CRYSTAL CLAYTON CHATS NEW MUSIC, SOCIAL MEDIA & ARTISTIC INFLUENCES 0 214

Following the release of her latest single “Is It Me?” and EP 3AM earlier this month and with her hit song “Blinding Lights” having already been streamed more than 50,000 times on Spotify, there’s no doubt that Crystal Clayton is certainly well on the way to making quite a name for herself. As she looks to a bright future, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to chat artistic inspirations, the power of social media and what, many years from now, she’d most like to be remembered for.

TITL: Please introduce yourself in a few words.

Crystal Clayton: My name is Crystal Clayton and I am an independent pop music recording artist/ songwriter

TITL: Has music always been the career goal for you or did you have other ambitions before embarking on this journey?

CC: I’ve wanted to be a singer since I was a kid. When I was young, I was constantly dancing and singing around the house. I wanted to have a voice like Celine Dion.  As I grew up, I started taking voice lessons and performing in theaters and shows. I began writing songs when I was a teenager and I was hooked. There has never been a plan B. I’ve always wanted a career in music.

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?

CC: I try to be unique and true to myself, but there are several artists I’m very much influenced by.  Growing up, like I said, I was obsessed with Celine Dion and also Mariah Carey. I just loved powerful voices and I tried to emulate that. Over recent years I have been heavily influenced by Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Right now I’m listening to a lot of SZA and Banks! I think I take bits and pieces of what I listen to and create my own version of the music I love.

TITL: Is there one particular artist you might say you’re in any way similar to?

CC: I had a gentlemen with Music Is My Radar review my new project and he said the most relatable artist he could think of would be Rihanna. But I think this project is definitely more R&B/pop than some of my previous material that has been much more strait forward pop. I really can’t pin-point one specific artist that I’m like.

TITL: If you had to give one reason as to why you stand out among your artistic counterparts, what would you say?

CC: What I love about the music I create is that it is catchy and it is pop music, but I give the lyrics life and authenticity. My lyrics are emotionally driven because I am a very emotional person. I like to infuse my love of R&B with my love of pop music.

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? 

CC: Growing up my parents had me listening to a lot of classic rock. I loved Boston, Led Zeppelin, Queen, The Eagles… I believe hands down that “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the best song ever written. The range of emotions in intonation, vocally and instrumentally is one of a kind.  There is a lot of current music that I often think to myself “I wish I had written that song”.  Rihanna’s 2016 album, ‘Anti’ is a masterpiece.  I also really love Kehlani’s new album ‘While We Wait’ as well as ‘CTRL’ by SZA. I like to think that my musical taste is well rounded…I just love music. I’m influenced by oldies and also current music. 

I’m also very much influenced by my own life experiences. I can easily look back on situations from my past and draw from those experiences. Even if it’s been a while since the relationship or event took place, my empathy and ability to feed on those emotions helps me write.

TITL: What made you choose “Is It Me?” to be your lead single? Is there a particular story behind the song?

CC: “Is It Me?” was actually a very easy song for me to write. It’s about that excited feeling you get when you believe in what you’re doing and you know that good things are in the future. It’s just a feel good song with feel good vibes. I was able to share that excitement with my producer and team and we just made a happy song. 

I think I chose “Is It Me?” because it resonated well with a lot of friends I shared it with. They liked the energy of the song and it’s also a bit more pop than some of the other songs on this project.

TITL: This is also your first release since moving from Kansas City to LA. Why did you decide that now was the right time to do so and how have you found the transition?

CC: I was actually hoping to put the project out before I left Kansas City, but things were not coming together quickly enough, and I wanted to wait until after the holidays. I just figured, this is a new beginning for me, so why not release a new project that somewhat re-brands what I’ve done so far.

I found myself very stagnant in the Kansas City music scene. I was born in LA and brought to the Midwest when I was very young, and I had always dreamed of moving back out here. I got to the point where it was like, ‘just take that risk! Just follow that dream, what do you have to lose?’ The transition has been an adventure! I still haven’t fully immersed myself into the LA music scene, but it’s coming along. I’m still the new kid trying to get the hang of things around here.

TITL: “Is It Me?” features on your new EP 3AM which came out earlier this month. For those who haven’t heard it yet, how would you sum it up?

CC: 3:AM has many different layers to it. I think it’s an extension of myself, as a young woman, coming into her own. There is a common element in a lot of my music that has this sense of reaching towards aspirations, and big dreams that you can’t seem to let go of. I think that some elements of 3:AM also have that. There’s the confidence of ‘Is It Me?’, the sexiness of “Mine” and “Falter”, the heartbreak of “3:AM”, and then there is “Pieces” that show’s my vulnerability. In that song I’m really just saying, sometimes I’m not okay and really I’m just barely keeping this all together, but I HAVE to keep going. I think that a lot of people can relate to this project and that’s what I strive for. 

TITL: Do you have a favourite track on the collection and if so, which is it and why?

CC: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because each one is special to me in its own way. Each song captures a different moment and experience. I think, for me, “3:AM” is one that really resonates well. I think that song is my best work lyrically, and that a lot of people can relate to it. We’ve all been in relationships that we know in the back of our minds will not last, but we continue on because we’re in love.

TITL: Will you be/are you touring/performing in support of the EP and if so, where can people come and see you?

CC: I haven’t started planning a tour yet. I have been focusing on promotion of the project and performing around my new city, LA. You can keep updated with performances and music by following me on social media and my website; @criddleclayton and www.crystalclayton.com.

TITL: Given that your hit song “Blinding Lights” has so far been streamed more than 60,000 times and your audience online is growing considerably, how do you feel about social media? Do you think society and the music industry is perhaps too reliant on the likes of Twitter and Facebook, or do you believe such platforms are now vital tools, given the technology-obsessed world we live in?

I’m really proud of how well “Blinding Lights” has done. I think that social media and streaming helped ‘Blinding Lights’ get the attention that it has. I do believe as a society we spend too much time on our phones and on social media. The internet completely lost it when Instagram went down for a day a couple weeks ago. But, it is the way of the future and it’s not going anywhere. I think as a business person – and music is a business – it’s smart to find ways to use these tools to your advantage and engage with people through social media. It’s such a huge market and you can reach people you probably never could have before. It’s vital to a music career in 2019.

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

CC: The rest of this year I’m hoping to release some music videos, perform at some awesome shows here in LA, release some more new music later this year, and hopefully do a small tour run! 

TITL: Finally then, as you continue to make your mark on the industry, looking many years down the line, what’s the one thing you’d like people to remember or recall when they think about you and your music? What message or legacy do you want to leave for the current and future generations?

CC: I just hope that people will remember authenticity from me. My music is vulnerable and real. I write music for myself, and what I like; and I hope that people can relate and resonate with it. 

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TAYLOR SWIFT, LANA DEL REY & LEWIS CAPALDI CONFIRMED FOR RADIO 1’S LIVE LOUNGE MONTH 0 20

Radio 1’s Live Lounge month will return for September 2019, with Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and Sam Fender being the first acts to be named on the bill.

Throughout September on Clara Amfo’s show (Monday – Thursday, 10am-1pm), a different artist will take to the Live Lounge each day to perform a mix of their own songs and surprise covers.

Among them will be 10-time Grammy Award-winner and global pop superstar Taylor Swift, as she returns to grace the Live Lounge for the first time in five years. Since her last Live Lounge session in 2014, Swift has seen her sixth studio album Reputation reach No 1 in 13 countries, including the US and the UK. With her seventh album Lover set to drop 23 August, listeners can expect a stellar performance that will include new songs from the singer-songwriter along with some of her biggest and best tracks.

Also returning to the Live Lounge in September will be American singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey, who will be bringing her soulful vocals live to Radio 1’s airwaves ahead of embarking on her next world tour; and North Shields’ Sam Fender, who is set to release his debut studio album this year after being named on Radio 1’s Brit List in 2018. Fender, who won the Critic’s Choice Award at the Brits earlier this year, is sure to bring plenty of Hypersonic energy to Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month.

The Lewis Capaldi Symphony will bring Live Lounge Month 2019 to a close, with Capaldi’s spectacular live performance with the Manchester Camerata Orchestra at Croxteth Park in Liverpool being broadcast for the first time.  

Kicking off on Monday 2 September and running throughout the month every Monday to Thursday until 26 September, audiences can expect to hear from some of most exciting names in music. The full line up will be announced in the coming weeks.

Radio 1’s Live Lounge attracts some of the biggest names across the globe and in the UK with alumni including Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Jay Z. Past Live Lounge tracks from Miley Cyrus, 30 Seconds To Mars and Dua Lipa have attracted over 50 million views each on Radio 1’s YouTube channel.

Sam Fender says: “Can’t wait to be part of Live Lounge Month at Radio 1. Me and the boys had such a blast when we did our last one.”

Chris Price, Head of Music, Radio 1 & 1Xtra, says: “The Radio 1 Live Lounge continues to set the global standard for live studio performance. Intimate and exposing, it’s still the best way to get close to your favourite artists, as well as discover new ones. As every year, Live Lounge Month runs the gamut from internationally renowned superstars like Taylor Swift to emerging UK talent like Brit List alumnus Sam Fender. September is my favourite month of the year!”

Clara Amfo says: “From NYC, London to Liverpool, Live Lounge Month is back for another year and I couldn’t be happier about what the listeners have to look forward to in September!”

All performances from Live Lounge Month can be heard live on Radio 1 and BBC Sounds, and will be available to watch on demand on Radio 1’s BBC iPlayer and YouTube channels.

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS 2019: NOMINATIONS REVEALED 0 21

The nominees for the 2019 MTV VMAs have been announced. Ariana Grande (10), Taylor Swift (10), Billie Eilish (9), and Lil Nas X (8) have the most nominations. Kanye West, Travis Scott, Cardi B, Solange, ROSALÍA, Drake, FKA twigs, Lizzo, BTS, J Balvin, Anderson .Paak, Lady Gaga, and more are also nominated. Find the full list of nominees below. This year’s VMAs will take place on August 26 and will air live from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Video of the Year

21 Savage: “a lot” [ft. J. Cole]
Billie Eilish: “bad guy”
Ariana Grande: thank u, next”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Artist of the Year

Cardi B
Billie Eilish
Ariana Grande
Halsey
Jonas Brothers
Shawn Mendes

Song of the Year

Drake: “In My Feelings”
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: “Shallow”
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Best New Artist presented by Taco Bell

Ava Max
Billie Eilish
H.E.R.
Lil Nas X
Lizzo
ROSALÍA

Best Collaboration

Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Lady Gaga / Bradley Cooper: “Shallow”
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita”
Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. ft. Brendon Urie]
Ed Sheeran / Justin Bieber: “I Don’t Care”
BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey]

Push Artist of the Year

Bazzi
CNCO
Billie Eilish
H.E.R.
Lauv
Lizzo

Best Pop

5 Seconds of Summer: “Easier”
Cardi B / Bruno Mars: “Please Me”
Billie Eilish: “bad guy”
Khalid: “Talk”
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next”
Jonas Brothers: “Sucker”
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Hip-Hop

2 Chainz: “Rule the World”[ft. Ariana Grande]
21 Savage: “a lot” [ft. J. Cole]
Cardi B: “Money”
DJ Khaled: “Higher” [ft. Nipsey Hussle and John Legend]
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus]
Travis Scott: “SICKO MODE” [ft. Drake]

Best R&B

Anderson .Paak: “Make It Better” [ft. Smokey Robinson]
Childish Gambino: “Feels Like Summer”
H.E.R.: “Could’ve Been” [ft. Bryson Tiller]
Alicia Keys: “Raise a Man”
Ella Mai: “Trip”
Normani: “Waves” [ft. 6LACK]

Best K-Pop

BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey]
BLACKPINK: “Kill This Love”
Monsta X: “Who Do You Love” [ft. French Montana]
TOMORROW X TOGETHER: “Cat & Dog”
NCT 127: “Regular”
EXO: “Tempo”

Best Latin

Anuel AA / Karol G: “Secreto”
Bad Bunny: “MIA” [ft. Drake]
benny blanco / Tainy / Selena Gomez / J Balvin: “I Can’t Get Enough”
Daddy Yankee: “Con Calma” [ft. Snow]
Maluma: “Mala Mía”
ROSALÍA / J Balvin: “Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho]

Best Dance

The Chainsmokers: “Call You Mine” [ft. Bebe Rexha]
Clean Bandit: “Solo” [ft. Demi Lovato]
DJ Snake: “Taki Taki” [ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna and Cardi B]
David Guetta / Bebe Rexha / J Balvin: “Say My Name”
Marshmello / Bastille: “Happier”
Silk City / Dua Lipa: “Electricity”

Best Rock

The 1975: “Love It If We Made It”
Fall Out Boy: “Bishops Knife Trick”
Imagine Dragons: “Natural”
Lenny Kravitz: “Low”
Panic! At the Disco: “High Hopes”
twenty one pilots: “My Blood”

Video for Good

Halsey: “Nightmare”
The Killers: “Land of the Free”
Jamie N Commons / Skylar Grey: “Runaway Train” [ft. Gallant]
John Legend: “Preach”
Lil Dicky: “Earth”
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down”

Best Direction

Billie Eilish: “bad Guy” (dir. Dave Meyers)
FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (dir. Andrew Thomas Huang)
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next” (dir. Hannah Lux Davis)
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (dir. Calmatic)
LSD: “No New Friends” (dir. Dano Cerny)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (dir. Drew Kirsch and Taylor Swift)

Best Visual Effects

Billie Eilish: “when the party’s over” (visual effects: Ryan Ross, Andres Jaramillo)
FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (visual effects: Matt Chandler, Fabio Zaveti for Analog)
Ariana Grande: “God is a woman” (visual effects: Fabrice Lagayette, Kristina Prilukova & Rebecca Rice for Mathematic)
DJ Khaled: “Just Us” [ft. SZA] (visual effects: Sergii Mashevskyi)
LSD: “No New Friends” (visual effects: Ethan Chancer)
Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. Brendon Urie] (visual effects: Loris Paillier & Lucas Salton for BUF VFX)

Best Editing

Anderson .Paak: “Tints” [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (editing: Elias Talbot)
Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus – “Old Town Road (Remix)” (editing: Calmatic)
Billie Eilish: “bad guy” (editing: Billie Eilish)
Ariana Grande: “7 rings” (editing: Hannah Lux Davis & Taylor Walsh)
Solange: “Almeda” (editing: Solange Knowles, Vinnie Hobbs, Jonathon Proctor)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (editing: Jarrett Fijal)

Best Art Direction

BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey] (art direction: JinSil Park, BoNa Kim (MU:E))
Ariana Grande: “7 rings” (art direction: John Richoux)
Lil Nas X: “Old Town Road (Remix)” [ft. Billy Ray Cyrus] (art direction: Itaru Dela Vegas)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (art direction: Tatiana Van Sauter)
Taylor Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” (art direction: Brittany Porter)
Kanye West / Lil Pump: “I Love It” [ft. Adele Givens] (art direction: Tino Schaedler)

Best Choreography

FKA twigs: “Cellophane” (choreography: Kelly Yvonne)
ROSALÍA / J Balvin: “Con Altura” [ft. El Guincho] (choreography: Charm La’Donna)
LSD: “No New Friends” (choreography: Ryan Heffington)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (choreography: Calvit Hodge, Sara Biv)
Solange: “Almeda” (choreography: Maya Taylor, Solange Knowles)
BTS: “Boy With Luv” [ft. Halsey] (choreography: Rie Hata)

Best Cinematography

Anderson .Paak: “Tints” [ft. Kendrick Lamar] (cinematography: Elias Talbot)
Billie Eilish: “hostage” (cinematography: Pau Castejon)
Ariana Grande: “thank u, next” (cinematography: Christopher Probst)
Shawn Mendes / Camila Cabello: “Señorita” (cinematography: Scott Cunningham)
Solange: “Almeda” (cinematography: Chayse Irvin, Ryan Marie Helfant, Justin Hamilton)
Taylor Swift: “ME!” [ft. Brendon Urie] (cinematography: Starr Whitesides)