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

When you're in need of a pick-me-up, there's nothing quite like some fresh tunes, or a song that perfectly embodies your current feeling to get your spirits lifted. Hearing the right song at the right time can feel like a sign from the heavens that your emotions are valid and you are not alone. To hear these three new releases by locally based and nationally acclaimed artists is to refresh your mind and your mood from the chaos of the societal moment. So let's all take a collective stretch, a deep breath, a glass of water, and dive in to 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 Pacific Northwest 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.