Press Play At Home: Lou Ridley Lays Her Soul Bare With A Tender Performance Of "Blind Eye"
In this episode of Press Play at Home, self-described "anti-country" artist Lou Ridley unravels the pain of a doomed relationship with her song, "Blind Eye."
Growing up in Southlake, Texas — an affluent suburb of the Dallas and Fort Worth areas — Lou Ridley always felt like an outsider. Now, as an "anti-country" country singer based out of Nashville, she finds freedom in honest songwriting while still bucking many of her chosen genre's tropes.
The pandemic has been a productive time for Ridley: She spent quarantine perfecting a batch of songs that would eventually become her newest release, Angel/Outlaw, deepening her commitment to authenticity and vulnerability in each of the project's tracks.
Nowhere is that vulnerability more apparent than in "Blind Eye," an unflinching examination of a doomed relationship, and a laundry list of all the reasons why things just won't work out. In its lyrics, Ridley faults her partner for never treating her the way she deserves, but saves her harshest criticism for herself: "I turned a blind eye," she plaintively sings in the chorus.
In this episode of Press Play at Home, Ridley gives the song the drama it deserves, singing seated on a plush red sofa, a bed of red flowers at her feet. Her voice takes center stage, accompanied only by soft acoustic guitar and sparse backing vocals.
By the end of the performance, Ridley's heartache has become a call to action, rousing herself to leave a relationship that will never give her what she needs. It's an autobiographical song, but it's also a lens into Ridley's commitment to the truth: If she has to decide between being well-liked and being authentic, the singer's choice is clear.
Check out Ridley's Press Play At Home episode above, and catch new performances from the series every Thursday.
Press Play At Home: Watch Dodie Perform A Morning-After Version Of "Four Tequilas Down"
In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, singer/songwriter dodie conjures a bleary last call in a hushed performance of "Four Tequilas Down"
"Four Tequilas Down" is as much a song as it is a memory—a half-remembered one. "Did you make your eyes blur?/So that in the dark, I'd look like her?" dodie, the song's writer and performer, asks. To almost anyone who's engaged in a buzzed rebound, that detail alone should elicit a wince of recognition.
Such is dodie's beyond-her-years mastery of her craft: Over a simple, spare chord progression, she can use an economy of words to twist the knife. "So just hold me like you mean it," dodie sings at the song's end. "We'll pretend because we need it."
In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, watch dodie stretch her songwriting muscles while conjuring a chemically altered Saturday night—and the Sunday morning full of regrets, too.
Check out dodie's hushed-yet-intense performance of "Four Tequilas Down" above and click here to enjoy more episodes of Press Play At Home.
Press Play At Home: Francisca Valenzuela Performs Her Courageous Feminist Paean "La Fortaleza"
The outspoken Chilean singer/songwriter Francisca Valenzuela sings of womanhood and will to power
For Francisca Valenzuela, feminism isn't a radical notion, but a self-evident truth. The daughter of two renowned Chilean scientists, she's published muscular, experiential poetry (like her 2000 book, Defenseless Waters, which she published in her early teens) and founded Ruidosa, a festival, platform and community that elevates female voices.
In this episode of Press Play At Home, Valenzuela sings "La Fortaleza," which contains her worldview in microcosm. "Everything that has happened has led me to today," she sings in Spanish. "I look ahead to the horizon and I bury the guilt and leave/I pack a suitcase, take a deep breath and don't look back/Setting sun, rising sun will accompany me."
Check out Francisca Valenzuela's riveting performance of "La Fortaleza" above, and watch other episodes of Press Play At Home.
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Press Play At Home: Aaron Lee Tasjan's Playful Performance Of "Computer Of Love"
"Some advanced technology is eating through my brain," Tasjan laments at the start of the lively folk-rock song
In the latest episode of Press Play At Home, Nashville-based singer/songwriter Aaron Lee Tasjan offers a playful yet piercing take on technological dependency in his performance of "Computer of Love."
"Some advanced technology is eating through my brain," Tasjan laments at the start of the lively folk-rock song. Watch his full performance below.
Featured on his forthcoming, genre-bending album, Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!, out Feb. 5, 2021, the song references the disconnection caused by technology and social media and the emotional barriers they create within and between people.
Chika Drops Stripped-Down Version Of "Balencies" For Press Play
The Alabama rapper gives an intimate performance of her song "Balencies" from her major label debut EP 'Industry Games'
Chika is having a breakout year, no matter how you look at it. Born Jane Chika Oranika in Montgomery, Ala., the first-generation Nigerian-American rapper was named to XXL Magazine's 2020 Freshman Class. And it's easy to see why:
The self-described "professional truth-teller" with "a pen that's tactical," Chika shines in the latest edition of Press Play At Home, delivering an intimate version of "Balencies" from her major label debut EP Industry Games.
"The time that went into 'Industry Games,' was a year of my life, last year specifically," she recently told The Recording Academy. "I think that I fleshed out a lot more about myself with this project. You get more of my thought process, and the way my brain actually works––I get to share how crazy and hectic it gets in my brain sometimes. [Laughs.] You hear me versus my ego on it, and what that sounds like for me to be this soft-spoken person, but having a bigger ego, and having to defend certain words."
"Balencies," produced by Lido, also features production elements chosen by her puppy, Vision, who gets a nice shoutout in one of her verses. Chika's soulful, poetic lyricism shows her poetry slam roots and the influence of her southern upbringing in the church, which had a strong musical influence on her style.
Enjoy Chika's very personal performance of "Balencies" and stay tuned for more outstanding original music from GRAMMY.com's Press Play series.