Tyler Childers is a bluegrass singer-songwriter from Lawrence County, Kentucky. His debut LP, Purgatory, currently available for preorder, was coproduced by Grammy Award winners Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson. It paints a semiautobiographical picture of despair with Southern flair.
Rolling Stone described his style as "a raw look at the darker regions of modern-day Appalachia, where bluegrass is in the soul, but cocaine is in the blood." Currently on a tour that began in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Childers told the magazine that his sound matches his culture. "It's something I'd want to listen to, sound-wise, growing up in this area. The Appalachian culture and the way the people in this region talk, the sayings they have, it all lends itself to good songs."
The best storytellers often aren’t the ones who have had the wildest experiences. They’re the ones who have experienced things the same things as the rest of us but can articulate their experiences in a unique way. They give us a new vocabulary for talking about ourselves and the world around us. That’s the gift that William Matheny presents to us.
Watch Childers perform "Whitehouse Road":
Janelle Kroll is a Chicago-born, New York-based singer-songwriter who shapes her individually crafted songs through her powerful use of human emotions and real-life sentiments. She lays it all out on her newest EP, Barricade, set for a fall 2017 release through NYC indie label Lokal Legend. On Barricade, Kroll freely explores the definitive themes surrounding her personal life—emotional authenticity, impermanence, and independence—to produce her self-created notion of “dependent music,” a connection with listeners bridged solely by the raw emotions and emotional dependencies we all share as humans.
Barricade is an appropriate continuation to Kroll’s last EP, Outsider, in which she fully explores the realms of dream-pop and alternative pop à la contemporaries Banks, AlunaGeorge, and Lana Del Rey. Kroll developed her singing and songwriting chops through various creative partnerships, including her time singing lead vocals while on tour with indietronica outfit Big Data (summer 2014) as well as a co-writing credit with Estelle on “Time Share (Suite 509)” (True Romance, 2015). Kroll first left her mark on the world with her 2015 hit, “Sunny Days,” which was featured on Spotify’s influential New Music Playlist. The track later went Top 10 on the streaming platform’s US Viral Chart and Global Viral Chart. Further backed by ongoing support from tastemaker media outlets like Harper's Bazaar, Billboard, Pigeons & Planes, and more, Kroll secured a coveted performance slot on the internationally celebrated music festival Lollapalooza in her native Chicago in 2015. Elsewhere, Kroll has worked as a featured vocalist on a handful of tracks from buzzing electronic dance music acts, including Moon Boots (“Utopia”) and Autograf (“Metaphysical”), as well as house music veteran Dennis Ferrer on “Mind Ur Step,” which dominated radio stations across Europe.
John Vaughn (lead vocals/guitar) and Ben Lapps (drums) started writing songs in a basement before being joined by Matt Alvarado (bass) to form PUBLIC. Using their roots in classic rock and indie-pop, the band released their first EP Red in 2012, solidifying a strong fanbase in their hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Soon after, the band found themselves on the road supporting acts such as Walk the Moon, Twenty One Pilots, and Young the Giant. They also began playing at major festivals like Forecastle, Bunbury, CMJ, and SXSW. These opportunities gave them exposure to a variety of crowds and fanbases.
Following the release of their second EP Let's Make It and their first national tour supporting Walk the Moon, the band was invited to work with producer Eric Palmquist (Mars Volta, Bad Suns) in Los Angeles, CA. Their 2015 single "Heartbeating" was released while the band was on a national tour with Oh Honey. The single received nods from reputable blogs like Kings of A&R, who said "The trio makes their mark with an effortless sense of harmony and entertaining musicality", and Good Music All Day, who said "'Heartbeating' presents PUBLIC as a rising rock band with a contagious indie style."
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is a composer, performer, and producer, originally from Orcas Island, Washington, and currently based in Los Angeles, California. After several self-released albums, Smith was signed to independent record label Western Vinyl, which released her first official album, Euclid, in January 2015. Her latest album, Ears, was released in April 2016.
Growing up in Ecuador, Maria Usbeck was immersed in salsa, merengue, bachata, and Andean music, but was more attracted to German and American culture than her own, eventually moving to America at 17 to attend art school. After five years of fronting new wave outfit Selebrities and writing songs in English, she knew it was time to let the mother tongue speak. That impulse manifested itself directly in her debut solo album, Amparo, which reads like an exotic travel diary - music made by a perceptive explorer to tap into the shared core of human expression.
Cool Maritime is an ambient electronic project.
Susanne Sundfør released her eponymous debut album in 2007 and in the ten years since, she has cemented her place as one of Norway's premier singers, songwriters and producers. Sundfør has released six albums, three of which reached #1 in Norway. She has collaborated with artists such as Röyksopp (on their #1 hit "Running to the Sea") and M83 (on the soundtrack to the Tom Cruise blockbuster Oblivion). In addition, Sundfør is a skilled producer, having produced her own music as well as having worked with the Norwegian Grammy-winning duo Bow To Each Other. Sundfør is currently working on new music.
Laura Escudé, a.k.a. Alluxe, is an electronic music producer/controllerist/boss lady who pushes the boundaries of live electronic music performance. Her huge sound and fashion-forward look is complemented by her alluring stage presence, complete with custom LED controllers, vocals, and violin.
Alluxe blends original compositions, improvised beats, and violin loops. Her signature sound fuses hip-hop and bass music to create a unique style of forward-thinking electronic music.
As one of the first Ableton Certified Trainers, she lives and breathes music and technology. Her production skills have earned her commissioned remixes for M83, Poliça, and Mr Hudson, and her violin can be heard on albums by Big Grams, Watch the Throne, Hit-Boy, Sage Francis, and Solillaquists of Sound.
Alluxe has opened for Miguel, Garbage, Machinedrum, Robert Rich, and Funkstörung, and has performed with Miguel, Kiesza, Charli XCX, and Iggy Azalea. She also has handled music programming, vocal effects, and designed shows for artists such as Kanye West, The Weeknd, Cirque du Soleil, Drake, and Demi Lovato.
Her EP Contrast is out now.
Alisse Laymac is a producer from Flint, Michigan. She is in her last semester at Berklee, studying music production and engineering, and is headed to Los Angeles, California, at the start of the new year to begin her career. Laymac is working with a handful of artists on projects, engineering, and mixing, as well as writing and producing her own music.
Tal Flora is a producer/songwriter/technologist/electronic performer from Tel Aviv, Israel. Her music is characterized by intricate, sexy beats and trippy sound design. Flora takes inspiration from her deep attachments to neo-soul, jazz, and hip-hop.
Watch Alluxe's 360 video performance of "Fervor":
After playing more than 100 living room shows to conquer his stage fright, Dotan finally released his debut album 7 Layers in 2014. The album instantly connected with audiences, and within a year, the Dutch singer-songwriter took the multi-award-winning album from living rooms to international festivals, to his sold-out, headline stadium show in Amsterdam. His songs "Home" and "Hungry" were instant hits. His unique vocals, heartfelt lyrics, and dynamic musicianship resonated with listeners and no matter the scale, his shows provided an experience, mixing big drums and anthemic numbers with more intimate and acoustic moments.
His music was featured in many popular American television shows and the legendary Ben Folds invited him to tour throughout North America in 2016. As the rollercoaster ride slowed, Dotan decided to go back to his own living room and record new music. The song "Bones" is the first result of a stripped-bare approach going back to his singer-songwriter core. This tour adopts the same approach. No big band, no drums, no stadiums. Just Dotan and his guitar.
Legendary producer Phil Ramone discovered and signed Lauren Kinhan '86 at a Bitter End performance in 1997, impressed by her fiercely creative voice and original music. With influences steeped in jazz and a love of the great singer-songwriters, Kinhan’s vocal style borrows from both disciplines while moving the original song forward in unexpected ways. Kinhan’s new album, A Sleepin' Bee, released on October 6, pays tribute to jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson. The album was recorded in Berklee’s Shames Family Scoring Stage with Grammy Award-winning producer Elliot Scheiner.
Lauren Kinhan, voice
Andy Ezrin, piano
Matt Penman ‘95, bass
Matt Wilson, drums
Blessed with a commanding, blast-it-to-the-back-of-the-room voice, 25-year-old Lydia Loveless was raised on a family farm in Coshocton, Ohio—a weird small town where there was nothing to do except make music. With a dad who owned a country music bar, Loveless often woke up with a house full of touring musicians scattered on couches and floors. When she got older, in the time-honored tradition of teenage rebellion, she turned her back on these roots, moved to the city (Columbus, OH), and immersed herself in the punk scene, soaking up the musical and attitudinal influences of everyone from Charles Bukowski to Richard Hell to Hank III.
This show is advised for ages 18 and over.
Harry Jay Smith is an R&B/funk/hip-hop artist and Berklee College of Music student from Washington, D.C.
His sound has been described as an "effortlessly cool" blend of R&B and hip-hop by Atwood Magazine and the "musical love child of Steely Dan and Jamiroquai" by Earbits Radio. His first EP, Truth, reached no. 1 on the Bandcamp neo-soul chart.
He is joined by the Bling, a group of D.C.–area Berklee students who have toured and performed with him from the start. With an intriguing blend of modern jazz and old soul, the group pays homage to the pioneers of R&B while generating an exciting new sound.
Claudia B. Swope is a pop/neo-soul artist from the D.C. area. Swope, who has been a singer and keyboard player for upwards of ten years and is currently a student at Berklee, performs her own music both as a solo act and with various bands. Swope's music is influenced by artists such as Kehlani, Norah Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Amy Winehouse.
Watch Harry Jay Smith & the Bling perform a cover of Vulfpeck's "Wait for the Moment":
Come be a part of Berklee’s first-ever DownBeat Blindfold Test, where DownBeat journalist and Blindfold Test master Dan Ouellette will challenge world-renowned bass master and Berklee Professor Victor Wooten to identify a series of mystery recordings.
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Eddie Berman has been writing songs since he was a teenager. His bedroom demos have earned substantial play on the California-based public radio station KCRW 89.9 FM. Berman has recorded and played throughout North America and Europe. In fact, he performed for several thousand people over dozens of sold out London residency shows in partnership with singer Laura Marling.
While recording a live EP with Marling in 2013, Berman realized that the way to make a record was to strip the process down in order to get to the essence of the song. His brand new debut album, Before the Bridge, does just that. The album was produced by Pierre De Reeder in his Los Angeles studio, Kingsize North. Berman and his supporting cast cut the 10 tunes on this record in only two days. The tight timeframe didn't give them time to overthink the arrangements or to fret over every point of possible imperfection. The songs on Before the Bridge are stark and honest examinations of the impulses, neuroses, and desires that push each of us from one day into the next.
The Band Camino is an alternative/indie band based out of Memphis, Tennessee. They have a loyal following in their hometown as well as an expanding online listener base in places such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Their song “The Black and White” charted at #36 on the Spotify US Viral Top 5, while some of their other songs have been featured on Spotify’s “Indie Pop” and “Feel Good Indie Rock” playlists. The band’s captivating live show has resulted in a flood of opportunities for the band including a live performance on AudioTree Live and a performance at Beale Street Music Festival. The Tennessee natives are set to release a third EP sometime in early 2018.
Neil Hilborn is a bestselling author who, with over 100 million views to his credit, is the most watched poet ever. Hilborn is a graduate of Macalester College with a degree in creative writing. Originally from Houston, Texas, he now lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Jaws of Love is a solo project from Local Natives's Kelcey Ayer. Ayer is releasing a record entitled Tasha Sits Close to the Piano on Sept 22, 2017.
Keznamdi was born in Kingston, Jamaica. His parents had a reggae band called Chakula, which released 10 albums and toured extensively. Keznamdi taps into a “feel-good” musical vibration of up and coming reggae. He recently released his Skyline Levels Vol. 1 EP, which debuted at #3 on the iTunes reggae album charts.
Ryan Kinder was born in Knoxville, Tenesee, and was raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He put his first band together in high school and continued to pursue his passion while attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After two years of traveling back and forth between Alabama and Music City to chase his dream, he finally quit school and moved to Nashville, where he could pursue his craft full time.
The Nashville creative community took notice soon after Kinder arrived. Executives with Warner Music Nashville were already scouting him when he played at the annual CMA Music Festival, where the crowd tripled in size during Kinder’s set. Warner Nashville President/CEO John Esposito liked what he saw and signed Kinder shortly after.
L.A. Salami (Lookman Adekunle Salami) is a singer/songwriter from London, England, known for crafting magnetic blues-rock songs with a postmodern twist. Salami was fostered when he was two months old and grew up between his birth mother in Peckham, South London and his foster family in Broadstairs on the English coast. Much of his teens and early twenties were spent on the move, rarely settling in one place for more than few months at a time. It was this lifestyle that provided him with a unique insight about life in the city, something that he would later use to fuel his songwriting, both lyrically and conceptually.
His love for music began when he first heard Bob Dylan on the radio, subsequently leading him to explore more blues and folk music and inspiring him to write his own songs. Unfortunately, he could not afford his own instrument and wasn't introduced to one until he was given a guitar for his 21st birthday. After three months of soul-searching, tapping into different creative avenues, and sleeping rough, Salami eventually had his first few songs written and set out to land some gigs. Success soon came knocking after relentless gigging, starting with a tour support slot for Lianne La Havas in 2012.