US singer Shaelyn Avalon just released the lead single for her upcoming second studio album, ‘Redemption.’And nothing is better than real emotive songs based on true events. That said, “Hot Mess” is worth your time to listen to it.
She opens up her heart for us to feel a transcendental episode of her life. The full interview is here!
1 — Where did you get inspiration to write the lyrics for “Hot Mess”?
I started writing “Hot Mess” when I was in the hospital getting bloodwork done. The car crash I got into at the beginning of 2021 (as a passenger) caused me some major injuries that I had to get CT scans and MRIs. When they told me there was a large mass in my stomach that could rupture any minute I felt like I lost my life. I’d modeled for years in order to help support my music and felt pressure since I was 19 to be a certain size and weight. My weight started fluctuating because of the cyst that had been preexisting before the accident. I struggled with an eating disorder because of it and always blamed myself. My self-esteem took a huge hit and so did my faith in God. All I wanted was for things to go back to normal, to go back to me and what felt right. I would imagine what life was gonna be like after I got the cyst out and when I got my body back. I was upset that my plans for my career got put on hold for a full year.
2 — If you could travel back in time, and repeat one event, what would it be?
I would hug my mom again and more often. I never got to say goodbye to her when she passed. I would have taken more photos with her too. She was very against being posted on social media and we have rarely any photos together from when I was an adult. In all of them, I’m young and it feels like I’m looking at a stranger in the photos. We were thousands of miles away from each other when she died suddenly from a heart attack and I had to hear it from her husband over the phone, who had separated she and myself when I was in my preteens and moved in with my grandparents. I was still recovering from my surgery and the heavy crying hurt my sides where I had been cut open so much that I tried to numb myself so I wouldn’t be in so much pain.
3 — Is this the saddest song you’ve ever written as an artist?
It is…and it isn’t. I’ve always seen it as a more angry song than sad. There’s a longing in there but it’s a song based on survival. I was angry at everything – my life for changing so suddenly, one thing after the next, it didn’t feel real and I didn’t feel like I had any autonomy over my own life or decisions. Doctors, chiropractors, and nurses constantly told my grandma and my mom they couldn’t come with me to my appointments because of stupid restrictions and then made me deal with having them handle my body however they wanted. It felt icky and gross. There was a lot of invasive prodding that made me feel like I was a science experiment and not a human being. I had to have ultrasounds and all these warm liquids shot into my body through an IV for them to do more scans, only to be sent home hungry since I was not allowed to eat until they told me to and then I’d be so fatigued I could barely stand each time I came out. I was accused of being pregnant, and that’s when the eating disorder got REALLY bad. I felt so much shame when people would try to tell me I was wrong about my own body. I had just gone through a breakup before the accident so I obviously was super single the whole time I was going through this. The good news is I’m sterile now so nobody will ever be able to accuse me of that again *laughs.*
I hope it helps others who have hospital trauma and makes them feel seen, or that it helps people that are severely depressed like I have been. It can be so frustrating to feel like you’re the only one with a heavy load on your back. In the year I struggled with getting diagnosed I met so many wonderful friends online who also had invisible disabilities. It can feel like you’re on a journey nobody understands. This is the song that says “I understand, I lived through it too. It’s gonna be okay even if there is no quick fix.” Although none of us deserved it in the first place.
5 — The guitar riffs sound brilliant. What emotions does the instrumentation evoke for you?
A lot of angst, redemption, taking back my power after losing it for a whole year. It made me daydream a lot about what it would be like to tour with this song when I first got the track from Jason Pettey. We connected online and he sent me three tracks I really love and then I recorded them with Jerry (Danielsen) like I do most of my songs. The other two are on the album as well. The first time I sang it I felt like myself again.
6 — What’s the current status of your upcoming album ‘Redemption’?
These new songs are very unlike what I originally envisioned for my first album but are what was needed. The story (as of now) walks with the listener through the trials tragedy can cause and the ups and downs afterward. My loss was very unique in the timing of it all and how it happened. I still carry a lot of guilt for being the one that lived. I wasn’t supposed to make it through my ovarian cystectomy if the liquid in the cyst burst. I kept thinking God was somehow letting my mom die because he let me live through a surgery I was scared I would die from and they were only two days apart. It made me feel alone. The only reason I kept going at such a fast pace the first two months after she died was because I was mad I was robbed of having a mother through such a difficult time in my life, which is now mixed with a lot of sadness, wistfulness, and sometimes forgetting she’s gone. I’m obviously still in a lot of pain so I don’t think that fire inside me is gonna go out anytime soon. I think the album looks a little like that, the bottled-up stuff only my best friends, my grandparents, and my boyfriend see. It’s also the happy moments that came through the pain, the nights my friends took me out so late I wouldn’t have to cry alone in my small apartment in LA before my boyfriend and I moved in together, and the adventures and sweet moments my boyfriend and I share. In a way I feel older than my peers because I’m now parentless and can see trivial things as just that – trivial. It makes me appreciate the innocence I carried when I first started singing. It’s a mess but it’s like a Monet painting, it looks beautiful from the outside I think, like growth.
This chapter in my life, however long it may be, is about rebuilding from the ground up. It’s about taking my body back, taking back the right to say no, going out and doing everything I couldn’t do or people told me I couldn’t do for so long, and feeling alive again. I was severely depressed for so long that I just want my life to be as happy and beautiful as possible now, regardless of how that looks to others.
8 — Can we expect dark ballads or something else?
A lot of those, and some things that are usual Shaelyn. That’s the thing I’m learning about myself and about music, it doesn’t all have to be the same genre to fit an album, the same way I don’t always wear the same style of clothing or how I can be happy one day and sad the next. Grief made me feel like I was allowed to feel the ugly feelings and still be loveable. That’s definitely why God sent me my boyfriend and why me and my best friend have become even closer since I called her crying on the phone and she came straight to my place with a bottle of wine and tissues. Now Lainey is like my sister and Dane is my rock. They are the people that will never let me get hurt and have given me a safe space to evolve and change as I navigate life after loss.
9 — How does this album differ from your past productions?
I am letting myself be a human first and an artist second, even when I relapse into perfectionism and want to be extra hard on myself I have my family and friends to remind me that I went through a lot. Definitely a lot more than the average 24-26-year-old deserved to go through in a short period of time. I’m gonna let this one speak for itself. I think the themes will be obvious in each interlude and will feel more immersive than ever.
10 — Finally, what new things did you learn after recording your recent project?
I learned to stick with my gut feelings about parts of songs that I absolutely have my heart set on and to put more feeling into my music. I am still learning every day. I want to be fearless and stop holding back, especially since my mom passed so young. It really made time seem more fragile and like I shouldn’t waste any of it.
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For Retro Synth Lovers: Nomad Navi Talks All Things “Blood Moon”
In this in-depth interview, Nomad Navi divulges the most important details regarding his Synthwave gem “Blood Moon,” a collab with Calivania. Retro synth lovers will find much to appreciate in the artist’s insights.
1 — There are strong and effective song titles, and “Blood Moon” is no exception. Are there any juicy details about why this one is called that?
The song originally didn’t have a title when I sent the track over to Calvinia. It was after hearing her amazing lyrics that I chose “Blood Moon” to be the title.
2 — What elements give “Blood Moon” its nostalgic yet futuristic vibe?
The power chords, bright melody, and drum programming are the key elements that give the 80s futuristic vibe
3 — What do you hope listeners feel or experience when listening?
I want to put the listener in the driver’s seat of an ’80s action movie with underlying themes of escapism.
4 — How did the collaboration with Calivania come about for this song?
I had reached out to some of my producer friends with the instrumental to get their feedback. One of my good friends in the group reached out and asked me if I’d be interested in doing a feature with Calivania and I of course was interested.
5 — In what ways do you perceive this track differing from your previous releases?
For this particular track, I dove more into the Synthwave vibe.
I look towards Gesaffelstein and Lorn for their ability to really create dark-sounding landscapes as well as Synthwave artists such as Power Glove and Carpenter Brut.
7 — Can you share the story behind your interest in retro synthesizers?
I’ve always gravitated towards keyboards and pianos when I was little. As I learned more about production I began to deconstruct my favorite songs, a few of them being from the 80s period. Through those songs’ deconstruction, I familiarized myself with the synths that were used.
I guess from a sonic aspect I really like the sounds from retro synths because of the nostalgia you can draw from them. I think hearing a sound from the past is effective in creating bridges between a past self and the present self.
8 — Do you have a favorite brand of synthesizer that you find yourself gravitating towards?
I have a Korg Minilogue XD which is so fun to play with. The sounds that come with it are phenomenal and require me to be more intentional with how the sounds fit in my tracks. Separately, I don’t have one yet but I am also a big fan of the Moog sounds.
9 — What advice do you have for aspiring synthesizer enthusiasts looking to explore this aspect of music creation?
Do your research! Don’t go and buy hardware just because you saw one video of someone doing an amazing session. Watch tutorials, unboxing videos, etc to really understand if the gear is going to bring a lot of value to your production. It doesn’t hurt to visit synth stores to try out the gear before you buy either.
10 — Is there an album or more collaborations in the works?
There is definitely something coming down the line. The future is bright. 😉
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Decoding The Lyrics Of Luchi’s Heartbreaking Song “Fix This Love”
With his emotional and heartbreaking song “Fix This Love,” singer-songwriter Luchi shares his innermost feelings regarding the challenge of helping a loved one from addiction. In this intimate interview, he opens up about the personal experiences that inspired the song’s haunting lyrics as well as his hopes for bringing greater understanding to the impacts of this complex condition.
1 — What prompted you to write this new heartbreaking song, “Fix This Love”?
This song was one of those 3 AM, sitting by my keyboard songs that just poured out of me. I have someone close to me who suffers from addiction and they just couldn’t seem to get a grasp on recovery.
This was my way of getting out how I felt about the situation without blowing up at them because I didn’t want to bring all my feelings towards the situation at that point. I wasn’t eating, sleeping, my life was turned upside down.
The song is the sister song to my last single Mountain which was about the addict’s journey whereas “Fix This Love” shows my side of the story and how addiction doesn’t just destroy the addict’s life, it destroys the lives of people around them too.
It is like emotional torture watching someone you care about destroy their lives and every effort you make to help them doesn’t work. I wanted to release them back to back so that people could see both sides of the illness. I really hope these two songs shine a light on an often misunderstood illness and we learn to have more understanding through it.
2 — I’ve noticed interesting vivid metaphors in your lyrics. Is that a deliberate creative choice, or does it naturally emerge during your songwriting?
This song just came out of me so they weren’t deliberate, they were just what came out of this brain of mine. I have spent a lot of time expanding my vocabulary as I wasn’t the most academic child in school and I think that has helped a lot too but if I’m honest, that has always been part of my songwriting even when I started at 13.
I’ve always loved having interesting ways of saying things as you want to be different and stand out. It was like with my song “Losing My Mind” released in January, the opening line was “me and tears ain’t strangers” and I just loved that line as a way of saying I’ve known a lot of pain in my life.
I even titled the whole EP after it. These kinds of lines just come to my mind so I guess I am lucky. I try to stay away from being too metaphorical though as sometimes it can be a bit much and the listener can lose the message of the song so a few are thrown in there to spice it up with the rest of the lyrics being more direct and clear is what I think works best.
That’s a hard one to answer. I do believe in second chances but you both have to be willing to have difficult conversations and a level of trust needs to still exist for you to move forward.
Addiction is such a complex illness that it can be hard to say categorically if it’s worth the struggle. In my situation, I believed it was because I couldn’t give up on this person. There was times I was angry, times I was hurt but I never gave up hope in them returning to themselves and being able to beat it.
There’s a lot of conflicting advice out there that can be a minefield of knowing what to do for the best but for me, it was about setting boundaries, and expectations and then sticking to them.
If the person tries 100 times and fails, then I felt like how can you walk away when someone is actively trying but just not getting it yet because in life we all stumble and fall but if they give up, then for your own sanity, sometimes you have to walk away. As I said it’s different for each individual case and I can only say what worked for me.
In romantic relationships, I am different as I have had too much heartbreak to be settling for someone who isn’t ready and I don’t believe in fixing someone. I have enough work to do on myself so you go fix you, I’ll fix me and it just wasn’t meant to be as harsh as that sounds, the only person that can save you is you and I don’t think that it’s ever going to work if they are changing for you.
I also think it’s not fair to expect someone to change for you. You’re putting your expectations and beliefs onto them so they may be happy the way they are and that’s their prerogative, you have to accept and love the good and the bad in people and if you can’t do that, then they aren’t the right person for you in my opinion.
4 — Your lyrics consistently bring up the concept of the other person ‘fading away.’ Why do you think that particular emotion is something a lot of people can relate to watching a loved one in addiction?
It was a way of saying that the person is losing themselves. Every day another part of them is gone and they become more and more lost in the darkness.
It’s like the light in their eyes has gone out and they’re just a shell of who they once were. Addiction also changes the way someone looks, they can become either really bloated facially or frail and gaunt, depending on their substance of choice.
I remember going to an intervention set up for this person and I was traumatised after it because their eyes felt like they were black. It was horrendous to see someone in such darkness that I didn’t recognise them anymore and I couldn’t see them, I couldn’t see their soul… it’s an image that won’t leave me, unfortunately.
I think that a lot of people can relate to that in the addition circles because it’s like the person who you knew and loved has been taken over by a darkness that you can feel at times when you are dealing with a stranger. The things they say, the actions they take, the way they look, it’s unbelievable how someone you’ve known for a long can become someone you don’t know.
To be honest, it’s different every time. Mostly it’s a melody or lyric that I hear in my head, and then the song builds from there, but there have been times where I’ve written to a track or a beat, and that’s inspired me in a particular direction.
I have hundreds of voice notes on my phone of melody ideas that come to me and a bunch of lyrical ideas in my notes as inspiration comes from all different places in life. With “Fix This Love,” I just sat at my keyboard and started singing; it just flowed out of me.
All the emotions were there, and it was one of those songs that wrote itself. I love it when that happens as it just comes out of you and you feel like you’re just a channel for the song, it’s a bit of an out-of-body experience and usually, those are the songs that people connect with the most because they are just real and authentic
6 — The line ‘Can’t say I didn’t try’ really hits hard. What’s the big message you want listeners to grab onto?
I want them to be able to forgive themselves no matter the outcome. I know that there was a lot of guilt I had and feelings that I hadn’t done enough to help or could have said something different but I think this song was what I needed to be able to write to forgive myself in this situation.
I had to be able to say that I had done all I could and be comfortable with that. I had to let go of the thought that I had any form of control over the outcome and know that it was the person who had to get better.
I could be waiting in the light for them but couldn’t drag them out of the darkness, they had to do that themselves. In my head I could see it as an image of them standing in the darkness with their back to me unable to turn around and see me waiting in the light for them and as heartbreaking as that is, it’s sometimes the reality of someone in the grasps of addiction and all you can do is hope they turn around and come to the light one day and be waiting there if they do.
7 — When you’re pouring your heart into these lyrics, do you find songwriting kind of like therapy for you?
Oh 100%, I sometimes don’t know how I’m feeling about a situation until I write a song and then look back at it and see where my head is at. I joke that if I’m in a relationship and start writing break-up songs then that usually means it’s time to go. Because songwriting is often like writing a diary for me, it is usually linked to what I am going through at that time so really does help me work out how I’m feeling because emotions and feelings can get muddled in the head but with songwriting, I can be honest and vulnerable and realize what’s actually going on.
I don’t know if this song will ever not hurt. It is one of the hardest songs I’ve put out because it’s so real and painful for me to sing. When I hear it back or sing it, I am transported back to the time of writing it and I was a mess.
I don’t think I’ll ever be able to sing it live without a breakdown but I guess that’s what makes it special too, it moves me as well as I hope is going to move others.
9 — What deeper aspirations do you have for your songwriting going forward after sharing such an incredible tune?
Thanks for being so lovely about the song, it means a lot. I really want to work more with other artists helping them uncover their stories in songs because I write so much, there is no way I could ever use all the songs for me.
I write something most days, whether it’s a melody idea, lyrical idea, or a full song so that is my biggest aspiration, I love singing and releasing music but my true passion is writing. I could do that every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it.
10 — What would you say to someone going through a similar experience to the one described in “Fix This Love”?
I’d firstly give them a big hug cause it’s a lot to handle and the resources are limited. I’d say firstly you need to separate the addict from the loved one you knew in your head so that it is easier to deal with what is going on as they aren’t in their right frame of mind and then I’d say reach out to support groups and get the help yourself to guide you through.
Every story is different so I can’t give a concrete answer of this is what will work and won’t but you may head a story similar at a support group that helps you as we suffer alone but heal in the community.
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Exclusive Interview: Markus Schulz Vows Transmission Netherlands Set Will Be Spectacular
Ask any Trance and Progressive music fan to name his or her favorite artists to see live, and the name Markus Schulz will usually come up as one of them. Ask the same fans whom some of their favorite Trance and Progressive music producers are – not only as of late but over the course of many years – and the name Markus Schulz will again most likely be mentioned. There is a passionate cohort of Electronic Dance Music fans who are unabashed in describing their favorite music as ‘Trance’ and/or ‘Progressive,’ and it’s those fans who pay good money to travel to see Markus Schulz, night after night, every week of the year, at the most relevant indoor and outdoor venues and events the world over. It comes as absolutely no surprise that Markus Schulz is the only DJ to have won DJ Times’ “America’s Best DJ” poll (presented by Pioneer DJ) a record three times.
Following his performance at Transmission festival in Gdansk, Poland, and on the eve of Transmission Netherlands – set to take place on December 2nd, 2023 – Electro Wow stole a moment with Markus Schulz to pick his brain about what it takes for him to stay on top of the Dance music game for well over three decades.
1 — Please tell us about your performance at Transmission Poland… what made it memorable? Can you name some stand-alone moments that struck you in a special way, as if to say, “Wow, I’m going to remember this moment…”?
Yeah, my recent performance at Transmission in Poland was amazing for me. First of all, it was great to reunite with the Transmission crew. They always make me look good onstage. Secondly, I’ve really been focused on my extended open-to-close sets the last couple of years, so to take the vibe and the energy from my open-to-close sets and condense it down into a 90-minute set in a grand arena was challenging, but also super-cool to just focus on a shorter presentation. I think what really stuck-out to me was how people reacted to this hybrid, euphoric Techno sound that I have been pushing the last couple of years in a large arena setting. It was a great success for me.
2 — What can fans expect for your upcoming headlining spot at Transmission Netherlands on December 2nd?
Well, I think the next Transmission set in the Netherlands is going to be the largest one ever, so now the pressure is really on. The stakes are higher and my set is going to have to be even more spectacular. I’ve got a month of studio time planned so I can give the crowd something unique. Something they’ve never heard before. And of course, I’ve been working closely with my team and the event crew to coordinate details and make sure everything is synchronized. This is paramount. The stakes are high, and I’m looking forward to this challenge.
3 — The stage production for Transmission is really beautiful in an almost spiritual, mystical way. The atmosphere created with the lights, visuals, and effects really seems transcendent in a soulful way that’s just different from the other big music festivals. What emotions are coursing through your veins as you’re onstage performing? What emotions will you be trying to convey to your audience at Transmission Netherlands this year?
The one thing that I always say about Transmission is that it’s not like any other festivals where you have five different stages fighting for attention and a production budget that you have to split amongst five different stages. Everything goes into one spectacular stage. All of the attention is on the one stage. To me, that’s what makes this the most unique Trance festival in the world. The production has always been spectacular with all of the lasers and the props. There really is no other festival where I have this feeling, when I’m onstage, that I know I look and sound amazing and my job is to give the people the best set they’ve heard in their lives.
I think I’ve grown as an artist in parallel with Transmission. I played at one of the very first additions over 10, 15 years ago. Gosh, I can’t even remember, now, how long it’s been, but as Transmission grew as an event, so has my own production in my own shows. I’ve always been interested in theater and I had a theater background growing-up, so when I started playing at the Transmission festivals, it was a perfect marriage of inspiration. I think just growing with the brand, year-after-year, show-after-show, has made this bond between me and Transmission special.
5 — Physically, as a performer, are you doing things to project yourself out toward the audience at Transmission that are different from how you usually perform in front of a large festival crowd?
When I’m onstage at Transmission, it’s still the same mindset of trying to connect with every single person out there. When I do my long open-to-close sets, you do have a whole warm-up [segment] where you can really see the people’s energy when they walk-in to the venue and I can build upon it. But, when you’re doing a one-hour or 90-minute set in a big arena, you have to try to connect with the audience right at the get-go, so for me, building a spectacular intro and captivating the people right at the very first beat is paramount. These shorter sets are well rehearsed and there’s not a lot of room for improvisation, so I guess having the show fine-tuned and executing it properly is what I judge my set on after I’m finished.
Yes, as I said, theater has always been a major influence in not just my live shows and events, but also in my productions. When I’m in the studio, I am making conscious decisions based on how these tracks are going to translate live. Transmission has had a big influence on me over the years when I’m in the studio. As a matter of fact, I have pictures and screensavers of Transmission events as a constant reminder when I’m in the studio working on what the goal is. It’s a great inspiration tapping into that feeling and the memories of standing in front of 20,000 and 30,000 people losing themselves in the moment.
7 — What excites you the most about Transmission Netherlands?
What excites me most about the next edition of Transmission in the Netherlands, is that it is another level up. Being the largest-ever Transmission event is special, indeed, but to have it happen in the Netherlands, where I have such a strong bond with the people as well as knowing that people will be flying in from all over the world to see the spectacular event has me very excited. I’m so looking forward to putting on an amazing show and giving people the best set they have ever heard from me. That is always the goal and the challenge.
Transmission Netherlands – Book your tickets today and be part of this epic festival!