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Humans of UU

"My name is Caitlin Russell. I am a Senior at Syracuse and I love being involved in University Union. Being involved in UU has been a crucial part of my time at Syracuse. I've learned so much and have made so many lifelong friends. I love what we do and that we get to bring all these great experiences to the student body. It has been such a rewarding 4 years."

- Caitlin Russell, Public Relations Director, University Union

"Hi. My name is Peter Menaker. I came to Syracuse University barely knowing anybody but luckily, quickly found a group of friends. Although everything was working out, my mom constantly bugged me to join an organization so I can put it on my resume.  After a lot of procrastination, one of my friends suggested that I joined this club called University Union. During my second semester with the organization, I started coming to the UU offices and talked to tons of new people. I quickly realized how many students enjoy and benefit from the free movies that we show every weekend. I gained a passion for UU cinemas and believed that it was my responsibility that all our movies went off without a flaw while ensuring that all students had a positive and enjoyable experience. I currently am the Director of Cinemas and without a doubt, University Union was the best decision I made in college."

- Peter Menaker, Cinemas Director, University Union

"I do social media for UU which is so much fun but so much pressure. I have nightmares about posting an important UU announcement on my personal Instagram or even worse posting a finsta on the UU insta."

- Anna Simone, Social Media Team, University Union

"Before coming to Syracuse, I was exposed to a lot of experiences that undoubtedly propelled creativity and work ethic but never had an opportunity to see my ideas in motion. Recently my co-director and I booked Russ, MadeinTYO, and student opener, ye., for the Bandersnatch Concert Series in Goldstein Auditorium. It was a pretty insane experience and seemed like everyone in attendance had a good time. It was pretty crazy experiencing that on a Friday and then having to come back to reality for an exam on Monday."

- Gavin Blasier, Bandersnatch Co-Director, University Union

"Syracuse has given me a new place to call home. UU has given me another. My friends know that UU is calling when I say I'm "heading to the office," but I'll always be happy to answer that call. I'm constantly surrounded by people from all walks of life who are all so different - and so much cooler than me - but all share a passion for one thing: entertainment. As Social Media Marketing Director, with the help of an amazing team, I do my best to inform people about all things UU. I also have anxiety about posting personal things on UU accounts, so I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't happen. That would be pretty awkward." 

- Samantha Sarno, Social Media Marketing Co-Director, University Union

"My name is Andrew Idarraga, and I’m a member of the marketing team this semester. I study in the Bandier program and wanted to do something fun that applied to my major. I found UU, and in it, I found a great group of people from all different walks of life with totally different interests."

- Andrew Idarraga, Marketing Team, University Union

"Hi! My name is Alyssa Goldberg and I’m a sophomore Television, Radio, and Film major. I’ve grown up around the entertainment industry in my hometown of LA and have loved performing and had a passion for music and film since I was very young. I am currently part of the marketing team for UU and love the new opportunities and experiences that come from the organization, not to mention the incredible and inspiring people I get to work beside each day!"

"My name is Eva Baldo and I'm currently a sophomore in the Bandier program. I've been performing since I was four, whether it was dance or singing. But coming to Syracuse university I have learned to become more involved in organizations like DanceWorks and University Union. I'm currently a part of the Social Media team for UU and it's been an amazing experience with a team I'm very lucky to have. I get to learn from everyone in this organization every day and it will definitely benefit me in the future as I venture into the music and entertainment world!"

- Alyssa Goldberg, Marketing Team, and Eva Baldo, Social Media Team, University Union

"I learned about UU the summer before my freshman year at Syracuse, and knew it was something I wanted to become a part of. After joining fall semester I was asked to work my first show: TwentyOne Pilots with opener, Travis Scott in Goldstein Auditorium. It was the coolest experience watching the show unfold and meeting the artists afterwards.  Since then, I have worked over 20 different UU events leading up to and during the shows as our Marketing Director. Joining University Union was definitely the best decision I've made in college. It has helped me grow both personally and professionally and kept me off the streets of Syracuse. UU has also connected me with the most dedicated, collaborative, and fun people I know-- My closest friends and #UUCuties. In the words of @Drake, "I got a really big team."

- Kelsey Ross, Marketing Co-Director, University Union

“We had never met before until we had to collaborate for our co-director position. We came into University Union with no real prior experience with coordinating events on such a large scale and for the whole student body. But we already knew coming into it that we wanted to diversify the UU platform to be able to reach an eclectic student demographic. We also wanted to have different content discussed in our events than from past shows, and I think we accomplished that from bringing people like James Franco, to our upcoming show with Brandon Stanton. Fun fact we are both from LA. Ibi is the Ferg to my Rocky, we're jiggy, and so grateful to have had this amazing experience in bringing different acts to Syracuse University thus far. We have one more show that will be later in March, be on the lookout for the announce. Peace and good vibes.” 

- Ibi Lagundoye and Selina Mohr, Performing Arts Co-Directors, University Union

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UU's New Artists To Rotate

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UU's New Artists To Rotate

As unpredictable as it is, 2017 is inevitably a year to look forward to for new artist. As barriers are being broken down and norms are being challenged, us music heads are finding our ears in different directions. The most successful way of spreading music is simply passing the aux cord and introduces those who we've come to hold dear to our hearts as fans. These are our writer's picks for new artists to rotate. 

Ray Blk:

When Rita Ekwere, better known as her stage name Ray BLK won the BBC Sound of 2017 awards, I knew I had some investigating to do on the up and coming artist. Ray was born in Nigeria, but moved to London at the age of 4. When Ray turned 13, she formed a music group called “New Found Content” with her friend, who is also a well-known song writer and artist MNEK. Ray’s debut EP Havisham debuted in 2015, and she also started her own music label to avoid singing a deal that she did not feel comfortable with. In 2016, Ray self-released her debut mini album Durt. Durt, which really captures the true realities of inner-city life, and the struggles she has faced as a woman with a new, interesting twist on hip-hop. Ray decided to put “BLK” in her stage name, because it stands for Building, Living, and Knowing. It seems that this strong and independent artist is about to take the world by storm while staying honest to her true values, and she is definitely an artist to keep your eye on in 2017.

Favorite Track: My Hood

By Josie Strick

 

Dua Lipa:

Dua Lipa is an English singer, songwriter, and model. She began her musical career at the early age of 14 and was inspired by artists such as Christina Aguilera and Nelly Furtado. Dua Lipa signed to Warner Brother Records in 2015, and is currently planning to release her debut album in the early summer of 2017. She is known for her previous hits such as “Thinking ‘bout You” and her most recent collaboration with Martin Garriex on a track called “Scared to Be Lonely.” Dua’s sound can be described as sultry and sleek pop, which most definitely puts her on the map to becoming pops new “it-girl” artist of 2017.

 Favorite Track: Scared To Be Lonely

By Gabrielle LaMarco

 

Kiah Victoria:

Kiah Victoria made me sing in the shower again. One of her standout and most notable songs is called “Hollow,” off of her EP Everybody, released in the summer of 2016. Her music serves as jazzy R&B production reminiscent of a cross between Australian artist Kimbra and the late Amy Winehouse. Her refined runs and penchant for uplifting lyricism makes her the ideal candidate for a casual listen or even intense cry session. Having worked with electronic/hip-hop phenom Kaytranada and Alex Vargas, Maryland native Kiah Victoria is sure to cross your ears on the large scale in due time.

Favorite Track: Hollow

By Georgie Olmeda

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Recalling An Honorable Weekend

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Recalling An Honorable Weekend

Last Friday, University Union held its first Bandersnatch show of the spring semester featuring headliners MadeInTYO and Russ. With two of Atlanta’s rising stars, it was inevitable that a huge crowd would be attracted to whatever venue served as home court. From the usual Schine Underground, this semester’s Bandersnatch show was held in a much needed and bigger area. As Goldstein Auditorium filled with students and residents of the university and city, the speakers thumped as heavy as our hearts did with the adrenaline and hype provided from set to set. Syracuse native Ye set the fire off with gasoline, going through a playlist of nothing but unpredictable drops and calm entrancing vibes. Named as one of Run the Trap’s 25 Artist to Watch 2017, this should be a big year for Ye as he prepares to perform at this year’s SXSW Trap Nation Showcase.

 

Following Ye was rising star MadeInTYO. Most people know his name and sound from his platinum record called “Uber Everywhere”, but that song was just the beginning. As he explained to me how he’s lived in multiple places such as Hawaii, Virginia, Tokyo, and San Diego, he credited the rise of his music to Atlanta. He further explained to me that in his 6 years in Tokyo, he found himself, allowing for him to find his sound. His energy on stage had the crowd rocking from foot to foot with heavy smiles and head nods. His vibe was so strong that even as a spectator, you felt as if you were performing right along with him. He brought us back to debut EP You Are Forgiven before covering a few more songs from Thank You, Mr. Tokyo. By the time “Skateboard P” came into rotation, everyone’s mood was already at its peak. At this point, there was no coming down.

 

Russ was undoubtedly one of the fastest growing artists of 2016. Although he has been writing, mixing, and producing his own music for over 10 years, it wasn’t until 2014 when his Soundcloud suddenly hit 40 million plays. Just a couple of years later, he received a well-deserved contract from Columbia Records, marketing his name and brand further across the country in the year 2016. Already hype from Ye and MadeInTYO, Russ came out in his orange Syracuse jersey and served as the perfect main event due to his versatile and fluid set. Watching the audience react made me truly witness the impact of his music; it turned adults into kids. For an hour I watched people jump and scream, even those diesel men who never try to smile. The floor opened up and as he performed, people were literally dancing everywhere He ended with his first Billboard Hot 100 hit, “What They Want,” and from then, Friday night had officially began.

By K. High

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Atlanta Rises With Bandersnatch's Russ & MadeinTYO

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Atlanta Rises With Bandersnatch's Russ & MadeinTYO

University Union’s Bandersnatch Concert Series is kicking off the spring semester with a very talented lineup. Bandersnatch will be kicked off with the emerging artists Russ and MadeinTYO, both artists are very exciting because of their unique style of music and impact on the music industry. This show will be a special one, and is definitely not something to miss out on.  

Russ Vitale, better known as his stage name Russ, has been challenging the music industry with his raw and honest talent. Although he is referred to as a new artist because of the recently gained fame, making music is nothing new to him. For 10 years, he has devoted years to the studio and prides himself on the authenticity of his craft. Russ does it all, such as producing, engineering, mixing, singing, and rapping. He has released a new song on Soundcloud weekly which has gained 40 million listeners, and released 11 albums with the rap group DIEMON before recently signing to Columbia Records. This was controversial because he has made a confident statement about being an independent artist, however it must be made clear that Russ has shaped his career all on his own before the help of Columbia Records. With his impressive songs, “Pull the Trigger”, “What They Want”, and “Exposed”, Russ has worked endlessly to reach success in his career while staying true to who he really is as an artist. It’s refreshing to see a musician in today’s industry who is very genuine to his true values.

Twitter: @russdiemon

Soundcloud: Russ

MadeinTYO, pronounced “Made in Tokyo”, has made a name for himself in the industry because of his unique style and spin on hip-hop. Living in Tokyo for six years didn’t just inspire his stage name, it also influenced his entire unique sound that has pleasantly surprised the industry. When he moved to Atlanta after Tokyo, he started crafting his first EP, titled You Are Forgiven in 2015. Two songs that you may know are “Uber Everywhere” Featuring Travis Scott and “I Want” Featuring 2 Chainz. This EP impressively reached 32 million streams on Soundcloud and entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, he didn’t stop there. He continued to challenge himself by releasing a new EP called Thank You, Mr. Tokyo in 2016. This project includes songs such as, “Skateboard P” and “Mr. Tokyo”. MadeinTYO is determined to grow as an emerging artist and prove that he can come back impressively with new songs that make a splash in the music industry.

Twitter: @madeintyo

Soundcloud:

 

By Josie Strick

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A Review of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards

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A Review of the 59th Annual Grammy Awards

Often referred to as “Music’s Biggest Night”, the 59th annual Grammy awards was quite an interesting show filled with key moments ranging from a faulty mic during Metallica to Lady Gaga’s set to Adele claiming she could not accept album of the year due to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’.

The night began with perhaps, the star of the night, Adele, winning the two most coveted awards. Honestly, it would have been nice for the Grammy's to begin the night by bringing something new to the stage. However, Adele did deliver an excellent performance as always while singing her Grammy winning single, “Hello”. As the night continued, unfortunately, there were a few too many forgettable performances that lacked luster. Luckily though, key performances included; The Weeknd and Daft Punk performing “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming“, Bruno Mars with his incredible tribute to Prince, and of course, the top performance being newly pregnant Beyoncé, gracing the stage covered in flowers and jewels with a show stopping performance of "Love Drought"/"Sandcastles.”

The entertainment continued with the newest award winners. Chance the Rapper, a popular favorite, took home three Grammy's beating out established legends such as Drake and Kanye West. 21 Pilots accepted the award for Best Pop Duo strangely in their underwear, beating out the ever so popular “Closer” by Syracuse’s own The Chainsmokers, as well as summer anthem “Work” by Rhianna and Drake, (this came as a personal upset too me). However, The Chainsmokers, comprised of fellow Syracuse alumni Drew Taggart and his partner Alex Pall, did manage to take home the award for Best Dance Recording for their hit song “Don’t Let Me Down” featuring Daya. Finally, Adele snagged seven of the prestigious awards, including the two biggest of the night, Album and Song of the Year.

The show then ended with the same person it began with, Adele. While accepting the final award of the night for her album “25”, she redirected the attention to Beyoncé, stating that she was the one truly deserving of the award for her “monumental” album “Lemonade,” as well as praising her for the empowerment she gives off too her fans and community. Overall, the night was one filled with entertainment and surprises for all.

Lately the Grammys have come under large scrutiny and controversy due to its board and the decisions that are made regarding the awards. Notable celebrities such as Kanye West have boycotted the show due to this belief. Over the next coming years, it will be important to keep an eye out and watch to see how the landscape of the Grammys will continue evolve and change, in hopes of becoming more updated with the current times.  

By  Gabrielle LaMarco

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UU's Spring 2017 Full Cinemas Schedule

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UU's Spring 2017 Full Cinemas Schedule

Below is the remaining cinemas schedule for the rest of the semester. As usual, we have got you all covered. Stay tuned for more announcements and updates coming soon!

Feb 15 Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

Feb 16 ADVANCED SCREENING: Get Out

Feb 17-19 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Feb 23-25 La La Land

Mar 2-4 Passengers

Mar 23-25 Rogue One A Star Wars Story

Mar 30-Apr 1 Patriots Day

Apr 6-8 The Founder

Apr 13-15 Special Event- TBD

April 20-22 John Wick Chapter 2

April 27-29 The Lego Batman Movie

All screenings will take place in HBC at 8pm. 

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University Union's Cinemas to Screen Doctor Strange

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University Union's Cinemas to Screen Doctor Strange

University Union’s Cinema Board has the campus covered this semester with the screening of Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Doctor Strange is the fourteenth edition of Marvel Universe with visual and magical elements that are not present in any other Marvel worlds. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the role of Stephen Strange, an acclaimed neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands in a car accident. In attempt to restore feeling in his hands, Doctor Strange is taken in by the Ancient One, who has a skill set that is inevitably unmatched. As he begs for power and learns how to navigate himself through multiple dimensions, Doctor Strange is challenged with the consequences of defying nature.

Marvel rarely disappoints with its plots and comics. The aspect that truly separates Doctor Strange from other films is the use of magical visual effects, created with over 1,450 enhancing shots. These trippy effects earned Doctor Strange the Hollywood Visual Effects Award at the Hollywood Film Awards. The aspect of inception and eastern mysticism leaves viewers captivated and sitting straight up in their seats. Whether this film is seen in 3D or not, Doctor Strange messes with the minds of its audience and adds coins to the golden chair of Marvel. Despite past successes, Doctor Strange was deemed as the most “satisfying entry since Spider-Man 2” by Peter Debruge of Variety. With underlying improvements, Marvel has yet to leave viewers disappointed. Doctor Strange confuses and intrigued you all in the same breath. If you have yet to see it, don't worry, University Union has you covered. The release date is soon to be announced. 

 

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Rock the Dome

The only way is up when it comes to concerts at ‘Cuse. Rock the Dome is back after a five-year hiatus and will certainly bring some magic to the table. Right before the dreaded winter and stress of finals, Rock the Dome will light our lackluster lives with energy and joy. It’s a relieving lineup and if you haven't heard about the roster, let me fill you in.

The 1975: Hailing from the U.K., “The 1975” has been killing the indie rock game for years. In recent years their music has traveled to the U.S. and is equally well received. After an impressive self-titled album “The 1975” skyrocketed, their next project I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it has been parading the surface since it’s drop in February of 2016. I last saw “The 1975” at the Barclays Center in May. The least I can say is that this show should blow your mind in terms of creation. “The 1975” is a different kind of band in the scheme of things.They have music that is indescribable but will simply make you smile ear to ear. It’s easy to catch on musically as a fan because there is something about the chemicals released in your brain when their songs play. After selling out shows all over the world, their tour will now expand to our campus in just three weeks.

Oh Wonder: The talent in London always has more gems than rocks. Another gem heading to Rock the Dome this year is “Oh Wonder”. Broken down, “Oh Wonder” is Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West singing in complete unity. Since releasing their DIY debut album, they have seen international success and broke through to the U.S to give us that same flavor. When you look at the blueprint of their first album, they truly did something revolutionary. “Oh Wonder” recorded one song each month for a year and at the end, blessed our years with a project. Musically they are sure to set the vibe of strong before “The 1975”.

K. High

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Weekly Music Review

New Projects

NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge) - Yes Lawd!

Many got their first taste of rising star Anderson Paak from his collab with producer Knxwledge, “Suede,” a gritty old school sounding track released last year. Together, the rapper/singer Anderson Paak, and producer Knxwledge make “NxWorries”, and on Friday they released their debut project, “Yes Lawd!”. Knxwledge, a producer who has worked with rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt and more brings a heavy old school hip hop feel to the project, and Anderson Paak showcases his versatility once again by gliding over the production, half rapping, half singing. “Yes Lawd!” marks the second stellar album released by Paak this year alone; if you’re not a fan by now you’re already late.

Favorite Track: Get Bigger/Do U Love

By: Lucas M

Artists To Look Out For

YG TUT

Let me take it down to Chattanooga, Tennessee for this one. Interestingly enough, TUT just makes that feel good. I first heard him on a track called “Sunday Service” featuring Isaiah Rashad. The flavor of his lyrics and calm delivery had me shook in itself. As I listened through his entire tape Preacher’s Son, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the south, sitting on the porch with my homeboy; just thinking. TUT’s beats are like Chance’s in the sense the entire band can be heard creeping behind the bars. I’m telling y’all, this is the music I live for. Let him take you to the other side of the south.

By: K. High

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D.R.A.M Interview

Luckily I got the opportunity to speak with D.R.A.M after his epic performance at Juice Jam. He took control of the stage with his large presence and charisma that reflected directly onto the crowd. Broccoli particularly got the crowd going and everyone went wild as their anthem filled the Juice Jam air. It truly completed his set with a bang. D.R.A.M was later asked by one of the reporters if he changed his approach to making music after Broccoli blew up on the charts. He responded that it hasn't changed his approach at all it has just made concerts more “Lit”. D.R.A.M was also asked to describe what his perception of “Real Ass Music” is. He said that “Real Ass Music” is all the music that is authentic to him and his experiences. D.R.A.M says that all of his music is based on events that actually happened. Finally, I asked what band inspired him the most a developing artist. Without a stutter, he replied “Parliament-Funkadelic. D.R.A.M definitely did not disappoint and I think we can all agree we hope to see him sometime again on our campus.

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Chatting with James Franco

Last Sunday we were honored to host the legendary, James Franco. His quick humor and charming stage presence all held us captive as he spoke in Goldstein auditorium. Lexi did a wonderful job at moderating the event and asked questions that prompted humorous yet insightful answers from Franco. The question that triggered the biggest response  was, "What emojis would you use describe your life?". Franco replied, "A baby, a comedic character face, a heart, a heartbreak, and a big smile. I thought the baby emoji was quite clever.  The talk with Franco was littered with his quick humor but also filled with countless stories about his life and career. He spoke about his role in Freaks and Geeks, which Franco said was "the first thing I ever did that was good". We all know Franco as a comedic actor, typically alongside his good friend Seth Rogen (the perfect dynamic duo), but Franco said he used to be more interested in dramas (*gasps*). He realized years after Freaks and Geeks that comedy was his calling; it simply got a better response from his audiences and critiques. Franco also gave advice on nerves and made the point that "If people don't like this, it is not my fault". He explained that sometimes the scripts are not any good, which is out of his control and sometimes people just have a different opinion on his work. Franco's biggest advice was to invest everything you have and obsess over your work until you have done your best. Why do it if you're not going to do it the best you possibly can?

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Juice Jam 2016

Marshmello

Marshmello is an EDM artist who rose to prominence after beginning to mysteriously release songs on SoundCloud. He is known for always being masked, hidden behind the face of a marshmallow. This, along with his music, which he describes as “deep, fluffy, hybrid melodic sexy trap house” has earned him quite the cult following; don’t be surprised to see some fans rocking homemade Marshmello masks at Juice Jam. Lucky for us, what Marshmello is really known for is his live sets, which never fail to be a crazy time.

Stephen

Stephen is an electronic producer, singer, and songwriter from California. He is a unique artist in that he is known equally for his electronic production as he is for his songwriting and singing. This combination should make for a compelling live show experience

By: Lucas M

D.R.A.M

The comeback has been real. What does it do to an artist when they don’t even get credit for their biggest hit? We all know “Cha Cha” was an original song by D.R.A.M, but when people connect the dots, they trace the hit to Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. I mean, this is what happens in the music industry but only the best artists prevail. After selling out shows across the entire country with Chance the Rapper and recently knocking Drake off of the Billboard 100 for the #1 spot, D.R.A.M is simply put, killing the game right now. I don’t even have to go into his discography, just click the links below and vibe with us at Juice Jam next Sunday.

By K. High


Fetty Wap

If you haven’t heard of Fetty Wap in the past two years, feel free to crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under. With one of the fastest and most startling come-ups in hip-hop, Fetty has displayed his stone cold hustle and capability to create banger after banger after banger. His signature raspy tone sits his music somewhere between accessible pop and rap and, much like the pies he’s been cooking with his “Trap Queen”, the world has eaten it up completely.

By: Rachel B

Tove Lo

Tove lo is a Swedish singer-songwriter. She has recently made the transition from songwriter to solo artists. Her debut EP, Truth Serum, went Top Twenty in her own country and “Habits”, her  most successful track, can be heard on the radio in the U.S. Tove Lo is a star on the rise, and we are lucky enough to have her performing live at Juice Jam September 25th

LOLO

LOLO is a show stopping artist who not only has a great stage presence but is also considered an incredible songwriter. Her newest album “In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit” reflects her journey from Tennessee to the stages of New York to London and back. She has everything to offer, from her experience on broadway in “Spring Awakening” to her unparalleled songwriting skills. LOLO is a fiery soul that will be taking on our stage in less than a week.

By: Genna Schindel

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Best New Albums

Freetown Sound-Dev Hynes

Freetown Sound is a soothing and enticing personal document that embraces black culture and emphasizes the pains of oppression. The album was released June 28th, 2016 and has since received a flood of positive reviews. Freetown Sound is Hynes’ third album as Blood Orange and arrived days after 25-year-old Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in the custody of the police officer Caesar Goodstein Jr. The police officer was found not guilty and chants of racism roared across the nation. On the same day, another police officer was found not guilty for slamming a black teenage girl on the ground at a pool party. Although these events aren’t specifically documented in this album, Hynes’ views of black culture are coded into every beat and lyric of the album. 

Birds in the Trap Sing Mcknight-Travis Scott

September 2, Travis Scott released his second studio album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, a honed follow-up to his first album Rodeo. BITTSM is a consistent and crucial project for an artist who has found his niche as the tie that binds trap with dark, innovative production inspired by the likes of Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Each song is a cohesive addition to the one before. Scott expounds upon the themes within his production in a skilled, stylistic manner. He ensures that there is more to even his most lighthearted song than meets the eye with layers that add depth beneath the surface and take each banger to the next level. 

Blonde- Frank Ocean

In 2012, Frank Ocean released his official debut album Channel Orange. Though he certainly had built quite a following due to his self-released Nostalgia, Ultra and affiliation with Odd Future, Channel Orange took his public notoriety to the next level and received much critical praise. Following the release, Frank stayed quiet, completely out of the news, for the most part, giving no interviews and using social media minimally. After various false release dates, he unleashed a burst of material; the audio-visual Endless, magazines, a music video, and his long-awaited album Blonde. The intro track “Nikes” begins with teasing, pitched up vocals, before Frank’s voice finally comes warmly gliding through as the song nears its end. It’s a moment that gives a great start to the album, contrasting suspense with a fresh air of calmness in the same way he released his latest batch of material. Upon first listen, the album could seem bare to some especially compared to his previous work, but with every listen new details and meanings are uncovered, which along with the personability of his lyrics makes the album an engaging listen every time.

P3-PARTYNEXTDOOR

The PARTY wave has been kind of crazy ever since he dropped his first official tape back in 2013. From then on we got two more brief tapes and some notable Drake features but still no studio album. We got tastes of PARTY all over but each song led to more excitement about his releasing a full project so when it finally came, please believe we were ready. The album was actually on point but where I think PARTY missed is where he failed to create those “Break From Toronto”/ “Recognize” type songs. Even when a song is heavy, PARTY always adds that extra boost of musicality but all of these songs stayed on the same tide. This album kind of reminds me of Miguel’s ‘Wildheart’ in that sense that PARTY took us down an alley of reflection and reminiscence and instead of making music for the people, made music for himself and his journey.

He uses vocal clips and spoken word poetry to craft his narrative. “Hand up” refers to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, where George Zimmerman- a neighborhood volunteer- shot and killed the unarmed teenager. Hynes specifically warns the listener, “Keep your hood off when you’re walking… Sure enough, they’re gonna take your body”. The anguish and frustration conveyed through these lyrics alone are unparalled. Hynes’ raw emotions are consistent throughout the entire album. Although this particular political and cultural issue in the United States is sensitive, Hynes has artfully and appropriately expressed his views through his masterfully crafted music.

~Genna Schindel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With features from heavyweights such as Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, 21 Savage and more, Travis Scott plays to every artist’s strength, yet never loses sight of his own presence. For a project hyped as heavily as this one, it can be easy to disappoint. However, in this case, the hype is valid and fulfilled. There is not a track on BITTSM that doesn’t hit, doesn’t fit, or isn’t lit. Bravo, Travis Scott on an excellent album.

~Rachel Blackman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such is the case on album centerpiece “Seigfreid”, whose minimal, floaty, guitar-based instrumental allows room for various sound effects and instruments to be introduced, warping the song into new directions as Frank’s vocals hold prominence. Songs are formulated similarly across the album, such as on “Skyline To”, whose minimal production morphs into a trippy outro that sounds like a modernized version of something off of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. Much of the album’s sound is psychedelic, sounding inspired by the Beatles in various aspects, including both the production and Frank’s melodies and harmonies, (he interpolates melodies from The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” on “White Ferrari.”) Usage of drugs is explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, and the effect of these drugs on his lyrical mindset seem apparent as well. Much of Frank’s overarching lyrical themes seem based on finding a calm place in between the contrasts of life. This sentiment is reflected in the album’s name, which is spelled “Blonde” in its iTunes listing, but is spelled “Blond” on the actual cover, (Blonde being the feminine form, Blond being the masculine form in french.) A professor once told me that the beauty of legendary songwriter Joni Mitchell’s songwriting is that she perfectly captures the beautiful feeling of “happy-sad”, and I think that is what Frank has done on Blonde. Time will tell just how much Blonde will stand out from other releases in this era, but it has the potential to become a timeless record.

~Lucas M

 

 

 

A lot of people are still saying that they still  can’t get into it but don’t sleep, there’s actually a lot of fire on this album. If the wave doesn’t match that’s one thing but when it does, it’ll hit just as hard as anything else he’s ever dropped. As dreamy and sedated as the tracks are, they will still have your brain feeling colorful. You can’t help but to feel joy when music really hits and trust me, this will hit you at some point; good music is good music. Also noting that PARTY is one of the few artists who are pulling off dancehall samples and actually killing it like he did in “Not Nice” or “Only You”. From track 1-16, I can’t say every song was a hit and he definitely could have diversified the songs more but this project wasn’t a failure like everyone thought it turned out to be; it just represents a different kind of trip…

~K.High

 

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James Franco

Thanks to University Union's Performing Arts team, James Franco will be making an appearance on campus, September 17th. The award-winning American actor had his breakthrough role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), but it wasn't until the TNT movie James Dean (2001) that Franco truly became a fan favorite and got to show off his real talent. Franco has 90 nominations and clenched 31 wins across a variety of award ceremonies, which is quite an impressive resume in anyone's book. Luckily, we will be graced by his presence in a few short weeks, but tickets are selling fast. Buy your tickets at the Schine box office for 10$ with an SU/ESF ID. Doors open at 7:15pm in Goldstein Auditorium on September 17th, 2016. Be there or be square. 

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First Half of 2k16

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First Half of 2k16

Music lovers across the nation don't have much to complain about but more to rave about in 2016. The first half of the year has undoubtedly brought breathtaking and groundbreaking music from some our favorite artists. They have certainly not let us down this year with albums from Chance the Rapper, Beyoncé and none other than the one and only Kanye West. I mention these three artists in particular because they make appearances in all of our top 5 albums lists and top 5 songs lists created by the UU Blog team. We have compiled individualized lists of the songs and albums that have impressed us the most, whether it be with their poetic lyrics, masterful beats, or compelling story-telling. 2016 has brought us some of the best work from our favorite artists and we cannot wait to see what else is in store for us in the months to come.

Top 5 Albums:

Drake // Views

Kanye West // The Life of Pablo

Big Sean & Jhene // Twenty88  

DVSN // SEPT. 5th

Vic Mensa // There's A Lot Going On

-K.High

 

Chance the rapper // Coloring Book

Kanye West // The Life of Pablo

Beyoncé // Lemonade

DVSN // SEPT. 5th

James Blake // The Color in Anything

- Rachel Blackman

 

Kanye West // The Life Of Pablo

Chance The Rapper // Coloring Book

Beyoncé // Lemonade

Radiohead // A Moon Shaped Pool

James Blake // The Colour In Anything

-Lucas Markham

 

Top 5 Songs:

Rihanna & Drake // Work  

Drake // Controlla  

Lil Yachty // Intro

Kanye ft. TY$ // Real Friends

Drake // 4PM In Calabasas

-K.High

 

Kanye West // Waves

Chance the Rapper // How Great

James Blake // Forest Fire

DVSN // Try/ Effortless

A.K. Paul // Landcruisin

-Rachel Blackman

 

Kanye West // Ultra Light Beam (Feat. Chance The Rapper)

Radiohead // Daydreaming

Chance The Rapper // Juke Jam (Feat. Towkio & Justin Bieber)

Schoolboy Q // That Part (Feat. Kanye West)

James Blake // Put That Away and Talk to Me

-Lucas Markham

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Mayfest

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Mayfest

Last Friday was a treat for music lovers. By the early afternoon, Walnut Park was filled with students amped for arguably the strongest Mayfest yet. Starting off the day was the  group, Public. Always fans of performing college shows, the three band members wanted to make the most of this"special thing we get to do." Kicking things off in a big way, they felt their "duty to open up the show and do it well-" and they did just that. 

Next up was the electronic act, Louis the Child. Drawing a big audience to dance to the sharp and explosive production, Freddy Kennet of LTC showed he could turn out the "more intimate" environment of the college show even coming off of the massive crowd they drew at Coachella just the weekend before. With a set full of their own original songs, remixes, even a Flume nod and a "random song," Louis the Child could not be missed at Mayfest.

To close out Mayfest was the artist with one of my favorite albums of last year and one of the most exciting young rappers to watch out for, Vince Staples. With a set showing Vince's witty and goofy personality, he had a strong engagement with his listeners who were ready to jump to every song and laugh during every break. 

And if this lineup wasn't enough, Syracuse was blessed with a night more of incredible acts. Jon Bellion came first for the night. With feel-good music and messages of love, Bellion had the crowd dancing and enjoying themselves early on. 

Making his triumphant return to Syracuse was the man who needs no introduction, Chance The Rapper. Performing favorites off of 10 Day, Acid Rap, Surf,and even The Life of Pablo, Chance proved to us every reason why we should be so excited for Chance 3. A charismatic and joyous performer with a strong bond with fans, Chance is one of the best out here doing it, and we got to see it firsthand on Friday. 

Finally, to close out the show with a bang came the electronic dance duo featuring one of Syracuse's own, The Chainsmokers. The audience was all in for The Chainsmokers and  ready to be hit by both the feels- in their more emotional tracks and pop hooks- and the bass drops in the heavier pieces of their set. They lit up the crowd and closed out the beautiful night in a big way. 

Thank you to University Union for putting on an amazing day of music. 

By: Rachel Blackman

 

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Prince

Thursday was a sad day for music. We lost one of the greatest ever and we lost him way too young. The news of Prince’s passing away broke Thursday afternoon and there has been a big Purple Rain cloud over the world since.

For as long as I can remember, Prince was on rotation in my parent’s car and my house. I was always addicted to his voice and musicianship and I was equally fascinated by his magnetism as a performer. At the risk of sounding like the music nerd I am, I will admit to spending vast amounts of time watching his live performances just to see him in action and to watch the power he commanded and the skill he possessed.   

He had it all. He was a dancer with precision and rhythm in every movement, he sang with a range that could rival anyone’s and a crisp, soulful tone that carried from his deepest note to his highest falsetto, and he was one of the greatest guitar players we have ever had. He could wail on the guitar and tear a stage up with any given riff, and he did. From rock to funk and everything in between, he was always progressive in his choices and unfalteringly had the talent to back up every move he made.

However, he was far more than just a renaissance artist. I remember watching him on stage during his Super Bowl halftime show in 2007 thinking it was the greatest halftime show I had ever seen and maybe would ever see. I remember wondering how this man could be so impossibly cool while wearing a bright blue bell bottom suit. But that was what he did- he showed people, myself included, that if you do everything with enough confidence and belief in who you are and what makes you different, the world will follow along. Someone so unwaveringly himself and so surefooted even in the pouring rain at the most watched event in the world could carry the show with ease and charisma because that is what it means to be a complete original. Prince, you are forever admired and impossible to be copied. Rest in Purple to the best to ever do it, and thank you for everything.

If you are looking to drown yourself in Prince’s work, here are some highlights you can’t miss:

A tribute to Prince’s halftime show

Prince’s remarkable guitar solo during George Harrison’s tribute at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (he blows some of the greatest guitarists in the world out of the water and they all are proud to watch it happen)

And if you haven’t ever, do yourself a favor and at the very least listen to the song Purple Rain the whole way through. If you don’t want to listen to more of his music, at least do that one solid for yourself. You won’t regret it.

By: Rachel Blackman 

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Your Guide to Mayfest 2016

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Your Guide to Mayfest 2016

Today University Union announced the performers for this year’s Mayfest; rapper Vince Staples, EDM duo Louis The Child, and indie band PUBLIC. Check out this guide to learn some more about the acts and become familiar with their music before what is sure to be one of the wildest days of the year.

Vince Staples

  Vince Staples is a 22 year old rapper from Long Beach, California. Vince grew up in an environment surrounded by gangs, but ventured away from the lifestyle as he began making music. Early on, he became closely associated with the then budding hip-hop collective Odd Future, recording much of his early work with Odd Future member and lead singer of The Internet, Syd The Kid. Prior to his debut album Staples released 5 projects, including a mixtape produced fully by Mac Miller, and notably appeared 3 times on close friend Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album “Doris.” After signing to Def Jam, Vince finally released his debut album “Summertime 06,” to great critical acclaim. The 20-track double album was executive produced by famed producer No ID, and contains features from Future, Jhene Aiko, Joey Fatts and more. Vince’s immaculate production, hard-hitting rhymes, and energetic flows are not something to miss out on seeing live. Suggested Tracks: "Norf Norf", "Señorita", "Nate" 

 

Vince Staples is a 22 year old rapper from Long Beach, California. Vince grew up in an environment surrounded by gangs, but ventured away from the lifestyle as he began making music. Early on, he became closely associated with the then budding hip-hop collective Odd Future, recording much of his early work with Odd Future member and lead singer of The Internet, Syd The Kid. Prior to his debut album Staples released 5 projects, including a mixtape produced fully by Mac Miller, and notably appeared 3 times on close friend Earl Sweatshirt’s debut album “Doris.” After signing to Def Jam, Vince finally released his debut album “Summertime 06,” to great critical acclaim. The 20-track double album was executive produced by famed producer No ID, and contains features from Future, Jhene Aiko, Joey Fatts and more. Vince’s immaculate production, hard-hitting rhymes, and energetic flows are not something to miss out on seeing live.

Suggested Tracks: "Norf Norf", "Señorita", "Nate" 

Louis The Child

  Louis The Child is an EDM duo out of Chicago. Their SoundCloud bio simply reads “music that makes you happy,” and there may be no better way to describe the duo’s sonic style. Though both members are young, with Freddy being a senior in high school and Robby a freshmen in college, the two have been making a name for themselves over the past couple years, scoring millions upon millions of plays on their original tracks and remixes. The duo’s biggest track to date, a collaboration with K. Flay titled “It’s Strange,” even earned a co-sign from Taylor Swift, landing a spot on her “New Songs That Will Make Your Life More Awesome” playlist, posted via Twitter. Louis The Child is also notably performing at this year’s Coachella Music Festival, and will be hitting both NYC’s Governors Ball and Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival this June among other upcoming major appearances. As one of today’s most promising upcoming EDM acts, Mayfest serves as a great opportunity to see the two before they blow.   Suggested Tracks: " It's Strange (Ft. K.Flay)", "Blasé (Louis The Child Remix)", "Body Gold (Louis The Child Remix)

 

Louis The Child is an EDM duo out of Chicago. Their SoundCloud bio simply reads “music that makes you happy,” and there may be no better way to describe the duo’s sonic style. Though both members are young, with Freddy being a senior in high school and Robby a freshmen in college, the two have been making a name for themselves over the past couple years, scoring millions upon millions of plays on their original tracks and remixes. The duo’s biggest track to date, a collaboration with K. Flay titled “It’s Strange,” even earned a co-sign from Taylor Swift, landing a spot on her “New Songs That Will Make Your Life More Awesome” playlist, posted via Twitter. Louis The Child is also notably performing at this year’s Coachella Music Festival, and will be hitting both NYC’s Governors Ball and Delaware’s Firefly Music Festival this June among other upcoming major appearances. As one of today’s most promising upcoming EDM acts, Mayfest serves as a great opportunity to see the two before they blow.  

Suggested Tracks: " It's Strange (Ft. K.Flay)", "Blasé (Louis The Child Remix)", "Body Gold (Louis The Child Remix)

PUBLIC

  PUBLIC is an indie pop/rock band hailing from Cincinnati containing three members; John Vaughn, Ben Lapps, and Matthew Alvarado. Their music can be characterized as warm, upbeat, and infectiously catchy. The group has splashed onto the indie scene, performing at festivals such as CMJ, MPMF, and Bunbury, and opening up for major acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Walk The Moon, and Neon Trees. PUBLIC is sure to keep the vibes upbeat and fun at Mayfest, and should offer a good change of pace for those attendees more into Rock than Rap and EDM. Suggested Tracks: "Heartbeating", "Make You Mine", "Little Raindrops"

 

PUBLIC is an indie pop/rock band hailing from Cincinnati containing three members; John Vaughn, Ben Lapps, and Matthew Alvarado. Their music can be characterized as warm, upbeat, and infectiously catchy. The group has splashed onto the indie scene, performing at festivals such as CMJ, MPMF, and Bunbury, and opening up for major acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Walk The Moon, and Neon Trees. PUBLIC is sure to keep the vibes upbeat and fun at Mayfest, and should offer a good change of pace for those attendees more into Rock than Rap and EDM.

Suggested Tracks: "Heartbeating", "Make You Mine", "Little Raindrops"

By: Lucas Markham

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5 reasons why you must see Chance The Rapper

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5 reasons why you must see Chance The Rapper

Remember when Chance came to SU in 2013? Don’t worry, I missed it too

In the fall of 2013, University Union arguably booked the best show to touch the campus of Syracuse University. Riding off of the illustrious Acid Rap, Chance the Rapper became the fastest selling Bandersnatch show ever and the word is that it was nothing short of extraordinary. Bandersnatch shows are almost always held in Schine Underground so with a performer like Chance, the intimacy was prominent because no one connects with his fans like Chance does when he’s on stage. Coming off of a sold out Family Matters tour across the U.S., he is certainly well seasoned because by the time I saw him in NYC back in October, I couldn’t believe the amazement I was witnessing. In fact, amazement is an understatement…still remaining an independent artist, the only direction has been up from Bandersnatch.

His discography is insane

It’s crazy to think how iconic Chance the Rapper is when he’s only 3 projects deep. Let’s start with 10 Day, dropped back in April of 2012. After getting suspended from school for possession of marijuana, Chance decided to spend his 10 day suspension by creating a mixtape of magic focusing on his life, his high school, and how disconnected he was from all of the basic people around him. A year later he dropped Acid Rap, one of the best hip-hop mixtapes of all time. No need to comment on that, if you’re a fan of Chance, that’s most likely where it came from. And lastly, highlighting his band and hometown friends The Sox, he dropped his free debut album Surf, which presented a musicality that no other new school artists has exhibited. From 3 projects and over 30 bodying guest verses, you simply cannot deny the progressive thrill of Chancellor Bennett.

Chicago’s best

Although I’m from Atlanta, I can’t even act like Chicago doesn’t have the best music scene right now. I mean yes, we can’t count out other distinguished demographics but no one will leave you in “aw” like a Chicago rapper. There are two very different sides of Chicago; the street side and the trippy side. Now Chance would be placed on the trippy side but when looking at the two groups together, Chance is the ace. There’s no one holding it down for his city like he is and being completely honest, he’s a big part of why us as listeners are so focused on this new Chicago movement. There’s no one who does it like Chance in Chicago, much less in the entire U.S.

Don’t try to predict Chance, it doesn’t work

You never know what Chance is going to put on a track. Yes, he’s a rapper but he sings and dances just as much as he raps. As stated earlier, he’s an insane performer but musically, every song varies so much. He can come at you spitting some meaningful content in a track like “Fight or Flight” by G Herbo. He can spit that trippy alternate mentality in a track like “Juice” or even sing to you with some gospel in a track like “Ultralight Beam” by Kanye. His set flows in a direction that not even I can predict after seeing him. He’ll mess around and drop a song from 10 Day, to Surf, to his verse on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 5, and back to his SAVEMONEY days with Vic Mensa and Towkio Shawn. Musically he can appeal to anyone and any style and the fact that he’s unpredictable makes it that much better.

It’s all love with Chance

Chance is one of the more genuine artists in the game right now. I mean they all say their doing it for us but with Chance, you simply cannot deny that fact. How could you? He gave us a free debut album and stated that he’ll continue to release his music for free. In fact, I bet you can’t show me a song by Chance that you paid for, so you know it’s real. It’s especially moving when an artist returns to Syracuse University because due to wise booking, we always seem to catch them right in the middle of their start and their peak. Everyone comes back and praises the school as they reminisce on the first show and I’m certain we’ll hear a lot of this at Block Party, probably just as much from Chance as we’ll hear from SU’s own The Chainsmokers. This is a night for family vibes and unity and we’re happy to let Chance take the lead.

 

By K. High

 

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Spring Playlist

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Spring Playlist

Spring is finally here. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. We are compelled by the beautiful weather to get outside and enjoy the day. The UU bloggers have supplied you with a playlist to enjoy the warm breeze blue skies, and the end of the semester. 

By: UU Blog Team

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