December 1st, 2021

best-of-2021

Best of 2021 – Last year we missed doing our annual “Best Of.” This year we present it after a year of quarantine albums galore. Tours didn’t start until May but new music was flowing from the start of 2021. 2022 is already aiming to be a busy year. Here are our choices for the Best of 2021.

We’ve evolved from Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion and others of last year to a new crop of artists.

Best Label – Fire Talk Records – Home to Bnny, Mamalarky, Packs and more this boutique label is setting up to be the next Saddle Creek Records.  

Secretly Group @secretlygroup, Saddle Creek Records @saddlecreek, Fire Talk Records @firetalkrecs, Don Giovanni Records @DonGiovanniRecs

Nest New Artist –  “New” is always relative. Georgia Maq has been part of Camp Cope, and Isabella Manfredi was part of The Preatures. Our winner is Ashe who album Ashlyn was hard to put down this year.

Georgia Maq @goldsoundz_, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Ashe @ashemusic, Jillette Johnson @jillettejohnson, Hawxx @hawxxmusic,  Noa Kirel @noakirel, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Killboy @killboy , Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd , Ydegirl @ydegirl, The Linda Lindas @the_linda_lindas, Allison Ponthier @allisonponthier, Isabella Manfredi @isabellamanfredi, Pom Pom Squad  @pompomsquad

Best Local (Colorado) Artist – Local artists can often be touring or even national acts. This category was very competitive with the amount of quarantine albums that came out. Our winner is Companion who mesmerized us in the Spring. They will quickly become a national act.

Companion @companiontheband , Wellington Bullings @wellingtonbullings, Jenny Shawhan @jennyshawhan, The Velveteers @thevelveteers , Grand Alliance @LeGrandAlliance, Bunny Blake @bunnyblakemusic, Ellsworth @ellsworththefolksinger, Stop Motion, Lvdy @lvdy, Lolita  @lolitaworldwide

Best Dance – Dance is also electronic and electro pop. Magdalena Bay & Sofi Tukker are the 800 lb gorillas in this category. Kito is our winner for surprising collaborations.

Magdalena Bay @magdalenabay, Sofi Tukker @sofitukker, Kito @kito

Best Pop – Pop like Indie is often open to interpretation. It is often what dominates at venues. Our winner is Charlotte Cardin whose Phoenix album was one of the best albums this year.

Hana Vu @hanavuuu, Lucy Dacus @lucydacus, Japanese Breakfast @jbrekkie, Baby Queen @queenofthebabies, Charlotte Cardin @charlottecardin, Jess Chalker @jess_chalker_, May-A @mayacumming, Ashe @ashemusic, Girl In Red @girlinred, Angèle @angele_vl, Sloppy Jane @sloppyjanebandd, Nadia Vaeh @nadiavaeh, Olivia Rox @oliviarox, Number One Popstar @numberonepopstar, Bahari @bahari, Noga Erez @nogaerez, Lola Lennox @lolalennex

Best Rock – Rock is often the guitar driven beat that keeps you going. Kill Birds, who have been touring with Foo Fighters are our winner.

Royal and the Serpent @royalandtheserpent,  Amyl and the Sniffers @amylandthesniffers, Mattiel @mattielworldwide , Upsahl @upsahlmusicl, Self Esteem @selfesteemselfesteem, Kill Birds @killbirdsmusic, Nadia Sheikh @nadiasheikhmusic, Red Hook @weareredhook, Pom Pom Squad @pompomsquad

Best Indie –  Indie always means both a sound but also a level of development. These are the artists at the small venues touring to survive. We have a diverse selection this year. Bnny is our winner.

Torres @torreslovesyou, The Beths @lizstokedstokes, Bnny @bnnyband, Madi Diaz @madidiaz, Marissa Nadler @marrisa_nadler, Jillette Johnson @jillettejohnson, Siiickbrain @siiickbrain, Sub*t @subtrules, Killboy @killboy, Cumgirl8 @cumgirl8, L’Freaq @lfreaq, Madelline @i.am.madelline, Anna Smyrk @annasmyrk

Best Experimental – There is always a “flinch” moment when you saw experimental. It involves a great deal of risk as personified by our winner Fifi Rong who is working on her dual album set with one album all in English, and one all in Chinese. She is crowdfunding now.

Insect Ark @insectark, Fifi Rong @fifirong, Sasami @sasamiashworth, Irreversible Entanglements @irreversibleentanglements, Haru Nemuri @haru_nemuri

Best Hip Hop – This is the first year that FEMMUSIC has this category. There may be some arguments as to whether all these artists fit it. Coi Leray is the best newcomer in this area. Ray BLK is our winner.

Bia @bia, Tones and I @tonesandi, Doja Cat @dojacat, Sza @sza, Cardi B @iamcardib, Megan Thee Stallion @theestallion, Coi Leray @coileray, Ms Banks @msbanks, Ray BLK @rayblk, Remi Wolf @remiwolf, Tinashe @tinashenow

Best Jazz – We will admit to not hearing as much jazz this year. Laufey is the winner with original interpretations of classics.

Laufey @laufey, Nnenna Freelon @officialnnenna

Best Country – Brandi Carlile is a favorite in this category and will take home more GRAMMYs. Allison Russell wins for being new and original.

Brandi Carlile @brandicarlile, Allison Russell @allisonrussellmusic, Yola @iamyolaofficial, CMAT @cmatbaby, Jackson & Sellers @jacksonsellersmusic, Ingrid Andress @ingridandress

Best Heavy Metal – Infected Rain is a former winner in this category. Jinjer, Halestorm & The Pretty Reckless dominate. The Velveteers are this year’s winner.

Hawxx @hawxxmusic, Edge of Paradise @edgeofparadise, Jinjer @jinjer_official, The Velveteers @thevelveteers, Infected Rain @infectedrain_official, The Pretty Reckless @theprettyreckless, Halestorm @halestormrocks

Best R & B –  This category includes powerhouses like Arlo Parks and Dawn Richard. Alewya is our winner for new and original music this year.

Muni Long @munilong, India Shawn @indiashawn, Dawn Richard @dawnrichard, Alewya @alewya11, Arlo Parks @arloparks, Tkay Maidza @tkaymaidza, Danielia Cotton @danieliacotton, Saleka @saleka

Best Surprise – A “surprise” for us is that unexpected performance when it was not expected. It includes some risky performances such as LVXURI and Big Klit. S.G. Goodman is our hands down winner. We caught her as an opener and she garnered as much reaction as the headliner. She is a blunt, and emotive songwriter.

S.G. Goodman @s.g.goodman, Kiesza @kiesza, LVXURI @mx_lvxuri, Big Klit  @klitoriusmaximus

Best Comeback – This has been a surprisingly competitive category. Whether it’s the return of ABBA after a long time to Adele’s new album. The big surprise this month is Taylor Swift taking the world with the longest song. She is our winner.

Kylie Minogue @kylieminogue, Avril Lavigne @avrillavigne, Deborah Gibson @debbiegibson, Liz Phair @LizPhairOfficial, Taylor Swift @taylorswift , ABBA @ABBA, Adele @adele, Lorde @lorde

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November 24th, 2021

Olivia O’Brien with UPSAHL and drumaq at Gothic Theatre, Englewood, CO
November 23, 2021
Photos by David A. Barber

@gothictheatre  @oliviaobrienmusic  @upsahlmusic  @drumaqmusic  #RockOnColo

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November 11th, 2021

@gflip

@upsahlmusic

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May 14th, 2021

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April 1st, 2021

Hunter Moreau is originally from Massachusetts. She is now working with Doug Schadt who has produced everyone from Maggie Rogers to SHAED. Today she releases the official video for  “Hazy.”

“As simple as it may sound, ‘Hazy’ is about the pure bliss of summer nights,” shares Moreau.

 “Doug and I were reminiscing about stories with friends, both new and old, and the magic that seems to happen on warm nights where nothing seems to really matter. We wrote this song to capture the nostalgia of looking back on those carefree times, and longing for that same feeling again. The feeling that no other moment matters besides right now. The excitement of not caring how exactly you’re going to get home, or where you even are, but just knowing that you want whatever feeling this is to last forever.”

The song is co-written by Cara Salimando.

Her debut single “Drive In” and its accompanying video officially dropped in November of 2019. Hunter wrote the song at 16 years old after an intense 11-hour surgery that removed a precancerous cyst from her bile duct. The song quickly amassed well over 100k streams on Spotify and caught the attention of veteran music managers Ron Shapiro and Joe Hegleman (Regina Spektor, Melanie Martinez, UPSAHL).

https://huntermoreau.com/

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February 16th, 2021

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November 5th, 2020

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December 7th, 2019

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August 12th, 2019

Upsahl - Shervin Lainez

Upsahl is Taylor Upsahl. She is originally from Phoenix and now lives in LA. She comes from a musical family. Her father Mike is in and toured with a number of bands. She has released music independently before she was signed to Arista. This year she released Hindsight 20/20 which is a pop album filled with clever lyrics. The EP is produced by Mike Green and is filed with songs including “Stressed”, “All My Friends Are Rich”, “SMARTY”, “Fine” and “Drugs”

Upsahl recently released “Wish You’d Make Me Cry

She will be touring soon with Tessa Violet. For info visit https://www.upsahl.com/

FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Hindsight 20/20?

U: I think the biggest challenge for putting together the EP was picking only five songs out of the 200 I had written last year. I spent my first year in LA writing a new song pretty much every day, so I wanted to make sure that each of the songs on Hindsight 20/20 were the most authentic representation of where my life is at right now.

FEMMUSIC: I was able to catch you live a couple of months ago. I was struck by how similar in theme “Drugs” and “All My Friends Are Rich” are. I was curious what personal experiences drove making those songs.

U: “Drugs” and “All My Friends Are Rich” are both commentaries on LA and how I was feeling when I first got there. “Drugs” is about meeting fake people at parties and wishing I could find genuine connections in such a saturated city. I definitely struggled to find people that made me feel like the best version of myself when I first moved to LA because I feel like the culture in that city is very self involved, with a “fake it till you make it” vibe, so making real friends was hard for me at first. I wrote “All My Friends Are Rich” about how I felt when I started working on music in LA. I started to meet all these incredible people, but a lot of them were older than me and had their shit together way more than I did, with way more money than I had. I basically just wanted the song to be a fun vibe with relatable lyrics, and what twenty year old can’t relate to being broke?

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Arista. How are they to work with? What made you decide to sign with them?

U: Arista is a dream come true. The way I ended up at Arista is actually kind of crazy. I had met David Massey and I immediately could tell that he understood me. He hit me up saying he was reopening Arista and wanted to sign me as the first artist on the label. Not only has signing a record deal been a major life goal for me, but to sign to such a legendary label like Arista is a true honor. I feel really thankful for my team there.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Mike Green. How did you meet? How did you decide to have him produce the EP?

U: I met Mike Green in a writing session when I first moved to LA, and I immediately fell in love with his production style. He has made such incredible songs with alternative artists in the past, so I was really stoked to be able to work with him on “SMARTY.”

FEMMUSIC: Unlike a lot of artists you had a better idea of what touring life and the music industry was before you began. What do you tell other artists about touring? What is your own survival skill doing it?

U: I am in love with touring and being on the road. Growing up, performing was always my favorite thing to do, so to be able to wake up in a different city every day and play for a new crowd of people each night is pretty rad. I normally am a very stressed person, but for some reason when I’m on the road, I’ve gotten really good at just rolling with the punches. I’m still so new to touring, but so far I’m obsessed with it. I would do it year round.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

U: I guess my biggest songwriting “technique” is to just treat writing as a venting session. When I first moved to LA, writing every day was like therapy to me, so however I was feeling that day, I would put that feeling into a song. I think the coolest thing about music is that it allows us to be vulnerable in such a creative way, so I really try to hang on to that honestly and vulnerability when I’m writing.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

U: Weezer’s “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” has always been one of my favorite songs. I grew up listening to them all the time, and the songwriting of that song is just crazy. I feel like Weezer really evolved pop/alternative music and writing, so I take a lot of inspiration from their first two albums.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

U: All women in any industry face a lot of challenges on the daily, unfortunately. I work in a part of the music industry that involves working with a lot of rad creative people who are very aware of the power of women in music. Sometimes though, I feel like people think that a young female artist who writes her own songs can’t actually write, and they think it’s always cowriters or producers doing the work, and the artist just putting her name on it. That’s not the case most of the time. Some of the best writers/producers/artists I have ever worked with are women. We’re definitely headed in the right direction with gender equality in music, but I think we still have a ways to go.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

U: I would absolutely love to collaborate with Kevin Parker. Tame Impala has always one of my favorite bands, and I really think he’s a fucking genius. It would be a dream to work with him.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

U: I wish social media wasn’t such an essential part of starting a career as an artist. It’s frustrating that sometimes we find ourselves looking up an artist’s Instagram before actually listening to their music. We’re not meant to be social media influencers. We’re musicians. I love social media and am so thankful for what it has done for artists like myself, but it

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July 26th, 2019

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February 8th, 2019

Upsahl says of her new video for “Drugs”

Regarding the video, she said, “I knew I wanted to make a house party video for “Drugs,” as that’s where the inspiration for the song came from. The whole point is that it’s a metaphor for dealing with fake people and superficial conversations, so we wanted to replicate that feeling throughout the video with fake and colorful “drugs.” Patrick Lawler, the director, did all of the special effects himself. He’s the sh*t, and this video is so dope!”

Upsahl comes from the Phoenix, AZ music scene and released her first EP at 17. Upsahl’s songs are filled with inventive lyrics driven by a pop happy sound. She will be opening for Max Frost on his tour beginning March 1. For info visit https://www.upsahl.com/

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December 7th, 2018

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