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Photo Credit Marucs Branch


Name, pronouns, sign, where are you from?

I am Reese Florence Coran, I use she/her pronouns for now, I am a Gemini sun, Pisces rising, Sagittarius moon. I was born Manhattan, raised in Connecticut, and am currently located in Germantown Philadelphia.

When did you start creating music?

I got my first exposure to music through theater and girls choir growing up. My parents worked hard and were still commuting to New York after we moved, so as a child I spent a lot of time home alone. I constantly wrote poetry and came up with melodies to sing them out loud to fill the empty space of my Connecticut home.



Photo Credit Yeho Bostick


What inspires you, music and non music related?

My Grandfather is an oil painter from Martinique that came to this country in ‘57 and became a nurse. In an newsletter written about him in the 70s, someone asked him if he had a problem paying for art materials, to which he responded "when you love something, the cost doesn't matter. And without painting, I am sad." His disposition is down to earth, completely devoted to living life fully without hesitation; it is something that has always inspired me to keep moving forward within myself and my music. I taught myself to play the ukulele at 12, and found it easier to sing poetry that I had already written instead of learning covers.

Creatively I feel inspired by the notion of understanding; I view my work as introspection, even when I may be writing about someone else, a reflection comes to light of what I need to understand in myself.

What have you enjoyed about the Philly music scene?

Though this is my 4th year here, Philadelphia's music scene is my soul family. I feel so much love within the communities that I am crossing paths with and growing into myself as I grow and build relations with others.



What do you hope to accomplish in music?

I am looking forward to progressing as a musician through studio production, as well as collaboration. I recently birthed a collective project called "L'es FLo" featuring good friends of mine in the city, and have hopped on a few shows doing back up vocals for Erik Kramer and Elison Jackson this summer. I deeply appreciate the intimate attentiveness within my audience when I perform solo, and now I am really enjoying this exploration of expansion within working with my bandmates and cultivating beautiful moments. Playing with a full a band has given me more range than I could have taught myself, and it is only the beginning.

Photo provided by artists


What can we look forward to from Reece Florence? (any new music releases or shows)

My next shows are The Lady Bug festival on August 31st, and The Rigby Mansion on September 11th.


 

Interview by Danielle Johnson



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Laura Lizcano’s debut, full-length album, Heart, is the soothing album we’ve all been needing in 2020. Weaving folk and pop sounds into her existing jazz repertoire, Lizcano provides us a relaxing, beautiful and interesting blanket of music to wrap ourselves up in, just in time for just in time for Fall, the start of cold weather (theoretically) and what I can only assume could be somewhat of a lonely hibernation for a lot of us. I am actually looking forward to spending cozy nights alone in the living room with a cup of tea, reading a book and listening to this album. Laura spoke to us about her background in music, the “in between” place that she inhabits being an immigrant from Colombia, and the themes she explores, including tinder dates, emotional grounding and workplace burnout. Enjoy!


 

When did you start playing music? What inspired you to start playing and writing your own music?

I've always wanted to play music! When I was little, my brother was going to college, and he was studying classical bass performance. I was always surrounded by music thanks to him, and I think it just permeated me and it's been a life-long dream to just be surrounded by music all the time.

My earliest music-making spaces were in school-- I loved singing in the choir. And in middle school and high school I was the type of kid that was in all of the after-school music related things. There are some really embarrassing pictures of me as the drum major in marching band with a gigantic orange, black, and white plume. But It loved it!

I started writing songs in high school, and I discovered that I just wanted to do it for the rest of my life.


How do you describe your sound? Who or what influences your sound?

I describe my sound as Norah Jones mixed with Natalia Lafourcade. I don't really mess with electronic sounds that much because I love the sound of acoustic instruments. And there's a lot of jazz and contemporary Latin American songwriting running through the album.


What themes did you explore in these songs?

There's a lot of love throughout the record, but not just the gooey love. I write a lot about friendship and family, and I think there's a lot of things in here about how love is often complicated. While I was writing "Corazón," I was thinking about vulnerability and how difficult it can be. We can leave things unsaid or say things that are very hurtful. And I think that is kind of the unifying thread of this whole album-- I was just trying to be really vulnerable and honest.


What is your songwriting process?

I'm a very lyric-drive person, so the lyrics almost always come first. I'm a big fan of free-writing. So, I have this system where I set a timer for 20 minutes and I free write. Then, I read it back and underline the words or phrases that I really like. Then, I set the timer for another 20 minutes and do it again with the new phrases or ideas in mind. I read that new piece to myself, underline and circle the things that I love, and then I do the whole 20 minute thing one last time. From there, I start to build out verses or choruses. Sometimes, I give myself syllable structures. And that's how most of my songs get started. Once I have like a bone-structure of the song, I start to add the music.


What do you hope people get out of listening to the new album? What did you get out of writing this album?

I hope people can identify and feel seen with some of these things. I don't think I'm the only one who feels the work place burn out, or the only one who has been on tinder dates and hooked up and done that whole thing. I close out the album with "Song of Gratitude," because there are so many emotions running through the record, and I also felt like it needed one grounding piece. And don't we all need that right now? This is such a difficult time! It's not just the pandemic or the current political crisis. I think we forget that everything that has exploded now was boiling under the surface pre-pandemic. The problems are just hard to ignore now.

This album was all about me learning to love my musical identity. I went to school for jazz voice, but I don't think it completely fits me. I had to kind of break myself free from that and embrace all the different things that I love putting into my music. This made the whole process a very personal one, because it has always been a struggle for me to truly be myself. Especially as an immigrant, I often feel like I'm not completely part of the U.S., but I've also been here for so long that I'm not completely a part of Colombia, either. So, I describe it as this "in between" place that I inhabit-- and my music is very much like that. It's in English and it's in Spanish, and there's jazz and folk and pop, and it's influenced by Latin American songwriters and jazz traditions. So, It's a reflection of the melting pot that is my brain and my identity. I'm not interested in fitting into any box, really. I find it really freeing that my music his hard to pin down into genre, because I'm a complex human, and I want to celebrate that!

I guess I want other people who are like me, which is all people really, to feel free to be who they are even if they don't necessarily fit into a predetermined identity.

Which Philly bands or artists do you think we should check out?

Hailey Brinnel, Dariel Peniazek and Kalectiv, ThebandIvory, and Daniel de Jesus! Omg have you heard Daniel's album of cello/voice covers? There's an incredible cover of Joga by Björk in there that I super highly recommend!

 

You can listen to Heart here and follow Laura on instagram here!




by Kristen Levine

original photo by Allis Chang


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Philly Music Fest 2020 as it was first conceived last fall, fell apart in July 2020 when independent venues across town realized they wouldn’t be able to open their doors to a crowd in just a few short weeks. With COVID-19 restrictions, there was simply no way the festival could proceed as in years past. PMF founder and curator Greg Seltzer was at a standstill. But like he told me over the phone a few days ago, “you have to have some creativity on the production side of music.”

“The industry has been deferential--almost exclusively--to the artist community for creativity. And now the producers, the venues, the industry need to step up and be innovative. It’s on us now to be creative.”

The same week Greg canceled Philly Music Fest 2020 as he knew it, he received an offer from Ardmore Music Hall to live stream the festival. Refusing the call to action, Greg replied that he didn’t want to see another zoom show with Macbook audio capture filmed in bands’ living rooms. “Live stream fatigue” was fully setting in. Fortunately, that’s not what Ardmore had in mind.


Philly Music Fest 2020 will be live-streamed, yes, but with the production and setting you remember from last year. It’s been months since even the most devoted fans have seen a live stage performance, and with production from Ardmore’s Nik Greely, Chris Perella, and Julian Booker to name a few, we’ll have that experience again. “It seemed innovative to me,” says Greg.


The lineup this year, even with fewer bands, still runs the gamut of musical styles Philly has to offer. PMF lineups have always been unique in that they flow from the Americana genre to bluegrass to funk to indie rock to experimental jazz. “I need to showcase all of those disciplines because they're all vibrant in Philadelphia,” says Greg. Thursday’s lineup this year is headlined by indie pop superstar Japanese Breakfast and opens with improvisational trumpet player Arnetta Johnson (who you may recognize from Beyonce’s 2013 Super Bowl halftime show). And Friday's lineup welcomes back to town Langhorne Slim (who is driving up from Nashville) and Mt. Joy, who would've been on tour with The Lumineers.


From left to right: The Districts, Zeek Burse, Langhorne Slim, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Mt. Joy, Arnetta Johnson, Japanese Breakfast, and Arthur Thomas and The Funkitorium.


Besides shining talent, PMF has always been bolstered by support from the community, and this year is no different. Watch parties are cropping up all over the city for Philadelphians to watch PMF in small groups. Victory Brewing, Love City, and Roy Pitz are all screening the fest on large screen projectors. And in King of Prussia, Barney Cortez is opening with a live set before Workhorse Brewing’s screening.


However you watch, whether it’s outside at an event or from home, please donate as if you were paying for a ticket. Funds raised by Philly Music Fest are invested in the next generation of musicians via music education nonprofits in the hope that students today may play our city’s stages in the future. Support for PMF means support for our city’s music scene in its full lifecycle, from students to emerging artists to household names.


CVZ is thrilled that Philly Music Fest will go on (not without a hitch) this year, and we can’t wait to celebrate Philadelphia’s talent on Thursday 7-10pm and Friday 7-11pm at https://phillymusicfest.com/watch.


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