Now Playing: Summer 2019

Hello, readers! Welcome back. 🙂

Huge life update for those who don’t already know: a little over a week ago, I graduated from the University of Oregon! Changes, changes.

Among others, one change is a shift in my music taste. Don’t get me wrong, The 1975 and alternative tunes will forever be my #1, but I’ve recently opened myself up to a few genres I’d never considered exploring before. Curious about what I’ve been jamming out to? Read on.

“Forever” – The Lonely Biscuits

This song hooked me with just the first line: “The car’s break lights sorta look like a heartbeat. Between the windshield wipes, wish you were in the front seat.” Paired with an alluring electronic guitar riff that eventually builds and becomes loud and biting, this lyric really struck me. It captures a familiar experience–driving through the city late at night with that one special person. The glow of  traffic/break lights illuminate their face in bursts, and you’re happy to just be there.

I consider this track to be a love song that was written after the death of a relationship. It features an echoey sound bite of a woman, seemingly on the other end of a phone line, saying “hello?” following the first verse. The sense of confusion yet eagerness in her voice makes me wonder if these two people haven’t spoken for quite some time.

Simple yet stunning, this track has easily become one of my summer favorites. The punk-esque vocals are definitely different from what I’ve listened to in the past, but the fantastic imagery and sick guitar keeps me coming back for more.

“Slip Away” – Perfume Genius

This song was featured in Booksmart during the pool scene. I love Perfume Genius, and I was thrilled to hear his voice make an appearance on the soundtrack! (Plus it’s perfect for that scene.) Like many Perfume Genius songs, this track builds up slowly and beautifully, then explodes with sound and color.

“Chest Piece” – Rome Hero Foxes

My sister and I went to see these guys perform at Lola’s Room in Portland a few weeks ago, and it was so fun. Followed by Heart Attack Man, Glacier Veins and Sincere Engineer, this was the first pop-funk/emo live show I’ve attended…and to my surprise, I loved it! The crowd was lively, the bands were engaging, and the music was LOUD. This song, “Chest Piece,” is off Rome Hero Foxes’ latest album, 18 Summers.

“A Part of Me” (ft. Laura Whiteside) – Neck Deep

This is another seemingly “off-brand” track for me. I came across it in sort of an unusual way–it was included in a playlist made for me during my last term in college when things weren’t going so well. Despite that, the song still makes me smile. I swoon every time I hear lead singer Ben Barlow describe the girl he loves, even after they are no longer together: “I like her ’cause she’s smart, headstrong and independent, she puts me in my place, but I don’t know where I stand.” You don’t hear  girls described this way very often in music.

The lyric that really tugs at my heart strings, though, is: “And if only I could find the words, or muster up the nerve to tell her…I’ll never forget her, and she’ll always have a part of me.” I’ve always believed that each person you meet who meant something to you leaves a part of themselves behind, even after things change or you no longer speak.

“Take Me As You Please” – The Story So Far

This is another new pop-punk favorite of mine. I found it on Spotify last month, and for some reason, it sounded super familiar. I couldn’t figure out why, until I texted a link to my friend, who I figured would also enjoy it. A few minutes later, he texted me back: “Sophie. I showed this song to you like 6 months ago and you loved it then.” Oops! I guess I forgot. It was fun re-discovering it, though. The harmonies are stunning.

“Atlas: Two” – Sleeping At Last

Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? Similarly, the Ennegram test is “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” Sleeping At Last, a musical project led by multi-instrumentalist Ryan O’Neal, created a song for each of the nine personality types which he sings from the various perspectives. My song, “Atlas: Two” (I’m a type 2, the Helper) made me tear up a little. Want to know which song Ryan wrote for you? Take the test here, then find your song here.

 

Golden Days (album) – Haley Johnsen

Killer vocals, breathtaking lyrics, and a kind heart…that’s Haley Johnsen, a local Portland artist who is on the RISE and seriously KILLIN’ IT. (She recently toured the U.S. with band Joseph and later Big Wild, plus her latest album features a duet with Allen Stone!) If it’s not already obvious, I simply adore Haley.

I was stoked for the release of her brand new album last month, Golden Days. I attended her record release show at the Doug Fir, and was thrilled to see the entire venue FILLED with fans, family, and friends. Hearing her perform the dreamy new tracks from the front row was so much fun–a few of my favorites on Golden Days are: “Cinderella,” “City Of Me,” “Everything Comes Back Again,” and “I’ll See You Around.”

“Mausoleum” -Seryn

Absolutely in love with this track at the moment. It was used in a UO Graduation 2019 video, and I think of my school every time I hear it. Watch below!

Seryn is a four-person band from Texas, often described as having a “big sky” sound. What also drew me to this track was the song’s intro, which sounds a lot like another fave of mine, “Razor” by Foo Fighters.

 

Enjoy these tunes and your summer!

xoxo

Sophie

Advertisements

An Interview With Samantha Preis

Samantha Preis

13268214_10154868481002785_1360161700995285125_o-1

Samantha Preis, a London-based singer-songwriter, has been described as possessing a “soulful,” “introspective,” and simply “captivating” voice. Her songwriting depicts stories of the complex vision surrounding the human condition, and simply every day life–from heartbreak, the art of letting go, and discovering yourself as an individual, Samantha’s music has begun its journey across the globe–from her home base in London, to the U.S., Middle East and beyond. Her latest single, “Lost For Me,” is available on all music streaming sites, as well as her debut album Good News, which was released in 2013.

A Perfect Playlist: How would you describe your sound?

Samantha Preis: Others have described me as sounding Pop/Jazz/Folk, or compared me with artists such as Norah Jones, Laura Nyro, Kate Bush, Tori Amos, etc.

APP: Yeah, your voice reminds me of Norah Jones mixed with a bit of Florence and the Machine. Who are a few of your influences when it comes to your unique style?

SP: The Beatles, Michael Hedges, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Jethro Tull, Debussy, Jobim, Burt Bacharach, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra, Gershwin, Bill Evans…. all jazz really… a lot of music from the 60’s and 70’s… I could go on and on!

APP: Tell me a little bit about your latest single, “Lost For Me.” What’s the story behind that song?

14103046_10155138998692785_8518785252139624427_o

SP: The song is about an individual venturing into the unknown, armed with very little except memories of people and experiences that have shaped her. These things help guide her through her journey. I feel that people and experiences in our lives stay with us far after they are physically gone and give us direction and meaning.

APP: Favorite gig you’ve ever done?

SP: Cafe Universel – a jazz bar in Paris’ Latin Quarter – it’s a small, intimate venue where true art-lovers come to feel something.

APP: That sounds wonderful. What advice can you give to young artists who are looking to begin songwriting?

SP: Play what you feel. Write for yourself, not for anyone else.

14425485_10155266801802785_6275809722654663357_oAPP: There is a theory that songs are just waiting to be written–we are constantly surrounded by them in a sense, and songwriters pin them down, capturing their story in the form of a song. If one artist doesn’t claim the song, someone else will. Do you agree with that theory? What is your songwriting process?

SP: I don’t believe songwriting is a competition. A lot of songwriters seem to feel like they need to write a song a day, or that the more songs they write, the more likely one of them will become a “hit.” I am not that way. I write when I am inspired to. I may go months without writing a song, or a very long time without feeling the desire to play at all. I have found that my best material comes in spurts and is often unplanned– it’s almost as if I am channeling something in the room that comes through me… like TV air waves!

APP: What records have you been listening to/loving lately?

SP: Loving everything by Kings of Convenience – totally brilliant. Also Chad Vangaalen is fascinating.

APP: What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in terms of your musical career?

14115625_10155172245002785_3697200637170627119_oSP: I love putting out the most honest work I possibly can. I was very proud to release my first album Good News in 2013.

APP: If you could bring back one artist from the dead to perform with, who would it be and why?

SP: David Bowie or Prince, possibly. I feel they both supported the idea that there are no rules in art. They created music/art they truly believed in, even when it may have been seen as unusual. People loved them for it because it was honest and real and their enthusiasm for what they did was contagious.

APP: Anything else you’d like to say to the readers of A Perfect Playlist?

SP: Love yourself. Love what you do. Keep on rocking in the free world 😉

good-news

Find Samantha here:

Website

Twitter

Spotify

Concert Preview: Emily King

bBjW2KcvAE19ElVaiForUvmnQvbP26hld-ZXkQxeoCE,qomIi-saXz-sXwe_wF3aZeRhsyVqWHGmf4-Q9dEVNGQ,9kK1BKZdv20Ci6Q_CqrAUBcitjYCNp4_nDy1OzfayC8Singer-songwriter Emily King will be performing at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR on August 5th. Want to get to know this talented, Grammy-nominated it-girl before seeing her live? Then you’ve come to the right place. 🙂

Born in New York City, Emily has been surrounded by music her entire life. Her parents, Marion Cowings and Kim Kalesti, were a traveling singing duo while she was growing up, and Emily herself began to pursue music at the age of just sixteen. Her debut album, titled East Side Story, was released in August of 2007. USA Today rated it four out of five stars, and it was even nominated for a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Contemporary R&B Album of the Year. And Emily’s success didn’t stop there. Also in 2007, Emily toured with John Legend, opened for a few iconic artists such as Alicia Keys and Chaka Khan, and even Maroon 5! In 2012, she opened for singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles. (One of my favorites!)

Egi-F7vB5wni3XQF2Ern1XXy-HHOGEdsricDj-VxKykEmily’s distinct style and image have caught the eyes and ears of fans around the world. Although Emily was initially working with a record label until 2008, she’s worked on her music independently since, and her latest album, The Switch really reflects that. And I’ve got to say, this album is absolutely brilliant. The Switch features some killer bass, simple-yet deeply-emotional lyrics, and hypnotizing harmonies sung by Emily herself. Fans of Alabama Shakes, Kitten, and London Grammar will appreciate Emily’s breathy, compelling voice that truly fills your headphones in a way I haven’t ever heard before.

emily-king-the-switch-lp-stream-715x715Emily will be performing songs off her latest record, The Switch during her tour this summer, which was released just this last month on the 24th of June. A few of my personal favorites off this album are “Already There,” “Off Center,” “Distance,” and “The Switch.” Each song tells a relatable, descriptive story and Emily’s vocals make each song absolutely unique in their own way. This album is heavily influenced by indie, soul, and R&B musical style, and Emily’s soulful  vocals makes this album a perfect soundtrack for your summer. It’s been on repeat for me the past few weeks!

With a strong, charismatic stage presence, some killer tunes, a phenomenal new album, and simply an amazing, refreshing voice, Emily King is guaranteed to put on an amazing show this August. Make sure you grab your tickets now while they last, and feel free to tweet me pics & reactions to the show when you’re there!

king tour

Find Emily here:

Instagram

Website

Spotify

Nina Nesbitt’s “Songs I’m Writing For You” Project

22905476149_58a1cd2331_o

One of my favorite UK female artists, Nina Nesbitt, recently came up with an idea that brings fans even closer to her music. I absolutely love the idea, and I thought I’d write a little blog post about it. I encourage you to check out a few of the songs she recently released for her project “Songs I’m Writing For You.” 🙂 (Photo on the left by Drew Fawkes)

Nina’s idea allows fans to submit personal stories to her, which she then transforms into songs. Fans sent a variety of stories; from breakups, dark/happy times in their lives, and tales of the people and things that mean most to them. Additionally, Nina asked fans to send bits and pieces of details that could help her translate their story into a song, such as memories of particular smells, sensations, colors, and visuals that relate to their experience. I think this is such an incredible way to incorporate the fans into her music–fans will treasure these songs Nina has written for them for the rest of their lives, and I love the idea that she is translating their thoughts and emotions into a song, which is really difficult for people who love music but can’t write their own (like me, haha) to do.

ninaSo far, Nina has released two tracks that were derived from stories submitted by fans: “Ontario,” and “Brisbane.” The titles refer to the places around the world in which the fans live, and where the stories take place. “Ontario” tells the heartbreaking story of two friends who begin to blur the lines between friendship and something more, taking place in a crowded house party where jealousy, lust, and sadness begin to taint their developing relationship. “Brisbane,” however, follows the story of a girl’s close relationship with her aging father. The young girl worries her memories of her father will fade after he has passed, and wonders if she will lose a piece of herself when she loses him someday.

After releasing these tracks, Nina has continued to use this project to give back to her fans. After the release of “Ontario,” Nina put a number of limited edition CDs for sale on her website which were not only all autographed, but also featured a unique lyric from the single written on each of the sleeves.

ninaI just want to take a moment to acknowledge the incredible amount of effort Nina has made over the years in connecting with her fans across the world. She is constantly giving fans the opportunity to be involved in her projects, whether that means helping her write new songs, or submitting pictures of them wearing her merchandise for a chance to be featured on her website. So cool, and such a great way to gain life-long fans.

I’m so excited to see what songs Nina will release next based on fan submissions! In the meantime, though, “Brisbane” and “Ontario” are currently on repeat. Thanks for all the cool things you do for your fans, Nina! 🙂

An Interview With Nate Maingard

intro pic

Nate Maingard

Nate Maingard, a singer-songwriter from South Africa, refers to himself as a “modern-day troubadour.” Having grown up in a household filled with poetry and song, Nate has always been fascinated by the power that music has to tell stories.

Nate began performing in 1998. He took his career in a new, independent direction in 2011 when he began building an innovative, online community of supporters (now composed of over 200 patrons) who pledge a monthly fee to support his music. In exchange, Nate provides his fans with early access to his music, as well as personalized cards and video messages. Nate has performed in venues and living rooms alike all over South Africa, the U.K., Germany, and California–telling his stories through song.

A Perfect Playlist: How would you describe your sound?

Nate Maingard: Someone else did it better than I ever could: “Love songs for rebels and protest songs for lovers.” -Angela Weickl

APP: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to pursue music?

Nate: Music pursued me. I tried many other things and eventually had to acknowledge that it was the only thing my heart was asking me to fill my time with. I tried to leave, promise. 😉

beatles+5APP: What was your favorite record as a kid?

Nate: Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles.

APP: You call yourself a “modern troubadour.” Which do you enjoy more: performing for small crowds, or singing onstage for large crowds? Why?

Nate: They each have their own positives and negatives, but overall, I’d have to say I prefer the smaller crowds. The intimacy and connection is what I live for. My songs are like shy deepwater seahorses which only come out under the right circumstances…but when they come out, they frolick and bring joy to all who come across them. (Sorry, I ramble sometimes.)

on the streetAPP: What’s your favorite song you’ve written?

Nate: That is an impossible question. I have many aspects of many songs I love. Currently I’m loving a brand new one I just wrote today. That’s always the case–the new ones become my favourites for a while. A definite long-term favourite is “Always Wandering.”

APP: I love your song “Slow It Down.” So well-written! What’s the story behind that song?

Nate: Aw, thank you so much! Well, I was just observing that everything in society is accelerating: cars, phones, computers, airplanes, lifestyles…and, well, I can’t really see the point. Are people happier because of it? Do they have more time to connect with the ones they love? Seems not. It seems the faster we move the less time we have to connect with other people and really  share the beauty of being human together. Also, Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, John Lennon, Bob Marley (and many more) all spoke incredible truths. If people just slowed down enough to pay attention to the great teachers and act on what they spoke, this world would change overnight.

APP: Any particular artists, songs or albums you’ve been listening to a lot lately?

Nate: Yes, indeed. I am HOOKED on my friends’ music. Loving Sam Garrett, Roaman, Ny Oh, Thomas James Smith, Jesse Sheehan, Kim Cassidy. Also Matthew P, Mitski, Avi Vincour…the list goes on…

hugAPP: If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Nate: Bananas.

APP: Are you working on any new music right now?

Nate: Yup, just wrote a new song today, and have a couple more in the works. The rough versions will be exclusively available for my patrons on Patreon in the next few days (http://patreon.com/natemaingard).

APP: Anything else you want to say to readers of A Perfect Playlist?

Nate: Perfection is a subjective perception, so don’t let the engine of education crush your curiosity. Celebrate your child-like inclination to dance with admiration for this mysterious creation!

Find Nate & his music below!

Website

SoundCloud

Instagram