Category Archives: Artist Profiles

Artist Breakdown: TuneCore Live at Bardot July 29

We’re getting used to hitting you with event previews and artists breakdowns for TuneCore Live, and we’re not mad about it. Entering its 8th round, we’ll be back with Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media and CeleBuzz to present another awesome roster of TuneCore Artists and a night of dancing, networking and fun.

On Wednesday, July 29th, if you’re in the LA-area, come hang out and enjoy some great free music from Madyx, Air Bag One, and ANIMA! – plus DJ William Lifestyle providing the jams in between sets. Not familiar with some of those artists? Read more after the jump and sample some tunes – if you dig it, doors are at 8PM, admittance is free and it’s 21+. Be sure to get there early, as we always advise, because it’s likely to pack in quick!

Madyx

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22-year old Michelle Blanchard, aka Madyx, originally moved to LA to pursue her efforts as a member of rock band Life Down Here at age 16. While they achieved some success and a considerable fan base, Madyx was born of Michelle’s evolving tastes. Described as “a mix of P!nk and Katy Perry”, she’s building a name for herself as a pop/alternative artist in the LA-area and beyond. Peep her debut single, “Some Kisses” (recorded by Grammy-nominated producer Brian Howes) below:

“When I think of myself as an independent artist, the sky’s the limit. There’s a certain kind of freedom you get as a writer to create the music that you love and want to share with the world; not to mention the ability to release it anyway you choose. For me, TuneCore plays a huge part in helping me distribute my music to all the key download and streaming sites around the world.”

Air Bag One

air bag one

It’s always awesome when you find out the folks responsible behind ‘all that sound’ is in fact just a  duo. Hailing from Cameroon, Air Bag One aren’t afraid to join their lush and soulful indie-rock/electro sound with visual components – they embraced their love of art by collaborating with renowned music photographer Janette Beckman and LA-based artist Blake Little. Experimenting with “a wide pop spectrum rubbed with paranoia”, Air Bag One has shared the stage with HAIM, Imagine Dragons, and The Maccabees. Check out their latest single “Killing Stars” below:

“Being independent is being free in your artistic choices. You don’t need anyone for being who you are. We have always done everything ourselves from the beginning, controlling either the music, the videos, the photos, and even ironing our clothes before the shows. It’s also taking risks and make mistakes. But then, you learn for the future.

TuneCore has helped us spreading our music on the internet in an independent way. They allow our fans to listen to our music mostly everywhere they can and that’s so contemporary! In few clicks, one can listen to our tracks while cooking, or under their shower, or in the street.”

ANIMA!

Copy of ANIMA!

ANIMA! is a duo that completely nails the marriage of electronic music and folk lyrics. Consisting of violinist/producer Vicente Espi and singer/songwriter Arielle Vakni, ANIMA! hit #1 on the iTunes New Artist Chart on the release day of their EP Be Here Now. iTunes wasn’t the only platform that noticed their potential – ANIMA! has been garnering positive press reviews on all corners of the web and are surely an act to watch (and catch live!) in 2015. Enjoy their breakout single “Breathe” below.

“Being an independent artist allows us to be the purest form of what are. Tunecore is the soil, you are the seed and your listeners the water.”

Andy Allo Plays Live in a Convenience Store!

Ever wander into a gas station convenience store for a quick soda or snack only to find none other than Prince’s former protégé, Andy Allo and her band performing a new song in one of the aisles? No? Well you can check out some folks who did in LA during our second episode of our “Convenience Store Sessions”, brought to you by the Swisher Sweets Swisher Artist Project:

The Swisher Sweets’ Swisher Artist Project is an ongoing initiative to provide artists with unique opportunities to create, share and pursue their passion. And let’s not forget about the fans – the Swisher Artist Project allows fans to be at the forefront of what’s new and emerging in the world of music, the arts and entertainment. That means going beyond just sharing new music with the world – artists get the chance to showcase their talents in experiential settings that music fans will enjoy and remember. We’ve been working closely with Swisher Sweets to present TuneCore Live each month in 2015, and we’re psyched to be rocking with them!

You can keep up with all of the cool opportunities and content that Swisher Sweets is rolling out for the Swisher Artist Project by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and of course stay tuned with our upcoming TuneCore Live events here.

Event Recap: TuneCore Live at Bardot 6/24

Nothing like packing a house of eager music fans and industry folks on a warm summer evening for our seventh installment of TuneCore Live at Bardot! With a nice spectrum of genres, show goers enjoyed delightful sets from the alternative electro sounds of The New Regime, indie pop perfection from FMLYBND, and a fun touch of hip hop courtesy of none other than Yacht City Drop Club. To top it all off, the crowd was treated to a surprise DJ set from William Lifestyle!

As usual, a huge thanks is in order to our awesome event sponsors Swisher Sweets, Mirrored Media and CELEBUZZ. Thanks to these brands, TuneCore is able to provide more and more fun, creative and advantageous opportunities to independent artists within our community to showcase their music.

Be sure to check out this month’s photo gallery – if you were at the event, you might be able to spot yourself! If you’ve got FOMO, hit up our TuneCore Live Facebook page to RSVP for our next event on July 29th!

 

Interview: Emily Fullerton on Balancing College & a Career in Music

TuneCore Artists come in all shapes and sizes: from hobbyists to full-time touring musicians, singer/songwriters and MCs to indie rockers and classical pianists. No matter how they differ, each is leading their own unique musical journey with ups and downs, struggles and opportunities. We do our best to offer a platform for different TuneCore Artists to share their stories, as we know without a doubt others in the community will relate!

Enter pop artist/songwriter Emily Fullerton. Balancing a music-focused college career and a budding music career, Emily attends Belmont University and lives in Nashville. Both the city and the school are destinations for aspiring artists, so she is not alone! Like other independent artists in her position, Emily must both complete a four-year education while building a network within a crowded music scene. She’s released her debut EP Daylight and her latest single “Take Off” via TuneCore. Emily has also been invited to be on a web series called Road To Nashville. We wanted to know how one works to use all of these experiences to complement each other, (while also maintaining some level of sanity), so we invited her to discuss it! Read more below.

Deciding to go to school for music requires commitment. When did you know for sure you wanted to pursue a career in songwriting?

Emily Fullerton: I took group guitar lessons after school when I was 10. The first songs I learned were by The Beatles. I loved it and knew I wanted to make music.

What kinds of efforts have you made during your schooling to better prepare yourself as a businessperson?

I’ve been networking like crazy. I go to Belmont University in Nashville and while you don’t have to do the academic thing to be in music, being here has really helped me make connections with people. The professors and mentors want to be there for you as a person, artist, and songwriter. They want to see you do well and they are always willing to help you out.

I’ve had some pretty cool opportunities come my way while living in Nashville and every single one was sparked by a connection from Belmont, whether it be a professor, classmate, or a friend. I don’t really like using the term ‘networking’ but that’s what it is. I believe that I’ll get to where I need to be in the business through the relationships I have with people.   

How would you compare those efforts to the experience of getting out there and gaining real life music business experience?

So far, I think it has been a balance between the classroom and ‘getting out there’. I have classes that teach me about publishers, PROs, and labels. There is a lot to learn about the business side and I want to learn as much as I can. But I also get out there and perform as much as I can. I do writers rounds at different venues in Nashville, and I have had a few opportunities to play in DC and some other events as well.

On that same note, what kind of network have you started to building in Nashville and on campus?

Like I said before, Belmont is a great school for making connections; the relationships I have made there with the professors, mentors and my friends have opened up a bunch of opportunities for me. When I was in high school, I hosted a benefit concert at the Hard Rock in DC for a school project. One of my mentors connected me with Richard On of O.A.R., and he has helped me a lot through encouragement and advice throughout this whole process. I guess I have been building the network since I really started getting serious, and Belmont and Nashville have been huge catalysts. But I got started on the right path with help from Richard and a few others.

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Emily & Richard On of O.A.R.

What were your expectations of a city like Nashville? Were there any misconceptions?

Coming from Washington, DC, my definition of a city is very different from Nashville. I didn’t quite understand how different life would be like without a major metro system or a lot of diversity, (whether that’s ethnically, economically, or politically). I knew that Nashville was going to be an amazing place for me to grow as an artist and songwriter. I wasn’t wrong about that. I was wrong about how different life in Nashville would be compared to DC. I’m a city girl at heart: I love walking everywhere, dealing with the crazies on the street, and that fast paced environment you feel when you’re in a city like DC.

Nashville is a great place, it’s the pace that’s different. I have to say I am still learning how to adjust to these things. There is something very magical about the “laid back-ness” of the south. People are so nice to you. That “southern hospitality” is real. They claim that DC is still the south but people aren’t as nice there as they are in Nashville. I’m glad that I have had the chance to make Nashville a part of my journey. It’s such a vibrant and cool place for an artist and songwriter to learn and grow.

Have you found mentors and resources for inspiration in a city buzzing with likeminded musicians? Or is there a competitive nature to the scene?

I think going after a career in music puts you in a lot of sink-or-swim situations. You’re either going to crumble under the pressure to be different and talented, or you’re going to hustle and be yourself throughout the entire process. Yes, there is a competitive nature in Nashville and at Belmont, but it’s nothing compared to what I’ve heard about L.A. or New York.

One of the most inspiring parts of my Nashville experience has been going to songwriting class at school. I’m not sure why, but there is something that seems so powerful to me about a group of young aspiring songwriters who are all committed to helping each other grow. It’s magical, heartbreaking, and encouraging all at the same time.

How did you discover TuneCore, and how has it played into your overall musical journey?

I discovered TuneCore during the summer of 2013. One of my favorite producers from the D.M.V. area, Mark Williams at Sucker Punch Recording Co., told me about TuneCore. A lot of artists and bands he had worked with used it, so I checked it out. It has been a great and easy way to get my music out there. As an independent artist, the process of creating and sharing one’s music can be very intimidating, but TuneCore helps simplify the process.

Tell us about Road To Nashville and your experience on the web series.

Road To Nashville is a reality web series on AwesomenessTV based on the lives of five singer/songwriters in Nashville. I was one of the five featured cast members and let me tell you, it was a blast. The entire process of being on a web show was incredible. From the audition to the last episode, I feel like I learned so much from the experience. I learned how to be comfortable in front of the camera, how I wanted to be perceived as an artist on camera (including how I did my makeup, hair, wardrobe etc.), and I also got to meet some pretty cool people along the way.

During the entire filming of the show, we had a vocal coach, live performances, studio time, and interview sessions. This is one of those opportunities that I came across through a connection with a former Belmont student. I didn’t even know exactly what I was auditioning for when I got there because it was such a last minute thing, but it ended up working out in a pretty cool way.

What advice would you offer to a high school or college aged songwriter considering enrolling in a program like the one you’re in?

I would say make sure that music is your ultimate passion. Music programs are competitive and the business is even more competitive. If you feel like this is what you’re meant to do, no one can stop you, but many will try to. Work hard, don’t get discouraged, and be ready for the challenges and rejection. This sounds pretty harsh but it’s true. College is an investment no matter what, it’s a student’s responsibility to get as much out of it personally, artistically, and socially as possible.

Take advantage of the programs your school has but also take advantage of the city that you’re living in. I still have to tell myself over and over again that every song I write will not be good. Every live performance will not be flawless. It’s okay. These opportunities are designed to build and nurture you. I’ve had an amazing experience so far; attending a music school is a great place to start if you’re looking to become an artist, songwriter, or any part of the music industry.

Artist Breakdown: TuneCore Live at Bardot, June 24

Can you believe we’re readying our SEVENTH installment of our TuneCore Live event series? Well you better, because it’s going down this Wednesday, June 24th, and it’s gonna be a banger! With a little help from Swisher Sweets, (whose Swisher Artist Project is really taking off!), DropKloud, and new addition to the fun, CeleBuzz, we’ll be packing in Bardot Hollywood with fans, friends and TuneCore Artists for a night of fun and music!

Sharing the stage this month are TuneCore Artists FMLYBND, The New Regime, and Drop City Yacht Club, with special DJ sets in between. If you’re in the LA-area and you haven’t joined us yet, this is an awesome opportunity to come out, rub elbows with TuneCore’s West Coast team, and support your fellow TuneCore Artists! Learn a little more about the bands and sample some music after the jump.

The New Regime

TheNew Regime_Photo by Tamar Levine

Ilan Rubin has been around: he toured and played multiple instruments for Nine Inch Nails, filled in drumming for Paramore as they completed their self-titled album, and worked closely with Tom DeLonge to play an integral role in Angels & Airwaves’ latest album The Dream Walker (via TuneCore). Boasting songwriter influences from Led Zeppelin and Queen while incorporating layered instrumentation for an alternative-meets-electronic sound, The New Regime released its latest, Exhibit B (via TuneCore) in February of this year.

To me being independent means being in complete control of executing your vision. TuneCore has allowed me to take my music and put it out into the world without having to deal with any obstacles.

FMLYBND

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We’re proud to say Santa Barbara-based four piece FMLYBND has been using TuneCore to distribute their releases for the past couple of years. It’s been great watching them make people dance since their 2013 online hit ‘Electricity‘ as they continue their goal of “reshaping electronic music with their grunge influences”. Below, you can watch FMLYBND crush the first installment of our Convenience Store Sessions from, you guessed it, the aisles of a random convenience store!

Drop City Yacht Club

Drop City Yacht Club

California is a big state, and Drop City Yacht Club proves there’s hip hop talent oozing out of every region. Hailing from the northern and southern parts of Cali, MC/producer/songwriter duo Kristo and THX aren’t shy about expressing pride for their home state. Combined with influences ranging from hip hop like Outkast and the Beastie Boys as well as classic rock icons like the Beatles and Pink Floyd, the duo managed to break onto the scene with a hit single “Crickets (ft. Jeremih)” and show no signs of stopping! Splitting up all creative duties, we’re excited to watch the boys of Drop City Yacht Club share their beats and rhymes on stage.

To us, being independent means being brave. You have to be somewhat fearless to chase a dream. Especially if you’re chasing that dream on your own.

Interview: Michael Christmas Talks Indie Hip Hop

Boston born and bred MC Michael Christmas (aka Michael Lindsey) has been making a lot of noise since the February 2014 release of his debut mixtape Is This Art? (via TuneCore). From blog love via staples like The Fader, Complex and XXL to sharing the stage with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Action Bronson, things have been moving fast for the curly-haird self-deprecating rhymer. With deep-cut references to the Dave Chapelle Show and Arrested Development and a never-ending search for tacos, Is This Art? dabbles in light-hearted humor as Christmas faces the realities of being ‘broke and young’ while sharing slices of his story growing up in the neighborhood of Roxbury.

Additional 2015 singles like “A.D.H.D.” and “F**k Wit Me” (via TuneCore) have proven that Michael Christmas shows no signs of letting up this year. He’s working on a new project and took some time to chat with us about his rhyming style, finding his lane and repping a city not known for its hip hop stars:

First off, congrats on the success of 2014 and Is This Art? Tell us a bit about how you jumped into hip hop as a middle school-er.

Michael Christmas: I started in 7th grade through my after-school program. They had a “club” where you could learn to make beats and write raps. I recorded my first song there and immediately fell in love with rapping. I think that’s why I did so bad in school, I’d just write when I was supposed to be doing work.

You’re an artist who can flow and write without taking himself too seriously. Why do you think self-deprecation and a sense of humor have earned you fans the way it has?

I think it’s because we all go through these things and feel these things. It makes you feel like you’re not alone when someone brings up a problem that you’ve been through. That’s why stand-up comedians get so much love, they bring a lighter side to everyday struggles that you can relate to.

What kind of indie marketing and promotional efforts went into making the release of Is This Art? successful?

Honestly we just knew we needed to make a great project. We released two videos for it and a lot of hints using Instagram pictures of me over great art pieces, and then we dropped it. It was a fun roll-out and it did really well for my first tape.

What business or marketing lessons did you learn along the way?

I think the best marketing lesson I’ve learned is to just be authentic and eventually you’ll gain the kind of following you deserve. A lot of young artists will market themselves in a very specific way to build a fan base as quick as possible, but end up losing their identity early on by doing so. We’ve just put out quality content that represents me being me and a pretty cool fan base has followed.

With the exception of MCs like Guru, Edo G & Mr LIF, Boston isn’t exactly known for churning out big names. How did growing up in Roxbury impact both your writing and career growth & development?

One thing I didn’t realize my music had until I moved west was an East Coast influence. I talk about buses, trains, cornerstores and things that they don’t have as much on the West Coast and don’t talk about.
Everyone knew my dad in Roxbury, too, so they’d always ask if I was his son or stop me and go, “You look just like your father.” So I always felt safe I guess. It was fun! More than anything being from Boston and getting out made me realize how much people want to see Boston win. Everywhere I go I meet people from there that are glad to see it’s moving forward.

What advice do you have for young MCs and producers trying to break in smaller markets like Boston?

Right now is a time in Boston where the younger artists are very motivated and excited. There’s a real energy at home. So my advice is to find other artists that are serious in the city, (and also good and motivated), and keep building relationships. That’s always been the issue: no unity – but I think we can do that now. This summer especially.

You’re a good example of an artist keeping it DIY and moving quickly. What kind of role has TuneCore played in developing a greater fan base?

TuneCore has been great because it’s allowed us to get my music to listeners who might not be all over blogs, Soundcloud, YouTube, etc., all without the help of a label. We’ve approached everything with an independent mindset and TuneCore gives us that reach we might have needed to sign a deal to have gotten otherwise.

It’s obviously been a pretty big year for you. How have you adjusted personally, going from releasing your first mixtape to touring nationally and receiving love from major music outlets?

I haven’t really adjusted at all – I’m just so happy to be doing all these crazy things and working on this next project so I don’t need to adjust (laughs). Always on my toes. Life is like an adventure/prime-time sitcom.