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Ari Chi on redefining Beauty, Womanhood, and Sexuality

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Dripping in funk, r&b, and soul, Ari Chi likes to say that she defies categorization.

And she’s right; she does it effortlessly so. Her stunning, eclectic visuals and colorful creative direction transcends her ability to be confined to a specific genre. Ari is not only authentic but defines beauty, womanhood, and sexuality in her own unique way.

The Florida native is a singer, songwriter, and producer whose presence skyrocketed in the music industry after her cover of Desiigner’s “Timmy Turner” garnered over 98,000 views on Youtube. Following Ari’s online buzz, she recently dropped her EP “Lost In The Hues” last week.

Ari’s breathtaking voice and signature ukulele has pushed her career in all the right places, taking her on a self-discovering journey of who she is and what she wants to represent in the music business.

Your presence is one that is closely tied with femininity and womanhood. How do you stay connected with that part of yourself and channel it into your lyrics?

I definitely talk a lot about love and I don’t necessarily talk about the sex of the person that I’m talking about so I kind of leave it open ended for the listener to put themselves in whatever shoes they think I’m in. I leave that open dialogue and I’m not too specific. So that helps because a lot of people can’t really determine if I’m straight, gay or bi and I kind of love that. A lot of people can relate to my music, especially women. I try and stay connected with that and stay aware of leaving that openness in my lyrics.

In this day and age, feminism has sort of twisted itself into a controversial place. What are your thoughts on what feminism stands for?

People have put like this negative connotation on feminism, especially through social media. You know, it’s easy to retweet something, put a quote on it, and make someone else think you said something else. I think feminism is just women sticking up for women. Girl power. Point blank. I think it’s more of womanhood, and people get intimidated by that. But women are the reason why everyone else is here. Our presence is being felt and heard now and that scares a lot of people. Feminism is beautiful, as is women unity. I find it beautiful and I should talk about it more, but it is something I am aware of and something I like to be accountable with.

Do you think the music industry’s double standard is dying down or does it still hold the same gender bias?

At least from my experience, I haven’t found, in the music industry, a problem being a woman yet. I have heard a lot of stories and I’ve heard a lot of experiences from people who are close to me, but my personal past and my personal experience hasn’t really been affected. I produce a lot of my own stuff, and so I have found that a lot of people I produce for are men so they’re very appreciative. I don’t know, maybe it is tied into that but people are surprised when I tell them I produce and that I write my own stuff. That could be a form of it, but that’s not negative for me. It’s more of like, “Oh wow! You do this and this and this.” So I look at it, and I turn it into a positive thing. I think everyone could look at their situation and make it either negative or positive but as far as the industry goes, I know that double standards are there and I just haven’t had to experience them in my journey.

What are your main impulses to write about music?

Definitely colors and art. They inspire things that wouldn’t necessarily make someone think that it came from me watching someone paint but that’s just where my initial influences come from. Watching people create, interact, mess up, fix their mess ups. Actually, a lot of my lyrics are not about me or my personal experiences. It’s just a lot of interacting. You know, I’ve always been the girl that’s there for everyone. I’m the one that a lot of my friends call, just vent to; there’s not too much of my life and thoughts because I don’t really talk to a lot of people about my feelings or what I’m going through but I do incorporate other people’s stories. So art and interactions with other people drive my inspirations for my music.

Any artists that have inspired you lately?

Hiatus Kaiyote is one of my favorites; the lead singer is amazing. Also Lauryn Hill – and a lot of people have said actually, that my style when I’m performing live reminds them of her. Alicia Keys, of course, I connect with her a lot.

How would you describe the music scene of the city you are currently living in and how important is it in terms of what you’re actually writing about?

The music scene in Tampa, Florida, inspires me mainly because a lot of the musicians are also visual artists. They are very involved with the art around their music, and a lot of our events are art and music events so that’s been really helpful because art and color are really the base for all that I create. I figured out what I wanted to do pretty late in the game; moving to Tampa in 2015, moving in with my boyfriend who’s an artist, it’s helped me. Growing with the craft around other people too is just great cause it drives me to create even more.

Your songs are filled with raw, passionate lyrics. Do you have qualms about being misunderstood in what you release?

So, I released “These Parts”, a song about interracial love, almost a year ago. I used this little promo clip with an older white man and an older black woman. It was a clip from an interview from Youtube because someone had told me it reminded them of my song. When I had put it up on Instagram, a lot of younger black women were like, “Ew! Gross! What the hell is this?” Because a lot of things had been happening at the time and I totally understand where there were coming from; a lot of people were getting shot and the bad news had been coming nonstop. So I understood where that anger was coming from. But I am multiracial, so without that other races I wouldn’t be here. I wanted to bring both sides of who I am together, and celebrate that you know. Because my mom is a strong Italian, white woman. She’s amazing; she’s at all the rallies, supports, is a good ally to the black community.

It’s hard to see people attack that part of me. It’s hard to explain who you are to both sides. It was one of the hardest releases I did, but it was also the most popular. So if you stay in your comfort zone, it will kill you. For me, people needed to hear that and I’m happy I did it. Sometimes going out of your comfort zone is the best thing you can do for yourself.

Congratulations on the release of your EP! What were some of the artistic goals that you wanted to accomplish in “Lost In The Hues”?

How “Lost In The Hues” all started was I was asked to come up to Atlanta to work with this guy named Jeremy Brown. He’s Dreams executive producer and engineer so he works for Dream and any artist that Dream writes for. I didn’t know that at the time but when I went up there, we wrote two or three songs and record one. He loved it. We were actually going to push them for other artists but then he told me that I was really good, and that he loved my voice, didn’t want to place these songs, and wanted to make a project with me. That’s how it started.

If you listen to this EP and then my other songs, it’s definitely different than anything I’ve ever released. It’s a lot more “mainstream” and it’s because the first couple of songs were made for Rihanna, Kesha, and etc. But this project is about me showcasing my writing ability and diversity. “Lost In The Hues” is sort of this metaphor meaning I am lost in all these genres. People who know me for the ukulele, they aren’t necessarily going to understand why I’m doing this but basically each track is a different genre. We made it in like two weeks and I just- I really love it.

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Dianna Lopez: The new Queen of Alternative music

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There’s a new sheriff in town! Oh, and by the way, her name is Dianna Lopez. And did we mention she can sing her as* off! In a world saturated with hip-hop and r&b, the New York native is in an alternative lane of her own. If Sade had a baby, Lopez would hands down fit the bill. Her sultry sound is nostalgic, yet contemporary –– not mention hypnotizing. NDLYSS spoke with with her recently in a one-on-one interview to find out the scoop on the new face of indie rock.

Dive in below.

Much of your music video collection utilizes strong storytelling technique, where do you draw your creative inspiration from and how hands-on are you with directing?

It all depends on the video, but most of the time I’m doing my visuals with friends or people who I know, it’s a collaboration. I usually come up with a concept or vision board of what I see… I’m pretty hands on. I like to keep things super simple. Honestly, some of the visuals were actually shot in my house.

What artists were you listening to in your younger years?

I definitely listen to Sade, my parents were always playing her growing up. Honestly, when you think about it Beyonce and Rihanna were like the only black girls that were pretty big when I was growing up. They were the people who I was listening to in middle school and high school. They were the only ones being represented in the media. I also listened to a lot of Donna Summers and a lot of old school music. I was only exposed to r&b and hip-hop when I was younger but as I get older I’ve found more interest in alternative music.

Do you have a theatrical background? I’ve noticed a recurring theme in your dance moves.

I grew up doing ballet and some interpretive dance at the Dance Theatre of Harlem. I’ve always loved to sing, act, and dance but I wasn’t sure which one I would pick growing up so I just picked all three. The one I really stuck to was singing.

Black Musicians are often boxed in by r&b and rap expectations, how difficult was it to find support on an alternative road less traveled?

It was really difficult when I first started. If you listen to my earlier music on Soundcloud you’ll hear the difference of people influencing me to do certain beats that is geared towards more of an r&b sound but it’s never really what I wanted to do. Once I started speaking out about what I was more interested in doing people would tell me it’s boring or that no one is going to want to listen to it. I just had to block out those negative people because if you love something you just have to do it regardless of people’s opinions.

Referencing your track “Tell me why – Brown Skin Song,” which you wrote as an open letter to women of color, have you ever faced colorism or shadeism in the music industry?

I’m going to steer away from the music industry because I wrote that song in the beginning stages of my career. My friend Dave Langston co-wrote the song. I decided to go with that song because I grew up in a town called Rockland County. Most of the schools that I attended were predominately white so a lot of my friends were white. I was always the one black girl… I dealt with a lot of racism although they didn’t realize they were doing it. I didn’t want to go out in the sun because I didn’t want to get too dark. I grew out of it and began to love myself. I want people to know black is beautiful.

“Predictable” is your first release of 2019 as a follow up to your 2018 EP, Foreign Space. What the overall concept?

It just so happened that some guy I used to talk to who comes in and out of my life as he pleases hit me up out of the blue. I’m at the point in my life where I’m not mad about him coming in and out, I’m just like you’re predictable. You can come but I’m not going to pay you much mind. He comes around every few months. It’s a pattern! I just wrote a song about it.

What in-store for your upcoming indie rock EP?

My fans can expect me to be more into my sound than I’ve ever been. There will be five songs on there with no features, it’s just me.

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The Chainsmokers Announce “WORLD WAR JOY” North American Tour

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Rich Fury/AMA2017/Getty Images Portrait

Grammy Award-winning artist/producer duo The Chainsmokers have announced their massive “WORLD WAR JOY” North American headline arena tour for fall. Multi-platinum band 5 Seconds of Summer, who is featured on The Chainsmokers’ latest single “Who Do You Love,” will be joining all dates along with rising pop star Lennon Stella, who is opening the show. The 41-city tour, produced by Live Nation, will kick off on September 25 in Cincinnati, OH and make stops in major cities across the U.S. and Canada before wrapping in Vancouver, BC on December 6. See full tour routing below.

Tickets for the tour will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, February 15 at 10 am local time at LiveNation.com. Additionally, The Chainsmokers will offer VIP packages for each show with options that include premium seating, an invitation to The Chainsmokers’ soundcheck, a Q&A session with Alex and Drew immediately following soundcheck, specially designed merchandise and more. Fans can visit www.VIPNation.com for more information.

The tour announcement comes on the heels of The Chainsmokers’ latest single “Who Do You Love” featuring 5 Seconds of Summer. Released last week via Disruptor Records / Columbia Records, the track immediately shot to No. 1 on iTunes and has already accumulated nearly 14 million combined global streams to date. Additionally, the track was added to Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist in 37 countries, added to their largest playlist Today’s Top Hits and added to Today’s Hits on Apple Music.

The Chainsmokers Tour Dates:

September 25 — Cincinnati, OH @ U.S. Bank Arena

September 27 — Boston, MA@ TD Garden

September 28 — Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena

September 29 — University Park, PA @ Bryce Jordan Center

October 3 — Detroit, MI @ Little Caesars Arena

October 4 — Chicago, IL @ United Center

October 5 — St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center

October 8 — Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena

October 9 — Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre

October 11 — Pittsburgh, PA @ PPG Paints Arena

October 12 — Buffalo, NY @ KeyBank Center

October 13 — Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center

October 15 — Washington, DC @ Capital One Arena

October 17 — Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center

October 20 — Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena

October 22 — Atlanta, GA @ State Farm Arena

October 24 — Miami, FL @ AmericanAirlines Arena

October 25 — Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena

October 26 — Orlando, FL @ Amway Center

October 29 — New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center

October 31 — Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center

November 1 — Austin, TX @ Frank Erwin Center

November 2 — Houston, TX @ Toyota Center

November 6 — Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center

November 7 — Indianapolis, IN @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse

November 8 — St. Louis, MO @ Enterprise Center

November 9 — Madison, WI @ Coliseum at Alliant Energy Center

November 12 — Milwaukee, WI @ Fiserv Forum

November 14 — Oklahoma City, OK @ Chesapeake Energy Arena

November 15 — Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center

November 16 — Wichita, KS @ INTRUST Bank Arena

November 19 — Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center

November 21 — Salt Lake City, UT @ Vivint Smart Home Arena

November 23 — Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena

November 24 — San Diego, CA @ Viejas Arena

November 26 — Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum

November 29 — San Francisco, CA @ TBA

December 1 — Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center

December 3 — Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome

December 5 — Portland, OR @ Moda Center

December 6 — Vancouver, BC @ Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena

Courtesy of PR NEWSWIRE

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Hailey Knox’s “Bittersweet, Poetic Confessional” Gets Cinematic Reimagining in New Music Video

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Hailey Knox

Coinciding with the first date of her debut headlining tour, today “music sensation” (People) Hailey Knox has dropped the all-too-relatable music video for her song “Hardwired”. Co-starring Cameron Boyce (from Disney’s “Descendants”) and shot at the YouTube Space in NYC, the video for “Hardwired” captures the lyrical content of the song, highlighting the isolated, disconnected growing pains of a young woman trying to find her voice: a somber Hailey sits at a diner with friends and imagines herself breaking out her introversion, finally feeling free to express herself.

Conceptualized in her bedroom and written on a hotel floor, “Hardwired” is one of Hailey’s most personal songs in her already impressive catalog of work. “I feel like I’m singing the notes jotted down in my journal” Hailey shared with Ladygunn who premiered the video today, while Sirius XM’s “The Coffee House” also recently added the song to their rotation. The track will also be a part of an upcoming Acoustic Cafe session.

The “bittersweet, poetic confessional” (Atwood) is the title track off of her recently released ‘Hardwired Mixtape’, a “soulfully infectious” (Brightest Young Things) collection of professionally recorded tracks, short voice memos, and demo-like looping snippets that showcase an artist with songwriting chops wise-beyond-years, and an unforgettable live performance where Hailey has the “ability to create a symphony of sounds with just her voice, a guitar and a looping pedal” (Earmilk).

Her headlining tour, which starts today in Philadelphia, will stop in 14 cities including New York City, Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, and Nashville. The tour follows a recent performance at SUNDANCE as part of the BMI “Snowball” showcase. Hailey promoted that appearance by performing on local morning shows Good Day Utah (KSTU) and Salt Lake City Fresh Living (KUTV).

THE HARDWIRED TOUR DATES

2/12 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
2/14 – Baltimore, MD – Metro
2/16 – Pittsburgh, PA – Smiling Moose
2/17 – Detroit, MI – Lager House
2/19 – Chicago, IL – Shubas
2/22 – Nashville, TN – High Watt
2/23 – Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn
2/24 – Richmond, VA – The Camel
2/25 – Washington D.C. – Songbyrd
2/27 – Asbury Park, NJ – Wonder Bar
2/28 – New York, NY – The Loft @ City Winery
3/1 – Hamden, CT – The Space
3/2 – Amityville, NY – Amityville Music Hall
3/3 – Boston, MA – Middle East

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