SHEERA TALKS “WE’RE HERE”, SOCIAL MEDIA & ARTISTIC GOALS 0 86

As the issue of gun violence once again rears its ugly head in the United States, singer-songwriter Sheera’s new single “We’re Here” is an uplifting anthem that addresses the matter with powerful, thought-provoking lyrics. She’s also launched the We’re Here movement, a project that gives a voice to the millions of young American people looking and working to make a difference in their country. Sheera spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about the new track, preparing to focus on her education for a while and what she’d like her musical legacy to be.

TITL: When did you first realize you wanted to make music a career and did you ever have any other career plans before embarking on this journey?

Sheera: Ever since I stood in front of the TV singing the Winnie the Pooh theme song, I dreamt of being a singer. Music was always my passion. It provided a catharsis for my own emotions about growing up without a dad in the house. I started writing and performing my original songs when I was asked to write my middle school graduation song. Since then, I have performed in local clubs, my music has been played on top 40 radio stations. I have written about 40 songs to date. I have over 1.2 million downloads/plays of my music on Soundcloud and other platforms.

My greatest interests in song-writing and the broader aspirations within my musical career are to spread awareness and increase compassion about topics sometimes too hard to discuss. I was inspired by the lives of my friends to create songs which described their stories and struggles. My song “Where Are You Now” dealt with the feelings of alienation and isolation that many teenagers experience. This song was written for a freckled boy that I knew since pre-school, whose mother suddenly passed away in 5th grade due to an overdose. “Where Are You Now” ended up being produced by Grammy award winning producers Mike Mani and Jordan Omley who also produced another 4 of my original songs.

Through music I want to give hope. Two examples are “A Better Place” and “One Day At A Time”, produced by multi Grammy Award winner Damon Sharpe, opening a door to shed light on young people struggling with depression. I hope to use music to impact cultural and social change. I also hope my music helps others through their struggles and uplifts them.

TITL: Which artist would you say you’re most inspired by and how does that inspiration come through in your music?

S: I am inspired by Halsey, Charlotte Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Khalid and Blackbear. Halsey is not afraid to make social commentary, she is a rebel. Charlotte Lawrence and Blackbear for their unique sounds. They write about things we all experience, infidelity, anxiety, etc. Khalid because he is all around amazing and Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez are classics.

TITL: Your latest single “We’re Here” protests the ongoing gun violence in the US. How important is it for you to use your platform and status as an artist to address an issue that affects so many, and do you wish other artists would and should do the same?

S: I think we should all use whatever resources we have to make the world safer, where people are treated equally. I think it is time for our country to unite over issues that affect us all. I am very passionate about seeing a change to gun laws to protect innocent victims of gun violence, especially school children.

The recent mass shootings at schools such as Santa Fe High School and Parkland deeply troubled me and all of my friends. It is difficult to feel safe when there is violence all around you. The most recent shooting in Maryland marked the 154th mass shooting in 2018. The US has had nearly as many mass shootings as days in 2018. The number of U.S. students killed in school shootings so far this year is greater than the number of U.S. military personnel who have been killed in combat operations. Nearly 1,300 children in the United States die from gun-related injuries every year. There is something really wrong with a country that will not put laws in place to protect its children. Musicians have incredible power to uplift people. I think we all have a responsibility to give voice to important issues to make the world a better place.

TITL: In line with your new single, where exactly did the idea for the We’re Here movement come from, and do you think if you hadn’t started it, that someone, in time, might have done?

S: The idea for We’re Here came from watching the coverage of all of the recent shootings and wanting to give a voice to stand up and unite to tell the current administration that We’re Here and we want a change made to gun laws to protect innocent people. The first lyrics “We don’t want to be the hunted we’re so tired of being scared” because we are now all so aware of the possibilities of shootings in our every-day worlds. Even this weekend there were several shootings. This is a serious issue that affects us all.

The current administration is doing many things that negatively impact the world my generation will inherit. Alienating our allies, removing critical environmental protections, escalating discord. We’re Here is a voice for our generation to speak out to create a more positive future.

TITL: The movement is helping to give young people a voice when it comes to many issues impacting their lives today. To what extent are you finding the movement empowering people to speak up and out about the things that matter to them? Which key issues, aside from gun violence, are you finding they’re most concerned/opinionated about?

S: I think that other key issues that our generation are passionate about are drug-overdose and drug recovery, depression and suicide prevention, cyber-bullying and immigration. Our generation has unique issues due to social media and the pressures that brings, along with the division in our country today.

TITL: Do you think the movement, and the growing number of young people voicing their opinions, is having an impact? Do you think the likes of government, notably Donald Trump, are, in any way starting to pay attention to the voices of the people, or is there still a considerable way to go before they take much needed action?

S: I hope that Trump is beginning to understand that truth, integrity and alignment with the America’s core values of liberty, equality, diversity and unity are what matters to our generation.

TITL: Music is, and has been, a powerful tool, for many – not just artists – over the decade. Coupled with the power of social media, do you feel like there’s no barrier the two can’t break in the sense that social media and the power of words can, metaphorically at least, move mountains?

S: Musicians are now in an amazing position to influence culture through the distribution of their messages online and through their social media presence. Unlike in the past, important messages can be spread without the participation of large corporations or labels. Music has always inspired change and hope. I think that artists have a great social responsibility to set an example that is not self-destructive but instead lifts people up.

TITL: Away from the movement, what are your own long-term professional and artistic goals? Which venues would you most like to play and which artists would you most love to share a stage with?

S: I hope to keep writing music that matters. The music video for “We’re Here” is going to be a large group of millennials and teens singing together. I’d love to sing this song and share the stage with this diverse group – well-known and unknown – the song was meant to speak for our generation to say “We’re Here” to create a better tomorrow.

TITL: Do you have any upcoming performances you can tell me about?

S: I get to start college this week and for the next few months I will be focusing on my education.

TITL: Finally then, the music world has lost some incredible artists in recent years – most recently Aretha Franklin – whose legacies and songs will live forever in the hearts and minds of those they touched. With that in mind, what would you like your musical legacy to be? If you wanted people to remember you for one particular thing, what would you want it to be and why?

S: I would want to be remembered as someone who wrote honest music. Someone who used my own painful experiences and compassion for others suffering to help uplift and comfort people dealing with difficult situations. I hope my music also inspires people to stand up for what they believe in and to be strong and have hope for a better future.

Give “We’re Here” a listen below and to find out more about Sheera and the We’re Here movement, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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BLISSBLISS UNVEIL THE VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE “I’M COMING THROUGH” 0 97

Following on from the huge success of previous single “No Apology”, which reached number 15 on the Billboard Dance Chart at the end of last year and was remixed by no fewer than 8 DJ’s, BlissBliss are back and once again ready and raring to share their hypnotic sound and story-telling capabilities with the world via new track “I’m Coming Through”, the video for which ThisIsTheLatest are delighted to premiere.

The duo, made up of Renee Bliss and Lang Bliss, have considerably varied tastes in music between them, but have successfully merged the many genres they like, including rock, pop, jazz and R&B, to create a sound that really is unique to who they are, both as individuals and as artists. Nowhere is this perhaps more apparent than on their new single; a second taster as to what fans can expect from their upcoming EP “3” which is out in November.

Asked about the video for “I’m Coming Through”, the duo said:

“We’re thrilled to be releasing our concept video for I’m Coming Through with This Is The Latest! It’s a throwback to old spy movie motifs in the look and feel and the director captured so well, what we had written in the lyric. We recorded the music in one take with the guys in the recording session and they captured perfectly as well, what we had envisioned for it. We love the way it turned out in the recording as well as the video!” 

Check out the video for “I’m Coming Through” below and for more information on BlissBliss, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. Header photo credit: Jose Guzman Colon.

REVIEW: EMMA BLACKERY – VILLAINS 0 37

Having already channelled the events – and the highs and lows – of her life into her previous releases, 2012’s Human Behaviour, Distance, released in 2013, 2014’s Perfect, 2016’s Sucks To Be You and last years’ Magnetised, YouTube sensation and singer Emma Blackery has continued along a similar path with her first full length album titled Villains.

Opening with the atmospheric rhythm that accompanies “Villains Pt. 1”, the collection gets off to a positive start, assisted by the follow-up, album lead single “Dirt.” However it’s on “Agenda” that the collection really kicks into gear. A bold, sharp and ultimately uplifting pop anthem, the song brims with positivity, all of which stems from celebratory, self-confident lyrics such as “I’m confident, I know it scares ya, scares ya…Bye-bye, good riddance, the rules have been re-written” that are sure to inspire those who hear them, and encourage all those who do to be themselves and ignore or forget anyone who doesn’t like or accept them for who they are.

Addressing the issue of having someone in your life you’d love to call out and settle a score with, “Fake Friends” is one of those songs that will likely stick with any listener who identifies with the issue about which Emma is singing. It’s hugely positive and encouraging to find that the song ultimately ends with Emma deciding it’s best to move on, and this in itself could well inspire others in similar situations to let go of the stress of the matter and live their lives as fully and as happily as possible. “Icarus” is a surprisingly similar song, and once again sees Emma taking the high road and ultimately being the better person in the situation she’s addressing. If there are any two songs that sum up who and how Emma is today as an individual, I for one would go with these two.

Having always channelled her thoughts and feelings into her music, Emma appears somewhat reflective on “Third Eye,” written about how over the years, she’s come to know the signs of those who are ready to go or have gone up against her. Life, as we all know, is full of lessons and this song is Emma’s testament to how she’s learned them and in some cases, has learned them the hard way and now she’s more wary and aware of who and what to look for when it comes to those she surrounds herself with.

There’s an almost simmering and undeniable sadness to “What I Felt With You”, although the tempo and mood soon lifts again thanks to “Burn The Witch.” Closer “Villains Pt. 2″ features what can only be described as an explosive instrumental which is combined with lyrics including: “Am I kidding myself, blaming somebody else, I’m my own biggest villain,” that suggest Emma is continuing to look inside herself to address the thoughts and answer the questions that might be plaguing her.

Ultimately, Villains as a whole works as a strong showcase of just how far Emma Blackery has come since 2012, and having earned herself an impressive army of fans during those years, this collection could, and should, easily earn her a few more.