Today’s Artist on the Rise spotlight shines on singer/songwriter Dana Williams, who was previously featured on The Dishmaster for her collaboration with Leighton Meester on a Fleetwood Mac cover. Her new single, “There You Go,”is now available on all streaming platforms. Co-written by Harlan Silverman, the sweetly simple song perfectly highlights her beautiful voice. You might recognize Williams from her appearance in a 2014 apple commercial. Williams also had an original song in the in Oscar nominated film, ‘Whiplash, ‘ and she was featured in Interview Magazine, where you can learn more tid bits about her life, including that her dad was a guitarist for Michael Jackson.
It’s a new year folks, and there are no words to describe 2018’s first pick for this week’s Artist on the Rise. It’s Valerie June, and her voice is so hauntingly beautiful it hurts my soul. To top it off, The Memphis-born singer-songwriter’s albums have incredible original material, with one track being better than the next. Her most recent record, “The Order of Time,” is no exception. June began her love of music singing gospel at her church three times a week sans instruments. She recounts her unique vocals, saying “My parents couldn’t get over how weird I sounded—like an old man when I was just a toddler! But no one was gonna shut me up.” Years later, she found it important to learn an instrument. Of the process, June said, “I’d had so much fun in the dirty dives in Memphis or heading to Mississippi or Arkansas, it felt like something huge was missing when I couldn’t play shows, so I decided I needed to learn to play guitar because I’d never get gigs if I couldn’t accompany myself.” She now also plays the banjo and ukulele, and she later generated the funds for her first album via kickstarter, which led to convincing Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach to co-produce, simply by sending him samples.
On March 17, June will perform with one of my favorite bands of all time, The Wood Brothers. I’ve seen The Wood Brothers live, and there’s no better show on the planet. Head to Nashville to see these powerhouses come together for an incredible show. Find out about other performances HERE. Listen below, you’ll be hooked immediately.
Here at The Dishmaster, I love to feature new artists. By “new,” I mean I recently learned of their music, whether I’m the last to know or not. I draw this distinction because this week’s feature is Lewis Capaldi, and his YouTube count suggests I’m late to the party. I discovered Lewis when I let last week’s feature, Freya Ridings, run endlessly until Capaldi’s videos began to play. Apparently YouTube is aware of my taste. His EP, Bruises, has satisfied my itch for a new release from Hozier, given that they share the same lane. The Scottish singer/songwriter wrote the single, “Fade,” with Grammy winner, Malay, and he was nominated for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award’ at the Scottish Music Awards. Listen below.
For my Los Angeles friends looking for tickets, he’ll be performing at Moroccan Lounge on April 1, 2018. For everyone else, click HERE to see if you’re lucky enough to see him visit your city.
Television shows often have a limited music budget, which means they are forced to get creative when picking tracks. And it’s thanks to that creativity that I was introduced to the very beautiful song, “Lost Without You” by Freya Ridings, which was featured on TNT’s Good Behavior. This will be the third release from the 23-year-old Londoner, whose self-released singles have amassed millions of streams. Of the song, Ridings has said that she wanted to capture a heart-breaking moment from a train station that changed her life. The track was mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Beck). Prior to “Lost Without You,” Ridings released “Blackout” and “Maps,” the latter of which is a cover of the popular Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs song. Listen to the stunning track below.
My hunt for new artists has brought me Oriel Poole, an electro-soul singer/songwriter whose debut EP, Sunday, is produced by Max Savage and represents quite the risk, given that Poole put aside her successful career as a production designer to pursue music. Of her decision to follow a new path, Poole said, “It’s crazy, but I feel like the economic climate back in 2008 gave rise to the art form I felt most deeply connected to. If it wasn’t for a challenging couple of years post college, I would have never given music a realistic consideration, but I am so grateful I did.” Poole is UK born and self taught, and her retro-synth vibe sets her apart. She’s the girl you play in the background at your cool house party where your guest stops you, mid-conversation to say, “Who is this artist?”
Forgive me if I find on-the-nose schmaltz to be off-putting. While I’m certainly happy Kesha is making a comeback and speaking her truth, my heartless core just happens to be put off by this indulgence, and the epic drum back-beat just feels like a try-hard attempt at making the music memorable. The song, entitled “Praying,” was co-written with Macklemore’s Ryan Lewis, and the track was strangely released the same day as Macklemore’s new song, “Glorious” (absent Ryan Lewis). The fast-rap hip hop duo won three Grammies, and Lewis left their partnership without any tangible explanation. Ben Haggerty says that “the decision came from a place of love for one another” but some “creative space would be good” for both of them.
It’s no secret that Kesha has endured a bear of a legal battle, fighting Dr. Luke and Sony to exit her contract amid claims of sexual harassment. “Praying” will be the “Tik Tok” singer’s first new material since the 2013 EP ‘Deconstructed.’ As for Macklemore, “Glorious” is fine. It’s catchy, as all his songs are. Listen to both tracks below.
Excited about Jay-Z’s new album, I listened to it in its entirety, and without outside influence of any kind. I was immediately struck by a lyric on “The Story of O.J.,” which says, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” I listened again and again, in hopes that the context would in some way call-out the anti-Semitic stereotype, and I quickly discovered that was not the case. Soon, I turned to google, where I found a ridiculous defense by famed Israeli-American music manager Guy Oseary, in which he claims Jay’s lyrics are actually a compliment.
First, shame on Guy Oseary. To use what I can only assume is a personal friendship to cloud his judgment is gross. Claims like these are never a compliment, and though he acknowledges that the “‘rich jew’ the ‘business jew’ the ‘jew that owns the world’ is a stereotype which has been repeatedly used with the wrong sentiment,” somehow Jay gets a pass here because Mr. Oseary read it in context. I too read the context, and that context is indeed anti-Semitic. I am perfectly capable of understanding the implication here, and I’m no sycophant whose entire paycheck is fueled by the music industry’s power players.
The anti-Semitic notion that Jews own the world and that our success is to the detriment of others, is not only offensive, it’s extremely dangerous. These conspiracies such as the world domination by Jews, are the same claims that once fueled Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, who felt it their purpose to stop us from such a takeover. It’s a heated declaration with dire consequences, and it should not be taken lightly — or as a compliment.
Finally, is it possible Jay-Z had pure intentions, and he wrongly used this lyric as an expression of admiration? To put it simply, it doesn’t matter. If Bill Maher doesn’t get a pass from the black community for wrongly using the horrific term “house nig***” in a terrible attempt at a joke, then Jay-Z doesn’t get a pass from the Jewish community for perpetuating this disgusting stereotype. He should know better.
Remember when I said Lorde can do no wrong after listening to her new single, “Green Light.” I take it back. After listening to her new, relatively disappointing single, “Liability,” it’s occurred to me (via a kind friend who pointed this out and asked not be quoted) that it’s strikingly similar to My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade.” Her upcoming album, ‘Melodrama,’ is out June 16. According to Lorde, the song is about the price of fame, and how everyone in her inner circle will at some point be attacked or impacted even if it means giving up a little portion of their privacy. Liability was also produced by Jack Antonoff. Listen below and judge the similarities for yourself. I called it disappointing for a variety of reasons. First, it’s just not that original, and if you’re going to have a very basic song, then be Adele and make it all about the vocals. Lorde’s voice is strikingly unique, and it deserves a unique melody. Second, I’m not into the piano at all. I imagine that is Antonoff’s influence, and it just doesn’t work. And lastly, the lyrics don’t really justify the sad tone.
Just who is Diana Ebe, and how did she achieve her hypnotic sound? The Stockholm native got an early start in the music industry with piano lessons at age four and classical training with the esteemed Swedish musical theater performer and producer, Andreas Eldeen. Her fittingly titled, “Elusive Pleasure” video takes you through startling lyrics about love against the backdrop of haunting images and alluring landscapes. According to Ebe, her works is about expressing the “lonely and longing feeling of love and life.” Watch the video below.