Music Reviews

Vancouver Musician, Aza Nabuko, Releases Otherworldly Self-Titled EP

Vancouver Musician, Aza Nabuko, is in bloom both as a musician and a human being who is bound to stretch beyond the boundaries of her known over the years to come. Experimenting with a variety of seasons of life metaphorically throughout her lyrical back-tale, Aza’s recently released self-titled EP is one that mesmerizes both young and mature listeners. Here’s our track-by-track thoughts.

Kicking off with the first track, “Strangers”, Aza channels the maturity of Banks as she begins lyrically spinning a web of intense feeling that showcases how two individuals that were once insanely in love can fall apart once lies and thoughts become hidden behind closed doors. “Ordinary” is the second track that showcases self-awareness as lyrics that put concrete truth into Aza’s ability to discern her supposed faults empower listeners to be more of themselves when falling deeper into intimate relationships. The third track, “Fade Away”, begins with a soft and emotive piano instrumental that leads into the highlight of Aza’s seemingly divine vocals that spill forward words of yearning for release.

“Heart of Concrete” is the fourth track that takes listeners down a tunnel of dark and back into the light as lyrical awareness shares Aza’s thoughts of being alone in her mind with her ever-growing brick wall heart that she is aware has grown through the pressures of heartache and pain. The fifth track, “Space Between”, is an EP highlight that speaks to the lucid air that stands between two human beings that once shared their entire lives together as Aza becomes increasingly lyrically aware of the distance that continues to grow. Closing out with “When We Fell in Love”, Aza lyrically reminisces on the moments in which she felt like nothing in the mind of a human being that she perceived as her everything through phenomenal songwriting that is bold and abounding with empathy and truth.

If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as Banks, Grimes and Halsey, then keep an eye on the promising ride ahead for Aza Nabuko on YouTube.

Aza Nabuko Social Links:


Music Reviews

West Coast Indie Folk Musician, Cindy Jollotta, Releases New Single – “Ghosts”

West Coast Indie Folk Musician, Cindy Jollotta, lyrically yearns to turn back the hands of time and get another shot at connecting with an individual who she once perceived differently throughout the release of her latest single, “Ghosts”. Accompanied by a music video that is set amongst a balance of the natural world and the reality of her life back at home, Cindy Jollotta gets down to the bare bones of her feelings throughout “Ghosts” in an inviting and enlightening way for those who are currently experiencing heartbreak.

Having spent some time in Europe on tour in 2018 followed by dates throughout the states which started on December 18th, 2018, Cindy is globetrotting around the world and spreading her love for music in places and environments that captivate the intimacy in which she approaches her musicianship. As a proud supporter of LGBTQ, body positive, sex positive and women in the music industry, Cindy is a thought-leader who has aligned her music with her mission of using her platform to welcome any and all walks of life into her world fully as they are. Carrying a potent degree of mystery while lacing in her roots and musical history, Cindy Jollotta shines throughout “Ghosts” which is her first time spreading her wings and dabbling into a solo project away from her band, The Podunk Poets. Setting the trajectory for what’s to come in 2019, Cindy Jollotta is in exploration mode and her artistic prowess continues to bloom. If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as LeAnne Rhymes and Shania Twain, then keep an eye on the ride ahead for Cindy Jollotta on Soundcloud.

Cindy Jollotta Social Links:


Music Reviews

Melbourne Songstress, Monique Angele, Releases New Album: ‘Alive’

Melbourne Songstress, Monique Angele, is poised in depth and has curated a reflective work of musical art from the heart throughout her latest EP, ‘Alive’. Here’s our track-by-track thoughts.

Kicking off with the first track, “Pink Coloured Sky”, Monique’s angelic vocals elevate the lighthearted touch of elegance that is laced throughout the serene instrumentals which clash fluidly after the first verse to break into a colorful sky from a place where clouds had become darkened. The second track, “Our Paradise”, begins with an airy piano that trickles its way into a lyrical journey into Monique’s intention to create a special heaven on earth that is entirely their own with a special human being who has moved her down to the soul. “Forever Strong” is the third track in which Monique lyrically yearns for peace of mind and a sense of clarity as she dives into the deep end of herself to uncover reservoirs of strength that have been uncovered through loss.  

The fourth track, “Rare Girl”, stands out as Monique lyrically embodies her worth and stands tall as a shining example for all of the individuals who are settling for less than what they desire or deserve in this lifetime. “Hold On” is the fifth track in which Monique lyrically dances with her devils in attempts to overcome her own fear of not being able to move forward from a situation or experience that was stifling everything that she had worked so hard to become and be. Closing out with “I Want A World”, the young and vulnerable remnants of Monique come to light as she lyrically proclaims her desire to aid in creating a brighter and kinder world for all.

Monique Angele emits a gracefulness throughout her artistry that mimics prestigious divas of the past. If you’re a fan of fellow musicians such as Vanessa Carlton, Skylar Grey and Sara Bareilles, then keep an eye on the ride ahead for Monique Angele on Soundcloud.

Monique Angele Social Links:

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Interview: Alexa Melo

California Songstress, Alexa Melo, lets down her guard in a empowering manner that showcases the personal growth and assurance that she continues to cultivate within as a human being. In celebration of the release of her latest EP, ‘MUTE’, I caught up with Alexa to discuss what she learned throughout the recording process, choosing not to damage your identity through the criticism of others, living in California and more.

Congrats on the recent release of the ‘Mute’ EP. Tell us about the creative and recording process and what you learned along the way.

Thank you! Well, the first song I recorded on ‘MUTE’ is called “Loyalty”. This was 6 months after a vocal cord surgery I underwent, and being mostly mute for months. So, I sang these songs in a much more timid and raw tone than anything else I’d ever done – my voice was still healing and I was not feeling myself. “Loyalty”, along with the rest of the songs featured on this EP, I recorded and produced alone in my bedroom. I was able to take my time and be patient with my voice, but also become more honest with my lyrics without feeling the judgement of others. I learned that being patient with myself and my writing is super important no matter how long it takes.

Share some words of wisdom that you have received along your journey as a musician that can serve to inspire others.

Never allow others to change your creative direction through scrutiny or criticism. It’s great to take constructive critiques and apply where it resonates with you, but never allow others to bully you into becoming something you’re not. This happens a lot in the industry and it’s never worth the damage it can ultimately do to your identity.

Showcasing the human in you, what is a challenging thought that you recently had and were able to overcome over time?

The way that people make you feel about yourself is ultimately how you feel about yourself with or without them. I’ve had to learn to validate myself and not turn to others to provide that for me.

You’re currently based in California. Tell us about how living on the West Coast has served to influence your artistry.

Having lived in LA for 12 years and recently moving to the Bay Area, I’ve noticed that even between LA and the Bay, the artistic scenes and influence vary. Living in California means that motivated and talented artists are seemingly always around you – because they all seem to flock here to be in the industry. So, inspiration is on tap here and I love it.

Thinking back to day one in the studio for the ‘Mute’ EP, did you think that the release would have turned out anything like it did?

No. I had no idea it would be so dark, and that the visual aesthetic would be so dark as well. On day one, I didn’t know what would occur in the year to come. So many more unexpected hardships came my way, but at the end of the day I’m so pleased with the result of this EP.

As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?

No drugs and lots of sleep. I’m pretty boring!

What is your perception on the digital world that we live in and social media culture?

I could go on and on about this, but I’ll spare you. There are so many pros and cons to discuss, especially when referring to the music industry and all the ways this digital era has affected it. My perspective is constantly shifting about this. Some days i feel like an old man cursing the “new way”! On other days i feel blessed being apart of this surreal, futuristic reality. What I am sure of though, is that I think there’s a balance we desperately need to all achieve to be a healthier, happier species. We have fallen way too deep into a technological world and I’m fairly certain it’s taking an unforgiving toll in how our minds work and how our brains are developing. Just in my lifetime, I’ve seen the way people interact with each other and the world change drastically in ways that are not positive. I think the internet is creating a false sense of connection while it’s actually creating distance between us. Not only that, I think it could also be turning us against each other in a sense. Not to mention the fact that vanity and narcissistic behavior is accepted and even encouraged now, especially in the younger generations. I’m concerned about how this will all affect us mentally as we age.

No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

Despite what you may believe upon looking at and listening to my art, I love to laugh and make people laugh. I’m a goofball; any darkness I may feel gets immediately filtered with art. I’m actually quite light-hearted.

Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!

Thank you for listening and supporting!

Alexo Melo Social Links:



Interview: TONKS

South Jersey Singer/Songwriter, TONKS, has taken an emotive and introspective turn into himself to create a record that is worth listening to. In celebration of TONKS first record, ‘Windows Down & Dying’, I caught up with the man to discuss his overall perception of the album, his favorite restaurants in New Jersey, staying physically active to maintain positive mental health and more.

Congrats on the release of your debut album, ‘Windows Down & Dying’. Tell us about the creative and recording process and what you learned along the way.

This record started with me sitting in my living room recording demos into the mobile garage band on my iPhone 6s. I had over 300 riffs and partial songs recorded in my voice memos and I told myself that I had to put out music in 2018 by whatever means I could. After I organized enough songs, I contacted Eric McNelis from the band Sleep In. and asked if I could record some demos with him at the Gradwell House recording studio in Haddon Heights. After we had finished 5 songs I decided that the process was easy enough, and rather than waste money on nice demos I should just put out a record and take myself seriously. I think I learned a lot about myself, and know now that I’m capable of recording a record on my own if I am self-disciplined and stay focused.

If you could go back to day one in the studio, would you have envisioned that ‘Windows Down & Dying’ would have turned out how it did?

Yes. For the most part it was just like the demos. One of the really great things about working with Eric was that he was down for anything, and I never felt like I was restricted when it came to adding new parts and experimenting with the instruments available in the studio. So going into it I wasn’t sure all the instrumentation I imagined would make it onto the record, but I think I would have been happy to see that all of that came together as I had hoped.

Tell us about the journey of TONKS so far. What inspired you to take your musicianship solo for the project.

It has been an amazing experience. I love every part of music, including the business and promotional aspects. Already I’ve been able to work with new people and I’ve learned new things through those relationships, which is all I can really ask for. I think my biggest inspiration, or driving factor, was reconnecting with a younger version of myself and having the thought of, “I’ve played music, taken lessons, and been on stage my whole life.  If I don’t put out my own music it would have all been a waste.” I started taking violin lessons and performing in recitals at age 4, so I’ve always been most comfortable when I’m on a stage playing music, and entertaining people.

If you could recommend three of your favorite restaurants in Jersey to our readers, which three would you choose?

• Sushi Kingdom would be number one. It’s an all you can eat sushi place on Route 73 in Marlton NJ. I love sushi so that is one of my favorite places.

• China 1 is a Chinese food place in Marlton off Route 70 and Maple, where my friends and I eat when we are all home at the same time. Some of my favorite memories from home involve eating food from China 1.

• Hearthside is a newish restaurant in Collingswood NJ on Haddon Ave. They have a lot of great pasta, a wood-fired oven, and they have great oysters (I love oysters).  

No career path or amount of followers negates the fact that you are a human being that has feelings. Tell us about some parts of you beyond being a musician that you take pride in.

I really enjoy running and camping. I don’t get to camp as much as I’d like but it’s something I’m able to do about twice a year as of right now, and I’d eventually like for it to be a larger part of my life.  Running is something I’ve done since I was 5. I ran track and cross country in school, and I still race 5ks and 10ks from time to time. This past year I did my first half marathon and I’m proud of that. Hopefully in 2019 I’ll be able to do a marathon.

As you are exposed to tons of stimulus, how do you proactively take care of your mental and emotional health when you’re out on the road?

I am still trying to figure this one out but in the Dryjacket van I always bring books to read.  Adam, Joe, and I have gone on a few runs, if we have time during the day and have access to a shower after. Staying physically active has always been the best way for me to stay on top of my mental health.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old that you were?

I think I would be much older. I feel like I’ve lived a very long life for such a young person. I’m very lucky to have had a lot of experiences and have traveled to a lot of places because of music.

Any upcoming tour or show plans that you can fill us in about?

I’ll be playing another show in Philly on Dec 22nd to finish up the year then I have a full US planned for March 15- April 10th which will hopefully be announced in a month or so.

Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!

I just want to say thank you to everyone listening. It was amazing to play the release shows and hear people singing along this early on. Hope to see you all in March!

TONKS Social Links:


All Photo Credit: david garren