Multiplatinum artist Kelly Clarkson unleashed her fifth studio album, Stronger, as a special Monday release on October 24. Known for her incredibly powerful and soulful vocal prowess and her unabashedly honest lyrics, Clarkson is showcased on Stronger at her all-time best.
“What separates this album are the vocals,” Clarkson said in a press release. “They sound richer and fuller, and, for the first time, how I sound when I’m performing live. The producers I worked with just let me sing and be me. They didn’t strip away the personality.”
“And it was one of those things where if the people I’m working with have confidence in me, I have more confidence in myself and that changed everything. I can’t wait to perform these songs on tour. I think that’s the best way to get to know an artist, and where you get to see actual personality, because we can’t hide much onstage.”
Clarkson co-wrote five of the 13 tracks on Stronger, which was produced by heavy hitters Rodney Jerkins, Greg Kurstin, Josh Abraham, and Toby Gad.
With the high energy dance-pop title track, “What Only Kills You (Stronger),” Clarkson belts out an empowerment anthem about not allowing the end of a relationship to be the end of her.
Everything Everytime Everywhere, the latest album from Vanguard Records recording artist, Trevor Hall is set to be released this week.
The 11-track album was produced by Jimmy Messer and boasts such musicians as Aaron Dugan, who has longtime played for Matisyahu (guitar), Brian Lang (bass), and Aaron Sterling (drums).
Influenced by his musical heroes Ben Harper and Bob Marley, Hall showcases his ability to write songs about life, love and community set to pop/rock/reggae beats that should appeal to the masses.
Everything Everytime Everywhere is the follow-up to Hall’s self-titled album, which was released back in 2009.
“With the last album, I was exploring more,” Hall said in a press release. “I was going through a struggle with myself, and all that grittiness came out. With this one, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I had much greater conviction.”
Look no further than Hall’s lead single, “Brand New Day,” to find the conviction he speaks of. The pop-rock anthemic tune speaks of letting go and embracing the present. The uplifting song is a great track to lead off with, because it paves the way for Hall’s lyrics to leave their musical message.
Standout tracks on Everything Everytime Everywhere include “Fire,” “Te Amo, and my personal favorite, “Dr. Suess.” What I like in particular about these three tracks is that they highlight the the vocal versatility of Hall’s voice. There’s a unique quality to his voice that truly separates him from other male singers today.
“Fire” is one of those tracks that as soon as you turn it on, it’s gonna make you want to move. The overall feel to the track is rock with reggae flavor thrown in for good measure. Cherine Anderson lends her voice as she throws down an impressive lyrical flow.
Jessie Frye describes her music as “Oscar Wilde climbing into a piano and drinking lots of espresso,” whereas I would describe the Texas native’s music as a refreshing addition to today’s music scene that is reminiscent of The Cranberries mixed in with PJ Harvey and Liz Phair, along with a dash of Sara Bareilles for good measure.
Frye’s first step into the musical world was when she was eight years old and started taking voice lessons. At around the age of 11 or 12, she began piano lessons. For Frye, it was right after she started playing piano that she realized that she was meant to be a creator and make music.
While growing up in Dallas, Texas, Frye listened to the music that that would shape her as an artist, including acts such as The Cure, Tori Amos, Michael Jackson and the pre-rapping days of Madonna. Also, as a huge fan of literature, she counts Oscar Wilde as a huge creative influence. She credits him, saying, “His outlook and his passion and his philosophy really inspired the core beliefs that I have about art.”
In 2008, Frye released her debut EP, The Delve, which she describes as having that “DIY charm,” and that “it’s very innocent, it’s very organic and raw.”
At age 22, the now Denton-based Frye is fresh off her third turn of performing at SXSW and is gearing up to release her second EP, Fireworks Child, this week.
Last month, I spoke with Frye over the phone to talk about performing live, her new EP, Fireworks Child, and her goals for the future. So, without further ado, meet Jessie Frye.
Around what age did you start writing music?
Well, like 11 years old. But, they were horrible, obviously. I feel like you have to feel things out and write some really private bad stuff before you start writing the good stuff. I know good is relative, but when you’re 11, your songwriting probably isn’t as polished as when you’re 20 or something like that.
As you progressed into writing songs that you would go on to perform, where was the inspiration coming from?
Experiences. I always try to think when I’m writing songs, I think a lot of people think, well, this is about love or this is about a relationship, but for me I try to describe it. Not so much that it’s storytelling, but it’s abstract at the same time, so you take whatever you want from it; like using metaphors, not using blatant sentences in your lyrics. To me, lyrics are a really, really important thing, and no matter how good the music is, I can’t listen to it if your lyrics are dumb. You know, I just can’t do it. I spend a lot more time on lyric writing than I spend on actually arranging the music.