what’s your dream?
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editor’s word to you Do you have a dream? Perhaps two of the greatest freedoms we have in America are - Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression - because they both allow us entertainers the open door to create the art we choose. And, while the “powers that be” in show business have, in so many ways, infringed upon these very rights of the artist, we can still free ourselves of the “boxes” and express ourselves honestly. Just like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did during that classic and defining American moment in the 1960s, we too have a voice to declare our dreams, and pursue them fervently. We should do so without fearing what the “industry” might not support. Just go after whatever you’re aspiring to accomplish and don’t let anybody or anything stop you. This hour, day, month, quarter, year...go after your dream passionately, with conviction in your heart. If you get knocked down, taunted, told you’ll fail, or not supported by those you hope to reach, just keep going - fighting - believing because, one day you’ll reach the mountain top and see the promised land. Ready, Set, Go!!!
HAPPY BLACK HISTORY MONTH
Candy Freeman Editor-In-Chief
I was glad to see Doreen Spicer in this issue (#31) because, she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the film business. Her contributions to diversity in family-friendly entertainment has really been awesome. I loved the interview and hope you will continue to feature talented women of color in your publication. Monica Henton Houston, TX
I love Adi Shankar on the cover? He is one of the great young Indian filmmakers of today! I love his work. Great article too. vidyanand padmaprabhu Boston, MA -----------------------------I really liked the Wildstyle interview with Charlie Ahearn. I appreciate you guys showing the true history of hip-hop. D. Rankins Bronx, NY -----------------------------I listen to The Miews podcast all the time, and it’s such a good show. Why don’t you feature some of those interviews in the magazine? Laura Wilson Portland, OR
“We’ve paid our songwriters over $15Million,”
says Eric Sheinkop (CEO of Chicago-based music licensing firm, Music Dealers) on The Miews podcast, Episode #61 www.themiews.com
let’s connect online
DID YOU HEAR?
What you missed on The Miews show. Episode 59: How artists can get more write-ups for their music careers.
Join the conversation at
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Listen & get ahead on
iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and themiews.com
CEO & Founder of Independent Music Promotions, James Moore, joins us to discuss how he’s helping independent artists gain guaranteed album reviews and press with top media sources.
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
i Am Entertainment VOLUME 6 - ISSUE 32
PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
Candy Freeman firstname.lastname@example.org
7 COVER STORY
MUSIC EDITOR & PODCAST HOST: Shaine Freeman email@example.com
Daniel Hoyos - firstname.lastname@example.org
FILM & TV
Chuti tiu & oscar torre indie feature : shawn christensen reality tv producer - troy devolld Landing a film/tv literary agent
3 5 7 8
renee santos - comedian 9
cover story: tank 11 4 non-productive manager roles 15 grammys exec - ron basile 17 liz graham 19 rxgf 21 grammy-winner, dj prince paul 24 album reviews 25
ART DIRECTOR: Shaine Freeman
MUSIC & FILM REVIEWS: email@example.com
CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cover (Tank): Taj Stansberry All others, see interviews/articles.
Snail Mail: 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 quarterly 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 2015. 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
A FAMILY AFFAIR
By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy Handle With Care Productions
For husband & wife film team, Chuti Tiu and Oscar Torre, making movies is a family affair. Here, we sit down with the couple to discuss their award-winning film, ‘Pretty Rosebud’.
CHUTI TIU & oSCAR TORRE Notable Works
The Hangover Part III
Actor | Role: Officer Vasquez
Cane (TV Series) Actor | Role: Santo
Ladrón que roba a ladrón Actor | Role: Miguelito
The Internship Actor
Role: Yo-Yo’s Mom
Pretty Rosebud Actor
Role: Cecilia ‘Cissy’ Santos
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
Tell us how you each got into filmmaking? Oscar: I got into film by mistake. I had one elective left in college, and so I asked my girlfrind at the time, if she would sign me up for a class. I didn’t want an acting class because I was kind of shy, and so as a joke she signed me up for acting. (laughs) That’s how I wound up in acting. I was failing the class and the teacher told me that I had to go up and do an exercise pulling from personal experience. So, I went up and did something very close to me, which was the death of my grandmother, and I felt very vulnerable but hooked at the same time. Soon after I started auditioning, I began working. I was a horrible actor (laughs) but, I figured since I was getting work it could only get better if I workd on my craft. Then, I moved to LA from Miami in a car that barely made it. My first few years out here (LA) were pretty rough, but then I booked a film called, Ladrón que roba a ladrón, which did very well. It was the first Spanish film ever made by an American studio. I just came back from shooting the sequel to that film, actually. Chuti: I like to say that I’ve been a performer since I played Snow White in first grade. Having grown up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be cast as an Asian-American
Snow White. (laughs) A few decades later, Oscar and I met in an acting class, and here we are. But, our film, ‘Pretty Rosebud’, is actually the first time that Oscar and I have had the chance to work together. I think it’s great that you guys are married and you get to work together. Let’s talk about your film, ‘Pretty Rosebud’. How did this film come about? Chuti: Basically, I wrote this film for a number of reasons. It goes back to the days when I was cast as Snow White in first grade. I wanted to continue that multicultural casting tradition. Having been an actress who has had to audition for the typical, and even stereotypical, roles given to Asian-American females, I wanted to sink my teeth into something that is multifaceted and unlike anything you typically see on the big screen. I wanted to tell a different kind of story, and that’s why I wrote the screenplay. I wanted to illuminate the issues that many children of immigrants face in America; which is the clash of cultures taking place in these households. Both Oscar and I were born in the U.S., but our parents came here from other countries and cultures. So, there is this conflict of - Who are you? Are you an American? How American are you? www.iaemagazine.com
film & tv
I knew that could reach a lot of audiences because, that’s the kind of conflict that continues to this day. There are always people moving to the states. You know, as a minority myself, I know how tough it can be to gain acceptance as just an American, as opposed to being filtered and funneled into a category of some sort? So, I love that you’re addressing this often ignored issue. It’s awesome that you’re doing this. Oscar & Chuti: Thank you! Chuti: Even though, it’s an Asian-American woman’s story; if you look at the cast it’s extremely multicultural. We literally have ever segment of the population in America represented. (laughs) I know this film has won quite a few film festivals so far. How did the festivals help you guys in relation to getting ‘Pretty Rose Bud’ into theaters? Oscar : It’s hard to put your finger on exactly where the film festivals have helped, but it definitely hasn’t hurt us either. Getting the recognition and the awards, and just getting the film shown at these festivals helps to build up a following for the movie for sure. All of that stuff makes the industry take a second look, especially from distribution companies. Chuti: It generates some momentum and awareness for our film. Our footprint is very palpable. Not just word of mouth and at festivals, but also in the media which helps distributors and theaters see that, “Wow! People connect with this film. We’d like to represent it.” Or, other film festivals would be like, “We’d like to have it in our festival.” So, it needed to have the initial recognition and then it kind of became a domino effect almost.
That’s awesome that your “baby” has found its way and other people think the kid’s got skills. (laughs) What other projects are you working on? Chuti: We actually have a short that has a working title of “Man-Woman”. It’s a universal love story that has lots of twists and turns. It’s in preproduction; and then we also have a thriller called, “Lunarticking,” that Oscar and I wrote. Oscar will be the lead in that one. That one’s a mix of “American Psycho” and “Office Space” together, so it’s different. (laughs)
Watch ‘Pretty Rosebud’ at www.prettyrosebud.com
imdb rating 8.7/10 stars
“I wanted to tell a different kind of story...I wanted to illuminate the issues that many children of immigrants face in America,” Oscar : Yeah! We submitted and then a couple months went by where we weren’t hearing back, and then boom, we got into one (festival) and swept all of the awards in that one. Then, as that was happening, we heard that we got into another festival, and then another one. We got to the point that we were even having to turn down some festivals because of logistics or timing, or whatever it might have been at the time. But that first month, we were like, “Will we ever get into any festivals?” (laughs) You start wondering if maybe the movie’s not as good as we think it is. It will make you question things a bit during that waiting period. It’s like a parent and their child, you know? Their kid may not be all that good, but they think their kid is the best thing in the whole world. (laughs) www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
film & tv
OSCAR WINNING FilmmakER By Daniel Hoyos | Photos Courtesy: Shawn Christensen
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
film & tv
shawn CHRISTENSEN won an oscar in 2013 for his short film, ‘curfew ’, making way for a feature length rebirth of the movie. Here, the filmmaker shares that journey. “Before I Disappear” actually started as the short film “Curfew”. Can you tell us where the idea came from? I was looking for something to act in, and wanted to explore the relationship between a jaded person at the end of his rope and younger purer person who had their whole life ahead of them. No one seemed to be interested in directing it, and when I had a little money to make it, I decided to direct it myself. Turning a 19 minute short into a feature is quite the achievement. How difficult was the process of writing “Before I Disappear”? It was difficult only when I wasn’t staying true to the short film. I wrote many pages involving flashbacks, flash-forwards, non-linear arcs,
ensemble casts, alternate subplots, etc. I had to throw it all out and just tell the story of these two people over the course of an evening. While watching “Before I Disappear” I noticed moments that recreated dialog, and scenes from “Curfew”. Was that intentional? It was necessary. I tried to maintain the things that worked in the short film, while altering some of the dialogue a little, to accommodate the fact that Sophia was slightly older. Everyone knows Fatima Ptacek as the voice of Dora the Explorer. Can you tell us how Fatima was first cast? She wasn’t Dora the Explorer yet. She booked Curfew and Dora at around the same time. I saw her on a morning talk show and was stunned by how well she handled herself on it. She was 8, but had the poise of a 30 year old. When she came in for the audition, she nailed it. Paul Wesley plays the role of dark mannered crime boss Gideon. Is that character based off a real person? It’s based off a combination of young club owners I’ve run into over the years. Guys who come from money in the first place and run clubs that seem hip and dark, but really are kind of softened versions of how gritty the scene used to be many years ago. The most memorable scene from “Before I Disappear” has to be Fatima dancing in the bowling alley. Did you work with a choreographer?
I worked with Allison Plamondon, who was in my acting class. She worked with Fatima and all of the extras on set. She was great, especially considering she had no professional dancers to work with on the short film. That’s part of what makes the scene shine, is that they’re just normal people who suddenly gain rhythm. You wrote Sophia, So Far for your music project Goodnight Radio. Have you always had a passion for writing lyrics? There are technically no lyrics in the short film version – just me mumbling some words to get the point across. For the feature, I fleshed out the lyrics and finished the song (it never had an ending). I was in the band Stellastarr* for many years, and wrote lyrics for a living, up until recently. “Curfew” won the Oscar for best short film in 2013. What was the experience like attending and receiving the Oscar from Jamie Fox, and Kerry Washington? I don’t remember being on stage. I remember our name getting called, and then being backstage taking pictures with both of them, who were very nice. Later, I bumped into Jamie at an after party and we had a couple laughs about the fact that the envelope had somehow disappeared during the proceedings. I guess I just forgot to take it from him on stage and the Academy found it a few days. How can people follow the latest news on “Before I Disappear”? Our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. iae
“I Don’t Remember being on stage,” -- shawn christensen on accepting the oscar. www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
film & tv
Reality tv producer troy devolld
By Shaine Freeman | Photo: Troy DeVolld
Let’s start by telling everyone where you’re from and what led you to pursue a career in film & TV. I’m originally from Ohio, then I moved to Tampa (FL) before attending film school in Orlando at Full Sail University. I wound up working as an executive assistant into my late 20’s and thought to myself, “I had better take a swing at something besides making coffee, or I’m going to still be here when I’m 50.” One day I was watching a show called, Fear, on MTV when I saw the name of a guy I knew come across the sceen in the end credits. I said, “Oh, I should give him a call to see if there’s something I can do as a day job in Los Angeles. At least I’d be working in TV.” So, I moved to Los Angeles just before I turned 30 to pursue a career in screenwriting and literally had a job in reality TV the day I arrived in LA. I just decided that it would be much more fun than fetching coffee.
How did going to Full Sail prepare you eality TV has made for a career in film? more stars out of Well, before attending Full Sail, I actually went to Flagler College in 1988 and everyday people was an Art major. I then became a comic than any other book artist, as well as a writer for TV commercials in the early 1990’s. But, I had no platform today. But, it’s all major success with either of those, so when due to the creative minds I decided to go to film school I was looking of guys like, Troy DeVolld, specifically for a screenwriting program. A few people had suggested that I study somewho has worked on some of thing that would give me an overview of the the most successful reality business, since my longterm goal was to both produce and write. So, Full Sail had the best shows in the business. Here, program that I thought would give me the best we learn the reality of Reoverview of the business without falling off the map for four years. It wound up being a great alty TV from one of the inexperience that has served me well in my cadustry’s top producers. reer. You’ve done quite a bit in the reality TV industry, but what was your first “big break” there? The first job I had was as a logger/transcriber on MTV’s - “Fear”. Which didn’t pay well, but it was a break for me because I wound up working for a guy named, Cris Abrego, and his partner
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
Rick Telles. Those guys kept me busy for two years. It’s because of them that I got to work on ‘The Surreal Life’ and into the MTV family. It was just a really good bunch of guys; and now Chris is running, Endemol, which is huge! (laughs) Wow! So, what are some of the shows you’re working on now? I just finished the 19th season of ‘Dancing With The Stars’. I have a documentary called, ‘Remember We’re Not Here,” that I’m still kinda mapping some things out for it. It’s a tonguein-cheek look at how reality TV stars see themselves compared to their friends who work in scripted entertainment. Sounds very interesting! For those writers out there who may have a reality show idea; what do you recommend they do in order to get their idea picked up? Reality’s different. With regular scripted TV you can write a spec episode and if someone likes it they might use it; but you can’t write a spec episode of a reality show. So, I always recommend people to spend a year or two working behind the scenes in reality TV before you try to sell an original series. If you don’t want to do that, and you just want to try and sell an original series, then align yourself with a production company that’s a good match for the kind of show you’re trying to sell. Also, be sure they’ve got the relationships with the kinds of networks that are likely to carry your kind of show. Don’t create a show to entertain yourself, and don’t try to “reinvent the wheel”. Production companies and networks have a very specific shopping list and they know what they’re looking for. So, have a workable concept that appeals to the producers’ shopping list. You have to think commercially too because, some ideas are just not doable. For instance, if I were trying to sell a show called, “Celebrity Choir”, where we had 20 celebrities/week who had to form a choir and perform somewhere at the finale. Even just an eight episode season would require us to cast 160 celebrities, which is almost impossible. However, if I wanted to do a show where each week a different celebrity had to take a group of people and turn them into a choir; you could do that because you only need 8 celebrities/season. It’s still called ‘Celebrity Choir’, but it’s a much more workable concept than the first one. So, focus on creating a workable idea instead of trying to flip the industry on its head. iae www.iaemagazine.com
film & tv
LAND A LITERARY AGENT Without Selling Yourself Short By: Michael Van Dyck with Jenna Wycoff
ing portfolio, you must have an original pilot script as a calling card and a spec script of a currently airing show (see examples below). Write a spec that everyone will remember for its creativity and emotional impact, and which demonstrates your knowledge of the world the show creators have set up.
Half-Hour (Comedy Single-Cam) Shows good to Spec MODERN FAMILY COMMUNITY Half-Hour (Comedy Multi-Cam) Shows good to Spec TWO AND A HALF MEN BIG BANG THEORY First and foremost, writing must be God’s purpose for your life based on your God-given talents and a relentless desire to do nothing else. Don’t be overly consumed with finding an agent or a manager. Cultivate relationships with writers, producers, lawyers in Television and features and this network will serve you well in the eventual pursuit of an agent or manager. A primary way to both develop your craft and likely get the attention of an agent or manager is to participate in a writing program such as the ABC/Disney Writers Fellowship, NBC Diversity Program, and UCLA extension courses. Also, further your network of connections by employment, pursue writer’s assistant jobs, internships, and even temp jobs at agencies, studios, and networks. When in the process of intentionally pursuing a manager or an agent, focus on the assistants or coordinators, they have the time to read material from writers that are new to the business. For your writ-
One Hour (Drama) Shows good to Spec BREAKING BAD NCIS THE GOOD WIFE JUSTIFIED If you are in Los Angeles, get involved with strong industry-related ministries and communities like Bel Air Presbyterian, Ecclesia, Beacon, Premise, and Key Men/Key Women. Ultimately, if you have strong relationships with people in the entertainment industry and your material is extraordinary, the agents and managers will find you. iae Michael Van Dyck is a Literary & Packaging Agent at Paradigm LA. Jenna Wycoff works in the Literary Department at Paradigm LA.
INTERESTING QUOTES ACTORS HAVE MADE “Yes, I’m blonde. When I started as an actor, because of the accent and my body and my personality, it was not what the stereotype of the Latina woman in Hollywood is, so they didn’t know where to put me. The blond hair wasn’t matching. The moment I put my hair dark, it was better for my work.” ~ Sofia Vergara
“If you catch me saying ‘I am a serious actor,’ I beg you to slap me.” ~ Johnny Depp
“A rapper is about being completely true to yourself. Being an actor is about changing who you are.” ~ Will Smith “For every successful actor or actress, there are countless numbers who don’t make it. The name of the game is rejection. You go to an audition and you’re told you’re too tall or you’re too Irish or your nose is not quite right. You’re rejected for your education, you’re rejected for this or that and it’s really tough.” ~ Liam Neeson “James Franco is a Method actor. I respect Method actors, but he never snapped out of character. Whenever we’d have to get in the ring for boxing scenes, and even during practice, the dude was fullon hitting me.” ~ Tyrese Gibson
“You need some insecurity if you’re an actor. It keeps the pot boiling. I haven’t yet started to think about retiring. I was shocked when I heard about Paul Newman retiring at age 82. Most actors just fade away like old soldiers.” ~ Al Pacino “There
is a strange pecking order among actors.
Theatre actors look down on film actors, who look down on TV actors. Thank God for reality shows, or we wouldn’t have anybody to look down on.” ~ George Clooney
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
on Stage Best of 2014
PURE COMEDY from Issue 24
Interview By: Candy Freeman
A lot of people think comedy is all jokes, but it’s also a business. What was the toughest part about establishing a fee and getting paid when you got off stage? It is a business, and the business I own is “Renée Santos.” It took me a long time to realize I had to become a good business woman. The toughest part was knowing that I was worth being compensated. I’ve learned that we teach people how to treat us. I absolutely believe paying dues, but for me,
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
I did free shows for a long time and I wasn’t able to step into my power. I realized I was telling people I didn’t need to get paid because my vibe was, “I’ll do it for free.” In my opinion, if you are saying to yourself “I’ll do it for free,” what you get back is a plethora of “free” opportunities. The moment I decided I deserved to be paid for my art, I experience a bit of a drought. But, I stayed persistently patient, and within months I was offered my first paid gig. I’ll do charity shows, but I refuse to perpetuate the attitude that artists must struggle. How did the opportunity to appear on NuvoTV’s, Stand-Up & Deliver, come about? Lesley Wolff, the teacher I spoke about earlier, is now a Casting Director for NuvoTV. She offered me a part on the show without auditioning; it was surreal! Over the years, I have done many of Lesley’s shows, volunteered to stuff envelopes at her office, written referrals, attended her performances, and most importantly stayed on her radar because I actually value her as a person. I’ll say this with great conviction; my career is blossoming because of the genuine relationships I am building, not just because I am funny. Yes, being funny is critical, but there are a lot of funny comedians. I believe, what separates me is my desire and commitment to creating authentic relationships. When I meet somebody I think, “What can I nurture?”, not “what can they do for me now.” That attitude has afforded me so many opportunities and I am blessed. What’s the first step an aspiring female comedian should take to establish herself in the business? Be authentic, take your time to learn who you are, because Stand-up comedy is a caricature of our own human www.iaemagazine.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF THEO & JULIET
What was your first show and what was it like; did you bomb out like most comedians do? My first show was at The Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles, a large platform for my first go at it, but I loved having the opportunity to take a risk. I stumbled onto that stage by taking a Stand-Up Comedy writing class with Lesley Wolff. Her class was designed to prepare each student to write their first ever 5 minute set, and the class ended with a showcase on the main stage at The Improv. I was shaky and messy, but I held my own as best I could. I got great feedback from my friends, but when I look back at the evidence in the YouTube video posted by Lesley Wolff, I realize my friends were blatantly lying to me. But God bless them for protecting my feelings. I felt like a bit of a train wreck on the day of the show, I had the worst cotton mouth ever and you could hear it in the mic. When I got off the stage, I was like “That could have been worse if somebody noticed my lips were stuck to my teeth…” Then Lesley, snuck over to me and said, “ Hey next time if you put Vaseline on your teeth, you won’t get cotton mouth.” I left the stage thinking I’d never do Stand-up again…and what the? Vaseline on my teeth? That is disgusting, she has no idea what she is talking about…I still use Vaseline on my teeth to this day.
of the Top Female Comics in TV History
While we’re sure you can probably think of more women who could’ve made this list, here are some of our staff’s favorite funny ladies of television; in no certain order. folly and perceptions. If you don’t understand your place in the world and feel confident about who you are, it’s nearly impossible to get an audience to believe in your story. Also, be persistently patient and be willing to be on the journey. I remember the first time I interviewed with a comedy agent in LA; it was an embarrassing interview, but the biggest blessing too. I had only done Lesley’s showcase and 2 open mics and I asked Adam if he would meet with me in regards to comedy representation. I happened to have gone to college with Adam and we bumped into each other at a Starbucks, so in my head I thought, “Ooohh, this is meant to be.” He agreed to sit down and chat with me. In my naiveté, (I was not yet living the whole “building relationships slowly, not, what can you do for me immediately” philosophy), I definitely bit off more than I was ready to chew. I am grateful I had the courage to ask, don’t get me wrong, as I do believe closed mouths don’t get fed, it’s just my timing was simply premature. Meeting with Adam was an incredible lesson for me. He chose not to represent me and what he said to me in that interview changed my life, he said, “Renee I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I never represent anybody until they have been on 1000 stages. You must be willing to do the work, you have a spark, go get great, stumble, shine, fall, glow, find your gold, and then you’ll be ready. It’s never too late…but it can be too early.” That stayed with me forever. I realized this whole illusion of how celebrities become successful has infiltrated our society and people expect to perform once and make it, when in reality, most successful people in any field get their feet wet for a decade before they are really successful. So every woman I meet who wants to be a comic, I say this, don’t be scared to shine your light, but be willing to do the work. And remember fear is just a sign that your dream is big enough. Never fear the critics. The only fear you should have is dying with your song still inside you. iae
“my career is blossoming because of the genuine relationships I am building, not just because I am funny.” www.iaemagazine.com
BETTY WHITE (Emmy & Grammy Winner)
Born in 1922 in Oak Park, Illinois, she holds the Guinness World Record (2013) for the longest television career for a female entertainer. Her comedy transcends age gaps and has introduced multiple generations of viewers to her comedic genius.
TINA FEY (Emmy Winner)
Making her mark on Saturday Night Live by providing laughter to millions of viewers with her impressions of former Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, Tina Fey has become one of our generation’s most funny and successful comedic actors.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG (Oscar, Grammy, Tony & Emmy)
One of the few people to have ever won every major entertainment award in the U.S., Goldberg is one of the most respected women in comedy, television, film, and Hollywood. Whoopi is a force to be reckoned with, just watch her on “The View.”
LILY TOMLIN (Emmy, Grammy, & Tony Winner)
When you talk about funny women in television, you have to mention Lily Tomlin. She has won 3 of the top 4 major awards in American entertainment (Oscar nominee) which certainly proves that she is one of the top TV comics the world has seen.
MO’NIQUE (Oscar Winner)
Although most of America knows her as the 3rd African-American female comedian to win an Oscar (Hattie McDaniel and Whoopi Goldberg), Mo’Nique has been touted as the funniest African-American female comic of our day.
LUCILLE BALL (Presidential Medal of Freedom Winner)
Everybody loved Lucy! She wasn’t just funny, she was bold. She successfully gained acceptance from white audiences of her day who weren’t fond of interracial couples being shown on TV. Lucy may not have won an Emmy, but she won our hearts.
MOMS MABLEY (Influenced many of today’s top comedians)
She came along at a time when African-American women were not allowed to star in their own TV shows, Moms Mabley influenced many of today’s top comics. Don’t miss the HBO documentary on Moms airing fall 2013, directed by Whoopi Goldberg.
BETTE MIDLER (Emmy & Grammy Winner)
Yep, she deserved to be listed! Her career dates back to the late 1960’s and hasn’t stopped since. Bette’s success as a stand-up comedian and actress has brought her numerous major awards and nominations. As of 2012 she has sold 39 Million albums.
CAROL BURNETT (Emmy & Presidential Medal of Freedom)
One of the first funny ladies with her own TV show, The Carol Burnett Show, she’s the first woman to win both the Mark Twain Prize and the Kennedy Center Honors. The Kennedy Center has chosen her for the 2013 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
BARBRA STREISAND (Oscar & Grammy Winner)
A personal favorite at I Am Entertainment, Barbra Streisand is one of the most talented funny women to hit the big and small screens. What other actress/singer has sold over 71million albums and received 50 Gold & 30 platinum albums? Respect!! Source: Wikipedia.org
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STRONGER Being an R&B singer in a pop-dance music era is tough; something 4x Grammy-nominated artist, TANK, knows all about. Here, we find out what it takes nowadays to sustain a family, brand, and career in music. BY Shaine Freeman || ALL PHOTOS Taj Stansberry What’s up brother? How have you been? I’ve been good man! Been getting everything in place. The music is doing what it’s doing, the fitness company is starting to get some recognition, I’ve got a new baby and a few acting opportunities; so, I’m really just trying to bring it all full circle in 2015. Speaking of 2015; it’s kinda been a New Year’s commitment of mine to give artists a little more direct information from folks like yourself. You’ve been in this industry for 20 years as an artist, songwriter, and producer; from a writer’s perspective, what do you think artists can do better. Because, so many artists are not writing great songs these days? You know, I think that we’ve gotten so out of touch emotionally, with everything. A picture used to be worth 1,000 words, but now it’s only worth how many likes you can get on social media the day you put it out, and then you’re moving on to the next thing. So, it’s like cats don’t really attach anything longterm to their music. It’s about what’s happening now. What’s the latest shoe? What’s the latest jeans? How many bottles can they pop? Can I get her pants down? Nothing is longterm. So, connect some emotional value to what you’re doing. Okay, let’s say you want to write about the club. How did it really make you feel, being there? Like, what’s the emotion that goes along with that? When them bottles came to your table and you could afford them bottles, but you remember when you couldn’t afford those bottles before. What’s the emotion that’s connected to
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that experience that everybody can relate to? Everybody can’t relate to popping bottles, but everybody can relate to doing better, you know what I’m saying? Connecting that to the person in the office building who knows nothing about what you’re talking about, but knows that he got a raise last month. How do we correlate those feelings and those emotions back into music so that everybody can relate to it? That’s what a lot of young writers are missing in their music. The emotional connection to people who are not in the music business and don’t know what we’re talking about. Yeah! I preach that on my podcast, and on both of our websites (TheMiews.com and IAEMagazine.com). Also, I talk a lot about young writers getting their paperwork right. Talk about that side of it because, that’s really how songwriters eat. Tell them why it’s so important to have their publishing splits right. You know, what’s great about that question is that it doesn’t just pertain to publishing. It has everything to do with being an artist, period! Whether you’re a singer, a songwriter, or a producer; it’s all about protecting yourself. What the business was kinda designed on is that the artist, in the beginning, just wanted to be seen and heard, and somewhere within all of that, make some money. The artist didn’t know how, he didn’t know the structure; the artist was not the businessman. Then, the businessman came along and said, “You know what? There’s a way that I can make money off of this, and I can make you famous.” So, the artist said, “Ok!”
This is why we have this system where aritsts get pennies, and the record company gets everything. You know what I mean? Because, in the beginning, we didn’t know how to protect ourselves. Now, moving into the publishing area where we do have a lot more power, it’s even more vital to protect yourself because, publishing can turn into an argument of heresay. Then you have conversations like, “Well, I wrote this many lines.” “No you didn’t!” “Yes, I did!” Okay, so now we have to go to court to sort it out. In the
meantime, nobody’s getting paid off the song. It’s just going to sit there and all of the proceeds from the song are not being collected by the writers. Nothing’s going anywhere until we get these three lines figured out. That’s the worst thing you can do because, all of these things take years to sort through. What people still don’t realize is that, as we sit in litigation and go to court hearings because we didn’t do the due dilligence in the beginning, this money is collecting interest; interest that we don’t get. Interest that these (record) companies bank on. They know that they’re going to let this money sit for as long as it can, and that’s how they make even more money off of our ignorance. This is the process (with me). When you come into the studio with me, and a lot of my guys; we write from the partnership perspective. Everybody here in this room right now; we’re all writing a song, and we’re going to split the publishing evenly between all of us. Now, if there are any discrepency, then before we leave,
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here’s a piece of paper. Put your name on it and my name on it, with all of our information because, I don’t want to have to look for you. You might move to Tupelo, Mississippi. So, I need your signature, your publishing company, and we need to spell out the percentages now. If anybody has a problem, then let’s talk about it right here. If we have to wrestle; let’s wrestle and straighten out these splits before we leave this room so that everybody is protected. Absolutely! Now, you also talked earlier about
the fact that you have a fitness company. I think all artists are entrepreneurs and should explore every opportunity to grow their brands. Talk about your fitness company and what you’ve got going with that. For me, it’s a lifestyle. It’s not me getting ready for an album cover, a tour, or any of those things. It’s like, I feel good everyday and my body feels good, so it’s about quality of life. I know that by putting in work right now, it’s going to benefit me at 60-70 years old; God willing I live that long. Well, I started thinking, “How can we get this (fitness) information out to people and answer their questions; as well as, monetize and brand it by connecting it to me and what people know about me from the music business?” So, when I decided to name my album “Stronger,” my manager came to me and said, “You know what? We should name your fitness company, ‘Stronger U,’ and align that with your album release.” Once we had that idea in place, what we
did was, we got on social media and started the ‘Stronger U’ 30-day campaign where people got to work out and diet with us. We did mental encouragement with Rob Hill, Sr. We also did spiritual lessons with Pastor, Dr. John Barton, and we gave people the chance to participate at their own leisure. We were like, “Here’s the information. If you want to use it, then do so. It’s at your disposal.” What we’re trying to do is recondition people to see that, whether you do a little or a lot; if you feel better the next day, then that’s a “Stronger U”. We’re eliminating the competitive aspects of it in the beginning, so that we can get people to change their minds about the idea of fitness and working out. It’s about a stronger you! What I like about that is; you’ve taken it upon yourself to expand your earning potential by launching a brand. You’ve also decided to delve into acting too. Tell us what you’ve got going on there as well. Yeah, man! I did a movie with Queen Latifah for one of her productions called, “November Rule”. I also did a show for HBO that I think is called, “The Protected”, that’s going to be really cool. I think it’s time to get 200% more serious about my acting. I’ve been auditioning, and my goal is to always get better at acting. I’m always studying, and always learning. I just haven’t had the time to actually sit and put the work in. You gotta go out and audition, you have to get out and attend some of these seminars. I’ve got to put in just as much work with my acting as I do with my music. So, it’s just going to require me to refocus. The music is on autopilot, you know what I’m saying? I can make music in my sleep. But, I’m really pushing, as far as my acting career is concerned. Nice! I watched an interview a few years back, where the singer, Brandy, was being interviewed and she was asked if she’d want her daughter to be in the music business. Would you want your kids to do music for a living? You know, your kids are a product of their environment. My kids come to my shows and sing with me, they’re in professional performing arts schools. They’re leads in all the productions, singing, dancing, acting, writing their own songs, arranging their own harmonies. My kids are better than me. (laughs) My 13yr old daughter is editing her own movies on her computer. So, yea, I do want them to be heard and seen. iae www.iaemagazine.com
4 Non-Productive Roles Music Managers Fill
As seen on www.TheMiews.com and the Sonicbids Blog Written By: Shaine Freeman
about doing things that were counterproductive to the plan we established from the outset. For example, some musicians might get into legal trouble, and it’s the manager’s responsibility to find out from the artist what happened. I can tell you that it’s no fun trying to get the truth out of artists who are upset or embarrassed by the trouble they’re in. In most cases, the interrogation process increases tension between the manager and the artist, oftentimes leading to a split between the two parties.
But, the good news is that there are some good managers who really care about their artists, and are willing to wear a number of different hats to ensure success is attained. As a former manager/damage control agent, I can tell you that it’s not a glamorous job to juggle the various personalities of creative artists. Here are some of the tough, but necessary, intangible roles that a music manager may have to fill. Hopefully by the time you finish reading this piece, you’ll understand a little more why great managers are hard to find.
1. THE BABYSITTER It’s every manager’s hope that a musician or band will be responsible and receptive to guidance, but
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sometimes the manager is forced to babysit. Whether it’s partying too much or being late to everything, there are some musicians whose actions don’t line up with what they told the manager they wanted to accomplish. When an artist consistently needs to be called 10 minutes before they’re supposed to go onstage, it’s a very frustrating situation for the manager. If your manager is spending all of his time handling your personal affairs, when will he have time to help you advance your professional career? Babysitting is no fun, but it’s just one of those undesirable hats a manager must wear.
2. THE MEDIATOR Disagreements are par for the course when you’re a music manager. On any given day, a manager might encounter issues that thrust her into the role of a mediator. This might include talking to a venue promoter who is having an issue with her artist, settling disputes between band members, or helping to resolve administrative issues between an artist and the other team members (i.e., accountants, record label reps, booking agents, and tour managers).
3. THE INTERROGATOR This role is sometimes coupled with both the “babysitter” and “mediator” roles. As a manager, I had times where one or two of my clients would lie
This is where the shrink hat is put on by the manager, and he must work to get his client back on track emotionally and mentally so that the artist doesn’t completely lose the momentum she’s worked so hard to build. This may mean that the manager and artist suspend some of the business-related activities just to get back on the same page with one another. This is never fun and rarely ever yields true progress. In the end, a great manager cannot be measured only by the tangible things she has produced. In many cases, it’s the intangible, unrecognized, nonglamorous aspects of the job that lead to many of the accomplishments we see artists and bands having. If you have a great manager, be sure to thank her for what she’s done for you, because sometimes that’s all she needs to keep fighting for your success. www.iaemagazine.com
Image via: iStockphoto.com
reat managers are hard to find – especially when you consider that it’s one of the few professions where no experience or license is required to negotiate contracts and collect money on behalf of someone who is not under their guardianship. While there are organizations (TMA and NCOPM) that have set standards for best practices among entertainment managers, many managers in the music business do not know about these organizations, thus they’re not held accountable. As a result, many artists and bands are likely to experience a bad management situation at some point in their careers.
4. THE SHRINK This is one of the most common areas of a manager’s job. Managing the multiple personalities within a band or an artist’s team can really be tough. Everyone thinks they’re right, and everyone has an opinion on what the artist should and shouldn’t do. This makes the manager’s job even harder. When an artist has too many conflicting opinions coming from friends, family, and other reps, there’s bound to be some confusion the artist needs help sorting out. Some artists will actually turn on their manager and blame him for everything that isn’t to the artist’s liking. But in all actuality, the artist is upset with all the confusion.
THE MIEWS Featured On The Miews Podcast Episode #63
talent executive at aeg / ehrlich ventures llc How did you get started working on the production side of the Grammys? I’m the Talent Executive, so it’s close to producing, but it’s still a little different. But, anyway, I started out with Ken (Ehrlich) as his assistant and worked my way up from there. What I do as my job function is, when the talent gets booked, I am the conduit for the talent and everything on the show. So it starts off with me connecting with the talent and gathering information on them, then gathering information for the production manager, and from the tour manager as far as what they’re going to bring and not going to bring. Also, who they’re going to bring, what they can and can’t do scenic-wise and creatively. After I gather that information, I have probably 30-40 people on an email list who I actually clue-in all the time. So, everyday I’m shooting out emails to our entire team. On that list is a series of people from lighting team to the scenic team, to the video guys, to the...oh gosh, you name it. I let them know what’s coming, as far as the show is concerned because (leading up to the Grammys) there’s only a handful of people
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who know who’s going to be on the show. So I clue them in; like the director, letting him know who’s going to be on stage, if they’re going to have pyro(technics), if they’re going to have dancers or not. I just keep everybody informed. Like I said, I started as Ken’s assistant and just worked my way up. So, my job is very rare. All of the categories that Ken picks, I go and get all of the videos and all the music. I also pick all of the music, like the play-ons and playoffs you hear when somebody’s walking onto and off the stage. I’m also the producer for the Stevie (Wonder) show we’re doing. A lot of people may think your job is all glam because you get to do the Grammys and work with all of these superstars, but your job is pretty labor intensive. How long does it take to put the show together? That’s a good one. You know, the show used to happen the second week of January. But, now the dates have moved back and forth because the Oscars moved (dates). This year the Super Bowl is right before (Grammys), and a lot of the same people who work on the Grammys also work the Super Bowl half-time show. So, we lose people for a couple of days because they’re multi-tasking. The Oscars happens the week after the Grammys, and it’s the same crew. Only a handful of people do these shows. Normally, the nominations come right before the holidays and then everybody leaves for two weeks for Christmas. But, I work through the holidays; sending out emails. It would be nice if we had an extra two weeks it would be helpful, but last year (2014) the show was January 26th so we were coming right out of the holidays and a few weeks later we had a show (to do). Sheesh! That’s crazy! It’s consuming. It really is! Let’s talk about talent. How do you guys go about picking the artists who will perform? No, that’s all Ken (Ehrlich). It’s kind of a process, you know? It’s him and the Academy (RIAA), but Ken’s the executive producer of the
(Grammys). He’s my boss and I’ve been working with him for 27 years now. Candy and I have had the opportunity to sit down with you over lunch and learn the inner workings of your business, and man, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes at the show, right? A lot going on! (laughs) We’re a live show so, we start off with everybody. All of those dancers and performers are backstage, either in their dressing rooms or preparing to go on stage. As the evening plays out, you start to see it thin out, but there’s hundreds of people backstage. They do, however, keep the aisles and halls clear because everybody knows the rules. We’re all underneath the stage, so that’s why you see the presenters come up from those steps under the stage. I feel that it’s “Get Smart”, with chaos. We have all these tunnels; one leads to a little private area, one leads to where all of the audio gear is, one leads straight out to the back. We have security down there so, when you see these acts come onto the stage, they’re led either left or right. We don’t have any monitors for people to watch backstage while they’re waiting to go on because, the last thing you want on a live show is to have people in the way of all that
“a lot of the same people who work on the Grammys also work the Super Bowl half-time show.” www.iaemagazine.com
THE MIEWS gear that’s being moved around. We do our best to keep the space really clear, so there’s a white tape that we put down, and if they cross it they get kicked out. We have LAPD there and they don’t take much, you know?! Yeah! (laughs) For those who may want to work for you at AEG/Ehrlich Ventures; how do they get a job working with you. Like, where do they send resumes for job opportunities? Should they even try? (laughs) Don’t! (laughs) We have enough here. No, you know there are some great kids who come through here and everybody starts from the bottom. We have a lot of people who repeatedly work these shows each year. After the show’s over, they go on their merry way. But, we actually have a core team (at Ehrlich) that rarely changes. Every year we know who’s going to work on the shows. So, don’t think you’re going to get out of high school and come to work for us because, it doesn’t work that way. I hardly ever hire anybody, but when I do, I hire someone who can think fast on their feet. They’ve got to know where to go and what to do. Don’t just sit there playing games on a cell phone, doing nothing. The people I hire are learning, they’re reading the script, they look at the schedule and the acts on the board to see how we place things; they’re busy. I like people who are motivated, rather than somebody who’s just going to come in here to work on the Grammys just so they can see Beyonce in person; you know what I’m saying? (laughs) END
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3x ASCAP Award-winning & Chart-topping Indie Artist with over 100,000 copies sold
LIZ GRAHAM By Shaine Freeman | Photographer Shervin Lainez
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hen you’re Liz Graham, life is a wonderland of experiences, and sharing your journey through music plays a significant role in your life. After gaining the experiences of releasing music independently, placing songs in both major and indie film projects, and playing some pretty cool shows, this amazing musician is ready to take 2015 by storm. Please tell us where you’re from and who/ what inspired you to become a singer-songwriter? I am from Nyack, New York- a sweet village on the west side of the Hudson River and only 18 miles away from NYC. I was a sensitive child, and I picked up on the undercurrents in my family. We did not talk about our feelings or the whys of life for that matter. I was enthralled when I discovered that words can rhyme and that I could also safely express everything that I was feeling in my notebooks. I loved music and that was also a big part of my life. In my teens, I tragically lost my brother, and that loss manifested itself in an urgency to write and share songs about life, love, loss. After hearing your music, I felt like you were definitely one of the few “artists to watch”. If someone’s never heard your music before, how would you describe your style/sound to them? Well first, thank you! That means a lot to me. I use imagery and symbolism. I feel that this allows me to reach my audience on whatever level they are prepared to listen. Although I like to present serious topics, I also like to interject each one with subtle wit and optimism. I think that my songs are a mix between early ‘Fleetwood Mac’ meets ‘Tom Petty’ meets ‘Sheryl Crow’ meets me. Let’s talk about 2015 because, you have a
project that you’re preparing to release. Who did you work with and what song would you say is your personal favorite? Currently my favorite song is “Charcoal On A Canvas” (the first single from the forthcoming untitled 2015 project). It’s deliciously insane, and you can dance to it. But, the CD was recorded, mixed and produced by Grammy winner, Larry Alexander. The project was arranged and co-produced by Marcia Robins and me. I worked with so many amazing, talented, generous people. It was like a love fest of fun and work: Liz Graham: vocals, acoustic guitar Larry Alexander: Mellotron, bass, drums Ira Siegel: electric guitar, bass John Siegler: bass Frank Vilardi: drums Jane Scarpantoni: cello Loren Korevec: piano Joe Delia: Hammond organ Chip Larison: electric guitar Catherine Graham: background vocals Suzanne Graham: background vocals Melissa Alexander: background vocals CONNECT WITH LIZ GRAHAM ONLINE: http://lizgrahammusic.com https://www.facebook.com/LizGrahamMusic https://twitter.com/LizGrahamMusic http://instagram.com/lizgrahammusic I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
Seattle Darkwave Geniuses
By Shaine Freeman | Photos Courtesy John Morgan Reilly
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eattle is not just a football hotspot these days, it’s also a place that breeds trends in music. Slowly bubbling to the Emerald City’s surface is a duo whose sound challenges the status quo in pop music. Introducing, RxGF (formerly Radioactive Ex-Girlfriend), one of the quirkiest, most entertaining artists you’re sure to fall in love with. Please tell us where you’re from and where does RxGF come from? I’m from the distant future in an adjacent galaxy, and I’ve come to warn the people of the earth that if they continue to listen to daytime talk shows and consume corn byproducts they will all surely die of a low IQ somewhere between 3050 and 4077. Only joking, I’m actually from Seattle, which, to some, may be very similar but I’ve been nomadic, working with artists in LA, New York, and London. The current lineup features Brooklyn vocalist, Angeline Schaaf, myself on drums and sequencing, and then various multi-instrumentalists, including Seattle native, Jonathan Plum who co-produced on the new record. Matthew Burgess is a seasoned session cat in Nashville, and also plays with us live filling in many of the critical musical gaps. Let’s talk about your latest release, ANY OTHER WAY. It covers so much ground, musically. Yeah, I’d say our latest release falls somewhere between Dark Wave, Post-Punk, and Underground Dance. If we were on a corporate label they’d likely call us Alternative Pop, throw us into the dungeon with some slimy A&R henchman and tell us that we ought to look more like Lorde and sound more like Lady Gaga. I’m not too keen on using genres, but I realize it’s part of the Conditioning… I mean, something that marketers and handlers need in order to put bands into wicker baskets, or in our case it would need to be a steel cage—in the same way that you’d have to confine an Allosaurus who’s been given a heavy dose of Angel Dust. What is the meaning behind the title track? Is there an inclusive story there? I’m glad you asked about that. Any Other Way is about removing oneself from the complacency of another. An effortless interpretation
of this is the classic breakup scenario. Most of these songs are about relationships regardless of how healthy or twisted they may be. The title represents the album as a whole very well because there really is a departure and a re-grouping that happens within the record on a few different levels and that’s represented sonically, musically, and lyrically. Expand on that if you don’t mind. What can people expect to hear on this record? I think there’s both a cinematic sound and ominous message that resonates well throughout the record, and there’s been a metamorphosis of stylization over the past 4 years to get to this sound. On many of these songs you feel tribal drums locked together with serrated keyboards and textured guitars coupled with some massively thick low end. Angeline’s vocals are so important for this record. The songs were specifically crafted for her voice, and I’m pretty sure she drew blood cutting these vocals. <laughs> She’s so incredibly unique and it’s been one of the most vivid musical experiences I’ve had capturing and distilling her character in these songs. Also, Any Other Way plays out as the evolved musical result of the first two full-length records, when the band was called Radioactive X Girlfriend. There’s been a transformation in arrangements from my rock roots to electro folk and then to a combination of both the primal and the futuristic. I’d say on this record there’s an obvious sense of the distant past and the distant future. Basically it took the first two records to combine acoustic and electronic in a way that represented the current soundscape. This record certainly is different than the previous two. Agreed. There was a deliberate elevation that happened when I began working on this record. As I collaborated with Angeline she immediately noted that our sound was unique I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
THE MIEWS and that we should tell the story as RxGF, the moniker I created and placed on The Art Of Splitting album cover. I thought about how the music was different than the first 2 records and RxGF really summed it up nicely. The name is truncated, yet multi-dimensional so she nailed it. She has great instinct as an artist that way. If you needle drop anywhere on Any Other Way you’re going to hear a darker sound, and you may get any sub genre between Trip Hop or Krautrock to Underground Dance. Some press have called our music electrogrunge, which I find fascinating in the same way that I think about how a grandmother pigeonholes her grandson based on his beard, waistline, and hair style. If you play the record all the way through you’ll find that it does take you on a journey. To some it’s an adventure worth repeating and to others it may be a trip to the Capo di Tutti Capi’s mansion not knowing if they’ll be promoted or whacked. But the record sonically is not like anything out there in the mainstream right now, yet you could still dance your way through most of the album if you didn’t want to stop and read the lyrics as stand-alone poems or prose. Don’t you think we are in a sort of musical renaissance period in the world where everyone seems to be exploring their individual musical styles? Yeah I do think we’re in
a certain kind of Renaissance. I mean, sort of <laughing> . There is a kind of rebirth going on, where more people than ever before are simultaneously expressing themselves. After all, it’s the YouTube era. But I would say that more than anything we are in an Operational Renaissance. The telephone was created in the late 1800’s, but it wasn’t until the early 1950’s that you could directly dial a phone and bypass the operator. And then it evolved to the point where our phones are computers that allow an infant to use a voice command to do the dialing. Metaphorically that’s exactly where we are now with recording and performing music. Surely as there are smart phones, there are digital audio workstations that artists barely even know how to operate, but they are producing high fidelity notes with the same ease as ordering a pizza for delivery. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily make for innovative and/or authentic music. Where is RxGF in all of this? Well first off, our artistic validation comes from us, the artists. And I do want our songs to resonate with listeners, for them to not only feel it but also to think about some fairly deep concepts as well. With RxGF, I’m currently really three main things— a contributing songwriter, musician, and producer. I have a specific vision for this music and if I ever get the budget and resources I have a visual representation and delivery for it that is suitable for nothing less than a museum of modern art. When our culture reveals that the majority of artists are executing on their intrinsic vision, rather than what a music supervisor wants for the next Transformers movie, then we’re likely finally in a Creative Renaissance. How do you classify your music? If you want to speak to the living here and now, RxGF is futuristic music somewhere between Dark Wave and Electro with several sub genres in between. My guess is that history will likely deem RxGF a musically simple yet layered kind of dark pop music. The most accurate thing I might be able to say is what it’s not. It’s not Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven. It’s never going to rank in those realms. But in its own right each song is a foreshadowing of what is to come both musically and lyrically. Please complete this statement about when you first started your music career, and share why you feel this way. “If I knew then, what I know now, I would ____? …have not stuck my pocket knife into the light socket. (laughs, more laughter) Seriously, I would have listened to my instincts 100% of the time. Most artists know it’s that gut instinct that you know is right even if you’re wrong. I won’t go into detail here. Follow your artistic intuition. This doesn’t mean ignore good advice. You do have to be able to discern when your ego is suppressing common sense. And you MUST have an artistic vision. Really, if you don’t have a clear artistic vision then maybe it’s time to do something else. Please tell everyone where they can connect with you online and buy your music? Sure. The best way to connect with me is through the RxGF website, http://rxgf.co.uk .Our music is available digitally in every country, but I encourage you to buy the new CD directly through the site as of January 1, 2015. We’re also going to be releasing some limited edition vinyl (only 200) with exclusive songs that cannot be found anywhere digitally. That is coming April 4th, 2015.
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THROUGH THE EYES OF A GRAMMY WINNING LEGEND It started with Muhammad Ali and James Brown. Muhammad Ali was the first commercial rapper, while the REAL King James - Mr. James Brown (aka the “Godfather of Soul”) was the first B-Boy. Ali was the first person to spit (rap) bars of rhymes on broadcast television in the 1960’s when he said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George (Foreman) thinks he will, but I know he won’t.” This would be the foundational bedrock of hip-hop’s lyrical . As Ali was spitting rhymes, James Brown
DJ PRINCE PAUL
was doing his b-boy stance and showing the world how to rhyme and dance. The Godfather of Soul used funky drum beats, basslines, and horns as the foundation of a sound that would make him one of hip-hop’s favorite musicians to sample. Ali and Brown showed us how to use our voices, music, and rhymes to stand up and fight for our rights. These men would inspire hip-hop legends like Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Public Enemy, and Grammy-winner, DJ Prince Paul. Here, the legend himself (Paul) speaks on the Good, Bad, and Future of hip-hop.
Q: What was so good about hip-hop music that you felt led to be join it and be successful at it? Being born during the civil rights movement in America, I think one of the best things that hip-hop did was it helped blur the lines between racial groups. It kind of took racism and minimized its impact on the youth. It brought together the black kids from the ‘hood’ and the white kids in the suburbs, whose parents were not necessarily getting along with each other. (laughs) Hip-hop played a big part in making other races feel okay with voting for a black family to live in The White House. Those kids who connected to hip-hop in the suburbs in the 80s & early 90’s felt okay with Barack being the President. Now it’s the norm for Caucasians and Asian kids to dress hip-hop, and major corporate brands are okay with doing deals with hip-hop artists. That’s something that would have probably never happened without hip-hop. Not to take away from what Dr. King and those in the civil rights movement did for race relations, but hip-hop did play a big part in taking what they did and spreading it beyond just the 1960’s and 70’s.
Q: We all know that everything in hip-hop ain’t all good. The genre has seen its share of bad seeds who misrepresent it through reckless lyrics and behavior. In what ways have you seen hip-hop music negatively impact society? I think it commercialized greed. I’ll say this because, the truth is that corporations took hiphop and used it to glorify what was bad about the ‘hood’. It branded boasting, hating, murder, drugs, and so forth. What we wound up with was a whole generation of young men who only knew how to get on a mic and spew negativity for the masses to consume. So now, what was already bad for the local community, has become bad for the entire world. This is how people get killed. If you really think about the bulk of violent www.iaemagazine.com
crimes in the ‘hood’, it’s almost always based on jealousy and greed. You have that, and I want that, so I’m going to take it from you. The primary place this message has been perpetuated is in hip-hop music. When you sit down and perpetuate that negativity and market it to the masses, you’re making a bad thing worse. You’re making it cool to be bad. I’m sorry, but in my opinion murder, rape, beating on women, selling drugs, gang banging…there’s nothing cool about that!
Q: There has been a lot of talk about the creativity in hip-hop diminishing. From your perspective, does the future of the genre look bright or bleak? I remember going on tour back in the days with NWA and other cats like that who were from other parts of the country, but we all respected one another’s craft, and the fact that each one of us brought a unique perspective to hip-hop that was representative of where we were from. Like, when you went on tour with NWA and they would come out of the ground through a manhole cover, you would be like, “Oh my g-d!” [laughs] You know, everybody had so much respect for each other because we each brought something to the table that helped to elevate the culture of hip-hop. Unfortunately, that element is missing in today’s hip-hop. Nobody seems to care about elevating the culture to new plateaus. It’s all about, “what can I get from the music,” as opposed to “what can I offer hip-hop to elevate it?” That’s where it goes into what I talked about earlier, about the commercialization of greed. Now you have dudes saying, “I’m gonna make this record, and I’m gonna get this money. I’m gonna get, get, get…” Nobody’s saying, “Yo, when I put this out, everybody’s going to have to step their game up!” The only dude I’ve seen do that in recent years is Kendrick Lamar. He just released a verse that is all about elevating hip-hop by challenging other artists to offer more than nonsense to the culture. The mentality of a hip-hop artist is, “Yo… I’m better at this than you are, and I’m gonna prove it through this music.” But a rapper who doesn’t really have much to offer the culture will say, “I’m gonna prove it by bragging about how much more money I have than you.” If you look at the first decade of hip-hop, versus the last decade of the music, there’s no comparison in terms of artists elevating one another and the culture. From 1979 – 1989 there was far more growth in the culture, than there has been between 2003 – 2013. So, my hope is that Kendrick Lamar’s record will be the start of more creativity, minus the violence in the culture. I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
IKE MORIZ | RATING: 8.7 / 10 Album: Nobody Does It Better Genre: Swing, Jazz City: South Africa Website: www.ikemoriz.com Great music, singing, and lyrics is what we always get when Ike Moriz puts out new tunes. The crooner has been busy throughout 2014 promoting two different CDs, the latest of which is, Nobody Does It Better. This project marks Morizâ€™s 15th LP, further adding to his amazing catalog of recordings that showcase the singerâ€™s awesome vocal talents and impeccable taste in songs. Filled with classic swing jazz songs, Nobody Does It Better, is a refreshing break from the overwhelming
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THE MIEWS Reviews
JXON RATING: 9.5 / 10 Single: Make Up This Love Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B City: Los Angeles b/w/o St Louis, MO Website: www.JXONmusic.com Great music, singing, and lyrics is what we always get when Ike Moriz puts out new tunes. The crooner has been busy throughout 2014 promoting two different CDs, the latest of which is, Nobody Does It Better. This project marks Moriz’s 15th LP, further adding to his amazing catalog of recordings that showcase the singer’s awesome vocal talents and impeccable taste in songs. Filled with classic swing jazz songs, Nobody Does It Better, is a refreshing break from the overwhelming number of pop songs dominating the charts. But, of all the standards available here, my favorite is Ike’s interpretation of the classic tune, My Funny Valentine (Piano Version). I have always loved this song, and Ike’s approach to it – relying heavily on the piano – is well worth the listen. A very close second to My Funny Valentine is the classic, You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You. The upright bass, piano, and brushed snare are the perfect backdrop to Ike’s smooth and laid back vocal performance. But, there are tons of other great selections on this release by Ike, including: All Of Me, Louisiana Fairytale, Come Dance With Me, On the Sunny Side of the Street, and the Hal David & Burt Bacharach classic – What The World Needs Now. Every one of these songs will keep any swing jazz fan locked in and entertained. But, that’s not to imply that fans of other genres can’t enjoy Ike Moriz’s music, but you do need to have an appreciation for fine musical art to truly enjoy Nobody Does It Better. I would recommend all of Ike Moriz’s music, so stop by www.IkeMoriz.com.
number of pop songs dominating the charts. But, of all the standards available here, my favorite is Ike’s interpretation of the classic tune, My Funny Valentine (Piano Version). I have always loved this song, and Ike’s approach to it – relying heavily on the piano – is well worth the listen. A very close second to My Funny Valentine is the classic, You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You. The upright bass, piano, and brushed snare are the perfect backdrop to Ike’s smooth and laid back vocal performance.
RATING: 9.0 / 10 Album: Dirty Cheat Genre: Retro Pop-Soul City: Ontario, Canada Website: LauraCole.bandcamp.com If you love and miss Amy Winehouse’s music, Laura Cole’s nine song LP, Dirty Cheat, will clear up any longings you might have. It’s uncanny how much Laura’s music and voice resemble that of the late Grammy-winner’s. Comparisons aside, Laura has put together one helluva project. Every song bears the musical identity of 1950’s and 60’s Motown, with a pinch of Philly soul sprinkled in for good measure. Dirty Cheat is a very strong release that was a pleasure to listen to. My favorite song is “Sweet Escape,” because it carries that classic melody written by The Kinks on their song “All Day and All of the Night”. Unlike The Kinks’ version, Sweet Escape, is slower and much more soulful. The song is very cool and Laura’s laid back, but sincerely honest delivery fronts the music well. Again, very Amy Winehouse, but still fun to listen to. Other songs I really enjoyed listening to include: “Death Row”, “Unworthy”, “On My Own”, and the album’s blues-rocksoul title track “Dirty Cheap”. The album is consistent throughout, and does a great job of showcasing Laura Cole’s songwriting talents. I would recommend this artist and project to anyone with an affinity for gritty retro pop-rock soul. Take a listen below.
But, there are tons of other great selections on this release by Ike, including: All Of Me, Louisiana Fairytale, Come Dance With Me, On the Sunny Side of the Street, and the Hal David & Burt Bacharach classic – What The World Needs Now. Every one of these songs will keep any swing jazz fan locked in and entertained. But, that’s not to imply that fans of other genres can’t enjoy Ike Moriz’s music, but you do need to have an appreciation for fine musical art to truly enjoy Nobody Does It Better. I would recommend all of Ike Moriz’s music, so stop by his website and see what I’m talking about. www.iaemagazine.com
I Am Entertainment | Issue 32
THE MIEWS Reviews PIQUED JACKS
RATING: 9.5 / 10 Album: Climb Like Ivy Does Genre: Indie/Rock City: Austin, TX Web: PiquedJacks.com
CHARCOAL ON A CANVAS LIZ GRAHAM
RATING 9 / 10 Genre: Singer-songwriter/Rock/Pop City: New York Website: LizGrahamMusic.com Having sold more than 100,000 CDs over the course of her career, 3x ASCAP Award winner, Liz Graham, doesn’t have to prove herself anymore. She can’t help but breathe great music, which is why we love her songs. But, this New Yorker isn’t shy about her history with music. The former Tangible/MCA Records artist, has seen her fair share of ups and downs in life and music. But, it is these experiences that makes her such an incredible artist and songwriter. On her new single, “Charcoal On A Canvas” (releasing March 3, 2015), Liz
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sings about a woman who is trying to capture the heart of her lover, but the walls he has built between them are making it hard for her to connect with him the way she longs to. The creative writing in the song is among some of the best I’ve heard from an indie artist. The lyrics bring to mind greats like Billy Joel and Sheryl Crow. Musically, the song is very strong and would work well among fans of the Cranberries, Sheryl Crow, and Ingrid Michaelson. Driven by guitars, this song has an amazing bassline that walks up and down the scales atop the drums effortlessly, and the whole production fits Liz’s message and voice to a tee. Great music is tough to find in a music market that breeds 100 new artists per week, it seems. But, you have to support it when you find that artist who really resonates and leaves you with a mental place marker that says, “This is where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard this song.” Like a charcoal artist, Liz Graham has etched her way into my memory and I am now a big fan of her work! If “Charcoal On A Canvas” is any indicator of what we can expect to hear on her upcoming 2015 CD release, I’d say Liz Graham is preparing to blow our minds, and I can’t wait. Make sure you buy this one; you’ll be glad you did!
I’ve always enjoyed reviewing Piqued Jacks’ music (at I Am Entertainment magazine), so when I received their recently released – first ever LP , “Climb Like Ivy Does” (CLID), I was anxious to hear it and man…they did not disappoint me! Truth is, Piqued Jacks are one of the coolest unsigned bands I’ve had the opportunity to review over the years. Their first few releases were great build-ups to “CLID”, in that they showcased glimpses of the band’s greatness, and really did a great job of introducing the Jacks’ sound to those of us who were new to their sound. While Piqued Jacks have firmly planted themselves in Austin, TX and have played SXSW over the past two years (2013 & 2014), the band’s journey hasn’t been a quick drive to the corner store. Hailing from Tuscany, Italy, the ‘Jacks’ have spent the past decade perfecting their sound and cohesiveness, while releasing two EPs and establishing an international presence. Since moving to “The Lonestar State”, EKing, littleladle, Penguinsane, and ThEdOg have been hard at work traveling and making a name for themselves in the Southwestern U.S. So, it came as no surprise that they would sound even better on “Climb Like Ivy Does“. This nine (9) track LP is the Piqued Jacks’ best work to-date (in my humble opinion). Every song has its own unique identity, but of the tracks on this project, “Mooody” because it has a sort of hardcore movie themed sound. A very massive production, this track is full of chunky guitar riffs, thunderous funk bass, high octane drums, and some of the most impressive lead vocals and melodies in rock music today. It’s hard for me to believe that this band does not have songs in all kinds of movies and video games? I’m a fan! “Climb Like Ivy Does” includes other favorites like: “Shyest Kindred Spirit,” “Romantic Soldier,” “Only A Bridge,” “Gift Handed Down For Generations,” and the mystic sound of “Beehive”. If you’re a fan of great indie rock bands like REM, Radiohead, and Nirvana you have to check out Piqued Jacks. I can talk about this band and their new LP all day, so it’s best that you go to their website and check it out for yourself.
RHETT MAY - www.RhettMay.com RATING: 6.0 / 10 Album: Insatiable Genre: Pop/Rock City: Black Rock, VIC, AU Rhett May’s latest EP, Insatiable, is a serious throwback to the days when guys like David Bowie topped the charts. His music bears witness to the fact that you’re never too old to have a good time and make the kind of music you want to make. That’s the beauty of being independent in a day where the internet has reduced the barrier to entry for those artists who can’t find a record label to back them. Most of today’s artists are focused on making music that matches what they see on the Billboard charts and what’s being supported on the internet. But, Rhett May has opted to create music that appeals to an audience that has, for the most part, been forgotten by the “mainstream” music industry. Insatiable kicks off with the song, “Cocktails and Cannabis”, and when I saw this title I had to hear it. Upon listening, I knew Rhett’s work would be like nothing I’ve reviewed over the past 12 months. This song is a combination of late 80’s pop and early 90’s rock; and I’m not talking about new wave either. The subject matter of the track matches that of its title, and the music video is right on par with the song’s overall style. I don’t expect to see today’s 20-somethings listening to Rhett’s music, but those who were in their 20’s & 30’s during the era I mentioned above will likely take interest in this track.
SCARLET & THE HARLOTS
RATING: 9.0 / 10 Album: We Can’t Seem To Get Enough Genre: Rock/BluesFunk/Big Band City: Kent, OH Web: Scarletandtheharlots.com Before you listen to Scarlet and The Harlots remove any preconceived perceptions you might have formed from the image displayed above; this band is utterly incredible. From big vocals and catchy melodies, to intelligent and masterfully crafted musical arrangements, Scarlet and The Harlots are one-of-a-kind. Their latest EP, We Can’t Seem To Get Enough, contains six power packed songs that I absolutely enjoyed listening to. Kicking off the EP is, “There Once Was A Girl (Radio Edit),” a high energy track that is packed with powerful and sassy vocals, backed by one of the best musical accompaniments I’ve heard in a very long time. I could not get over the composition and musicianship that Scarlet and The Harlots are putting on display here. This is genre bending at it’s best. As a musician myself, I instantly connected to the complexity of the arrangements in the music. From the tempo variations and key changes, to the horns, drums, guitar riffs, and bass lines, this song took me “there”. All I can say is, “WOW!” Other notable tracks include: “We Can’t Seem To Get Enough”, “What To Do”, and “Follow”. Each of these songs showcase the same powerful vocal and musical performances that make the project’s opening track so friggin’ incredible. I would definitely recommend this band’s music to anybody who loves real, authentic, uncontrived, good for your ears and soul…music! Just listen to it and see for yourself.
THE MIEWS Reviews The rest of the EP resembles the same old school pop-rock sound that is the foundation of ‘Cocktails and Cannabis,’ and anyone who’s into this kind of music will probably find something on the project that piques their interests. If you’re not into David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and artist like them, then chances are, Rhett May’s music is not going to be your “thing”. But, don’t just take my word for it, check out the music yourself on iTunes >> https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/insatiable-ep/id710349173 EP TRACK LISTING 1. Cocktails and Cannabis 2. Insatiable 3. Hey Peter 4. Jenny 5. My Baby’s Got Style
EQO RATING: 7.5 / 10 Album: Ananta Genre: Prog. Rock City: Atlanta, GA Website: www.EQOATLcom EQO is a 5-piece progressive rock outfit from Atlanta, GA whose upcoming LP release, “Ananta“, is filled with chunky guitar riffs and authoritative vocal delivery. This is one band that could find themselves on the top of a whole bunch of indie music charts and awards ballots. EQO’s sound emits an industrial flare that carries a very matter of fact, no BS tone that totally flies in the face of today’s mainstream cliches. The band combines male and female vocal performances, making EQO unlike the vast majority of coed rock groups who rely heavily on one gender to lead their songs. One listen to “Ananta” and you’ll immediately hear that organic and untamed sound that I’m talking about. Most of EQO’s music defies what many would consider “usual listening” (what they’re used to hearing on mainstream radio). Songs like “I Only I” (as featured on The Miews podcast) is a perfect example of EQO’s non-traditional sound. It’s got a very progressive tone that shifts tempos and foundation melodies, making it one of the most creatively produced and arranged songs I’ve heard thus far in 2015. It’s a must-hear track that should be enjoyed at very high volumes. In addition to “I Only I“, there are a ton of other great songs like: Flow, Persona, and Lighthouse. All of these songs stood out to me and really had me rocking out with EQO. If you’re a progressive rock music fan who’s looking for something beyond the typical Top 40 or traditional rock radio sound, I’d recommend you listen to EQO with your mind and ears wide open to be rocked.
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THE MIEWS Reviews
WITH MY SHADES ON DINA VALENZ
RATING 7.5 / 10 Genre: Dance, Cont. Pop, Pop-Rock City: Los Angeles, CA Website: DinaValenz.com Dina Valenz is a rising young singer/songwriter whose talents are evident on her new six-track EP titled, With My Shades On. Set to release in mid-February 2015, this latest release marks Dina’s sophomore effort, and carries a more experienced tone than her previous EP, Miles & Miles. While this new EP seems to have more weight lyrically – showing Dina’s growth as a wom-
RATING: 7 / 10 Album: Graveyard Dreams Genre: Pop Rock City: NYC, New York
an – the music stays true to the pop-rock sound the artist established with her debut release. With My Shades On, offers the pop music fan a great deal of options. For example, my favorite track from a musical perspective is I Hate That I Miss You. It has a dance vibe that any club DJ could add to his/her rotation and get the party started. On the flipside, I Can’t Forget You, is a much more meaningful song because it speaks to the real life drama of trying to maintain a long distance relationship. This particular song will be easily appreciated by anyone who has ever attempted to date someone in a different city or state. The rest of the project is worth checking out as well, and if you’re a fan of dance, pop-rock, or contemporary pop music then you’ll likely find With My Shades On to be of interest. Be sure to stop by www.dinavalenz.com and check out this amazingly talented musician. TRACK LISTING 1. BEST PART OF MY DAY 2. I CANT FORGET YOU 3. SHOW HIM OFF 4. WITH MY SHADES ON 5. FIGHTER 6. I HATE THAT I MISS YOU
Joseph Pagano’s new release, “Graveyard of Dreams“, is a 7 track pop-rock project that borrows from the vintage sounds of greats like The Beatles, Springsteen, and even shows off hints of Randy Travis (vocally). ‘Graveyard’ has been a labor of love for Pagano, who spent years crafting each song, drawing inspiration from a variety of sources and experiences in his life. The result of Joe’s multiyear creative process is a sound that may be a bit “vintage” to those with young ears, but just right for those who grew up listening to rock music in the 60’s – early 90’s. Unlike the superficial and contrived songwriting we often hear in commercial pop-rock these days, many of Joseph Pagano’s songs shed light on real life issues that he has witnessed or experienced over the years. For example, his song “Candles Hope & Faith” addresses the issue of worldwide poverty and how people use hope and faith to make it through such difficult living conditions. In addition, Pagano’s song “Katrina” reflects on the never forgotten American tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina. But, social songs don’t sum up, “Graveyard of Dreams“. Joseph also delves into the lighter side of life on songs like, “Little Girls“, where he talks about his two daughters and some of the things he’s seen them get into. As a father myself, I could totally relate to this song because, Joe shares some of the same fatherly hopes for his daughters as I do for my little girl (and son). So, there is a lot to this album and I doubt very seriously if there’s not at least one song here that every person can relate to. Check it out and I’m sure you’ll find something you like.
EsQuille RATING: 9 / 10 Album: My Skin On Your Skin (feat. Jane Badler)Genre: EDM City: Stockholm, Sweden Website: www. esquille.se
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EsQuille’s new single, My Skin On Your Skin, is a very cool track that has obviously struck a chord with EDM fans worldwide with various dance charts ranking the single as high as #1. EsQuille is on a mission to blow your mind, and teaming up with the vocal talents of Jane Badler from the hit television series, V, was a smart move. Why? Because, her audience could take a liking to EsQuille’s work, and thus become his fans as well. From a purely production standpoint, this track is both complex and simple at the same time. I’ve heard a lot of EDM this year, but not a lot of good ones. But, EsQuille takes us on a wild ride through the mind of a creative genius. The beat is incredible, the synths are awesome, and Jane’s vocals are the perfect addition to this stellar piece of art. I have no doubt that this track will continue to resonate with its audience, for the simple fact that after hearing it I felt the need to explore the rest of his work. I am now a fan of EsQuille’s music and will keep tabs on his Soundcloud releases.
This issue of I Am Entertainment features 4x Grammy Nominated recording artist, Tank. Also in the issue are Grammys Exec - Ron Basile, Oscar...