of pop ear candy called “Tidal Wave”, which also topped the BILLCS Top 30.  That song as well as “Burn Again” and the title track received significant national radio airplay in Canada for an independent performer, and got notice overseas, particularly in New Zealand.  

Fast forward three years, and the singer, who is not even 20, has created a new project called Diamond Cafe, after a second album last year stalled and the label behind it folded. The EP Breathe is full of five lush, soulful pop/dance songs that will appeal mostly to Michael Jackson and Prince fans, but also to fans of performers as diverse as Sade and Adele.  The singer has also taken on production duties, and he’s definitely on the right track though perhaps some songs might benefit from a deeper sound.  His now-richer vocals with some commanding high notes score throughout, and the songs to zero in on are the title track, “Commercial Love”, and “Diamonds”.

I think Diamond Cafe will find friends with club DJ’s, EDM fans, and R&B/soul fans interested in hearing 80’s/90’s sounds mixed in with the style of today.  Some of the songs, like “Diamonds” could benefit from remixes.  Tristan Thompson should find a new and more mature audience with Diamond Cafe.  Check out the entire album on Spotify at the link above.

Published in: on March 11, 2017 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #504 – March 6, 2017

 Regardless of what you think of The Chainsmokers after their 2016 successes, including a Grammy win for “Don’t Let Me Down”, you had to know that the only way was up in 2017.  So they’re touring in Europe and headlining some of the biggest festivals.  Yet they always find time for the fans and the up-and-coming producer/DJ’s who would like to taste even a modicum of what they’ve accomplished in a short period of time.  Those who knew them before the “#Selfie” days must be gleaming.  

So this week on the BILLCS Top 30, The Chainsmokers have the distinction of having the top two songs.  The reflective “Paris” (above) remains at #1 by a hair, but the second single from their upcoming Memories…Do Not Open album co-written and performed with Coldplay, the anthemic singalong “Something Just Like This” (below), bows at #2 and is set to succeed “Paris” in two weeks.  It’s the first time in a year since the same performer held the Top 2 – currently-charting Brandyn Burnette did it in January 2016 with “Nothing At All” at #1 and “Lost (Stripped)” at #2.  And it’s Coldplay’s first appearance on this chart, their 8th in total, since 2008’s #1 “Viva La Vida”.

And with this feat, half of the Top 10 changes…

Four More New Entries in the Top 10

  • German producer/DJ/guitarist Koni soars 13-3 with the glorious pop tune “Mad About You” featuring a delightful vocal by Danelle.  Had The Chainsmokers hits not come along, well, you can do the math!
  • The sultry and evocative “Memories Of You” by Alyx Ander featuring Srey Davi bounds 15-7 in this release for Nettwerk Records.
  • Following the #4 “Just A Dream”, Molly Moore follows it into the Top 10 11-8 with “Imaginary Friends”, from the EP Now You See Me, with fine remixes by Pluto and TelyKAST.
  • Heroic Records lands in the Top 10 for the first time thanks to German producer JPB and British singer Luke Cusato with the lovely “For You” rising 12-10.

Also Movin’ On Up

  • Set to follow “Cake By The Ocean” into the Top 10, DNCE gets “Naked” moving 14-11.

  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to a third German producer/DJ, Levi, but featuring the gorgeous tones of American singer Victor Perry on “Sail”, which vaults 24-13.
  • Crywolf is in the midst of his North American tour, and a new EP Skeletons is due next week.  The epic “Windswept” climbs 20-14.
  • The Toronto pairing of Loud Luxury and Ryan Shepherd is responsible for a killer deep house redux of Craig David’s “Fill Me In”, retitled “Something To Say” (and also remixed by none other than Tiësto!), and it leaps 25-15.
  • I’m also looking forward to hearing more from Toronto quartet Blajk, whose song “Lethal” rises 21-16.

  • The bubbly, Broadway-flavoured Christofi remix of Elohim’s “Hallucinating” continues to climb nicely, up 22-19.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s third EP Feature Films is now available on all digital platforms, and the ambitious song from it called “Manifest” climbs 29-20.
  • The final debut from two weeks ago, “Know Myself” from Denmark’s Owkey featuring UK vocalist Ashdown, is no slouch rising 30-23.

One Last Debut

  • While The Chainsmokers and Coldplay’s high, high debut kind of steals some of its thunder, totally catchy in a different way is “WTFYWF” by Mahalo featuring Cat Lewis.  And yes, this collaboration is still riding high in the Top 10, moving to #9 with the exceptional “Be My Love”.  “WTFYWF” is a ribald, no holds barred party song which debuts at #22.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week at 2:20 6:20 10:20 AM/PM EST 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #503 – February 20/17

The new music keeps coming and the last chart’s runner-up takes the pole position this time… but what will follow it in the coming weeks? The new music keeps coming and the last chart’s runner-up takes the pole position this time… but what will follow it in the coming weeks?
The Top 10

  • So much is happening for The Chainsmokers after their Grammy win for Best Dance/Electronic Song for “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya). An album is forthcoming and it will consist entirely of new music, which they apparently are previewing while in Europe. In the meantime, “Paris” has followed “Closer” to the top of this chart while official remixes of the song have arrived by Pegboard Nerds, VINAI, LOUDPVCK, Jewelz & Sparks, Party Thieves, and FKYA!
  • As another song featuring his wonderful voice lands on the chart, Victor Perry moves up 6-4 with his piano cover of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”. In even better news, Tunecore, through its new label Wunder, has officially released the song, which was previously available as a free download. If you haven’t got it yet, buy it!
  • There’s so much buzz about The Netherlands’ San Holo on the EDM scene that he’s already landed spots in a number of American EDM festivals! In the meantime, his song “Light” continues to find new friends and advances 9-5.
  • Felix Cartal continues with two songs on this chart, the highest being “Drifting Away”, featuring Ofelia K., which is great for imagining a drive down one of the U.S. coasts. It climbs 8-6.
  • “Sleeping In”, that splendid new song by L.A.’s Phil Good is remixed by Sean Turk to reimage what else you might do when you claim you’re sleeping in on a Sunday morning. It moves up 12-8.
  • L.A.’s Mahalo climbs an important notch to #10 for “Be My Love” featuring a beautiful vocal by Cat Lewis.

Movin’ On Up

  • Continuing to delight us from her EP Now You See Me is Molly Moore with the atmospheric “Imaginary Friends”. As remixed by both Pluto and TELYKAST, it rises 14-11.
  • Right behind “Imaginary Friends”, as it has been for the last few charts, is Germany’s JPB featuring England’s Luke Cusato on vocal with the heartfelt “For You”, up 15-12.
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to another German performer, producer/guitarist Koni, who is one half of Saxity (at #7 with “Brothers”) and charted last year as a remixer of “Burn Fast” by Bryce Fox, which peaked at #15. Now with vocalist Danelle, Koni is at his best with the simple pop/dance mix of the engaging “Mad About You”, which soars 23-13.
  • “Memories Of You” is one of the most deliberately mysterious songs on the chart as brought to us by Miami’s Alyx Ander featuring a seductive vocal by Srey Davi. It glides 19-15.
  • All of the last chart’s debuts besides “Mad About You” are well on their way at #20, #21, and #22 respectively: “Windswept” the epic progressive EDM song by L.A.’s Crywolf (above), now on tour; another mysterious song by Toronto’s Blajk called “Lethal” (below); and the whimsical remix by Christofi of Elohim’s “Hallucinating” (also below).

Debuts

  • Collaborating with Germany’s Levi, American singer/songwriter Victor Perry is on point with cool restraint on “Sail” which arrives at #24, to accompany #4 “Missing” on the chart.
  • Toronto’s rising Loud Luxury pairs up with fellow Torontonian Ryan Shepherd for “Something To Say”, which is a UK house-inspired redux of Craig David’s “Fill Me In” in disguise, and it is glorious, remixed by Tiësto no less!! It bows at #25.
  • I’m so excited about the arrival of this song that I wrote about recently that it lands on my chart a few days before official release. Brandyn Burnette’s adventurous progressive soul-meets-hip hop in “Manifest”, from the upcoming Feature Films EP, premieres at #29, just as “Plans” featuring Brandyn with Elephante leaves the chart after a mandatory 10 appearances.
    • The more you hear “Know Myself” by Denmark’s Owkey but featuring UK vocalist Ashdown, the more it will stick in your head. Everyone can relate to this song and its melody is quite memorable. It debuts at #30, accompanying another release by Heroic (“For You” by JPB at #12) on the chart.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week at 2:20 6:20 10:20 AM/PM EST 🙂

“Stay Up Late” is the latest potent R&B/Dance original from @MonsieurAdi” featuring #Red

MONSIEUR ADI featuring RED, “Stay Up Late”

I’m hoping that with “Stay Up Late” we will hear much more from the ever-talented French (but often U.S.-based) producer Monsieur Adi, about whom I’ve written so many times since 2010.  After 2013’s amazing “What’s Going On” with A*M*E, Monsieur Adi’s releases and even remixes were very select (albeit Katy Perry’s “Rise”though…), but when they did arrive we continued to be blessed with top notch original productions with fine vocalists.  “Stay Up Late” though has managed to get the attention of long-time dance label Robbins Entertainment.  It’s almost like Adi picked up where “What’s Going On” started, with “Stay Up Late” featuring another potent but controlled and soulful vocal by Red, and his production being suitably recognizable with its percolating rhythm and synths building with such a distinguished orchestrated effect.  Listen up top and also check out the extended mix.

Published in: on February 12, 2017 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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NYC’s @AndyxSuzuki @AndTheMethod continues with diverse sophomore rock album “The Glass Hour”

andysuzukithemethod

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD, The Glass Hour

After previewing two outstanding singles “Fight” and “I Need You More (The More You Leave)” in earlier blog posts, Andy Suzuki & The Method’s sophomore album The Glass Hour has arrived.  

You can generically label it a Rock album if you wish, but it’s a complimentary fusion of styles which lead through the guitar wizardry of John Mayer through the story-telling of Joshua Radin through softer R&B ballad tones of John Legend, and then inject some gospel flavour that Kirk Franklin fans would appreciate.  It’s all well-connected together through Andy Suzuki’s committed vocals and passionate guitar work, and Kozza Olatunji-Babumba’s drum and percussion work is totally on the same level.  

The album to me is at its best when it’s skewing R&B on “Shelter” and “Overtime” as well as the tight, danceable pop of “I Need You More”, likely the most radio-friendly song.  But then there’s the power and urgency of “Fight” and “Come Forward”, as well as the deep sentiment of “Mama Told Me”.  

All in all, The Glass Hour has a vibrancy and zeal for tantalizing your musical taste buds with variety plus, and it all works. You can hear it all in a show coming near you, so be sure to check out their website for tour dates.  Give The Glass Hour a listen below and then be sure to pick it up at any online digital store.

Published in: on February 3, 2017 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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