Singer-songwriter HONEY perfectly knows that music never stops evolving. Indeed, she keeps developing as an artist and always trying new stuff at the studio. Best of all, she’s about to release a new single on May 13th, entitled “Sleeping Ugly” (Pre-Save It Here) where she puts her rapping skills to the test. Get all the details in this exclusive interview.
1 — What should people know about you? What sets you apart?
I’ve been singing since I was 5 years old and began writing around 2013. The music I write stems from strong emotional connections with topics that focus on self-love, positive image, and embracing oneself. I’ve struggled with addiction my entire life and writing music is an outlet for me to not only tell my story but connect with listeners. We all struggle, and we have all fallen to the wayside at one point or another. I want to be an artist that brings light to the lives of those who walk in the darkness. I want to be a voice for those who are afraid to speak up. I want those who feel misunderstood, to be heard and loved. I want to be the voice and hand you hold, to know that you are never alone.
2 — How, when, and why did you become an artist?
That’s actually an interesting question… artistry for me is something within my soul. The first time I sang for an audience I immediately felt a deeper connection with performing than I ever had with anything else. It was as if singing had opened a new door to my soul and I was able to express a deeper level of who I was. I still feel this way, and feel it more and more with each day that passes. I found my purpose at a young age and I think as I look back, the artist was born at 5 and has grown ever since.
3 — Do you think your upcoming single “Sleeping Ugly” marks an evolution as opposed to the previous ones?
Absolutely! My producer and I are always challenging ourselves to up our game with every release. There have been many songs that haven’t made the cut, but the ones we do release, we feel are always one level above the previous. One thing that I’ve never tried before is Rap and “Sleeping Ugly” pushed me there, so get ready to hear this chick lay a beat!
4 — Why did you choose that title?
I’m an extremist and wanted to create a title that would grab the listeners’ attention. I thought it would be cool to do a play on words with a classic fairytale and defy labels by going with the extreme opposite of beauty, which is ugly. The purpose is to ask ourselves… what is beauty? What is ugly? Without one can there be the other? What makes one negative and the other positive? I personally believe ugliness can be a positive thing, but really these are all just words… labels that we have preconceived judgments about. While there is beauty in all of us, the ugly parts are what mold us and create an arch in our story. The song and title are an expression of me embracing who I am and who I am becoming.
5 — Is there a message that you would like to convey in this new song?
Yes! The message is to embrace all of who we are, and love ourselves to the fullest… the good, bad and UGLY!
This was the second song I wrote during COVID, the point in my journey where I regained confidence. I had lost so much of who I was while pursuing addictive patterns, but when I started my journey of recovery, I found myself and embraced everything I had become through my pain.
“Sleeping Ugly” is a cheeky way of me expressing the authentic being I have become while calling out those who try to put me (us) in a box or place expectations on who I (we) “should” be.
I incorporated a Rap in the song, which touches on a period in my life where I would’ve gone to anyone at any time to avoid being alone. The rap is symbolic of who I am now… confident, decisive, and different from who I once was. It expresses a different side of me that I’ve never shown before, and I’m pretty pumped about it!
6 — Do you create lyrics spontaneously?
Yes! Once I’m in the studio everything is fresh, built from the ground up. We discuss topics I want to write about or I share stories, then we typically build a catchy theme or title to build around it. We typically get through a song written and recorded within a few hours.
7 — Which were your musical influences and inspirations?
As a young child, I was always a fan of the powerhouse divas: Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey. As a singer-songwriter, I have major respect for Maggie Rogers, Hayden James, my producer Josh Zegan (AKA. yesh), and the people with who I have the privilege of worshipping at Hosanna Church in Minnesota. Some amazingly talented artists there!
8 — Do you plan some new video or live shows after the pandemic?
YES! And during! I have a new lyric video coming out for each new song I release, so there will be many to come. There are also “About” videos explaining the story behind each single. You can watch at youtube.com/HoneyRibar
My team and I are also in talks about live streaming a release show in Fall 2021 where I will be performing all my newest singles from this year.
9 — Is there any kind of secret formula for going viral with your music releases?
No secret formula, just lots of vulnerability and sharing my heart. It’s not easy being an artist in such a judgmental world. There’s always a fear of being “too much” or “not enough”, but I feel that being ourselves is the only truth that each one of us holds. I hope that by sharing myself and my story I can help others.
10 — Thanks for doing the interview, anything you’d like to add?
First off, thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me and for sharing my story with others. Thank you for being part of the light.
Also, make sure to check out my newest single “Sleeping Ugly” premiering May 13th at 9 PM PDT on all music platforms. My newest single “Oh Lawd” is also now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and more! And remember… spread acceptance and love! The world needs it!
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Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”
You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.