Based in Philadelphia, the co-working space REC Philly has become a second home to a variety of creators. From singers to photographers, this 10,000 square foot space offers equipment, location and opportunities for all members.
We chatted to Will Toms, Chief Creative Officer of REC, and Dave Silver, Chief Executive Officer of REC to see how they've been holding up in these unprecedented times:
A. Introduce yourselves!
RP: I'm Will Toms, Chief Creative Officer of REC, and this is Dave Silver, Chief Executive Officer of REC. We are the co-founders of REC who help lead the charge with the help of our incredible team.
A: How has your company had to adapt because of corona times?
RP: We operate a physical space with 14 private studios, a coworking space, Live Nation event space, retail store and more. Once the government ordered that all "non-essential" businesses close their doors, we had to find a way to be valuable to our community members digitally. It felt like shifting an entire business model, overnight.
A: What advice do you have for creatives/artists?
RP: Just like we learned, it's extremely important to have a digital presence that matches or exceeds the value you offer in the live space. Any business whose revenues are mostly earned in the live events space or through in person services, will be vulnerable in times like these. We're encouraging our creators to tighten up their digital presence and get those digital services, physical products and digital products launched in an effort to keep revenue flowing. Your value proposition is bigger than just your music, photos or whatever your core offering is. Understand what your community truly needs from you and offer that digitally as best you can.
A: What album/track has been getting you through these times?
RP: Philly's own Orion Sun with her new album 'Hold Space For Me'. Great moody vibes for this rollercoaster of a time we're in.
A: Any exciting new projects on the way?
RP: We're cooking up something special under the code name "REC TV".
We've curated a selection of recently released music over the last month from some of the top artists. From Peggy Gou to Frank Ocean, we've got you covered with some new tracks to switch up your playlists! 👌
#1 Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean took us all by surprise with the release of his two newest tracks, 'Dear April' and 'Cayendo'. Released within a day of each other at the start of April, both tracks carry his usual dreamlike character, a perfect remedy for when you need some company. Released April 2nd and 3rd.
Released on April 2nd, Drake returned with another bop that has been the catalyst to yet another dance challenge on TikTok. 'Toosie Slide' is another ode to Drake's OG skills in rap and brings out a more chill vibe to carry you through the coming weeks.
#3 Peggy Gou x Boiler Room
Live from Seoul Tower, Peggy Gou teamed up with Boiler Room to provide another epic performance on the decks. Effortlessly cool and calm, Gou blesses us with the perfect way for anyone to start their mornings...back in the club? Streamed on April 25th.
Released on April 17th, DVSN is back with their third studio album, 'A Muse In Her Feelings'. With multiple guest stars, the elegant Canadian R&B duo continue to carry and expand their seductive club energy throughout each track.
#5 Kali Uchis
'To Feel Alive', an eclectic EP from adored Colombian-American singer songwriter, Kali Uchis. Released on April 24th, the mixtape is a four track project intertwined with dreamy melodies and hazy instrumentals. Recorded alone in "her room", the EP seems to be a a statement for the current global state of isolation.
#6 The Strokes
The Strokes have released their newest album, The New Abnormal. After 7 years of waiting, the NYC rock band have returned with their familiar signature sounds and hungover vibes. Released April 10th.
#7 Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes
Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes perhaps aren't the most obvious combination, but together they've created a smooth yet powerful album, What Kinda Music. The South East London duo have played to their strengths and surprisingly compliment each other. From Misch's playful improvisation on the guitar and with Dayes' sturdy beats, this album is a great example of experimentation in its finest. Released April 24th.
#8 Charli XCX
A tease of Charli XCX's new quarantine inspired album 'How I'm Feeling Now', Claws is one track exploring and perhaps documenting her time in lockdown. The track carries an obvious DIY element with electro-pop narratives. Released April 23rd.
#9 Travis Scott & Kid Cudi
'The Scotts', a collaboration between rappers Kid Cudi and Travis Scott. Dropped during the end of Scott's Astronomical Fortnite Concert, the track went on to overtaking Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” and hitting #1 on the Global Spotify Chart. Released April 24th.
#10 Global Citizen - One World: Together at Home
A moment marked in history with artists all over the globe uniting for a live streamed concert on April 18th. From Lady Gaga who was the face of the event to Billie Eilish, the event raised 127.9 million, providing $55.1 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million to local and regional responders. Check out their twitter for the live steams!
This week's featured artist is shoe gaze genius Ioana Iorgu from The Netherlands.
Take a look at her Q&A on the 'Selected' highlight on our Instagram (@amuse.io)
Ioana Iorgu - BLOOM
Wanna take a break from reality? This instrumental tune is like a lil shoe gaze sun coming up, welcoming you to be a part of its warmth and hopefulness. Ioana Iorgu sure knows how to create a magical atmosphere with that guitar of her's.
Location: The Netherlands Streams: 124 Instagram: @ioana.irg
Do not despair! The intro is one minute long - we know - but when the chilled rock voice comes in at 1:08 it sure will be worth the wait. This track is perfect for a day in the sun - picnic with friends - all bubbling with a smooth party vibe inside!
This soft, warm track by mystical Chamoon reminds us of the feeling when you lay in the sun and your whole body gets covered by the heat - a calmness slowly starts swimming around inside. With its beautiful lyrics, playful synths and hypnotizing harmonies - it makes a true gem.
Location: Sweden Streams: 1,4K Instagram: @__chamoon
This mystic band - more or less impossible to find online - sure got us wondering who they are. Their music feel like something from an 80's Hollywood movie - but this dreamy, groovy track was released in 2019 - believe it or not!
This week's featured artists are Swedish dream team duo, Marta and Erika from I Am Karate.
Take a look at their Q&A on the 'Selected' highlights on our Instagram (@amuse.io)
I Am Karate - Freaky
Indie pop duo ‘I Am Karate’ will keep you dancing with their playful track ‘Freaky’, a relatable tune about the strange stages after a breakup. The Swedish dream team will lure you in with catchy lyrics and an electric beat, definitely one to keep your eye on.
British DJ and producer, Beave, has released a compelling track ‘All We Need’. This intense tune will keep your heart pumping and feet moving all through the night. Explore the hyperness of his mixes and you’ll feel back at the club in no time.
Take some time out to listen to ‘Callin You Callin Me’ by Aboriginal artist, Boorook. This low n’ slow track will be sure to send good energies your way. With heavy vocals and gentle melodies, this tune is no doubt a unique experience for all to enjoy.
Location: Australia Streams: 15 Instagram: @boorook90
The popular Dominican artist, Carlos Uzi, carries seductive spanish energy in his track ‘Error’. A perfect song to keep you company at any time of the day. With gentle vocals, this track is the ideal all-rounder for whatever mood you’re feeling.
UK based rapper, TeeZandos, performs an eclectic track for our good friends over at Hardest Bars. This young talent has made a name for themselves as a queen of drill, and a genius at mashin’ up intense bars and powerful lyrics.
This week's feature artist is Scorcher from Northern London.
Let's get to know him a bit more!
What's the best thing about being an artist? Creating music that I'm feeling for people to listen to.
Tell us about your new track '8+1'. What is it about? Real life
Who's your biggest influence? I don't really have any influences. I just create what I'm feeling and tell the stories from my own life.
Scorcher - 8+1
Explore the heaviness of British Grime by multi-talented rapper, Scorcher, with his newest track, ‘8+1’. Experience the dark and discreet side of London, through the intensity of the lyrics and the weight of the strong beat in this notorious track.
Put a smile on your face with ‘NO MONEY’, a track by emerging Italian artist, Plasma 8003 ft Alfa, Olly (Prod. Joe Viegas). This uplifting single will be sure to transport you back to vacations in Europe, the distinct scent of sunblock, and memories of soaking up the warm rays amongst friends.
Location: Genova, IT Streams: 74K Instagram: @plasma8003
Brotherly pop-punk band formed of Swedish and Dutch members, Long Story Short, has released a surprising new track, ‘Copycat’. Prepare for your adrenaline levels to rise as though you’re about to fall into the mosh pit with this complex merge of punk and pop anarchy.
Strangely 80s vibe yet also futuristic, Sweden based synth-pop artist, Tandem Wallace, will brighten the room with imaginary colours with their track, ‘Endeavour’. Disco, funk, electronic - this tune has it all.
Finland based musician, Herb Hazard, gives us a gentle push into dreamy synth waves and an emotional exploration with their track, ‘Safe & Sound’. Follow the electricity for a hazy journey through Hazard’s life experiences which have been translated into this calm tune.
Location: Finland Streams: 500 Instagram: @herbhzrd
Rising Swedish artist, M.i.d.n.a.t.t, has released an intelligent and compelling track, ‘Gold’. This intense yet catchy tune carries an international roundness, with influences from all genres and definitely deserves to be saved on your playlist.
Imagine a movie, where the first thing you see is a couple laying in bed — one of them cries while the other one just stares at the ceiling. Black. One of them leaves the room. Black. This beautiful cinematic tune by SOLE comes on and the story begins - or ends.
This young, mysterious artist sure is a rising star in the rap sky. Coming from Sweden, but living in the US, he timidly lets us into his world of deep lyrics, with even deeper beats. If you like Younglean or Juice WRLD — you'll definitely love this!
From the land of Drake comes this chill banger by FrenchMajii. It’s easy to dream of the free life as most of us knew it, while listening to this golen tune.. Let's not forget we will one day be back in the clubs, on the beach, and on the streets again! Until then, stay home and save lives!
Let Shahin Rashidi transport you from quarantine life to a warmer climate with his new track, ‘Perspolis’. With a strong middle eastern influence, you’ll be sure to feel the humidity sweep through and engulf your every senses. Experience the Iranian nightlife with this memorable tune.
‘Comeback’, a tune by a magic duo, Tu Mane, featuring Yungtune. You’ll soon be addicted to the clever afro-beats of the Nigeria based artist. Prepare to bop along and let your hips loose all night to this breezy tune.
Uplifting melodies and strong vocals by talented Swedish artist, Rebecka Assio, for her newest single, ‘Another Game’. A catchy tune, with R&B undertones, that you’ll be wanting to belt out soon after listening.
“Selected by Amuse” (formally known as 'Staff Picks') is a curated playlist by Amuse where we feature tracks that are released through Amuse on Spotify as well as our social platforms. The tracks are often a mix of music our content-operations team stumbles upon when reviewing releases, as well as from the submission form that is open to everyone here.
We normally promote only our licensed artists on our channels, however, we know that getting your music heard is hard. So every week, the Amuse team gathers around and listens to a selection of tracks that we liked from our database and submission form, and vote for which tracks to feature.
We try to vary our picks as much as possible, to showcase music from all different parts of the world as well as genres.
We narrow the picks down to six selections per week, with one feature artist that had the most votes, whom we interview and get to know a bit more and share on our channels. The six tracks are then posted on our social channels as well as on our official Spotify Playlist 'Selected by Amuse.' If you have an artist account, we always make sure to tag you so you are notified of the feature.
We get hundreds of submissions every week so make sure to stand out! Also don't be disheartened if your submission does not get selected; rather, keep making music and keep the submissions going on your time will come!
Huge news! We are super excited to announce the launch of Amuse Pro, our upgraded distribution tier catering to the growing community of independent artists and their teams.
Our upgraded service includes features like royalty splits, team accounts, multi artist profiles, quicker releases and VIP support, and with Amuse Pro, users are also able to distribute their music to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
“Modern artists have the ability to create their own virtual labels, but they can’t do it alone. Artists and their teams still face so many time consuming administrative tasks and financial pain points,” says Diego Farias, co-founder and CEO at Amuse. “With Pro, we’re giving our users more features to accelerate their careers, at an accessible price. Artists and managers will simply be able to focus on their creativity instead of the admin parts of a music career.”
Amuse Pro subscriptions start at $7.99 a month, or $59.99 a year, and any artist, producer, manager or label can join.
We caught up with the boss to find out more about Amuse Pro...
Hey, Diego! So, where did you get the Amuse Pro idea from?
The Pro concept has been with us for a while. It is the natural continuation of our services and the result of growing with our user base of artists and creators and their developing needs.
Why do you think the DIY approach is such a big attraction for artists these days?
This might sound weird but I don't think it has been an option for everyone for that long. The fact that it is possible now gives a lot of artists the confidence to try it out and we are seeing that more and more of those artists can become as successful as they would have become in a more traditional structure but with way more freedom and flexibility. The second part to that answer is that times have changed, independent artists of today can do a lot of the things that only labels could 10 years ago and that makes them question traditional structures like selling their rights or losing control of their projects. The time of the independent artist is now.
How can these independent artists use Pro to level up their careers?
We tend to think of artists as solo flyers but the truth is that most successful artists build strong teams around them. Amuse Pro is built in a way that allows artists and their teams to focus on their music and spend less time thinking about the admin side.
Which Pro feature will be the most valuable to independent artists?
The two main features Automatic Royalty Splits and Team Members will be the killer features of course but we are adding VIP support, faster deliveries and access to more stores and social media to make the deal even more compelling to Pro artists and their teams.
What has the response from artists been so far?
Fantastic. We develop all our services in close dialogue with our artist community but you can never be sure until you get the direct feedback. The key things we are looking out for is if Pro solves pain points in artists and creators lives and so far it is sounding great.
What’s next for Amuse?
We are going to continue to build awesome tech that allows independent artists to thrive. Be sure of that.
She’s the “singer-songwriter” from Essex who’s captivated the world with her unique sound, but there’s something about that title that doesn’t seem to fit folk-pop star Mabes. Maybe because it fails to account for her authentic rawness, whimsical aura and total old soul vibes — all found in a next generation artist.
Even beyond her unique sound, Mabes is a very different kind of star. While other singer-songwriters maintain a polished sheen even when they are still coming up, Mabes rejects that. Nowhere is this more evident than in her music videos and social media, which show her in everyday clothes like denim jumpsuits, flared jeans and hooded tracksuits. She boasts superstar talent, but humility still abounds.
Inspired by her parents who were big music fans, Mabes learnt how to play guitar and started writing her own songs at just 15. Describing her sound as “honest” with “a country twang influenced by pop”, she first learnt to write lyrics by listening to Laura Marling’s folk poetry and credits artists like John Mayer, The Smiths, Carol King and Kings of Leon as her inspiration.
2019 has been a massive year for Mabes, with a few million streams under her belt, a BBC Radio 1 spin of her single ‘America’ and a mini album coming soon. We caught up with her to find out about her songwriting process, her journey to self-acceptance and how she handles the pressure of the music industry.
Hey, Mabes! Is there a secret to your songwriting process?
There is no formula with my songwriting. I sometimes overhear conversations or watch a film that makes me feel a certain way. I use these feelings in the songs. Somehow it just happens!
How long do you typically spend perfecting a song?
Mort of the time, the song is done on the day. I’m a firm believer that if you’re struggling to finish the song, the song is not meant to be. There may be a few lyrics I want to tweak here and there, but generally it’s done with a vibe on the day.
Tell us about your new song ‘Bigger Picture’. Is there a story behind the track?
Well yes... my personal family life is changing and I am finding myself reflecting on my childhood and teenage years, and have realised that I was hard work for my parents — rebellious or a ‘little shit’, one might say! I am now able to understand all of the arguments and dramas when I was a teenager, as most of their rules came from a place of love and care. I couldn’t see that at the time, I thought they were “strict” and “hated me”, and I didn’t realise the weight and pressures of adulting. It’s bloody hard at times!
You have a mini album coming soon, can you tell us about it?
It’s a collection of songs I have written over the years on my acoustic guitar, since I learned to play it at 15. The idea of the album is to conclude the first chapter of songs I released.
Your first headline show is coming up at the end of October. What can we expect from the show?
The venue is a stable barn which is at the back of a pub in my hometown of Billericay in Essex. You can expect fairy lights, and an acoustic set from myself and a support. It’s going to be a special night for me and I will be playing a few new songs that are coming out in the new year! So I’m busy practicing....
BBC Radio 1 spun your track ‘America’ — how did you get your music in front of them?
My track “America” was played on the BBC Music show ‘Introducing in Essex’, so I think that’s how it made its way onto Radio 1! I was so shocked when I found out — I was over the moon!
How comfortable are you with revealing intimate parts of your life in your songs?
Writing is like therapy for me, but that means it’s always personal! But there are definitely certain songs that are very close to my heart, my new release ‘Bigger Picture’ being one.
How do you handle the pressure and expectations of the music industry?
I know this might sound crazy, but I have learned that only looking at my diary one week ahead helps me keep the stress levels at a minimum. Obviously there are exceptions to this rule, but in terms of gig schedules and writing sessions, I take it a week at a time! Otherwise my calendar can get seriously overwhelming.
Have you ever wanted to leave the industry? What stopped you?
I actually did leave the industry for three years. I had a crack at my artist project when I was 16, but sometimes things don’t go as you plan. I was real low and decided to get a 9-5 in London. And I really believe it’s what started a fire for me to try again, as I learned a lot about myself and what life means to me, and what makes me happy. It took those three years to figure out that there was always something missing from my life.
Are you comfortable with who you have become, as an artist and as a person, or are you still on a journey of self-acceptance?
I’ve always been a worrier when it comes to the future! I truly believe it’s all a constantly evolving journey. And I used to stress myself out about things I had no control over. But I have worked to change my mindset and realised there is no point wasting time doing that, so in that sense, I’m a lot more chilled out than I used to be! But I do still struggle with nerves before my gigs and I’m still working on that.
Is there a story you’re trying to share with the world through your music?
Yes, absolutely. It’s the story of thoughts from my mind as I’m growing as an artist and as a person. Different experiences cause different emotions, situations, feelings and everything is always changing: so I know for a fact I’ll never stop writing songs no matter what road lays ahead.
What’s next for Mabes?
More music! I have been writing more than ever this year. I can’t really put into words how excited I am for the world to hear the next chapter of my song writing. I’ve been working on my sound and I’m hoping everyone is going to love it like I do.
Whether aspiring to be a self-made chart-topping artist, social entrepreneur or creative tastemaker, today’s independent generation is fueled by the ability to inspire, build communities and tell the stories that haven’t yet been told.
In today’s “here today, gone tomorrow” era of instant fame and social celebrity, the most valuable asset any artist can possess is authenticity. And almost no artist takes that charge as seriously as UK rapper Scorcher.
Leading up to the release of his brand-new single ‘9’ (out today, August 9), we sat down with the early-rising star to find out how he overcame obstacles in the music industry and used the turn of the streaming and social media generation to pave his own path to success.
Growing up in Enfield, north London, in a small family home with his mother, father and younger sister, Scorcher — real name Tayo Jarrett — credits his music-filled childhood for inspiring his career, admitting that he can’t remember a time when music wasn’t being played in his house.
“Music was something I did because it was always around me,” he tells us. “It went from something I did socially to becoming something I took more seriously than my friends. I’d go around to my mate’s house because he had two decks and some vinyls. Every time I was there, I just kept trying to take it one step further.”
Respected as a pioneer act in the come up of the underground grime scene in the early ‘00s, Scorcher’s career took a detour from music in 2011 when he took on his first television role, playing “Kamale” in Channel 4’s popular drama ‘Top Boy’.
“I didn’t ever really consider acting before, and to be honest, the transition wasn’t very thought out. I have an acting role in all of my visuals, and most of the time I direct my videos as well. Back in 2011, I got into a space where I was making videos that were inspired by, or had elements of movies. A casting director had seen a video that I made called ‘Dark Knight’ and he thought I would look good for a small role in what turned out to be ‘Top Boy’.
“He got in touch with my manager and asked me to come down and test for the role. When I went down and met him, he thought ‘you know what, maybe you can be more than just this small role’. Next thing I know, they’re telling me they grew my character and gave me more air time.”
Following the success of the series, including an acquisition by Netflix, Scorcher went on to secure a role in the feature film ‘Offender’ alongside Joe Cole (Peaky Blinders) and a role in world renowned director Steve McQueen’s new BBC drama series.
Scorcher’s detour into film and television is proof of the music industry’s grip on independence, with the greatest benefit being that it allows artists to build their own brand and diversify their careers on their terms. Scorcher believes “the game has swung back in favour of artists”, and now allows artists to become self-made creative entrepreneurs in their own right.
When asked for his advice by other independent artists wanting to diversify their careers — be it acting, directing or launching a creative house, fashion label or record label — Scorcher is a firm believer that passion must come before business.
“I’m really for music first and business second, which is probably not the smartest idea. There was a time when the music industry was quite the opposite to what it is today. The main thing I’ve realised, and I’ve not always been good at doing this, is that staying true to yourself as an artist is the most important thing,” he said. “Because now, the game has swung back in favour of artists. Artists are more independent and less in need of industry structure.
“With that being said, staying true to your brand and your music integrity is more important than it’s ever been. If you’re only doing something to diversify your career, or start experimenting with other projects, and you’re not genuinely into it, don’t do it. I don’t look at music or acting in that kind of way, I do them because I find them creatively interesting. They challenge and stimulate me.
“Find within yourself what you’re truly passionate about, and sometimes it’s not anything like what you’re doing at the moment. It’s so difficult doing creative things without a passion for them, so find something you’re passionate about, and begin to explore it, your capabilities, and your ideas.”
In today’s fast-paced music industry, many artists are burdened with the responsibility to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. But with a career spanning 15 years, Scorcher has found the balance between staying authentic and still advancing his career — his journey changes every day, and instead of growing up and away from his music, his fans grow with him.
“I came to a point where I just stopped caring about staying relevant and just focused on me. I just spent my time making music that I liked. Instead of focusing on being part of something bigger, I focused even more on just being myself. That gave me my own power,” he said, adding: “If you’re making music like someone else, what’s the point of doing it? Even if I’m being creative with my writing, and not necessarily writing about things that happened to me yesterday, it still needs to feel like me or there’s no point.”
Boasting just under 35,000 followers on Instagram at the time of writing, tune into Scorcher’s social media and you’ll find yourself getting lost in his daily updates — balancing life with a firing music career, acting gigs, fatherhood and football (Tottenham supporter, for those wondering).
No matter the content, Scorcher stays true to his mission of giving fans a genuine, behind-the-scenes look into his life, revealing that social media has been a big part of acquiring new fans this side of his career, following the streaming generation.
“Instagram is probably my favourite platform because it’s visual. You can literally see who’s taking an interest in your music. You can see what your fans look like and where they come from. For me, that’s kind of mad. Music was always a faceless thing, you had no idea who was buying your records. Until you did a show, you never really knew.”
One interesting trend the industry is beginning to see in the way artists communicate with fans, is a swift exit from hypervisibility — from social networks like Facebook and Twitter — toward private messaging and closed groups like WhatsApp and Telegram. And Scorcher is following suit.
“I usually go through my Instagram DMs and respond as much as I can in that space. Sometimes, I’ll get really well thought out messages about how I’ve impacted my supporters and I’ll spend more time engaging and building a relationship with those fans.
“For me, what’s really sick about social media, is you can start to see a trend in what people are saying about you and your music. For instance, there’s a song that I made called ‘No One Else’ which I’ve always liked, and a lot of people did like, but it came out at a time when there wasn’t really any music like that. But now, it’s the type of record that would do really well.
“I posted the track as a throwback on Instagram and noticed how many people were like, “Oh my God, this is my song.” Ever since then, I’ve seen people reposting it and talking about it. It led me into thinking that maybe I should do a follow up record. Now I’ve got that done. If I didn’t have Instagram as a direct communication tool with my fans, I may never have had that insight.”
Recording his new single '9' alongside friend and producer Pepstar in his London studio, the track came at a time when many critics thought Scorcher’s career was finished. “I went to jail for a bit, and I started to think about how some people thought I was done. An idea came into my head about coming back from the dead and I had this idea to go and shoot the music video for ‘9’ in a place that felt like the place I was in personally when I was writing the song.”
Scorcher’s new track ‘9’ and music video are out today and available in all good music places.