feedback > Talk to us at: feedback@IAEmagazine.com <
editor’s word to you Over the past year, I Am Entertainment has had the privilege of featuring some of the most successful working actors, filmmakers, musicians, comics, and sports figures. If you have been following us long enough, you know that we have made it our mission to include the up-and-coming artists alongside the well knowns we feature, all with the purpose of creating an equal exposure platform that supports both major and indie creatives. This issue we’re focusing on showcasing some of the year’s most shared and talked about features we’ve had in I Am Entertainment magazine. While all of our featured guests brought their own special flare to the IAE audience, some stood out and we’d like to share them with you. So, as you begin to read this 31st issue, I would encourage you to connect with our “BEST OF” features and see why they were so well received. Be sure to take notes, and then use what you gather to grow your career. I hope you’ve got your pen and pad out in preparation for putting together a solid strategy for the new year using what you learn from this issue’s “BEST OF” professionals. Ready, Set, Go!!!
Candy Freeman Editor-In-Chief
I am new to I Am Entertainment magazine and was very impressed by your 5 year anniversary issue (#30). I love the diversity that your magazine showcases. As a Jewish woman in her mid-40s, I love the fact that there are so many ethnicities represented on your website and in your publication. I specifically enjoyed the interviews with George Wallace, Garfunkel & Oates,
and Tzi Ma. I am very familiar with them all, but I learned some things that I didn’t know about them. The Q&A was informative and helpful to those of us who aspire to work in comedy and television. Thanks! L. Goldstein Aurora, IL
-----------------------------I’m so glad that indie artists have a credible source that will cover our contributions to the music business. I’ve seen a few digital magazines who cover indie bands, but they don’t have much of an audience. So, thanks IAE for what you do. Bill Johnson Dallas, TX
“Never press up more CDs than you can sell in a 30-60 day period,” says Alexis Kimbrough (CEO of Growth Group - accounting firm representing indie bands and artists) on The Miews Podcast, Episode 48
let’s connect online
DID YOU HEAR?
What you missed on The Miews show. Episode 51: Types of Band / Artist Names That Could Reduce Your Earning Potential
Join the conversation at
We should be friends on
Listen & get ahead on
iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and themiews.com
This episode went along with Shaine Freeman’s (show host) article that was featured on Sonicbids’ blog and at IAEMagazine.com. There are three types of names that Shaine focused on, and he backed them up with references.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
i Am Entertainment VOLUME 6 - ISSUE 31
PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
FILM & TV Doreen Spicer-dannely 5 indie feature : Wildstyle 7 COVER STORY: adi shankar 9 Effective Networking 12
michael jr. - comedian 13 michael grandinetti - magician 15
miewsic who owns your songs 17 yvonne drazan 19 album reviews 21
Candy Freeman email@example.com
MUSIC EDITOR & PODCAST HOST: Shaine Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Hoyos - email@example.com
ART DIRECTOR: Shaine Freeman
MUSIC & FILM REVIEWS: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cover: courtesy of Adi Shankar All others, see interviews/articles.
email@example.com I Am Entertainment Media PO Box 263 Kennesaw, GA 30152 Tel: 818-813-9365 Article Submissions & General Info: www.iaemagazine.com/contact I Am Entertainment Magazine is published bi-monthly in January, March, May, July, September, and November by I Am Entertainment Media, LLC (IAE). The opinions expressed by our contributors falls under their constitutional rights of free speech. While we have made extensive efforts to ensure that the content herein has been obtained through reliable sources, IAE is not liable for any errors or omissions, typographical errors, or misprints. IAE reserves the right to refuse any advertising which it deems unsuitable. All advertisers agree to hold the publisher harmless and indemnify any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs, and expenses (including attorneyâ€™s fees) made against or incurred by the publisher, including but not limited to the sole negligence and/or fault of the publisher. The publisher is not liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics, or representations of any ads published herein, or of the condition of the articles sold through the paper, or performance of service advertised in this publication. All advertisements and submissions are wholly the property of IAE and cannot be copied in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We reserve the right to edit or refuse any ad and reprint any ad or photo for promotional use. All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2014. All issues of I Am Entertainment Magazine are wholly the property of IAE and shall not be printed, copied, duplicated, or distributed without expressed written consent from the publisher. I Am Entertainment is a trademark of IAE. ISSN 2161-9093 (print) ISSN 2161-3109 (digital)
film & tv
By Candy Freeman | All Photos CassieThomson.com & Stoney Lake Entertainment (inset)
When it comes to creating great movies and TV shows that showcase diversity, this Brooklyn native has the gift. Through her unique talent for writing successful tweens/ teens shows, Doreen SpicerDannelly has proven her worth in Hollywood.
DOREEN SPICER-dANNELY AWARD-WINNING
PRODUCER DIRECTOR SCREENWRITER FILM & TV RESUME
Writer & Developer
Network: Starz Kids & Family
THE PROUD FAMILY
Writer, Developer, Supervising Producer
Network: Disney Channel
JUMP IN (TV Movie) Writer
Network: Disney Channel Source: www.SpicerackProductionsInc.com
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
What was it like for you in the very beginning of your career? In the beginning, I was an intern. Kids who are interested in breaking into this business have to have some kind of mentor or alumni who is willing to take them under their wing. I actually had alumni, SammArt Williams, who was co-executive producer on “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.” He was also a producer on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” That was my entre into the business, as an intern. I got my first real job when some other kid got fired. The late 90’s was a wonderful time because there were lots of (TV) shows that were based on African-American characters, so black writers were working. But then, suddenly those shows disappeared or got marginalized, and you didn’t see very many of them anymore. That’s when I discovered that an African-American female writer in Hollywood was not the “norm.” Let’s be honest, executive producers and show runners want to be comfortable and be able to say whatever they want so, they’re going to be less likely to hire someone who may be offended by what they say. That left a lot of black writers out of work so, I actually had to struggle. I signed onto a temp agency
and worked as a receptionist for a commercial company, working my way up to executive assistant. During that same time, I did a speaking engagement at Lincoln University because this kid there wanted some people from Hollywood to come and speak to the students. While at Lincoln University, the school told me that Bruce Smith was there and he was actually looking for a writer. They suggested that I hook up with him when I get back to LA, and that’s what I did. So, essentially, I went to Lincoln to make a connection with a person in Hollywood; but it was because I stayed proactive. How did you wind up working with Disney on “The Proud Family”? After I got back from the Lincoln University panel, I was still temping. I made the connection with Bruce Smith and he sat me down and showed me some art drawings of these character he came up with. He told me the story and I was so excited. The original Penny Proud character Bruce drew looked so much like me, and I was really shocked because I had never seen a light-skinned black character being set up for animation. It just showed me that hanging in there has it’s perks, and it eventually pays off. His producwww.iaemagazine.com
film & tv
tion company took my spec script and hired me. They gave me two weeks, but I wrote it in two hours and waited a week to show them. I didn’t want to come off as being too excited; I wanted to play it cool. [laughs] I sent it back to them and it took two years before “The Proud Family” actually got picked up. That’s why I stayed in LA temping and holding on for it to get picked up. I actually went home to visit my parents and told them that I have to move back because I didn’t know how I could survive any longer in LA. Temping was too inconsistent. Ironically, about 20 minutes after talking to my parents, I get a call from Bruce Smith and he says, “We got picked up by Disney for 26 episodes!” [laughs] It’s crazy, but that’s how it happened. You incorporate diversity into your work a lot; was that something you always wanted to do? Absolutely! As a child, when I looked at television, I realized there wasn’t enough that spoke to me. The shows that I grew up on were shows like, “The Brady Bunch” and “The Partridge Family”. But, my favorite shows were “Different Strokes” and “Facts of Life” because I saw at least some representation of myself in these shows. I also watched “The Jackson 5” and “Fat Albert” cartoons because that was all there was for black kids to identify with on TV. Not that I didn’t enjoy shows where there were no black characters; it’s just that my viewpoint was from a kid who was growing up half Puerto Rican and half African-American in the projects in Brooklyn. My world wasn’t just one race of people. I grew up around Italians, Indians, Asians, and Jews too. I witnessed so many different cultures and television didn’t reflect my reality.
“I’ve always wanted to create shows that gave kids of all races a character they could identify with.” I had a love for the arts and I wanted to see some changes, but what got me thinking was the show, “Benson” (Robert Guillaume). Benson was the butler to a governor and he asked the little girl, Katie (Missy Gold), what she wanted to be when she grew up. I don’t think anyone had ever asked me that so, that question stayed in my mind. I’ve always wanted to create shows that gave kids of all races a character they could identify with. Do I understand the politics and the control of it all? Absolutely! Am I afraid of it? No!
Don’t look at the obstacles because, if you do you’ll be discouraged. Just do whatever you do to the best of your ability. It’s not enough to just be good, you have to be excellent at it. The only way to do that is to continue to sharpen your skills, and quite frankly, do it. You cannot sit around and wait for people to give you an opportunity these days. When I see statistics that say there were 250 top grossing films made and only 18% were dominated or held by women, it forces me to focus on the vision that I have in front of me and go for it. If you get bogged down with the obstacles that you are facing you will never get out of your seat. Just turn a blind eye to the obstacles and keep pressing forward. iae
Filmmaker Quote “I often attribute my screenwriting to journalism because they drill in the who, what, when, where and why - but we really need to land on that why. That’s what I’ve been exploring in my writing for many years and trying to get better at.” ~ Mara Brock Akil
What advice would you like to share with women who are trying to make it in TV & Film? www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
film & tv
Filmmaking By Daniel Hoyos | Photos
I Am Entertainment welcomes, D a n i e l Hoyos, who joins our team as the Film Editor. Daniel hails from the Emerald City of Seattle (WA) where his presence in the film scene is felt daily. Hoyos’ professional film career is well documented through his works as both the Director of the Seattle Shorts Film Festival, and as an Indie Filmmaker. Daniel loves to help filmmakers find outlets and opportunities to show their amazing films. Follow and Tweet @DanielHoyos and say hello.
How do did first get involved with the underground Hop-Hop scene of the South Bronx? CHARLIE: Fred Brathwaite and I had our first taste of the Bronx underground at an outdoor park jam early July 1980. We met Busy Bee and The Funky Four and got lots of flyers and phone numbers and everything grew from that point. Right from the jump I felt that I wanted to have the Wild Style movie climax with an outdoor park jam. It felt like a community.
A story about the early years of hiphop in the south bronx, New York. taggin’, breakin’, & rappin’ 7
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
Fab Five Freddy is a close friend. Do you remember the first meeting to discus Wild Style? CHARLIE: Fred approached me at The Times Square show in June. He had been seeing posters of my super8 kung fu movie shot in Lee Quinones’ Smith Projects. I was very interested in Lee and his explosive graffiti murals. Fred was making some moves with Lee showing canvasses in Rome. I suggested that he bring Lee around the next morning and do a piece on the wall outside. I helped them get some paint and I like to think of their FAB5 piece as the first step the three of us took to making the movie Wild Style. South Bronx back in the early 1980’s was in such decay dub Decade of Fire. Did these circumstances present any major challenges while filming? CHARLIE: I stayed among people I trusted,
people who were known and respected, such as Grand Master Caz, Busy Bee, etc. I always felt that we were working on something really crucial to the whole scene. Sugarhill’s Rapper’s Delight had come out from New Jersey, stealing stuff from the Bronx and the Hip Hop originators were keen to be involved. Can you elaborate on the story that Lee Quinones took quite a bit of convincing to play Zero? CHARLIE: Lee’s whole mode was stealth and secrecy. Don’t forget he was sought by the police for his amazing run on the subway system and he didn’t trust too many people. Lady Pink likes to take credit for convincing him to take the role. I would say to him, there’s lots of actors that might end up doing scenes with your “girlfriend” Pink. Wild Style introduced us to Cold Crush Brothers, DJ Grand Wizard Theodore, and Fantastic Freaks. What are some memories about filming at The Dixie? CHARLIE: My favorite scene takes place on the same basketball court where the Cold Crush would play after rehearsals at Caz’s apartment down the block. The Cold Crush and The Fantastic were the arch rivals battling each other in the clubs, but I wanted them to face off on the court like the gangs from West Side Story. www.iaemagazine.com
film & tv
“Kevie Kev’s ‘yall Can’t Ball!’ is one of the most sampled lines from Wild Style,” They totally got it and wrote all their lines on the spot, with Kevie Kev and Caz pitching lines to their groups. Kevie Kev’s “Y’all Can’t Ball!” is one of the most sampled lines from Wild Style, alongside “Here’s a little story”, and “If you were born in New York City, say I like that!” Wild Style has such a large cult following in the Hip-Hop community. How has the film changed your life? CHARLIE: I have never stopped working with the community, doing events, shooting movies, doing screenings, books, etc. The Wild Style 30th Anniversary drew the entire cast Fred, Lee, Pink, Patti, Crazy Legs, the MC’s performed: The Cold Crush, Fantastic, Busy Bee, Lisa Lee; as well as honored pioneer guests such as Futura, Afrika Bambaataa and Kool Herc. I have made films with Grand Master Caz, Busy Bee, The Fantastic Bros and recently a new BBoy short called “The 5 Grandmasters – The Way of The BBoy”. In 2013 the official Blu-Ray of Wild Style was finally released. Did you supervise the original www.iaemagazine.com
transfer to high-def? CHARLIE: I was there intimately doing the color and sound. Its crazy beautiful. But I am also very proud of an additional hour of new materials which I made with everybody in the film such as Fred, Lee, Caz, Busy Bee, I shot and edited amazing interviews. I have Lee talking about being influenced by Japanese horror films and wanting to do movies long before Wild Style. What would you say is the greatest legacy of Wild Style? CHARLIE: Well quite simply Wild Style gives people a peek at what the originators did, how they sounded, what the South Bronx looked like, without polish or pretension. We were deadly serious about our mission, but we were having fun doing it. It was a blast and I think that sense of humor is in the film as well. But there is so much going down all over the world, Paris, London; Wild Style was screened in Athens Greece last Saturday. Please visit our website: www.wildstylethemovie.com for info, photos, books, records, clothing merch etc. iae I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
Dredd Man Walking from Executive Producing some of Hollywood’s hottest films, to acting in them; ADI SHANKAR is unabashed about his bootleg film career BY Shaine Freeman || PHOTOS Courtesy Adi Shankar Please tell us what drew you to a career in film, as opposed to some other career path? It wasn’t necessarily that filmmaking had to be my career path, I just think it’s of our time. I always wonder if I’d be doing film had I been born in some other era, future or past. Chances are, I’d probably be doing something else, right? Film to me is just another form of expression. But, what’s cool about being alive during this century is that we have the internet, which has revolutionized the way we live and create. Even though I’ve been doing movies on the theaterical level, I’ve also been releasing some movies online that have been getting just as much attention as the mainstream movies I’m doing. So, to answer your question, I’m just a guy who’s creating movies using the tools that are available to me at this point in human history. Artists exist to tell stories, until technology catches up to allow them to tell those stories better. A hundred years from now, I would probably not be working in film, I might be working on light density and holograms. Were you always this creative with your thinking? Because, I would have never thought about all of that man. (laughs) I was always a little different, and never fit in as a kid. In fact, I still don’t fit in. (laughs) But, I’m okay with that; now I understand why I never fit in. How did you end up executive producing such high level, big budget films at such a young age? With a movie like, “The Punisher,” for instance; Thomas Jane, who is an old friend of mine, actually put it together. You know, there’s this whole building process that takes place as you embark
on whatever journey it is that you’re taking. It’s like that old (Lao Tzu) saying, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” So, I didn’t just move to Los Angeles and have things handed to me. It was a process for me, just like it is with other people. At any point in your career, there are going to be people who believe in you, and those who laugh at you. But, as you continue to make certain progressions the number of people who laugh at you shrinks, while the number of those who believe in you grows. I think the biggest relief is when your parents start believing in you. Then, Christmas break isn’t so awkward anymore. (laughs) Before you have the parents onboard, it’s a little weird around the holidays. (laughs) Yes! Usually, parents aren’t into it until you start making a living and they know you’re going to be okay. It’s funny because, in my case, there aren’t a whole lot of Indian people doing what I’m doing. So, for that reason I actually look at myself as doing something noble, as opposed to it being about accruing resources in order to acrrue more resources. I do a lot of speaking to young Indian people, and I talk about how the way things in (Indian) culture are. It’s set up in a way that encourages you to become a doctor or a banker, and that’s it. Anything outside of that is viewed as failure. By just showing up and doing something different, you’re changing things and making everybody uncomfortable. Where we, as a society, kind of screw up is the metric by which we define success. That definition we use ends up being a hinderance, and we find ourselves competing to fit in, instead of enjoying what we’re doing. The only person you should be competing against is yourself.
“Artists exist to tell stories, until technology catches up to allow them to tell those stories better.”
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
“...the whole idea that we’re going to limit who can see what we create, when they can see it, and how they can see it is kind of silly to me. ” Everywhere I look, I see this person competing with that person, and it’s ridiculous. It’s kind of like, since we can’t be gladiators and kill each other anymore, let’s destroy ourselves by setting some crazy societal barometer that kills our individuality. It’s just silly. I know, right? It’s pretty sad how things are set up. You recently did a film called, “The Voices,” with Ryan Reynolds, that got picked up by Lionsgate after doing well at Sundance this year. What was your role in that film? I was the day-to-day producer, on the creative side. I worked hand-in-hand with Marjane Satrapi, who was the creator and director of the Academy Award nominated film, “Persepolis”. I moved to Berlin (Germany) to shoot, “The Voices.” I’m also an actor in this movie, which was a lot of fun. The movie turned out a lot better than I could’ve hoped. For me, “The Voices” is truly original because, nobody’s going to be able to watch it and compare it to anything else. So, I’m really excited about this film. I’m actually going through some trailer notes as we speak. Let’s talk about your work on the internet because, you’ve got a mini-series online called, “Dark Judges”. Why did you choose to go on the internet with it, as opposed to going the mainstream TV route? If you look at it, the internet is a mainstream platform now. There are far more projects being released online than in theaters and on television. Think about it, the online audience is much larger than the theater-going audience. The people who make stuff exclusively for the internet think I’m crazy because, they’re like, “Man you’ve got this gig where you get to have your movies in theaters. That’s awesome!” I’m like, “Is that really awesome?” (laughs) To me, the whole idea that we’re going to limit who can see
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
what we create, when they can see it, and how they can see it is kind of silly to me. It really is! It’s sort of an elitist approach to entertainment. Absolutely! It’s completely an elitist apprach to it. I grew up in Hong Kong (China), so my access to media was extremely limited back then. Had I grown up there today, it wouldn’t have been as limited. But, I know what it’s like to not have access to the same things everyone else in the world does so, in my opinion, limiting who can see a movie defeats the purpose of creating it. If there’s one thing you’ll take away from talking to me it’s this; I am not doing movies for the money. I’m in it to impact the culture, and that’s it! Even if that’s just a small impact. You and I know that we typically have about 48 hours to impact the culture with a new film release. So, the idea that we’re going to put out a movie and stagger the release dates worldwide and then tell people that they can only see it in theaters. Then, in five months it’s on DVD? It’s too late man! You missed that 48 hour window. Why not have it in theaters, on DVD, on mobile devices, and everywhere else at the same time worldwide to maximize the 48 hours? Because, at the 49th hour some celebrity is going to do something stupid and then your movie will be an afterthought. (laughs) (laughs) Right! Okay, so tell me what these three bootleg movies you’re doing are all about. I basically make movies based off of characters that I don’t have the rights to. I do it with my actor and director buddies, and I really did it for the fun of it. I’d be like, “I really like The Punisher,” or some other character that I like, and just run with it. It’s funny because, when I go to
Comic-Con, this is what I’m most known for. I get compared to the street artist, Banksy, a lot. I’m not doing it to create problems or be a rebel, even though that’s how it’s been positioned, I’m just doing it because I’m a fan. Screw it dude! If you’re not going to let me have the clearance to make the movie, then I’m going to go about it some other way. (laughs) It’s not my fault that your characters burned my retinas when I was a little kid, and now I have to express myself in a “bootleg” sort of way. It’s also not my fault that the actor you hired to play the character in your movie, is a friend of mine and he wants to be in my unoffical movie. (laughs) (laughs) Wow! Keeping it real! Those relationships are so valuable. What advice on networking would you give to a young filmmaker who wants to work in this industry at the major studio level? Just be yourself because, the moment you get caught up in pretending to be someone you’re not, or trying to be like someone else, you’re only going to end up being a crappy version of them. When you’re just being you, people can either accept that, or not. Don’t worry about whether or not you’re fitting in. Companies do this all the time. They’re always making a version of something another company created in order to compete in that space. For example: what’s the first energy drink? Everyone thinks it’s Red Bull, except in the 80’s there was a company called, Jolt. They invented the energy drink, but they called themselves a highly caffeinated cola because, they didn’t have the balls to say, “No! We’re something else. We’re different.” Instead, they said, “we have to call ourselves a cola because, that’s what everyone’s used to.” So, if you want to know how to network in showbusiness, don’t be Jolt, be Red Bull. Have the balls to be yourself. iae www.iaemagazine.com
film & tv
NETWORKING EFFECTIVELY Who Knows You Back: Getting Your Foot In “The Door”
Image from the movie ‘Boomerang’ courtesy of Paramount Pictures
By: Shaine Freeman
We’ve all heard the statement, “It’s not what you know, but who you know...” and this is true to some extent. But, in most cases in entertainment it’s about who knows you back. One of the primary reason many people never attain the level of success they desire is because they don’t effectively build and utilize their network. Networking with those who drive the business is key
when you’re aspiring to reach the next “level” of your profession. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know how to do it properly because we’re so busy putting people above us that we can’t see ourselves as an asset to others. Bear in mind, a person’s “title” doesn’t make them any better than you, it just means they’ve already made it to the position you’re aspiring to have someday. So, how do you get your foot in “the door” so that people will know you back? Well, here are some ways to do that. a) Internships – This is the fastest way to get your foot in the door to learn your profession and find out who the real players are. Many of the execs you aspire to connect with started as interns. b) Mail Room – Working in the mail rooms of successful companies
can get your foot in the door too. The key is to be observant and pay attention to who’s who. Don’t be afraid to ask the execs how you can move up. Watch Chris Rock’s character in the movie, “Boomerang,” if you need an example. c) Assistant – Being an assistant to a successful entertainment professional who works in the field you aspire to be in is another great way to get in. Being an assistant is not an easy job, and often times it makes you the brunt of your employer’s ego trips, but if you don’t mind that then go for it. d) Mentorship – You could write a mentorship request letter to the person who holds the position you aspire to have someday. Mentors can provide you with advice and even introductions to people who can help you advance quicker. iae
INTERESTING QUOTES FROM LEGENDARY DIRECTORS “When I was a kid, there was no collaboration; it’s you with a camera bossing your friends around. But as an adult, filmmaking
is all about appreciating the talents of the people you surround yourself with and knowing you could never have made any of these films by yourself.” ~ Steven Spielberg
“I was going to go to a 4-year college and be an anthropologist, or to an art school and be an illustrator when a friend convinced me to learn photography at USC...It had never
occurred to me that I’d ever have any interest in filmmaking.” ~ George Lucas www.iaemagazine.com
WHAT IF... George Lucas had not gone to USC for filmmaking, not only would we have never had Star Wars and all of those amazing and memorable characters; we’d also not have: 1. The term ‘android.’ Without this term we would not have the Droid cell phones that many mobile device owners use every single day. 2. The classic Mel Brooks film, SPACEBALLS. That would have really sucked because, it’s one of my favorite movies of all time, and I got so many great quotes from that film. 3. Another favorite of mine, INDIANA JONES. That being the case, would Harrison Ford have ever reached the levels of success he’s had in film? 4. THX theater sound. Without this, would Spielberg’s films, like JURASSIC PARK, have made the impact it did on movigoers? From smartphones to home theater surround technology, George Lucas revolutionized cinema (and non-film related industries) in ways that no other filmmaker has, or likely ever will.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
on Stage Best of 2014 from Issue 24
FUNNY FOR A REASON
Interview By: Shaine Freeman
Very few comedians today can hold the attention of an audience of more than 2,500 people for over an hour, without uttering one profane word or using crude humor to make them laugh hysterically. I witnessed Michael Jr. do it, and it was amazing! Afterward, I connected with Michael and learned what drives his passion to make people laugh, and why he chose to be family-friendly.
I can vouch for that gift you have because you had me really laughing hard. You remind me of a young Sinbad or Bill Cosby, because you’re both funny and you don’t use any profanity in your show. Why did you choose to be a clean comic? When I was 14 years old, a friend and me made a pact that we wouldn’t curse anymore. We didn’t really know anything about faith or God; we just didn’t want to keep cussing. So, I’ve always done “clean” comedy. In retrospect, I can clearly see that God was at work in my life early on. Because, had I started out cursing in my shows, after I became a Christian it would have been too much work to try and clean it up. So, it was great that God put it in me to stop using profanity long before I started doing comedy. Now, it’s a perfect fit for the lifestyle that I live.
Please tell us where you’re from and did you have a favorite comedian who inspired you to get into comedy? I’m originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I didn’t really watch comedy when I was growing up. I do remember my parents and family members playing Eddie Murphy’s albums and laughing, which kind of stuck out to me. But, I didn’t really have a favorite comedian growing up. I remember you saying at your show in Atlanta that you had a learning disability so, you looked at things differently. How did that help you develop as a comedian? It’s awesome that it became a tool that I was able to use to share various angles on life that most people may not be able to see. Although, today I have been blessed to think and understand the majority viewpoint; I still have this
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
What was your first really big break as a comedian? Doing the Tonight Show was cool, and it was great as far as notoriety is concerned; but, the biggest break I had was more of a mental and spiritual one. God showed me that, instead of getting laughs from people, I should be looking to give them an opportunity to laugh. That changed everything for me! Now I didn’t have the pressure of trying to make people laugh at my jokes. I think that’s why a lot of comedi-
ans use profanity in their shows, because it’s all about making people laugh. But, when you don’t feel like you have to make people laugh, it removes the pressure and you don’t have to take drastic measures to be funny. You actually go into prisons and do shows, and you even wrote a children’s book. What motivates you to do these kinds of things? I would always hear people say it, and I read it in the Bible a whole bunch of times that, “laughter is like a medicine.” So, one day God said to me, “If laughter is like a medicine, then why don’t you take it to the sick?” So, instead of selling laughter to the sick people who have no way to pay for it, why don’t I just give it to them? It’s that simple for me. I understand that some people have health insurance and can afford to pay for the medicine and so you charge them; but, am I only going to take it to those who can afford it? No. I’m also going to make it available to those who can’t afford it, but need it. So, one night while walking out of this show, I saw this homeless dude across the street. Here I am, signing autographs and taking pictures with people and all I could do was focus on this homeless guy. The whole time I was thinking, “How can I give him an opportunity to laugh?” That’s when I really got motivated to truly take it to people who can’t afford it, because they deserve to laugh too. I just want to be an example to other talented people and encourage them to use their gifts to help others and not just focus on how much you want to get paid. Don’t focus only on the invoice, but also consider what the inner voice is saying. Be others centered and not self-centered. It goes back to what I was saying about www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTOS COURTESY OF LI LU
expanded perspective that most people don’t think about. So I’m able to use the majority perspective to help audiences relate to the main part of the joke, and then I make them laugh by tying that into this expanded viewpoint I have on that same subject. So, it’s just a phenomenal tool that I have that I use both on and off stage. God knew what He was doing when He gave me this gift. I’m just grateful to have it.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL JR.
While attending a men’s event in Atlanta on Father’s Day weekend 2013, I encountered the funniest clean comedian I’ve seen since Sinbad first stepped on the scene. His name is Michael Jr.
pressure too. When you’re giving someone a gift, there’s no pressure. If they like it then great, but if they don’t, there’s still no pressure on. It’s just my job to present the joke and give them an opportunity to laugh at it. If people get it, then great; but if they don’t, that’s fine too. It’s that same mindset that I use when I go into a prison or homeless shelter. If I only get 10 people to laugh out of 100 people in attendance, at least those other 90 were in a room where laughter was shared. There’s no pressure for me or the audience. Talk about your new DVD that’s out? Yes, it’s called “Laughing On Purpose”. We filmed it in Dallas, Texas and shot it over two shows where 4,000 people came to each event. It’s just 70 minutes of family friendly comedy that the parents and kids can watch together. I’m really excited about it and it’s available right now on my website, along with my upcoming tour dates at www.michaeljr.com iae
“IF LAUGHTER IS LIKE A MEDICINE, THEN WHY DON’T YOU TAKE IT TO THE SICK?” “I JUST WANT TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHER TALENTED PEOPLE AND ENCOURAGE THEM TO USE THEIR GIFTS TO HELP OTHERS...DON’T FOCUS ON THE INVOICE, BUT ALSO CONSIDER WHAT THE INNER VOICE IS SAYING.” www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
By Shaine Freeman | Photo Courtesy Michael Grandinetti
From Stadium Illusions to TV Shows, Michael Grandinetti Is Entertainment Being a master illusionist is not an easy gig; it takes a lot of hard work and planning. Here, Michael shares his journey as a magician from TV to casinos and stadiums.
“...it’s essential to understand that what I do also involves marketing, sales, writing proposals and business letters. It’s like any other business...” Congratulations on everything! You’ve done a lot since we last spoke, including the CW show, “Masters of Illusion”. Thank you! We had a lot of fun with it. For me, combining magic with television is one of my big goals, so moving in that direction is very important to me and we’ve been having a great time with it. So, how did you get involved with the CW show, “Masters of Illusion”. We had been doing quite a few shows around the country, and about a year ago the producers of that show called me and asked if I’d be interested in doing “Masters of Illusion”, and I said, “Absolutely!” One of the reasons this opportunity really appealed to me was because, we’ve designed several illusions that are unique to our show; things that people have not seen before in any other magic show. So, to be able to share those illusions with a TV audience was very exciting to me. After that call, we took about a month of preparation and then we taped it live in Hollywood. Fortunately, the illusions weren’t new to us which took away any anxieties we might have had if we weren’t already familiar with the things we were doing.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
One of the things I’d like to see is you levitating a 500 pound motorcycle. How much fun is that? It’s a lot of fun.This summer we were headliners at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada. It was wonderful! We did a show every night on what is known to be the world’s largest indoor stage. It’s huge! Has over an acre of space, and you could fit a 737 airplane on the stage. The audience was great, and the whole experience was unforgettable. In Reno, we were able to do all of our large illusions, stuff we can’t do when we travel. But, because we were stationary for two months, we were able to do the motorcycle and a few other very cool things on that stage. This summer, we also did stadium shows where people were watching from 360 degrees and we would levitate a girl above the pitcher’s mound. Think about it. To be able to see that from 360 degrees around the stadium is pretty unique. It’s unlike a stage where the audience is just in front of you and they can’t see behind you. So, we’ve had a lot of fun this year doing our show around the country for so many different audiences. Knowing how these illusions are done; does it
kill the excitement for you at all? Not at all. I love performing magic, so I’m excited everytime I go out on stage. To be able to go out there and perform, and then have the privilege of watching the audience respond in amazement to something you worked hard to create is the most satisfying feeling in the world. It’s a thrill for me to do what I do for a living. People see the magic and don’t know what the business side of that is like. Can you shed some light on that side of being a pro magician? Sure! If you want to make this your career, the business side is very important. I got my degree in marketing, but even if you haven’t done that, it’s essential to understand that what I do also involves marketing, sales, writing proposals and business letters. It’s like any other business; it’s more than just doing magic. How does a person get into the business of creating illusions? Can they get in touch with you and ask questions about it? I’d love to answer questions about it. It’s always exciting to see someone take interest in becoming a magician. They can visit my website (above) and contact me.
WHO OWNS YOUR SONGS?
As heard on The Miews podcast, Episode #49 (Oct 2014) and featured on IAEMagazine.com & Sonicbids.com Written By: Shaine Freeman
studio. This way everyone understands that it’s not personal; it’s just business. Doing this makes everyone feel as though their interests are protected, and allows the creativity to flow without any inhibitions. HOW TO COMPLETE A SPLIT SHEET Split sheets should contain the following information: 1) The name of each writer as it will appear on the credits and PRO registrations
ost songwriters and musicians rely on talent alone, or the knowledge of their managers and attorneys, to help them navigate an industry known for leaving the large majority of its constituents financially and emotionally destitute. Whether or not you have a manager or talent rep handling the business side of your career, there’s no excuse for ignoring songwriting income basics. All you have to do is Google “artist sues manager” to discover countless instances where top recording artists have been taken advantage of because they put their financial future solely into the hands of their reps. So, to help you avoid this kind of drama, here’s a crash course in the first step to making a living through your creative works – the publishing split sheet.
don’t like the business stuff because it gets in the way of my creativity.” Unfortunately, every day around the world, songwriters sit and collaborate on songs and never clarify who wrote what. As a matter of fact, they’re generally more concerned with copyrights than they are with song publishing, which baffles me because publishing is how they get paid. When it comes time for your songs to be licensed, you’ll be fighting over who owns what percentage of the revenues generated from your intellectual property if you don’t have it down on paper. THE BUSINESS STUFF CAN WAIT!
I’ll be the first to admit that I was notorious for handling the “business stuff” last. All I wanted to do was create great music, but I wound up paying dearly for it. It took me losing Grammys – along with other coveted music awards – and millions of dollars in publishing to understand WHAT’S A PUBLISHING SPLIT SHEET? that the fun stuff has to come after the practical stuff. I know it’s an uncomfortable feeling A publishing split sheet (often simply referred to to break out a split sheet and start dividing up as a split sheet) is a document that states who shares of publishing when you’re trying to be wrote what percentage of the song(s) recorded creative, but it’s a necessary part of the songby a band or artist. A split sheet should be crewriting process. ated for each and every song you write, before ever shopping it to a third party to be published So take it from me – don’t let your discomcommercially. fort cause you to lose millions of dollars and major music awards down the road. Have a If you’ve been in the music industry long meeting about split sheets prior to hitting the enough, you’ve likely heard someone say, “I
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
2) Physical mailing address of each writer, so that a copy can be mailed to everyone by the person who brought the writers together 3) Capacity in which the writers are working (e.g. producer or writer) 4) Percentage of the song written or composed by each person involved. Producers will have a 100 percent pie, and so will songwriters. I’ve found that dividing everything evenly between writers and producers greatly reduces the possibility that arguments will happen before the song is even registered with the PROs. 5) List of each person’s respective PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC) 6) Publishing company (if none, just leave it blank) 7) Birthdate and signature of each contributor 8) Each writer’s EIN (get one via IRS website) Once the split sheet is completed, the designated registrant – the person who brought the writers together – must print up a copy and mail it to each writer’s physical address, and then file out the publishing splits on the PRO websites. Once this is done, every writer must be contacted to notify them of the song’s registration. Yes, it sounds like a lot of work, but if you want to eat you have to do it. It should never be an afterthought when you’re relying on publishing income to pay rent. END
DOWNLOAD ONE at IAEMagazine.com www.iaemagazine.com
THE MIEWS Best of 2014 from Issue 24
“...I bust out my pie chart and explain to (writers) the difference between (various publishing deals)...I like to show them how each of these deals affects the money that comes in, and I explain what the role of a music publisher should be.”
YVONNE DRAZAN vp of latin , west coast , at peer music , talks music publishing
Please tell us where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in music? I was born and raised in Los Angeles. My father was from Mexico City, and when he was a teenager he moved to Chicago where he met my mother. My mother is also of Mexican descent but, she was 1st generation Mexican-American. Before I was born, they moved out to LA. I’ve always been really passionate about music. When most of my friends were playing with Barbie’s, I would have a record player and headphones on, and writing out the lyrics to the Beatles songs. [laughs] My parents listened to a wide variety of music so, I was always in their vinyl records. My sister, who is 7 years older than me, had a lot more mature taste in music compared to mine. But through her, I got to hear a lot of punk and ska music, as well as early Hip Hop. So, my family really inspired me to get involved with music. How did you get into the music business? I didn’t go to college after graduating high
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
school (1988). Back then, there were no degrees available for Music Business that I knew of, and I didn’t want to just go to college to be going. My dad was always supportive of my decision, but he told me that if I didn’t want to go to college then needed to get a job. I’ve always been really creative and my dad instilled in me a very strong work ethic so, the day that I became eligible to receive my worker’s permit, I went to work. I ended up going to makeup school because I needed to be in a creative field. While I was in school, my best friend and I began promoting Latin rock bands. We didn’t have a name for what we were doing but, in retrospect, we were doing marketing, promoting and booking. While doing that, I met a girl who was attending UCLA and she wanted to book one of our bands to perform there. She was also working parttime in the Latin division at Capitol Records, and she told me about a part time position that had opened up at Capitol. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to apply, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because, I was in my last course at makeup school. I got the job, graduated from makeup school and wound up never working as a makeup artist. [laughs] What do you do at Peer Music? I’ve been at Peer Music for a little over 10 years. I’m currently the Director of A&R in the Latin division. While I do have a couple of songwriters in the urban genre, my primary focus is Latin music. Both myself, and my partner in Peer’s Miami office run US Latin for Peer Music. My partner oversees the Puerto Rico office, and I oversee the Mexico City office. I work directly with songwriters at every level, and I am very hands on with my clients. I have a couple of songwriter-producers, a few writer-artists, and a couple of bands that double as composers. When signing a new writer, what do you find to be the most common thing you have to educate them on? Music publishing and what it is. Even when I first got to Peer, I only had a basic knowledge of it. I think music publishing is the single most
important aspect of a music artist’s professional life so, I take educating my writers very seriously. I really want them to understand that music publishing can bring them income for life, and will carry on to their children and grandchildren. Many artists and writers think they’re ready for a publishing deal, just because they have something going on with their careers at the moment. I like to show my writers every opportunity that is available to them in music publishing. So, I bust out my pie chart and explain to them the difference between a publishing deal, co-publishing deal, and publishing admin deal. I like to show them how each of these deals affects the money that comes in, and I explain what the role of a music publisher should be. I also tell them what I will, and won’t, be able to do for them. Pie charts are important in the world of publishing because you see them all the time. Most of my writers laugh at my pie chart, but it works. [laughs] Which publishing deals do you discuss with your writers the most? The most common conversation that I have is going over the differences between a publishing
PLATINUM SALES & NO STREAMING Taylor Swift has become the first artist to record a RIAA Certified Platinum album in 2014, with her November release of “1989.” Throughout the year, there has been a great deal of chatter about the issue of slumping album sales; with the majority of the blame being placed on streaming services like, Spotify and YouTube. Swift has joined a growing list of artists and labels who have pulled their music from Spotify, citing low royalty payouts. Industry giant, Irving Azoff, has even threatened to pull over 20,000 songs from YouTube due to the Google’s pending launch of their new streaming service. Much ado about nothing? You decide.
THE MIEWS administration (admin) deal and a co-publishing deal. In regards to a co-publishing deal, there is a section in their agreement or proposal that will talk about the royalty splits and how the money gets allocated. There is a piece of that “pie” that is called the ‘Publisher’s Share’ of income, and another piece of the pie representing the ‘Writer’s Share’ of income. When you do a co-publishing deal, the Publishers Share gets split between the writer’s publishing entity that they created, and Peer Music. That piece of the pie that Peer Music owns is something that we will retain for the duration of what has been agreed to. The writer’s piece of the Publisher’s Share is something that they will always have, and they also retain their Writer’s Share. Industry standard is a 75/25 split on a 100% pie. Within that 75% is the Publisher’s Share of the income generated from the songs the writer or artist creates that have actually been released to the public. Technically, the 100% breaks down to be: 50% Writer’s Share and 50% Publisher’s Share. 25% of the Publisher’s Share goes to the writer’s entity, and the other 25% is Peer’s share. That’s the basic breakdown of a co-publishing deal. On an admin deal, it’s completely different. The entire pie stays with the artist/writer; both the Publisher’s and Writer’s shares. In an admin deal, the only thing that Peer does for them is collect their money, out of which we retain a fee off of the top. This fee pays for the work that we’re doing to collect their money for them. They don’t give up any of the copyrights interests. The general split on an admin deal is either 90/10, or 85/15; it all depends on how clean their catalog is. What are the pros and cons of each deal? While there are pros and cons to both scenarios, it’s really about what’s most important to the writer/artist. When a writer/artist does a co-publishing deal with Peer Music, we actually have more of a vested interest in seeing them succeed, since we own a piece of the pie. The more successful they are, the more income both we’re able to generate together. With a co-publishing deal, you also get the benefit of our A&R staff and the Film & TV department working on your behalf. But, if we’re just administering the writer’s publishing then, we’re just collecting money for them. They forfeit the benefits that are in a copublishing deal. They will have to do all of the work to find placements for their songs. We just go out and collect their money for them. For some writers; they are at a stage in their career where they don’t need a co-publishing deal. All they need us to do is collect their money for them. But, for most up-and-coming writers, a co-publishing deal is a big help because you get the entire building at Peer behind you. So, in the end, it really comes down to what the writer’s needs are END
“...music publishing can bring (writers) income for life, and will carry on to their children and grandchildren...I like to show my writers every opportunity that is available to them in music publishing.” Yvonne Drazan www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
YOUNES | RATING: 7 / 10 Album: Be My Genre: Pop / R&B / Reggae City: Sweden Website: www.twitter.com/younesmusiq Younes returns with his latest single, BE MY, an upbeat pop-R&B song that will have you singing the catchy hook the whole way through. The last time we heard from him (mid2012), the Younes was going by the name KAZ and delivering a sort of Will.I.Am vibe in his music that really was more pop than anything. But, there does come a time when things must and do change, and Younes has made some adjustments – starting with his stage name, sound, and now he’s also a signed recording artist.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
BROTHER CEPHUS RATING: 8 / 10 Album: Wounded Hearts: Collection 1 Genre: Indie Folk, Rock City: Tampa, FL Website: www.Softpowerandco.com Some bands have skills and some don’t. but the former is the only way to describe Brother Cephus. Their sound is classy, peeling back the layers of every human emotion and exposing the depths of the soul. Built to last, Wounded Hearts: Collection 1 offers a powerful first step for the sibling duo from Tampa. Collection 1 is four track indie folk project that lives in the space between ballads and mid-tempos, carving out a compromise that is sure to satisfy the musical tastes of any folk-rock music fan who enjoys an organic sound. Of the tracks available on this EP, my favorite track is, Crossroads, because the story-telling in the songwriting is incredible. But, that’s not all. The music is both powerful and masterfully played, matching the song’s subject matter to a tee. This song is well worth checking out. Not to be dismissed, the other three (3) tracks on Collection 1 deserve to be placed in the ipods of every indie rock fan as well. There’s a superior, almost regal, air to Brother Cephus’ music on this project. It’s almost as if they know that it’s only a matter of time before they end up on an international tour showing the world what they can do. I would recommend this band and their EP to anyone looking for awesome new songs for to add to any rock music playlist.
BE MY is reminiscent of the music you’d hear from artists like Shaggy, but holds a Robin Thicke sort of falsetto that carries throughout the song. Like many of today’s charttopping pop-R&B singers, Younes peels back the layers of normalcy in mainstream music and explores some new areas of his vocal range that I’ve never heard him try. While BE MY is a pop track, it carries a reggae undertone that puts you in the mood to have a good time. Younes plays with the arrangements in his performance, mixing R&B, Hip Hop, Pop, and crossover Reggae styles that won’t soon be forgotten. I laughed, sang along, and nodded my head all at the same time, and the hook has been stuck in my head since I first listened to it. Younes is proof that the forgotten genre of R&B is still appreciated outside the U.S. There are few in the states who would appreciate Younes’ new single, but most US music fans are being drowned by an overabundance of EDM music. This is why Younes’ music will likely find a bigger audience in non-U.S. markets where a song like this could flourish. His vocal talents are very unique, BE MY is very creative, and I think this is a potential hit. www.iaemagazine.com
RATING: 8.5 / 10 Album: Collection 2 Genre: Indie Rock City: Tampa, FL Website: www.Softpowerandco.com Brother Cephus is an amazing duo out of Tampa whose latest release is the second installment of a two-part release titled, WOUNDED HEARTS: COLLECTION 2. The sound that exudes from Brother Cephus is truly that of an indie rock band that relishes its freedom of creative expression through song. Unafraid and unabashed, Brother Cephus proudly takes the road less traveled in today’s music, bending each string of their guitars in a way that defines the duo’s unique sound and captures the essence of what it means to be indie. COLLECTION 2 offers three tracks of down-tempo indie rock music that blows like a cool breeze through your ears. The gaping whole notes that swell on each song make for an emotional and thought provoking ride. The melodies are catchy and the build ups are epic, leaving no room for doubt about whether these guys can hold your ears throughout the EP. While Brother Cephus has landed a new fan in me, after taking a listen to Collection 1 of the Wounded Hearts series I discovered that there really is no difference in the sound or pace of these projects as their Soundcloud page might suggest. I’d love to hear Brother Cephus make some uptempos because, I really like the collective vocal and musical talents of this duo and believe they could have staying power by mixing up the tempos a bit more. Overall, Brother Cephus is a very cool band, and their release - WOUNDED HEARTS: COLLECTION 2 - is a powerful EP. If you like laid back indie rock tracks that are both catchy and bold, then be sure to check this duo out. This band is a good fit for fans of Bon Iver. You can check them out at the website link above.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
ANIMATO RATING: 9 / 10 Album: Animato Genre: Electro-Funk, Synthpop, New Wave City: Los Angeles, CA Website: www.AnimatoBand.com
As heard on EP 45 of The Miews Podcast
RATING 8 / 10
Genre: Hip-Hop / R&B City: Kansas City, MO Website: AaronBranchWorld.com Aaron Branch aka Addison Floyd, is a very talented young artist whose future in the world of entertainment shows no limits. The Kansas City native / Chicago resident, is a triple threat whose career as an artist encompasses comedy, acting, and music. I’ve known about Addison Floyd’s history entertaining crowds both large and small for a while now, so it was no surprise to me that this guy has a wide range of artistic skills. Addison is a current student at Columbia College in Chicago, where he performs regularly as a stand-up comic and
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
music. His debut release, What Me As I Go (#WMAIG), is proof that Addison Floyd is destined to succeed in the entertainment industry. Produced by K-May, who has worked with some of the most recognizable names in urban music today, WMAIG is a beast of a project offering eight (8) well-crafted songs for hip-hop fans. Of the tracks available on this release, my favorite one is Take You Out because, it has a classic R&B sound that’s pretty laid back, leaving enough room for Addison to showcase his skills as a lyricist. The song’s title pretty much tells what the subject matter is all about, but the fact that it has a simple and catchy hook that anyone can sing along with makes this a commercially viable track that could become a college radio hit. This is a pretty cool song that I’d recommend checking out. Musically, WMAIG has some heat on it for the hip-hop head who enjoys 808’s and catchy hooks. This could very well be the beginning of a long recording career for Addison Floyd. If past actions are a barometer for what we can expect from Floyd on future projects, then it’s safe to say that we’re looking at a hybrid artist whose talents will prove lucrative for him in the entertainment industry.
Animato puts the ‘m’ in monster music. This five-piece electrofunk/new wave band from the ‘City of Angels’ (LA) consists of Joey Medina, Steve Mungarro, Jason Ywahu, Rexelle, & Raul Martinez. Heavy on energy and light on boring, the band’s self-titled EP is filled with catchy melodies and dance grooves that will get your head nodding and your sweat glands pouring. Animato is a modern edition of great 80’s new wave acts that came before them like, The Talking Heads and Wang Chung, bringing synth-driven music that puts your endorphins in motion and your lip-sync talents to good use. ANIMATO, the EP, offers five incredibly infectious tracks that really got my day off to a great start. Of the tracks available on the project, my favorite song is Lovers Leap, because it kicks the EP off on the right foot and has a great collection of catchy melodies. From the outset, the kick and reverbed toms almost force you to nod your head, so by the time the piano and vocals come in, you’re already in the mood for that thunderous stadium sound. The build ups and bursts of open vocal notes make the song easy to sing along with (a key element in every hit song), and the creative synth pads fill the gaps nicely. I’m a vocal guy, so when I hear great vocals and melody arrangements backed by amazing production...man, I live for this kind of stuff! This is a must hear track for anyone who enjoys the creative music productions of guys like Will.I.Am and Dr. Luke. Overall, ANIMATO (the EP and the band), is 100% official and worth the money and time spent enjoying the sounds. Other tracks I really dug on this EP include: Souls for Gold and Resist. Each of these tracks adds its own defining color to make this an awesome new release. I hope to hear a full LP from Animato some time in the near future because, I’m officially a fan. The only thing that can stop this band is itself. The key to this EP’s success will be gaining as much media and radio attention, coupled with lots of live performance dates. Go check this band out if you like electrofunk/synth pop. I’m sure you’ll like what you hear. www.iaemagazine.com
DEVIN SINHA - www.DevinaSinha.com
THE MIEWS Reviews
RATING: 8.0 / 10 Album: 7th Season Genre: Cont. Folk City: Seattle, WA On November 18th, Devin Sinha will release his 11 track LP titled, The Seventh Season, a contemporary folk / singer-songwriter project that could easily put him onto some of the top folk music festival stages in the U.S. The Midwest-born, Seattlebased computer science major is showing the world that his talents go far beyond his technology focused education might suggest. One listen and you’ll know that Devin’s new album was carefully crafted, and he took his time making sure every note was in its right place. The Seventh Season contains a great deal of powerful songs, but my favorite is Ripcord. This track makes me feel good, in the same way that Cheryl Crow’s song, “All I Wanna Do” does. While it does not sound like Crow’s music, it does have the same light and upbeat vibe going on in the music and lyrical content. The added female vocal gives Ripcord extra character and makes it easier for women to get into as well. This song could become a rock radio hit in the Hot AC (Adult Contemporary) category, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it did; of course, assuming Devin’s got the right strategy in place to make that a reality. But, this isn’t the only great song on the project. The Seventh Season offers other amazing tracks, including: Lone Elm Road, Rain Song, Wanderers, and The Wolves. Each of these selections are proof that Devin Sinha belongs in the music industry creating songs.
RATING: 8.7 / 10 Album: Giving Love A Try Genre: R&B/Soul/ Dance City: Oakland, CA Web: www.AdeshaMusic.com Adesha is back! In our 2012 review of her music [read here], this Bay-area songstress gave us a soul-stirring dance track titled, Give Love A Try. The track scored high in the review, making Adesha’s song the highest scoring female R&B song of that year. Understanding that you can’t rush greatness, Adesha took her time recording and now, fast-forward two years, she brings us her debut album release titled, Giving Love A Try (GLAT). This powerful 13-track album is a summary of Adesha’s love for the various sounds that comprise the R&B, Soul, and Dance genres. GLAT offers great vocals, music production, and relatable songwriting that again, places Adesha among the top female vocalists we’ ve heard in 2014 from the R&B arena. Reminiscent of greats like Jill Scott, CeCe Peniston, and Deborah Cox, Adesha’s vocal is powerful and very soulful, creating within the listener a desire to sing along and feel the emotional state the singer was in when writing and recording each song. I have a number of personal favorites on this album, including: Give Love A Try, So In Love, I Love U I Hate U, Pick Up, Make It, and Love Lifted (love the live band on this one). There’s a certain level of moxie that a female vocalist must have if she wants to be highly regarded as a legendary artist, and Adesha exudes that quality in her performances. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Adesha’s name in the lineup, and even headlining some of today’s top urban/soul venues around the world. Stop by her website and purchase this amazing new album from Oakland’s Queen of Soul.
ft. Chris Grindz RATING: 10 / 10 Album: Midwestside Genre: Hip-Hop City: St Louis, MO Web: Soundcloud.com/ iamdarrenjackson I’m a fan!! I dare you to listen to this track and not admit that it’s hotter than Haiti in July. Midwestside is my closeout the summer joint that I’ll have on repeat for the next 30 days. As a Midwesterner (Illinois boy) living in Atlanta, Georgia, this song made me feel proud of my home base. This is the first non faith-based HipHop record I’ve heard since 2012 that I felt comfortable playing infront of my 8yr old son. There’s not one “cuss word” in this record (unless I missed it in the 17x I played it), which is proof that you don’t have to lace your lyrics with profanity in order for it to be hot. Darren Jackson and his featured guest, Chris Grindz, gave a flawless performance on top of Grammy-winning producer, J.R.’s, track. In full beast mode, both artists spit 100% Grade A #truth about life growing up in the Midwest, sparking nostalgia for those of us who have relocated to other regions. The beat is highly infectious, urging you to nod your head uncontrollably as the two artists paint vivid images of what it’s like growing up in America’s “Heartland”. The Midwest truly is a unique place that pulls influences from all over the U.S., and you can hear those influences throughout the entire song. Midwestside put Darren Jackson on my list of artists to watch, and is a definite for heavy rotation on The Miews Podcast.
RATING: 8.7 / 10 Album: The 2nd Seconds Genre: Pop, Adult Cont., Jazz City: Sweden Web: www.StateCows.com The State Cows are back with a brand new 4 song EP titled, The Second Seconds, an adult-contemporary and jazz masterpiece that is sure to quench your thirst for amazing grooves and inspirational vibes. Reminiscent of greats like Toto, Chicago, and Billy Joel, the State Cows are an amazing band that offers that classic 80′s sound that has been missing in the business today. There’s a massive audience that has been overlooked by the mainstream music business, and State Cows offer them exactly what they’ve been dying for. The Second Seconds EP is a four (4) track release that comprises sounds from multiple genres. Of the songs available, my favorite is Into Something Good because, this song caught my attention like the first time I heard Toto years ago. The musicianship, vocals, and songwriting are very well done, paying homage to an era gone by. I really got my kicks listening to this song and I’m sure any fan of 80′s pop-rock tunes will connect with and enjoy every note. Even though Into Something Good stood out as my favorite, that does not discount the fact that all three of the other tracks on this EP are incredible. The Second Seconds is unlike anything I’ve heard this year. Going into the U.S. fall season this way makes me feel a bit more optimistic about the year-end music releases we’re going to hear. Very few bands can deliver a song with the kind of passion and sincerity that State Cows do; which is why I believe this band and EP are the perfect release to start the month of October. I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews EVAN CHAMPAGNE
Never Will Die
DANIELLA WATTERS Heard on The Miews
RATING 8.5 / 10
Genre: Pop-R&B City: Toronto, ON Website: DaniellaWatters.com From the moment my ears heard Daniella Watters’ voice, I knew this was no amateur artist I was listening to. Daniella is the exception in a genre where contrived music is available in seemingly unlimited amounts. Residing in the same space as artists like Natasha Bedingfield and Ariana Grande, Daniella Watters is ready to show she can hold her own in the “big leagues” if any labels are interested.
Getting her forthcoming untitled EP, I was greeted by Daniella’s soulful Pop-R&B vocal that perked me right up after a long day of listening to tons of music. Opening her EP with minimally processed vocals is a major plus in my book because it shows that she’s not just another lazy Top 40 pop singer looking for the quick fix to a bad performance. Daniella’s sound is very well polished and I could absolutely see her sharing the stage with many of today’s top female PopR&B artists like Jessie J, and the aforementioned, Bedingfield and Grande. In addition to Daniella’s amazing vocal talents, her EP offers a powerful bed music. This fact is evident on her latest single, “No One Could Love Me Better”. The song reminds me of Mariah Carey when she was topping the charts with those soul-stirring pop vocals backed by hard hitting Hip Hop beats. The live funky bassline on this track got my head nodding and my ears smiling. It’s this song, and “Don’t Do Me Like That” that keep Daniella from being singled out as just another cliche, pop artist. Very few artists in the R&B genre have impressed me this summer, and the ones who do…well, they get put into a special folder I have for those artists I want to keep an eye on. This is an extremely talented young singer that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys any of the previously mentioned artists in this review.
RATING: 8.5 / 10 Album: Self-Titled Genre: Roots Rock City: Brantford, ON Website: www.EvanChampagne.com Evan Champagne’s self-titled EP matches his last name, sweet and smooth. Reminiscent of artists like Phil Collins and Billy Joel, Evan’s voice is pure and full of life, giving new meaning to the word “singer”. With a number of great songs on this EP, Evan drills home the fact that he’s not just a nice voice, but a great songwriter as well. As you’ll find out, upon listening to his EP, Evan Champagne writes about real life situations that most people can relate to. My favorite track on this self-titled EP is, Living In A Dream, for a number of reason; one being the songwriting. Filled with substance, this song will make you think about the world we live in where the gaps between the “haves and have nots” is evident. Evan touches on homelessness, hunger, and other social ills that have persisted since the dawn of civilization. The music helps to lighten the mood a bit, thanks to the upbeat tempo and melodies in the music. In addition to these awesome qualities, Evan’s vocal performance makes you feel that there is still hope, despite the serious issues in the song’s lyrics. I really like this song and will share it with some of the people in my network who are most likely to enjoy it. Overall, Evan Champagne’s EP is a solid compilation of rock, roots, and pop tunes that are well worth looking into. I would recommend this EP to anyone who enjoys some of themusic by the aforementioned legendary artists. TRACK LISTING 1. Way Back | 2. Give It a Chance | 3. Living in a Dream | 4. Love You All My Life | 5. Try Again (Blues Remix)
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews RATING: 8 / 10 Album: Diamonds & Demons Genre: Rock City: NYC, NY Web: www.paulmaged.com
Paul Maged is flat out awesome! This NYC-based musician has taken his passion for rock and roll and turned it into a 17 track LP release titled, Diamonds and Demons, that is sure to satisfy your craving for music that reaches back to a time when the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen ruled the airwaves. This is not your little brother’s brand of rock music; no, this is for the 30 year rock music fans who remember when MTV actually meant Music Television, as opposed to it’s current status as a reality TV network. My favorite track on Paul Maged’s new LP is, Look At Me, primarily because it rawks! This track is all about addressing how self-centered people of the world. From the chick who thinks the whole world revolves around her, to the blood sucking Wall Streeter who only made it to where he is because of his daddy’s accomplishments, this song speaks for the real American who’s fed up with the selfish people of the world. From the music to the delivery of the song, Paul puts the peddle to the metal on the
RORIE KELLY RATING: 8.3 / 10 Album: Sincerely Live Genre: Indie, Folk City: NYC, New York www.RorieKelly.com Rorie Kelly is an amazing singer-songwriter whose latest LP, Sincerely Live, contains 15 relatable songs that speak clearly to some of life’s ups and downs. I met this amazing young singer during the weekly #ggchat that takes place on Twitter, and couldn’t have found a more delightful and awesome artist to review. After hearing her music, I was pleasantly surprised by Rorie’s talent, which reminded me of great artists like Joni Mitchell, Alanis Morissette, and Tori Amos. Recorded live in the lobby of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, Sincerely Live gave me something totally different from the hundreds of albums I have reviewed this year. Her decision to release an album of live recordings instantly gained my respect, but even better, she backed it up with great performances. Just in case we were skepticalof her abilities, Rorie kicks the album off with just her voice and an acoustic guitar, showcasing her own musical abilities before bringing her band on to back her up. Of the 15 songs on the project, my favorite tracks include: Silence Ends, Pants On Fire, Less Than 3, My Little Heart, and If You Teach A Bird To Sing. Every one of these songs stood out to me because, I just loved the songwriting and vocal performances on them the most. This is not to imply that the other tracks on the album are not equally awesome, but there were some special moments in the songs mentioned here, that really spoke to my personal tastes. In the end, Rorie’s a rising star and I would recommend her album to anyone who loves real music.
elitists of the day, and I’m digging it! There are a number of great tunes on this LP, including: Images, Cause and Effect, Diamonds and Demons, I’m Okay, Blind Faith, and Human Warfare. You’ve got to listen to believe it. Visit Paul Maged’s site to get more info. ALBUM TRACK LISTING 1. Look At Me 2. Images 3. Cause & Effect 4. Last Days 5. Diamonds & Demons 6. I’m Okay 7. Blind Faith 8. Annastasia 9. Human Warfare 10. Love & Loss In The Western World 11. Paradise Island 12. My Dear Love 13. Not Complicated 14. Somber Song 15. I’m Gone 16. 64th & 1st 17. What Is Peace exitlude
ADRIEL RATING: 7.5 / 10 Album: Dancing With Shadows Genre: Rock City: Canton, OH Website: www.JoeVitaleJr. com Adriel is ready for a major record deal and his Billboard pop charts debut. An amazingly talented singer, musician, and songwriter, Adriel’s talent shines brightly on his new EP – Night Logic; a synth-pop/new wave push that exceeded my expectations. Far beyond the “standards” in pop music, Adriel’s music kicks to the beat of its own drum. Night Logic resides somewhere between Wang Chung, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, and a hint of Michael Jackson, emitting a unique sound that can best be described as, “synthesized dream music.” Of the five tracks on this EP, Perfect Strangers, is the one with lead radio single written all over it. I’ve learned in my 21 years of producing/working with Grammy-winning writers and artists like Usher that the best barometer for picking a first single in pop music is always women and young girls. They’re the primary buyers of this kind of music and are thus, more likely to help the artist achieve a heightened level of success. So, I played Adriel’s EP for my wife and seven year old daughter (at separate times), and as suspected, they each picked Perfect Strangers as their favorite. Not to take anything away from the lead single, Cry Wolf, but Perfect Strangers made a connection with my entire household thanks to the music, melodies, and subject matter. This song has a perfect blend of funk, soul, and pop music not heard from most male pop artists these days. Perfect Strangers aside, Adriel’s entire Night Logic EP is a very strong release that will surely resonate with a core audience of female pop/soul/ new wave music fans. It’s only a matter of time before Adriel’s music makes its way into the ears of a top A&R; and when it does, the worlds going to know all about this rising young star in the making.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
Best Not Broken
RATING: 8.5 / 10 Album: Falling In Genre: Pop, Rock Web: www.bestnotbroken.com
RATING: 8.7 / 10 Album: Where Do We Go From Here? Genre: Indie, Pop, Rock Web: www.Twitter.com/whatis36 Lets be real, some bands are just flat out cookie-cutter, but that’s not 36? (Taylor Cochrane, Ryan Kusz, Mike Malkin and Scott White) and their latest release, “Where Do We Go From Here?” (WDWG). A heavy dose of indie rock, fused with pop vocals and elements of the 1960’s psychedelic rock sound, the Calgary crew plants their flag of rock and roll into the ears, hearts, and minds of anyone open to exploring the outer rim of the proverbial “box” that everyone’s always talking about in music. My favorite song on “Where Do We Go From Here?” has to be “Head First” because, this track is very experimental in it’s sound (as are many of hte other songs on the album). This particular song really got me interested in hearing the entire project because it has that vintage 60’s rock sound that I really like. You know, that sound that belongs in an Austin Powers movie? Musically, 36?’s members combine their talents into one big ball of creative energy that moves like the contents of a lava lamp; steady, fluid, and colorful. The vocals and melodies are all very catchy and well written, and I doubt anyone with an appreciation for bands like The Doors and Pink Floyd will lose interest in this song. Overall, I dug about half the songs on this album, but that’s my personal tastes in music and you shouldn’t form your opinion based on that. So, don’t be shy. Go explore the sounds of 36? and their LP, “Where Do We Go From Here?”; you might discover the power of your mojo and feel inclined to spread your hippie love to all the groovy people of the world.
The Tiger Club
RATING: 9.5 / 10 Album: Mephisto Island Genre: Jazz Web: www.TigerClubBand.com Excellence is the only way I can describe The Tiger Club’s music on the band’s latest release,
“Mephisto Island”. This is jazz music at its best and I doubt that I’ll hear any instrumental music this good the rest of 2014. I love the fact that on the band’s website there’s a breakdown of each song and the thought process behind its creation. I love the every song and didn’t have a favorite to really talk about because, as a huge fan of great musicianship and the jazz genre in general, I couldn’t describe any particular track as being more enjoyable than the next. Going into Mephsito Island, you get the sense that the man behind The Tiger Club, Baxter Robertson, was heavily influenced by Hollywood movies and TV shows. Much of the music on Mephisto Island pays homage to
Best Not Broken is a pop-rock band out of New England (USA) whose latest EP, Falling In, is an awesome pop-rock release that should help the trio gain some real traction in the music scenes throughout the Northeastern US. With a sound that’s an absolute shoo-in for Top 40 pop-rock radio and college stations in that format. Although they’re not a Christian band, the sound is very comparable to some of the top pop-rock bands in that side of the music business. But, before you pass judgement, take a listen because, I you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear. Good songs are hard to come by these days, but Best Not Broken deliverd one of the best pop-rock tracks I’ve heard this fall/winter so far, with their song, “Tell Me That You Want Me”. The music has a very upbeat groove to it, and I like how the vocal and musical melodies compliment one another. The verse melodies had a familiar ring to them (a la Ricky Martin’s song, Livin’ La Vida Loca), and often times it’s that familiarity that helps a song resonate with its core audience. I thought the vocal performances, coupled with the music was a nice introduction to this band, for me. I think Best Not Broken is a pretty cool band whose EP, Falling In, could become a hit among music fans in the pop-rock genre. There’s a lot of room for good bands like Best Not Broken, and I’m sure they’ll find their rightful place in the pop-rock music scene.
the sounds of classic television themes and the jazz sounds of days gone by. Whether it’s the theme of an imagined TV western (check out SHOWDOWN AT MEZCAL FLATS), or a latinthemed Hollywood movie score (check out LEMON ZEST), Baxter delivers a sensational sound that you won’t get from majority of the “hot” music of the day. Overall, Mephisto Island is an 11 track musical masterpiece that, in my book, puts The Tiger Club (Baxter Robertson) in the same category as some of my all-time favorites to listen to, like the great Burt Bacharach. I am not saying that this is equal to Burt, but I did enjoy Baxter’s music just as much as Burt’s. This is a must hear album.
Karen Reed (www.KarenReed.com)
RATING: 7 / 10, Album: True North, Genre: Folk, Blues Karen Reed’s, “True North,” is a 12 song LP that is filled with an awesome combination of folk, blues, and singer-songwriter style tunes that just feels good. Her poetic songwriting is simple to comprehend and she sounds like she’s having a great time creating music. For these reasons, it made me like Karen and I enjoyed listening to her. Of the 12 tracks available, I enjoyed “Bad Girl” the most because, Karen delivers that classic blues melody we all know, even if you’re not exactly a blues music fan. Her honesty in the lyrics made the song completely authentic and relatable, and her vocal delivery is filled with sass and class. This is a fun song that I’d definitely recommend. I also enjoyed “Better Day”, “Stuck On You”, “Miss Understood”, and “Cougar Blues”. This is a must listen project that you’re sure to enjoy.
I Am Entertainment | Nov-Dec ‘14
RATING: 8.9 / 10 Album: Traces Genre: Celtic, Folk, Jazz Web: www.DeborahHenriksson.com Swedish singer, Deborah Henriksson has prepared an inspiring compilation of songs on her fourth album, “Tracks”. With the voice of an angel, Deborah sings some of the most emotionally heartfelt melodies that fill the soul and warm the ears. Henriksson’s voice is reminiscent of such great Celtic pop singers as Moya Brennan, and Orla Fallon, each of whom are among the greatest singers on earth. Traces is a great release that I could hardly critique because I have nothing but praises to sing about Debroah’s music. Every song is meaningful, and while I did not connect with every track, 70% of the project gave me chills as I listened to Deborah sing. But, this is understandable considering the fact that she’s not a newcomer to singing. From a purely musical perspective, I have always been a fan of great Celtic Folk music and this album is one of my favorites this year. I would recommend Deborah Henriksson’s music to anyone who has an affinitywww.iaemagazine.com for great singers.
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