Republic Records / Slowplay

Hauskey

Meet Andy. Andy is from Perth, Australia and writes, performs, and produces records. Potentially records that could change your life. Potentially change his own too. But really, it’s too early to say. It feels good though. Andy feels pretty good about them. Everything he’s done in his life, up to this point, has been to posit himself precisely where he finds his feet today. On the verge of...Next in line...The boy most likely to. Sitting pretty on a clutch of brilliant songs he’s sculpted. Ready to see what you all think of them, whether they are, in fact, going to make a difference.

Let’s rewind a bit. Back to Andy finding a John Coltrane record in his mum’s collection. Not The Beatles, not Bob Dylan, nor Rolling Stones or The Eagles, nor any of those other classic but cliché “discoveries” we all found for ourselves during those formative, impressionable “so this is music” years. Andy had more of a penchant for seminal US saxophonists, apparently. Naima, he recalls, was the song that raised a cluster of epiphanies, a veritable constellation of lightbulbs dazzling over his teenage head. Opened his ears to a new world. He had been filling those ears with alt. something artists that college pals usually impress are worth listening to and some of them had stuck; Red Hot Chili Peppers, Audioslave, Coldplay, and the smoother talents of John Mayer hit on an emotional chord too. But Andy didn’t need his friends to tell him what was up, he was already out there on his solo voyage, a defining factor in what comes next.

So, what does come next? Andy liked music. We get it.

At thirteen he wrote his first songs. Looking back through a folder of lyrics he’d rediscovered from that era, he laughs but won’t share them. Words that tried so hard, too hard to be poetic. Poetry for the sake of it. He knows now that the route to a real connection, that breathless “golden hour” moment was to keep things deceptively simple. Why use fifty words when you could use five just as effectively? “A great song is like a great movie,” he muses, “you become so engrossed in it that you ‘become it’ and forget you’re even watching a movie. That’s what good music should do too.”

Andy studied at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. It’s an incredibly competitive school to get into it. Selective but without the stigma. Noteworthy alumni, according to their Wikipedia, include Hugh Jackman and Frances O’Connor. It was an inspiring place to be around, but it was expensive to navigate day-to-day, and Andy’s funds ran perilously low. Flashing red. Where most of us would have rooted through our record collections, winced, and perhaps thrown once beloved rarities on eBay for a quick fix, Andy inexplicably started his own music school. This wasn’t simply teaching the rudimentary shapes of power chords for pocket change, this was a fully-functioning, fully staffed, multi-branch school with over 500 students. Ridiculous. Just dragging ourselves to a midday lecture felt like an achievement. How many schools have you started?

But starting a music school wasn’t in the bible of how to become a pop star, and despite its success, Andy was getting anxious that his path to a career in music was taking a road he hadn’t planned on taking. He pulled over, did a 3-point turn and headed back. Teaching wasn’t the one. Perth felt isolated, and not the thriving hotbed of new sounds that Andy craved. He picked up a few possessions and flew to London (his dad was a pilot, and so the notion of standing still was alien) because Londoners know exactly where it’s at. He bagged himself a part time job and played as many gigs as he could single-handedly manage, convincing bookers that he was about to become a Very Big Deal Indeed. Alas, it didn’t work out. This modern-day Dick Whittington (sans cat) couldn’t acclimatize to the hustle and bustle of those hectic British shores and the need to stoke the embers of a day job to fuel poorly attended shows in the evening. It didn’t equate. He headed back to Australia, a little broken down perhaps, but with a steely determination not to break. Dusting himself off, he went out and bought the cheapest Toyota van he could find on Gumtree, made a few crucial adjustments (a jack of all trades, master of some), and headed right back out of the city to a small rural farm where he pulled up, put the brakes on, and set to writing more music from the singular comfort of that very van. Endlessly. One track mind. Songs and more songs. Keep writing, keep improving, keep going. Good isn’t good enough. Perfect? Nobody’s perfect. He was shunned by his bemused friendship group, but socializing wasn’t part of the plan here for Andy. Those new songs found a purpose, a drive, and a new directness. Informed by recent experiences and propelled by the weight of his own expectation. Andy dropped the Andy part and became Hauskey, and so here we are.

You could possibly draw comparison with fellow Australian Kevin Parker of Tame Impala. A producer, writer, and maverick of intergalactic sound that Andy appreciates greatly. You’ll hear it in the blinding melodies that rain down in abundance, emitting a crimson cosmic glow. Hauskey’s music dials up the rippled grooves, pares them with a sigh and watches as they float away on a musical cloud heading every skyward. It’s future pop with chops. It tells stories, coloured by life’s daily glitches. The first song you’ll hear is “Slow.” It’s a song of self-examination, of weaknesses and of faults and what those faults can lead to. It’s got a knowing slacker-charm to it, breezy and uplifting. Hauskey’s quasi-R&B vocals telling tales on himself, as the song skips along jubilantly to a cocktail of synths and whatever else. For someone who cares so much, it’s all remarkably unselfconscious. It’s got a touch of the Kevin Abstracts and Mac DeMarcos about it perhaps. Pop with purpose, on the 45-degree tilt. It’s already doing fine things back in Australia, with those arbiters of what’s good Triple J having spun it again and again, scattering seeds in every direction as the song now gets introduced far wider than to the motherland.

An EP will come next, but more on that shortly.

So yeah, this is Andy. Hauskey. You should soon be hearing plenty about him. He’d love to know what you think.

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Claire Rosinkranz

16-year-old California native Claire Rosinkranz has been writing songs since she was 8.

Filling notebooks and iPads with lyrics, turns of phrase, and poems, the homeschooled artist would spend hours writing lyrics to songs that didn’t exist yet. Sometimes, she’d help her musician father, Ragnar, with melodies and lyrics for songs he’d been tasked to compose for TV shows and ad jingles. Coming from a family with deep musical roots—her paternal grandmother an Icelandic opera singer who toured Europe, her maternal grandmother making a career out of writing books and songs for children, and parents who had similar melodies running through their blood—Claire was, in every sense of the word, predestined for musical greatness, which is why the overnight success of her recent debut EP comes as no surprise to those who know her best.

Written, recorded, and produced with her dad at their home studio, BeVerly Hills BoYfRiEnd is a four-song project that Claire describes as “alternative-blues-pop,” equally as inspired by early influences (like The Beatles’ Help!, Frank Ocean, and the Jack Johnson songs the family would listen to around the house) as it is by the singer-songwriter’s contemporaries, like Benee, Bruno Major, and Still Woozy. Though only 16, Claire says the discipline and work ethic she learned from years of classical ballet training translated into a desire to be the best at everything she does—including making music, which she decided to pursue full-force several years ago. Early in 2020, leaning into the spare hours quarantine allowed her, Claire combed through songs she’d already written and performed on her Instagram, finding “Tough Guy” in her feed and adding three more to the final track list in the process.

Claire traffics in lo-fi songs with intricate yet totally relatable lyrics about friendship, crushes, family, and feelings. They plumb the depths of the human condition in very short bursts, exposing the songwriter’s remarkable emotional maturity and strong, singular grasp on her sound. Narratively, tracks like “Tough Guy” and “Seriouslaaay” follow Claire’s stories from start to finish while Ragnar’s clean, crisp production buoys his daughter’s crystal-clear vocals. “He totally captures my vision and if I don’t like something, I’m not afraid to say it,” Claire says of her dad. “Because we’re able to communicate so well, the process happens so quickly.”

The “star of the show,” Claire says of her catalogue, is “Backyard Boy,” the final song she wrote for the EP and one that grew legs of its own shortly after release, achieving massive viral success all on its own. “I was getting DMs from people telling me that ‘Backyard Boy’ was doing really well on TikTok,” she remembers. “Then, friends started texting me. Then more people were texting me. So I opened TikTok and I had 300,000 videos under the song and realized, “Oh, this is a thing!”

Signing to slowplay/Republic Records this summer, Claire realized the work and dedication she’d been putting into music for half her life was coming to fruition. In August, she shot the “Backyard Boy” music video but kept things close to the family, as she’s done for years (it’s directed by her uncle, the first AD is her cousin, and close family friends star alongside her onscreen). “I think people are connecting to that song because it’s about a feeling you long for, especially during this time,” she says. “Everyone wants to have this experience but it’s something we can’t have right now because of COVID. But ‘Backyard Boy’ makes you feel like you can.”

Claire has spent the last few years drilling down on her craft by refining her songwriting and learning to play instruments like the ukulele, the piano, and the jazz electric guitar (“that’s the one I absolutely enjoy the most,” she says), which have helped her turn her lyrics into fully imagined soundscapes. “I consider myself a writer first and foremost,” she’s quick to note. “I’m super fortunate to be able to sing all my songs, and I want to sing them, but writing is my favorite part of the entire process.”

As for what’s next for Claire Rosinkranz? “I just want to put so much music out,” she says with a laugh. “It just keeps coming. I want people to hear it. And I want people to hear what I have to say.”

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