Artistic Investment: Connis & Lord Felix Come Full Circle

By: Seamus Fay

Subconscious and gradual as it may be at times, becoming a fan of an artist is no different than investing in a stock. It starts with the initial discovery of an artist — a chance to spark the listener’s attention and encourage them to conduct further research. Assuming that the music passes this test, long term fans are often born out of some sort of value proposition in regards to two key factors — artistic development and longevity.

Realistically, becoming a fan of an artist is an investment — sometimes long term, sometimes short term — of time and energy into following this artist and their journey. If a fan suspects that the artist will only improve or that the music will grow as the fan grows, they will be willing to make this investment; if a fan suspects that the artist is a product of quick excitement or cheap virality and therefore, won’t peak much higher, they may hang onto the artist for a short moment, but no long term investment will be made.

With this in mind, it’s important to be picky as a listener. Viral moments are fun, of course, but rare are those that last and end up becoming something greater than this singular moment. Instead, picking and choosing to invest time, energy, and even money (buying merch, concert tickets, etc.) into an artist should be a thoughtful decision, and one that supports the logic behind one’s listening habits in the long run.


When I first created Graduation Music, the aforementioned concept was what provided me a sense of direction in my writing. I had to figure out who was worth paying attention to, what was worth paying attention to, and why it was worth the attention in the first place. Then, as these artists grew, my early investments of time and energy in the form of writing would begin to pay off, growing Graduation Music as the artists, themselves, grew.

This mentality was a notable portion of the reasoning behind the name of the site, itself — Graduation Music. From the very beginning, it was all about providing artists with the attention and support they needed as “underclassmen” — or smaller, still-developing artists — in order to work toward that moment of “graduation” that would some day come. Whether this moment manifested itself in a great project, a deal with a label, a cosign, or something else, didn’t really matter — it was all about giving artists a sense of encouragement so that they could work toward this moment, realizing their potential in the process.


This anecdote brings to the spotlight two artists who have perfectly navigated the arts of development and long-term investment — Lord Felix and Connis.

I’ve been writing about Lord Felix since the very beginnings of Graduation Music (yes, I’m still waiting on “Ferrari Felix” to release, for those who know). From the voice memo series to the random singles released throughout his journey, Felix has remained a prominent mainstay in the Massachusetts music scene mainly because he’s always kept his sights set on the long game. Personally, I found myself impatiently awaiting a full project from Felix for what seemed like a long time there, but now, reflecting on the final product that it yielded, I must say that Lord Felix’s devotion to development was, and is, a brave and thorough principle to hold onto. Nowadays, it feels as though many artists rush themselves into careers to match the pace of the internet, but Felix laid low and plotted on the moment he would rise up, developing a strong creative direction and remarkably loyal fan base in the process.

With Connis, it wasn’t quite the same story.

In the case of Cambridge native Connis — or Connor Donovan, as he was known when I first started writing — I wasn’t a huge fan of his music at first. Sure, he always had some promise, but for a long time, it just didn’t click with me. Nevertheless, Connis kept creating and kept improving, so much so that I truly had no choice but to pay attention.

This persistence taught me a lesson. No, I was not a fan of Connis in the beginning and I’m not even sure I felt as though he had a project like Conn(is) in him, at first. However, I stuck with him, kept listening to his music, and when he began to show the signs of life I was waiting for, I made sure to jump on the opportunity, making a long-term investment in his music and becoming a huge fan along the way, writing aside.


Now, not even half way through 2019, I can safely say that each of these artists have reached their long-awaited moments of graduation — for Connis, in the form of Conn(is) and it’s accompanying short film, and for Lord Felix, in the form of In Bloom, Forever. Each of the two certainly took different paths to reach this destination, but nevertheless, their respective senses of artistry have finally come full circle, achieving the refined potential that we always knew was there, but wasn’t fully realized until now.

And wow, have the years it took to get here paid off. Nowadays, Connis has delved into a realm of remarkable introspection and sharp storytelling, using songs like the heart-pulling “New Orleans” and the ever-so-hypnotic “Kiss The Moon” to prove the extent of his skills. Furthermore, the cohesive sonics of Conn(is) make note of the fact that Cambridge’s own has found balance in his art, realizing how to allure fans into his stories and keep them there throughout the duration of a full project.

Resulting from this artistic improvement is a profound sense of comfortability and vulnerability that fuels many of Connis’ standout moments throughout the project. Whether or not you watched Connis take shape all the way back to his days as Connor Donovan or not, Conn(is) brings each and every listener eye-to-eye with his soul-searching journey — a personal tint to the project that I’m sure we can all connect with on some level.

On the other hand, Lord Felix’s forward-thinking, even cutting-edge creative vision recently yielded one of the best projects to come out of Massachusetts, nevermind Brockton, in quite some time.

I’ve always felt as though Felix’s art mirrored his use of music as a therapeutic outlet, but with In Bloom, Forever, he brought this honesty to a level that I never could have predicted. One song after another, this project establishes an unpredictable, electrifying burst of colorful emotion and sound, weaving in and out of versatile styles of production while maintaining its striking, true-to-self lyricism. Felix’s naturally charismatic presence keeps listeners just as locked into the somber, smooth stylings of “Love Is Fleeting, I Promise” as it does the Elton John-sampling dramatics of “The Worst Summer Ever,” with each song taking on a life of its own along the way.

In this sense, In Bloom, Forever is a direct reflection of its title, refusing to stay stagnant and constantly chasing peace of mind throughout a series of diverse emotions. To say I’ve found myself revisiting this one on occasion is an understatement.


Providing some context here, while Lord Felix and Connis may be the subjects of this article, that’s not to forget that Massachusetts, as a whole, has experienced immense growth within the past few years during which Connis and Felix’s development has taken place. Take, for example, Brockton — a city that has fostered one of the closest-knit, most supportive and overall inspiring artistic communities in the entire state.

From Jiles and Luke Bar$’ new project 2 Sides all the way to Luke Bar$ and Ricky Felix attending the infamous Dreamville sessions, Packy Marciano dropping one of my favorite Massachusetts projects in Side Effects, and even the incredible recent work of Garrett Merk, Leo The Kind, and countless others, you can’t help but root for Brockton right now. The entire slew of artists in Brockton not only cares about their own art, but also about the growth and development of their peers, exemplifying the infectious mindset that “rising tides lift all boats.”

Okay, sorry, I got a little off track there.


Shifting back into focus, above all things, Connis and Lord Felix’s newest projects are worthy of mention because they bring us back to the idea of long-term investment as a fan. Seeing two artists try so many different directions, fail and succeed several times (including the countless trials that I’m sure occurred behind the scenes), and continuously refine their respective crafts, it’s easy to see why these two are amongst Massachusetts’ most promising artists right now. They were both willing to stick it out and give the fans a journey to grow with, the reward being a sustainable career and an insurmountably bright future now that they’ve found their footing.

Taking this into account, I suppose this article is almost meant to act as a sort of “state of the union” address. I’ve been writing about Massachusetts artists ever since 2016 when I first started Graduation Music, and now, looking back at all the artists I invested my time and energy into at the beginning, I realize that many of these names have finally found their creative strides, forming themselves into the artists that they’ve always had the potential to be.

With that, I want to say thank you. Thank you to all the artists out there who invest in themselves and refuse to step away from their art until they finally reach the full circle moments that Lord Felix and Connis recently achieved. And for the fans, thank you for sticking around, both for the artists, and for myself and Graduation Music.

Don’t be afraid to be picky with the artists you root for in the long run. Supporting great art fosters great art, just trust your ear.

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VALLEY – “Dasani” [Prod. KorHefBeatz]

By: Seamus Fay

VALLEY isn’t the kind of artist who needs to speak very often in order to be heard. He moves at his own pace, and even if this means only dropping new music once in a blue moon, it’s always going to be worth it, as VALLEY is sure to turn heads no matter when or where he chooses to make himself present. Today, we see this in full effect as the Dorchester native blesses us with a brand new single entitled “Dasani”.

Produced by KorHefBeatz, this track uses bright production to shed a light on the eclectic style that VALLEY has been perfecting throughout 2018. The world of sound that the budding talent is able to tap into reflects a vision entirely of his own creation, and consequently, it’s tailored perfectly to the strengths of the Dorchester representative both in style and sound. “Dasani” is a bright look toward an even brighter 2019, so make sure you don’t let this one fall through the cracks.

Show some love and stream VALLEY’s latest at the link provided below!

Young Seuss – “Reflections”

By: Seamus Fay

Making it through 2018 was no easy task. We’ve all experienced different successes, failures, triumphs, and struggles, but the one universal lesson should be that reflection is a must. Whether 2018 was the best year of your life or the worst, understanding how to reflect and learn from your experiences is vital toward having a prosperous 2019. Here to master this skill is Graduation Music favorite Young Seuss with his brand new project, Reflections.

As written in the tape’s description on SoundCloud, Seuss notes the genesis of Reflections as the following:

I fell in love, and I fucked it up. But it found its way back. Travel with me through my many emotions as I show you the reflections of my inner demons, the battles they carry, and the individualistic self-representation of “god” that lives within me.

As one might infer from this description, 2018 has been a year of self-discovery for Seuss. With his latest project, he unravels and breaks down the things he’s failed at as well as the things he’s found hope in, and as a result, we receive the rising talent’s most authentic, heart-led project to date. Reflections is impulsive and emotional in the truest of ways, and if not anything else, it should allow us all the opportunity to reflect on our own version of 2018.

Stream this project below and be sure to show some love to one of Boston’s most promising budding talents!

Michael Christmas – “Say Cheese” & “Sideways”

By: Seamus Fay

For fans of Boston’s budding music scene, I think I speak for us all when I say that new music from Michael Christmas was certainly on our wish lists this year. After all, Role Model was Christmas’ most refined work to date, and with the up-trend of things, it only made sense that he would cap off a prosperous year with a generous gift(s) to all of his supporters. That said, today, Michael Christmas is back on our pages to drop off two brand new presents: “Say Cheese” featuring Elevator Jay and “Sideways”.

Announced just a few days back in the form of a festive infomercial, these singles each give us a taste of the work that Christmas has been putting in since Role Model. His sound and deliveries are only getting sharper, and taking into consideration the contrasting stylistic directions of “Say Cheese” and “Sideways”, it can also be said that Christmas is proving to be versatile as ever. Needless to say, these two songs act as the perfect transitions out of 2018 and into a clear-minded 2019, so be sure not to sleep.

Show some love to Michael Christmas by unwrapping his latest gifts under the tree at the links below!

MyCompiledThoughts – “Fallen Angel”

By: Seamus Fay

Just last week, we here at Graduation Music shined our spotlight on MyCompiledThoughts and his deeply genuine new series of music, the “thought bubble” series. Meant to communicate Thoughts’ deepest emotions and bring something new to the table with each successive entry, this series has proven to make for some of the finest moments of the rising artist’s career to date, and today, this is kept going with the latest “thought bubble” entry: “Fallen Angel”, or Thought Bubble 003.

As described by the man of the hour, himself, the meaning of “Fallen Angel” revolves around the following:

An artist is a messenger and so are angels. You’ve fallen from Heaven to Earth sent here to save as many people as you can. Just like Superman.

Falling in line with this description, the song uses an ethereal, floating instrumental to match up with Thoughts’ energetic vocals. It’s upbeat and downright beautiful, allowing fans a look deep into the heart of such a passionate rising talent. “Fallen Angel” is a fantastic addition to the “thought bubble” series, and it certainly has me excited for what we’ll be receiving next. Be sure to show some love and stream the song on SoundCloud below!

Connis – “Lost It” [Prod. bby._J]

By: Seamus Fay

All throughout 2018, Connis has been throwing away outside expectations and creating the art that he wants to create. The authenticity in his sound has become increasingly noticeable, and by sticking to his own plan, this Cambridge native has become one of the brightest budding stars in the state, without a doubt. Today, as the credits begin to roll on 2018, Connis caps off a fantastic year with a brand new single entitled “Lost It”.

Produced by bby._j, this track may just be a loose release, but the effortlessness in which the smooth instrumentation and genuine lyricism mesh together is something that I could talk about all day long. With “Lost It”, Connis just wants to clear out his closet and get rid of everything he doesn’t wear, which is a sentiment easily applicable to any facet of life that needs a clean-out in order to make room for the new. This song seemingly shreds the old form Connis while watching him grow into an impressive young artist, and with that in mind, it’s a perfect release for the end of a prosperous year. 

Connis is heading into 2019 with a clear, focused mindset, so keep your eye out for him and listen to “Lost It” at the link below!

Cousin Stizz Becomes First Ever Hip-Hop Artist To Win BMA’s Artist of the Year

By: Seamus Fay

For many years, Boston rap was seen merely as a lower-quality little brother of larger nearby cities such as New York. Without the innovative talents or industry infrastructure to make a legitimate push out of this shadow, Boston soon fell behind, failing to become recognized as a hot spot for hip-hop talents. That is, until just recently. 

Throughout the past 6 years or so, new artists, new styles, and new sounds have brought Boston back into the conversation that the city once dreamed of entering. With numerous local artists now making waves far beyond their hometown, the city is experiencing a hip-hop resurgence, full of refreshing talent and up-trending stocks on the heels of collaboration and local support. Boston is working tirelessly to push itself out of this “crabs in a bucket” mentality, all the while refusing to let the city’s history define the ceilings of future success.

With this in mind, today marks a noteworthy occasion in the history of Boston hip-hop, as Cousin Stizz just became the Boston Music Awards’ first ever hip-hop act to win the committee’s highest honor, “Artist of the Year.”

That said, it’s important to note just how prolific the continuous hope for local support outside of those directly involved with the hip-hop community has been throughout this recent hip-hop resurgence. To see Dorchester’s own bring home cement proof of recognition from a city notorious for its relatively poor history in the hip-hop genre is nothing less than monumental, and deservedly so. If not anything else, this moment should act as a reminder that the only limitations for the success of Boston hip-hop are those that the community imposes on itself.

From narrating Celtics commercials to soundtracking Tom Brady’s Instagram videos and winning the most esteemed BMA, Stizz sees far beyond what’s in the way of his success and chooses to focus on the wins that lie past his obstacles. Let this be a lesson for us all.

Thanks, Stizz. And congratulations on a hard-earned win.