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Interview: Artist on the Rise Gayle Skidmore

It’s one thing to be able to play one, two, or even three instruments and write your own music. It’s a whole other thing to have adapted and succeeded in playing over 20 instruments and have written 2,000 songs of your own. Also throw in never having experienced writer’s block. This all adds up to be one incredible indie folk artist, and her name is Gayle Skidmore.

The San Diego native began her music career by playing the piano. Gayle was introduced at the age of 4, and she took off from there. The indie folk singer has certainly been successful so far in her career, opening for artists such as Jason Mraz, Sam Phillips, Lisa Loeb, and many others.

I was able to snag an interview with Gayle, where I learned about her inspirations, her favorite instruments, and even the cookies she likes to bake. Check it out!

What drew your attention to the piano at such a young age? (the age of 4)

My family got me into it, and I fell in love. I came from a very musical family, me and my older sisters played. After that, I took lessons 10 years consistently. I’ve always heard music in my head.

Wow, writing over 2,000 songs is incredible. How did you manage to start that up at the age of 8?

It’s something I’ve always done. I began recording at the age of 5. When I was 8 my uncle died, so I started writing about that. I would try to write everything out as a song, and because of piano I was able write out the melody.

What are some major changes you’ve seen in your song writing and music ability since that time?

I try to change it up all the time. While working at a jingle house, I had great writing chemistry with the producer. They inspired me to study other genres- indie rock, classical, and such. It is a totally different process when writing for a commercial. It helped me break out into other genres. I have obviously grown and matured as well, and work with great producers and writers.

How did you get into playing so many unique instruments?

I’ve always wanted to try new instruments. I played the flute in middle school. My dad played guitar, so I taught myself how to play. But, the piano helped me pick up playing other instruments. The banjo was easy to pick up, it was like playing the guitar. My favorite is probably the mountain dulcimer. It’s just so pretty, and I love the idea of the instrument; it’s very singer songwriter-y. It’s very different from other instruments, just by the way it’s played and held. It’s very soft sounding and fun to sing to.

Your background write up says that you’ve never experienced writer’s block. Can you explain this further?

I think in song form a lot. I’ll be walking around and realize I’ve been humming a song for 20 minutes. I also write a bunch of songs that I don’t like at all. I take breaks purposely from song writing. I feel like I could write every day and I get overwhelmed. I don’t know what it’s like for other writers, but I have a lot of inspiration and a lot of dramatic things that have happened to help me write songs.

What was it like being recognized at such a high level for Germany’s newspaper, the Seuddeutsche Zeitung?

It was amazing. I had such a fun tour. It was very “do it yourself.” It was amazing that they choose to interview me a, nd do a section of me. It wasn’t the biggest show I’ve ever done but it waws one of the best. I got 3 or 4 encores, so I have nothing but positive memories.

What do you have in the works for the upcoming 2015?

I’ll be signing to a label in March-April, I’m very excited.  I’m also releasing a song with NINKASI, a brewery in Oregon funded by beer. It’s an amazing company. I participate in a music festival there every fall.  I’m still working on recording another full length album. Also I am working on 4 different side projects, and hopefully releasing some of that too.

As a side fun fact, what are your favorite cookies to bake?

Chocolate caramel chip cookies. I grew baking with my mom, and I have a major sweet tooth.

Check out Gayle’s songs, “Rag Doll” here.

For more information about Gayle, visit:

Website: http://gayleskidmore.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GayleSkidmoreMusic

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gayleskidmore

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WATCH: “What is Love” without a Little V Bozeman?

V Bozeman might have made her debut appearance on the hit show Empire, but her powerful vocals are truly leaving people speechless. 27-year-old Bozeman was born and raised in south central California. She attended Crenshaw High School and went to Long Beach State University before truly immersing herself in music.

Bozeman has always wanted to pursue music and admits that it’s been her calling from a young age. “I knew what to do since I was 5 years old,” Bozeman tells ESSENCE.com. “There’s never been a Plan B. Music chose me and I just have to submit to it. I could do other things, but I know that this is my calling since I was a little girl. I never sought out trying to-it just called me. I tried college; I tried jobs here and there. But my spirit wasn’t willing.”

Boy, are we glad Bozeman decided to follow her calling. Her power ballad “What is Love” is riveting and is the goose bump-inducing track that you’ll want to listen to on repeat. The song is emotion filled and draws on the intense emotion of heartbreak. The title is clean and speaks volumes about the nature of the song. Bozeman deeply explores the idea of love after loss with this track.

The accompanying video is simplistic, yet fitting for the song style. The beautiful Bozeman is dressed in all black with a dark gray background. The color scheme is perhaps a nod to the idea that black is symbolic of loss and hard times. The passion flows out of her as she stares into the camera, seemingly connecting to the audience on the other side of the screen.

Bozeman has already had an impressive start to her career and even has worked with CeeLo Green on Race Jones. She is very excited about her upcoming pieces, “This year, we’re releasing Opera Noire, it’s a duet project that I did with Timbaland and my album, which is called ‘Music Is My Boyfriend,’” Bozeman told ESSENCE.com.

We can’t wait to see what’s in store this year for Bozeman’s career. Check her out below to keep up!

Website: thatgirlv.com

Facebook: facebook.com/thatgirlvfans

Twitter: twitter.com/thatgirl_v

YouTube: youtube.com/vbozeman

DeAndre Wright

Interview: ALL Eyes on Houston’s Finest, DeAndre Wright

Limerence Magazine had the opportunity to chat with soul singer, DeAndre Wright on Sunday, February 21, 2015 at the L.O.U.D. Live Party for Prevention in Houston, Texas. All proceeds from the event were donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Greater Houston Chapter. DeAndre talked about love, loss, and moving forward in today’s music scene.

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Is suicide prevention something you’re passionate about? What about this event made you want to come out and play for it?

DeAndre: Well, I have definitely had some friends affected by suicide as well as, you know, experience. A couple of friends that have dealt with illness and mental illness. It’s just really important that we make the issue something that people are definitely aware of. So when I heard about the organization, I was definitely ready to roll with it because I think it is just something that we need to make people more aware of so we can understand how to treat the illness and how to just be there for those in need.

You’ve been growing a lot, both nationally and locally. You’ve been playing more shows. You released your EP and music video. So can you tell me, when was the moment where things started clicking for you. When did you say, “Wow, I can really do this”?

DeAndre: I would say things really started clicking for me a year and a half ago. You have to get to that point to where you’re confident in yourself and I knew that the music was solid. It wasn’t until I realized that other people were listening and they were understanding where I was coming from, you know? It’s a smaller EP as far as it’s not getting that nationwide attention quite yet. But the people that have listened to it, they’re like, “I really connect to it”. So I would say those moments where people come back to you and they’re like, “I understand what you’re saying”. That’s when it’s a little bit more affirming. So I would say in the past year and a half or so, it’s really been clicking. I’m like, “oh shoot, people actually like it. They dig it.” (Laughs).

So in your EP, Dedicated, there were a lot of themes of love, heartache and growing up like you mentioned earlier. So what was your thought process while you were making and writing for it?

DeAndre: I was going through a difficult time I would say, in a relationship, and I just needed an outlet. Music became that outlet for me so the thought process was an organic process of like this is my life and you know how girls are, how us ladies are. Just kind of talking to my girlfriends and family. We all relate to love, love loss, fulfillment of love, heartache, you know, people kind of leave your life – that sort of thing. So that was definitely the process for me. It was living it, then writing it.

What is something you want your listeners to get out of your music? That it’s okay?

DeAndre: Yeah! Of course I want people to know, “It’s okay, you’ll be fine.” But I want people to know to stay strong. We’re all humans. We all connect. We all have very similar experiences especially as it comes to relationships and just interaction with one another. So definitely it’s okay. We can all push through. I’m one person that is making it through and I hope that other folks are inspired by just little old me making it through, so that’s probably it.

So your music is inspired by Madonna, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson. So what do you hope it is about your music that will inspire other people and other artists like you were inspired?

DeAndre: I hope they feel the soul of it all. That’s something that artists of the past really brought to music. It was like they bared their souls. You felt every single lick. Even when Michael Jackson was doing like a pop, pop song, it’s just like Janet and Michael’s “Scream”. I love that song. And they’re just talking about their everyday life experiences with the paparazzi and how it was something that was almost confining them to this little bubble that they had to be in with one another. I just hope that people can experience music in that same way. Just feel the soul of it and know it’s coming from a genuine place and that I’m a thoughtful, genuine person that’s just really working to express myself and help other people through their life experiences as well.

So what did you think of our Instagram Takeover?

DeAndre: That was fun. That was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. It was like, I guess I just terrorize an account? It was actually cool. I had a lot of fun. I thank y’all for letting me do that.

Do you have any last words for Limerence Magazine?

Yeah, absolutely. You can catch me on deandrewright.com. My EP is actually out on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Check out loudmuzik.com/. We are absolutely everywhere and doing a lot of work.

Check out the footage from DeAndre’s release party here: https://instagram.com/p/zY7RHXmzQ7/?modal=true

Website: http://deandrewright.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/deandrewrightmusic
LOUDmuzic: http://loudmuzik.com

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INTERVIEW: We’re Getting Closer to “The Waves” with Anais Aida

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With the exception of the cold weather, everything is going Anais Aida’s way. The Bronx-based singer just released a new EP, Out In The Waves, after two years of development. I got the chance to chat with Anais Aida about her influences, her new music, the interpretation of her music and how much of herself she reveals in her songs.

Congratulations on your new EP! How did it all come about?

Anais: I spent a lot of time working on it, it was like…maybe two years. When I was in college, I started it. It took me a while to finish it just because, you know, just learning along the way and trying to get the product that [I] want and, you know, me being a perfectionist [laughs]. But, it’s finally here, and I’m excited for people to here it.

There’s a cinematic quality to your music; very grand and expansive. What inspires you to make music the way that you do?

Anais: I don’t know. I think it’s probably a mix of my influences, but for some reason I really like, I guess, cinematic, very moving or emotionally stirring production. I still like it to be somewhat minimal, but I do like it to feel like it’s going somewhere. I do notice that a few of my songs sound like they should be in a movie or something [laughs].

What singers inspire you, and what do you think makes your music original?

Anais: Growing up, I listened to India.Arie a lot just because I didn’t have too many R&B or gospel influences in my life, but when I was going to high school in California, I started to be around singers that sang in really, really high pitch voices, and I wasn’t like that at all. I didn’t like my voice that much. She was the first artist that I was really able to relate to a lot.

Musically, I think I have a lot of different influences. Like, I have my vocal influences, and I have my production influences and then the people whose songwriting I look up to.

Who are all of those separate influences?

Anais: [My] top singing influence is probably Brandy. I think her voice is angelic, and it’s just the best [laughs]. Songwriting I would say is probably John Mayer. I really like his songwriting–it’s pretty simple. I think his album Continuum had a lot of really great messages.

As far as what makes my music original, I think it’s because I have such a lot of different influences, and even though I sing in a very R&B way, the music that I aspire to create is much deeper than R&B. R&B tends to be stuck in terms of progression, and the lyrical content is only love songs and things like that, and I want to do something bigger than that.

Would you consider yourself an R&B singer or a separate genre?

Anais: That’s really hard because I actually really hate that question in general, not for me because that’s something I always ask myself. People always ask me, “what kind of music do you sing,” and then what do you say? I think that people tend to associate me with R&B because, yes, I sing in a very soulful way, but, ideally, I think I would call it more like alternative, adult contemporary. I guess some artists I want to get closer to is probably Emeli Sande or even someone like Sam Smith, who I wouldn’t say makes R&B, and I wouldn’t say that he makes pop because it’s softer than how you think of pop, or how I think of pop. I think it’s a tricky question, and I think I’m still trying to figure that out. The reason I’m still trying to figure that out is because I’m still trying to build my sound, and I haven’t gotten to the place where I’m like, “This is it.”

How long have you lived in New York City?

Anais: Since I was in college, so five years now.

Does New York City inspire your singing or songwriting in anyway?

Anais: Um..no [laughs]. I’m very motivated by New York City, but ideally I wouldn’t like to live here. It was a great time for me [during] college, and it’s a great place for a singing artist, but the more I think about it ,the more I think I want to move somewhere else [laughs].

What do you mean by New York City motivating you?

Anais: Initially, I was in California deciding whether I wanted to go to NYU or USC. I was really driven to New York City because it feels like it has the kind of energy, and people are just really motivated. There’s nothing really easy about living in New York City; it’s very competitive, so I think the people here are really hungry, and I happen to be one of those people who’s incredibly motivated…I needed that around me.

How did you come up with the atmosphere for your new song “Recover?”

Anais: Well, actually that song was tricky. There were way too many producers on the track because I spent a long time working with a producer who I stopped working with right after we started the beginning of “Recover.” There’s something really sad about the piano and something very cool about it, like it fit. We started with the piano–the piano brought us the sound, and then the story came along. I felt a lot about the things that held me back in life and the shadows and chains, but I think about the heaviness and the haunting nature of the production. Unfortunately, it took a lot of people to create what it is today, but I think that you can know where [the song] wants to go.

“Recover” sounds like both a breakup song and a redemption anthem. Is it one, the other, a bit of both or something else entirely?

Anais: I like to leave it up to whoever’s listening. For me, it was about letting go of all the things I felt were chaining me down. If people want to interpret it in a romantic way, then I think that’s entirely up to them, and I love that! I’ve had friends call me up and say how the song is helping them through a breakup [laughs].

You were raised in Ireland, Senegal, France and California. What were the music scenes like there, and what effect did they have on you growing up?

Anais: I actually started with the violin and was learning classical music when I was in France. Then I moved to Ireland where, at first I fell out of love with playing the violin because the methods they were trying to teach me were really difficult coming from what I’ve learned in France. When I moved to Senegal, I started to get more into rhythmic music, and then once I got to California, that’s when I was totally into writing.

Which music scene stood out to you the most?

Anais: It would have to be California because it was the first time I really established myself as a songwriter. There’s something about gospel that I experienced in high school and soul music that just really tugged at my heartstrings. In an emotional way, I had never felt like that before.

What can audiences expect from Out In The Waves?

Anais: To be honest, every song is different, and that’s because I’m trying to find my sound and don’t have just one producer, so I don’t think [audiences] should expect anything [laughs]. Just listen to it, and see if it moves you.

Is there a singer or producer that you’d really like to work with in the near future?

Anais: There’s an artist in the UK that’s coming up right now called Kwabs. I’d love to work with him, I’d love to work with his production team. One of my producers actually played me his single over a year ago, and I fell in love.

Do you write a lot of personal songs?

Anais: Yeah, most of the time

When you write these personal songs, do you feel like you’re revealing too much about yourself, or do you feel that you have to be completely naked when you’re in front of the microphone?

Anais: In an emotional way, I think that I reveal a lot, but I don’t reveal it in a literal way. I don’t explain everything, like in “Recover,” I kind of leave it open for interpretation.

Give a  listen to “Recover” here:

For more information about Anais Aida, please visit:

Website: anaisaida.com

Facebook: facebook.com/AnaisAida

Twitter: twitter.com/anaisaida

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INTERVIEW: Everett Coast duo talks development since school days

When music runs in your veins, it naturally finds its way back to your heart and soul. Whether you’re Danny Byrne and pursue an Economics degree or Josh Misko and decide to forgo a standard college plan, one way or the other there’s a binding factor that keeps you at bay and gives as much clarity to fate as possible.

That factor may have been UCLA songwriting instructor Anika Paris, and almost half a decade after introducing the two young men in search of an identity, Everett Coast has long set sail towards the land of musical opportunity.

The acoustic pop-folk has enjoyed some buzzing success since their 2013 release of the debut EP Hey, Hey, California. The product engineered by Danny Balistocky of Revolution 9 Studios in Hollywood created enough momentum to push Everett Coast to greater heights outside of the L.A. bar gigging scene, and more towards the lives of full-time musicians; musicians who regularly work with the hundreds of relationships they’ve developed through networking with the right people by producing the right music. Both Josh and Danny share mutual influences in John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews and Sublime among others, and have incorporated some of the aforementioned artist’s most admirable and intriguing elements in lyricism, melody writing, as well as arrangement methods to further advance the sound they envisioned when the duo was established after their respective stints at the Musician’s Institute.

Everett Coast plans on releasing their next EP Lift Off on March 26th. I had the opportunity to speak with Josh and Danny on the phone and ask them a few questions about their memories in Hollywood, how their lives have changed since being on the road all the time and how their sound has developed headed towards their next release.

So it’s been around four years since you guys launched the Everett Coast project, and you guys wouldn’t have met had it not been for the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. First off Josh, you quickly realized traditional college wasn’t for you. At what point did you decide it was time to follow your true calling, take the leap in moving to L.A. to attend the Institute and how did your mother – who you credit for your love of music – respond to the decision?

Josh: Well as you can imagine, it definitely shocked my parents at first. Going [to college] in the first place never really felt like the right move. Growing up where I grew up, school didn’t really give me an option; you either had to leave and go to college or stay and do [nothing]. The whole time I was there, I was always pretty uncertain. I knew I always wanted to do music and I didn’t really know how. One of my friends from school Dakota, his uncle or maybe his godfather owned a record label called Lunaticworks Records – and what happened was I ended up meeting him through Dakota, played for him, hung out. He was really inspirational, like he told me, “Dude if this is your passion, you just know it in your heart. You need to just do it.” – and I was just like, “Dude, you’re right.” It took some motivation from my parents, and my motivation I mean not going to class and just playing music instead. When I went home, I sat down and had a talk with them…and they were very supportive. I can’t say I was very surprised that they were supportive, but the fact that I was leaving school for the Musician’s Institute was pretty awesome. They were so supportive and I’ve never made a better decision in my life.

Now Danny you finished college, but even after the fact went in a totally different direction from your studies in Economics to pursue music at the Institute. Was there a musical void you felt needed to be filled after graduating or what was it that persuaded you to follow your passion?

Danny: Well my dad graduated out of Yale University and went there on a full academic scholarship, so he was a pretty big advocate of education. I’ve been a huge fan of music pretty much my entire life, but finishing college was just something that our family held in a really high esteem so you had to finish college. So around my last semester I started making plans to move to L.A. and go to Musician’s Institute because I knew I didn’t want to get a job as like an economic forecaster or something like that. I guess in short, I always knew I was going to do music but college was definitely a huge priority.

You credit Anika Paris for introducing you guys when you got to L.A. Talk a bit about your relationship with her – what would you say was her most important role in your development as songwriters and well as collaborators?

Josh: Wow, Ankia…where do I begin with her? She is just the most incredible person. We had both worked with her at different times and it’s cool because she actually teaches songwriting over at UCLA now which is pretty awesome. I met Ankia through [Musician’s Institute] obviously, and she took me under her wing as her student. We would meet and she would teach me about image development. When I was taking a college class with her – some sort of performance class where we had to put a band together – at the time, I didn’t know about guitar players or any I could play with. She told me out of nowhere [about Danny and said], “I really think you guys would mesh because you have very similar views on how you go about music.”…so she introduced us and Danny went and played a show with me. Literally two weeks later, I moved in with him and we started developing Everett Coast. But yeah, Anika played a huge role in helping me find myself as a musician and a person…moving to Hollywood when I was 19. I had no idea who I was, man – I was a kid. My image was different, my outlook on everything was different, my work ethic was different, and Anika really took that chance to teach me how to grow up quickly. Then by introducing me to Danny and us working together, it really forced me to grow up and figure stuff out.

Danny: Anika was just a huge mentor for us and for me…I’ve always trusted [her]…so when I met Josh, I figured “okay, here’s someone Anika knows well and I think I should give it a real shot.” and figured if it worked out right away, we could move forward with it.

Well with your days at the Institute behind you, talk about how your chemistry progressed as collaborating songwriters leading up to the Hey, Hey, California EP. Were there any common musical interests or elements you guys shared that you’d say played a significant role in the overall finished product?

Josh: Absolutely, man. Starting with Danny and I really having similar outlooks on what we really like as musicians in the vibe and the feel of everything. We just kind of dove right into it and collaborated right from the start. We both come from similar influences, even before we played together and come from similar backgrounds. Danny is a huge Dave Mathew’s fan and really influenced by Sublime, and I’m also a big fan of them but also of John Mayer and Jason Mraz; they all kind of stem from similar areas and similar genres and we were able to really take what we found special and bring them together. When I bring an idea to him, we’ll come together and it just becomes something so much bigger than that idea. It’s really two pieces to the puzzle and really crazy how that worked out…we both have that similar outlook and [Danny] kind of fills in the pieces, and vise versa.

What would you say is the most typical songwriting process that goes into creating a song? Does one of you have more of a knack for writing lyrics or melodies than the other? – and of that matter, Josh what would you say is one of Danny’s biggest strengths and Danny what would you say is one of Josh’s?

Danny: First of all the way we feel about writing songs [comes in] one of two ways; it’s either the idea is born when we’re both in the same room working on music at the same time, or it’s separate. Josh will have idea for a lyric, melody or chords [or I will]. Usually the idea is relatively cohesive, like the whole verse and the chorus. From there we get together and work on it, so that it can become what Everett Coast is. Like [we write music in] certain ways, but if we get together and work on it, it becomes something bigger than [either of us]. With harmonies and the ways that we develop and approach the melodies and the way we go through the chorus is how we move through the song – through verse and choruses. So as far as Josh’s biggest strengths is what any good songwriter has, and that’s the ability to marry a lyric and melody…and have that sound and the lyrics and melody be a marriage of what the message of the song as a whole is.

Josh: As far as Danny, he’s really capitalized on almost everything I would say too. We both come from singer-songwriter backgrounds as guitar players and singers. It’s one thing writing a song when you’re by yourself as a singer and a guitar player…but it’s a whole other thing especially capturing the Everett Coast feel because melody does change since we’re locked in harmony with almost every word. As far as Danny’s strongest point, it’s really hard for me to say that because he’s so strong on all those different levels. As a guitar player…one big thing that I learned off of Danny was his ability for voice leading, his theory on guitar and his comprehension of melody. He’s able to hear deeper than I can at times because he’s also a classically trained piano player. Coming from that piano background, we both listen to [music] in different ways sometimes, which is really cool because we’re able to look at two different perspectives of melody. We’ll start with a melody or an idea and he’ll come to me with it…and we’ll mold it into something more special. One other huge thing that Danny brings to the table especially with producing our record is [his engineering skills]; Danny is a hell of an engineer. He’ll be doing all this cool electronic production and doing all these cool things. It takes a really special mind to be able to grow a song with different instrumentation and make it right – [adding something] that’s suppose to be there, not like you’re just adding a bunch of instrumentation.

Of the four songs on your debut EP, which one would you say held the most conceptual significance?

Josh: I would say “Passing Through”. It was kind of like a look into the way we see life as a musician. Like as musicians, a lot of time they’re just going from town to town and city to city…on buses and through hotel rooms and overall just life on the road, especially touring. It was written with that in mind, and as far as lyrically…at that point in our careers, we hadn’t done any lengthy tours. So it was kind of like a window into our future lives as full-time musicians on the road, touring, studio to studio, city to city, on the road, in the bus – you know, all that stuff.

You talk a bit on your website about some of your influences, including a big one of mine in Jason Mraz. Between him, Mayer, The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons and the rest of your list of influences, what would you say are one or a few musical elements or techniques you admire most that you’ve either used in your compositions or plan on using or emulating in the future?

Josh: I can answer that so fast. Jason Mraz in my opinion is one of the greatest singers in the world because of his dynamics. Good lord, man. His dynamics just blow my mind. He’s like an actor-singer. His placements is something I studied pretty deeply at M.I. When I was trying to figure myself out as a singer…he does this really cool mix placement. Obviously he has a huge voice and he belts…and I really tried to study his mix and discover or at least try to make my own version of it – like when [I’m singing] higher, instead of using my head voice or trying to use my full voice…With John Mayer, I mean… aside from his guitar playing which is already mind-blowing…man, what a lyricist. I’m thinking of his song “Neon” right now and I’m a huge fan of that song…Danny and I were leaving Universal City two days ago. It was night time and we headed down the road…we see traffic piled up for miles, and I remember we thought immediately of John Mayer’s line: “a trail of ruby red and diamond light hits her face like a sunrise.” The imagery was incredible and that’s exactly what he was talking about, at least in our opinion. The trail of ruby red is the tail lights, the diamond light are the headlights of the traffic of Los Angeles. So when it comes down to introspective lyrics and still staying pop sensible, John Mayer is just the master of his craft. So those are two things I definitely try to learn from John Mayer and Jason Mraz.

Danny: I’m also a huge fan of John Mayer and Jason Mraz for the same reason Josh just said. Sublime and Dave Mathews were some of my first influences when I was first starting out. Right off the bat, I really admired Dave’s acoustic sound. I liked [his band], but one of the most influential albums that changed my life and changed the way I [approached] music as Dave Mathews and Tim Reynolds live at Luther College. That was an acoustic performance with acoustic guitars and Dave singing his songs. The way that they arranged the hugely complex songs with the bands for an acoustic performance just blew my mind. When I was in college playing guitar and writing songs, I remember thinking you can get an entire song and have it be an acoustic arrangement and still have a good instrumentation which means that the song is really what’s shining. So when writing music, as far as big albums go, he was the first artist that I saw that really affected me on a deep level by arranging things acoustically. Then with Sublime, Bradley Nowell is one of the greatest frontmen and singers that I’d ever seen. He was hugely entertaining live [in videos] and had a big voice. He could sing quietly, he could sing loud…every show, he put his all into it. Not to sound cliché, but I really think he sang from the heart and was a really powerful frontman for the band. So on a performance level, Sublime was second to none and then on an acoustic level, that kind of stuff still blows my mind to this day.

Whether it be sharing the stage with a big artist or two, releasing your EP, or having your music used in a broadcast or other media production, what would you say has been one or some of your most meaningful milestones to date?

Josh: There’s really been so many moments big or small that have just been so monumental for us. Danny and I have talked about it and we have a handful of things…it’s so crazy how [some things] happen that we think “damn, was that really meant to be?” For example, Anika introducing us. I was literally walking out of class, the door was almost closed when she [randomly told me to call Danny]. I would say a huge monumental thing was…before any sort of radio or releasing an album or capitalizing our sound or anything like that, back when Danny and I were still figuring out who we were and how to formulate a duo from individual singer-songwriters, we had a really hard time. It was really really tough at the beginning to figure out how to make that twist and to figure out who sings what or who plays what and how to make those moves. At the time, we were working at a bar in Hollywood and I remember it got so hard that we were [questioning ourselves]. Then I remember thinking, “we’re on to something here and we’re not going to give up on this bulls—t.” Literally, a week later, we started figuring out what we were suppose to do and capitalizing on that. For me, that was a huge milestone for me because it was hard to make that transition…I was so used to being by myself and not thinking about melody in a sense of if you have a chromatic moment and how it’d be tough to harmonize that. That really opened my eyes. As far as a duo, we had a big milestone [when we hit] Pandora radio because it’s not like iTunes; you have to go through the submission [process] and we weren’t expecting to get on that…dropping the Everett Coast EP; a long time ago we actually had an old EP when we wanted to get some material out. We kind of forced it, a few songs…and forced the duo feel. That has since been taken down. We don’t have it out because we don’t feel like it captures our sound. But when we came out with Hey, Hey, California, we considered that our debut EP because that was who we are. That was what we do especially with “Hey, Hey, California” and “Passing Through”. That was a huge milestone for us too because [that EP] did some huge things for us. Not only did it get us on Pandora but started us some great buzz in Hollywood and it got us out of the bar. It was enough to get us to full-time music which for me blew my mind because a four-song EP was enough to create a buzz that we could [use to] build a lot of relationships, getting a lot of booking opportunities…so many bookings that the time at the bar wasn’t worth the time or the money.

With spring not too far away, you plan on releasing your next EP Lift Off very soon. What’s the current state of that product and what would you say are one or a few things that separate it from your debut in terms of how your sound has changed over the last couple of years?

Danny: Well, I would say that our first EP, we worked with a lot of people to produce the sound which is why we kind of strayed from the vision that Josh and I had. We worked with a songwriter named John Keller and he wrote “Love Is” by Brian McKnight and Vanessa Williams…and we worked with a lot of musicians and have a great track record, like Gary Mallaber…the drummer for the Steve Miller Band. So we worked with a whole lot of people and realized through working with all those people that with every mind that our mind passed through it changes…it becomes a part of everybody’s vision, which is a good thing but can be a bad thing because by the time we got our EP, we listened to it and [thought it was great] but it wasn’t really what we were thinking of. So when we released the Hey, Hey, California EP, that was pretty awesome because we worked with a guy named Danny Balistocky at Revolution 9 Studios in Hollywood. It was just us; Josh and I, the musicians, and Danny was the head engineer and his assistant Dan Woods – and it was just us. We shaped that sound together and when we listened to the songs [after working with Danny] on the EP, we [had found] the sound that we wanted. So now that we’re transitioning to our next EP Lift Off, Josh and I are working on it together solely. I’m doing all the engineering and the mixing and Josh and I are doing all of the production together…we work with the musicians like the drummer and the bass player. We using the same guys from the [last] EP, but now a big difference is I’m engineering the songs. So that kind of gives us another level of control to realize our vision for what we want Everett Coast to be and it’s hugely powerful to have that much control over everything.

Josh: One thing that’s going to be a little different about Lift Off is we’re featuring two hip hop artists on a couple of the songs that are going to be on there. It’s a pretty cool little twist, definitely not turning the song into hip hops – it’s still us with our pop folk sensibility. But it’s cool because instead of a bridge, we’ll have a flow to capitalize on.

Finally looking back at your days at the Institute, what would each of you say were some of the best pieces of advice that you received and that you accredit most to how you’ve shaped yourselves as individuals as well as musicians?

Josh: I think that specifically tied into Anika because image was a big thing for me and developing the feel that we were going for. I wasn’t sure how I quite wanted to be as a vocalist, so that’s when I really dove into John Mayer and Jason Mraz and Dave Mathews. I would say that studying at school, one of the biggest things for me besides networking was you get in what you put out. You go there and slack off and [waste time], or you could go there and bust your ass and meet everyone you can – then that place can become such an incredible opportunity. So because of that, I was able to figure myself out image wise and sound wise. As far as really capitalizing on individual [growth], it was songwriting and vocals. Spending time developing the duo was what really changed my perspective in how I go about music and how I go about lyrics and melody…how to pick what you feel is the core and heartbeat of what you’re doing and adding all the other elements to make it better.

Danny: I got a lot of great advice, especially from Anika Paris. As far as how to work with people and how to shake the sound. I also got some great advice from John Keller who I got close to at Musician’s Institute and also a little bit after because I really respected his songwriting and his passion for the song. It was huge for me because you can write a song for an artist or for yourself and you can get lost in the message or the melody…or a lot of people want to write a song to make them look really cool with a really cool singing part or guitar part that makes them show off, but [what John Keller told me was] that the song was the king. You have to do everything – sounds like a hierarchy, but it’s true – the song is a king and you have to do everything to serve it and everything is reserved in the process. So a good piece of advice he gave me that everything in the songwriting process should be to serve the song and not to show that you’re just a good singer or a good guitar player. It’s all about the song, the message and the melody and that was huge for me. It really shaped my songwriting freshly out of M.I. That was probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice I got.

Josh: Anika also said this one thing that stuck with both of us, and that was “we could teach you everything by the books, all day every day and tell you how the industry is and everything here at school, but you’re never really going to know until you go out and do it yourself. It’s so unbelievably true. Everyone’s journey is different.

Listen to “Passing Through” on YouTube!

 

Click here to pre-order the Lift Off EP, set to be released March 26th!:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/everettcoast

For more on Everett Coast, visit:

Official Website http://www.everettcoast.com

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