Okay so Stephen is one of my all-time favorites. The LA-based artist has 100% blown me away with everything he’s done and to see him collaborating with a whole crew of artists from my home town of Chicago is so cool. Hell, I’ve fucked with Saba since way before his collabs with Chance back when my college’s student-run record label released a compilation featuring him on multiple tracks. If you know Chicago music, you know The O’My’s have been killing it around the Windy City for a hot minute, and while I’m unfamiliar with Ravyn Lenae and J.P. Floyd, they both bring something incredible to this collab, Lenae with her silky pipes and Floyd with the badass brass swagger. All in all, while turning a track into a trilogy could be seen by some as a lazy move creatively or that he’s “milking” the hit, I for one am not at all mad that Crossfire has turned into it’s own little movement. The song’s message, supported by the powerful track artwork, also speaks to the violence that’s continually prevalent in Chicago’s South and West Side neighborhoods and the difficulties local children face growing up there that much of us can’t even imagine. I’ve been told 15 percent of all earnings from this record are going to Young Chicago Authors, a creative after school program serving 10,000 youths per year.The only thing better than dope music is dope music with a meaningful message.
This next premiere is all kinds of sparkly and new - I love showing you guys the best of the new, and this is delicious! Yung DC producer KWON gave us his first official remix to premiere which is super exciting! He's put a fantastic future feels spin on "Crossfire" by Stephen, whom we've been big supporters of this past year. This track is filled with a cadence of glitchy beats mixed with exquisite vocals - it's bananas good! Out of the gate, KWON shows us that he's ready to join the new wave of next generation music makers, well done! Can't wait to hear more!
SummitScape has made a name fore themselves putting together some slick remixes for the likes of Galantis, The Killers and a Betty Who remix we previously featured. Well now they've returned with a sick, bassy remix of one of our favorite rising artists right now Stephen. "Crossfire" is a catharsis of emotion and SummitScape's remix is totally on point. The record starts appropriately mellow eventually building into a bright drop with an expressive blaring synth line that's tight af. Unfortunately we just heard some bad news that the SummitScape boys are splitting up citing an all too well known reason: artistic differences. At BB we've seen our fair share of duos head their separate ways and we always want to wish them the best of luck! Writing music together can be a challenging ordeal and sometimes pursuing other avenues is the best option. We've been informed that Harry has already chosen to re-brand as Thoreau. and has done so with SummitScape's former soundcloud page. We'll be looking out for the new Thoreau. music as it hits our inbox, but until then enjoy SummitScape's last release!
Disclosure: Thoreau is managed by Beautiful Buzzz writer Lindsey Oh
Stephen's quick rise to prominence has been absolutely incredible to witness. Record after record he's sculpted wildly enjoyable, thought provoking, genre defying, emotionally charged music that has, to say the very least, impressed. I've been waiting for his 'Sincerely' LP to arrive and now that it has, we can look back and enjoy what has occurred and appreciate the groundbreaking tenacity of this young artist.
As a constant purveyor of electronic music, sound design is often the focal point of my discerning ears: the way in which sounds and oscillators are combined with filters and matrixes to construct musical notes unlike anything in current existence. It is this movement of scientific musical advancement that keeps me intrigued and addicted to music discovery. While Stephen has developed a sound design uniquely his own, he has also married it to blues guitar, and piano breathing new life into a relationship that for some new listeners has become seemingly antiquated.
However the ingenuity doesn't just stop there, lyrics make music relatable, singable and above all emotional. In a day and age where many pop lyrics are simple placeholders for notes or rhythms, it is easy to forget about the powerful impact thought provoking lyricism can provide. Lyrics and societal frustrations have always been interwoven, which is why music has continued to be such a beautiful catharsis. It's 'Sincerely' refreshing to see all of this come together in such a robust way.
According to Stephen,
"My album is a story of triumph, of letting go of all the uncertainty in my head and learning to walk the path of my own heart. Sincerely's about realizing how much better this world would be if we all loved ourselves, if we weren’t afraid of being vulnerable and honest. It doesn’t matter who’s president or what technology we invent or what extremists we destroy, the only thing I know is this:
"There will never be peace if we do not all love ourselves."
"And so I believe my generation needs a revolution. We don’t love ourselves. We are trapped in our heads because we were told to figure it all out and in our failed attempts we stopped having fun. We abandoned everything we loved doing because we thought it was slowing us down. We thought growing up was the process of holding on instead of letting go, and now we’re all collapsing under the weight. We don’t know what to do anymore."
"But we can do so much. We can change the world. We have to stop complying to the doubts in our heads and start following our hearts. We have to stop judging each other and start accepting ourselves. We have to stop living selfishly and start giving back. We have to have the courage to take a chance. My generation has all the power if we work together. This is my invitation to the ones who love."
Stephen's album is a perfect realization of where I thought music of the 2010's would be heading, but yet hadn't quite eclipsed. Music artfully crafted using the old with the new. Skillfully articulated and performed with such prowess that I see this album as a exciting roadmap of what lies ahead. Many have pointed out that much of a decade's defining music comes from the latter 5 years and with 'Sincerely,' the music of the 20teens takes flight.
Listen to the entire album courtesy of Halfway House here.
Wow we just can't get enough Stephen. Track after track he's been making major tunes with spectacular production, elegant vocals, moving lyrics and YES bluesy guitar solos. We've been watching this rise happen over the last few months and we're so excited to see that everyone is now jumping on the bandwagon because it's well deserved. "Sincerely" is a politically infused rant against the money grubbers and elite that continue to exploit our democratic system for their own benefit. "Can you hear that darlin', a revolution's callin', no child of ours should have to starve should have to die for us." Oh come on not only are you putting out spectacular music, but you're creating a movement as well??? Well it's about time...world say hello to Stephen he's gonna be around a while. He's also posted spring tour dates in the SoundCloud description of the song and you can get tickets here.
One thing I have always said is that I am definitely not a music journalist! Beautiful Buzzz was created as an outlet where I can tell my friends about all the great music I come across - and over the past few years we've grown into a fun place where people can find new tracks and listen to my stories! This Best Of 2015 list is personal; it's a combination of tracks I loved and great moments I had working with the artists over the past year - whether it was through the blog, at one of my Beautiful Buzzz shows, or just a night out on the town!! Enjoy!!
We had quite a year - click on the pic to check out who made our Best Of 2015 list!
2016 is bringing fire - click on the pic to check out who made our Ones To Watch in 2016 list!
HOLY CAPS LOCK BATMAN! Stephen is back with a killer new original that has us totally swept up in the "Crossfire". Coming off of his unbelievable cover of Adele's "Hello" that lit up the interwebs we're treated to this gem of a record. This track has a bit of everything. Gun shot sound effects, incredible lyrics, amazing sound design, haunting piano, dark bass, vocal and guitar chops...phew! Oh and I would really like to know what metallic sound he used to make the hits with. By the end the track gets pretty bluesy and soulful which is complete FIRE. Ha ha pretty fitting given the name. Stephen...homie this track is big...someone get The Recording Academy on the phone we have a late Grammy nom coming!
Adele's new single "Hello" has erupted everywhere with a lot of quick support coming in the form of remixes and covers especially since it was only released on October 23rd. Stephen is definitely leading the pack so far with this re-imagining. The talented producer, vocalist, guitarist...lets just say musician extraordinaire kills with this rendition. Bluesy, guitar laden with subtle drumming this track finds a nice sweet spot between chill and head bobbing. Great for a fall day! Here's a link to see the video as well.
Los Angeles singer/songwriter/producer Stephen just dropped his second single "Fly Down" today, and It's absolutely stunning! So many feels here, I'm kind of a loss for words -- the song speaks for itself. He's completely vulnerable, offering a glimpse into his heart with bold soulful vocals surrounded by deep future beats, it's very powerful! Stephen is the real deal! You can pick this one up via iTunes HERE!