Tag Archives: New York City

Ryal’s new EP brings back the beat

New York City has always been on the cutting edge of musical direction, but the release today of Ryal‘s self-titled EP raises that bar to a new level.  Although critics of her earlier releases have likened Ryal to the style of Bjork and Portishead, her latest contribution is more akin to an electronica version of ABBA, combined with a little Lady Gaga.  Like “Dancing Queen” and “Bad Romance,” the songs on this EP will keep your toes tapping and compel you to the dance floor.

Along with the release of the EP, Ryal has also released a music video for “Lonely Love,” which is one of the best this reviewer has seen in a while.

“My wish is that people will listen to this and want to dance as much as I have while I have made this record,” says Ryal.

All six songs on the EP are amazing, but two songs especially stand out.  The first is the opening track, “City Lives,”  which opens with a steady beat and the words “Who you gonna be?  Who you gonna love?”  This song truly rocks and makes it is difficult to sit still while listening.

The other outstanding song is “Lonely Love.”  I dare you to try to sit still for this one as well.  Check out the video above.

Ryal added these words:  “It’s easier to write a depressing song, but more of a challenge to be optimistic, and attempt writing timeless numbers that also give the listener positive feelings. I don’t want to make pop songs full of fluff, but  rather make songs full of content that resonates with my age group.”

Ryal has also received a lot of attention from two other songs on the EP, “Wish” and “Jill.”  Speaking of “Jill,” you can hear the song when you visit your local Starbucks nationally.

You can check out the entire EP, which is currently streaming on Sundcloud.  If ever there was a “must-have” album for 2016, Ryal’s new EP is the one.

For more info on Ryal, check out her website and Facebook pages, follow her on Twitter, and subscribe to her YouTube and Soundcloud channels.



Future women in entertainment: Katie Costello, new world advocate

Happy new year!  We wanted to start off 2016 with a future Women in Entertainment feature on a young artist who has already achieved much in her career, Katie Costello, singer, songwriter, label maker and new world advocate.

Costello began writing songs in her bedroom on a digital piano at age 13, and soon thereafter began performing them at various clubs in Los Angeles, where this writer first heard her.  Although not yet out of high school, she was becoming disillusioned by the homogeneity and insulated nature of Southern California’s suburban world.   Consequently, when she turned 18, Costello moved to New York City’s Lower East Side to seek diversity, inspiration, and fulfillment of her dream of making art and music in the creative heart of the Big Apple.

Costello dropped her first full length album, Kaleidoscope Machine, at the age of 17, leading to her “discovery” by legendary DJ Nic Harcourt of the trendsetting public radio station KCRW.  Harcourt had featured her on his show “Today’s Top Tune,” and had this to say about our future superstar:  “It’s good to know what one wants to be when one grows up.  At 17, Hermosa Beach resident Katie Costello is making her path clear.”

Upon moving to New York, Costello decided against going to college so that she could  pursue her art and music full-time.   She has performed, composed, produced, and collaborated on many records, including her own discography, comprised of two full-length albums (Kaleidoscope MachineLamplight) and five EPs (The City In MeFollow Your Every BeatImpossible ThingsUniversal Spread of Compassionate Wisdom, Rebel Pop Singer Songwriter); as well as numerous singles, including her latest, “New World.”  Her artistry has continued to evolve with every new release, while always staying true to her mantra:  classic songwriting, authentic musicality featuring piano and guitar, raw emotion, and honest lyrics.

When she’s not songwriting, recording, and performing, she’s practicing yoga and meditation at Bodhisattva Yoga in Park Slope, Brooklyn, which keeps her looking, feeling, and creating at her best.  She credits the studio’s founder, Vivekan, as a constant source of inspiration and motivation behind her music.  In fact, she and Vivekan founded REBEL POP Records, which now serves as the home for Costello’s musical catalog.

Her music has been featured in various television shows, including Private Practice, Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth, Vampire Diaries, One Tree Hill, 90210, Home and Away, and Rookie Blue, as well as on such films as Bgrooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, Craigslist Joe, Never and others.  In addition, Costello is a
contributing songwriter on many other artists’ projects.  Her music has also been featured in such prominent publications as Vogue, Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, BlackBook, Paste and Billboard, to name a few.

You can find a review of her current release, Rebel Pop Songwriter, by clicking here.  For more information about this future superstar, check out her website and her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and definitely subscribe to her YouTube channel.

Katie Costello is a true rebel singer-songwriter

A few years back, Katie Costello became somewhat of a legend among independent artists when she created an entire music video from her iPhone 4.

After what seems like an eternity, Costello has returned with a new EP that is easily one of the best of 2015.  Her new five-track EP, Rebel Pop Singer Songwriter, has been released on a limited basis, but belongs in the hands of every serious music lover.

According to Costello,”This EP is about following your dreams, fighting for what’s right, listening to your heart, and connecting to a bigger picture . . . This EP is dedicated towards the mission of  building a “New World” filled with love, one step at a time.”

With tracks produced by Robbie G (New York Graffiti, New World and Roses) and Seth Jones (Up in the Air and Why Does my Heart Break?) and written by Costello with help from Robert Guariglia (New York Graffiti, New World and Roses), Seth Jones and Michelle Lewis (Up in the Air) and Seth Jones (Why Does my Heart Break?), every song delivers its message in a way that few other artists have mastered – from the heart of the writer directly to the heart of the listener.

She has also released a video for the first track, “New York Graffiti,” which captures some of the magic of an indie artist who isn’t afraid to busk in New York’s Washington Square Park.  Check it out below:

Throughout her career, Costello has consistently delivered some of the best content of any musical artist, signed or not.  Her latest EP is just further proof that her music belongs to the masses.  Thank you Ms. Costello for restoring our faith in the power of music to change our lives and make this a better world.

Women in entertainment: Heather Jacks gives buskers a needed voice

Welcome to another beautiful Monday morning – time for another in our Women in Entertainment series.  This week the spotlight falls on Heather Jacks, author, journalist and music lover who is on a mission to share the magic of busking with the world.
Jacks grew up on an Indian reservation in southeastern Oregon until she was 15, when she was selected as the first ‘experimental exchange student’ to Australia with an organization called YFU (Youth for Understanding).  She spent ten and a half months with the program before returning to the States to attend the University of San Francisco.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at USF before going to the University of California at Davis for an additional two years. 
Since the 1980’s, Jacks has worked in the music industry in various capacities, including radio, production, A&R, booking and most recently as a music journalist.  She recently won a Book of the Year Award for her multi-media project, The Noise Beneath the Apple®, which was inspired by her love for street music, busking and the people who make it.
Besides her love of music, she is a certified TV junkie, an unapologetic Twitter practitioner and a SF Giants loving fiend.   She travels extensively, but continues to hang her hat in San Francisco.
As we do with all our articles, we asked Jacks what inspires her.  In typical journalistic style, she expounded on the subject:  “As a writer, I spend a lot of time online, researching, interviewing, refining and sculpting words, creating cadence and turning good writing into better stories.  I find this journey inspirational.  Still I make time to step away from the blinking screen to breathe in life and the world around me; to re-charge and renew.  At the risk of sounding like I’m writing a love letter, my greatest inspiration comes from the City I call home, San Francisco.  I love walking her streets, wandering aimlessly into shops, undiscovered nooks and crannies, taking guided walking tours, trekking the Coastal Trail—Karl Fog, keeping me close company.  I love stopping at dive bars, where I can get a barrel-aged shot of whiskey AND a can of Olympia at the same time.  I love all the staircases and stunning views that rise up to greet you in the most unexpected place.  I love that we have a baseball team, that no matter how great they do, are always considered the underdog, and they persevere in style.  I love that everyone here is a little weird, and that San Francisco is pretty OK with that.  In the end, I am inspired simply, by doing what I love most.”
Jacks has recently launched a crowd funding campaign on Rocket Hub for one of her new projects, a multi-media project similar to the “Noise Beneath the Apple” project, which is dedicated to the buskers of San Francisco.  Check out the cool gifts you get for contributing to the project by clicking here.
We asked Jacks to expound on her future plans, and here’s what she had to say:
“Currently I am working on TWO separate Coffee Table Books, showcasing and preserving separate pieces of San Francisco history. My earlier book, The Noise Beneath the Apple®, which celebrates the spirit of busking, aka; street performance, and was set in New York City, won an independent Book of the Year Award.  I am replicating that book in the Bay Area, with 25 amazing street performers spanning from Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, Napa Valley, and of course, San Francisco.  The Bay Area edition, like the NYC version, will include film, music, stories and photos.
The second project is about The San Francisco Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.  The Sisters are a leading order of queer nuns, who began here in 1979 and are now a worldwide charity organization. They continue to devote themselves to community service, promoting human rights and outreach to those on the edges of society. They are an integral, (sometimes misunderstood), part of San Francisco culture. 
These two projects, along with my line of Vintage Vinyl Record Bags, (www.rockarecord.com), will definitely keep me very busy for the next few years!”
Street performers definitely have a friend in Jacks and the public truly benefits from this friendship, as we are exposed to amazing artists that we may not have known were out there.  Many thanks to Jacks for providing this service.  We wish her well in her campaign and look forward to seeing the finished project.
You can keep up with this amazing music supporter by checking out her Facebook page, following her on Twitter, Instagram, and Google Plus, and by subscribing to her YouTube channel.