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publisher/ceo Mike Evans mike@livemagazine.com editor-in-chief Tip McPartland tip@livemagazine.com president Michael Banks mbanks@livemagazine.com art director Natalie Taggart natalie@livemagazine.com business development Elena Jaeckel elena@livemagazine.com contributing writers Alexis Swerdloff, Marcus Hondro, Jillian Gordon, Jon Pardes, Tip McPartland, Sean Day, Max Blumenthal, Leslie Gornstein, Louisa Peacock Todd Leopold advertising inquiries advertising@livemagazine.com

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THE SHOW REHEARSAL

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Community

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Gear Up Fan Fashion

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SOUND CHECK

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CD Reviews

OPENING ACT

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Emerging Artists

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Katy Perry Rhianna Poncho Sanchez John Legend The Script Usher Zoe Keating Kenny Chesney Taylor Swift Jeff Beck

ENCORE

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Industry - Q&A

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The Last Waltz

On The Cover

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COMMUNITY

Blessings in a Backpack

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lessings in a Backpack began with the efforts of Stan Curtis in 2005. Since then, the program has grown by leaps and bounds with the help of supporters like Sammy Hagar. “The Red Rocker”, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen in 2007, has been supporting Blessings in a Backpack almost since its inception. Blessings in a Backpack now feeds over 25,000 children in 21 states across America.

12.4 million children in America (1 out of every 6) are at risk for hunger. More than 62% of children in America qualify for free or reduced lunch programs. These statistics are saddening but at least the schools are addressing the issue, right? Yes, they are. But what happens when a child leaves school for a 3-day weekend. Many children across America are returning to school on Monday after having little to eat over the weekend. When children are malnourished it affects their ability to learn and concentrate. As a nation we offer so much support to stamping out international hunger, but are we aware of and addressing the needs of our own children living in America? Blessings in a Backpack is answering the call. How the program works A concerned individual or group, a parent, teacher, doctor, etc., takes the first step by recognizing a need in their community. Once a school has been identified, the individual approaches the school staff explaining the benefits of the Blessings in a Backpack program. If the school agrees that the program would work well at their school, the individual then contacts Blessings in a Backpack for help in starting the campaign. The organization helps create a plan for the school. Then comes the hard part, finding support and funding. The impact stories that can be viewed on the organization’s website show example after example of how the program has changed children’s lives. Not having to worry about food allows students to relax and focus on their classwork. A healthy child is sick less often and misses less school days. Increased test scores are seen across the board in schools that have adopted the program. It only cost $80 a year to send a backpack home with a child each weekend. A small price to pay for food security for hungry children. After support has been raised for the number of children who have been selected to receive the backpacks, Blessings in a Backpack ships out the number of backpacks requested at no cost. The organization then helps the local program leader locate a grocer that will sell the food items needed at a discounted price. Food that are included in the backpack are healthy choices but are also ones that are easy for children to prepare themselves. Items include: fruit snacks, cereals, mac and cheese, pop tarts, juice boxes, etc. The program is then ready to begin! The program leader will organize a group of volunteers to shop for the food items, pack the backpacks, and deliver them to the school. Children return their backpacks each Monday. Blessings in a Backpack is an amazing program that has shown hope to hungry children all over the nation. For more information on ways to help visit www.blessingsinabackpack.org 12

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load IN In LOAD

ELECTRONIC? YOU CAN HAVE BOTH IN ONE KIT! 1. USB ACOUSTIC? GUITAR iAXE624-BK 1. CENTARI

Here’s the drum kit forGuitar any drummer — Your electronically inclined or not. E-Pro LiveAmps Custom Connect theperfect Ultimate Electric Straight to Computer and Jam withPearl’s Killer Modeling andelectronic Effects kit feels just like a genuine drum kit because it is a genuine drum kit!

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Ultimate 5-Channel Digital DJ your Mixerinterface. with Sampler, 4 FX Sections, Dual BPM Countermusic, and MIDI It’s time to get serious about If you want to make professional-quality you’re going to need a rig that can step into the ring and deliver.

3. YAMAHA RYDEEN DRUM KIT: A GREAT START SUPER-LIMITED ACOUSTIC-ELECTRIC TAYLOR BEAUTY! 3. Designed for musicians in the critical teenage demographic, Rydeen offers truly professional and This super-limited Taylor Mahogany GS-LTD acoustic-electric the looks like a million bucks, plays like asound, dream,construction and sounds even ............playability a very attractive price. better. Theatfirst thing you notice about this awesome axe is the figured mahogany back and sides.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S 4G 4. SONY 4. NWZ-E438 8GB WALKMAN® VIDEO/MP3 PLAYER WITH FM TUNER The Samsung Galaxy S 4G has 4G connectivity, a front-facing camera for video calls, and a larger battery. Android 2.2 You can listen to your favorite tunes, watch some videos, or catch that big game on the player’s built-in FM tuner. offers impressive data speeds. Other highlights include a Super AMOLED touch screen and 720p HD video recording.

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Rock Star Fashion For Men

Follow these men's fashion tips, and you'll be looking and feeling like a rock star in no time! 1. 2.

ENGLISH LAUNDRY BEATLES COLLECTION LONG SLEEVE SHIRT The left hand pocket of this stylish shirt has two silver tags which are embroidered "Let It Be" and "John Lennon/Paul McCartney",1970, with the lyrics embroidered on the back of the shirt in Silver-Charcoal color thread.

A & G ROCK AND ROLL COUTURE LEATHER BELT Smooth leather belt with rounded studs and shining black crystals. The silver oval cross buckle is removable, just in case you want to change it out.

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Expect vintage washes and modern fits from the cool designs of Buffalo Jeans.. Mid-weight faded denim with unraveled patches along thigh and knee. Not a lot of people know this, but the reference to a “purple haze” was actually talking about the Los Angeles skyline.

ALDO - HORSFORD BOOTS Step to the front lines of the fashion army when you rock these bangin’ boots! ; Side-zip closure with lace-up front. ; Leather upper with subtle stud detail.

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SOUNDCHECK CHECK SOUND

EMMYLOU HARRIS: “Hard Bargain” Emmylou Harris is one of the most respected singers in contemporary American folk music and Americana, and with good reason. Her vocals are smooth as honey and hugely emotive, and her new album Hard Bargain is packed tight with more of the same delicious sad songs we’ve come to expect from this music legend. Emmylou Harris is part of the folk/Americana elite for a reason, and Hard Bargain is just more proof of why.

THE KILLS: “Blood Pressures” The Kills, duo of Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart, release Blood Pressures, the highly anticipated follow-up to their critically acclaimed third album, Midnight Boom. The 11 tracks on Blood Pressures find The Kills embracing a fuller sound; there is heavier instrumentation and layered, huge-sounding harmonies with Jamie and Alison uniting in their trademark singsong vocal style over tom heavy primitive beats.

ROBBIE ROBERTSON:”How to Become Clairvoyant” Robbie Robertson returns after a more than a decade break between solo albums with the triumphant “How to Become Clairvoyant,” a reflective and moving collaboration with Eric Clapton. Robertson, the lead songwriter and guitarist of The Band before leaving the group in 1976, has been far from prolific in his solo career. “Clairvoyant” is just his fifth solo release since 1987, but it’s worth the wait.

Jennifer Hudson: “I Remember Me” I Remember Me is a solid effort from Jennifer Hudson. The consistency of the rhythmic production shines throughout the vocal powerhouse’s compilation. Enlisting label mate, and fellow contemporary vocal powerhouse, Alicia Keys, as a writer and producer added a melodic, catchy and upbeat 70’s R&B sound to the album. We haven’t experienced a sound like that since Keys’ As I Am album..

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OPENING ACT

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This young Chicago quartet’s sophomore release falls squarely into glam-meets-garage territory, except that it wasn’t created in a garage or a basement this time around. Sonic spit-shine makes faster tracks “Weekend” and “Imagine, Pt. 3” sparkle, while slower numbers like “Only One” and “Still New” are laced with both bubblegum and Bowie influences. Many of these songs turn down the irony that’s dominated the indie-rock scene for so long and crank up the sincerity — or the appearance of sincerity.

TENNIS The promise of Tennis is akin to that promise of summer. Their debut track, Marathon, really struck last year mid-July, creating a viral storm lost in the scurry of fall. They’re like a blast of June air in March — you know the kind: fragrant, expectant, with just a faint hint of something mysteriously ribald. What surprises me is their edge — there’s something sinister, almost Pynchonesque, in the way Riley’s lifting, frenetic Dick Dale riffs bump up against Moore’s brooding keys, all while hard-crashing cymbals insist: It’s time to party!

ESPERANZA SPALDING The music Spalding plays is innovative and requires concentration and commitment to pull off. That Grammy Award for best new artist was no fluke. It was a surprise, for sure, because jazz is rarely recognized outside its category, but make no mistake -- Spalding is a star. She has charisma to burn and is confident at projecting it. Her stage presence is relaxed but there’s nothing casual about it. Her every move, scatting or whistling or tapping out a beat on the side of her bass or dancing a cha-cha with bare feet, is given over to the music. It’s impossible to look away.

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You can’t listen to this freewheeling Texas singer and songwriter long without becoming thoroughly convinced that he’s a full-blooded relative of Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Merle Haggard. There’s an unself-conscious commitment to his rural Southern heritage in everything he sings. He spins a yarn with fresh wit, details a failure with unflinching honesty, and everything in between remains admirably cliché-free. Carll is every bit as expressive a singer as he is a writer, drawling his trenchant observations with deceptive ease.

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LOOP STATION Together Sam Bass and Robin Coomer record, play, record again, and ultimately spin out a wide-ranging and shimmering sonic net. Is it necessary to get such a production-booth level of engineering for a live show? Yes. Cellist Bass’ orchestral arrangements are the only suitable accompaniment to Coomer’s huge, elastic alto, as muscular and beautiful as the angsty love child of k.d. lang and Suzanne Vega. This girl’s voice would eat any lesser music for breakfast. Think the Cocteau Twins with PJ Harvey at the controls. Think halucinatory aural investigations. Think great make-out music...

HANNAH GEORGAS I’ve been taken by Hannah Georgas’ music ever since hearing her debut EP “The Beat Stuff”. That has made her debut full length, “This Is Good” one of my most highly anticipated albums of the year. What really struck a chord with me about the Vancouver musician was her honesty. Georgas plays songs raw and with an angry approach, like she was saying ‘screw you’ to all those who had done her wrong. From a lyrical perspective not much has changed between the EP and the full length. The songs are as in-your-face as ever.

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HEADLINERS

KATY PERRY CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’ By Alexis Swerdloff & Jillian Gordon

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When the of music and the direction the industry is taking comes up, reigning Ozzy insists, “Well that’s a good terrible question, vertopic lunch at L.A.’s Magnolia restaurant, pop music’s doe-eyed enfant because I’m f**ked I know. There are times when I walk around with myKaty head in my rear end.” “For a long time, I puts herif chart-topping status into perspective, Perry-style: He recalls, “I was out on Sunset (Strip) a while ago with Sharon, where there’s a bookshelf, where I always thenow Britwished for boobies; I got that. And I wished to have a record out, and I got that.get And ish newspapers. And I said, ‘Let’s go to Tower Records and see if they’ve got the new Sheryl Crow record.’ So I go in, and I have both boobies and a record -- I don’t think there’s anything else a woman needs.” it’s empty at, like, 3 o’clock, 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I said, ‘Do you have the Sheryl Crow?’ And he said, ‘Yeah I’ve got lots Perry grew up in Santa Barbara, California, the middle of three children, her parents devout of them; how many do you want?’ I didn’t understand what he was trying to get at. Then the following week, it was gone. traveling ministers who wouldn’t let her consume mainstream “secular” pop culture (a Simpsons That’s what’s happening. Everyone’s gone from reality to unreality in the respect that they all want to sit in their f**king reference I make is met with a blank has stare: wasn’t toif watch when I was houses now on their computers. So everybody gone“Iinward intoallowed their cave, you like. it We have to go toyounger,” the f**kin’ she apologizes), and only allowed her to listen to gospel music. At 9, Perry began singing inwhen her JC Penney and all that s**t and to coffee shops now to buy music, which is kind of sad. It’s probably a similar thing church, and during her early teens regularly traveling between California and Nashville to silent movies went over to talkie movies. All ofwas the sudden, it kind of disappeared.” work with Christian By tone 17, to she had released a self-titled album featuring On the other hand, Ozzy songwriters. lends a sympathetic musicians today. “I was also shockedgospel to find out what young bands have to do now titles when they get“Faith signed to a record company. They take part of their publishing, theirThe concessions, songs with like Won’t Fail” and “When There’s Nothing Left.” record their wasgig a money. It’s, like, ridiculous.” He reflects, “At the same time I’ve been so lucky to have my career. I’ve had such good fortune. flop, and it was around that time that Perry discovered Freddie Mercury (whom she refers to I’m on, you know. People say, ‘Are youhigh retiring?’ But the thing is, I’m not any younger. And ifAngeles. the crowd as just herplodding musical idol), graduated from school and packed upgetting and moved to Los starts thin,her diminish, thenshe I’ll see it as a signto that it’s a time to hang with up myGlen microphone. Soon to after arrival, managed land meeting Ballard (he of producing Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill), whom she had watched and admired on an episode of VH1’s Behind the Music (when she was finally old enough to watch it). 24

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Perry and Ballard went on to work together for three years -- three very tumultuous years, during which Perry was signed to and then ultimately dropped by both Def Jam and Columbia Records. Three uncompleted albums and over 50 recorded songs later, Perry was starting to lose hope, and she was not even 23 yet. Fame had a way of dangling itself in front of her, only to be immediately snatched away. “I remember living in Beverly Hills,” Perry says, “and having a new black Jetta, being very comfortable on my monthly stipend, and my cousin looked at me and said, ‘Katy, this can go away,’ and I was like, ‘It’s never going to go away!’ And then it all went away. I remember that moment so clearly.” There was another point, Perry remembers, “when I would write a check for my rent with fifteen dollars in my bank account and on the memo I would write, ‘God, please help.’ I would not recommend that anybody do that.” During various bleak times during her early 20s, the only way Perry could buy new clothes was to sell her old ones at L.A. thrift store Wasteland. “I would tell people, you know, ‘I’m going to have a record out,’ but after three years, after being dropped by two labels, people were like, ‘You’re not going to have a record out, you’re a liar and what do you really do?” One thing Perry did was to go out a lot. “At one time in my life, it was almost a priority for me to be on the scene in L.A., but at a certain point, I was going out and not getting anything done the www.livemagazine.com

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next day. We’d all go to Teddy’s, and I couldn’t believe how many lost people there were dancing the night away.” For a glimpse into her party girl days, Perry points to her album’s surprisingly moving power ballad “Lost” (“I’m out on my own again/ Face down in the porcelain/ Feeling so high but looking so low/ Party favors on the floor/ Group of girls banging on the door”). Read into it what you like. To make ends meet, she got a job working in the A&R department at Taxi, which had her (a bit ironically) listening to music all day, deciding whether a band had hit-making potential or not. It was while working there, during January of 2007, that Perry received a call from the then head of Capitol Records, Jason Flom, who had heard an old recording of hers and wanted to meet with her. From there, Perry’s rise was about as smooth sailing as could be -- she teamed up with Dr. Luke, a producer who had worked with artists like Kelly Clarkson and Avril Lavigne, and recorded an album. Capitol released the buzzy “UR So Gay” on iTunes in November of 2007, the even more buzzy “I Kissed a Girl” in May of ‘08 and when One of the Boys debuted in June, the album was an immediate hit; by February 2009 it reached certified platinum. “I’ll have a Red Bull and vodka,” Perry tells our waitress, before pausing a beat and coyly smiling. “Just kidding, I’ll have a Coke.” Perry likes to push


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people’s buttons. From her lyrics (“UR So Gay,” which was her ode to a former metrosexually-leaning boyfriend, has found some folks in the gay community less than pleased) to her live shows (how many pop starlets have descended from a giant banana into a fruit bowl during the Grammy Awards?) to interviews (she famously told one reporter that her dream lesbian kiss would be with Miley Cyrus), Perry has spent her time at the top delighting, befuddling and at times pissing off the masses. As Perry sees it, she’s always enjoyed making people slightly uncomfortable. “I was always that person who said the unspoken. I remember even in school, if someone had a crush on someone, I’d go up to that person and I’d say, ‘My friend has a crush on you, do you like her? You don’t? OK, great. She can move on.’ Or, ‘You like her? Great, I just made something happen.’” There is something ever so selfconscious about all of Perry’s buttonpushing, and to be sure, label executives have done a good job of exploiting her “edginess,” capitalizing on the musiclistening public’s current desire to have their pop starlets (Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, et al.) a little rough around the edges. And yet, there is actually something genuinely crude about Perry. While she’s prepping backstage for an appearance at the Chelsea Lately show, it’s decided that Perry’s panty line is visible through her vintage kelly-green dress. As this reporter looked on, Perry casually dropped her underwear, did a quick wipe with a napkin, tossed it in the trash and headed out onstage. Perez Hilton, a tried-and-true Perry loyalist, has never drawn those little white dots coming out of Perry’s crotch -- and we suppose she would like to keep it that way?

All crudeness aside, though, these days Perry is too busy with a grueling tour schedule and constant photo shoots to get into any real trouble, or to do much of anything not related to her career. It is with some frustration that she talks about her madcap schedule: “I just moved -- and hanging curtains for like two and a half hours, it’s like a feat. I mean, what am I going to say, ‘No, I can’t come and sing on your Flo Rida song because I’m hanging curtains?’” And even if she were getting up to no good, we might not know about it -- living in L.A. for many years has taught Perry the wily ways of the paparazzi, and she has actually been able to avoid them to some degree. (“There are seven thousand other restaurants in L.A. besides the Ivy. If you don’t want to be photographed, have your assistant pick up a chopped salad for you.”) Perry tends to use the euphemism “all this” when describing her recent rise to fame and her newfound celebrity status, and one thing she has learned from “all this” is that right now, relationships are not and cannot be a priority for her. While she is understandably mum when it comes to the details of her breakup with boyfriend of a year, Gym Class Heroes lead singer Travis McCoy, it is with a surprising amount of candor and perspective that she discusses being single. “It’s one of those things where I have no energy left to give to anybody,” she says. “It doesn’t matter if I love them or not. I give it all away on tour and when I’m meeting people.” She pauses a moment, dipping her fried pita chip into a bowl of artichoke dip. “This is a really important time in my life. During the next two or three years, if I do things right, I will have a real career, and if I don’t, well, I’ll just be that girl who kissed a girl.” www.livemagazine.com

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By Leslie Gornstein

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ihanna always seems to be putting out new music; she just wrapped one tour and is about to embark on another. Why does she need to work so much? Most pop tarts are much more ruthless than their candy-colored weaves would allow you to believe. They want to work until every last tween has been assimilated; hence the thriving practice of shooting up the talent with B-12 shots to prevent sudden collapse. However, there’s a reason why specific singers like Rihanna may be avoiding a vacation......brutal competition. In the pop music business, it’s standard for a new talent to work for at least three years straight before taking any kind of break—just to fend off all the other pop tartlets who want that same crown. In fact, three years is considered the standard for any emerging pop diva. (Between her first solo release and her ascension to film stardom in Dreamgirls, Beyoncé worked nearly nonstop for almost

exactly three years. And there’s a reason why relative newcomer Lady Gaga nearly collapsed during a New Zealand performance last year; she’s been working like an animal since her debut studio album came out—less than three years ago.) Rihanna has been a pop sensation since she released Music of the Sun in 2005. But she’s only been a true diva for closer to three; in releasing Good Girl Gone Bad in 2007, Rihanna effectively reintroduced herself as an woman, not a teen, and has spent the next three years working constantly to reinforce that image. Now: Why does she continue to work? Because, music marketers tell me, pop music is getting more competitive every year, and the three-year rule just may be growing obsolete... “As a newer artist, RiRi is still hustling to establish herself,” compared to, say, a Christina Aguilera, who has been on the music scene for more than a decade, www.livemagazine.com

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independent music and social media marketer Lisa Jenkins tells me. “Emerging pop artists understand that the more hits they have on the radio, the more love the fans will give them, and the better their career longevity will be.” It’s a phenomenon that doesn’t necessarily translate to other music genres, such as country or rock, where bands are generally understood to have less competition and therefore, the thinking goes, more time to unspool their music. “It’s purely speculation,” Jenkins notes, “but I think you can’t discount her artistic drive, too. Given where RiRi is right now, she can work with anyone she wants, and if she loves to create music, that’s a pretty awesome place to be in.” When asked about recently allowing a judge to ease the terms of the five-year restraining order against her ex, the “S&M” singer says it felt like the right thing to do, even if it meant being criticized for it. “You can never please people,” Rihanna tells the mag. “One minute I’m being too hard, and the next minute I’m a fool because I’m not being hard enough.” But she’s quick to point out that even though she and Brown are now allowed to actually interact with each other, she’s certainly in no rush to do so. Is It OK to Like Chris Brown Again— Or Totally Not? “It doesn’t mean we’re gonna make up, or even talk again. It just means I didn’t want to object to the judge,” she says. “We don’t have to talk again ever in my life. I just didn’t want to make it more difficult for him professionally. What he did to me was a personal thing. It had nothing to do with his career. Saying he has to be a hundred feet away from me, he can’t perform at awards shows, that definitely made it difficult for him. That was the only thing it was going to change, so I didn’t care.” 32

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Latin Rhythms By Austen Diamond

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he elder statesman of Latin-jazz, conguero Poncho Sanchez, has been spending more time at his Los Angeles-area home recently, teaching himself how to relax again. “I’ve been touring worldwide nonstop for all of 40 years, man,” Sanchez says. “We were constantly traveling. I got used to that lifestyle. We were hot, man. But, I’ve been enjoying the last half-year—staying home is real nice.” With a down economy, there are fewer shows and, subsequently, more house parties. Sanchez said he had just finished cleaning his front yard, the aftermath of his grandson and granddaughter’s baptism party. “Now, 34

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it’s ready for another party,” Sanchez laughs, showing that this 58-year-old Mexican-American musician hasn’t slowed down a bit. Aside from slang like “those cats,” “ya dig,” and “jive on that,” Sanchez is timeless, just like his hand-slapped beats and syncopated rhythms—the backbone of Latin jazz. He’s traveled the world, graced stages and studios with nearly all of his heroes and has endless stories about it all. A consummate storyteller, Sanchez relates tales over the course of an hour ranging from his time playing with Dizzy Gillespie to recording with Ray Charles—his Charles impersonation is hilarious—to performing at


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Mexican beach resort jazz festivals. At some point in every story, simply and humbly, he repeats, “Wow, man. I was like, ‘Pinch me. Am I dreaming?’ ” That big-eyed view of the world—and lots of elbow grease—has helped Sanchez reach the top of the Latin-jazz heap. “It’s taken a lot of hard work. You don’t just blow up all of a sudden. Well, maybe if you’re a pop act, but not in jazz. Hell no,” Sanchez says. Over his long career, he’s used every crayon in the jazz coloring box—an approach that results in an aural psychedelic Latin-American fiesta. He’s dipped into soul, funk and Latino grooves, but for his 24th album, 2009’s Psychedelic Blues, he’s shaken up a musical martini of straight-up, no-frills jazz—a throwback to the ’60s and an homage to his heroes, but with a twist of his signature Latin lime. The CD begins with Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island.” Smack in the middle, there’s a medley of Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist Willie Bobo tunes; one, “Fried Neckbones and Some Homefries,” is as delicious as it sounds. Then, aided by Arturo Sandoval, comes Freddie Hubbard’s “Crisis” chacha-cha-ified, and Horace Silver’s swing tune “Silver’s Serenade” turned into a mambo. In concert, the band plays these tunes as part of a wider assortment; Sanchez draws from a repertoire of more than 200 songs. With Sanchez front and center, their onstage demeanor is classy and dignified, yet highenergy—never stuffy. This is feel-good music, for sure. Sanchez remembers bringing this vibe to Zion on several occasions, including his first trip, in 1975. And, about five years ago, Sanchez had the option to play in tropical Bermuda or Salt Lake City for a New Year’s Eve show, and chose Salt Lake City. “We left from southern California and got off the plane and there was like three feet of slush on the ground. And I said, ‘Uh-oh! Am I dreamin’?’ ” Sanchez says, laughing, “Naw, man. Utah’s cool. I dig it.” www.livemagazine.com

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Legendary By Max Blumenthal

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first met Legend when he was a 16-year-old freshman at the University of Pennsylvania named John Stephens. I lived down the hall from him in Penn’s massive dormitory complex, the quad. At the time, John worked two jobs, commuted regularly to Scranton, Pennsylvania to lead a gospel choir, directed an a capella group on campus, and took five classes. He was usually too busy for the partying and social distractions that characterized student life at Penn. While many other students busied themselves with drinking and carousing, confident that their Ivy League degree would guarantee them a cushy job after school, John was on a mission. In my spare time, I taught myself to play drums. By senior year, I was performing around Philadelphia in informal bands led by Dave Tozer, a guitarist and aspiring producer from a hardscrabble town in South Jersey. At the same time, I helped run “The Gathering,” a hip-hop open mic on campus that drew large crowds from all over. John’s roommate, Devon

Harris, DJ’ed the event and helped promote it around town (nearly ten years later, The Gathering, is still an active Philly institution). Devon told his friends he was inspired to make hip-hop by his cousin, Kanye West, a producer from Chicago who had managed to eke out a living making beats. But no one had ever heard of this character or seemed to care who he was. This was 1999, after all. One night during senior year, I invited John to a jam session at a friend’s home studio in West Philly. To my surprise, he packed up his keyboard and came along. Inside the studio, a converted storefront Baptist church basement with red shag carpet and a trap door that led to a baptismal pool, John met Dave Tozer. After some chit-chat, they launched into a version of “Crusin,” the Smokey Robinson ballad. I sat down at the drums and joined in with a pair of brushes. For about an hour, we ran through the classics -- Stevie, Marvin, Al Green -- until John had to get home. www.livemagazine.com

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Soon, John began branching out. He sat in on keys at The Gathering, fronted a few gigs for us, and played a session for Lauryn Hill that gave him his first major album credit. After graduation, John took a consulting job in New York City. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to pursue music full-time. But he continued performing, singing at clubs around New York with a professional quality band assembled by Dave, who had become his musical director. By this time, Devon’s cousin, Kanye, had developed a national profile and was poised to release his first solo album. Kanye had succeeded by cultivating a unique sound steeped in classic Chicago soul that brought hip-hop away from the plastic glitz of P. Diddy and back to its roots. When Devon introduced Kanye to John’s music, he 42

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was blown away. He knew his production style would present the perfect compliment to John’s elegant, gospel-influenced vocals. John finally quit his job and took up music full-time. Dave, Devon (who now goes by Devo Springsteen), and Kanye produced the bulk of his first album, “Get Lifted.” Thanks to John, they each have Grammys on their shelves and platinum record plaques on their walls. John Legend has just joined Sade’s highly anticipated summer tour! The two phenoms will make 50 tour stops on the Live Nation produced North American tour. “I’m very excited to join Sade on her summer tour. She is an incomparable artist and I’m honored to share the stage with her,” said John Legend. “I know we’ll provide our fans with an experience to remember. I can’t wait to start the tour.”


musicislifeismusic.com Š2011 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. GRAMMY and the gramophone logo are registered trademarks of The Recording Academy. Š2011 The Recording Academy


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SCRIPT

THE

By Todd Leopold

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he Script didn’t follow the script. In the standard showbiz treatment, a group -- say, three plucky, working-class music-mad young men from Dublin, Ireland -- travel to the grand shores of the U.S. of A. They form a band, grab the ear of a noted producer and, with a lucky break or two, are soon opening for the stars who inspired them so many years before. If the story needs a rousing climax, they return as conquering heroes to their homeland, pick up the local paper and find that their new single has gone straight to No. 1. Well, it wasn’t quite like that. In the case of The Script -- vocalist/keyboardist Danny O’Donoghue, multi-instrumentalist Mark Sheehan and drummer Glen Power -- O’Donoghue and Sheehan traveled to the States and spent several years as struggling writers and producers. Drummer Power, another Dubliner, had bummed around music scenes for years; he’d met O’Donoghue and Sheehan not long before the pair packed it in and returned to Dublin, plying their trade and looking for breaks. Descriptions of the trio as “an overnight success” thus leave them skeptical. If that’s the case, said Sheehan before a concert at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, “It was the longest night of our lives.” On the other hand, when success did strike, it struck hard and relatively quickly. When O’Donoghue and Sheehan returned to Dublin, they decided to form a band. They recruited Power, noting their “great strength together” -- in Power’s words -- after 44

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jamming together. The Script’s first single, “We Cry,” hit the UK Top 20 in the spring of 2008, and the second, “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved,” hit No. 1. The group’s self-titled debut came out in August 2008 in Britain. In December 2008, they played the Nobel Peace Prize Concert, and, in March of this year, opened for U2. (Their album was finally released in the U.S. that same month.) They spent last summer as Paul McCartney’s opening act, which brought them to Piedmont Park. Touring with the former Beatle “felt like a master class for us,” said Sheehan. The three, all around 30, finish each other’s sentences like the old friends they are and display a savvy about the music business. That’s only fitting, as O’Donoghue and Sheehan spent their years in America learning the trade alongside producers such as Teddy Riley and the Neptunes. Sheehan says the group is looking for the sweet spot between the “rock climate” they grew up in and the hiphop and R&B sounds that dominate American popular music. “[With our experience,] we’re hashing it out, and I think we’ve found it,” he said. (Asked about their own influences, they rattle off hip-hop artists such as Missy Elliott, Jay-Z and Kanye West.) The Script appears to have a happy ending, just as an old tale of rising stars would have it. But the three are quick to point out that aspiring musicians should, well, write their own story. “If there’s a message to younger musicians, to me, it’s ‘don’t give up,’ “ says O’Donoghue. “Magic can happen.”


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USHER

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By Timothy Finn

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s a youngster, Usher sang in church choirs but sought entry into the mainstream music industry by entering talent shows. At age 12 he moved with his mother and brother to Atlanta, and two years later he secured a recording contract with LaFace Records. Usher was released in 1994, with the 15-year-old singer moving beyond his choirboy background by proclaiming that “it’s only a sexual thing” on the slow-groove single “Can U Get wit It.” The album was not a commercial success, and Usher spent the next few years working on a follow-up, My Way (1997), which marked him as a major R&B star. His singles “You Make Me Wanna” and “Nice & Slow” topped the R&B charts (the latter was also a number one pop song), and the performer reached greater audiences through appearances on television shows (he had a recurring role on UPN’s Moesha series). In onstage performances, he showed prowess as a dancer that was as notable as his fluid singing voice. His third studio album, 8701 (2001), further cemented Usher’s reputation as a smooth, seductive, and bankable artist. Music from 8701 gave Usher two number one pop hits, “U Remind Me” and “U Got It Bad,” and his first two Grammy Awards. He continued to make appearances in various television shows, including the period drama American Dreams (2002) in the role of Marvin Gaye, before releasing his fourth album, Confessions, in 2004. The album, which sold more than one million copies during its first week of release, featured Usher extending his range beyond ballads, collaborating most famously with Atlanta rappers Lil Jon and Ludacris. At the 2004 Billboard Music Awards, he collected 11 trophies and was named overall artist of the year. The awards continued to accumulate in 2005. Usher won two prizes at the People’s Choice Awards and three more at the Grammys—for best contemporary R&B album, best R&B performance by a duo or group (with Alicia Keys for “My Boo”), and best rap/ sung collaboration (with Ludacris and Lil Jon for “Yeah!”). In 2005 Usher also starred as a disc jockey who protects a mobster’s daughter in the film In the Mix, though his acting, and the film as a whole, received unfavorable reviews. The following year he portrayed Billy Flynn in the long-running Broadway musical Chicago.

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HEADLINERS Usher has made it clear since the start of his career that his hero and inspiration was Michael Jackson, and during a recent performance he showed that Jackson’s famous sister, Janet, has been something of a role model, too, at least as a live performer. For nearly two hours, he delivered a torrent of music, choreography, wardrobe changes, videos and other visuals upon a boisterous crowd that exceeded 16,000, most of them ladies dressed like they were auditioning for a model shoot. The spectacle began early: Usher arrived on stage via an airborne platform that was lit-up like a sign on the Vegas Strip. Once he’d de-boarded his flotation device, he performed some bungee-cord moves off a wall -- the start of a relentless showcase of dance moves and gymnastics that included his high-flying nine-person dance team that changed costumes nearly as many times as the star did. He was backed by a band, but, like many of these high-energy, heavily choreographed shows, it was hard to tell what live and what might have been canned -- not like that mattered. The spectacle was the point, especially the dancing, which was relentless and tight all night. The setlist included about two dozen songs, and it heavily represented Usher’s latest album, “Raymond v. Raymond,” including the opener, “Monstar” and the ebullient closer, “OMG” (which is also the name of this tour). It would also go back to some of his earliest material, like “You Make Me Wanna” and “U Remind Me.” He delivered one of his biggest hits early: “Yeah!” was the third song of the night and it brought to their feet the few patrons who weren’t already standing or dancing in place. Most of them stayed there all night. He would give them what they wanted, including a few dozen flashes of his neon smile and several long peeks at his washboard abs. During one number, he brought one of those well-dress ladies on stage, where she lay in a chaise lounge while he unleashed some PG-13 seduction moves upon her (reminiscent of Janet Jackson’s lap dancing upon a man pulled from her crowd). At times, all the dancing and role-playing and lights, videos and flashpots threatened to overtake the music, but he provided some relief by delivering a song or two with little fanfare going on around him. On a night like this, even the acoustics in the arena were secondary to the blitzkrieg of eye-popping visuals pouring off the stage. At the end of the finale, “OMG,” confetti rained upon the crowd on the floor, and Usher took in the wave of love and applause, looking not so much like the King of Pop but like a reigning member of music royalty.

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Zoe Keating “A String Quartet Of One�

By Edward Ortiz

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y rigging a system that allows her to sample her playing and use it in real time during concerts, Zoe Keating can replicate herself onstage. All she needs is a MIDI footpad and a computer. She is a string quartet of one. Her performances are just one of many examples of how the cello is evolving. That evolution was the focus of the New Directions Cello Festival recently at California State University, Sacramento. The festival is a combination of afternoon master classes, jam sessions and evening performances by musicians from around the country whose musical focus is the non- classical cello. Keating started experimenting with the sampling process five years ago when she realized that she was writing compositions that sounded like cello ensemble pieces. "I was trying to figure out how to play them live," she said. "I actually tried getting live players to play this music, and it turned out to be difficult to find cellists that were classically trained and also had swing and style."

She soon realized it would be easier to figure out how to program her musical ideas into a computer. To do so, she integrates a program called Ableton Live and a hardware device called the Electrix Repeater for composing. The repeater works like a four-track recorder to record her cello parts on the fly. The software allows her to layer in recorded cello parts to her liking. The crucial link in the chain is a MIDI foot controller, which allows Keating to control both hardware and software, leaving her hands free to play the cello. "It's like having an empty score," said Keating, who lives in Sonoma County. "I just have to play the notes into the score, and the computer takes care of bringing the sampled parts in and out for the audience, somewhat like a conductor would do." Most of what she plays is composed beforehand, though one-fourth of her concert program is improvised, she said. Through the use of different bowing techniques and electronics, Keating believes she's adding to the evolution of the instrument. www.livemagazine.us

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"I think what I and other cellists are doing is taking part in the natural evolution of the cello," Keating said. "I think everything evolves, and when things stop evolving, they die out." Like most musicians, Keating got her start in music early, at age 8 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Unlike many musicians who show promise, Keating chose not to go the music conservatory route when she got older. She opted for private lessons while planning a music career. "When I was 17, I was definitely on the classical cello track," she said. "I was doing competitions and practicing all the time." But a career as a classical cellist grew illusory as the pressure of competitions and recitals began to weigh on her. "I didn't want to live under that kind of stress anymore," she said. Instead, Keating opted for a liberal arts education at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. That led her on a roundabout path to becoming a builder of custom databases for arts organizations while she continued exploring new directions on the cello. That exploration led her to work with cuttingedge musicians. From 2002 to '06, Keating was a member of the cello-rock ensemble Rasputina, founded by cellist Melora Creager, who had toured in the employ of Nirvana. She also has played cello for the Boston-based Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls and Robin Guthrie, and has been on five tours with Grammy nominee Imogen Heap. During her CSUS concert Keating discussed and demonstrate the finer points of a pursuit she's undertaking -- the writing of film scores. At the time, Keating was writing the score to the upcoming British indie film "The Devil's Chair." "I like to create music in front of an audience," she said. "I want to show how music can make you feel, and what it takes to make scary music or happy music. "You add one note to another and soon you have a horror film," she said. "But take away some of those notes and it will sound like a love scene." 52

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KENNY

C H E S N E Y By Sean Day

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rom 2004 to 2008, Kenny Chesney was crowned Entertainer of the Year a total of eight times: four by the CMA (‘04, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08) and four consecutive times by the ACM (‘05 - ‘08). Not once, over the course of those years, did the superstar take for granted the enormity of those honors. “To stand in that spot, it isn’t free ... it’s not,” the ‘Somewhere With You’ singer tells CMT Country Countdown USA. “People don’t give that to you. You’ve to go out and put yourself in a position to win in it. Then after that, you’ve gotta go even further and win it.” In 2009, Taylor Swift was crowned CMA Entertainer of the Year, usurping Kenny’s three-year reign. “Taylor and I are very good friends and I’ve known her for a while,” he shares. “The first time she won Entertainer of the Year, the year before she was going out on the road with us. That was the first year that my tour was gonna be sponsored by Corona, so there was some sort of legal thing where people weren’t comfortable with having an alcohol sponsored show and having a 17 or 18-year-old on the show. So, I had to call Taylor and tell her that she couldn’t do that tour.” Hoping to make up for any disappointment that then-teenaged Taylor might have felt, Kenny figured he’d give her a little something. “I gave her, as an ‘I’m sorry’ present, I gave her a lot of money,” he continues. “So fast forward [to] the next year [2009] and she’s nominated for Entertainer of the Year, as am I, and she wins. So, I’m backstage and I come up

behind her -- she was hugging her band -and I come up behind her and gave her a hug, and I said, ‘I want my money back!’ [laughs]” Three years later, Kenny says -tongue planted firmly in cheek -- that he’s still waiting. “So I haven’t gotten it back yet, but maybe I will one day ... who knows,” he says with a laugh. Last November, Brad Paisley was crowned the 2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year. “I was really proud and really happy that [Brad] won,” Kenny remembers. “I saw him at the party after and gave him a big hug and told him how proud I was for him, and happy that he’s gonna go down in history as being one of the guys that got to stand in that spot.” Kenny was so moved, in fact, that he passed on the words of wisdom George Strait shared with East Tennesse native. “Like [George] Strait told me, the first year that I won Entertainer of the Year, I also won Album of the Year,” Kenny continues. “And he sent me this great letter and he said, ‘Winning album of the year says a lot. Winning entertainer says it all.’ I told Brad that, too.” Kenny’s current single, ‘Somewhere With You’ is currently atop the charts for the second consecutive week. He kicks off his Goin’ Coastal tour March 17 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Get details here. Kenny Chesney is not who you think — especially if you think he digs swappin’ pina colada recipes and weekendpirate tales. www.livemagazine.com

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Don’t get me wrong: The only artist in popular music to sell more than 1 million concert tickets for eight straight summers is chummy and funny, humble and cool. So if you’ve always thought he was those things — bingo. The Tennessee bachelor talks with an earnest bar stool velocity, not as if he has somewhere to go, but as if his sole intent is to give everyone, fans and journalists alike, as much as possible. So if you think Chesney enjoys pleasing the world — right again. But as for all of those tropical album covers, the sky-blue ones where his cowboy hat is tugged low over laid-back eyes and his toes are buried in the sand? All those seemingly autobiographical escapist hits like No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem, Summertime and When the Sun Goes Down? Um, yeah, we should talk about the beach-bum shtick. “It’s very hard for me to relax,” reveals Chesney, calling 56

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me to hype his show at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa this Saturday. “My mind is constantly going. For me to completely relax, I gotta get rid of my cell phone.” Yes, the four-time CMA Entertainer of the Year has a home in the U.S. Virgin Islands. But his life is as far from a permanent vacation as you can get (and no, we’re not talking about the strains of being hitched to Renée Zellweger for a few months). There is the steady stream of No. 1 albums, including his latest, 2010’s Hemingway’s Whiskey. There’s the charity work for the V Foundation. He just produced and narrated an ESPN movie about the University of Tennessee’s Condredge Holloway, the first AfricanAmerican to start at quarterback for an SEC school. And then there are the massive tours, the ambition of which are surpassed only by U2’s looming Spielbergian spaceships.


“I work hard but I play hard,” Chesney says. “My fans reflect who I am. They work hard and play hard, too. They feed off how much fun I have onstage.” That might be the only time he has fun these days. When his crazy-hot road show is barreling across America, with the Zac Brown Band and Uncle Kracker joining him, the advertising major from East Tennessee State is in workaholic mode. Case in point: On March 26, Chesney, will celebrate his 43rd birthday. And how will the Man Who Would Be Buffett do so? Perhaps with a luau-inspired bacchanal of beer and babes? “I play Omaha!” laughs Chesney. “My birthday plans are waking up in Omaha and going to work out.” And, of course, he’ll be tinkering with his multibilliondollar tour, which is now so big — packing stadiums in the middle of a recession isn’t an easy task — it

requires every ounce of Chesney’s not inconsiderable drive. “I make decisions on everything,” he says. “Heck, I make decisions on the catering company. I make decisions on the colors of stuff, especially how the stage looks. There’s a lot of trial and error. There are a lot of things I want to make sure are just right. I want it to reflect me.” Chesney says the basic credo behind his stage shows is a simple one: “What turns me on?” “I say that to my band, too,” he adds. “Remember what turned you on when you were going to rock shows as a kid.” Raised in tiny Luttrell, Tenn., the birthplace of legendary picker Chet Atkins, the star had “eclectic musical tastes” as a young punk. “When I was in high school, it was the hair-band era, so I had all that stuff in my truck. Then again, I also loved singer-songwriters. I loved Johnny Cash, Jimmy www.livemagazine.com

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Buffett. Music has always been medicine to me.” As a result, Chesney’s two-hour show is a spectacle of volume and swagger, a randy, skin-friendly throwdown that also features moments of genuine acoustic heart, especially when he sings songs such as 2004’s There Goes My Life. “I know,” he says of the brutally bittersweet song about a father watching his little girl grow up, “I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a few of those songs.” For as much as Chesney is in tune with what his fans crave in concert, he doesn’t pay much mind to fan-club chat on Facebook or Twitter: “I’m one of those people who think that the Internet is the devil. I don’t have time to constantly tell people what I’m thinking and what I’m eating.” Privacy is at a premium, Chesney says: “And mine’s not for sale.” 58

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Which leads us back to those rare moments when Chesney does manage to relax, to turn off the machine and kick back a bit. So, Kenny, what’s your favorite beach drink? “Aw man,” he pauses, seriously stumped — or maybe annoyed at a cliche nod to his island persona. “I don’t drink that much unless I’m on my boat.” He hems and haws and finally allows: “I guess I should say Corona, right?” Corona, of course, is the sponsor of his tour. Yes, it’s an incredibly corporate answer but it’s also an honest one, a mea culpa even. The hardest-working man in the summer-concert biz is again making sure everyone is pleased. Chesney gives a soft laugh: “I think I just care too much.”


WINNER! - “John Lennon Songwriting Contest” WINNER! - “Maxell - Song of The Year” “Matt can bring passion to most any song leaving listeners yearning for more.” - Broadway World

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Taylor Swift By Nisha Lilia Diu

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aylor Swift is bold and beautiful and a songwriter with a talent for telling compelling simple stories and with that talent - and those looks and that voice - she is swiftly rising to the top of the pop world and beyond. ‘I always write songs about my life,’ says Taylor Swift. ‘And if you’re horrible to me I’m going to write a song about you and you are not going to like it. That’s how I operate.’ Sweet, perfect, teetotal, Pollyanna – these are the words most commonly used to describe Taylor Swift. Which is odd given that she makes no attempt to conceal her less angelic side. We’re talking about Better Than Revenge, a song in which she describes a love rival as ‘an actress/ but she’s better known for the things she does on the mattress’. It’s assumed to be about Camilla Belle, who was linked with the Disney star Joe Jonas mere days after he dumped Swift in a 27-second phone call. But of course she will neither confirm nor deny this. ‘I’m the only person who knows who [my songs] really are about and there’s comfort in that,’ she says with a hint of a smile. Taylor Swift, with her apple-pie image and candid chronicling of her love life, has hit upon a winning combination. The 21-year-old’s latest album, ‘Speak Now’, came out last October and sold more than a million copies in its first week of release. That’s more than any other album in the past 15 years. Last year she won four Grammy Awards and broke Beyoncé’s record for the most top-40 singles by a female artist in the past decade. Her previous album, ‘Fearless’, was America’s biggest-selling album of 2009 and she was America’s overall biggest-selling artist of 2008. She has conquered her homeland to the point where the Wall Street Journal, not a paper given to celebrity coverage, ran a feature just before Christmas complaining of her ubiquity. World domination may not be hers yet but it’s clearly not far away.

At 5ft 11in Swift is, in her own words, ‘taller than people think I am’. Her shoulders are tense and, under the false lashes and dark eyeliner, her face is very pale and delicate. She is far more slender and more girlish than in her videos. Swift is officially a country artist and the cascade of golden hair, frosted eyeshadow and glossy pink lips she usually sports fit the bill. But the Southern twang of her debut album has faded in the past five years. There are significantly fewer references to trucks and blue jeans on her most recent two records (though there’s still a lot of kissing in the rain). Her music is uncomplicated: familiar-sounding versechorus-verse soft-rock concoctions of strumming guitar, cymbals and thumping drum kits accompanied by a light, sweet vocal. Some are party-starters, others are contemplative ballads; all are deftly observed stories about young adulthood. Her lyrics, which she used to co-write and now writes single-handedly, are wholly unlike the banal sexual come-ons that crowd the music of most of her contemporaries. Her image, too, is about as far away from Rihanna or Lady Gaga as you can get. I remind her of something she said a couple of years ago: ‘I don’t want people to think of me as sexy.’ It wasn’t a career decision, she says, pulling on a sandy curl that’s got caught in her necklace, ‘it’s just a life decision. I like wearing pretty dresses and I like trying out new styles but I don’t feel comfortable taking my clothes off. ‘I wouldn’t wear tiny amounts of clothing in my real life so I don’t think it’s necessary to wear that stuff in photo-shoots.’ Do people ever try to talk her into it? ‘Not anymore, no.’ It would be wrong to think this makes Swift a prude. Despite her sweetness she is not a fetishised innocent the way Britney Spears or Selena Gomez have been, with their publicly declared virginities offered up for their fans’ (sometimes unsavoury) admiration. www.livemagazine.com

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Swift has never shied from documenting her desire. ‘You’re running your fingers through your hair/ absentmindedly making me want you,’ she writes of her first kiss. Unlike her ex, Joe Jonas, Taylor Swift does not wear a chastity ring. This is Swift’s genius. Her lyrics are the real thing: truthful, authentic stories about things that have really happened to her. She mentions boys by name: Drew, Adam, Cory, Sam – ‘They’ve become minicelebrities in my hometown,’ she remarks. One song is called simply Hey Stephen and another Dear John (the latter is assumed to be addressed to the singer and notorious ladies’ man John Mayer). They are her stories but they’re also everybody’s stories. Her songs contain moments we’ve all known: unrequited crushes, feeling left out by the cool kids, the awkwardness of running into an ex. ‘See me nervously pulling at my clothes and trying to look busy/while you’re trying your best to avoid me,’ she sings in The Story of Us. ‘This is looking like a contest of who can act like they care less.’ That’s why, when Swift goes out after an awards show or television appearance to ‘meet and greet’ her fans, she sometimes doesn’t come back for 14 hours. ‘I’ve had some hilarious conversations in those meet-and-greet lines,’ she says, laughing. ‘I’ve met many of the girls more than once. ‘I mean, I’ve been on tour since I was 16 and I always do meet-and-greets before and after shows so you kind of build these friendships with people. I have girls come up to me and tell me exactly what’s going on in their love lives. ‘They always come out with these bold confessions, like’ – Swift puts on the voice of a wronged, righteous woman – ‘“I’m so glad I’m at your concert tonight. My boyfriend just left me.’’’ What do you say to that? ‘Um… Well, I’ll commiserate with them but it depends how they said it and how all right they seem. If they seem like they’re really upset about it then you’ve gotta give them a hug.’ Have you given many hugs? ‘Yes!’ Swift talks about ‘the fans’ a lot. It’s clearly important to her to maintain direct contact with them, to remain one of them even while she is their wise comforter. At the time of writing, her MySpace page has had 116,878,768 visitors and she has 18,869,687 Facebook ‘friends’. The numbers are dizzying, I tell her. ‘Thank you,’ she says, with the easy grace of one who is accustomed to accepting compliments.

It’s all constantly updated with pictures and messages. Does she have people looking after the sites for her? ‘No, it’s just me,’ she says, laughing when she sees my incredulous stare. ‘Yeah. I spend a bit of time online every day but it’s worth it because that’s how [the fans and I] keep in touch. And what else am I doing? I’m jet-lagged every single day and awake at 4am, so…’ It’s paying off. On top of her record-breaking albums and sell-out tours, Swift has put out dolls, greetings cards, a CoverGirl make-up line, a collection of sundresses in Wal-Mart, a limited-edition album exclusive to the American discount chain Target. This is how you get to be worth $50 million before your 21st birthday. She has given some of the money to charity and blown some of it on a $1 million tour bus. She has also moved into her own condo in Nashville (there’s a fish pond ‘like a moat around the central fireplace’ in the living-room and a spiral staircase leading to a birdcage-shaped conservatory on the roof). Swift first visited Nashville aged 11, when she left a demo CD at the front desk of every record label on Music Row. She’d seen a documentary about Faith Hill that mentioned she’d been discovered there, ‘so of course I got it in my head that there was this magical land called Nashville where dreams come true and that’s where I needed to go. ‘I began absolutely non-stop tormenting my parents, begging them on a daily basis to move there.’ She didn’t get any calls but she kept trying and, at 14, Sony/ATV Tree asked her to join its writing team, composing songs for its artists. So her family upped sticks: her father, who is a stockbroker, her mother, who is a housewife (‘But,’ Swift says, ‘she was a working professional before that, so my parents are both really smart people’) and her younger brother, Austin, all said goodbye to Pennsylvania. She now lives ‘two blocks away from Music Row and I drive those streets every day. It’s so crazy to think that now things are a lot different.’ One of her most popular videos remains that for her 2009 single You Belong With Me. The song got a publicity boost when Kanye West stormed the stage as Swift was accepting an MTV Award for it. ‘Taylor, I’m happy for you,’ he shouted, ‘but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!’ He then jumped off to the sound of booing crowds leaving Swift alone and speechless on the stage in her sparkly silver gown. It was one of her most disarmed – and most charming – moments. www.livemagazine.com

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Swift, by her own admission, ‘overthinks and overanalyses everything’, and her public appearances are sometimes too controlled, straining too hard for the appropriate note of modesty and gratitude, as a result. This need to be in command of herself is the reason she doesn’t drink: ‘I worry I might come off in a way that I can’t control.’ It’s also why she doesn’t raise her voice – ‘If you’re yelling you’re the one who’s lost control of the conversation’ – and it’s the reason she called her last album ‘Speak Now’. ‘I don’t typically talk in great detail about my personal life in interviews,’ she says, ‘but this album reveals a lot about my life in the last two years, things that people didn’t necessarily know before it came out. ‘So if you’re not saying anything about certain details in interviews but you’re saying it in an album…’ You’re choosing when and where to speak? ‘Yes. So calling it “Speak Now” seemed appropriate.’ 64

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One revelation was her regret at breaking up with the actor Taylor Lautner (who plays a werewolf in the Twilight films), whom Swift dated for a few months. ‘Turns out freedom just means missing you all the time,’ she sings in Back to December. ‘I go back and change my own mind. I go back to December all the time.’ The confessional aspect of Swift’s material has always been a major part of her appeal. But now that she’s famous and dating other celebrities (she was recently linked to Jake Gyllenhaal and rumoured to be seeing Chord Overstreet of Glee) her songs offer an addictive glimpse behind the stars’ bedroom doors. Her fans are hooked. Is she writing anything at the moment? ‘I always have to be writing. I’m writing in my hotel rooms and on tour buses.’ What about? ‘Ugh,’ Swift groans. ‘Lots of different things. You’ll hear.’


©2011 BLUE MOON BREWING COMPANY, GOLDEN, CO • BELGIAN WHITE BELGIAN-STYLE WHEAT ALE


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Jeff

B E C K By Scott Smith

ike all of rock music’s greats, Jeff Beck is good on studio tape but even more stunning in concert. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both as a solo artist and as a member of the influential British blues band The Yardbirds, Beck has sounded inspired on pretty much all of his studio work, but give the 65-year-old musician a stage and white Fender Stratocaster, and his passion and playing take on a greater, more convincing dimension. Wearing sunglasses, black pants and a black vest, Beck showed why he’s been christened by many as one of the greatest guitarists to ever live. He caressed the neck of his guitar on quiet numbers like his impeccable cover of “Over the Rainbow,” and for the more venomous numbers, Beck’s right hand wiggled over his brand-new guitar strings and slapped the whammy bar. Sidestepping the serious, strict reputation that has followed him for 45 years, Beck seemed at ease during the mostly instrumental set that split time between cuts from his new compact disc, “Emotion & Commotion,” and older favorites. He smiled numerous times at the audience, and whenever drummer Narada Michael Walden, bassist Rhonda Smith or keyboardist Jason Rebello took a brief solo, Beck stood to the side of the stage, smiling like a proud father and gesturing for the audience to cheer his colleagues. Most of Beck’s 115-minute set won standing ovations between songs, and when Beck performed an instrumental version of Curtis Mayfield’s immortal

“People Get Ready” - Beck and Rod Stewart scored a hit duet of it in 1985 a collective gasp escaped the audience’s lungs before the sounds of claps and whistles. Thirty minutes later, Beck played the start of John Lennon’s vocal line on The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life,” and what followed was an inventive reinterpretation that boasted flashes of punchy jazz and intense psychedelic rock. Near the show’s end, Beck paid tribute to the late Les Paul by strapping on a Gibson Les Paul for a rowdy, rockabilly-like song. The capacity crowd included teenagers who stared at Beck in silence, as well as older fans who have marveled at Beck’s in-concert magic multiple times. “This is my first Jeff Beck concert,” said one woman while perched against the stage’s front before the concert. “Yeah, I’ve seen Jeff Beck before,” said her friend. “He is great. This is going to be a great concert.” Local musicians like Gary Hutchison and Brad Hyman made the two-hour trip to catch Beck amaze in the wash of red, green, yellow and white spotlights. “That was just about the best performance of a concert I’ve ever seen,” gushed Hutchison following the show. “Wow.” Beck’s show at the Brady indeed was as spectacular as his recent concert DVD, “Performing This Week ... Live at Ronnie Scott’s.” It’s still easy to see why Beck was the only guy who could truly replace Eric Clapton in The Yardbirds way back when. www.livemagazine.com

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SADE By Jon Pardes

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HEN a man from a radio station asked Sade what she had been doing in the 10 years between albums, she told him, “I’ve been in a cave, and I just rolled the boulder out of it.” She chuckled as she recounted the exchange, with her feet tucked up on the couch at her Georgian house in the north London neighborhood of Islington. A January rain pelted the trees outside the window of the second-story drawing room, atop a graciously curving staircase. Sade, a slender figure in black pants and a black V-neck sweater, made things cozy, feeding kindling to a crackling fire in the hearth. An interview about her new album, “Soldier of Love” (Epic) — only her sixth studio album dating back to her 1984 debut, and due for release on Tuesday — stretched into a fourhour conversation. “I’ve got absolutely no real perception, properly, of time,” said Sade, 51, who was born Helen Folasade Adu in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her father was a Nigerian university teacher of economics; her mother was an English nurse, and raised her in rural England after the couple divorced. Sade’s speaking voice is even lower than the husky alto in her songs, the elegantly subdued ballads that have sold more than 50 million albums worldwide. Sade’s hits, like “Smooth Operator,” “No Ordinary Love” and “The Sweetest Taboo,” were ubiquitous through the 1980s and 1990s, purring out of radios and lending ambience to countless lounges, restaurants and boutiques. Sade emerged in the musicvideo era (her debut album, “Diamond Life,” appeared a year after Madonna’s did), when many pop stars believe they need maximum media exposure to sustain a career. Instead Sade has hung back, letting the songs alone define her. It’s a decision that may, in the end, make her more cherished. Fans have not forgotten her; preorder made “Soldier of Love” No. 2 on the Amazon sales chart last week. 68

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As far as the music business was concerned, Sade might as well have been in some cave after 2002, when she and her band finished touring for their 2000 album, “Lovers Rock.” She vanished from stages, magazine covers, gossip columns and other celebrity-promotion zones, though she did contribute a song to a 2005 benefit DVD, “Voices for Darfur.” “With most artists they’re more of a big person in their public persona than they are in their private persona, and I’d say with Sade it’s almost the other way around,” said Sophie Muller, a friend she met while attending Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design who became her video director and, for “Soldier of Love,” the album-cover photographer. “Her whole self is not for public consumption.” Ms. Muller added, “Somehow the idea of being a singer and making music has been confused with being an international personality. She’s bravely decided she doesn’t have to do the other thing. It’s not something she’s thought about, deciding, ‘Let’s make it more mysterious.’ It’s just her own way.” Sade had scheduled a meeting with her manager after our conversation, knowing he was going to try to talk her into more promotional efforts. Perhaps she was procrastinating. “I love writing songs,” she said. “But then, going beyond that, I find it a little bit difficult, the sort of opening myself up to everything that’s attached to it in the music business generally, the expectations and pressures that are put onto you. Some people love all of the trimmings and everything that comes with that. But I happen to not be one of those people.” Even as she was working on “Soldier of Love,” she said, “I ventured in with a little trepidation. I wasn’t eager to get back out there and be recognized again.” Though she said that her life has been “a rugged roller-coaster ride” for the last few years, she is “actually quite happy now.” The album is, in part, “a purging of all the things that have gone on,” she said. “There’s quite a lot of my history in the album, one way or another. It’s not all about me, but there’s bits of me in there.” In conversation Sade has an easy laugh and a casual sense of humor. But she worries about being “too candid” with the

press; she guards the privacy of the people she’s close to, past and present. For Sade, reticence is a matter of both temperament and songwriting strategy. “That’s the trick in a way, like conjuring,” she said. “You’ve got to allow so much to go in there. But it isn’t just your own, because then it’s T.M.I.” — too much information — “and when you listen to the song you’re thinking of the person rather than your own emotions.” “If it’s too attached to the performer,” she added, “it pushes you away, it’s a bit repulsive. Because that’s theirs — it’s not yours.” The new album doesn’t radically change the sound of Sade, which is also the name of the band she has led since 1983 with Stuart Matthewman on guitar and saxophone, Andrew Hale on keyboards and Paul Denham on bass. “Soldier of Love” is another collection of slow, pensive songs, mostly in minor keys, often pondering lost love and uncertain journeys. The band takes pride in being proficient but not flashy, and even the album’s most elaborately multitracked and programmed arrangements come across as modest. The first single, “Soldier of Love,” is as close as Sade gets to current R&B with its martial percussion, subterranean bass throb, sudden zaps of samples and somber strings. The rest of the album is gentler, resuming and subtly updating Sade’s understated R&B-reggae-jazz-pop fusion. Yet in their own quiet way, many of the songs on “Soldier of Love” hold a new desolation. Sade’s music began as a British take on the suave 1970s American soul of Donny Hathaway and Curtis Mayfield, often projecting a serene reserve that reassured listeners and drew them in. Now some of that reserve has vanished. On the new album Sade’s voice shows more ache and vulnerability, moving closer than ever to the blues. Song after song testifies to pain, loneliness and a longing for refuge. “The ground is full of broken stones/The last leaf has fallen/I have nowhere to turn now,” Sade sings in “Bring Me Home,” a elegiac tune over a hip-hop beat. In the album’s closing song, “The Safest Place,” she offers her own affection as a sanctuary: “My heart has been a lonely warrior before,/So you can be sure.” www.livemagazine.com

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ENCORE For the last five years Sade has had what she calls a “partner,” Ian Watts. They live together in rural Gloucestershire, England’s west country, where they are raising Sade’s 13-year-old daughter, Ila, and Mr. Watts’s 18-year-old son, Jack. Sade is considering marriage. “There’s lots of regrets about time wasted and all those mistakes in the past,” said Sade, who was divorced from the Spanish filmmaker Carlos Pliego in 1995. “But there’s something lovely about knowing that when it’s right, you really know it’s right because you’ve already been through all the wrong.” Sade spends most of her time in the west country, only occasionally driving her Volvo into London. At her Islington house there were sheets over some furniture, and old cassette tapes on the shelves along with books of art and photography. For Sade the past decade was filled largely with domestic matters: gardening, parenthood, building a house (now nearly finished) in Gloucestershire, tending to someone terminally ill she declined to identify. “If you’ve got a sick friend, or someone you love is dying, to say, ‘See you later, I’m going into the studio’ — I just can’t do it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter to me enough at that moment.” Her daughter traveled with Sade’s 2002 tour, but Sade would put her to bed before going onstage. “She never saw me sing,” Sade said. “She’s just a little tiny thing, standing there, with her mum out on the stage in front of all those people? I thought it would be too weird for her.” A few years ago, Ila asked her, “Mum, are you famous?” Sade recalled. “Now she’s completely sure and aware what the situation is.” (Ila Adu sings backup, along with Mr. Matthewman’s son, Clay, on the song “Babyfather.”) Sade hesitated to plunge back into songwriting. “That feeling of revelation, of exposing myself emotionally,” she said, “That was maybe something that held me back, subconsciously, from going into it again. But it isn’t all about me, and it’s not only me, and the only way I can forget about it is by doing it.” She started cautiously. The band members had scattered in the ’80s and ’90s — Mr. Matthewman in New York, Mr. Denman in Los Angeles, Mr. Hale in London — and Sade thought that having them fly in to work would signal too much of a commitment at first. Around 2005 Sade began working on songs with Juan Janes, an Argentine guitarist living in London, in her basement studio at the Islington house. They wrote “Mum,” about atrocities in Darfur, for the benefit album, and early versions of “Babyfather” and “Long Hard Road” from the new album. With her move to Gloucestershire, that collaboration petered out, but eventually her band, her friends and her family nudged her toward music again. One factor was that Mr. Watts could now look after her daughter while she was holed up in the recording studio. “I wasn’t pressured by the years going by, really,” Sade said. “Only through the band’s desire to make a record.” Band members had been hinting, and waiting. “I’ll always drop everything to work with her,” Mr. Matthewman said 72

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from his recording studio in New York. The members reconvened in 2008, the first time they had all been together since the tour. Since its second album Sade has created songs in a way that is now a bygone luxury for most bands: writing together in a fully equipped studio, spontaneously, rather than bringing in finished songs to polish up. For a week or two at a time, and then for longer stretches, the band members lived at Peter Gabriel’s residential Real World Studios in Wiltshire. Mr. Matthewman recalled Sade instructing, “Don’t tell the record company.” “I have to escape the mundane realities of everyday life in order to go there and dig down within myself,” she said, adding that at Real World, “you can’t just say, ‘Oh, I can’t work, I’ve got to go and cook a meal.’ You have no choice but to address the demons.” When Sade talks about songwriting she turns mystical. It’s “alchemical,” an “out of body experience,” an attempt to preserve insights from the “etheric moment” between wakefulness and dreams. And with the band working together where they can record at all times, “we are able to capture that in the studio, to capture it technically in the right frame so it sounds good,” Sade said. “It is almost like a church, because you’re going to that room, you know your purpose, you know what you’re going to do in there, and you don’t have to take anything in with you that you don’t want to take in there.” The band did not rush. “If you’re only making an album every 10 years, it better be good,” Sade said. Eventually Sony Music executives did learn that Sade was working again, and wanted the album released before Christmas of 2009. That deadline passed; Sade said she’s happier to re-emerge in a new year, and a new decade. The band finished the last mix of “Skin” — a song about a reluctant breakup, with acoustic guitars and Sade’s close-harmony vocals in the foreground as eerie electronics and percussion ping in the distance — around 5 a.m. on the day another band had booked Real World. An album meant a cover photograph, and Sade was reluctant at first to appear on it. “Everybody around me said, ‘You’re mad,’ ” she recalled. The compromise was a photo with her back turned, gazing out over Zapotec ruins. “You’re not looking at me,” she said hopefully. “You’re surveying the journey ahead and the history as well.” Through a quarter-century of recording, Sade has heard regularly about how her songs’ mixture of mourning and consolation have brought her fans comfort. “If it’s like a lighthouse to guide someone past the rocks, that’s a great thing,” she said. The next round for Sade is a handful of television performances of the song “Soldier of Love,” adding the drummer Pete Lewinson as the band did on its 2002 tour. Eventually Sade intends to gear up for a tour. “I do want to get on the stage and sing the songs,” she said. “But then I just want to disappear again.”


BACKSTAGE INDUSTRY - Q&A

Miles Leonard President, Parlophone/Virgin A&R - By Louisa Peacock

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usic industry executive Miles Leonard - who signed recording artists Coldplay and The Verve - describes the record label’s new apprenticeship scheme. Miles Leonard is credited for signing artists including Coldplay, Gorillaz and The Verve, as well as reviving the career of Kylie Minogue at the turn of the century. He joined EMI in 1995 and this month became president of Parlophone and Virgin Artists & Repertoire (A&R) - the division responsible for talent scouting. He talks about how the music label develops its own staff - not least through a brand new apprenticsehip scheme which aims to turn budding talent scouters into stars of their own. I oversee talent scouting and the artistic development of recording artists for Parlophone and Virgin A&R.

talent, they are usually not famous and therefore you enter your working relationships on that level. Your artist’s music and art is incredibly personal and precious to both of you and needs to be treated accordingly. Coldplay or Kylie, for example, are recognised globally as huge stars and deservedly so but I know them as friends and we work together on that basis.

How do you recruit people into the business side of the music industry?

What’s the greatest risk you took to get where you are today?

We have just developed a groundbreaking course with the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, which offers an apprenticeship for anyone keen to learn about the music business. The one-year programme will give candidates work experience working in small groups on frontline projects. Apprentices will be tasked with monitoring and critiquing a band’s or artist’s progression and career path and visits to parent company EMI’s office will provide a unique insight into how the music industry operates.

I gave up a well paid plumbing and heating business at the age of 19 to work for no salary for six months in the music business. The managing director of Chrysalis Records, Paul Conroy, gave me my first break and a foot on the ladder. It was then Keith Wozencroft, a great A&R man, who asked me to join Parlophone. Signing The Verve within the first six months of working in the music business also gave me the confidence to keep at it.

Describe your job in a nutshell.

How do you develop your own talent spotters? As a scout for the label, you are mentored by the A&R team as a whole and introduced to key managers and lawyers or promoters. You are guided through the commercial aspects of the business and your role within the company, not just A&R. However, taste is something you can’t teach. What’s it like working with famous artists or discovering a new band? You have to remember that when you discover new 74

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How did you get into your line of work? You get in because you live and breathe music. Simply being a casual listener and looking for some glamour in your life won’t cut it. You need a real passion for music and a deep desire to be part of it. What are the pros and cons of your job? A 9-5 job has never interested me, neither has routine. That said, you have to be prepared to work very long hours and relinquish a lot of your personal life for the role. EMI comes under the media’s microscope so often and not always for the best reasons.


Coldplay’s Chris Martin

How does EMI retain its staff? By constantly improving how we develop and grow our people. It also means fostering a culture where people can flourish, be rewarded for working hard, and seize career opportunities. I think the testament to this is the fact that we have lots of people who have been with EMI for many years, in a great career, and continue to enjoy it. There is also a trend for people leaving the company and sooner or later trying to come back, so we must be doing something right. What piece of advice would you give to jobseekers looking to join EMI? Be original. We had a recent CV that was delivered digitally and was based around a flick-through picture book. It was innovative, original and said more than a standard CV ever could. She got the job.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon? ‘Silver bullet’. Name a leader who inspires you. Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple - Harvard’s most successful drop-out who revolutionised the computer industry. What is the worst thing anyone can do at a job interview? Tell you that all their favourite artists are on Parlophone/EMI and we are the only company they could ever imagine working for. It’s nice to hear but it’s rarely the whole truth. Who would play you in the film of your life and why? Jack Nicholson – similar build and hairline. Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence. Work hard, play hard. www.livemagazine.com

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The Last Waltz GeorgeMitchell Shearing Mitch ( 1919 - 2011) ( 1947 - 2008 )

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itch Mitchell, drummer for the legendary Jimi Hendrix Experience of the 1960s and the group's last surviving member, was found dead in his hotel NEW YORK -room early(AP) Wednesday. He was 61. Mitchell a powerful force on "Are Experienced?" eorge was Shearing, the ebullient jazz You pianist who wrotethe the 1967standard debut album of the Hendrix band. He had an explosive “Lullaby of Birdland” and had a string of hits both drumming style that be heard hard-charging with and without hiscan quintet, has in died. He was 91.songs such as "Fire" and "Manic Depression." Shearing, blind since birth, had been a superstar of the jazz The Englishman had been drumming for the Experience Hendrix world sinceperformed a couple Friday of years after heItarrived thestop United Tour, which in Portland. was theinlast on States in Coast 1947 part fromofhis the West thenative tour. England, where he was already Hendrix died The in 1970. Noel Redding, bass player trio, hugely popular. George Shearing Quintet’s first for bigthe hit came died in 2003. in 1949 with a version of songwriter Harry Warren’s “SeptemAn employee at Portland's Benson Hotel called police after ber in the Rain.” discovering Mitchell's body. He remained activemedical well into his 80s, releasing CD called Erin Patrick, a deputy examiner, said Mitchell aapparently “Lullabies of Birdland” as well as awas memoir, “Lullaby of Birdland,” died of natural causes. An autopsy planned. Bob 2004. Merlis, a spokesman for the tour, said Mitchell had in early stayed Portland for a four-day andShearing planned to leave In ain1987 Associated Pressvacation interview, said the Wednesday. ingredients for a great performance were “a good audience, a "It was a devastating surprise," Merlis said. "Nobody drummed good piano, and a good physical feeling, which is not available to like he did." every soul, every day of everyone’s life.

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He said he saw Mitchell perform two weeks ago in Los Angeles, and the drummer appeared to be healthy and upbeat. Merlis said the tour was designed to bring together veteran musicians who had known Hendrix — like Mitchell — and younger artists, as then, Grammy-nominated Jonny Lang, who have “Yoursuch intent, is to speak to winner your audience in a language been influenced by him. you know, to try to communicate in a way that will bring to them Mitchell was asa you one-of-a-kind drummer whose "jazz-tinged" as good a feeling have yourself,” he said. style was a vital part of both the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the In 2007, Shearing was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his Experience Hendrix Tour that ended last week, Merlis said. "If Jimi contribution tostill music. honor was announced, he said Hendrix were alive,"When Merlisthe said, "he would have acknowledged it that." was “amazing to receive an honor for something I absolutely love Mitchell doing.” played for numerous other bands but was best known for his work inbebop-influenced the Jimi Hendrix sound Experience, whichidentified was inducted Shearing’s became with into the Rock Hall of Fame in 1992. a quintet, piano, vibes, guitar, bass and drums, which he put According to the Hall of Fame, he was born July 9, 1947, in together in 1949. More recently, he played mostly solo or with Ealing, England. only Hendrix, a bassist. He excelled in the “locked hands” Redding and Mitchell held their first technique, rehearsal in in October according to the Hall of Fame's which the1996, pianist plays parallel melodies withWeb the site. two hands, In an ainterview creating distinct,last full month sound.with the Boston Herald, Mitchell said heGuitarist-vocalist met Hendrix "in this sleazy little club." John Pizzarelli, who recorded 2002’s “The "We did some Chuck Berry and took it from there," Mitchell told Rare Delight of You” with the George Shearing Quintet, said, “The the newspaper. "I suppose it worked." Shearing sound is something that lives on ad infinitum.”



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