A Preview of Governors Ball Music Festival 2017
Governors Ball in New York City is this weekend, and I’m going. I’m also brining my Nikon D3400 DSLR camera to take pictures and live tweet/Instagram the whole shebang. Follow rBeatz on social media for live updates 🙂
Governors Ball (aka Gov Ball) launched in 2011, featuring music acts playing rock, electronic, hip-hop, indie, Americana, pop, folk, and more. The entire production is run by the festival promotion company, Founders Entertainment, the same company that puts on The Meadows Music and Arts Festival.
I attended the very first Gov Ball in 2011 on Governors Island, headlined by Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, and Empire of the Sun. The event had the highest attendance of any event held on Governors Island in history. Due to the event’s strong performance, Founders Entertainment moved the festival location in 2012 to Randall’s Island, so more people could attend. They also extended the festival from one to two days.
2012 was also a huge success, so in 2013, Founders Entertainment bumped the festival up to three days. Unfortunately, in 2013, there was a big storm that first Friday, causing cancelations for much of the bigger headliners, such as Kings of Leon. Friday’s rain ran into Saturday, leading to a fairly muddy weekend.
I attended the event again in 2014. Outkast is one of my favorite groups and seeing Big Boy and André 3000 settle their qualms and get back to performing got me to purchase a ticket fairly quickly. I was immersed throughout their entire performance, singing along, because that’s what you do as a die-hard fan.
2015 and 2016 also saw heavy rain. I purchased 2016 Sunday tickets to see Kanye in action, and I was disappointed by the cancellation. I did not attend the Kanye afterparty that got shutdown by the NYPD. No matter the rain situations of past, Governors Ball has still brought a successful track record. We look towards this year’s event to do the same.
According to Weather.com we have some fairly nice weather lined up. Partly sunny on Friday with a 20% chance of rain, partly sunny on Saturday with a 0% chance of rain, and 50% chance of rain on Sunday. Fingers crossed!
Below, I will take you through each act I expect to attend, a bit about the act, and the act’s newest (or best IMHO) project. If you’re wondering, “WHO IS THIS GUY WRITING THIS?!?” I’m someone deeply passionate about the arts, music in general, and my tastes lean more towards electronic, soul/funk, and hip-hop.
I have outlined the acts I plan to see in GREEN. There are a total of 67 acts, and just like every 3-day festival, I might get tired and not see everything planned. I will do my best and air live what I see on rBeatz social media with a longer recap-article next week.
DAY 1 – Friday, June 2nd
The 25-year old from New York City is a prolific live performer and remixer who busted into the dance music scene in 2014. He is known for his funky electro beats, which is personally my favorite genre (shhhh don’t tell the other genres). The song below is 7 months old, but it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever posted on rBeatz.
Michael Blume is an alternative R&B artist living in New York City. The Yale University graduate is a mix of various genres: jazz, hip-hop, soul, electronic, and R&B. He independently released his first EP, WHEN I GET IT RIGHT, about a year ago. His lyrics approach topics such as materialism, LBGTQ rights, and civil rights. If you’re in the mood for something different, something neo-soul/R&B, take a listen. Below is his most popular and my favorite song off the EP, Colors.
The 5 piece band from Stockport, England was formed in 2013 as a British indie-pop band. In late 2016, they released their debut album, Blossoms. The album reached the #1 spot on the UK Albums Chart in its first week. Below is their most popular music video from the album.
Francis and the Lights
A renaissance man in the music world. Francis Farewell Starlite aka Francis and the Lights is an unconventional yet effective vocalist and singer-songwriter with a bittersweet but energetic vibe. The guy has worked with Kanye and Chance The Rapper. What else is there left to say? Below is one of my favorite projects of his with Chance The Rapper. It’s a reprise of Dear Theodosia from the Broadway musical and trendsetting performance, Hamilton. Lin-Manuel Miranda released a compilation of notable rapers remixing songs from the enormously popular spectacle.
Oakland born R&B singer has been through a lot and tells it all. Raw, authentic, and real, Kehlani’s performance will make you feel. She has a unique mix of ethnicities: African American, Caucasian, Native American, Spanish, and Filipino Native American. A human ahead of her time with a rhythm to beat. She signed to Atlantic Records in 2015. Below is a glitchy/percussive remix from Kehlani’s debut album, SWEETSEXYSAVAGE, made by Norwegian artist, Coucheron. It’s also her newest release 😉
The London-based, edgy singer really came into the spotlight from her massively popular feature with Iggy Azalea, Fancy. If you haven’t heard of this one, you’re living under a rock. Since then, Charli XCX has delivered her own massively popular singles including, Boom Clap and Break The Rules. Two months ago, she released her mixtape, Number 1 Angel. Lipgloss feat cupcakKe is my favorite song of the mixtape. Super hyphy!
Swedish pop-star who burst on the scene with Habits (Stay High) went to a high school whose motto was, “fuck reading, let’s play music.” She was the singer in a rock band in her earlier years, showing in the raw, gritty emotion of her voice. She switched to electronic elements, which veered her away from the rock scene. Below is a Taylor Gang (independent label founded by Wiz Khalifa) remix of her popular song WITH Wiz Khalifa, Influence.
Detroit rap phenom, Danny Brown, busted through the scene with his 2011 mixtape, XXX. Danny is known for his individuality and being a unique figure in rap. Signed to A-Track’s Fools Gold Label, Danny Brown, released his third studio album, Old, which reached the #18 slot on Billboards Top 200. Below is his most recent music video directed by the simultaneously lovable and hatable, Jonah Hill.
The South Central LA Hip-Hop rapper and Black Hippy member, Quincy Matthew Hanley aka ScHoolboy Q, is a prominent lyricist and Interscope artists. He is considered one of raps emerging voices. Born in Germany to military parents, ScHoolboy Q and his family quickly moved to Texas for 3 years, then LA. His upbringing is described as a life-shaping balance of sports, school, drugs and gangs. His first major-label studio album, Oxymoron, was released in early 2014 and debuted at number one spot on the US Billboard 200. Below is one of my favorite remixes EVER of ScHoolboy Q’s The Purge / Rapfix Cypher by 20syl.
After releasing the enormously popular, cross-international, hit, Royals, back in the middle of 2013, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor aka Lorde, became the youngest solo artist to reach a US number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1987. She was 16 years old. She was singed to Universal Music when she was 13 years old. The dream pop and indietronica singer/songwriter from New Zealand has earned two Grammys, a a Brit Award, ten New Zealand Music Awards, was named among Time’s most influential teenagers in the world in 2013, and in 2014, was part of Forbes’s “30 Under 30” list. Two weeks ago, she released the Chromeo remix to her popular song, Green Light.
The Australian dance-music maker and production luminary, Flume, burst into the scene in 2012 with his single, Sleepless and remix to Hermitude’s Hyperparadise. Most fans of electronic music should know both of these. Since then, his career has skyrocketed to as one of the top names in electronic music. From bedroom producer to international sensation is a producer’s dream and Flume’s reality. The producer is know for his control over the atmosphere in his sound and dynamic arrangements. Take a listen to his newest single, Hyperreal , featuring Kučka.
Chance The Rapper
Probably my favorite rapper right now. The only reason I wont leave Flume early for Chance is because I want to see what Flume has in store for his finale. Chance from Chicago is everywhere right now, and it’s well deserved. His third mixtape, Coloring Book, became the first streaming-only album to win a Grammy Award. It won Best Rap Album. Chancelor Johnathan Bennett aka Chance The Rapper is a shining light in the music industry because he proved that independent artists can make it too. Francis The Light and Chance The Rapper recently released this music video. It’s beautiful.
DAY 2 – Saturday, June 3rd
The four-piece band from London, England aren’t here to only make music, but to also make a statement. Make no mistake, Vant vent. They vent about Syria, environmentalism, sexual assault, inequality, racism, religion, social media isolation, and the all-out self-destruction of mankind through a mask of punk rock. Take a look at their music video, Peace & Love, below. It’s a video that brings to light the violence that took place in Kiev and Amman in October of 2016.
Welles is a dichotomy of peace and anger who has been compared as a mix between Kurt Cobain and John Lennon. His voice is reminiscent of the 60s and 70s rock n roll era with a similar tinge of psychedelic funk. The native from Ozark, Arkansas released his album, Codeine, last week. Life Like Mine below is my favorite song from the album.
Dua Lipa is a British singer/songwriter who began her music career at the age of 14, releasing popular covers from artists such as Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado on Youtube. She signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2015 when she was only 19 and released her first single at the age of 20. In 2016, The Fader, released a documentary entitled, Sea In Blue, about the life of Dua Lipa. She is set to release her debut studio album, Dua Lipa, TOMORROW!!! Stay Tuned. Below is her new music video with Miguel for her single, Lost In Your Light.
The Brooklyn producer fell in love with making music on the computer after falling in love with Baltimore club. Since then, he’s brought in influences from early ‘90s jungle, early ‘00s grime and mid ‘00s electronica to create his very own unique vibe. James Hinton aka The Range was raised by his mother, a music teacher, on a farm in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Brown University with a degree in physics. After graduating, he worked in a lab and was a music teacher at Brown. In 2013, he began focusing on his music career full-time. His second album, Potential, released in March of 2016, was a compilation of over 200 hours scanning obscure YouTube clips for audio samples.
Stormzy, AKA The Problem, AKA Big Mike, AKA Stiff Chocolate was suppose to go to Oxford University, graduating at the top of his class, but then a couple of his youtube videos started gaining popularity and things changed. His most popular song to date is his freestyle, Shutup, which was released as a single and hit number eight on the UK Singles Chart. Stormzy is a self-described “a child of grime” influenced by the likes of Wiley and Skepta. 3 months ago, the Brit released his debut studio album, Gang Signs & Prayer. Below is a song from that album, Cigarettes & Cush, featuring Friday performer, Kehlani. It’s super sexy!
I’ve never witnessed and act with more energy than the Tupelo, Mississippi duo, Rae Sremmurd, formed by two brothers, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi. These two have been on FIRE, working, touring, and releasing two studio albums. Their debut album, SremmLife, sold over 1 million copies in the United States. These guys are viral makers, making platinum-selling single after platinum-selling single. No Type, No Flex Zone, and Throw Sum Mo were three platinum sellers from their first album. Along with Black Beatles, inspiring the viral sensation ‘Mannequin Challenge,’ the duo has amassed close to 1.5 BILLION plays on youtube with these four hits. Below is the duo’s newly promoted track from their record label, SremmLife Crew Records.
The rapper from Harlem, New York City is the second most popular act in the infamous hip-hop collective, A$AP Mob. Darold D. Brown Ferguson, Jr. aka A$AP Ferg really hit the spotlight after huge success from his single, Shabba, of his 2013 Trap Lord album. Complex named the song the 3rd best released song in 2013. The song was an ode to one of the best dancehall artists of his generation, Shabba Ranks, one of the first Jamaican DJs who brought dancehall into the limelight. Below is his new music video with Remy Ma. I’m sure he’ll play it in the mecca of East Coast pride. Maybe Remy might even show up and represent NYC. It was her birthday was 2 days ago, so shoutout!
RÜFÜS DU SOL
The Australian alternative dance trio is a constant chart topper in the Land Down Under. Both of their albums have reached the #1 spot in Australia. Their sound can be described as dreamy vocals, moody synths, and driving kicks. They’ve accompanied a beautiful quote about electronic music to the Governors Ball website that I’d like to share.
“For us personally, we were each drawn to electronic music because of the euphoric nature of it. At its core, it brings people together to dance of course. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say this, but our favourite artists are our favourite because we’ve shared moments listening to them with friends or family that you can’t recreate. Moments that you remember forever.”
Below is their most recent music video for their single, Innerbloom, off their chart topping album, Bloom.
I dono? Marshmello is a Marshmallow that produces bangers. Here’s its new song.
Jillian Rose Banks aka Banks broke out in 2014 after her release of the single, Goddess. She became the talk of the town, her voice being compared to the likes of Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill. There was a wave of alt-pop/R&B, and she was at the front of it. Jillian’s creation process is an exploration of raw expression and solace, something that you can really hear from her breath. Take a listen to her new single, Crowded Places, put down the technology for a second, and take it in. Beautiful.
Donald McKinley Glover aka Childish Gambino is a multifaceted hero in the entertainment industry. He is an extremely successful actor, writer, producer, comedian, rapper, singer, and songwriter. When I say extremely successful, I’m talking writer on 30 Rock at the age of 23; main actor in the NBC sitcom, Community; producer, director, and star of the FX series, Atlanta; and two time Grammy-Nominated musician. Success doesn’t even begin to describe his illustrious career, and he’s only 33 years old. Legend. The song below is a song that I haven’t been able to get out of my head since it came out. It’s from Donald’s third studio album, “Awaken, My Love!” The song speaks for itself.
DAY 3 – Sunday, June 4th
Jack is an Italian multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. There are a lot of places Jack calls home. Martini has lived in Rome, New York, Paris, London, and Boston. The eclectic musician was a solo act until 2016 when he became a full-blown band. His productions are put together by up to eight world-class musicians. I’d call his style of music alternative alternative music. That is not a typo – you can tell the eight piece band is trying to be alternative, and they reach another level unheard of by alternative bands. Listen to one of my favorites of his newly released 5 songs.
Barns is an English singer/songwriter raised in Seattle and currently based in the UK. Courtney’s rise and fall in the music industry is a story of resilience and passion. In 2012, Courtney was signed to a label for his roll in the punk/rock band Dive Bella Dive. They were dropped by the label after creating their first studio album. Barns was determined to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter, so he supported himself by working as a cigarette seller, and for Curry’s PC World, while sleeping on friends’ sofas and in his girlfriends car. You can still hear the struggle in his voice.
Courtney released his first solo track in 2015, Glitter & Gold, the song eventually reached #1 on the UK Spotify Viral Chart, and #2 on the iTunes Alternative Chart. 3 months ago, Barns Courtney released his second solo-EP, The Dull Drums. Below is my favorite song from the EP.
The Brooklyn-based emcee brings a cinematic presence and harmonious hooks to his vocals. As the son of a preacher and one-of-nine siblings, Carlos St. John aka SAINt JHN, bounced back and forth between the US and Guyana for much of his childhood. Influenced by soca music from Guyana and hip-hop music from the US, SAINt JHN, really began to find his voice.
The rapper has writing credits, with Usher, Kiesza, Joey Bada$$, and Jidenna. In 2016, he began releasing his own music, starting with his single, 1999, which received positive attention online. Take a listen to his newest single, 3 Below, below.
The Grammy Award-nominated New Zealand-born radio/Live DJ , record producer and television personality. Zane’s career began in 1997 on XFM and MTV Europe, he then began hosting a new global music show on BBC Radio 1 from 2003–2015. He now hosts his own show on Apple’s international radio station, Beats 1. Watch his interview with rap sensation Lil Yachty below. I’m interested to hear what kind of set he’ll run. I’m guessing it’s going to be hype.
Dan Griffith aka GRYFFIN is a New York-based producer and multi-instrumentalist who fuses uplifting melodies with indie style vocals to produce invigorating house tracks. The classically trained pianist has killed the remix game and hones his practice and pride on his live performance. Below is a remix done by Crankdat of Dan’s successful single with Illenium, Feel Good.
A legend in the English grime scene, Skepta, is a multifaceted talent in the music industry. He is a producer, songwriter, and music video director. He told Time Out magazine, “I’m not a rapper. I’m an activist.” His influence on contemporary British culture landed him on Debrett’s 2017 list of the most influential people in the UK. The veteran is a decade into his MC career, and he’s still making noise while bringing his worldview to a global audience in undiluted form. Below is his newest music video for his single, No Security.
Mac is a Canadian singer-songwriter. From the sound of it, this will be a nice break from the chaos of ups and downs from the previous acts. Since 2012, his band has released three full-length studio albums and two mini-LPs. His genre of music has been creatively described as ‘blue wave’, ‘slacker rock,’ and ‘jizz jazz.’ Take a listen to their hour video with Pitchfork. Their soothing sound is really helping me get through this monster of an article.
This Australian electronic music group was formed in 1997. Their first album Since I Left You was named one of the best Australian albums and won six Australian Dance Music Awards. They are definitely a unique electronic band that bring a variety of styles to their productions. They also released an album in 2016, Wildflower, that was also received well. Their hit song below, Because I’m Me, is cute and funky.
Phantogram melds hazy dream pop, dark atmospheres, and head-knocking rhythms into their own, original sound. Born out of isolation in Saratoga Springs, New York, good friends Carter and Barthel crafted a brand of music without distraction from the outside world. Throughout the influx of commercial appraise, Phantogram is able to stick to their sound and roots of solidarity. Since 2009, the band has released three studio albums, four EPs, and eight singles.
Sir Robert Bryson Hall II aka Logic was raised in Gaithersburg, Maryland (shoutout to the DMV!). Logic became interested in hip-hop after watching Kill Bill: Volume 1, directed by Quentin Tarantino, because RZA from Wu-Tang Clan (also performing at Gov Ball) scored the film. He began his rap career in 2009 under the stage name ‘Psychological’ due to the mind games he’d play with his words. He then released an unofficial mixtape called Psychological – Logic: The Mixtape. Others in the industry took note, and he became the opening act for artists like Pitbull, EPMD, Method Man, Redman, and Ludacris. His name was shortened to Logic soon after.
The lyrically inclined, fast-spitting rapper is witty with his words and insightful with his follow-though. Take a listen to his new music video, Black SpiderMan, featuring Damian Lemar Hudson.
Cameron Jibril Thomaz aka Wiz was my favorite rapper in 2010 with his fire mixtape, Kush and Orange Juice. Soon after the free release on DatPiff, Wiz Khalifa, was signed to Atlantic Records. His first studio album, Rolling Papers, was released in March of 2011 and debuted at #2 slot on the Billboard 200 chart with his his single, Black and Yellow peaking at the #1 slot on Billboard Hot 100. In December of 2012, he released his second studio album, O.N.I.F.C. backed by the singles Work Hard, Play Hard and Remember You. His fourth album Blacc Hollywood was released in August of 2014, backed by the single, We Dem Boyz. In March of 2015, he released See You Again for the Furious 7 soundtrack. The song was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 non-consecutive weeks.
Khalifa was a military brat, living in Germany, the UK, and Japan before settling in Pittsburgh where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School. He also loves weed, which is evident on his new release and past 7 years of success. Listen to Wiz Khalifa’s Stay Stoned (Redbone Weedmix).
If you want all these acts consolidated into one playlist, listen to rBeatz’ special Friday Feelz – Governors Ball Music Festival 2017 playlist below.
A$AP FergBANKSBarns CourtneyBlossomsChance The RapperCharli XCXChildish GambinoDanny BrownDua LipaFestivalFestival previewFlumeFounders EntertainmentFrancis and the LightsGov Ball 2017Gov Ball NYCGov Ball PressGovernors BallJack MartiniJenauxKaiydoKehlaniLogicLordeMac DeMarcoMarshmelloMichael BlumeNew YorkNew York CityPhantogramRae SremmurdRÜFÜS DU SOLSAINt JHNScHoolboy QSkeptaStormzyThe AvalanchesThe RangeTove LoUnited StatesVANTWellesWiz KhalifaZane Lowe