1. "New Friend" by Ry-Lo
This is actually a song I just found through Spotify's Discover Weekly playlist. There's just something about this song that makes me filled with hope and joy. It sounds so big, and it gives me feelings of sitting in my basement and making music with friends. I listened to the other singles Ry-Lo has on Spotify too, and I can't wait to hear more. Until then, here's "New Friend".
2. "Greed" by The True Blue
My friends Chris, Ben, Jacob, and Koda are some of the most talented, hardworking, and creative people I know. These guys have been playing music for a while in various bands, but it wasn't until earlier this year where they found their sweet spot with The True Blue. This band is a powerhouse on the verge of making real waves, and I respect these guys so much at every level. The True Blue sound is a dark urban pop with textured layers, and showcases Chris's most vulnerable yet concise songwriting to date. I'm spoiled to have already heard this and a handful of unreleased songs from them, and I can't wait to watch this band grow even more. Here's their newest single "Greed".
3. "Dead Friends" by Shapes & Colors
I've known Travis from Shapes & Colors since I started Rival Summers back in 2008. He was the lead singer of a band called Aria Aesthetic, which eventually transitioned into Shapes & Colors with the addition of Mike Morris, Kyle Labuta, Bob Allers, and Scott Solomon. I met up with Travis outside of Somerset Mall to pick up some tickets for a show, and he was one of the first people who heard some of the final mixes of "Undeniable". He then showed me this song, and since has become one of my favorites of theirs. Everybody grows up thinking they'll be friends with their friends forever, but sometimes life brings you to different places than you had anticipated. To me, it's what you decide to do from there that defines who you are and your character and trajectory. Without further ado, here's "Dead Friends".
4. "From The Cold" by Cody Fry
Last year, I went to St Andrew's Hall in Detroit to see one of my favorite artists Ben Rector. Originally, the band Judah & The Lion were set to open, but they weren't able to make it. So Ben's backing guitarist and singer Cody Fry opened the show and totally blew everyone away. Apparently, he was also on American Idol at one point, which doesn't surprise me. As a songwriter and composer, this song makes me drool from its simplicity and musicianship. I was bummed to miss Judah & The Lion, but I'm so glad I found a new favorite in Cody Fry. Check out this one called "From The Cold".
5. "Born" by OneRepublic
I've been leaning more towards indie bands on this playlist, but OneRepublic is one of my all time favorites with Ryan Tedder being one of my biggest inspirations in music. He said they traveled and recorded this album all over the world wanting to create music that captured humanity. I think it's an artist's responsibility to share their perspective and distill their lives through the lens of creativity to open the eyes of their audiences to a new understanding of what the world could be like if you lean into empathy. I've really loved following this band and taking inspiration from what they set out to do. Here's my current favorite from their new album Oh My My called "Born".
6. "Wait For Me" by Rival Summers
I had a conversation with my friend Tyler about the hopes and dreams he had for his relationship with Simone, his now-fiancee. They have been dating long distance for a number of years, but they're the most committed couple I've ever seen. They're a true testament to holding steady to their heart's desire, and having faith in what's ahead regardless of the obstacles. I left that conversation feeling so encouraged, as I always do after talking with Tyler. I knew I had to write a song about them, and it turned out to be one of my all time favorites I've ever written. Here's Wait For Me.