Live Stream Rewind – October & November 2020

By Taylor Davies

 

 

Live Stream Rewind is where we recap our Instagram Live performances over the past months. We host UArts artists as well as artists affiliated with the UArts community, giving you the expansive experience of the Philadelphia area! This rewind features artists America Loves Me, BUG MARTIN & CO., Nico Bryant, and Bria Elena. I sat down to ask the musicians a few questions about their experience making music and how they’re handling the performance aspect during the pandemic.

 

 

 

Quinton Watkins is a senior MBET (Music Business, Entrepreneurship, and Technology) student at UArts that makes music under the name America Loves Me. The project started in the summer of 2019 with the intent of releasing an instrumental electronic album but quickly morphed into an experimental solo pop project due to his growing interest in artists like Charli XCX, SOPHIE, and Carly Rae Jepsen. America Loves Me’s sound is an attempt to combine the wild production style of hyper-pop and emotional lyricism of artists like Bon Iver and The World is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die. America Loves Me is Quinton’s outlet to express and liberate himself musically and emotionally, while still writing and producing his own brand of pop music.

 

How was your experience performing on the live stream? How did it feel compared to the usual performance environment outside of COVID?

Prior to COVID, I only performed twice under America Loves Me, but the energy feels totally different. I’m happy I finally figured out a setup where it sounds professional live streaming from my bedroom, but nothing will beat performing live. I had the opportunity to perform in my hometown in January and it was one of the most amazing performances I’ve ever done. To see friends and family come out and support me means a lot. You just don’t get the same feeling when you are live streaming. I don’t worry about messing up as much when I’m live streaming, though.

 

Do you have any new music coming out? If so, tell us about it!

Yes! On Friday, November 20th, I will be releasing two songs titled “plastic love” and “borderline.” I’m really excited to put them out because my good friend Holidaykiss made the beats. She is super talented and I believe these songs are some of my most professional to date. I’m also working on a project titled EDEN and, while I don’t have a set date for that release, singles are being prepared for it currently. I think what I love about EDEN so far is that it feels like a progression for America Loves Me. I see myself moving forward emotionally and that is really exciting. Also, a lot of the instrumentals on the project aren’t made by me. Working and collaborating on an album is something I wanted to do from the beginning of America Loves Me and now it’s finally happening. The talent coming together for EDEN makes me so hopeful for the future of the project!

 

How are you creating and recording music right now? How have you adjusted during this time?

Mostly the same as I was before COVID. I make all of my beats in my bedroom and record vocals in my closet with my SM-7B. A big change for me is now I find myself working with more people from Twitter and online in general. If it wasn’t for covid, I wouldn’t have met more than half of the people I am working on music with right now; it’s been one of the positives from this whole thing. I think something I learned during quarantine is to relax and not worry so much about writing bangers all of the time. I used to write 2-3 beats every day, but now I try to give myself space to live life, spend time with my coworkers, and smoke a little bit. If I don’t dedicate some time to getting into trouble or making moments with my people, then I will never have anything substantial to write about. I find doing this lets me write some of my best work and I don’t have to try as hard.

 

If you could do a “Freaky Friday” with another musician, who would it be and why?

Honestly, I could go back and forth on this question for weeks, but my first thought was producer Cashmere Cat. His song “9 (After Coachella)” inspired me to start making the music I make now. It’s a groundbreaking song for me. It’s so beautiful and chaotic at the same time. If I had never heard it, I don’t know where I would be right now. He’s also worked with everyone from SOPHIE to Kanye West to The Weeknd. I love working with a wide range of artists who all have different styles and I would love to have a feature list on my album similar to his album “9”. Also, his DJ sets look fun as hell and I’d love to DJ in front of a bunch of people like he does.

 

Where can people follow you to support you?

They can follow me on…

Spotify, Soundcloud, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

 

 

From yonder in Pennsylvania comes BUG MARTIN & CO. After some years spent crooning in the wilderness of the east coast, Bug Martin is now flanked by veterans of the PA folk scene Dan Mulligan and Renee ‘Ray” Drezner. Their new album, “ALL THAT IS AND WHAT AIN’T”, rings with shimmering pedal steel, harmonies warm as a campfire, and that old grinnin’ wit sung through the nose by the Philly hillbilly himself. This is a queer country at its finest for those longing for the days of vintage country sounds floating through the jukebox dive, old-time singing circles, and boot-stomping bluegrass chops. For times high or lonesome, know you’ve got a pal in BUG MARTIN & CO.

 

How was your experience performing on the live stream? How did it feel compared to the usual performance environment outside of COVID?

It was a hoot! We performed from Dan’s place a little outside the city, a house he rents that backs up to Wissahickon Park. The beams that hold the place up are over 200 years old — awfully cozy.

Live streaming is somewhat new to us and we definitely missed having folks in-person to hurl bad jokes at, but we’re just grateful to get the chance to make space for communion digital or otherwise.

 

Do you have any new music coming out? If so, tell us about it!

We’re working on some new things. Dan and Ray play in a bluegrass group called The Cheddar Boys who mostly do bluegrass and old-time cover songs, so we all have been working together on putting together some covers to record. Sort of a sampler that spans a handful of interconnected genres.

Aside from that, I plan on going back into older albums I’ve put out solo and refiguring those tunes as a group; I spent so long doing everything on my own before I moved to Philadelphia that I’m really revved up to take those tracks where I always wanted them to go with the help of such talented accomplices.

 

How are you creating and recording music right now? How have you adjusted during this time?

As far as catching hold on new songs goes, I’ve got bits and pieces that visit me pretty much always and I’ve been writing things down as quick as I can. What we did for the last album, All That Is And What Ain’t was that I wrote and recorded the bare bones for most of the tracks at home and emailed them to Ray and Dan to interpret and add to. We’ve got a kind of musical chemistry such that I don’t think there was much debate at all over how the songs should be. As a matter of fact, the three of us had only gotten together to play those songs for the live stream enough times to count on one hand before we hit record. You ever met someone and feel like you’ve known them a lifetime already? So, we go together.

 

If you could do a “Freaky Friday” with another musician, who would it be and why?

Past lives accounted for, it’s all I can do just to try to make sense of living in the body I’m in now.

 

Where can people follow you to support you?

If it’s my ramblings you want I’m over on Instagram and Facebook.

If it’s music you’re after, we’re on most of the platforms where music gets sold, but Bandcamp is far and away the best place to support us directly. You can listen to the songs there for free and if you want to drop some money in the hat I’ve been handwriting folks letters and sending out some stickers and all to say thanks. You can also find our music on Spotify. Get to know us, we like getting to know you!

 

ALL THAT IS AND WHAT AIN’T out is now on Bandcamp and Spotify!

Download the singles for free below:

THREE THOUSAND MILES

JUST FOR THE HELL OF IT

 


 

Based out of Claymont, DE, Nico Bryant is a singer, songwriter, producer, musician, and actor. His fusion of R&B, soul, hip hop, and funk, which he calls “Jukebox Soul”, attempts to push the genre forward while also looking back and paying homage to his predecessors. Nico’s musical roots, like many others, come from the church. At a young age, he started learning how to play multiple instruments, including drums and piano.

 

How was your experience performing on the live stream? How did it feel compared to the usual performance environment outside of COVID? 

My experience performing on the live stream was great! I really enjoyed it. Compared to the usual performance environment, it was pretty cool. The folks who tuned in were supportive and they interacted with me in their comments. I do miss the usual though! There’s nothing like performing in front of a real audience.

 

Do you have any new music coming out? If so, tell us about it!

I just released a Christmas song with an artist from the UK named Yoji, the song is called “Christmas Bae”. Next spring I’m dropping an EP entitled “Jukebox”, and it will serve as a prelude to my sophomore album, “Forever Feelings”, which will be released in the fall of 2021.

 

How are you creating and recording music right now? How have you adjusted during this time?

Outside of finishing the album and EP, I’ve been creating here and there. Songs and ideas are few and far between. I’ve been making my music in my home for years, so I haven’t really had to adjust that much.

 

If you could do a “Freaky Friday” with another musician, who would it be and why?

If I could do a “Freaky Friday” with any musician, it would probably be D’Angelo. He is one of my favorite artists of all time and his ability to create timeless and soulful music amazes me.

 

Where can people follow you to support you?

People can follow me on Instagram and Twitter. My music is available on all platforms, and I have covers and remixes on SoundCloud and YouTube.

 

 


Bria Elena is a folk/pop singer + songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her reputation is known for writing intimate, raw subject matter and addressing truths that hit home. “Every song that I write conveys a different theme. Whether I’m painting an image or discussing a topic, I want people to listen and say, “it’s like I’ve actually lived that song.” That’s what I want.”

 

How was your experience performing on the live stream? How did it feel compared to the usual performance environment outside of COVID?

 

Performing on the live stream was great. It’s always strange performing live from my bedroom because I feel like I am letting people into the safe of my heart; I also feel like the rest of my family thinks that I am talking to myself. There are a lot of people in my house, so the streams never fail to have some background conversations or animals making noises. It’s also great because I can wear sweatpants! I’m lucky right now where I am still actually playing gigs most weekends outside. 

 

Do you have any new music coming out? If so, tell us about it!

Yes, stay tuned for 2021! I will be releasing an introductory EP – a few pop influences, a bit of Americana, and some country. It’s going to be a fusion of all of my favorites. For now, I will be posting little snips of the songs, both songs on the project and off, as well as my favorite songs to cover. 

 

How are you creating and recording music right now? How have you adjusted during this time?

Writing is the same for me. I write alone, at night, in my room – that’s how I find my favorite product. It sounds depressing when I state it that way, but I enjoy that ambiance. I like the comfortability of a night vibe.

We’re lucky to live in a time where many people have home studios and sacred, high-quality software, so we creatives are still able to work and create great products via Zoom if need be. The only thing that has really changed for me is moving back home and having to work around the schedules of my family to cut demos without people talking or the dog barking. I do miss playing little intimate singer + songwriter showcases, but I’m thankful for this time because I was able to get back to the basics and become creative without worrying about the little things. 

 

If you could do a “Freaky Friday” with another musician, who would it be and why?

There are so many people I would love to switch with just to get a look into their daily routine – I would say Paul McCartney. I want to know what a normal day is like for him. I would announce a huge headlining tour, invite all my other favorite acts, and then switch back to myself with my awarded front row tickets.

 

Where can people follow you to support you?

Bria Elena everywhere! Instagram, Facebook, and eventually Bria Elena on all streaming services.

 


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