CHUCK D Hip-Hop Pioneer, Renaissance Man
Plus: Barbara Orbison, Keeper of the Flame Songwriter Profile with Asphalt Messiah
How to Appeal to the Music Industry
Global Radio Charts, Featured Artists & Reviews January 2010
As co-founder of Public Enemy, Chuck D transcended what a rapper and musician can do. Known as one of the most intelligent and articulate spokesmen in rap, he has become a lightning rod of controversy and wisdom. In this exclusive interview, you’ll learn why, and how, he has remained relevant.
10 Behind the Desk
Roy Orbison was one the most beloved and successful singer-songwriters in the universe. And, his wife, Barbara Orbison is determined to keep his legacy alive. In this candid conversation, you’ll find out how she plans to position Roy as a contemporary artist years after his death.
27 The Indie Way
Finding a way to appeal to industry is a real challenge for most artists. With this month’s tips, artists will learn what it takes to attract industry attention from a variety of insiders and players. This is a must read for any act who hopes to get a deal.
29 Now Media
With commercial radio’s tight formats adversely affecting its popularity, many are asking if internet radio is the future? Our resident prognosticator explores that question in detail, and his conclusions may surprise you.
35 On the Road
Musicians love to say that every song tells a story, but many are secretive about the tale behind the song. Well, veteran Hollywood publicist, Jo-Ann Geffen has written a book that opens the curtain on 101 popular songs. The stories she relates will amaze you.
4 The Broken Poem 14 Global Radio Charts 22 Featured Artists ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz CONTENT DIRECTOR: Bernard Baur CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Dr. T. Roberts, Hans Fink, Tom Laurie, Jeanie Cunningham, Mike Hagler, Paula Munoz, Raleigh Squires ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (aleven.com) VIDEOS: The Composers Corner
FROM THE PUBLISHER AirPlay Direct is pleased and excited to announce the launch of our new digital / interactive publication, the Direct Buzz. Our mission is to entertain, enlighten and inform. We see the Direct Buzz as a “Destination” for anyone interested in general entertainment. And, although it will be music oriented, we will be bold in our exploration of pop culture, life issues and commonly shared interests. Most of all, we want to help and encourage those creative individuals who are striving to succeed in a changing world. We already have plans to introduce columns that will provide advice for those who may need help with their writing, recording or producing. Other sections will address the various needs of artists, reps and industry professionals, with videos supplying a large part of our message. We will always be a “work in progress,” because that’s life and, most certainly, it’s life in the field of entertainment. It’s a tough gig, but not an impossible one. And we think you’ll enjoy watching us grow. As the Direct Buzz evolves, it will become more interactive with every issue. In fact, we’ll be encouraging our readers to contribute content. For members of AirPlay Direct, the Direct Buzz will not only add value to their membership services, it will also give them the opportunity to let the world know about their art. We look forward to your comments, suggestions and thoughts. So, feel free to contact us at any time.
Robert Weingartz Publisher and Founder, Direct Buzz CEO, AirPlay Direct
The Broken Poem oem
a songwriter profile by Raleigh Squires
hen the DirectBuzz asked me to do this month’s “The Broken Poem” songwriter feature on the group Asphalt Messiah and their song “The First Of Never,” I admit I was a bit apprehensive. For a guy who has spent 30 years writing and plugging songs in the country music business in Nashville, I wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to a classic rock/hip-hop hybrid band and their music. But the Nashville Songwriters Association’s marketing slogan, “It all begins with a song,” is applicable regardless of the genre of music and once the focus became the process of putting words and music together to make a statement of some kind, all the format and style barriers came tumbling down. Songwriting is a universal thing. The same practices, principles, and strategies apply across the board when it comes to writers sitting down with their instruments and ideas and pulling together the musical and lyrical components that make a song. It’s all
“First of Never”
about “hooks” and pulling listeners in through something unique and different and especially memorable. We sat down with Asphalt Messiah guitarist and founding member Kacy Jones and got his insight into what it takes for him and the band to write great songs and, in particular, the inspiration and the process he and cowriter Automatic and the rest of the band went through to create “The First Of Never.” THE BROKEN POEM: Tell us a little about Asphalt Messiah before we get into The Broken Poem. KACY: Well, I’m the original member, the founding member of this movement we call Asphalt Messiah. It was originally myself and one other person, who was a drummer, and we wanted to really be a true hybrid of classic rock, and also hip-hop, two genres that I really grew up with that I love quite a bit. But what we really stand for is just equality across the board and just bringing everybody to the table that shouldn’t be separate. We don’t want to be separated by
class, race, gender, whatever. THE BROKEN POEM: Do you always try to put these kinds of messages in your songs or does it just happen naturally? KACY: It just kind of happens naturally. It’s really kind of organic. A lot of times we just start playing something in rehearsal, we record our rehearsals, then if we all love the song we’ll just vamp it ‘til we lock it down. Sometimes I’ll be sitting around with my acoustic guitar, and I’ll come up with a song concept and a riff, sometimes it’s just a riff, so there’s a myriad of ways that we write, but really it’s just kind of natural how when we get together in the same room, how the stars align. THE BROKEN POEM: Tell us how “First Of Never” came about? Which came first, the riff or the idea? KACY: The title came first, The First Of Never, and then the riff. It’s funny, cause that’s how I met Automatic (Asphalt Messiah lead singer, co-writer, and co-producer). I sat down and started playing guitar for
some other stuff, like this project Asphalt Messiah was working on, and he looks at me and says, “What is that?” I told him it was a song I was working on called “The First Of Never.” And I told him it was basically about whatever situation you’re in whether it’s business or a personal relationship or whatever, when you’ve finally had enough, you’ve had enough. The song’s about looking that situation or person in the face and saying, “You know what, call me on the first of never.” And then you’re done, you know. THE BROKEN POEM: Did the hook “First Of Never” come from a personal experience? Where did the personal inspiration come from? KACY: At the time I was going through a personal situation, kinda like a divorce situation, and Automatic was kinda going through the same things and that was something that just personally hit home. Once you feel like you’ve given yourself to a situation, you’ve put your all in, and you know you can look yourself in the face, and you know you can talk to God, and God knows and you know that you’ve done what you’re supposed to do, and someone on the other end just doesn’t give back. THE BROKEN POEM: How does this all come together in the studio? Usually what we do is we’ll record the rehearsal then we’ll all sit down and dissect it. Once we get in the studio, then we have to really track down the lyrics that are going to make sense commercially. As opposed to something that makes sense to us, we want something that makes sense to everybody, that everybody can identify with. THE BROKEN POEM: Obviously, your music is a blend of rock & roll, hip-hop, urban and bunch of different things all in one, and in “The First Of Never” you go from a melodic verse and chorus into a rap chorus. Explain how you make that a natural progression.
KACY: It came about in rehearsal. We wanted to make something that was a true hybrid but we didn’t want it to be forced, we wanted it to be natural. Fortunately, for us, the way we are as friends in this band, we’ve never had one fight. Never raised our voices at one another. That transfers in our music. In the way we write and the way we perform. And that’s what makes our music come to us in such an organic way where it’s not forced. THE BROKEN POEM: What led to Asphalt Messiah’s ability to meld all these different styles together into the unique brand of music you guys create? KACY: I was raised in a house filled with rock & roll. My mother had Kiss and Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Iron Butterfly and Cream, Bad Company, 38 Special, all of that. That’s what I grew up with. When I went to school in the 80s, hip-hop was coming through so I also dug that. I’ve always had the feeling I love all these genres of music but then also I was in Texas. So I listened to the Oak Ridge Boys and the Statler Brothers and people like that were also influences and I love that stuff, too. A lot of stuff translates into what we’re trying to do with our music THE BROKEN POEM: To sum this all up, what kind of advice would you give musicians who want to follow in Asphalt Messiah’s footsteps.? KACY: Listen to everything, whether it’s music, whether it’s nature, whether it’s your grandpa singing on the porch. Because everything that you touch can influence you musically and make you a better musician. I would say really always strive to be an innovator not a copycat. Be true to thyself but also give something in a way where you can give back. And if you can give back through your music cause you help somebody else get it and help someone else open their mind and change their life, and that’s what I think is the great thing about music.
“First of Never” You didn’t care about the lies you told / You didn’t care about the heart you broke / You didn’t care about the lives you stole / You left me lying in my broken soul so... Call me on the first of never / Call me on the first of never / I don’t want to see your face / I don’t want to hear your name / So call me on the first of never… the first of never I can’t believe that you took my life Stabbed it in and twist the knife / I can’t believe that you did me wrong I turned around and you were gone / I can’t believe that you took my life Stabbed it in and twist the knife / I can’t believe that you did me wrong I turned around and you were gone I can’t believe that you could be so cold / I turned around and the (explicit) was gone / Now every chick that comes along I treat so wrong / I can’t believe I loved you way too long so… Bumbidlie bumbidlie billie your just a killer really / How could you blame me for being so cynical so really / Give me the benefit of the doubt I know I’m messed up now / I’ve gotta find another chick so that I can work it out / Don’t want to be a victim of your mental deficiency / Don’t want to be a victim of your abusive history / They call me a rude boy I that’s why they tell me I need therapy / They call me a rude boy so why do these women keep me living… / Alone Alone you left me all alone I just don’t understand it I checked my iphone / But you wasn’t there you didn’t even text me / You’re so complex how could you forget me? / For real I tried to move on but I couldn’t I wanted to call your funky ass back but I shouldn’t / Eff that stay back keep it real now call me on the first of never and call now
Chuck D Hip-Hop Pioneer, Renaissance Man By: Bernard Baur
huck D is probably the closest to a renaissance man we have today. As the co-founder of Public Enemy, he used that platform to transcend what a rapper and musician can do. He’s easily one of hip-hop’s most vocal spokespersons --- aside from Kanye West. The difference between Chuck and Kanye, though, is that Chuck’s words often turn into global action, whereas Kanye’s turn into tabloid fodder. The commercial success of Public Enemy allowed Chuck D to deliver his thoughts, on a host of issues, to all segments of society using a variety of different mediums. He’s hosted segments on the Fox News Channel, is a best-selling author with his autobiography, Fight The Power, is a sought after speaker on the college lecture circuit, is a prominent member of MusicCares and Rock The Vote, and started his own record label, SlamJamz.
He also served as national spokesperson for Rock The Vote, the National Urban League and the National Alliance of African American Athletes. He’s appeared in numerous public service announcements for peace and a Drug Free America; and, has been a regular guest on numerous television shows including Nightline, and Politically Incorrect. In fact, for decades his socially and politically charged messages have challenged the status quo to “fight the powers that be,” while reminding people about the dangers of complacency. Indeed, if he wasn’t a world-class musician and producer, Chuck D could be a political contender. Born Carlton Douglas Ridenhour in Roosevelt, New York, he redefined hip-hop as music with a message using his stridently controversial lyrics as a foundation. In the late ‘80s, fledgling producer and future music mogul,
It’s about quality. You should be proud of what you put out and build on it.
Rick Rubin was so impressed with his work, he signed Chuck to Def Jam Records. “He was one of the greatest rappers I had ever heard,” Rubin told Rolling Stone. As a result, Chuck assembled Public Enemy to support the force of his rhetoric with nearly avant-garde soundscapes. They released several seminal albums, including Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987), It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988), Fear of a Black Planet (1990), and Apocalypse 91...The Enemy Strikes Black (1991). Those three recordings consolidated Public En-
emy’s position as the most important rap group of its time, with the Washington Post calling them “the most radical and politically charged band in America.” Their groundbreaking body of work established Chuck D as one of the most intelligent and articulate spokesmen in rap music. Nevertheless, Chuck left Def Jam over the label’s refusal to allow him to distribute Public Enemy’s music via free internet downloads. He was an early adapter and became an outspoken advocate of MP3 technology. In fact, 1999’s There’s a Poison Goin’ On... became the first full-length album by a major artist to be made available over the internet. Over the years, Chuck D has stayed very active, working on a wide range of projects, even occasionally touring with Public Enemy. Today, he continues his work as an activist, publisher, lecturer, and producer. Addressing the negative views sometimes associated with rap music, he argues, “Music, art and culture is escapism; and escapism sometimes is healthy for people to get away from reality.” Last year, Chuck became involved in Let Freedom Sing: The Music of the Civil Rights, a three CD box set from Time Life. He wrote the introduction to the liner notes and visits colleges across the nation to discuss the significance of the set. He also launched a mobile-content aggregation company to bring music and videos to cell phones called Chuck D Mobile. Additionally, he’s involved with several different websites (www.publicenemy. com, www.SLAMjamz.com, www. rapstation.com) that address significant social issues and hip-hop music Obviously, in addition to being a musical pioneer, Chuck D is also a smart businessman with an entrepreneurial flair. That sort of activity is enough to keep his legacy secure as a respected voice on the American cultural landscape. Chuck D talked with the Direct
We had to use different tactics to get our music out there and get attention. Buzz from his home in Atlanta, GA. We think you’ll find his interview extremely interesting as well as informative. He is a real visionary with advice for those who may be overwhelmed with all of the options available today. His world may seem chaotic to some, but he is so grounded he makes it seem simple. the Direct Buzz (tDB): You are involved with an amazing number of projects in a variety of different areas. How do you keep up the pace? Chuck D (CD): I’ve always been like that. I’m very hands-on with everything I do. You’ve got to take care of business, man. The tricky part is making sure everything makes sense. So, someone has to see the big picture; and, that’s usually me. I’m also very interested in new technology and applications. There are new things that come up every day in a million different areas, and you have to keep up with them or be left behind. The truth is I like trying different approaches to see if I can get better results. tDB: But there are so many choices and options available today, it can get overwhelming. How do you choose the ones that will work for you?
CD: Yeah, it can get confusing. But, I do my homework. Sometimes it’s just a process of elimination. There are so many new apps, it is hard to choose one over another. You just have to weed them out. And, once you make your choice – and this is important – you can’t second guess yourself and backtrack. You take your best shot and make the best of it. tDB: You do seem to have gotten into new technology, and especially the internet, in a big way. Why is that? CD: Man, it was out of necessity. Traditional mediums threw us out of the mix. A lot of opportunities offered by network TV and commercial radio were unreachable for hip-hop acts. For a long time, we couldn’t buy our way in. Licensing companies wouldn’t even deal with us. So, we had to use different tactics to get our music out there and get attention. tDB: Is that why you have so many different websites all over the internet? CD: Yes. The internet opens a lot of doors – some we couldn’t get in before; and, it doesn’t censor you. It also gives us a direct connection to
our fans, and that’s really important. In fact, I got into the internet very early on with Public Enemy. You just have to be practical and smart and find what works best for your brand. tDB: How do you decide what’s best for your brand? CD: You have to make some basic decisions about what you want. I’ll give you an example. The major labels flood the market with tons of product. For them, it’s all about quantity. For us, it’s about quality. That’s the way it should be for all artists. You should be proud of what you put out and build on it. And that goes for whatever it is, whether it’s music, blogs, radio shows, whatever. I’m proud of everything we do. You just have to be consistent. tDB: Well, you’ve certainly been consistent. You’ve always been very socially active and politically conscious – right from the get go. Do you think that’s a role artists should take? CD: I think it’s important to take a stand. Art reflects the place we come from. And, artists reflect the people and the way they feel. Why shouldn’t we talk about issues that are important to us? I believe you should be engaged in the discussion, especially if you feel something’s not right. I started writing about social issues many years ago and, now, in 2010 there are even more of them. Because of that, today, I believe everyone should be involved, including artists. tDB: Recently you became involved in a program called “Sell a Band.” What is that about? CD: It’s a way that we can do a new Public Enemy record. It’s a model that allows acts to finance their albums through fan contributions. I thought it would be a unique way for us to do a special type of album with some very special guests, like Tom Morello. It lets you know how strong your fan base is and who the believers are. I think it’s a very interesting idea. So, we’re going to give it a shot. tDB: In the past, you’ve been
If you don’t think ahead, you won’t get ahead. quoted saying that you thought the use of samples (from other artist’s works) should be free. Since sampling is such a big part of hip-hop, do you still think that way? CD: No. I’m on the side of artists being paid if someone samples their songs. You’re referring to something I said when sampling was brand new – before the law changed everything. It really depends on the sample, though. As Public Enemy we used sounds, not slices of songs. We approached sampling as just another way to arrange those sounds. We would take sounds off of an instrument and arrange them in our own way. It was bits and pieces, like a horn hit, or a guitar riff. We thought we were pretty crafty about it. That’s different than using a melody, a song’s rhythm or a chorus. tDB: You are a true hip-hop pioneer. Did you ever envision the genre becoming so popular? CD: We knew we were on to something. But it wasn’t until record companies found it commercially viable that it really took off. They found out it actually sold records, which of course filled their pockets. The problem is that very little of that money went to the artist or publishing company. In my opinion, artists relied too much on record companies to be the end all be all for every-
thing. Today, we don’t have to do that anymore. Artists can do it on their own, and keep the money for themselves. That’s why I started my own label. tDB: But, you also supported P2P (file sharing), which many contend takes money from artists. Do you still agree with that position? CD: Of course, but not in the sense of stealing music. What I’m talking about is sharing music. I think it’s the new radio. It’s how people discover music today. They form communities around it and make it part of their lives. You know, any way you can get exposure for your music is a good thing. tDB: Is that why you chose AirPlayDirect to distribute your songs to radio? CD: That’s part of the reason. I like their model. I think what they’re doing is the future. The music business has changed a lot since I began my career. It’s been forced to, because times have changed. Everything is different now; and if you don’t think ahead, you won’t get ahead. tDB: So, what’s on the horizon for you and Public Enemy? CD: We are moving forward. And, we have a powerful online community. Just check out our website to see what’s up. Go to www.publicenemy.com and check it out.
Barbara Orbison Keeper of the Flame By: Bernard Baur
arbara Orbison has a heavy burden. She’s in charge of Roy Orbison’s legacy. If you think that’s easy, just take a look at how Elvis Presley’s estate managed his affairs after his death, licensing his image for ridiculous items like bobble-head dolls. But Barbara, who is Roy’s widow, is very protective of her husband’s image and intends to do it differently. The Direct Buzz had the opportunity to engage Barbara in a candid conversation about her life with Roy and her plans concerning his memory. In the process, we discovered that she is a remarkable lady, a true force of nature. Her sense of dignity is not only impeccable; she’s also an extraordinary entrepreneur and inspiring visionary. She established Orbison Records to market and distribute Roy’s recordings; is president of Still Working Music Group, a publishing company that owns the rights to many contemporary hits; and is managing all aspects of Roy’s estate. Her life with a rock & roll legend is the sort of existence many people dream about. And, Barbara plans to honor their life together, as well as Roy’s considerable contributions to music, in a manner that will keep Roy Orbison both contemporary and
relevant. Indeed, she is dedicated to promoting his music to future generations. That’s not a simple aspiration, but it’s one that Barbara Orbison seems perfectly suited to accomplish. the Direct Buzz (tDB): Honoring Roy Orbison’s legacy is an awesome responsibility. How do you plan on keeping it respectful and avoiding the missteps Elvis’ estate made? Barbara Orbison (BO): All I have to do is follow Roy’s lead. He was such a class act. There was nothing contrived about him. He was about the music. And, more than anything, that music was classic and clean. Roy would never comprise his values, and I won’t either. tDB: Roy wrote some incredible songs, but they were from another era. Do you think his music is still relevant today? BO: I think his music is timeless, and my plan is to position Roy as a
contemporary artist. Even when music changed in the 70s, he wouldn’t bend to the trend. He did what he did best. He loved writing and performing, and was always real. He never pretended to be anything he wasn’t. Because of that, I believe his music is as relevant today as it was then. tDB: Are there any tracks we haven’t heard that you plan on releasing? BO: Yes. We recently released The Soul of Rock and Roll, a four CD box set of 107 recordings that include demos, live recordings and twelve unreleased cuts that span Roy’s career. We also released a DVD of a 1988 television special called Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. That concert meant a lot to Roy. Many artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, T-Bone Burnett, and J.D. Souther played with him that
night. It was a magical evening. tDB: The Roy Orbison website is an amazing platform with a variety of applications that really bring him into the 21st century. Was that part of your plan? BO: I’m always looking ahead. That’s what I do… We update the site constantly, and have translations in almost every language. We also produce “Roy Radio,” a 24-hour program, to introduce the history of rock & roll to a new generation. You know, many artists admired Roy, from Elvis and Dylan to John Lennon and Tom Petty, but many young people may not be as familiar with his work as they were. We plan to change that. We also associated with AirPlay Direct so that radio could bring Roy’s music back to the public. We’re always moving forward and looking to the future. tDB: Well, let’s look back for a minute. When you met Roy you were a very young girl. If he wasn’t a rock star would you have been attracted to him? BO: Oh my God, I’ve never been asked that question quite like that. I knew he was a singer but I wasn’t really a fan. I was at a club when Roy showed up. He saw me and asked two different people to introduce us, but I didn’t want to meet him. I didn’t want to go up to him and then have him turn away and ignore me. I was 17 years old, too young to know better. He was persistent, though, and I finally agreed to say hello, but planned
to keep it short and leave with some dignity. However, what happened is he started talking, and he was so interesting and funny, I forgot my plan. After our first date, I knew that he was special. He was a gentleman and we had a lot in common. We got married a year later and lived together for twenty years. You know, you don’t stay with someone for that long because of what they do. You stay because you’re in love.” tDB: You also managed Roy’s career for a time. That could be a double-edged sword when you’re related to the artist. How did you manage to keep it together? BO: I only managed him for three years. It was never meant to be forever. It was during a time when he was between managers and working with Virgin. He needed someone to handle the business aspects and I was there for him. We kept our lives balanced and got along very well, so it wasn’t a problem.” tDB: Have you ever been approached about making a movie of Roy’s life – like they did with Johnny Cash and Ray Charles? BO: That has come up at least once a month for years. It’s true that Roy had an extraordinary life, with incredible highs and incredible lows,
and it would be a fabulous story. We just haven’t found the right approach yet. I believe when the time is right, and the right people are involved, it’ll happen. tDB: You are involved with many charitable causes. Is that something Roy was interested in? BO: Roy was a very giving person, who liked to help people. So, we established the Barbara & Roy Orbison Foundation. Homelessness is a particularly important issue to us. I feel very strongly about it and have funded the “Orbison House” in Los Angeles.” tDB: What do you have scheduled for the immediate future? BO: Roy is going to be inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in January. That’s very exciting and a long time coming. We’re also sponsoring a video contest with Gibson Guitar that will give the winner a replica of Roy’s 12-string Epiphone Acoustic, which he wrote a lot of his songs on. You can enter at our website, www.royorbison.com. I’ve always love fragrances, so I’m launching a new perfume called “Pretty Woman” that you can find at www.prettywomanperfume.com. We have a few other things going on as well. Just check Roy’s website for updates.
GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS FOR DECEMBER 2009
TOP 20 RELEASES/ALBUMS
TOP 20 RELEASES/ALBUMS FOR DECEMBER 2009
VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: www.AirPlayDirect.com/charts The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at AirPlayDirect.com/charts. We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.
GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS FOR DECEMBER 2009
TOP 20 TRACKS
Your Unique Voice Awesome Vocal Range Captivating Performance “The Deva Method is the closest thing to getting cosmetic surgery for your voice.” – Performer Magazine
Study with Jeannie Deva in-person or Online by web cam. Find Free tips and a Deva Method® teacher at:
TOP 20 TRACKS FOR DECEMBER 2009
VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: www.AirPlayDirect.com/charts The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at AirPlayDirect.com/charts. We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.
FEATURED ARTISTS ARE PAID ADVERTISERS FROM THE AIRPLAY DIRECT COMMUNITY
Stephanie Quayle Stephanie Quayle’s debut album Ain’t No Housewife has a message to deliver and people are listening. Hand picked by the first lady of California, Maria Shriver invited Stephanie to open the 2009 Women’s conference in Long Beach, California reaching 15,000 women who were attending and an even larger web audience. Celebrating empowerment and positive change for women, this event was well aligned with what Stephanie has to say. Stephanie previewed her release at the 2009 Hatch festival where she was awarded “2009 Groundbreaker Music Artist.” The return to her hometown of Bozeman, Montana wielded multiple shows to sold out crowds and standing ovations. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/StephanieQuayle -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
In 2009, Christelle released 3 singles and her debut EP, which all had huge chart success. 2010 is starting with her 4th single release, “Crush on You” followed in February with her first Dance-pop-r&b album “Club Christelle: let the party begin”. “I loved recording the songs last year and seeing them grow,” she says with a smile. “I know I’ve come a long way, but I’ve going to go much further this year.” She loves performing as “I can see the impact of my music and dancing on the faces of my fans”. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/Christelle --------------------------------------------
Fogerty puts together his second collection of covers (and his own “Change In the Weather”) and the Rangers Ride Again, this time with an all-star backing cast including Kenny Aronoff, Greg Leisz and Jay Bellerose. Whether he’s duetting with Bruce Springsteen on the Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved,” or putting his own stamp on Ricky Nelson’s “Garden Party,” or finding the emotive tug of John Denver’s “Back Home Again,” Fogerty sounds like a man enjoying himself in the studio, regardless of his commercial fate. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/JohnFogerty --------------------------------------------
An “angel flight” is what the military call the flights where fallen service men and women are taken home to their final resting place. Needless to say this is an emotional and powerful duty that the angel flight pilots take very seriously. The inspiration for the song, written by Texas native Darden Smith and Foster, is the “Red River 44” from the Texas National Guard - seven brave souls killed while serving in Iraq and the flight crew who brought them home. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/RadneyFosters --------------------------------------------
JANUARY 2010 FEATURED ARTISTS
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
It is our privilege to introduce you to Jackie Evancho. She is a 9 year-old songbird with a blessed gift from Heaven. That is the only way to account for her “old soul” sound and gift of visual interpretation she shares with audiences. From a remarkably young age, Jackie has had amazing control of her voice, a rich timbre to her sound and beautiful tonal quality across her current range of low F# to high E. Don’t take our word for it. Listen to her soulful recording of opera standards to classic rock. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/JacquelineEvancho --------------------------------------------
Forty-two years later, the quartet (Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen) is still going strong. With a career that spans five decades, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has gone from a hippie jug-band to pioneers of country rock, and their influence is still being felt today. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/NittyGrittyDirtBand --------------------------------------------
Produced by the band’s longtime compatriot and artist in his own right Mike McClure, the album also features harmony vocals and piano by Stephanie Briggs, who co-wrote many of the songs with Canada. The disc ranges from rockers that soar (“Burn Like The Sun”), sear (“Drag” and “Overtable”) and groove (“To Find My Love,” sung by bassist Jeremy Plato). And within the album’s many modes and moods, the proud legacy of American rock’n’roll gets renewed and reinvigorated for the modern age. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/CrossCanadianRagweed --------------------------------------------
After spending a nomadic childhood moving between the contrasting climes of Glasgow and Bahrain, Craig Johnston moved to London to search for a future in music.
Rock icon Andy Fraser has recently been honored by BMI’s 3 Million Play Club for crafting the monster Rock anthem “All Right Now”. Andy Fraser is best known around the world as the legendary bassist and founding member of the 70’s rock band FREE, and for writing Robert Palmer’s mega-hit “Every Kinda People”. For over four decades Fraser has been composing and songwriting with artists’ Rod Stewart, Chaka Khan, Paul Young, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrick, Wilson Pickett, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, and many more. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/McTraxInternational --------------------------------------------
Blending the organic tone of natural acoustic instrumentation and plaintive vocals with a unique, subtle, contemporary production & giving bittersweet gems that explore the journey of personal experience, Craig Johnston delivers the intimacy and desire sorely needed in music. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/CraigJohnstonMusic --------------------------------------------
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed in Southern California during the spring of 1966 as a scruffy, young
Cross Canadian Ragweed
It’s rhinestone cowgirl glam topped off with a well-worn baseball cap. It’s a sweet South Carolina low country drawl, punctuated with raucous laughter and a few well-placed swears. It’s a tender vulnerability exposed by life’s hard knocks, and the gritty swagger of a survivor. It’s a lot of things, but no words can distill the essence of Bridgette Tatum better than the woman’s own: “Sex, church, and chicken. That’s what it’s all about.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/BridgetteTatum --------------------------------------------
Quick Tips M
any artists and labels have asked for a “Step by Step Guide” to success. Unfortunately, there is no map that suits everyone. What works for one artist or label may not work for another. But, there are some things that generally translate to positive results — for everyone. THE INDIE WAY - QUICK TIPS will explore those tricks of the trade and give our readers “easy to follow” tips regarding a variety of areas in the music business.
APPEALING TO INDUSTRY The music business has gone through significant changes, and those in the industry (including A&R, managers, agents and producers) have changed along with it. Today, they are less likely to take risks. As a result, artists who want to work with them have to bring much more to the table than they did before. So our readers could get an idea of what they need to do to get industry attention – and help – we talked with a variety of insiders to find out what it would take to get them to work with an act. Their response to our query was so overwhelming we are presenting our findings in two parts.
1. TIMES HAVE CHANGED Both major and indie labels have become leaner and meaner. That may bode well for the biz in general, but it’s tough on artists looking for a break. It is the survival of the fittest for both industry and artists. Indeed, these are anxious times, and the competition has gotten greater.
2. TODAY, THEY WANT EVERYTHING The focus nowadays is towards acts that have it all. Managers, A&R, and producers want artists who have proven themselves. They say, anyone can make a record but only a few know what to do with it. Accordingly, they look for acts that have it all together, so they have something to build on.
They Want You To Build Your Career Getting a record deal is NOT the starting point – building your career is. Insiders insist, “Artists have to think of a record deal as a long term goal – not their only goal. They need to work on their careers first.” They Want You To Be SelfSufficient The days when good acts with great music could think of a label or manager as their savior are over. There’s much more competition today, and it’s not just about the music anymore.
Many wish it wasn’t like that, but it is. Today, you have to achieve a certain level of success before you even think about contacting industry.
They Want To Chase You Industry used to love to discover new artists before anyone else did. Now, however, they want something that’s already proven. In fact, Insiders believe that if industry is not already aware of you, your chances are dramatically reduced. To get attention
before you can go back. In fact, some contend that after a pass, you can’t go back – the competition is too great. Your best bet is to be honest with yourself and determine if you’re really ready.
4. THEY WANT HITS – LOTS OF THEM In the midst of this demanding atmosphere, hits still rule. But, unlike the old days when one or two hit songs would do – that’s not the case anymore. In fact, many industry believe artists should have a full album of great songs. They think one hit is not enough, because after it’s downloaded – that’s it.
5. THEY WANT TO GET EXCITED
you need to create such a strong buzz they have to check you out.”
3. THEY WANT ARTISTS WHO ARE READY The biggest mistake artists can make is to shop too soon. More than ever, artists must be ready for attention. Before you even think about industry, you should invite industry friends (like managers, producers, media or retired A&R) to a show and get their opinions. If you don’t know anyone, ask for a review in a respected publication to get an honest appraisal.
Be Honest With Yourself The consequences of shopping too early can be drastic. Indeed, if industry passes it may be a long time
All artists believe that they write hits. However, if your “hits” sound exactly like something on the radio it could be a double-edged sword. Insiders say, “Everyone has his or her influences, but we don’t want to hear the same old thing – we want a fresh interpretation that excites us.”
6. THEY WANT SOMETHING FRESH One way to create excitement is by finding your own sound. Be creative - find your signature sound and make sure it’s current. A dated or derivative sound will lose people’s interest. They don’t want to work with yesterday’s news.
7. THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW WHO THEY ARE Putting the wrong name on a submission will almost certainly get it
rejected. For current information, check out the latest directories and album liner notes.
Target Industry Sending your package to the right person is just as crucial as using the right name. Managers, A&R and producers have personal tastes like everyone else. As such, target your submissions – send packages to those who work with your style. Follow Up & Move On If someone loves your music they’ll respond quickly. Nonetheless, following up once or twice to see if they got your package is fine, as long as you’re polite. If you haven’t heard anything after a month, though, move on.
8. THEY WANT IT SIMPLE Don’t make industry jump through hoops to open your package and get to the CD. Besides, fancy packaging often overcompensates for a lack of quality and, sometimes, it’s scary. The same goes for your website – make sure navigating it is easy.
9. THEY WANT BEST SONGS
Too many artists don’t know what a demo is. A demo is a sales tool NOT an album. Conventional wisdom used to recommend three to four songs per demo. But, that’s not the case anymore. Two or three songs are plenty. The purpose is to pique interest. Give them more, and all you’re doing is giving them more reasons to say NO.
10. THEY LIKE CURIOSITY Submissions are like a chess game, so don’t give out too much information – make them want to learn more. Give industry a reason to visit your website and contact you.
11. THEY LIKE THEY KNOW
Relationships are critical in this business. Go to music conferences and workshops to establish relationships. Industry professional prefer to hear from people they know. So, get to know them, and let them know you.
12. BOND WITH THEIR SCOUTS & ASSISTANTS It’s not easy to get to the head honcho. In fact, you’ll probably hook up with their scouts and assistants much more than you will with them. When you do, establish a bond. Ask their opinion and tell them your record is “for their ears only.” If they like your music, they’ll be on your team – with an inside track.
IN THE NEXT ISSUE: We’ll continue exploring what it takes to “Appeal to Industry” today; and address how you can use videos and the internet to your advantage. Additionally, we’ll also let you know what you must avoid so that you don’t turn industry off before you even get a shot.
By: Mike Hagler, Jr.
INTERNET RADIO... Or is it Web Radio?
h yes, internet radio... or is it “web radio” now? Recently a friend and I were chatting about internet radio. We often have these types of chats on the future of streaming radio and how it might affect the current terrestrial and satellite radio industries. This particular day he was asking me what I thought of the term “web radio.” It seems he recently saw an ad for a cellphone that mentioned that you could receive web radio on the device. Of course, most people refer to this streaming technology as internet radio. I told him, “If the ad men are calling it web radio, then that’s what we should also call it.” Advertising is a powerful thing. I don’t remember my friends discussing applications or programs on their phones or computers as “apps” until they started hearing it referred to as such on iPhone ads. I say, if the general population wants to have their web radio, then let’s give it to them. How many of you listen to web radio? Do you listen on your computer, phone or in your car? Though there are many that feel internet radio will replace all other forms (and it probably will), I don’t believe this will happen as quickly as some say. Right now, radio is free. You simply turn on your FM/AM receiver and there it is. Even the simplest and cheapest devices can allow us instant access. Because of that, web radio will probably not replace FM
or AM radio until the average person feels the need for an “internet package” when buying a new or used vehicle. Sure, there are luxury cars that give you access to the web, but that serves only a small percentage of the music loving population. For it to have mass appeal, it will have to be an affordable option that seemingly everyone feels they can’t live without. I just began my first experience with web radio. Microsoft recently released an update for the Xbox 360 that includes Facebook and Last.fm. I’ve known of Last.fm for years, and have friends who have used the service for a while. I never tried it because I am always moving around rather than just sitting in front of my computer. I decided that if I can listen to Last.fm through the good stereo in my living room, then it was worth trying. Well, let me tell you… if you have an Xbox and have not activated this app, be sure and do so. Last.fm on the Xbox is amazing! It adds to my already large music library in a unique way. It lets me hear artists I might not have ever heard otherwise. Now, if I want to hear my personally selected music, I have my AppleTV. But, if I want to hear something completely different, I have web radio! That’s technology (and new media) at its best. It has released web radio from the confines of our computers and cell phones and put it where it belongs – right where we live.
he Direct Buzz offers reviews by a team of professional music critics. Any AirPlay Direct artist or label interested in being considered for a review, should contact us. Choose three songs from your DPK, and we’ll give you our opinion of them. We can’t guarantee a rave review, but we can assure you that it will be honest and constructive. We will try to honor all requests, but it might take a while. As such, your patience is appreciated.
Better Than I Used To Be
The Blue Ridge Rangers
Being an artist related to legendary Cajun fiddler, Doug Kershaw can’t be easy. That’s a lot of pedigree to live up to. Re-starting your career after enjoying tremendous success over ten years ago can be even harder. But, that’s exactly what Sammy Kershaw is trying to do after several less than successful attempts. The good news? The title of his latest album, Better Than I Used To Be could be prophetic. For this record Kershaw brought in some heavy guns: producer Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, Hank Jr., and George Jones to name a few); and award-winning songwriters, Ashley Gorley and Brian Simpson (Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Trace Adkins). The title track says it all, and Kershaw delivers just the right touch of regret and hope the ballad calls for. With “That Train” he rocks out, honk tonk style, while “The Snow White Rows of Arlington” is traditional country. This inconsistent stylistic approach has been a problem for Kershaw in the past, and it remains to be seen whether his fans will appreciate it any better now. Known for his admiration, and similarity, to George Jones, Kershaw may want to focus more on ballads, just like his idol did. They are, after all, the best tracks on this album. Bernard Baur
Ena Vie is a conundrum – one that is all too common among emerging artists. While she displays considerable talent, her online presentation leaves much to be desired. “Channels of Creation” and “Miracle Walking” demonstrate good production values, classic songwriting skills, and a voice reminiscent of Sheryl Crow or Natasha Bedingfield. Based on those tunes, this artist could be a contender. But, Vie’s rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is simply awful. It’s so bad it makes you wonder if, perhaps, it was an e- card that somehow ended up being posted by accident. Nonetheless, aside from that shameful misstep, Vie is a good artist with a lot in her favor. Too bad you wouldn’t know it via the internet. She does not list song or production credits anywhere in her DPK. So, with due diligence I checked her website, only to find it totally confusing. You even have to search for the music. In fact, you wonder what she’s actually selling… and thinking. Artists should not make people “work” so hard to find basic information. Indeed, if I weren’t a reviewer, I would have stopped out of frustration. Consequently, I can only give her a broken thumbs up.
John Fogerty’s unquestionable talent beams through like the California sun after a torrential rainstorm. With his latest CD, The Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again, Fogerty racks up tunes you may have heard before but, believe me, you haven’t heard them like this.
It’s clear that his vocals provide enough power to part the clouds in songs like “Change In The Weather,” a foot stompin’ tune re-recorded from his 1986 Eye of the Zombie album. “Moody River” is a piece that has a chilly undertone, snagging your soul with story-like lyrics, finely tuned production and a slide guitar that easily works its way into the recesses of your brain. If you’d like to experience a song that makes your hair stand on end and stirs the spirit inside, try “When Will I Be Loved.” It will end that search in a heartbeat. This album makes it easy to imagine yourself cruising down a country road, with the wind blowing through your hair and a smile on your face. In fact, this is the sort of record that makes you hope John Fogerty and The Blue Ridge Rangers keep on riding.
GET A BAD REVIEW & GET YOUR FANS INVOLVED A “Tragic Tracks” review is unlike any other review. It’s a bad one --- always, all the time. It’s guaranteed. Why? Because we want to help acts motivate their fan base. We noticed that fans respond nicely to good reviews, but don’t react strongly. However, when a “bad review” is published, they become proactive and rage against the injustice. They send emails, tweet until their thumbs bleed and inundate blogs with mad ravings. All that communication creates a virtual tsunami of publicity. There’s really nothing like it. With “Tragic Tracks,” you can mobilize complacent fans and inject some life into them. YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO We’re challenging all artists… and that means YOU. Send us your best song and let us deconstruct it; or, suggest a “hit song” that you’d like to see destroyed. In our first issue we took on “Yesterday” (by Lennon/McCartney), a song that has been covered more times than any tune ever written (according to the Guinness Book of World Records). And, true to form, fans took up arms and wanted to burn us at the stake. Some even got a little nasty. We like that. It means we’ve done our job. GET TRAGIC If you’d like to rile up your fan base, just let us know. “Tragic Tracks” will review one of your songs and use the harshest judgment possible. Imagine how upset your fans will get. We’ll do everything we can to make them outraged. It’s open season… for those brave enough to accept our challenge.
A video-window into gadgets, gear and TheComposersCorner.com the world of music creation.
NAMM SHOW WALK THROUGH Pt. 1 This month the NAMM show convenes in Anaheim, CA. It’s the largest music trade show in the United States, focusing on instruments, gear, and equipment. To commemorate its awesomeness, The Composers Corner takes you on a tour to check out batons, brass instruments, violins, drums and drum shields.
Click here to view the video.
NAMM SHOW WALK THROUGH Pt. 3 Continuing with the NAMM show, The Composers Corner checks out instruments imported from China, as well as way cool saxophones, electrical gear, ukuleles and some of the most amazing violins you’ve ever seen. For anyone who hasn’t attended NAMM, this will give you an idea of what you can expect to see there.
Click here to view the video.
DAVE MASON RECEIVES CAREER ACHIEVEMENT HONOR Guitarist/songwriter,Dave Mason received an “Outstanding Career Achievement” award at the Music In Media Interactive Conference presented by the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. Mason was honored at the event in Hollywood, CA. Known for penning gold and platinum gems, like “Feeling Alright”, “Let It Flow” and his hit single, “We Just Disagree,” Mason’s career spans 37 years. He was inducted, with his band Traffic, into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Pictured is Mason playing with his compadre, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (Steely Dan) at the keynote luncheon. For more information, visit www.dave-mason.com and www.hmmawards.com.
A tour of music, lifestyles and pop culture
By: Bernard Baur
The Story Behind the Song
id you know Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way” was originally a French tune? Paul Anka simply licensed it and wrote English lyrics for his friend and mentor, “Ol’ Blue Eyes.” Or, that John Sebastian wrote “Daydream” for The Lovin Spoonful so that they could sound more like The Supremes? Those surprising tidbits illustrate what you’ll find in Jo-Ann Geffen’s new book, The Story behind the Song, published via Chicken Soup for the Soul. In it, she explores the stories behind 101 songs, and some of them will knock you off your feet. Geffen heads up a public relations firm (JAG Entertainment) with a superstar clientele. A chance meeting with the publishers of the Chicken Soup series led to her assignment and debut authorship. “I tried to transcend genres by selecting songwriters that represent the modern musical era and every type of music in it,” she explains. And, indeed, she did. The book covers songs from pop, rock, classical, alternative, rap, country and soul. What she found is that, regardless of genre, the most memorable songs had a similar quality. “They all spoke about universal feelings,” she notes. “They just expressed it differently.” She was most surprised by how “personal” many of the songs were. As examples, she cites Kanye West’s “Welcome
L-R: Stephen Bishop, Carol Connors, Jo-Ann Geffen, Lamont Dozier
to Heartbreak” as his look at the downside of stardom; Jerry Cantrell’s “Rooster” as his attempt to understand how his father’s Vietnam War experience affected his family; and, how Jewel’s song “Hands” was written when she was 18, homeless and ill, but still projected a positive spirit. “Some of these stories will break your heart, while others will lighten it,” she says. For sure…a few are even funny, like Lamont Dozier’s inspiration for “Stop in the Name of Love.” The title came to him as he tried to calm down his girlfriend after she caught him with a one-night stand at a no-tell motel. He recalled, “I was trying to get her to stop screaming at me, so I shouted ‘Stop! In the name of love…please stop.’ As soon as that phrase left my lips,” he laughed, “I
heard a cash register.” Stories like that fill the book with a sense of discovery. They not only trigger memories of the time when you first heard a song, they also add a new perspective and understanding that you never had before. For Geffen, writing the book was a labor of love, as well as an adventure. “Many of the writers were friends of mine. Some were even clients or former clients. And they helped to get others involved. Billy Bob Thornton had a lot of suggestions and was extremely helpful. But, what I learned most of all,” Geffen relates, “is that songwriters are just like us. They just have a unique way of expressing their emotions.” To find out more about the book and Jo-Ann Geffen go to: www. chickensoup.com, www.amazon. com and/or www.jagpr.com.
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