In the Next Life
The Birmingham Alabama-born singer-songwriter has released her sixth solo album. The tracks are generally mellow and warm. Taylor’s dreamy voice makes this album well worth the time.
Emily Jane White
They Moved in Shadow All Together
California indie rock, folk-rock, indie acoustic artist has released her fifth album. The album is hypnotizing and even eerie at times. She addresses social battles and injustices faced by women. In addition to the lead tract, “Frozen Garden”, special recognition goes to “Pallid Eyes” and “Nigtmares on Repeat”.
Punk rock verteran Alice Bag has released her first solo album on the Don Giovanni label. She is a noted musician, author and feminist. The album offers up plenty of rock (”Little Hypocrite”), but there’s also some intelligent pop (”Suburban Home”) and Latin folk-rock (”Incorporeal Life”).
Helen Love is back with their eight album since their formation in 1992. This Ramones-loving band from Wales made up of members Helen, Sheena and Ricardo Autobahn offers up their combination of punk rock, pop and dance. This album is nothing short of great fun!
“You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back.” Heather Boo, Beau
On 1 April, HorizonVU Music’s Phil Cartwright met up in Paris with Beau – Heather Boo and Emma Rose – for an informal conversation about the duo’s background, development and points-of-view toward music and expression. Many thanks to Viviane Bres, Kitsuné Records, for making the meet-up possible.
HVMU: This afternoon we have the opportunity to visit with Emma Rose and Heather Boo – together known as Beau. It’s a real pleasure for HorizonVU Music to have the chance to hear your live performance and meet you for a visit today. We can talk a bit about your background, what’s been going on with Beau and talk a bit about the future.
We’ve done our homework reading your profile and interviews that you have done (The Village Voice and Numéro, for example). We understand that you are from New York City, you met through family connections and you have been friends for a long time. You are basically self-taught as far as your musical background is concerned which is quite incredible. Developing on your own is quite amazing.
Can you tell us a bit of the backstory? We have a following of young female emerging musicians and they like to hear from success stories. Surely, you didn’t decide just to have a band one day and all of a sudden you had a manager, a label and went on tour. Can you tell us how your story evolved?
HB: Well, we were always writing music. We started writing songs. This was after we knew how to play the guitar. This is before I started singing. I thought I was going to be a guitar player. We were writing songs, we got inspired by other musicians who are songwriters and we just knew that is what we wanted to do. We started writing and playing guitar together and that’s when things came full-circle. We realized that we have a lot to say. Not only that, but were not going to be self-conscious and be held back. We were going to write, write, write and produce until we thought we had something we felt good about. We made a lot of music. We recorded music on our iPhone and someone heard it.
I started singing and Emma started playing the guitar heavily. She got really involved. She started when she was twelve years old. She just grew. I started singing and became more confident. There’s a thing about music. You do not need to take lessons. You just need to believe in yourself. Anyone can sing. Anyone can play the guitar. It’s not that people can say that “I’m not good at that”. It’s not true. You have to not let fear hold you back. We are human beings in a society where we have been chanting and singing melodies for years, so that is natural.
So, a friend of a friend heard our music and introduced us to the head of our record label. He popped the question whether or not we had a record label and whether we would like one. We said “yes”.
HVUM: That’s fabulous; a great story. When you look back from where you re today and thinking about people that are starting out, were there any real bumps in the road that you hit and you haven’t forgotten them? How did you get over the bumps?
I think the attacks in Paris were really crazy for us. We were on tour in Europe at the time. We were in The Hague at the time. We had the day off the day after the attacks. We started asking ourselves what we should do. That’s one time we questioned whether or not we should take a break. It was scary and it first seemed like musicians were targeted, but of course, it was everyone. That was a big eye-opening event for us in the world. Other than that no real problems.
HVUM: That’s great. So far, so, good. One thing that we’ve noted about your music is that you have a very cool eclectic sound. As we listen to the album we hear rock, folk/rock, a little blues, folk, and some punk and even some jazz. The punk came through more in your live performance last night than it does on the album. The album is beautiful. There is some more “mellow” sounding music. Many musicians have a hard time being eclectic. They hit on a genre and stay with it. They never get outside the borders. How did you pull it off?
ER: We never thought about it. That’s how we pulled it off. When you start thinking about things, nitpicking and judging your music that’s when it all goes wrong.
HB: We are inspired by a lot of people growing up in New York. Every day we wanted to write. I feel like performance-wise making a genre for a band can be a big mistake. Either the band makes the genre or the people make the genre. If the band makes the genre they stick to one thing. If the people make the genre they need to put a label on each song.
Our style and the style of our producer shows through on our Beau album. This gives the album a more specific genre than the live performance, but each song is so different that it should be put under its own genre like “open” or “worldly” or “confusing”. What makes a really good performance is the range a person can give to the audience. You’re expressing yourself. You are expressing the truth of the song, the emotion of the song. You have to be honest with the song and if you are honest each song will be different.
ER: On our set list we also try to put different kinds of songs.
HVUM: You mix it up very well. Can you help us tie together the title, ”That Thing Reality” with the tracks.
HB: Since all of the songs are so different, “That Thing Reality “ is a really good title. For me it felt right. Emma came up with the title and I felt very comfortable with it.
HVUM: What’s the story behind “Animal Kingdom”?
HB: It’s a funny story. Originally we didn’t know what to do with it. It sounded great; great melody, great hook. We weren’t sure if we wanted to talk about the relationship between man and beast or politics…
We had a crazy drummer and we produced a different version of it. It was crazy pop-punk. We all struggled with it. Writing with three people s difficult. We decided to put it on the album. Emma came with final lyrics that were solidified. Emma put it together. It was almost like a book; so detailed. We still didn’t feel comfortable. In the studio it was the last song we worked.
ER: It’s fun to play live.
HVUM: We’ve posted the video and it gets a positive response. Keep it up! Other than music, what do you do for fun?
HB: We like to walk and write and draw. In New York anything can happen; a naked guy walking down the street and somebody gives him a pair of socks and a shirt.
ER: I like Chinatown.
HB: We never get tired of New York. It’s always changing. No store stays there for more than five years. It still feels like home.
ER: And we have ridiculously creative and talented friends from New York. Sometimes I’ll call one of them. If they’re in a move I’m with them just because they’re so “out there”.
HVUM: Thanks for your time and we hope you’ll keep us up to date. Hopefully you’ll come back to Paris and have a night to yourself so you can play all twelve tracks. It’s been a pleasure talking with you and we wish you all the best!
What’s The Buzz ?
1. Maura Kennedy “Beneath The Misteltoe”
2. Emily Zuzik and Scrote “This Season Makes Me Want To Cry”
3. Sagarika “Last Christmas” (Taylor Swift Cover)
Best Holiday Wishes from HorizonVU Music!!!
Katey has performed hundreds of shows via venues, radio, television stations and festivals in Colorado and around the US, including Hotel Cafe (LA), The Bitter End (NYC), Bluebird Cafe (Nashville), Hard Rock Café Denver and Nashville, Colorado State Fair and the Greeley Stampede. She has built a solid fan base with her unique voice and a satisfying blend of folk and pop, garnering airplay on Triple A and AC radio stations around the country including KALC, KMNT, KBCO, KFMU and KOTO. Most recently she is a Great American Song Contest Top 5 Winner and NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Regional Finalist, and has had two songs in rotation on Starbucks overhead programming.
As a live performer, she has shared the stage with Howie Day, Bill Mallonee, Katie Herzig, Matt Morris, Trevor Hall and others. With her latest album “Periscope” produced by industry veteran Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith), Katey Laurel is now poised to reach an even larger audience in the days ahead. Here’s your chance to get three of her songs free!
Walnut Valley Festival New Song Winner
Tucson Folk Festival National Finalist
Great American Song Contest Finalist
NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Southwest Regional Finalist
Texaco Country Showdown Southwest Regional Finalist
International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist
Visit Katie at
What’s The Buzz ?
You can keep the holidays a live with 2012 EP “All The Wonders Of This Holiday” is a 5 song collection that is nothing short of sensational! Patty Mattson can write songs, and with the expert production and mixing team headed by Grammy Winner Rob Chiarelli of ffinalmix.com, it’s just, honestly, magical. Don’t miss this!
No stranger to recording, Mattson, a gifted songwriter, invited us to share her undeniably well written and performed debut release “The Road” Late Oct 2011. Completed again with the expert production and mixing of Rob Chiarelli, Mattson takes us on a moving personal journey from the powerfully rockin, soulful and sexy, to the pristine and still manages to deliver amazing surprises along the way. This record keeps you interested in listening with well written, moving original songs and impressive vocals. “The Road” is a sure add to your music collection.
And, when Mattson’s impressive range is stunningly aligned to commercials, say, for BMW, Showtime, the Discovery Channel, or the many hilarious parody songs she does for Clear Channel and Premiere Radio Network, (including the late Howard Stern Show), she is the magnificent essential which makes each performance fly. Her wondrous imitation of Celine Dion’s Theme from Titanic with its hilariously re-written lyrics is nothing short of inspiring! You can see video’s she’s done to some of them at YouTube/pattymattson.
Visit Patty at http://pattymattson.com/
Today we’re joined by Jenna Epkey! Jenna’s no stranger to HorizonVU Music. Her cross-genre, emotion driven pop and country first caught our ears a couple of years ago. Jenna’s a singer/songwriter from Indiana, and when it comes to talking about the heartland – we look to the Midwest and think Jenna. What sets Jenna apart is the passion and emotion that goes into her music – emotions that we all know from our daily lives – the ups and the downs.
JE: Thanks so much Phil for taking time to interview me! I’m excited to share what’s been going on in my little world since I moved back to Indiana in 2010.
Since then, I released an unplugged acoustic record (Change) and my single “Steel Heart” with friend and producer, Billy Smiley (from the band Whiteheart).
We don’t know much about your musical background. How did you find the path to a music career and do you have any teachers or mentors that really motivated you from the beginning?
JE: I started to sing around eight years old. It was around that time when my family, friends, and people at church started to notice I could sing as well. Growing up I always knew I wanted to do something in the entertainment world. This may sound funny, but from the moment I was introduced to Michael Jackson and his music I knew I wanted to be a performer/entertainer of some sort.
We want to get the full picture in our minds. You obviously collaborate with Tony Epke on your recordings. We note that while your on vocals, guitar and piano, Tony’s with you on guitar. Tell us about the collaboration and how the two of you work together.
JE: Tony Epkey is my husband and we play out all the time together. This wasn’t always the case, but for the last couple years we’ve found a unique bond and sound all our own. He plays on the “Steel Heart” track too. We play a nice acoustic show!
In March 2011, you released you EP, “A Little at a Time”. First, give us some background behind the release. How did it come to be?
JE: A Little at a Time is where it all began for me. In 2008, I decided I wanted to take my career to the next level, so I recorded a fully produced, top quality country EP that I still sell to this day. Some of the best musicians in Nashville played on it, and it has opened many doors for me in the music industry. I took a big leap of faith recording that record, and I am still trying to figure out how to market it…and how to get more people to hear it.
Second, reading the titles to the tracks (there are six of them) and having a listen, it’s had not to feel something’s going on with Jenna….”Miserable Girl”, “A Little At A Time”, “The Verge”…What’s going on there…what’s the storyline?
JE: Well…some of the tracks on the record aren’t my originals. I chose them because they are good songs and I could sing them well. But I can assure you as an artist there is always something going on with me internally, I’m terribly deep and sensitive… One thing is for certain: when you get a Jenna Epkey record you’re going to get a smorgasbord of emotion! haha
On a light note, you put together a really great jingle for Folger’s. Tell us about that.
JE: My good friend (Vance Lambert) and I did the jingle in 2011. Vance wrote the tune, and we recorded it in Indianapolis where I’m from. It was a lot of fun! I think we should have won:)
Yeah, we think you should have won! Today’s a very special day. You’re releasing your video, “Steel Heart”. It’s an original single and Winner of the 2012 Blooming-Tunes Songwriter Competition. Pretty catchy song with a heavy title, tell us about the song and the video. What went into writing the song and how has it translated to video?
We’re going to take a look and listen to the video in just a second, but first, can you give us an introduction to the how it came about – production, direction and storyline?
JE: Yes. I wrote “Steel Heart” early -mid 2012. I knew it needed to be recorded right away. I believe the song really captures my voice, influences, and everything I’ve learned up to this point about writing.
The song itself is about being vulnerable with your needs and desires as a human being. We all want to be seen, heard, and loved for who we “really” are. “Steel Heart” is about realizing what you want, and the video helps reveal your role in discovering it.
In the music video I’m on a quest in the woods with a key literally around my neck searching for a treasure. The whole concept is based around finding this treasure and knowing I have the key (within) to find it.
The video was directed by Tyler Holbein. He is a young photographer from New York and this was our first project together. Tyler and a few students from Huntington University helped make this video come alive. We had great fun filming in the woods that day.
Alright, let’s have a look and listen!
Wow! That’s really fantastic! You deserve to be very happy and congrats to Tyler. So, what’s next for Jenna? Do you have some projets underway? Where are you heading in the months ahead?
JE: I’m currently writing my new record. I have a new song I’ll hopefully be releasing early 2013. It should be a very eventful and fun year ahead!
I Have to ask you my favorite question…no one gets away…Do you have a particular superhero that keeps you going or gives you inspiration?
JE: Oh jeez- favorite superhero? I don’t really have one. I do think Spiderman is really inspiring and cool though. I like the quote: “with great power comes great responsibility”.
Thanks so much, Jenna. We’ve really enjoyed talking with you and we know you’re on a roll. We’re looking forward to hearing a lot more from you in 2013, so we hope you’ll stay in touch. Let us know how the new record is comining along! That’s the latest from our friend Jenna Epskey.
Interview for BACKPOCKET by Alex
Original post 22 March 2012
Listening to the sounds of singer-songwriter Markeisha Ensley is like indulging in a rich, flourless chocolate cake while drinking a well-aged, red wine. She combines piano- playing flair with smooth soul, her mellifluous voice soaring over unforgettable melodies. Originally from Aurora, Colorado, she is the winner of the 2011 Abe Olman Scholarship Award for Excellence in Songwriting from the Songwriters Hall of Fame/Songwriters Guild of America, with previous recipients including John Legend. A cross between Alicia Keys and Anita Baker, Markeisha strikes an uplifting groove and graces the stage with a powerful, undeniable presence.
Markeisha mixes a unique blend of Motown doo-wop harmonies, pop melodies and gospel singing on her new EP, Talk to Me, a sultry selection of up-tempos and ballads on love. Smooth and sexy, the 5 songs were written by the singer as reflection on her recent travels to France and the Caribbean. “It was my first time traveling abroad and I was so affected and inspired by the French culture, people, and of course, the food,” she laughs. Recorded with her band in New York at Flux Studios (Mick Jagger, Jennifer Lopez, Babyface), the EP is produced by up-and-coming producer, David Amber, and will be released on Valentine’s Day, 2012.
As a child, Markeisha began her love affair with music when singing in her hometown Baptist church choir. While gospel music laid the foundation, she was also heavily influenced by her parents’ record collection with Aretha, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Carole King and Linda Ronstadt on heavy rotation. Markeisha studied piano and began writing poetry while in high school, but it was the many nights spent writing songs in the school’s practice rooms while attending New York University that sent Markeisha down the road to singer-songwriter land. “I developed my own sanctuary and no matter what was going on in my life, I could sit behind a piano and sing and know everything was alright.”
Since releasing her debut album, Ready, in 2006, Markeisha has received numerous awards and honors. Two songs from that cd, “The Strangest Thing” and “Loving You”, received an Honorable Mention in the Billboard World Songwriting Contest. Markeisha was also recognized by BMI/Songwriters Association of Washington, where she was asked to perform at the Smithsonian Museum alongside legendary Motown songwriter Lamont Dozier (“Stop! In the Name of Love”). She has toured throughout the country, appeared on “Showtime at the Apollo”, and recently completed a residency performing in St. Barth’s.
Now based in NYC, Markeisha is also a proud member of LIFEBeat’s Hearts and Voices Program, bringing the healing power of music to people living with HIV/AIDS. She is currently planning her 2012 summer US tour.
Tell us a little about yourself, when did you get started, and what influenced you to get into music?
I’m a singer, songwriter, pianist, foodie. I first started singing when I was about 7 in my church choir back home in Colorado and wrote my first song when I was in high school. That’s when I also started playing piano and discovered the art of writing melodies and my love for it.
Where are you based out of?
New York, NY
So how would you describe your musical style?
I listen to all types of music, everything from jazz and r&b to country and musical theater and that’s definitely influenced my songwriting. My music is r&b/ pop, but I also think you can hear the jazz and gospel influence in it, too. I’m really interested in writing songs with great lyrics and catchy melodies, so if someone described my music that way, I’d be fine with it!
Who are your musical influences, who do you follow?
I loved the big pop divas of the 80’s and 90’s like Whitney and Mariah. Stevie Wonder is really inspiring to me, too. If I could write an album as good as Carole King’s Tapestry, I’d be happy. My parents also listened to a lot of 60’s r&b, so that music had a big influence on me. As far as new artists, I’m a big fan of Bruno Mars. His album last year was by far my favorite – he’s a fantastic songwriter and musician and also has an amazing voice.
What has been the contributing factors to your success thus far?
Perseverance and faith. There are definitely highs and lows working as a musician, but you keep pursuing your dream because you have no other choice. Making music is my passion and it makes me really happy, so that definitely helps me in working towards my goal.
Who are your current collaborators?
I just recorded a new EP, Talk To Me, which was produced by David Amber at Flux Studios, NYC (Mick Jagger, Babyface). It was a very exciting, joyous, anxious, therapeutic and exhilarating process, so it was great to have a partner-in-crime who really understood me as an artist and helped me to find the sound that I was looking for. I’m really proud of the finished product!
Are there any events in your musical travels that really stand out in your mind?
Paris! I performed at a jazz club there last fall and found such a welcoming audience for American r&b and jazz. The people are true lovers of American music and it was such a supportive and friendly vibe. I’m planning on touring there again later this year.
What are you currently working on?
I’m writing a lot! I’ve been going through a really inspiring time recently and it’s one of those times when I can’t seem to write fast enough. Hopefully this will go on for a long time… I’m also planning a summer US tour and dates in Europe for the fall.
Are there any other creatives you think we should be looking out for, either musically or not?
I highly recommend Robert Flack’s new album of Beatles covers. She’s a legend and I recently had the opportunity to meet her, which was pretty inspiring. Her new album is great.
Any message you would like to share with your fans?
Thank you for supporting new music! Nothing makes me happier than making music and I feel blessed to get to do it for a living.
Finally, your social media links?