For some, all it takes is a little dose of hardship to inspire a change. In Brendan Scott Friel’s case, it took a large dose of hardship to inspire a complete life turnaround. The winter of 2016 found Friel coping with two major things coming to an end: his relationship and his band. With what little money he had left, the indie-folk artist set out for Holland with his acoustic guitar and a backpack. The next few months were filled with busking across Europe and renewing his original passion for music.
His upcoming record includes a number of songs inspired by the death of his father. One of which, “Simon the Doubter,” is a thought provoking and arresting exploration of thoughts concerning tragedy and life’s unanswered and difficult questions. With such questions comes that contemptuous headspace of doubt and uncertainty.
Brooklyn-based artist Michael Sackler-Berner of The Slim Kings knows that any career in the music industry is not likely to be linear; you must be able to go with the flow and continue fighting for the most authentic version of yourself. For the singer-songwriter, a career has come in many forms: from landing placements on shows like Sons of Anarchy and Law and Order, to winning the 2022 USA Songwriting Competition (Jazz), to working with household names and Grammy winners alike.
As an individual artist, he goes by the moniker MSB. Alongside his long-time friend and collaborator, Nick Movshon (Amy Winehouse, The Black Keys, Bruno Mars), locked themselves in a New York studio during the pandemic and went to town with the musical creativity. Pouring their fears and confusions into the process, the result was MSB’s new album, Borrowed Time, a compilation of songs about finding meaning and beauty in chaos.
Instead of practicing piano fundamentals, MSB came up with the track, “Shout Out Loud.” The lyrics remind listeners that things swept under the rug has a way of building up and potentially breaking you down from the inside if left to fester too long.
Miel Azevedo has always been drawn to the healing properties of music- a factor that has since influenced the way they craft their own art from thoughts and dreams. The Montreal-based artist is a mostly self-taught producer who also works as a live sound engineer.
The multi-talented artist’s forthcoming EP, SOFT, takes an unconventional approach to genre and song form, roaming into the world of the unconfined. For the first time, Azevedo arranged and recorded orchestral arrangements, a key feature of this album and a notable step in the realm of composition and production.
“Healing Tears,” their latest endeavor, expresses their journey and discovery amidst sexual healing. With the help of two songwriting mentors, Kevin Breit (Canadian guitarist for Norah Jones and Cassandra Wilson) and Dave Clark (original drummer for Rheostatics), the otherworldly number was brought to life. The artistic music video for this single was inspired by an inventive reimagination of a queer erotic art project from 2020.
Featured photo: Brendan Scott Friel