Category Archives: Reviews

Killa Klay “Everything Makes Cense Now”

Killa Klay’s full length debut Everything Makes Cense Now is a thirteen song collection establishing the Far Rockaway, Queens based performer is much more than a major player in the East Coast hip hop community – it makes the case that he rates among the best young performers in the genre today, geography be damned. The unusual extent of his talents is clear with the opener “Keep It a Stack”. The song begins with a mix of quasi-organ and synthesizer before Klay makes his first vocal appearance in the mix. Klay layers his vocal delivery with a smattering of post-production effects but they never obscure the power of his voice and the lyrics shine through. “Keep It a Stack” has an idiosyncratic approach to percussion but nonetheless lays down a definable groove.

His vocals for the album’s second cut “Back Then” are layered with effects as well – echo and double tracking gives them an atmospheric edge a more straight forward approach would have lacked. The musical arrangement, as well, focuses its attention more on atmospherics rather than traditional groove, though it does provide a sturdy foundation for Klay’s performance. It shares another quality with the other songs – focus. Klay isn’t the sort of performer who wastes listener’s time with extended tracks and the lack of self indulgence, for me, is one of the key strengths in his music.

Everything Makes Cense Now’s fourth track, “Jerry Wonda”, has a sense of foreboding missing from the previous tracks and largely dispenses with the earlier post-production vocal effects. It is difficult, if not impossible, for Klay’s vocal technique to not hook you in – he combines phrasing gymnastics with palpable authority and swagger. This track, as well, highlights a perhaps underrated aspect of Klay’s skill – his abilities as a storyteller. “No Romancing” is one of the best examples of his talents manipulating dynamics. There’s a clear ebb and flow to how Klay structures this performance and it builds in a quietly dramatic way with numerous shifts compelling my attention throughout the cut. The dense vocal arrangement is never a distraction and remains easy to follow throughout the song.

“We Hustle” takes the unusual step of foregoing percussion well into the song and, instead, relying on nothing more than Klay’s voice and electronic piano to hold listener’s interest. It works well. Klay brings a drum track into play relatively deep into the track and it has a real, yet understated, impact – I can’t help but admire the stylishness Klay achieves throughout this album. “Cooley High” has some hypnotic electric piano, a recurring instrumental voice on this release, underlying the percussion and his vocal and the lyrics rank among the most personal from an admittedly autobiographical songwriter. Killa Klay doesn’t announce his presence on the scene with trumpets and chest beating – instead, Everything Makes Cense Now sounds like it was a long time coming and the realization of long held emotions and dreams. It heralds the beginning of what will be a long and influential run in the hip hop genre.

Jamie Morse

Victor Pedro – Call Me I Need Ya’

“Call Me I Need Ya” is the latest single from Nigerian born R&B/Afrobeat performer Victor Pedro. Pedro, now based out of South Africa, has chased musical fame and self expression since his pre-teen years and has already experienced real success in his professional career, but the latest single promises to elevate his global profile like nothing else preceding it. The latest single benefits from five star production strengths and a sound far from confined to the African continent – “Call Me I Need Ya” has a sound sure to play with the same effectiveness in the clubs of Johannesburg as it will in New York City, Paris, or London. It is, likewise, a laser focused effort lacking even an ounce of fat to drag down its impact for listeners. The track goes only a few seconds past the three and a half minute mark but, yet, doesn’t even seem to go that long. Instead, Pedro comes off as a performer intent on entertaining audiences from the outset and does so with immense skill.


I’m particularly taken with the lyrics. A lot of R&B songs, in my experience, avoid sensitivity unless they are outright love songs, but you don’t find it here with “Call Me I Need Ya”. Despite Pedro needing the subject of the songwriting, the subject of the song is really Pedro’s longing. He explores his desire with almost surgical precision, but there’s nothing false or forced in the writing. Instead, he comes into this song completely sure of exactly how to frame the nature of his longing and shares it with listeners with an openness we do not often hear in this style. It allows Pedro to frame the core of the song for listeners in such a way I immediately connected with the track. He never pushes too hard with the writing and it makes all the difference.

The drumming and other electronic instruments powering the arrangement make a great difference as well. Pedro orchestrates the song’s musical elements in such a way they have a natural inevitability – we can feel each change in the song’s progression as they come, but the predictability is entertaining and satisfying rather than letting listeners down. It’s a pleasure to hear his confidence in both the vocal and music alike. The singing has cool assurance rolling through the performance, but also bubbles with a light suggestiveness certain to draw listeners deeper into the track. His phrasing has a completeness that even much older and experienced vocalists would likely struggle to reach.

“Call Me I Need Ya” is the best single yet from Victor Pedro, but it is far from the peak for this young performer. Pedro has many higher mountains to scale in his future and, with each new release, will undoubtedly garner more followers to accompany him with those additional ascents. The fact his music cuts across every cultural line and national border and seems ideally suited for a world stage is likely his most impressive accomplishment of all and I can’t wait to hear what comes next.

Troy Johnson

Electronics Joins Piano Songs to Create a New Side of Music Stories

Where Night Never Comes, winner of “2018 Best Album Overall,” Gets Remixed by Olivia Belli herself on April 26, 2019

Italy – March 18, 2019 – Olivia Belli’s 2018 debut album is getting a makeover with the release of a six-song EP entitled Where Night Never Comes REMIXES on April 26, 2019.
Over five million streams and counting, Olivia Belli is one of the most promising Italian pianist and composer in music today. Her debut full album Where Night Never Comes was released in October 2018: 16 original tracks of pure delight for fans of Ludovico Einaudi, Philip Glass and Max Richter. Her 2018 release found great success atop the Modern Classical Chart on Reverbnation, and was named the 2018‘s Best Album Overall.
Now Olivia Belli is taking things up a notch by releasing a companion album of remixes: Where Night Never Comes REMIXES celebrates and elevates what Olivia Belli did with her last release by showcasing a new side of the music.

“The story behind the songs found on REMIXES are almost the same that inspired my debut album but using an intensive electronics (not so common in my genre of a modern piano song composer) I manage to make it more vivid. It is as I wrote a screenplay for each track. My main goal with Remixes was to be a musical storyteller: to make the movie scene enter in the music and not the music become a soundtrack.”

In the past two years, Olivia’s tracks have been chosen for the Starbucks, Spotify and Digster Official Playlist while others have been broadcasted by Classic FM, Radio France, Cincinnati FM.
She has also been featured in Piano and Coffee, YesnoMusic, Drifting Almost Falling, Composer Tool Box, Gezeitenstrom Musik Magazin; interviewed by Meet The Artist, Particular Sounds, Music Musing and Such; broadcasted on ODEON TV, SKY and RAI.
Breathing new life into her own work, Olivia Belli is sure to impress all over again with the release REMIXES.

Those interested in reviewing her release, featuring Olivia Belli on their site, podcast, or show, or are interested in interviewing her can reach out via the information provided below.

Where Night Never Comes REMIXES
Listen free in exclusivity preview at:

Vibrant Electrifying EP // Critically Acclaimed Artist

Singapore born, Sydney based artist, St. Humain releases new EP entitled EMOTIONAL SAUNA. The release is a fusion of contemporary modern soundscapes with urban elements.
Having garnered acclaim from the likes of Billboard, Paste, Live Nation’s Ones To Watch and Earmilk, St. Humain is set for an exciting 2019. EMOTIONAL SAUNA is distributed by Listen For Pleasure / Capitol Records (USA).  St. Humain has garnered over a million streams thus far garnering placements in numerous playlists including Apple Music’s “Best of the Week” and Spotify’s “Pop For Life”.

St. Humain is known for his vibrant genre-bursting music. Mesmerizing audiences across the globe with his authentic lyricism, stunning electronic soundscapes and slick urban melodies, St. Humain’s songwriting is a true expression of emotion. Through his imaginative and innovative delivery the singer, songwriter and producer illustrates his impressive musicality. St. Humain reveals, “The goal of my music is to make your life better. If my songs don’t mean anything to you and cannot relate to you in any way then I find it sorta useless.“

Fresh off a slew of singles to global attention, Singapore born, Sydney based artist St. Humain’s debut EP EMOTIONAL SAUNA is now here – a collection of seven tracks summing up to be an eclectic “first-look” body of work distributed by Listen For Pleasure / Capitol Records (USA).

Human emotions can be a haze sometimes and St. Humain daringly dives into them headfirst. With the EP comes the brand new ‘If I’m Honest’, a reflection on the pains of battling with one’s demons. “It’s a confession that truth be told, I’m really a shitty person in need of some true love to pull me out of the deep”, he explains, “I’m sure we can all relate”. Atop its dramatic production lies a confession of our common fragility, featuring stunningly raw vocals, passionate lyrics and shimmering layered harmonies.

St. Humain reflects on relationships from varying points of the spectrum with the songs ‘The Thought of You’ and ‘Fever Vibe’. His wild imagination is further showcased on an almost sacrilegious reboot of John Mayer’s ‘Gravity’. EMOTIONAL SAUNA also includes St. Humain’s debut ‘Make a Move’, a house­pop banger highlighting ethereal dreamlike synths and free-flowing electronic beats which all builds into an adrenaline-filled climatic chorus.

Beyond the sounds, we soon discover a songwriter whose stories are bursting at the seams of the songs that the world is currently uncovering – stories of steamy excitement, dark lows and everything in between. Between heaven and hell… Is an EMOTIONAL SAUNA.

St. Humain’s successes to date include garnering over a million independent streams, receiving placements in numerous official Spotify and Apple Music playlists, as well as being featured in such prestigious publications as Billboard, EARMILK, Live Nation’s Ones To Watch, The 405  and Paste Magazine. The debut EP EMOTIONAL SAUNA is out now.

Facebook: St. Humain
Instagram: @sthumain
Twitter: @sthumain

Saint Jaimz AWOL (Absent Without Love)


Rarely does a song come together with the seamless roll we hear with Saint Jaimz’s “AWOL (Absent Without Love)”. This performer, a sixteen year Army veteran, has made astonishing progress since first emerging and his intimate, thoughtful confluence of an entertaining form like R&B couples up well with a lyrical sensibility that connects with listeners yet is clearly a cut above the customary work in this area. Jaimz aspires to imbue a personal message of some sort in each of his songs and succeeds in depicting a situation when you realize how you’ve held on too long with someone who, in the end, drained your joy for life. This might sound like a downer in terms of subject matter, but Jaimz makes it a surprisingly exultant affair, cognizant of the pain, but ready with the will and strength to move on.

It comes across as a message born from personal experience. Many performers maintain a distance from their audience and, as a result, there’s always an arbitrary line separating performer from the listener. There’s no such effect with Saint Jaimz’s music. Instead, he invites us to share his experiences through music and doesn’t hold back from his listeners – it makes for an invigorating listen. “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” doesn’t mince words about its subject matter and drives straight into its heart; the chief instrument realizing the song’s emotional potential is, naturally, Jaimz’s voice.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to not enjoy the language he uses to convey the song. It’s clipped, not a single extra word marring the track, and the vocal melody he employs for the song transforms and shapes itself to the song’s musical changes. It never meanders, however, and has a natural flow rather than something that comes off inordinately crafted and empty of inspiration. Everything Jaimz touches radiates inspiration without ever overwhelming listeners. Jaimz hasn’t been recording and releasing music for many years, but already sports the sort of all around polish we associate with much older iconic acts.

He has a strong modern presence however. The relative daring of the song’s arrangement mixing traditional elements of the genre late 20th/early 21st century like discreetly used keyboards and synthesizer swells with acoustic guitar, impressive flourishes from bass guitar, and a groove centric percussion clinic musically defines the track. It’s quite unlike anything else you’ll hear in this style.

It’s a new peak in Saint Jaimz’s musical journey and bodes well for the future. “AWOL (Absent Without Love)” has musical and lyrical depth alike, but it’s the commanding way Jaimz takes over the performance that really sets it apart. He’s a true presence in the song from his first syllable through the last and adorning his vocals with backing singers and multi-tracked passages only strengthens the experience. Saint Jaimz is making a name for himself with each new release based on his discipline, talent, and hard work – these qualities are sure to carry him even further from here and we’re lucky, as listeners, to accompany him for the ride.


Troy Johnson

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DawgGonDavis Drops the Hammer!


I don’t know for certain if DawgGonDavis is secretly masterminding a plan to take over the hip-hop charts with her new four song extended play Anthem Pandemonium, but even if she’s just out to spread the word of Operation Breakthrough and their crucial work to stamp out domestic poverty her latest release is more than worth your time. I first became familiar with DGD’s music through the single “Butt on Fiya,” which is included in Anthem Pandemonium I might add, and haven’t been able to look away from her career since. She’s funny, smart and a lot more adept at making intricately complex rap songs than you might expect from an IT project manager, but that’s the whole point of her music. She wants you to question the stereotypes and stigmas that you attach to people, illnesses and even culture itself and reassess your opinions. There really is no better way to get people to change their evil ways then through the power of comedy and music, and thankfully DGD is highly equipped to do both brilliantly.

There’s a lot of rhythm to the tracks on Anthem Pandemonium that doesn’t revolve around central hooks or predictable choruses. Yes, there is plenty of pop polish to attract establish hip-hop fans, but her angular sense of humor prevents this record from being a straight up indulgence in thematic surface level stuff. Completely unlike younger rappers, her music actually swings and retains a little bit of that old fashioned funk flavor that made first wave rap so provocative and excitable. I’m not trying to sell her as the face of a new generation of rappers to come, but to say that her ideals aren’t going to have somewhat of a ripple effect on the world around her would just be asinine. The cover of Anthem Pandemonium features DGD posing in front of a black Jeep Wrangler, and something tells me that whether or not she’s behind the wheel of that vehicle she wouldn’t have a hard time steamrolling over anyone who disrespects her art and the organization it’s meant to benefit. She’s a fighter who belongs in a genre of music built by and for warriors.

Operation Breakthrough is based out of DGD’s hometown of Kansas City and works effortlessly to secure educational resources and empowering assistance for families living below the poverty line in the KC metro area. Their relentless commitment to doing what’s right for the city has never gotten the credit that it fully deserves, but perhaps through the spotlight that this EP will likely garner the organization that might change for the better. Some of my peers are saying that 2018 is all about pop music trying to find ways to give back in order to resurrect and brutally negative image, but in the case of Anthem Pandemonium, I think the work speaks for itself. This isn’t about being a social justice hero or trying to fix something cosmetically broken. It’s about doing right by others and having a good time along the way, and that’s exactly what the world needs a little more of nowadays.


Troy Johnson

DawgGonDavis’ music has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik Radio Promotions. Learn more –

AV Super Sunshine drops Time Bomb

AV Super Sunshine drops Time Bomb


AV Super Sunshine has built one of the strongest reputations in the EDM style as a performer and composer unwilling to limit himself. The Wisconsin based AV’s renown is rightly derived from his talent merging pure electronica with an undeniable rock spirit in a seamless way. There’s nothing jarring about the club or radio mix for AV’s latest single “Time Bomb”. The former is, naturally, longer than the latter, but we never get any sense of self indulgence from either of these performances. Instead, remix master Michael Bradford, a DJ renowned for his aforementioned talent as well as a producer, has reshaped AV’s creative vision in unexpected ways while still preserving the artistic center at the heart of the AV Super Sunshine experience.



The club remix of “Time Bomb” is a formidable experience. There’s no question this is a predominantly electronic fueled experience with various keyboards, sequencers, and synthesizers riff and flash across listener’s consciousness with a certainty shared by few other songs. Many older listeners may associate the aforementioned instruments with a mechanical, sterile sound, but technology has progressed a great deal since the halcyon days of the mid 1980’s when many of these electronic instruments first took hold of the public consciousness, but AV and longtime collaborators like Michael Bradford frame “Time Bomb” in vivid, heated musical terms and blend traditional instruments into the mix. The guitar is chief among these and it leaps out from the club mix with every bit of the same furious color we hear from other facets of the performance.

There’s surprising amount of melody, as well, in the club mix, but it comes in flashes. Nevertheless, it is a brief tantalizing “look” into the extent of AV’s gifts. His vocals seize upon some of that quality as well without ever attempting to overshadow the musical elements of the “Time Bomb” club mix. The radio mix begins with the same focus on synths, but there’s a less audacious air surrounding this and, instead, a leaner focus fixated on the vocals and a more spartan arrangement. Instruments like piano and backing vocalists are more defined in this mix as well. Where the club mix is romping and emphasizes the song’s rhythmic propulsion, the radio mix stresses the vocal and melodic aspects of the song in a pointed fashion.

AV’s vocals emerge from the radio DJ mix with every bit of the confidence we hear in the club mix, but there’s a more traditional authoritative stance to his radio mix performance. AV Super Sunshine’s “Time Bomb” is a powerhouse and thoroughly modern work capable of using traditional elements to further develop its ideas and enhance its overall punch. AV has put together a first class, extensive catalog in the course of only a few years and this song, among others, shows an artist yet to reach his peak. Instead, AV Super Sunshine is just getting started.


Troy Johnson

Young Saint Nick feat. Victor Ardene – HER

Young Saint Nick feat. Victor Ardene – HER


“HER” is the kind of hip hop track anyone with an open mind can get behind. Young Saint Nick, working with friend and collaborator Victor Ardene, are prepared to branch out globally from their Newmarket, Ontario background into the larger music world with a pumping, groove oriented single built around their love of women. They have come a long way since first finding their love for hip hop during their teen years, but this new single advances their talents in a vivid way – it mixes their obvious hip hop style with a massive chorus they pummel into listeners head without ever losing a grip on the necessary musicality they need to win the most fans possible. Those familiar with the duo will love this new cut, and those first coming to their music will be blown away by how much this comes off as a mind-blower from a longtime performing unit.

Victor Ardene’s production jumped out at me from the first. I’m used to hearing efforts from youthful talents like this and appreciating what they bring to the table, but invariably noting how the sound hasn’t yet caught up with their musical talents. There’s no danger of that here. The synths leap out at you and percolate, flare, and flash throughout the entirety of the song, but they never become overbearing and are very complementary to the other musical elements of this song. The drums, electronic in nature, nonetheless set a conclusive tone of the song from the frist and the solid foundation of their work never wavers. The vocals are well rendered by the production style, as well, and contrast nicely with the earlier mentioned instruments. The song, running almost four minutes, is fun from the very beginning and there’s no fat on the track at all.

Young Saint Nick’s lyrics are equally focused and you can hear his lascivious glee in singing about lovely ladies. He tries to get under the listener’s skin from the beginning, but he never has a domineering presence and, instead, seems to be inviting listeners to enjoy his fun. The lyrical content doesn’t have a single unneeded word – the percussive nature of the lyrical attack joins up well with the drumming and comes in early during the tune. His vocal delivery is present throughout the whole song, it never backs off, and stays with the audience all the way through. It’s impossible for me to not like this song, it just comes off so well, and “HER” is evidence that there’s no question Young Saint Nick and Victor Ardene will be a presence in the indie music world, and soon enough the larger music world, for untold years to come. The future is bright and they are inviting us to follow them all the way.


Young Saint Nick’s music has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik Radio Promotions. Learn more –

Troy Johnson

NIK:11 delivers amazing 4PLAY


NIK:11 exerts her dominance over the techno world with her single “4Play,” a thought-provoking interpretation of electronica and deep house music that is quickly becoming one of the most talked about songs of 2018. Critics and disciples of electronic music have already known for some time now that NIK:11 was on the verge of the breakthrough of this caliber, but at last with “4Play” her sound finally matures into its own and becomes completely distinctive from everyone else in her scene, generation and hometown of Detroit, Michigan. I had a chance to preview this track ahead of its release, and while I certainly expected to like what I heard, I had no idea just what kind of treasure I was really in for.

About five years ago there were a lot of critics, even within the electronica community, that felt like this genre of music was dying down creatively and socially compared to where it was at the end of the 1990s. Whatever happened to those critics and their foolish opinions I have no idea, but history has been steadily proving them wrong leading up to and in the midst of “4Play” and its widespread success. Even the most anti-techno among us just aren’t able to argue that this music is a non-factor anymore; it’s literally everywhere around us.

One thing that the harsher critics of electronica have been right about is the increasingly lazy behaviors of DJ’s both in the United States and in Europe. Fusing together a bunch of really stirring samples is all well and fun, but to do what NIK:11 does with her originally crafted music takes a much more advanced skillset than any of them have displayed recently. NIK:11 doesn’t just blend interesting sounds together, she evolves the textures of each one of her tones to suit her own identity, which is bold, brazen and far more daring than anything her contemporaries are trying.

NIK:11 is a really great example of what it means to be a true blue collar musician. She doesn’t copy anyone else’s formula, and she’s not looking to ride in the wake of another’s success. Her story is fascinating all by itself without the accentuation of embellishment, and even though she’s had plenty of opportunities, her music never follows anyone’s path but her own. In a world full of actors and imitators, she’s the real article partly because she chooses to be and partly because her rebellious recording style won’t allow her not to be.
I’d actually really love to see her collaborate with some artists of other genres – particularly rock and hip-hop – and see what kind of impact her creative style could have on other scenes and musicians. With her talent, versatility sort of comes standard with the package. NIK:11 isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and “4Play” solidly cements her as one of the most important artists to watch entering the 2020s. If this single is a teaser for an upcoming full-length album, don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last positive review I write about this charming new face in pop.


Troy Johnson

Willie J Drops New Single

Willie J Drops New Single


Thanks to the innovations within the tech world, it’s never been easier to record music in high definition, studio-quality audio from virtually any venue you can think of. Gone are the days where musicians were slaves to the soundboard, sweating it out in the claustrophobic confines of a soundproofed room while they’re trying to hash out their craft from scratch. As great as this revolution in grassroots ethos has been for connecting international audiences with previously removed, isolated indie artists, it should be said how much more competitive the industry has become as a result of this massive influx of new talent. With that considered, Willie J’s most recent collaboration with legendary boxer and gifted singer Arthur Anthony, “Sunshine With the Rain,” goes above and beyond in captivating listeners with its intrepid, full-color audio and enchanting harmonies presented in stereo.

Willie J has made a career out of showing the establishment exactly where its falling short in getting listeners excited about pop again, and on “Sunshine With the Rain,” he and Anthony Arthur basically declare war on the corrupt corporate element of R&B. While his music has never failed at drawing our attention away from his mundane rivals, it wasn’t until this moment in his career that his sound has truly had the chance to spread out and deliver all of the raw audacity that he’s really capable of producing. He’s making a power play for mainstream exposure, and it’s clear after just a single listen of this track that he isn’t planning on taking any prisoners along the way.

This is undeniably a sweet slice of melodic Midwestern hip-hop, but there’s also an exotic, almost avant-garde bend to its arrangement that really adds a physicality to this song that just wasn’t present in his previous work. Willie J has grown up before our very ears, and “Sunshine With the Rain” is his graduation from the indie scene and entrance into the upper tier on the hierarchy of R&B and hip-hop. This guy doesn’t even strike me as a power hungry character; if anything, Willie J’s devotion to this craft is what makes his style so regal and calculated. As a musician myself, I respect how much love and passion he puts into his work.

For hip-hop and R&B fans alike, it doesn’t get much rawer or real than Willie J. He’s the real article, a student of soul and a steward of rhythm, and “Sunshine With the Rain” is one of many stunningly thoughtful contributions he’s made to the American songbook. It has been said by many a music scholar that the most important aspect of any songwriter is their versatility and subsequent ability to appeal to listeners of all backgrounds and tastes. Willie J doesn’t write songs just for R&B fans; he writes music for people who love music and the indescribable feelings that it can evoke, and if that isn’t the definition of a great composer in its purest and simplest form, I don’t really know what is.


“Willie J’s music has been heard all over the world due to the radio plugging services offered by Musik Radio Promotions. Learn more – HTTPS://

Troy Johnson