Artist Spotlight: Anderson East

Anderson East (born Michael Anderson) is a singer songwriter from the Southern United States.  The Alabama artist is highly influenced by gospel, and rhythm & blues.  His southern charm breaks through in his music, with his lyrics and his twang.  Anderson has been writing and performing his own songs since he was just 10 years old, and he hasn’t put the guitar down since.

Anderson East Black and White

In 2015, Anderson released his major label debut album, Delilah, under Dave Cobb’s Low Country Sound label, and distributed by Elektra Records.  The album has the soul of gospel.  Track 4 “Devil In Me” opens with a piano riff, horns, and a strong rhythm section.  Throughout the song there’s a choir in background vocals, which helps paint the perfect picture of his style.  Anderson sings about faith and love throughout the album.

Anderson released two new singles in 2017, “All On My Mind” and “King For A Day.”  “All On My Mind” is an intense, raw, soulful, single.  On the other hand, “King For A Day” is going back to his soothing sounds from Delilah.

Anderson East’s sophomore studio album, Encore, is scheduled for release on January 12, 2018.

Anderson has 570 thousand monthly Spotify listeners.

Stream Anderson East on Spotify here.

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Artist Spotlight: Ben Howard

Ben Howard is an acoustic singer/songwriter from South Devon, England.  He is largely influenced by his love for surfing and the culture surrounding it.  Other influences include Donovan, Richie Havens, and Joni Mitchell.  Howard dropped out of college six months before graduation, he was studying journalism.  He was convinced to pursue music instead.

Ben Howard I Forget Where We Were

Howard’s music has the melancholy feel of Benjamin Francis Leftwich, but the bigness of Dermot Kennedy.  Howard’s music builds throughout each song, and each time you listen you get more invested in what he has to say to the world.

Howard released his first album, Every Kingdom, in 2011.  Since then, he has amassed over four million monthly Spotify listeners.  His song “Only Love” off of Every Kingdom, has close to 135 million listens.

Howard has not released an album since his U.K. number 1 sophomore album, I Forget Where We Were, in 2014, where he took more of an electric approach.  He is not currently on tour, but we’re not so patiently awaiting new music.

Listen to Ben Howard on Spotify here.

Artist Spotlight: Dermot Kennedy

When he’s singing to me Glory.

Singer-Songwriter Dermot Kennedy is a native Irishman, hailing from County Dublin.  In 2013, he released his first, but not his debut, EP, Dancing Under Red Skies.  Three years later, he released three singles, “An Evening I Will Not Forget,” “Shelter,” and “After Rain.”  “After Rain” earned him nearly 30 million streams on Spotify, and commercial success and exposure.

In 2017, he released his debut EP, Doves & Ravens.  The four track EP features his single, “Glory.”

Dermot Kennedy

Kennedy finds a way to mesh R&B and Hip Hop drum feels and combinations into his hybrid genre.  He writes songs about being human.  Love, loss, life, and death.  Inspired by poetry, his lyrics often feel like somewhat of a masterpiece.  In his track “Glory,” he sings “I guess I’m tired of talk of hope, I’ve learned that doves and ravens fly the same.”  His use of ravens in this context can be tracked back to the Edgar Allen Poe poem “The Raven.”  Whereas ravens often symbolize a bad omen, doves symbolize hope and love, or for Kennedy’s sake, loss, and falling in love. The other three songs on Doves & Ravens deal with the same theme.

The Dulbiner’s soulful grit is something I haven’t heard in a while.  His music is incredible, and he is the only artist I have been listening to for the past week.  His single, “Boston,” is included in Taylor Swifts popular Spotify playlist, Songs Taylor Loves.

Kennedy just announced a European tour, hitting popular venues across the continent, ending in his hometown of Dublin, Ireland.  The tour will begin in January of 2018, and will finish up in February.

“Moments Passed” is the newest single Kennedy has released.  The song is much bigger than his past songs, with more Hip Hop elements added to his Singer-Songwriter vibe.  If this song is any indicator of his future music, then I can’t wait.

Dermot Kennedy Guitar

Kennedy is often linked to the same type of music as powerhouse Bon Iver.  Other related artists include Blanco White, Fenne Lily, and Harrison Storm.

Stream Dermot Kennedy on Spotify here.

Artist Spotlight: HAIM

Este, Alana, and Danielle Haim.

The three sisters comprise of the powerhouse band, HAIM.  Their 80s soft rock combined with sounds from 90s R&B make a combination I have never heard before.  The band has (obviously) been playing music together for their entire lives.  They started as a cover band, Rockenhaim, with their parents.  All three of the sisters are incredible musicians, playing different instruments and each participate in the song writing process.  HAIM was formed in 2006, but the three sisters didn’t take it seriously until a few years later.  The first few years Alana was still in High School (she would later drop out in her first year of college to focus on the band), and Este was studying ethnomusicology at UCLA.  During this time, Danielle found minor fame while being a touring guitarist with Jenny Lewis, and later The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.  It wasn’t until 2012 when HAIM went back to business.  HAIM later signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and a U.K. record label, Polydor Records.

Haim in LA

The sister-act released their first EP, Forever, in 2012, followed by their debut album Days Are Gone in 2013.  To this day, Days Are Gone, is one of my favorite records of all time.  The album peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200.  Their lead single, “The Wire,” debuted at #1 in the U.K.  The band was also featured in Calvin Harris’ fourth album, Motion, providing vocals for the song “Pray to God.”

All three sisters play percussion, as well as sing.  Alana plays the guitar, Danielle plays the guitar and also drum set, and Este finishes out the rhythm section with the bass.

HAIM’s second album, Something to Tell You, dropped this year, and peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200.  The band released an album teaser video with their song “Right Now,” directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  The video got fans excited, for this was their first reappearance since Days Are Gone.  Their first single from their sophomore album was “Want You Back.”  The catchy song embodies everything the band is, and was a great choice for a single.

Haim Way Out West 2013

(From left to right) Alana, Danielle, and Este Haim.

Today, HAIM released a 14 minute video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson called “Valentine.”  The short film gives fans an insight on HAIM’s new album, where they perform live versions of “Right Now,” the albums namesake “Something to Tell You,” and “Nothings Wrong.”

Check out HAIM on Spotify here.