Music Industry News Network [10-20-2017]
The Phoenix Keeps Rising!
Los Angeles, CA -- Continuing to draw from hard hitting life experiences to breathe raw and personal emotion into her universal mission of social advocacy, Kristen Speller calls for love to triumph over judgment on "Addiction," her poignant and provocative new single, due for digital release October 19.
Penned from a place of pain in the wake of the passing of her friend David Ness from heroin addiction, the explosive song finds the singer-songwriter and multi-faceted humanitarian and anti-domestic violence advocate covering all manner of addictions that people suffer – and the pain and confusion of not knowing where to turn for help.
By sharing the reality that addiction of any kind is part of the human condition, Kristen facilitates a dialogue that helps people understand that compassion is needed where stigma too often reigns. Tragically, Ness asked her to write the song to save his life several years before he died in 2014. With the opioid crisis officially being declared a national emergency earlier this year, "Addiction" is a much-needed song addressing one of the key social issues of our time.
The lead single from Kristen's upcoming full-length album Entering Taunton, due in 2018, "Addiction" follows in the impactful tradition of Kristen's previous popular and critically-acclaimed musical salvos of social consciousness. "Bruised," the song which launched the singer's career and helped establish her freedom as a domestic abuse survivor, was the first single from her debut album Misguided Dignity – which made the first round Grammy ballot in four key categories: Best New Artist, Best Rock Song ("Bruised"), Best Pop Vocal Performance ("Love IS") and Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocal ("Bruised"). "Bruised" also was a Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) finalist for Playing the Stage – Live Performance.
With her autobiographical follow-up single "Phoenix Rising Up," Speller made history as the first Cape Verdean American Female Rock Musician as a dulcimer player in the Best Rock Song category on the first Grammy ballot. The song's impact was massive, earning her an Akademia Award for Best Rock Song 2016, and an Akademia Award nomination for Artist of the Year 2017, in addition to being both a winner and finalist at the Global Peace Song Awards.
Kristen received critical acclaim across the board. Mario Hemsley and Victor Allen of Pax Stereo TV say, "I love Kristen Speller. To bring you talent like hers, to our radio station on Pax Stereo TV is a delight. She is a singer, songwriter, producer with sound that is distinct. We have never heard anyone that sounds like her. A talent to be reckoned with." Cheryl Scott of KCAL-FM adds, "I am so happy to bring you Kristen Speller. Her singing live is like, wow, wow, wow! I've never heard a song like 'Bruised and her lyrics I've never heard from by an artist." Andy Olson of Radio Free Phoenix says, "Kristen Speller is an authentic artist, singer/songwriter, with a voice. There is a reason why I played her right after the Rolling Stones here at Radio Free Phoenix."
"Part of the inspiration for 'Addiction' was the conversations I had with people who had asked about David," Kristen says. "I thought about the wide range of addictions that all human beings are subject to, and the fact that there's not a huge conversation surrounding that. I didn't like the fact that people were judging David, just as I wouldn't want people judging me for being a food and sugar addict. Instead of addiction being a societal norm, I think prevention should be a societal given. I feel like a lot of people can relate to the song and that it could be a catalyst to start the larger conversation."
Titled for her hometown in Massachusetts where she wrote the bulk of the album during her mother's final months, Entering Taunton is, Kristen says, "a love letter to her that captures all of the emotions I went through being home with her for those four months and the grief process I went through in the wake off her passing." Two of the tracks are acapella, including "Oh," which progresses like a letter from Kristen to herself about finding ways to navigate out of the stages of grief. Typical of her innovative creativity, Kristen uses a blow dryer as an instrument on the song to illustrate all the warm and cold feelings she went through during this process.
Kristen's music is a prominent part of her multi-faceted work as a humanitarian, an important part of her life that she shares with her husband, co-producer and business partner Marvin Speller. In 2015, she was designated the Haven Hills Betty Fisher Legacy Humanitarian of the Year for her contributions with music to the domestic violence community. After Marvin helped her escape her domestic abuse situation and brought her out of hiding in 2011, she sought the help of the Haven Hills outreach program in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley, and has given back in many ways (including musical advocacy) ever since. In 2016, Kristen was awarded the key to the city of Taunton from Mayor Thomas Hoye, for her efforts within music for Domestic Violence and helping to contribute to global peace with "Phoenix Rising Up."
Kristen and Marvin Speller's social advocacy extends to their extra-musical entrepreneurial activities with their company Doubledown, LLC, including the creation of a special faux leather makeup bag with the logo, "Starts with Foundation." She is currently working on fulfilling her dream of starting her own makeup line. "As a survivor of Domestic Violence, my makeup bag was my quintessential survivor kit," Kristen says. "I had to cover up my wounds, therefore this bag was my lifeline. It was so appropriate to start with a makeup bag to represent my journey as a survivor, makeup aficionado and makeup artist in the DV Community. The foundation swatch on the makeup bag was taken by me; it is my swatch. Our logo for the bag 'starts with foundation' was created by us, because when you're applying makeup, everything starts with foundation. A good life starts with a good foundation. And when you escape DV, freedom is the foundation. And, yes, I have a song called 'Freedom' too!"
"Addiction" is available as a single on iTunes, CDBaby, and on select streaming sites. For more information and all links, visit the artist's website at www.KristenSpeller.com.
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Official Website: www.kristenspeller.com
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