Music Tag

Born in the Philippines and raised in the thriving artistic landscape of the San Francisco Bay Area, Pop/R&B artist-producer-songwriter Kitt Mae carves out a vibrant world within her universe in which listeners dance between the soundscapes of candy-toned pop, Bay Area hip-hop, and gilded R&B.

Influenced by the worlds of fantasy and sci-fi and with a sonic palette as diverse as her surroundings, the Filipino artist creates full sensory experiences for her audience by backing her sound with self-designed, self-painted visuals.

Kitt Mae’s latest releases include the single “Late Nites,” co-written and performed with fellow Bay Area hip-hop artist and producer Chow Mane as well as her own single “Appetite” in collaboration with Los Angeles soul/hip-hop producer Bubbs. She is currently in the studio recording and writing original music. Listeners can expect beats synced to their pulse and sparkling vocals set against cheeky wordplay. Listen to her latest track here:


 Here is a list of her go-to products as a musican:


1. Professional Studio Headphones: These are my absolute favorite headphones I’ve ever owned or tried. They sit so comfortably over the ears that you could wear them for hours without pain, the fabric cups don’t make your ears sweat the way vinyl or leather cups do, and it’s got the most flat and clear output out of all the closed-back headphones in its price range that I’ve ever tried. They’re perfect for tracking vocals or instruments, and I use them when I have to get really detailed cutting a track together or when I can’t produce through my studio monitors.



2. Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor Speaker:  Speaking of studio monitors, I love my HS5s for producing and rough mixing because of how flat the sound is, their price, and their size for my studio (also doesn’t hurt that they’re aesthetically gorgeous). I don’t do the final mixes on my own tracks, but I do send out rough mixes to my collaborators so that they can get a better feel for what they’re tracking over, and these are perfect for that.



3. M Audio Oxygen 49 MK IV MIDI Keyboard:  This is the first MIDI controller I ever got and I still use it to this day. It’s not the most portable but it’s a perfect in-between option for people that like to track keys with two hands or one, and I love that it comes with trigger pads.



4. Pyle Portable Adjustable Laptop Stand: I do all my work on a laptop and it was really annoying having to carefully reach over my MIDI controller to use the computer. This was such a cheap, simple, sturdy solution that once I got it, I couldn’t believe it took me as long as it did to just buy a laptop stand. You just position your controller underneath it however you want and you’re good to go.



5. Shure SM58 Microphone: I don’t use this as my studio recording mic; I use this for band practices and for live performances, but mostly I use the SM58 to vibe and record scratch vocals at my desk as I’m songwriting/producing rather than having to move my actual recording mic from my vocal booth. Recording mics can be really personal to an artist or engineer, catering to the sonic qualities of the artist’s voice or how they want the final track to sound (which is why I chose not to recommend one for this list), but the SM58s work with everyone’s voice and are a tried-and-true staple for so many musicians and studios.



“Even in the material world, you will find that if you look for the light, you can often find it. But if you look for the dark, that is all you will ever see.”

Uncle Iroh


Connect With Kitt!

Let’s say you are an aspiring musician or a singer who is hoping to make it big one day.

In the past, the whole process could have taken years or decades, and sometimes it may not even lead to anything worthwhile. The struggle of the creative souls was and is real.

However, in this modern era, if you have talent, you don’t need agents and publicists to take your work to the masses. All you need is quality content and the right channel to share it with the public. If music is your domain, you should seriously consider setting up your own recording studio at home and start working on your next masterpiece. Don’t worry, a home recording studio does not necessarily have to be as expensive as it sounds.

Discover the must-have products for your recording studio:


1. Apple Macbook Pro

Well, things are digital nowadays and you simply can’t think of recording and processing music without a computer. Given that most people own a desktop or laptop PC with a reasonably modern hardware configuration, this won’t be a significant expense. That said, if you are really serious about setting up your own recording studio, it is recommended that you check out PCs that are known to be better than others for this type of work. For example, the latest Apple MacBook Pro is an excellent piece of equipment for music production.

2. PreSonus MultiTrack Recording Software

The DAW is the computer software that enables you to record, edit, mix, and perform other activities that are involved in music production. The MacBook already comes with a built-in basic DAW called Garageband that can be upgraded to a full-fledged application called Logic Pro X. Reaper, Ableton Live, PreSonus Studio One, Pro Tools, and FL Studio are other DAW options that you can explore based on your budget and requirements.



3. Aston Microphones Origin Condenser Microphone

Needless to say, a high-quality microphone is necessary for an aspiring musician. A dynamic or condenser microphone would be a good place to start if you want to record vocals and instruments with good quality. Every microphone has varied frequency responses and will record your voice differently. So, it’s important to try out different models at a local audio store to zero in on one that suits your voice, pitch, texture, and timbre. Bring home a pop-filter and a mic-stand while you’re at it. 

We found the Aston Microphone Origin to be an excellent and still affordable condenser mic. The Origin is a fixed pattern (cardioid) condenser and has a built-in pop filter. It is versatile enough to use with most instruments and excels on acoustic guitar and vocals. The Origin is designed to deliver direct, smooth and intimate sound for a natural and transparent recording.



4. Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre 

An audio interface or a preamp is a hardware tool that receives analog audio signals from your microphone and instruments and converts them into digital signals for the computer to read. They also play an important role in enhancing the quality of the input signals. There are many options in the market depending on the type of music and the number of instruments you are going to use. In any case, the sound gurus at Musicaroo recommend selecting the best preamp for your mic, irrespective of your level of expertise. 

We have found the best affordable option for preamps to be the Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre. With eight natural-sounding mic preamps and eight balanced line inputs and dual front-panel instrument inputs, the scarlett octopre ideal for live use and offers the best quality sound for home studios.

5. Sony MDR7506 Headphone

The widely used headphones for recording are the closed-back ones, whereas a pair that won’t feed noise into the microphone would be the best option for monitoring. The headphones can also be used as an extra reference for mixing and mastering. Sony MDR-7506 is one of the most common headphones used in recording studios. Audio Technica ATH-M40X is another viable option that can get the job done.



6. Yamaha HS8 Studio Subwoofer

Monitor speakers are essential for proper mixing. The choice primarily depends on the size of your recording studio. Most sound engineers and music producers around the world recommend Yamaha HS series monitors that are considered to be the best in the world for this application. KRK Rokit 5 G3 is also an excellent choice, especially if you are on a tight budget. If monitors are out of your budget initially, you can use the headphones for mixing as a make-do-measure.



7. Auralex Acoustics SubDude-II Acoustic Isolation Platform7. 

Most recording studio newbies overlook the importance of acoustic foam pads that improve your recording studio’s acoustic characteristics drastically. The difference in the overall final output of your music will be quite significant if you trim your recording studio with acoustic foam pads. Recommendations include Auralex Acoustics and Acoustic Fields. Some companies offer room analysis services in order to determine the acoustic pads to buy and the place of installation to achieve the best results.

8. Channel XLR Snake Cable8. 

Connecting all your fancy recording studio accessories would require sufficiently long cables (mostly XLRs and quarter-inch instrument cables). Also, you may need adapters for headphones and other instruments.

With these gadgets and instruments, your home recording studio will be capable of producing professional quality music. As you can see, there are multiple options for each device and it is up to you to choose based on your requirements and budget. So pick the ones you need and have fun creating!

Joel Gardner is a singer and guitarist from Manchester UK.

With a live show honed by relentless gigging; Joel won the ‘Danny Kyle Award’ at Celtic Connections, Wath Festival’s ‘Young Performer Of The Year Award’ and ‘Manchester’s Got Busker Talent in 2017.’

His successes have seen him support James Gillespie, Adam French, Mull Historical Society, Bernard Butler (Suede), Brian Kennedy, All The Luck In The World and US chart topping band ‘The Revivalists’ on their first UK tour amongst many others.


 Here is a list of his go-to products for emerging musicians:


1. Strymon Big Sky Hall Reverbs Guitar Effect Pedal: First of all, I’d like to apologize for how ‘techy’ this article will be! I am an utter nerd when it comes to musical equipment and thought I would give you guys a heads up on the things that I have found most useful for gigging and recording out of the things that I have bought over the years.

The Strymon Big Sky Reverb Pedal has totally transformed my live performances and recordings. It has helped me find my sound and instantly elevates my guitar tones to right near the top of the pile. It’s incredibly simple to use and super reliable. I use it to add a light shimmer and warmth to my guitar live and in the studio I blend in a small amount in the background of my recordings to add some believable depth. It totally transforms guitar tones and I believe will solve anyones quest for a better tone.



2. ROLAND SPD-SX Percussion Sampling Pad: While neither of these first two options are remotely cheap. The SPD SX is simply so useful that it is a great investment. You can run professional backing tracks off it, trigger samples and plug in external triggers. If you want your live performances to sound more like the recording this is a must. I use it to trigger programmed harmonies and atmosphere to sit behind my guitar and vocal live. I also run my kick drum sound through the SPD SX and pre mix everything so it’s just a case of plug in and play. There is a reason that this bit of kit is in just about every pro band in the world’s set up. I would say of all the things on this list, this bit of kit has the most potential and while it is a lot of work to get it really working for you, it is the most fun item and will completely transform your live show.



3. IMG Stage XLR Splitter Box: I realize that if you were buying the things on this list you’d already have parted with almost a grand by the time you reached recommendation #3 so here’s  a couple of things that are much cheaper that (if used right) I feel are worth significantly more than their price tag . An XLR splitter box is in my opinion one of the most useful things that I have bought and for under £30 I think this is a MUST buy. This bit of kit basically means I can record my vocals while simultaneously sending a feed to the front of house. (This specific splitter box means you can do it with two mics at once). I recorded a live album using this incredibly simple bit of kit (which means it’s spectacularly easy to make your money back on it!) and it means you can enhance any live video taken by a fan in the crowd by blending in a vocal mic feed in post. It’s truly, spectacularly useful.



4. Stagg Multicore Cable Snake:  My setup for playing live is very self contained. I have a lot of leads doing different jobs going to either the FOH (front of house PA), a portable recorder or going to my monitors. This Multicore (cable snake) keeps my cabling really safe and tidy. It’s not a particularly exciting addition to the list. But it makes live shows and setup a lot more stress free and comfortable. When I play live I have two kick triggers, a footswitch for my SPD SX, a good sized pedal board and a twin cable going to my guitar ALL by my feet so not having excess cables around is super important so I can still perform without worrying about tripping up or breaking something! I run my guitar in stereo, my kick trigger and my output from my SPD in stereo down this multicore (5 of the 8 leads) but it’s important to have spares and this product just makes life easier for everyone on stage.


5. Shure AONIC SE215 Earphones: As I’ve developed I’ve started to rely more and more on In Ear Monitoring. As I’m an Acoustic orientated artist I can be quite prone to some on stage feedback which can be a really annoying and unpleasant issue. I’ve started playing some parts of songs with a click in my ears and have my vocal sent mostly to my earphones. Proper moulded In Ear Monitors can cost quite easily over £1,000 and while everyone who has made the investment raves about it; I find that these £80 headphones do a great job. They cut out a lot of external stage sound, fit comfortably, sound great and are just generally a brilliant alternative to spending big bucks. I’d recommend anyone debating whether to take the plunge into In Ear Monitoring to experiment with these first. 



“All of the equipment in this article has massively helped me achieve different goals in music. Whether it’s enhancing my live show, improving my recordings, enabling me to record my live show or just achieving little jobs that I feel made the biggest difference. In 2020 I’m writing, producing, mixing and releasing two songs every month. My fan base then pick their favourite of the two tunes and that song will go straight onto the track listing for one of three EPs that I will be putting out in 2020. If that sounds exciting to you or something you’d like to get involved in then please check out my social media!”

– Joel Gardner

Connect With Joel!

Maia Lee is a DJ from London with over 10 years in the music industry.

She plays at Annabels, Sexy Fish, EGG to name a few. Listen to her most recent mix now on Mixcloud:


Check out the list of her go-to products for upcoming DJ’s:


1. Pioneer DJ (XDJ-RX) Controller: This is a specific DJ pick, I use this at home to play around on, its a smaller, more compact version of the club standard CDJ 2000 Nexus’s. Great for DJs and hobbyists, and also to have something to easily record your mixes straight onto USB. It’s what I have in my bedroom, and I haven’t gotten bored yet 🙂

2. Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 25 DJ Headphones: My favourite headphones I’ve ever used. They’ve lasted me 7 years, have never broken and have great sound cancellation, and also are really light and easy to carry around.

3. SanDisk Ultra Flair Flash Drive: A good USB is essential! I probably have a drawer of around 30+ now, some flimsy and some glitch, but these Sandisks have always been the sturdiest and most reliable, and pop right into all Pioneer CDJs. 

4. The Ordinary Peeling Solution 30ml AHA: Because great skin is everything. Nothing else needs to be said 🙂

5. YMING Scented Candles Gift Set: Because zenning out after a gig is also imperative to feeling relaxed and rested. I usually always have at least one candle burning somewhere in the house every day.


All separation is totally artificial.

– Deepak Chopra

Connect With Maia!

Jerm is an artist/producer from Charlotte, NC, currently based in Los Angeles.

His music has been featured in Adidas stores throughout the country and featured in many reputable music magazines. Jerm released his single “Lie To Me (featuring Vivian)” back in October 2019 and has a new project in the works for 2020.


 Here is a list of his go-to products for emerging musicians:


1. FL Studio 20: FL Studio has been my go-to for music production and recording since I was in middle school. It’s amazing what you can do with this software if you really put the time and effort in to learn it.

2. Apollo Twin Audio Interface: You need a good audio interface to connect your headphones, speakers, and microphone with your computer. It helps you clearly hear what you produce and record into your software so that you can create better mixes and have an overall cleaner workflow. 

3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones: Once you have your software and audio interface, you need a pair of quality studio headphones. These headphones help you hear a lot of the small details in a mix that is unnoticeable in regular headphones like AirPods. 

4. KRK Rokit Studio Monitor:  I’ve had the KRK Rokit 6’s (discontinued) for years now and they’ve been great for me. Nothing is better than bumping your music at high volumes and these have been perfect for that and hearing how things might sound in a car or venue.

5. Warm Audio WA-87 Condenser Microphone: Having a good microphone you can record with at home is very clutch. This is a solid mic for its price range and along with everything else listed, you should have no problem getting industry-standard recordings.

The mindset isn’t about seeking a result – It’s more about the process of getting to that result.

– Kobe Bryant

All photographs by Nick Rufo

Connect With Jerm!

Lauren Conklin is a violinist from Nashville, TN. She writes, arranges, and has over fifteen years of performance experience on several tours, including opening for acts such as Jools Holland, Montgomery Gentry, Josh Thompson, and Kix Brooks.

She has played venues from the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville to the Royal Albert Concert Hall in London, and has worked with artists and productions like Miley Cyrus, Lonestar, Florida Georgia Line, ABC/CMT’s Nashville, The CMT Awards, Little Big Town, Andra Day, Lee Ann Womack, as the featured artist for Bonafonte’s international advertising campaign, and currently tours with 2015’s AGM Female Group of the Year/2016 Country Christian Group of the Year, HighRoad.

Lauren started off 2019 by releasing the first track from her new project “Water Music,” her first album of original instrumentals, which is now available on all digital platforms. 

Check out some of her favorite products to use as an emerging musician:


1. LR Baggs Venue DIThis is a musician specific pick, but I really can’t say enough good things about this DI. I’ve had mine for almost 7 years now, use it every time I play, and it’s still in perfect condition. Great EQ, a tuner, and a boost–as a fiddle player, I love it, and many of the great acoustic guitar and mandolin players I work with a lot love it too!

2. Kindle PaperwhiteI absolutely love my Kindle Paperwhite! You can set it to either be backlit or not, with a variety of brightnesses, the new one is waterproof, and now I can have hundreds of books with me when I travel without a second suitcase.

3. Wireless HeadphonesThese headphones sound amazing AND you don’t have to keep up with the dongle adaptor thing if you have a newer iPhone (I have lost so many of those it’s not even funny anymore). Win-win.

4. The Perfect Planner  – I would never get anywhere or get anything done without this planner, it is my lifeline! I love that it’s undated, so you can start and end whenever you want, and it has tons of space for putting down to do lists/shopping lists/notes/etc! Also comes with great goal setting sheets at beginning of every month and fun stickers.

5. BIC Color Collection PensThis may be dorky, but I’m obsessed with pens. These are my favorites, and it may just be me, but really great colorful pens make me feel so much more creative and excited to get to work!

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”
– Vincent Van Gogh

I love this quote because it is such a good reminder that even if you can only make very small progress towards your goals and dreams each day, those small steps are what will eventually become your big accomplishments!

Connect With Lauren!