I spoke with Sacramento Indie Rock band Keys and Vices. We chatted about their latest and highly emotional release “Chronic Nostalgia”, songwriting and influences, and music traditions. Check it all out below …

Photo Credit: Jennifer Valdez

Photo Credit: Jennifer Valdez

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Pancakes or Waffles?
ALL: Waffles 100%!

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell us how you guys got started as a band?
KEVIN: We were in a band prior to Keys and Vices so we were already family and synced up with
each other. After the split, Jenn created Keys and Vices as her solo project then slowly pieced it
together by first adding Kris, then reached out to me a while later. We knew we had something
after our first practice as a trio.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell me more about the recording process for this EP “Chronic Nostalgia”?
JENN: I recorded 5 of the songs myself which is where you’ll hear some difference between all 8
of them. The songs I recorded on my own took a lot longer having to write all the parts myself, but the 3 songs recorded with Kris and Kevin were so much faster since we could bounce ideas off each other.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: How was the writing process for this EP? Having come from a place heartbreak did you feel this was a cathartic experience?
JENN: Absolutely! Writing music has always been therapeutic and helps me to move on. Sometimes I’ve come to discover things about myself during the writing process that I hadn’t thought of before, and it’s simply because i’m searching for a different way to explain the story.
KRIS: For me it was more on feel. The songs Jenn and I wrote together came from locking ourselves in a room for hours and just playing together till something felt right, and we just knew.

TRB: Being not only musicians but creatives where do you normally draw your inspirations and influences from?
KRIS: I draw inspiration from the talent my bandmates bring to the table. It’s hard not to see and
hear them play and not become inspired to be the best I can be.
JENN: My personal experiences, and collaborating with musicians like Kris and Kevin. Just like Kris said, it’s so much better writing songs with people who know where you’re going with the music before you even get there.

TRB: Do you guys have a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning to you or is a favorite?
JENN: Wow that’s a very hard question! I love all the lyrics I write because they all have a lot of
meaning to them. If I had to pick a favorite lyric, I would say one of the lines from the song “Ghost Love”. The lyric, “trying hard to hold back the water in my eyes, I don’t want to show you the wake you’ve left behind”. A way to explain how much you’re hurt that you feel the effect isn’t a small ripple in the water, it’s a wake. I think that’s very relatable for anyone who has been hurt.

TRB: If you had the chance to cover any song and give it the ‘Keys and Vices’ treatment what song would you pick? And why?
JENN: My favorite song to play as a cover is “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. I’ve always loved that song, and now I give it a different feel with the way I sing/play it.
KEVIN:Won’t back Down” by Tom Petty. I think the song speaks for itself!
KRIS: Any song by Hall and Oates. I loved that band as a kid and I still do.

TRB: Are there any current artists that have been “On Repeat” for you as a band lately? What music have you been digging?
JENN: I listen to a lot of different artists (old and new), but the artists I always have on repeat is Sam Cooke and Elton John’s album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. At my house we have “Sam Cooke Sunday” where we listen to my Sam Cooke vinyl albums every sunday, it’s become a fun
tradition along with cooking a big breakfast. A few months ago I found Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road vinyl album buried in a sea of old vinyls at a shop. I couldn’t believe it was only $3.99, and in amazing condition! It’s one of my favorite albums and every other Friday night
you’ll hear it blaring throughout my house!
KRIS: Lately I’ve been listening to Chris Stapleton’s Traveler album. It’s the perfect mix of blues, and country but it’s also surprisingly soulful too. The man has a great sound.

TRB: If you turn any book into a song what would you choose? And why? KRIS: The Count of Monte Cristo.
The idea of waiting so long to get revenge is crazy and would make for a great song.
TRB: And what’s next for Keys and Vices?
ALL: Although we just released “Chronic Nostalgia”, we have a lot of new music ready to get out there within the next year, and if listeners love our current album, we can’t wait for them to hear the next one!

TRB: Anything else you guys would like to add? 🙂
ALL: Thank you for taking the time to listen to the album! Please hit us up on social media and let us know what you think of the music!

You can follow Keys and Vices on their social media links below as well as listen to their current release “Chronic Nostalgia” (embedded above).

Facebook: @keysandvicesband
Twitter: @keysandvices
Instagram: @keysandvices
https://www.keysandvices.com/

Like always be sure to hit that follow button or subscribe to my emails to catch the latest and greatest in music, entertainment and pop culture from The Reclusive Blogger.

Until then,
Brittney x
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THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: CD or Vinyl?

CUBBI: Digital streaming

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can you tell us how you got started as singer and songwriter? Was that something you always wanted to do?

CUBBI: Yeah I guess it’s just been something I’ve always done. In high school I spent the majority of my time writing songs after school. I would even bunk math class and just hide out with my guitar writing songs.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Can talk a bit about the backstory and songwriting process behind your two latest singles, “White Lies, Like Flies” and “Buzzkill”?

CUBBI: I wrote WLLF with my looping station. First came the chord progression which I had playing over and over again and about 20 minutes later I had the whole songwriting was done. I was inspired by James Blake’s vocal productions so I added some interesting vocal layers and the song was created. Buzzkill was a collaborative effort between myself and Robokid. I had the vague idea of the song I wanted us to work on in our session before hand as I had written a couple of lines and melody already and felt like it could turn into something cool in the right hands. I played him some of my other music and we chatted about the song and how I wanted it to be minimal and driven by the procussion. I really love how we did a tempo change going into the bridge section, it really drives the song.

TRB: Where do you normally draw inspiration from as artist, producer and musician?

CUBBI: I draw mainly inspiration from relationships, platonic and romantic. And also the relationship I have with myself.

TRB: How has your South African roots influenced your songwriting and your artistry?

CUBBI: Mainly in the production of my music. It might be hard to hear unless you are familiar with music from here. A bunch of my drum patterns are influenced by the gom scene here.

TRB: Do you have a dream music collaboration?

CUBBI: I would love to do anything musically with Tracy Chapman or Fiona Apple. Two of the greatest songwriters ever.

TRB: I’m going to throw in a fun one here … What was your favorite children’s book as a kid?

CUBBI: I’m going to have to pick the Chronicles of Narnia, but the tapes not the books. We used to go on long road trips as a family when we were on school holiday and my parents would play the tapes in the car.

TRB: What music have you been listening to lately? What has been “On Repeat” for you?

CUBBI: The 1975’s new record is bliss. Love It If We Made It, as a song, is a masterpiece.

TRB: And what’s next for you Cubbi?

CUBBI: That’s the question. Shows and shows and touring and shows and music videos and finishing up the next record. Exciting times ahead, I’m looking forward to it.

TRB: Anything else you would like to add? Thank you for your time! 🙂

CUBBI: Hey thank you guys! Check me out on spotify, and follow me on instagram @cubculture_ for updates on live shows and new releases.

Until then,
Brittney x

Singer Haley Reinhart (and former American Idol alum) released her fourth album “Lo-Fi Soul” today. The soulful singer-songwriter brings together a unique perspective to this thirteen track collective.

Haley’s jazzy and often smokey timbre is the highlight on “Lo-Fi Soul” as she runs through the in’s and outs of love and heartbreak. Something we all can relate too, in one way or another. On the gospel-tinged opening track “Deep Water”, the 60s Doo-Wop inspired “Oh Damn”, and “Shook” where Reinhart’s playfulness and sexy appeal are most apparent. Reinhart’s vulnerability on this album goes beyond that. On songs like “Don’t Know How to Love You” and “Crack The Code” she ruminates over a relationship and all of its issues. The album is peppered with musical analogies (i.e. “Lo-Fi Soul”) some of which are cliche, but fitting hence the album title. The album overall is a cohesive piece of work if perhaps a bit sleepy towards the end. Any fans of Haley Reinhart will be thrilled with delight, while she’ll definitely gain new fans and listeners as well.

Photo Credit: Dana Trippe
Photo Credit: Dana Trippe

Stream Haley Reinhart‘s “Lo-Fi Soul” here: https://open.spotify.com/album/4EyTf708dFclXh8ALP4saW?si=lM_WcAYNR2GfIpEqcUJ2_Q

Follow Haley Reinhart here:

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram| YouTube | Spotify

Photo Credit: Dana Trippe
Photo Credit: Dana Trippe
Until then,
Brittney x

Fresh off her opening tour slot with Bastille, Best Laid Plans Records, Singer & artist Akine talks music, her band members and collaborators the Wavewalkrs, plus more at The Reclusive Blogger

The Reclusive Blogger: Hi, Akine. I always start with a fun ice breaker question so …

The Reclusive Blogger: Morning Bird or Night Owl?

Akine: Definitely Night Owl. I’m most productive from 10pm and 2am. That’s usually when i write too.

The Reclusive Blogger: Can you tell us how you got started as a singer and songwriter? Did you always want to be that?

Akine: Yes. As long as I remember I’ve always wanted to be a singer/ songwriter. It was either that or becoming a Pirate. There was no third option. I started writing lyrics and melodies when I was 11 or 12 and it gradually became an obsession, compulsion. By 16 I had enough material for a few albums. Some of it will never see the light of day but some of the songs are now released or will be later this year. My sister helped me record a few tracks and get them to a label. So here I am now.

The Reclusive Blogger: You released your debut EP, Don’t Foster Fear last year? What was the writing and recording process like for you? Especially being a young debut artist?

Akine: I had written a few songs that came together into a theme. I was going through a rough time at school, feeling like an outcast and just very anxious and fearful of everything. These feelings came to form the concept of the EP. Recording was pretty awesome. James Earp is a fantastic producer and now a great friend. He immediately got me and the music and the lyrics. It was so easy working with him. I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by people who believe in me so i cant say that I’ve had to struggle in that sense.

The Reclusive Blogger: You are currently playing a few shows with Bastille? How has that experience been for you? Have any you gotten any touring tips from your fellow tourmates?

Akine: The experience of touring has been a real eye opener. Watching BASTILLE, their work ethic, the way they prep and perform its just all done on such a high level of professionalism. They have been so supportive of my music from the very start. It’s pretty surreal that I went from being a Bastille fan to performing on one stage with Dan Smith. It’s been incredible, the experience, the people who make it all look so easy when there’s actually a ton of preparation that goes into playing every single show. I cant wait to do more live, its such a high. Also, being able to perform with my friends and band mates the Wavewalkrs it just didn’t feel like work. Physically demanding but also emotionally rewarding, that’s how id summarize touring.

The Reclusive Blogger: Speaking of Bastille … what’s your favourite Bastille song?

Akine: I have a few but I guess I would have to say “Two Evils”.

The Reclusive Blogger: What musician would you love to collaborate with? And Why?

Akine: There’s so many! I would love to collaborate with Fiona Apple, Modeselector, Mitski, Brockhampton or Ben Howard.

The Reclusive Blogger: Is there a lyric that you’ve written that has the most meaning for you or is your favorite?

Akine: In “Cashmere” I wrote about a girl I used to be close with and as we grew apart as friends, our values also changed and it broke my heart a little bit. I guess at one point being cool and popular became a priority for her and in a way I felt like she chose that over our friendship.

“Everything you do, you do it for the camera, the likes and the views. Writing your name on the walls, i was here. Gotta remind them or they will forget”

Cashmere by Akine

The Reclusive Blogger: Throwing in a fun one here… If you could live in any fictional universe, which would you choose?
Akine: I would either live in Pirates of the Carribean themed universe or Harry Potter world. Definitely somewhere really spontaneous where anything could happen.
The Reclusive Blogger: Are there any artists that have been “On Repeat” for you lately? What music have you been digging?
Akine: Mitski, Mitski, Mitski. I’m a fan

The Reclusive Blogger: And what’s next for you Akine?

Akine: More music. Hopefully I’ll get an album together before the end of the year and release that. Like I said before, I want to travel and play live, I love meeting the people that listen to my music.

The Reclusive Blogger: Anything else you would like to add? 🙂

Akine: Have a great day))

To learn more about Akine go here: https://www.akinemusic.com

Follow Akine on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/akine.music/

Follow Akine on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/thisisakine

Stream/Buy “Don’t Foster Fear” here: https://songwhip.com/album/akine/dont-foster-fear

You can also learn more about Best Laid Plans Records and all of their amazing artists including Akine go here: https://bestlaidplansrecords.com

Until then,
Brittney x

Scottish Singer-Songwriter Nina Nesbitt played to a packed house at The Roxy on Sunset last night (March 19th, 2019). Hitting Southern California on her “The Sun Will Come Up” tour with openers Sophie Rose and Plested, the love was loud and clear for her in West Hollywood …

Sophie Rose started the night out leaning towards a more Pop Rock style of songs that were carried by her heartfelt songwriting and airy vocals. She is definitely one to watch, she mentioned that Taylor Swift has playlisted one of her songs. Plested was next and it was him and a guitar, his unique voice brought a soulful quality to his indie guitar music.

Nina came onstage to loud cheers and many in the crowd wearing the merch that they had just bought. From the start of the first note and line her fans were singing along, and dancing, many with their camera phones up not wanting to miss anything for prosperity. Running through such songs as
“Sacred”, “These Are The Moments I’m Missing”, “Colder”, “Psychopath”, (where she brought out Charlotte Lawrence and Sophie Rose), “Empire”, and “Somebody Special”. Nina then came back on for an encore of “The Sun Will Come Up” and “Loyal” (which was an absolute crowd sing-along favorite). The biggest surprise though was Nina (excuse me Nina Nesbitch) covering Britney Spears “Toxic”, while she and her Keyboardist repped two fan-made “Nina Nesbitch” hats from fans in the audience. The entire show was fresh, fun and all about the music and vocals from start to finish. If you haven’t seen Nina live or heard her current album “The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change” please do so, you’ll thank me. Check out my photos from the concert below and to learn more about each artist …

Nina Nesbitt Official – http://www.ninanesbittmusic.com/
Stream “The Sun Will Come Up, the Seasons Will Change” – https://nn.lnk.to/TSWCUTw
Plested Offficial – http://www.plestedmusic.com/
Sophie Rose Official – http://sophierose.com/
Until then,
Brittney x

British band You Me At Six (Josh Franceschi, Max Helyer, Chris Miller, Matt Barnes, Dan Flint) made a triumphant return to Los Angeles on Monday night with a packed show full of their biggest fans in Los Angeles. The band has been playing shows across the U.S. on their ‘Back Again‘ tour with Synth Pop band machineheart and Alt-Pop trio DREAMERS as openers. You Me At Six rocked the venue charging through a set of 18 songs …

YOU ME AT SIX set list

Los Angeles based Synth-Pop band machineheart started out the night in dreamy fashion, bringing beautiful harmonies and gorgeous melodies from lead singer Stevie Scott. The band itself was in sync and their vibe was a great way to kick off the night. Alternative Pop band DREAMERS were next and the band walked out onto the stage to a massive amount of cheers as their fans had shown up to support. The band played a fast-paced and fierce six-song set (as did machineheart) which featured some fun Alternative Rock dance numbers.

Josh crowd surfing at the end of the show!

You Me At Six hit the stage at around 9:45 pm coming out on stage to an already very excited and loud crowd. The crowd stayed like that the entire night. The band tore through 18 tracks from 5 albums, playing through such songs as “Reckless’, “Loverboy’, to “Night People’, “IOU’, and “Bite My Tongue’ and many more (full set list pictured above). The band also performed a four-song encore coming back onstage to a crowd of fans chanting “You Me At Six!’, featuring “Room to Breathe‘, “No One Does It Better‘, “Straight to My Head’ and “Underdog’. You Me At Six had every single fan in the room matching their same high energy, happy and excited to see their favorite band. All singing along word for word, dancing having a great time. It was fun to see a band that was not only in sync with each other but was clearly having a ton of fun on stage. You Me At Six, lead singer Josh Franceschi made sure to interact with the crowd physically but through banter as well, yet he didn’t over do it. The show overall from openers to headliner was an exciting, high energy show (on a Monday night no less) filled with an engaged audience and lots of good music. See my photos from the show below …

Until then,

Brittney x