Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

How the Pandemic Influenced Concert Culture

The post-COVID experience has changed drastically whether it’s our preference for working from home or doing classes over Zoom. It’s no doubt that concert culture has adapted as well.

The attendance of concerts, the fashion, the concept of camping out hours or days before shows. 

I’ve heard a common ideology going around these days, that people aren’t working because they want to but because they want money to buy concert tickets. 


Attending smaller shows that average $20 a ticket seems simple for people who have survived quarantine buying hundreds of new clothes or supplies for new hobbies from boredom. 

Now there’s less time being bored, so the next best alternative for a fun 3-hour experience is going to a concert.

The class of 2023 to the class of 2026 especially has lost so much of the ‘supposed’ best time of our lives with college and high school years of freedom being obliterated.

Because of this everyone is seeking that missed experience by going to concerts. Celebrating our favorite artists with fellow fans our age.


Not only has concert fever increased but the whole culture behind it has changed.

In the past, you wouldn’t typically dress up as if you were going to the MET Gala when getting ready for concerts. However, these days fans go all out by recreating outfits the artist has worn in the past or matching the vibe of the tour. 

I love this new change because it makes going to a concert this event. Of course, it’s not mandatory but gives people another thing to look forward to doing to get into concert mode. 

I know it makes me hype at least.

What I love about the new fashion culture of concerts the most is that you can dress to the nines and wear the most outrageous outfits that you possibly could not wear on a school campus or at work or in your daily life.

It gives you the chance to step outside of your comfort zone while having people dressed as cool as you surrounding you.

Not only is it the outfits, but the hairstyles and makeup looks that people are dedicated to doing just for themselves are what I enjoy the most.

Of course, sometimes concertgoers want to dress their best in the rare chance the artist sees them, but for the most part, they dress in a way they are the most confident version of themselves – for themselves.

Camping Out

Unfortunately, there is a negative aspect to this adapted concert culture, I fear. In the past, people would show up maybe one hour early to a concert before doors opened.

These days, especially when it comes to general admission venues or venues with pits, fans line up eight plus hours in advance just to be at the barricades. Just to be that close to the artists on the stage. 

Not only is this dangerous for the health of the fans but is honestly unreasonable too.

The extremeness only increases as the popularity of the artist increases.

Someone I met at the Wallows concert told me they had been in line for over eight hours just so they could get interactions with the band members. 

Another person stood in line for over 15 hours for a Harry Styles show. Another person was in line for a whopping 21 hours for Olivia Rodrigo.

One extreme situation I read about was that people started camping out at 11 pm the day before a Harry Styles concert that was starting at 7 pm. Full on setting up camping tents and everything.

The list goes on and on, with people waiting 8-9 hours for indie artists like Role Model, Clairo, Wallows, etc., and people waiting 15+ hours for more famous artists like Dua Lipa or The Weeknd.

The max I’ve waited in a line was 2 hours, and I’ve gotten barricade for almost every concert I’ve been to. Of course, all those concerts were at The Ritz in Raleigh so it wasn’t difficult to do so. 

Over quarantine and Post-COVID many artists that we could refer to as “small” have doubled or even tripled in their monthly listeners and this along with the passion of fans has increased the intensity of concert culture.

It’s fascinating how music consumption and concert culture was so drastically influenced by quarantine and the pandemic. 

Regardless of how you want to take part in concert culture, I definitely recommend going to a live show at least once. It’s a life-changing experience.

Music News and Interviews

Hojean “You Aint Gotta” Song Review

We’re back with another song from Hojean.

As he gets ready to head for 88rising’s ‘Head in the Clouds’ music festival, he seems to have released another song that fans will get to see performed live for the first time.

Right from the start, you can tell this song has heavy 90s hip-hop and soul inspiration. It’s no lie that Hojean is highly versatile in his music and keeps the melodies and style unique with each new release.

The song starts off with a staccato beat and his smooth vocals.

All of his songs are easy to vibe with and because of the simple lyrics of this song, his voice and music production gets more emphasis.

The gist of the song is him saying he doesn’t need much from a relationship and singing “Slow, slow down |  You think you know what I want? | Well, baby I don’t really need it |  Hope you know it now (ah-ah ah-ah) |  Wow, oh wow |  I don’t need what you flaunt |  ‘Cause baby all I really wanna do is love you now” 

The title of the song comes from the chorus where he is essentially saying “you ain’t gotta write me a song” meaning the girl he’s with doesn’t have to do anything extra or surprising for him to be in love.

His vocals really shine in the third verse of the song. As the tempo increases, his singing matches the pace but maintains this lightness that carries you through. He sings in spoken word – not necessarily rap – yet maintains that cadence from the previous verses.

“Don’t you know I’ll take it easy, can’t, believe me, |  I can be there when you need me, they been sleeping on us | And I can’t keep up | Ain’t afraid of getting deeper for once |  And I promise you’re the one that I want |  Get together ’cause you know what I’m on |  And you ain’t even gotta write a song”

This verse highlights Hojean’s vocals as the melody crescendos and his pitch gets higher and higher. 

It’s a track that showcases Hojean’s voice while his previous tracks involve more lyricism or instrumentals. 

If you want a good reason to vibe or feel in the mood to vibe, this song is perfect just for that.

Hojean teased that he’ll be releasing his first EP soon, so we’ll get to see what else is in store from him.

Check out the music video:

Miscellaneous Music Education

How Does Eastern Music Differ from Western Music?

Although in the modern day, Eastern culture has had a lot of influences on Western music and Western culture has had a lot of influence on Eastern music I wanted to a brief break down of the unique differences between the two.

The main difference even an untrained ear can pinpoint is the instruments used.

For example in Eastern music, the most common traditional instruments in many cultures are lutes. The Middle East has a lute called the Oud. India uses the Sitar. China has a lute called the pipa. The list goes on. 

Essentially they have instruments that create these entrancing tunes as well as more complex melodies in general. There are many overlapping rhythms and are at the forefront of traditional Eastern music. They use 7-tone and 5-tone systems that rely more on the manipulation of melodies instead of using set chords.

On the other hand, the West has more instruments that are found in orchestras such as string instruments, guitars, woodwind instruments, and percussion instruments such as saxophones and flutes, and bagpipes. 

Western music in general puts harmonies at the forefront. They have more complex harmonies and have something called a 12-tone equal temperament. In simple terms, the series of eight notes are organized equally instead of in an odd fashion.

One way to put it is, that Western music is oriented around written music. It can be written down and repeated in an orderly structure. Eastern music is oriented around oral music. It can’t necessarily be captured in notes and is more dynamic and improvisation.

While you can categorize Western music, at its core, Eastern music is not necessarily a genre or category. 

As you move from one country to another, their entire way of composing and creating music is different. The instruments they use change based on culture and the way they arrange their rhythms and melodies vary as well.

Don’t want to get too historical here, but because the West has this shared ‘European’ culture it’s easy to say that most Western music sounds similar.

This can’t be said about Eastern music because of how diverse each continent and subcontinent is. South African music is far different from North Eastern Asian music. 

That’s one of the most fascinating things I love about music. 

How each culture has its own music and how music can tell so much about the country’s culture and history.

If you hadn’t had the chance to listen to some Eastern music, I truly recommend it. 

Even what we consider ‘pop’ music sounds far different in Japan or Lebanon or Bollywood.

Music News and Interviews

Niki – “High School in Jarkarta” Song Review

We’ve heard a handful of (teen) breakup and traditional pop songs about being heartbroken but never from an international perspective.

Niki is an Indonesian singer-songwriter that is now part of 88rising, however, she grew up in Indonesia before she moved to the States to study music and pursue her now-career.

Hearing about her high school experience in Indonesia and seeing how it compares to the ups and downs of American high school was unique. I personally haven’t heard many songs where American artists have incorporated their culturally unique upbringings into music. 

Throughout the song, Niki tells the story about her friends and the chaos that took place on the walls of her high school along with her emotional journey being in a relationship during that time.

The lyrics feel significant when she writes “High school in Jakarta, sorta modern Sparta | Had no chance against the teenage suburban armadas |  We were a sonata, thanks to tight-lipped fathers |  Yeah, livin’ under that was hard, but I loved you harder |  High school in Jakarta, an elaborate saga |  I still hate you for makin’ me wish I came out smarter | You love-hate your mother, so do I | Could’ve ended different, then again |  We went to high school in Jakarta” 

Just that chorus itself holds so much meaning. The way she describes her suburban life and how she had to be hush-hush about her relationship but it was all worth it even though her parents were strict.

There’s one verse that sounds straight out of Niki’s high school diary at times. “Natasha’s movin’ to New York (New York) |  Probably sometime in August (ah) |  And I’m spendin’ the summer in Singapore (ah) |  I’m so sad I can’t tell you sh*t anymore | I made friends with Abby this year (this is how I met your mom) (oh, my God) |  We’re movin’ in March or so |  And although you bring me to tears | I’m glad that we gave it a go” 

It all sounds like typical high school where you think the person you’re crushing on or with will be your forever and want to tell them everything that’s going on in your life. 

The song honestly feels like one big letter to this guy who Niki leaves unnamed – of course. She thinks back on her their relationship ended because of his mom and wonders how he’s doing now that they’re both older.

What I love is that though she grew up in a different country, it’s interesting to hear how similar the high school experience really is.

Melodically it’s very mellow and upbeat. Like all of Niki’s songs, it’s are light and simple.

Her lyricism is what makes the song pop with the storytelling and her ability to make words rhyme even if they have different spellings. 

If you’ve never heard Niki’s music before I definitely recommend giving it a listen.

Check out the music video here!


Street Musicians in Québec

I took a little trip to Québec this week, more specifically Montréal and Québec City. There was an abundance of street performers and artists at many parks and gathering areas in the city.

Being from a not-such-a-metropolis that Montréal or a European-influenced city like Québec, I wanted to share my experience with street musicians and talk about how much I appreciate the art form.

Street musicians and performers have been around for centuries since 462 BC in Ancient Rome. 

It’s no lie how much joy they bring to people and can liven up any street or outdoor setting.

Maybe it’s due to the French influence on Québec that the prevalence of street performers and music was much more visible compared to cities in the U.S. 

Montréal has constant music festivals and festivals year long and music seems to be a big part of Québec’s culture. 

I saw a myriad of instruments as I walked through the streets of Montréal and Québec City. With artists playing the violin, guitar, singing, and other instruments I had never seen before. 

I haven’t yet found out the name of the instrument, but it looked almost like a wooden block with a kickstand. The man was sitting on the block playing the harmonica and kicking the block ever so often. It made me curious how many instruments are out there that I’ve never seen or heard of.

One spot in Montréal I loved particularly was an area in front of the Notre Dame Basilica called Place d’Armes. It was a cobblestone-lined courtyard with a fountain and tables scattered around the square for people to relax and sip coffee. Underneath a row of trees, there was a duo singing and playing the guitar for pedestrians and general visitors to the area. 

The moment felt unreal. Standing in that courtyard observing people enjoying their Saturday afternoon, the euphonious melodies of the street musicians filled the air. 

Even as I was walking through the cobblestone streets of Old Québec City at the Quartier Petit Champlain, it felt like walking through the streets of France. With street musicians playing instruments wherever I looked. 

They looked genuinely content and the joy on their faces as visitors to the city took videos of them playing was precious. 

The city is considered a city of pedestrians due to how walk-friendly it is. Hearing these musicians after walking miles and miles under the beaming sun immediately changed the environment. It gave it this whimsy and lightness.

An old man was sitting near the cul-de-sac of one of the streets playing his violin fully unbothered. He was lost in his own world immersed in his music and it made me wonder if that’s the best retirement plan in the world

Playing songs for people just to make them happy and share the wonders of music.

Seeing these street musicians is an experience that’s a bit difficult to describe in words and it’s easier to be there in the moment taking it all in. 

It made me realize that musicians and performers come in all different forms. Seeing artists sharing their talents to the world in unique forms is something I’ll never get enough of.

Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Babydoll” by Dominic Fike

I listened to “Babydoll” on a constant loop every single morning Tuesdays and Thursdays during the five-minute walk to my class at 8 in the morning. 

Does that sound like a healthy thing to do? Probably not but like the title states, this song had a death grip on me. 

It has about 104 million streams and that’s a huge number to wrap my mind around. The song itself is barely even two minutes long, with a duration of 1:40. It’s the shortness and sweetness of this song that makes it so consumable.

What I love about Dominic Fike as an artist is his ability to play an instrument. He’s a multi-instrumental artist who plays the guitar, drums, bass, and of course vocals for all his songs. It’s noticeable in all his songs and it’s quite impressive.

Another thing I love about this song is how abruptly it ends. Almost like he recorded this song the second the idea came to mind and released it as soon as he finished composing his ideas. 

The track starts with an electric guitar intro which is later accompanied by drums and Fike’s vocals. 

At its core, “Babydoll” is technically a love song. However, the lyrics give a lot of depth about Dominic’s background and his parents. His upbringing and childhood are such an interesting story to read about and he doesn’t hesitate to be vulnerable about his in any of his songs. 

With the line “Find me on Miami concrete |  Lookin’ for somebody different |  ‘Cause my daddy was a pimp |  My mama had her issues but I miss her anyway.” 

He actually released this EP while he was dropping his mom off at jail. He also wrote most of the EP while he was on house arrest. It’s crazy to imagine how differently his life could have gone if his album/EP hadn’t blown up.  

My favorite aspect of this song is the pacing. The lyrics are fast and in tune with the rapid tempo. It’s not necessarily rap or hip hop but it’s not fully alternative either. He combines various genres in all his songs and that’s what I love about his music. 

The chorus of the song is a lot slower and provides a contrast to the rest of the song. “I can’t move on, baby doll |  Waitin’ on calls, flippin’ through stations |  I’m outclassed and it’s outrageous |  And I’ll take it all, baby doll |  Whatever’s been weighin’ you down” 

This isn’t necessarily my favorite song by Dominic Fike, but at this point, I’ve listened to so much of his music that it’s hard to choose just one track.

The instrumentals of this song are really what got me hooked. I could listen to Dominic Fike just playing the guitar for hours and it’s my mission to listen to Dominic Fike play this song live. 

Music News and Interviews

Steve Lacy “Bad Habit” Song Review

Now that “Bad Habit” is gaining popularity, I thought it was the best time to write about it. It was released early this month and has already racked up 64 million streams.

It’s no lie Steve Lacy is one of the most talented artists of this generation. He has already worked with a handful of well-known musicians in collaborations and songwriting such as Kali Uchis and Kendrick Lamar.  

To me, this song feels like waking up on a Sunday morning and going to the farmer’s market. The song has lightness with Steve’s vocals and guitar while keeping it upbeat and vibe-y at the same time. 

The premise of the song is simple, having a bad habit of biting your tongue and holding in your thoughts.

Like Steve sings in earlier verses “I bite my tongue, it’s a bad habit |  Kinda mad that I didn’t take a stab at it |  Thought you were too good for me, my dear |  Never gave me time of day, my dear | It’s okay, things happen for |  Reasons that I think are sure, yeah”

It’s a track about not saying what’s on your mind and regretting it. A situation many of us go through constantly.  The relatability of this song along with the catchy melody seals the deal for me. Love an old-fashioned right place, wrong time situation.

It’s the perfect song to listen to without needing to put your full attention into it. A song that’s easy to jam out to.

The chord progression of the chorus as Steve sings “I wish I knew, I wish I knew you wanted me” over and over again gives the song a mellow vibe. The first verse starts off with this verse and lets the song slip into your mind. 

I find Steve’s falsetto to create an unexpected edge to the song as well. It happens towards the middle of the song when he sings “Say to me (please just say to me) |  If this could wind up | I wish you wouldn’t play with me | I wanna know (oh no)”  Right before getting back into the melody that we’ve been introduced to. 

After listening to this song I realized I’ve heard a lot of Steve Lacy’s music unknowingly. His sophomore album “Gemini Rights” was released in mid-July and it features a variety of different genres including jazz, rock, hip hop, and R&B. There’s something in it for everyone no matter what genre you prefer.

If you haven’t already, make sure to listen to “Bad Habit”. It’ll make your day a hundred times better!

Check out the music video for “Bad Habit”:

Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Thoughts on Lollapalooza Live Stream

I mentioned in my “Best Way to Consume Music” post that I wanted to go to Lollapalooza this year. 

It was racking my brain for weeks whether I wanted to spend money on going to Chicago and experience the adrenaline of large crowds, being squished in a mosh pit and standing at the barricade for hours to see my favorite artists perform, or sit in the comfort of my living room and watch those same performances on my TV.

Personally, after seeing how large the crowds got there I think I made the right choice. There is always next year if I want to go experience the rush in real life.

Anyway, I thought I could share my thoughts on the live stream for those who didn’t have access to Hulu or didn’t watch it.

To give more background about the live-streaming, there were two channels: Channel 1 and Channel 2. Each channel was streaming from around 2:00 pm ET to 11:00 pm ET.

In hindsight, being able to swap back and forth between channels to tune in to performances was much more simple compared to having to traverse Grant Park to see different artists in person. This way I could just turn off the TV or watch a different channel if I didn’t want to tune into an artist I didn’t enjoy. 


These are the artist I tuned into and the days.

Thursday (7/28)

  • Still Woozy

Saturday (7/30)

  • Big Sean
  • Wallows
  • Tomorrow By Together
  • Willow
  • J. Cole

Sunday (7/31)

  • Djo
  • Måneskin
  • Beach Bunny
  • j-hope
  • Denzel Curry

Another thing to note, Lollapalooza has 1-day, 2-day, 3-day, and 4-day pass options if you attend in person, so it’s up to the festival attendees which days they want to go to the festival based on the lineups for that day. 

This was one thing I appreciated about Lollapalooza was, of course, the free live stream on Hulu, as well as the ability to choose which days you wanted to attend the festival whether it was on live stream or in person.

Here is a thought I had about Lollapalooza in general, especially after seeing someone of these artists perform in-person and through live-stream as well. I honestly think it takes a lot of talent to pull off performing on stages as big as the ones on Lollapalooza.

The performers kept a huge crowd entertained whether they were closer to the stage or farther back. They were able to get the whole crowd hype about the music. It was impressive to see their stage presence as well as the lights used for the evening performances.

The only downside of streaming is that due to the huge lineup, not all performances were shown. Unfortunately, I  wasn’t able to tune into Dominic Fike, Dua Lipa, Glass Animals, COIN, or Claire Rosinkranz’s performances because their stages didn’t have coverage. 

Regardless, as I’ve mentioned before, the way you want to consume music is all a preference and of course, preferences can change over time. Whether you want to attend Lollapalooza in person or stream it as I did, I’m glad the options are available both ways.

Enjoy music in the way you want to and experience your life how you want to.

Music News and Interviews

Songs That Have a Hold on Me – “Be Sweet” by Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast is an alternative-pop band led by Korean-American musician Michelle Zauner.

“Be Sweet” was released in 2021 and this song is a little different on my level of obsession compared to “Remember When” and “Amoeba.”

I am obsessed with Michelle’s voice and although the instrumentals are catchy as well, it’s her vocals that keep me coming back.

The track has an 80’s synth-pop vibe to it and is very different from other Japanese Breakfast tracks. The guitar riffs, drums, and Michelle’s vocals create a dynamic track that is very upbeat and energetic.

It’s a song about forgiveness and optimism. A track that blossomed from Michelle’s desire to write a positive and bright track that is stark in contrast to her past music which deals more with grief and mourning.

I think that’s why this song is so refreshing and lingers in your mind. It’s the culmination of personal growth and artistic growth that adds a spark. 

Especially the verse “So come and get your woman (come and get your woman) |  Pacify her rage (pacify her rage) | Take the time to undo your lies.”

Make it up once more with feeling |  Recognize your mistakes and I’ll let you back in |  Realize not too late, love you always” 

It’s almost like she’s talking to herself in a way, telling herself to keep her rage towards everything in control and that it’s not too late to start looking at the world in a different light.

The chorus is what hooked me the first time when I heard the song. “Be sweet to me, baby |  I wanna believe in you, I wanna believe (be sweet) Be sweet to me, baby |  I wanna believe in you, I wanna believe in something” 

She hits those high notes while maintaining a powerful voice. 

The music video of the song matches the alternative Kate Bush-inspired vibes behind the track. It’s straight out of an X-Files episode with J. Brekkie in the middle of a corn field looking for aliens.

Music News and Interviews

Clinton Kane “Chicken Tendies” Song Review

I recently came to know the true meaning of “Chicken Tendies” by Clinton Kane. The title “Chicken Tendies” was given to this track as a joke, but once Clinton Kane decided to officially release this song he wanted it to sound as real as possible and the genuine message behind it to remain serious.

It’s about his mother, who he had a rocky relationship with and how he felt about not being close with his mom. However, the impact of her passing influenced the song that allowed Clinton Kane to jump-start his music career. 

The song is sweet and melancholic on its own. About hoping that his mom is in a happier place now. 

“Chicken Tendies” got its title inspired by the verse, “I thought I caught a glimpse of me and you |  In our kitchen, where I cooked your favorite food | And if I’m being honest, I was a fool |  So say the word and I’ll come running back to you”

He teased the verse on the internet and fans flooded the comments about naming the song chicken tenders as a joke. However, his mom’s favorite food was in fact chicken tenders.  

The sentiments and stories that go behind a lot of musicians’ songs it what I love about being a fan. Music can teach you so much about someone’s past and trauma without them having to sit you down and explicitly tell you. A lot of the time you don’t realize that an amazing song could have stemmed from a hard time in an artist’s life.

My favorite verse of the song is the beginning. “I saw someone who looks just like you |  In the back seat, with her hand out the sunroof | I swear it was the dress that I gave you |  And I wonder, is your favorite color still blue?“

It’s moments when you start seeing someone you lost touch with everywhere you go, that make moving on that much more difficult.

He describes that the dress he saw someone wearing was the exact dress he gave her. You can’t help but get lost in the past when you think you’ve seen someone you once had a strong relationship with. Especially in his case, if it was his own mother. 

The song is simple and sweet. Clinton Kane’s vocals are powerful and passionate and his pain is almost tangible. 

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from Clinton Kane and how his music journey progresses.

Check out the music video: