Artist of the Month: Erika Jayne

“Some people call me cold, but that’s not ice; it’s diamonds.”

If you know me, then you know that I am a HUGE fan of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. As such, it should come as a shock to no one that the blonde pop diva herself would appear on Widow’s Lure as a featured artist of the month.

She’s crass, she’s sassy, she’s blonde, and she’s super fabulous… she’s the alter ego of Erika Girardi…

The artist of the month for December 2020: Erika Jayne.

The fabulous Erika Jayne being interviewed about how damn fabulous she is. (Photo taken from kathryn deem’s Flickr photostream)

Erika Jayne has been creating music since 2007, but her popularity has soared on the dance charts due to her appearances on RHOBH. Even if you weren’t a fan of Erika Girardi on the show, then I’m sure you would be a fan of Erika Jayne.

When I do personal training with my PT every Tuesday morning and he asks me what music to play on his outdoor speaker, I can literally hear the groan when I suggest Xxpen$ive by Erika Jayne. He shouldn’t be surprised; it’s the song I always request when he asks me this question.

If you’re looking to be introduced to Erika Jayne’s music, Xxpen$ive is a good place to start as I believe it shows off every intricacy about her that makes her so appealing. This track is unapologetic as Erika casually sings about how expensive it is to upkeep her lifestyle and appearance, and she still doesn’t give a fuck. When I first heard this song, I compared her to the likes of Mariahlynn, as both of these women have such bold lyrics that suit the hip-hop inspired dance accompaniment.

If you want another example of just how bold, daring and carefree Erika Jayne can get, then look no further than How Many Fucks. As the song suggests, she gives zero fucks about what anyone thinks about her, and who doesn’t want to admire someone like that? How Many Fucks follows the same kind of trend as Xxpen$ive: the lyrics are brash, the dance music will get even the most introverted person onto the dance floor, and the unapologetic approach this song has is infectious. If you needed any more convincing to listen to this track, it peaked at number one on Billboard’s US Dance Club list.

Now to soften the mood a bit, let me introduce you to the song that shares the name of Erika Jayne’s gimmick name: Pretty Mess. I’m aware that there are a lot of remixes for Erika’s songs, so referring to the original version itself, Pretty Mess has a slower, softer approach than the previous two tracks have. Erika’s vocals offer a sense of vulnerability, which matches the more subtle dance tones of this song.

Recommended Tracks
Painkillr” (non-album single)
Roller Coaster” from Pretty Mess
Party People (Ignite the World)” (non-album single)

The thing I love most about Erika Jayne is she doesn’t necessarily have this dance music career for the money or the fame. She does it because she genuinely loves it, and has fun slipping into her Erika Jayne persona.

God, no wonder why I want to be her so much.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Harry Styles

Just like strawberries on a summer evening.

There will always be debates of which former One Direction member has had the best solo career, and a solid argument can be made for each one, but what everyone cannot deny is just how great Harry Styles has been since leaving the iconic boy band.

The artist of the month for November 2020 is Harry Styles.

What a deadset healthy mop of hair. (Photo taken from Ianthebush’s Flickr photostream)

While his talent has never been denied, I don’t know if people were actually prepared for the absolute bangers Harry Styles has produced ever since branching off on his own. While most pop singers resort to the same old tactics to keep their music on the top 10 lists, Harry doesn’t have to hide behind a catchy tune and repetitive lyrics; his music tells stories – whether they’re subtle like Two Ghosts or blatantly obvious like Kiwi – and his vocals are almost unmatched when it comes to male popstars.

The first song, as referenced by the opening line of this article that I would like to touch upon, is Watermelon Sugar… and not just because a series of events has made this song remind me of RHOBH legend Eden Sassoon and her iconic black bob wig.

This track has an easy summer holiday kinda vibe to it, which goes with the lyrics of the song. While many people have their own interpretations about what this song is actually about, I don’t think I could care less, because this song doesn’t need some blatant or obscure meaning to justify just how awesome it is. It’s a track that I can see appealing to any music taste and suiting any situation, from going for an early morning run, to sitting by the pool with a strawberry daiquiri.

The first song of Harry’s that I really felt deep in my core was Woman from his debut album. While essentially the entire album was #fire, Woman struck me as powerful simply because of how Harry sings the chorus, which contains only one word: woman. You can feel the passion and gusto he feels for this unidentified woman just by how he says the word. This song has an almost R&B piano style feel to it, or as my friend Michelle once so eloquently put it, “an 80’s porno vibe”.

It would be remiss of me not to talk about my feelings towards Kiwi considering my New Zealand heritage. But even besides that little fact linking me to this song, I have a soft spot for this track because it reminds me of Candice Swanepoel walking down the Victoria’s Secret runway while Harry Styles performed it at their now-defunct annual fashion show in 2017. One of the more overtly sexual songs of Harry Styles’ career, the chorus itself should give you a fair idea of how blatant the song is: “I’m having your baby, it’s none of your business”. This track is full of high energy with a quick pace and loud instrument accompaniment, so you would understand why the VS Angels could master their strut while Mr. Styles himself song behind them.

Recommended Tracks
– “Only Angel” from Harry Styles
– “Adore You” from Fine Line
– “Sign of the Times” from Harry Styles

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to put on an iconic Eden Sassoon black bob wig, sit in my lounge, and listen to Watermelon Sugar with a glass of wine.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Little Big Town

I know there is a recurring theme of country musicians featured as our Artists of the Month, but bear with me.

Even if you aren’t a country music fan, if you watched the most recent Grammy’s, you’ll have a fair idea of who Little Big Town are. They are the group of four (two men and two women) that won the Grammy for the Best Country Duo/Music Group Performance for their hit song Girl Crush, and they also had the honour of performing that song on stage.

Introducing February’s Artist of the Month… Little Big Town!

Much serious in one picture.

Much serious in one picture.

In a music genre that is so behind the times traditional, it should come as no surprise that Girl Crush certainly pushed the barriers and stirred a lot of controversy between country music fans even though it shouldn’t because it’s the 21st century. If you hear the song playing, you will envision a story of a woman being obsessed with another woman and wanting to be her lesbian lover. If you actually listen to the song, though, you will witness a story of a woman who is in love with a man who is actually with someone else, so the first woman wants to be the second woman so the man will love her instead. Sounds like a standard love song, right? Well, with lyrics like “I want to taste her lips, yeah ‘cos they taste like you“, it’s easy to see some would think why this song is about same-sex romance.

The song has stirred up a lot of controversy, but if you just ignore the unnecessary critical attention to the song, it’s actually a beautiful love ballad? Karen’s vocals in this track are actually phenom, and if it were anyone else singing, I don’t think this song would have been as great.

Oh, speaking of, meet the members that make up Little Big Town. From left to right, we have Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Roads Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook (#DamnDaniel), with the latter two of the four being happily married since 2006.

littlebigtown1

Little Big Town were formed in the early 2000s, but their career never really picked up momentum until 2006 with the release of their single Boondocks, the first single from the album The Road to Here, which became their first top 10 hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. This was really the catalyst behind their kickstart to stardom, because ever since then, Little Big Town have been a big player in the country music genre, and their star power has only grown exponentially.

My personal favourite Little Big Town song Tornado emerged from their fifth studio album which was called – GASP! – Tornado. While one would naturally think that this song would be about a natural disaster, it actually details a woman’s anger towards her unfaithful man. “Yeah, I’m gonna lift this house. Spin it all around. Toss it in the air and put it in the ground. Make sure you’re never found. Like, damn girl.

It doesn’t seem as if Little Big Town’s momentum is going to be stopped any time soon, so while I’ve got you here, here are a few recommended tracks for your entertainment:

Recommended Tracks
Day Drinking from Pain Killer
Your Side of the Bed from Tornado
Girl Crush from Pain Killer
Pavement Ends 
from Tornado

And I will leave you with the plain and simple music video that shook the close-minded traditional world of country music.

– by The Black Widow

Artist of the Month: Sam Hunt

There may be a slight bias as to why this man is the featured artist of the month, but I look to explain something that has been bugging me about him for months.

The featured artist of the month November is Sam Hunt.

Sam is currently in the middle of writing his second album. (SOURCE: official Sam Hunt website)

Sam is currently in the middle of writing his second album. (SOURCE: official Sam Hunt website)

If you haven’t read my review for his debut album Montevallo, you can do so by clicking here. The album is also available for purchase on iTunes.

The year 2015 may very well have been the greatest year in Sam Hunt’s life. Three singles from his debut album have been number one on the US Country and US Country Airplay charts (Leave the Night On, Take Your Time and House Party) and the album was also number one on the US Country album chart and peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, which is an outstanding feat for a rookie country music artist.

On top of this, Hunt has been nominated for several awards this year, including Single of the Year and Song of the Year for Take Your Time and New Artist of the Year at the CMAs. He won the Songwriter-artist of the Year award at the ASCAP Country Music Awards, the Breakthrough Video of the Year award at the CMT Music Awards, and he also took home the New Artist of the Year award at the Taste of Country Music Awards.

Sam’s had a killer year, no doubt, but that’s not what I wanted to discuss.

I wanted to write about why I liked Sam Hunt. I mean, really get to the heart of why I’m such a fangirl of his. And this also leads me to what really annoys me about most of his other fans.

Looking at the image above, there’s no denial that Sam Hunt is a very attractive man. Every box you didn’t even know you had on your “Dream Man Checklist”, he ticks off: he’s tall, dark, handsome, can play guitar and sing well, and he also has an affinity for snapbacks and funky pairs of pants. Yes, I admire his looks and, yes, it does make it easier to like him.

But that’s not why I like him, and that’s what bothers me about other Sam Hunt fans.

All of the comments on his photos across various different social media platforms tend to target one thing about his person – his looks. Fair enough, say and do whatever you want, but when there are so many other impressive feats about this man, it gets kind of repetitive, irritating and monotonous when all one can say about Sam Hunt is “OMG BAE AF”.

Let’s take, for example, the fact that he had a hand in writing every single one of his songs on the Montevallo album. If you’re not aware of how the music industry generally works, the singer does not write their songs; they are given demos sung by other vocalists and written by other smart people, choose whether they want to record that song, and voila. That song is now “theirs”. But Sam took this to the next level and co-wrote each song on his album and on top of that, recorded the vocals. If I’m not mistaken, he also had a hand in the instrument playing, but don’t hold me to that.

That’s talent, right?

On top of that, whether this is intentional or not, Sam is ushering in a new era to the country music genre. The genre of country music is very traditional in the sense that it isn’t too welcoming to change of any kind. Sam’s style of music is different in that while the country roots are evident in his music, he welcomes inspiration from other types of music into his songs. RnB, hip-hop and pop are welcome influences into songs such as Take Your Time and Single for the Summer and while this has caused backlash from country music traditionalists, I for one thoroughly enjoy the change.

On the topic of change, this is where I have to mention that I get daily Google alerts every time Sam Hunt is mentioned on the web. I like to think of it as stalking dedication as a fan. Receiving these Google alerts in my e-mail inbox daily, I get to read a lot of articles that mention the country musician that other fans might miss, and some of them have a very common theme: “Sam Hunt has a black back-up guitarist! Wow! Much shock! Many horror!” I’m sorry but it’s 2015. It shouldn’t be that noteworthy that Sam has a back-up guitarist who is black (Tyrone Carreker, if you’re interested in looking up this talented guitarist). These same articles also talk about Sam’s personal style as if they’re watching a dog walk on its hind legs, to borrow a quote from Mean Girls. Sure, he isn’t wearing Wrangler jeans with cowboy boots, but why does that prove to be a topic of discussion? There isn’t anything unusual about the way he dresses. I love his style personally.

Through his music, the way he dresses, and even who he chooses to have in his band, Sam is ushering in a revolution in country music, and on top of his enormous amounts of talent and absolutely charming personality, that is why I like Sam Hunt. Not because his biceps are huge (kiss me!) or his award-winning smile, but the fact that he is changing the country music genre, and for someone like me, that is very liberating. Hopefully as Sam’s career continues, the minds of country music fans will open and they’ll see their beloved music in a totally different light. I mean, even today, women in country music still aren’t treated the same as their male counterparts. This shouldn’t even be a problem.

Recommended tracks
Take Your Time from Montevallo
Break Up in a Small Town from Montevallo
Single for the Summer from Montevallo
Cop Car from Montevallo (FUN FACT: he originally co-wrote this song for Keith Urban)

You can follow Sam Hunt on social media at the following links:
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

– by The Black Widow