Nykki - Lost My Mind (Stripped Version)

Meet Nykki, the Czech-born, UK-based rising pop star, who just unveiled the stripped-down version of "Lost My Mind."

With glossy dynamics reminiscent of Taylor Swift or Katy Perry, the piano-driven version captures the aching pain of heartbreak. Originally penned as a ballad, Nykki decided to restore the song to its raw essentials, explaining, "There is a special place in my heart for emotional ballads, and even though we decided to turn the production on and make the track into a propulsive pop number, I knew I had to share the way I wrote the song."


Follow Nykki Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Spotify


Adam Doleac: The Hero Country Needs

He plays to thousands, he's hot on Sirius XM, and he just dropped two sizzling singles.

Talking to Adam Doleac is fascinating.

He never puts on a rockstar swagger, and he never makes you feel like you owe him something for his presence. His conversational, easy, down-to-earth qualities seem at odds with what you'd expect from an artist who's rising fast in the country scene. While his track " Famous" enjoys its second week on Sirius XM The Highway's Hot 30 Countdown, Doleac's two new singles are climbing in popularity, and he's recently played to crowds of 20,000 at the Taste of Country Festival. You almost want him to strut into the room wearing dark sunglasses, still smelling of last night's party, and grinning like he knows something you don't. Instead, he's adroit, collected, and full of ready insight that you'd expect from the CEO of a startup more than from a musician.

"I grew up listening to Amos Lee, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and all these guys that weren't country but had cool voices," he says of his early influences, "The songwriting is what got me in to country. The storytelling that's involved." When it comes to country, many people are quick to be dismissive, but Doleac is able to tread a fine line that keeps him modern and relevant while also appealing to classic Country fans. "I think country has always come from the writing instead of the music," he explains, "The production of my stuff could go right to pop if it wanted to. I like the middle place we've found where it can swing both ways." While he does play around with slide guitar and other country staples, Doleac's stuff can, with a few tweaks, easily sound like pop hits. "Sometimes country is still... beer, pickup trucks, and slide guitars," he enthuses. "But what I love that's happening now is that we're bringing people over who didn't know they liked country music. Our market's turned into 'I didn't think I liked country music, but I like your stuff.'" He adds, "If the listener feels something, I don't think they're ever going to stop and think 'Is this song country or pop?' They're just gonna say 'This song's good.'"

So as Doleac grows as a brand and diversifies the Country audience, what's his process for creating new material? "I won't sit down to write a song unless I'm half towards an idea I've come up with in my head," he explains. "And normally I'll be on the road, so I come back to Nashville with five or six things I've written down. Then it starts with myself... trying to get 2 or 3 lines in so I know the direction it's headed. And then I get in and add music." However, as he tells it, inspiration can come from anywhere. Like with his new single "Solo." "At my house in Nashville I have a swing. I lay on it and have coffee pretty much every morning. The apartment complex [next door] is called 'Solo East'. I kept looking and thinking 'I'm gonna get to [writing] that one day, and then, eventually, I did."

As he tells it, "Solo," his breezy, romantic, John Mayer-esque track, is an oddity. "We wrote it and couldn't stop listening to it," he says, detailing the song's creation. "Normally I have to live with songs for a long time, but I wrote it probably a month and a half ago, and now it's already been through the grinder. Mixed, mastered, produced, and coming out." He smiles a little to himself as he hints at Easter eggs in the song. "I don't know if everyone will catch this, but SOLO is Stay Over Lay Over… here with me," he says. "I wanted to come up with what solo meant. I started writing it on a plane, so that's where that came from. I think when we do the video we'll use that… Maybe with a flight attendant on the plane…"

In contrast, his process for his single "Wake Up Beautiful" displays Doleac's skill for slowly metering his efforts to produce maximal effect. "'Wake Up Beautiful' is three years old. I almost recorded it for the first EP I ever put out. We did six songs, and it ended up being number seven; it's a three-minute pickup line. I've always loved it." He muses, "Music's funny. You can only put so many songs out at once or you end up wasting them." This brings up the interesting position Doleac is currently in, professionally. "Everyone on the Breakout Stage [the other day] had a record deal. We were the independent act, and we had the biggest turnout of the weekend, which was really cool," he explains. "There's literally no strings independently right now. We do what the fans want. We play the song, see them love it, say, 'Hey you want this song, well here it comes on streaming.' Artists on labels can't do that."

But even with all the perks of independence, his aim is always set higher, and his approach remains as practical as ever. "If I was an artist that wanted to sell 20,000 records and have a couple of number ones on Sirius XM, then I'm making it, and I can keep going like this; but my goal, ultimately, is to play stadiums and fill them suckers up and really grow this thing big. No one's done it independently in country yet. You need terrestrial radio to do that." It's at moments like this when Doleac really feels like the young CEO entrepreneur of Adam Doleac Inc. When he's not writing and focusing on putting on a great show, he is running himself as a business—even down to his consistent use of the pronoun "we" in his speech, acknowledging the support of those around him.

All of this aside, Doleac's number one concern is, and always will be, his fans. "I'm as hands-on as I can be with them," he explains cheerfully. "They have to tell me to not be sometimes. All these people come up after shows and they're like, 'We're so sorry, we know you don't want to take pictures with us,' and I'm like, 'No, I really enjoy it.' I stay involved." Acknowledging the importance of the personal touch for himself and for his followers, Doleac has refined his fans' experience into something intimate and touching. "There's a thing we're doing. We call it ' 15 Minutes of Famous,'" he says, referring to the VIP tickets to his concerts (named after one of his songs). He explains, "We find a room, circle up the chairs, then whoever's there gets to ask me any questions they want. We hang for 15-20 minutes, and we just get to know them. We sign whatever they want, take pictures, then I do a 2-3 song performance just for them. So we leave [as] friends, almost, instead of just 'we got a picture together,' which is what most people do."

So as Adam Doleac wraps up his gigs in New York and heads back to Nashville, what's next for the pop-country firebrand? "We're going to be on the road a lot, pretty much booked up till October-November this year. So we don't know what our beds look like right now," he responds with typical matter-of-fact humor. "We're talking with labels and all that good stuff and seeing what kinda deals will happen there. And obviously moving onto terrestrial radio and really getting the reach and spreading out like that. That feels like the next step. Until then, we're just going to keep building, building, building all year." In conversation with Adam Doleac, you never get the sense that he is, or wants to be, alone on an island of creative genius. His approach is grounded, familial, and professional, and it gives him the air of a craftsman. That makes him exactly what Country needs right now.

Follow Adam Doleac Online: Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify


Chloe Tang Calls for Self-Empowerment on "Hype"

Chloe Tang talks courage, ignoring negativity, and her rising career.

Photo Credit: Milo

Singer-songwriter Chloe Tang's released her music video for her self-empowering song "Hype."

Tang explains, "'Hype' is a self-explanatory track about calling someone out on their bullshit, basically saying, 'You've got a huge ego and that kind of attitude can be dangerous.' However, on a deeper level, it can be an empowering song for anyone who is torn down/intimidated by people who act like they're better than you. The idea behind the song was to give people the courage to say, 'Fuck it, I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. You're not worth the hype.'"

Writing and performing music at an early age, Tang went to Grammy Camp in 2013, followed by studying songwriting at the University of Colorado, Denver. Since graduating in 2018, she's been climbing to success, sharing the stage with Dua Lipa at the Fillmore Auditorium, as well as amassing more than 550,000 streams on Spotify.

Because of her no-nonsense, down-to-earth attitude and intoxicating talent, Popdust sat down with Chloe Tang to discover the inspiration for "Hype."

Chloe Tang- Hype (Official Music Video)youtu.be

Who is your favorite musical artist?

I've been obsessed with Lolo Zouai recently. I don't even remember how I found her, but I have been listening to her new album on repeat. She is a huge inspiration because she has such a cool sound and image.

How did you get started in music? What's the backstory there?

Oh man, this might take a minute. I started playing classical piano at age 5 and then learned some guitar from my dad and always loved singing. I always followed a musical path: going to art schools, joining choir, band, going to music camps. Then, when I started writing my own music I knew that was it, and I basically did everything I could to create really good songs. With the help and support of my parents and a lot of people around me, I just started figuring things out. I went to school for songwriting in Denver, CO, and I basically just learned by watching people. If I didn't think my songs were good enough, I went to songwriting conferences and met people who were better. If I didn't know how to book my own show or form a band, I asked people who did know and then figured everything else out.

What musicians influenced you the most?

I always loved John Mayer. I've been through a lot of musical phases in my journey, but his music will always be some of my favorite. It's very nostalgic for me because he helped me fall in love with writing songs.

How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?

Yes, absolutely. More in a constructive way than a "copying" way, but yes. I don't necessarily look at my idols and think, "How do I become them?" But when I'm stuck I do think, "What would they do?" I look up to them because they're hard working and so talented. If there's a time when I'm stuck and can't think of a lyric or I feel really discouraged, sometimes I just look in the mirror and ask myself what Rihanna would do, ha!

You're based in L.A. What's the music scene like there?

I just moved here in October 2018. It's very different than the Denver scene I'm used to, but I feel like I fit in here more. I enjoy the culture of people constantly grinding, writing, collaborating, and working their asses off. It's intense for sure, but I honestly love it. It pushes me to be better, and I also love the weather, so that's great.

Now that you're rocketing to fame, how do you keep yourself grounded?

HA! The word "famous" is so funny to me, because I don't know if I'll ever fully understand all the different layers of fame, and I definitely don't think of myself that way. However, I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who are super genuine and real and that keep me down to earth. I also work with kids as my day job, nannying and teaching music, and that is one of the things that makes me happiest because it makes me feel really special and needed in a way that fame never could.

Is your music—your sound—evolving? If so, in what direction? More in the direction of R&B or more toward pop?

Yes! It has been evolving since I left the womb. I'd say it's all over the place. I have some kind of emo/trap stuff and some moody '90s hip-hop stuff, but I'd say it's all in the pop realm. It's just leaning a little more left of center now, but I will always incorporate pop into my music. It's where my writing was born.

What was the inspiration for "Hype?"

Basically, there's a girl I know who thought she was the shit and had this bad attitude that was such a turn off to me. I've always been a very forgiving person, but for some reason when this girl came into my life, I realized there were a few people in my life who convinced me they were important [so] they would put me down to make themselves feel important. From then on, I decided it's not worth it to be around that energy. So I was like, "You and your crew think you're so cool, but you're not worth the hype."

Of all the venues you've played so far, which is your favorite and why?

Ooh, The Fillmore in Denver for sure. I worked security there part-time while I was in college so that I could pay for making music. Then, like a month after I moved to LA, I got a text asking if I could open for Dua Lipa at the same venue! It was a sold-out show to 4,000 [people], and I got to see all my old co-workers while I put on my make-up backstage. Most amazing night of my life for sure, and I can't wait until I get to do that every night.

What is your songwriting process?

It depends. If it's just me, I start with chords on guitar or piano, [and] then move to melody and lyrics. But I've been co-writing a lot more since I've lived in LA, and now it's very interactive with my co-writers. It's an interesting process to let yourself be vulnerable like that, especially when you don't necessarily know your co-writers that well, but I always hear melodies first.

To me, there's a definite trap-lite sound to "Hype," along with R&B and pop flavors. How would you describe the song?

I would describe it as a sassy, mellow, younger cousin of one of The Weeknd's songs. I think it's definitely pop overall, but it has an R&B vibe to it. I'd like to think it can easily cross over into other genres.

What's next for you, musically?

Honestly, who knows! I have a short term plan: to release a few more singles in these upcoming months. I have a huge pile of songs I've been sitting on, and I cannot wait to just get them out there. But beyond that, I'd LOVE to go on tour…maybe with a certain Dua Lipa again if I'm lucky.

Follow Chloe Tang Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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