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i Am Entertainment VOLUME 5 - ISSUE 28
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THE MIEWS SPOTLIGHT FEATURE
This rising young rock artist is working to take his career to the next level. Along the way, he’s getting a crash course on making his lifelong dream of reaching the world with his music a reality.
THE FIEWS (FILM/TV) Richard Gunn 5 Vinicius Machado 7 Who Makes Money 8 Alex Reyme 9 Summer DVD Releases 11 Summer Film Festivals 12 THE MIEWS (Music) The Millions I Lost 17 Andy Blunda 19 New Music Reviews 23
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
Editor’s Note i Am Entertainment
The Entertainer’s Handbook
Finding Success Through Balance
t takes a great deal of balance and commitment to succeed at anything. We must find a way to be moderately idealistic, optimistic, and realistic.
Being OPTIMISTIC means you’re hoping for the best, which has everything to do with having a positive point of view. Optimists tend to always look for the good in every situation, which can be a bit irritating at times to realists. Optimists will sometimes miss their opportunity to succeed because they usually focus on just the pros of a situation, without taking the cons into serious consider because it’s a downer to think about it.
Being REALISTIC means your point of view is often based on a true-to-life perspective, and this can sometimes be viewed as negativity by the optimist. Realists look at the broad view of what they see as being the “real circumstances” they’re facing, and will sometimes fail because they over think things and put too much focus on the negatives. But, being too IDEALISTIC can be a serious problem too. Most of entertainment professionals fit into this category early on in our careers and the shortcomings we experience are often the result of indulging in idealistic thinking. When it comes to reaching certain levels of success, idealism can shut things down. While idealism and optimism are similar in some aspects, they’re very different at the core. Optimists take reality into account so that they can find the good in it, but idealists dismiss reality altogether, as if it doesn’t exist. Idealists tend to set unrealistic goals far too often. Not keeping a lid on our idealism leads to failure in many cases. Just like setting realistic goals and using optimism to pursue them allows you to achieve success and build self-esteem; being too idealistic can set us up for these five pitfalls: 5. Self-Pity - Feeling sorry for yourself is a dream killer. In many cases it is caused by our failure to meet some unrealistic goal we’ve set out to accomplish. Also, some people like having things to complain about so that they have an excuse to mope around throwing pity parties everywhere they go. Self-pity creates road blocks to success and can become a part of who we are if we’re not careful to shut it down before it grows a mind of its own. 4. Over Spending - Another serious issue among Americans is the fact that we over spend. Idealists will use a credit card as if it’s a plastic genie that’s here to grant the desires of our hearts. When we make a mistake or have a rough day, the solution isn’t to over spend on unnecessary things. Keep in mind, over spending leads to underfunded opportunities that come our way. If you’re in entertainment, it may be that you need to take a last minute trip for a great career opportunity. But if you’re maxed out on your credit card(s) and don’t have enough savings, you could miss that chance to succeed opportunity. 3. Procrastinating - We all do this, but some people are just habitual procrastinators. I recently read a social media post that said, “The work you do while you procrastinate, is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” I thought it was funny, but true. If you’re going to get in your own way, you may as well get paid for it. 2. Being Under Prepared - Failing to plan means you’re planning to fail. If you know it takes a certain amount of prep work to get something accomplished, take the time out to prepare. This way you don’t miss out on a great opportunity because of procrastination. 1. Setting Unrealistic Goals - Of all the ways people decrease their chances for success, setting unrealistic goals is at the top of the list because it leads to the previously mentioned issues. Setting the bar so high that we can’t possibly reach it leads to frustration and pity parties; which leads to over spending on things to make us feel better. After overspending, we procrastinate about getting back on track for fear of more failure. That procrastination then causes us to be unprepared for key opportunities when they come our way. Look, we all do some of the things listed here. The key is to acknowledge it and work toward fixing those issues. I know you’re going to be okay once you do, so I challenge you to find your balance. Ready...set...go!
Candy Freeman Editor-In-Chief
PUBLISHER: I Am Entertainment Media CEO & DIR. BUSINES DEVELOPMENT: Shaine Freeman - firstname.lastname@example.org COO & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Candy Freeman - email@example.com INDIE FILM EDITOR: Daniel Hoyos - firstname.lastname@example.org IT & WEB ADMINISTRATOR: Tara Rose MUSIC & FILM REVIEWS: email@example.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Cover: Lee Stefan All others, see interviews/articles. ADVERTISING: firstname.lastname@example.org 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 attorney’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)
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
By Shaine Freeman | Photos Hareth Tayem (Article) & BYUtv (Granite Falls Cast)
Kicking off 2014 with 5 films in Amoia, is TV Series establishing herself as one of Genres: Drama Show Creator: James Shores Hollywood’s actors to watch. Robert Gunn stars as Police Chief, John Sanders Fresh off roles on top Synopsis: It’s the 1960s. The height of the Coldrecent War. The rural town of Granite Flats, Colorado, suddenly becomes a hotbed for mystery and intrigue. (IMDb.com) shows like “Switched at Birth” (ABC Family) and “Drop Dead Diva” (Lifetime), this rising star talks with I Am Entertainment about the business of acting.
“...I grew a lot as an actor because of (Dark Angel TV series).”
cting is not a path one should choose unless he/she is prepared to experience multiple periods of drought and doubt. Nobody knows that more than Richard Gunn. In this exclusive interview, Gunn shares his journey from Thousand Oaks, California to Granite Falls, Colorado.
Please tell us where you’re from and what made you want to become an actor? I’m from Thousand Oaks, California, just outside of L.A. I was a pretty shy kid growing up so, when I was a junior in high school I asked my guidance counselor if there was some class I could take to combat my shyness. He suggested that I take a theater class or a speech class, and I thought theater sounded more appealing so, I took the class and fell in love with it. When you first really got into acting, what was the toughest part about getting started professionally? I think the toughest thing early on for me was developing the ability to guage how well I was doing. I didn’t have a meter to tell me whether
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
or not I was on the right track with my performances. On top of that, I didn’t have any connections in the (film and television) business. Spending the time in Los Angeles making those connections was tough, and it was a long process. When you first set out to get an agent, how did you meet them? I went to school at the UC Santa Cruz, and while I was there I met a man named Lamont Johnson who was a guest professor; he taught a film acting class. He had been a very successful director in Hollywood and, when I moved out to Los Angeles after I graduated college, I asked him if he knew of any good agents he could put in a word for me with. One of the two agents he recom-
mended, I actually auditioned for him because I didn’t have anything on tape really. He ended up taking me on as a client and we developed a pretty good connection. Once you landed the “Dark Angel” role; what was that like to work on such a well recognized series opposite people like Jessica Alba, having never done a TV series prior to that? That was a huge learning curve for me. I auditioned for that show about five times before I landed the role. One of those auditions was with Jessica Album, I guess for a chemistry read? The final audition was the network test. That was an eye-opening experience for me because I didn’t realize you had to go through all of that to get a series job. It was both exciting and nerve-racking at times, but it panned out in the end. Then, when I was finally on the series, I got to work with some really experienced people and do a lot of episodes. It was a huge experience for me and I grew a lot as an actor because of it. Lets talk about your current work on GRANwww.iaemagazine.com
PHOTO OF TIFFANY BOONE COURTESY OF PMK BNC; IMAGE OF KEVIN BACON COURTESY OF FOX
GRANITE the FALLS works, (BYUtv) Charlene
ITE FALLS. For those who haven’t seen it yet, what’s it about and what’s your role on the series? The show is in its second season, and it’s an hour-long dramatic series that takes place in a small town in Colorado called, Granite Flats, in the 1960’s. My character is the Chief of Police, John Sanders, and he’s investigating some mysterious pieces of metal that have fallen from the sky and caused some damage to some people’s property. John has five kids, but his son Timmy and his two friends have their own little investigation going on. Timmy’s a big fan of comic books and he thinks that perhaps these metal pieces are from aliens. Then there’s an explosion at the military base that’s in town and so, the FBI gets involved and are doing their own investigation. All of this stuff leads to a lot of excitement. It’s an intriguing story. What would you advise up-and-coming actors to focus on if they want to become consistent workers? I think it’s important to love the work, first and foremost. Fame and stardom are just a biproduct of doing what you love, and those things should never be the driver. It’s also very important to surround yourself with people who have your best interest in mind because, no matter how well your career goes, there are going to be some moments when you’ll have down time and you’ll need a support system in place. You’ll also have to have other interests and things you’re excited about to keep you occupied so you’re not sitting around going crazy during that down time, because it’s not a steady business; there are a lot of ups and downs, and you have to be ready for that. If that’s not something that’s going to work for you then, you may need to take a second look at whether or not acting is the right thing for you. iae
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
POWER PLAYER By Shaine Freeman | Photo Isaac Sterling
Kicking off 2014 with 5 films in the works, Charlene Amoia, is 2014 BREAKOUT ROLE establishing herself as one of POWER TV SERIES [Starz Hollywood’s actors to Network] watch. Role: Nomar Arcielo Fresh Exec offProducer: recent on top Curtis roles ‘50 Cent’ Jackson Starring: Omari Hardwick, Vinicius shows like “Switched atMachaBirth” do, Adam Huss, and Leslie Lopez (ABC Family) and “Drop Dead Premiers June 7, 2014 Diva” (Lifetime), this rising star talks with I Am Entertainment about the business of acting.
VINICIUS MACHADO “This is my dream coming true right before my eyes.”
nspiring fellow actors to pursue their dreams is what Vinicius Machado enjoys. Here, the ‘POWER’ star talks about his journey from soccer to acting, and how he wound up working with superstars like 50 Cent and Omari Hardwick, while taking on one of the most challenging roles of his career to-date.
Lets start off with sharing where you’re from and how you got into acting. I was born in Brazil, and like many Brazilian boys, soccer was my focus early on. I was actually going to pursue it professionally, but then acting just fell into my lap in high school. I went to school in Orlando, Florida and got involved in drama class, which led to me getting the leading role in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. From there on, I just did tons of plays in school, and auditioned for Universal Studios in Orlando where I got roles in different shows. I also started doing student films, commercials, got representation and ended up doing an international film that was based in Florida and Morroco. After that, I came to California and got representation out here, and within about a month I got a
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
series regular role on a TV show. So, that’s how I feel into acting. Although it might sound like you just went straight in and took off, can you share how you found your first agent, and how long it was before you booked your first real acting job? Yes. Education about the business is so important when it comes to understanding what the lifestyle of being an actor is all about. For me, I didn’t actually get representation until I had already done some student films under my belt. It was actually one of my high school teachers at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando; she also taught people like Wesley Snipes and Joey Fatone, but she actually hooked me up with my first theatrical agent down in Florida. So, that’s
how I got my foot in the door; just having connections with the right people goes a long way in this business. Over the past decade you’ve done a lot of work on various TV shows and indie films, but now you’re on the new Starz Network show, Power, that rap star/music mogul, 50 Cent, is an Executive Producer on. How does it feel to land such a major role on a show like this? Oh, man! This is my dream coming true right before my eyes. Knowing that all of the hard work, the struggles, and the sacrifices I’ve made are all paying off. I’m just thankful and I’m ready to make the most of this opportunity to advance my career to the next level. I’m just so happy. Auditioning is such a barbaric process. [laughs] I mean, actors have to go in and be judged over and over again; and in many cases unfairly judged. What was the audition process like for you on “Power”? [laughs] Just as barbaric! It was tough. I auditioned for like two different characters before I www.iaemagazine.com
actually got (the role of) Nomar. First, I did a self-taped audition for the part of Julio because I couldn’t make the audition initially. I was in Las Vegas with my family at the time. But, (casting) brought me in based on that audition, and when I got there they told me I’d be reading for the character, Ruiz. After that, I auditioned for Nomar, and got a callback for (Nomar). They then sent the tape over to the producers who liked me, and that’s when the process of negotiating started, and then I got the role of Nomar. It was tough though because, it was a period of almost of a month to solidify that role on “Power”. Wow, that’s a lot of waiting bro! Yeah, I know! It was tough.
So, what can we expect to see from Nomar in this series? You’re going to see a lot from Nomar. He’s such an intriguing character because, he’s so different from 99% of the stereotypical drug dealer roles that I get called to audition for. Nomar has the opportunity to give that stereotype box some color. He’s a gangster, but he’s also a pedophile. WOW! That’s crazy! Yeah! But, I had a chance to take him and show the humanity in him. Typically, gangsters are portrayed as being hardcore and mean, but I made Nomar more sensitive. He struggles with these addictions that he can’t seem to control. So, hopefully people don’t hate me for this role. [laughs]
[laughs] I know, right? But, man I love interviewing guys like you because, it’s so inspirational to share your story with other actors who are one audition away from their big break. We appreciate people like you for giving us a platform to share our stories and inspire others. This industry is filled with inspirational stories of people seeing their dreams come true after years of hard work and struggles. I had my mentors and a support system in place, but at the end of the day I still had to go out and get my hands dirty. So, you have to get the training, do the plays, and just network like crazy to get those doors to open up. It’s not easy, but if you really want it, you’ll stick with it and fight for it. I always want to be an inspiration to others so, if my story helps one person, then I’m happy. iae
WHO MAKES MONEY ON A
INVESTORS vs. FILMMAKERS vs. ACTORS vs. TALENT REPS EVERYONE’S GOT A GOAL IN MIND By Shaine Freeman (Tweet: @ShaineFreeman)
The answer to this article’s title is...NOBODY! With the exception of those shorts that eventually became theatrical releases like Napoleon Dynamite, 12 Monkeys, and Office Space, I’ve never seen anyone I know make money from a short film; and I’m talking hundreds of films. During my years as a talent manager in the film business, I had the unique opportunity to work between actors, agents, filmmakers, major studio execs, third party investors, and lawyers. I learned that everyone’s individual concerns and motives were completely different in the planning stages of a movie, and what they each valued was totally different. Here’s what I learned about the differing viewpoints. Investors only care about when they’re going to get their money back, and what the potential ROI looks like on their investment in your film. If you have no answer for them, you will be very hardpressed to get funded. Filmmakers just want to tell the story they’ve been dying to tell for however long www.iaemagazine.com
they’ve been writing and developing the script. Rarely, do they want to pay the actors any upfront money, and if they do, it’s just a couple hundred bucks. Indie filmmkers will often times use words like “opportunity” and “exposure” to get up-and-coming actors to be in the film. In some cases, if the actor has been around a little longer and is looking for some sort of compensation, indie filmmakers might offer “points” on the backend, and producer credit on the film. But, those who know better know that 99.5% of the time, points on a short film aren’t really worth anything. Managers & Agents just want to get paid for negotiating on their clients’ behalf. If their client doesn’t get paid upfront then the talent agent or manager doesn’t either. Points and producer credit on a short film means absolutely nothing to a talent rep when nobody of note is attached to the project, because this ultimately means the rep won’t be paid for their work. Actors oftentimes view short films as op-
portunities to showcase their talents and develop their actor’s reel. In many cases, they’re far too optimistic about the short films they’re in, and depending on the actor’s knowledge of the business, they will accept the offer of producer credit and points. The thought process on this is that the actor can add the producer credits to their resume; but I’ve actually been told by major studio execs and casting directors that they’d prefer actors not list these credits on their resumes because it doesn’t help (unless there are a few notable “names” attached to the short). In the end, short films are great tools for indie filmmakers to showcase condensed versions of their feature length film ideas, in hopes of using it to pick up investors or possible Academy Award nominations. But, personally, I have yet to see a short film make any money. I’m not saying they can’t or don’t make money, I just haven’t seen it happen...personally. If you’d like to share your triumphs with the financial side of short filmmaking, let me know. iae I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
indie Filmmaking By Shaine Freeman | Photos Alex Reyme Productions
The Writer-Director Talks About Funding and Making His New Short, ECHOES IN AN EMPTY APARTMENT What inspired the idea for your short film, ECHOES IN AN EMPTY APARTMENT? I’ve always been a fan of the film noir genre; the femme fatales, drunken detectives, hard boiled crimes, and a distinct visual palette that included back lights, haze, trench coats, and lingering cigarette smoke. In this case, the character came before the story and it occurred to me this could be a potential film noir on my hands. Lindsay and I had previously collaborated and decided we wanted more of a challenge. We brainstormed the idea of The Angel, a femme fatale killer, and it really took off from there eventually branching out into the narrative we see in the film. The story was ultimately constructed by a concept team of myself, Lane, and Ko Wills. When it came to making this film, how much time went by from conception to the first day of filming?
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
The concept came to me in at the end of 2011 and we had it fleshed out by early 2012. The screenplay was finished by the spring and I was casting by the beginning of summer and ultimately wrapped by the fall. Everything from then on was post. When it comes to fundraising, how tough was it to get the money you needed to shoot this film? That’s always an upward journey for any young filmmaker, but, I was pleasantly surprised how people responded to the idea. I knew I wanted a specific look to remain true to the visual aesthetic of film noir and it would cost more than a normal short. However, the genre sparked interest (from others) and it really did come down to the characters and story. People liked the idea that it was smart to the audience and respectful to the genre and we willing to help out.
When and where can people see this film? Will it have a theatrical screening and/or DVD release? The film will premiere on June 25th at the El Cid on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. Echoes will also hit the festival circuit so stay tuned for future screenings the rest of the year! We’ll continue to update our social media pages and website (www.echoestheshort.com). Are there any shout outs you have? Is there anyone in particular you’d like to recognize for their contribution to this film? I’d like to thank everyone I worked with because there wasn’t a weak link in the team. I’ve never had the opportunity to collaborate with so many artists that equally challenged me in the most productive and creative way. I couldn’t have done this alone and was so proud to work with such great people both in front and behind the camera. iae www.iaemagazine.com
SUMMER 2014 DVD RELEASES
BOX OFFICE PERFORMANCE
Production Budget $100 Million Worldwide Gross $242.5 Million
Rated ‘R’ Genre: Sci-Fi, Action Runtime: 1hrs 48min DVD Release Date: June 3, 2014 Cast: Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianna Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson, Aimee Garcia
Son of God (Fox)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Historical / Drama Runtime: 2hr 18min Gross: $67.8M (World) Releasing: June 3rd Cast: Diogo Morgado, Roma Downey, Leila Mimmack, Joe Coen, Amber Rose Revah, Darwin Shaw, Sebastian Knapp, Said Bey, Matthew Gravelle, Paul Marc Davis, Joe Wredden, Louise Delamere, Simon Kunz
About Lastnight (Sony)
Rated ‘R’ Genre: Romantic Comedy Runtime: 1hr 40min Gross: $49M (Worldwide) Releasing: May 20th Cast: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, Adam Rodriguez, Paula Patton, Joe Lo Truglio, Terrell Owens
LEGO Movie (Warner Brothers)
Rated ‘PG’ Genre: Animation Runtime: 1hr 40min Gross: $460M (World) Releasing: June 17 Cast: Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Berry, Alison Brie, David Burrows, Anthony Davis, Charlie Day, Amanda Farinos, Keith Ferguson
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
300: Rise of An Empire (Warner Brothers)
Rated ‘R’ Genre: Action/Historical Runtime: 1hr 42min Gross: $330.5M (Worldwide) Releasing: June 23rd Cast: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson
Lone Survivor (Universal)
Rated ‘R’ Genre: Action Drama Runtime: 2hr 01min Gross: $149.3M Releasing: June 3rd Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Yousuf Azami, Ali Suliman, Eric Bana
Winter’s Tale (Warner Brothers)
Rated ‘PG-13’ Genre: Fantasy Runtime: 2hr 09min Gross: $27.4M (Worldwide) Releasing: June 24th Cast: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt, Eva Marie Saint Will Smith www.iaemagazine.com
DVD Release Source: www.dvdreleases.org, Box Office Gross Numbers: www.boxofficemojo.com, Images are property their respective owners.
ROBOCOP 2014 (Sony / Columbia)
2014 SUMMER PREMIERES Title: Crossbones Premiere: Friday, May 30th Network: NBC Starring: John Malkovich, Yasmine Al Massri, Richard Coyle, Claire Foy, David Hoflin, Tracy Ifeachor, Chris Perfetti Genre: Drama Plot: A one-hour drama set in 1729, on the secret island of Santa Compana, where Edward Teach, better known as the pirate Blackbeard (Emmy winner John Malkovich), reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreants.
FESTIVALS 2014 Summer film festivals you may want to check out in May & June.
Seattle Int Film Fest
May 15 – June 8 Seattle, WA www.siff.net
Big Island Film Fest
The series is based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard.
May 22-26 Kohala Coast, HI bigislandfilmfestival.com
TV show images are the property of their respective owners; Article references include IMDb, Wikipedia, Nielsen, and marketingcharts.com
Brooklyn Film Fest
Premiere: June 10th Network: ABC Family Genre: Drama Starring: Italia Ricci, Mary Page Keller, Aisha Dee, Richard Brancatisano, Haley Ramm Plot: Chasing Life follows twenty-something April (Italia Ricci), a smart and quick-witted aspiring journalist, who is trying to work her way up the ladder at a Boston newspaper by trying to impress her hard-nosed editor. When not pursuing the latest scoop, April tries to balance her ambitious career with her family – her widowed mom Sara, rebellious little sister Brenna and her grandmother. Just as things start to look up at work, home and on the romance front with co-worker Dominic, April gets the devastating news from an estranged uncle that she has cancer.
May 30 - June 8 Brooklyn, NY brooklynfilmfestival.org
LA Film Festival
June 11-19 Los Angeles, CA lafilmfest.com
AFI Document. Fest Title: Jennifer Falls Premiere: Wednesday, June 4th Network: TV Land Starring: Jamie Pressly, Jessica Walter, Missi Pyle, Ethan Suplee, Nora Kirkpatrick, Dylan Gelula Genre: Sitcom Plot: The series follows Jennifer Doyle (Jaime Pressly), a single mother who, after losing her high salary job, has to move back in with her mother, Maggie (Jessica Walter). From here, Jennifer must reassess her life and figure out how to rebuild.
June 18-22 Washington, D.C. afi.com/afidocs
Title: Young & Hungry Premiere: June 25th Network: ABC Family Genre: Sitcom Starring: Emily Osment, Jonathan Sadowski, Rex Lee, Kym Whitley, Aimee Carrero Plot: Young and Hungry stars Emily Osment as a food blogger named Gabi. When Gabi inadvertently gets selected to prepare a meal for a tech guru named Josh (Jonathan Sadowski) she finds herself with an opportunity for a new job and possibly a new love. Gabi gets some much needed help and advice from Josh’s assistant, played by Rex Lee, and his housekeeper, played by Kym Whitley. Ashley Tisdale (“High School Musical”) also serves as a producer on this series.
Nantucket Film Fest
June 25-30 Nantucket, MA nantucketfilmfestival.org
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
Top Christian Pop Artist, BECKAH SHAE, Raises $52,000 on Kickstarter & Debuts Her New Album At #3 On iTunes’ Dance Chart BY SHAINE FREEMAN | PHOTOS of BECKAH SHAE BY LEE STEFFEN
Lets talk about the new album, CHAMPION. I know you raised over $52,000 on Kickstarter for this release, which had to be overwhelming to know that you had such amazing support for it from those who love your music. But, what’s the overall mission with this particular album? Where do I start? My supporters are just amazing! Shoc (producer/husband) and I are very pleased with the show of support we’ve received for this, CHAMPION, album. But, I want this album to be an experience that, when you listen to it you go on an adventure/journey. All of my previous albums have each been a reflection of where I was in my life at that time, and what I actually needed at the time. I encourage myself [laughs]. Lord! There have been so many times where (Jack and I) have felt lonely like, “Where is the support?” God is enough, but we sometimes have to encourage ourselves in the Lord. When you feel like you’re on the losing side and you feel like you’re getting beat up and discouraged, and (satan) is blowing smoke at you, I want people to be like, “Oh, I need to put in my Beckah Shae, CHAMPION, CD,” you know? [laughs]. What this album is going to do is breathe life, encouragement, and strength to finish the race strong. The entire theme of this album is that, God is with you and He’s got your back. I love what you do because, I know it’s not easy to go the path of the ‘straight and narrow’, in a business and world that’s not exactly open to what you’re offering. So you’re like a pioneer in a sense. Ironically, your lead single for this CHAMPION album is actually titled, “Pioneer.” Why did you choose that as the single? Thank you so much, Shaine! Really, man! To be honest, it was difficult to choose because I www.iaemagazine.com
love every song. [laughs] But, I think we chose “Pioneer” because it was pretty solid, as far as the pop (music) sound. It could reach (appeal to) more people. All around it’s very catchy, and we didn’t hold back from taking any risks. Nine albums later, we know what radio wants, and what they like; but this time we just decided to make good music, regardless of whether Christian radio plays it or not. We want it to be what God’s giving us, and we don’t want to comprise (on that). So, looking through the songs, we decided on which one would be the more accepted one (at radio); if I can be honest. [laughs] [laughs] No, you did the right thing though! I always felt like, that’s the whole point of being independent, right? To have the freedom to make those kinds of decisions. We all know that pioneers sometimes have to do what’s unpopular at the moment, and blazing that trail to what will be popular in the days ahead. Yeah! That’s so true! You know, I love all these songs (on CHAMPION), and I love people but, when I make music, it’s almost as if God’s making it through me for me. So, I don’t mean to sound selfish but, to be honest, in a way (my music) is for me. It ministers to me. There are times when my songs come on and I’m listening to them as if it’s not me singing. They’re encouraging me. So, I feel comfortable making something that’s real and true to me. I know that God gives us all our own unique set of talents, and for that reason, I know that I don’t have to go someplace and try to be something that I’m not. I don’t have to make music that’s not true to who God is in me. #Truth! [laughs] You mentioned your hus-
band, Jack Shocklee; how has the journey been for you guys working together all these years as a husband and wife tandem? It’s been both great and challenging. Jack and I have been married 10 years and when we first got started, Jack was told by a major label acquaintance that it was a bad idea for us to be working together. The guy said all of this negative stuff about how it wouldn’t work because music industry marriages never last, and how the whole thing would just come to a messy end. That was the beginning of our journey together in the music business. Over the years we’ve hit the potholes and bumps along the way, with all these people looking for you to fail; hiding behind the wall letting you go first to see if it works. [laughs] All of that is why we’re independent still. Jack and I have experienced so many different stories like that; but we know that God intended for us to be together and work with one another. Nine albums later...[laughs] [laughs] Yep! Good for you guys. Sticking it out has led to some pretty cool collaborations for you over the years; including several on this new album with Grammy and Dove award winning artists. How did these new collabs come together? It really was a God appointed thing because, I established this relationship with T-Bone through his show on JCTV, and we formed an instant connection there. So, I would up doing some songs for his upcoming record. But, him and his wife made the decision to adopt and so, the baby they adopted was born right here in Nashville near my home. The cool thing is, they were actually at our house when they got the phone call that the baby was being born. It was so exciting! So, we had a baby shower here I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
“What this album is going to do is breathe life, encouragement, and strength to finish the race strong. The entire theme of this album is that, God is with you and He’s got your back.” 15
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at the house, and that really bonded us to a different level. He’s family, so that collaboration was just a given. With Israel (Houghton); that was nothing but God! I was so overwhelmed with favor, joy, and love from God when Israel was texting me like, “When are we gonna do this?” I was like, “WHAT?!” I was face down on my carpet crying. [laugh] So, I had this perfect song in mind for him and he was so great about getting back to me about it. It’s crazy because I own all of his CD’s, so it’s just completely bazaar that God wanted to bless me so much to bring Israel into it. The Crystal Lewis collaboration was incredible too because, she was actually the first Christian artist I had ever listened to when I was a teen. I came from a broken home where my mom had been divorced 3 times, and there was a time when I had to go live with some family members. Well, most of my family is Jewish so, I couldn’t share my faith and I didn’t have any support around me, really. But, I had a best friend who would send me letters and one time she sent me a Crystal Lewis CD. That was pretty much my church and I knew every word to every song. So, several years later a friend of mine had a birthday party and Crystal was there ,so I was able to share that story with her. From there, everything came together divinely because, it was right in the middle of me writing this album. I was so afraid to ask her because I didn’t want to be rejected, but she was blown away by my offer to collaborate with her. God really blessed the situation. Eric Dawkins...I don’t know what that was. See, what had happened was. [laughs] But, about a year ago I got a Twitter message from Eric out of the blue saying he loves my voice. I was like, “What?! This can’t be his real account!” [laughs] I wrote him back and we wound up working together for my album. He’s a crazy talented guy who is now like family, and that collaboration was amazing. That’s insane how things just came together for you. Were there any moments where you felt discouraged during the making of this album? You know, I once heard that a lion’s worst enemy is a fly, because a fly is the only thing that can distract a lion so much that it can forget to eat for days and eventually die. It’s funny because for all those people who were supportive and collaborating with us, the enemy was still there with little flies in my face like, “these people don’t care,” “these people don’t like you,” “these peole...blah blah blah.” The enemy is like those flies because he’s always trying to distract you with all the people who don’t support you, while God’s sending people like Israel Houghton to champion you. [laughs] www.iaemagazine.com
The Miews Music intervIEWS, revIEWS, & success tips
how I found SUCCESS IN MUSIC after losing millions My 20 Year Journey of Successes & Failures In The Music Business By Shaine Freeman
here’s an old saying that goes, “As a person thinketh, so he/she is.” What’s interesting to me is how something so simple can carry so much weight. This note is my way of helping those of you who are struggling to get your foot in the door in whatever career path you’re aspire toward. I want you to know that you can be successful in entertainment but, you must first understand how you formed your ideas of what “success” really means, and then assess whether or not it’s misguided.
now fueled by becoming the next big thing from Peoria. A “good job” didn’t look like success to me anymore. Now, becoming a full-time music producer was my idea of success. That’s when my perception shifted gears on me, and I now wanted to become a millionaire record producer. Working as a civil engineer earning under sixfigures wasn’t appealing anymore. So, I packed up my things and left town to become a music producer.
Our perception of success is usually shaped by where we feel we are in comparison to our peers. Some will use that as motivation to propel them forward, while others will take a less inspired route and start feeling hopeless, sad, frustrated, and all sorts of other negative emotions.
As I embarked on my journey to becoming the next super-producer from my hometown, I never once stopped to consider my motives. I didn’t take into consideration that money and fame was fueling my desires, and therefore I went into the music business on blind ambition not knowing anything about the business aspects of the profession. This is the very thing that has caused millions of talented people to be cheated out of millions of dollars (me being one).
USING NEGATIVES TO FUEL POSITIVE GROWTH I learned early on that I had to use negatives to fuel positive growth in my life. I grew up in a low income family in Peoria, Illinois (home of greats like Richard Pryor and Sam Kinison). While I have many great childhood memories, seeing my peers living in nicer homes, riding in nicer cars, wearing nicer clothes and shoes, going on family vacations in the summers, and having the latest toys is what shaped my early ideas of what success was. To me, having a “good job” when I grew up was the way to success. So, after high school I went to college, and then onto a white collar desk job at the Illinois D.O.T. where I worked in the civil engineering profession. One would think that I’d be content with finally accomplishing my childhood dream of getting a “good job”, but throughout my college years I had developed an affinity for creating music. By the time I finished school and began working my fulltime corporate day job, my idea of what success looked like had shifted. Spurred by the fact that several guys I knew from local churches had gone on to hit it big in the music business as Grammy-winning producers, earning millions of dollars, my passions were
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MY FAILURES = MY GAINS
For the next decade, I experienced the ups and downs of the music industry; scoring several mild successes with major and indie label recording artists and top producers, flanked by long periods of failure, doubt, and frustration. It’s a very tough pill to swallow when you hear your ideas on the radio, TV, and in movies while you get no credit or payment for it. It’s even harder to watch top singers go on to sell millions of copies, win major music awards on TV, and unknowingly give credit to the wrong people for your music; while you sit at home seething toward those who you thought were on the up-and-up. ADVICE: Possession is nine-tenths of the law, so: (1) never make music in someone else’s studio, using their gear without first saving it to your own external hard drive and deleting all traces of it from theirs, and (2) never trust ANYONE in the music business when there’s the potential for money to be made. Make sure you handle your business first, before you collaborate with others. No matter who they are. If you need a “Publishing Split Sheet” visit the MUSIC section of our website - www.IAEMagazine.com - to download one.
EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS But, it was in those low moments that I began to learn that I had to change my perception of who I was. I was not a failure, I was just a guy who trusted the wrong people and didn’t educate myself about the business because I thought it would interfere with my creative process. I couldn’t continue to beat myself up over not making a million bucks and winning a Grammy; even if I felt I deserved it. So, I went on to try my hand at being a manager in both the music and film/tv industries, with some successes. While doing this, I developed a ton of great connections and business savvy that have led me to where I am today; a successful magazine publisher, writer, and music entrepreneur who has the blessed privilege of helping others avoid the pitfalls I’ve experienced.
WHAT IS SUCCESS TO ME? I was recently asked, “If you could go back and change anything, would you?” My answer was, “No way! Without those experiences, I doubt that I’d be as successful as I am today.” So, what is the success I’m speaking of, you might ask? It’s simple...success is when you’re doing exactly what you love to do, you’re impacting lives for the better, and you’re being paid to do it. I call this “Retirement”. WHAT’S NEXT? I said all of that to say...consider what success really is to you. If making millions of dollars and being famous is what you’re in hot pursuit of, then quit now while you’re behind! You may make it there, but at what cost? Instead, look at what you’re really good at, what you’re passionate about, and what areas of the music business you would go into if you had to exercise other options. Once you figure that out, start working toward that career path while you’re continuing your journey as a recording artist, music producer, songwriter, or whatever it is that you do right now. I’m sure, retirement will find you as you press forward.
ASCAP Award WINNER By Shaine Freeman (@shainefreeman) | Photos Naomi Solomon (Article) & David Zimmond (Cover)
“...when money does come in you don’t go and squander it.”
n today’s music business, the space is not just crowded, it’s filled with formerly signed artists who are now discovering their independence, like Andy Blunda. But, unlike many of these artists, Blunda has found some killer opportunities to earn a living from his creative works, and he’s winning awards for it.
When did you get your start in music? Well, I started on piano at age 10. My mom was a watercolor artist and she’s the one who introduced me to the piano. Also, my stepdad was an engineer so he had a studio and there wer always bands coming through. So, I was always around music growing up. But, when it came to my music career, my mom definitely encouraged me. I really got into ragtime piano music from the start and I’d go to the library to check out ragtime sheet music. From there, I went into University for classical piano performance and then
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
started playing in some bands. By the time I was 20 years old I landed my first gig with the rock band, Fastball. I toured with them for a couple of years before joining the band, Paloalto, on Rick Rubin’s label, American Recordings. In those days records were still selling, but the industry has changed so much since then. What’s been the hardest thing about maintaining a career in music today, as opposed to when you first started. It’s never really been easy to make money in
music, but it is a little harder these days. Even moreseo now, you have to be multifaceted; which means you have to look for ways to do live shows and get some stuff licensed for TV and movies. You can’t really look at record sales or downloads anymore. My biggest thing is to try and keep a low overhead, and when money does come in you don’t go and squander it. You have to think like, “Okay, this may be all I get for the next 9 months.” [laughs] But, being a musician has never been an easy way to make money. I’m talking from the perspective of someone who has been an indie artist for most of my career. Yet, if music is what you’re most passionate about, you can’t not do it, you know? I couldn’t do anything else becuase it’s just in me. Absolutely! Going back to your work with Rick Rubin; what was one of the big takeaways www.iaemagazine.com
from that experience with such a legendary record producer? It was definitely a great experience to see how Rick (Rubin) worked. He was very involved in the creative process of putting together and arranging songs in the preproduction stage. This was back when you had to track to tape. [laughs] Because we were on his label (American Recordings) and not directly signed to a major (label), we still had that indie label feel to everything. But, you still get sucked up into the big machine of it at some point. For instance, there was a time when we went to England for a few weeks and did a little tour over there, and things went really well. So, when our next single was about to come out we were supposed to go back to England, but the label didn’t want to put up the money to go back and tour. So, we (Paloalto) felt like we left a great opportunity on the table in the UK where people were responding to the music. That’s the part of the machine that I was referring to, where you can get lost in the cracks of a label. Talk a little bit about your recent ASCAP award for TV & Film composition. Yeah! I got introduced to doing stuff for TV through an old friend of mine, Andy Kubiszewski, who was one of the main songwriters for the band, Stabbing Westward. He’s a composer now, so he brought me into that world of writing cues and building catalogs. We did some stuff for the TV show, AFTER THE CATCH, and that became a pretty big show in 2012. As a result, I got an ASCAP award for it. There you go! [laughs] It’s nice to be recognized for something like that; it’s pretty humbling. Talk a little bit about your new solo project, MESSAGES; what was it that you wanted to convey to the listener. The way it usually comes together for me is, I’ll be working on a series of ideas and if I feel like there’s a group of songs that seem to come together cohesively, then I start to see that as being a collection for an album that I can release. I had already done an EP before, but it was really some stuff that I had been working on for a few years. But, MESSAGES, was newer material. The goal was to keep it simple and let the songs come through.
“My role in society, or any
artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and
express what we all feel Not to tell people how to feel. ”
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
By Shaine Freeman (@shainefreeman) | Photos Courtesy of Ras Xix
“In an ideal world, I would just like to make the music and have someone else take care of the other stuff.”
ell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into music? As far back as I can remember I always enjoyed playing music in front of people, and like so many other kids I wanted to keep doing that and only that because, it was fun. Being at parties with fans and other bands, you find that sense of belonging with your bandmates; like a pack. It wasn’t until I started producing my own music that I thought I might have a shot at making this into a career. The good thing about it is, when you embark on a journey in music it becomes a career. I wish more indie artists would view themselves as more than just artists because they are involved in an actual business. What do you wish
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
you had known before you got started on your journey as an artist? I wish someone would have told me that recording the album was only the first step. [laughs] There’s so many aspects that I’m still learning about like distribution and licensing, and the dynamics of the business are changing so rapidly; especially with social media. I’m so bad at maintaining my social media sites because sometimes you just run out of things to tweet about. I see these other guys interaction on their (social media) pages and they’ll post things like “my dog chewed my guitar strings”. For me, I feel like I just run out of things to post. But, back to the question; I’m just now getting acquainted with touring costs, logistics, booking, and putting a budget together. It’s like a real job. [laughs] In an ideal world, I would just like to make the music and have someone
else take care of the other stuff. But I’m aware that you pay dearly for that kind of deal now-adays and you relinquish a lot of the rights. Talk to me a little bit about this album? So, this album kind of represents the culmination of the creative work during my last few years of travel and reflection. It’s inspired by the sights, sounds, people and places that I sort of interacted with during my time with them. I guess like any other artist, I hope that my music conveys a sense of honesty and vulnerability that people can connect with. I hope people can connect with it and enjoy the music. Well, I enjoyed listening to it. Your song Las Arenas de Cartagena is featured on Episode 1 of The Miews Podcast, and I think it’s great. You’re currently raising money to go out on www.iaemagazine.com
tour through IndieGoGo.com and I think people should go on there and pledge to your campaign and support you. Thank you! People can go to http://indiegogo. com/at/ras-xix and support the campaign. So, let’s talk about your music video for Las Arenas de Cartagena. How did you come up with the concept of the video and where can people check it out? That video was shot in Singapore on the beach in several different locations. I came up with the
concept of the video, and being that it was my song I had some say on the direction of the video. Las Arenas de Cartagena means, “The Sands of Cartagena,” and it was written while I was traveling in South America through Columbia. Sitting out on the shore of Boca Grande (Columbia) inspired the writing of the song. It has a Flamingo influence along with the Rock elements. People can search my name, Ras Xix, on YouTube and the first video that will pop up will be Las Arenas de Cartagena, which is the video for the debut single. Artist: Ras Xix Genre: Alternative/Progressive Rock Album: Ras Xix Website: www.rasxix.com
Ras Xix is one of the artists to watch going into summer 2014. The band’s self-titled, 11 track album is set for May 1st and can best be described as an organic, soul stirring rock experience that, with adequate promotion (touring, press and marketing) would take Ras Xix to the forefront of the independent music scene. Stationed in the U.S. indie music Mecca of Austin, Texas, this band is poised to stake its claim as one of the city’s top acts. I found several tracks that I really dug, especially “Nora 5” and “Simulacrum”. Both songs are well arranged across the board, from the music to the songwriting and vocals. Of the two, Simulacrum is my favorite; getting about 5 spins before I was able to move on to the next track. The soulful jazz/ acoustic feel to the music, combined with Ras Xix’s awesome vocal brings a nice twist to the project’s primarily rock-n-roll sound. I also really got into the Latin acoustic rock track, “Las Arenas de Cartagena”. I liked this song so much I actually searched YouTube and found the music video, then watched it three times. The deejay scratching is a very nice touch, while the melodies and Spanish lyrics kept me dialed in. From the wood box cajon to the walking bassline, this track is definitely a must listen for anyone looking for real music to buy. Overall, I’d recommend buying Ras Xix’s self-titled album when it releases. Of the 11 songs on the project, I found 8 that I liked, and that’s very rare these days. Ras Xix is definitely one of my favorite albums of spring 2014 and I’m sure you’ll understand why when you buy your copy. Make sure you take the time to stop by his website and learn more about this guy because, I’ve got a feeling we’ll be hearing, and hopefully seeing a lot of Ras Xix this year. Socialize with Ras Xix online at: Facebook.com/ras.xix.music | Twitter.com/ rasxix
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
You Likely Missed
Artist: Grace Valerie Genre: Pop/Dance Album: Not For Love (single) Website: www.gracevalerie.com
Push play, listen, and respect the talent of Grace Valerie; because that’s exactly what I did. This Billboard chart topping artist is a force to be reckoned with in the pop dance genre, and her history in the LA music scene is well documented. Having been discovered in 2010 by Grammy-winning producer, Randy Jackson (formerly of American Idol), Grace Valerie is an exceptional talent who has accomplished far more than most artists in her genre today. How many unsigned artists do you know who have had a #1 Most Popular MTV video? Her new single, NOT FOR LOVE, is a powerful production that was put together in Nashville and Los Angeles in collaboration with Grammy winning producer, Busbee. This is a great song, and Grace’s emotional delivery brings out the best in the record. The music is well produced, with a thumping beat and colorful synth melody that makes this song a shoe-in for any dance club DJ’s rotation. Not many singers in the dance music genre rely on their vocal talents to carry a song; more often than not heavy studio effects make not-so-great singers sound bearable. But in the case of Grace, she can sing so the extra heavy effects aren’t necessary, which gained her my instant respect. Overall, Grace Valerie is an elite level talent whose new single, NOT FOR LOVE, is a great representation of why Randy Jackson found her worthy of his validation. Grace should be on a worldwide tour with today’s top pop/dance artists. I would recommend Grace Valerie to anybody who likes artists like Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. You can connect with Grace online at: Facebook.com/gracemusic | Twitter.com/MsGraceValerie
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
THE INVISIBLE WORLD FEATURED REVIEW
Genre: Rock / Alternative Album: Welcome To The Invisble World Location: Kansas City, MO Website: www.welcometotheinvisibleworld.com Kansas City isn’t just known for it’s incredible bar-b-que, being the hometown of Mickey Mouse, or it’s awesome water fountains, it’s also know for breeding some of the most talented musicians and bands in the business; The Invisible World is one of those bands. Don’t believe me, just go listen to their latest 6 song EP release, WELCOME TO THE INVISIBLE WORLD. This project is stacked from the moment it starts. Big time guitar chops, great vocals, and nice songwriting is what ‘Welcome To The Invisible World’ is all about. Of all the songs on the project, the one the really hit me was “Better Man”. This track is all about the fact that hindsight leaves us with 20/20 vision about life’s lessons, and how if we could go back and change some of the stuff from our past we would. The track is very energetic, catchy, well played, well written, and well produced. I love the drums, the guitar chops, and the vocal arrangements. You’ve got to hear this song, it’s incredible. I also enjoyed other tracks like JEANS, WANDERING MAN, and MAYBE. Each track brings its own uniquely powerful sound, adding personality to the overall project. WELCOME TO THE INVISIBLE WORLD is definitely a journey that every alternative rock music fan should take, and I’d love to see where this KCMO band is going to take their collective career. Overall, I’d recommend buying the WELCOME TO THE INVISIBLE WORLD EP if you’re a fan of great rock music. Of the 6 songs on the project, I found 4 that I liked, and that’s pretty rare nowadays. The Invisible World, is definitely one of the best bands I’ve heard thus far this spring. Connect on: Facebook.com/theinvisibleworld | Twitter.com/tiwband
THE MIEWS Reviews
Artist: Rags & Ribbons Genre: Alternative Rock Album: Magnesium Dream Website: www.RagsandRibbonsMusic.com
Artist: Kaliné Genre: Jazz/Soul Album: Ololufemi (single) Website: www.KalineOfficial.com
There are three kinds of singers in the world: (a) those who think they can sing, (b) those who have a “nice” voice, and (c) those who can flat our sing; and “sing” is exactly what Nigerian singer-songwriter/ Berklee College of Music grad, Kaliné does. When I first heard her voice, I was completely blown away by the music and the richness of her tone. Very few singers have captured exactly what I have been trying to express to others when I attempt to describe what a great singing voice sounds like. Now, I can simply reference Kaliné. Ololufemi is an extraordinary song, and is Yoruba for “the owner of my love”, or “my love”. It’s a very special term of endearment that is used by the Yoruba people in Nigeria. My former roommate is Yoruba, and he introduced me to many facets of their culture, including my favorite Nigerian dish, Fufu. Now I have a favorite Nigerian female singer, Kaliné, whose music is a wonderful representation of the talent that comes out of her native homeland. As someone who grew up on great soul and jazz singers, and has been starving to hear some new artists go there, Kaliné reminds me of artists like India Arie, Whitney Houston, and Anita Baker. Just like these great singers, Kaliné’s voice is just powerful enough to command your instant attention, but soft and sweet enough to make you feel all kinds of different emotions while you listen. Her talent as a pianist and songwriter is in an elite class, as are the talents of many of Berklee’s College of Music graduates. Overall, Ololufemi and it’s creator, Kaliné, are two major examples of why the music business is still alive and well. I would recommend anybody who loves great singers, great music, and great songs to check out Kaliné’s website. Connect with Kaliné online at: Twitter.com/kalinea
“Wow...” is all I can say about Rags & Ribbons and their Magnesium Dream EP. Before even reading their bio, our editor instantly compared Rags & Ribbons to Queen, and the Portland outfit is absolutely the closest thing to Queen that we’ve ever heard. When it comes to overall quality, R&R’s songs give majority of the rock bands I’ve seen at major music festivals in recent years a swift kick in the backside. Magnesium Dream is a beast of a release. Consisting of 6 amazing songs, this EP gives the three member band an identity that cannot be easily duplicated like most cookie cutter bands I’ve seen in recent times. From the guitars to the drums and the incredible vocal arrangements, this project is an ongoing string of radio singles; and not those corny songs you keep hearing on your local stations these days. My favorite two songs on this EP are Rubikon and Little Sirens. Both of these tracks have huge production and overall sound. The layered vocals, the melodies, the pianos, the drums, the hardcore guitar riffs; every element in this song showcases the musical prowess of Rags & Ribbons. After watching their video for Rubikon, I was totally sold on the fact that R&R is ready for international success. While the two previously mentioned songs are my personal favorites, each of the other tracks on the Magnesium Dream EP makes a strong case for why Rags & Ribbons are well worth any label signing, and worth every rock music fan supporting. I would absolutely recommend Rags & Ribbons and their EP, Magnesium Dream, to anybody who likes top bands like Queen and Muse. Facebook.com/RagsRibbons | Twitter.com/RagsRibbons
Artist: Gena Perala Genre: Alternative / Indie Pop-Rock Album: Exactly Nowhere Website: www.genaperala.com
Gena Perala’s latest release, Exactly Nowhere, is like drinking ice water after eating a peppermint; refreshingly cool. She’s not the Katy Perry type; rather Gena is more of across between Pink, Alanis Morrisette, Cyndi Lauper, and a hint of Sheryl Crow...very quirky, crafty and theatrical. Exactly Nowhere is a 15 track soap opera that not only showcases Gena’s creative writing skills, it also tests the boundaries of what it means to be an artist in a music industry full of redundancies. Listening to Gena Perala, you feel as though you’re hearing an audio feed from a stage play. Perala’s voice-over acting skills are on display as she delivers each line like a seasoned thespian, keeping you dialed into the drama that unfolds on each song. My favorite song on the album, Supernova Superstar, because it’s just awesome! I listened to it like 7x before I went to the next track. This is her music video song because it’s the one that I think would go over very well with the general public. It’s a unique record that gives off a Sheryl Crow vibe, and I really love the way Gena sings this song. There’s tons of great music on Exactly Nowhere, each of song offers it’s own candid peep hole for us to look into Gena Perala’s world of emotional rollercoasters, heartbreaks, and self reflection. Similar to Eminem’s “Slim Shady” album, Exactly Nowhere has several moments of shock and awe that, if you’re not ready for them, will hit your ears like a ton of bricks. For example: in her song “Hip Hop and Cartoons,” Perala drops the “f bomb” a couple of times, catching me completely off-guard because I don’t swear/curse/cuss. But, I still thought the song was insightful. As part of the “hip hop generation,” I know and understand the influences that hip hop and cartoons each have had on the minds of young Americans; so this song is a reality check that will make any parent think twice about letting cartoons and music babysit their kids. This is truly what creative art is all about; making people aware, and sometimes uncomfortable with what’s really going on in the world. The bottom line is, Gena Perala ROCKS!! Exactly Nowhere is worth it’s weight in musical gold. Connect with Gena online at: Facebook.com/GenaPeralaMusic | Twitter.com/genaperala
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
Artist: Jamie Alimorad Genre: Pop-Rock Album: Words Left Unsaid Website: www.JamieAlimorad.com
Jamie Alimorad’s 12 song album, WORDS LEFT UNSAID, is a power pop-rock monstrosity. In a music business that is overdosing on electronic dance music by artists who have very little to offer those of us who are seeking substance, we get the pleasure of hearing this Bostonian’s substance filled tunes. Reminiscent of those huge sounding late 80’s - early 90’s MTV pop-rock by artists like Rick Springfield and Billy Joel that many have tried to duplicate in recent times, but few have found success with; Alimorad’s album hits the target dead in the center. I really dug the fact that this album blends together those familiar sounds that I enjoyed growing up, but with a more up-to-date style production. From the outset Jamie’s song, TIFFANY, introduces us to his brand of storytelling through music, which closely resembles that of greats like Billy Joel; who we all know is one of the greatest songwriters ever. The style Alimorad opts to entertain us with is one that is a true asset to his reputation as an artist/songwriter. While he has been nominated for a few independent music awards, that’s not what makes his music worth listening to; it’s his passionate vocal delivery that sells each song. Jamie has a powerful voice that carries well, and it keeps you dialed in to every word he’s saying. Besides, TIFFANY, Jamie’s album includes a few other possible classics like: SOMEDAY SOMEWHERE, THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID, and GET YOU BACK. Alimorad’s songwriting genius is clearly stated on each of these songs. He reminds us of what real songwriting is all about; telling stories that the listener can see him/ her self in. These are reality songs that will make you glad you listened to them, and if marketed properly, this guy may become the next big thing out of Boston. I’d definitely recommend anyone who loves great songwriting to check him out. connect with him online at: Twitter.com/JamieAlimorad
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
HOOKDIGGY FEATURED REVIEW
Genre: Hip-Hop/R&B/Soul Album: Wind Out (single) Location: Atlanta, GA Website: www.hookdiggy.com Hookdiggy brings to us one of the hottest, real Hip-Hop records I’ve heard in a long while. WIND OUT is a combination of well played live instruments, great R&B vocals by Ceedro, positive lyrics, and all out dope delivery by Hookdiggy. This single by ‘diggy’ is very reminiscent of the days when Hip-Hop had more to offer than trap beats and angry lyrics. Back when you had options because every artist had his own sound/style; for example: if you were an intellectual/conscious type of person you could listen to artists like Common and KRS-1, if you were a dancer type of guy you could listen to MC Hammer, or if you were a street dude you could listen to Tupac or Biggie, and so on. To me, Hookdiggy offers us a conscious/positive option amid all of the trap music and disco music we’re hearing in hip-hop these days. We first learned about Hookdiggy in 2011 when he brought us his conscious single, Good Music, where he expressed his frustration with today’s hiphop artists and their lack of creativity (a frustration I also shared with Hookdiggy). The reason I call this guy an “old soul” when it comes to hiphop is because, he reminds us 70’s and 80’s babies of why we fell in love with the art and culture of hiphop in the first place. Similar to his previous single (Good Music), WIND OUT, is a great representation of what’s missing in the music industry’s leading genre for “urban” music. In the end, I think WIND OUT is a testament to the fact that Hookdiggy is not just some rapper in the rap music business. Hook is a hiphop artist in the hiphop music business which,in my opinion, is about the pursuit of spreading substance to the masses and not “making it rain” like rappers. Hookdiggy is a very talented artist and producer who could do extremely well if he finds a way to get on the stages of some of the major music festivals. Make sure you buy the single on iTunes today and connect with Hookdiggy online at: Instagram.com/Hookdiggy | Twitter.com/Hookdiggy
THE MIEWS Reviews
Artist: The Lost Chord Genre: Rock Album: Nostalgia Website: www.thelostchord.ca
Artist: Bae Kuang Genre: Jazz/R&B/Pop Album: These Darling Wings Website: www.baekuang.com
What a Bae-utiful voice she has! Bae Kuang is a very talented singer-songwriter/composer whose music on her latest EP release, THESE DARLING WINGS, explores the creative landscapes of the jazz and R&B genres. Bae’s EP made my day, especially after spending several hours listening to a bunch of rock and folk bands/artists. Comprised of 6 great songs, THESE DARLING WINGS is a powerful display of Bae Kuang’s strength as an artist and songwriter, and I believe that the right opportunities will make her just as successful as her musical doppelgangers, Norah Jones or Corrine Bailey Ray. I found a number of perfect additions to my song library but, the title track - These Darling Wings - is my favorite of them all. It’s the perfect way to kick off a release because the tempo isn’t so fast that it sets you up for unrealistic expectations as to what the project has to offer, but it’s not slow and boring. The pizzicato strings, coupled with the single note electric guitar melody works extremely well for setting the mood and tone of the song. Bae Kuang sings like an angel and the subject matter is very well constructed and delivered. You have absolutely got to hear this song guys...really! Other incredible songs that stood out to me, personally, include: SUCH A FOOL, CHINA DOLL, and SOME OTHER DAY. Each of these tracks add their own character to Bae Kuang’s EP and are very strong songs that could easily become jazz radio hits. I am now a fan of Bae, and I will absolutely be telling my colleagues at major jazz labels about her. I’d love to hear a full album release from this artist because it’s not everyday you get to hear someone so amazingly talented as a singer, musician, and songwriter. Connect with Bae at: Facebook.com/BaeKuang and Twitter.com/BaeKuang
The Lost Chord’s latest 8 song release, NOSTALGIA, is 100% Grade A, Rock & Roll. We hear people call themselves rock artists everyday, but few give it to us in a pure form, without elements that qualify it as alternative rock. A far cry from the often tawdry space of today’s Top 40 rock radio, The Lost Chord gives us a deeper exploration into the yesteryear’s of the genre when bands like REO Speedwagon, The Police, and Chicago were running things. NOSTALGIA isn’t just about channeling the creativity of classic rock bands, it’s about showing us how awesome The Lost Chords band is. Of all the great songs here, my favorite track has to be MUSE. This song is a perfect example of what the ‘Chords’ are all about. The songwriting here is top notch, and the Toronto band swings each guitar riff like an Excalibur sword slashing every note with precision. The rhythm section blends well with the organs and vocals, while the bass and drums keep the timing in pocket. This song is an ace in the hole, and I don’t see how anybody with an ear for great rock and blues music would disagree with me. Other incredible songs include: WHY, NOSTALGIA, and WEAPONS OF WAR. These songs help to make NOSTALGIA a complete compilation where skipping around to find great tunes is totally unnecessary. The Lost Chord takes an uncontrived approach to making music, not trying to fit in with the status quo in commercial rock music. My hat is off to this band of rock and rollers who have ventured into a space reserved for courageous artists unafraid to entertain us, if only for a half-hour. Connect with TLC at: Facebook.com/thelostchord | Twitter.com/lostchordband
Artist: Plastic Yellow Band Genre: Classic Rock Album: Breathe Air Website: www.plasticyellowband.com
If cool was a band then Plastic Yellow Band is it! A combination of Classic Rock, Americana and with a hint of Blues, this band of skilled musicians are proof that great music cannot be determined by whether or not a major record company is backing it. In PYB’s case, their debut album, BREATHE AIR, places them in the ranks with other great classic rockers in today’s music business who are showing the power of being independent. This South Carolina band has taken full advantage of their creative freedom and released a very respectable
project. Of all the great songs on BREATHE AIR, “She’s My Woman” is Plastic Yellow Band’s hit record! If any of their songs is going to gain them the respect and support of music fans and radio, thus putting PYB on a collision course with success, “She’s My Woman” is the one that will do it. This song is rock’n’roll music at its best, and is easily comparable to the sounds of great bands like Pink Floyd. The chorus is very catchy, the song is well written, and the band puts on one of the most stunning displays of musicianship I’ve heard from a classic rock band in the past 30 days. I’d recommend checking this song out if you want to know just how good Plastic Yellow Band really is. Can you say, music video?!? Other notable tracks on BREATHE AIR include: Lonely Place, She Let It Down, and Oil Kings. These songs are, in my opinion, great representations of the potential Plastic Yellow Band has to capture the loyalty of classic rock music fans. This isn’t for the teenage kid who’s looking for what he/she will find on Top 40 radio stations these days; but it is for those who have an appreciation for bands like Fleetwood Mac, the aforementioned Pink Floyd, and the late great John Lennon. BREATHE AIR is currently available online at www.isistudios.com/isi-music-store, along with Plastic Yellow Band merchandise. Make sure you connect with PYB online at: Youtube.com/ user/PlasticYellowBand | Facebook.com/PlasticYellowBand
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
THE MIEWS Reviews
Artist: Ready Never Genre: EDM Album: Eleutherophobia Website: www.readynever.com
Ready Never’s 10 track album, Eleutherophobia, is an EDM bombshell waiting to explode on the ears of any listener looking for a euphoric music experience. Fans of EDM artists like Daft Punk and Swedish House Mafia are likely to take a strong interest in Ready Never’s music. Each track on the LA duo’s, Eleutherophobia, album posesses the key essentials required to make a solid EDM release, including infection synth grooves, thumping bass, and heavily Auto-tuned yet catchy vocal lines that compliment the pace of the music. There are a number of electronic landscapes that will catch your attention on this release from Ready Never. The ones that stood out the most for me were “Eleutherophobia”, “Take That Pill”, and “Me Myself and I”. Each of these songs are great representations of how deeply rooted in EDM and pop music Ready Never is. Many of the songs on this project are filled with melodies and sounds that could cause the duo to be mistaken for a retro-pop/dance group that dabbles in electronic sounds. But there’s not mistaking Ready Never’s potential for success. Like any independent album release these days, Eleutherophobia could prove to be a breakout album for its creators if a solid marketing plan and tour schedule is put in place and executed properly. I’d recommend buying this particular release by Ready Never if you’re a fan of EDM greats like Daft Punk, Swedish House Mafia, and even some of the pop groups from the early 2000’s. I could see these guys on stage at festivals like Magnetic Music Fest in Atlanta (GA), and Euphoria Music Fest in Austin (TX); all Ready Never needs is an opportunity to show what they can do. Connect with Ready Never at: Facebook.com/ReadyNever | Twitter.com/ReadyNever
Artist: Marla Mase Genre: Eclectic Funk/Punk/Rock Album: Half-Life Website: www.marlamase.com
Marla Mase is back with her newest masterpiece of eclectic funk-punk-rock, Half Life. As stated in my last review of her music (here), Marla is not the cliche artist you’re probably expecting. Steeped with moxie and passion, Mase has her own since of style, charisma, and overall identity. You couldn’t really mistake her for any other artist and it’s fairly difficult to name artists who are comparable to this big time personality. On Half Life, Marla wastes no time getting to the heart of her tasty audio treats, opening with the wild and somewhat erratic sounds of ‘Drown In Blue’. This song sets a defining tone for the project, but it doesn’t represent the overall sound of the album. Marla Mase crosses into so many genres that it’s hard to say who she’s really targeting with it; which is both good and bad when you think about it. It’s good because it shows the wide blend of audiences Marla could reach, but bad because it could make marketing the project to a well defined audience quite difficult. Nevertheless, Marla’s uniqueness could prove to be what sustains her career over the longhaul. Overall, Half Life is a funky, punky, rock-n-roll event that shines like a brand new paint job on a 5th generation Chevy El camino. Marla Mase and her band of monster musicians have put together a fun and exciting release that has the potential to make this infectious artist an international success. Make sure you take the time to stop by Marla’s website and get a whiff of the gumbo she’s cookin’. Connect with Marla Mase on social media and let her know you like her music at Facebook.com/pages/Marla-Mase/170044966351982 | Twitter.com/marlamase
I Am Entertainment | May-Jun ‘14
Artist: no:carrier Genre: Electro Noir Pop Album: Wisdom & Failure Website: nocarrier.bandcamp.com
Bringing together the creativity they’ve absorbed from life in San Francisco and Ingolstadt (Munich), no:carrier’s music can best be described as retro electronic pop. The duo’s new release, Wisdom & Failure, is both unique and foreign to what one might be used to hearing from artists on the Top 40 charts. No:carrier’s sound incorporates elements of pop music from the past 3 decades of the genre (80’s - today). The lead vocals are served on a bed of eclectic music production that could find no:carrier an audience whose ears are tuned to the unique sounds of retro electronic pop music. Without being too heavy, Wisdom & Failure is an emotional 12 song release that speaks to the 35+ crowd who has been mostly forgotten by the mainstream music business. Those fans who enjoy bands like The Eurythmics and/or The Cruxshadows will likely take a very strong interest in what no:carrier is offering on Wisdom & Failure. Saturated by high energy drum programming and arpeggiated synths all doctored by Chris Wirsig, each track creates a mood for lead vocalist, Cynthia Wechselberger, to share her messages in a passionate way. The duo is going on their first tour of the western US, with shows taking place in California and Nevada starting in late April 2014. I’d recommend checking out no:carrier’s new album, Wisdom & Failure, if you’re a fan of electronic pop music that has a retro/classic euro-pop feel. Should you have the chance, make sure you stop by their website and make note of when they’re coming to your city. The shows are mostly free admission and I’m sure no:carrier would love to see you there. Connect with no:carrier online today at: Facebook.com/NoCarrierMusic | Twitter. com/ncrrr
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Featuring top recording artist Beckah Shae on the cover along with Vinicius Machado from Starz TV series, POWER, and Richard Gunn from hit T...