With top-notch vocals and meaningful lyrics, Apostola is ready to showcase her talent to the world. Her latest project comes in the form of a 4-track EP titled ‘5minsfame’. Over time, songs have been used to portray a critique of society. In this case, the European singer-songwriter raises awareness as she crafts her narratives and tells relatable stories that revolve around fame, betrayal, and romantic heartbreak. Learn more below.
1 – Why is your new EP titled ‘5minsfame’?
I think when people hear the title, they must automatically assume that it implies that I am seeking my own ‘5 minutes of fame’ – but it is actually referring to the subject matter in the first track. That particular song is the most lyrically serious track on the EP and deals with a pertinent issue in society today; the fact that almost everyone is trying to become famous, gain attention or make a fortune by ‘going viral’, often with no valid reason. The rise in social media and our dependence and obsession with technology has created generations that do not know what it means to live in a world where you are not always accessible and where you do not have to reveal your every emotion, meal or location to everyone – all the time. For me, it is a deeply sad song. I wrote it after I read several stories of young people injuring or killing themselves in the pursuit of fame and attention because they felt they needed to do something very extreme to get noticed.
2 – Tell us about the recording process.
The hardest part was narrowing down all the songs I have to just four tracks, and I changed my mind a few times because every track is special to me for some reason or another and it felt like having to pick a favorite ‘child’! We wanted to get a good balance of tracks, but also to select those where the lyrics would resonate with listeners as I consider myself equally a singer and songwriter, so the lyrics are very important for me. In regard to the recording process, I was fortunate to have a very talented producer who works from state-of-the-art, new facilities and I was the first artist to record there when they opened, so that felt symbolic for me too (new studio, new EP, new beginnings!). I have to confess I have a weakness… I struggle to get the harmonies right because I can’t get the original vocal melody out of my head, so that was the most time-consuming part for me. Other than that, it was smooth sailing and a lot of fun and I can’t wait to get back into the studio again!
3 – Did you collaborate with other musicians?
My producer is actually a member of four, popular local bands and is an extremely talented musician who plays various instruments and sings himself. As such, we didn’t need to bring further musicians in as he had it covered! We collaborated very well together as we each have different strengths and perspectives but at the same time, we were (mostly!) on the same page regarding the direction of the tracks.
4 – Who have been your main influences for this EP?
I can’t say that I had any particular influences for the EP tracks, but I have other female artists who I greatly admire and who are constantly a source of inspiration for me in general: Madonna; Tori Amos; Lady Gaga; Pink; Katy Perry; Natasha Bedingfield; Alanis Morissette, Nelly Furtado; Lisa Stansfield; Jessie J; Christina Aguilera; Anastacia; Tracy Chapman; Bjork; Annie Lennox; Dina Carrol; Belinda Carlisle; Gwen Stefani; Fergie… and many more! Most of them write their own tracks, and they are all so unique in their own inimitable way.
5 – What’s your favorite song off ‘5minsfame’? What makes it so special?
My favorite is track 2 – ‘Parade’. I think this is because it is the first track we chose to record, and I feel that this was my best vocal delivery on the EP. I also love the intro as the first line ‘hear the drums in the distance, hear them marching far away’ doesn’t indicate that it is a break-up track. And I love the beat! It was exactly how I envisaged it. I guess that someone might wonder why it ended up being track 3! Well, the first track has the most powerful message and I wanted to lead with that because I feel it is so important. The second track is probably the most ‘commercial’ and it didn’t feel like ‘Parade’ would fit there as I think it is more indie in its format.
6 – Do you believe people can relate to your lyrics?
Yes, I think so. Whilst I believe the lyrics give a story or message, they are not over-complicated and so they are easy to understand and to feel. I am actually a bit surprised that the lyrics of ‘5 Minutes of Fame’ have not resonated more with people, but then I realized the irony; that people cannot hear the message because they are actually living that scenario and perhaps don’t recognize our society through the lyrics – it’s too close to the bone! All the tracks I write are pretty self-explanatory – there are no hidden messages or weird phrases so I hope that people will feel that I am an artist who writes about relatable issues.
The first track ‘5 Minutes of Fame’ is more a plea than a dedication; a plea to all young people who are feeling the pressure to be fully invested in their social media pages and to live their lives to please their ‘followers’ – and even friends and family. I would urge them not to seek this attention and validation from strangers – they don’t need it! And it will eat them up in the end. Of course, it is not their fault as they do not know any different. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up without all this technology and exposure, and that I got to live my childhood and teenage years in the ‘real world’ rather than a virtual one. This is a blessing that today’s youth will never be able to enjoy.
Tracks 2 and 3 – ‘I Won’t Wait for You’ and ‘Parade’ are polar opposites in that the first one is a strong female anthem and the latter is heartache. Whilst I don’t personally dedicate them to anyone, I think they will resonate with some people for their content. And finally, the sweet ‘My Sanity’ is dedicated to all the good, kind, supportive people out there who are someone’s rock, and to my own personal rock, who knows who he is!
8 – What would you say is the main difference between this EP and your past projects?
As an independent artist, it is very difficult to record properly if you do not have a good home studio or the funds to record at a professional studio. Whilst my previous EP and album were done in studios and are all my own original music, the quality of the recording wasn’t where it should have been, and that was to my detriment. As such, I pulled those tracks (confined to the vaults!) but hope that I can re-record them in the future. In regard to content matter, I can personally hear growth in this new EP, which is natural considering that I am that much older and wiser now and my priorities and views have shifted. I have been told by my nearest and dearest that my content matter is getting darker (they have heard a lot of my other tracks and a lot of them are indeed a bit depressing!), but again, this is because I see the world differently now. That is why we included the final track ‘My Sanity’ to the EP because the first three songs were not ‘happy’. ‘My Sanity’ is the sweet and positive ending to the more painful subject matter!
9 – What are your plans for 2020?
At the moment my actions are two-fold; promoting the EP and getting it as much exposure as possible in this saturated industry, and looking ahead for the next releases. I have already started remixing the EP which I hope will be out in early 2020, and at the same time, I am narrowing down the tracks for the next EP or album (not sure at this stage whether to stick with EPs or to go for the album!). If we are going to be honest, the process for independent artists is much longer than it is for signed artists and it is a marathon, not a sprint. As such, my expectations are realistic in regard to how much exposure I can gain and how long this will take.
10 – Lastly, what’s the secret behind you singing so well?
Thank you for the compliment! Everyone has a different opinion of what makes a good voice so it very much in the ear of the listener. I haven’t taken any singing lessons – the practice has been a lifetime of singing for the love it, but I suppose that subconsciously, listening to certain female artists over the years has probably influenced it somewhat as I can impersonate a handful of other singers quite well, which is my party trick! I do feel though that this EP hasn’t showcased my full vocal range so I will remedy this on the next release in 2020!
I would also like to thank you for the interview and for giving independent and emerging artists a platform and exposure – every little help and every snowball starts with just a few snowflakes!
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M.D. Chau Opens Up About Music And New Song “Stand Next To Me”
M.D. Chau is a recording artist and music producer previously known as “Minh.” Today he shares a beautiful single titled “Stand Next To Me,” which carries a message of hope for humanity and a better world. Learn more about him in this interview.
1 — When exactly did you change your artistic name?
With the “Stand Next To Me” release, I decided to change my artist name to M.D. Chau. The main reason is there are so many Vietnamese artists named “Minh” and I just couldn’t come up with some clever name that was congruent with who I am.
2 — Musically speaking, are there any differences between Minh and M.D. Chau?
I think the difference is I’m no longer chasing fame or wealth in my music endeavors. I do well in business and I really don’t need much from the industry or even people in terms of approval or accolades. I want to make honest music and use sounds I personally enjoy. Under “Minh” I was trying to find “my sound” mostly because the industry forced that kind of thinking. Now, I don’t really care about any of that. And the music I make, I don’t need it to become popular.
3 — Do you still see yourself pursuing music as a career or a hobby?
The world may correlate or validate a “career” in art with monetary gain and not for the frequency of works being released by the artist. I don’t look at it that way. It’s always been a career for me and will continue to be, but it’s part of my entrepreneurial career – it’s a creative venture within the whole of my entrepreneurial life and my goals.
4 — Are you ever stuck for what record to make next?
Not personally, as far as creative direction or ideation. If something is not being created, it usually has to do with the time and resources I need to get what I want to create out. I have two songs now in the works and I’m letting it sit a bit so I can come back to it with an evolved perspective. One is called “Good To Me” and one is called “Broken Inside”, both of which I wrote in the studio when I decided to just book the room and see what comes out.
I think everyone does and I do too. I would say that it matters less the older I get and the more I realize how true that opening line from “Ted” the movie is… “No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber, or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit.”
6 – Your latest single “Stand Next To Me” is awesome! What are the lyrics about?
With the lyrics, I wanted to draw attention to the one thing I think we all have in common as humanity, no matter what our differences are… we want to see our families do well and not hurt. I feel like if we can all get around that, we might just gain enough empathy to come together and figure out a middle ground and stop hurting each other’s families. Because of all this hate and division, that’s all it’s doing. I hope the song can somehow be used to bring us together. If I can get the resources and connections I need, I’d love to do an essay and songwriting contest about unity in middle schools and high schools across the country with a scholarship prize with the theme “Stand Next To Me.”
7 – Who or what inspired you to write this song?
All the Asian hate crimes happening as well as the injustices happening to pretty much every race across our globe. I also always had a vision in my head of all the moms in the world that work so hard for their families, including my mom. And when we act like horrible human beings, we shame them – we shame the family that has been sacrificing so much for us. For another person, it may not be a mother – it may be their father, uncle, grandma, etc… we have to do better as humans, for our family’s sake.
The pianist on my song is also an incredible music director, Rashad Howard. He’s played for some big names in music. He also plays in churches, so when I wanted a choir sound, he got some choir singers from a church he plays for and that’s what we came up with in the studio in a session. They did an incredible job!
9 – Are you already working on your next single?
Yes, there are two I’m working on that I mentioned in the previous question. But, I’m also thinking about re-doing some of the songs from when I was “Minh” and released five albums. Some of those songs I think deserve a new musical effort behind them.
10 – If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t think artists and songwriters are being compensated enough to make a living, yet songs permeate every aspect of our lives. I wish entrepreneurs could figure out a way to reward artists in their ventures that use music as a vehicle. I don’t think you can expect consumers to step up. I think business people need to consider the hard work behind every piece of music released for their use. I think artists also need to understand that if there’s not a marriage between art and commerce, none of us would be inspired by any of the artists that have influenced us – and that’s true in every artform! Many artists are too difficult when it comes to commercializing their art and they don’t reach someone that probably really needs a piece of what is coming out of them.
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Interview | Questions & Answers With Cultural Vultures
Danny Schneider aka Cultural Vultures is hoping to become the opening act for Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas via Audacy’s new competition. The winner will perform in the biggest concert of the year at the Hollywood Bowl. Get to know the artist better through this interesting interview.
1 — Did you begin playing drums or guitar just as you hit your teens?
Guitar has been my go-to instrument of choice, although I love the piano as well. Drums have always been intriguing to me and love beats and movement. Music takes me to a different place. It opens up parts of my brain that normal thought can’t access.
2 — How have you changed musically over the years?
Well, when I was younger I would listen differently than I do now. I would definitely not overthink or overcomplicate a song and just love it for what it was. Now I’m listening to all of the delicate intricacies that make a song. The arrangement, the melodies. Figuring out the key by just listening. I try to pick out all of the subtle instruments in the songs that you don’t know you are hearing. The melody in a lyric, etc.
3 — What do all your songs have in common?
People have gotten away from albums. Now people listen to a single song because of the platform they are on. I’ll write an entire album and although each song is separate there is a flow and they are all connected by sound. My songs as a whole usually tell a story collectively throughout the album. I will also use the same theme musically. For instance, in my songs, I have a huge orchestral element that I wrote for each song. All of the songs on the albums will have this because even though it’s a Rock song, to me it has to flow with the album. Like a DJ in a club, the transition from one song to the next should be seamless.
4 — Which musician other than yourself have you ever wanted to be?
I don’t think anyone wants to be someone else. There are musicians I admire Like Brian Eno, Trent Reznor, Bjork, and Tricky. I’d say in my opinion Prince was the greatest guitarist the world has seen. Even better than Hendrix. Prince’s biggest downfall was he was brilliant in every instrument so it overshadowed how incredible a guitarist he was.
5 — Is “Catch Hell For Comfort” your all-time favorite song from your catalog?
I am proud of that song and it’s been the one most people know me for. It’s not my favorite though, there are a few I’ve written but haven’t released yet which inspire me and make me giddy at times. As far as ones I’ve written and released I’d say “Time”, or “Surreal Sister” would be my favorites. Time builds on itself like you are walking up a mountain, then in a moment it’s like you are caught in an avalanche and you are falling. “Surreal Sister” to me is a beautiful yet fast-paced song that I love.
6 — Who would you dedicate these lyrics to?
I was the first artist signed to WatchMojo’s new record label SoundMojo. They primarily released my music videos though not my albums. So I would say as far as that is concerned I’m not signed to a label.
8 — We know you’re running to open for Coldplay and Black Eyed Peas at the Hollywood Bowl. Please tell us more.
Well, I was picked with several other bands to open for both of those bands but it’s a voting thing. I would need my fans to vote on Theopenact.com for it to happen. We will see what happens. I just love performing and getting lost in the music on stage.
Haha, usually I’ll sing loud in my car trying to stretch those vocal muscles. Typically I’ll sing a lot of Mad Season songs, I’ve always loved Layne Staley’s voice.
10 — What else can we expect from Cultural Vultures for the rest of the year?
Well, I’m doing a couple more music videos, a live studio performance, and working on the fourth album. We will see what’s next, I’m always ready to keep working and living this adventure.
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The Two Fake Blondes Drop A String Of Hot Remixes, Full Interview Here
The Two Fake Blondes is a husband-and-wife duo based in Seattle, Washington. Since the release of their debut album ‘Out Of The Darkness,’ they’ve been gaining momentum across the electronic music scene. In this interview, we discuss their recent remixes and much more…
1 — Why did you decide to release a string of the remixes?
We really wanted to continue to breathe life into our album, and we thought – what better way to do that than calling up a few of our awesome friends and asking them to offer their own interpretations to songs off of our album via a remix?!
2 — How did these collaborations take shape?
When ‘Out Of The Darkness’ was released last fall, we already had three out of the four artists in mind that we wanted to get involved on remix duty. So in that process, we reached out and asked them to choose a song from the album that stuck out to them. Each of them came back with a song choice and really meaningful reasons on why they chose the song that they did. On the fourth remix, Sherm actually reached out to us explaining how much “Alone” spoke to him on a personal level and how instantly he knew he wanted to remix it.
3 — From a production standpoint, were things done drastically different with each remix?
Yes, each remix was drastically different from the original, which we loved! The most consistent aspect was Hannah’s vocal, but otherwise, everyone tapped into their own magnificent creative workflow and delivered remixes that blew us away. We couldn’t be happier with each one.
4 — All of them sound pretty dope, which one is good for clubs and festivals?
We’ve got Sherm’s Tech-House remix, which is guaranteed to go off at the clubs. Yabe’s Deep House would be a sick poolside party track. Deadman’s Future House remix would surely blow the speakers out on a festival stage and finally, you’ve got Neon Feather’s epic Synthwave/House track that you could listen to literally anywhere. It’s such a good range!
5 —How would you describe your role during the creative process?
When it came to these remixes, we just took our hands off the wheel and handed the keys over to the remixers. Because we were fans of each of their music already, (and had already worked with some) we knew we wouldn’t be getting anything less than fantastic from each of them. We did make tweaks for the final mixes, but otherwise, it was all them.
6 — What philosophy guides your music career?
Hard work and joy. We love to hustle and work hard, it’s literally in each of our DNA – it’s so fun for us! We love seeing results, we love reaping the rewards BUT at the end of the day – are we healthy? Are we burnt out? How is our marriage? We also try to see everything we do music-wise through our fans’ points of view. There’s nothing that makes us happier (when it comes to music) than being up on stage sharing incredible moments with the audience and getting to chat with them after. We’re here to give them an escape and hopefully enhance their lives in some way, big or small. We try to recreate that with our social media experience as well. We love our music fam!
7 — Do you believe being a husband-wife duo makes things easier while working together at the studio?
We’ve built our relationship on mutual respect, trust, and communication. We had no idea how much these traits would translate into the studio! We both also know each of our strengths so we don’t need to step on each other’s toes. We take credit for everything together equally, even if at the end of the day we know who did what. Haha! Ego is always left at the door when we head into the studio.
8 — Have you ever worked on solo projects separately?
Yes, Pete was just Petey Mac for a long time, producing House and Tech-House. Hannah was actually a Country music artist (Hannah Michelle Weeks) for almost two decades!
9 —So far, what’s the best feedback you’ve received about your debut album ‘Out Of The Darkness’?
Besides the positive comments from our fans on social media and personal stories from our remixers, I think the coolest thing has been seeing how many “saves” the songs are getting on Spotify. We all know, you really really have to like a song to make the effort to hit that heart! We’ve had so many amazing blog write-ups as well and feel so abundantly grateful for our supporters in the press.
10 — Musically speaking, what are your plans for the upcoming months?
We are actually having a baby in about 6 weeks! We are going to take some time off of social media and really soak up these last few weeks before parenthood begins – we cannot wait to meet our baby boy! For the rest of the year, we will be writing and working on brand new music for 2023 and working on booking our Summer tour for 2023 as well.