Musical duo Macedo dishes about latest single Supernatural, and filming Blood Heist with James Franco
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Ryan West
- Los Angeles, California
Musical twins sisters Michelle, and Melissa Macedo dish about their latest single "Supernatural", and filming "Blood Heist" with heartthrob James Franco. Macedo also tell us about the writing process for their groundbreaking debut album "Flags & Boxes".
Congratulations on your latest music video for your single "Supernatural"! Can you tell me how you guys started the musical duo Macedo?
Thank you! Sure, we started writing songs together when we were about 10 years old. We had both been playing musical instruments and singing together for a while. Michelle had been writing poetry at that point and it just made sense to just put it all together. Even then, we were writing harmonies together. It sort of happened naturally because we work together really well.
Recently you just finishing wrapping production on the feature film "Blood Heist", starring heartthrob James Franco. What was it like working with James Franco, and filming in Ohio?
We filmed in Hamilton, Ohio during the summer. It was a lot of fun and we met so many amazing people on that set. It's a very small town which was perfect for getting into the characters and their lifestyle. It was so much fun and at times emotionally challenging. We are so grateful to James for the experience. It was a true privilege to see him work as an artist. We had incredible castmates that really brought their A game which was inspiring to be around. Also, every set or project is like a different little family, you get really close with everyone and you always keep that special experience with you.
You grew-up in Pasadena, California, and you're father is a pianist/guitarist who exposed you to all different kinds of music. If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be, and why?
Yes, our father exposed us to all types of music. In terms of musicians we'd love to work with, we love Haim, Lianne La Havas & Lorde. They are all strong women with unique voices.
How does being a twin translate into your professional life, and booking roles in Hollywood?
We love being twins! Firstly, you have a built-in best friend. We know we always have each other's backs and we support each other entirely. We would both do anything for the other. The best part of being a twin is that it's very easy to communicate. We've had our own way of communicating for as long as we can remember. It's like speaking our own language. We're constantly bouncing ideas off of each other. We're each very different but very much in sync. Sometimes, there are twin roles that are perfect and sometimes we go out for individual roles. We aren't competitive with each other. A win for one of us is a win for the team. I think being a twin makes us more compassionate.
Your full-length album "Flags & Boxes", has a very indie rock sound that you don't hear in most modern rock songs. Can you give us some insight into how you go about writing lyrics? Are your lyrics based off personal experiences?
Yes, often times we write from personal experience. We observe real life situations & relationships around us, sometimes Michelle or I will be in a situation and the other one of us will feel inspired to write about it. Also writing about difficult times in our own lives can be very therapeutic and cathartic. It's helpful to turn something difficult into something beautiful, like alchemy, that's an amazing gift that art can provide.
Michelle is really strong with lyrics and Melissa will add a melody to it, but it can be switched as well. We sort of go with the flow depending on the song. Every song is so different. Michelle does a lot of the writing in general. We wrote the song "Sea of You" together based on a melody idea that Melissa had, then Michelle flushed out the lyrics added some melody onto the edits of it. You never know when inspiration is gonna strike. As sisters and as musicians, one of us will supply what the other one needs. That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art.
Can you tell us what can we expect from your new album, that's different from your previous work?
"Ghost Town" emerged from a really difficult time. I (Michelle) had just ended a very long relationship & was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It's a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our past. I think the music since "Paper Doll" has grown because the themes of this album go much deeper. This album is a lot about the past and our relationships. We've grown and developed more as artists since the last EP. "Ghost Town" is a reflection of memories in the past that became a part of our identity. In essence, how we're each being haunted, in good and bad ways. It was a very raw experience to write this album, there was no holding back.
What advice would you give musicians/singers who are looking to break into the music business?
The best advice we've gotten is to stick with it, keep your head down, keep going and focus on the work, on what inspires you. Treat yourself kindly through the whole journey and trust you're exactly where you're supposed to be.
Follow Macedo on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Macedo new single "Supernatural" is now available on iTunes.
Country singer Jessie Chris blabs about new single Burn, and Disney’s Choose Kindness Anti-Bullying campaign
By: Rachelle Henry | PHOTOS COURTESY Jeff Gulko
- Los Angeles, California
Country singer Jessie Chris blabs about her latest single "Burn", working with Disney's Choose Kindness Anti-Bullying Campaign. Also Jessie tell us about the CMA/Disney Music in Our Schools program.
Congratulations on your new single, BURN! What was your inspiration for the song?
The inspiration behind Burn came from a couple different bad relationship experiences as well as seeing some of my close friends get "burned" by people they thought they loved.
When you were 18 years old, you were the youngest performer at the CMA Festival and have opened for some iconic country stars like Luke Bryan and Billy Ray Cyrus. Tell us about some of your favorite venues and performances that you’ve done.
Some of my favorite performances and venues were when I opened for Chris Young at Indian ranch. That's a country music venue I had attended when I was younger to watch concerts so it was cool to be on that stage. I also really enjoyed performing for the wounded warriors in Washington D.C.
You got started in music when you were five. What can you tell us about the early days that impacted your love of performing/music and some of the steps that have led to this point in your career?
When I was little, I was really shy. My mom took me to audtition for the wizard of Oz at 5 years old. I got cast as a munchkin and fell in love with the feeling of being on stage.
You are one of the faces of Disney’s #CHOOSEKINDNESS Anti-Bullying Campaign. You have shared that you personally have experienced bullying. What are your hopes for this campaign and what would you like to say to those who are experiencing bullying?
My goal with the choose kindness campaign is to inspire fans to be a better person than they were the day before. For those who are going through bullying, I try to let them know that they're not alone and unfortunately it's part of growing up. You shouldn't let it tear you down but instead make you stronger.
What is being an on-call musician for children’s hospitals and I’m sure that the children and their families have been thrilled to have you perform for them. How has doing this affected you personally?
I love performing at children's hospitals. I've made some close friendships with some of the families and children that I've performed for in the hospital. If I can take their mind off of being in a hospital even just for a couple minutes I think that really makes a difference.
Our public school systems have been making cuts in the arts programs in schools, including music. Tell us about your work with CMA/Disney Music in Our Schools program?
Growing up, the music program at my school was my whole world. It shocked me to learn that not every school has a music program. Every kid should have exposure to music and the opportunity to create. That's why partnering with CMA and radio Disney on the music in our schools tour meant so much to me.
Your musical style is country with elements of pop. What people, experiences, or events influence the new songs you’re writing?
The new songs I'm writing are strongly influenced by Keith Urban's music. He is one of my biggest musical inspirations.
You were named by Digital Journal one of the top five female artists to watch in 2017. Since you’ve already accomplished so much in Disney’s #CHOOSEKINDNESS, being an on-call musician in children’s hospitals and performing with the Music in Our Schools programs, what exciting things would you like for us to be watching for?
Be on the look out for some fun upcoming shows as well as more new music in the very near future!
Jessie Chris newest single "Burn" is available on itunes and all other online music retailers.
Follow Jessie on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
By: Daniel Hoyos | PHOTOS COURTESY Nikko LaMere
- Los Angeles, California
Teen pop singer AJA9 talks exclusively with We Blab Entertainment about her latest single "Heart Won't Beat", and writing music with Natasha Bedingfield. Also AJA9 tell us about her plan to attend college while continuing to sing professionally.
You grow-up in Toronto, Canada and you’re currently just 13-years old with a record deal. Can you tell us how you got first got started singing professional?
I just turned 13 the day Heart Won't Beat came out on Radio Disney on April 28th. I live in Toronto with my parents, sister Charly, and my brother Billy. I love Toronto but the winters can be cold. I started singing when I first started to talk, maybe even before. I have always loved music and performing. I used to dress up in costumes and sing for my parents friends. When I was 10, I won the Perez Hilton can you sing cover contest for my cover of Sia's Chandelier. That was really fun because I got to go on the news on tv and radio, and had a few articles written about me. I also didn't know my cover had been entered in the contest because I was away at overnight camp. My parents surprised me on visitors day.
We often talk with young musicians/singers who are interested in a professional career? What advice would you give them?
My advice would be to work really really really hard. Set high standards for yourself and be critical of what you put out. This is something I live by. I also think it is important to learn to work social media and interact with your fans. Even if it's 1 fan. I love reading comments on my posts. Good and bad. The good ones sometimes make me blush and the bad ones push me to do better.
As we talked about before you signed a record deal with Republic’s Casablanca Records, and recorded a slew of hit singles. Can you tell how you balance school, and your with personal life?
I go to school 8:30-3:30. My days are very busy and I have lots of school work. I work hard to juggle my school work and music. Education is very important to me and my family. I have scheduled hours in my week that I dedicate to my music and am so lucky to have the most amazing vocal coach Marla who always keeps me in good vocal health.
Your Youtube channel features some incredible music video covers of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, and Troye Sivan. If you could record a duet with any current artist who would it be, and why?
Easiest question... Ariana Grande. She is the most talented vocalist I have ever heard. She inspires me!
AJA9 has achieved a feet that most new artist only dream about, twenty million streams on Spotifty. Can you take threw a typical day in the studio with AJA9, and how you record a song?
I don't think the excitement has worn off. Gazzo is amazing to see in the studio and he's really nice. So much is going on so fast but I love it. I have amazing people who support me. My day to day life hasn't really changed except I now get to travel more and I get to hang out with more adults (which I love). I also get to write music with really talented people like Natasha Bedingfield and many others who teach me so much. I sometimes get nervous when I do interviews because I don't think I'm good at talking about myself. I love hanging out with my friends, going to camp, making slime, watching Netflix, and shopping. I love recording in the studio. I sometimes have to remind myself to be more still when I'm recording. I am usually dancing at the mic. The studio is my happy place. I love perfecting what I am singing. I rarely say it's perfect. I find I push myself the most in the studio.
Where do you see yourself at 18 years old? Do you plan on going to college, while continuing to make music?
I'm used to having lots on my plate. I definitely see myself going to college. I would love to go to Harvard. I love music so much and would never give that up. I am constantly singing and love the feeling I get when I see how people react to my singing. I am so lucky to be able to do what I love and to be working with such amazing people.
You’re voice knocks me out because it has such powerful range in pitch and tone. Do you take vocal lessons, and how do you keep your voice in shape?
I try not to let my personal life get in the way of my music life. But sometimes that doesn't always work out. I sometimes miss out on social stuff but I love my music so it doesn't really feel like work. I have amazing support and am still trying to figure out how to perfectly juggle the two.