Worth It, Amber Mark
"Worth It," Amber Mark EMI Records, 2021

Let's all take a collective stretch, a deep breath, a glass of water, and dive into these sweet soundwaves.

“Worth It,” Amber Mark

If you're in need of encouragement and/or uplifting, listening to Amber Mark's new single on loop might be just the remedy you seek. On April 23, the 27-year-old singer-songwriter dropped "Worth It," Mark's first single from her forthcoming album, and it's all about convincing the listener that they're worthy, and to release self-doubt and regret from their mindset. Over a pulsating and danceable beat, Mark sings in her signature husky voice: "I know that you get so used to it/Always living in regret/Your dreams never left your head/But when you talk to me/I can see the light shining/So bright that it is blinding/Just let it out, yeah." For fans of Sade and a good bossa nova beat, Amber Mark's soulful music is the kind to make you dance, cry, and even throw your hands up in praise. She wrote "Worth It" as a mantra to herself when she's being her own worst critic—something we can all relate to. And what a repeatable mantra it is: "Oh, I know you feel it/That automatic shiver in your spine, uh/Darkness, you have seen it/Heavy on the heart, look to the light, yeah/Oh-oh-oh, release the feeling/It'll send you out to space/Nothing like your happiness/Oh-oh-oh, open up the ceiling/You think you don't deserve it/But you are so damn worth it, baby."

Also watch the accompanying music video for "Worth It," directed by Mark and Cara Stricker, and the first in a five-part series following a story of self-love and acceptance.

“Trauma,” Drae Slapz

Stalwart Portland-based artist/producer/engineer Drae Slapz released his first single of the year on April 21. Known for his behind-the-boards production and engineering work for rappers like Mic Capes, Brookfield Duece, and SamuelThe1st, "Trauma" showcases Slapz' many solo talents. Clocking in at just over a minute long, "Trauma" is performed/written/recorded/mixed/mastered by Slapz and sees the "RareVibe"artist delivering rap bars (along with signature adlibs) in a hypnotizing, low and rumbling voice on top of a murky trap-inspired beat. As we wait for more content from the artist, check out the rainy music video for "Trauma" below:

“Gold," Jae Stephens, feat. Parisalexa

On April 21, LA alt R&B singer/songwriter/producer Jae Stephens released a solid three-track EP called And Friends, following up her 2019 debut f*ck it i'll do it myself. As the new EP's name implies, each song features a different guest artist, including R&B duos THEY. and Vanjess. Opening track "Gold," is a fierce collaboration with excellent Seattle singer-songwriter Parisalexa; the song sees the two declaring their self worth and equating it to gold with a bevy of rich metaphors. "You see my mеlanin worth more than my chain/Got gems all in my brain/Call my jeweler, bust down my ring/I'm married to the game/Doin' this shit since '98/It's perfect timing, ain't easy, babe/Wine me, dine me, feed me grapes," Parisalexa aptly sings. The nearly three-minute song, and the EP as a whole, is a vibe worth riding.