My Anaconda DO

Fuse, MTV, VH1…they all used to be the places to go for your music video fix. But just because they’ve died down doesn’t mean music video culture has as well- in fact, music videos are more popular than ever, thanks to YouTube. Especially when it comes to pop artists- particularly female pop artists- we’ve seen a niche brand of music videos. Stylized choreography, dramatic vignettes, and flashy outfits. And more often than not, our diva herself wearing hardly anything or something skintight, completely and utterly sexualized. Recently, our pop stars have been fighting back against this very paradigm.

I hadn’t even thought about Miley Cyrus since Hannah Montana’s primitive seasons on Disney Channel. But there was absolutely no avoiding her my first month at college- that’s when the music video for Wrecking Ball was released. Fully immersed in my alternative/indie persona, I’d sworn off pop music. How edgy. But I was also a budding music journalist, so I decided to give the video a watch. I giggled with my friends as she nudely swung past, bright red lipstick the only color in the otherwise stark scene. But introspectively, I couldn’t help but consider what this meant for me.

A song about confusion, submission, and heartbreak, “Wrecking Ball” quickly made its way up the charts, carrying the controversial video along with it. It starts off seemingly innocent- a single tear tracks its way down her pallid face. Then we see her licking hammers. And finally, she’s nude, riding past our eyes atop a wrecking ball. “What the heck, Miley?!” the world cried in disbelief.

Not only is her nakedness a metaphor- for being completely naked in front of a person in a relationship, not just physically but emotionally, mentally. But it’s also a power symbol. We’ve all watched little Hannah Montana transform into a grown woman, and Miley chose this particular song and video to embrace her newfound maturity, both in her sound as well as performance. She’s unashamed of how she’s grown- physically, musically, and especially mentally. After shedding herself for another person- the unnamed lover and subject of the song- she’s taking ownership, and complete control by showing herself completely naked on top of a huge, heavy, destructive device.

And then there’s Nicki.

A year later, Nicki Minaj put out this vaguely familiar song and a booty bumping video to accompany it, featuring Drake. And it’s an absolute feminist masterpiece. I know what you’re thinking- how could that possibly be true, with the myriad scantily clad women, and the shining, bouncing bottoms?

Well…that’s exactly it. Nicki knows exactly what she’s doing and she’s proud of it. Lady Minaj has shown the world that she’s here, she has a huge ass, and she’s not afraid to show it off- under her circumstances. We see a lot of imagery of male arousal throughout the video- the coconut dripping in the beginning, the wine glass spilling over the sides, spreading whipped cream all over her chest, the bananas spinning around on the turntable…yet when in contact with an actual male in the video- Drake- she doesn’t surrender her ownership of herself. She slithers all over him, snake-like, wrapping herself around him in the most enticing way possible. But as soon as he reaches out for a taste of his own, she retracts. No, no, Drake.

There’s also something to be said regarding her sample choice- clearly borrowing from Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back. Though catchy, “Baby Got Back” has clear footholds in the concept that women’s bodies are objects for men to admire and drool over. In fact, in the spoken intro, one of the female characters states, regarding the fictional woman whose butt is the subject of the song, “She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.” They go on to claim that people only talk to her because she looks like- wait for it- a prostitute. The intro closes out with an even more horrifying line- “She’s just so…black!” As if all black women are good for is having big butts.

“Anaconda” is reclaiming the male gaze and transforming it into something under feminine control. It’s also fun to dance to.


And more and more female artists are catching on. Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” video showcases her essentially mocking the now popular notion that all she does is date guys, who eventually break her heart, leaving her to write another hit song about them. Beyonce has too many to count. Not to mention the countless other artists you may not even know about who are out there making empowering videos, embracing their womanhood. This is an important step for female musicians to take. It’s allowing them creative control over their music videos, and more importantly, the male gaze that’s commonly present behind them. As I mentioned in a previous post, the people working behind the scenes in the music industry are predominantly male. And whether it’s conscious or not, there’s been a clear sexualized skew in female pop musicians music videos.

So pull up those high-waisted shorts and dance along with them. You deserve it, and you look great doing it.

Music Video of the Week : Justin Timberlake’s ‘Tunnel Vision’

Music :

While this song is not the hit single of JT’s the 20/20 experience album, it definitely stands out as a quality track. It was written and produced by Timberlake, Timbaland, James Fauntleroy, and Jerome Harmon. It features audible content from Timbaland who lent his signature beat-making and beat-boxing skills for the creation of this track.

The instrumental strikes as quite sinister right from the start. It builds off an overdriven vocal sample, what sounds like a vacuous trumpet-like melodic line and a high pitched arpeggio. After a few bars they give into into a bass-heavy beat with clear-cut side stick hits and some of Timbaland’s infamous ad-libs and vocal scratch sounds. On the vocal front JT taps into both his lower and higher vocal ranges throughout and shows he is comfortable in either of the two, adding to the dramatic effect of the song.  His arpeggiated backing vocals echo the layered soundscape created by Timbaland. This indubitably allows them to feed off one another as far as creative techniques and arrangement go.

With regards to the lyrical content, JT talks about this ‘Tunnel Vision’ he has for his love interest, describing his infatuation in almost voyeuristic terms. His writing echoes his previous works in some ways; lyrical themes from ‘Cry Me a River’ or ‘My Love’ appear throughout this track.

Video :

The suave grey texture of the video matches the sinister vibe of the track. JT shows off his sweet moves that he is already quite known for and uses the syncopated beats to the advantage of his choreography. The ‘cool’ factor of the video is Timbaland appearance – or more accurately his mouth – beat-boxing along to the song. The more controversial element of the song comes in then. Timberlake decided to venture in the nude-art territory when he decided to have topless women feature in this music video. Not only are these women topless, but he dances fully clothed alongside them via projector montage. The video had to be taken off Youtube a few hours after its release and re-submitted with a content warning page to filter the traffic to the video. Now this may not be unpleasant to the majority of the male population viewing this video, however it feels a bit ‘déja-vu’ to have a playboy-looking type artist dancing alongside topless models.

Robin Thicke and Pharrell used this concept over the summer to release the video for their song ‘Blurred Lines’. It feels like the video to their song acts more as a sales tool than anything else though. The women casted for the part – very attractive albeit – are more there for show it feels. Thicke played off of the summer vibe and used this as a marketing technique; the ladies are walking around, topless, and randomly-timed hashtag words flash up on the screen in the hopes of brainwashing the audience. This is where JT differentiates his approach. The models are not striking random poses like they’re part of the furniture, they’re supplely dancing with a more ‘artsy’ feel to it. Kaleidoscopic patterns are projected overtop of them all the while and lyrics appear on the backdrop in a blended and non-aggressive, non-promotional way. Once again, the male population watching the video might not be complaining. But unfortunately, because of the length of the track the concept loses impact a good minute or two before the video ends.

Tunnel Vision :

Executive Producer: Jeff Nicholas
Produced by Jonathan Craven and Nathan Scherrer
Directed by Jonathan Craven, Simon McLoughlin and Jeff Nicholas for The Uprising Creative
Director Of Photography: Sing Howe Yam
Editor: Jacqueline London


*NEW* Artist of the Week: ALLEN STONE

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.


AGE: 26
ORIGEN: Chewelah, Washington

GENRE: Soul and R&B
LABEL: StickyStones Records (Self-label), ATO Records

TWITTER: 30,646 followers
YOUTUBE: 2,601,950 video views |
FACEBOOK: 65,977 likes


I discovered Allen Stone through a friend referral. I was looking for new artists, but luck just hadn’t on my side these past couple weeks. That is why I have decided to feature three new artists this week, because I will only post about upcoming artist that I truly admire and are serving as inspiration and guidance for aspiring artists who are struggling to decide whether they want to sign to a label or build their own career. So far, four of my artists are signed to a label, three are not, and two have created their own record label. I hope this is helping you all conceive your own possible path in today’s music industry because it was obvious that one of my artists did not want to sign to the label she is currently with, rather she felt forced.

Allen Stone reminds me of Clay Aiken – not necessarily vocally, but appearance-wise. When Clay Aiken first appeared at his audition for American Idol Season 2, the judges were dumbfounded by the amazing voice that came out of a seemingly nerdy young male. Not that Allen Stone looks nerdy, but I definitely didn’t expect him to sound as incredible as he does. I also didn’t expect him to be singing the genre of music that he sings. This immediately attracted me to the Soul singer. His charming voice stops your racing thoughts and cause you to focus solely on him and what he’s singing. Here’s the first song I heard him sing:

After hearing this song, I realized I had heard him before, but I didn’t realize who it was. I assumed it was just another R&B singer. Well, boy am I glad I discovered this diamond in the rough. Allen Stone grew up singing Gospel music in church, so he often engages the audience in call-and-response tunes that demonstrate his charm to the audience. Here’s “Say So”:

Stone has been managing his own career for a few years now. Touring across the country to perform at various local clubs, Stone has been selling out shows from coast to coast. His first album Allen Stone made it into the Top 10 Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and entered the Top 5 iTunes R&B/Soul charts. He made an appearance on national television after the talent booker saw Stone’s living room video (the first one I saw as well). He has since been featured on Jimmy Kimmel LiveLast Call with Carson Daly and Live from Daryl’s House followed by being named as an artist to watch on Esquire, CNN and Billboard.

Recently, Stone signed with ATO Records after having reached a considerable amount of success on his own. Perhaps this is what Emeli Sandé was referring to when she sang “I’d be patient if I had the time.” It took Stone years to acquire the level he reached on his own. It probably took more work too than if he had the support of label professionals. However, I would assume that since Stone had already demonstrated his ability to succeed without a label prior to their approach, that he had a bit more negotiating power to his contract than Sandé. In fact, since he was probably discovered then approached by the labels themselves, he probably did not have to worry about accepting a less-than-acceptable offer because if was clear that he was doing just fine on his own.

I hope Stone is able to continue his music career the way he intends. He has a gift and he is naturally talented with the ability to charm his audience. I look forward to following the progress of his career. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Here’s more of my favorite videos:

Allen Stone “Sleep”:

Allen Stone “Contact High”:

Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“Allen Stone.” Wikipedia.

*NEW* Artist of the Week: LENNON AND MAISY

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

ARTIST/GROUP: Lennon and Maisy
BIRTH NAME: Lennon and Maisy Stella

AGE: 13 (Lennon) and 8 (Maisy)
ORIGEN: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

GENRE: Country

TWITTER: 109,866 followers
YOUTUBE: 36,274,446 video views |
FACEBOOK: 75,886 likes


I discovered Lennon and Maisy on Facebook. One of my friends shared a video of them covering “Call Your Girlfriend” and I loved what I heard. Their video went viral having reached over 8.5 million views within six months, and it has since doubled to nearly 17 million views since October. The girls sound amazing, but for some reason, I was oddly attracted to the rhythm thing they were doing with the plastic cartons in the video. Usually, this would serve as a sort of distraction from the vocals, but their blend is incredible! They don’t need a distraction! In fact, I was semi-glad when they stopped doing the thing with the cartons because it allowed me to hear their amazing voices together. Check out the video!

Lennon and Maisy are daughters to the Country music duo The Stellas. Therefore, it makes sense that these girls are so talented. Both of their parents sing too! Their big break has been them being cast on ABC’s new show “Nashville” as Maddie and Daphne James (the daughters of a falling country music star). Here’s Maddie and Daphne making their debut on the show!

Lennon and Maisy are just getting started, but there is surely a promising future ahead for these girls. Due to their recent success, not much more information is available on them on the Internet. They are not signed to a label yet, but I am sure that is next to come. I wonder who they’ll sign with? Will they sign to a label? They are very young. Are they ready for that kind of pressure to make and sell records? Their parents are signed to EMI Music Canada. Perhaps, they will provide the proper guidance for these ladies’ developing music career. Only time will tell..

Here are more of their acoustic videos. Aren’t they amazing?!

Lennon and Maisy singing Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”:

Lennon and Maisy as Maddie and Daphne in Nashville singing “Telescope”:

Lennon and Maisy “Bright Side”:

Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


Lee, Tiffany. “‘Nashville’ casts 13 and 6-year-old YouTube viral singing stars Lennon and Maisy Stella.” Yahoo! TV. 09 OCT 2012: Web. 6 May. 2013.

Weatherby, Jager. “Who Are Lennon and Maisy Stella, the Girls Who Play Rayna’s Daughters on Nashville?.” Wetpaint. 03 APR 2013: Web. 6 May. 2013.

“The Stellas.” Wikipedia. 2013.

*NEW* Artist of the Week: EMELI SANDÉ

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

BIRTH NAME: Adele Emeli Sandé

AGE: 23
ORIGEN: England, UK

GENRE: Soul and R&B
LABEL: Virgin Records, EMI Records, Capitol Records

TWITTER: 915,032 followers
YOUTUBE: 26,061,731 video views |
FACEBOOK: 734,443 likes
INSTAGRAM: 163,688 followers


I was introduced to Emeli Sandé by a fellow friend at Berklee. We were eating in a restaurant and she asked me had I heard of the artist that was playing. At the time, I hadn’t, but didn’t think much of it until one of her songs was played again on a TV commercial. I made a mental note to check her out later, but didn’t get around to it until recently. Just by a simple YouTube search, I was led to Sandé’s “Heaven” and fell in love. Check it out!

After listening to “Heaven,” I was intrigued and my search began. I started listening to everything! I wanted to know more about the new Adele or Jessie J from London. Next, I was brought to “Clown.”

I must have played this song five times before I could move on. The lyrics were filled with so much meaning and emotion that I had to keep watching it to make sure I fully understood the message that was being conveyed. Emeli is depicting her experience of getting signed to a label. Something I mentioned with my last artist of the week, Todrick Hall. In this video, it seems as though the decision wasn’t so easy for her. Many of us dream of being offered the opportunity to sign a recording contract with a label, but here, Emeli is clearly showing that the decision wasn’t so easy.

The very purpose of this blog is to discuss the differences of artists who have signed to a label versus those who have chosen to build their career via a Direct2Fan method. Emeli Sandé has experienced both sides, and she seems to have chosen the majors. Perhaps, she was coerced. However, she did say “I’d be patient if I had the time.” What did she mean by that? Is she insinuating that it would take her much longer (if at all) to reach her success goal if she tried to do it on her own without the majors? Well, let’s take a look at her career before she hit the limelight.

Emeli Sandé began her career more behind-the-scenes by writing for artists like Leona Lewis, Susan Boyle, Cheryl Cole, and many more. Therefore, she signed a publishing deal EMI Music Publishing first, then later signed a record deal with Virgin Records. Her album Our Version of Events became the best-selling album of the UK in 2012 earning her the titles “Best British Album” and “Best British Female” at the Brit Awards 2013 (awards previously won by Adele and Jessie J).

Sandé seems very humbled and appreciative of her current success in this interview with Jessie J at the Brit Awards:

As a singer-songwriter, Emeli Sandé has mentioned several times the importance she places on remaining true to herself when writing songs about previous experiences for others to relate to. She wants her audience to connect to her and feel her emotion, and her videos are often an excellent portrayal of just that. Here are a couple more of my favorites:

Emeli Sandé “My Kind of Love”:

Emeli Sandé “Daddy”:

After listening to this song, I realized I had heard of her before my friend formerly introduced me. However, I could not recall where. To me, that is the best kind of exposure. “Daddy” must have been played in so many places that I learned of the song before I even learned of the artist. Now that‘s great marketing and promotion. I’m glad I have learned more about who she is as an artist and singer-songwriter. Her voice is impeccable, and I hope I’ll have the opportunity to meet her one day.

Currently, Sandé is touring US and the UK throughout the summer. I will have returned to the states by her July 3rd concert date in Atlanta, and I’m looking forward to attending what I know will be an amazing concert at The Tabernacle. I have already purchased her album, and I can’t stop listening to it. I can’t imagine how intense her vocals will be during a live performance. If she can convey that much emotion through a studio recording, I am certain she will only magnify the experience with raw emotion and energy in front of a live audience. Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“Emeli Sandé: About.” Emeli Sandé. Web. 17 Apr 2013.

“Emeli Sandé.” Wikipedia., 02 Apr 2013. Web. 17 Apr 2013.é

*NEW* Artist of the Week: TODRICK HALL

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

ARTIST/GROUP: Todrick Hall
AGE: 25
ORIGEN: Arlington, Texas

GENRE: R&B, Pop, Hip Hop

TWITTER: 76,951 followers |
YOUTUBE: 5,447,073 video views |
FACEBOOK: 10,000+ friends | Facebook 1Facebook 2


Todrick Hall has made several appearances as a YouTube sensation and American Idol Season 9 Top 24 Finalist. I don’t remember who introduced me to him, but I do remember being intrigued by his raw talent and skill. I think the first time I saw Todrick Hall was in a video of him leading a flash mob in Target to Beyoncé’s then recently released single “End of Time.” Not only is Todrick an amazing singer and performer, he’s a talented dancer and choreographer as well. Check it out!

This video was such a viral hit that it made its way to Beyoncé herself who then uploaded a video response acknowledging Hall for his amazing video and appreciation. In my opinion, that truly showed Beyoncé’s character and leadership for taking time to show her appreciation for such an adoring fan. Check it out!

Later, Todrick made another appearance in the limelight with his pertinacious attempt to be cast as the newest member on the hit TV show “Glee” where he directly addressed Mr. Ryan Murphy himself (creator and director of the hit TV show). This is my favorite video of his because it truly shows his versatility, range, and dancing abilities too! Todrick Hall is not only an incredible singer, he’s also an amazing dancer and choreographer! You should definitely check it out (if you haven’t already).

Todrick Hall “I Wanna Be on Glee”:

Todrick Hall is not currently signed to a label, but I don’t think he intends to. He doesn’t have an official website, but it seems as if he has resolved to using social media as his main source of communication. I have been following him for quite some time, and he post rather frequently enough to keep your attention. In fact, in 2011 he ran his own campaign to raise $30,000 by January 2012 to have enough money to continue his YouTube series which currently has over 218,000 subscribers. I suppose his campaign went well because he hasn’t stopped posting videos since he started. Check out his original song “Without U” featuring my previous Artist of the Week, Tori Kelly:

I found this song to be very clever and unique enough to show off his incredible writing skills. I even remember hearing it in various stores and restaurants as I was “out-and-about.” That is when I became really shocked to find that he wasn’t even signed to a label yet even after his claim to fame on American Idol. Perhaps he has chosen to build his career as an independent artist, shunning the support of a label to avoid the financial burden of an advance that may compromise his artistry and copyright royalties as a singer-songwriter as well. Do you think he can do it? Do you think this is where the music industry is headed? Todrick clearly seems to be content with his career right now, and he doesn’t appear to be seeking out any help from the majors.

Here’s the video of his audition for American Idol Season 9. I found it to be very clever and catchy, and the judges obviously did too because he received a unanimous vote to be put through to the next round. I can’t believe he wrote this on the plane to his audition! He really is a talented writer and musician. Here’s the video:

Being the clever writer that he is, I found his parody of Beauty and the Beast to be extremely hilarious and entertaining as well. He incorporated a lot of social trending topics and YouTube celebrities in the video, so I hope you find it just as amusing as I did.

Todrick Hall “Beauty and the Beat”:

Well, that’s all the info I have on Todrick Hall right now, but keep an eye out for him. He’s definitely capitalizing on a new music business model of how to sustain yourself as an independent artist without the once necessary backing of a major label. Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“American Idol (season 9).” Wikipedia. 2013.

Tori Kelly

*NEW* Artist of the Week: TORI KELLY

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

BIRTH NAME: Victoria Kelly

AGE: 20
ORIGEN: Canyon Lake, California

GENRE: Pop, Soul, R&B
LABEL: Toraay Records (Self-label)

TWITTER: 165,334 followers |
YOUTUBE: 35,452,046 video views |
FACEBOOK: 79,553 likes |
SOUNDCLOUD: 2,006 followers |


I discovered Tori Kelly a couple years ago on Facebook. Someone shared a link to one of her videos and I was very impressed with her vocal skills. She was very tasteful with her runs, and they were very clean. She also had a unique interpretation of her cover songs. Needless to say, I was hooked. Here’s one of my favorite videos of Tori covering “Tomorrow” from the popular musical Annie:

Tori was only 18 when she made that video, and she has continued to grow as an artist and performer. She auditioned for American Idol in Season 9, and although she made it to Hollywood, she wasn’t chosen as one of the Top 24. I think this stands to prove that she has a bigger purpose ahead of her because the girl is clearly talented. You can even see Simon’s hesitancy to downplay her voice when he smirks as he says “I’m gonna say no. I think these three are mad, but there you go.” Her tone is very piercing, but it is very crisp and pure. That is what makes her so unique—and the fact that she has impeccable control over her voice considering her age. Check out her audition!

Tori was only 16 when she auditioned for American Idol, but her performance career began way before then. She was featured on America’s Most Talented Kids when she was  only 11, and she won the competition! Check her out!

Her voice hasn’t changed a bit. Her talent has grown with her every step of the way to Tori starting her own record label to produce her own music—Toraay Records. She produced and released her own EP entitled “Handmade Songs” that she wrote and produced in her bedroom studio. She recently announced her “Fill a Heart” US tour which already has sold out dates in San Francisco, D.C., Philadelphia, and Atlanta! I wish I were there to attend.

Here are a couple more of my favorite videos from Tori—some of which she shares in a duet with Todrick Hall <–my next featured artist! 😉

Beyoncé “Best Thing I Never Had” (Cover) – Tori Kelly and Todrick Hall:

“California King Bed” (Cover) – Tori Kelly and Todrick Hall:

Adele “Someone Like You” (Cover) – Tori Kelly and Luke Edgemon

Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


laurenbieeber. 22 Aug 2012. Web. 27 Mar 2013.

“Tori Kelly.” 2013.

US Album Cover Picture

*NEW* Artist of the Week: US

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

BIRTH NAMES: Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado

ORIGEN: Los Angeles, CA

GENRE: Pop, Acoustic, and Soul

TWITTER: 5,580 followers |
YOUTUBE: 8,97,335 video views |
FACEBOOK: 6,481 likes |


I discovered US from one of my friends here at Berklee Valencia. We were working on a project in her room and suddenly she started playing a cover of Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been?” I really liked it, so I asked her who the artist was. She told me it was a duo named US in which the male counterpart was playing all the instruments. This got me interested. Here’s the video:

As much as I love their rendition of the song, I was quite dissatisfied with their name choice. I couldn’t find them on my own. I had to ask my friend to send me the link to their video. Perhaps this is a strategy they have discussed and agreed upon, but I don’t like it. It made it very difficult for me to research them as a group. All of my research had to be conducted by individually researching Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado who were already established singer-songwriters before they got engaged and became a duo.

Here are some of the results I encountered while attempting to find US (the music duo):

Universidad de Sevilla
United States references
Pronoun references
Toys ‘R’ Us..

Needless to say, I wasn’t looking for any of those things. None of those things even referred to music. The only thing that lead me to their official fan pages was their own website, which of course was not “” It doesn’t seem as though they have acquired a manager yet, but if I were their manager, the first thing I’d suggest is a name change. There’s a thin line between creativity and feasibility.

As previously mentioned, Carissa Rae and Michael Alvarado began their careers as individual singer-songwriters. Alvarado was based in the Carolinas and Rae was based in California. They have shown what the best of love stories can turn out to be by their brave attempt to start their life together in Los Angeles as a talented duo. They got engaged Thanksgiving 2011 and have been performing together as duo all over the US gradually building a fanbase they hope will support their upcoming album.

US has a unique way of rearranging songs into unsuspecting genres. They recently began a new YouTube series “Studio Sessions” that showcases them recording their covers in their home-based studio. Check out their folk version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”:

Here’s my favorite video of Us depicting their longing for each other while attempting to sustain a long distance relationship.

US “Missin You Like Crazy”:

US has not signed to a label yet. In fact, I am not convinced that they want to. They launched a project on kickstarter last year to raise money for their album, and they promised their fans an album comprised of “real music from [their] hearts.” Perhaps they feel as though a label may hinder their artist creativity. They haven’t said much more about their feelings on this, but I am sure time will tell.

It’s obvious that Michael Alvarado and Carissa Rae are madly in love. Their chemistry is adorable and they make great music together. I am anxious to follow the growth of their music career, but they seem as though they will be perfectly content as long as they have each other. Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“Carissa Rae & Michael Alvarado Form ‘Us’; Preparing Debut Album as a Duo.” Web. 16 Mar 2013.

“Us.” Tumblr. Web. 16 Mar 2013.

Lianne La Havas Cover Picture

*NEW* Artist of the Week: LIANNE LA HAVAS

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

ARTIST/GROUP: Lianne La Havas
BIRTH NAME: Lianne Charlotte Barnes

AGE: 23
ORIGEN: London, England

GENRE: Folk and Soul
LABEL: Warner Bros. Records

TWITTER: 48,262 followers |
YOUTUBE: 5,447,073 video views |
FACEBOOK: 99,951 likes |
SOUNDCLOUD: 58,582 followers |
LAST.FM: 1,162,709 scrobbles |


I discovered Lianne La Havas in one of my classes here at Berklee Valencia–International Music Business Seminar. Professor Graham Ball presented several artists to the class for us to propose and assume their success rate based on selected videos. Here’s the video he showed us:

This performance launched La Havas into stardom. She had already signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2010, and she had already released two EP’s “Lost & Found” and “Forget.” Therefore, after her debut on Later… with Jools Holland (an influential British music show) in October 2011, her career began to climb with astounding turn outs at her proceeding shows that were previously booked for showcasing her EP’s and promoting her anticipated album release.

I’ll be honest. At first, I wasn’t really paying attention in class because my phone was distracting me. However, the mere sound of Lianne La Havas’ voice immediately captured my attention with exquisite tone and intriguing lyrics.

La Havas was raised with Jazz and R&B influences from her Greek father and Jamaican mother who favored artists such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and Mary J. Blidge. Erykah Badu is one of her all time favorite artists. Interestingly, La Havas was studying art in college. She did not intend on making a career out of music until a friend from The BRIT School invited her to accompany them at a gig. There, she was introduced to Paloma Faith, and she eventually quit art school to pursue a music career. Then, she toured as a background singer for Faith, performed with other bands, put her music up on MySpace, and eventually found a management team that led her to producer Brit Matt Hales (Aqualung) who co-wrote several of her songs and produced her album Is Your Love Big Enough?.

Here are my favorite songs from her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough?:

Lianne La Havas “Forget”:

Lianne La Havas “Is Your Love Big Enough”:

Lianne La Havas “Gone”:

According to the Billboard charts, La Havas’ album ranked #23 for Adult R&B Airplay, #7 for Folk Albums, #1 for Heatseekers Albums, and #4 in the U.K. She recently began her tour in the UK, and she’ll be touring in the USA as well in March and April! I’m bummed that I won’t be able to see her live on April 13th in Atlanta, but hopefully she’ll return again with an even bigger fanbase and more tunes!

Check out her Interview with I Like It A Lot discussing her collaboration with Willy Mason and how she plans to incorporate her visual art talents with her albums:

Here she talks about her encounter with Prince and acquired fan Stevie Wonder!

Lianne La Havas has definitely gained me as a fan. Every time I hear her voice, I am captivated by its mesmerizing tone and quality. Even before I was familiar with her tunes, her melodies attracted my interest like magnets, pressing me to repetitively ask my friends who they were listening to. Each time, they answered: Lianne La Havas. I have never been so excited to buy someone’s album. I am certain her album sales are going to skyrocket once she’s completed her tour, and I’ll be able to say amongst my friends “I bought her album months ago!” Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“Artists: Lianne La Havas.” BillboardBiz. Billboard. Web. 27 Feb 2013.

“Lianne La Havas (Bio).” Warner Bros. Records. Warner Bros. Records. Web. 27 Feb 2013.

*NEW* Artist of the Week: BAAUER

The purpose of this blog is to showcase upcoming artists who have either signed with a label or chosen to build their career through a Direct2Fan method.

ALSO KNOWN BY: Captain Harry
BIRTH NAME: Harry Rodrigues

AGE: 22
ORIGIN: Brooklyn, New York, USA

GENRE: Trap and Bass Music
LABEL: LuckyMe Records

TWITTER: 47,706 followers |
YOUTUBE: 1,885,192 video views |
FACEBOOK: 80,983 likes |
SOUNDCLOUD: 62,258 followers |
INSTAGRAM: 11,877 followers |
LAST.FM: 309,197 scrobbles |


Baauer has quickly spread across the US becoming known as the love child of Brooklyn and the Internet. He is an American producer that has cleverly combined the Southern Hip Hop style of bass rhythms with today’s 4/4 dance pop genre.

Before I continue, I would like to acknowledge that I fully recognize that Baauer is not someone who would typically be decribed as an “artist.” He’s a producer, right? Well, if we continued with that perspective, this new genre of music that has emerged (Electronic) would technically never have an “artist” to recognize. We associate artist as the face of a creation/work. Therefore, as the producer of these mixes, Baauer is the associated face of these works, and thus deserves this write up on my blog.

I was first introduced to Baauer last Fall at a house party. The DJ played a song that I vaguely recognized, then I realized it was a remix to a song that I already knew. I was so intrigued by the mix that I asked the DJ who it was. Since technically the artist was Wiz Khalifa, I needed to know who produced the remix. The song was “Rollup.” Check it out!

“Rollup” (Baauer Remix):

After discovering Baauer’s remix of “Rollup,” I didn’t really find it necessary to look more into the producer – at that time. However, he resurfaced through a viral video craze of his new single “Harlem Shake.” Somehow, Baauer doesn’t have an official YouTube Channel that hosts his viral hits, but “Harlem Shake” currently has over 13,500,313 views on YouTube hosted by fungmungus in HD. That same song has over 4,480,084 views on hosted by maddecent. The most popular thirty-second video of a group dancing erotically to “Harlem Shake” has over 18,358,978 views on YouTube hosted by hiimrawn. In total, over 40,000 videos have been uploaded by users with over 175 million views. Interestingly, Baauer said in response to the viral craze “It [was] definitely a total shock, but I see it as a very positive thing now. But to me, it came out of nowhere…It came out at like the end of [last] summer, and now it’s like back again, nine months later.” Check them out!

Baauer “Harlem Shake HD”:

Baauer “Harlem Shake” Video Craze:

Baauer is currently managed by Mixed Management Group in Los Angeles, CA, and he recently signed with LuckyMe Records in Glasgow, Scotland. “Harlem Shake” has reached #1 on iTunes chart and the Billboard Hot 100 with over 262,000 sales in the US and 42,373 in the UK. Check out his response to the sudden stardom in this Interview with Music Talks:

I have grown very fond of Baauer’s music. I never imagined supporting a producer in the way I support other artists that sing and/or rap. I look forward to following the growth of his career. He will surely set a new precedence for producers to be featured in the same light as other celebrities in the enterntainment industry. Stay tuned!

Prayre Finley


“Baauer.” Musicfest NW. Web. 21 Feb 2013.

Buyanovsky, Dan. “Baauer and Just Blaze Get High.” Interview Magazine. Web. 21 Feb. 2013.

Caulfield, Keith. “USA.” United World Chart (2013): Billboard Report (Excerpt). Web. 21 Feb 2013.

Jones, Alan. “United Kingdom.” United World Chart(2013): Music Week Report (Excerpt). Web. 21 Feb 2013.

ollieDJZ. “Baauer | Biography.” CBS Interactive, 20 Feb 2013. Web. 21 Feb 2013.

Stern, Marlow. “Meet Baauer, the Man Behind the Harlem Shake.” Daily Beast. 18 Feb 2013: Web. 21 Feb. 2013.

Trust, Gary. “Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ Debuts Atop Revamped Hot 100.” BillboardBiz. 20 Feb 2013: Web. 21 Feb. 2013.