NextNext Hawaii Featured Artist: Kings Of Spade

KINGS-OF-SPADE-9x12-high-res-1024x796We at OurStage and Amazing Media are excited to be partnering with McDonald’s of Hawaii for the NextNext search for the Sounds That Spark Change. We are bringing together Hawaiian artists with music fans and local charities in an effort to spread great music and help worthy causes. Here, we’ll highlight some of the artists who have already signed up to participate, so that fans around the world get a chance to hear this great new music. You can learn more about the competition below.

Though we have a lot of great solo artists participating in the NextNext Hawaii challenge, there’s just something about a band that not only sounds great together, but has worked and grown together for the better part of a decade. Honolulu’s Kings Of Spade are one of those groups with a special chemistry that defies the typically short life span of a band and results in a wholly original sound.

The band is beloved by fans for their high energy club-banging funk, but it’s their foundational soul influences that set KOS apart. Frontwoman Kasi Nunes frequently cites Aretha Franklin as a major source of inspiration, and when she sings you can hear her reaching deep and coloring her phrasing with the kind of nuance perfected by the Queen of Soul – the kind of you just don’t hear from many of KOS’ blues/funk contemporaries.

Kings of Spade’s self-titled LP was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning producer Dave Cobb (Rival Sons, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell). Having won “Best Local Rock Band” in the 2014 and 2015 Honolulu Pulse Awards, they’ve spent the last few years expanding their fan base by touring the US mainland multiple times. Listen below, and check out Kings Of Spade on NextNext.com.


About NextNext:
Designed to connect a community of artists and music fans around a positive message of helping important causes, NextNext Hawaii invites those artists to sign up and select a charity to sponsor. Fans, who can get votes by visiting any participating McDonald’s location in Hawaii, can listen to the artists on the free NextNext app, create playlists, and vote for favorites. With each vote, the artist’s selected charity gets a donation. At the end, the top-ranked artists will be awarded cash prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000 and the opportunity to have music released via Amazing Records.

NextNext Hawaii Featured Artist: LIV

IMG_0532We at OurStage and Amazing Media are excited to be partnering with McDonald’s of Hawaii for the NextNext search for the Sounds That Spark Change. We are bringing together Hawaiian artists with music fans and local charities in an effort to spread great music and help worthy causes. Here, we’ll highlight some of the artists who have already signed up to participate, so that fans around the world get a chance to hear this great new music. You can learn more about the competition below.

Let’s talk for a moment about LIV. She’s a singer/songwriter/guitarist from Oahu who, at just 15 years old is already in a second phase of her musical journey. Having begun as a guitar player in a couple of punk bands, LIV has evolved into a captivating solo artist. She draws from her guitar background to create instrumental motifs upon which she builds radio-ready chill wave pop.

LIV says the song she has entered into the NextNext Hawaii competition, “Sink Or Swim,” started as little more than a quick lyrical idea she recorded on her phone. To hear what that idea blossomed into is to once again marvel at the young artist’s maturity and inventiveness.

Just at the beginning of her career, LIV is pumping out singles now, and released this video for her song “Chasing Dreams” earlier this year. It’s another should-be hit and we look forward to hearing more and more from her. Check out LIV on NextNext.com.

About NextNext:
Designed to connect a community of artists and music fans around a positive message of helping important causes, NextNext Hawaii invites those artists to sign up and select a charity to sponsor. Fans, who can get votes by visiting any participating McDonald’s location in Hawaii, can listen to the artists on the free NextNext app, create playlists, and vote for favorites. With each vote, the artist’s selected charity gets a donation. At the end, the top-ranked artists will be awarded cash prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000 and the opportunity to have music released via Amazing Records.

NextNext Hawaii Featured Artist: Emi Hart

emihartWe at OurStage and Amazing Media are excited to be partnering with McDonald’s of Hawaii for the NextNext search for the Sounds That Spark Change. We are bringing together Hawaiian artists with music fans and local charities in an effort to spread great music and help worthy causes. Here, we’ll highlight some of the artists who have already signed up to participate, so that fans around the world get a chance to hear this great new music. You can learn more about the competition below.

Born and raised in Hawaii, singer/songwriter Emi Hart is part of the fabric of her community. As an artist, she strives to reflect the easygoing and peaceful vibe of island life with her sound, which she likens to “Jewel, Katy Perry, and Ingrid Michaelson having a picnic.” In another part of her life, Hart is the Community Manager for Yelp in Honolulu, immersing herself in the culture (and, of course, the food) that makes Hawaii special.

She gigs regularly, and is at work on new music now. That she only began writing music in the last few years is a bit of a shock, as she sounds like a natural. In her music and her work, Hart exudes positivity, lightness, and a preoccupation with the pure humanity that connects us all. We only wish that she, as a busy working mother, had just a little more time to make music for us to hear. But let’s appreciate what we’ve got! Check her out on NextNext.com, where she’s supporting the Ronald McDonald House charity. They will get a donation for every vote cast for Emi.


About NextNext:
Designed to connect a community of artists and music fans around a positive message of helping important causes, NextNext Hawaii invites those artists to sign up and select a charity to sponsor. Fans, who can get votes by visiting any participating McDonald’s location in Hawaii, can listen to the artists on the free NextNext app, create playlists, and vote for favorites. With each vote, the artist’s selected charity gets a donation. At the end, the top-ranked artists will be awarded cash prizes, including a grand prize of $5,000 and the opportunity to have music released via Amazing Records.

‘Songs For Charles’ by Joel. (aka MaG)

We last heard music from Joel. (aka MaG) on his 2013 release (via RCRDLBL) Freedom, a soulful slice of American hip-hop. He didn’t go silent between then and now – those who follow him on Twitter know that Joel is a poet and a non-stop thinker, with an eye toward social progress and absolutely no patience for bullshit.

It’s no surprise to find that same spirit in the music he’s been working on. songs for charles is an independent release dropped just last month, and it kicks off with a short audio clip from Jay Z in the studio, taken from the film Fade To Black. This track, titled “what Hov said…(intro),” captures Jay discussing young rappers coming up; artists who believe they have to write about things they don’t feel and don’t know. He tells the cameraman to put the lens on him before saying, “See what y’all did to rappers? They scared to be theyself.”

Being true to himself, then, serves as Joel.’s mission here. “I can’t speak for no one else / but I’m gonna keep on being myself,” goes one of the refrains on the first song, “creston and 188th.” What follows is a personal catharsis. The next eight songs are all at least rooted in the past, even while facing the present. He looks back on his upbringing, his family, lessons learned and carried forward. “We was young / we was reckless,” he says, in the frank and unsentimental “hash browns.” The chilled out, hypnotic loop of the song keeps the mood static and, as much as the lyric, creates a vivid atmosphere, if not an especially warm one. It actually feels like a carefully constructed sound collage, pieced together from ‘70s-‘80s AM radio dials, video games, cassettes rewinding…the sounds of a childhood, running in the background.

“new, new york” brings us into the present, or at least the very recent past. But each track here, just like real life, builds on what came before. That’s why, even though this is an eight-song collection (nine tracks), I take songs for charles as a real album. It’s not a mixtape, nor a collection of singles. It’s a thematic, narrative flow. And, like a lot of Joel.’s work, it’s densely filled with imagery and wordplay, and almost has the feel of a stage play. With only a few listens so far, I have not absorbed every nuance, but I look forward to trying.

“better late than never (intermission)” is a dreamy flight, with a backing that sounds like recent Radiohead; droning chords bracing syncopated, jazz drums. The lyric is equal parts past, present, and future, and how they are helplessly intertwined, with a hook that declares, “I’d rather die than let go of one of my dreams / one foot forward, all I gotta do is proceed…It’s never too late to dream.” Hope continues to be a central theme here – aspirations for a better life, one that’s more fulfilling, one that is free from the troubled past, and one where glory is attained on no one else’s terms but your own.

Certainly Joel. knows there’s no complete escape from what came before. But songs for charles is at least an attempt at exorcism. Facing pain in stark terms, he describes a present in which personal reconciliation is already under way, and this music – in all its expressive, subtle complexity – is the conduit.

 

Top Artists For January 2015

Here’s a preview of some of the artists who will be featured on the next installment of “OurStage on Amazing Radio,” an online and terrestrial radio show broadcast out of the UK to hundreds of thousands of listeners. Last month’s show is streaming now and features some really great, undiscovered acts. Below are your January Top 5. Listen to a direct playlist of these songs by clicking here.

POP FINALS:
“Taking Me Under” by Austin Renfroe
One of the winningest artists on OurStage with this fan favorite song. Meticulously constructed pop with a soulful delivery.

 

 

 

ROOTS FINALS:
“Drunk and Unemployed” by Wes-tone
The #1 track in the Folk channel also took the top of the Roots finals channel. The novel of this song’s title belies an earnest and sad lyric.

 

 

 

ROCK FINALS:
“Fake This” by The Upset Victory
Catchy-as-hell modern rock from a great band.

 

 

 

URBAN FINALS:
“Why It Wasn’t Me” by KParker
R&B takes top honors again this month. Mellow, grooving, smooth…everything modern R&B should be.

 

 

 

ELECTRONIC FINALS:
“Wake Up” by Project KF
Another mellow entry, with ambient and chill elements, but riding over a driving rhythm.

 

 

Check out all the additional 1st place songs from our genre channels here.

Stream Our January Radio Show Now

Amazing Radio 600x250December’s winners (and more) are featured on the OurStage show streaming now on AmazingRadio.com. Listen in to hear music from Adios Mafia, Jesi Jones, Ju’not, Jillian Valentine, Space Walk, The Delta Riot, Sho Skrilla, Summerlyn Powers, Late Cambrian, Annalise Emerick, Yellabird, The Figgs, Kat Robichaud, and Shotty.

If you’re an artist yourself, enter your music in a channel to be considered for next month’s show. If you’re a fan, judge now to help us pick the upcoming featured artists.