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Steph Casey – Whisper & Holler

Steph Casey; singer, songwriter, talented musician from Wellington, New Zealand, releases her debut album ‘Whisper & Holler’. With a style that feels familiar, and a voice that’s unique and soulful, there’s something new to discover throughout all 13 tracks of her album. She shares a life’s journey through her meaningful lyrics and creative musical intonations.

Steph Casey 5

First off the album is ‘Nice To Almost Know You’, also her first single released from the album, easily one of my favorites.  You can follow the song here:

 

It begins with a single guitar and a round of the catchy chorus that completely makes the song, and sets the mood. Instantly memorable, Steph’s vocals are simple in range, but her accent that slightly shines through the lyrics make her voice unique and something signature.

“It was nice to almost know you
There are places I’d like to have shown you
And songs I could have played for you
Nice to almost know you”

The drums are added in, laying down the perfect musical foundation for a song I could listen to over and over again. The melody doesn’t stray far from beginning to end; trading off and on, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus. No bridge, no need, the song is a delicate piece meant to portray a feeling, a memory of someone loved but lost, and all the things special you wish you could have shared but never had the chance to, because now they’re gone; your love for them still remains. This is easily a song I can hear on the radio as one of those  you hear once and it’s stuck in your head before you even know all the lyrics.

Track four takes us down a quiet and heartfelt path into the soul of Steph Casey in; ‘Probably’. Beginning with a simple guitar that’s finger-picked, her vocals drift in adding a second layer, followed by a third layer with a second harmony vocal, the musical and vocal layers just building and building so delicately and intentionally, yet never losing the essence of what the lyrical message is. Sung with pure emotion, every note both instrumentally and vocally has a dominant presence. Not once over-played, there’s a breath throughout the song which demands the audience to take a moment of silence and just…listen.

“Could a shadow block the sun?
Could the tides turn?
Will this be another lesson I must learn?
Will there be a time when it’s alright?
For now, please just stand by my side”

The biggest build in the song is in the chorus, with just enough depth to really move you with her lyrics, she adds an overlay of spoken word, giving me the feeling that this song is really a conversation that she only had the courage to have if it was sung. Fading into a beautiful outro, like the downward spiraling of a staircase, the song slowly unwinds into nothingness; like a final exhale..a last breath.

The story that’s being told wouldn’t be complete without album-titled number; ‘Whisper and Holler’. Track 10 among the 13, the harmonies are what really stand out for me in this song. Continuing with something similar to previous intros, she opens with her acoustic guitar, followed by a short harmonic solo, giving this song a more folk-like feel. Her vocal counterpart adds a rich lower tone, while Steph leads with some higher runs, reaching a peak on her vocals. I love how even in her higher range, her voice still contains a breathy abandonment, allowing for a feeling of effortlessness to seep through her music in a beautiful way. The two share the song well, perhaps the most raw and stripped-down song on the album; you won’t hear more than layered guitars, harmony vocals, and lovely touches of harmonica and shakers. It leaves plenty of space for a beautiful acoustic guitar solo 3/4 of the way through the song.

“You got me
You got me
You got me
Searching for a sign between every line
You want me
You want me
You want me”

Saving one of the best for last? Could be, with track 11; ‘Kapiti’. Full of the summer season, free-spirited, pina colada flavor; I’m reminded of a favorite Dido song of mine; ‘Sand In My Shoes’. Instantly in love with this alter side of Steph, she still keeps the beautiful simplicity of what I’ve come to know as her wheel house; with a musical arrangement of dominant shakers and guitar.

“I dig my toes into the sand
And gaze out into Kapiti land
It’s great to be out of the city”

What some musicians will do, in an attempt to “fill the space”, is add in multiple vocal and instrumental effects, more often than not overwhelming the song with too much of “that” (whatever “that” is), and distracting from the classic sound of pure instruments, beautiful vocals and meaningful lyrics. But the thing I’ve come to appreciate most about Steph’s music is that she does none of that. The most “effect” you’ll hear in this song is some whistling. She delivers real unique heart-touching songs in all 13 tracks and never fakes it, or plays it up to be something it’s not; it leaves her very vulnerable. I think it’s paid off.

For someone who has placed as a semi-finalist in the UK Songwriting Contest in which more than 7,000 entries are submitted every year, the humbleness that Steph demonstrates is a lesson to us all. Being a musician myself, I can see and hear the difference in a song when the lyrics are from the heart, pulled from a place of deeper meaning, rather than when something’s being said just because it fits into your rhyming pattern. The release of ‘Whisper & Holler’ is yet another accomplishment she should be very proud of, and one I’m honored to have had the privilege of reviewing.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters

You can read more about Steph at her Fish Pond profile here.

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Matthew Politoski – Trap Of Time

With his latest single, ‘Trap Of Time’, a single released off his new album titled ‘The Sounds Of Sleep’, available for download here, Matthew Politoski delivers nothing short of the amazing and unique talent we’ve come to expect from this musician. Acting as a solo project under the name ‘Animal Flag’, Matt not only has been writing his own music for the past 6 years, but he produces his own music as well.

animal flag

Successfully blending a variety of styles through his music such as Indie Rock, Electronic, Folk, and at times classical elements, his music is never one note sheet music.

You can watch and listen to “Trap of Time” here.

Beginning with a sensual yet eerie feel in this single, I’m instantly transported to another world, a world filled with spells and magical creatures, long since forgotten days of moonlit strolls through dark and mysterious forests. The artwork for the song’s cover only adds certainty to my speculation that this has a “fairy tale” vibe. I’m heavily reminded of the band ‘Evanescence’ in the way that the song seems to be creating itself around you; spinning with intrigue in the way it’s rhythm bleeds almost transparent sounds into the listening ears, creating depth to the song. Matt blends so well the electronic base of this song with his smoky and unique voice, while the song’s many layers offer a place to safely escape to.

“So harmless at first
You were golden from birth
A new breath off the lips of God sent to earth
To a mother and father, so grateful, so thankful
Too speechless for words
Oh how long they waited to gaze in the eyes of their beautiful girl
You were finally there”

Matt keeps his vocals in mid range throughout, but creatively hinting that you’re only barely tasting the heights of his vocal range; keeping the listener wondering just how much more could be in store. Harmony vocals from Kelsey Byrne add yet another element to the song, soaring it to new peaks, yet it never leaves the steady theme and escape the song takes you at the start. There are so many thoughtful touches immersed throughout; moments of pause, effects of static, and natural piano leads that fill the song, and make it more “real” and not sounding only digitally created.

The chorus, though it keeps a similar melody, is easily recognizable as the music builds nicely in the background and Matt sings his hook….

“Every memory is just a picture of something we’ve lost
In the trap of time
The paradigm
In the shifts that take us by surprise”

There are enough repeats of the chorus, you may just find yourself singing along by the final round or two. Drifting out of the song in beautiful harmony with Kelsey in a lyrical outro, yet never easing off the steady pulse that is the beating heart of this piece in song, it ends in the same manner of artsy talent it began with.

If ‘The Sounds Of Sleep’ keeps up with half the intensity and creative talent that’s in obvious and popular demand like ‘Trap Of Time’ does, there is no doubt in my mind Matt’s latest work will be a success, and an album that I’m sure he’s rightfully proud of.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond

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Will and the Won’ts – The Traveler

Coming from many different walks of life, but uniting in their mission to spread music, ‘Will and the Won’ts’ are a folk/rock band with their heads on straight and their music in order. Releasing their debut album titled ‘The Traveler’ earlier this year, the stand out feature of the group to me is their chemistry together. Creating music from the roots of Los Angeles, CA, band members Will Risbourg, Andrew Bilotti, Gui Bodi, Matt Salmons, and Sarah Grace make up the fabric to hold the creative and musical body that is “Will and the Won’ts’

Will and the Wonts - The Traveler

Starting off the album with a mid tempo number; ‘Dead and Gone’ is a smart choice to begin the album with; as it combines a bit of everything that makes up the DNA of ‘Will and the Won’ts’. The rhythm is enough to get your head nodding along, yet a lovely rise and fall flows throughout, giving a solid foundation for the vocals to rest upon. Just slightly under 3:00 minutes in length, it will intrigue you to want to listen to the rest of the album and see what’s left in store. Though musically the song is catchy, with a steady pulse of blended guitars and beat keeping, the chorus you can’t help but sing along to…

“And just to top it all off
Your love for me is dead and gone
Yeah just to top it all off
Your love for me is dead and gone”

Setting the stage with a well played build, drifting into a bridge that contains the best section musically; containing bass drums, a guitar solo, and nice harmonies from lead singer Will Risbourg and vocalist Sarah Grace. The song wraps up with a final round of the chorus, ending track one as a solid number, and a bit of a teaser to the rest of the album.

Continuing along to about halfway through, track four to be exact, comes one of my favorite songs on the album; ‘What’s In Your Mind’.

Rock and roll from start to finish, Will’s vocals are a standout part in this song; at times filled with such desperation and raw emotion, yet he maintains control and pulls back at just the right times to make it unique; and what I would expect to hear if I turned up at a live show. Starting off with a great guitar riff that carries throughout, I was snapping my fingers by the second measure. I was happily reminded of the Beatles and the impact of the riff in the beginning of ‘Come Together’, that completely made that song one of my favorites, and a hit. Though unlike ‘Come Together’ you can understand the lyrics and what is actually being said in ‘What’s In Your Mind’ without needing to be totally stoned; much credit to the band on that one.

“Well you’re jealous of the future
The future you don’t have
Where the breezes are lovely
And the winter never comes
Where those lies your mama told you
About eternal love
They’re as true to you as the moon and the sun”

An instrumental breakdown with an electric guitar solo that packs just as much energy and emotion as the lyrics evoke, pouring into a final chorus that keeps the same level of high energy that started the song. Border-lining on screeching, just slightly at the end, but pulled back at just the right moment. The song ends the way one might end a live show; where you may find yourself begging for an encore. But not to worry, there’s another 5 songs on the album…hallelujah!

An album wouldn’t be complete nowadays without at least one good love-song-gone-sad. ‘Will and the Won’ts’ deliver; with a slightly more upbeat twist to tradition in ‘Oh Angelina’. This isn’t the type of sad love song that you’ll be crying along with, but rather you might find yourself saying “Geez girl, you were crazy to leave that hot musician/singer/rock guy behind” (if you’re a girl that is), meanwhile, the chorus says it all:

“Oh Angelina
Oh you tore me down
Oh Angelina
I should know better by now”

The drummer plays such a big roll in this one, steady and strong with just the right stops and drop-offs to play into the overall images painted from the song. With no “big” moments to capture the listening ear, they rely on emotion, sympathy, and strong musicianship to make it memorable. I think what makes a band go from being good, to being great, is when they support the lead singer, fill the song, and shine at appropriate times; never competing for the spotlight. And that’s just what “the Won’ts” of the band Will do. Matt Salmons on piano, though sometimes hidden in the mix of guitar, bass and drums, adds a layer of flavor you can’t get from any other instrument; I particularly liked the piano on ‘What’s In Your Mind’ (did I mention it’s my favorite on the album?).

Not last nor least, comes album-titled song; ‘The Traveler’. In my opinion this song demonstrates the very best of guitar on the whole album, finger-picking style in some sections, including the intro; this one deserves to share names with the album cover. Sarah Grace’s vocals are delicate and beautiful, with superb harmonies carefully placed and thought through. A standout piano solo touches down, creating a moment to die for. This one competes as my favorite…am I allowed to have two favorites?

“Oh traveler
You’re far away from home
All your friends are alcoholics
You’re fearless yet alone
Your heart was broken by
Some girl so long ago
And she old you while she wept to you
That your heart was on her mind
The the reality of her kindness
Would be clear to you in time”

If I could write down the entire lyric sheet I would, it’s just that good. Very creative in it’s rhyming scheme and use of realistic examples and meaningful feelings; it’s so easy to relate to, no matter who you are, or what road you’re traveling on. The album in whole is very strong, including many touches of harmonica on songs I didn’t mention, but well worth the time to listen to them.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters

You can hear more from Will and the Won’ts on their profile page here
You can purchase ‘The Traveler’ on their website here

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Anna Yanova-Cattoor – Love Heart Soul

What do you expect to hear when you think of a Bulgarian singer living in Los Angeles, CA, named Anna Yanova-Cattoor? Probably not an extremely talented singer/songwriter with years of experience releasing her debut album titled; ‘UP’. Since the early age of 5, Anna began discovering her passion for music; taking up piano and vocal lessons, she had little thought it would lead to such a wonderful journey filled with music and love.

Anna Yanova3

At the age of 10, Anna made her first appearance on national TV on the music show “Kato Lavovete”, after which at 13 she was chosen to perform on the stage of “Rock In Rila” festival in front of 20,000 people, that year and the following 5 years in a row. Continuing on her musical journey, she shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Eric Benet and many others in the “Artist for Peace” choir at the Gibson Amphitheater.

In her album-starting track ‘Love Heart Soul’ you’ll hear the playful side of Anna’s music; while still receiving meaningful lyrics that inspire you to look for and bring out the best in yourself. From the guitar intro, I can’t help snapping my fingers along to the beat as Anna sings the first lyric…

“I’m looking at the cars, passing by
I’ve got some heavy thoughts, in my head
Walking down the street, I’m wondering why
Do we always choose red”

The entire song has a lovely rise and fall; not an overly complicated rhythm, there’s plenty of room for Anna’s beautiful voice to seep in and out like hot chocolate; warm and delicious. The guitar holds strong and true throughout. One of my favorite parts about the song musically; when the guitar comes back in with the finger-picking for the outro that made it’s first appearance in the intro of the song. The years of experience shine through in her vocal control and tasteful choice of placement for runs and riffs. The perfect song to start the album; feel-good at some of it’s finest.

Following after a few tracks is a completely different style in ‘I Pray’. Filled with breathy and smokey vocals that create the feeling of a sensual atmosphere in a song, whose lyrics suggest barely holding on to someone you’re losing. It’s a quiet and tensed battle that’s so well put together, demonstrating humble brilliance. It’s hard to hear past the emotion Anna pours into every word and pick out special moments instrumentally, but in my opinion that shows the skill of a great band; to be able to know when to shine, and to be able to know when to fill a song and let the vocals take over. Filling the background setting with steady electric guitar, snare drum beat-keeping, piano with an effect, and the accents of an occasional guitar solo, Anna spins a web with the lyrics…

“You saw me today
Like a ghost in your way
If i turn around and sing
Would you let it ring?
I pray
For your reverie
I stay
If you’ll let me
I hope
You don’t leave me alone”

Second to last on the album is ‘Partners In Crime’ a beautiful piano based tune about two people lost but finding life, love and themselves in each other. Anna shows off more of her range, touching upon some higher octave notes, again showing her vocal control.

“And you reached for the candle
You took off your sandals
Sat beside me
With a bottle of wine
And you told me the story
Of how you lost your glory
Said darlin’ you’ll be just fine
We are partners in crime”

The song peaks it’s instrumental impact in the bridge, dropping off slightly for a few final rounds of “Partners in Crime” sung in a airy and distant way; like angels calling. The piano rings throughout the song like a golden sun shining down, and I can’t help but have the mental image of a summers’s day romance at a little old coffee shop where, through the blinding of the sun, a stranger comes to rescue a lost girl down on love. Taking a turn at the end, where she suddenly realizes that she’s not lost anymore, she has found love, she has found….her partner in crime.

The entire album has a steady thread that links all the songs together, though each one has it’s own “moment”. Anna’s voice is well deserving of the praise it has received, and she has created a strong first album. Feel-good in it’s listen; quality and creative in it’s making; set to repeat on your iPod.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond

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Natania Lalwani – The Letter

With a successful EP; ‘Hope and Heartbreak’ released in 2012, a growing following of her music, and a vocal style all her own; Natania Lalwani releases another stellar single and its official music video titled ‘The Letter’, set to air on VH1 shortly. Making the bold decision to relocate to Los Angeles CA when she was 19, Natania began sharing her musical gift with the world. She fuses charming and witty lyrics with beautiful guitar work to create songs that are true to herself yet easily understood to the listening ear. Her personality is present in every song, and it will take you but the second repeat of the chorus to find yourself singing along to any one of her songs.

Natania-the letter

Her most recent published work; ‘The Letter’ is a reflection of the best of Natania Lalwani, introduced with all the tenderness of a love song turned sad with heartbreak and emotion. Starting off with a beautiful intro of finger-picked guitar, Natania’s voice plays across the notes, gently caressing the melody into life. Musically the song builds slowly; adding to the rhythm with tasteful drums and a short guitar solo almost hidden within the blend. Although by the second verse the complexity of the instrumental side has increased; her voice still lays just above the music with as much affection as at the start of the first verse. This songs’ impact doesn’t come from screeching guitar solos, high octave notes, or massive rhythm builds; it comes purely from the raw emotion that’s sung in every note. The lyrics themselves are cleverly written; with the playfulness you will come to expect from Natania, and the honesty you will have to empathize with, she holds nothing back.

“Now that you’re gone and I’m growing
I can finally see that
You were the ocean
And no matter how hard I swim
I’ll never make it past your wave”

The song reaches it’s peak in the bridge; a guitar solo rings out, adding flavor and a signature moment that creates the perfect setting for a slight drop off into the final round of the chorus. Easily familiar at this point, it won’t be hard for you to sing along; completely lost in the moment she has created with her lyrics…

“I’ll write you a letter
Put it away
Maybe December’s when I’ll send it away
Maybe by next year, things would’ve changed
Cause I’ll be better
And you’ll be better
For me”

The song leaves you lingering on the last phrase; “and you’ll be better” …almost daring you to listen to it again. There’s something that’s somewhat familiar about this song, that most likely anyone can relate to; things left unsaid, people changing, love lost then found again. It is, I feel, a credit to Natania as a songwriter to take a risk and become so vulnerable and open when she sings, because she knows that’s how musical connection is really made.

The music video is very well produced, and contains the imagery to match the emotions and essence of the song. A solid piece of digital artwork, Natania is off to a strong start to a more-than promising career.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond

You can watch the video right here:

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Felipe Romero – Refresh My Fantasy

Born in Ibagu, the Colombian Music Capital; with the passion and upbringing for a destined love for music, Felipe Romero brings his life and heart to shine front and center in his songs. A genuine and warm-loving spirit, he grew up with the family support of a singer as a grandmother and a grandfather that worked as a radio journalist. He was inspired and encouraged from a young age to express his artistic side; and he clearly does just that to this present day.

Felipe Romero 2
You can listen to his single; ‘L’aria che Respiri’ here while you read the review:

His single; ‘L’aria che Respiri’ has been a unique piece for me to write. The challenge of giving proper justice and critique to a song sung in both Italian and Spanish, when I speak neither one, has been quite a fascinating experience personally. With the English translation lyric sheet, I was able to fully appreciate the complexity that is required to create such beautiful music. So it goes without saying Felipe is extremely talented, and I am now a lover of Spanish music like never before.

I think that for most people (myself included) it takes a “special effort” to listen and appreciate music that’s in a foreign tongue, when you can’t just listen to a song for what the lyrics are saying, you have the unique opportunity to listen to the song for what the emotion and heart of it truly is. And maybe that’s what we as people need to do more; at least that’s what this song did for me.

Beginning with a soft and delicate intro, the scene is set for wherever the song should decide too go. Without hesitation, it’s followed by a full on Spanish swag; getting you moving before even the first verse. So well crafted with a subtle rise and fall throughout the song; each instrument has it’s own place. Not being overpowered by the other or by the lyric, Felipe’s vocal is rich and so pleasant to listen to. It sits beautifully on the layers of piano, drum rhythm and spanish guitar. There is a fine balance between doing too much when it comes to effects, and not doing enough (where it could be added for a nice touch), that Felipe manages to pull off seemingly effortlessly. In all the right places he creates a ‘distant’ sound to his voice, while in others he adds an echo for an emphasis on the lyric that makes you need to understand.

Musically, the arrangement of the song is very thought-out, though there’s not a particular build leading into a bridge, the consistency in energy never fades; lending a hand to the overall quality of the song. And once I read the English translation, I had such an appreciation for the lyrical style in which Felipe writes, and was more than impressed by his creativity vocally, and word choice to express his emotions. One of my favorite sections of the lyric is at the start of the first verse;

“Where have you been all this time love?
Since you are here I don’t have dark nights.
It’s a fight against the time, follow you with words,
challenging myself for the best rhyme.
But you see, the sky is still blue and i’m still in love.
If the sun burns up over there, the warm is guaranteed.”

To solely read the lyrics you can almost feel the passion; the love that’s poured into what he’s saying…what he feels for that person. And then when you listen to it without understanding the words, but just listening to the emotion in his voice and the inflection to the words he’s singing; it’s enough to make me forget everything else and just immerse myself into the song totally and completely.

The chorus stands out like a shining star. Coming in for the first time at the song, it’s definitely a signature part of the track; and I’m a particular fan of when a songwriters repeats the chorus multiple times throughout the song…hey, if it’s a good chorus, why not, right? It does it’s job, as the chorus of the song should; summing up all the feelings he expresses throughout the verses lyrically, and maintaining all the groove and catchy-ness that the best hit songs in any genre have.

“This sun warms my soul,
giving more strength to this fire,
characteristic of the animals.
And this rain that refresh my fantasy,
remodel giving a color more natural.”

Mixing the best of Spanish/Italian vocals, instrumental creativity, solid lyrical writing, and modern catchy effects; Felipe Romero has added all the right touches to this one in the effort of making this a track that you will have to set on repeat.

You can hear more from Felipe on his Profile here

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond

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Revolution at the Zephyr – Ocean Meets Land

With a strong combination of rock, electric sounds, and musicianship comes the band; Revolution at the Zephyr. They describe their sound as atmospheric yet powerful, with layered electric and acoustic guitars, coupled with modern and inventive percussion. Naming just a few inspirations from many; the earth, the sea and the beauty of surrounding life, helps make their songs filled with creativity and raw inspiration.

revolution at the zephyr

Formed in 2011, the core musicians of the group; Dale Cross, Ian Salpekar, Will Glover and Nikki Glover have created their own genre – Surfer/Rock – and have completely run with it. In their song ‘Gethesmane’ you will hear a sound unlike any other. Starting off with a soft intro of snare drum-rhythmn, finger picking guitar, and eccentric sounds, your headphones will fill with a memorable experience. Once the first verse slides in, I’m reminded a bit of some things Prince has done with songs. Heavily laden with voice effects; lead singer Will, brings out a slight metal edge in their style with his voice. And once the tempo picks up, the song goes into full swing.

On another contrasting note comes; ‘Sunshine and Flowers’ a similar feel, referring to the the thread of their style; it’s distantly Revolution at the Zephyr. The tune is filled with a steady head-banging tick and electric guitar riffs, giving the audience a power-packed journey into the depths of their musical fusion.

“When sunshine and flowers combine
it’s a powerful, spiritual and wonderful life
with home and life and all that it tells on this roller coaster ride”

Ultimately the group plays music for the pure joy and adrenaline rush that comes hand in hand with performing. To understand Revolution at the Zephyr you have to understand where their musical drive stems from. Playing with the contrasting sides of dark and light, life and death, breathing and drowning, they strive to capture something as untouchable as a possibility, and discuss it in lyrical form. It’s something more than interesting to think on, and they clearly demonstrate that in their style and ability to create music that reflects what their hearts want to hear, free from commercial restraint or opinionated direction.

To sum it all up, I will quote the band; “where the ocean meets the land …that is where the drama is played out.”

You can hear more from Revolution at the Zephyr here.

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, the Fish Pond

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Melanie Taylor – A Smile On My Face

Melanie Taylor; a hard-working singer with a love and passion that pours into every note of her music; succeeds in blending a wide range of styles; Hip-Hop, Techno and Pop-Punk. She’s created an album that will have you dancing from track one.

Melanie Taylor1

‘All About Today’ is a pure reflection of how the singer lives her journey. Each song on the album is an expression of a day in her life, and moments she’s trapped in the lyrics she sings. Originally from San Diego, California, Melanie’s heart was always in music. And while her family was constantly on the go, she found her strength in the musicians she looked up to, and the musicians like whom she aspired to create music. She has embraced and welcomed every aspect of what it takes to produce music, from the songwriting process, to producing, to her favorite part; performing.

Beginning the album is a subtle yet hard-hitting number titled; ‘Cease Fire’. The intro of the song is beautifully crafted with just a simple piano; unsuspecting to what is about to come. Once the first verse drifts in, I’m instantly reminded of Jordan Spark’s hit; ‘Battlefield’. Melanie takes you on a vocal-range journey in the chorus, equally pushing against the power that’s built musically to give the listening ear a song worthy of jammin’ out on the dance floor to. The very catchy chorus is the part of the lyric that will linger with you once the song comes to a close…

“Cease fire, I’m putting hands up, hands up, hands up
Cease fire, cause I’ve had enough, had enough, had enough
Cease fire, I’m through with all my guns, cause you were number one
I’m walking out, get it out on the wire, I’m calling for a cease fire”

Filled with so many dance-themed songs, I turn to track 5 for feel-good; ‘Him’. Again, the lovely work of a piano introduces the song, blending nicely with simple techno effects, accompanied by snare and bass drum rhythm; there’s a perfect foundation for Melanie’s lyric. Spinning the tale of a love that’s just beyond the reach of a girl’s fingertips, you can’t help but understand what she’s describing. Melanie’s lyrics are so easy to relate to, sung by a voice that touches on the range and tone of singers like Rihanna, Jordan Sparks, Madonna, and Sarah Haze. Though the entire song is easy to sing along with and just grooves, some of my favorite lyrics are in the chorus; purely for the way Melanie sings them; it gives me chills…

“If only you were him, then I would be with you
When I’m not with him, doing what I should not do”

For a touch more on the Hip-Hop feel, flip to track 7; ‘Badboy’. With a slight edge on the reggae side throughout the song, Melanie’s voice has a chance to really shine through; without the cloud of too many effects. Filling the song in the middle is a simple rap by a guest singer, adding another dimension in the music Melanie has vocally already stamped her mark on. Reminding me of Rihanna’s ‘Man Down’, I really enjoy this side of Melanie’s lyrical and singing ability. Though it has a laid-back feel, you may find yourself reminiscing on your life, and your impact on others. With the message ‘you are strong’, Melanie questions where your priorities are. It’s time for reflection.

Second to the last on the album comes; ‘Whatever’. The message in this song is a reflection on the title; Melanie lives this life, this song, this journey for her. And that feeling is instantly recognizable, and extremely contagious. You’ll be rockin to this song all the way through. A great lyrical sentiment and use of instrumental creativity; including a very nice guitar solo mid-song. Easily my favorite on the album, right from the intro, and start of the first verse; she’s got you…

“A smile on my face, woke me up today
And I knew today, it would be ok
There’s not a real reason why I feel so good
But who said I need a reason to feel like I know I should?”

An album worthy of a debut release, Melanie is off to a strong start; with a beautiful voice to match. I’ll be excited to see what the future holds for this young and rising star, and I hope you follow this journey with her…it is certain to be an amazing one.

You can hear more from Melanie on her profile here

By Pranam Bai Richter
Singer/Songwriter, The Richter Sisters
Head of Global Publicity, The Fish Pond

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One World; One Family; One Musical Heartbeat

We are so grateful to be welcoming so many new artists to the Fish Pond, and congratulating so many established Fish Pond musicians on their EPs, albums, and new singles. Your hard work never goes unnoticed, and it is our privilege to review, support and watch you grow on your musical journey here at The Fish Pond.

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Since the relaunch of the official Global Musicians Fish Pond website on 11th January 2013, we have grown tremendously; more than we could have imagined in these few short weeks. We have welcomed an intake from Berklee in Boston, Hollywood Musicians Institute in LA (and thanks to our Hollywood based family for making David so welcome in February 2013); additionally some great experienced artists such as Gregg Wright (formerly guitarist for Michael Jackson), Josh Doyle (former lead singer of the Dum Dums and winner of Guitar Center’s Singer/Songwriter of the Year 2012), Margo Rey, Stereolizza, Queen Caveat (ABC’s Sunset Boulevard), Marci Geller, Voices of Prayze (Jason Mraz), and most recently Ron Pope (“A Drop in the Ocean”).

Gregg Wright Josh Doyle 2 Margo Rey Queen Caveat 4 Ron Pope Profile

The Fish Pond is truly a family, and there is no judgement here; helpful criticism yes, but everyone is looked upon as an equal, and hopefully as an inspiration to everyone else. Whether you’re an established musician releasing your album, or a budding artist wetting your musical toes for the first time, the Fish Pond offers opportunities to expand your horizons in a growth-full way, and aid you in reaching your highest potential.

It is important to the Fish Pond that we LIVE the mantra; One World; One Family; One Musical Heartbeat, and not make empty promises. When we welcome new artists to the Pond, it is with a family attitude, and we will be there through thick and thin to support that musician in fulfilling their dreams. Though we cannot be responsible for someones success in the music industry, we try our best to help each one and each other along in the best way that we can.

It goes without saying that whenever new opportunities arrive, other things must shift so everything can find room. So as we welcome so much new talent to the Pond, it becomes harder to give full and complete attention to each individual. That’s why we encourage you to look to one another to find that same support. We are all your family, and when you open up to the musicians that surround you, you may be surprised by what you find. After all, we all have similar dreams; to share our message with the world. Global Musicians Fish Pond is about bringing our community, our family, together; globally.

With a growing list of opportunities for you to take part in; here are a few to recognize we offer;

(1) Reviews on; bands, EPs, singles, albums, musicians, like this.
(2) Promotion for; live performances, tours, new releases, music videos, like this.
(3) Interviews for you to use as a resource, like this.

As a musician, we encourage you to recognize that these resources are valuable, and when you have received a review, promotion, publicity, or other resource from the Fish Pond, we ask you to do your part by sharing and promoting the Fish Pond in equal return. Overall we are growing together; with each other, let’s do all we can to support this global family to all the success we can achieve.

Here are a few things you as a musician can do to make the most of the resource you have at your fingertips by being a part of Global Musicians Fish Pond;

(1) Share your review on your personal social media sites
(2) Invite and encourage fans/family/friends to support Global Musicians Fish Pond
(3) Promote other Fishes’ posts to family/fans/friends, to gather more attention and support
(4) Listen to your fellow Fishes’ music and support their musical journey

We would like to offer this to every musician; understand that we will have to be somewhat selective on which musicians we are able to review but know, we will always support in every way we can.

Stay interactive with the Fish Pond, because in the very near future we will be introducing some incentives to members of the Pond. As a family, we are growing, welcoming more and more musicians, and will need the support of listeners in order to make our mission a success. In order to bring benefits to everyone, we will need supporters and fans that will purchase the music you and your fellow Fishes create, and share the wealth of talent with others. Together we can build a huge fan base, because as a family we deserve it. Together we can change the world. Together.

With our support always, and welcoming your input and energy.

One World; One Family; One Musical Heartbeat.

David Mark Smith, My Lucky Fish, and Founder, The Fish Pond
Pranam Bai Richer, The Richter Sisters, and Head of Global Publicity, The Fish Pond

David-Fish-Pond-1Pranam 5

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