RACHAEL CAIN CHATS “I AM HOUSE”, CAREER HIGHLIGHTS & FUTURE PLANS 0 163

In part somewhat responsible for bringing house music to both sides of the Atlantic in the 80’s and 90’s, Rachael Cain, AKA, Screamin’ Rachael has spent more than two decades of her life as an integral part of the music industry. Having just released her new single, “I Am House”, she spoke to ThisIsTheLatest to share her career highlights, her advice for music industry newcomers and her thoughts on where she sees the music business going in the future.

TITL: For those unfamiliar with the name, or your moniker, who is Rachael Cain, aka Screamin’ Rachael? 

Rachael Cain: I’m called Screamin’ Rachael because though I’m petite I make a big impact. When I enter a room I don’t even have to say a word but I’m SCREAMIN’!

TITL: Signed to the independent label Trax Records, you played quite a big part in bringing what is now known as House music to the masses in both the US and UK in the 80’s and 90’s. How big of a deal was and is that to you, both personally and professionally? 

RC: I started out signed as an artist to Trax Records, but these days I am President. I was mentored by Sylvia Robinson, the woman behind the legendary Sugar Hill label. When you think about entertainers who run labels these days, they are all men like Master P, Kanye and Jay Z. But back in the day, there was Sylvia…and today, there is me! What I did along with a small group of friends in the 80’s and 90’s only set the stage for the amazing things happening today. I am truly living out my vision for my career and the label. I’m proud to say that though I faced a lot of adversity, we are right where we belong today.

TITL: Looking at the music scene now, did you ever think House would remain as popular, albeit maybe in smaller circles, as it is today?

RC: These days, House music is bigger than it has ever been! Just look around, it’s everywhere. It seems all the huge EDM DJ’s are now calling themselves HOUSE! We were just sampled by Kanye West. In fact, he and Drake had a major beef over our beat that made it into Rolling Stone Magazine! I always knew that House Music was very special, and I always believed that someday the world would appreciate its importance.

TITL: You released your new single “I Am House” yesterday. What’s the story behind it and why did you decide that now was the right time to release such a track?

RC: The project was done with Joe Smooth, and the idea between us simply flowed. Joe came up with the title and a banging track. We decided to tell our story about the house lifestyle that we live. We‘re truly blessed. Beyond that, our mission is to bring people together and that’s what the spirit of House Music is all about. At the same time it’s tongue-in-cheek and fun! That’s why I live for and love House Music!

TITL: Are there plans for a new EP or album in the works? 

RC: Yes. Three years ago, I released a complete body of my work, “The Queen Of House” album. I’ve been putting together some great new work for the last year and a half, which includes collaborations with artists from the home of House in Chicago and some of my favorite artists from around the world. I am aiming for a spring release.

TITL: Any performances lined up you can tell me about? 

RC: There will be pop up shows everywhere for “I am House,” including a Holiday fundraiser at Vaunt in Chicago’s Water Tower Place. We will keep you posted via our website. It’s always been a dream of mine to get into the movie business. So at the moment we are rapping up our fourth film in NYC with director Eric Rivas. I’m acting as well as putting together the soundtrack. You can catch our first three movies, The Vamp Bikers Trilogy, on most digital platforms right now, distributed through Sony Orchard, the largest distributor of independent films. After we wrap up the fourth film, Japanese Borsch, I’ll finish up my album. Then you can catch me performing at Midem, the international music festival this spring in Cannes, France to launch it!

TITL: Having been a part of the industry now for more than two decades, do you think it’s improved, gotten worse or are things the same? 

RC: Change is always good. The minute we stop changing we are dead! The most important ability a human has is the ability to change and grow.

TITL: Could you pick the top three highlights of your career so far? 

RC: There are way too many wonderful highlights, so I’m going to pick the top 3 that come to mind.

1. Performing at The Fauna Primavera Festival in Chile with Marshall Jefferson. And Robert Owens on the Trax Stage.

2. Recording “Our House is Funkdified” in the studio with the George Clinton, producing and directing the vocals. 3.

3. Singing “Give Peace a Chance” in Central Park with Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Bob Geldolf, Jackson Brown, Afrika Bambaataa and a host of others.

It all seems like one great big dream!

TITL: Would you agree that social media is having a vast impact on artists and their careers today and do you think that needing to be so socially connected is a good or a bad thing? How do you personally feel about the likes of Twitter and Facebook? 

RC: Social media is both good and bad, yin and yang. I’m not great at it, I don’t have enough time for it, and frankly I’d personally rather be creating! But it really works well to break in for some people. I’m just glad I had history and credibility before it took over. Today people are judged more by their social media numbers than their talent. However, I really respect the rare breed that can be really talented and successful at social media at the same time.

TITL: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their way in the music world? What three traits would you say they need to have in order to just get their foot in the door of this cut-throat industry?

RC: Here are the 3 traits I consider most important to get into this industry:

1. Be strong and true to your soul.

2. Decide that nothing can stop you.

3. Believe with all your heart.

If you have any doubts, don’t pick this life.

Never do it for the money because there are lots of easier ways to make that.

If fame is the only thing that drives you, no matter where it gets you, you will be very disappointed in the end.

TITL: Given how much people’s tastes in music change, what kinds of music do you foresee people listening to – and how – and seeing live five, ten years from now, and do you think artists can and will keep up with the constant evolution that occurs in the business? 

RC: Great music will always stand out. No matter what, a great piece of music will never lose its magic. How we will be listening and watching music is something no one can truly foresee, however I hope there’s a chance that we might go back to something more organic and live. However 3D holographic experiences are already part of the gaming aspect so who knows? I just hope we just don’t have things implanted in our bodies…

TITL: Finally then, having already seen numerous changes in the past two decades, where do you see the music industry going in the future and many years down the line, what would you want people to say about you when asked about your music and its place in history? 

RC: The music industry is growing and changing every day, and I’m glad that I’ve never been afraid to grow with it and accept its changes. One day I hope people will be inspired by my life and say Screamin’ Rachael was really an amazing woman! I love listening to her sound and I really respect the fact that she helped to shape a genre that changed the world of music…her story gave me courage to believe in my dreams and myself.

Check out “I Am House” below and to keep up to date with Rachael Cain, visit her website or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Billy Hess.

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LX MASON TALKS “DRINK ME GOODBYE” AND FUTURE ASPIRATIONS 0 50

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 80

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.