Renowned for her powerful vocals and artfully crafted songwriting, New York City-based artist Lena Leon is quite a force in the dance music community. After hearing Stunt’s “Raindrops” in high school, Leon became obsessed with blending the most infectious elements of both dance and pop music. She has since become a platinum-selling singer, songwriter, and vocal producer who has collaborated with dance music titans such as Tiësto, Kygo, and Tchami. BMI had a chance to sit down with Leon and talk about her journey and how she always maintains an attitude of fearlessness and empathy.
Hi Lena, thanks so much for taking the time to virtually hang with us! I know I’ve read somewhere that you were introduced to Dance music in high school. Was there a specific song or artist that started the obsession back then? Who were your early influences?
Thank you for having me!!! I’m so grateful for BMI’s support over the years and to be a BMI songwriter and artist! The first dance song that converted me to a dance lover was probably Stunt “Raindrops.” Those melodies and chords were insane to me and took me to another place! A couple other favorites were Daft Punk’s “One More Time” (honestly, the entire Discovery album), “Call on Me” by Eric Prydz, and “The Veldt” by Deadmau5
Everything really seemed to start taking off for you as a writer and artist after you released “Halfway There” with Tiësto and Dzeko back in 2019. What was the story behind that song? How did you end up connecting with Tiësto back then and what was it like to work with him?
The background story of this song is actually a wild one. When my current manager, Melissa sent me the track to write to, I had just left an artist project I used to be a part of (its anonymous, so nobody knew it was me.) I was emotionally abused; I’d been told I was a terrible songwriter and I should just be the artist and let other big writers write for me. I decided to leave in 2018 with no monthly listeners to my name and little hope and wrote “Halfway There” as the song I needed to hear at the time: “If you believe you can, you’re halfway there.” It was definitely my hail-mary song and it’s insane that it launched my EDM career. To this day, I get so many messages from Tiësto fans who felt my pain in the song and said this song gave them a reason to carry on and nothing in this world can replace that feeling. I finally got to meet Tiësto a year after it came out, and it became a fan-favorite during festivals! We both couldn’t believe how the song resonated with so many and were extremely grateful for it. He’s an extremely nice guy and so supportive of up-and-coming artists.
Since “Halfway There,” you went on to release music with several other legends in the Dance world, such as Kygo, Tchami, Anabel Englund, Deorro, etc. What is your process when working with these artists? Any cool stories you could share?
The process is different every time, and each song has its own story. When Valerie Broussard and I wrote “The Truth” for Kygo in April 2020, the pandemic had just been declared a month earlier. A month after the world shut down, I got a text from Valerie saying, “hey this is extremely last minute, but do you want to write a last-minute song for Kygo’s new album with me?” I obviously said yes, and Valerie tracked vocals in her apartment, she sent them to me to vocal-produce and mix. We wrote “The Truth” on a Sunday, by Monday we had sent stems over and the song came out a month later as a single and track 1 on Golden Hour. It was, by far, the fastest cut I’ve ever had in my career. The album ended up going gold in the U.S., and to have this happen during a global pandemic is even more insane!
Last year you released your first solo single, “Spiral,” and it went all the way to #1 on Dance Radio, and #3 on the Billboard Mix/Show Airplay charts. How did it feel watching your single climb the charts like that? Was it surreal or was it something you expected all along?
I know every artist says this, but I truly never expected “Spiral” to do what it did. 2022 was a slow EDM feature year for me, and I had so many great songs sitting on my hard drive, and after the terrible years I had in my former artist project, it took me a long time to get the courage to do a solo dance release again. Finally, after six years of being afraid, I decided “what the heck? Let’s do it.” I knew “Spiral” was a special one the day Andrew, Flo and I made it. We wrote it about a panic attack I had during the pandemic, and it felt wrong to give it to someone else, so I decided to self-release it in July 2022 independently. It had a rough release weekend, which I expected as a new dance solo artist, but then two months later, BPM on Sirius XM added it, then iheart’s Evolution Radio, Seattle C 89.5 and it started climbing the radio and billboard charts. Six months after its release on Christmas Day, I suddenly had a No. 1 dance-radio record and a No.3 billboard-charting song as an independent solo artist, and I couldn’t believe it! It proved to me that the right songs find their way, sometimes it just takes time.
Clearly, you’ve had success as both as an artist and a writer for other projects. How does the process change from when you write for another artist versus your own project? Is it harder to write something for yourself?
I think being an artist has made me a better writer for other artists because I’m sympathetic. I know what it feels like to go through everything they’re going through, and I know what it feels like to have an idea forced upon them. I try to make sure every artist feels like their voice is getting heard in the room and can say exactly what they want to say and are comfortable. It’s so hard to bare your soul in a room, so making the artist feel comfortable is the most important. It’s been funny exploring the artist side of myself again, after 13 years of doing this, because I’m a very different person now than I was 13 years ago when I started. I have such a clear sense of who I am and what I want as an artist now. Luckily, when I’m writing for myself as well, I’m able to separate my emotions from the songwriting process a bit and just focus on making a great song with people I like.
Given all you’ve seen and experienced, what advice would you give other songwriters looking to enter the Dance world?
First and foremost, be fearless. Some of my biggest cuts were me walking up to someone and introducing myself, or sending an artist a DM. But along with that, don’t annoy people. It’s ok to follow up, once or twice, but don’t send 50 million emails or 50 million songs. Try to target just one that you think is really strong and could work for them!
Back in May, you released a new single called “Push It” with Movada & DJ YUKI, which was great. What’s next on the horizon that we can look forward to? Any new releases or shows we should know about?
Thank you so much! I have some really fun artist-collabs coming with other great artists, as well as more solo Lena Leon releases. I also have some songs I wrote for other great artists, like Rachel Grae’s single “You Suck,” and songs I’ve done vocal production work on as well!
Having played almost every big festival possible within the last year, LP Giobbi returns with her newest album Light Places. “Feels Just Like It” featuring Caroline Byrne is a standout track on the project using Giobbi’s signature, pulsating feel to stylize the longing, romantic lyrics. Whether dancing or crying is your preferred evening activity, “Feels Just Like It” is guaranteed to be the soundtrack to your night
Amplify your summer with SG Lewis’s waviest track to date, “Lifetime.” Featuring bouncy electric guitars, steady drums, and dazzling background vocals, this song is the perfect way to kick-off warm weather and pool days. The intensely optimistic sound of the music blends perfectly with the themes of new love and overcoming adversity, making “Lifetime” a whirlwind of positivity and fun.
The title track to their debut album, Overmono’s “Good Lies” is a house anthem that would find a welcome home in any of LA or New York’s biggest dance clubs. By relying on the repetition of the lyrics “I wanna feel you,” Overmono allows the instrumental to dance around, drop, pick back up, or quickly cut completely. More accessible than other House tracks, “Good Lies” is rave music for the people and promises to move feet!
Reminiscent of a jacked-up 2013 Calvin Harris hit, “Sweat” is KREAM’s latest single. Featuring an ethereal vocal sample but a pumping, House-driven beat, “Sweat” would be just as comfortable at a middle-school dance as it would at an underground nightclub. KREAM packs the track full of pumping beats, wild synths, and unpredictable vamping creating a complex and energetic sound that all listeners would respond to.
Spinning a captivating lyric about love and betrayal, UK singer/songwriter and 2019 BMI Impact Award-winner Raye returns with a new single that combines melancholy subject matter with a pumping bassline and propulsive drums. The end results work as seamlessly on a crowded dancefloor as they do within the intimacy of a pair of headphones.
Sam Gellaitry joins forces with UK dance superstar PinkPantheress for a debut collaboration. PinkPantheress lends her sweet, airy vocals to Sam’s club-pumping beats and groovy bassline. The Scottish producer’s synesthesia (a condition that allows the person to experience music as a color or shape) informs his creative process and storytelling, augmenting this breezy, end-of-summer track with a rich bed of sound beneath irrepressible rhythms.
Teddy Swims was already having a high-profile year, after performing on a series of major talk shows alongside pop singer Meghan Trainor. But his collaboration with Denver super-producer ILLENIUM has really capped off his 2022 with a swirling, emotive track that features a hopeful, uplifting message. Swelling with masterful production throughout the verses, the track builds to an incredible drop with an explosion of synths and beats that are as powerful as the song’s expansive, unifying theme.
Having already contributed to records by some of the biggest dance artists in the world, singer/songwriter Lena Leon has unleashed her debut solo single, “Spiral.” Over punchy, futuristic synths and driving drums, Lena’s haunting voice unveils a hypnotic melody, cementing her status as one of the preeminent, go-to singer/songwriters in the dance world.
After only a few short pandemic years, Diplo’s house music label, Higher Ground, is already a towering force to be reckoned with. Higher Ground’s recent release “Can You Feel It” by London-based DJ/Producer trio, JADED, is certainly helping to keep the bar high. The track features funky syncopated keys, insistent drums, and soaring, soulful vocals. Augmented with laser blasts and some surprising brass flourishes, dancefloor denizens will certainly be feeling it.
Norwegian liquid house duo, KREAM, team up with UK-born, Amsterdam-based rising star, Jake Tarry, to rework the classic A Tribe Called Quest Tune, “Once Again.” Released via Tiesto’s Music Freedom imprint, the track features blistering hi-hats and chunky drums which blare over a sample of the hip-hop classic, reintroducing it to a new generation of discerning club-goers.
Since their first collaboration in 2008, mega-dance artists and pioneers Deadmau5 and Kaskade join forces to form Kx5. “Escape,” their debut single released under this new duo name, features vocals by UK singer songwriter Hayla, who brings a haunting feel to the trance-like melody. Deadmau5 and Kaskade showcase their own unique styles to set the landscape for the track. Futuristic synths float over a pulsing stream of steady beats, while a thumping bass propels the listener for a truly ethereal escape.
Hailing from the other side of the pond, UK artist and DJ Franky Wah joins rising dance/electro newcomers AR/CO. Leo Stannard and Mali Koa, who make up AR/CO, are steadily establishing their own signature style, which can be heard on “Under the Sun,” the third release under this collaborative project. The vocals are layered to mimic an echoed choir, while Franky Wah sets the big room vibe with his laser-like production, creating an almost post-apocalyptic atmosphere. Although this collaboration feels seamless, each of the contributors add their own distinctive flare.
Multi-faceted NYC-based producer 3LAU showcases his deep-house chops on this collaboration with the Sydney-based artist, CXLOE, who gets to flex her electronic side beneath her ethereal vocals. The ends results are a poweful combination, highlighting both 3LAU’s hypnotically bouncy production style with CXLOE’s flair for emotionally charged pop. Expect to hear this track on the main stage festival circuit for years to come.
Three years after their 2018 collaboration, “Stay,” DEVAULT (a.k.a. Sage Devault) aligns once again with ascendant UK singer/songwriter Bipolar Sunshine (a.k.a. Adio Marchant) for this infectious amalgam of techno, funk and acid. Bipolar Sunshine’s swaggeringly cool vocals cut right through DEVAULT’s insistent bass, beats and synths until the track breaks open into a lushly widescreen, melodic dancefloor anthem.
Giants of their genres, GRAMMY-nominated EDM producer ZHU and top-charting pop songwriter John The Blind (who has penned hits for One Direction through Pitbull) join forces for a single that transcends their respective categories, pairing a soulfully swooning lyrical narrative with the mysterious producer’s propulsive, deep-house production. A landmark recording for 2021.
Re-wiring Celeste’s infectious 2020 single “Stop This Flame” as a boisterous Chicago House workout, Detroit-born/L.A.-based producer MK retains the original song’s soulful assertiveness while giving it some serious dancefloor horsepower and some trancey synths that let the track periodically take flight.
This newest collaboration from house-music titans Duke Dumont and Channel Tres blends influences of house, acid and techno into a fusion that’s both infectiously funky and dryly funny. Featuring vibey vocals and a laid-back, witty narrative from Tres, “Alter Ego” is a journey with a pumping bass line that perfectly captures the rhythms and atmosphere of the club experience.
With huge, emotional choruses and heavy drums, this latest collab between L.A.-based producer WizG and Billboard #1 singer/songwriter Jantine perfectly pairs future-bass stylized production with a sweeping, heartfelt melody that tells the story of star-crossed romance. Released via Thrive Music, this single is the third collaboration between these two, following “When I Didn’t Know” and “Never Be The Same,” and it continues their streak.
After his breakout hit in 2019 with “ily (I love you baby) (feat. Emilee),” Surf Mesa teams up with British singer/songwriter Bipolar Sunshine for this new single. Surf Mesa’s signature production bounces beneath the light, airy vocals, underscoring the track’s sunny mood and swooning sentiments of love soaring over the driving four-on-the-floor tempo.
Specializing in trap beats and catchy keyboards, South Korean-born, L.A.-based producer/DJ Park Hye Jin has established herself as a versatile artist to watch. The second single off her highly anticipated album Before I Die, due September 10, “Watchu Doin Later” is a slow-grooving monologue in both English and Korean about desperately wanting to make a meaningful connection with someone and wrestling with self-doubt. The lyrics ricochet between the two languages, framed by a downtempo soundscape that perfectly matches the brooding, lovelorn sentiment.
With brighter days ahead, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike team up with London/Los Angeles based songwriter, producer, DJ AZTECK and Italian DJ/producer Angemi for an uplifting dance track just in time for summer. The monolithic brotherly duo have taken AZTECK and Angemi under their wings and their influence can definitely be heard. While listening to “We’ll Be Dancing Soon”, you’ll picture yourself dancing in the sunshine with your friends at a festival. The smokey vocals on the track bring the lyrics to life, “we’ll be dancing soon, we’ll be singing songs…all the love lives on”. This song gives us hope for better days when we can all gather together again safely.
Known for their melodic hip hop and electric R&B sound, Los Angeles based duo MIKNNA bring the late night vibes with their latest release “Downtown”. Reva DeVito takes the song to the next level with her vocals that can only be described in three words: dreamy, buttery, and lush. MIKNNA’s very own Mike B. can be heard as the harmony while Ken Nana provides the production with a light airy feel through flutters and funky guitar chords. Overall, the track has the smoothest of grooves and we can only hope to be as cool as these guys one day.
For nearly a decade, the beloved North London based electronic duo, Gorgon City, has blessed the dance community with tasteful house music and unforgettable DJ Sets at some of the world’s biggest dance festivals. Their September single, ‘Burning’, is a collaboration with their talented Astralwerks labelmate and rising star, EVAN GIIA. EVAN’s voice is absolutely mesmerizing when heard over Gorgon’s City’s pumping house baseline and the hook is dangerously catchy, so proceed with caution!
Moore Kismet is having a moment, and rightfully so. Since breaking onto the dance scene in 2019 at the tender age of 14, Moore has exceeded all expectations and is now being called dance music’s new rising star. Now 16, having signed to Thrive Music, his single, Rumor is a jaw-dropping collaboration with Australian Producer/DJ, WYN. The track opens with WYN’s eerie vocals, only to abruptly shock the listener with a series of mind-blowing drops featuring the heaviest drums imaginable. With so much promise at such a young age, the sky is the limit for Moore Kismet.
Legends in their own right and a dream team if there ever was one, Chris Lake joins Armand Van Helden for “The Answer,” a beat-filled, pumped-up track that is causing a sensation. This song, along with three others, is featured on an EP of the same name the pair released off Chris’s own label, Black Book Records. Featuring bouncy beats, funky hi-hats, soulful vocals and a sample of lines from 1991’s “Why Can’t We See” by Blind Truth, “The Answer” has already streamed over 3 million times on Spotify alone, and the EP has been well received, setting the stage for much more.
Ever since exploding onto the dance scene in 2014 with multiple Hype Machine #1 remixes, New York-based producer Jai Wolf has been a name to watch among electronic music fans around the world. Now linked with legendary indie label Mom + Pop Music, Jai Wolf’s recent releases have been causing a stir. His newest single, “Moon Rider” boasts powerful melodies, huge drums, and stylish vocals, courtesy of Wrabel, whose angelic voice pairs beautifully with the moving co-production of Wolf and Cobra Starship’s Ryland Blackinton.
Despite their mysterious moniker, 53 is actually two singers and two producers releasing seamlessly dreamy songs through the aptly named Majestic Casual Records. Their latest single, “southside,” filled with fluttery beats and smooth, sultry vocals, comes off the quartet’s second EP. Though intel suggests they were working separately even before the pandemic, it’s striking to realize that the four individuals responsible for this music have never been in the same room together. Regardless, having already reached 10 million streams on Spotify with their previous single “dreamin,” this enigmatic foursome is undeniably making a name for themselves.
After the 2018 release of his celebrated debut album, The Evening, 18-year-old ford. garnered critical acclaim for his emotional, textured, and ethereal productions. Now with a GRAMMY nomination under his belt before the age of 21, ford. continues to be something of an anomaly. His new collaboration “Hold On” with Swedish-Iranian artist, Ayelle, is no less mesmerizing. Ayelle’s whimsical vocals float above a flurry of organic drums and a layered collage of melodies that have become ford.’s unique signature. It’s a winning combination that promises great things to come.
Detroit native Marc Kinchen, better known as MK, has had a lengthy career that stretches back to the late 80s, but don’t let that fool you. From b2b sets with DJs like DIPLO and Sonny Fodera to festivals like Tomorrowland and Creamfields with his own Area10-curated stages, he’s a house producer that continues to innovate and stay relevant, no matter the decade. In his most recent single, “Underwater,” MK has teamed up with Anabel Englund whose 2018 track, “So Hot,” peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Dance/ Mix Show chart, and spent eight consecutive weeks at no. 1 on U.S. Dance Radio. With Anabel’s sultry vocals and MK’s signature sound, this track makes us miss the dancefloor and staying out until 2AM.
After becoming a bit of an internet legend through a string of DIY Singles and official remixes over the years, Aseem Mangaokar — otherwise known as Hotel Garuda — has finally released this amazing debut EP for Mom + Pop Records, and it does not disappoint. Seamlessly blending indie pop, synth-pop, and electronic styles, Hotel Garuda’s music can be hard to classify. The lead single, “Rush,” is a perfect example of this versatility. Rife with aspects of electro-pop and acid house, the track fuses a pumping bass-line and syncopated electronic drum fills with an old-school 70s-inspired interlude replete with funky guitars and vocoder vocals, culminating with a blazing solo at the song’s crescendo. Aseem once again manages to mix all these disparate musical elements together into a cohesive and undeniably unique listening experience.
“Unattached” is Le Youth’s most recent release from his own label, PRGRSSN Records. Wes James — better known as Le Youth — has made the move to more deep, melodic, and progressive house music over the past year, which is evident on this track. Analog synths mixed with energized beats are what we love about it. Le Youth’s previous track “Gemini” was one of his first originals on Above & Beyond’s, Anjunabeats. 2020 has been an interesting year for Wes and BMI is excited to have him as this edition’s Spotlight Interview.
Since 2015, Nick Winholt and Austin Woo have collaborated under the name Win and Woo to release awe-inspiring cuts and remixes that have gone on to become club classics. Rising to prominence in the Chicago dance scene with the likes of Louis The Child, Win and Woo forged a lane of their own in the last five years, amassing a dedicated fanbase around the world. After listening to their mesmerizing new single “Feel Em All,” out via Armada Music, it’s no mystery as to why they’ve earned such a following. Blending underground EDM production with intricate melodies and catchy pop hooks, “Feel Em All” is the perfect addition to your quarantine dance party playlist.
Las Vegas DJ/producer 3LAU (pronounced “blau”) is all about giving back. Since his rise in the DJ world, he has helped raise money to build schools in Guatemala through Pencils of Promise, donated money to Cancer research, and has launched the world's first not-for-profit dance label, Blume. That alone should be enough to earn respect and admiration, but he also happens to make mind-blowingly great music. His latest single "Tokyo (feat. XIRA)" combines a catchy vocal from Sydney-based indie pop songwriter XIRA with 3LAU’s signature sprawling production, guaranteed to instantly inspire spontaneous dance moves.
Adam Dyment — better known as UK-based DJ/producer Duke Dumont -- has been on the scene since 2006. Somewhere between receiving a GRAMMY nomination, having a worldwide smash hit single with Katy Perry and becoming an internationally revered figure in clubs and festivals across the world; Adam has cemented himself among the top echelon of House Music producers on the planet. His new single "Therapy", via Virgin EMI, continues to impress with a mesmerizing vocal and high-energy production. True to its title, the track is a therapeutic experience on the dance floor.
Given his reluctance to adhere to any single genre, electronic musician Rome In Sliver (Vincenzo Pisciotta, to his mother) frequently leaves listeners not know what to expect beyond the knowledge it will be amazing and unique. The Orange County-based DJ/producer’s latest single, “Yoko” — released by San Holo’s able imprint, bitbird — furthers the intrigue, mixing robotic rhythms with dreamy pads to set your mind reeling until the bass synths drops in and brings you back to reality.
As a young bedroom producer hailing from the small Pennsylvania town of Hollidaysburg, it's seemingly a mystery how pluko (aka Sam Martinsen) rose to prominence so quickly until you listen to his music. With undeniable mastery of electronic production, pluko continues to surprise his fans with amazing sounds and catchy melodies he constructs out of thin air. His latest single, "the lovely one." is no different with its mesmerizing rhythms and explosive synth arpeggios.
After first meeting in a Philadelphia bowling alley, Troy Hinson and Jared Piccone formed a partnership to create amazing music under the moniker Black Caviar. Their latest track, “Kubrick Faked The Moon Landing,” fuses punchy drums with futuristic effects and mysterious melodies into an instant house classic.
As a bit of a departure from his typical sound, Prismo’s new remix of Haywyre’s “With You” is particularly magical. While the original track invoked a retro-80’s dynamic with vocoder vocals and sequenced synthesizers, Prismo adds some distinctive, heavily distorted synth drops, and it all meshes together perfectly. “With You” is one of those tracks you’ll want to put on repeat for the coming months.
Los Angeles-based AOBeats has been the golden child of electronic label Moving Castle for some time now. His newly released (and highly anticipated) sophomore album, I Have Trouble Sleeping, comes packed with featured cameos from such names as Mark Johns, LIZ, EXES, SAKIMA, Ravenna Golden, Luka Kloser and more. The album’s title track, meanwhile, is a solid, one-man show that showcases AOBeats’ truly unique production style.
New Jersey’s 4B is at it again with another hard-hitting party anthem, released via Ultra records. With a skillful blend of trap and hardstyle production, 4B continues to push sonic boundaries and defy expectations on dancefloors around the world. The fire extinguisher on the cover says it all, this track is combustible.
GRAMMY-nominated producer, Andrew Bayer, has released his ode to trance music. Influenced by some of the classic Euro-trance anthems of his childhood, Bayer continues to experiment with his sound. Infused with classic trance references, catchy synth lines, and impressively complex production, “Bottle Top Trance” is simultaneously modern and nostalgic.
Fresh of signing with management company, The Shalizi Group (who also handle Marshmello, Jauz, Slushii, etc), Alesso has unleashed his newest single “In The Middle” with the mysterious newcomer, SUMR CAMP. With an incredibly catchy hook, this deep house cut is sure to become a classic on dancefloors and car stereos alike.
Rippling with a mesmerizing, melodic intro, a huge future-bass crescendo and their signature distorted synth sound, Toronto’s Zeds Dead are back with “Stars Tonight,” a monster collab with Dutch production duo DROELOE. This lush track’s slow-building majesty is the perfect marriage of grit and grandeur.
Having established herself with four memorable sets at this year’s EDC, house music maven VNSSA (a.k.a. Vanessa Barns) is continuing to make serious waves with her latest single. Co-written with longtime collaborator Eric Mark and released on Australian label Box of Cats, “This and That” pairs a distorted vocal sample from the 90’s with seriously gritty drums for an energetic romp to be enjoyed on dancefloors around the world.
House-music legend and Dirty Bird founder Claude Vonstroke joins forces with Barcelona-based Eddy M to forge this spicy banger for the summer. Rife with piercing hi-hats, a pumping bassline and some suitably scalding synths, “Getting Hot” is ideal for turning up the sizzle at your next weekend barbeque.
Fresh off an amazing couple of set at EDC in Las Vegas, Insomniac-affiliated producer/DJ/songwriter Chris Lake continues to impress with this stunning new single, released through his own label imprint, Black Book. Brimming with Lake’s signature tech house style, infectious synths and massive vocals courtesy of Lake’s own spouse, Gita Lake, “Stay With Me” is perfect for the main stage.
Time and again, Los Angeles-based DJ/producer/songwriter Slushii demonstrates that he can tackle any style he sets his mind to. On this latest release on Big Beat Records, Slushii goes fully tropical in collaboration with Latin GRAMMY-nominated singer/songwriter Sofia Reyes for a sun-kissed slice of steel-drum-buffered dance-pop that’s as sweet as a frozen cocktail on a sultry summer night.
Pair the soulful swoon of Alec Chambers with the sparkling, propulsive production of Stavros, and you’re bound to get something truly special. Sure enough, their latest collaboration, “Starting Fires” has been making consistent waves since its February release as a seamless fusion of romantic, melodic pop with an undeniable EDM pulse.
After releasing a slew of memorable dance singles since 2011, NYC singer/songwriter Alicia Madison has joined forces with production duo, The Golden Pony. Bolstered by an warm, inviting melody and Madison’s honeyed vocals, the track also boasts a secret weapon in the form of a deeply infectious, whistled hook that will cement itself in your head.
When NYC-based producer/DJ KANDY and Denmark-based production trio, Nonsens, collaborate, good things are bound to happen, and their newest creation “Like This” is a very good thing. Released on the Mad Decent sub-label, Good Enuff, “Like This” is a huge, propulsive track that is bound to see some heavy rotation in clubs and festivals around the world.
Known for his amazing remixes for high-profile artists like Cher, Jason Derülo, John Mayer, and Smallpools, L.A.- based DJ and producer Zookëper has released a succession of impressive singles throughout 2018. His latest release on Spinnin’ Records, “From Me,” is just as impactful, featuring strong vocals and huge synth melodies that are sure to get stuck in your head for the next twenty-four hours.
As the first single from the full album Nova, “Pressure” is an audacious opening shot for Los Angeles-based DJ/producer RL Grime. While the album is filled with a variety of musical styles ranging from Dance to Pop to R&B, featuring the likes of Miguel, Julia Michaels, Ty Dolla $ign, Daya, Jeremih, & Tory Lanez, “Pressure” is a callback to his classic signature brand of distorted synth-based dance music. With the song first appearing in his Halloween mix released last year and later featured in a 2018 Apple iMac Pro ad campaign, it’s release last week has been highly anticipated.
In anticipation of Whethan’s Life of A Wallflower Tour kicking off this fall, the highly-touted producer has released the amazing “Superlove” with the London-based Alt-Pop masterminds Oh Wonder. According to Josephine and Anthony of Oh Wonder, the song was written in just 30 minutes by the three of them while in a Los Angeles Studio session. The fun energy of the production and catchy vocals of Superlove makes it the perfect soundtrack to any sunny afternoon by the pool.
As the fourth single from their much-anticipated third album, See Without Eyes, “Go Light” by The Glitch Mob is almost the perfect distillation of the L.A. trio’s sound, fusing infectious, glitched-out synths, booming chords and anthemic chord progressions. As a final warning shot prior to the high-impact arrival of the full-length album, four years in the making, “Go Light” ushers in a new phase the electro band’s already formidable journey.
Originally hailing from Washington, DC, but now based in Los Angeles, Shallou is an artist and producer specializing in atmospheric electronic music. On this latest single, he’s teamed up with indie-pop vocalist Riah and the effect is mesmerizing. By pairing minimalist synths and pulsing beats with a light, winsome melody, Shallou’s signature happy/sad production aesthetic strikes the perfect balance with Riah’s lilting voice to create a truly unique dance song, ideal for a rainy day. Be sure to keep an eye out for Shallou’s impressive live show, which seamlessly blends dreamy electronics, loops, and live instrumentation.
A lush amalgam of sparkling synths, sweet vocal harmonies, Caribbean flourishes and an irrepressible Latin rhythm, “No Love” by Ultra Music’s Salt Cathedral is a breezy tribute to the power of love and dancing over hate and violence. As a NYC-based duo of native Colombians, Salt Cathedral has been making waves in the dance community with their uniquely distinctive blend of sumptuous, tropical pop.
A seamless mix of crystalline pop and cutting edge production, “I Need You” is the infectious brainchild of super-producers and DJ’s Fernando Garibay and Armin van Buuren. Concentrating on their considerable strengths, while van Buuren’s more renowned for his trance work, Garibay’s midas touch as a versatile producer and songwriter, having worked extensively with everyone from Lady Gaga through U2, shines through on this track. Paring the soulful vocals of Olaf Blackwood with a compelling pulse, haunting chorus and wide-screen sonic expanse, “I Need You” is a genre-straddling confection that transcends the dance floor.
L.A.-based producer, APEK, closes out an eventful year of chart success, streaming achievements, high-profile collabs, and a Tritonal tour with his new song, “Traces.” A richly melodic new track, “Traces” pairs broken-beat innovation with soaring synths and ethereal vocals, courtesy of the incredible Karra. It offers a seamless dance-floor experience that reinforces APEK’s name as one to keep an ear out for.
Buffalo natives and self-proclaimed “taco aficionados,” Solidisco have been lighting up dancefloors and festivals around the globe with an arsenal of originals and remixes out via big player labels, Universal Music & Big Beat/Atlantic, Ultra Records and taste-makers A-Trak’s Fool’s Gold & Laidback Luke’s Mixmash Records. Playing homage to the roots of house music, Solidisco reps the culture, while keeping the dancefloor rocking in the current landscape of dance music.
As co-founder of the Soda Island collective, 18-year-old Canadian producer/DJ Ramzoid established himself as a fresh new force in electronic dance music with a distinctive sound that has garnered the support from acts such as Jauz, Jack U, and Baauer. Breaking away from the DJ standard, his live show is augmented with launch pads, midi-controllers, and a drum kit, so make sure to check the dates for his upcoming tour with Jai Wolf. Blazing ahead with an EP of his own, Universe, Ramzoid is continuing to put his own spin on Future bass.
Unlike Pluto is an Atlanta-born/L.A.-based DJ/producer who infuses his obsession with electronic dance music with influences and instrumentation from well beyond the conventional realm of the dancefloor. Rightly celebrated as one of Billboard’s Dance Artists to Watch, this multifaceted music creator has only started to reveal his capabilities. “Show Me Love” arrives with vocalist Michelle Buzz’s silky cooing before the track bursts open with spiraling synths, a soulful chorus and a big, expansive drop.
Initially meeting as students at music school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mexico-born artists Americo Garcia and Jorge Medina recognized the potential of their collective chemistry and pooled their musical resources as Boombox Cartel to swiftly drive their informed, innovative sound to the height of the Minneapolis DJ scene. A quick succession of self-releases proved them a force to be reckoned with.
Abandoning chilly Minnesota for the sun and scene of Southern California, the duo has continued to crank out influential singles, catching the ears and accolades of names like Diplo, Skrillex, DJ Snake and Martin Garrix. Their most recent effort, “Supernatural,” finds Boombox Cartel merging with the bass power of QUIX and the sinewy voice of Canadian singer/songwriter Anjulie for a cinematic dancefloor epic.
DJ/producer No Way Back (a.k.a. Anthony Pisano) has earned a reputation for a style that deftly fuses house, hip-hop and soul, as evidenced on his acclaimed debut single “It’s Not Right, But It’s Okay,” which stormed the Top 10 of the UK Music Week Club Chart. This latest track, meanwhile, finds him putting a cutting-edge spin on the sound of the hedonistic 90’s via a collaboration with fellow Los Angeleno DJ/producer Le Youth (a.k.a. Wes James), himself renowned for filling dance floors with a cool blend of house and R&B. Keep your eyes and ears out for more of this blissful brand of dance music from both Now Way Back and Le Youth.
Having already established himself as a globally recognized force on the turntables, L.A.-based producer Jayceeoh has earned the respect from celebrated fellow DJ/producers like A-trak, Bassnectar, Boregore and Flosstradamus, and released original trap and bass-driven remixes on influential labels like Dim Mak, Fool’s Gold, Ultra Records, Buygore and more. His latest track, “Elevate,” is poised to only push him further forward, featuring a head-turning vocal performance by Nevve over Jayceeoh’s lush, synth-laden production and propulsive beats.
Not just an accomplished DJ and producer, Goldroom (a.k.a. Josh Legg) makes sparklingly lush electronic dance music, but the soul of a bona fide songwriter lurks just beneath the beats. Layered under the sweeping synths, soaring vocals and “nostalgic production tones” of his new single “Silhouette,” Goldroom dreamily hearkens to another age. Straying from the DJ norm, Goldroom’s been known to bring his music to festivals around the world with a full live band. Could crossover success be far behind? Stay tuned.
A strong contender for song of the summer, “Wheels in Motion” pairs New York City’s TWRK with Amsterdam’s Lady Bee. Initially an anonymous duo, TWRK were already cranking out dance floor hits for Diplo’s Mad Decent imprint when the influential DJ/producer revealed their true identities on his BBC Radio program as Benzi and Esentrik. “Wheels in Motion” is a haunting, mid-tempo jam that will only further their growing reputation.
This New Jersey-native-turned-LA-transplant may be a new face in the DJ world, but he’s no stranger to the stage. As a former member of pop/rock-gone-EDM trio, Cash Cash, Zookёper spent more time touring the globe before his 21st birthday than some acts do in a lifetime. Released by Hysteria Records, “Gunz” has already received support from some of the top DJs around the world, including Martin Garrix, David Guetta, and Morgan Page.