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APM Music’s First-Ever Concert Series Launches with Indie Artist Showcase


APM Music Indie Artist Showcase
The Performers: Left to right: Shorty Mack, Carly Cooper, Tonoso, and Maddi St.John

APM Music hosted an artist showcase in Los Angeles on Thursday, February 29th–its first-ever concert series with some of the incredible indie talent from APM’s artist-driven catalog. 


Held at Resident DTLA in the city’s Arts District, the event featured varied performances from Carly Cooper, Tonoso, Shorty Mack, and Maddi St. John. Across all four sets, impressive and energized performances highlighted the diversity of sound under APM’s umbrella, and each brought a unique skill set and tone to the evening.


 

Watch the highlights from the epic night.




 

Armed with a computer and a sparkling stage presence, Maddi St. John opened the evening with stellar vocals and expertly engineered beats. A self-described studio rat, Maddi hadn’t performed live since before the COVID-19 pandemic when she was in Philadelphia doing house shows with her band King Bitch. Given how she owned the stage, you would’ve never known. 


Since moving to Los Angeles and studying under and working with engineers, Maddi’s sound has changed remarkably, and her confidence on stage speaks to her maturity as an artist. “I’m 100% a different musician,” Maddi said before the show, reflecting on her time in studios. ”Just the influence from being in those rooms, like mostly hip hop and R&B, and some pop stuff—I'm a completely different writer, and I’ve learned so much.” 


Maddi describes her style as “Ariana Grimes,” pulling from her current R&B influences and her love of pop music growing up. Maddi appears on the Dark Pop album in the APM catalog from the Cézame library, with the tracks “Blow My Heart Up” and “Caught.” She’s appeared on tracks on other Cézame releases as well, including Viral Pop and Alternative R&B, all with producer Iain Harper, aka Wilroy. Looking forward, she’s excited to release more EPs ahead of a long-term project she has for five years down the road. 


 

Check out the photos from the night.




 

Maddi brought fun, vibrant, and effervescent energy to the showcase. As a performer and an artist, she is visibly moved by the music, which, in turn, moves her audience. 


Hip-hop artist Shorty Mack, who has appeared on several APM compilation albums with Rhymez, brought a compelling level of artistry and performance to the showcase. With a continuous set that stopped only for audience engagement—Shorty Mack opened his time on stage by prompting, “If you love yourself, say ‘Hell yeah!’”—Shorty Mack proved to be a dynamic and natural entertainer. 


Shorty Mack’s discography, which starts with an album released in the 1990s, embodies West Coast hip-hop. Two of his notable tracks under Rhymez with APM include “It’s the West” and “Chevy Hoppin,” which both appear on Welcome to LA 2, the Los Angeles-themed West Coast hip-hop album. With bedazzled sneakers and the smoothest fur coat, Shorty Mack’s enlivened set brought the crowd in with a sense of cohesive energy and togetherness practically unmatched at the showcase. His commitment to having a good time—“We’re gonna have fun, we’re gonna do this the right way,” he told the crowd at the start of the show—is only enhanced by the fact that he has such mastery of his verses. Dancing, rapping, and jumping with Rhymez producer Andre Writer on stage, Shorty Mack elevated West Coast hip-hop and the whole showcase with his set. 


The shift from Shorty Mack to Carly Cooper, a 22-year-old singer-songwriter from Wisconsin,  illustrated the magic of the night best: two artists whose work could not be further apart, but together under the APM umbrella, supporting each other’s music. 


Carly flew out to L.A. from Madison, Wisconsin for the first time to perform her songs at the showcase. ”I'm super excited to be here in the biggest artistic capital,” she said before her set, adding that it was an honor to be reached out to for this concert considering how far away she lives. At the showcase, she played a collection of songs from her debut EP with APM’s indie label Kinetik, which was released in August of 2023. This included a performance of “Tattoo,” a song she’d performed in a special live session prior to the showcase. 


With a background as a lead guitarist in several girl bands, Carly’s solo EP was a turning point of a new artistic era for her, being a singer as well as a musician. Her guitar skill certainly elevated her performance, as did her personal and intimate lyricism; she effortlessly went between fast-paced tracks with full backing to acoustic songs with a delicate guitar-picked melody, demonstrating versatility as a young artist. 


Doing solo work for licensing with APM has allowed her to indulge in her lyricism more, and embrace the full emotions and dramas of indie music. “It was a nice genre break for me,” Carly said. “Especially having stuff that might be licensed in movies and such has allowed me to lean into my dramatic side.” With her upcoming release, she’s excited to continue and expand upon those emotionally-charged tracks. ”I’m actually working on a new album right now, it’s almost finished,” Carly said. “That one is definitely more theatrical because I wrote it with a soundtrack in mind.” She played two songs from the upcoming EP Close to the Edge at the showcase, the title track and “If My Album Doesn’t Sell,” and both were fueled by powerful emotions and the drama she had in mind. 


At the showcase, Carly performed with intensity and artistry, bringing a raw and vulnerable performance to the event and proving herself a true singer-songwriter not just in the making but taking the music scene with confidence. 


Closing out the night was Tonoso, an electronic dance music (EDM) group with Kinetik made up of Jacob Grabb and Paul Salerno. Their performance at the showcase, as well as their latest album Artificial Dreams, demonstrates the duo’s ability to blend EDM with their diverse influences as musicians. Both Jacob and Paul played in a jazz band in school, with Jacob playing drums and Paul playing guitar. Tonoso’s set was invigorated and dynamic, and the background vocalist and two featured rappers who joined them elevated the evening. These additions in particular were highlights for Tonoso’s live playing: “[The background vocalist] is recorded on a couple of tracks but it’s not really noticeable,” Jacob said. “Live, it’s obviously very noticeable, she brings some really fun, playful energy to live set.” He also noted that getting both rappers from two different Tonoso tracks to come was a big deal and something they were very excited about. 


Tonoso brought a level of instrumentation not always associated with club and dance music to their set. Playing live allows them to do this, and bring a sense of jam band to what are normally very produced recordings. “Our albums are very produced and every sound is very intentional. Live, we’re taking a lot of solos and drum fills and playing a lot more, not fully a band but much more in the sense of a band than our records,” Paul said. The improvisation Tonoso brought was especially exciting. While FnGHAZE and Face Value brought incredible energy to the EDM set, Tonoso wasn’t lacking, with Jacob demolishing the drums and vocals while Paul rocked some epic guitar solos.  


The energy of Tonoso’s set is infectious and practically built for festivals. It also demonstrated their versatility and how their influences in Jazz and Funk bleed into their EDM. Tonoso’s next EP, equipped with a 36-piece string orchestra and a plethora of live recordings (including Jacob’s first live recording on drums), will expand on their utility as a duo. “We’re working on an ambitious three-track EP, we’re hoping we can get it finished in the next four months hopefully,” Jacob said. As Paul listed the incredible line-up for the new EP, he added that the challenge will be keeping the album from sounding like it’s straight out of the ’70s and that it still is an EDM record. “It’s going to be finding the balance between how much of the real drums do we want to be layered with the electronic drums,” Paul said as an example.


After that EP, Tonoso will release a more traditional dance and house music album, as the duo goes back and forth between their musical preferences and influences. “Whatever we do, it’s gonna be different,” Jacob said. “It’s really hard for us to stick to a thing, we get inspired by things all the time.” 


And regardless of genre influence, Tonoso will bring lively music to wherever they perform. Their EDM set brought groove, funk, and some serious dancing that got the audience going at the showcase, proving that they can get people up and dancing at any time in any place.  


The showcase concert series will continue this month on March, 22nd in New York City, featuring Emily Gabrielle, Sophie Garvey, and Jakk Blakk.

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