Makin Waves Scene Report with Taylor Tote, Lisa Bouchelle, Ella Ross & More

Also featured this week are “Jersey Rock Earbuds Mixtape” and Project BWQ.

  After winning three film festival awards for her “Fighter” video about childhood cancer, industry-respected Jersey Shore-based singer-songwriter Taylor Tote has dropped a new lyric clip for a more personal song, “This Ain’t Love”, which she premieres here in the stream below.

Produced and engineered by Grammy nominee David Ivory (The Roots, Erykah Badu, Patti LaBelle, Halestorm), the surf-tinged soul-pop song, which recalls Amy Winehouse and Dusty Springfield, was written in the wake of a long-term relationship.

  “I started going out a lot more often and noticed the way people were ‘dating,’” Taylor said. “A lot of my friends had people they were just ‘hooking up’ with and nothing more. Of course, someone always falls in love and wants something more, while the other person could care less. The way some people are trying to get attention and love from another person isn’t really the loving and respectful way of either person in the ‘relationship,’ hence the line in the bridge, ‘If you wanted love you should’ve handled me differently.’”

  “The opening line in the chorus, ‘I’m not into you/But I came through’ stems from being attracted enough to someone to stick it out and go with the flow but not into them enough to want something long term because a lot of times in these situations we know where the intention lies,” she continued. “I’ve been in consistent relationships since I was pretty young so this is something I still really don’t understand yet and why people want to ‘date’ this way because it doesn’t usually seem to end well. So being ‘newly’ single, I made this really interesting observation, wrote a song about it, and can hopefully, stay away from it!”

  Ivory is just one of several industry insiders who sing the artist’s praises: “Taylor Tote is more than up-and-coming. She’s already here, you just don’t know it yet! Great voice, great writer!”

  Lou Plaia, ReverbNation’s co-founding executive vice president of Music Industry & Artist Relations, agreed.

  “I’ve seen Taylor grow from just a teenager with a powerful voice to a young adult with some great songs, great stage presence and, of course, that same killer voice,” Plaia said. “Her most recent song, ‘This Ain’t Love’, had me snapping my fingers along with the song as she belted out her lyrics.”

  In addition to winning awards for “Fighter” at the Garden State Film Festival, the Asbury Park Music and Film Festival and the Los Angeles Move Awards in Hollywood, the rising star was named the NYC Hard Rock Rising 2017 Division Champion. She has performed at Winter NAMM in Anaheim and Summer NAMM in Nashville and toured regionally with her band: bassist Aaron Manzo, drummer Anthony Flora, and guitarists-vocalists Nick Ryan and Tom Briant.

  Their next gig is Sept. 15 at Resurgence Festival in Atlantic City. More singles and videos will follow in the fall with an album expected next year.


  Trenton-raised Jersey Shore favorite Lisa Bouchelle returns on Aug. 9 to the Stone Pony with a mighty video in tow for her dreamy cover of folk legend Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”

  Featuring pedal steel by Jeremy Steel (Emmy Lou Harris, Buddy Miller), the track was co-produced by Jeff Trott, producer and co-writer of several of Sheryl Crow’s biggest hits, and is garnering airplay on top Triple A radio stations, such as WXPN in Philadelphia and KCSN in Los Angeles, as well as country stations nationwide.

  “I’ve always loved bringing my music to life visually through my videos,” Lisa said. “They’ve allowed me to channel a creative side that I don’t always have the opportunity to explore. With ‘If You Could Read My Mind’, especially, I was able to convey a deeper part of myself that isn’t often seen by many.”

  The second single from Lisa’s top-streaming EP, Lipstick Cowboy, follows “Only the Tequila Talkin’,” a duet with Blues Traveler front man and fellow Jersey-bred John Popper, who co-starred in the video, which has more than 100,000 views on YouTube. Meanwhile, Lipstick Tomboy has two million streams on Spotify.

  The Pony date is part of a tour with surf-rocker Donavon Frankenreiter, a protégé of Jack Johnson. Their trek brought them up the East Coast from Florida and will continue  Aug. 11, Brooklyn Bowl; Aug. 13, Stephen Talkhouse, Amagansett, N.Y.; Aug. 15, The Warehouse, Fairfield, Conn.; Aug. 17, Ocean Music Hall, Salisbury Beach, Mass.; Aug. 18, The Hamilton Live, Washington, D.C.; Aug. 20 and 21, The Beachcomber, Wellfleet, Mass.; Aug. 22, Bowery Ballroom, New York City; Aug. 23, Mulcahy’s Pub & Concert Hall, Wantagh, N.Y.; Aug. 24, Theatre of Living Arts, Philadelphia; Aug. 26, Asbury Hall, Buffalo, N.Y.; Aug. 27, Rams Head On Stage, Annapolis, Md.; Aug. 28 and 29, Beach Creek, Wildwood; Aug. 30, Daryl’s House Club, Pawling, N.Y., and Aug. 31, Higher Ground, Burlington, Vt.

  Another Jersey Shore singer-songwriter taking the music scene by storm is Ella Ross, who is backed by none other than Deal Casino on her new EP, Wasted Youth, which was co-produced by that band’s vocalist-guitarist Joe “P.” Parella at Lakehouse Recording Studios in Asbury Park. The seven-song collection was co-produced by Eric Novod, director of education at Lakehouse Music Academy, where Ella cut her teeth as a young musician.

  Wasted Youth is a follow-up to last year’s debut EP, Uncharted Waters, which also was recorded at Lakehouse and released by MOTO Records. From the new self-released effort, a video for the standout track “Dream” is due in the fall. In the meantime, Ella will play Aug. 11 at Danny Clinch Transparent Gallery in Asbury with Underwater Sounds and Aug. 31 at The Saint, also Asbury, with The Cold Seas, Drew the Recluse, Lex Rex & the Dragons, and Philosophical Tom.

  While the mixtape still reigns supreme in rap circles, the rock scene turned its back on the format with the advent of CDs and playlists. Well, it’s making a roaring comeback with “The Jersey Rock Earbuds Mixtape,” a compilation of eight Jersey bands curated by Tom Hanley, host of 95.9 the Rat’s beloved “Jersey Rock” show and produced by Shore-based In the Clouds Records. The fifth in a series of monthly Earbuds compilations released by In the Clouds, the “Jersey Rock” variation features The Vansaders’ “Sunrise”, Reality Suite’s “Cut, Burn, Bruise”, The Skullers’ “Peace with You”, Levy & The Oaks’ “Out of the Blue”, Frankenstein 3000’s “Second Time Around”, The Ones You Forgot’s “Here Forever”, Experiment 34’s “Cut the String”, and Dark Sky Choir’s “Cry for the Legions”. Free copies are available to Rat listeners so tune into the station to find out how you can nab or just purchase yours via the hyperlink above. Also find out more about Earbuds and In the Clouds in an interview by Hanley with the label’s Dan Marter and Nunzio Moudatsos on the latest “Jersey Rock” podcast, which also happens to feature a chat with little ol’ me to preview the fourth and final Makin Waves Summer Concert Series at Asbury Park Brewery show on Aug. 11.

  Jersey City rockers Project BWQ recently released “American Ghost,” featuring the single and video, “Phosphene”. “American Ghost” explores identity and the nature of relationships, the pain of being invisible, vulnerability and paranoia, and the healing that takes place throughout the course of life. Led by former teacher Darryl Joo, the band includes drummer-producer John Roccesano, lead guitarist Max Feinstein, and bassist-cellist Jack Breslin. Having recently celebrated the release of American Ghost earlier this month at FM Bar in J.C., they have gigs coming up Aug. 15 at The Fire, Philadelphia, and Aug. 16, The Brighton Bar, Long Branch.

Bob Makin is the reporter for and a former managing editor of The Aquarian Weekly, which launched this column in 1988. Contact him at And like Makin Waves at