Spotlight: Cameron Hardy

By Paula Araujo

At just 17 years old, Cameron Hardy knows he wants to make music for the rest of his life. After being honored as Billboard’s Woman of the Year, its no surprise Selena Gomez has caught Cameron’s attention when it comes to music and picking songs to cover. His latest video is a suave cover of Madison Beer’s “Dead”. Read on as he shares his musical journey, whats to come, and other music he’s loving lately.

Hey​ ​Cameron!​ ​Tell​ ​us​ ​a​ ​little​ ​bit​ ​about​ ​yourself​ ​and​ ​do​ ​you​ ​prefer​ ​pancakes​ ​or​ ​waffles?
What’s up! I am a 17 year old recording artist and actor. I’m a waffles kind of guy.

What​ ​drew​ ​you​ ​to​ ​the​ ​song​ ​“Bad​ ​Liar”​ ​and​ ​your​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​it?
I immediately fell in love with the overall sound of the song. It’s so different from Selena’s other music which was partially the reason I wanted to put my own take on it. I originally recorded a version with similar production to the original, but then decided to strip it down for an acoustic approach.

Are​ ​you​ ​particularly​ ​inspired​ ​and​ ​drawn​ ​to​ ​Selena​ ​Gomez’s​ ​music?​ ​What​ ​is​ ​it​ ​about​ ​her​ ​as an​ ​artist​ ​that​ ​attracts​ ​and​ ​inspires​ ​you?
I love Selena’s music. I think she is a very strong individual and that really shines through in her music. I love covering songs that have a ton of passion behind them and Selena’s music typically reflects that.

Can​ ​we​ ​expect​ ​anymore​ ​covers​ ​or​ ​original​ ​tracks​ ​soon?
Yes! I have another cover or two that I will put out in the near future, but I am really beginning to shift my focus to original music. Covers have really inspired me to create my own music and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to record these covers because now I am very familiar with the recording process.

How​ ​would​ ​you​ ​describe​ ​your​ ​sound?
Pop, without a doubt, with an alternative + dance kind of vibe.

What​ ​have​ ​you​ ​discovered​ ​about​ ​yourself​ ​through​ ​music?
I have discovered that I want to put a purpose behind everything that I do. Music has really opened up another viewpoint for me on how I approach life and I believe that everything you do should be meaningful.

Where​ ​do​ ​you​ ​draw​ ​inspiration​ ​from?​ ​Which​ ​artists​ ​inspire​ ​you?
I draw my inspiration from many different aspects of my life. Musically, I am inspired a lot by Charlie Puth, Rihanna, John Mayer, etc.

What​ ​are​ ​your​ ​long​ ​term​ ​and​ ​short​ ​term​ ​goals?
Long term, I hope to have a platform in which I am able to continue to make music and tour around the world. For now, I am working on finding a good team to make that possible and working non-stop on my sound.

What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​advice​ ​for​ ​other​ ​artists​ ​out​ ​there?​ ​What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​best​ ​advice​ ​you’ve​ ​been given?
Work extremely hard and hang in there. The best advice I have been given is to remain positive and put only good vibes out into the world. It will come back to you.

When​ ​was​ ​the​ ​moment​ ​you​ ​knew​ ​you​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​do​ ​this​ ​for​ ​a​ ​living?​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​recall​ ​your earliest​ ​memory​ ​involving​ ​music?
When I stepped foot in a real studio for the first time, I knew that I wanted to do this forever. It was 13 at the time. It just felt right, and knowing that I could do that for a living as well really opened the doors for me to pursue this professionally.

What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​concert​ ​you​ ​went​ ​to?
Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” tour.

What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​last​ ​5​ ​songs​ ​you​ ​listened​ ​to?
1. Sleep Talking – Charlotte Lawrence
2. Fetish – Selena Gomez
3. How Long – Charlie Puth
4. Games – Demi Lovato
5. I’m A Fan – Pia Mia

Any​ ​particular​ ​album(s)​ ​you’ve​ ​been​ ​loving​ ​recently?
I’m absolutely in love with Demi Lovato’s new album. The entire sound is right up my alley. Also Dua Lipa’s album, she’s great.

For more on Cameron check out the links below.


Spotlight: Macedo

By Paula Araujo
Photos by Ryan West

When it comes down to choosing between pancakes or waffles, twin sisters Michelle and Melissa Macedo both agree on waffles. That’s not the only thing they agree on either. They’re remarkably passionate about music, acting, and activism. Twins are known to have similar commonalities, traits, and personality. While they are very much different, ultimately it is how they blend their differences that truly makes them shine as artists. Michelle and Melissa stand out in the crowd with their unique approach to their craft.

You may recognize them from Netflix’s original show, Girl Boss. Soon enough, you’ll find them as leading ladies in James Franco’s upcoming film Blood Heist. On the musical side of things, they’ve recently released their new single “Truth Of It” along with a music video. An upcoming album Ghost Town, is expected later this year in which the duo wrote all the songs for. A heavy theme surrounds the record, Michelle elaborates, “I had just ended a very long relationship and was experiencing health issues. I felt so terrified and alone. I cut myself off from the world for about 6 months just writing constantly. That utter isolation (besides from Melissa) brought about Ghost Town. It is a reflection and exploration of the ghosts that we all have and the ways in which we are haunted by our pasts.“

Read on to find out more about this talented duo and their journey with not only acting and music but self discovery, and what’s to come.

Hello! How is your summer going so far?
It’s going great! We love summer and here in Los Angeles it’s a great time to head to the beach or get outside for an outdoor movie and picnic. We’re heading out to NY soon to work on a movie so we’re currently preparing for that.

Who are Macedo? How would you describe yourself and your music?
We are an indie duo based in Los Angeles made up of twin sisters Michelle & Melissa Macedo. We would describe our style as Regina Spektor/Feist meets Lianne La Havas with a classic vibe. What makes us unique is our harmonies and songwriting style. Since we are twins, our voices blend well together; combine that with a piano driven, lyrical sound and you have Macedo.

What was it like creating your latest single “Truth of It”?
We wrote the song “Truth of It” together. It was really very conceptual from the beginning. We wanted the verses to feel like the reality of the situation and the choruses to feel fantasy. It was written about a relationship that just wouldn’t work. There can be a lot of mixed feelings towards the end of a relationship. One minute you’re trying to talk yourself into staying and the next you are trying to get out as soon as you can. We wanted to capture that manic duality.

“Truth of It” Link:

Do you have any favorite lyrics that you’ve written?
Personally, our favorite lyrics are from “Take Back the Night”. “Take Back the Night” is an important song about sexual assault. So many people experience it but there is so much shame and silence surrounding it that it’s not often talked about. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about and we wanted to give people the courage to share their stories. We couldn’t get through the song without crying. We only did one take on the vocals for that one.

How did you decide on the art direction/aesthetic/theme of your last three singles? What was the process for shooting those covers?
I think the imagery for “Ghost Town” was an idea we had brewing for a while. We are both very into the occult, witchy aspect. Melissa actually reads Tarot Cards. We wanted it to represent the inner ghosts that people battle every day. We had an incredible team help us as well. We were privileged to work with a photographer named Myriam Santos who really helped bring our ideas to life. Jason Adduci designed the cover art and Chandra Dyani styled us. We shot in a haunted old mansion in Los Angeles and we both feel very powerfully connected to the witchy femininity of that imagery.

Can fans expect an EP or album soon?
Yes, they can expect one this upcoming fall. Stay tuned on our social accounts for more details.

What is your favorite aspect of creating or working on a new piece/project? What has been the most challenging thing?
We feel like the songwriting process is like alchemy, turning pain into something beautiful and honest. Melissa will see me experiencing a relationship and she will get an idea about a song and then we can finish it together. Michelle has always written poetry as a way of expressing herself and so experiences naturally come out in words. It can be very therapeutic and cathartic. As sisters and as musicians, we are so deeply connected that one of us will supply what the other one needs. That is just a part of who we are, our relationship is integral to our art. The biggest challenge has been staying true to our vision. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to really figure out what it is that you want and then stick with your vision. This album is about putting out what we want and representing our true selves.

What have you discovered about yourselves throughout the process of creating new music?
There are always plenty of discoveries when creating new music. Something telling was just writing how we felt and reading it back. That was very cathartic and therapeutic. It was a deeper insight to our psyche. We discovered we are incredibly resilient when faced with opposition.

What is your favorite song at the moment?
“Die Young” by Sylvan Esso.

What are you most looking forward to the rest of this year?
We’re most looking forward to the release of our album “Ghost Town” and the movie we’re both starring in films  August and September in New York! Also, the release of our film “Blood Heist” we starred in with James Franco is coming out so there is a lot to look forward to.

What are you most proud of so far with your career?
On the music side of things, I think we’re most proud of this upcoming album, we really stood up for what we believed in and worked hard to make every single song what we wanted. In terms of the performing side, the privilege to work with James Franco in Blood Heist and all of the fantastic people on GIRLBOSS (Kay Cannon, Britt Robertson, Ellie Reed and Johnny Simmons). We’re very proud of those accomplishments.

What is your workflow like? What does a typical day/week look like?
Everyday is so different. We start off with some exercise and meditation to get grounded and get our bodies going. Some days we are on set, some days we are auditioning. Other days we are recording in the studio or practicing. We are always meeting new people and going to new places. The cool part about our jobs is that it never gets boring!

What has been the most challenging thing so far?
Being a woman can be a challenge in the entertainment industry. It can be difficult to endure the pressure and expectations placed upon women. It’s important to find our own voices and be unapologetic. It’s a blessing to have each other. We really support each other and move each other forward. That is what gets us through the ups and downs. As long as we are true to ourselves and compassionate, kind people we’re able to keep things in perspective.

What has been the most rewarding thing so far?
We feel very strongly about women’s issues. We have always supported RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) and Melissa used to be a Rape Crisis Counselor for them. We interviewed hundreds of women and men and co-created a theatrical show called “Dirty Talk” with our theatre company (World Kin Ensemble) about the spectrum of violence against women, ranging from catcalling to rape. We acted in and toured college campuses around the country with that show. We also performed it as part of USC’s Visions and Voices. We feel strongly about any organization that supports and empowers women. It’s exactly what we try to create in our art. We think as artists it’s important to help the world empower the otherwise marginalized and silenced. That has been such a rewarding experience.

What are your long term and short term goals?
We want to be creating art as much as possible. We would love to go on a world tour with our music and continue acting in films and television. Our ultimate goal is to continue to do what we love, in both music and acting.

What do you want people to take away from your music?
We really hope our music connects with people and helps people to empower themselves. We hope it helps people if they are feeling isolated or disconnected. I think the message of the music is to accept imperfections and that humans are incredibly resilient and beautiful as they are. If the song speaks to one person or helps one person connect to themselves in a way they haven’t before, I think it’s worth it. We hope to achieve that goal by being as truthful and honest in our songwriting as we can.

What is your advice for other artists out there? What was the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice we’ve gotten is to stick with it, keep your head down, keep going and focus on the work, on what inspires you. Treat yourself kindly through the whole journey and trust you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Where do you draw inspiration from? Which artists inspire you?
There are so many people who really shaped and influenced us. Some of those people are the people that challenged us. So much of our growth has come from creating art out of difficult situations. The songwriting of Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Claude Debussy, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday and Radiohead were huge influences. We really appreciate amazing songwriting and we feel like all of those artists tell a story in the most impactful way. They are real and honest and can structure a song so effectively. The first time we heard Tidal by Fiona Apple we were completely blown away. It was like she was singing our lives and feelings especially “Never is A Promise”. We knew that’s what we wanted to do, to be so honest with ourselves that we had no choice but to feel connected.

Do you find it difficult to switch gears from music to acting?
We really feel like one craft just makes the other one better. The more we strive to be better musicians, the more that bleeds into our acting and vice versa. It’s all practicing this self expression that is truthful and we think that helps in all formats. We are inspired when we are doing both so we grow as artists.

When was the moment you knew you wanted to do this for a living?
It’s interesting because we always knew. We grew up making music and being so inspired by films we saw. The raw vulnerability in both mediums really spoke to us.

Do you recall your earliest memory involving music or acting?
Our earliest musical memory is sitting at the piano with our dad. It’s this amazing antique piano that my mom inherited, it has this beautiful, haunting quality to it. We still write on that piano sometimes! We started writing songs together when we were about 10 years old. We had both been playing musical instruments and singing together for a while. Michelle had been writing poetry at that point and it just made sense to just put it all together. Even then, we were writing harmonies together. It sort of happened naturally because we work together really well. We also always knew we wanted to act, we got involved in all the school plays and honed that craft in college and beyond.

And lastly, pancakes or waffles?
Great question. Waffles!!! Always!

Stay up to date with Macedo be checking out the links below.

Courtney Noe Unapologetically Empowers Women

By Rhiannon Levengood

Born and raised on the Oregon coast is aspiring R&B artist Courtney Noe, who combines her eclectic list of talents with a strong feminist message to make sure that you know her name. Her gifts range from singing and performing, to designing her own clothing and binge-watching Hulu. As of recently, she has dabbled in the visual arts and released her very first music video for her single “Like That” from her debut EP Invisible Crown.

On the surface, Courtney blatantly displays her sexuality through transparent lyrics that describe exactly what she wants from a sexual partner. She wears an alluring attire comprised of a black corset and matching panties as she seduces the male lead and reveals their intimate moments from the bedroom. After your first watch through, you’re left feeling sexy and wanting more.

And you’re in luck, because there is more to “Like That” than meets the eye. It starts with Courtney’s overall message to women, all women of all ages and identifications. She tells us, “I basically want to promote strength, and no matter what size you are, you’re dope, and boys are okay, but they can wait on you.”

Courtney reminisced about the production of her video and the decision to keep what society would call ‘flaws’ in the final cut: “But, when I was watching the video back, I saw all these weird angles, and you can see the cellulite on my leg. At first, I wanted to cut all that out, but then I was like, ‘Well, I don’t know of another music video that’s this sexual, but [the artist] just looks perfect already, or the editors did major editing to make her look unattainable.’ So, I was like, ‘You know what, let’s just do it. I like to be able to be real, that’s part of my brand. Let’s go, maybe it’ll make someone feel fierce.’”

With female empowerment on the rise, Noe cites four women in particular who’ve inspired her the most. “Definitely Rihanna. I’m really obsessed with Sarah Paulson right now. I think she’s so gorgeous, but also so refined and very intelligent. Beyonce, obviously, she really pushes the bar.”

Although, the woman she seemed the most passionate about was Lady Gaga herself. “I love Lady Gaga, especially during her Superbowl performance,” she gushes, “I was watching it, and loving it, but I knew that social media would attack her for having that tiny piece of skin that everyone was talking about […] Even though she’s dancing around for like 30 minutes, and I can’t even do that on the treadmill. I just love how she doesn’t cower, she goes above it. She kind of was one of the—at least for our generation—one of the women that’s like, ‘Here’s me, take it or leave it. And I’m super welcoming to everybody.’ I try to aspire to that.”

Not only is Courtney Noe poised on her fashion, music, and confidence, but her rights as a female in this world, too. When prompted what advice she would give to a fellow woman, she advocated: “I’ve noticed that women say sorry a lot. […] I don’t remember if it was a quote I read, but someone said, ‘Stop saying sorry and just be present in the situation.’ So, I’ve really tried to be more aware of it by saying, ‘Oh, pardon me’ or ‘Excuse me’ but not apologizing for things that we don’t need to apologize for, because I know we’re really notorious for doing that.”

When it comes to aspiring artists like herself, she urges, “Don’t stop because it’s basically a numbers game. If you stick around long enough, you’re bound to make something happen.”

Read on as we chatted with Courtney Noe about 90s fashion, her long and short term goals, and how her video resonated with family and friends.

MM: So, tell us a bit about yourself. Where did you grow up? Do you play any instruments? How did you get into singing?
Courtney Noe: I grew up on the Oregon coast in a very small town up river, so I lived in the country basically. I’m the only child, so it was just me and my dog. I always sang in my room, and have always wanted to be a singer, but I kind of put it on the back burner once I got into high school. I restarted it halfway through college. I can kind of play the piano, enough to write a song.

MM: How did you get into sewing your own outfits?
Courtney: My mom sewed my Halloween costumes and outfits for me when I was little, so I wanted to learn how to do that too. She put me in 4H, the sewing club, so I learned how to sew there. I stayed in it from 4th grade until I was a senior in high school.

MM: When you’re not performing, writing, stitching, or anything, what is your favorite thing to do to kill time?
Courtney: I like to go running, and I like to box, and I really enjoy a good Hulu binge. I used to read a lot when I was younger, so I’m trying to get back into that because I feel too attached to my phone.

MM: What’s the most challenging aspect of your career so far?
Courtney: Probably booking shows to play that can fit the show I want to perform, because of my dancers and I’m not known enough yet to get a big enough venue. And I personally don’t like to record new music because the recording process is very stressful for me. Which, obviously you have to do or else you’re not going to have new music. It’s something I have to get over, but it’s a challenge.

MM: What would you say is stressful about it?
Courtney: I don’t like to try and record something unless I feel like I’ve nailed it at home, and a producer just wants you to try stuff on the fly to see if it works. I just want to practice it a hundred times beforehand. So, I have to learn to relax and be more organic with it. And learn to realize that not everything needs to be planned out all the time.

MM: What are you most proud of from your first EP, Invisible Crown?
Courtney: I’m proud that it was super DIY. I learned Photoshop and did my own cover, and my own website design. I’m proud that the songs, even though I’m pretty much over them at this point, but I think that they stand on their own very well still. I think it’s a high quality project for the amount of money I had to spend. And the fact that it was the very first time doing anything like that.

MM: What is your favorite lyric from the EP, or if you have any new songs you have a favorite lyric from?
Courtney: I’m writing a new song called “Beg”. It’s more of a hip-hop vibe. It’s kind of like “Like That”, but a little bit edgier. The lyrics are pretty explicit, but I find them super hilarious. “She’s only good for cooking and cleaning, but what you need is a good feeding.” But for some reason, I think it’s like the funniest thing I’ve ever written.

MM: Do you have any short term or long term goals leading into the release of new music?
Courtney: I’m gonna do another EP. I’m working on that now. It’s probably gonna be just like 6 legit singles, and then released as an EP. And I really wanna play a summer festival this year, even if it’s just in Portland, Oregon. I want to do something a little bit larger.

MM: How has the response for the video for “Like That” been? Are your friends and family supportive? Did you receive any criticism for it?
Courtney: It’s been pretty positive. The only criticism I got was that someone said the lighting was too low, which I was already well aware of. Something that I thought was cool was that two of my mom’s friends reached out to her and said, “Courtney’s video made me feel so much better about myself.” Because one of them had been gaining weight because her mom passed away. And she’s like 50s-60s age and I just thought that was cool that I reached an older demographic. Obviously, it’ll resonate more with our age group, but it still had the same message that I wanted to send. So, that really made me happy.

MM: Was there a particular time you faced sexism while becoming an artist?Courtney: Yeah, pretty much every time you go into a bar. It’s different now because my backing band is all guys, so I don’t think people are as apt to say things because I’m surrounded by them. But I think that other guys in the Portland area industry are like, “Oh, she’s a girl. She’s doing pop music. She’s worthless.” Because there are other girls in the area that I think have a little more respect because they do more hip-hop and jazz stuff. I’ve reached out to some of the guys before and they won’t answer to do shows. So, I’m just like, “Okay! I’ll just wait for you to come to me!”

MM: If you could tour with any artist, who would you want to tour with and why?Courtney: I lowkey wanna tour with Iggy Azalea. I think that would be so fun, even though I know she’s really controversial. I also think it would be cool to tour with somebody that’s not my genre, per se. I feel like Bruno Mars would be fun. Or, like some kind of rock/country band. I like Gin Wigmore, she’s more like rock. I’d like to fuse genres together.

MM: What was the first ever album you bought?
Courtney: I’m pretty sure it was the Spice Girls, and it was the tape. And it said SPICE on the front in different colors.

MM: What is the last album you’ve been listening to nonstop?
Courtney: I recently just started listening to Kanye’s Life Of Pablo because I didn’t listen to it when it came out, because I was a little annoyed with him at the time. I just started listening to it because someone got mad at me on Twitter for something I said, and I was like, “Oh my god, I feel like Kanye!” I’ve been listening to Kehlani’s new album, too. SweetSexySavage.

MM: Do you have a favorite tv show?
Courtney: Oh my god, I love tv! I’m obsessed with Parks and Rec. It’s life-changing. I like Girls. And I try to stay up each night to watch Jimmy Fallon. I love him, I think he’s funny.

MM: From Parks and Rec, which character do you identify with the most?
Courtney: APRIL!

MM: I can definitely see why. I was going to ask why, but I know why. Are you more of a cat or dog person?
Courtney: I like cats! I’m obsessed with corgis, though. That is like the only dog I’ll lose my shit over.

MM: What are some fashion trends you’re currently loving?
Courtney: I am so glad the 90s are back. I love chokers. Super distressed jeans are my jam. I really like duster coats right now.

MM: My second part of the question was, if you could bring back anything from the 90s, what would it be?
Courtney: I do love a good slip dress. Because it’s basically like lingerie, but you get to wear it in public.

MM: Waffles or pancakes?
Courtney: WAFFLES! I love waffles.

Be sure to follow Courtney on all of her social media so you’re the first to hear about her next releases!