Taylor Simone Releases New Music Video + EP : “Songs of the Front Yard”

Summer is over, and while most of us have nothing but fading tan lines and Instagram photos to show for it, Taylor Simone is out with a new project that may very well boost her career to the next level.

Now a senior at Columbia University, Taylor’s fan base seems to be growing larger and larger every year. Her new project is titled Songs From the Front Yard, and she is going big to say the least. When asked about the inspiration behind the title, Taylor says, “It’s based on a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks called ‘A Song in the Front Yard.’ In a nutshell, the CD is an introduction, a coming of age from a woman(ist) perspective…”

So with the official release party set for this Friday, she is already gearing fans up with her first official music video release: “Name of the Game” feat. Chill Pittman.

The video is sporting around 700 views and as usual, B&C is here to break down the song for those of you who may not immediately catch onto the musical details. So before you even watch the video (if you haven’t already), read below for Olivia Harris’ artistic spin on it:*

The playground hand game introduction says it all: Taylor is ready to tell us the name of the game and win it. Y’all remember Concentration? Guess it’s throwback Thursday already. Time to concentrate, so pay close attention to what Taylor’s saying.  The smooth, spare, yet still danceable beat paired with Taylor’s assured vocals get us hype, but there’s still plenty of space to think about Taylor’s message to all the ladies: “don’t front, do better/ don’t quit.” As she asks us how we would feel about changing the flow, we ask ourselves, is it the lush jazz chords changing the flow or is this even bigger?  Taylor seems unafraid to add a lil’ hip hop flow to a lil’ soul. And that mix sounds like the dreamy futuristic world where only Ms. Badu and Ms. Monae have been taking us. Chill Martin complements with rhymes that remind us of that good ol’ Country Grammar and every childhood ditty we’ve ever forgotten. And the music video dreams just as big, with a very creative and inventive blacklight scene that keeps us floating. Somehow, Taylor has managed to take a home-sweet-home feeling and update it for a sophisticated crowd with get-down sensibilities.

Love it? So do we. If you’re in NYC, tell all your friends that you have plans this Friday the 13th. The album release party kicks off at 8 pm in the IRC on Columbia’s campus (552 W114th St btw Broadway and Amsterdam). For more info, click here.

P.S. Expect a lot more from the incredible Olivia Harris (CC’13) this year on the site! More info. to come.

Want to Highlight Artists on Your Campus/Surrounding Area? Write for Bars and Chords!

Well, graduation season is just about over and it’s finally time for the class of 2013 to embark on a new journey. Running along with this theme, what better time than now for a mini-revamp of Bars and Chords?! Over the past year or so, this site has mainly focused on highlighting music artists currently enrolled at Columbia University. From upcoming shows in NYC, to new EPs, and other publicity, it’s been all about CU. But with new readership from states everywhere, we think it’s about time to heed to requests and include emerging artists from other cities/universities.

Here’s where YOU come in. Whether you’re a college student at a university, or a recent grad who loves to discover new music, you can be involved as a writer for Bars and Chords. Write album reviews for artists on your campus, update readers on upcoming shows in your city, or simply share some underground music that you’ve been listening to, and believe others should hear as well. It’s a great way to stay on top of your music, plus you get to improve writing skills. If you’re interested in hearing more about this opportunity, please email barsandchords@gmail.com.

And for all the readers out there who just want to keep reading, keep checking in on the site! It’s about time we all discover some real music. Enjoy the summer!

Kanye Premieres Controversial “New Slaves” Videos

Kanye’s swarming the world with his new music videos, premiering on a wall near you. His lyrics are racy, and the marketing plan is genius. If you’re in the NYC area tonight head out to one of these locations to see the next premieres:

1:15am – Louis Vuitton – E 57th St & 5th Ave

1:30am – Prada W 56th St & 5th Avenue

They throwing hate at me
Want me to stay at ease
Fuck you and your corporation
Y’all niggas can’t control me
I know that we the new slaves
I know that we the new slaves

Rumor Has It…Beyoncé’s Preggo

Beyonce preggo

After the Daily News came out with the story a few days ago, sources from E! news and others are beginning to confirm it: Beyoncé is pregnant. The speculation took off after the singer was forced to cancel her show in Belgium on Tuesday. Doctors had advised her to rest “as a result of dehydration and exhaustion.”

Oh the life of being a celebrity. Everyone speculates about YOUR stomach, and YOUR future child that hasn’t even gotten through the 1st/2nd trimester. Needless to say, we do love Beyoncé, but don’t envy her right now. Good luck B. And good luck to all of the Mrs. Carter ticket holders who probably just wasted a ton of cash.

Cinema Meets Music: Inside the Mind of Music Director, Woodkid

His real name is Yoann Lemoine, but he goes by the stage name Woodkid. He’s a music video director, graphic designer, and singer-songwriter who’s known for directing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” Drake’s “Take Care,” and other mainstream videos. But he’s also becoming known for taking a different outlook on music, and life. Myspace recently sat down and talked with Woodkid as he walked through his visions behind Katy Perry and Drake’s video, as well as some others. Perhaps the most striking feature of this interview, was Woodkid’s response to the meaning behind his song/video “Run Boy Run”:

I was obsessed with the character you decide to play in life—[whether] based on anger, running way from something, revenge, very strong teenage excitement and invincibility feeling—you can feel [that] in my videos. There’s that teenage scream in my videos. I thought that was interesting because I could link it to a lot of things I love, like fashion. Putting a disguise on your body, cheating who are you are, [it’s] almost an armor around yourself. 

The video is dark, the song is dark, and yet it tells a story…it’s cinematic. Without even seeing the video, you can feel as if you should be watching a movie. The loud drums, the violins, and the overlapping elements of the song are all so intriguing. And somehow, one can’t help but hope that this boy escapes and reaches tomorrow…because we’ve all ran from something at some point another, haven’t we?

run boy run break out from society. 

24 Songs for Graduation

Graduation season is here, and it’s about time to make our slideshows of embarrassing pictures,  reunite with family whose names we can’t remember, and reminisce over the past 4 years. Below are some songs that you may want to consider in making your videos. Or you can just sit here, listen to each one, and think about how life has passed you by. The songs are in no particular order, but beware…you may shed some tears.

Song List:

1. Kanye West – “Hey Mama”: Because where would we be without our moms?
2. T.I. feat Rihanna – “Live Your Life“: Really, remember to breathe when you walk across the stage
3. The Script – “Live Like We’re Dying”: Live each day like it’s your last…does life begin or end after college?
4. Nas – “I Can”: The song that gave us hope when we were so young still seems relevant today. You can do it.
5. Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah”: Hey there…what’s it like in New York City?
6. Boyz II Men – “End of the Road”: The type of song where you hug your best friend and look up to the sky
7. Alicia Keys & Jay Z – “Empire State of Mind”: Nothing like having an anthem made for the city you live in
8. Jay Z – “A Billi”: Because that’s what we all plan to make after graduation (although plans don’t always work out)
9. Asher Roth – “I Love College”: We do, truly, love you college.
10. Five for Fighting – “100 Years”: Time flies. Thank God we’re not 100 yet.
11. Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World” – You should believe it’s wonderful. You’re about to enter it.
12. David Cook – “Time of My Life”: No description necessary
13. Lauryn Hill – “Everything is Everything”: What is meant to be will be…
14. Michael Jackson – “Man in the Mirror”: In honor of one of the greats. Remember how much you’ve learned from your colleagues, esp. those who’ve changed your life.
15. Whitney Houston – “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”: R.I.P. Whitney. We’re all dancing for you.
16. Outkast – “Hey Ya!”: shake it, shake shake it
17. Kanye West – “Can’t Tell Me Nothing”: wait til we get our money right…
18. Natasha Bedingfield – “Unwritten”: It’s time to start writing our lives.
19. The Rembrandts – “I’ll Be There For You”: We’ll always be friends…hopefully
20. Queen – “We Are the Champions”: We better be champions after the amount of tuition we’ve paid.
21. Kelly Clarkson – “Breakaway”: Make a wish, take a chance, make a change
22. Sarah McLachlan – “I Will Remember You”: tear jerker.
23. Lee Ann Womack – “I Hope You Dance”: I really hope you do.
24. Vitamin C – “Graduation (friends forever)”: As we go on…

Who’s the World’s Next Big Diva?

In light of the upcoming Billboard awards, we as fans have the opportunity to vote for our favorite upcoming “diva”: Andy Allo, Jhené Aiko, or Gin Wigmore. Wait..maybe we should just scrap this whole “Next Big Diva” title. Saying the word diva puts them up to being the next Beyoncé, and that’s just weird. Second, let’s acknowledge now that our votes don’t really count. Andy Allo should win on the basis of most different sound/style and if it wasn’t for Gin Wigmore, Jhené Aiko would win because of her relatively large backing (although I think she sounds too much like Cassie).

But let’s just acknowledge the winner now… congratulations Gin Wigmore. She’s an artist from New Zealand looking to make her mark in the US music industry. With a raspy voice, heavy eyeliner, and an all-around look that is very unique, she’s got the look of a pop star. I’m telling you she’s going to win, but if you really feel the need to vote, do so by May 13th and prove me wrong!     http://www.billboard.com/nextbigdiva

By the way, doesn’t it sound like they all come from a different decade? Or is it just me…


Andy Allo

Gin Wigmore

Jhené Aiko

Great New Music: Janelle Monáe – Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu

Hey folks, it looks like women-empowering songs are the theme of the week. Janelle Monáe is obviously well-known for her sleek style–tailored suits with the bow tie, bold lipsticks, and poofy up-dos. But with the upcoming release of her sophomore album, her first new single “Q.U.E.E.N.” is giving us so much more.

Monáe is already well-established in the industry, and as a site featuring so many upcoming artists, we have to wonder how she’s garnered so much interest. Monáe was “discovered” by Bad Boy through MySpace back in 2006, and it seems like the label made a great call. When talking about the decision he made, Daniel Mitchell, A&R at Bad Boy stated, “Yeah. I think the thing with Janelle Monáe is that she’s an artist that’s capable of creating her own movement, and she has her own vibe. I love her music. I think it’s different. Some of it I don’t understand, to be honest with you, and I think that’s the great part of it – I don’t need to understand it.”

So short answer: she was already established. Monáe had an image, and presented something different. Now, she’s releasing this song, not only making us all want to dance and have fun, but also calling on the world to stand up. The end of the video is phenomenal, as she cuts into the smoothness of the song with hard, fast-moving rap lyrics… “March to the streets ‘cuz I’m willing and I’m able/ Categorize me, I defy every label/ And while you’re selling dope, we’re gonna keep selling hope/ We rising up now, you gotta deal you gotta cope.”

Stay on the lookout for Monáe and her new album. It’s probably going to bring a lot of hype.

“Q.U.E.E.N. was inspired by private discussions between Erykah and me. It is meant to make you JAM. DANCE. FUNK OUT. and dialogue later…” – Janelle Monáe

Taylor Simone Releases New Song, “Boys Love Shawn Carter”

“Oh there goes Drake speaking for women again…”

Taking her own spin on Drake’s song “Girls Love Beyoncé,” Taylor Simone released a new single earlier today titled “Boys Love Shawn Carter.” The song is catchy, seemingly giving a voice to the women out there, who don’t really want or need Drake to speak for them.

Her lyrics seem to target Drake directly with lines like, “Say my name say my name, cause you kinda outta Practice…yea this ain’t no time for rapping…”

Is it time to start the gender conversation – where men in hip-hop define women through their lyrics, and women accept it by doing nothing? Well…maybe not yet, but Taylor Simone is definitely bringing up the question.

Anyway she needs no real introduction. You just need to know that this song is real. But don’t take my word for it. Have a listen below and decide for yourself: