Disclosure, Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes Discuss the Making of 'Latch' [VIDEO]


Good music wins and Disclosure's "Latch" is solid proof of that. After it was first released in October 2012 in the U.K., the song has slowly but surely gained momentum in America and it has turned the British duo into a bonafide chart sensation. The success of "Latch" has not only put deep house firmly back on the map, but the success of the song also serves as the perfect launching pad for Sam Smith's new music that is already getting loads of GRAMMY buzz. Guy and Howard from Disclosure, Sam Smith and songwriter Jimmy Napes sat down with Beats in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago to talk about the making of the song that started their movement. It's a great watch. (Make sure to also watch the previous episode of Beat by Beat featuring Rudimental.)

May 14, 2014 | Permalink

Hoodie Allen Premieres 'Show Me What You're Made Of' Video [First Look]


I have said this before and I will say it again: Hoodie Allen is a true role model for all aspiring artists out there. Without the power of a major label on his side, the rapper makes music, plays shows, and developed a loyal and passionate fanbase all on his own. Artists like Macklemore and Hoodie Allen are living proof that the game of music has changed. There are different and new ways to get your music out there in front of people. Besides being a huge talent with passion and drive, he writes me in an email that "no vacation days" may be the real secret to his success. It's true. If you believe in something so passionately, it's all you can put your mind to and you'll work tirelessly to accomplish your dreams.

His latest greatest effort is the video for his new single "Show Me What You're Made Of" that is the lead single from his upcoming debut fell length album. "It's been a minute since I put anything out -- honesty feel like I've either been writing or on tour non-stop all of 2013 till now," Hoodie writes me. "I'm really excited to finally be able to give you the first piece of the puzzle."

"Show Me What You're Made Of" is a fun hip-hop romp perfect for the season. Blending clever rhymes with a solid pop hook in the chorus, the song tells Hoodie's tale of a summer fling going to the next level. "Baby let me turn you on/I'll treat you like a new iPhone," he raps. "Girl you can be a star/fuck that cuz you already are/But show me what u made of? Can you show me what u made of?" The song was written by Hoodie and produced by RJF & Parrish Warrington 

The video was inspired by Happy Gilmore, one of Hoodie's favorite videos of all time. Directed by Ariel Danziger, the video is happy ride around the golf course that not only features the legendary Tommy Lee but also Hoodie's pal DWhy. "It already makes for a pretty legendary music video as it is," he smiles. "Then to top it off, Tommy fuckin' Lee plays my drunk golf caddy." It's a whole lot of hilarity packed in a  (Listen to Hoodie Allen "Show Me What You're Made Of" on Beats Music.)

May 8, 2014 | Permalink

Listen to Oliver Heldens feat. Becky Hill 'Gecko (Overdrive)' [Review]


Oliver Helden's bass-happy "Gecko" is without a doubt one of the finest house records released in 2013. In fact, alongside efforts by Disclosure, Duke Dumont and Clean Bandit, the track has helped to put deep house music back on the map. The 19 year-old Dutch DJ and producer is getting ready for a push in the pop charts with a flaming make-over of "Gecko" with the help of powerhouse vocalist Becky Hill and the infinitely-talented MNEK.

The latest edit "Gecko (Overdrive)," written and vocalled by Becky Hill during a late night recording session with MNEK, is being released by Parlophone's new dance imprint FFRR. Initially written for another vocalist, Becky's towering vocal on Gecko’s chorus was deemed the perfect fit. 

Signed to Spinnin’ Records when he was just 17-years-old, the Netherlands-born DJ/producer has also released the tracks "Stinger" and "Juggernaut" as well as creating remixes for Marin Garrix. This new version of "Gecko" is an equally amazing look for Becky Hill who was recently featured on Rudimental’s "Powerless" and Wilkinson’s drum and bass track "Afterglow" last year, Becky Hill has been very much in demand. She has also been writing and recording with a host of talented producers and musicians, gathering material for her upcoming album, released later this year on Parlophone Records.

May 7, 2014 | Permalink

Pop Alert: Newcomer Allie X Talks about Inspirations Behind New Track 'Bitch'


As long as there is pop, there is hope. And pop newcomer Allie X gives us plenty to believe in. Following the successful release of her synth-pop gems "Prime" and "Catch," the rapidly-rising Canadian singer now serves up the brand-new "Bitch." It's another slice of sonic excellence that further details Allie X's multi-faceted brand of pop that combines music, visual art and a very distinct point of view. Ruled by brooding synths and Allie's mesmerizing vocal performance, "Bitch" deliberately captures some darker undertones that show off her moodier side.

In a phone interview earlier today, Allie explains that "Bitch" explores  the "shadow self" construct that was developed by psychiatrist Carl Jung. It's a theory that investigates the relationship between conscious and unconscious processes of the psyche. "The shadow self personifies things that you don’t want to acknowledge about yourself or that you are ashamed off," Allie X explains. "It's the darker side of yourself that is buried in your unconsciousness. You need to bring it out because otherwise it can be dangerous." 

Allie explains that "Bitch" was one of the first songs she wrote and recorded in Los Angeles. It came together very quickly when she was having a bad day. "I holed myself up in the studio to work on music," she says. "The beat came first and then the lyrics started to flow. It was quick. It took a day. I didn't even conceptualize it in advance. It just came out this way and I realized afterwards what it all meant. I'm very proud of how it came out."

She adds, "['Bitch'] conceptualizes the relationship I have with myself. There's a line 'I'm a bitch/Come out' that illustrates that. The song is dark and domestic. It so interesting that after I finished the song I felt very relieved."

In a world too often ruled by cookie-cutter pop, Allie X serves up both style and substance with her music. It's pop music loaded with artistic value that perfectly balances light and darkness. It's the interplay between these two that make pop music so endlessly fascinating. Allie X has a firm handle on both elements, and puts forth a unique perspective that is very exciting to watch grow and develop. 

Follow Allie X on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for more exciting updates soon. (A big thank you to Allie X for taking my call today and talking so candidly about her music.)

May 6, 2014 | Permalink

Sweden's Andreas Moe Turns Rivers Into Oceans on His New Single [Review]


Scandinavia continues to be an incredible rich breeding ground for fantastic new pop and dance music. Robyn's new single with the guys of Royksopp is a great example of that. To celebrate that much-anticipated new track I put together a sweet and crunchy "Scandi Sounds" playlist on Beats Music that features 25 great tracks from Northern Europe including tunes by Galantis, Erik Hassle, Private, Annie, Miriam Bryant, Tove Lo and many others.

I also included Andreas Moe's "Collecting Sunlight," a truly timeless pop gem that never really got its moment in the limelight. It's one of my favorite pop ballads in recent years. It's poignant, wonderfully performed and features a bittersweet melody that Swedes know how to craft like no other.

"Collecting Sunlight" is taken from Moe's debut EP that was released in 2012. That effort was followed by the This Year EP that the Swedish singer/songwriter put out in 2013. He also spent a lot of efforts on writing for other European artists which has garnered him 6 gold and platinum accolades in 2013 for songs that were released in Sweden, Holland and the UK. 

Fortunately for pop fans out there, there's a lot of great new work from Moe on the horizon. He has continued to work with a lot of other acts, including up-and-coming pop outfit Rixton. He's also featured on Tiesto's forthcoming debut album, titled A Town Called Paradise, with the song "Echoes." (EDM aficionados among you may remember that he also contributed the vocals to Avicii's "Fade Into Darkness" even though he never received official credit for it.)

To kick things off in 2014, the Swedish crooner returns with a brand-new single that reminds us exactly why we were so impressed by him in the first place. The single is called "Ocean" and is the title track from his new EP. It's a slice of heartfelt balladry that showcases Moe's incredible knack for melody and savvy lyricism. The song title is a metaphor to illustrate the immensity of love between two people.

"'Ocean' is a simple song about the power of love," Moe explains.  "When the right person loves you at the right time and in the right way, they can turn that 'river' inside of you into an 'Ocean.' I co-wrote and co-produced the song and I’m so happy to be able to release it as my next single."

Produced by Moe in partnership with Peter Miles, it's an accomplished effort that fits the singer/songwriter pop sound du jour. He he could have easily passed the track on to OneDirection or Philip Philips but fortunately for us Moe decided to record this one himself. Follow Andreas Moe on Twitter, Facebook and Beats Music.

May 4, 2014 | Permalink