As 2021 comes to an end, Spotify users worldwide begin to get a personalized recap of their year in music with the annual Spotify Wrapped that includes popular highlights such as their top songs, genres, songs they listen to on repeat, and one of the most unique features ever… their audio aura. According to Mashable, “your Audio Aura feature focuses on the mood of the music you listen to”, and “your customized Audio Aura is a vibrant visualisation of your top two moods in 2021. Each Audio Aura is a combination of the auras, or colors that represent these moods.”
Once you view this feature on your screen, you’ll see colors that reflect your musical mood as well as two words that describe the type of music you listen to. Spotify tells me that I gravitate towards “happy” and “wistful” tunes with Tate McRae’s “you broke me first” playing in the background. Other music listeners have varying results based on their personalities and individual tastes in music, from “bold” and “focused” to “calm” and “hopeful”. How about you? What’s your audio aura, and what’s the one tune you can hear in the background as you learn about your musical mood?
Below is a short list of songs out of millions that can be found on a group of Spotify users’ Audio Aura sections based on what I saw on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram and also what my own friends got. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
With Taylor Swift’s grand surprise, which is her 8th studio album that she released yesterday at midnight, the international music sensation is celebrating whims, dreams, fears and musings. folklore is definitely a record that can be “passed down like folk songs”. As a songwriter, her lyrics are on point, and the stories and intriguing mysteries contained in the sixteen brand new tracks have that vintage, cinematic quality that makes them unique.
Queen of all genres, Taylor seems to be at ease navigating the indie and alternative realm. With collaborations that include Bon Iver (“exile”) and a Lana Del Rey vibe like in her first single “cardigan”, this is one atmospheric work that’s wonderfully made for autumn. It’s the kind of whimsical album I can listen to as I go out for a stroll under the trees on a peaceful August evening drinking my favorite cappuccino, hot cocoa or latte from a nearby coffee shop with a group of friends as we exchange strange, delightful tales about pirates, Saturn and the universe that we have read about in old books.
I’m especially intrigued by the stream of consciousness style of writing Taylor displays in every song lyric, which reminds me of Virginia Woolf novels. The photos she uses for her limited edition album covers successfully lend an atmospheric mood. Some are wondrous, some have an eerie quality, but all are equally unique.
Whether or not you are a Swiftie, folklore is made for all lovers of authentic music and songwriting, old tales and whimsical adventures in fresh, magical gardens. There’s something for everyone.
Applause to Taylor for crafting another imaginative masterpiece! My favorite tunes are “invisible string”, “illicit affairs”, “the last great american dynasty”, “cardigan”, “peace”, “my tears ricochet”, “hoax” and “august”. Let me know yours.
Kieran, dim the lights. This is the best music competition on TV. This… is American Idol! Third time is truly a charm for the ABC version of the show. Not only are Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan returning as the network’s trio of judges. A new batch of hopefuls are displaying their vocal and songwriting talents. Plus Ryan Seacrest is always there to link viewers to the greatness of the Idol brand with his iconic presence as a host.
After giving us a number of unforgettable talents like Maddie Poppe, Catie Turner, Michael J. Woodard, Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon, Uche, Alejandro Aranda a.k.a. ScaryPoolParty, Laine Hardy, Evelyn Cormier, Laci Kaye Booth, Walker Burroughs, Dimitrius Graham and Madison Vandenburg, ABC still proves that incredible music is everywhere and worth supporting with last week’s Season 3/Season 18 premiere episode.
Here are some of the fascinating things about this brand new season that makes the show worth tuning in:
American Idol in February? That’s right! It has been a while since the series was given an early premiere (usually January during the FOX years). ABC has always favored a March debut. After the first two seasons, this is the first time we get Idol a month early on the network. Cheers!!!
I’m glad we’re back to the golden years of Idol where voting starts during the Top 20/24 semifinals.
His audition made him the ultimate standout from last week. With that rawness in his vocals and a genuine personality, this guy deserves a recording contract right away. Lionel Richie was right that this is the story that American Idol needs to tell. Truly authentic!
Kind, humble, loves her grandma and an immense passion for singing. These qualities make her easy to adore. Look out for more Sam in Hollywood as she continues to inspire us.
Ever since she sang “Shot” by Lawrence last season, Margie became an instant favorite – and rightfully so! With originals like “Magic in Me” and “Over Again”, she’s the unique voice that today’s mainstream music industry needs. Let’s welcome her back in tonight’s episode. Bonus: she’ll also be bringing her bf Jonny West based on the latest promo. Gotta love a musical duo.
Birthdays should be the grandest time of the year. It’s an annual event where you get to celebrate “you” and your amazing personality. However you want to spend it, it’s all up to you. Be it with a group of friends or family members – you can even make it a solo Birthday event ’cause there’s absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to the best “me time” if you live in a busy world and getting together with others is not possible – your day is bound to be extraordinary and full of delicious treats and music to bring you joy.
With today being my Birthday – July 18th – I’m more than happy to share a list of songs that I’m sure would make your Birthday delightful. Like Cold Stone’s Birthday Mix ice cream, what you’ll find below is a blend of lively, future-inspired, optimistic and relaxing tunes with a couple song suggestions thrown in by my friends via Instagram stories. Feel free to comment with your own Birthday playlist.
“Treat Yourself” ~ Meghan Trainor
“Weird People” ~ Little Mix
“Happy Birthday” ~ Stevie Wonder
“Another Day of Sun” ~ from La La Land
“Birthday” ~ Katy Perry (suggested by Lauren)
“Something Beautiful” ~ Robbie Williams
“Domino” ~ Jessie J
“Have Fun Go Mad” ~ Blair
“Twistin’ the Night Away” ~ Sam Cooke
“Waterloo” ~ ABBA
“Shake It Off” ~ Taylor Swift
“Habits (Stay High)” ~ Tove Lo (suggested by Lydia)
Smokey blue cover art, vintage vibe, all-new Haley Reinhart tunes. Welcome to the world of Lo-FiSoul, where you’ll be entering a cinematic realm full of dreamy soulful tracks and dark, dangerous, delicious bangers that are fitting for soundtracks to mystery and noir films. After Listen Up!, Better and What’s That Sound?, this Platinum recording artist and songstress has returned with another solid record that’s packed with a lot of soul and unforgettable tracks.
Every Lo-Fi Soul track is finely brewed to create a blend of snapshots into Ms. Reinhart’s life and musical soul. “Deep Water” is a charming, hit-worthy opener that gets you in deep, deep water and makes you go “Oh my God”, and it’s followed by the dreamy, velvety “Oh Damn” that has quickly become a personal favorite of mine like the first one. We’ve all loved “Don’t Know How to Love You”, and now we get to savor the bossa nova-like “Strange World” that’s reminiscent of “Last Kiss Goodbye”, the darkly seductive “Shook” that could easily be a Bond theme, the Beatles-esque, inspiring “Lay It Down”, the electric “Broken Record” and also “How Dare You” and “Crack the Code” with their cool bluesy tone. “Baby Doll” is aesthetic in itself, “Some Way Some How” is simply stunning and “Lo Fi Soul” greatly closes the album.
Overall, Haley creates a dazzling, hypnotic, addictive universe with the release of Lo-Fi Soul, and she makes us want to keep coming back to it. It’s a delicious record… like dark chocolate. A must-have for Haliens and ALL music lovers, really!
For 16 seasons, this music competition show has provided a platform for aspiring singers from all over America – and the world – to build fanbases and launch their careers in entertainment. From the original idol Kelly Clarkson and chart-topping favorites like Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Tori Kelly, David Cook and David Archuleta to game-changers that charm you with their uniqueness like Haley Reinhart, Michael J. Woodard and Catie Turner, plenty of American Idol alumni have been able to find steady work in the world of showbiz and media.
After its 15-season run on FOX that was full of highs and some lows, ABC has taken over and successfully revamped the show into one that is refreshing and new. Fresh after Maddie Poppe’s win last year, Season 17 has officially started last Sunday featuring brand new talents in pursuit of their dreams. To celebrate 17 seasons of American Idol, here’s a list of 17 unforgettable performances by my top favorite idols.
“Bennie and the Jets” ~ Haley Reinhart
One of Idol‘s very best, Haley has gone a long way from her “Oh Darling” audition to preparing for her 4th studio album Lo-Fi Soul (after Listen Up, Better and What’s That Sound) and going platinum with her divine rendition of the Elvis Presley hit “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. She also performs with the Postmodern Jukebox and voices Bill in the Netflix series F is for Family. “Bennie and the Jets” was the Idol performance that gained her a massive fanbase. And it still remains a CLASSIC.
“Golden Slumbers” ~ Michael J. Woodard
Michael has a super versatile voice, charisma and a bigger-than-life personality that makes him another Idol great, one deserving of millions of records. He’s able to turn every song into gold and put his own original spin on it. The ability to go from a high-energy range to a soft, pure, gentle tone makes all his performances wonderful treats. One of his captivating moments was his uplifting rendition of the Beatles classic “Golden Slumbers”. You just can’t help but adore him and his sincerity.
“Music of the Night” ~ David Cook
You can always count on Mr. Cook to transform a tune that you’ve heard tons of times into something new and radio-worthy. One of Idol‘s most daring contestants (and my favorite winner ever), David’s amazing rock vocal and songwriting prowess always add depth to his music, from the originals on his album (with This Loud Morning being my top favorite) to the covers he did on Idol and occasionally perform at his own concerts. His version of the “Phantom of the Opera” classic “Music of the Night” was one of the performances that solidified him as a contender and is still worth a listen.
“You’re So Vain” ~ Brooke White
Brooke changed my life and was the very first person to inspire me to pursue music and songwriting. Everything I do that is music-related, I owe it all to her. What a wonderful singer-songwriter and a lovely soul. Season 7 was the first time I watched Idol from beginning to end, and Brooke has always added sunshine to my days with her Carole King and Carly Simon vibe, unique tone and California cool. Up until now, I would still play her “You’re So Vain” on repeat.
“Shop Around” ~ David Archuleta
He may have been seventeen during his time on Idol, but David Archie has always had it in the bag to deliver groundbreaking, heartwarming performances week after week. A total pro from Day 1! Whether singing behind the piano or with a plain mic, his voice is pure magic. “Shop Around” was a super fun David Archie performance and showcased his youthful side. Always great to look back on!
“Crazy on You” ~ Carly Smithson
With a haunting Evanescence-like tone that’s out-of-this-world and an Irish charm that casts a spell on viewers, Carly can easily switch from a high-energy performance to one that is quiet but commanding. Her rock band’s record We Are the Fallen and bubblegum pop solo debut album from back in her younger years are still captivating with their contrasting genres. One of my top fave Carly performances from Idol was Heart’s energetic hit “Crazy on You”. Crazy good!!!
“One Rock and Roll Too Many” ~ Syesha Mercado
Syesha is electric! One of the more underrated Idol performers. With the ability to nail both pop and Broadway, Syesha’s star has always meant to shine bright, and Idol was the right platform for her to showcase her talent and sassy, fun persona.
“Rebel Yell” ~ Dalton Rapattoni
Dalton made the final FOX season of Idol worth watching with his creativity in arranging songs. A former member of IM5 and indie band Fly Away Hero, he has always been humble and grounded, focusing purely on his talent and storytelling abilities with every performance. Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” is a Dalton cover I keep coming back to. It was very well-arranged and showcased his unique rock vocal.
“Paint It Black” ~ Siobhan Magnus
What was going to be a dull 9th season after Kris Allen, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta rocked Season 8 turned out to be the opposite thanks to Siobhan, whose magnetic tone and haunting presence glued the audience to the show. With a killer voice, she made “Paint It Black” one of the best performances ever in Idol history.
“Don’t You Forget About Me” ~ Michael Johns
Gone too soon, the late Michael Johns was able to pair his raspy yet soulful voice and rocker persona with his natural Aussie charm to create music that mattered. His record Heart on My Sleeve is forever a gem that reminds us that beautiful music still exists. From “Across the Universe” and “Dream On” to “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay”, all his Idol performances are worth playing on repeat. “Don’t You Forget About Me” is still one of his best in my book.
“Once Upon a Dream” ~ Catie Turner
Quirky and bubbly, Catie has proven she was more than just another Idol contestant but a singer-songwriter who can write powerful feminist anthems like 21st Century Machine that became her audition song. A fan favorite like Michael J. Woodard in ABC’s first Idol season, she excels in impactful acoustic-based songs. One of her most magical performances was her grand rendition of “Once Upon a Dream” during Disney Night.
“A House is Not a Home” ~ Tamyra Gray
Tamyra’s stunning velvety voice, remarkable beauty and likable, outgoing personality made her a shining star in the first ever Idol show on FOX, proving that she was just as wonderful as Kelly and deserved way better as far as the music industry goes. Her record The Dreamer was full of empowering hits. “A House is Not a Home” will forever be a timeless Tamyra tune from her Idol run.
“I’ll Stand By You” ~ Pia Toscano
With a soaring grand voice, Pia can make every song sparkle like diamonds. Her unjustly elimination was so bittersweet it was the first that made me tear up for nights. The message behind her every song is pure and raw. “This Time” deserves better, and the ethereal “You’ll Be King” is bound to be a Pia classic. Out of all her Idol performances, “I’ll Stand By You” still makes a big impact on me.
“Ain’t No Sunshine” ~ Kris Allen
Just like Adam Lambert who reigned supreme in the electric Season 8, Kris has always brought the magic to the Idol stage with his immense creativity and masterful approach towards every song to make them sound distinctive and new. It all won him the crown in a group full of big-voiced contestants. A superb singer-songwriter, Kris came out of nowhere and made America fall in love with him starting with his gorgeous cover of Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” all the way to the finale.
“Vienna” ~ Elise Testone
As a fan of raspy-sounding females, Elise quickly became an instant favorite of mine during Season 11. She’s a master at tackling bluesy, soulful tunes, including Adele’s “One and Only”. “Vienna” remains one of my best-loved Elise covers. Very underrated and deserves more accolades.
“Because the Night” ~ Nick Fradiani Idol isn’t just about big voices. It can be about having a cool sound and creative way of songwriting. Nick has one of those throwback voices that can easily cross over from pop-rock to the more retro genre. His arrangement of radio hits like “Teenage Dream” displayed his strength as a singer-songwriter who can easily twist songs. “Because the Night” was one of his top Idol highlights.
“I’m Not the Only One” ~ Rayvon Owen
Rayvon will forever be the king of Idol Saves, having survived Bottom 2 week after week in the lives thanks to a social media fan save option that Season 14 was known for. On a more positive note, it made his Idol journey more endearing with every fight resulting in beautiful performances, one of them being “I’m Not the Only One”, making him one of the best male pop singers the show has ever cast.
Cupid has brought Valentine’s Day back to Earth, and you’d want to celebrate February 14 with your loved ones over pancakes and waffles. Whether you’ll be spending it the classic way with your romantic partner or with family members, relatives, and friends (go ahead and call it “Galentine” if you’re a female who’s prepping up for a little get-together with your girl best friends like me and my besties), the right music is bound to add extra flair to your Valentine’s Day.
Looking for good old love songs that are on the jazzy side and not overly sappy, cheesy and sentimental? Add these titles to your playlist, and you’re bound to have a whimsical February 14. All these tunes are best served with chocolates, puddings and a mug of cappuccino, of course.
“It Had To Be You” ~ Harry Connick Jr.
From the iconic Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal rom-com When Harry Met Sally.
“My Baby Just Cares For Me” ~ Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra feat. Haley Reinhart
Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum tapped into his musical side by making a jazz record with the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra featuring a number of jazz standards. Platinum recording artist and songwriter Haley Reinhart joined him in his version of “My Baby Just Cares For Me”, which became the very first single he promoted from the album.
“S’wonderful” ~ Tony Bennett and Diana Krall
Watch what happens when two jazz greats collaborate on a jazz record. “S’wonderful” is the first track from Tony Bennett and Diana Krall’s newest release Love Is Here To Stay. The whole album would make a delightful Valentine’s Day listen.
“Cheek to Cheek” ~ Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
Once you’re done playing the Fred and Ginger version, swing with Ella and Louis as they show your their take on this cheeky tune.
“Taking a Chance on Love” ~ Renee Olstead
Renee has a special jazz voice, and this lovely song from her self-titled debut album makes a lovely companion for your Valentine’s Day brunch.
“A Lovely Night” ~ Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone
Yes, I know it’s every bit of an anti-love song, but its playful, jazzy flair still makes it perfect for an evening out with your crush, your friends, or better yet, your anti-love. You might even attempt the Sebastian and Mia tap dance the La La Land number is famous for.
“Fly Me To the Moon” ~ Frank Sinatra/Julie London
No matter how many times (and ways) this has been played, “Fly Me To the Moon” will always take you on a grand trip to the moon. Here are two unforgettable versions of the jazz standard by Mr. Sinatra and Ms. London.
“La Vie En Rose” ~ Michael Buble feat. Cecile McLorin Salvant
Michael Buble’s rendition of this Edith Piaf classic is as charming, elegant and refreshing as ever.
“De Lovely” ~ Robbie Williams
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de lovely! Cole Porter originally wrote this song, and Robbie Williams sang the 21st century version in De Lovely, a biopic of Mr. Porter with Kevin Kline portraying him.
Haley Reinhart is a soul goddess. In the midnight hour of a Thursday, this iconic songstress drops a brand new original tune called “Don’t Know How To Love You” that makes a fine musical food for the mind, body and soul.
From the first listen, this song gives me that cool Duffy vibe reminiscent of her songs like “Syrup and Honey”, “Warwick Avenue” and “Endlessly” from her two records Rockferry and Endlessly, but it still remains distinctive and authentically Haley. The beautiful lyrics, soulful vibe, vintage sound and Haley’s divine voice all mix together to make this a retro wonderland of a tune.
It’s Classic Haley in the making! Purchase “Don’t Know How To Love You” on iTunes and watch the music video now (brilliantly directed by Joshua Shultz with vision and art direction by Haley herself):
Sir Elton John is an iconic music creator who has penned a great number of hits such as “Bennie and the Jets”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, and “Your Song”. Plenty of artists have covered his tunes, from household names to Youtube stars and reality show contestants. In the newly released Revamp album by Virgin EMI Records, thirteen Elton songs get a modern update with brand new interpretations by today’s top artists and bands like Lady Gaga, Mary J. Blige, Alessia Cara, The Killers, Ed Sheeran, Florence + the Machine, Demi Lovato and Coldplay.
What you can expect from Revamp is its current sound – very 2018 but still listenable, nostalgic and recorded with respect to Elton’s greatness. In its entirety, the record would be a wonderful, acceptable introduction to his songbook for today’s younger generation.
1) “Bennie and the Jets” – Elton John/Pink/Logic
An interesting collaboration that results in an urban pop cover. I would’ve suggested a bonus track with a “Bennie” that features Haley Reinhart who shot to stardom with her jazzy version on Season 10 of American Idol. But this one makes an exciting intro.
2) “We All Fall in Love Sometimes” – Coldplay
Very nuanced and atmospheric. It delivers the album’s very first musical moment. Coldplay is always a pro at making any cover worth your money.
3) “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” – Alessia Cara
This is one Elton tune that’s perfect for Alessia’s voice and style. It happens to be one of my top favorites.
4) “Candle in the Wind” (2018 Version) – Ed Sheeran
Mr. Sheeran was born to sing this dedication and farewell to Lady Diana. A very genuine interpretation.
5) “Tiny Dancer” – Florence + the Machine Absolutely dreamy and inspiring. My top favorite track within the record. It’s as magnetic as Sir Elton’s original version.
6) “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” – Mumford & Sons
Folky and authentic, Mumford & Sons knew how to give this song their own twist.
7) “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” – Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has been successful in giving “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” a new sound. It’s as fresh as ever.
8) “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” – Q-Tip feat. Demi Lovato
A marvelous duet that keeps me coming back for more. It feels like a brand new tune with the reggae influence in the intro and verses, but then the chorus takes us back to that nostalgic moment, which makes it so great.
9) “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” – The Killers
Easily one of my favorites after “Tiny Dancer”.
10) “Daniel” – Sam Smith
It’s a song fitting for Sam Smith and his soulful, velvety vocal.
11) “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – Miley Cyrus
Miley truly delivers in this powerful Elton classic. Very sincere, very authentic.
12) “Your Song” – Lady Gaga Lady Gaga is a master at interpreting iconic songs, and her take on “Your Song” is truly a gift that we can all cherish, just like the original. Simply timeless.
13) “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – Queens of the Stone Age
The best song to wrap up the album. Very solid version.
On repeat: “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, “Your Song”, “Candle in the Wind”, “We All Fall in Love Sometimes”.