Category Archives: Album Reviews

Artist Spotlight: April + Vista Magically Open for GoldLink

 

A magical duo you don’t want to miss out on.

I had the chance to cover the Goldlink show in Boston, at the Paradise Rock Club, two weeks ago. Let me tell you, it was a wonderful experience! I had arrived at the venue by 6:30, thirty minutes before the doors opened, and already, there was a line out the door and down the sidewalk. The kids were all chatting as everyone had arrived to the show in crews or as couples to the event.

Now, the crowd was already excited for the headliner who started as nothing but an underground rapper, but who is now known as the ring master to his artistry and devoted fans. With the energy filling the space, the first openers were to take the stage, and wow, did they own it. Enter April + Vista, an indie-R&B, neo-soul duo that emulated the vitality and power of The Fugees and the vibes of  NAO, Anderson .Paak, and Frank Ocean combined. Their music is practicality “genre-less” as they bend the status quo and concoct their own cocktail of music.

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Made up of April George and Matthew Thompson, these two, hailing from the DMV, released their debut EP Note To Self back in July of 2016. Their single “Beasts” reached about 53 K streams alone on Spotify. Now, of course, they have given themselves a huge opportunity by opening for both Masego and GoldLink.

Known as the “Stresswave pioneers”, April + Vista’s eclectic sound is truly what separates them from other artists. Honestly, everyone in the crowd was so extremely happy. It was just sheer love for the music, and it felt as though everyone in that room was truly a person who appreciated the noise produced rather than just the person that is the artist. From start to finish, April + Vista mesmerized us. They enchanted and captivated us and used this beautiful aura of melodies and vocals and instrumentals to lift us into an unearthly dimension. The audience was supportive, cheering at the top of their lungs and getting into it. No one minded if you bumped into them or if you decided to dance with them. People were not afraid to dance stupidly and sing at the top of their lungs. They echoed and called in unison, being cooperative to the duo. I had never seen anything like it before, and in the the darkness of the worn venue that is Paradise Rock Club, the intensity of the provocative and innovative pair stole our hearts.

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April surprised us all when she suddenly pulled out her valiant steed, the violin and began to stroke it in this array of beautiful whines! People didn’t know how to react except scream in excitement.

Montreal was a BLAST! Next stop, Philly! Who tryna get some cheesesteaks after the show? 📸: @chrisrocco

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If you have not hear them yet, then you must now! Listen above to be completely engulfed by the magic of these two’s creations.

Follow them on Instagram and Spotify now!

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Courtnie is Back with the Release of Her Glittering EP ‘I Feel Like Color’

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She’s back, and back with a full project of alternative energy which she titles I Feel Like Color. Courtnie now drops the EP that she had been working on for quite some time.

The EP consists of the alt-R&B track we featured before “Take a Dip”, “Slipping”, which is a winding, crooning melody, “Mesmerized”,  a dark tune with that atmospheric touch of Björk, “Never Be” a bellowing harmony, with the layers of her voice sounding like a ghostly lullaby, “U Don’t Have to Call”, which is a more 80’s soprano track with neon emotions and metallic falsettos about being self-assertive and self-dependent, and “LTMF” here we are offered a more funk-centric track that has the sounds of psychedelic guitar plucks and keyboard riffs along with rich lyrics and vocal tunes.

I feel like color!

A post shared by Courtnie (@kingcourtnie) on

You can see the range of Courtnie’s artistry which spans various genres across the board from just this project, but also from her past work. Each song fits within the EP as if it’s meant to be there and as this self-defining compilation slowly unravels before your eyes, you hear the transformations her voice travels through to embody each sound. She still has work to do to create a solid production, but she is a majority of the way there, with an undeniable talent that has to be heard and needs to be recognized.

Her music can lull you to sleep, but it could also arouse you, and getting blood and emotions flowing, and have the soul want to sing along to the cries she makes in her tracks. With love wrapped around the notes and lines that she confesses to us, we find a place for her music in our hearts and in our playlists.

 

For more from Courtnie, follow her on Instagram, SoundCloud, and Spotify

Emmit Fenn Tells an Electric Indie Story Via his Masterful EP ‘Prologue’

 

The soundtrack to life

Emmit Fenn is a singer, songwriter, and producer of indie electronic melodies and with those tunes he has accumulated over 23 million  Spotify streams thus far. It’s no secret that offbeat, downtempo music has become a sub-genre of the mainstream sounds, but Fenn is taking that noise and restructuring it into the cinematic soundscapes he now produces. These are the songs that will not only capture your soul, but will also instill a feeling of mystery and seductive darkness you weren’t aware you adored. It is the phantom of music that creeps in your dreams and that continues to keep you dreaming. It’s a lullaby with harmonies that shoot out in different directions and sounds. Each song takes you on a new adventure and every time it is never short of an exhilarating experience.

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I had the chance to interview this young producer from Berkley, CA  and there is no denying the fact that Fenn is a talented and intellectual artist. The first debut of his EP Painting Greys released back in 2015 and peaked at #1 on Spotify’s Global Viral chart for over a week! Now, the artist just released his EP Prologue in June of this summer, and it is one to not forget. With features like YUNA and Nylo on the record, there is only room for good vibes to fill the airspace. (You can listen to the project above!)

Fenn’s music is like watching a Terence Malik film- artistic, imaginative, and haunting. Wandering down his own black and white realms, the man who not only writes stories and composes the music, but also sings in them, walks us through these realms where hardcore synths, orchestral fabrications, and indie-pop vocals intertwine and fit in broken rhythms and fragmented beats. His music is complex, and you can hear the passion as he paints in the grey tones to his music.

Fenn’s alternative world sounds like a mixture of Godspeed, James Blake, RKCB, and Shy Girls! In each track of this EP, he travels down another exotic stream of consciousness.

So now Fenn, the jock/surfer-dude and sonic designer that he is, explained to me more of his story and how it all came to be.

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A post shared by Emmit Fenn (@emmitfenn) on

“I make electronic music, or that’s what they have categorized me as, but I kind of make everything across the board, from electronic to acoustic stuff to classic stuff and it started when I was 12, like the most stereotypical story in the world”, he chuckles to himself and continues, “I found my friend’s keyboard in his garage when he was moving and he just let me have it and i kind of just became obsessed with playing it. I would make all these Christmas albums for my family and friends every year and then I would keep making them for random holidays like Valentine’s day, and then I would have all of these classical albums then finally in 2013 when I graduated high school another one of my friend’s showed me how to use Logic, and showed me how to  make my own sound and then I started to make electronic music, and then it slowly kind of morphed into what I am doing today.”

The conversation went on about how that was an extremely movie-esque situation, and we laughed a bit more. The artist from the Bay Area then went on to discuss how he had grown up in kind of the perfect neck of the woods in terms of being a musician then.

“So many cool kids came from my high school. G-Eazy, Lonely Islanders, and other amazing musicians, and a lot of my friends made music and the Bay Area, Berkley, and Oakland have such a culture to it, it certainly helped out a lot”.

He continues, “I did my first show in Sweden which was super fun for a Sony live event; and Tove Styrke and some others were there, it was crazy, it was so fun, that was the first ever electronic show I have ever done”.

I asked him if he had traveled down the same path that some producers had done to kickstart their musical journeys as a producer, meaning was he first a DJ before entering this realm, or was it straight into the production scene. “It was straight to production, I went from really classical music into production and DJing, and I’m still not really a DJ because everything I do live is all done live.”

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I was curious to know how the amazing collaborations occurred and he was excited to tell the tale. “It was really crazy, I had written this song, and I knew that I really wanted a girl to be on the second verse and I was kind of looking through  the artists I really like and would really like to work with and then there was, you know, musicians we could probably get, and then there were musicians who were like ‘reach’ musicians and were probably people who were not going to do it, but let’s just ask, so we reached out to Yuna’s team, which I thought like ‘no way’, but she responded like a day later and  was like ya, ‘yup, that’s good’. The song was already written, I had already written her part, so she came in a week later and we recorded and it was done like a week later. It was really amazing. She’s so cool, we talk all the time, and she’s just a beautiful human being.”

“Then Nylo, she had done stuff for Zhu, and she like followed me on Soundcloud and I followed her back and that’s kind of how that started, and I was in the middle of a song that I wanted someone to sing on and I sent it to her and she just killed it”.

If you haven’t already seen the musician’s website yourself, then you better go check it out now because it is one of my favorite designs of a website ever. It perfectly portrays his music and how he wants you to experience his music and it gives each song a character of its own to play. “We kind of had this idea when I was still in the development stage, I had so much different music from like pure piano songs and to some that were dance/house songs, and we were trying to figure out how to make a branding fit this whole spectrum that of all the music that was being made of and we couldn’t figure anything out, and we reached out to this guy who does all of my artwork now with all of these ideas. One was this little bar, like this grayscale bar for a Soundcloud banner, and we all just kind of like, once we all saw that we all decided that that’s it, that right there was like the whole project, just that little bar, and we decided let’s put that on everything and kind of run with that, so we kind of decided that the bar would represent the range of music and the range of stories through the project. It kind of encompasses everything, when we reached out to Active Theory, we knew we wanted the bar to be the front and center thing, and that’s how it started and then it kind of started tumbling into more and more things like what if each bar represented a different song, and you clicked the song and you clicked on the bar and it represented a different experience and so ya, it was definitely a process of many different ideas.”

Speaking of ideas, as I had mentioned before, Fenn is a storyteller, and like any good narrator, he writes these stories down but in musical form. I wanted to know how the musical theory behind his music worked and how he approached the songwriting process. “I get asked this everyday, I write all the time, I have a notebook that I write stories in, kind of like a journal, so when I’m writing I just scroll through all my writing and pick out a story or an idea that I previously thought of, and mostly their just relationships… Sometimes the sound comes from the idea of the song or sometimes the opposite, the idea comes from the sound, there are so many different ways of going about songwriting.”

And like any artist, he wishes to evolve and transform his sound as much as he can. It’s a personal challenge he wishes to embrace, and that was one of the things he wanted his fans to take note of. “I think the biggest thing right now, what I want to get across is that no song or EP is going to be the same exact thing as the EP before. I know that people get crazy about when things are not the exact same, like ‘Oh, you got to make the same song as so-and-so’ but each EP is going to be a completely different genre and world than the one before it.”

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We then transitioned the conversation to have some fun, and get away from the seriousness of his career such as catch phrases, favorite artists to hopefully collaborate with and spirit animals.

He laughed at this one and confessed “it’s kind of a weird one but my favorite thing to say is “juug” instead of good, like ”oh that’s juug'”.

His dream artist to collaborate with would be Bon Iver. “Bon Iver, is just amazing, I don’t know if I would want to collaborate with him on a song, but just to play with him live on stage, would just be ugh, so amazing, I can’t, my first concert was Bon Iver…the other would be Marilyn Manson, first of all I think he’s a genius outside music, just politically, a super amazing speaker and really good person. And his music is just so far out there and on a different level “.

We also attempted to brainstorm a spirit animal and came across possibly a perfect choice. “Most of my music is really sad…so ya, like Eyore from Winnie the Pooh”. (Animal choice courtesy of my expertise).

Towards the end of our silly conversation, I asked him if there’s anything that we should be excited for in the coming future, to which he replied, “There is a new EP coming out… uhh haha how much can I tell you? Well, going on tour, and I’ll have more EPs out this year”!

It’s hard to believe that this budding 21-year old (same age as me!) has such a mastery in this art, and I was honored to be able to chat with him on what he is passionate form about. So… listen to his music above, drift away into this multi-dimensional world of sound, and be sure to stay tuned for when his new EP releases.

Also, don’t forget to follow him on his socials!

Soundcloud  Facebook  Instagram  Site  Spotify

Blonder Releases Project ‘$5’ and It is Thriving

 

Worth far more than just $5

Blonder’s $5 EP was released on July 23rd and fans were excited! This indie rock act puts the cool in chill vibes and revives an era of music that seems to have been lost many years ago. With a beach-house rock aura, he commands the sound waves with his impressive, natural ability to provide nostalgia in a track. With wistful lyrics and video-game tones woven into these post-punk sounds, we get what is this project of perfectly planned and designed songs. The EP includes 6 tracks: “Lean”, “Talk to Me”, “In and Out”, “What We Want”, “Upstate”, and “Just Because” (my personal favorite).

The music is honestly the soundtrack to the urban grunge of la la land and made for the cruel youth and rebels without a cause. The reckless and the free, the empowered and the dreamers. There’s something about this music that just keeps you moving and attracts the ear, even when it is not your taste.

Recently, Blonder played a residency at the Elvis Guesthouse with Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) and Aaron Maine (Porches). In addition, not many know that his own band consisted of artists such as Wet, Tei Shi, and Guards (to name a few) in the past.

The current full-band just completed their previous tour with Methel Ethyl, and now, Blonder is touring with Day Wave!

All in all, if one were to compare the musical stylings of this crafty and adept man, the sounds would be very similar to those of Vampire Weekend, Years & Years, Wrabel, and Banners, making music a light hearted, fun, and dance-worthy experience– what a power combination of artists! Listen to the music above to get a sense of the musical identity! And also check out below to see what Blonder shared as his top favorite songs!

 

 

Here’s his mega exclusive and unique playlist of amazing tracks that he loves to listen to and the rationale behind it all!

Arcade Fire – “Everything Now”

An Abba song with Thomas Bangalter, I think I read it was made in Paris, I want to believe that at least and it feels like, this was on in the van a lot for the first 2 weeks, a beautiful acoustic guitar sound in the verse, and a melancholy to the whole song, chords and lyrics, made it a perfect contemplative jam. Beautiful.

Lorde – Super Cut

The most pure heroine-esque song on the new record, which I have very mixed feelings about, seemingly with the unpopular opinion. It’s not the Lorde record I wanted, and she seems to have transformed into the wrong thing an artist can do when they’ve reached success, ie. ego driven and more emotionally vanilla. The old record was about the melancholic “we” and this new one about the rush of “I.” Anyway! This song, and a lot of the record, is beautiful to me. “Be a violent overnight rush”.

The Clash – “Magnificent Seven”

just pure swag, impossible to not feel cool listening to this – intersection of rock and funk, with an experimental recording, just incredible. i’m not too aware of the lyrics for this one, they seem a little obtuse but still hot. this one on repeat for days. the clapping, the triangle, the guitars.

Playboi Carti – “Location”

The sweeping synths that open this r so swaggy it’s insane. Love the lyrics too and how it’s not even rapping really, it’s just like being cool on a track. I like that idea of distilling a feeling of cool to such an essence that it’s just almost just ad-libs, and he’s pulling it off in a huge way! It’s a v real movement. And beautiful.

Migos – “Bad and Boujee”

Hadn’t really gotten into this song somehow when it was charting, but on the road one day I was driving alone in the van to get food or something before a gig and I put it on completely spur on the moment, and was truly blow away by how good the vocal production was, the mix, and the swag was literally insane. This song definitely made me feel like they deserved the love the song and the record got, just a masterclass in cool.

Day Wave – “We Try but We Don’t Fit In”

Jackson of day wave brought me out to sing this song with them at the El Rey and I spent the entire hour after our set listening and making sure I memorized the song, a really beautiful and transcendent moment for me. Anyway, I’m so glad I did learn it because I  hadn’t heard it before and it’s a beautiful piece of music.

Bruce Springsteen – “Something in the Night”

This feels like a melancholic ice cream on a summer night in love and with a head full of tequila at 2am. My drummer Noah Chenfeld showed this song to me while we were driving late after a show, he showed me a lot of Bruce, which I always liked but admittedly never fell deeply in love with. This is a good song to help you do that with.

Frank Ocean – “Biking (solo)”

I like how this version starts right at Frank’s verse with the acoustic guitar, feels like the perfect way to make a solo version. Although I loved Jay Z’s verse and the piano underneath it, this is somehow also perfect.

Blur – “Go Out”

Kind of a weird track from the 2015 record but it’s actually so so hot. Put it on while driving and felt it in a big way. I read they recorded it in Japan, and it just feels real swaggy. Damon can do no wrong, it’s kind of weird. He doesn’t always write home runs but they always have a sense of self and definition that’s incredible.

Bjork – “Violently Happy”

No one can do what she does, and this record is from 1993! It’s absolutely insane how important this person is, who else is able to curate this amy trends and sounds and make them their own? It’s like a more elegant, Scandinavian Kanye making art pop. This song is just beautiful, love the house vibes so so much.

Well that’s it! Amazing list!

Stay tuned with Blonder on social media! Facebook I Soundcloud I Site I Instagram I Twitter I iTunes

Opia Shares Amazing, Whimsical Project: ‘Faded’

Tunes to make out to are back and the chemistry is even hotter than before

In this eclectic escapade of a compilation,  Opia brings forth its well-constructed and highly sought out EP Faded. The electro-funk duo have been creating music since 2010 and have been releasing track after track in the following years. Today, the wait is over as their full project consisting of 6 tracks finally is released for all to hear and share!

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Like Sunday morning vibes,  these melodies take you on a dreamy trip into your inner erotic subconscious and sweep you off your feet to creep under the bed sheets with you and keep you there. It’s a blissful haze of sound that builds, destroy, and builds  the guitar riffs and vocals. These talented two, Opia, are going to go very far with their skills and I am very excited what they will produce as these guys are known to be innovators of their own, bewildering and attractive tunes!

“Heart of Gold”, the slow-tempo and genuine single, was the only song that was not released along with the other tracks, and so it was the surprise in the entirety of the album’s creation.

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Other songs included are “Faded”, an uplifting and anthemic track, “YDU”, a seductive and funky record, “Devil in Disguise”, a coarse and melodic rock song, “Secrets” ft Sam Fischer, a rhythmic, soulful tune, and lastly “Falling”, their electric, down-tempoed, cool, and erotic hit single.

All of these tracks have been released before, and in fact, the release plan began as of 2016 and have progressed since. The band slowly make their way to recognition by being noticed by Earmilk, TIME magazine, and making it to the top managers of an artist. Recently, the pair came back from their spectacular tour opening for Marian Hill. The boys will once  again be on tour starting as of this fall in Los Angeles, so be sure to check them out as they open for the talented, Whethan! For your consideration, the Touring List is Below!

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Los Angeles
San Francisco
Santa Cruz
San Luis Obispo
Portland
Vancouver
Eugene
Reno
Salt Lake City
Fort Collins
Lincoln
Lawrence
Fayetteville
Nashville
Atlanta
New Orleans
Orlando
Fort Lauderdale
Tampa
Charleston
Asheville
Morgantown
Baltimore

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Be sure to follow the dudes on these sites, for more information on the act and their latest happenings!

Instagram I Facebook I Twitter I Site I Spotify I Soundcloud

[Artist Spotlight]: Ollie Rodgers Brings You the Sounds of ‘Tropical Weather’

Surf’s up! Here’s the perfect soundtrack to your long summer days.

Looking for the serenading tunes of blissful guitar riffs and weening echoes of greener grass on the other side? Than here is your latest addition to your playlists. Meet Oliver Rodgers, also called Ollie Rodgers, who was a film & tv major and advertising minor at Boston University’s College of Communications. The 22 year-old has lived in various cities including Hong Kong, London, Boston, and Los Angeles, making his influences stem from various corners of the world. As a passionate individual for all forms of creative content, such as music, fashion, and media, he decided to take on the music world and found his talents in guitar and production.

His compositions come into this wonderful package of sound which he calls Tropical Weather. This 6-track EP summons emotions of nostalgia and grandiose desires to escape on a Great Escape of sorts. Personal favorites from the project would include “Big Wave Bay”, “Better Places”, and “Take It Easy (Interlude)”. Incorporating elements of Weezer, Franz Ferdinand, and Jack Johnson, Rodgers sweeps you away with sick vibes of rough vocals followed by falsettos and raw acoustics.

The reverbs of the strings pluck away to jazzy forms of melodies and transform into dynamic yet simple tones of harmonies. We sway to the ebb and flow of his songs as they take us through a ride of an “Endless Summer” saga of rhythms.

Still an up & comer, he has the potential to merge his throwback tunes into another generation and era of music as he continues to make more music and grow his number of listeners. Essentially, his music is the ultimate chill of noise, it’s something we all want.

Now, Rodgers is not only an artist in the singular sense of music however, he is also a creative in videography and an avid skateboarder and traveler. You can see the videos he has produced below:

As a multi-faceted artist, he intends to grow his musical audience so he can spend more time on his love of music!

To hear more from Ollie Rodgers, check him out on Social Media:

Instagram

Spotify

YouTube

SoundCloud

K. Flay Releases Sultry New Album ‘Everywhere is Somewhere’

Dreamers, get ready for a trip

K. Flay, neé Kristine Meredith Flaherty, is an American pop-rock princess. Her eclectic and mysterious sound is what got her here in the first place, a position she most certainly deserved. She is a talented young woman with a force to rally the riots.

She now releases her highly anticipated studio production Everywhere is Somewhere, a riveting compilation of tunes and melodies.

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This album will have people singing “I want more” along with this innovative artist who utilizes as many aspects of noise that she can to build a solidified and harmonized world.

She blends worlds of various genres such as hip-hop, pop, and alternative/indie rock and this only demonstrates the power she holds over her own sound. Via melodic murmurs, this Illinois-born rockstar incorporates a sultry sadness in the music she produces.

This album is not one to miss, with amazing singles such as “High Enough”, “Black Wave”, “Blood in the Cut” and  “Dreamers,” you absolutely cannot go wrong with this Lana Del Ray, Blackbear, Bjork, Lykke Li sounding artist.

K. Flay is such an interesting character and a fresh sound, no doubt about that. She was originally a Stanford University of California student, who once picked up the mic to mock pop-hip ballads and their demeaning messages of misogyny, and only came to find that people really enjoyed her version of bold revolutionary songs. Thus began her successful journey down this path as a serious career.

She moved to San Francisco and jumped in the studio and was constructing what would be her first hits. Back in 2004, K. Flay dropped Suburban Rap Queen (her first big debut), followed by Mashed Potatoes, and then Life as a Dog which was the project that made the Billboard Top 200 Albums!

This Interscope Records signee has already toured both the US and Europe, and we’re excited to see what other incredible experiences this woman of force will venture on as she produces more!

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Listen here now:

Be sure to follow her now on both Instagram and Facebook!

[Artist Spotlight]: Rodga Takes You For a Ride with the ‘Backseat Mix’

Ride with me

You’re about to be in for an incredible musical experience as you live in the dimensions of Rodga and his eclectic beats.

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This man knows the power of sounds as he melts together the heated tracks against the cold noises of production to create his music. He recently released his new mixtape the Backseat Mix, and the only way to best describe this project is “fire.”

This 56 minute progression of sound waves will revive you and reiterate incantations to bring out your soul and recreate new emotions with each melody. The young DJ from Toronto, Canada, a hot spot of talented artists, incorporates remixes and originals to build such a cool piece for listeners to hear.

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Let Rodga take you to a whole new level through the music. Let the vibes wash over you as it resonates with you physically and emotionally. Let the music make you sway.

Rodga constructs a home from the echoes and reverbs of house, trap, and electronic music. This guy is so talented and it shows through his work and passion or the music.

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“Nothing too serious on a technical standpoint but the songs in this mix are very dear to me” says the curator of sound. Rodga, the 21-year old, just before this release, also dropped a studio EP earlier in December titled “Unmask”, fully mixed and mastered to perfection. Listen to it now below:

I look forward to seeing where this artist will go as he continues to expand his musical creations and grow his fan base!

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Follow Rodga on Social Media:

Instagram

Facebook

SoundCloud