Here we are at the end of 2021. Again, at the tail end of an extremely hard year. A lot of people have lost and sacrificed everything this year due to the continuation of the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are doing the only thing that we know can put a small bandaid on this year – partnering with our friends at Independent Artist Buzz to share some tracks from 2021 and hopeful stories from artists around the world, just like we did last year.
Please Follow the Independent Artist Buzz Spotify Playlist to hear all of these amazing tracks.
Thanks to all of the artists who shared their music AND their good news.
George Collins Band – “Down Easy”
While 2021 has been a challenging year in many respects, I took advantage of the lockdown to write and record a bunch of new songs. With live gigs no longer an option for the foreseeable future, I was determined not to let the global pandemic stand in the way of my dream of connecting with a wider audience through my music. After a roller-coaster ride, I successfully released my debut single, “Down Easy,” on November 12th, followed a few weeks later by the lyric video. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am deeply grateful that my indie pop/rock music resonates with so many people around the world. I plan on releasing more tracks over the coming months and will head back into the studio this winter to record some brand new songs — so stay tuned!
Tim Whalen – “Tomorrow”
I had a pretty momentous last few months. As you know, Al and I started Phat Phunktion 25 years ago, and that has been my main vehicle for songwriting. Outside of PP, I’ve mainly been a jazz musician and composer. I’ve messed around with snippets of song ideas here and there, but always shelved them because a voice inside my head would say “this isn’t what you should be doing right now.”
May of this year, I was thinking about my journey with my wife, and everything we had gone through up to this point. Before we got married in July 2020, we split up in 2014. She struggled with alcohol, and I had a hard time figuring out how to handle it. I certainly learned a lot. We always stayed close, and she got sober many years ago. We found our way back to each other, and a song called “Tomorrow” just poured out of me, and I decided to allow it to happen this time. It’s a song about not only forgiveness, but it’s also about knowing we can always start again.
Todd Omohundro – “The Future Is Calling”
2021 started out as a nightmare for me when things did not go well with shoulder surgery and I almost died. I redid my will and the whole bit. To be healthy again and make music and feel the thrill of being alive is beyond what I can convey with words.
Alan Goins – “Rainy Smile”
This year, at 62 years old, I was able to go to a “Get To Know You Event” at work and show a Feature for my FIRST album, which was recorded this year. These events are usually awkward because I have no spouse or children, or special recipes to share. But this was nice. I’ll always be grateful to Ariel and the team for my features.
Eddy Mann – “We Belong to the Day”
The past year has proven to be a fruitful one for me. The break through was the realization that we were created for this time in history. We did nothing to be born into this season of time, it was pure destiny… and with that in mind I bore the song We Belong to the Day.
Andrew Stonehome – “When You’re Leaving”
I’ve always wanted to create and share music with others but I’d let my inner critic stop me from doing it. I finally decided to start and I put my first single out. I didn’t do any marketing because I was releasing it mostly for logistical purposes, but out of the blue, I got an unexpected email from someone I’d never met. He told me that he has stage four cancer, and though he’s doing ok, having cancer has motivated him to reach out to anyone who brings him joy to let them know. He told me that he’d just heard my song and was reaching out to let me know that it had made his day. I was stunned. We began corresponding and he’s often sent encouraging messages at the times that I needed them the most. Being told that something that I made has brought joy to someone is a gift, and I lean on it often to sustain me through the challenging times.
Ralston Van Der Schyff – “A Doll’s Ballet”
During these pandemic times, I did much more composing and also pulled out all those unpublished compositions I did years ago and released them. I got into a routine of releasing one Single each month and hope to continue this pattern with albums. I also designed my own website and incorporated an online shop for my music and shows – now just how to market them properly. I‘m also happy to be able to perform live again after 2 years of living in a cave.
Real Stormin Norman – “Butterflies”
After a wait of 16 months we recorded our EP “Euphoria” and released it on November 12. Wonderful cd release party at Connolly’s in Times Square with large, enthusiastic crowd. Real Stormin Norman is a jazz-rock ensemble based around my compositions and keyboard. We have been performing in various combinations for the past 10 years in NYC and released 5 albums in that time.
Paega* – “Nebula Overture > Stargazing > There’s One!”
This year has been a whirlwind in so many ways, but I’m grateful in particular for my friend PJ who asked me to help him produce, engineer and mix his debit solo album “Beauty From Tragedy”. The album was written and recorded during the lockdown and we used it as a way to keep in touch with each other and stay productive. I hope you enjoy the first track from the debut “Paega*” album, which is composed of three unique parts collectively known as: “Nebula Overture > Stargazing > There’s One!”.
Keats. – “Love Is so Simple”
My good news for 2021 was that I released my first EP entitled When The Sails Collapse, As Live. It was 5 years in the making but it felt amazing to get it out into the world to help others through their journey!
Baladeva Nitai – “Falling Star”
2021 was a lesson of how to be more inside myself. I was more reclusive, living in a foreign country with my family, so we tried to protect ourselves not taking so much risk, in this way we took care of each other. Living more with myself, I could know myself better, and the result was a journey inside, I could see the choices that brought me here where I am now, very clear. I could see my mistakes, and my tendencies, some good, some bad, and also it was incredible as some rare memories started to come back in my mind, some really deep that could build strong roots in me, and at the end of all this I felt more strong to keep going to live life with more wisdom and maturity. Even with life being more online I could meet old friends, and meet new virtual friends in virtual events that are more present in my life since then. Now, I am still dreaming while waking and studying and creating music, and this year I could release a new fresh music album called “You the Others, which means the direct connection of everyone and everything in the Universe and beyond. This album was born with the help of very special people that music brought into my life during this sacred journey. So this “year time” is now eternal in my heart and I can share it through the music and artist I love so much.
Beth Duncan – “I’m All Yours”
I recorded “I‘m All Yours” at Fantasy Studios before the pandemic hit, before the economic fallout, before the more recent racial and social unrest. So much uncertainty, fear, sadness, and anger, and I thought seriously about shelving the project and retreating. But then it hit me: Completing the album is what I had to do. This collaboration was a labor of love and meant to be shared. Love and music win out.
Athena Burke – “I Will Not Fall”
2021 has been an incredible year of bursting back onto the scene, after many years off and during a pandemic. I just released my new album in November after releasing three singles over the past 7 months. I am a live performer who had never taken the time to create a website or marketing plan or email list, but I got all of that in place as well as really upleveling my social media presence and distribution. I receiived a lot of great advice from you, which I followed and I‘ve got so much traction now! I have a store online! I was filmed on PBS TV and I‘ve been added to radio rotations and I‘ve had articles written about my music. I am so excited about all the possibilities opening up in new ways. What a year! I‘m ready to record my next album and expand on the solid foundation I built.
Paulo Lara – “Estrela de Mil Pontas”
I have been recently trying to re-engage some social media platforms, create a base (very very slowly still), and I am in the process of finishing some new recordings, fresh new music. Super excited about it. In the meantime I am also trying to release some previously un-released materials (pre-production tapes, live sessions, demos, and other materials or even talking about the songs in my previous album – as a way to engage my audience, and little by little prepare for my new release.
Phoenix And The Silvervoodoos – “Star mirror – Radio Edit”
Phoenix and the SilverVoodoos is a female fronted Canadian Indie Rock /Alternative Rock band from Asquith SK. The band were Regional Finalists in the Jim Beam National Talent Search 2020 and showcased on Canadian Music Week 2021.
Phoenix and the SilverVoodoos are proud to release their single Star Mirror – Radio Edit a fun, uplifting song about loving your complete self. The song is high energy filled with grinding guitar licks, blistering solos with steady backbeats: All delivered with Phoenix’s fragile yet powerful vocals. The band also teamed up with Matticulous Media for an exciting video.
Marla Lewis – “Blue Horizon”
Marla has released several award-winning Children’s albums (I LOVE TO TALK TO PLANTS, 2009, and WE ALL LAUGH IN THE SAME LANGUAGE, 2007) with two-time Grammy-winning producer/engineer Bob Stander.
Her records have won Parent’s Choice Gold, and a number of her songs have won First Prize or Finalist in national and international song competitions. SONGBOOK marks Marla Lewis’ return to the smooth jazz and American Standards that she has always loved. Also Produced by Bob Stander, SONGBOOK contains 14 original songs that have been described as “pure bliss!” The album was released on October 7, 2021. Marla’s goal is for her songs to delight people around the world.
Evan Roth – “Dreamer”
I’ve been saving this song up for 2 years. Right around the time I was going through a rough breakup, I was feeling pretty lost and all my musical dreams were being challenged when I was told I was just a dreamer. Coincidentally, at the same time my grandma left me a voicemail encouraging me to pursue my dreams and never give up and she didn’t know I was already writing a song about it. Everything came together and one of the most special songs I’ve ever written came to fruition. This song is a departure from anything I’ve ever done and I held it back for so long because it makes me cry every time I hear it, not because its purely sad but it evokes such nostalgia of that time in my life and makes me miss my grandma very much, she was one of my biggest supporters, to those that knew her. I hope this song inspires you to keep going and never give up on your dreams, no matter how wild and crazy they are. This is the year of the dreamer.
Wadie Aamdi – “Lghorba”
Wadie Aamdi is a singer originally from Rabat, Morocco who after five years of waiting was offered a permanent residency in Canada in 2020. Though this is an amazing opportunity for him, it was still very hard to leave his entire life and family in Morocco to come alone to Montreal. This song is about the hardships he has endured as well as the success he has had after coming to Canada. The title Laghorba means ´abroad’ or ´foreign place.’ It’s perhaps a universal experience for many immigrants and expats to seek a better life while having to give up their old one.
We are so thankful to all of these amazing artists for sharing our stories with us. Please click here to stream their music on the Independent Artist Buzz “Good News, Good Music” Playlist on Spotify.