Courtesy of Corona Capital Guadalajara
Rhye On The Meaning Behind 'Spirit,' Vulnerability In Songwriting & More
The Recording Academy caught up with the R&B singer/songwriter at Corona Capital in Mexico a day after the release of his latest album
Canadian singer/songwriter Mike Milosh has won fans all over the world with his mix of R&B, soul, ambient pop and smooth vocals under the moniker Rhye.
Originally a duo with Danish producer/songwriter Robin Hannibal, Rhye initially piqued listeners' interest with the 2013 debut Woman. Despite its positive attention, Milosh made a point not to be the center of Woman's promotion in the media. "We just didn't want to be in the imagery of it because we wanted people to have their own experience with the songs," he told NPR at the time.
Two albums later, Milosh is back with the newly released Spirit. Dropped on May 10 with little notice as the follow-up to 2018's Blood, Rhye's latest captures his falling back in love with playing the piano, which for him served as a meditation after touring.
"I'm kind of stoked that I got to do this Spirit record," he told the Recording Academy. "I had the time to put it together after touring and it happened really quickly so I'm just glad that it's out ... it's very nice to have a really positive reception to another record that no one even knew I was going to [release] ... We didn't hype it up for a long time, we just kind of dropped it and were just like, yeah, we've got another record."
The Recording Academy caught up with the singer at Corona Capital in Guadalajara, Mexico to talk about the meaning behind Spirit, how traveling inspires him, the vulnerability behind performing the songs he writes and more.
You're in Mexico for a few performances. What vibe does the audience give you here?
Energy, energy, energy. Happiness. I remember one time I did a really gentle song and this one guy yelled out, "I'm so happy!" And everyone kind of, in a really loving way, laughed at him. And it was actually really sweet. So my experiences in Mexico with the audiences are particularly nice.
You just released your latest album, Spirit. What inspired it?
Well, for me, Spirit became a meditative process with the piano. I did an insane amount of dates last year, and when I got to my last date, I'd been gifted this grand piano—or, I was asked to take care of it. I just started waking up every day and playing, not for any purpose, but just the joy of just kind of meditating through playing piano and then that grew into what the record became. But for me, that's like a really good way to become introspective and that introspection kind of allows you to heal a little bit from the amount of touring and just kind of go through the emotions in a gentle, peaceful way.
Is there a meaning behind its cover art?
Well, it's my girlfriend, Geneviève. I shot it. I shot the Blood record as well. Blood we shot in Iceland in a glacier lake. She came out, was drying off [and] I shot that. Spirit we shot also in glacier lakes, but in New Zealand. So it's kind of amazing that I've been able to bring Geneviève at the end of tours and then me and her and some friends will have adventures and explore a region like Iceland and New Zealand. It's this beautiful moment for me just to do photography with her. It's part of the adventuring. We're looking for environments that will give us the essence of the record, because I've already made the record at that point and I'm just trying to capture a visual image or a visual component that oozes the sentiment. I think I got to do that in New Zealand.
You're in the middle of playing several shows. You've mentioned healing from touring. What's the touring experience like for you?
I love touring, so I've no complaints about touring. It's just, we did well over 100 dates, which means you're in a lot of planes and you're in a lot of hotels and then not getting sleep because you've got to be up super early. That being said, the shows were incredible and all the places that we got to see were amazing. We got to play places we haven't played before. I'd never played in Hungary before, for example. I got to play a big festival in Hungary, it was really phenomenal. Just going back to Lithuania for the second time was amazing and playing the new festivals in England. I don't know. I'm in a really lucky moment in my life I guess where I get to play these incredible festivals and have really good private shows.
You're also going to play a few dates in Canada soon, including some cities that you've never been to. What does it mean to you to play a city for the first time?
It's exciting, for one. But then there's a little bit of fear there too because I don't know if anyone's even going to show up to the concert, you know? So we always try to do a smaller play and keep it intimate and just try to have a much more connective moment the first time I come to a city. In Canada, it's particularly nice because I am Canadian so it's nice to actually do a full-fledged Canadian tour where I get to play all these cities that I haven't actually touched yet. I haven't had the time in the last like five years to do that just based on tour routing and finances and all that stuff so it's actually nice to actually get to do it.
Does traveling influence your songwriting?
I think so. 100 percent. I'm a big fan of the feeling of having brand-new eyes, looking at something for the first time. You get that a lot when you're traveling because you're in a brand new place, you're not caught in a rhythm or a rut. So traveling, for me, influences my attitude in some way. I have a sound, and I get that, but I feel like I'm constantly looking at things a new I feel.
How does it feel to be able to put your feelings out there to such masses?
That's a huge question. The short answer is it feels really good. The longer answer is, you are always taking a chance that someone's going to come back and, I don't know ... You're easily insulted when you go that vulnerable, so I don't really look at a lot of comments at first until my manager or Geneviève have said that the comments are positive, I guess. Because I don't want that to get into my head. It's a really beautiful thing though, to just find people in the world that want to hear music that is introspective and emotional, and coming from a place of sometimes healing, sometimes going through things, or sometimes elation or joy. The people that like the music I'm making seem to be also in touch with their emotions.
Rotimi On Performing At ESSENCE Fest, Growing Up African-American & More
The Nigerian-American singer and actor sat down with the Recording Academy to talk about what inspired his latest album, 'Walk With Me'
In 2015, Rotimi stepped into the New Orleans Superdome for the first time to experience the magic of ESSENCE Fest. Four years later, in 2019, the "Love Riddim" singer returned to the celebration as a performer, something he said was spoken into existence.
"Last year me and my manager had a conversation and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to be on the [ESSENCE] mainstage this year. 365 days later, we did it," Rotimi told the Recording Academy at the 25th annual ESSENCE Fest.
Rotimi, also an actor on Starz' "Power," has evolved since his last album, 2017's Jeep Music, Vol.1. The singer said he really hit home with its follow-up, the recently released Walk With Me, a project he worked hard for, putting in hours in the studio after filming on set.
"Walk With Me is the first time I actually felt like I was giving myself as an artist, and personally I feel like with everything else I have going on I wanted to show people that this is really what I do," he said. "I wanted people to understand who Rotimi is, who Rotimi was before, who I want to be and just understand my growth and the journey and my passion for what I do."
Part of why the album felt like such a representation of him is because it embodies beats of his African roots, something he said was very present growing up Nigerian-American.
"I grew up with a lot of Fela Kuti and I grew up with Bob Marley," he said of his musical roots. "But I also grew up with Carl Thomas and Genuine and Usher, so there was a genuine mixture of who I am and what I've grown up to listen to. The actual Walk With Me project was a mixture of influences of Akon and Craig David."
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
Rosalía Announces First Solo North American Tour
El Mal Querer Tour, named after the Spanish pop star's latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances
Rosalía is set to perform at some of the most popular music festivals around the globe, including Primavera Sound in Spain, Lollapalooza (Argentina and Chile) and Coachella, but the Spanish pop star isn't stopping there when she gets to the States. Now, she has announced her first solo North American Tour with a string of dates that will bring her to select cities in the U.S. and Canada.
El Mal Querer Tour, named after her latest album, will come to Los Angeles on April 17 in between her Coachella performances. Then she'll play San Francisco on April 22, New York on April 30 and close out in Toronto on May 2.
"I’m so happy to announce my first solo North American tour dates," the singer tweeted.
Rosalía won Best Alternative Song and Best Fusion/ Urban Interpretation at the 19th Latin GRAMMY Awards in November and has been praised for bringing flamenco to the limelight with her hip-hop and pop beats. During her acceptance speech she gave a special shout-out to female artists who came before her, including Lauryn Hill and Bjork.
Rosalía has been getting some love herself lately, most notably from Alicia Keys, who gave the Spanish star a shout-out during an acceptance speech, and Madonna, who featured her on her Spotify International Women's Day Playlist.
Tickets for the tour go on sale March 22. For more tour dates, visit Rosalía's website.
Kevin Parker of Tame Impala
Photo: Rick Kern/WireImage
Listen: Tame Impala Release New Track "Patience"
It's been four years since we've heard new music from Tame Impala, but their new release has come just in time for festival season
Tame Impala have released a new single appropriately called "Patience." The GRAMMY-nominated music project by Australian singer and musician Kevin Parker had not released any new tracks since 2015's Currents.
The long-awaited latest release embodies the exact feeling of having to wait for something: "Has it really been that long? / Did I count the days wrong? ... I've been waiting here / Waiting for the day to come," Parker's soft voice sings on the track featuring an equally soft piano.
Parker, who has come to fame for the psychedelic, dreamy pop sound he shares as Tame Impala, teased the single on Instagram last night. "New track. 1 hour. Speakers/headphones people," the post said.
"I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."
Lila Downs Announces New Album Paying Tribute To The Chile Pepper, Releases Tour Info
The announcement was made with the release of the first single, a cover of the Peruvian cumbia classic "Cariñito"
GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter Lila Downs, known for her eclectic mixture sounds from Mexico and beyond, has announced that her latest album, Al Chile, will pay tribute to the chile pepper and will drop May 3. The news came with the release of the first single, "Cariñito."
Al Chile, produced by the GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer Camilo Lara (Mexican Institute of Sound) and mixed by Mario Caldato Jr., who has worked with the Beastie Boys and Jack Johnson, is not a joke; it sincerely shows love for the fruit.
"Yes, the music is a tribute to the fruit that causes us so much craving and suffering, but that we really love!" Downs said in a statement. "We fry the chile, add beats from the city, then saxophones, trumpets and drums from the Mexican coast to keep the dance going. The village and the city are united by the same beat. With a mezcal in hand, we dream of a place with a palm tree where one falls in love and reflects."
The first single is Down's take on a Peruvian cumbia classic. The singer also released dates for the album's supporting tour that will take her to Los Angeles' Walt Disney Concert Hall, New York City, Seattle and other cities across the U.S.
For more information on the tour, visit Downs' website.