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SecretFangirls.com Interview The Weekend Riot

Pop duo The Weekend Riot are an artist you need to know in 2015. Coming from the punk scene, they took their (secret) love of pop music to create a new project and The Weekend Riot was born!  Johnny Costa (vocals, ukulele) and Bruce Wiegner (vocals, guitar) went into the studio with producer Ace Enders to create acoustic driven pop that’s both energetic and catchy. They released their first single, “25 Minutes,” back in December and are gearing up to release their debut EP “Remember This Night” in March, thanks to the support of their fans.

We sat down with The Weekend Riot before their show at Webster Hall and talked about what we can expect from their upcoming EP, which artists they’d love to collaborate with, and who they would totally fangirl over.  Watch our interview below and get to know more about The Weekend Riot!

Pre-orders are up now for the “Remember This Night” EP.   You can pickup a copy on iTunes or visit The Weekend Riot’s official store for packages!

Be sure to follow The Weekend Riot & Secret Fangirls for more updates!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

When we started this site a year ago, we had no idea what to expect.  What would we write about?  Would anyone even read it?  We managed to figure it out along the way, thanks to our fellow fangirls and the band boys we all love.

Thank you for reading, thank you for supporting us, and thank you for sharing our passion for music!  We’ve had the opportunity to do so many cool things this year, and have met lots of great people along the way.  We can’t wait for what 2015 has in store!

We’re off on a European adventure, but we’ll be back to posting in January 2015 (!)

And since you can never have enough *NSYNC, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays from the Secret Fangirls!

The Friday Five: Best Concerts of 2014

We definitely shattered our record for most concerts attended in a single year in 2014.  While we loved each and every show, and it was nearly impossible to narrow it down to 5 favorites, here are the ones that stood out.

1. Hunter Hayes – 24 Hour Road Race – Palace Theatre – Stamford, CT
We ended up seeing Hunter more than any other artist this year – 7 times in total.  Impressive, considering on his past tours he came nowhere near NYC so we had no hopes of attending.  Hunter, if you’re reading this, please keep coming to New York.  We love you.  Of all the shows, among them the We Are Not Invisible Tour, Tattoo (Your Name) Tour, Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and so on, the most memorable was definitely the 24 Hour Road Race.  True, it was a short concert, but the record-breaking goal gave an added level of excitement, and now we can officially say we were part a Guinness World Record.  Oh, but we can’t forget that time he performed “Storm Warning” right in front of us…

2. Austin Mahone – MTV Artist To Watch Tour – Hammerstein Ballroom – New York, NY
We also had a hard time deciding which Austin show to pick, but this show wins since it was Austin’s first big headlining tour.  This show earned him his nickname of the “one man boyband,” due to his on point choreography.  We don’t have many videos of Austin performing, because it’s literally impossible to not dance along, but we managed to get one at his Mets Post-game concert later in the year.

3. Dan + Shay – Where It All Began Tour – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
“Where It All Began” is hands down our favorite album of 2014.  While we saw Dan + Shay for the first time on the We Are Not Invisible Tour with Hunter Hayes, this was our first time seeing them play with a full band.  We were blown away by how passionate and talented they are, and how much they genuinely love performing.  Dan + Shay are so much fun to see live (seriously, the entire audience sings every word), and they make it special every time we see them.  We can’t wait for their next headlining tour in 2015!

4. 5SOS – Stars, Stripes & Maple Syrup Tour – Best Buy Theater – New York, NY
This might get the prize for one of the hottest concerts of 2014.  We were shocked when we scored a pair of tickets to this show! It had been such a long time since we went to a “pop punk” show that this finally made us remember why we fell in love.  5SOS have such great energy and they put on an incredible show to the sold out crowd.  Calum, Luke, Ashton, and Michael owned the stage and had everyone singing along to every word, even though the band had yet to release their album in the US.

5. The Strypes – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
Whenever we write about The Strypes, we feel like nothing can do justice to how insanely talented and incredible these guys are.  All four members hail from Ireland and are under the age of 20, yet they play some serious rhythm and blues.  We had never really seen grown men fangirl until this concert.  That’s how good these guys are.  We were floored by their musicianship, and some absolutely insane harmonica solos.

Bonus: 106.1 BLI’s Summer Jam – Nikon Jones Beach Theater – Wantagh, NY
This gets the runner up place because of it’s awesome lineup: Austin Mahone, Cody Simpson, New Hollow, Midnight Red, AJR, and so on. Summer Jam definitely had something for everyone! The number of acts and the variety contributed to the “festival” feeling of this show, along with bonding with the people sitting around you for the entire day.  We hope Summer Jam will be back next year!

SecretFangirls.com Interview With Brett Steinberg

Our latest Artist To Watch, Brett Steinberg, just released his album “Age of Wonder” today!  Brett talked to us about everything from what music he listened to growing up to how he got the title for his album.   Read out interview below and be sure to pickup a copy of “Age of Wonder” on iTunes now!

SecretFangirls.com: Your new album is out now!  How did you come up with the title, “Age of Wonder”?

Brett Steinberg: The idea of “Age of Wonder” was inspired by a time in my life, that by all means I’m still living through, in which I’ve been questioning everything – our meaning, our purpose, why relationships of all forms fail and why they’re so significant to our happiness. I’m curious about everything and there is a positive sense of wonderment pertaining to that, but there is also the downside, because once you start questioning your own life, you’re faced with questions that you might fear to know the answer to. Ultimately, this sense of wonderment is a positive quality in my life, but it brings interesting, thought-provoking challenges that I address in this record. The ideas of potential loss of innocence and maintaining genuine appreciation and curiosity towards the world are prevalent on the album.

SF: How did you get started in music?

BS: I took piano lessons in 2nd grade, but when I realized that the ballad of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was not particularly my jam, I quit the piano for a while. I then started singing in 6th or 7th grade. My mom would play “New York State of Mind” by Billy Joel or Michael Buble’s version of “Feeling Good” on the piano and I would sing along. I fell in-love with those heartfelt, anthemic piano ballads. I really picked up music in 8th grade when I learned piano and guitar and realized that people enjoyed my singing…at least sometimes! I simultaneously learned to create while learning my instruments because besides from introductory classes in school and occasional advice from my mom, I learned most of what I know from experimenting with chords and melody without any context of formal scales, progressions, or chord names. By no means am I classically trained; I’m mostly self taught.

SF: What song means the most to you on your new album?

BS: “We’re Not Done,” holds the most meaning to me because in the song I basically take a look at all that has gone wrong to the relationships and morals that I thought I knew the truth of growing up, and I say that I’m not giving up on them. I question which side I should take in both the internal and external struggles I’m fighting pertaining to growing up and understanding what it all means. This song is really a stand for keeping hope even in times that seem bleak. Relationships mend, and hindsight is 20/20, but this song was written in the thick of the battle and yet I was still able to understand that in the greater scheme of things, everything works itself out if you maintain a level head and a spark of perseverance.

SF: What artist(s) would you love to collaborate with?

BS: Coldplay, The Fray, Paul McCartney, Ryan Tedder, John Mayer, Jay-Z, Rick Rubin, Imagine Dragons, Alicia Keys, etc. I’d love to collaborate with so many incredible artists for different reasons. To grow as an artist myself would be a big one.

SF: What music did you listen to growing up?

BS: As a kid I exclusively listened to “Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin until I was around 6 or 7. Then I got into Michelle Branch’s “Everywhere” and Vanessa Carlton’s “1000 miles” and those kinds of piano ballads when I was probably 8 to 10. I then had a huge phase listening to a lot of Nickelback and Linkin Park, during their “Minutes to Midnight” era. Then I heard John Mayer and my world changed. Shortly after that I heard “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay and fell in love with this piano driven anthemic alternative rock. I’ve mainly been inspired by pop/rock ever since.

SF: How would you describe your sound?

BS: Piano driven pop/rock with some soul. I’ve worked on that genre labeling for many years now, ha!

SF: Now that the album is out, what’s next for you?

BS: I’m playing a bunch of shows in support of the record and have printed CD’s out that I’ll be selling at all future shows. Besides that, I look forward to making more memories at shows and meeting as many people as possible. I love to connect with people through music and intend to keep doing so. Also, I’m always creating and writing; that never stops!

SF: Check out Brett’s upcoming tour dates HERE!

Be sure to follow Brett Steinberg & Secret Fangirls for more updates!

SecretFangirls.com Interview with Izzy Malik!

18-year-old singer songwriter Izzy Malik just released her self-titled debut EP in March.   We love her pop country sound, and the range of influences that go into her songs.  We talked to Izzy about her EP, funny fangirl moments, and how she’s learned from other artists when it comes to fans (She totally gets it!).   Listen to her track “Just Another Boy” below!

SecretFangirls.com: You just released your self titled EP.  What song did you have the most fun writing?   
Izzy Malik: I definitely had the most fun writing “Just Another Boy.” It’s based on a dream I had about Harry Styles and I going on a date at the Santa Monica Pier where the song was playing in the background. The minute I woke up, I rushed to get the song written down before I forgot. But “Malala” also holds a very special place in my heart, as her cause is very dear to me.

SF: How would you describe your sound?
IM: I would say pop with country and rock undertones!

SF: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
IM: Some of my biggest influences are Britney Spears, One Direction, The Ramones, Joan Jett, John Mayer, Shania Twain, and Carrie Underwood.

SF: If you could create a dream tour lineup, who would you want to tour with?
IM: It would be killer to tour with Guns N Roses, KISS, One Direction, John Mayer, The 1975, Ed Sheeran, or 5 Seconds of Summer. They’re all crazy talented and I’d be so honored to tour with any of them.

SF: What is the most memorable concert that you’ve been to?
IM: Definitely a Simple Plan show I went to when I was sixteen. It was amazing because I’d looked up to them so much for seven years and I was finally seeing them live. It was an unforgettable experience.

SF: Of any other musicians, dead or alive, who would you “fangirl” out over the most if you had the opportunity to meet them, and why?


IM: Elvis Presley or John Lennon! And of course Harry Styles. When they sing, it’s like magic. I look up to all three of them so much, they’re all legends.

SF: We love that you are fan yourself, and enjoy going to concerts and meeting other artists.   (Note: Check out IzzyMalik.com!)  What have you learned from these experiences as an artist?
IM: I’ve learned how treating your fans can directly affect your popularity! Even if you’re the most talented of people, if you don’t give your fans the love they deserve, you’re not going to go very far. Fans work so hard to get tickets, count the days to the show, and sometimes you’re the silver lining in their cloudy life. It means so much to them, a kind word, gesture, hug, or smile… It can change their life in the most profound of ways coming from someone they admire so greatly. As musicians, we must never forget that responsibility and make each and every one of them feel special and loved.

SF: Do you have any funny fangirl stories you could share?   
IM: Well, this wasn’t at a concert, but I was on Skype with my good friend, Chris Bourne of Hollywood Ending, and we were writing together, he’s a great writer and we often work together. All of a sudden he was like, “Oh, hey, James, come in here and say hi to my friend” and I freaked out because I’d been a fan of Busted since I was ten years old. I basically cried after I talked to James and Chris was just sitting there laughing. It was pretty great! They’re both awesome people and I’m so lucky to have a pal like Chris.

SF: Who are some of your favorite performers?
IM: One Direction for sure, Hunter Hayes, Britney Spears, All Time Low, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Simple Plan, Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, and way more! I could probably fill a book with all of them. I still really want to see John Mayer and Shania Twain live!

SF: Now that the EP is out, what is next for you?
IM: I’m going to be releasing my new music video for “Just Another Boy” very soon and then will be hitting the road, details to come. Then back to the studio and I’ll have some more material out soon! 🙂

Pickup a copy of Izzy Malik’s EP on iTunes now!  Be sure to follow Izzy Malik on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram and check out her official site!

The Friday Five: Memorial Day Playlist

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!  We’re sure many of you (including us) are traveling for the long weekend, so here is our playlist of the songs we plan to drive around blasting to celebrate the official start of summer.

1.  Austin Mahone – “Next To You”
Austin just released this track from his debut album “The Secret,” out next week!  And we’ve been listening to it nonstop. (Literally like 10 times in a row).   He’s said that his album was influenced by the boy bands of the 90s, and it’s evident in this track.  We can’t wait to see what moves Austin the one-man boy band has planned for this one!

2. Dan + Shay – “Sway”
We heard this unreleased track at the Dan + Shay + You acoustic session, and found ourselves instantly swaying and singing along.   Dan and Shay said this song, which they played here for the first time ever, would likely be on their next album.  Lucky for you (and us) we caught it on video!

3.  The Vamps – “Somebody To You”
As soon as we heard this song, we had a feeling it would be The Vamps’ next single.  And we were right!  What we weren’t expecting is for Demi Lovato to be featured on the track.  They’ve teamed up for what’s sure to be a mega-hit for the British band.  Hopefully all the radio play this song is getting will lead to the long awaited US release date for The Vamps album!

4. Hunter Hayes – “Tattoo”
We cannot say enough good things about Hunter Hayes.  Not only is he extremely talented (he can play over 30 instruments) he’s also kind and humble.  We love this track off of his new album, “Storyline,” which is likely to be the second single off the album.  This song will stick with you,  even the first time you hear it…just like a tattoo!

5. AJR – “After Hours”
Their first single “I’m Ready,” is on track to be a big hit this summer, but we love all of AJR’s songs, especially this track off of their “I’m Ready EP.”  It’s fun, catchy, and has a horn section.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: AJR’s unique sound just makes us excited about music.  We can’t wait for their debut album due out later this summer!

 

SecretFangirls.com Interview With Born Cages!

One of our favorite local NYC bands to burst onto the scene in recent months, Born Cages, are gearing up to release a debut full length with Razor&Tie/Washington Square Music later this year.  Since October, we’ve been lucky enough to watch their audiences grow from about 15 people to close to 200 people! Comprised of lead singer/guitarist Vlad Holiday, keyboardist Amanda Carl, bassist Pete Malleo, and drummer Dave Tantao, Born Cages capture pure energy and emotion on “The Sidelines EP” with some pretty insane guitar solos and infectious melodies. 

In anticipation of the band’s new album, rumored to be out this fall (fingers crossed), Holiday graciously took the time to answer some of our burning questions! 

SecretFangirls.com: There are rumors of a fall release for a Born Cages full length album. Is there any truth to them?
Vlad Holiday: We’re working our way to the album. We’re gonna be doing some more touring before we release it, but we’re definitely hoping to have it out this year.

 

SF: Is there a song on the album or that you’ve written that you are itching to release?
VH: There’s a couple that come to mind. Actually I haven’t told anyone this yet, but we’re going to release a new track from the album very soon, so keep an ear out for that! It’s definitely one that I’ve been itching to put out.
 

SF: What song means the most to you that you’ve written?  Will it make it on the album?
VH: That’s tough to say…but I wrote a song about a fan that was going through some very dark times. It ended up being one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written, and will definitely be on the album. A couple months ago we toured in his area and sang the song live for him for the first time – it was kind of a surreal feeling.
 
SF: Is there a specific inspiration or vibe that has to be present to write?
VH: There definitely needs to be inspiration. I can try to edit a song or part at almost any time, but I can’t force myself to write a song from nothing when I’m not inspired.
 
SF: Do you guys have any pre show rituals?
VH: I like to warm up my voice before every show. Actually it suffers a bit when I don’t. I sing along backstage to this weird playlist I have on my iPhone, and typically all the other bands stare at me like I’m doing voodoo.

 

SF: What would be your “must-haves” on a tour rider?
VH: Wifi and alcohol are nice.
 
SF: What is your favorite song to perform live?
VH: I love playing the songs people know. We’ve been fortunate enough to start having people singing along every now and then, and one of the biggest validation for creating a song or performing a song is for the audience to relate and to join in on the experience.
 
SF: Who would be on your dream tour lineup?  
VH: Let’s say The Vaccines, Metric, Haerts, and us. I’m gonna leave the obvious arena bands off this list.
 
SF: What musician would you totally “fan girl” over if you met?
VH: I totally didn’t fan girl when I met Metric’s drummer Joules and told him that my band covered his. So, I wouldn’t know… Oh, and I’ve always said I need to shake Paul McCartney’s hand before I die. Scr3w the h8ers
 
SF: What was the first concert you went to?
VH: Queens Of The Stone Age when Songs For The Deaf came out.
 
SF: Who are your biggest musical influences?
VH: That’s classified information, lady. Well the truth is, my biggest musical inspirations come from different corners for different reasons. I love blues guitar music, but not in love with some of the songwriting or vocals in that field. I love ambient and moody songs like Lykke Li’s for example, but when I’m in a certain mood I’ll need some M.I.A. to pretend to dance to. I love U2 for their lyrics and grandeur but sometimes I need something that rocks a bit harder. I love The Beatles, but… well they’re just all around great. I’ve got too many musical influences to even narrow it down to a list of 10 without it feeling like it’s taken out of context. The best way to know who inspires someone to write is to listen to what they write.

Watch the video for Born Cages’ latest single, “Don’t Look Back” now!

You can catch Born Cages live on tour this June!
June 7th – MilkBoy – Philadelphia, PA  – Buy Tickets
June 8th – Marlin Room at Webster Hall – New York, NY – Buy Tickets
June 9th – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 2 – New York, NY – Suggested donation $5 (or a sweet high five!)
June 30th – Pianos – New York, NY – Buy Tickets
July 3rd – Glasslands – Brooklyn, NY – Buy Tickets

Pick up a copy of “The Sidelines EP” on iTunes or Amazon so you can sing along at the show!

Be sure to follow Born Cages and SecretFangirls.com on Twitter for the latest on all of your favorite artists!

Header Photo:  Nicole Mago