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Ones To Watch: Get to Know BANNERS

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch, Pop, Singer/Songwriter, Videos

16th March 2016

Mike Nelson, better known to the masses as BANNERS, is a singer-songwriter with a unique sound who is making his mark in the world of indie music. MusicDash caught up with BANNERS as he finished off his first Canadian tour to chat about music and his time in Canada.

MusicDash: What did it feel like when you got signed to Island Records?

BANNERS: It’s an absolute on and a privilege to be signed to Island. It’s funny with major labels. I think in signing to a record label you are always aware of it’s legacy, of the amazing artists and music that are or have been involved with that label. It becomes your responsibility to extend that legacy and that is what I try to always keep in mind.
I think there’s a generally perceived wisdom that the record industry is run by suits and businessmen who are interested exclusively in making money, and the greatest pleasure for me was discovering that that is simply not true, that, actually, these labels are full of people that are intensely passionate about music, and about creating it. It’s been amazing to be so supported and Im working hard to repay that faith.

MusicDash: What made you decide to contact Sephen Kozmeniuk to work on your sound?

BANNERS: Like so much in music, like in life, an opportunity arrises and you have to grasp that opportunity and see where it goes. I was in Canada to do some songwriting with a couple of writers and he was interested in meeting up. I liked him so we tried a couple of sessions and it went from there. There was the opportunity to work with a few other producers but I realised pretty quickly that he was my guy! We have so many similar musical influences and we both want to make music that means something to people!

MusicDash: What have been some of your favourite memories from your time living in Toronto? (It’s pretty far from Liverpool to say the least!)

BANNERS: I really like Toronto. I’ve met so many great people there. My band are all from Toronto too. Truthfully though my life in Toronto has revolved around music so it’s just a pleasure to be in a place where I can just immerse myself into that creative headspace. St Lawrence Market is amazing too.

MusicDash: What has been your favourite show from the Canadian tour?

BANNERS: It’d be unfair to pick one! They’ve all had their moments. Playing these songs live is such a new thing for me that every live experience, good or bad, is important because it gives you the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and figure out how to make the next show better.

MusicDash: “Shine a Light” has really taken the world by storm. Why do you think people like the song so much? How does it feel to have people respond to your sound?

BANNERS: I’ve always believed that if you want a song to mean something to people you have to make sure it means something to you first. And Shine a light means a lot to me, so maybe that’s what helps it resonate. It’s hard to say why people like it, but after spending so much time writing and recording it its amazing to hear that people do like it. That’s one of the pleasures of playing live really. Having the opportunity to meet people and let them tell you their experiences with the songs you’ve created. After the gig last night a guy told me it was the first song he sent to his new girlfriend on a mixtape so it means a lot to him. It’s things like that that make it worthwhile.

MusicDash: What was the recording and songwriting process like for your EP?

BANNERS: The stressful part is writing really, it’s ultimately very rewarding but there are certainly days where you worry you’re never going to be able to write ever again. In terms of the EP i already had “Ghosts” written from a long time ago, but all the other songs Stephen and I, along with a guy called Todd Clark, devoted a chunk of time to writing and the EP is the result. Once the songs were written we built the tracks up into a demo form so we could sit with them for a while. It’s important to give yourself time away from a song because it can be hard to analyze it properly otherwise. And then once we were happy with them we built the tracks up with session musicians.

MusicDash: As you’ve spent so much time in Canada this year, are you exited to step up to play large festival crowds like at WayHome and Osheaga?

BANNERS: I can’t wait. Both festivals sound brilliant and the line-ups are amazing. I love LCD Soundsystem, the Killers, Arcade Fire and Radiohead so I think it’s gonna be a pretty fun summer!

MusicDash: How did it feel to perform on Jimmy Kimmel?

BANNERS: It was great, obviously. Again, it was an absolute honour to be asked to play and from that point on I was just determined to give a good performance. Which is easy because they’re all so professional there that they give you the tools to do as well as you possibly can. I had great faith in myself and my band to do a good job so we all really enjoyed it!

MusicDash: Who are some of your favourite up and coming artists right now?

BANNERS: There’s a few bands back in Liverpool that I really love. Married to the Sea, Silent Sleep and a really cool band called Ex Easter Island head. I’m really proud of my home town and the music that comes out of there and I can’t wait to play there in may.

MusicDash: You recorded the song “Half Light” for the TV show The Royals. What made you decide to do that?

BANNERS: Well, The Royals had been really kind to me, they’d played two of my songs, “Start a Riot” and “Firefly”, on there already and needed some music for their end of season episode. They had a demo that Dan from Bastille has made and asked me to record. Which I was really happy to do because I think it’s a great song!

 

MusicDash: What are some fun facts about yourself? 

BANNERS: When I’m not thinking about music I’m thinking about football, and specifically Liverpool Football Club. I was home for christmas when they played my song over the tannoy in the stadium which was probably my musical high point so far! I can’t imagine what would have to happen to top it!

MusicDash: What is your favourite part about performing?

BANNERS: Like I say these songs mean a lot to me, so to get to play them to people is just brilliant. The guys in my band are brilliant and are my best mates so to get to do that with your best friends is an indescribable feeling. As shine a light has been on the radio a lot seeing people sing it back to me is so much fun!

MusicDash: As you’re heading out on your first American tour at the end of the month, what can your fans expect from those shows?

BANNERS: Well I’ll be in America with all that American food so they can probably expect a slightly larger version of me as the tour goes on. But really they can expect an English boy with songs that mean loads to him playing with people that mean loads to him desperately trying to be anywhere near as cool as Jeff Buckley. The other bands I’m playing with “The Moth and the Flame” and “Pop Etc” are great so everyone should check them out!

Follow along with BANNERS at listentobanners.com!

His self-titled EP is available to download now.

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Review: Hinds // Leave Me Alone

Emerging Artists, Pop, Rock

15th January 2016

The sound of the resurgence of garage and indie rock has a new face. A few new faces, in fact. The Spanish rockers Hinds have been growing momentum for the past few months through the release of low-fi tracks ‘Garden’ and ‘Chili Town’, and their debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’ is a near-perfect attempt at a bundle of messy nostalgia, a beautiful further nod towards the garage rock scene.

Hinds aren’t the only ones currently nodding in this direction, of course, but ‘Leave Me Alone’ signifies that Hinds are a little more special than the charming qualities of being all female, from Spain, and their obvious The Velvet Underground influence give them. ‘Bamboo’, originally created when Hinds were known as ‘Deers’ and only consisted of singers Carlotta Cosials and Ana García Perrote, is a hazy, acoustically inspired happy-go lucky anthem, while ‘Garden’ and ‘Castigadas en el Granero’ serve as the melodic centrepieces, rivalling with the simplistic funk of ‘Fat Calmed Kiddos’ for the quartet’s best track.

The simplicity of the songs is a highlight rather than a drawback – it continues throughout the album, creating a consistent hark back to their garage inspirations, with the added twist of Mac DeMarco style and much needed girl power. The riff of ‘Chili Town’ perfectly captures Hinds’ musical drawings, with their video encompassing their fun, laid back attitude, which is incidentally what saves the album from becoming too samey.

While the album does admittedly get a bit repetitive, the girls seem to know how to successfully combine their disjointed garage with endearing lyrics. Drinking out of cartons, smoking cigarettes like old Hollywood stars and dancing to an album called ‘Leave Me Alone’ may give Hinds a bit of a tough-girl character, but lyrics such as ‘I am flirting with this guy just to pretend I’m fine’ constitute as the girls’ lyrical equivalent to their similarly fractured, confused and emotionally charged melodies. There’s a mix of apathetic lovesick lyricism, ‘All I’m asking for is you to make a move’, and apathetic teenage musings, ‘you’re getting blinder taking drugs’, sung by voices that tend to crash into each other, rumbling over changing tempos and crackling percussion. All this is highlighted by an underlying sunny disposition, causing you to shift between all consuming thoughts of heartbreak to feeling carefree of such matters, lying on a beach somewhere in Spain. It’s messy, sure, but all good debuts are. Hinds are doing it right.

Article by Amy Eskenazi

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Ones to Watch in 2016

Emerging Artists, News, Ones to Watch

22nd December 2015

2015 was a great year for music. “Uptown Funk” was number 1 for 14 straight weeks, and we said “Hello” to Adele after almost a 5 year hiatus. But who’s going to dominate the music scene in 2016? Here are my top picks for ones to watch in 2016.

Troye Sivan

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Those who have watched Troye Sivan grow since his early YouTube days will be proud to know that he’s finally starting to gain the recognition that he deserves. The week of December 26th, Sivan’s new album Blue Neighbourhood charted at #7. Sivan will be touring all over the US through March of 2016. He’s already won some pretty big awards in the past, like a Teen Choice Award with his YouTube BFF Tyler Oakley. He’s been endorsed by Taylor Swift and John Green and, with his album gaining traction, I’m sure that Troye will do big things in 2016.

Alessia Cara

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Hailing from Canada, 19 year old Alessia Cara is signed to Def Jam Records (the same record company that brought you Kanye West and Justin Bieber). Her relatable song “Here” was an internet sensation and MTV called it “a song for everyone who secretly hates parties.” Rolling Stone even voted it one of the best songs of 2015. She’s supported by both the queen (Taylor Swift) AND the king (Jimmy Fallon). Not only was Alessia’s album Know-it-All a hit, but her very first single “Here” reached #10 in the United States. With 2015 being her first year signed to a label, I know that each year after this will be even better for Alessia.

Mr. B and the Tribal Hoose

Picture: Acacia Evans, Big City Thoughts

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Mr. B always puts on a great show, and this year’s performances were no exception. Every show provides something different and fun for the audience to hold onto. The unique combo of rap music with a horns section makes you want to let loose, and their stage presence as a band is undeniable. Mr. B has his own rap app, which is going to change the way that the world looks at freestyling. Before he was 20, he’d toured with Bone Thugs n Harmony and was featured on the Today Show for his Wendy’s rap video, which has since racked up over 1 million views on YouTube. In the fall, he was one of seven selected to participate in a songwriting bootcamp, where him and the other students wrote and recorded songs to be considered for placement in television advertisements. Although every year seems like a big year for Mr. B, I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be the biggest one yet.

JoJo

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JoJo made her comeback this year, and I’ve been waiting for it. Since signing with her new label, Atlantic Records, Jo’s been one busy girl — performing at SXSW, concert dates, and new music galore. Days ago, she released her second EP in the past few months titled #LoveJo2. With all these new songs and JoJo’s way of not letting the man get her down, we’re sure to see (and hear) a lot more of her in the coming months. JoJo never disappoints, so I’m sure that she’ll continue to come back swinging.

Cimorelli

Photo: Acacia Evans, Big City Thoughts

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You might have heard of Cimorelli already. They have 3.5 million subscribers on YouTube and have won and been nominated for Teen Choice Awards and have performed their song “Made in America” on Good Morning America. Since relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, the sisters are ready for a new chapter — including even more original songs in 2016! Their fans (the CimFam) are as faithful as ever and are always more than ready for whatever the girls are bringing to the table next. After their mixtape Hearts on Fire, both myself and the fans are excited for new music in 2016. Let’s just call 2016 “The Year of Cimorelli.”

Maren Morris

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Maren Morris is winning over country-loving hearts everywhere and it’s not a surprise. This year alone, she’s been top 10 on iTunes and has opened for CMA Male Vocalist of the Year Chris Stapleton. Her song “My Church” is about the out-of-this-world feeling of driving around and listening to music and driving around. It’s been gaining support by outlets such as Bose, Vevo, and Spotify, who she performed live sessions for. With the world getting increasingly more excited about her music, I’m sure that we’ll see Maren Morris at the CMAs next year.

Tweet us: Who’s your favorite upcoming artist of the year?

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Kylie Odetta

Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

2nd December 2015

Here’s something that you probably don’t know about me — I get very defensive when people cover Adele. I subscribe to the belief that it is almost always a bad idea. I can think of only a handful of instances in which I’ve been proven wrong. Kylie Odetta is one of those instances. She took “Someone Like You,” a song that is so beautiful but is usually sung one specific way (exactly like Adele), and made it her own. Not only do I give her mad props for this, but I am so impressed with her vocally.

To balance things out so to speak, something that you might not know about Kylie is that she has one of those voices that would allow her to sing whatever genre she wanted. If she were to send any record label a demo of her singing any genre, they would believe that that genre was what she was meant to sing. I heard her live at The Sutler during a writer’s round, so naturally everything was stripped down. Kylie’s performance was just her and the piano (with the occasional accompaniment of the George Twins). They played a song that they cowrote together called “Stuck on Yellow” and it was both fabulous and witty. Overall, I was just so enamored by her talent. Her vocals reminded me of that of Christina Aguilera, and I would SO turn my chair for Kylie on The Voice.

Kylie had been on my radar since I started this project, but she wasn’t from Nashville, so I never contacted her and her team about setting up an interview. Right after I heard her cover, I messaged her manager. Kylie comes to Nashville a lot and performs around town, so I decided that now was the time to expand my reach. Sometimes things work out perfectly, because by the time I set up this interview, Kylie had just finished her new EP, which will be released early next year.

MusicDash: I know that you’re from South Carolina but you come to Nashville quite a lot. What has been your favorite performance here?

Kylie Odessa: My favorite performance so far was a writers round that I did with Moriah Domby and Eli Rhodes at Belcourt Taps. Moriah, Eli, and I actually met while playing a show in Asheville, NC and so it was really fun to re-connect with them for my first show in Nashville last year,

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Kylie Odetta: I first came to Nashville to record an EP when I was 13 years old and it was such an eye-opening experience. I had never been in a city that was so focused and centered around music. Since then I have been back many times over the years and I find something new that makes it more welcoming each time. I also know a lot of good friends and fellow musicians who live there so it’s nice to come and write – essentially the amount of things going on musically in this town is what drew me to it,

MusicDash: I know that your first release was in 2014 and you will have another EP released in 2016. How have these processes been different?

Kylie Odetta: I released an album in 2014, an EP in 2015, and now I will be releasing another EP in 2016! Each time I go into the studio to record something new, the process is different. For my first album, “Waiting Game” I was really focused on showing people something that was more true to who I was as an artist and would separate me from the “pop” world. We messed around with a lot of different vibes but everything still had an underlying theme. That followed into the next EP “Breaking Habits” where I went into the studio with an open mind to see where the music might lead me. That allowed for some of the songs to turn out fantastic but not necessarily in a style that I felt able to or comfortable with replicating in a live show. The purpose behind this upcoming EP is to break things down and focus on the piano, vocals, and lyrics. Now there is production behind some of them but it’s much less than in the past and everything has a more organic feel. I was hoping to capture the essence of what I do in a live setting and my heart for these songs.

MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in music!

Kylie Odetta: I began playing piano when I was 6 and I started writing songs when I was 8. the only answer that I have as to how it all came about is definitely God. I STILL don’t know how I am able to write these lyrics and melodies that come out of myself and onto the paper! I recorded my very first EP at age 12 in a family friend’s attic and fro there I went on to play at open mics and my school talent show and the county fair. This life is a journey and I certainly can attest to that – one thing continued to lead to another and my first EP got me to work with the producer for my 2nd EP and first music video at 13 which then allowed me to perform in a showcase where I met my now producer and made even more music. Those songs and the shows I had begun to play around town, getting my name out there, evolved into me getting the opportunity open up for bigger artists when they came in town for shows through my local radio station. And so on and so forth… hat’s the beginning of things I suppose but there’s a million little steps and trials and triumphs that I have gone through throughout the years.

 

MusicDash: Tell us about your affiliation with BMI.

Kylie Odetta: When it came time to decide which PRO to go with we did our research on them all and talked to a few fellow musicians and then settles on going with BMI! I’ve always been told that to own your publishing is an extremely helpful thing so that is why I created a “publishing company” with BMI.

MusicDash: What is your usual writing process like?

Kylie Odetta: Typically I will be sitting at the piano, practicing, and I will end up coming up with a little riff then following it through writing a song. Other times lyrics will hit me throughout the day and I will joy them down in my notes app on my phone and go back to it. The lyrics, the melody, and piano chords usually all come at the sam time, in the same sitting though.

MusicDash: Favorite spot in Nashville?

Kylie Odetta: I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but there’s this place that has cookie dough egg rolls for dessert and it is quite literally the most amazing bite you’ll ever put in your mouth. [editior’s note — Kylie was talking about Jackson’s Bar & Bistro]

MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you?

Kylie Odetta: I’ve been traveling a lot lately and playing a ton of shows so up next for me is the holidays and spending time with family! I’ll also be focusing on getting all of our ducks in a row with press, shooting a music video for the EP release, finalizing the edits of the songs, an promoting it. It’s set to come out either late January or early February.

You can find Kylie at:

Web: www.kylieodetta.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Kylie-Odetta

YouTube: Kylie Odetta

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kylieodetta

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kylieodetta

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/kylieodetta

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Single Review: Dusty Wax // Dirty

Dance/Electronic, Emerging Artists, Ones to Watch

23rd November 2015

Confronting, abrasive, crude, alarming; all words that spring to mind upon first listening to this sharp piece of electronica. Brimming with attitude and possessing a ruthless no holds barred approach, this track is either one to have you running scared or craving more. Tight, purposeful production and startlingly provocative lyrical content form the basis of this furious track, putting the sound somewhere in the middle of Die Antwoord and Peaches. The first single to be released by Dusty Wax (the pseudonymous art project of Italian native Angelica Barbareschi), the tune is an ambitious dive into the world of electronic rap/rave, driven by themes of all things taboo. This is our first taste of Dusty Wax and she uses the opportunity to let her intentions be very clear; given the opportunity, she will take 2016 for her own so watch out.

For fans of the freaky.

Check out the song on Soundcloud below:

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Interview: Underground Sound Society

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

17th November 2015

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Katie and Parker of Underground Sound Society at the Nashville coffee shop Bongo Java. There’s not much that I can tell you about the band that’s not already featured in the interview, but I will say that they love Toto’s “Africa.” And the genre of music that they create is called “super human swag monster.” This is a band that has put their all into creating a great EP  for the fans and you will not be disappointed.

MusicDash: What originally drew you guys to Nashville?

Parker Van Der Hyde: Well, when I was a high school student I had a few different choices of where my life was gonna go. I was either going to go to [the College of] William and Mary and become a History guy or I was going to go to the University of Miami and do whatever you do there. Or, I was like “well, I play music occasionally sometimes” and then my jazz band teacher was like “bro, have you heard of Belmont University” and I was like “nah dude.” So then I checked it out. I went on the internet and then I visited and the craziest thing that I saw,  it was a Saturday, and there were people up doing stuff at 8:00 in the morning. That’s the thing I noticed. When I visited Miami, not at all. Everybody was asleep on Saturday at 8:00 AM  and at Belmont people were out doing stuff. Well that’s Belmont and Belmont is in Nashville.

Katie Pruitt: I went to community college in Athens, Georgia for two years because I was just a terrible student in high school. I didn’t go really my entire senior year because all I was doing was playing music with my friends. I was like “what the heck am I going to do with my life. I know that I want to do music” so I went to community college for two years and played in a folk band in Athens. I realized that I loved being on stage with a band. And then toward Belmont I was like “this is my goal. This is what I want to do.” So I came here and transferred in last year and met these dudes.

Parker Van Der Hyde: I’m sort of discovering that I just got super lucky because Nashville is the focal point of a lot of neat things in regards to music. This summer I went to New York City twice. I didn’t go to LA but I went to San Diego which is as close as I want to get. In both of those cities there were like a billion bands and just a trillion million people packed into a tiny little space. Everything’s expensive, everything’s very cutthroat and scary and here I’d say that you have at least the same amount of opportunities if not more. I mean, we have all of the studios, we have all the gear. Everything’s 1/3 of the price and everybody’s 10x nicer. Nashville is the bee’s knees in short.

MusicDash: What’s been your favorite show that you’ve seen in Nashville?

Katie Pruitt: My Morning Jacket at the Amphitheater this summer, that blew me away. It honestly changed my writing style. I wasn’t really into My Morning Jacket that much and then I saw them and I was like “okay, Jim James is my hero.”

Parker Van Der Hyde: This is going to be weird. I’m kind of weird when it comes to music but like Trampled By Turtles. I saw them at Live on the Green two years ago. It was my freshman year and it was like “these other bands are cool and that’s alright” but Trampled By Turtles was just nuts. That’s like the sixth time I’ve seen them. They shred face to the max. As much as a bluegrass player can shred face, that’s what they do. Also The Wailers. I’m also a huge reggae fan. So that’s obviously 100% of the time going to be sick. Yeah, that was pretty amazing.

MusicDash: How did you guys meet and come together as a band?

Katie Pruitt: Oh, this is one hell of a story.

Parker Van Der Hyde: I was in a band the first two years that I was at Belmont. We practiced three times a week two hours each so we were practicing all the time. It was intense. And then all of the sudden, the guitarist was like “peace I’m moving to New Orleans.” Then I had all of this time that I used to play music and I needed to play music but I needed to do that with other people that I’ve never met in my life. So getting here my junior year, anytime anybody came up to me and said anything about music I just said yes. So long story short I ended up being in like eight different bands at once. No exaggeration. I was like “this is working. This is a good idea.” And then two weeks later I was like “I think I’m going to die.” But I was still doing it.

Then one day the drummer in my freshman and sophomore year band who was an RA sent me a text and was like “yo dude one of my residents  is trying to build a band and they need a bass player you should check it out.” And I was like “okay fine.” To be honest I didn’t really feel like doing it because I was so super burnt out. So Katie was like “band practice 10:30 tonight, let’s do it.” And I was like “sweet 10:30. I have three band practices before that in the same room oh my gosh.” So I literally get into the room in the Massey Performing Arts Center at like 2:00 in the afternoon and I’m there for like eight hours. I fell asleep on a bench outside of the practice room and I woke up because I heard people walking past. I see Quinn our drummer who’s just this skinny little bro and I just see a pair of drum sticks in his back pocket. And I was like “dude, there’s no way that this kid can throw down. This is my fifth band practice today and I’m going to have to go in there and play with a bunch of noobs.”

So I walk into the room and the guitar player busted out this two rock amp and I was like “whoa this kid’s got some class. He knows what’s up.” And then Quinn is sitting over there cracking jokes and setting up his drum kit like the goofy little dude he is. He sets the whole thing up and just casually has this thing to see what his drum kit sounds like and plays the funkiest beat I’ve ever heard in my entire life. I did like three double takes. How is that sound coming out of that little dude? From there Katie was like “okay, I have this song called ‘Airplanes’ it’s not too hard.” Quinn counted it off and this groove was automatically like  BAM. It was the tightest thing ever. This did not bare the hallmarks of tight grooveness but here we are in a pretty tight groove situation. We played through the entire song and I’d never heard it in my entire life but I kind of just knew where to go with it automatically. At one point we played “No Diggity” and that morphed into “Freebird.” At that point I was like “okay, these people throw down. Let’s get serious.”

Katie Pruitt: I had never met Parker and I didn’t know what he would really think of us. This was pretty much our first band practice. Me, Quinn, and Alex hadn’t even met before. We didn’t play all together as a band. And Parker was already talking business after the first band practice. I was like “shit, cool. I guess this guy likes what we sound like.” So I was pumped about it.

MusicDash: How would you describe your music for somebody who’s never heard it before?

Parker Van Der Hyde: Well whenever I get this question I always just like to say where each member is from. Katie singing folk and crazy bluesy soul stuff down in Georgia. Crutchman right here our organ/keyboard extraordinaire started playing organ in Oxford, Mississippi in some churches. Quinn our drummer grew up playing jazz in Charlotte. Our guitar played grew up playing blues in Texas. And I grew up playing funk and reggae in Richmond, Virginia. So it’s really difficult to describe what that sounds like when all of that stuff gets smashed together but I think it’s neat. There’s a little hint of it everywhere. The fact that Katie usually comes up with the chord progressions and the lyrics sort of means that Katie’s got the backbone so there’s a lot of her influence. Crutch is throwing down the circular system. I’ve got the muscular skeletal system. And before you know it, we’ve got this super human swag monster.

MusicDash: You guys have an EP that came out recently. What can you tell us about it?

Parker Van Der Hyde: The EP was recorded in Smoakstack studios at the beginning of the summer. That was a super rad experience. It was produced by Lucas Morton who has been one of my good friends for years and years and that dude has just been killing it in the music world since he was like 13. He’s a beast.

Katie Pruitt: He’s the musician and producer type so he’s got perspectives from both ends.

Parker Van Der Hyde: The EP is four songs. We tried to sort of capture the spectrum of our music in four songs which is tough. I think its got a lot of different stuff in there. Its got some gospel chops, its got some straight rockers. The first track is pretty much just a straight party rager which is neat. But also musically it gets into some weird stuff. Like the second song has got some funky time signature business going on. The third song is kind of a straightforward storytelling song. I don’t want to give too much away about it. I want to maintain a degree of mystery. I’m a little biased to say this but I’m pretty excited about it. I just want to get it out there so that the peeps can hear what’s been going on.

Katie Pruitt: I went through a lot last semester and I kind of told that story, the bad relationship thing. But it also has some glimpses of happiness in it. There’s one song on it called “Song in My Head” that’s just talking about the process of writing a song and how I feel about music today and my outlook on that. It covers a bunch of different topics too which I also feel confident about. A lot of albums today are just the same song. Even if they’re different musically they’re talking about the same thing. That’s what I like about this EP also.

MusicDash: What’s coming up next for you guys?

Parker Van Der Hyde: We’ve got a bunch of songs in the works. We’ve got maybe four or five of those that we’re working on right now. We’ve got the skeletal system. We’ve probably got the cardiovascular system at this point we’re just looking to add the rest of the skin and bones and all of the stuff in between.

Katie Pruitt: Our goal is to try and get a full length album by the summer and do the same thing that we did last summer when we recorded a four song EP but with an album. Lucas is probably the guy that we would go to for that because we vibe really well with him production wise. He knows our sound, he knows what we want to sound like. We want to do the same thing but tack on like eight more songs and then have a full length album. Other than that, just touring and playing shows.

Parker Van Der Hyde: That’s the main thing, We’re trying to get some tour stuff going on because that’s some really fun stuff. It’s easy to sit here all the time and just get in your little bubble. You just kind of reproduce the illusion of success and then one day its like “wait a minute. Not really.” So we’ve got to bust out of here at some point and always keep this as home base because this place is the bomb. Its got the studios, its got the equipment, its got the peeps but we’ve gotta get out there and see the country.

You can find Underground Sound Society at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/underground-sound-society

iTunes: Not My Fault EP

Spotify: Underground Sound Society

Article By Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: The Sifters

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

10th November 2015

The Sifters are no stranger to the Nashville music scene — they’ve been performing and writing together as a duo for the past 3 years. A mutual love of bands like The Civil Wars shine through in their own music but don’t worry: their music also has hints of country rock and acoustic folk music all wrapped up into one. The Sifters have tons of experience playing out around town, even performing at intimate venue The Listening Room. With tight harmonies and undeniable chemistry, The Sifters are ready to make you feel through their music.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Jon Wesson: I was born and raised just north of Nashville, so I have been around this amazing city my entire life. I have had many friends that have moved away from Nashville but what keeps me here is the amazing people and music that come from this area. Nashville is THE best city in the south, from its food, to community, to the amazing musicians you meet and constantly connect with.

Brit Templeton: I moved here with my parents when I was 7. And although I didn’t get to experience all of the amazing things until I was a little bit older, I instantly fell in love with the warmth and kindness of the people! I’m originally from California, so I learned quickly that southern hospitality is a real thing. To be able to live in a place where there is exceptional food, music, and people is a pretty special thing.

MusicDash: How did you meet and decide to become a band?

Jon Wesson: We met at a writers night Brit’s mom was having at her bakery/food shop in Springfield, TN. Both of us were in different groups at the time, but after Brit’s group split, we got together one day to put some songs together for the next writers night. We tested the waters of writing and playing together and had an undeniable connection. Everything just seemed so easy and natural from the get go. We shared a love for the duo The Civil Wars, and began covering a lot of their songs for YouTube viewers, until we had our own material to share with everyone. We have been through a lot together personally as a band, but we have only grown stronger because of it.

MusicDash: What has been your favorite or most memorable show to date?

Jon Wesson: I think our favorite show to date was probably our performance at the Exit In. It was a Hurricane Sandy Benefit show and we got to showcase a couple of our new songs we had been working on. We opened for a friend, Jonathon Jircitano, and his band The Hollywood Kills. The energy in that place was really cool, and there were many different genres playing that night so it was great to come together for such a good cause.

MusicDash: You all do a lot of cowrites. Who would be your dream cowrites?

Jon Wesson: Jason Isbell, a true storyteller. John Mayer, my guitar hero and a very underrated lyricist.

Brit Templeton: Joy Williams for sure. Her songs have so much raw emotion and truth to them. I would love to be able to pick her brain! I think we would both love to write with The Civil Wars together. They are our musical heroes.

MusicDash: What inspires you artistically?

Brit Templeton: We are inspired by the same things mostly. Hearing a great song on the radio or at a performance and we also find inspiration in life experiences, good or bad, Mostly bad though haha! We find it easier to write sad songs about what we’ve experienced. We are also inspired by reading books and/or articles and being outside in nature.

MusicDash: You’re about to start a Kickstarted to support your new EP. Tell  us a little bit about that. What are your plans for the EP?

http://noisetrade.com/thesifters/why-did-i-say-yes

Jon Wesson: We are very excited about it! This will be our first EP as The Sifters and it is a chance to share everything we have been working on with the public. We really try to put our personal relationships (ups and downs) into each song and we hope that people will be able to connect with them. We plan to release it sometime early next year on iTunes and other platforms. If you donate to the kickstarter you will get the EP early along with bonus tracks and artwork! We are extremely excited to get in the studio and start to really craft these songs!

MusicDash: Tell us about a song that you’ve written that’s been the most meaningful for you.

Brit Templeton: “Silence” for sure. It’s about being in a relationship that on the outside looks happy and healthy, but underneath it all, both sides are uninterested in the relationship. It’s pretty heartbreaking which we love haha! It has a very real meaning to us both. We also love it because it sounds happy and upbeat but lyrically it will tear you open.

MusicDash: What are your goals as a band? Any places you want to play? Cities you want to visit?

Jon Wesson: I think our goal for this band is to connect with people through our music. We aren’t necessarily chasing fame our anything we just really enjoy writing and singing and we hope that people can find something to latch in our music. As far as places to play, I mean who doesn’t want to play the Ryman?! It is definitely (to most Nashvillians at least) the Mecca of all venues. From the history of musicians that have graced that stage, to the acoustics, it’s just an amazing place to be for a show.

Brit Templeton: We want to visit as many cities as possible. Jonathan has never been past the Mississippi, so anything is fair game for him!

You can find The Sifters at:

Web: www.thesiftersofficial.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/theesifters

YouTube: The Sifters

Instagram: www.instagram.com/the_sifters

Twitter: www.twitter.com/theesifters

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Interview: Elizabeth Mossell

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

1st November 2015

Elizabeth Mossell is for sure one of the hardest working people that I’ve ever met and her success as an artist thus far proves it. She was invited to play the legendary Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge’s 55th Birthday Bash, opening up for some Country greats like Randy Houser and Troy Gentry. She sings wherever and whenever she can — Broadway and every other venue around town that you can think of. During her sets, Elizabeth will play covers but it’s her originals that really leave you captivated.

I heard her track “Maybe This Time” a while ago — at least a couple of months. Living in Nashville, you hear a lot of different songs from a lot of different strangers or friends in a lot of different bars and restaurants. But none has stuck with me quite like this song. So when Elizabeth agreed to do an interview with me, I knew that we had to do something special. Thus came the Living Room Sessions — a Straight Outta Nashville first. So, if you have an extra five minutes today, please listen to this beautiful song. I promise that you’ll love it.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Elizabeth Mossell: I went to LA my sophomore year of high school and all of my junior year I was homeschooled. I tried to do music and a little bit of acting. I was really set on going to LA  for college. My voice teacher from home recommended Belmont and I toured it two or three times during high school. I really wasn’t super fond of it. I didn’t really feel like it was for me. When it got time to apply for colleges my parents told me that the only way that I could go to LA was if I paid for it so I kind of got stuck between the two options of staying home and going to Nashville. That was the furthest they’d let me go, and I didn’t want to go to New York because that’s more musical theater. I randomly chose Belmont, I didn’t really choose it for Nashville. I definitely got really lucky. It’s definitely like a God moment that I’m so fortunate to have picked coming here in general because I don’t even know what I’d be doing right now if I wasn’t here.

MusicDash: Tell us a little bit about your musical background and when you started writing and singing.

Elizabeth Mossell: I started singing when I was around three. My parents have videos of me singing. As a baby I always just loved music and did karaoke and little talent shows at school when I was growing up. I started writing last August and wrote my first two songs and auditioned for the songwriting program at Belmont and got in. I really haven’t stopped writing since then which is crazy because I never did it before.

MusicDash: What is your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’ve had so many really awesome shows. I’ve been lucky enough to perform literally almost everywhere in Nashville. Probably my favorite was at The Row. This was me first starting out performing in Nashville and I managed to play five different requests and I got requested a song that I had no idea how to play on guitar so I sang it acapella and the entire bar sang along. It was so cool! People were dancing in front of the stage and they loved it. It was such a good feeling.

MusicDash: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from somebody either in the industry or not?

Elizabeth Mossell: The best advice I’ve received is just to have fun with what you’re doing. I think that sometimes I get caught up in the work of it and I have to remember that I’m doing it because I love it. I never want to wake up and have this be a job. It should always be what I love to do. When I get to the point where I’m stressing myself out with it, obviously I’m doing something wrong. You shouldn’t feel that way when you’re doing something that you love. And I do love it.

MusicDash: Has your writing process changed since you first started writing?

Elizabeth Mossell: It’s definitely changed. You’ve heard my first songs to now and they’re a lot better. Another piece of advice somebody gave me on songwriting is just to keep it simple. It’s hard starting out when you first start writing songs. You want to write about everything. You want to write one song that says everything. The amazing thing about songwriting is that you can write about one instance  and then you can write about another and another one. It doesn’t have to be one big idea, it can be a small little idea. That’s really the beauty of it. We can write so many things about the same thing in different ways. I think my songwriting has definitely improved to where it is a lot more simple. I started writing my humor songs!

MusicDash: You play a lot around town. Do you plan those by yourself? How are you making your connections to do that?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’ve booked everything since the first day I’ve been performing. I’ve just been super determined and a little pushy probably 😉 about getting booked at different venues around time. I’ve been extremely either persistent or really lucky to get booked cause a lot of people have booking agents or people to help them out and I’ve done it all on my own.

MusicDash: So you recorded an EP in February. What was that process like for you?

Elizabeth Mossell: It was good! It was an awesome experience but I don’t think that I was really ready for recording an EP at the time. But I don’t regret it at all. It was definitely an awesome experience and we had a lot of fun. We spent so many hours up until like 5 AM. We went from 12 noon until 5 AM the next day just nonstop recording. I recorded vocals for hours. It was just so fun to see everybody do what they do best in the studio. I’m still getting songs back even now. I just got my third one and they sound really awesome. I’m already ready to get back to record my new ones. That’s the hard part about it. You record them and the m and the next day you write a better song and you’re like “dang it I should have recorded that one.”

MusicDash: What’s next for you career-wise? What are you planning?

Elizabeth Mossell: I’m just trying to write a ton, just write all the time. I really need to add more songs to my repertoire list: more originals. I’m doing more performing on Broadway which is going to be really helpful with getting experience being a performer and learning how to connect with the audience and how to break the barrier and how to connect to them whether it’s through a song I’ve written or a cover. Building up my social media and getting my name out there and trying to build a fanbase is where I’m at right now.

You can find Elizabeth at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/elizabeth.mossell

YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/lizabethmossellmusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/elizabethmossell

Twitter: www.twitter.com/lizabethmossell

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Interview: Anna Vaus

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

26th October 2015

I knew after hearing one song of Anna Vaus’ that she was everything that I was looking for for Straight Outta Nashville. I reached out to her immediately and everything wrapped up within about a 10-hour period. It is always a pleasure to find someone else who works just as hard as you do. Someone who is focused and determined on their dream and will do anything to make it work. As you’ll see in this interview, Anna is as cheery and positive as the sunflower-yellow color of her website makes her out to be. And she understands — whether it be about what small town life is like or what it’s like to be single (but ready to mingle with Kris Kringle), Anna’s got you covered. A lot of people say that there’s a Taylor Swift song for every mood, and I think that Anna certainly lives up to this quote as well.

MusicDash: Tell us about your musical background. How and when did you first start out?

Anna Vaus: Honestly I was just this little kid who liked to make up songs about princesses and butterflies and then make my family listen to me sing them. Until middle school, where I started to experience these real and challenging things that were new, exciting and challenging things for a kid to go through; being left out or having a crush on a boy in math class. But there was this compelling voice that kept telling me not to just go through these things, I had this innate desire to do more than that. So I turned to writing songs. I wrote my first “real” song at 11 about a boy who broke my heart (naturally) and since then songwriting has been and evoking, magical process I get to do every day.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Anna Vaus: I grew up living and breathing music and my dad is actually an artist as well, so he taught me that Nashville is a place where you get to do that for the rest of your life if you choose to. I think the other amazing thing about Nashville is that it fosters songwriting like no place I’ve ever seen before. To be surrounded by insane amounts of talent that started because someone picked up a guitar and a pen is the coolest thing to me.

MusicDash: What’s your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville to date?

Anna Vaus: I think my favorite performance in Nashville would have to be at Kimbros Pickin’ Parlor my freshman year. It was my first writers round I had ever played in town and I was just absolutely terrified. I prayed a lot about it and came out alive, such a shocker I know! But I love that performance because it was this wall I had to break through to be where I am not so I’m thankful for that opportunity today.

MusicDash: You’re going to be playing at the Bluebird (one of Nashville’s most famous venues) in February. What was that experience like and what did you play?

Anna Vaus: I actually randomly stumbled upon an article talking about how the Bluebird Cafe holds writer’s night auditions a few times a year and one was coming up, so I decided “why not go for it?” I kind of just walked into this situation and got to be the quirky me that I am by playing my song “Friendzoned” for about 60 other writers and six or seven judges. I guess they liked the song because I got invited back to play on February 21, so that’s going to be a serious dream come true.

MusicDash: Since you’re already about to play the legendary Bluebird, are there any other venues that you’re just dying to play?

Anna Vaus: Honestly, I’m dying to play anywhere anybody wants to have me. A big part of my heart instinctually wants to play an arena one day but that is so far down the line and an out of this world idea that right now I’m content playing just about anywhere. But yeah, I think my dream is to play in my hometown arena one day, that would be beyond what words can describe.

MusicDash: You write some really incredible songs and you even change the words up on some of your covers (like “Every Bruin’s Got Somebody But Me,” a homage to the life of a single girl at Belmont and “Drunk and Lazy,” the ex girlfriend’s side of the popular country song “Drunk on a Plane.”) These videos have thousands of views. Where do you get your inspiration for these videos and what has the response been like?

Anna Vaus: I think the best way to answer this is to describe myself. Like I said, I’m just this insanely quirky person that enjoys making quirky things as a result, and I think that really shows in my songwriting. Whether it’s a parody of a song like “Drunk on a Plane” or the I’m-sad-because-I’m-single Christmas song that I wrote, “If Kris Kringle Were Single,” it’s a display of who I am, minus the whole sad-because-I’m-single thing… I’m doing alright with that.

In terms of the response, I’m really grateful to have incredibly supportive family, friends, and fans who share and post my songs so it’s a wonderful feeling to see something like that come full circle from creating it to watching people share it across social media. I will say my favorite response to the songs I’ve written and parody/covered has been a comment from a friend of my parents who said to me “you know, you’re really good at writing songs about being single.” I was like, “Oh. Awesome. I’m good at being single, well alright then.”

MusicDash: You recently released ‘Friday Night Crowd” on Soundcloud. The song perfectly encapsulates life in a small town. You must be speaking from experience here! Tell us about your hometown and if it has inspired some of your other lyrics.

Anna Vaus: Yeah, so spoiler alert: I wrote this song about my hometown. I actually wrote it after seeing someone from my high school who had graduated with me post something about how boring a place Poway (my hometown) is, and then that Friday he posted a picture of himself at our old high school’s football game. It was this self-contradicting complex that was humorous but also kind of sad at the same time and that’s what inspired me to write “Friday Night Crowd.” I definitely have some other songs I’ve written inspired by my hometown but that’s more thanks to the people, specifically heart-breaker boys, living in it rather than the place.

MusicDash: What’s coming up for you?

Anna Vaus: Well, I’m really excited for what’s to come! In terms of big things I’m looking forward to: I’ll be playing at Belmont’s ASCAP Writers Night on November 10 and at the Bluebird early next year so I’ll be counting down the days to both. As for now, my mind is totally focused on writing, writing, writing, and just getting better at what I do. The sky is the limit and I’m ready to chase it.

You can find Anna at:

Web: www.annavaus.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/avausmusic

YouTube: Anna Vaus

Twitter: www.twitter.com/annavausmusic

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/annavaus-1

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

 

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Interview: Hannah Ayrault

Editors Choice, Emerging Artists, News, Straight Outta Nashville

20th October 2015

At the beginning of October, I went to the TowerTube showcase. I’m always on the lookout for new artists to feature in this section and TowerTube has been a great resource for me (three of the artists that they have featured are on my wishlist). I know Nicole Lowe, the founder and one of the producers of the YouTube channel. She told me that when she was planning the showcase, she had to have Hannah Ayrault be a part of it, even though her session had not come out yet. This is the best way that I can describe Hannah’s talent — “we need her on board.” I felt it, Nicole felt it, and I’m positive that a lot of other people who come across Hannah’s music are going to feel it too.

Hannah is one of those songwriters who, if I came across on YouTube when I was 15, I would have been her biggest fan. It was at that age that I discovered that I loved simple, beautiful, and meaningful songs — ones that might break your heart if you let them in the best way possible (case and point “So Close So Far” off her new EP). This is what Hannah Ayrault brings to the table. If you are a lyric lover, you will love Hannah Ayrault. Mark my words.

MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?

Hannah Ayrault: I chose to come to Nashville because Belmont University had been my top-choice university since Freshman year of high school. I really wanted to attend a school were I could pursue music, specifically songwriting, and when I visited I fell in love with the campus and the city. There’s music everywhere and there are so many opportunities for young artists.

MusicDash: When did you first fall in love with music and what lead you to songwriting?

Hannah Ayrault: I’ve been singing since I can remember, and I started playing piano by ear at age three. Somewhere during elementary school I realized that I really liked to write. But it wasn’t really until middle school until I really put everything together. I wrote my first song in eighth grade and I performed it at the school talent show. I always kind of looked at music as a hobby and something I excelled at but would never pursue professionally. I was accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy, which is an arts boarding school in northern Michigan, for my Senior year as a songwriting major, and that’s really where I decided I could make a career out of this.

MusicDash: What inspires you musically?

Hannah Ayrault: I’m really inspired by other artists. I’ve been listening to Jason Mraz for about ten years now, and he’s definitely my biggest inspiration musically. His music made me want to write songs, and I’m still a huge fan today. I listen to a variety of different things because as an artist, Believe that you need to appreciate many different forms of music, not just music in a specific genre. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and I still love listening to oldies. I also grew up playing classical piano, and that music inspires me greatly as well. I like weird indie artists that few people have ever heard of (Lo-Fang and LP to be specific). And I’ll find myself listening to Top 40 songs too, they’re a guilty pleasure of mine.

MusicDash: What had been your favorite of most memorable performance thus far?

Hannah Ayrault: I sung the National Anthem for Detroit Tigers twice at Comercia Park in Detroit. Those performance were memorable because tens of thousands of people heard me sing at once and I had such an outpouring of love and support from my friends and family. I also had an EP release party this summer back in Detroit which was really fun. I had a full and and the place was packed. The party was one of those moments where my love for music and performing was reaffirmed, which was really nice.

MusicDash: You’ve recently done some work with TowerTube. You had a live session with them and you were a performer at their first showcase. How was that experience and how did you get connected with TowerTube?

Hannah Ayrault: I met Connor in my Spanish class, and he and Nicole produce TowerTube together. I shows in terse and they had an open spot, so it came together really nicely. TowerTube has been a really great platform for me. They shot a really cool video of me playing an acoustic version of one of my songs, and interviewed me as well. They also just put on a showcase of local singer-songwriters affiliated with Belmont (students and alumni) and it was really great to play there. Nicole and Connor are so nice and supportive and really love music, and that’s something I really like to see. I hope TowerTube takes off because ti’s a really great outlet for artists affiliated with Belmont.

MusicDash: Your new EP “Me Right Now” came out on October 14th! Tell us a little bit about the recording process.

Hannah Ayrault: The recording process for Me Right Now was awesome. My friend Ben, who’s an audio engineering major here at Belmont, recorded and produced one of my songs. He showed it to his friend Jon, who is a producer in Nashville, and we met for coffee in September of 2014 and decided to work together to record this EP. It was a long process – much longer that I expected. We spent two months on rewrites and preparation, and then we spent a few months recording demos. WE didn’t get to the actual recording until January 2015. Our last recording session was in May. It was such a great process, and I’m so glad we took the time to do it right. It’s an amazing feeling to hear your songs come together. It’s fascinating as well to hear other people’s ideas about your music. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, but the final product is better than I could have imagined.

MusicDash: What track on the EP are you most excited about releasing and why?

Hannah Ayrault: I’m excited to release all of the tracks! If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the title track, “Me Right Now.” I actually hated this song for the longest time because I had to rewrite almost the entire thing. Lyrically, it’s poignant and sums up something that a lot of people my age feel at this time of transition in our lives. We’re not kids, but we’re not really adults yet and we’re still trying to find our place in the world. It’s short and sweet and the production is perfect.

MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals surrounding music?

Hannah Ayrault: I want to be able to make a living off of music. Whether it’s selling out stadiums or playing small gigs back home, success to me means having the ability to spend my life doing what I love. And I really hope I get to do that. With my original songs, I really want people to connect and feel things. I want to write music that helps people get through life, whether that is a rough transition period or missing a friend or being in love for the first time. And even if one persons touched by what I write and put out there, I’ll consider that a success.

You can find Hannah at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/hannahayraultmusic

Instagram: www.instagram.com/hannahayrault

Twitter: www.twitter.com/hannahayrault

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/hannah-francis-ayrault

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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