Fresh Indies Vol. 7: Carlos Vara, Audra Mae, Leah Daniels, Towne, Stephen Babcock & Slow Skies

Fresh Indies Vol. 7: Carlos Vara, Audra Mae, Leah Daniels, Towne, Stephen Babcock & Slow Skies

This week, for Fresh Indies Vol. 7, I’ve got six incredible new tracks for you enjoy, spanning old-school R&B, country, folk, and pop music. Featured tracks include Carlos Vara’s “Numb”, Audra Mae’s “Open Arms”, Leah Daniels’ “1st”, Towne’s “Let Me Let You Go”, Stephen Babcock’s “Atlanta”, and “Dancing” by Slow Skies.

Listen to the full Fresh Indies playlist for April on Spotify.

Carlos Vara – “Numb”

Stop everything you’re doing and listen to Carlos Vara’s “Numb”. This transcendent, tender, and aching, pop song hits hard, and it gets more powerful every step through the song. Vara’s vocals are filled with yearning and an ache that you’ll feel in your stomach. He’s raw and his music feels deeply personal with lyrics that sound like they came from the heart.

The 20-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee grew up in South Carolina, before moving away on his own to pursue his music. “The past 2 years have been full of self discovery,” the artist said, “coming to terms with my sexuality, and trying to figure out life on my own.”

Watch the video for “Numb” on YouTube, and then follow Carlos Vara on Instagram and Twitter.

Audra Mae – “Open Arms”

Audra Mae’s new album Love, Audra Mae is a deliciously soulful, confidant mash-up of old school pop, R&B, and maybe a touch of country, but whatever you call her style, Mae owns it. Her vocals are smooth and sweet, and just a little whispy, and “Open Arms” is one of the most electric tracks off the album (aside from “He Tickles My Ivories”). Mae’s sound, particularly on “Open Arms”, is ravishing and powerful, and she’s absolutely made me a fan.

A vocalist, singer, and songwriter, Mae has worked with numerous artists, including Fall Out Boy, Celine Dion, The Chainsmokers, Miranda Lambert, and Avicii. You can also hear her music in movies, on television, and in commercials.

Follow Audra Mae on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and visit her website for the latest news.

Leah Daniels – “1st”

“1st” is modern country pop, with silky vocals, and Leah Daniels has the most beautiful voice for this bubbly, up-tempo love song. The single is fresh and endearing, and it sounds like a song for Spring, both sweet and bitter-sweet, all at once.

Daniels has earned major acclaim in Canada, with over 1.9 Million views on YouTube, and nominations for the Canadian Radio Music Award, and Canadian Country Music Awards, on top of appearances at CMT Fest, Boots & Hearts and Big Valley Jamboree.

Leah Daniels’ new EP will be coming out later this year, and it’s being produced by Sam Ellis, Brian Howes, and Karen Kosowski. Watch the music video for “1st” on YouTube, and follow Daniels on Facebook.

Towne – “Let Me Let You Go”

Towne‘s “Let Me Let You Go” sounds instantly familiar, and it’s going to be stuck in your head all day long, with melodies that blur the line between country and pop in all the right ways.

Lead singer Steevie Steeves pairs effortlessly with guitarist and vocalist Jon Decious, and the duo have a powerful approach to songwriting that is very satisfying.

“Jon was a breath of fresh air,” Steeves said about working with Decious. “His punk country mixed with my pop soulness is a very interesting dynamic, and it is what it is. It’s definitely different,” and that’s exactly what makes their music so catchy.

Follow the Nashville duo on Facebook and Twitter, and watch the music video for “Let Me Let You Go” on YouTube.

Stephen Babcock – “Atlanta”

Give Stephen Babcock’s “Atlanta” a listen, and you’re first going to be hooked on his easy, charming vocals before the catchy, smart lyrics hit your ear, and you find yourself singing along a couple of listens later. Babcock’s music is earthy and warm, and on “Atlanta” you could call his style upbeat folk. His sound is unmistakably touched by the American South, country music, and bar-room folk, not to mention a little bit of old school pop.

Babcock started playing guitar at the age of 15, and so far he’s released two EPs and two LPs. His influences include pop, Americana, and country.

“Atlanta” is the second single from Babcock’s upcoming EP, Fiction, which will be released this Saturday in New York City. Get the full list of Babcock’s upcoming tour dates on his website. Plus, follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

Slow Skies – “Dancing”

Karen Sheridan is the voice behind Slow Skies and the single “Dancing” and her spritely vocals are mesmerizing, casting a spell that will whisk you away. “Dancing” is beautiful, and intimate, and it sounds like the kind of track that you’d expect to hear at the end of a great television episode; an uplifting number that sets the tone for a heartfelt moment.

“It’s all about nudging people to think about whatever it is that makes them feel good and just feel happy in that moment,” Sheridan said of the single. “I want this song to be three minutes where you drift off into a happy place, where nothing else matters. I actually wrote most of the lyrics blindfolded so it was really all about how they made me feel in the moment, with all the other sensory distractions stripped away.”

You also truly haven’t experienced the song until you’ve watched the dreamlike, magical music video.

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, the folk, and pop-powered Slow Skies have released three EPs to date, in addition to supporting acts like James Vincent McMorrow, St. Vincent, and Cat Power. Follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Fresh Indies on Spotify

Stay tuned next week for our latest volume of Fresh Indies. Send us your music on SubmitHub.

W. Andrew Powell lives, sleeps, eats, and breaths movies and entertainment. Since launching The GATE in 1999 Andrew has enjoyed being a pest to any publicist who would return his calls. In his "spare time," Andrew is also an avid photographer, and writes about leisure travel and hotels around the world.