ARIA WUNDERLAND TALKS “RISK IT ALL”, TOURING & WHAT’S ON HER PROFESSIONAL BUCKET LIST 0 93

Having just released her new single “Risk It All”, and currently working on a new EP, Aria Wunderland’s 2019 is proving to be pretty busy of late – not that she’s complaining. With musical inspiration stemming from the likes of Radiohead, Coldplay and Lorde among others, Aria is an indie pop artist who afraid to mix things up and put her own stamp on the world in her own way and she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about the impact of social media, performance plans and her big ambitions for the future.

TITL: Which bands and artists were you most inspired or influenced by growing up and how, if at all, have those influences changed? How do they impact the music you make?  

Aria Wunderland: I initially fell in love with classical music as a small child and later started being influenced by pop, rock and hip hop music that was playing on the radio at the time. I’ve been heavily inspired by Radiohead, Kanye West, Fiona Apple, Coldplay. Most recently, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Juice Wrld, Lana Del Rey, to name a few.

TITL: Who or what most inspires or influences your song-writing and to your mind, which song might you say is the greatest ever written?

AW: I tend to get inspired through other avenues of art like film, paintings, plays, etc. When I’m experiencing writer’s block I usually go see a really good movie or spend the day at an art museum. Greatest song every written. That’s a tough one! I’d say maybe “Imagine” by John Lennon.

TITL: To what extent might you say your classical training has helped or hindered your career, and what advice would you give to anyone looking at undertaking such lessons/training like that?

AW: Classical training is great and serves its purpose, especially when your goal is to learn timeless pieces written by our great composers. You just have to be careful when song-writing pop music and not allow theory to make you over think what you’re doing. A lot of what we do is intuitive and thinking too much about the formula behind everything can hinder this.

TITL: Is there a story behind your latest single “Risk It All” and what made you decide to release it as a single?

AW: Yes! “Risk It All” describes a passionate late night out and succumbing to all of your deepest desires. It’s about abandoning all concepts of time, social norms, personal inhibitions, responsibility, morality, etc.; just risking it all. I tend to get in my head and overthink decisions a lot. This song was written about being free and spontaneous and it was a sentiment I was recently really identifying with. When deciding which song to release next this one just made sense.

TITL: Have you been working on any new material lately? Any chance we can expect an EP or album from you in the near future?

AW: Yes, I am always working on new music! I have a new song I just wrote that I’m very excited about and it might be my next single! I have about 5 songs prepared for my EP so far so stay tuned as it should be put out before the end of this year!

TITL: As someone who is part of a very technology reliant industry, and society in general, do you think it’s possible for artists today to achieve success and earn a following without the likes of Spotify and social media? How have the likes of Twitter impacted your career and how much would you say you engage with fans on platforms like that?

AW: I think it’s certainly possible to achieve success without social media. Anything is possible but it would take longer and it would entail other means of marketing. I’m not an avid user of the Twitter platform. I do have a Twitter account but I tend to use Instagram and Spotify mostly. I am very thankful for these platforms as they have given me the autonomy to get my music out there and find fans that really like me and are enrolled in my brand.  

TITL: What’s the nicest/best thing someone has said/written about you so far? What would be the greatest compliment you could receive? How do you handle any more negative comments/press that comes your way?

AW: Someone recently praised my lyrical content and I was very honored to receive that type of compliment. I put a lot of thought into my lyrics and sometimes worry that no one’s actually paying attention. I would say the best compliment I could receive would be something related to my music helping someone or enhancing their life in some way. I would love to use my platform to help people in a meaningful way. Negative press is challenging. I try to focus on the people that actually love me and support me. Those are the people that matter and I’m so thankful for them.

TITL: Are there any tour dates lined up? Would you like to head over here and play in the UK?

AW: I would LOVE to play in the UK. I’ve been to London a few times and it’s one of my favorite cities. I’m planning a US bi-coastal tour first and depending on how that goes, I would love to do some dates overseas. 

TITL: If you could play any venue that you haven’t played yet, and have three bands or artists, past or present, for support, where would you play and who would you pick?

AW: I would love to play at Radio City Music Hall since it’s an iconic venue in Manhattan with an old New York feel. I’d ask Amy Winehouse, Tupac and Coldplay.

TITL: What does the rest of 2019 have in store for you? What are you goals for the coming months?

AW: I just filmed a music video that I’m in the process of editing. My short term goal is to release the video. For the rest of 2019 I plan to finish my EP, have a release party and get some dates for an upcoming tour.

TITL: Finally then, as an artist still considerably early into their career, what are your long-term ambitions? What’s on the bucket list and what would you have to achieve for you to look in the mirror and say “Wow..I made it”?

AW: My long term ambitions are to continue to make music and touch lives. I would like to grow my audience and while commercial success isn’t that important to me, I’d feel like I’ve made it if my fan base has grown enough for me to have a sold out international tour.

Check out “Risk It All” below and for more information on Aria Wunderland, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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LX MASON TALKS “DRINK ME GOODBYE” AND FUTURE ASPIRATIONS 0 92

Having earned considerable attention and a strong following on the back of his debut single “I Don’t”, which to date has been streamed more than 35,000 times on Spotify alone, the latest song by Florida born artist Jon Davis, AKA LX Mason, addresses the desperate attempts so many people make to forget long-term relationships. With plans for an EP in the pipeline, LX Mason chatted to ThisIsTheLatest about song-writing inspiration, his thoughts on social media and his long term artistic goals.

TITL: What makes LX Mason different from all the other acts out there? What’s your unique selling point?

LX Mason: I think I’m unique in the sense that I’m an African American pop artist who isn’t doing R’n’B or rap, but I don’t think that defines me. I think we’re all just out here trying to make what’s true to us. So my unique selling point is, I’m me. Get to know me a little.

TITL: Is there a particular story behind your new single “Drink Me Goodbye”?

LXM: Of course! My songs are a way of coping with things that happen in my world, so you can always count on there being some type of story. I had a falling out with a really close friend of mine years back, and it wrecked me for a little bit until I bounced back. However, I saw from a distance how that person was trying so hard to forget me and I’d say that was the part that hurt the most. We eventually mended things but if we’re being honest, a lot happened during that time and it hasn’t been the same. 

TITL: How did you come up with the concept for the video and is being creative in that way something you enjoy? 

LXM: I LOVE directing. For some reason I always have. And since I was a little kid, I’ve always loved music videos. I bounced some ideas off of my mates, and my co-director Jason Denison. We wanted to portray a story of the depths that someone has to go to in order to forget someone and actually recreate these happy memories but without the other person being there. 

TITL: In terms of your lyrics and general song-writing from who or from where do you find most of your inspiration?

LXM: Real life situations inspire me. There are some pop artists whose writing I definitely appreciate – Julia Michaels, Lauv, Lennon Stella to name a few – but I try not to let that influence my writing because I want to be as authentic to the story, and the emotion, as possible. 

TITL: How easy or hard do you find the song-writing process? Can it depend on the subject you’re wanting to write about or your frame of mind at the time? 

LXM: Yeah definitely depends on what song I’m writing. And if my head isn’t in the right place for it, I have to really push past everything that I’m feeling to get a song out. 

TITL: Is there an EP or album in the works?

LXM: I’m working towards an EP! But definitely a couple more singles out first. 

TITL: Do you have any performance or tour plans you can tell me about?

LXM: At the moment, it’s all about the writing and recording. But things could definitely change, and I’m always keen to perform.

TITL: If you could put together your dream show with four bands or artists, living or dead, who would you choose and where would you play? 

LXM: WHOA. Uhm. I would completely disregard genre and just have a really selfish line-up of people I love. 

TITL: Given that your debut single has already achieved in excess of 35,000 streams, what are your thoughts on social media? Are you someone who believes it to be a powerful and necessary tool in your business, and society in general, or can there be/are there downsides to being so “online” all the time? 

LXM: There’s no question that the abuse of social media has had an effect on mental health. We’ve seen it, and Instagram/Facebook has done a little bit of work to improve it for the user, but I don’t think it’s there just yet. I think there is an aspect of it where it is effective for business, and societally it does increase your world a bit – I’ve met some wonderful people through social media. But if -or when – it crashes, it wouldn’t bother me. Half the time whenever I post something I think about my caption for half a second, post it, and throw my phone across the room because I don’t care. 

TITL: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? 

LXM: More music! Releasing some more of my own, as well as writing for other people’s projects and potentially featuring on some tracks as well. 

TITL: Finally then, given how “full” the music industry is now with both new and established talent, how do you plan to make yourself stay current in the years ahead? What are your long-term aspirations as an artist and where do you see the music industry going/ being in terms of its shape and longevity, as time goes on?

LXM: I think, more importantly, I want to stay true to myself. If that’s current, then great. What’s “current” changes so frequently that if I were to base my artistic identity in that, I wouldn’t know who I am anymore. My long term aspirations is to get where I want to go making the music I want to make whenever I want to make it. I think for the music industry, there’s more of an inclination towards independence and honesty in music that can bring people the music they want to connect to. 

Check out the video for “Drink Me Goodbye” below and for more information on LX Mason, visit his website, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

BAILEY TOMKINSON CHATS “7 MINUTES IN HEAVEN”, TAYLOR SWIFT & SUPPORTING HER FELLOW FEMALE ARTISTS 0 125

Heavily influenced and inspired by Taylor Swift but with music tastes so varied she loves Sam Cooke, Madonna and Cyndi Lauper to name just three, Bailey Tomkinson has an undeniable passion for music. After releasing her EP Hey Ace last year, she’s recently dropped her new single “7 Minutes In Heaven” and with plans to head back in the studio soon to work on new material, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to talk favourite songs, upcoming performance plans and proudly supporting other female artists.

TITL: Who exactly is Bailey Tomkinson?

Bailey Tomkinson: Hi there! I’m Bailey, I’m a 19 year old singer/songwriter from sunny St Ives in Cornwall. I like to write country melodies that hopefully even people that don’t normally like Country Music will want to sing along to! I’m signed to German Indie Label FBP Music and when I’m not performing you can usually find me in the surf!

TITL: At what age did you first realise you wanted to make music a career and what did those closest to you think of said realisation?

BT: I’ve always known that I wanted to pursue a career in music, I watched the movie ‘Selena’, based on the life of the singer Selena Quintanilla, when I was about 4 and from then on all I wanted to do was perform.

The first time I played one of my songs in public was in front of about 300 people in an auditorium, it was a school rock concert in Brussels where we were living at the time, I was about 13. You could have heard a pin drop when I started to play and I just got the bug. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.  I think there is a video of it on YouTube somewhere actually! My family have never been anything other than massively supportive.Their attitude is that we all only get so many trips round the sun, why not spend them doing something you love?

TITL: Which artists and bands are you most inspired and influenced by, and what is it about the music they make that you like so much?

BT: I’ve grown up listening to Taylor Swift so she’s a big influence, obviously very relatable to a teenage girl. But I also admire her for willingness to experiment and innovate across genres; that she wanted to expand the ‘box’. I really admire Kacey Musgraves for the same reason. I listen to Sinatra. I love John Denver because he’s my Grandad’s favourite. Also Sam Cooke, Madonna, Abba, Cyndi Lauper, Jewel – honestly, I just love music.

TITL: Is there a story behind your latest single “7 Minutes In Heaven”?

BT: It was a combination of things really. I love movies like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ for the sense they have where in one, crazy night anything can happen. I thought it would be interesting to try to capture that feeling in a song. I’m 19 years old, so you know, I love a good party and we have some GREAT parties down here in St Ives, we’ve got the beach, bonfires, surfers and guitars so I thought why not write about some of them!

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing? With that in mind, could you choose what you feel is the greatest song ever written?

BT: That’s such a difficult question and if you asked me that 100 times, I’d probably give you a 100 different answers. Today, I’d go with “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. The song structure is a work of genius; it somehow manages to link multiple songs into one. Freddie Mercury is a GOD!

I think at the end of the day, I wouldn’t say I have a biggest inspiration as I’m quite fickle with the music I listen to, one minute it’s Sam Cooke and the next it’s Guns N’ Roses. However, that said, I’m pretty sure that if you ask people that know me, they’d tell you it’s Taylor Swift. Hell, at school I was nicknamed ‘Baylor’ Swift.

TITL: As a fairly new artist who made their mark on the industry last year, following the release of your EP, do you ever worry about how you compare to so many of your artistic counterparts?

BT: No, success isn’t cake. Just because someone has some doesn’t mean there’s none for me. There’s plenty for everybody. I have nothing but admiration for people who say, I’m going to follow my passion for making music and if they manage to carve out their own niche then more power to them. It’s hard enough for women in music, we’re all seeking to get equal airtime, festival slots etc, without turning on each other. We all experience the same thing…radio stations happy to put our faces on their posters or Facebook pages but then not spinning our records…I make a point of supporting other female country singers out there, we all want the same thing, a bigger industry and an opportunity to thrive within it.  

TITL: Do you have any performances/tour plans in the works?

BT: There’s lots going on. I’m making my London debut at Luna Lounge in April and in August, I’ve been lucky enough to get a slot at Boardmasters Festival which is one of my favourite festivals. I really want to play the length and breadth of the country, so if any one reading this has slots available, hit me up!

TITL: Given that we live in such a technology obsessed/dependent society, what are your thoughts on social media? How have the likes of Facebook and Twitter impacted your ability to reach an audience, and do you believe that artists can become successful without it?

BT: I don’t know that I have any new startling insight on the subject to be honest. It’s a mixed bag. Social media can be horrible, it amplifies hate and lies, it can make people insecure and antisocial I certainly think it’s important to remember that like television, a lot of it isn’t real. But the flip side is that it can connect people across oceans, across continents in ways we’ve never been able to before. 

In terms of the music, so far my experiences on social media have been incredibly positive, I’ve had other artists reach out with encouragement and advice, I’ve had folks contact me saying how much they’ve enjoyed a certain song and share my stuff with their friends etc. everybody has been really welcoming. Can an artist become successful without it? It depends on how you define success…for some it’s filling stadiums, which I don’t think you can do without a strong social media presence; for others it’s being happy, doing something you love on a local stage. If we were all the same, life would be boring wouldn’t it?

TITL: What does the rest of the year have in store for you? Will you be working on some new material at some point?

BT: Yes, I’ve been in the studio recently to record another single. Then after Boardmasters and festival season, I’ll probably do another EP. I’m writing constantly and definitely want to capture those songs properly. Later in the year, I’d like to do a bigger tour.

TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to anyone looking to make their mark on the music world as you have? Is there anything you’ve learnt in your short time in the business you’d pass on?

BT: I’d say, make the music you want to make and then surround yourself with as many good people as you can. It really does take a village.

Check out “7 Minutes In Heaven” below and for more information on Bailey, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.