Ali Caldwell is the kind of singer who's so much more than a great voice. Sure, she has beautiful vocals and a great range, but she's also deeply introspective, fully understanding her position as a representative voice and inspiration for young black women. Her lyrics explore self-love, relationships, and empowerment in ways that are relatable to her listeners, allowing them to fully connect with her music.

The New Jersey-born singer got her start in Xhale, a three-person R&B group which opened for Boyz II Men. But it wasn't until season 11 of The Voice that Caldwell came to prominence as a solo artist. Coached by Miley Cyrus and widely considered a frontrunner for the duration of the competition, Caldwell ultimately finished as a semi-finalist after giving stunning performances of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" and Rihanna's "Sledgehammer." She released her first commercial single, "To Be Loved," in 2018 and, coming off a recent stint on The Four: Battle For Stardom, was inspired to write her new song as a means of self-love and acceptance.

Caldwell dropped by to talk with Popdust's own Deascent about the importance of her family's support for her music career, female empowerment, and what it's like being a role model for young women.

Caldwell performed an impressive rendition of her new song "Colors," an upbeat anthem about letting yourself experience life to its fullest instead of limiting your view to black and white. Afterwards, Caldwell showed off even more of her vocal range in "Why I Sing," a love ballad about receiving artistic inspiration through a great relationship.

Ali Caldwell "Colors"

Ali Caldwell "Why I Sing"

Then, Deascent forced Caldwell to contemplate the realities of eating human hair and damp tortilla chips. What sort of evil box would ask these questions, and why would anyone allow it to dwell in their office? Can anyone save us from the magic box, or do the questions it forces us to ask fall on deaf ears?

The Magic Box Interview with Ali

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Popdust Presents

Conversing with Oceans Found His Musical Voice in the Bronx

The singer songwriter performs new songs in the Popdust offices.

Photo by Popdust

Conversing with Oceans is the name of Alex Bondarev's new solo music project. Born in Russia, war and unrest forced the singer to flee the country with his family, eventually leading them to settle in the Bronx, where Alex was exposed to a wide range of music, from The Fugees to Wutang. He describes Conversing with Oceans as the most authentic musical offering so far, combining a devotion to melody with his characteristically introspective lyrical style. He collaborated with producer-engineer Tim O'Sullivan (Childish Gambino, Anderson Paak) to create his latest three part EP, Trilogy.

In his interview with Popdust's own Deascent, Alex discussed the way being from a war torn country affected his life and music, working with John Forte of The Fujees, the tiny Bronx project, and more.

Popdust Presents | Conversing with

Live at the Popdust offices, Conversing with Oceans performed two new songs, "Hanna" and "Courage," two inspiring numbers about letting go and focusing on what's important. Both feature infectious folk rhythms with pop stylings that highlight the diversity of Alex's musical abilities.

Conversing with Oceans "Courage"

Conversing with Oceans "Hanna"

Then, Alex was subjected to the infamous magic box. He explained why he'd rather be bursting with joy than cream cheese, whether he'd rather partake in an apple cider vinegar baptism or a salad dressing shower, and finally, got personal about his views on math class.

The Magic Box Interview With Conversing with

Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.

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Popdust Presents | Elle Varner Makes Comeback With New Single

The R&B singer revitalizes her career with new release "Loving U Blind."

Elle Varner returns with her first single in four years.

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Brent Butler releases "vybrent [REMIX] ft. Deascent & Ohene Cornelius"

Stream the single now and watch Brent Butler's latest music videos here!


Brent chops up Michael Jackson vocal samples and brings in top tier indie rappers for the remix to his single, "vybrent." - now available everywhere!

Out today, NYC-based rapper/producer Brent Butler's latest track brings the sounds of summer to an already fresh beat, adding an energetic flair and some cool collaboration from rappers Ohene Cornelius and Deascent. "vybrent [REMIX]" is ripe and ready for a never-ending summer, taken up a notch from the original with bold sounds and brand new lyrics.

For an unsigned artist, mostly producing music in his bedroom, this kid's got serious talent. But I'll let you be the judge.

More from Brent Butler on Spotify:

Follow Brent Butler on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud |

"When rapper, Ohene Cornelius, heard the original '
vybrent' he immediately demanded a remix with a verse of his own. At that time, I still had months of writing and producing ahead of me to finish the EP – remix considerations
were nowhere on my radar."

Undeterred, Ohene crashed a studio session later that week. According to Brent:

"Ohene laid down a verse that captured the energy of the song so perfectly that I began rethinking everything. Cut to the next day: Deascent wanted in as well. His verse completely blew me away; I couldn't ignore fate... a remix was inevitable."

Original "vybrent," featuring indie rapper, Crimdella.

"This is a track I'm probably most proud of. I've always been inspired by producers from Pharrell, to Just Blaze, Kanye, and even rock producers like Rob Cavallo. I hope "vybrent," both the remix and the original would make all of them proud."

2018 has been a big year for Brent. 2 months ago he traveled out to the deserts of California to shoot this new video for another single off his debut solo EP, L I L A C, which was released in June, "in the desert," featuring vocals from the incredible singer, Lauren Renahan.

Popdust featured all three of the talented musicians from "vybrent [REMIX]" (and 8 others!) back in February, when he brought 13 local artists together for the appropriately titled single, "13."

"I'm all about collaborations, so working on my first solo EP, L I L A C, may have had me a bit stir crazy in the studio. When Deascent heard the track and responded with his own 8 bars, I was like... okay let's go nuts... Next it was 4 rappers, then 8, then 11, and it kept going. It easily would have gone over 13, but we drew the line there decided to do a surprise release on the 13th... cuz you know, numbers."

Read our exclusive premiere, and check out the teaser below.

Keep ReadingShow less

EXCLUSIVE | Listen "13" Rappers Spit Fire On Epic Posse Track Just Released Today

Listen to "13" -- Brent Butler, Deascent, Crimdella, Paco The G Train Bandit, J thegodis, DOMOSOCRAZY, Que Cee, Ratchet By Nature, Ohene Cornelius, Redddaz, Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky & Sir Kn8

Posse cut records have long been revered in hip hop, and "13" proves that tradition is live and well.

February 13, 2018 New York City - You heard it here first!Brent Butler, a Jersey-raised rapper, producer, and guitarist just released a new track teasing his upcoming debut solo EP, L I L A C. Known for his eclectic combinations of musical genres (often paying homage to his punk roots, performing live instrumentations on his records and at shows, transitioning back and forth from rap to singing), it's a totally welcome surprise to hear him straight rap on his latest self-produced beat, and then turns the mic over to 12 (yes, 12!) indie rappers in this non-stop, whirlwind of a record.

So whose on the line up? In order of appearance: "13" features verses from Deascent, Crimdella, Paco The G Train Bandit, J thegodis, DOMOSOCRAZY, Que Cee, Ratchet By Nature (Sam Wise & Apples), Ohene Cornelius, Redddaz, Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky, and Sir Kn8 (part of the duo Killin H8).

"The idea was to give a spotlight to my favorite artists in the local scene and just make a fun, crazy record before finishing up the EP," Brent tells Popdust. "I didn't actually know where it would stop. I made this mean ass beat, and didn't intend to use it for myself. I thought I'd probably give it to another artist. But it's so energizing and got me so pumped that I ended up forming a few bars, which - probably unconsciously - ended with a hand-off to Deascent."

In 2015 Brent and Bronx-bred rapper, Deascent, released a 7-track concept EP together called THE COLD PRESS, and began fronting a full live band by the same name in partnership with singer/songwriter and bassist, Dan Victor.

"I'm all about collaborations, so working on my first solo EP, L I L A C, may have had me a bit stir crazy in the studio. When Deascent heard the track and responded with his own 8 bars, I was like... okay let's go nuts... Next it was 4 rappers, then 8, then 11, and it kept going. It easily would have gone over 13, but we drew the line there decided to do a surprise release on the 13th... cuz you know, numbers."

"13," like many in the grand tradition of posse cuts, possesses enormous gravity and has such insane energy because each artist brings their own personalities and emotions to the song; each has their own reaction to the music and plays off what the artist before them performs. It's a giant conversation, which in the case of "13" ends up being wildly compelling . Lyrics range from the bombastic, braggadocios remarks you may expect from rap, to the political, philosophical, and straight up psychedelic.


Follow Brent Butler on -- IG: @brentbutlermusic | FB: brentbutlermusic

Order Of Appearance:

  1. Brent Butler
  2. Deascent
  3. Crimdella
  4. Paco The G Train Bandit
  5. J thegodis
  7. Que Cee
  8. Sam Wise (Ratchet By Nature)
  9. Apples (Ratchet By Nature)
  10. Ohene Cornelius
  11. Redddaz
  12. Stonehenge Parnhashnakovsky
  13. Sir Kn8

Tell us what you think of the record and check out all 13 of the artists, each of whom have impressive, independently released catalogues and upcoming projects. And look out for Brent Butler's full EP L I L A C, due this spring!

Team work makes the dream work. - Popdust

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