With a mere two weeks being left in the month of August, the realization that the Summer is essentially on its way out has become apparent for many. To help compliment the softened sensation that often comes paired with this time of year is Connis, who recently recruited Lord Felix, Notebook P, Ricky Sour, and Rilla Force for the delivery of two new tracks titled “Ditch the Function” and “Planets”.
“Ditch the Function” serves as an ode to introverts from all walks of life. Both Connis and Lord Felix have proven to be two of the most advantageous artists out of the Bay State in 2019, and the pair continue down this route as they bounce off of one another with true grace on this release. Connis makes use of his verse to relay some messages surrounding both being alone and working on oneself. He’s not afraid to speak on what it took for him to reach this current point in his life — something that has ultimately attracted a large flock of fans toward Connis’ direction. Brockton’s Lord Felix helps build atop Connis’ verse by reinforcing both the development of a secure temperament and the abandonment of remorsefulness. Nobody is perfect, but it’s the combination of holding one’s head up high and learning from mistakes that Connis and Lord Felix want listeners to know and understand. Ricky Sour, who was in charge of the production on “Ditch the Function”, has had a long history working alongside Connis — with the sonic chemistry exchanged between the duo being one of my favorite aspects of this track.
“Planets” is the second single that Connis released, which features Randolph’s Notebook P on the hook and Rilla Force on production. I was beyond enthusiastic upon seeing that these three talents had finally joined forces, yet still surprised as to how wonderful the output ended up being. Much like many of the verses included on Connis’ debut album, Conn(is), that dropped earlier this year, the Cambridge native continues to rap with a relentless energy. Each line holds a vast amount of weight as the listener is quite literally kept on the edge of their seat throughout the entirety of the listen. In a truly intergalactic fashion, Rilla Force’s usage of synth-rooted 808s help make this instrumental sound like something that’s out of this world, which assists Connis in delivering his thoughts in an unparalleled fashion.
If you still haven’t found yourself within the depths of Connis’ discography up through this point in time, then there’s no better moment than now to begin that journey. Take some time out of your day today and dedicate it towards some of our area’s most refined talents.
Listen to both “Ditch the Function” and “Planets” below:
Building off of the success of his recent debut album, Connis returns with the official music video for “Kiss The Moon”.
Personally speaking, the release of “Kiss The Moon” more than 10 months ago marked a stark transition within Connis’ musical career. He had been consistently releasing a steady stream of potent music, however this track was the first of many that helped produce the wondrous aura that currently surrounds the Cambridge artist. His ability to intertwine his life experience within masterful sonic structures is unparalleled in not only the state of Massachusetts, but across the world. It’s only fitting that the reception of Conn(is) was as big as it was, especially being that he’s continuously been one of the most hardworking individuals with respect to propelling Massachusetts’ music scene to newer heights.
This Simon Morrison directed visual does a phenomenal job at making this already successful track even more meaningful. Equipped with scenes throughout the Cambridge and Boston area, Connis plays the role of what many of us are — a young adult from Massachusetts that’s enduring the trials and tribulations of life whilst aspiring to be something great. While a lot of his music stems from his own personal experiences, Connis ultimately speaks on behalf of a lot of people who’ve been through some of the similar circumstances that he’s faced. I for one can say that I’ve found a certain level of solace through Connis’ discography, and for that reason he will always be an artist that I both respect and admire.
Watch the official music video for “Kiss The Moon” below:
Directed by Simon Morrison (@spaceysim)
Shot by Caleb Weiss (@calebkebob)
Edited by Caleb Weiss, Simon Morrison & Connor Donovan
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.
Packing the entirety of his life experience into an incredibly well-written, mesmerizing debut album is Connis. Anywhere you’ve looked this week, individuals from Massachusetts and beyond have rallied around the Cambridge native’s Conn(is) — with it being one of the most thorough projects to come out of the state in recent years.
Connis’ career dates back nearly a decade to when he was making music with friends simply for the joy of doing so. From the jump, Connis’ goal has been to provide his listeners with his truest sense of self, while at the same time elevating the people around him and subsequently the music scene in Cambridge. He’s released several projects throughout his tenure as an artist, however Conn(is) is the first to really satisfy the “debut album” label.
From start to finish, Conn(is) vividly captures the instances within Connis’ life that have assisted in molding him into the individual he currently is. He possesses the ability to intricately detail the situations he’s experienced with true precision, which at times can be uplifting and at other times gut-wrenching. No matter the basis of content, Connis doesn’t shy away from dictating exactly what he’s endured. Listening through this project almost feels as if you’re reading his personal journal — each entry tells a vastly different tale, yet flows seamlessly into the next.
“Still Here”, “Stubble”, and “Change Me” were some personal standouts off of Conn(is) for me, as each capture a variety of emotions that are difficult to put into words. With each listen, you really get to know who Connis is, which is something that lacks in a lot of the music released at this point in time. He’s made a name for himself by being himself, and for that Connis will always remain a formidable artist. I honestly can’t say enough about this album, as it will ultimately end up being one of the most memorable projects to ever come out of Massachusetts — and this isn’t an overstatement in the slightest bit. Experience it for yourself if you have not yet.
Watch the short film that Connis released prior to his album dropping here!
Cambridge natives Maka and Connis combine forces to construct a powerfully intoxicating track titled “Animal House”.
It isn’t everyday that you’re blessed with music that possesses the ability to uplift your entire spirit, but this is exactly the case with “Animal House”. Connis has steadily made a name for himself throughout the state of Massachusetts via masterful additions to his discography, and has recently been branching out and lending his production talents to other local artists. It’s safe to say that he hit this one out of the park, with Maka gracefully surfing atop the well-tooled instrumental whilst giving listeners some perspective towards his current mindset.
“Animal House” circulates around Maka’s cannibalistic attitude that he has going into this year. There’s only one thing on his mind and that’s developing into the best version of himself. Instead of looking around to see what his peers are up to, Maka’s determined to overcome anyone (or anything) that dares to get in-between him and his dreams. In addition to the lyrical content of this release, the sonic structure is simply unparalleled — making “Animal House” one of the most impactful songs to come out of Massachusetts up to this point in the year.
Connis and BT Livin bring their minds together in order to forge some eye-catching visuals for the first single off of Connis’ upcoming project, Conn(is). Graduation Music premiered this flawless track back in April of 2018, so we’re delighted to see that it has finally received a video treatment.
“Spent” circulates around the feeling that we obtain following periods of stagnancy. Connis reiterates, “I spent way too long, waiting on nothing / I can’t take it no more, gotta get something”, throughout this track, and it shines a light on how overbearing reflection can be for us at times. While we can’t change what’s already happened in our lives, sometimes we can get buried with the ideas of what could have been had we acted differently. In Connis’ example, he’s weighed down by the thoughts of how he could’ve moved differently to better prepare himself for reaching his goals.
As the song progresses, the tempo shifts towards a faster pace, and Connis details how he’s beginning to bounce back from the mistakes he’s made. With a new perspective on how he should operate and an assessment of what’s truly valuable in his life, he’s prepared to launch himself towards the completion of his dreams. He ends the track with, “How is change gon’ come, if I don’t change something?”, coming to the realization that the changes he makes in his own life will ultimately be what end up changing his life for the better.
As usual, BT Livin did a wondrous job injecting a newfound energy into this track, and viewers everywhere should certainly be watching this in order to prepare themselves for the release of Conn(is). A living example of how much talent is present within the depths of Cambridge, Connis is ready to take over.
JORD4NEVERDIED recently recruited Donald Grunge and Connis to assemble an infectious single titled “Pedicure”.
Both Grunge and Connis float harmoniously atop some dazzling production at the hands of JORD4NEVERDIED, helping to raise the bar for Massachusetts artists in 2019. The duo utilize this track to gift fans a bit of an insight into their mindset as they brace for the coming year. Artists across the state have been building-up their skillsets, however Grunge and Connis remind everyone of just how high-up on the food chain they are.
Donald Grunge closed his 2018 on a high-note, working alongside some of Massachusetts’ best artists and releasing his debut album, Cowboy Talk. Quickly following in his footsteps is Connis, a native of Cambridge, Mass, who’s gearing up to release his new project titled Conn(is) this year. JORD4NEVERDIED worked equally as hard as these two throughout the last year, establishing a name for himself producing for his group, Froze.40, and a long list of others, whilst releasing music of his own. Be sure to pay attention to these three, as they’re showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever. In a nutshell, “Pedicure” is a telltale sign of what’s next to come for JORD4NEVERDIED, Donald Grunge, and Connis.