TALKING NEW MUSIC, SOCIAL MEDIA & ULTIMATE AMBITIONS WITH MAYA LAVELLE 0 291

With her album Hobo due out soon, 2019 is shaping up to be a big and important year in the career of Maya Lavelle. After first coming to notable attention after her debut single featured in a hugely popular TV series (read on to find out which), Lavelle’s career has gone from strength to strength. Prior to Hobo‘s release, and having just dropped the video for latest single “House On A Rocky Road”, Lavelle spoke to ThisIsTheLatest about her admiration of Tim Burton, her tour plans and her ultimate goal.

TITL: Who is Maya Lavelle in a few words?

Maya Lavelle: Maya Lavelle is a singer-songwriter and producer that conjures phantasmagorical sounds that turn our world into an enchanted forest with quirky eccentric characters.

TITL: What would you say sets you apart from other artists?

ML: My phantasmagorical style.

TITL: Which artists might you say you’re most inspired or influenced by and how to those influences filter into the music you make?

ML: Tim Burton, aesthetically, had a big influence on my music. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman struck the idea in my head that later developed into “House on a Rocky Road”. I love the paintings of the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and the sculptures and buildings of Antoni Gaudi. Park Guell in Barcelona is probably one of my favourite places to go to. How I translate these impressions into music is not easy to explain. For everything I see, I kind of immediately have a sound in my head.

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?

ML: That’s a tough one. I can’t choose one song but I love “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush and “Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles.

TITL: Your debut single “This Ain’t The End” was featured in the film The Rift but is perhaps more known for being used in an episode of hit show The Walking Dead. What impact did having the song featured have on your career/fanbase and how did the inclusion come about?

ML: Fans of the Walking Dead went crazy over it, feeling that the lyrics fit a pivotal and highly anticipated moment in the series perfectly. I denied the rumour but that didn’t stop the fan frenzy.

TITL: You held an intimate listening party for your new single “House On A Rocky Road” in London on February 3rd. How was that?

ML: That will actually happen on the 6th March – we decided to move the date.

TITL: Ah, okay. You’ve just released the video for the track, with the visuals inspired by Tim Burton and The Brothers Grimm. Can you talk me through the creative process for both the song and the video? Where did the ideas for them come from?

ML: The song was partially inspired by remarkable characters from my life which are my grandfather who was a man of style and honor, and my grandmother who is a character I really relate to. And the concept for the video was inspired by the lyrics of the song. I worked on this with director Tamara Kotevska who had so many great and creative ideas. I love Tim Burton and his dark and whimsical aesthetic. I think it fits perfectly with my music.

TITL: Your first full length album is due out soon. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?

ML: Hobo is a conceptual album. The overall concept is an escape from boredom, inspired from my experiences while living in Amsterdam, Los Angeles and London. The characters I’m singing about in this album are lonely, searching for love and care, just like Hobo. They’re all coming from different dimensions to meet in the House on the Rocky Road which is in Darkwille County. Hobo is the only character who can travel through all the dimensions and he changes the light bulbs on the streets of the Universe.

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

ML: My favourite is “Zombie Town”. This song represents a post-apocalyptic future we are heading towards by neglecting the outcome of global warming and I wrote this out of great concern from current events that are taking place.

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

ML: Once my album is out in June I would like to tour in the US and Mexico.

TITL: 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?

ML: Big changes can bring both good and bad sides. What I like about social media is that is has opened up a two way conversation between artist and audience. The audience has a bigger part to play than ever before. Today the real value is actually in this interaction. This way I can communicate and approach each of my listeners as individuals, as a person and not only as a consumer of pop music.

TITL: Do you have any other plans or projects lined up for the coming months?

ML: We are currently editing the music video for my next single “Dancing with a Bottle”, which we shot in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Palm Springs.

TITL: Finally then, what’s the ultimate goal for you as an artist? What one ambition do you most want to achieve and, along a similar path, looking much further down the line, what one thing would you most like people to say about you/remember you for in terms of your career and artistic legacy?

ML: The goal is to take people on a peculiar journey with my music where they can indulge in, and feel free from anything that’s holding them back. I hope I can bring and leave something genuinely new to music and provide musical elements that are challenging, original and exciting. I hope to create ideas that can powerfully move people.

Check out the video for “House On A Rocky Road” below and for more information on Maya Lavelle, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Miljana Vukovic.

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CEO FIELDS UNVEILS THE VIDEO FOR NEW SINGLE “DIVIDENDS” 0 60

Ambition is a powerful thing and perhaps no-one in the music industry knows this better than CEO Fields. As he struggled to find his path in life, he endured several months of hardship that including having to live out of his car, but he never once stopped believing that he would get to where he wanted to go.

Fast forward a few years later and Fields had launched his own business and made several wise investments meaning he had the positive and comfortable life he had strived for, but he wasn’t done. Wanting to combine his financial knowledge with his passion for music, he embarked on a music career which continues to go from strength to strength. Following hot on the heels of his previous single “Yours”, Fields has now dropped “Dividends”, and ThisIsTheLatest are delighted to premiere its video.

Asked about the creative process regarding the video, Fields says:

“Dividends was another high energy shoot with my bros. I rented out the office building of a tech company down in the OC for this one, where the vibe is a bit different from the one in LA, a little more relaxed. I hired two of the most beautiful IG models I could connect with and made it a super vibe when the drinks and snacks came through. It was definitely one of my more favorite shots, really just homies being silly and enjoying the moment.”

Check out “Dividends” below and for more information on CEO Fields, give his page a like on Facebook or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

FAB THE DUO TALK “I WANT A MAN”, SOCIAL MEDIA & FUTURE PLANS 0 40

Fab The Duo aren’t your average band. The pair, Greg and Brendan, first met on Tinder, became a couple and then, realising they had similar musical ambitions, united to share those ambitions and passions with the world. They recently released their version of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” and have dropped the video for their latest single “I Want A Man”, which features two stars of Broadway. With a growing following of fans, or “Fabbits” behind them and having enjoyed an incredibly good year so far, ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Fab The Duo to talk upcoming performances, favourite artists and plans for 2020.

TITL: What would you say most makes the two of you work as a duo?

Fab The Duo: We honestly have no idea, but it’s probably because we’re so opposite from each other. Our personalities could not be more different but we both bring something unique to the table. Above all else, we love and trust each other completely. 

TITL: What would you each say the other brings to the music you make?

FTD: We’re pretty much Yin and Yang. In performance, Greg brings the big rock baritone while Brendan brings the smooth pop tenor. In terms of the songwriting process, Brendan writes a lot of the songs and then Greg arranges them to make the music alive.

TITL: Has music always been the career goal for you both or were there other paths you considered at some point?

FTD: Yes, but we’ve both considered a career as actors as well.

TITL: Which four bands or artists – two each – might you say most influenced and inspired by? What do each of those artists bring in terms of their impact on the music you make?

FTD: For Greg, it’s Harry Styles and Pink. For Brendan, it’s Green Day and Elton John. All of these artists are glam, genre-bending, and never afraid to speak their minds. 

TITL: You’ve just released a cover of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” What is it about the song that made you choose it out of the thousands available to you? 

FTD: Lizzo is our favorite artist right now. She is always unapologetically herself – she is a big black woman who is not afraid to be big and black. Her message is inspiring and her songs are all bops. She is “100 percent that bitch”. We’ve had requests to cover “Truth Hurts” for a while, and it feels good to make that song our own while still respecting Lizzo. Plus, her fans are called “Lizzbians” while our fans are called “Fabbits” so we’d definitely get along. 

TITL: You’ve also got a new single out called “I Want A Man.” Is there a particular story behind it?

FTD: Growing up gay can be lonely and isolating. There were very few examples of happy gay couples in the media and in our lives, to the point that it seemed like having a real relationship was impossible. We know there are a lot of LGBT people who are feeling this way, and we wanted to write a song letting them know that we’ve been there. 

TITL: The video features two stars of Broadway, Ez Menas, who will also soon be seen on the big screen in West Side Story, and his girlfriend Gaby Gamache. How did you come to meet and work with the pair and can you talk me through the concept for the video and its creative process?

FTD: Greg met Ez Menas at a 54 Below show. We wanted to show a happy queer couple dancing together and Ez and Gaby couldn’t have been more perfect. As they are both better dancers than either of us could ever dream of being, we let them create their own choreography for the most part. The result was authentic, genuine, and beautiful. 

TITL: There are so many great and classic songs out there, spanning several decades, but if you had to choose which, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written, which track would it be? 

FTD: “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It’s a masterpiece, and to this day no other song compares to its epicness. It is quite possibly the best song ever written. 

TITL: Are there plans for an EP or album in the near future?

FTD: Absolutely! We’re already working on our next single and you can expect an EP from us this spring. 

TITL: Do you have any performance or tour plans in the works? Where in the world would you most like to play? 

FTD: We have a big New Year’s Eve show coming up at The Bitter End. Our dream would be to do a Pride tour this summer, performing at all the important Pride events across the world. 

TITL: Although critics often have considerable say/impact on the success of an artist through their comments and reviews, do you pay much attention to what they say, or are you someone more concerned with the thoughts and opinions of their fans instead; the people who listen to and support you because they want to and not because they have to or are paid to do so? 

FTD: Due to the fact that we’re openly gay and not afraid to express ourselves in unique ways, we know that not everyone is going to like us. We’re a lot, and you’re probably either going to love us or hate us. However, we are always blown away by the love and support of our fans and supporters, our “Fabbits”. 

TITL: What’s the nicest/best thing someone could say/write about you and your music? 

FTD: That we’re changing history. We heard LGBT activist and influencer Ari Fitz give a talk at a YouTube Pride event the other day, and they said that queer history is being made every day. There is no one out there like us, so we’re in uncharted territory. To be recognized as helping shape queer history would be the most amazing thing in the world. 

TITL: Given that you met on Tinder and how reliant so many of us are on technology and in particular social media, are you big Twitter/Facebook users? Do you believe it’s at all possible for bands and artists to achieve success without being socially interactive these days? 

FTD: To be successful as a band in 2019 you have to be constantly on social media. Our favorite platform is Instagram but we’ve been working on staying engaged on Facebook and Twitter. What is cool about social media is how one can gain fans from all over the world. Some of our fans who follow us on socials live in countries where it’s still illegal to be gay, so being able to connect online can really make a difference. 

TITL: Finally then, with the end of the year fast approaching, what might you say have been your top three moments of the year, and how do you plan to ‘top’ them come 2020? 

FTD: 2019 has been a year of incredible highs and lows. This year we both had the opportunity to play shows in our hometowns, and to come back home after having grown so much was a wonderful feeling. Our single release show at The Cutting Room, with a full 9-piece band, was also pretty damn incredible. Oh and performing at Austin Pride? Pretty damn cool. In terms of “topping” 2019, we’re expanding our team, recording the rest of the EP, and planning some big tours. 2020 is going to top 2019 so hard! 

Check out the video for “I Want A Man” below and for more information on Fab The Duo, visit their website, give their page a like on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.