Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review the Kpop super group that is quickly taking over the charts both domestically in the U.S and around the world. If you haven’t heard of SuperM then prepare to have your mind blown by this group of exceptionally talented vocalists, rappers, and dancers. SuperM is the brainchild of Kpop superpower SM Entertainment (home of legendary Korean pop acts such as: BoA, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee, EXO, and many more artists who have broken music records and barriers time and time again), and legendary U.S. music label Capitol Music Group (which has served as home of hit making acts such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Katy Perry, The Beach Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, and many more). Through a joint project, these two music industry giants brought together 7 exceptional artists from across SM’s vast network of talent to create a group that is able to utilize all the training that Kpop artists are known to go through and thus combines the best aspects of the individual groups that make up this super group. Now that you know the game, let’s meet the players. Ready? Ok, let’s go!
In order of seniority, SuperM is comprised of: Taemin from the group SHINee, Baekhyun & Kai from the group EXO, Taeyong & Mark from NCT127, and Ten & Lucas from WayV. For those of you who are not already familiar with these very accomplished artists please allow me to give you a crash course. Taemin, Baekyun, & Ten serve as the group’s vocalists (although Ten also raps when needed), Kai, Taeyong, Mark, & Lucas are the group’s rappers, and as is expected in Kpop, all 7 artists dance with unbelievable precision and skill. You really have to hear these incredible artists to fully grasp just how spectacular their talent is but let me tell you that once you hear a Kpop vocalist or rapper you will truly understand why they spend 3, 5, sometimes even 9 + years practicing 10 + hours a day. It’s definitely a grueling system but the results speak for themselves when you hear the incredible notes these artists hit with ease, the singing range they all have, and the impeccable flow that their rapping has which seems to come out of them as naturally as breathing. I was fortunate enough to see SuperM at their 1st stop in Fort Worth, TX as they embark on their first tour across the U.S. & Canada (with possibly more dates to be added in countries later next year). So now let’s discuss the tour itself.
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Had so much fun Jopping last night with @superm! The performances were mind blowing so in conclusion we stan harder than ever before! @superm @lm_____ltm @tenlee_1001 @lucas_xx444 @zkdlin @baekhyunee_exo #Superm #superminfortworth #lucas #ten #taemin #baekhyun #kai #mark #taeyong #kpop #rap #music #fancam #exo #shinee #nctu #wayv #jopping
As I waited for the concert to begin the whole venue had a level of electricity and anticipation running through it like nothing I had ever seen. Kpop fans are known for their deep rooted love of their favorite artists, but this felt special. Although this group is new they are far from rookies in the industry. SHINee had their debut in 2008, EXO in 2012, NCT 127 in 2016, & WayV earlier this year in 2019 (although both Lucas & Ten had been previously featured on NCT U songs in 2017, which is another subunit group under the NCT umbrella just like NCT 127 and WayV are). Why is this important you ask? Well because not only do these groups bring along years of experience with them but also loyal fans that spread across the various groups. It was truly mind blowing and beautiful to see numerous fans with multiple lightsticks (a special light with a design unique to each group that fans use to wave during a Kpop concert that often changes light pattern via Bluetooth depending on the song playing) from each of the individual groups that make up SuperM as well as the SuperM lightstick. The group performed all the songs from their debut self-titled mini album including the uniquely powerful ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, the hip-hop fueled bop ‘Super Car’, the Hip Hop/R&B infused track ‘No Manners’ (which utilized a bonus stage with some of the best dancing of the night), & of course their title track the fun and powerful song ‘Jopping’ which immediately got the crowd screaming and singing along. Each of the members also performed solo songs which utilized their unique talents: Taemin’s solos ‘Danger’ & ‘Goodbye’ took advantage of his smooth R&B vocals, Baekyun’s solos ‘Betcha’ & ‘UN Village’ showed off his incredible vocal range, Kai’s solo ‘Confession’ utilized his unmatched showmanship and connection to his fans, Taeyong’s solo ‘GTA’ was the perfect marriage of his standout stage presence and natural rapping skills, Ten’s solos ‘Dream In A Dream’ and ‘New Heroes’ proved he not only brings an immense amount of vocal talent to the group but also a gift of dance that few artists ever obtain, Lucas’ solo (which is currently unreleased so we don’t know the official name of it) really showed off his fun personality that fans have been able to quickly and intensely connect to, and lastly Mark the group’s maknae (a term in Kpop for the youngest member of a group) truly proved why he won awards as the hardest working trainee during the years he trained under SM Entertainment with his unmatched skills as a rapper, dancer, and showman during his solo ‘Talk About’. Overall the night was full of dancing, bonding between new and older kpop fans, and a true appreciation of how 7 young men originally from 4 different countries (South Korea, Canada, China, & Thailand) were able to make this a truly special night by sharing their unmatched gifts with their fans. If you’ve never seen a Kpop concert first hand then I highly suggest SuperM or any of the groups that make up SuperM because believe me you have no idea just how talented a group of artists can be until you’ve seen the unmeasurable talent that lies within Kpop.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’, we are going to discuss Dylan Gardner, an INCREDIBLE singer/songwriter/producer, who is on his way to taking the music industry by storm! Dylan is from San Tan Valley, Arizona, and according to his website’s bio, “…has spent the last 10 years of his life obsessed with the art of songwriting…”. The bio also says that Dylan is a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, and Pro-Tools producer (doesn’t this guy make you feel like you’ve wasted your life on Netflix…yeah me too). In 2013, he was signed to Big Deal Music Publishing, and recorded his debut album ‘Adventures in Real Time’, which was co-produced with John Dragonetti of the indie rock band ‘The Submarines’. So please read on to see why Dylan Gardner’s music is what you should be thankful for this year.
Dylan uploaded the first video (a cover of the entire second side of The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ album, with each song performed in 15 second intervals) on his YouTube channel on April 9th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIfb4BuTL1A&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g). I really enjoyed this cover because it was creative (I mean who else would think to cover an entire side of an album), and it really showed what an incredible musician he is. In this video we got to not only see Dylan sing, but also play numerous instruments such as: the piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and ukulele. The cover really flowed well, and felt like one big song of Beatles awesomeness. The next video we are going to discuss is Dylan’s cover of Vampire Weekend’s song ‘Diane Young’, which was uploaded on June 18th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZrfTd_7p1s&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g&index=6). This was a really cool cover because it kept the vibe of the original song, but also added a special energy that Dylan’s fans have come to love. Another thing that I really liked about this cover is that it was an acoustic cover that Dylan performed live in his bedroom. This felt really special, because it takes you back to when your favorite YouTube artists would make similar covers in their rooms. This cover definitely holds a nostalgic vibe because of this, which just adds another layer of cool to this video. Next up we have Dylan’s mash-up of alternative rock band Ben Folds Five songs, which was uploaded on June 25th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EaUF95V2Hk&index=5&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g). This is definitely one of my favorite covers that Dylan has done (even though that’s sort of hard to say because their all awesome). What makes this cover stand out a bit, is the fact that he performs a mash-up of snippets of Ben Folds Five songs, that start with different letters of the alphabet (by the end he’s covered songs that have titles ranging from A-Z). I just found this idea to be not only very creative and cool, but it also shows the type of meticulous dedication Dylan has in his work when it comes to his craft. I can’t imagine how long it took to find the songs, arrange them so they sound like one big song, learn to play the music on the piano, and then actually film it. This video should make us all really excited, because if Dylan puts this much hard work into a cover video, imagine how much hard work and creativity he puts into his own music! The last video that we are going to discuss is his ‘Let’s Get Started (through the Decades)’ video, which was uploaded on July 7th, 2014 (you can check out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FL_6s6U0b4&list=UUBRDzAp5-vMtxPz3ZlE8J4g&index=4). I decided to add this as a bonus video on this blog post, because it was just too awesome to leave out. The video plays the first 1min 40sec of his debut single ‘Let’s Get Started’ (off of his debut album ‘Adventures In Real Time’, which we talk more about in the section below). The song is divided into 9 sections, and each section shows the sing performed in the style of a different decade of music, ranging from the 1930s-2014. I LOVE this idea so much I honestly can’t even tell you guys how much! I have never seen a video like this, and it’s definitely a really fun promo piece for the single, and shows that no matter what style of music it’s performed in, ‘Let’s Get Started’ is a great song. This video also cements the fact that Dylan is a very creative and talented musician, and makes me REALLY excited to see what he releases in the future.
The first song off of Dylan’s debut album that we’re gonna talk about is the lead single ‘Let Get Started’ (you can see the official music video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-ZvVm2d5a8). I think that this was an excellent choice to kick off Dylan’s career, because the song is fun, upbeat, and incredibly infectious. It has a very indie rock vibe, and will definitely have you singing along and dancing. I am honestly so obsessed with this song that I have had it on repeat ever since I first heard it (I promise you’ll feel the same way once you hear it!). Honestly this song does everything a good lead single is suppose to do, it brings the audience in and leaves you excited to see what else is on the album. I definitely give this song 5 smiley faces (because smiley faces are more fun than stars). Next up we’re going to discuss another AMAZING song on this album called, ‘Heroes Tonight’. This song has a very Coldplay meets The Lumineers kind of feel, that I think will quickly become a fan favorite. The song has a very “young and free” vibe to it that makes it the perfect song to jam out to in the car, listen to while you’re working out, or have a hairbrush karaoke session to (release that inner rock star people of the Internet!). The final song that we’re going to talk about is the song ‘With a Kiss’. I really love the lyrics in this song, because they really show off Dylan’s talents as a storyteller. One of my fav lines has to be in the hook when he says, “Love’s just a life, we all start with a kiss”, this simple sentence perfectly sums up every love story we’ve ever heard, and is a really interesting take on the classic love song. Although I wish I could have reviewed all of the songs on this album (because they’re all awesome), I picked 3 that I felt really showed off Dylan abilities as a singer/songwriter & producer. I would definitely suggest that you all check out the entire album, because all of the songs will blow you away.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to discuss a trio that is quickly making their way to becoming country music superstars. Please allow me to ask y’all a question. When you think of Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, and The Band Perry what comes to mind? Talent, great artistry, amazing vocals, all around awesomeness? Well be prepared to add another INCREDIBLE trio to that list very soon. People of the internet please allow me to introduce Restless Road.
Restless Road began their journey as contestants on season 3 of the X Factor USA. The three original members: Zach Beeken, Colton Pack, and Andrew Scholz originally auditioned as solo artists, but eventually were combined as a group and mentored by Simon Cowell. As they began to compete as a group, Restless Road made it into the ‘Four Chair Challenge’ portion of the competition (which was a section in which the acts competed, and their mentors choose four acts to take into the live shows portion of the show). During the ‘Four Chair Challenge’ of the competition, Restless Road dazzled the judges with their rendition of Keith Urban’s hit ‘Somebody Like You’. This well executed performance propelled them to the live shows. In the live shows, the trio showed off their advanced level of artistry by performing a country version of Katy Perry’s hit track ‘Roar’. Restless Road advanced to the top 12, and treated their fans to their rendition of the beloved song ‘Easy’ by the Commodores (in honor of ‘Motown’ week). Unfortunately due to a graphics error that nullified the votes, Restless Road was forced to sing a different song in the re-vote show. They stayed true to their country roots by choosing the track ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ by Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson. The next show had an ’80’s’ theme, so Restless Road decided to incorporate their country roots into the performance by selecting country superstar Blake Shelton version of the 1984 hit ‘Footloose’ ( originally performed by Kenny Loggins, who sang the song for the 1980s classic musical ‘Footloose’). The next challenge the trio took on was ‘British Invasion’ night. Restless Road room on this challenge like pros, and performed a country rendition of Coldplay’s mega hit ‘Fix You’. This choice ended up being a crowd favorite, and definitely proved that Restless Road can handle emotional ballads. Next up was ‘Big Band’ night, in which the trio covered Rascal Flatts’ version of the 1991 Tom Cochrane hit, “Life Is a Highway”. The next competition night was ‘Divas/Unplugged’ night, and the trios choose to perform ‘Red’ by Taylor Swift as their “diva” song. Their ‘unplugged’ song was ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii (Restless Road’s version of this track reached #1 on the iTunes country chart). After conquering every test the show threw at them, Restless Roads entered the semi finals, where they performed ‘That’s My Kind of Night’ by Luke Bryan (which the public chose), and ‘Wanted’ by Hunter Hayes (which the trio chose). Unfortunately Restless Road was eliminated the next night and finished 4th in the competition (but considering all of the thousands of people they had to beat out, and the fact that they were not a trio before the competition, finishing 4th is pretty impressive!).
On February 25th, 2014, Restless Road uploaded their first YouTube video since Colton’s departure. The video was a cover of Keith Urban’s hit song ‘Cop Car’ (Restless Road Cop Car), off of his latest album ‘Fuse’. I really enjoyed this cover because it allowed fans to see how much Zach and Andrew grew vocally, since there time on The X Factor ended. I also liked that they didn’t perform any harmonies on this track, because you were really able to hear how strong their vocals are individually, and this excited me for how amazing they will now sound together. All in all, they performed an excellent rendition of a very difficult song (because Keith Urban is AMAZING!), and thus proved that they are ready to compete in mainstream country music. On May 28th, 2014 Restless Road uploaded their version of One Direction’s latest hit ‘You & I'(Restless Road You & I), with new group member Jared Keim. I have to say that this is definitely one of my favorite Restless Road covers ever, because it really demonstrates how far the trio has come. In this song all 3 guys proved that they are talented vocalist (and Jared proved that he is an AMAZING guitarist), and have the potential and meticulous hard work to only get better and better. I really loved the chemistry that the three members share, and am excited to see what they release next. I really enjoy that Restless Road continues to impress me time after time, and I know that these YouTube covers are just a small taste of what this powerhouse trio has in store (yay!!!).
In 2014, Andrew and Zach announced that Colton had left the group, but that they would both continue in the group. On May 28, 2014, Andrew and Zach posted their rendition of the One Direction song ‘You and I’, and in doing so, officially introduced their fans to the newest member of Restless Road, Jared Keim. Restless Road has stated through their social media sites that they are currently writing and recording new original music for their fans. On June 3rd, 2014, Restless Road uploaded a Ustream session (a website that allows people to hold Q&A and/or performance sessions) to YouTube. In this Ustream session they discussed the future of Restless Road, answered questions, and really allowed their fans to see their true personalities (BTW they are really funny guys, y’all should definitely check out the video).
So as you can see, Restless Road is on their way to becoming country music’s next super trio. With talent, ambition, charisma, and a loyal fan base, there is no stopping these superstars. I can definitely see them performing on numerous large scale platforms (stadiums, award shows, etc.) one day, and their sound and vocal versatility is also very radio friendly. It seems as if the stars are aligning perfectly for this power trio, and I for one am excited to see where their “Restless Road” takes them.
Stay in touch with Restless Road:
YouTube: Restless Road
Andrew’s Twitter: Andrew Scholz (Andrew_Scholz) on Twitter
Zach’s Twitter: Zach Beeken (zachbeeken) on Twitter
Jared’s Twitter: Jared Keim (JaredKeim) on Twitter
Facebook: Restless Road | Facebook
Instagram: restlessrdmusic on Instagram
Andrew’s Instagram: andrewscholz on Instagram
Zach’s Instagram: zbeeken on Instagram
Jared’s Instagram: Jared has an Instagram but I couldn’t get a link for it on my computer, but his username is jaredkeimofficial