HBO True Blood Star Janina Gavankar Releases New Single [Exclusive Interview]

HBO True Blood Star Janina Gavankar Releases New Single [Exclusive Interview]

WAITING FOR GODOT Cover Art - Final 450

The best way for Janina Gavankar to unwind after a busy day on a movie set is to head right to the recording studio to work on her music. The actress and singer, who is currently starring on HBO's True Blood as shape-shifter Luna Garza, tells me in an interview that making music helps to fuel her creative spirit. "I've always felt that the better I become as a musician, the better I become as an actor," she explains. "If I take a day and I do a four hour piano practice, the next day I show up on set and I'm immediately better. It is all emotional muscle work."

She adds, "In music I deal with every single issue and thought in my brain and it's my chance to be completely honest. Music and acting satisfy the same artistic spirit. One informs the other. There are many similarities to creating a song and creating a character, but the performance aspect is very different. In acting you hardly have any control. The only thing you do is show up and play your role. Music is my chance to be a control freak."

Following the True Blood season finale on Sunday, Gavankar will release her new single, entitled "Waiting For Godot" on Tuesday. Named after Samuel Beckett's legendary play, the song is a striking electro-pop tune that combines experimental production stylings with Ganvankar's mesmerizing vocals that will instantly appeal to fans of artists like Imogen Heap and Ellie Goulding. "Waiting For Godot" is taken from her forthcoming new EP that she expects to release in the fall. "It's a very personal EP. I'm a bit terrified," Gavankar confides. "I've built a career on turning into different people, so doing music is the exact opposite of that."

One of the people she collaborated with on her new EP is Cherrytree/Interscope artist Matthew Koma. "He's a great friend and we wrote a beautiful song together," she says. "It's called 'Die Young.'"

Gavankar, who is from Indian and Dutch descent, is fortunate enough that she can release the music on her own schedule. "Because I'm also an actor I don't have to make music according to anybody's plan. I can make it when I can when I want to. so I'm taking my time and only release music that at I absolutely love," she explains. "I don't have anybody tell me who to work with and I do a lot of work myself. I care so deeply. I'm a perfectionist."

After her leading roles on The L Word and ABC's The Gates, Gavankar love being part of True Blood and not in the least because it is important for the show to pay tribute to great music. "I love the music on True Blood. That opening scene is the coolest scene ever," Gavankar smiles. "It's so unsettling in just the right way. One of the things that I love about the show is that we name our title of each episode after the title of the song we close the episode with it. It's a way for the show to honor music."

No word yet if Gavankar will resume her role of Luna on the next season of True Blood, but regardless of her future acting gigs she will give fans plenty of exciting new music to entertain us with. (Click here to download Janina Gavankar "Waiting For Godot" on iTunes when it's released on Tuesday.)

August 25, 2012 | Permalink

My Name Is Kay Premieres New Video for "Strangers" featuring Pusha T [Review]


Our friends in Canada have had the opportunity to enjoy My Name Is Kay's totally fun new music video for "Strangers" ever since it premiered on MuchMusic almost 2 weeks ago. Fortunately the video for the singer's new single is now available for the rest of the world (and the growing KayNation) to see and rave over as well.

Produced by hitmakers Ryan Tedder and Evan "Kidd" Bogart, "Strangers" perfectly defines the spunky, sunny and solid pop sound we have come to love so much about My Name Is Kay. The video for the song echoes those exact qualities with colorful, immaculately-styled scenes, eye-popping fashion, a proper dose of girl power and Kay facing the camera straight-on to tell her story about a love gone terribly sour. She gives her ex a piece of her mind and shares with the rest of the world how really feels about him.

She rightfully scolds him and sings, "You tell me I look beautiful, baby that's so unusual, but then we get to the party, you act like you don't even know me. You're a fool, you're a damn fool and it's all you'll ever be. So get a clue, you'll never find another me." My Name Is Kay is clearly not to be messed with.

Kay's gorgeous up-close camera shots are interspersed with footage of the singer rolling around in fabulous pink pumps, venting to nameless mannequins and finally bringing the whole situation to a crashing halt. The singer picks up a metal rod and hits her target right on the nose to show that she has finally had enough of all the shenanigans, and being disrespected by her loser boyfriend. But My Name Is Kay wouldn't be Kay if she didn't end the ordeal on a positive note and a proper smooch on the cheek. It's all in good fun and that's exactly what My Name Is Kay's music is all about. (Do yourself a big favor and grab My Name Is Kay "Strangers" on iTunes now. New pop must be supported and Kay deserves all of your love.)

August 23, 2012 | Permalink

The Daily Crunch: Two Door Cinema Club, Rita Ora, The Wanted, Madonna, Philip Philips, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys


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August 23, 2012 | Permalink

Must-Watch: Matthew Koma Performs 'Years' Acoustic Version [VIDEO]

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Pop troubadour Matthew Koma knows exactly how to get to the heart of the matter with his music, lyrics and performance. His fantastic acoustic live session of "Years" is a wonderful example of that. The original version of the song with Alesso is a massively soaring dancefloor romp, but on this new rendition Koma strips away all the bombast to emphasize the song's powerful emotional core and bittersweet melancholy that lingers throughout the track.

After working with dance music artists like Alesso and Zedd, Koma has become the go-to melody maker for many DJs and producers. There's good reason for that. Koma has the ability to give any big and happening dance tune a richly melodic hook that is memorable. And as is the case with any proper hook, it's a melody that works well in any type of production and this acoustic version of "Years" is solid proof of that.

Inspired by classic singer/songwriters like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello, Koma explained to me in an interview earlier this year that he has a very distinct point of view when it comes to songwriting. "I write about things that I know are sincere and that I can speak about from a real place," he says. "I feel that's really the only way for me to connect with people. [Music] needs to come from an honest place."

Working with EDM artists has helped Koma to further tune his songwriting skills. "The electronic dance music world is so track driven," he says. "There's so much focus on the production that when it comes to songwriting it is even more about finding that simple sentiment and tapping into it." (Alleso "Years" featuring Matthew Koma is available on Beatport now.)

August 23, 2012 | Permalink

[REMIX] Listen to Hoodie Allen 'Small Town' SmarterChild Remix


Hot on the heels of the release of Hoodie Allen's new single "Hey You" last month, a bunch of other new tracks are surfacing that are remixes of songs from his much-lauded debut LP, "All American." Reportedly, these remixes were to be included on a full remix album, but instead these tracks are making their way out to fans online. And that really should come as no surprise. Hoodie Allen has been stirring up a storm with his clever, fun and courteous brand of DIY hip pop that has garnered him a massive audience who have a huge appetite for his music.

One of the remixes that has appeared is an excellent remake of Hoode Allen's "Small Town" that was produced by Rick "SmarterChild" Markowitz. You may remember SmarterChild from the excellent remixes he previously produced for Neon Hitch, Flo Rida and Gym Class Heroes that show off his savvy soundboard skills. His reflip of Allen's "Small Town" is equally exciting.

It's a mighty, mighty dancefloor zinger paced by a chunky bass groove, saucy synths and Allen's talk-sing vocals that add a proper dose of attitude to the tightly-produced mix. Go like Smarterchild on Facebook and also make sure to go see Hoodie Allen in a town near you next month when he's zig-zagging across the U.S on tour. It's a show not to be missed.

August 23, 2012 | Permalink