GHOSTE CHATS NEW SINGLE “HAUNTED” & HALLOWEEN PLANS 0 2182

Having had a long-time fascination with the “other” world, it’s perhaps not that surprising to find that the acoustic performer once known as Jenny Bruce has now adopted a new moniker – Ghoste – and has just shared her new single, aptly titled “Haunted”, in time for Halloween. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with her to talk all things spooky, song-writing inspiration and what 2019 has in store.

TITL: You’re perhaps best known under the name Jenny Bruce as an acoustic singer-songwriter, so what exactly brought about the transition to Ghoste and your new, electro-pop sound?

Ghoste: Precisely! I was ready to break the mold. Create something new and unexpected. The term singer-songwriter felt constricting, limiting, even if I am still writing songs and singing. The ghost of Lilith Fair! I realize that it’s just my own perception, but when you’ve been doing something for a while, it’s hard to break away from the thing you feel you’re expected to do!

The artist name “Ghoste,” actually came to me in a dream, but I believe it was my subconscious mind showing me a way out of feeling stuck. Creating as “Ghoste” has been liberating. I can be more groove oriented, soulful, and explore a more moody side. Set aside my acoustic guitar and try on some new sounds. Somehow, taking my name out of the equation sets me free.

Also, there is a lot going on in my personal life that makes me feel like I need a secret room where I can hang out. A place to be weightless, ageless, unburdened and creative. That room is Ghoste.

TITL: Which artists have you been most inspired by throughout your life and how do those inspirations filter through to the music you made and now make?

G: I think people hear the Annie Lennox influence. I have always loved her as an artists, and just as a human. She was so daring vocally and creatively. I know she’s a relatively shy person, but she lays it all out on stage. I’ve always been outgoing, but shy artistically. I’m working on growing up to be Annie. Prince was a huge influence throughout my life. I memorized every riff and growl. Loved how free and funky he was. Never mastered the dance moves…

As a female singer songwriter, for some reason, I felt like I had to fit into a girl with a guitar folk thing. I have no idea why I did that to myself. I think I did it pretty well. But inside of me is a whole gospel choir wanting to escape.

Lyrically, Sting was always an inspiration as well. “King of Pain” might be my favorite song ever. Whenever I go for an easy lyric, I think of Sting. He would say it better. Then there were all the ladies, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Carly Simon. I loved them all and was, no doubt, influenced by each. Shawn Colvin inspired me to teach myself to play guitar in my 20s. Before that, I was just a piano girl.

TITL: Who or what is your biggest inspiration when it comes to music and song-writing?

G: Firstly, my father. He was so passionate about music. He would bring home new albums all the time and blast them at full volume. Everything from Puccini to the Bee Gees. When the music was funky, he would get up and dance with me. When it was moving, he would weep with emotion. Then he would stroll over to the piano and figure out how to play whatever we just listened to. Music was the family religion.

As far as other artists are concerned, I think those first three I mentioned are my top music heroes. I started writing songs when I was around five years old before I even knew what a songwriter was and I grew up listening to so much amazing music. My dad was a music fiend. Elton John, Marvin Gaye, Carly Simon, The Beatles, The Police, Fleetwood Mac and tons of classical music and jazz. I devoured music my whole childhood like a kid eats candy on Halloween. I couldn’t get enough – except for country. I just never figured that genre out. It doesn’t typically speak to me and I’m not sure why, even though I grew up listening to a lot of traditional Scottish and Irish music. Contemporary Country. Meh.

TITL: Your new single “Haunted” has been released just in time for Halloween. Is there a story behind the song and where did the idea for it come from? Do you have any ‘spooky’ plans for October 31st?

G: In that dream I mentioned earlier, where I got the name Ghoste… there’s more. It was kind of spooky in that it was a very lucid dream. I was on stage, surrounded by moody blue lighting and the letters GHOSTE appeared behind me as an MC introduced me. I woke up and had the chorus of “Haunted.” I didn’t originally intend for it to be a Halloween release, but it worked out that way! I’m reluctant to give the song a literal context as it can mean different things to different people which I like. But let’s just say, I believe.

For Halloween, I have two boys and will be taking them trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. New York goes crazy on Halloween! However, on November 10th, I am going on a Paranormal “Ghost Hunt” at the Morris Jumel Mansion. It’s the oldest house in New York City – mid 18th century – and is supposedly haunted. I am very excited! Of course, George Washington slept there! That’s the American gold standard for spooky old houses. I confess, I’m kind of obsessed with ghosts. Most of the music video for “Haunted” was shot in castle ruins strewn about the French countryside…all supposedly haunted sites.

TITL: The video is due out soon. How did you find the shoot, and how much input do you have when it comes to the creative aspects?

G: It’s all me. I do everything. The glory and downfall of being an independent artist. Full creative license. No help. As an independent artist, you kind of have to be able to do it all. My husband, who is French, helped me find the castle locations and often held the camera. I do all the editing. I’m a one-woman production company, graphic designer, and webmaster. All the funds I raise go towards making music and getting it out there.

TITL: You’ve teamed up with producer Matt Anthony to create the track, and your upcoming album. What has he brought to the creative process?

G: Matt is a gifted producer and composer with decades of experience that began straight out of high-school when he was working alongside industry giants in NYC’s top recording studios. He works with such a wide variety of artists and always manages to pick up on the sound they’re going for. He makes us all sound good. With Ghoste I asked him to feel free to try anything! I tried to not be the controlling singer-songwriter, not easy, and invited him to set the tone. He creates such beautiful musical landscapes. We’ve recorded two songs so far and are beginning a new song next month.

Matt also produced my Jenny Bruce EP, “Firefly in a Jar” where I came in with all kinds of ideas about how I wanted the songs to sound. While Matt was still an integral part of the creative process, I feel like with Ghoste the process has been more like riding a tandem bike. We’re both pedaling, but he’s got the handlebars. Except when “Jenny Bruce” comes out and grabs!

TITL: You’ve often said that you feel strongly connected to the ‘other world’ so what is it about the spirit world that makes you so interested in it? Have you ever had any ghostly encounters and, with that in mind, have you been to Zak Bagans’ Haunted Museum yet?

G: I’ve been a long-time fan of Ghost Adventures, but I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Zak’s museum. I think I’ve watched every episode and dream of tagging along on one of their adventures! Alas, I don’t get out to Vegas much…

I watch pretty much every ghost show out there and have always been fascinated with the paranormal. When I was eleven I wrote a short horror story called “The Crack Behind The Closet Doors.” It was pretty spooky! I still have it, written out on lined paper with all kinds of creative spelling and illustrations.

While I have always been intrigued by ghosts, I didn’t truly believe until I actually saw one. Years ago I was touring in Pennsylvania. We were staying at the Inn at Jim Thorpe and arrived late at night. This was pre-internet and I knew nothing about the Inn. That night I saw a full-bodied apparition of a woman in a corseted dress with her hair up in a bun. She was translucent and standing at the foot of my bed. Green. Glowing. She turned and looked me straight in the eyes before gliding off toward the bathroom and vaporizing. That was it. I became a believer. Especially when I found out the next morning that many people have reported ghostly experiences including my bandmates in their respective rooms.

I’d had other odd, spooky experiences prior to this, but I had dismissed them. I do have a very active imagination. Not enough, however, to conjure up the woman at the inn. That was incredible. Never seen anything like it since. Never thought I would. Took my breath away.

TITL: Your album is due out early next year. Without giving too much away, is there anything you can tell me about it?

G: We’ll continue with the electronic, moody vibe of “Haunted” but each song is pretty different. The second song we recorded has a very sexy groove to it.  I’m trying to be less cautious in my vocal, melodic choices and hopefully that will come across. With each song, I’m getting a little more daring. That’s pretty much all I can say!

TITL: Do you have any performances coming up and to date, which show would you say has been your best and why?

G: I’m looking at booking some fun shows in the New Year. I’ve had my eye on a few speak-easies and unconventional spaces. I’ll post shows on my website when I get it together. My life is crazy right now, so no time for gigs.

As for my best show…it’s hard to pick one. A favorite was my CD release gig for “Firefly” at Rockwood a few years ago. The room was packed full of family, friends and fans. There was such an incredible feeling of love in the room. It was almost other-worldly. I can’t explain it. That connection that you seek as a musician, as a human, I felt it….like I was connected to each and every person in that room. It was magic.

TITL: Which one venue would you most like to play and are there any bands or artists you’d like to share the bill with?

G: I would love to do a tour of haunted venues! I’ve been compiling a list over the years. It’d be difficult to pull off, but at some point I will do it! I’d love to share a bill with Tracy Thorn. I’ve always loved her music and her voice is so unique. She seems very cool. Sarah McLachlan seems like the nicest person on earth. She’s brilliant. It would be fun to perform with her since I’ve been compared to her my whole artistic career! I would say Annie Lennox, but I’d be petrified! I don’t think I could make a sound in her presence.

TITL: With the end of the year quickly approaching, what’s been your highlight of 2018 so far, and what has been your biggest career highlight to date?

G: That’s tough. It’s been a difficult year on many levels. I take care of my father who is in the end stages of Parkinson’s and it’s been an emotional long-enduring roller-coaster. I have amazing friends, and a wonderful family. The quality, fun times I’ve spent with them are the highlights of my life in general. I definitely had some amazing, memorable weekends with friends this year. I’ll take those stories to the grave! Of my career? I’ve had some incredible moments, but I don’t think I’ve hit my highlight yet. I believe it’s still to come.

TITL: Finally then, aside from your album release, what does 2019 have in store for you? What are your main objectives and, looking further ahead, what are your long-term goals, both personally and professionally?

G: This is out there, but I’m currently in graduate school getting a master’s degree in Education Technology as I’m passionate about education and improving our failing educational system here in the United States. The program I’m enrolled in at Teachers College, Columbia University has a big focus on educational reform, innovation and educational equity. I don’t know where that will lead me, but I follow my heart and my passion. Education, especially early childhood education, is critical to a child’s success in life. That will be tied into my future somehow. Other than that, I want to be a loving mom, a good human. And, of course I want to connect with people by making music until I, myself, give up the ghost.

For more information on Ghoste, visit ghostenyc.com.

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LX MASON TALKS “DRINK ME GOODBYE” AND FUTURE ASPIRATIONS 0 54

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 84

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.