Although the start of the school year may be drab, the return of Push Play Monday isn't. Just like your GPA, expectations are high for the coming months of music. OVO and G.O.O.D. Music are coming together on a Kanye West and Drake collaborative album, Young Thug plans to wear a dress to his unannounced wedding and a Cruel Winter is coming. So while you are looking at those due dates on a 20-page syllabus, remember there is a lot to be excited about. Enjoy the first Push Play Monday of the 2016-17 school year.
1) "Sober" by et aliae ft. D∆WN
This track is one of five to appear on the debut EP of Singaporean singer et aliae. She is classically trained in piano and cites Johann Sebastian Bach as one of the key inspirations for her mellow and down-tempo style. In 2012, she relocated to London, where she attended school for design. She continued making music, and released her first song, "ffb6c1," on Ryan Hemsworth's Secret Songs compilation. She signed with Cascine and she's been working on music ever since.
2) "Twice" by SWIMS
SWIMS has an extremely limited online profile, so his/her/their identity remains unclear. However, the London-based artist continues to put out quality music, so those missing details are admissible.
3) "Tell Me You Love It" by Jake Miller
Although this Floridian markets himself as a rapper, his singing voice is where his talent resides. The 23-year-old released his first EP three years ago under E1 Music, later signing to Warner Bros. Music, under which he has released an additional three EPs. His most recent work is undeniably his best, providing him with a more mature image in the pop industry.
4) "Ready" by Sondar
Sondar is a Nashville-based electronic pop duo made up of two women named Cait Cole and Katie Moore. This track is their first officially released single, although the first single they ever worked on and completed was accidentally distributed to and posted on Spotify last week. "Ready" peaked at No. 1 on the most viral track in the world on Spotify, and is worth every play it has since received.
5) "Open Arms" by Jordan Mackampa
Jordan Mackampa has quite the international upbringing. Originally born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he grew up in England in both London and Coventry. In July, he announced his debut EP, Physics, would be coming out in September, followed by a headline tour through the United Kingdom. Although his EP does not appear to be released yet, his tour begins in a few days.
6) "Solid Gold" by WILLS
Will Johnson (WILLS) first started recording under the name of Gordon Voidwell in 2014. During his time under the Boys Choir of Harlem while living in the Bronx, he experienced jazz, gospel and a variety of other genres that greatly influenced his music style. In the last year or two, he moved out of New York City to St. Paul, Minnesota, where he began working on his debut music sans cell phone or Wi-Fi. The work that's come out of this move is undeniably beautiful.
7) "One Way Ticket" by Midnight to Monaco
If I were forced to pick a single song from 2016 that encapsulates the way summer is meant to feel, I would choose this one. Ricky Ducati, a vocalist, and Donnie Sloan, a songwriter and producer, are the two driving forces behind this modern take on '50s doo-wop, and they are doing a marvelous job. This song was cut on the same Neve console as The Beach Boys, and no fate has ever felt more predetermined.
8) "The Way It Was" by Coast Modern
Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp are the two men who comprise this indie pop duo under 300 Entertainment, the same label that represents Fetty Wap and Young Thug. It was not until Trapp was 23 years old that he discovered he could sing. Shortly after, both members moved to Los Angeles, where they fell into a rut that forced Trapp to return to Denver. Trapp would record demos on a borrowed guitar and send them by mail to Atlas. Eventually, Atlas convinced Trapp to move back to Los Angeles, where they created "Hollow Life," their debut single, which has since garnered a reputation in indie pop.
9) "Romantic" by Stanaj
Albert Stanaj is probably a name you have never heard, but it is linked to a face that has appeared in photos next to Drake at the YOLO Mansion. Born in New York to Albanian parents, this producer has been hinting at collaborations with the likes of Jay Z for more than a year now, and while it is not yet clear where these links will lead the 22-year-old, his latest album is a standout.
10) "Die Trying" by Michl
While little is known about this artist, it is clear that he is one of the newer additions to the music roster, having just begun production for his newest project in 2015. His new EP, Michl, was released under Michl Records, so it is possible the new artist also owns his own label. Exciting things are hopefully in the works for this talented voice.
11) "Paris 12" by Linying
Linying is a Singaporean singer-songwriter who began her career in electronic music through international collaborations with some of the bigger names in EDM. After deciding to create a solo career for herself, she released three singles, with news that a debut EP is set to release sometime this fall.
12) "Too Young" by Dagny
This alternative pop singer labels herself as a "songbird from the North." By North, she means Tromsø, Norway, where she was raised. She eventually relocated to London, where she released her debut EP, Ultraviolet, this month. She has since sold out shows across the U.K. and has received positive reception for her budding career.
That's all for this week. I will be back next Monday with a fresh playlist.